Atlas Shrugging, Now More Than Ever

Forget a run on the banks, we might in danger of a run on Rand:

Sales of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” have almost tripled over the first seven weeks of this year compared with sales for the same period in 2008. This continues a strong trend after bookstore sales reached an all-time annual high in 2008 of about 200,000 copies sold.

Via Marginal Revolution, which calls Atlas a "counter-cyclical asset."

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  • libertarian democrat||

    Two "bad" reasons to embrace libertarianism:

    You took Econ101
    You read Atlas Shrugged

  • libertarian democrat||

    Not that I wouldn't be happy with more libertarians even for the wrong reasons...

  • Warty||

    Blood and ashes, Rand, there's no way out!" The words seemed to drift to Rand through wool stuffed in his ears. No way out.

  • Vines & Cattle||

    At least it's finally some stimulus I can get behind.

  • adrian||

    i just finished re-reading it. At times I think the gov is using it as an instruction manual. pretty terrifying.

  • Warty||

    LD, Atlas Shrugged exists to make 15-year-olds hate communists, and it works very well. They can work on not being dicks after they take that first crucial step.

  • ||

    Hard to work on not being a Dick when you are supporting so much of the country...maybe when I have time, I can focus on that too..


    Oh well....Shrugg

  • cuernimus||

    Sales have increased as more and more people have realized that they can buy the book, read the back cover, then place book on coffee table to provoke conversation about how bad the government is or how smart book owner is. When pressed on whether it's pronounced "ine" or "ann" the conversation is quickly changed to sports.

  • ||

    When pressed on whether it's pronounced "ine" or "ann"

    See, I thought it was 'ain' (as in ain't)

  • trollumination||

    Or you can buy the book and carry it around ostentatiously and wait for someone to come and kick your ass, as you so richly deserve.

    Am I the only one who remembers the PLOT of the book? Sure it says the government is bad, unions are bad, democracy is bad, the Men of Ability must rule. But does anyone know the PLOT? The PLOT is this - give the rich folks what they want, stop resisting with your silly democracy and labor organizations (which are hopelessly corrupt anyway), or else we, the Men of Ability, will shut you down, fuckers! Leave even the most hardworking, careful of you stranded in the desert trying to start a stalled engine, while we sit in a pleasant vale sipping the finest liquor and writing y'all a brand new Constitution! Fuck with us, and we will starve you out! That is the PLOT!

    It's a book about how the upper class, not satisfied with owning 80% or 90%, goes on strike for 100% control of the Earth's resources. And gets them.

    You don't think this is somehow evil?

    And when Chimpy-boy goes on TV demanding that we give our entire Treasury to the banks, or else there will be dire consequences - don't you think I hear Ayn Rand cackling? Don't you think some of us say hey, this is part of the plan? That the book is not just a morality fable - that it is, first and foremost, a THREAT? A THREAT which is now being CARRIED OUT?

    It's amazing what supply chains are collapsing now, what things simply cannot be bought for any money today. Consumer goods will follow. And the only answer is - what - more money to the banks? Or perhaps, an abdication of democratic control of society? Something like this, perhaps? Slavery? Are we being sabotaged, have we been shut down?

    I read Ayn's stuff about snowstorms shutting down commerce, I see poor Black folk swimming helplessly in a flooded city on the TV, can't you see the connection? This IS Ayn's plan. This IS what's going on.

    Am I the only one who reads the train scene in Atlas Shrugged and sees it as a barely-veiled - gas chamber? It IS a gas chamber! Monoxide IS Zyklon B! Here's a woman who once voted Democrat and sends her kids to publically funded preschool. Give her the gas! There's a guy who works in a government-supported science lab. Give him the gas! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!

    Atlas Shrugged is a revolutionary document. It is all about plutocrats cementing absolute control of the entire planet. And it will NOT happen. Cuz y'all ain't tough enough, y'all ain't smart enough. Peace out.

  • ||

    trollumination are you hi? drunk? you are a disgrace to Democrats and obviously can not see blatent facts and did not understand the plot. First of all Atlas Shrugged is not anti-democracy because democracy is pro freedom and the government in Atlas Shrugged is socialistic, which by the way is not a democracy, and tries to constrict the freedom of Americans which makes it more socialistic of a government than a democracy thus proving your ignorant statement that hopefully was said unwittingly completely false. The reason the hardworking left America was because their work was being taken by the looters and government. The real prophecy is that America is headed towards a socialistic government with Obama as president and people relying on other peoples hard work. I can tell you are such a brainwashed liberal that you simply did not understand this novel even though a conservative 15 year old could. Haha i hope that is enough proof that conservative philosophy is epitimized by this book and trumps liberal wishy washy subjective philosophy that is close to socialism and communism that throughout history has been proven wrong. Thats all and i hope you were not completely sane when you wrote that comment or else i would have to say that Atlas Shrugged prediction is coming true faster than i though. Haha think it out.

  • ||

    It's the strangest thing. There seem to be underground rumblings of a fad for Ayn Rand. Oddly even among people that I would normally count as center-left.

    I'm sorta thinking maybe the Ron Paul Revolutionaries cast adrift started stumbling blindly over people like Mises and Rand.

    They're like a new species of libertarian that started off as Bush-hating liberals. Sadly, they have no idea the exile they are going to be in for when they introduce their lefty friends to their new books.

  • adrian||

    lol troll, you are one dumb motherfucker.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I think I can speak for all of the other greedy, power hungry and yes, racist plutocrats on this blog when I say, "Yes We Can!"

  • trollumination||

    Oh no! Adrian called me a dumb motherfucker! I am now completely and logically refuted! I failed to see that A is A, and also, that 2 + 2 is equal to 4! And that just because Ayn Rand loads people into a gas chamber, doesn't make her a Nazi! Aristotle rules!

  • Billy!||

    I'm surprised anybody can get through the damn thing. It took me near Galt-ian levels of fortitude and determination just to get through The Fountainhead and that, at a mere 700 some pages, is only 1/2 as long.

  • adrian||

    Ok troll, name one point in the book where anything is given to any one of the industrialists without them paying for it. Or where they ask for anything to be given to them.

    game set match fuckface.

  • robc||

    Not that I should respond to someone with troll in their name, but the train scene is a perfect analogy for the recent financial collapse. People talk about the innocent bystanders losing money and etc, but the point is - no one is innocent. You made decisions that led to your problems. Myself included, I chose to buy (and not sell) that WaMu stock. I made that decision. As a tiny, tiny partial owner I was tiny, tiny partly responsible for their misdeeds. And I paid for it.

