....As Others See Us

Mother Jones, in examining the strange phenomenon of Ron Paul, provides a timeline of libertarian thought.

Occasionally apt, often tendentious (especially with its obsessive belief that libertarianism is some sort of philosophy of corporate power and Pinochetism), but usually interesting to see the modern left try to grapple with the strange beast of libertarianism.

For the full picture of libertarianism unfolding in time, and for the true deep roots of Ron Paul, see my book Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement.

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  • ||

    So you're saying I built the Pinochet shrine in my closet for nothing then?

  • ||

    MILTON FRIEDMAN AUGUSTIN PINOCHET

  • Cancel My Subscription||

    Laura Ingalls Wilder publishes Little House on the Prairie. Libertarians claim her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, a prominent libertarian author at the time, was the ghostwriter. In 2003 Reason magazine will praise the books for placing "community and commerce-rather than male adventure, escape and violence-at the heart of our national experience."

    You never published garbage statements like this in the 1990s.
    REASON really went to Hell after the January 2000 issue. What happened?

  • drawnasunder||

    "libertarianism is some sort of philosophy of corporate power"

    Think anyone at Mother Jones reads this blog? If so, fuck corporations

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    "148 years before the founding of Blackwater, Gustave de Molinari reasons, in his economics treatise Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare, that if trade can supply cheap consumer goods, it can also supply military contractors, rendering government unnecessary."

    Anybody else see the irony in claiming a connection between Molinari and Blackwater?

  • ||

    Truly this is representative of something bigger.

    Ron Paul's popularity suddenly has forced the right, left, and media to actually have to try to figure out what we're all about.

    Even though they inevitably fuck it up, it's still a step in the right direction. Used to be that they all just simply ignored us.

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    Mediageek, you may have a point. But I do remember some time in the late 90's or early zero's that Mother Jones actually advertised in Reason. Anybody else remember that?

  • ||

    In light of my last comment, I wonder if that means I should be thankful that we've got idiots like Edward showing up here with greater regularity in order to tell all of us libertarians what, exactly, it is that we believe.

  • shecky||

    Nice Venn diagram.

  • Robert||

    REASON really went to Hell after the January 2000 issue. What happened?


    All I know is that it used to be easier to read -- literally. And I mean "literally" literally too, of course, it's about the letters, and even more so the numbers in the typeface, plus the layout, the colors, etc. It's like they wanted to youngify their readership by excluding anyone who needs bifocals or reading glasses.

  • ||

    2009: President Paul orders a return to the gold standard and an end to the minimum wage, causing women and minorities nationwide to have to work for $2 a day in unsafe sweatshops.

    2011: Reason continues shilling for Earth-destroying big corporations.

    2013: Biotechnologists release clones of Milton Friedman and Pinochet onto the world, and they start a campaign of throwing women, minorities, and bunnies out of airplanes.

    2014: Global warming causes polar bears to mutate into Gaia-hating killing machines, and they swim around the world terrorizing women and minorities.

  • ||

    You know, not to rag the MJ editors too badly here, but you'd think that for a timeline, they would be able to get stuff, you know, in chronological order:

    1957: Ayn Rand publishes her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged ...

    1966: Sci-fi writer Robert A. Heinlein releases The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress ...

    1964: Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater loses his bid for the presidency ...


    For a magazine named Mother Jones, oh wait, that's our line.

  • ||

    Kwix,

    Well, Heinlein also wrote Time enough for love, so maybe they're suggesting something.

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    Here is one to add:

    2007: 10 year old girl arrested at school for brining a kitchen knife with her lunch. She wanted to use it to cut steak.

    http://www.wftv.com/news/14858405/detail.html

  • ||

    If I was a 10 year old homicidal maniac, that's what I'd say too.

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    Time Enough for Love was IMHO his deepest novel of all. They were all great. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was very pro-freedom but Time Enough for Love covered many themes, not just political ones.

    Please do not mistunderstand, I do agree all his novels were great.

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    From the story about the 10 year old:

    "She did not use it inappropriately. She did not threaten anyone with it. She didn't pull it out and brandish it. Nothing of that nature," explained Marion County School Spokesman Kevin Christian.

  • ||

    What makes Reason such a lighting rod for Mother Jone's anti-libertarian rage?

  • ||

    "She did not use it inappropriately. She did not threaten anyone with it. She didn't pull it out and brandish it. Nothing of that nature," explained Marion County School Spokesman Kevin Christian.

    They never do, until it's too late.

    Have you never seen Children of the Corn?

  • Shannon Love||

    ...especially with its obsessive belief that libertarianism is some sort of philosophy of corporate power and Pinochetism

    Leftism is grounded in a belief in universal elitism. They completely lack any concept of a society of equals. For the Leftist, elites, good or bad, make all the decisions. Everybody else is just sheep.

    The only question for Leftist is which group of elites will be in charge. In a perfect world, wise Leftist articulate intellectuals would be the elite guiding the sheep. However, if it is not they functioning as elites it must be their mortal enemies the elites of the business world. It a black and white dichotomy. They can conceive of no other division of power.

    Consequently, since Libertarians are not Leftist articulate intellectuals they must be capitalistic elitist. No other grouping is possible in their minds.

  • ||

    Oh my, I haven't read Mother Jones since 1978. Nice to know some things never change. Are they really the New Left? They sound a lot like the Jurassic Left

  • Derrick||

  • ||

    Didn't some stuff happen in 1776, too?

    Also, they forgot to mention the release of 300 last year. Give them nothing, take from them everything!!! Awesome.

  • bill||

    "especially with its obsessive belief that libertarianism is some sort of philosophy of corporate power and Pinochetism"

    I'll never get it. How hard is it to understand.

    Libertarian=Social Liberal, Fiscal Conservative.

    People are so stupid.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Very nice hitjob. Let me try: "Of course, most of the readership of Mother Jones is in favor of national health care, political gulags, and an end to the war.

    See how I did that? Sad thing is, it's far truer than a lot of what they said.

  • ||

    Ron Paul's popularity suddenly has forced the right, left, and media to actually have to try to figure out what we're all about.

    Even though they inevitably fuck it up, it's still a step in the right direction.


    Well, MoJo got one thing right (slightly paraphrased here): "H&R -- a forum enabling people who agree with each other 99.9% to hate each other's guts."

    Should put that motto over the H&R thread list.

  • ||

    bill,
    It's easy to understand. Corporations are evil wealth engines. Therefore anyone not opposed to them must be greedy apologists shilling for them.

    As for Pinochetism, Milton Friedman was once in the same room with him. It's even rumored that he thought hyperinflation was a bad thing. Therefore, anyone not opposed to Friedman's economics must be in favor of tyranny.

  • Paul||

    I've heard of Mother Jones.

  • eric pendero||

    I've heard of Mother Jones.

    Who has?

  • ||

    1973: With help from the CIA and advice from Chicago School economists, General Augusto Pinochet seizes control of Chile and puts in place radical free-market reforms. He privatizes social programs, curtails trade unions, and begins to eliminate tariffs on imported goods. By the time he is forced out in 1990 a new moneyed class has emerged while the majority of workers earn less (adjusted for inflation) than they did when he took power. Reason will later argue that the economic recovery under the succeeding socialist government was due instead to the "long term benefit" of Pinochet's policies.

    Reason...well? Mother Jones just accused you of coddling tyrants.....

  • ||

    "Well, MoJo got one thing right (slightly paraphrased here): "H&R -- a forum enabling people who agree with each other 99.9% to hate each other's guts."

    Should put that motto over the H&R thread list."


    "Libertarianism might be a simple ideology, an aversion to big government in all its forms, but don't tell that to libertarians: "Like any movement of any size," says Nick Gillespie, editor of the libertarian magazine Reason, "it is an endless operation of trying to figure out more and more ways in which people who agree on 99.9 percent of everything can really hate each other's guts.""

  • ||

    PloySci aside.....
    HAPPY HUMBUG TO ALL

    I made a New Year's resolution many, many moons ago and NEVER broke it.
    The resolution was/is to NEVER make a New Year's resolution again.

    HAPPY HUMBUG

    A great many of The Old Testament's stories come from earlier tales (e.g., Gilgamesh, etc) and the style is, mostly, a direct rip-off of The Egyptian Book Of The Dead.

    To learn more of TOT times, view this YouTube film

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7iQRFP_e90

    The New Testament, well . . . . . to learn more than enough of TNT's creation, view this two part YouTube film.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzY2bVsZK5s

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sckuqPulRGk

    And, as a special Humbug surprise, the hit parody song
    "The Little Bummer Boy"

    http://www.soundlift.com/band/music.php?song_id=82930

    AND, if that ain't enough, you may join moi's YGroup
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Tor_Hershman/

    May you all have a delightful 'Someone's Been Embezzling Oil And Selling It On The Side' Eightdays, a wonderful Solstice, the happiest possible Humbug and may your Hollowdays be filled with the most joyous of pleasures.

    Stay on groovin' safari,
    Tor

  • ||

    Let's see... A real dollar is 1/16 of a troy ounce of gold, and gold is trading around 796 units of the fiat currency, so two dollars is worth about 100 FRNs a day..

    Not a princely sum, but it should be survivable.

    -jcr

  • ||

    They kinda left off the whole abolitionist/feminist thing back in the 19th century but whatever. I mean the modern feminist movement partially owes its roots to the same people that modern libertarianism does (Herbert Spencer et al.) but whatevah all's fair in FUCK KKKORPORATIONS

  • Episiarch||

    Sometimes I feel sorry for leftists like the ones at MJ. To have your entire world view filtered through a prism of hate, class warfare, and the desire to micromanage your fellow humans must suck balls.

  • ||

    JCR,

    The 'real dollar' of which you speak was never defined as a unit of gold... you're thinking of the Eagle.

    A dollar was a unit of silver.

  • ||

    This tells me a lot about Mother Jones:

    ...McBride learned to cherish freedom and blast clay pigeons with the family's 10-gun arsenal.

    ...

    Good god, what kind of person calls 10 guns an arsenal?

    Hell, that's not even a collection.

  • ||

    Mother Jones: Is there any abuse of corporate power that you won't tolerate?
    Reason: I dunno. Name one.
    Mother Jones: Exactly.

  • Episiarch||

    Reason: Is there any abuse by socialism that you won't tolerate?
    Mother Jones: I dunno. Name one.
    Reason: Exactly.

  • ||

    2006: In a race against Senator Conrad Burns of Montana, Jones earns 3 percent of the don't-tread-on-me vote, which throws the election to Democrat Jon Tester and hands the U.S. Senate to the Democrats.

    I bet Mother Jones thinks this is ironic.

    After all, you'd think that the republicans (aka libertarians) would have voted for the republican! But no! They handed us the senate by mistake! HA!

  • ||

    1980: Avowed libertarian John Mackey founds Whole Foods in Austin, Texas.

    This is ironic, as organic lovers have a strong tendency toward economic leftism, and the owner of the most successful organic market is a libertarian. It has also found itself ranked highly in best-companies-to-work-for lists (aka, not exploiting its employees). Classic.

  • Fluffy||

    I understand the Pinochetism claim a bit more than others here, I think.

    To a Chomskyite, the true defining feature of "Pinochetism" isn't the violence or the torture or the skulls turning up buried under soccer fields. It's the frustration of the levelling impulse.

    Chileans "naturally" wanted a socialist and egalitarian system, and Pinochet frustrated the organic will of the people.

    Americans "naturally" want a socialist and egalitarian system, and our Constitution and system of governance stands in the way - abetted by libertarians [among many others] who provide ideological justification for false bourgeois "freedoms". Thus frustrating the organic will of the people.

    See? It's simple, really. Everything which frustrates the "natural" socialist impulse is "Pinochetism". We're just better at it here so we don't have to use the blunt instrument of disappearing people.

  • Dave W.||

    A lot of libertarians do love corporate power. I have have followed this site regularly for a couple years and I believe that now more than when I started.

    I don't know much about Pinochet, but here is all the linked article had to say about him:

    With help from the CIA and advice from Chicago School economists, General Augusto Pinochet seizes control of Chile and puts in place radical free-market reforms. He privatizes social programs, curtails trade unions, and begins to eliminate tariffs on imported goods. By the time he is forced out in 1990 a new moneyed class has emerged while the majority of workers earn less (adjusted for inflation) than they did when he took power. Reason will later argue that the economic recovery under the succeeding socialist government was due instead to the "long term benefit" of Pinochet's policies.

    I have no idea if that is accurate or not.

  • ||

    Threadjack.

    A couple of days ago Mr. Nice Guy was arguing that we're all a bunch of paranoid Luddites for not wanting to fill out census forms, since the data is supposed to be anonymous.

    Even if you trust the gov't to keep the data anonymous, that's still not much protection.

    http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/12/anonymity_and_t_2.html

  • robc||

    Instead of finding reasons to hate each other while agreeing 99.9% of the time, I prefer my 2 rules of libertarianism:

    1. All non-libertarians agree with libertarians on at least 1 issue.

    2. No two libertarians agree on anything.

  • ||

    "the desire to micromanage your fellow humans must suck balls."

    Maybe a better name for Mother Jones would be Mother Hen.

  • murky lurker||

    The only thing missing from that timeline was when Gollum killed his cousin for the ring in the middle of the third age.

  • Anon||

    Dave W. - point someone out.

    kthxbye

  • ||

    corporate power

    Will someone please define exactly what "power" a corporation yields over me (eminent domain abuse doesn't count, as it is power reserved for the government).

    McDonald's has never given me a speeding ticket, Coca-cola has never busted me smoking a joint, Microsoft has yet to throw me in jail for buying a Mac.

    What is this corporate power? Advertising? If you're so fucking dumb that you obey every advertisement you see, then I suppose it's not difficult to believe that companies hold power over you!

  • robc||

    James B.,

    My reason for not filling out the census has nothing to do with it being anonymous. It has to do with it exceeding its constitutional bounds. I got the long form in 2000, it took me about 10 seconds to fill out. I gave my address, name, age, and phone number. The last so that they could contact me if they wanted to arrest and/or fine me for violating the law.

    The age question was borderline, I only answered it because all of the old early 19th century census records I have researched had age of kids on it. I figured number of adult males for militia purposes might be reasonable info to give the government.

  • ||

    1. It would take a serious commitment to believing you're being persecuted to read that piece as a "hit job."

    2. For all the complaining, I haven't noticed anyone offering any refutations about the statement about Pinochet. Heck, all these years later, when we know all the he did, we still see his defenders show up when his name comes up on a thread.

  • ||

    Americans "naturally" want a socialist and egalitarian system, and our Constitution and system of governance stands in the way - abetted by libertarians [among many others] who provide ideological justification for false bourgeois "freedoms". Thus frustrating the organic will of the people.

    Ah, yes! The organic will of the people! But you can't just leave it at that; occasionally, the people become confused about their organic will, or are deceived by external powers into accepting beliefs that are inauthentic to them. Then, you need a strong interpreter of the peoples' true will. Someone who has the courage and moral clarity not only to reflect the honest essence of America, but to protect it from the malign interference of those who would subvert and weaken the organic union of nation!

    ... I like how Mother Jones used a "timeline of libertarianism" to shill their writer's anti-libertarian book. To think, leftists accusing us of creating a "moral vacuum." You'd think they'd know what it's like to have that charge tossed at them.

