Somewhere Near Salinas

The editor of The Commoner, a website devoted to "the commons-based society," travels to South America to study the co-ops that dominate the economy of Salinas, Ecuador. He finds an intricate mix of voluntary cooperation and entrepreneurship -- not the sort of combination that should befuddle a libertarian, but one that leaves the writer scratching his head. "There is something intriguing in Salinas, and that is that you do not know when capitalism ends and commonism begins...and viceversa," he reports. "You feel definitively the presence of both and this is unsettling and make[s] someone like me nervous." Later he adds: "But the overall basic question in the back of my mind is this: what is co-opting what? Is capital co-opting the commons or the commons co-opting capital?" Maybe, just maybe, the mystery will go away if you don't insist on reifying "capital" and "the commons" as though they're autonomous forces.

I don't want to carp too much about the writer's POV, though. There's some interesting reportage here about a fascinating economy, and it left me eager to read more about the place. Ideally from some other perspectives.

[Via Kevin Carson.]

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  • ||

    Anyone else picture this guy as Uncle 'Traveling' Matt?

    After finally unraveling the mystery of the automobile, i guess he decided to study local economics.

  • Suki||

    Good Morning reason!

  • rctl||

    GM, Suki
    No Ninja problems this AM:-)

  • Suki||

    LOL, no and almost home to see The Beloved :)

    GN rctl

  • Suki||

    GN = GM

  • rctl||

    I thought you had slipped into another dimension for a second. WWUD?

  • Suki||

    Guessing Untermencsh would claim timenesia and say the mistake was intentional ;)

    Then again, it is night somewhere!

  • Brian E||

    You must be confused, Jesse. There's a conflict here because nobody seriously believes in just leaving people alone to organize as they please. You must either believe in forcing people to work together for the good of the many, or in forcing people to work within a highly regulated system designed for the benefit of a few businesses. We'll figure out which indoctrination camp to send you to after the next Congressional election.

  • Forrest||

    In my experience it doesn't take much to befuddle a libertarian.

  • ||

    For instance?

  • Jersey Patriot||

    Like why he spells forest with two r's.

  • ||

    Something to do with the difference between "desert" and "dessert" maybe? Best i can guess.

  • ||

    Gump sat alone on a bench in the park
    "My name is Forrest," he'd casually remark
    Waitin' for the bus with his hands in his pockets
    He just kept sayin' life is like a box of chocolates

    He's Gump, He's Gump
    What's in his head?
    He's Gump, He's Gump, He's Gump
    Is he inbred?

  • Jamie Kay||

    You're right. Everytime some fuckstick right-winger or liberal dumbshit proposes a law or regulation, we usually sit back and say, "What in the holy fuck?"

  • Bingo||

    Or why the voting populace continues to vote said fucksticks and dumbshits into office.

  • PIRS||

    “Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard, the wrong lizard might get in.”

  • Jeffersonian||

    Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

  • robc||

    Thats what happened in Minnesota.

    Someone tried to get the Lizard People elected.

  • ||

    Impressive, robc.

  • ||

    Because libertarians have failed over and over. Do better, maybe try some new ideas. Hell, Obama has done more for the movement than any libertarian ever did. Everyone always thinks the other guy's the rube, but the rubes have won every time.

  • JSinAZ||

    This is similar to the way pedophile priests help atheists. Does that mean we need to support the kid fuckers?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I actually like what Forrest did here. He said, "In my experience it doesn't take much to befuddle a libertarian," got a bunch of responses but never gave any anecdotes or explanations. I guess it's like a t-shirt that says on ones side "how do you keep a moron occupied" and on the reverse, "see other side." Bravo, Forrest. B+ Trolling.

  • Jesse Walker||

    You must be confused, Jesse.

    Forrest has befuddled me.

  • Drink!||

    You know, for a magazine called Reason, it doesn't take much...

  • Suki||

    Virginia Postrel wouldn't be befuddled.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    +LOL

  • ||

    How do you add "LOL"? IT'S NOT A NUMBER

    C# is highly typed, you can't "add" a string, dude!