  • ||

    Troll's rant is even longer than Galt's speech.
    No profit in reading it though: You know what it's full of.
    Just shrug and go on to the next post.

  • cuernimus||

    See, I thought it was 'ain' (as in ain't)


    It's "aɪn," read as eye with an "n" tucked at the end.

  • ||

    And when Chimpy-boy goes on TV demanding that we give our entire Treasury to the banks, or else there will be dire consequences

    Get ready for more monkey-outrage!

  • ||

    That rant was great, trollumination. More please.

  • Xeones||

    I skimmed over Galt's giant monologue. Do i have to turn in my decoder ring now?

  • Warty||

    I read Ayn's stuff about snowstorms shutting down commerce, I see poor Black folk swimming helplessly in a flooded city on the TV, can't you see the connection? This IS Ayn's plan. This IS what's going on.

    AWESOME. Keep it coming.

  • Xanthippas||

    It's all of us liberals, trying to figure out how one book could get us all into such a mess.

  • ||

    Ayn Rand is a cult leader whose entire worldview is informed by her specific fetishes.

    Her second-rate books are filled with third-rate philosophy. She succeeds as neither a novelist nor a philosopher, and anyone with half a brain got over their worship of her in 8th grade.

  • Xanthippas||

    ...anyone with half a brain got over their worship of her in 8th grade.

    Well, I give people until 12th grade. But after that you really ought to know better.

  • ||

    Tony, you're not nearly at trollumination's level. Step up your game.

  • robc||

    People always talk about reading Rand at 15 or whatever. What about those of us who didnt read her until our mid-20s and were already libertarians before ever picking her up?

  • robc||

    On a related note, the author most responsible for me being a libertarian is C. S. Lewis.

  • kilroy||

    "I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."

    I live by that principle as much as the laws of the U.S. allow. Consider me a "Man of Ability" and bow down troll.

    Oh, and here's a train ticket for you...

  • Kilroy||

    Trollumination, I realize you're a troll and that you're probably fully aware of the lunacy of your comments, however I'm going to take the bait anyway because you made one crucial point that deserves to be addressed anyway:
    "It's a book about how the upper class, not satisfied with owning 80% or 90%, goes on strike for 100% control of the Earth's resources."
    Actually it's not a strike for any of Earth's resources, it's a strike for only one resource that doesn't belong to the Earth: ourselves; and hell yes ownership should be 100%.
    I think this underpins the thinking of the existentially-panicked critics of Atlas Shrugged (a fiction novel): the fear that other people may not exist on my behalf. That other people will live their lives, succeed, and move on while I am left behind. So to solve this problem, I'll demand AT LEAST 10-20% ownership over your talent and abilities, so that either you'll subsidize me so we're all equal in mediocrity, or at least I'll make sure I'm not alone in failure.
    There are plenty of imperfections and weaknesses in Atlas Shrugged to criticize without having to resort to distorting and denying it's strengths.
    It's okay to acknowledge the strengths of something you disagree with . . . go ahead and try it, it feels good.

  • Kilroy||

    Whoa, hey there kilroy, odd that we posted around the same time . . . I'll stick to capital K . . .

  • adrian||

    Tony is back to impart his wisdom. Earlier this week he said by definition raising taxes raises revenue. Tell us Tony, how is capitalism (or ayn rands take on capitalism) 3rd rate.

  • Stagman||

    People always talk about reading Rand at 15 or whatever. What about those of us who didnt read her until our mid-20s and were already libertarians before ever picking her up?

    You don't count. Nor do I, who is a libertarian despite never reading a word by Rand.

  • kilroy||

    Agreed. The big "K" is all yours.

  • ||

    I read Rand in my mid-20s, too.

    The writer most responsible for me being a libertarian is Radley Balko.

  • libertarian democrat||

    I read Atlas Shrugged in 4th grade. I didn't really like it then. I just reread it again, and I still don't like it. On the other hand, like 3 girls randomly started talking to me in the subway or on the bus when I was reading it going to and from work... so it has something going for it.

    I think it's, basically, about as interesting as a romance novel, but less well written, and (although I repeat this often) as a philosophical argument it's full of more straw-men than a Wizard of Oz convention.

    If it serves to introduce people to libertarian thought, great. Just so long as they don't think that it's a good example of it. We have far better thinkers.

  • libertarian democrat||

    Although, my introduction to libertarianism came through The Illuminatus! Trilogy. Probably not the best example of libertarian philosophy either (but then again, it isn't supposed to be).

  • adrian||

    it's very hard to judge criticism of Ayn Rand from a poster with the name libertarian democrat but can you name some of the problems with her arguments?

  • robc||

    it's full of more straw-men than a Wizard of Oz convention.

    Thats what I thought 15 years ago when I read it. But those straw-men keep manifesting themselves in reality. Yeah, her bad guys are 1-D archetypes, but they really do exist, if not quite that extremely.

  • robc||

    The Illuminatus! Trilogy.

    Unlike Rand, I still havent been able to finish it. And I owned it before I owned Atlas Shrugged. I tried again late last year, it is still sitting in a pile of books by my bed marked about 1/2 way thru.

  • la fascitis necrotizante||

    The only Rand I ever read was The Fountainhead when I was a teenager. I don't remember it all that clearly, but thinking back on it, wasn't Ubermensch hero Howard Roark's impossibly beautiful, uncorruptible design of ultimate integrity (that he would destroy before surrendering it to the poorer tastes of the masses), uh... a massive housing project? Seemed less like libertarianism and more like surrendering to the vision of genius technocrats...

  • ||

    I wouldn't dream of trying to top trolluminiation's take on Atlas.

  • la fascitis necrotizante ||

    her bad guys are 1-D archetypes

    from what exposure I've had, definitely. In Whittaker Chambers' review of Atlas, he wrote that her villains are "such ogreish semblances of [liberal caricatures] as may stalk the nightmares of those who think little about people as people, but tend to think a great deal in labels and effigies."

  • adrian||

    he blew it up. not sure if you got that far.

  • adrian||

    If the antagonists had any more layers the book would be 3000+ pages.

  • Kilroy||

    Just want to point out that the Fountainhead used distilled caricatures as characters in a generally realistic (although still fictional) setting, while Atlas Shrugged reverses this and describes a distilled caricature of society and the world filled with generally realistic (although still fictional) characters. Emphasis on "generally".

  • Billy!||

    "On a related note, the author most responsible for me being a libertarian is C. S. Lewis."