  • ||

    Get back to work or I'll throw your ass in the snow.

    You don't mind if I rub you with this loofah, do you?

  • Episiarch||

    joe (as Taktix's Boss), people have power over other people in society all the time. Yes, your boss holds some influence over you. But so does your spouse, your friends, your family, and the dudes at your Elks meetings. Any one of them can leave you, kick you out of the club, ostracize you, etc.

    None of them can throw you in jail. See the difference?

  • robc||

    joe,

    Here is my "defense" of Pinochet:

    Pinochet was a murderous dictator who tried to put in, at least parts, of a good economic system. However, an economic system of freedom can only really function properly when combined with a free political and social system.

  • ||

    hale: You're making the fallacious assumption that Mother Jones, you know, actually is exhibiting proper thought. They don't even need a study of economics to prove why their statist proto-Marxist policy leanings would never work in the real world, just a quick recap of history of human progress in the 20th Century, something that I'm sure the liberal arts crowd at MJ would have in abundance.

    They just don't care.

    In that mindset, they're right because their intentions are good, their hearts are in the right place, and to heck with all the data to the contrary. Kinda like Mike Huckabee, only more insidious.

  • Dave W.||

    Dave W. - point someone out.

    For wide eyed innocent puppy luv of Big Business, I would have to go with T.

    For fairly sophisticated corporate apologetics (which are, admittedly, helpful), I would have to go with the milk chuggin', hard luvin' RCD.

    In the straight up shill category, well, we don't even have to say the name I don't think.

  • Untermensch||

    Libertarian=Social Liberal, Fiscal Conservative



    If only this were true. I used to explain Libertarianism this way, but it's just not so.

    While libertarians tend to be socially liberal, they don't believe in the compulsion that leftists want to see as part of that, and social liberalism isn't a core part of the philosophy.

    Here's the difference:

    Libertarian: "You don't like gays? Well, I think you're a real jerk, that's your business as long as you don't go out and try to force your opinion on anyone or force anyone to act the way you think they should. And I support your right to be a jerk and say what you think."

    MJ-style liberal: "You don't like gays? Well, it's my business to strip such evil thoughts from your mind, Certainly you can't say you don't like gays and if you do, I'll make sure your butt is hauled off for reeducation. First amendment? You don't really believe they meant the right to say things I disagree with, do you?"

    But even if we ignore the huge difference between these styles of liberalism, as long as you don't think government is the solution or that you have a right to enforce your opinion through the exercise of force, you could be as socially liberal or conservative as you want. So I don't see the social liberalism thing as that definitional...

    I can't make the same case and argue that libertarians are fiscally liberal in any way, but most so-called fiscal conservatives anymore don't act much different from their fiscally liberal counterparts anyway.

  • VM||

    never mind that economics is a very common major in your better liberal arts institutions.

    what you probably mean is "humanities".

    either way, what's your economics training? and where?

    sod off, dave w. sod off. (i didn't even read what you said, but I'm still saying that)

    Untermensch - not really sure about what you're saying. or - many conservatarians hide behind the rhetoric, but the result is that gays are in certain areas legally second class.

  • Dave W.||

    Let's break it down:

    Coca-cola conspired with Pepsi Cola to make sure your local market does not offer sweetened soft drinks with HFCS in them. Some market somewhere may offer such soft drinks. But not the convenient one that you happen to shop at. They are also responsible for no non-HFCS soda being available at the restaurant you like to eat at. Cane sugar sodas may indeed be available at some restaurant somewhere, but not at the restaurant where you like to eat. I can make these statements with confidence despite the fact that I do not know the markets or restaurants you frequent. Even the authentic Mexican restaurants don't have cane cola anymore. That is how powerful Coke is when it teams up with Pepsi.

    Microsoft: You would have more and better computer choices if it weren't for Microsoft. this despite the existence of Macs and LINUX. Better choices at both the operating system and application software level (and probably hardware, too). It is impossible to predict the exact nature of this better world. We can only know that the enhanced competition would have made it much better.

    McDonald's: I don't really think McDonald's is a problem. Despite their bigness, they never had too much market share in the restaurant market. Or, looked at in a more refined way, the market share of the biggest, say five, restaurant companies was never that big. This kept the market competitive, and I luv competitive markets (being a libertarian and all).

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    The government has the advantage of being able to throw me in jail, it is true. However, the government is subject to all sorts of restraints and checks, much moreso than my boss.

    Anyway, my point was simply your first statement - lots of people have power over others.

  • Dave W. correction||

    --[b]without[/b] HFCS in them--

    when are they going to let you correct posts round here?!?!?

  • Episiarch||

    Anyway, my point was simply your first statement - lots of people have power over others.

    Yes, but my distinction still stands. Government power includes the legal use of force. Societal and job power does not.

  • ||

    OOoooh. VM calling someone out!
    Too bad I can't figure out who..

  • ||

    robc,

    Remind me never to hire you if I get popped for a DUI. Thats' a defense? ;-)

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    Government power includes the legal use of force. Societal and job power does not.

    "Property rights" are backed up by force as well. My boss most certainly can have me thrown in jail if I fail to leave or violate a contract.

    And "force" is certainly not the only expression of power.

  • Episiarch||

    Uh, Dave, there's plenty of non-HFCS soda available everywhere. It's called Diet Soda. And I don't know if you've noticed, but there are a bunch of new brands of soda that proudly claim "made with sugar" on the label.

    Besides, Pepsi and Coke (I didn't realize they were in cahoots) use HFCS why? Because cane sugar is more expensive because of tariffs. Which are set by the government, at the request of corn growers.

    If you want to hate on a corporation, many of whom deserve it for their collusion with governent to restrict the market, make it Archer Daniels Midland.

  • ||

    I haven't read any comments yet because I wanted to give my impression uncolored by "Reasonoid Contamination". ;-)

    I thought the first Mother Jones piece was a lot more respectful than anything you'd find in the right wing blogosphere. My estimation of Mother Jones has gone up a notch. It's still at a Death Valley elevation, but ya gotta give credit where it's due.

    Now I get to read everyone else's comments. Be back in a while.

  • VM||

    rein-

    wasn't my intention as such - instead, the "liberal arts" schtick is silly, and I'm not convinced about Untermensch's dichotomy.

    so, yes, I was calling out Dave W. he's a twaddlenock.

    and I need another cup of coffee. but to sum up:
    only calling out Dave W. Cuz I can't stand him.

  • ||

    Jesus Christ, that bald dude on their page doesn't look like Ron Paul at all.

  • Episiarch||

    And "force" is certainly not the only expression of power.

    Yes, but it is the one that concerns libertarians the most.

    "Property rights" are backed up by force as well. My boss most certainly can have me thrown in jail if I fail to leave or violate a contract.

    Yes, but that is a legitimate function of the government. Your boss cannot have the government throw you in jail for being late, no matter how much of an asshole he is.

  • carrick||

    Dave W:

    Having your market choices limited by mega-corporations may be truly anoying, but that is not "power" in any sense that is similar to what the government may do to you.

    Regardless of what you may think, you have no "right" to walk into any retail establishment and expect to find any given product that you lust after. However, you do have a right though to stand out on the street with a sign in your grubby hands and picket that establishment for not catering to your every whim.

  • Dave W.||

    Uh, Dave, there's plenty of non-HFCS soda available everywhere. It's called Diet Soda. And I don't know if you've noticed, but there are a bunch of new brands of soda that proudly claim "made with sugar" on the label.

    1. I like Diet Soda okay. I drink it sometimes. It is no substitute for can sweetened soda, though. Let me put it this way: If I could make a deal where Coke would give me a speeding ticket in exchange for them distributing cane soda as widely as they did in 1970, then I would gladly take the ticket. Cause that is freedom maximizing behavior from my perspective.

    2. I notice that once in awhile someone tries to make a play with cane soda, eg, Royal Crown in the late 80s, (IIRC) early Snapple, noncarbonated cane lemonades that pop up in fancy convenience stores once in a great while, cane sodas that can sometimes be ordered over the Internet (but are sometimes out of stock even there!!!). These are the exceptions that prove the rule. And the rule is quite strong. I speed and get away with it more often than I encounter a cane sweetened soft drink (other than the ones I add my own sugar to).

  • Dave W.||

    Did you see my VemSter 2 Boogaloo post, VM? It is part of the big fight we have going! A modern classic. In it a man drops his shotgun barrel onto the ATV of another. Death quickly ensues. Get the full scoop at the highclearing.

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    I'm not going to argue against the statement "government power is more worrisome than private power."

    What I'm arguing against is the dumbassitude jof comments like Shannon Love's at 11:32, which pretend that government power is the only power and that, therefore, going to matts to defend the "rights" of bosses, property owners, and the wealthy to push around their underlings is consistent with calling other people "elitists."

  • ||

    "Coca-cola conspired with Pepsi Cola to make sure your local market does not offer sweetened soft drinks with HFCS in them."

    Every market in the country is entirely free to remove Coke or Pepsi from their shelves and stock whatever competing products they desire.

    Fact is, they'd rather sell the big brands because it makes them more money... even with conditions attached.

  • ||

    The government has the advantage of being able to throw me in jail, it is true. However, the government is subject to all sorts of restraints and checks, much moreso than my boss.

    Right, the govt can't do anything to you unless you break the law (or, in view of Radley's work, have a similar address to someone who does). Oh, and the law consists of 100 phone-book-sized volumes of the US Code, plus 500 similarly sized volumes of your state's laws, and ignorance of the law is no excuse.

  • ||

    "cane sugar is more expensive because of tariffs. Which are set by the government, at the request of corn growers."

    It seems that that is helping Iowa at the expense of Louisiana.

  • Untermensch||

    Untermensch - not really sure about what you're saying. or - many conservatarians hide behind the rhetoric, but the result is that gays are in certain areas legally second class.



    I thought it was the pretty simple point that not all libertarians would qualify as "socially liberal" (whatever that means, since you could be liberal on drug issues but conservative on religious beliefs simultaneously). You can be a socially conservative libertarian as long as you don't believe that you have the right to force your beliefs on anyone else and as long as you allow others the right to disagree with you.

    I don't see how making gays "legally second class" citizens can be squared at all with what I stated since that very formulation ("legally") implies that someone is using government to enforce a particular viewpoint. On the other hand, I don't find many people on this list-even those who are proudly gay-who would support MJ-style hate crimes laws or argue that individuals aren't free to personally discriminate or be jerks (liberal or conservative).

    To put it another way, I could be a total bigot in my personal life, refusing to associate with blacks, Frenchmen, gays, short people, tall people, Spaniards, atheists, and Mormons, yet still conceive of that as a personal choice and not want the government to enforce my preferences. I could then actively work to eliminate governmental meddling in my affairs and the affairs of others (even if said action agreed with my personal preferences) because I believe force to be wrong. So, despite my (hypothetical) personal conservatism, I could have a philosophical commitment to liberty (including the liberty to be a total jerk) and thus be a libertarian.

    Therein is the problem with defining libertarianism as social liberalism + fiscal conservatism. Social liberalism (at least as defined in the current political environment) isn't part of libertarianism, not least because of what that entails.

    I thought it was a simple point, but I must not have been clear.

  • carrick||

    the "rights" of bosses, property owners, and the wealthy to push around their underlings is consistent with calling other people "elitists."

    Employment is a contract between two private entities. There is no god-given right that there must be equal standing between the two parties. It is a given that there are many, many bad employers in the world. Unless the employer crosses the boundary into fraud or extortion, the government should not be involved in defining the details of the employment contract.

  • Dave W.||

    Every market in the country is entirely free to remove Coke or Pepsi from their shelves and stock whatever competing products they desire.

    And I was entirely free to move to Canada when I didn't want my income taxes to pay for The Iraq War. Yay freedom!

  • ||

    Is evryone looking to get offended today? Yeah, the timeline was snarkish assholism, but the first article wasn't that friggin' bad. Shall we go to Redstate.com and see what they have to say about the Ron Paul Revolution?

  • Episiarch||

    And I was entirely free to move to Canada when I didn't want my income taxes to pay for The Iraq War. Yay freedom!

    According to Dan T, that's exactly right!

  • ||

    joe,

    There are power relationships besides that of govt and citizen, but with the exception of that between parent/guardian and child, they are all voluntary, "opt-in" relationships. That is, the less powerful party knew what they were getting into when they entered the relationship, and voluntarily accepted their submissive position in the relationship in return for some other benefit.

    If you try to regulate every one of these power relationships, you're going to hurt not only the more powerful person, but the less powerful person. For instance, when OSHA forbids certain workplace hazards, they're actually taking away the right of workers to receive extra compensation for doing that hazardous work. Likewise, when you make $8/hr the minimum wage, an unskilled worker whose labor frankly isn't worth that much isn't free to take a job at a lower wage just to have something.

  • robc||

    Jake,

    Actually, I think it helps Iowa and Louisiana at the expense of the Dominican Republic.

    Iowa gets higher demand for corn.
    Louisiana sells all their sugar at a higher price.
    DR doesnt get to compete.

  • Untermensch||

    Re: Redstate.com:

    Apparently Ron Paul doesn't exist for them. I searched for his name and got: "You must include at least one positive keyword with 5 characters or more." ;-)

  • Dave W.||

    government should not be involved in defining the details of the employment contract.

    You may have said before, carrick, but what about agreements for indentured servitude and similar arrangements? Should it be okay for private employers to import employees who are willing to waive all Constitional, tort, contract and other legal rights in exchange for a mutually acceptable wage.

    Should an employee be able waive the right she would normally have to leave the factory grounds? Her right not to be whipped for working too slowly?

    What is your limiting principle here? That a truly free market would never allow this kind of employer behavior for competitive reasons? (talk about yer puppy luv!)

  • Dave W.||

    According to Dan T, that's exactly right!

    I know its exactly right. Can you guess how I know?

  • VM||

    Unter -

    fine. I disagreed with the socially liberal broad brush.

    and can i take it that you're more sympathetic to the socially-conservative moral police? they've their share of persecution, too.

    Epi - don't spose he'd stay?

  • ||

    If the act of refusing to obey the government carried the same economic harms that refusing to obey your boss carries, libertarians would be screaming bloody murder.

    Heck, think of how much you scream bloody murder when the government, or say Al Sharpton, uses their power to get somebody fired.

    But regardless of all of that, you all are getting way ahead of me. My point is that libertarians favor unequal power relationships much more than liberals, and the charge of elitism from a libertarian to a liberal is laughable.

  • ||

    So Dave W.
    Let me get this straight.
    Instead of removing government subsidies making HFCS "cheaper," and therefore either more profitable or giving sodas that use HFCS a pricing edge, you would.....

    legally require that every goddammed restaurant and market carry cane sugar-sweetened soda?

    I don't get it

  • LarryA||

    They missed July 4, 1776, when the U.S. Declaration of Independence proclaimed that governments are formed among men to secure individual rights, and draw their just power from the consent of the governed.

    Libertarian=Social Liberal, Fiscal Conservative

    Irrelevant comparison based on the current U.S. left-right scale. Libertarians aren't on that line, so liberals and conservatives can't figure out where to pin them.

    Both major parties believe that individuals must be controlled by government, and therefore they have lists of activities they want to prohibit. Libertarians believe that government should be controlled by individuals, i.e. "We the People," and have no such list.