    Please excuse my analness here, I'm on a partial agonist (suboxone) and am just rambling.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Holy crap, dude, you just went over my head. I hybridized +1 and LOL and have been doing this for awhile...your rambling is actually quite cool in a programmer-nerd sort of way.

  • ||

    I am assuming this is for chronic pain management Epi?

  • ||

    The chronic pain of life, yes.

  • Warty||

    C# doesn't allow you to overload operators, right? It's been a while since I used it, but if it were worth a shit, it would know that string addition is just concatenation. It's fucking obvious, yo.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I agree with you, Warty.

  • Brian E||

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. C# is a typed language (er... mostly). This has absolutely NOTHING to do with whether or not the addition operator is monomorphic. You can have a typed language with polymorphic addition and an untyped language with monomorphic addition.

    And yes, you can overload the addition operator in C#, but not AFAICT for the String class.

  • ||

    God damn, can't a guy get drugged up and make a pedantic (but incorrect) joke?

  • Warty||

    Incorrect pedantry is just like lubed buttsex. It ain't right.

  • ||

    ARGGHHHH! WARTY NOT COMPLAIN WHEN STEVE LOVINGLY USE WARMING KY!!!!!

    STEVE SMASH!!!!!!

  • josey||

    fwiw, yes (you can't), firstly because System.String is sealed, and secondly because binary + is not defined there -- it's implemented in the compiler.

  • josey||

    (that was in reply to Brian E)

  • hmm||

    Make sure to show the police where he befuddled you on the dolly.

  • ¢||

    commonism

    The umpire never ended.

  • Colin||

    Sounds a lot like the old Grateful Dead concerts.

  • Lord, I let her slip away...||

    Looking for that home, I hope she finds it

  • ||

    I like Me and Bobby McGee, but while Bob Weir sang it with the Dead and with Ratdog (and with Further), it's been performed by too many other groups to really be a Dead-specific song.

  • JohnD||

    I thought that was Janis Joplin's song?

  • skr||

    For a bunch of hippies, you could sure buy anything on shakedown street.

  • jester||

    I kind of have to laugh when someone posits that it is okay to export stuff other than foodstuffs; but foodstuffs? Never. You must eat locally. How dare you export snails and mushrooms to Europe and Asia!

  • Suki||

    Wasn't some group or other all upset for wood exports to Japan way back when?

  • Jeffersonian||

    Is it really hard to understand people working for mutual benefit? That the organization they work for has a flatter hierachy than most is of no import...what the author sees is the free market in action.

  • cynical||

    "Is it really hard to understand people working for mutual benefit?"

    It's hard for selfish assholes to understand this. Thus, both the lazy, whiny college hipster who thinks that the world owes him something for existing; and the hard-charging MBA who thinks Linux is Communist are going to be thoroughly befuddled.

    For the sort of people that realize that respect for economic freedom could support both traditional small businesses and worker-owned co-ops (in the same way that current IP law supports both copyright and copyleft), it's not a shock at all.

  • ||

    but current IP law is just government-sponsored monopoly? and isn't someone who comes up with an idea and saddles the patent office with the insistence that it ought to be protected someone who thinks 'the world owes him'?

  • cynical||

    My point wasn't that IP law is great (it's useful to society in theory, but in desperate need of reform in practice), but rather that it was an example of a system of property rights which could just as easily serve the interests of profit-loathing co-cooperative lefties as normal businesses. That is, there's nothing inherently capitalist about property rights -- the law respects ownership whether the owner is an entrepreneur or a group of workers.

  • cynical||

    *capitalist

    ^

    Probably not the right term, since if the workers owned the capital, it would still technically be capitalism and they would be capitalists. But anyway, whatever the right term is for the variant of capitalism where capital is owned by non-working investors or entrepreneurial managers, rather than the people actually directly applying the capital in labor.

  • max||

    The proper term is "corporate-capitalism", but that one has been so abused that it is useless now to describe anything. note also that originally the term "corporatism" wasn't a sunset of capitalism so there was a need for the "-capitalism" qualifier. you should be able to get away with using "corporatism" most places these days but be aware that there are connotations that go with the term that you may not want so be careful.