    "That Hideous Strength" blows anything Rand ever did outta the water and is a lot more nerd friendly to boot. Any book where Merlin fucking shows up to save England from government overreach is super duper as far as I'm concerned.

    Assuming you don't mind a bit of Jesus talk.

  • la fascitis necrotizante ||

    yo adrian - duh. rather than see his stark, inhuman machine for living humanized at all. Just amused me that the champion of the individual would have such a Corbusian attitude towards architecture.

  • robc||

    Billy!,

    That Hideous Strength is literally the only novel that has ever given me nightmares.

  • robc||

    Whittaker Chambers

    Commie mutant traitor.

  • la fascitis necrotizante ||

    label! effigy!

  • Xeones||

    That Hideous Strength is literally the only novel that has ever given me nightmares.

    Ditto.

  • ||

    And when Chimpy-boy goes on TV demanding that we give our entire Treasury to the banks, or else there will be dire consequences - don't you think I hear Ayn Rand cackling? Don't you think some of us say hey, this is part of the plan? That the book is not just a morality fable - that it is, first and foremost, a THREAT? A THREAT which is now being CARRIED OUT?

    Actually, the banks getting bailed out are really more analaous to the corrupt competitors of Hank Rearden who use their lobbying influence to get the government to help them out at the expense of the real innovators like him. Same for the auto companies.

    Rand's heros would be Jeff Bezos and Amazom.com, which saw profits increase this year, not Wall Street brokers like Warren Buffet and Hank Paulsen. They'd be her villians.

  • ||

    The Illuminatus! Trilogy.

    Never finished that either.

    The book most responsible for turning me into a libertarian was probably The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

    (Go figure!)

  • Old Bull Lee||

    I've seen enough weird quotes linked to from H&R, including stuff like this: http://www.reason.com/blog/show/131903.html

    that the bad guys in Atlas Shrugged are starting to look less and less like straw men. In 2008 and 2009 you just can't make this shit up.

  • ||

    Yea, a Hit&Run post that actually made me smile.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I read Orwell first, and he certainly pointed me away from statism. But Rand was what really drew me to libertarianism. I went through that moralistic dick phase that oh so many Randites do, but now I'm comfortable as a "hippie of the right."

    For my kids, though, it'll be Orwell, TH White, Heinlein, and then Rand.

  • libertarian democrat||

    I completely empathize with people that can't finish Illuminatus! I think it's worth it, but it's long and silly. I liked it though.

    As other people have said, the main reason I dislike Rand is her characterization of those she disagrees with. Most libertarians agree that those that want to limit freedom are bad. But her views of people are so simple minded. It reminds me of conservapedia's views about liberals (not that they are the same, just that both are equally silly).

    Not everyone who is pro-government intervention is using it for their own benefit. Liberals can be brilliant businessmen. Half of the proposals would never be supported in the way she says (the other ridiculous half would be, *sigh*). The characters are completely unbelievable. She generally equates all liberals (and the average conservative) as self-destructive communists. There are huge differences between different groups on the left.

    Also, I don't want to argue comparative ethical systems, but helping other people is a good thing to do. Srsly.

  • ||

    It's "aɪn," read as eye with an "n" tucked at the end.

    Hmm, that is how Linguist pronounced it when we were talking about TAO's alter ego.
    I guess that is why she is called 'linguist'.

  • ||

    I guess I am going to have to read 'Atlas Shrugged' now.

    And I heard it really sucked too, so hooray for that.

    Bar Brady ""I just learned how to read, and I read 'Atlas Shrugged', and now I never want to read again.""

    Bronwyn | February 27, 2009, 12:56pm | #
    I read Rand in my mid-20s, too.

    The writer most responsible for me being a libertarian is Radley Balko.


    For me it was a combination of Rush Limbaugh and Radley Balko probably.

  • la fascitis necrotizante||

    For me, probably Hayek, Robert Caro's The Power Broker and Vincent Cannato's The Ungovernable City.

  • adrian||

    lib dem: Once you accept that taking from one person to give to another is okay you are on the path to communism. Yes there are varying degrees of taking, but as with any other moral, once you break it, even the slightest bit, you are immoral.

    yes it is simplistic, but there really is no grey.

  • ||

    kwais - I rarely recommend that anyone not read a book, BUT...

    For an adult who already leans libertarian (or Classical Liberal circa the Founding Fathers), with "Atlas Shrugged" you're actually better off just reading the Cliff's Notes.

    Then, if you're single you can "buy the book and carry it around ostentatiously" so that girls will notice it.

    Then they'll also see you successfully defending yourself against unprovoked, hilariously ineffective attempts at ass-kicking from violent tools like Trollumination.

    You get the benefits of reading it without having to suffer through Rand's actual writing, you get the girl, and you get to kick Trollumination's ass!

    Everyone will be happy - it's a win-win-win situation!

  • libertarian democrat||

    Once you accept that taking from one person to give to another is okay you are on the path to communism.

    No. There are inbetweens. Maybe they aren't morally acceptable (I don't think so), but any taxation does not inevitably lead to communism.

  • kinnath||

    No Rand, but I read every sci-fi book in my high school library. I suppose that tends to skew one towards the libertarian side just a bit.

  • robc||

    I dont think its a bad read. It drags at points but generally paces along pretty well. The Galt monologue chapter needs to be skipped, read about 5 pages of his speech and then skip the next 60, but other than that, its a good read.

  • Xanthippas||

    The book most responsible for turning me into a libertarian was probably The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

    I've read that, and I've read The Fountainhead, and countless other books with political messages. Not to begrudge anyone the powerful experience of reading a really good book, but it was life experience that made me a liberal.

  • ||

    Then, if you're single you can "buy the book and carry it around ostentatiously" so that girls will notice it.

    Funny that.
    BTW, what is the story behind that? I have noticed an unusually high number of hot chicks that read the book. Even people that I have talked politics with, and they are what I would qualify as Socialists, some with a nationalistic lean.

  • Jeff P||

    Hmmm. Capitalizing on the current economic situation to crowbar a viewpoint into a wider audience seeking an answer and making some money to boot.
    Religions do it.
    Foreclosure predator infomercials do it.
    The marketing folks at ARI do.
    Yet the LP can't. Amazing.

  • ||

    BTW Rob, thanks for the advice, I'll read the Cliff Notes.

  • kinnath||

    It was group projects in junior high that made me a libertarian.

  • adrian||

    my first real paycheck did it.

  • ||

    I've taken a look at the Rand section at my local Borders the last few times I've been in. Twice, there were no copies of Atlas left, once there was one left. (Which I bought.)