    When the GLBT gunowners over at Pink Pistols look around both the Republicans and Democrats want nothing to do with them, the donkeys because they own firearms and the elephants because they sleep with their own gender.

    Libertarians say, "Own a gun. Own two, or twenty. And it's none of my business who you sleep with. And even if I personally think guns or gay sex is icky, I don't think there should be laws against them. Live and let live!"

    Understand that libertarians don't hold these views because they particularly like or approve of all the odd behaviors out there. They do it because history proves that the only way to protect my right to do weird stuff is to protect everybody else's right to do different weird stuff.

    Time Enough for Love was IMHO his deepest novel of all. They were all great. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was very pro-freedom but Time Enough for Love covered many themes, not just political ones. Please do not misunderstand, I do agree all his novels were great.

    My favorite was one of RAH's kid books, Red Planet, featuring school kids running around with handguns, leading the revolution against the evil corporation, saving the environment, and rescuing mankind from the consequences of imperialism. Plus, it was an exciting story.

  • Fluffy||

    Some market somewhere may offer such soft drinks. But not the convenient one that you happen to shop at.

    Here is the complete bollocks and despicable evil that is "positive freedom" in a nutshell:

    In order to make sure that Dave W doesn't have to actually look for the products he wants, but is able to find them at the convenient store that's closest to him, we must make slaves of all soda bottlers and store owners.

    Dave can never be free if other people are free to manufacture the soda they want, sell the soda they want, or drink the soda they want. Because Dave isn't free if he has to check more than one store to find the obscure niche taste soda he wants.

  • ||

    Leftism is grounded in a belief in universal elitism. They completely lack any concept of a society of equals. For the Leftist, elites, good or bad, make all the decisions.

    Hey, better a bad elite than no elite at all. At least a bad elite gives you someone to blame other than govt. You see, government never fails, only individuals do. Both the left and right agree that Abu Ghraib was the fruit of a handful of bad apples. The right thinks it was the soldiers on the ground; the left thinks it was Bush and Rumsfeld.

    It's like the fundies when you ask about evil and they claim that God is good and individuals (fallen, sinful, rebellious individuals) are the cause of evil in the world.

  • robc||

    joe,

    It can be argued (and Im going to) that in an employee-employer relationship the employee has the power over the employer. I know when I left my last employer it kinda royally screwed them (which is why they offered me a 25% raise when I told them I was leaving).

  • carrick||

    You may have said before, carrick, but what about agreements for indentured servitude and similar arrangements? Should it be okay for private employers to import employees who are willing to waive all Constitional, tort, contract and other legal rights in exchange for a mutually acceptable wage.

    Should an employee be able waive the right she would normally have to leave the factory grounds? Her right not to be whipped for working too slowly?

    What is your limiting principle here? That a truly free market would never allow this kind of employer behavior for competitive reasons? (talk about yer puppy luv!)


    Unless the employer crosses the boundary into fraud or extortion, . . .

    So, mr. laywer, define extortion for me.

  • Chucklehead||

    But regardless of all of that, you all are getting way ahead of me. My point is that libertarians favor unequal power relationships much more than liberals, and the charge of elitism from a libertarian to a liberal is laughable.

    What we favor is freedom of association and contract. What liberals favor is determining what's best for others regarding their personal associations and contracts.

    Yes, that is elitism joe.

  • ||

    Both the left and right agree that Abu Ghraib was the fruit of a handful of bad apples. The right thinks it was the soldiers on the ground; the left thinks it was Bush and Rumsfeld.

    Really? You sure about that?

    The Left believed that abuses that we could have invaded and occupied Iraq without oppressing and victimizing the Iraqi people, if only Bush and Rumsfeld weren't in charge?

    I don't think you're right about that.

  • Untermensch||

    fine. I disagreed with the socially liberal broad brush



    ??? It wasn't my brush. I was disagreeing with the formulation presented (libertarians are socially liberal), not advocating for it. I really don't understand what you're trying to say here.

    and can i take it that you're more sympathetic to the socially-conservative moral police? they've their share of persecution, too.



    What in the world gave you the idea that I'm sympathetic to the "socially-conservative moral police"? I really don't see how that comes out of anything I wrote. All I argued is that one can be socially conservative and still committed to the principles of libertarianism. One cannot, however, approve of "moral police" and still be committed to the principles of libertarianism. One can be socially conservative and still think Pat Robertson and his ilk are wrong because they attempt to exercise compulsion.

    We must be speaking a different language here. For what it's worth, since it seems that I have to spell it out in fine detail: I do not support the right of conservatives or liberals to dictate to me or anyone else how to live my life or to try to enforce a social viewpoint I agree or disagree with on anyone. Is that clear enough? I also do not consider myself terribly socially conservative, but I'm certainly not socially liberal as it is presently defined in US politics...

    My whole point is that the social liberalism + fiscal conservatism puts the discussion in the wrong terms and buys into the propriety of a distinction that is the wrong one to make. LarryA above got the point without trouble...

  • carrick||

    My point is that libertarians favortolerate unequal power relationships much more than liberals, and the charge of elitism from a libertarianliberal to a liberallibertarian is laughable.

  • ||

    For all of you who refuse to fill out the Census because it "exceeds the Constitution" I'd like to point out that the Constitution does not grant the federal government to build and maintain any roads (other than "post roads" for the mails). So, my principled friends, will you now forswear interstates?

  • ||

    robc,

    Well, like most things, the relative economic classes of the people involved play a much larger role in determining their power relationships than the formal, legal positions they hold. I'm betting you weren't earning $9/hr working in a kitchen.

    What liberals favor is determining what's best for others regarding their personal associations and contracts. Uh, yeah, like when there's a strike and liberals blow off whatever the union wants, and want to dictate terms from far away.

    Oh, wait, that doesn't ever actually happen. Taking the side of the weaker party in a fight is not "determinging" anything for anyone.

  • carrick||

    Should it be okay for private employers to import employees who are willing to waive all Constitional, tort, contract and other legal rights in exchange for a mutually acceptable wage.

    Just got my first set of golden handcuffs, but I had to sign an arbitration agreement to get it. Exploitation sucks ;-)

  • ||

    The left isn't "socially liberal". Hate crimes, speech codes, anti-smoking ordinances ...

    The right isn't "fiscally conservative". War in Iraq, Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, NCLB, ethanol subsidies, hell the whole damned tax code.

    IMHO, the left and right both want to "improve" humanity in their own misguided way. Libertarians just want to set people free.

    I'm off to read what the MJers comments were. I expect they will be hilariously ignorant of the whole libertarian movement.

  • ||

    Apart from a few silly, simpleminded, asides (like this one, many Valley libertarians are furious about the investor-protection rules of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act), I thought the article was pretty a pretty fair coverage of a baffling (for Progressive types) phenomenon.

    I actually read Mother Jones (and Counterpunch) irregularly, just to see what they have to say.

  • ||

    joe:
    you didn't just call unions "weak," did you?

  • ||

    "Will someone please define exactly what "power" a corporation yields over me (eminent domain abuse doesn't count, as it is power reserved for the government)."

    Taktix
    I imagine you like watching tv. You are free to choose to watch whatever programming you want, but corporations decide which choices you have. Now, copy this and apply it to toothpaste, books, and all other products you regularly use. That's a bit of power...

    In addition, I imagine you work a job. Many people work for a corporation and therefore face a bit of their power every day. Even if you don't work for a corporation your business probably does business with a corporation, and that corporation can effect your business (thank goodness you are somewhat protected here by anti-trust laws or they could really show you some power [if you want to know how much they could do to you look at what used to happen under UNION much less corporate secondary boycotts]). You are always, of course, free to not work for businesses that are effected by corporate power (i.e., you are free to live in the woods and eat berries and such like the guy from Into the Wild [unless someone owns that land and posts it]).

    To the extent that corporations manufacture cultural products they have a significant influence on how the people around you think, vote, consume, etc.

    To the extent that corporations effect the government (various rent seeking arrangements) they also effect you.

  • Dave W.||

    legally require that every goddammed restaurant and market carry cane sugar-sweetened soda?

    Here is a little fantasy I have:

    One day there was one Coke and one Pepsi. They conspired. They lobbied. They used their economic power to do bad things to good sodas. They used the government and its willingness to tariff to help out with their plan. They also used their combined power to agree that a cane sweetened soft drink would not come from either of them. They also used their combined power to make sure such a soft drink would not come from 7Up or Snapple. They also used their combined power to buy up a substantial portion of all the store shelves to help out with their plan. The government helped with the tarriff parts of the plan, but the other parts were possible because the market was unregulated . . . or so they thought.

    One day a thoughtful "Private Attorney General" named Badley Ralko brought them into Judge Dave W.'s courtroom on a Sherman Act claim. Badley said: this isn't my idea of a free market -- rather, concentration of economic power is, well it is different in nature than a concentration of government power, but it still has mega-substantial bad affects at the level of quotidian ppl's quotidian lives. It is not like an unjustified police shooting, but its net effect is as if the police inflicted 300 million hangnails, with each hangnail representing the yuckiness of modern sweetened soda taken over the course of an individual's life.

    Judge Dave W. asked to break in and sed that some of his libertarian friends sed that the government helped Coke and Pepsi with their plan, so it wasn't really Coke and Pepsi's fault.

    Unruffled, Badley confidently replied that he was ready for this line of questioning. He claimed the American Republic was founded on the principle of one person, one vote and not one dollar one vote -- that representation was supposed to be proportional in that way. He said that an important aspect of safeguarding against sliding into a one dollar one vote republic was to avoid concentrations of economic power that are too monumental and too iresistable -- like what happens when Coke and Pepsi (and later 7Up) combine and plan their business together. Badley said that the Sherman Act was important in the modern world because it could help insulate the political world from being bought and sold too much.

    Judge Dave W. asked the lawyer for Coke and Pepsi if she had any counterarguments to make. She sed that Coke can't put you in jail. She sed that Coke won't take your gun. She sed that the government's power to set tarriffs was too tempting for her clients not to exploit so long as this attractive nuisance existed. She sed, in closing, that Judge Dave W. just had to try the brand new formulation where they used cane sugar.

    How much? asked Judge Dave W.

    That is a trade secret the antitrust lawyer replied.

    The Judge gave permission to approach the bench with a cupful of the new formulation in hand. He took the cup and took a swig. He rolled his eyes heavenward, settled back in his chair and let his glasses slide down his nose just a bit.

    I am ready to render my verdict. Coke will be split into 1,000 companies of equal size and capitalization. A like remedy is to be applied against Pepsi. Also, all the executives go to jail, because, as I learnt at HnR, in the comments section one time, Sherman Act violations are a crime.

    Ron Bailey, who had been seated in the audience, blanched and fainted dead away. Somebody get the corporatarian a medic intoned Judge Dave W.

  • ||

    If the act of refusing to obey the government carried the same economic harms that refusing to obey your boss carries, libertarians would be screaming bloody murder.

    joe, you're not this dense. The difference is that you entered into the relationship with your boss voluntarily, and presumably understood that disobeying him or her could cost you the job. You don't have a choice of entering into a relationship with your govt.

    Also, considering the fines and other monetary penalties govts routinely level at those who disobey the law, I wouldn't say disobeying the govt is free of financial risk either.

  • ||

    carrick,

    Libertarians do not merely "tolerate" the power of employers over their employees. They do not merely tolerate business owners having a much greater say over what goes on at the workplace and how people are compensated than the workers.

    They define this unequal situation as the ideal, the One True Way, endowed by the Creator when he gave people certain inalienable rights over their property. They consider any attempt to alter that power relationship, whether by outside forces or by the workers themselves, to be an unacceptable assault on the proper order of things.

    Now, please don't bother replying with an explaination of why this is the right thing to believe. I understand the ideological premises that lead libertarians to endorse this inequality, and am not terribly interested in rehashing that argument.

    I'm just pointing out what honest and thoughtful libertarians freely admit - they favor inequality. They believe it is right and proper for a relatively small segment of society to enjoy concentrated power. I'm not even saying this is necessarily a bad thing, as anyone who isn't a devout Marxist will recognize that some inequality is necessary, even good. But it really doesn't leave room for libertarians to accuse those who are not quite so enthusiastic about quite so much inequality of being "elitists."

  • ||

    C'mon my principled libertarian fellows, certainly those of you who have the moral courage to defy the Census can take a public oath right here to forswear the blatant Constitutional overreach that are Interstate Highways! Extremism in the name of liberty is no vice! Who wants to go on vacation if it means buckling under to such rampant socialism?

  • ||

    "The difference is that you entered into the relationship with your boss voluntarily,"
    You're right crimethink, as I noted you are always free to live in the woods and eat berries (providing you own the land the berries grow on, which means you have to work....hmmm...this is harder than I, or maybe you, have thought about...)

  • ||

    Reinmoose,

    Only in a relative sense.

    crimethink,

    No, I'm not that dense. Ergo, when you find us disagreeing about something, it's probably a good idea for you to suspect that our disagreement does not stem from me not grasping a childishly simplistic point. Thanks.

    I can think of a lot of other differences between government-citizen and employer-employee relationships, too. None of them are any more relevant to the point that bosses and workers have unequal power than your point about the relationship being entered into voluntarily.

  • ||

    Anyway, my point was simply your first statement - lots of people have power over others.

    joe,

    This is a major misconception of leftists like yourself.

    We do not live in a feudal society. At a job, I trade my labor in exchange for money. Some labor is worth more money, some is worth less.

    True, my boss has power over me in the sense of management and coordination, but if his power becomes problematic, I can quit and get a different job.

    I can't quit my citizenship and get a new government (although that used to be the case back we we actually had federalism).

    Plus my boss doesn't have a gun and the authority to kill me.

    Analogy pwnd!

  • ||

    Get your dirty hands off my berries, hippie!

  • ||

    Taktix,

    What just happend to you is called "pre-buttal."

    Pre-buttal: the act of rebutting an argument before it is made.

  • ||

    what about agreements for indentured servitude

    My recollection of indentured servitude agreements is that they had a fixed duration and clearly defined terms.

    Many Americans are descended from individuals who willingly entered into indenture in order to gain passage to the New World, and learn a trade to ply there. Just because you wouldn't want to do it doesn't mean nobody should be allowed to. I wouldn't work on assembly line for $100k/ yr, but I wouldn't bother trying to prevent you from doing it.

  • ||

    I imagine you like watching tv. You are free to choose to watch whatever programming you want, but corporations decide which choices you have. Now, copy this and apply it to toothpaste, books, and all other products you regularly use. That's a bit of power...

    If that was ever true, it's definitely not true in the age of digital cable and the Internet, when you have hundreds of choices for TV channels and God knows how many choices for internet sites and stores. True, chances are that everything you buy or watch had something to do with a corporation at some point, but it's not like all corporations are part of a giant cabal bent on limiting the choices of consumers. The only thing that unites all corporations is their desire to make money, and that desire will drive them apart rather than together.

    To the extent that corporations effect the government (various rent seeking arrangements) they also effect you.

    That's a good bit of rhetorical jujitsu, MNG, disguising what is really govt power as corporate power. Did you ever think that if we didn't give so much power to govts, corporations wouldn't be able to wield power through them?

  • ||

    MNG -
    While I have little to comment on the Census, my conscience is clear. I have always denounced public funding of interstate highways (at the least).