  • Suki||

    yonemoto,

    Monopoly? Thought those were controlling most of a market, not owning rights to a product or thousand.

  • robc||

    If you have a patent, you control 100% of the market for 17(or whatever) years.

  • Suki||

    Only on your invention, not on the whole market.

    Who, exactly, has a patent on the radio industry? That's right, nobody. They have patents on parts and processes.

  • josey||

    You might get a kick out of an item I noticed over at dkos on Thursday in a post entitled 'Daily Kos Statistics' which was basically just breaking down some of their server stats; one of the data points noted was:

    "6 of you (six, not six percent) use Linux."

  • robc||

    Huh, I havent been there in a long while, I wonder if it counted me.

  • zoltan||

    I can't imagine Linux users being frequenters of Daily Kos.

  • robc||

    The problem is the author has confused "free market" with "capitalism".

  • ||

    Maybe, just maybe, the mystery will go away if you don't insist on reifying "capital" and "the commons" as though they're autonomous forces.

    There's a lot of value in this. IMO, part of the demonization of capitalism comes from viewing "capital" as some sort of disembodied alien force of Evil Money hovering over everyone. When it's actually just a manifestation of many individual actions, somewhat like crowd patterns. Just because information travels through a crowd in cartain ways that can be collectively described, doesn't mean we're controled by some demonic "crowd" entity making us do it that way.

  • Brian E||

    Ah, but I hear this kind of thinking all the time, with words like "society", "culture", "community", etc. Of course these are all purely fictive concepts that, if they have any value at all, should only be used in very, very well sourced descriptive statements, not in prescriptive arguments. The people who insist on using this kind of group personification simply can't comprehend the behavior of individuals.

  • ||

    I don't think it's precisely the same thing. When people use the word "society" or "culture" they aren't perceiving it as somehow external to and imposed upon people.
    Also those are entities which are understood to be composed of people, systems of organizing people in group.

    With "capital", it's more like they're going "money is making us do all this stuff!" in stead of "WE are making money flow in this way. The money is us."

    Occasionally people do use 'Culture' in that way as a diembodied force, though, which is just as misguided.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Very well-stated, Hazel.

  • Brian E||

    When people use the word "society" or "culture" they aren't perceiving it as somehow external to and imposed upon people.

    No, they're just forgetting that it is. I don't see how "society" is any different from a "crowd" in this regard.

  • ||

    Well, I'm suggesting that if people used the word "crowd" in the way they use "capital" it would sound absurd.

    There's a bizarre dissocation of "Capital" from human behavior, as if "Capital" was an autonomous being with a will of it's own, rampaging across the planet out of control.
    Nobody really uses the word "Society" that way.

    Although, all things considered, maybe they should. If we're going to start regarding things that emerge from human action as somehow independent, above and controlling it, we might as well start doing it for other things that "Capital". Why NOT "Politics", "Society", "Culture", "Religion" as autonomous entities controlling our lives?

    In a way it's a bit like the way the Greeks use to have these personified dieties like "Sleep" and "Death". Take some natural aspect of reality, and regard it as agentistic. Then start sacrificing chickens to it in the hopes of appeasing it.

  • Brian E||

    Why NOT "Politics", "Society", "Culture", "Religion" as autonomous entities controlling our lives?

    I'm somewhat befuddled (admittedly, it doesn't take much). Are you suggesting that people honestly don't use these terms that way right now? I hear "religion" and "culture" being thrown around with terms like "imperialism" and "hegemony" in just this way. "Society" is likewise disassociated. Every time I'm told by some nanny on TV that our society has an obligation to do this or that, or that something must be banned because it's a threat to our culture, I have to ask where I signed up to be a part of that.

    Other words that are often used this way are "we" and "the government". Both are essentially fictions, both often talked about with some kind of agency separate and distinct from the individuals who are labeled this way.

  • ||

    There's a big difference between "X will affect our culture" and "Culture causes us to do X".

    You see? In one cases "culture" is just this thing we colelctively own and are a part of that something is altering. In the other "Culture" is an external power that's somehow imposed. The former makes a hell of a lot more sense. The latter tends to lead to midguided paranoid thinking. Which is pretty much the paranoid way the left views "Capital".