  • Old Bull Lee||

    That's a new one, kinnath. And I fully understand what you're saying. I remember that feeling as far back as elementary school.

  • ||

    Libdem -

    I don't want to speak for Adrian, but taxation and redistribution aren't the same things.

    Nice try at the strawman.

  • Kilroy||

    Jeff P, interesting point.
    It amazes me how many Democrats and Republicans I know are really libertarians that don't realize it. When we discuss issues we're in total agreement, but when I mention the word "Libertarian" their eyes glaze over and they say "Huh? What's that?"
    Sadly, the LP in my state (Oregon) is so poorly organized that they sent out a mailer right before the '08 election that looked like a 4th grader put it together and was full of spelling and grammar mistakes. No wonder nobody pays attention to them.

  • adrian||

    g4m3: good enough for me.

  • libertarian democrat||

    Game, I disagree, honestly. Taking from one person to give to another (say, a policeman, in minarchist glory) is what he said, taxation to pay for minimal services does that.

    Of course, even if we are talking about other forms, such as taking from the rich for social programs, which is also a form of redistribution, I still will say that it's not going to lead to communism. If you really needed that spelled out that that was my argument, you're kind of silly. I'll be more precise though.

  • RJ||

    Not entirely sure why you would sock up for that point, anyway.

  • libertarian democrat||

    To clarify, it will not inevitably lead to communism. There are plenty of possibilities for moderate redistribution without it being communist.

    In fact, simplistic communists would likewise call societies like the ones I am talking about capitalist, because they also aren't purely communist.

  • g4m3th30ry||

    libdem -

    Yes, silly me for reading adrian's thoughts as redistribution and not that of paying cops. I must have been off my rocker, because I'm sure he meant that by paying cops and firefighters we're all on our way to communism.

    adrian again can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure he meant redistribution, and now you're playing a semantic to back out of it.

  • adrian||

    lib dem: Paying for a service is not what I mean. (should all be use taxes, shouldn't have to support stuff you don't use etc.)

    Redistribution is immoral and will trend towards socialism/communism. It won't happen overnight, but the trend will continue unless something stops it. Do you really think the Government is going to get to a point where it stops growing? A perfect balance? Do you think those who are given money will some day vote to not give themselves the money? We are giving from a minority to a majority, democracy is majority rules, how would it not continue if we left it alone?

  • g4m3th30ry||

    Damn - preview -

    last sentence... and now you're playing semantics to back out of it.

  • ||

    The piece of fiction that I've been thinking about a lot lately wrt libertarianism is Heinlein's "Coventry". Internet tough guys revolting against the "leeches" and getting robbed blind on day one as they start their great adventure in self-reliance.

    How many of you would actually be allowed into Galt's Gulch? Are guys who spend all of their time on message boards the movers and shakers they would seek out?

    http://www.angryflower.com/atlass.gif

  • libertarian democrat||

    Well, service fees for the police would be one thing, but if there are involuntary taxes you are taking from me to give it to someone else. I have my gun, I'll chance it.

    game, you're not actually making alot of sense. I am not backing out of anything if I endorse both versions, such as his argument that I would presume applies to something like welfare, and my view which goes further to include police as a form of redistribution. Did you just skip the second paragraph?

    Adrian, that's why a strong constitution (stronger than America has, maybe, although I don't think we'll see any form of lasting "full scale" communism here) is one useful tool. If a constitutional goverment, not necessarily a democracy, allowed, for example, an income tax with a negative income tax portion to add one service to an otherwise minarchist state (police, military, courts, or insert your definition here), it wouldn't necessarily turn to communism. You're welcome to think that, but most people don't. Sadly it's unfalsifiable, but I rest on my assertion that that is silly.

  • ||

    Kwais--the reason girls like Atlas Shrugged is that we all secretly want to be Dagney Taggart. (Though it would be cooler if she ran a movie studio instead of a dullsville railroad.) She's rich and successful and gets to shoot people and sleep around and no one ever gets pissed off. Best yet, she gets her former boyfriends to do her bidding long after she dumps them. Nice! Ok, she does have a few kinks, but that just keeps her interesting...

  • Kilroy||

    Libdem, you're right that taxation/redistribution will not [necessarily] lead to communism. It's like saying that if you walk west you'll end up in California, when you may instead end up in Oregon or Washington.
    However I had to add "necessarily" since communism is still possible.
    Also, all mandatory taxation is redistribution unless 100% of the tax payers would still pay if it weren't mandatory. If you don't think it's redistribution, then why not make all taxes/services and subscription-based? I want to drive on roads, I subscribe to the road-use tax. I want to take part in Social Security, I subscribe to the SS tax. etc.

  • ||

    robc | February 27, 2009, 12:49pm | #

    On a related note, the author most responsible for me being a libertarian is C. S. Lewis.


    dude - totally

  • libertarian democrat||

    Aye, I tried to correct that to say that I meant not inevitably.

  • g4m3th30ry||

    Libdem -

    We certainly do seem to be talking past each other - my main point is paying someone for a job is not redistribution under any definition for which I'm aware.

    I guess you could stretch it to that if you so choose, but I think that's silly as well.

    As for moving towards communism or socialism or whatever - redistribution is certainly a starting point.

    Does that mean we will end there? I'm not that paranoid and do see it in my lifetime, but it certainly seems we're sliding in that direction.

    Of course I think America tends to have a pendulum effect where we move in one direction for sometime, then another. With the exception that the government continues to grow.

  • JB||

    Obama and his ilk are just as stupid as the villains in the book. The answer to government stupidity is of course: more government stupidity!

  • ||

    kwais - I've never actually figured out the correlation. It does seem to exist though.

    My personal favorite was the exquisitely beautiful girl who worked in the Minneapolis Barnes & Noble - she was a Library Sciences major who knew authors by PUBLISHER - who oohed and aahed over my selection of two Henry Rollins books and the copy of "Atlas Shrugged" that was on top of them...

    I lacked the courage to ask her out at the time, but I swear, she's the only girl I've ever seen wear a nose ring and make it look dainty and alluring.

    There was a guy who carried around "Godel, Escher & Bach" who seemed to do so for similar reasons - God knows he wasn't actually smart enough to comprehend the book. (Though it only seemed to attract chain-smoking Sylvia Plath-types.)

    Maybe it's just something that women who fancy themselves to be intellectuals pick up on? Maybe like philosophy majors who wear berets, only vastly less pretentious?