  • ||

    "I can't quit my citizenship and get a new government"
    If it is the state or county government, sure you can. Public choice theorists call this "voting with your feet." In fact, it's not impossible with the federal government (we call them ex-pats). Face it, in some sense, you've voluntarily submitted to the governments in your life...

  • Jerry||

    The only thing Pinochet can be credited with is not stuffing Chile with the same monetary policy as countries like Argentina. All else he did is pretty much myth. No free markets. No free minds.

  • ||

    Good god, what kind of person calls 10 guns an arsenal?

    Hell, that's not even a collection.


    I call it a good start.

  • ||

    I imagine you like watching tv. You are free to choose to watch whatever programming you want, but corporations decide which choices you have. Now, copy this and apply it to toothpaste, books, and all other products you regularly use. That's a bit of power...

    WTF? If you don't have enough options in televised entertainment or toothpastes, I'm at a loss. Which coorporation controls television? Please, tell me so I can invest. Then let me know the one that controls toothpaste. Arm and Hammer?

    Name a monopoly that is not government enforced. Please.

  • ||

    Dave W,

    Don't like how Pepsi and Coke run things? Drink water, or sweetened Iced Tea. Despise Microsoft (like I do)? Use a Mac, or hit the power switch and read a book.

    We don't have the "right" to Sugary Sodas or 24/7 internet access. We live in such a luxurious society that you forget we don't need all this crap to live a good life.

    Turn off the TV and go walk in the woods for a day, and tell me how Coke is controlling your life...

  • ||

    joe,

    Whoa, whoa, whoa.

    Whoa.

    OK, my head stopped spinning now. You don't think that whether a relationship is voluntary makes a big difference in its moral status?

    Do you at least apply this distinction to consensual sex vs. rape? Employment vs. slavery?

  • ||

    " Did you ever think that if we didn't give so much power to govts, corporations wouldn't be able to wield power through them?" Did you ever think the corporations would just create the government power through their power (they often do this today).

    "The only thing that unites all corporations is their desire to make money," Well, that and the fact that most are intertwined with each other through mutual investment, common board and management, subsidary arrangements, etc. On my Cable Package I have about 80 stations which are owned, the last time I checked, by about 9 companies.

    Reinmoose-I'm not sure if you were one of the ones during today or the weekend thread who proudly displayed their defiance of the Census and justified it on the grounds that they would not cooperate with it because it was "extra-Constitutional." My comments are directed at these proud, brave Libertarians who I am sure would want to display their convictions (so proudly worn) by forswearing extra-Constitutional Interstates.

  • ||

    Taktix,

    What just happend to you is called "pre-buttal."

    Pre-buttal: the act of rebutting an argument before it is made.


    Preemption, perhaps, but not pre-buttal. You'd actually have to debunk my points for it to qualify as your made-up term.

    Oh, and:

    debunk: address the points and attempt to refute, not blather on about a definition of libertarians that you made up and has no similarity to the idea in question...

  • ||

    If it is the state or county government, sure you can. Public choice theorists call this "voting with your feet."

    MNG,

    Which is what I meant when I said "back when we used to have federalism."

    joe,

    That's a pre-buttal...

  • Dave W.||

    My recollection of indentured servitude agreements is that they had a fixed duration and clearly defined terms.

    Okay. But what if a meat packing plant rites up a modern one that clearly defines a term binding lifetime term. Or better yet, a clearly defined term that that applies to all direct decendants of the employee and applies for their lifetimes.

    I mean, corporate lawyers are smarter than they used to be. I bet they can get a modern mexican to sign away lots of things that didn't used to get signed away. I mean, golden handcuffs is one thing, but what about full bongage gear made of rusty bailing wire and highway litter? If people are willing to sign up for something that looks, to outward appearances, like chattel slavery then should we let them?

    What is the limiting principle here? Carrick says only fraud is a limit (which basically means that the corporation needs to videotape it when the contract is explained in Mandarin or Spanish and then duly signed and initialed). Do you agree with Carrick's approach?

  • ||

    Mr Nice Guy,

    Govt-citizen is an opt-out relationship. Employer-employee is an opt-in relationship. However much certain progressive commenters may want to blur the distinction, it's a significant one.

    Also, it's comical that you view changing jobs as such a hassle that workers can't be expected to do so if they don't like their jobs, but you don't view having to move to another town, or another state, or apparently even another country as that much of a hassle if you don't like your govt.

  • ||

    And I don't like watching TV in the least, Mr. Assumptions Guy...

  • ||

    One company, for example, Viacom, owns the following stations on my cable package: Comedy Central, BET, Spike, TV Land, Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, MTV2, CMT.
    Disney owns ABC, ESPN1 and 2, Lifetime, A&E, E....

  • ||

    Noting that the people in powerful positions are in competition with each other does not refute the notion that they are, in fact, powerful power. Feudal lords were in competition with each other, too.

    crimethink,

    You don't think that whether a relationship is voluntary makes a big difference in its moral status?

    Jeebus, how many times do I have to repeat this? I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT ANYTHING'S MORAL STATUS. I'M NOT EDITORIALIZING ABOUT WHETHER THIS INEQUALITY IS GOOD OR BAD.

  • Dave W.||

    We don't have the "right" to Sugary Sodas or 24/7 internet access. We live in such a luxurious society that you forget we don't need all this crap to live a good life.

    If one can live a good life in a socialist country, then is that an argument for socialism?

  • ||

    Last I checked, carbonated water, cane sugar and concentrated flavoring were ALL available at the evil corporate supermarket (whichever one of the numerous evil corporate supermarkets you patronize). Give me a break.

    The evil corporation Hasbro changed Candyland! I am powerless as a parent to do anything about it! The government needs to do something! Sheesh.

  • ||

    "Also, it's comical that you view changing jobs as such a hassle that workers can't be expected to do so if they don't like their jobs, but you don't view having to move to another town, or another state, or apparently even another country as that much of a hassle if you don't like your govt."
    No, I think both such if one has to do it because of an arbitrary unfair exercise of one person's power over another. BTW-often getting a new (comparable) job means moving to another town or state.

    Both relationships are, btw, the same in the sense that everyone must work for SOME employer (unless self employed) and be under SOME government.

  • Dave W.||

    Last I checked, carbonated water, cane sugar and concentrated flavoring were ALL available at the evil corporate supermarket (whichever one of the numerous evil corporate supermarkets you patronize).

    Which means that Coke could still make soda even if the government decreed that corporations could be no larger than one employee apiece.

    That argument cuts both waze.

  • Chucklehead||

    Oh, wait, that doesn't ever actually happen. Taking the side of the weaker party in a fight is not "determinging" anything for anyone.

    The simple fact that liberals favor minimum wage laws proves you wrong joe.

  • ||

    So, would it be safe to say that you all are backing off the argument that only liberals favor unequal power relationships, and fallig back to the argument that the unequal power relationships you favor are the right ones, and the power relationships that other political ideologies favor are the wrong ones?

  • ||

    Non-libertarians fear other people. Consequently they want to parent, govern, reform, incarcerate, or all of the above to them.
    Libertarians are courageous in not having that fear. The enjoy the "adventure" of encountering all types of other people.

  • ||

    Yes, Chucklhead, because workers earning minimum wage are so strongly opposed to seeing their wages go up.
    *rolls eyes*

  • ||

    If people are willing to sign up for something that looks, to outward appearances, like chattel slavery then should we let them?

    We allow people to register as "Democrats" don't we?

  • ||

    If one can live a good life in a socialist country, then is that an argument for socialism?

    Red Herring.

    The point is not whether you can live a good life or whatever, the point is that you are not required to purchase any product to survive, or be happy or whatever.

    Since you are not required to buy soda, soda companies have no power over you.

  • ||

    Ruthless,

    For fearless people, libertarians sure do spent a lot of time complaining about how scary liberals, unions, and non-libertarians are.

  • ||

    "You don't think that whether a relationship is voluntary makes a big difference in its moral status?"
    Well, I for one think it makes a big difference. I don't think it trumps everything though. Upthread some hyperlibertarian spoke of how indentured servitude, freely entered into, is OK. I think that if one person were to sell their liberty to another for, say, 10 years in order to get something, then that is wrong and I would prohibit it. Yes, I would RESTRICT a little liberty to PROMOTE more liberty in the end (which I think my example demonstrates self-evidently). I would like to maximize liberty rather than take a deonotological stance that may cause us to end up with less liberty overall. In addition, I think if the person traded their liberty because they were in need (or thought they were) of some product they simply could not afford but were prevented from taking by the law (say, medecine for their kid or a roof over their kids head), and some other person had a roof to give or the medecine (or access to either via money), especially if they had said access because they simply ass-inherited it or had some rent-seeking agreement because of their having more to start with, then I would say it was as immoral as the day is long though the first person "voluntarily" entered into the agreement.

  • robc||

    joe,

    The $9/hr employee has a lot of power over their employer. What happens if the staff walks out of a restaurant. You think that owners "power" is going to do him any good?

    In all cases, both the employer and the employee have power over each other. Or, as I like to think of it, they have a trading relationship.

    ALL employees are self-employeed.

  • ||

    Since I'm not required to live in Massachusetts, the Commonwealth has no power over me.

    Nope, that doesn't make any sense, either.

  • ||

    Which means that Coke could still make soda even if the government decreed that corporations could be no larger than one employee apiece.

    Red Herring once again.

    The question at hand is not whether Coke has the ability to make anything, but rather whether Coke's act of making things and selling them is tantamount to having control over the consumer...

  • ||

    robc,

    I agree that the "staff," working collectively, has power, but the question was about individual workers.

    Collectivising labor negotiations like that is how workers try to overcome the power imbalance that exists on the one-to-one level.

  • ||

    Since I'm not required to live in Massachusetts, the Commonwealth has no power over me.

    Well, I don't live in Coke-achusetts or Microsoftia...

  • ||

    often getting a new (comparable) job means moving to another town or state.

    That's not true, most of the time. And when it is, looking at it from the employer's perspective (something I know you're loath to do), having an employee quit is even more of a hassle since you need to find a replacement willing to move from another town or state. So that results in a fair degree of power going in the other direction, no?

    Both relationships are, btw, the same in the sense that everyone must work for SOME employer (unless self employed) and be under SOME government.

    Heh. You mention in this sentence why they're NOT the same. Everyone doesn't have to work for some employer, but everyone DOES have to obey some govt.

  • ||

    Ruthless-are we throwing bumper stickers at each other? OK, back atcha
    "Screw This: Let's Try Trickle Up Theory For a Change."

  • ||

    Coke and Pepsi both threaten to refuse shipments to grocers who put RC Cola in a prominent position.

    Let's pretend that there was a law which forbade exactly what Coke and Pepsi's contracts with grocers forbade.

    How would the experience of the consumer be any different?

  • Dave W.||

    Since you are not required to buy soda, soda companies have no power over you.

    You aren't required to operate a large business entity to lead a good life either. Under your logic, it would not be an excercise of power to break a large business into smaller independent businesses. But I don't think you really mean that.

    Let's do a hypothetical and test it out:

    Let's say the government passed a law that said that HFCS soda could only be sold in a very geographically limited manner, such that it was a hassle for an average person to go get HFCS soda. Under these facts, would you consider that the government was excercising power over my life?

  • ||

    Everyone doesn't have to work for some employer, but everyone DOES have to obey some govt.

    Everyone has to earn money to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.

  • ||

    robc
    You're still here, thank goodness! Now you can take the pledge not to use EXTRA-CONSTITUTIONAL INTERSTATES just as you proudly have refused to cooperate with the EXTRA-CONSTITUTIONAL CENSUS. You must have missed my post (I was afraid you just were "busted.") But now the Sons of Liberty can start to take their STAND!

  • robc||

    joe,

    I have seen 1 person walking out/not showing bring some (probably already understaffed) restaurants to their knees. I can think of a specific (formerly very good) chinese restaurant where the owner screwed it up by trying to use power over her employees. Turned out she didnt have much. They all seemed to find other jobs as quickly as possible. And not as some group action.

  • ||

    If I, EvilCapitalist, have millions of dollars of my and my investors' money tied up in buildings and equipment, and you, LowlyWageApe, come to work for me, I GET TO DECIDE WHAT YOUR JOB IS. AND HOW MUCH YOU GET PAID.

    Good grief.

  • robc||

    Mr Nice Guy,

    I would take the census if it benefited me. I oppose both. I use the federal interstates because they are convenient. If the census wanted to pay me $1000 I would probably fill out the rest of their form too. Even though I would oppose the funding to pay people to fill out the forms.

    If you dont get the distinction, you are an idiot.

  • robc||

    joe,

    Everyone has to earn money to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.

    Not if you have a sugar-momma. Then again, that would probably be more work than I would want to do.

  • Dave W.||

    If I, EvilCapitalist, have millions of dollars of my and my investors' money tied up in buildings and equipment, and you, LowlyWageApe, come to work for me, I GET TO DECIDE WHAT YOUR JOB IS. AND HOW MUCH YOU GET PAID.

    Maybe there is some sensible middle ground for employment law in between the minimum wage & OSHA loving left wing and Carrick's anything goes (absent procedural unconscionability) approach.

  • ||

    Everyone has to earn money to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.

    No, they don't. Farmers don't do this. Homeless bottle collectors don't do this. Edward doesn't do this. But all these people have to obey their local, state, and federal govts.

  • ||

    joe,
    Libertarians spend a lot of time complaining about being parented, reformed, governed or incarcerated.

  • ||

    "Everyone doesn't have to work for some employer, but everyone DOES have to obey some govt." As I say crimethink, you're right. You don't have to work for someone, you could starve (that'll show em). Actually though you can't even do that, as you need somewhere to starve, and if you went on someone elses property the police (supported by the libertarians) would cart you off for your violation of property rights...

    The worker quits the job and it is indeed a hassle for the employer, and it is a hassle for the worker without a job. But a person with the capital to create a job usually can stand hassles a lot better than the average worker. So to answer your question, no the power is not equal...

  • ||

    robc,

    I knew this guy once...

  • ||

    P Brooks,

    You don't get to decide what my job is and how much I get paid until I decide to go to you for a job. That's what "voluntary opt-in" means, however much some here would like to ignore what those words mean.

  • ||

    Let's say the government passed a law that said that HFCS soda could only be sold in a very geographically limited manner, such that it was a hassle for an average person to go get HFCS soda. Under these facts, would you consider that the government was excercising[sic] power over my life?

    Yes, the government is exerting power. Now, assuming you are making an analogy to Coke/Pepsi, let me respond thusly:

    If the government passes that law, and you buy a Jones soda, you are subject to some form of penalty (fine, jail time, execution, whatever).

    If Coke/Pepsi did what you claim they did, the penalty for buying a Jones soda would be:

    [crickets]

  • ||

    crimethink,

    You don't think farmers earn money? Umm...that's nuts, dude. Have you ever spoken to a farmer?

    And what do you think homeless dudes collect bottles for, anyway?

  • ||

    robc
    So your principle is, I will take advantage of extra-constitutional policies that benefit me, but not ones that do not. Your real principle is "does it benefit me" not "is it extra-constitutional."

    In the same way, I am a vegetarian when it comes to cow penis, but not a juicy hamburger.