  • ||

    Substitute "Mob Rule" or "Peer group" for "Culture" in the latter of the statement and then the prime mover premise of personifying these conceptual "entities" becomes more apparent and tangible.

    Why NOT "Politics", "Society", "Culture", "Religion" as autonomous entities controlling our lives?

    Each of these are not autonomous and are interdependent for forming the ethics and the value system of an individual, thus leading to the establishment of ethos for a particular group.

    Taken individually, which of these is the most influential depends, of course, on the individual.

    What you are proposing is a "Chicken and the Egg" scenario: "X will affect our culture; culture causes us to do X". Which came first, culture or X?

  • ||

    Well, there's certainly that cricular aspect to things, and it's also true that movements of capital affect people's behavior. (Otherwise price signals would have no effect on our behavior either.)

    But the point I'm trying to get at is that people don't use "Culture" as representing some independent entity arbitrarily disconnected from and imposed upon people, they way they use "Capital". They seem to regard culture as an internal social process, but "capital" as an external force that somehow has nothing to do with human desires or needs in the market place.

  • Brian E||

    Sorry, I'm still befuddled. I don't see the difference. When the lefty causes talk about "cultural exploitation" or "preserving cultural identity", they are as far as I can tell referring to "some independent entity arbitrarily disconnected from and imposed upon people". If it was just people making voluntary choices about how to live their lives, there would never be any reason to be concerned about it, and probably little to no reason to use the word in the first place. Ditto "society", "community", etc.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Good points.

  • Comrade Zero||

    Maybe a new name for it is needed. "Capitalism" has be come associated enough with swindlers and rent-seekers that I can't put up a good fight for it (On a side note: Does anyone here think that someone who makes a living "playing the stock market" is just as much a parasite living off the efforts of others as the average career welfare recipient?)

    Why not refer to what you advocate as "Free Enterprise" instead?

  • ||

    I don't think stock brokers are parasitic. They are like the "computers" of pre-digital computing. People sitting at desks doing manual calculations. All that buying and selling isn't (at least for the people who actually make money) just a matter of gambling. It's also a matter of specializing in an industry and making informed predictions about future trends, watching the news, and incorporating that information into prices.

    The financial system is actually employing a lot of automation in efforts to predict the stock market and use that information to make money, but one of the interesting aspects of the recent financial crisis is that it exposed a weakness in the repleacement of human financial analysts by mathematical models. You get a model that has a bad assumption (i.e. local markets aren't correlated nationally), and that bad assumption blows up the entire financial system. I.e. computers aren't as smart as humans and aren't going to replace human judgements any time soon.

    Basically, any time you put your money into a bank and hope it earns interest, you're (at some level) relying on someone else to wisely invest it. You're paying someone to know what companies are producing goods that are actually going to sell and produce profits. Which is just as much a legitimate service as paying someone to know how to work on your car without fucking up the engine.

  • mr simple||

    Does anyone here think that someone who makes a living "playing the stock market" is just as much a parasite living off the efforts of others as the average career welfare recipient?

    Absolutely not. Depending on what and where they're buying and selling, traders help allay risk and add capital to businesses. Traders put their own money at risk. It's not like they're getting something for nothing.

  • Comrade Zero||

    I didn't look at it like that. Thanks for the insights!

  • ||

    Wow, looks like a pretty cool place to me dude.

    Lou
    www.anonymous-surfing.us.tc

  • Dim Witt||

    You didn't click the link, you stupid bot. It could have been pictures of Dachau for all your feeble little electronic brain would know!

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    +LOL

  • ||

    what the fuck is 'commonism'? because, if it's voluntary, to me, it's just capitalism, where you exchange money for 'feeling good for helping out the society', instead of 'stuff'.

  • turdsmuggler||

    See, your average Ecuadorian has at least 10 to 20 percent injun or "native american" blood, an' they just never got past their tribal ways. This kind of stuff works with non-christian heathen types, especially near the poverty line, with cultures that don't really have a concept of what it means to be an individule or any sense of moving up in the world. They got that harmony with nature thing going for them, so they all just get along better. Plus they got that extra bone in their ankle.