  • libertarian democrat||

    game,

    I think we can slide in one direction without inevitably leading to communism. Redistribution is a necessary part of communism, but not all redistributive political philosophies or redistributive societies end up as communism. That's my basic point.

    I agree that voluntary exchanges of services for pay is not redistribution. You may disagree with me, but I do think that any involuntary extraction of money to pay for services is a form of redistribution.

    For example, say the police require $10 a month in taxes from me. Not a big deal, but maybe I don't feel I need their services. If I have to give my money to pay for their salaries anyway, that seems awfully like a form of wealth redistribution. Not as bad as one where I get nothing, but certainly still not nice.

    Now, if I could opt-in or out of police services, and it cost $10 or more a month, I could do that without it being forcible redistribution. That's my way of looking at it.

  • JB||

    "...but helping other people is a good thing to do. Srsly."

    Pointing a gun at my head and demanding I 'help' those people is NOT a good thing to do. For one, at some point, I'm going to take that gun away from you, torture you, then use it on you.

  • ||

    There was a guy who carried around "Godel, Escher & Bach" who seemed to do so for similar reasons - God knows he wasn't actually smart enough to comprehend the book. (Though it only seemed to attract chain-smoking Sylvia Plath-types.)

    Don't knock it 'til you try it. "I hate my Dad" sex is some the best sex you'll ever have.

  • libertarian democrat||

    "...but helping other people is a good thing to do. Srsly."

    Pointing a gun at my head and demanding I 'help' those people is NOT a good thing to do. For one, at some point, I'm going to take that gun away from you, torture you, then use it on you.


    Nothing gets passed you. Specifically the lack of anything coercive about help in my statement. A lot of Atlas Shrugged talks down to good old fashioned voluntary help too. 1/10.

  • ||

    I reccomend Robert Ringer's "Looking out for No. 1" over Rand's stuff. You get the same message in 25% less words, without all of the endless moralizing.

  • ||

    SugarFree - True, and no argument on that from me. But I prefer that it not start out with a round of ash-tray licking. (The girls this guy pulled didn't shave, apparently thought smoking obviated the need for a tooth brush, and found the concept of bathing every day to be "bourgeois.")

    I like mari dupont's explanation a LOT better than mine, too.

  • ||

    Not 25% less words, 25% of the words.

  • Kilroy||

    "A lot of Atlas Shrugged talks down to good old fashioned voluntary help too."
    I disagree. There is quite a bit of voluntary help in the book. The fact that it is all motivated by self interest doesn't make it less voluntary.
    If freed from government-coerced charity and volunteerism, libertarians would be probably be some of the biggest backers of charities and volunteer organizations as a way to invest in the issue that matter to them. Helping people is good, because it helps me.
    Again, subscription-based is the way to go.

  • ||

    I read every sci-fi book in my high school library. I suppose that tends to skew one towards the libertarian side just a bit.

    That's interesting. It was Star Trek that turned me into a socialist.

  • g4m3th30ry||

    libdem -

    Ok - I see your point more clearly now - thank you.

    I'm just not in the camp where all taxes are theft. I agree with user fees in lots of cases, but I would disagree for example, that someone doesn't go to jail for murder simply because those wronged are unable to foot the bill for the investigation or what have you.

    I think any society will need some compulsory funds to pay for services such as these. Our government takes this way too far in my opinion even excluding social spending, but I seem to be in the minority.

    In my local community they build a trail for runners and bikers and such. That honestly upset me as I remain perfectly healthy working out at home without the need to extract tax dollars from my neighbors. That, & I live in a suburb very close to STL - I think there are many more pressing issues than a nice trail for the populace.

    Judging b the number of people using it though - very few agree with me...

  • g4m3th30ry||

    build = built & b = by

    I might quit while I'm behind.

  • libertarian democrat||

    Game: I would happily donate money to the jail for those people, but I understand. I think there is a moral problem with taxation, but I think alot of it could be done voluntarily anyway. That does remain to be seen, however.

  • ||

    The tax paid bike trail in Ellisville, West STL County, was an excellent place for kids to go to get high.

  • libertarian democrat||

    Kilroy:

    I disagree. There is quite a bit of voluntary help in the book. The fact that it is all motivated by self interest doesn't make it less voluntary.
    If freed from government-coerced charity and volunteerism, libertarians would be probably be some of the biggest backers of charities and volunteer organizations as a way to invest in the issue that matter to them. Helping people is good, because it helps me.
    Again, subscription-based is the way to go.


    I think that it's a good thing to help people even if you don't benefit. I mean, technically we do everything because we want to or are forced to, but even if the giving has no effect on you outside of giving, it is a virtue. Rational self-interest goes a long way, and should involve helping others, but less self-interested helping is a good thing too.

    I might be reading this wrong, but it always seemed to me like Ayn wasn't down with charity if it involved self-sacrifice because those being helped were undeserving. I think that's a flawed view (unless my understanding is flawed). I certainly don't think people should be forced to help others; I just think it's a good thing to do even if it isn't great for you.

  • adrian||

    g4m3: I think most libertarians will say that police (protection of private property) is one thing that government should provide as it is the basis for capitalism (individualism). Paying for it can be done in many different ways including fees (taxes) on transactions. Bigger the transaction the bigger the fee as usually more resources will be used to protect large transactions (courts etc).

  • Kilroy||

    Game,
    You make good points, but be careful that you don't fall into the (all-too-common) trap of thinking that if in the absence of the current system there would be no system at all.
    If police/investigations/etc. were an optional fee service similar to insurance I doubt there would be many (if any) cases where a crime wouldn't be covered. Policies would probably cover whole blocks, neighborhoods, etc. even if they were optional riders. I'd pay a bit extra for a neighborhood coverage rider, because I don't want crime next door. If my neighbor doesn't have police insurance the investigation would be covered by everyone nearby who bought the rider.

  • Kilroy||

    . . . and if nobody has the rider, then the criminal does get away and we all pay the consequences of having a criminl loose in the community.

  • adrian||

    lib dem: Charity is fine as long as you are doing it for yourself. You are giving your money to others because helping them makes YOU feel better. If you give to charity while your child starves then that is immoral. If you are forced to give to charity than that is immoral. Doing something to hurt yourself is illogical.

    Altruism is not a virtue, being the best you can be is a virtue. The point of living is to enjoy it right? If you enjoy giving go ahead, if you don't that is fine as well.

  • adrian||

    lib dem: if altruism were a virtue, the best thing to do would be to give everything you have and will have away. If the virtuous (best) among us did this where would we be?