  • ||

    Let's say the government passed a law that said that HFCS soda could only be sold in a very geographically limited manner, such that it was a hassle for an average person to go get HFCS soda. Under these facts, would you consider that the government was excercising power over my life?

    I will refrain from calling people names today (unless that person is Mike Huckabee)

  • Vermont Gun Owners||

    Yes, Chucklhead, because workers earning minimum wage are so strongly opposed to seeing their wages go up.
    *rolls eyes*


    And what about the ones who are unemployed because they aren't worth $8 an hour?

    Or what about workers (like me) who would like to work more than 40 hours a week, but can't because their employer can't afford to pay the state mandated time and a half?

  • ||

    Everyone has to earn money to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.

    Earning money does not equal working for an employer.

  • ||

    Since when does giving someone power over you voluntarily mean they don't have power over you?

    Yes, if you define "power" strictly as "legal authority," then only power that stems from legal authority is defined as power.

    Clearly, the problem here is that the preceding paragraph is going over the heads over everyone who disagrees with Taktix.

  • ||

    joe,

    A farmer does not need to earn money to put food on the table, or a roof over his head. True, under the current system, it is more profitable for farmers to grow crops for cash than for their own consumption, but again that is a choice they are making.

    And bottle collectors don't have employers.

  • ||

    Libertarians spend a lot of time complaining about being parented, reformed, governed or incarcerated.

    That's because, at any given moment, we are being parented, reformed, governed or incarcerated.

  • ||

    MNG -
    here is the difference:
    How you behave within a system is not a reflection of how you would behave in a different system. I currently drive on interstates, buy products that have been delivered using interstates, and are visited by friends who use interstates to get to me. However, it is my preference that they be privately owned, and I, like many, would not advocate government-owned interstates if in fact the system were such that the interstates were privately owned.

  • ||

    joe,

    Having power in the sense of management, coordination, directing, etc. is not the same as the power in the sense of slavery, incarceration, and the like.

    Someone doesn't control you when you can relinquish their control, which is the case of an employer and NOT the case of the government...

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    I should also add, that as an employee making 75 cents above minimum wage, the increase to the minimum wage hurt me. Instead of giving me a raise based on my performance, my boss gave the newer, less productive workers raises based on state law.

  • ||

    "Earning money does not equal working for an employer."

    Correct. But everyone is not only not self-employed, in any viable economy they could not be. Those people have to work for someone who gets power over them. I imagine joe and I, and most "liberals" (joe is a self-avowed one, I think I'm only a liberal for the purposes of this site, most of my friends think of me as a "conservative" actually) would agree that there are many exercises of that power that are fine, and probably because of the voluntariness of the relationship. But we draw the line at some things (like sexual or racial harrassment, or having the worker work in an unsafe area, or paying them too low, etc). We think that line is drawn to maximize liberty and autonomy (namely the liberty and autonomy of the worker without an equal bargaining position).

  • ||

    robc and reinmoose
    You also live in a system where the Census benefits you. For example the information on commuting is used all the time by those who plan, build and maintain your INTERSTATES (isn't it beautiful how things come together).

  • ||

    I suppose we should regulate marital relationships, too, stipulating the frequency of sex, minimum cuddling time per week, maximum bed proportion taken up by each spouse, etc, to keep one party in the marriage from having too much power over the other. After all, it is a huge hassle to switch spouses.

    What? You say that since marriage is voluntary, you should think about these things BEFORE getting married? Are you crazy?

  • ||

    "I am a vegetarian when it comes to cow penis, but not a juicy hamburger."

    You're probably eating the cow penis anyway when you eat the juicy hamburger.

  • ||

    Crimethink-

    The relationship is, of course, initiated voluntarily; I am not out there snatching people off the sidewalk and enslaving them. However, I confess to having unequal power in the relationship. Not only do I admit it freely, I proclaim it proudly. If you want to make the serious money, go build your own turn signal lens factory.

  • ||

    MNG,

    I'll remember to be thankful for the CENSUS when I'm stuck in my next traffic jam on the CENSUS-planned INTERSTATES.

  • ||

    Businesses, like the ones you buy from and trade with, use the publicly available Census data all the time (I worked for one where we used it to calculate where to locate new franchises and products). So do the colleges (private ones too) you go or went to. You can use it to do your seniors thesis (I did). So no, they don't give you 1,000 dollars. But it benefits you. So, ready to give up those beneficial but extra-constitutional roads yet?

  • ||

    A lot more people can live, and live comfortably, without marriage than without a job...

    And yes, the traffic jam is bad. It would probably be much worse if the planning had been done in ignorance, or much better if done with the Census data.

  • ||

    MNG,

    Since you didn't respond to my answer to your hypothetical, let me follow you as you change subjects.

    If a place is not a good place to work (for safety reasons, or whatever), then people won't work there.

    If enough people don't work there, then the employer will either be forced to improve the conditions or fold the company.

    Where you guys seem to miss the mark is that you don't realize employers are just as dependent on employees as employees are dependent on the employer. It's a symbiotic relationship, not the master-slave image you are trying to depict.

    the problem here is that the preceding paragraph is going over the heads over everyone who disagrees with Taktix.

    Bzzzzt! Ad Hominem, try again...

  • ||

    Been fun and enlightening (that people approve of indentured servitude in modern times is always interesting to know of). But Gotta go, lunch calls.
    Hamburger please, hold the cow penis.

  • pdog||

    Not all labor is equally valuable. My manager probably makes more money than me, sets the priorities for what I am to do and is responsible for gauging my performance. I do not see any inequality in my relationship with my employer, though. I voluntarily took a position with this company to exchange my labor for certain compensation that I found acceptable and fair. If at any time I feel I am not being treated fairly or compensated enough anymore, I can bring it up to my employer. If they don't want to do anything about my concerns, I will leave and find a different job.

  • ||

    Which means that Coke could still make soda even if the government decreed that corporations could be no larger than one employee apiece.

    That argument cuts both waze.


    See my Candyland post. Sheesh.

  • ||

    MNG,

    Did you consider the possibility that the extra Census data (that is, data beyond counting heads) is not reliable as a model for designing highways, considering that people move and change jobs all the time?

  • ||

    hold the cow penis.

    Cow penis?

  • ||

    MNG -
    right, because we all know that decisions on which interstate to build is directly related to demand, and not at all:
    1. a device of planners and governments to help decide where I live/work/play.
    2. influenced by which party is in power and who their influential senators are
    3. related to some sad mission of "economic development."
    4. drawn out by incompetencies, frequently exposing that the road isn't needed in the first place because people manage to get along just fine without it while it's in the "planning stage"
    5. built in west bumblefuck for the benefit of a particular state's trucking and other industry
    etc.

    No! Interstates are built by the government because of what I put in the F'ing Census
    Good call MNG

  • ||

    If Congress passes a law ordering my employer to fire me, is that an exercise in their power over me?

    How about if I can get another job?

  • carrick||

    What is the limiting principle here? Carrick says only fraud is a limit . .

    That's not what I said, I said "fraud or extortion" and I said it twice. You're smarter than that Dave W.

  • ||

    crimethink,

    A better thinking would answer the question at hand without regards to the political implications of the answers.

  • ||

    D'oh! joe's law of teh internetz!

  • Chucklehead||

    Yes, Chucklhead, because workers earning minimum wage are so strongly opposed to seeing their wages go up.
    *rolls eyes*


    So lets see... you said, "My point is that libertarians favor unequal power relationships much more than liberals, and the charge of elitism from a libertarian to a liberal is laughable."

    To which I responded that libertarians actually favor freedom of association and contract while liberals favor determining what's best for others regarding their personal associations and contracts.

    You then responded with what I can only take as an affirmation of liberal support of unions. Which seemed odd to me since unions have a whole lot of power over their individual members, and even have power over non-members. You then stated that "Taking the side of the weaker party in a fight is not "determinging" [sic] anything for anyone."

    And I said demanding minimum wage laws does just that - determines something for someone from far away.

    To which you apparently heartedly agree, based on your flippant response above.

    So to recap: libertarians are for freedom of association and contract while liberals are happy to determine what's best for you.

    joe has confirmed it.

  • ||

    Taktix,

    Having power in the sense of management, coordination, directing, etc. is not the same as the power in the sense of slavery, incarceration, and the like.

    No, is is not. It is a different sort of power. BTW, you left out "compensating."

    You have shown how they are two different varieties of unequal power. To return to my point, libertarians favor one variety of unequal power relationships over another, and claims that they do not favor inequality are nonsense.

  • ||

    You then responded with what I can only take as an affirmation of liberal support of unions.

    Were you either a better reader of a more honest arguer, you would have "taken it" as an observation that liberals support the agenda of local workers, rather than dictating an agenda to them, when they back up those workers' agenda.

  • ||

    You may have said before, carrick, but what about agreements for indentured servitude and similar arrangements?

    Isn't every claim of govt legitimacy a claim that we indenture ourselves to the State by living here?

  • ||

    an observation that liberals support the agenda of local workers

    What happens when "local workers" have differing opinions from one another? If one "local worker" wants to work for $3 an hour and another doesn't want him to work for $3 an hour, why only back the local worker with one specific agenda?

  • ||

    liberals support the agenda of local workers, rather than dictating an agenda to them,

    Which, of course, is why liberals support unions being empowered to take over a workplace without having a secret vote by the employees.

  • ||

    Reinmoose,

    Lots of different things happen.

    The discussion was about whether it is "elitist" for liberals to support a pro-worker agenda drawn up by local workers.

    The answer is, no, supporting policies to close the power gap, and doing so by following an agenda to empower local workers, is not elitist. It is exactly the opposite of elitist.

    Which doesn't mean it's always rise, or right.

  • ||

    Which, of course, is why liberals support unions being empowered to take over a workplace without having a secret vote by the employees.

    I'm willing to take a worker's word for it when he puts his wishes in writing. Perhaps I have a little more faith in their ability to think for themselves.

  • carrick||

    They define this unequal situation as the ideal, the One True Way, endowed by the Creator when he gave people certain inalienable rights over their property. They consider any attempt to alter that power relationship, whether by outside forces or by the workers themselves, to be an unacceptable assault on the proper order of things.

    Party true and partly false.

    The employer owns the business and should have absolute authority to decide who is hired and under what terms. And yes, this gives the the employer a huge economic advantage over an individual employee. The solution to that is collective bargaining.

    As far as I know, libertarians as a whole are not opposed to collective bargaining. They are admantly opposed to the government getting involved and establishing rules that give one side or other an artificial advantage. The government should not ban collective bargaining, nor should the government ban the firing of striking employees.

  • ||

    joe,

    I don't disagree that libertarians favor a nonzero inequality vector. However, in practice, the magnitude and even the direction of the inequality vector is not constant.

    The inequality that well-intentioned liberal policies create (note that I'm being charitable and not saying that liberals favor inequality), on the other hand, would be written in stone.

  • ||

    You're not suggesting that union organizers have power over employees, are you crimethink?

    You'll have to show me the law that gives those organizers the right to imprison employees.

    Since, as all right-thinking people know, that's the only way power or inequality can ever exist.

  • ||

    I'm willing to take a worker's word for it when he puts his wishes in writing.

    ...with a union organizer standing over him, and knowing that all the workers who support unionization will know if he refuses to sign the card.

    joe, have you ever been involved in a union attempting to take over a shop? It's not the pleasant process that you seem to think it is.

  • ||

    crimethink,

    The inequality that liberals favor would be subject to democratic control, so it would not be written in stone.

    And, to stick strictly to the point I was making, since that inequality would be democratically-controlled, it would be the opposite of elitism.

  • ||

    joe -
    While I accept your explanation, I would take better to it if you would admit that the "policies to close the power gap" are merely "intended" to close the power gap and may, in fact, not actually accomplish that. (or is that what you meant by "Which doesn't mean it's always rise, or right." I took that to be from a moral perspective.)

    If they are, in fact, policies created by the "local workers," there's no guarantee that they actually know what they're doing. The success of these policies should be irrelevant to the point. Are you really arguing that it's not elitist if you have good intentions?

  • ||

    joe,

    You're arguing with the crimethink in your head. I've acknowledged that there are power relationships besides govt-citizen.

  • ||

    ...with a union organizer standing over him, and knowing that all the workers who support unionization will know if he refuses to sign the card.

    I'm sorry, there can't possibly be any power exerted here, because there is no law giving that organizer power.





    No, I don't think that makes any sense, either. Of course there are other ways people exert power over each other. Of course the ability to control the conditions and compensation in the workplace is an expression of power.

  • robc||

    all democrats (small d) are elites.

  • Chucklehead||

    Were you either a better reader of a more honest arguer, you would have "taken it" as an observation that liberals support the agenda of local workers, rather than dictating an agenda to them, when they back up those workers' agenda.

    Basically what I said, with insults.

    So glad you're a more honest arguer than me, joe.

  • ||

    The inequality that liberals favor would be subject to democratic control, so it would not be written in stone.

    Call me crazy, but I'm not particularly fond of the idea of the institution that gave us state-enforced slavery, racial segregation, the Drug War, and yes, the war in Iraq, as well as many other horrors, controlling the nature of my relationships.

    "Democratic control" can be just as tyrannical as any other form of control.

  • ||

    reinmoose,

    I will freely admit that things go wrong with the liberal agenda. I'll even go so far as to say that you amoral, leprous libertarians have come up with some very insightful criticisms of liberal policies along these lines, and that liberals would be wise to consider these critiques, and either revise or scale back their policies based on them.

    My only point was about "elitism," which is a belief in the rightness of concentrating power in an elite. Liberals do not believe in that, but in exactly the opposite, while libertarians hold up such power inequalities as an important foundation of how a good society functions.

    crimethink,

    OK, acknowledged.

  • ||

    crimethink,

    "Democratic control" can be just as tyrannical as any other form of control. It can be tyrannical, I agree.

    My little, tiny point here: it is not elitist.

  • ||

    I'm sorry, there can't possibly be any power exerted here, because there is no law giving that organizer power.

    ...until the necessary number of people sign the cards and the union takes over. After that, I wouldn't want to be in the position of a worker who is known to have been "on the side of management".

  • ||

    ...until the necessary number of people sign the cards and the union takes over. After that, I wouldn't want to be in the position of a worker who is known to have been "on the side of management".

    But..but...but...they can always get a new job! /snark

    Thank you for acknowledging that power voluntarily granted is still power.

    I've been having trouble getting this idea to sink in with certain people. Perhaps this example will help it to sink in.

  • robc||

    joe,

    My only point was about "elitism," which is a belief in the rightness of concentrating power in an elite.

    My little, tiny point here: [Democratic Control] is not elitist.

    So, concentrating the power into the hands of a majority isnt elitist? How so? The majority becomes your elite.

  • ||

    1957: Ayn Rand publishes "Atlas Shrugged" ...
    1998: Drew Carey lights a cigarette in a bar in protest ...

    Are they fucking kidding me?

  • ||

    Corporatism would hold up such power inequalities as an important foundation of how a good society functions.
    Libertarians are indifferent about this power relationship (as I'm sure you well know). There are always power inequalities and I question the morality of forcibly deciding to remove power from one person and give it to another, especially under the guise of morality. The idea that you can have a society in which there are no power inequalities is laughable (I'm sure you agree.)

    Personally, as a self-described libertarian, I think that less government interferrence would actually reduce the power gap between individuals. This does not make that necessarily true, or true for every individual case.