    That kind of lazayfaire living wouldn't ever work here in the US.

  • Turd||

    stop smuggling me

  • Customs Official||

    Caught you! There's a 12.5% excise tax on imported turd. We have a domestic glut as it is.

  • Harry Potter||

    (casting spell on Forrest)

    Be fuddled!

  • Dan T. ||

    If you want to befuddle a libertarian, ask them how they reconcile "taxation is theft!" with their desire for the existence of a government.

    And, no, most libertarians are not anarchists, and there is no such thing as an anarchist libertarian - anarchy is anarchy is anarchy.

  • Suki||

    Libertarian is small government, small taxes.

    How do you reconcile making things up and then criticizing what you made up?

  • Dan T. ||

    See? Like I said - see tarran below. If libertarians were consistent, they would be across-the-board anarchists.

  • Sam Grove||

    But if "anarchist" is the appropriate label, why a need for "libertarian"?

  • Dan T. ||

    Exactly, so why the pretense?

    No libertarian who believes in even the most minimalist government can utter "taxation is theft", "government force" and "government slavery", seeing as how they (minimally, granted) support all those things in one form or another.

    And as tarran said, now we are not arguing about whether you are a statist, just how much of a statist you are.

  • JB||

    You need to do more reading.

    There are many ways to organize many voluntary structures that resemble the structures of government.

    Libertarians fit along a spectrum with some being more anarchist than others.

    At this point, I would like a lot less theft than there is currently. In general, I believe in higher order goods, but there are very few higher order goods where it is justified in taking a piece of someone's life by force.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Taxation for certain things is not theft, but beyond that core group of functions, it is.

    Let's turn it around Danny Boy: If Tom Coburn and John Boehner dreamed up a nice, fat 30% excise tax on solar energy, wind power, organic foods and Birkenstocks so they could send the money to National Review, would that be theft?

  • Sam Grove||

    Isn't a statist one who supports a state?

    Is government not possible without a state?

  • prolefeed||

    It is possible to organize government so no coercion or theft at all occurs. It means making EVERY service performed by government declinable by citizens, and paid for by either voluntary charitable donations or fees paid in exchange for services voluntarily accepted.

    Of course, if you did that, there would be far less government than now.

  • ||

    a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of the small mind.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    +1

  • tarran||

    Thank you Dan,

    And now tell me, what is my favorite color?

  • Guess||

    Your favorite color is green

  • Suki||

    In a facebook discussion the other night some silly self-identified "conservative" man said you can't be socially liberal and fiscally conservative, then got text-beaten by all of us girls on the thread.

    His defense was if you let people do whatever drugs or sex they want then society *must* pay for their mistakes! ROFL.

  • tarran||

    Dan T. is right in one respect; the defining libertarian principle is the Zero Aggression Principle.

    When one consistently applies that principle to all political question, one gets anarchism, since a traditional state - defined as an entity with a monopoly on courts and acting as a final arbiter on questions regarding the legitimate use of violence - must aggress against people who try to set up institutions that compete with it or operate within its jurisidiction but refuse to cede control.

    Many minarchists argue that a society lacking a legal system that acts as a final arbitrer of disputes will degenerate into violence and that a libertarian society is one that limits itself to having as few services delivered by the state as possible while keeping society functioning.

    Strictly speaking, though, it's a hypocritical stance: the minarchist is arguing, like the progressive, that some institutions are too important to be left to the market.

    In considering this, I am reminded of the following joke:

    A well dressed man sidles up to a beautiful young woman at a bar. He asks her, "If I were to give you a million dollars, would you sleep with me?."

    She looks him over and considers it. "Sure," she finally answers.

    "Great!" the man responds. "However, I really only want to pay you $200".

    "What kind of a woman do you think I am!?" She angrily responds.

    "Oh, I know what you are. Now we're just haggling over the price," he answers with a smirk.

    Where Dan T. is wrong, of course, is in his argument that all forms of anarchism are the same. They are not.