  • Kilroy||

    Libdem:
    I appreciate the romanticism of your "helping others selflessly" point, but it doesn't hold water.
    ". . . even if the giving has no effect on you outside of giving, it is a virtue." and you've decided that virtues are good and have meaning to you, so by pursuing something that has meaning to you you are acting out of self-interest. If you hold the door for someone out of efficiency in the workplace, or just because it makes you feel good, you're still self-interested. Rand's main point is that this is all okay, as long as you accept silfishness and continue to pursue self-interest openly and honestly (to yourself).

  • Kilroy||

    Unfortunately many people intentionally or unintentionally insert a zero-sum into the idea of selfishness and thereby villainize it. If you do something for yourself then you must hurt someone else. This is not necessarily true.
    In fact pure rational self interest leads to everyone helping each other voluntarily because they all individually benefit.

  • Elemenope||

    On a related note, the author most responsible for me being a libertarian is C. S. Lewis.

    For me it was G. K. Chesterton.

  • Elemenope||

    (And R. A. Heinlein)

  • Kilroy||

    . . . but those same zero-sum folks take it too far and start to think the benefits they receive are actually rights, and if someone chooses not to contribute anymore they they will be depriving them of their right to the benefit. And so they try to force everyone to continue contributing, which leads back to all of the world's problems we continually talk about on this blog.

  • libertarian democrat||

    I am attempting to differentiate between doing something because of the effect it will have on your surroundings (such as buying insurance for your building, in the crime example) and that which just makes you feel good but has no other benefit. Everything someone does has benefit for themselves, otherwise they wouldn't be doing it. I think there is still a subtle difference between the two types of helping, however.

    In the trivial sense, everything you do is selfish. Clearly, you are doing it because its the best option you see.

    If you give to charity while your child starves then that is immoral. If you are forced to give to charity than that is immoral. Doing something to hurt yourself is illogical.

    If your child is starving, that is a bad choice. However, in the trivial sense of doing something for yourself, it isn't illogical, it's impossible. Action outside of trivial self-interest is impossible, unless something is literally moving your body for you.

    The point is, however, that internalizing values involving helping others is a good thing. Basically, I have two levels to my ethical thinking. It's bad to violate someone's natural rights. Once you're that far, to decide what to do you should consider the effect it will have (on everyone). Sometimes pursuing personal gain will be the best, other times giving alot to charity will be the best. You'll be acting selfishly, trivially, but people who do not act that way would be better if they helped others. Very few people would do the best thing, but it isn't hard to get closer and closer to it.

  • ||

    What makes social insurance programs efficient is that they are not voluntary. A national health insurance program (analogous to social security) wouldn't reject anyone for prior conditions or what have you. The increased risk is then transferred to all taxpayers rather than imposed upon those who unluckily have more problems. Everyone gets cheaper medical care. Everyone is freer. Everyone is happier. If you're rich you can still buy your own health care if you choose.

  • adrian||

    lib dem:

    verything someone does has benefit for themselves, otherwise they wouldn't be doing it.

    I don't think that is true. Many people will give to their detriment because they falsely think that that is what is expected of them or that being selfless is better than keeping it for themselves. People are basically brainwashed (probably the church etc) into believing selflessness is the way to being a better person. Most people would be better off if they put themselves first, and tried to be the best they could be with what they have. The world would be a better place IMO.

    The whole point of acting in your self interest always is that we all benefit in the long run even if some are hurt in the short run. Creating a better battery would put the existing battery companies out of business (workers out of jobs) but the progress would help everyone (including yourself) in the long run. This way you don't have to think of anyone else as long as you don't use physical force and you act in your best self interest.

  • adrian||

    Tony: So luck is what determines everything eh? Get a life.

  • g4m3th30ry||

    Kilroy -

    I agree there would be alternatives to the police if it weren't government run by compulsory taxation, I'm just not sure that alternative would be better. I think having a monopoly on force helps stabilization, so long as that force is civilian controlled.

    I do see much better alternatives when it comes parks, libraries, running trails, schools, etc, I just can't see it for police, fire, courts...

    James -

    Our trail is a continuation of Grant's trail through Crestwood, Sunset Hills, Kirkwood... On Sappington between Big Bend and Watson there is even a stop light to allow these idiots to stop traffic so they can get healthy on my dime. It really ticks me off when it's rush hour and I'm stopping for some idiot that should buy a gym membership and leave me to go to work.

  • Kilroy||

    Tony, if social insurance is so great and "Everyone is freer. Everyone is happier." then why can't it be voluntary? Should it sell itself? Why would anyone not want to be a part of it?

    "A national health insurance program (analogous to social security) wouldn't reject anyone for prior conditions or what have you. The increased risk is then transferred to all taxpayers rather than imposed upon those who unluckily have more problems." - You're absolutely right about this, and this is a legitimate strength of a national health insurance program. Unfortunately there are even larger weaknesses that overcome this strength.

    "Everyone gets cheaper medical care" -Please clarify if you really mean care, or if you mean coverage, because they are not the same thing.

  • robc||

    and if nobody has the rider, then the criminal does get away and we all pay the consequences of having a criminl loose in the community.

    I suggest you buy the rider then.

    Also, harkening back to another thread, my community doesnt include my neighbors. You all are in it WAY more than they are. Dont you feel thrilled right now.

  • Kilroy||

    Okay Game, perhaps we can agree to disagree on police since we agree on so many of the other issues.

    But how about a compromise that is not quite free-market but not quite government-run:

    A private but government-sanctioned police monopoly similar to the phone company. You don't have to have phone service, but if you do then it has to be with XYZ company.

  • robc||

    Everyone gets cheaper medical care. Everyone is freer. Everyone is happier.

    Except the healthy youngster who decides to gamble and not buy health insurance and has a better use for the money. His medical care is more expensive (whatever he pays is greater than zero). He is less free. He is unhappy (didnt get to start up his business idea because his capital went to buy your health insurance).

  • robc||

    Many people will give to their detriment because they falsely think that that is what is expected of them

    That is because they value meeting expectations. That is the benefit they receive.

  • robc||

    I think having a monopoly on force

    The police dont have a monopoly on force. Ryan Frederick proves that.

    Where the fuck did that idea come from anyway? I see it mentioned all the time despite my best attempts to shoot it down.

  • robc||

    similar to the phone company

    coming soon: magicJackBoots.

  • adrian||

    lol

  • guy in the back row||

    For my kids, though, it'll be Orwell, TH White, Heinlein, and then Rand.

    Ha! I just started by 11 year old on Heinlein's juveniles, then will give him Animal farm. I completely agree with the rest of the list.