  • ||

    So, concentrating the power into the hands of a majority isnt elitist? How so? The majority becomes your elite.

    I believe the definition of the word "elite" necessitates that it's not a majority.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Shannon Love,

    Leftism is grounded in a belief in universal elitism. They completely lack any concept of a society of equals. For the Leftist, elites, good or bad, make all the decisions. Everybody else is just sheep.

    Wow, that requires an amazing web of semantic re-jiggering to put together this statement.

    The economic egalitarianism at the root of Leftist (capitalized to indicate hard-left) thought is the opposite of a belief in elitism. For Leftists, the fact that elites try to make decisions for everyone is a bug in the system, not the desired state of affairs. Leftists just include a larger range of people in the elites category than libertarians. Leftists include the wealthy in the box with the powerful elite. Libertarians only include the abstract boogie man known as "the government" in the "powerful elite" box.

    For libertarians, the government is the individual's protection against the power of the crowd. For the Left, the government is the group's protection against the powerful individual.

  • ||

    For libertarians, the government is the individual's protection against the power of the crowd. For the Left, the government is the group's protection against the powerful individual.

    This is the best and shortest explanation of the difference of viewpoints I have seen.

  • ||

    I'm willing to take a worker's word for it when he puts his wishes in writing. Perhaps I have a little more faith in their ability to think for themselves.

    That Australian ballot thing is so unneccesary.

    I'm willing to take a voter's word for it when he puts his wishes in writing. Perhaps I have a little more faith in their ability to think for themselves.

  • ||

    So, concentrating the power into the hands of a majority isnt elitist? How so? The majority becomes your elite.

    A majority cannot be an elite. By definition. Each individual will still have the power of one, like every other individual. There would be no people who have more inherent power than anyone else - that is, no elite.

    Elitism is not the belief that there should be power. It is the belief that there is some group of people in whom superior power should be vested.

  • ||

    reinmoose,

    You cannot both be "indifferent" to the existence of inequality and insist that it is necessary for a society to function. When you say that The idea that you can have a society in which there are no power inequalities is laughable, you are saying that you consider such inequality to be necessary and good.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Reinmoose,

    Ah...shucks...

    (*_6)

  • Fluffy||

    "Unequal power relationships" as an expression is such a fucking canard it's ridiculous.

    Corporations have customers. Every one of those customers has just about much power over that corporation as an employer has over an employee. This is because all an employer actually IS, is a customer purchasing labor. Everyone who is not living on their savings is is an equal position of dependence on their set of customers, whether they're selling goods, services, or their labor.

    "Oh, but corporations have thousands or millions of customers, and employees only have one!" Well, whose fault is that?

    And Mr. Nice Guy, if you argue that a corporation is exercising power over you when they fail to sell the exact sort of toothpaste you want, then why aren't YOU exercising power over me when you fail to sell the exact sort of toothpaste I want?

    You are both engaged in the SAME "power exercising" act.

    Crest Corporation: Not selling the toothpaste I want.

    Mr. Nice Guy: Not selling the toothpaste I want.

    "Oh, but Crest is a big corporation, so they have obligations. I don't have any obligations."

    Crest is at least selling toothpaste that meets SOMEBODY'S demand. You aren't. So you're exercising power over EVERYONE, and they're just exercising power over the set of customers displeased enough with the available choices to get worked up about it.

  • ||

    I wouldn't want to be in the position of a worker who is known to have been "on the side of management".

    Been there.

    When the union rep came up and said, "Ya gotta be in da Yoonyun, Kid," I was history.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Fluffy,


    re: unequal power relationships...

    Are you saying that everyone shares the same amount of power in a society?
    That we all have equal power?

    Doesn't the libertarian focus on the elimination of the use of force/coercion indicate a belief that some individuals are able to gain power over others? And fraud? Trickery can be used to gain power over another...to create an unequal power relationship.

    Are these the only types of power than can be wielded? Force and trickery?

  • ||

    There would be no people who have more inherent power than anyone else - that is, no elite.

    Well, the people in the minority would have less power than the people in the majority. So, you may not have elites, but you would have "de-lites". So, liberals are guilty of delitism.

  • thoreau||

    For wide eyed innocent puppy luv of Big Business, I would have to go with T.

    Dave, I only support Big Business because I think Ron Bailey is right: There's a good chance that Big Pharma will deliver transhumanist technologies that enable us to upgrade your brain to a semi-intelligent model. I figure that turning you into an intelligent being is worth a shot.

  • ||

    And no, I'm not talking about the "Groove is in the Heart" de-lite.

  • Neu Mejican||

    De-gorgeous,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKTCW4oxS6I

  • ||

    (I) I couldn't vote for another
    (I-I-I-I-I I)
    No couldn't vote for another
    Ron Paul (paul) was on a roll
    I've been told he can't be sold
    He's not vicious or malicious
    Just de-lovely and delicious
    (I) I couldn't vote for another

    (Sing it)

    Paul is in the heart
    Ah-ah-ah-ah
    (Ne-na-na-na-na)
    Paul is in the heart
    (Ne-na-na-na-na)
    Paul is in the heart
    (Ne-na-na-na-na)
    Paul is in the heart-ah-ah-ah

  • vm||

    "For wide eyed innocent puppy luv of Big Business, I would have to go with T"

    and for the lord gawd king bufu jackass fuckface of the internets, i'd go with you. before "dickhead2", even!

  • ||

    Dave, I only support Big Business because I think Ron Bailey is right: There's a good chance that Big Pharma will deliver transhumanist technologies that enable us to upgrade your brain to a semi-intelligent model. I figure that turning you into an intelligent being is worth a shot.

    Unlikely. All the best minds of the future will be working on stopping hair loss and prolonging erections...

  • ||

    Methinks Dave has trouble with those things too, so...

  • ||

    You cannot both be "indifferent" to the existence of inequality and insist that it is necessary for a society to function. When you say that The idea that you can have a society in which there are no power inequalities is laughable, you are saying that you consider such inequality to be necessary and good.

    good?

    First of all, let's get something straight. Earlier you were using the word "favor" as in "My point is that libertarians favor unequal power relationships much more than liberals."
    I don't think that saying "I think that less government interferrence would actually reduce the power gap between individuals," which I did, is in any way favoring the power inequality. And if by "necessary" you mean "cannot be avoided no matter how hard you try or how much you think you can eliminate them," then yes.

  • highnumber||

    Wow! Back to the good ol' days of fretting over HFCS. I feel like a kid again.

  • VM||

    "Unlikely. All the best minds of the future will be working on stopping hair loss and prolonging erections..."

    BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

  • Fluffy||

    Are you saying that everyone shares the same amount of power in a society?
    That we all have equal power?


    I'm saying that if the failure to convey some benefit or satisfy some desire is "power", then ALL persons and organizations that aren't conveying that benefit and satisfying that desire are simultaneously wielding the same amount of power.

    If it's "power" when an employer declines to pay joe a salary, then every other employer and every other PERSON across society who fails to pay joe a salary is also wielding power of an equal amount in an identical fashion. And that includes joe, who is failing, for example, to pay me a salary for picking out my belly button lint all day.

    If it's "power" to fail to sell soda that is made just the way Dave wants it, then you, too, are exercising power over Dave - unless you've been selling him cane sugar soda and not telling us about it.

    The only way these statements could not be true is if there are some members of society with some pre-existing obligation to employ Dave or to make a certain kind of soda - an obligation the rest of us don't have. But asserting such an obligation would itself be wielding unequal power [since some people would be obligated arbitrarily and some would not]. And that seems to be a bit of a conundrum.

  • ||

    as far as indifference, I most certainly can be indifferent to the existence of power inequalities while admitting that they may be undesirable in the same way that I can be indifferent about the existence of the law of unintended consequences while simultaneously admitting that it would be nice if we could do things that only have intended consequences.

  • Jesse Walker||

    Here is the context of the quote about Pinochet:

    It is a matter of faith among the left that Chile in fact had its economy destroyed by rampant Friedmanism. In an excellent article (not available online) that appeared in the August 1983 issue of Inquiry magazine in the midst of Chile's first severe recession after some early market reforms, called "Did Milton Friedman Really Ruin Chile?" Jonathan Marshall pointed out that both Friedman, who was too quick to declare permanent victory for free-market reform in Chile, and his detractors, who thought his policies had brought the nation to ruination, were missing some important details: "Friedman's own protégés abandoned laissez-faire economics at certain critical junctures, and these departures, not any maniacal monetarism, produced Chile's suffering."

    Marshall particularly fingered Chile's very un-Friedmanlike insistence on fixing the price of the Chilean peso to U.S. dollars in the early '80s, creating an overvaluing of the peso that devastated the Chilean export market. He also noted Chile's continued system of crony capitalism in which those with access got special government credit, and bailouts when free-market risk hurt them. Those sorts of policies, as well as a worldwide collapse in copper prices, Chile's prime export, were to blame for Chile's early '80s recession, not a mad rush for too-free markets.

    At any rate free-market-leaning reforms-especially when embedded in continuing intervention of various sorts-are no guarantee of instant results. Many popular debunkings of the idea that market reforms helped Chile rely on looking at fixed points in the past, as if they settle the question of any long term benefit. If Friedman was too quick to label Chile's economy an instant miracle, as he did in a Newsweek column in 1982 (while stressing that it is a "myth" that "only an authoritarian regime can successfully implement a free-market policy" since a free market is "the reverse" of military authoritarianism), his foes were too quick to condemn it as a disaster.

    Some of them had good points, particularly about growth rates in the '70s and '80s that were possibly as much a result of regaining lost ground from recessions as of fresh and sustainable long-term growth. But the statistics from the past decade and a half show a Chile that in the long term has done better economically than most of Latin America-lower inflation, higher real per capita GDP growth, far lower incidence of extreme poverty, and less dependence on the IMF.

  • ||

    "My only point was about "elitism," which is a belief in the rightness of concentrating power in an elite. Liberals do not believe in that, but in exactly the opposite, while libertarians hold up such power inequalities as an important foundation of how a good society functions."

    This is where a discrepancy in professed beliefs and revealed practices sometimes rears its ugly head. Liberals have often advocated policies that have proven to either be not worth the cost or to do just the opposite of what they intended - to create more inequality for example. A rationale for this discrepancy can be found in public choice economics: liberals are no different from anyone else, and once they have some power in the form of a government program or agency they are reluctant to relinquish it, whether that position and program is contributing to more economic equality or not. So, yes, liberals are elitists. They just don't want to see themselves that way.

  • robc||

    Fluffy,

    This is because all an employer actually IS, is a customer purchasing labor. Everyone who is not living on their savings is is an equal position of dependence on their set of customers, whether they're selling goods, services, or their labor.

    This is why I said upthread that everyone is self-employed. A factory worker is an individual who is selling his labor to a factory owner. Their relationship is the same as any other producer/consumer relationship. It isnt a legal definition of self-employed, but it should be the thought pattern of everyone. You dont work for MegaGlobalCorp, they are your customer. You work for yourself.

  • ||

    as far as indifference, I most certainly can be indifferent to the existence of power inequalities while admitting that they may be undesirable in the same way that I can be indifferent about the existence of the law of unintended consequences while simultaneously admitting that it would be nice if we could do things that only have intended consequences.

    I'd like to revoke this analogy on the grounds that it's very poor.

  • ||

    You're probably eating the cow penis anyway when you eat the juicy hamburger.

    Unless you have some seriously twisted livestock, this is highly unlikely. Being female and all, cows don't have penises.

    I'm saying that if the failure to convey some benefit or satisfy some desire is "power", . . .

    Well done, Fluffy.

  • robc||

    I just checked it dictionary.com and can find nothing that suggests that the "elite" cannot also be a majority.

  • ||

    For libertarians, the government is the individual's protection against the power of the crowd. For the Left, the government is the group's protection against the powerful individual.

    And then, of course, there are those who would like protection from both the power of the crowd AND the powerful individual. They're probably just fucked.

  • ||

    For Leftists, the fact that elites try to make decisions for everyone is a bug in the system, not the desired state of affairs.

    Odd, then, that Leftists continue to push for, and wind up, with something that they apparently do not desire, and, when they get this concentrated decision-making that they so abhor, generally try to concentrate it even more.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Smartass sob,

    I like the way you think.

    You have found the common ground between moderates and anarchists...

    =/;^)

  • ||

    robc,

    As the great political theorists Gilbert & Sullivan taught us, if everybody's somebody, then nobody's anybody.

    And the definition implies that for something or someone to be elite, they have to be at least above average (which can't be if the majority is elite).

  • ||

    RC Dean,

    How 'bout some steer penis?

  • Neu Mejican||

    RC Dean,

    There lies the rub.

    It seems that a certain Leftist by the name of Marx felt that those with power would not give it up, so it had to be taken from them with force.

    This would lead to a transitional period whereby a government was needed to protect the group from powerful individuals...power would need to be concentrated into the hands of the government so that it would eventually trickle down to the masses once the powerful elite stopped trying to take it back...or something.

    Of course the libertarian version is that if you reduce the governments power enough, we somehow end up with a more equal society, because only government can function as a mechanism for concentrating power...or something.

  • Neu Mejican||

    RC Dean,

    I believe the term Marx used..."whither away."

    Once the means of production was centralized in a government that served the people rather than capital interest (socialist rather than capitalist), the power of government would whither away and the lamb would lie down with the lion, there would be peace, and gold would be valued for its malleability and luster...or something.

  • robc||

    crimethink,

    Its quite possible for a majority to be above average. It is impossible for a majority to be above median.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Re: steer penis...

    I love the "calf-fries" available seasonally in Oklahoma...breaded, deep-fried, and delicious.

    http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1832,157190-238196,00.html

    http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/105043

  • Neu Mejican||

    "Elite" means "chosen," not above average...but it is just odd to use it to mean the majority...

  • Neu Mejican||

    To be clear,

    Elite typically implies above average, the cream of the crop, the powerful few, the select minority, the best and the brightest...because people tend to choose the best, rather than the mediocre, if given the choice.

  • T||

    For wide eyed innocent puppy luv of Big Business, I would have to go with T.

    Uh, wait, what?

  • ||

    If the act of refusing to obey the government carried the same economic harms that refusing to obey your boss carries, libertarians would be screaming bloody murder.

    joe, if you refuse to obey the government, you eventually will wind up in jail, in addition to property confiscation. If you refuse to obey your boss, they usually will fire you, and then you can go find new employment with an employer whose views of how to treat employees are more in accord with yours. Unless, of course, you're such a vocal dick about proclaiming the entitlements due to you, and the exploitation they're wielding over you, that they rightfully perceive that you're not a good employment bet -- in which case you're welcome to become self-employed and bitch about how you're exploiting yourself.

    If you don't like the government you're a subject of, you have to move to a new place, assuming the government allows you to move (passport revocations or, in extreme cases, barbed wire fences patrolled by people wielding machine guns may impede your ability to escape their grasp).

    If you don't like your current employer, you can continue living in the same place.

    Employers don't wield any power over you that you don't voluntarily concede to them. Government don't even bother to ask for your consent.

    See any differences here yet?

  • thoreau||

    T-

    Dave is referring to me.

  • ||

    Don't lecture me about measures of central tendency, young man. You know what I meant.