  • ||

    Tony, if social insurance is so great and "Everyone is freer. Everyone is happier." then why can't it be voluntary? Should it sell itself? Why would anyone not want to be a part of it?

    Well it won't work if it's not universal, and it won't be universal unless its mandated. Yes this is evil class warfare. It forces the rich, who may not care to partake in national health care, to partly subsidize the health care of the poor. But I would argue that everyone's better off this way, especially since the cost of insurance would decrease by reflecting an increase of preventive care.

    Please clarify if you really mean care, or if you mean coverage, because they are not the same thing.

    Yes, coverage. Sorry. Less dollars being sucked from the wallets of the sick, basically.

    Tony: So luck is what determines everything eh? Get a life.

    No, not everything. But not nothing either, especially with regard to health.

  • ||

    Game, that trail must cost a fortune in an area that dense. When they built our trail it was just about the last pavement in West County in 1980. I must defend libraries, they buy my labels, and they are mostly local institutions that are built by good local folk that just want us to be informed.

  • g4m3th30ry||

    robc -

    The police do have a monopoly on force for all intents and purposes. You can certainly defend yourself when needed, but you couldn't imprison someone for stealing from you and you will go to jail if you kill someone even if they are guilty of a capital offense (assuming it's not immediate justifiable homicide).

    Additionally - you couldn't enter someone's house to question them for robbing your neighbor.

    Sure - you have the use of force at your disposal, but it's much more limited as we tend to leave justice up to the court system.

    & yes, I'm very much aware how incompetent our justice can be.

  • ||

    I'm pretty sure I bought my KSHE pig shirt at Crestwood plaza.

  • Carl Rove||

    Everyone gets cheaper medical care. Everyone is freer. Everyone is happier.

    What I like about this is it will force strong unions to give up the right to free insurance and be forced at government gunpoint to pay higher taxes for everyone's insurance. They will ahve to join the Republicans through self interest. It's really brilliant.


    "...but helping other people is a good thig to do. Srsly."
    I love this idea too. Get people acustomed to relying on the giovernment instea dof standing on their own two feet will breed inferiority, substance abuse and crime, enabling the cycle to continue over generations and ensnare more in it's simplistic morality, continuing the expansion and scope of government. That fuck Clinton almost threw this away but between W and Barack it will be back for good this time around.

  • robc||

    I would argue that everyone's better off this way

    This is false. I have already given an example of someone who wouldnt be better off.

  • Kilroy||

    Tony, listen to yourself: "Everyone is freer" because "it forces the rich" to do something they may not want to do.

    Thanks for clarify regarding care/coverage because I suspected you were missing an important point: coverage does not equal care. In fact in many cases an increase in coverage actually reduces the quality and availability of care, which is a finite resource. When everyone goes to the free doctor for every case of the sniffles, you will have to wait in a long line if you can get in at all.

  • robc||

    The justice system is a monopoly, but it isnt "force" they are monopolizing.

    you couldn't imprison someone for stealing from you

    Actually, I can, for a short while before turning them over to the cops.

  • ||

    Anyone notice how Ayn Rand's most famous acolyte Alan Greenspan is in favor of nationalizing banks?

  • ||

    Tony, listen to yourself: "Everyone is freer" because "it forces the rich" to do something they may not want to do.

    I define freedom a little differently from libertarians. A rich person's liberty is not impinged by a little taxation.

    Thanks for clarify regarding care/coverage because I suspected you were missing an important point: coverage does not equal care. In fact in many cases an increase in coverage actually reduces the quality and availability of care, which is a finite resource. When everyone goes to the free doctor for every case of the sniffles, you will have to wait in a long line if you can get in at all.

    Some efficiencies inevitably come with nationalized health care, such as treatment rationing. This is where we get all the horror stories about long lines in Canada. But it works pretty well in most countries that have it, and nobody is denied access to necessary care. Rationing only occurs for elective procedures.

  • robc||

    Anyone notice how Ayn Rand's most famous acolyte Alan Greenspan is in favor of nationalizing banks?

    He took the job Galt turned down. That is all that has to be said about that.

  • robc||

    I define freedom a little differently from libertarians.

    You define it wrong.

    A rich person's liberty is not impinged by a little taxation.

    Yes, it is. Liberty is not a function of your income or wealth.

  • Kilroy||

    You're right, some efficiencies do inevitably come with nationalized health care, but so do all of the inefficiencies we see elsewhere in the government.

    Actually Canada didn't even cross my mind as an example. I was thinking of the 5 other countries I've lived in with both government-run healthcare and parallel private healthcare (some of which was black market). In EVERY case the private care was significantly superior to the government care. Heck, talk to anyone from Thailand about the difference between their local government clinic and Bumrungrad Hospital. The net cost of service is the same but paid from different sources, and the quality of care couldn't be more different.

  • JB||

    libdem,

    I didn't see anything in your statement ruling out coercive methods. When you have 'democrat' in your name that tends to imply coercive methods.

  • ||

    lib dem: Paying for a service is not what I mean. (should all be use taxes, shouldn't have to support stuff you don't use etc.)

    Redistribution is immoral and will trend towards socialism/communism.



    Welfare is payment for the service of not cutting your throat while you sleep.

    Payment for service.

  • ||

    Yes, it is. Liberty is not a function of your income or wealth.

    But I believe income has a lot to do with liberty, defined as the freedom to pursue your life in the way you see fit. With income I believe in a minimum standard of living for everyone. If market capitalism doesn't provide that, it is our moral duty to enact a system that does. That minimum can shift with time, but is only partly arbitrary. The ability to access to basic needs, which I would call health care, along with all the liberties you guys also care about, should be the standard for that minimum.

    If you have more money you're more free in the real sense of the word. Ideally taxation can be set so as to burden nobody, while being used to increase the wellbeing of everyone.

  • ||

    Welfare is payment for the service of not cutting your throat while you sleep.

    Payment for service.


    Not a bad point either. In some ways social services are insurance against revolutions against the ruling classes.

  • ||

    The real problem is that so many 'libertarians' actually want to exist as Rand's little grey men, doing nothing but spouting about policy and accomplishing zero productive work.

  • MNG||

    "She succeeds as neither a novelist nor a philosopher"

    She's a terrible philosopher, just terrible, and some of her works are almost knee-slappingly funny (Anthem for example, or the pages long speeches in Atlas), but I think We the Living was one of the 100 great novels of the century. People's art always suffers when they make it more and more explicitly political...

  • ||

    I have to say; Tony did step up to the plate in the last few posts.

    Well articulated Tony.

    I disagree with you, because I feel that it is immoral to take money life or property by force from someone who has done no harm regardless of how much wealth they have.

    But you have articulated your point well IMO.

  • ||

    What makes social insurance programs efficient is that they are not voluntary. A national health insurance program (analogous to social security) wouldn't reject anyone for prior conditions or what have you. The increased risk is then transferred to all taxpayers rather than imposed upon those who unluckily have more problems. Everyone gets cheaper medical care. Everyone is freer. Everyone is happier. If you're rich you can still buy your own health care if you choose.

    Medical coverage would not get cheaper in the long run, as forced participation would remove all cost constraints. Right now, as it is virtually illegal for an insurance company, medicare, or doctor to deny treatment based on cost, the ONLY thing constraining costs is the fact that some people simply don't have coverage and can't afford to pay.

    Cover everyone universally, and costs wil skyrocket further, since nobody will be able to say 'No' to treatment.

    At some point, the government will have to step in and start rationing and imposing price controls. Medical innovation will be decimated, and bureaucrats (at some level) will decide who lives and dies.

    I prefer those decisions remain in the hands of the individual and his/her family, however difficult they may be.

  • ||

    Redistribution is immoral and will trend towards socialism/communism.

    I don't call it "redistribution". I call it "plunder".

    -jcr

  • ||

    Kwais,

    Kind of you to say.

    My difference with you is that, in a democracy, taxes aren't taken by force.

    The civil freedoms we all cherish aren't just some benevolent gift from nature. I believe freedom of speech and assembly and such are meant to maximize the contribution of ideas in our society, improving it pragmatically.

    So try and sell your ideas to a majority. You're only alternative is imposing your own tyranny somehow, which would be completely inconsistent.

    But if majorities instead choose a more risk-averse system than the one you propose, isn't that their right? What excludes economic regulation and taxation from the power the people have over themselves? It's certainly not the constitution.

  • robc||

    Tony,

    "Tyranny of the majority" is called that for a reason.

    My difference with you is that, in a democracy, taxes aren't taken by forceslavery is voluntary labor.

    FTFY. Its the exact same thing. Yes, it is.

  • robc||

    But I believe income has a lot to do with liberty, defined as the freedom to pursue your life in the way you see fit

    Income (or more accurately, wealth [if you are going to make a point, use the right terms]) has nothing to do with liberty. Anyone, regardless of wealth, can pursue their life as they see fit. Lack of funds just rations those pursuits because their isnt enough X for everyone who wants to do Y. Wealth isnt the anyone rationing agent. If it were up to me, I would be winding down a hall of fame baseball career right now. I, however, didnt have the basic funds to purchase that goal - talent.

    It doesnt matter what X and Y are. Whether they are basics of human survival like food or trips to Disneyland.

  • ||

    I think it comical that we're talking about how this book influences people to become libertarians.

    While Rand was writing on her view of the world as she saw it after coming from a communist country her view was very hero centric. The great leaders were icons to change the world for their own good.

    That is not the case here. The only heros to stand up to the government are the people that are sick of the crap.

    The media, oddly enough are going to be hit just as hard as the rest of us. When they realize that these taxes and "punishments" for being motivated successful people are going to effect them every bit as much as the rest of us.

    The populist policies of our government today are no different than the populist policies of Roosevelt. The difference is that they bombard us with it via the media. Which in turn fuels the electronic herd.

    Rand pointed out the worst case scenario of the way things could go, and the only action to stop this is by action of the people.

  • Kilroy||

    Tony, I agree with Kwais that your arguments are well spoken. I completely disagree with most of them, but they are well articulated.

    "My difference with you is that, in a democracy, taxes aren't taken by force." Yet you say that your programs would not be voluntary, so what happen when someone chooses not to participate? You'd punish them and take the taxes that pay for your program by force, otherwise it would be voluntary. Atlas Shrugged highlights this dilemma: that the "looters" (sorry) want to take what they want while pretenting that it's given to them freely out of sheer righteousness.

    "If market capitalism doesn't provide that, it is our moral duty to enact a system that does." The idea that we've ever really tried real market capitalism is a common falacy. What we've had is like shooting a horse in the leg, putting it in a race, and then getting upset and putting it down when it doesn't win. If you left it alone in the first place then you might just have a winner. Atlas Shrugged also highlights this issue: that the "looters" want to eat their cake and have it too, that is to say they want to control the system while enjoying the benefits that come from an uncontrolled system. Unfortunately you can't have both. Either consume the resource, or save it, don't pretend you can do both.

  • ||

    Wow, after championing the election of O, Hit and Run suddenly is having second thoughts.

    And during your long, whiny 8 years of attacking anything Bush happened to consider, you suddenly seem to remember that there is a political philosophy attached to your blog that has something even more important in mind than bitching over drug laws.

    In the words of John Lydon, "This is what you want, this is what you get."

    And now that this place is swarming with radical liberals that were welcomed with open arms during the "fascist" bush years, you have a crapload of unserious, unlibertarian commenters that have all but taken over the place.

    The US is in deep shit over some really stupid policy decisions that seem to abandon the principles that turned us into the greatest damn place on earth but Hit and Run abandoned its principles a long time ago.

    You guys really have been useful idiots.

  • RFC||

    Raising taxes raises revenue? Sure it does... for the government. Raising taxes does not, however, create any new wealth. Taxes are a way to pull wealth from the taxpayer, filter it through the incredibly inefficient and graft-ridden bureaucracy and ultimately redistribute some of it to the "poor, the downtrodden, the huddled masses" waiting for a handout.

  • freethinker||

    Tony: "If market capitalism doesn't provide that, it is our moral duty to enact a system that does."

    Even what Kilroy said about us never trying real market capitalism aside, is this not like James Taggart saying it is our moral duty to help those "less fortunate" like the People's State of Mexico in the novel, and by passing the "Anti-Dog Eat Dog Act" in the story? It seems that what you would call progress is in fact what limits the creative ingenuity and development we want.

    You also commented about "the majority" and how it is something that must be good if the majority wants it. What I have found is that this always applies only up to the point where the gov't starts making decisions that you disagree with. Remember that when you live by the gov't you die by the gov't. Every time you give up a right, you will rarely or never get it back.

  • Mr C||

    You know guys (and girls if any are here LOL ), you're taking it all way too seriously. Swearing at people you don't know, debunking stuff with complete strangers who don't really care to learn, but only care to shout over you. Just curious, which of these two is right: force or reason? Keeping in mind, reason is what distinguishes humans from animals.

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