  • ||

    When you say that The idea that you can have a society in which there are no power inequalities is laughable, you are saying that you consider such inequality to be necessary and good.

    No, joe, it is saying that inequality of outcomes can't be effing avoided, because people are not identical clones with identical abilities (and if, in some horrifying sci-fi scenario, you did create a society of clones, it would implode in short order because a functioning society requires different skills and abilities to meet different needs). So, if you try to create equality of outcomes, and succeed, you will only do so by making everyone identically dead.

  • ||

    fluffy
    You and I cannot create and broadcast television programming. People with much more money than us can. They are, in that sense, more powerful than us. To the extent that they can influence others via that programming and to the extent that such influence represents power, then they are more powerful than we are. To the extent that we want or like to watch television programming they have power over the choices.

    You don't think money=power?

  • T||

    Oh, well, carry on with the puppy luv then, Dr. T. Or not, as you choose.

  • ||

    prolfeed-the point was that you have to work for someone. No particular employer has power over me or you, but employers do.

  • ||

    Money also buys people, say person y stuff, scarce stuff (lets say medecine). Then person x may have a need for that stuff (lets say their kid is sick). Now person y has power over person x.

  • T||

    You and I cannot create and broadcast television programming. People with much more money than us can. They are, in that sense, more powerful than us. To the extent that they can influence others via that programming and to the extent that such influence represents power, then they are more powerful than we are. To the extent that we want or like to watch television programming they have power over the choices.

    The fact that you're technically incompetent shouldn't enter into it. I most certainly can create and broadcast television programming for a minimal investment in equipment. The government prohibition against it (and associated penalties) keeps me from it, and perpetuates the power of the big media companies.

    Honestly, I have no real interest in television. I would, however, have my own low-power FM station in a heartbeat if I could get away with it. But alas, pesky rent-protecting regulations prevent me.

  • ||

    No particular employer has power over me or you, but employers do.

    One could just as easily say that an employee doesn't have power over an employer, but employees do. See the power of conglomerating people who don't actually act in concert?

  • ||

    prolefeed,

    Just for the sake of broadening and clarifying certain aspects of this discussion, I'd like to propose a scenario in response to this:

    if you refuse to obey the government, you eventually will wind up in jail, in addition to property confiscation. If you refuse to obey your boss, they usually will fire you, and then you can go find new employment with an employer whose views of how to treat employees are more in accord with yours.

    Now, supposing one were thrust into a situation where the means of survival (not wealth production) were concentrated into the hands of a few people and no other means existed, could their terms of employment be regarded in any way as coercive?

    What I'm asking is: in your opinion, does there exist a positive right of living people to continue doing so? Or only a right not to be actually murdered by physical violence?

    I'm not creating a wedge here, nor is this preparation for a further question. I actually just want to know your position on this one item.

  • ||

    Because of private property a person needs to have at least some stuff, or else he is on someone else's stuff and then you libertarians would use the GUMERMINT to coerce that poor fellow off of it and into jail. You coercers...

  • ||

    T-well heck, why can't a person with your amazing qualities just rise to the top of NBC and then we can enjoy your programming?

    TV is an interesting case to bring up. If the government were not regulating broadcasting then who would? Of would you be able to mess up the signal I have from NBC (or vice versa?). It strikes me that without regulation we would have chaos that may make tv and radio worthless...

  • ||

    Fewer than 1 percent of Americans are millionaires, but almost one in three believe they'll end up among that group at some point.

    The belief that our chance of moving up the economic ladder is limited only by our innate abilities and our appetite for hard work is almost universal in the United States. When you define the "American Dream" as the ability of working-class families to afford a decent life -- to put their kids through school, have access to quality healthcare and a secure retirement -- most will tell you it simply doesn't exist anymore. In stark contrast, when you define it according to mobility, the picture is radically different; according to a study of public opinion in 25 rich countries, Americans are almost twice as likely to believe that "people get rewarded for intelligence and skill" than working people in other advanced economies (PDF). At the same time, fewer than one in five say that coming from a wealthy family is "essential" or "very important" to getting ahead -- significantly lower than the 25-country average.

    It's impossible to overstate the impact that has on our policy debates. Americans are less than half as likely as people in other advanced economies to believe that it's "the responsibility of government to reduce differences in income." Working Americans are parties to a unique social contract: They give up much of the economic security that citizens of other wealthy countries take for granted in exchange for a more "dynamic," meritorious economy that offers opportunity that's limited only by their own desire to get ahead. Of course, it's never explicitly stated, and most of us don't know about the deal, but it's reinforced all the time in our economic discourse.

    But new research suggests the United States' much-ballyhooed upward mobility is a myth, and one that's slipping further from reality with each new generation. On average, younger Americans are not doing better than their parents did, it's harder to move up the economic ladder in the United States than it is in a number of other wealthy countries, and a person in today's work force is as likely to experience downward mobility as he or she is to move up.

    Moreover, the single greatest predictor of how much an American will earn is how much their parents make. In short, the United States, contrary to popular belief, is not a true meritocracy, and the American worker is getting a bum deal, the worst of both worlds. Not only is a significant portion of the middle class hanging on by the narrowest of threads, not only do fewer working people have secure retirements to look forward to, not only are nearly one in seven Americans uninsured, but working people also enjoy less opportunity to pull themselves up by their bootstraps than those in a number of other advanced economies.

  • pdog||

    Money also buys people, say person y stuff, scarce stuff (lets say medecine). Then person x may have a need for that stuff (lets say their kid is sick). Now person y has power over person x.

    person y will also need a commodity, say from person z.

    thanks to the wonderful commodity of indirect trade called 'money', person x will be able to offer perxon y an equal trade and there is no power over anyone here.

  • ||

    "person y will also need a commodity, say from person z."
    Person y may not need that commodity from person z nearly as bad as person x needed person y's commodity. And person y may have much more that wonderful commodity, money, so that his barganining position vis-a-vis person z is much better than person x's is to y.

    Sorry for the length of the last post, it's from an article where you can check the links to its fact claims found here:
    http://www.alternet.org/workplace/70103/?page=1
    I thought it relevant to our discussion of how easy or hard it is to overcome money, and hence power, differentials in our society...

  • Fluffy||

    To the extent that they can influence others via that programming and to the extent that such influence represents power, then they are more powerful than we are.

    Influence is not power.

    If you continued to talk to me about this issue for another 1000 years and somehow convinced me of your position, would that represent the attainment of "power" over me?

    Nobody broadcasting anything over any medium has any power, per se, to change my mind about anything. They either persuade me, or they do not. Spending five minutes on the internet should show you that in the persuader / listener relationship, the obstinacy of the listener is where the power lies.

  • Fluffy||

    Now, supposing one were thrust into a situation where the means of survival (not wealth production) were concentrated into the hands of a few people and no other means existed, could their terms of employment be regarded in any way as coercive?

    What I'm asking is: in your opinion, does there exist a positive right of living people to continue doing so? Or only a right not to be actually murdered by physical violence?


    Fine, let's explore that thought experiment and create that situation:

    Say I was lost on a desert island with 5 other people and we had no food. If I went and caught a fish, I would have "the means of survival" and the other people would not. You've asked two questions: First, in that situation, would any "employment" offer I made to someone be coercive? I would say No. Second, do they have the moral right to take the fish from me, since they're living people who would use the fish to go on living? To this I would also say No.

    Saying otherwise divides humanity into two moral categories - "People obligated to give fish to others" i.e. me, and "people who have no obligation and just get to take" i.e. the other people.

  • pdog||

    prices are indeed determined by how many people need what commodity and how badly along with how much it costs to produce the commodity as well as how successful your other competitors are in producing/trading the commodity. prices are not equal because all the factors that determine them are not equal. but does that mean we are in positions of inequality with one another? well we all produce things with our own labor that is of varying value to society. but if we are all equal under the law, and we all have the same rights, we have the ability to change the value of what we produce in our lives, and thus how much income we can generate for ourselves.

  • ||

    MNG,

    If you're going to plagiarize someone else's work (as you did in your 3:20 post), it's usually a good idea to remove the "(PDF)" links that don't work. FYI.

  • ||

    fluffy
    possession of control, authority, or influence over others
    From the definition of power here:
    http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/power

    crimethink
    "Sorry for the length of the last post, it's from an article where you can check the links to its fact claims found here:
    http://www.alternet.org/workplace/70103/?page=1"
    From my subsequent post after the one you complain of. If you are going to criticize someone's post its usually good to read such subsequent posts ;)

  • T||

    T-well heck, why can't a person with your amazing qualities just rise to the top of NBC and then we can enjoy your programming?

    I didn't say I had amazing qualities, I just pointed out that TV broadcasting is not technically very difficult. If that amazes you, you have very low standards for amazement.

    I won't ever rise to the top of NBC because y'all (in the aggregate) wouldn't watch my programming. I said I could do it, I didn't say it would be any good or appeal to a mass market.

    I also don't have a good answer for broadcast spectrum. The current system has many flaws, but I don't know what a replacement would be.

  • joe||

    I am totally, 100% completely right about every issue. There is no argument in which I engage that I do not emerge the victor. All tremble before the power of my rhetoric. All fear my laser-guided mind. I am the best person there has ever been or ever will be. If only I were dictator of the world we would know peace and tranquility.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Say I was lost on a desert island with 5 other people and we had no food. If I went and caught a fish, I would have "the means of survival" and the other people would not. You've asked two questions: First, in that situation, would any "employment" offer I made to someone be coercive? I would say No. Second, do they have the moral right to take the fish from me, since they're living people who would use the fish to go on living? To this I would also say No.

    If we are talking morals here, do you have the moral obligation to help others survive in this situation? Is it moral to let them die while you have the means to keep them alive?

    Of course, give a man a fish...eats for a day. Teach them how to fish...yadda yadda...

    Saying otherwise divides humanity into two moral categories - "People obligated to give fish to others" i.e. me, and "people who have no obligation and just get to take" i.e. the other people.

    That second category needs tweaking...

    "people who, because you have shared your resources to help them survive, now have a future obligation to help you if/when they find themselves with the means."

    They, of course, also have a means to survive after you fatten yourself up on that fish without sharing...

    Is it moral for the majority to kill and eat the one that was unwilling to contribute to the group's survival?

    Talk about your canards...

  • ||

    I would argue that in the island scenario, all five people have the means of survival; it's just that only one of them has thusfar exercised it (i.e. in the act of catching a fish). They could all theoretically catch fish if they wanted to.

    Suppose the means of survival weren't a matter of a (for our purposes) bottomless resource. Suppose it were something like land. In this scenario, one family owns the only patch of land capable of producing food. Everybody born into this situation either has to work for them or starve. Are the terms of their employment offer coercive? Or is a Hobson's choice still a meaningful choice?

  • ||

    I also don't have a good answer for broadcast spectrum. The current system has many flaws, but I don't know what a replacement would be.

    As he posts over a broadband internet connection, pondering, pondering... ;-)

  • Neu Mejican||

    Hale,

    It comes down to property rights, in a way.

    Let's say the island has plenty of fish, that are difficulty to catch, but I have a nifty fish-catching device....

    Do I have a moral obligation to share that device with the others?

    Do they owe me something for letting them use it?

  • Neu Mejican||

    Re: fish catching devices...

    Does my right to control my property supersede the rights of the others to gain access to the means of survival?

    If my property right is primary, then it is immoral for them to take my device and save themselves...

    If their right to life is primary, then it is morally acceptable for them to use my device, even against my will, to get some fish. They may be obligated, however, to return it, not break it, share their spoils, etc...

  • ||

    If there were women on the island, I would trade the fish for sexual favors.

    Otherwise, they can all starve.

  • ||

    fluffy
    I don't think I said corporate power is exercised by controlling us through the airwaves. I said they control WHAT is on tv (and most other products). Control=power. And to the extent WHAT is on influences others they have power too. Influence=power. Much more power than you or I have.

  • ||

    In this desert island scenario, would there not be comparative advantage amongst the tribe of Robinson Crusoes? Those who are adept at fishing might want a place to sleep out of the rain...

    The fishing might be better in an area accessible only by boat...

  • ||

    I'll be out here in the not-zero-sum universe, if you need me.

  • ||

    What if I by chance found the only fishing pole? And so I can catch fish but you cannot (let's say that the island has no trees capable of making effective spears or such). I can say to the other people "ok, line up for sexual favors or you get none of the fish" and if they choose to do that rather than starve then everything is great and moral, eh? Let's use NM's example slightly embellished and say that the others and I formed a human chain while lost at sea that kept me from drowning (it kept them from drwoning too lets say). I can starve them or put them in this position?

    Because that is what it sounds like the hyperlibertarians here are arguing.

    And that sounds nuttily immoral to me. I'd have to question any ethical system that made that seem ok.

  • ||

    The guy who found the only pole is of course analgous to someone who happened to be born on land rich with yet to be discovered mineral deposits or one who happened to be born into a wealthy family, etc. btw. The fish could be "adequate housing, food, and the basics of personal welfare."

    But I'll make it better. What if the pole was floating in the ocean at a distance that only I could reach (I'm a trained swimmer lets say). I get it. Now is it morally ok for me to use my exclusive access to fish to get the others to indulge my whims? Is it immoral if they vote to make me ("coerce me") share my fish so they do not die?

  • ||

    I can say to the other people "ok, line up for sexual favors or you get none of the fish" and if they choose to do that rather than starve then everything is great and moral, eh?

    As long as they were all women. Sexual favors from men are gross.

  • ||

    "But in the real world there are lots of poles." I anticipate this one. Actually, to the extent poles=concentrated wealth (which makes things like factories or research labs possible) there are indeed many poles, though there is relatively few of them and they are concentrated in comparitively few hands (see the excerpt I posted above, less than 1% of Americans are millionaires for example).

  • Dave W.||

    Other T,

    do you have a blog where readers can comment?

  • Fluffy||

    But I'll make it better. What if the pole was floating in the ocean at a distance that only I could reach (I'm a trained swimmer lets say). I get it. Now is it morally ok for me to use my exclusive access to fish to get the others to indulge my whims?

    Yes, absolutely. To assert otherwise is to assert that I am your slave.

    After all, we keep placing the discussion about my "whims" at a point in time after I already went out to get the pole. What if we did it before? What if I said, "I'm not going out there unless you agree to work for me [collect firewood, build a shelter, whatever] once I get the pole and start catching fish"? Are you entitled to beat me up until I agree to go get the pole with no conditions attached? Are you entitled to lie to me by pretending to agree and then reneging later, while still demanding fish? If not, I fail to see why not. If you're entitled to force me to assist you once I actually have the pole, you should be equally entitled to force me to assist you while my possession of the pole is still a potentiality.

    Is it immoral if they vote to make me ("coerce me") share my fish so they do not die?

    Yes, it is.

    Especially since what we are comparing is the moral difference between trading me something for the fish ["my whims"] and taking the fish from me by force.

    You continue to argue that the other people aren't free if they have to trade me something, and that they're only free if they can kill me and take the fish. Because to you only the freedom of the people who haven't caught any fish counts, even if the best you've got for their loss of freedom is "they have to collect firewood for me in exchange for my fish". Because according to you "You have to give me some firewood or you can't have any fish" is immoral, but "I am going to bash in your head and take your fish" is moral.

  • Fluffy||

    BTW, I don't really care what the dictionary has to say about it. If influence is power, then I exercise power over you when I tell you that 2+2=4. And that's just idiotic and renders the word meaningless.

  • ||

    Is it immoral if they vote to make me ("coerce me") share my fish so they do not die?

    In the world of Moralistic Nannytarian Guys, the single most important thing to do if you are ever stranded on a desert island is to form a government and levy taxes on the most skillful and productive members of society.

    Remember- only one party in a transaction ever benefits.

  • highnumber||

    T,

    Just say no.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Fluffy,

    Especially since what we are comparing is the moral difference between trading me something for the fish ["my whims"] and taking the fish from me by force.

    I thought what was being compared was you using force to prevent access to the fish, and sharing with your fellow islanders?

    No?

    Very confusing.

  • Neu Mejican||

    P Brooks,

    On zero sum Island, you can put together interesting moral dilemmas that are more difficult than those in non-zero-sum world.

    Fluffy feels it is moral to watch others die while he eats his fish, rather than sharing. Fluffy has no obligation to others on the island.

    I predict Fluffy dies sooner than the island dwellers that cooperate altruistically.

  • Dave W.||

    Just say no.

    O yeh, point of clarification per the permaban thd: I didn't call Thoreau a "shill." The shill comment was alluding to someone else. I don't think that T. gets any sort of qpq for his probiztudes. His luv seems pure.

  • Neu Mejican||

    P Brooks,

    Remember- only one party in a transaction ever benefits.

    No, both parties benefit equally.

    One end of the spectrum or the other.

    Either totally one-sided or totally equal...those are the only choices.

  • Neu Mejican||

    The basic question of who owns the fish has not been breached, of course.

    Why is Fluffy given ownership of the fish?
    Is his labor to catch it enough?

    Or if he just happens upon the fish-catching device by chance, how does he stake a legitimate claim to ownership.

    If the fish is a dead tuna washed up on the shore that he tripped over, why does he have claim?

  • ||

    NM
    I'm not sure "ownership" matters. To me private property is a useful concept because of its utilitarian value, that is, having such a system usually makes the overall welfare of society better off. If it makes more people worse off, as in fluffy's argument, then its just sick to stick to it. Cicero once said "let justice be done, though the heavens fall." That was noble, but stupid. A moral theory that leaves everybody on the island suffering greatly because one person happened to have the talent needed to get the fish, or happened to luck into the pole, and therefore he "owns" the fish and can do whatever with it, is a sick one. I think most people see that. fluffy's inaction has caused the death of these other people as surely as if he had poisoned the fish and given it to them. Misfeansance and malfeansance can both make one morally liable.

    I also see the false dilemma of a possible Randian (true fluffy?): either I can keep the fish and watch you starve or I am your slave. Noone ever made slavery sound like such an appealing system ;)...

  • ||

    I think not only would it be morally OK to take the fish from the "owner" in this situation, but I would be morally OBLIGATED to take it and share it with all (including the dick who claimed it for himself).

    I imagine someone like fluffy could reply that such a use of force violates autonomy (or principles of fair ownership or something). But I can easily reply that while all that is important none of them can be more important than welfare as a value. I see your foundational value of autonomy, and trump it with my foundational value of welfare...

    I'm afraid that's what power means. It would be nice if we could change rhetorically persuasive words to favor our ideology. It would make things easy for many folks...

  • ||

    Because it would be nice for those who think the only form of power and coercion are the use of violence to overcome the will to have power and coercion defined as the use of violence to overcome the will, but that is exactly the point we disagree over. I think there is more to the concept than that.

    In an old sociology class of mine power was defined, a al Max Weber, as the ability to get people to do what you want them to do. Of course force is one way. But there are certainly others.

    Now we could talk about which of the many forms of getting people to do what you want them to do are moral and fair. And I would argue that withholding something that someone direly needs but does not have is certainly a way to get someone to do what you want, and is an immoral one (one that does not respect a person's autonomy if you will, as their choice is in no real sense "free" or one that results in a minimization of liberty, or of welfare, take your pick of foundational moral values).

  • Neu Mejican||

    MNG,

    To me private property is a useful concept because of its utilitarian value, that is, having such a system usually makes the overall welfare of society better off.

    Of course.

    The basic disagreement is the moral value of ownership versus reciprocity, welfare, what have you.

    To the degree we determine that freedom is defined by ownership and the ability to control your property, then breach of ownership rights moves up the ladder of "ultimate wrongs."

    If property rights are seen as the foundation of all rights (c.f. Ron Paul), then morality must orbit around the moral obligation to respect ownership even in the face of starvation, the moral right to defend ownership with force, even deadly force, etc...

  • ||

    NM-I'm not a deontologist, but am a consequentialist. The rightness of wrongness of an action can be judged from the consequences of that action (long and short term of course). Perhaps in general a respect for private property generates better welfare all around (it "maximizes welfare" as my old philosophy prof might say). In fact I guess I believe that myself (a system without such rights would lead to an impingement on many other rights [though I think the same can be said for a host of other moral claims/rights]). But in any particular case where the consequences of respecting property rights means four out of five people starving I think its morally obtuse and a bit disturbed to think property rights should win out in that situation.

  • ||

    You raise an interesting point about killing in defense of property. At common law you are not allowed to kill in defense of property. That was true in even very laissez-faire days. Of course, most of the time someone invades your property they are not literally starving (or figuratively for that matter, most of the time they are plain greedy). If they were and there was little other source of food I actually think the common law, and morality in general, would call on property rights to bow down (I think there is a "choice of evils" defense in which one balances two harms or violations and property violations usually lost out to human welfare).

  • Neu Mejican||

    MNG,

    I think there is a "choice of evils" defense in which one balances two harms or violations and property violations usually lost out to human welfare

    So in the case of Fluffy and the fish, however, there would be an additional necessity to use force against Fluffy to secure access to the food. At some point, the amount of force would be excessive (if I had to kill him to get the fish), so in the end you are balancing human welfare against human welfare.

    Does the welfare of the four altruistic minded islander's trump Fluffy's welfare? Can extreme force be used against him morally to secure the welfare of the greater number of individuals, or is it always immoral to use force against him to secure access and increase overall welfare?

  • ||

    If the choice is: kill fluffy or the other islanders die, then yes it would be morally appropriate to kill him (just like if you had one person on a train track and two on another, a train hurtling down a track, and you at a connector switch that could throw the train onto one of the two tracks). Of course if the choice is between killing fluffy or making the others uncomfortable, or suffering hunger pains for two days, then it would be wrong, though it is probably OK to punch him to prevent the two days of suffering (discomfort of being one being punched vs. discomfort of many people starving for two days).

  • Neu Mejican||

    MNG,

    I am not sure it is that straight forward.

  • ||

    I'm not sure either NM. There is a need to factor things like autonomy, or maybe property, or even something like "honor"* into the mix. And this can offset welfare to some degree. My point is that a moral theory like the one fluffy put forward, which totally discounts welfare, is morally crazy.

    * Let's say that we have two houses, both of which are weekly antagonized by the mob. THey come by, are rude, and demand money backed by threats. Both pay for a while as they cannot stand up to the mob muscle. Let's say guy one finds out that if he gave the mob one lump sum of 500 dollars they will leave him be forever. Guy two finds a rival mob muscle that says that for 550 they will kick the ever living crap out of the mob doing the extortion the next time they come over. A strict utilitarian would say you have to go with guy one's option. It stops the problem for less. But I would go for option two. A person's honor is at stake, and justice...

  • ||

    Fluffy,

    If it's "power" when an employer declines to pay joe a salary, then every other employer and every other PERSON across society who fails to pay joe a salary is also wielding power of an equal amount in an identical fashion. And that includes joe, who is failing, for example, to pay me a salary for picking out my belly button lint all day.

    You ignore the elements of time and change. A company I don't work for, which pays me no salary, has no power over me as an employee. A company I do work for can screw me over to a very large degree by firing me.

    bromor,

    Like every other word that puts "-ist" on the end of a noun, "elitist" is a statement about people's beliefs. If certain liberal policies have effects that are counterproductive towards liberals' beliefs, that tells us nothing about their beliefs.

    prolefeed asks, at 2:46 PM See any differences here yet?

    Which is a little odd, seeing as how I wrote I can think of a lot of other differences between government-citizen and employer-employee relationships, too. three and a half hours before his comment. You want me to acknowledge there are differences? Done.

    You get too emotional in these debates, and your reasoning suffers.

  • ||

    I predict Fluffy dies sooner than the island dwellers that cooperate altruistically.

    That's a question of practicality, not morality. Yes, if you're on a desert island surrounded by starving people who know you have fish, it makes sense for your own safety to share. That doesn't mean there's a moral imperative.

  • ||

    joe,

    You said there were differences, but immediately dismissed them as irrelevant.

  • ||

    it would be nice for those who think the only form of power and coercion are the use of violence to overcome the will to have power and coercion defined as the use of violence to overcome the will


    Oh, for crying out loud

  • ||

    Please, P Brooks, cry out loud with your reasons for why power and coercion are limited to the use of violence to overcome the will. I assure you that many people do not share what you may find as self evident...

  • ||

    crimethink
    Is there not a moral imperative? The other folks on the island, starving, rush the fish-hoarder and beat him down and take his fish. Was that immoral of them? Should they just starve, and as dying, think "Gods, at least I observed the sanctity of property rights!" It seems foolish, doesn't it? Because elevating property rights over human welfare is foolish to most normally reasoning humans. Property rights are not to be dismissed lightly, but they are not to trump other human values...

  • ||

    Pseudointellectual gibberish; moaning and groaning about an imaginary war of all against all. boo hoo.



    not-zero-sum world

    comparative advantage

    benefits us all

  • ||

    desert islanders

    who will provide who will starve

    drive the fish to me

  • ||

    P Brooks
    I'll skip the fact that you can't see the difference between utilitarian thought and Hobbes...

    I own a succesful business. It beats my competitors by a lot, and let us say it does so because of my excellent techniques, which benefit my customers more than my competition.

    I have a secretary, hard working and true. I tell her "hey, if you do not give me some sexual favors, you are so gone." The poor lady is almost vested with our insurance and such...She's been with us for years working her way up. In theory she could quite and automatically "prove" herself to a new employer, but in practice since she is so bad "on paper" she cannot hope to get a job making what she did under me. I know, I lose an advantage by doing this to her, but I am so far ahead of my competition that I can afford it, and heck, I like exercising my power ove rmy employees.

    So now, my friend, what is your answer? Will you scream we are not in a zero-sum world? Indeed we are not, perhaps. I'm not sure that helps you here, are you?

    Learning catch phrases to endorse the say you would have gone anywas does not help.

    compartive advantage.

    zerosum

    DEMAND KURVE!

  • ||

    she could QUIT
    exercising power OVER my
    to endorse the way you would have gone anyways

    The dog keeps jumping up on me, sorry

  • ||

    Let's say we are blacks. Let's say we live in a small southern town. We did not choose this town, we were born into it. Let's say we have one supermarket in town. About 60% of the town are racists (I've lived in such towns, I'm white). The owner of the supermarket, a racist, but who otherwise provides a clean, efficient store, decides to provide blacks with no or crappy service (we are in Libertopia now, no evil discrimination laws from the evil feds). WTF, do I have to move? Will you argue I must order everything online? What would you have argued in 1960's (a political theory that is only made possible by current technology is a bit suspect, isn't it?). How does allowing this "maximize liberty?" Wouldn't restricting the owners right to disrciminate limit him a little while providing me, and the other blacks in town, with greatly expanded freedom of choice? You may say "well the magical mystical market will punish him." Well, maybe, maybe not. Remember that 60% of the markets market will applaud such action. And even if I take a loss, it may be offset by my innovation and dedication in other areas. Cool with that?

    Hyperlibertarianism is a neat thing. It allows someone to have a simple, yet seemingly consistent intellectual philosophy. I applaud those who want such, you are better than most. But this simplistic philosophy just can't hold water I'm afraid...Empirical reality is far too messy for its axiomatic net to catch it...

  • ||

    The Pinochet link is not without substance. Pinochet's economic policy was essentially Friedmanite, and put together by Friedman disciples:

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

    And of course, Cato and Reason mainstay José Piñera was responsible for privatizing Social Security like libertarians advocate:

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

    It would be an incomplete timeline of libertarianism if the Pinochet information wasn't included.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Crimethink,

    Yes, if you're on a desert island surrounded by starving people who know you have fish, it makes sense for your own safety to share. That doesn't mean there's a moral imperative.

    A moral imperative: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    A moral imperative: do not do to others that which you would not have done to you.

    A moral imperative: do not allow others to endure harm through your actions or inactions.

    But more to your point, act utilitarianism is a moral system, so the pragmatic decision to share is also the moral decision. It may be pragmatic for the majority on Zero Sum Island to kill Fluffy since he has demonstrated an unwillingness to work with the group to increase their chances of survival, and, in fact, is actively working against the greater good by hording resources. And his body is, probably, a larger source of protein than the fish. Moral imperatives can be found in many places.

  • Neu Mejican||

    A coherent moral system...can it be adapted?

    1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
    2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
    3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

    Zeroth Law: "A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm";


    I think I can support Laws Zero and One for humans as well...lose law two, keep law three.

    We are left with:

    1. A PERSON may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm
    2. A PERSON may not injure another human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
    3. A PERSON must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

    But we would need 4.

    4. A PERSON acting in conflict with the First or Second Law removes protection from the Third...

    Or something.

  • Bingo||

    Can someone pls summarize?

  • highnumber||

    Summary: "I am right. Everyone else is wrong and immoral, and their arguments are disingenuous."

  • ||

    we are in Libertopia now, no evil discrimination laws from the evil feds

    And no governmentally imposed barriers to entry in the market for groceries. Unfortunately, the feudal peasantry in Moralizing Nannytarian Guy's head are too pathetic and helpless to organize their own store to compete with the Sheriff of Nottingham's Kroger store.

    -------

    A moral imperative: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Thank you, New Mejican.

  • MJ||

    "The other folks on the island, starving, rush the fish-hoarder and beat him down and take his fish. Was that immoral of them?"

    Yes. They had other choices. They could have done something useful, things that the fisherman does not have time to do while he's catching fish, gather fresh water, fruit, build shelter.

    If the fisherman chooses to be charitable and give his fish away, it's to his moral credit. If the others choose to live off his charity while providing nothing in return when they are capable of doing so, then they are immoral.

  • ||

    helpless pathetic

    bulging belly stick figure

    catch yer own damn fish

  • ||

    sackcloth and ashes

    my tearstained face heavenward

    those guys are meanies

  • ||

    see my piety

    like a pretty new prom dress

    take that you heathens

  • Neu Mejican||

    MJ,

    I think you are essentially correct with the exception that the fish catcher is being immoral if he does not share the fish.

    Rights come with obligations.

  • ||

    joe said,
    "Like every other word that puts "-ist" on the end of a noun, "elitist" is a statement about people's beliefs. If certain liberal policies have effects that are counterproductive towards liberals' beliefs, that tells us nothing about their beliefs."

    But that was exactly my point, joe: simply sticking with someone's professed beliefs does not tell you very much about what they really believe - what someone really believes is revealed in their practices.

  • ||

    In other words, joe's self and class interested, bureaucratic knee pads are wearing thin from begging the hell out of that question.

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