    The communist anarchist, for example, believes that private property is immoral. The syndicalist believes that whomever uses something gains ownership of it. The libertarian applies the Lockian notion of whomever first takes possession of unowned property becomes the owner until he sells or gives it away.

    All of these different philosophies have incompatible ethical systems that if followed would bring incompatible institutions into being.

    To claim that they are all the same thing is intellectually lazy.

    Of course, this is Dan T, the man who famously argued that women's political views were governed by how much use they had gotten out of their uterus.

  • Dan T. ||

    Whatever. I take the literal definition ("an" - without and "archy" - rulers, commonly called government), and I have seen multiple people on these boards say the same thing.

    Regardless, you have ceded the central point - consistent libertarians are anarchists. The silly and dogmatic adherence to NAP proves it.

  • tarran||

    Except that wasn't your central point at all. (Although you are so cute when you try to pretend you are making grown-up arguments)

    You were arguing that libertarians get befuddled. And the answer is no. Sure, some libertarians get befuddled, particularly the ones with a shallow grasp of philosophy. This shallowness may be found in adherents of all political ideologies - for example when a certain supporter of progressivism made a comment to the effect that a woman won't hold libertarian views after bearing children and was blind to the sexism in that comment.

    Serious libertarians have been debating the question of minarchy vs anarchy for a very long time. They aren't befuddled, they understand each others' arguments quite well, and advance some interesting rebuttals.

  • Dan T. ||

    Except the minarchists are hypocrites (you said it yourself) and the anarchists have absolutely no human history to back them up.

    (*waits while tarran furiously googles about medieval Iceland*)

    That was a government, too. So, one group is hypocritical (minarchists) and the other is totally ahistorical and rests on arguments that depend on men becoming angels (i.e. denying their nature), much like the communists both groups so loathe.

    Booooo-ring. You may think it is some grand, complex theory I do not just "get", but I get it, I just think "it" is a bunch of nonsense.

  • robc||

    You act like hypocrisy is a bad thing.

    Im a christian. One of the tenets is that all men are sinners. We also have leaders who should instruct and guide us in morality. Gut wait, those leaders are men, which means they are sinners, which means they are hypocrites. Yep, and?

    Im always amused when people get hung up about some hypocritical minister somewhere. I dont expect otherwise. How could they not be?

    Call me a hypocrite all you want, I embrace it. You still havent responded to my Gödel point.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Actually, I think Dan T. did inadvertantly respond to your Godel point. I don't think his formal system is comprehensive enough to reproduce the statement.

  • tarran||

    robc,

    Have you read the "Diamond Age" by Neal Stephenson?

    He makes some arguments along those lines that you may find interesting.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I personally have to catch up on my Stephenson. I love(d) "Snow Crash", but I've really got to catch up on the rest of his oeuvre sooner or later.

  • tarran||

    Except the minarchists are hypocrites (you said it yourself) and the anarchists have absolutely no human history to back them up.

    Which has fuck all to do with your earlier arguments...

    Don't you get tired shifting the goalpoasts so often?

    Booooo-ring. You may think it is some grand, complex theory I do not just "get", but I get it, I just think "it" is a bunch of nonsense.

    Which again had fuck all to do with your argument.

    Damn, it's a shame that you waste yourself writing such moronic, puerile shit. It's sad to see the waste of intelligence; sometimes you say interesting stuff.

    It's like somewhere in your childish posturing there's an adult fighting to get out.

  • robc||

    The defining libertarian principle is the Zero Aggression Principle.

    No it isnt. For some libertarians it is. Others make no such claim.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    That's true, robc. What Dan T. described weren't my views at all.

  • tarran||

    So what qualities make a political philosophy libertarian in your mind?

  • robc||

    Im a "big tent" libertarian. Any philosophy which favors a strong increase in liberty in all broad* aspects qualifies for me. Fuck purity.

    *so I would exclude philosophies that only favor liberty in economic areas. Or just social areas. Or just in immigration. Or etc.

  • tarran||

    Ok. So a communist that claims that once the proletariat sieze the means of production, everyone will be free... Would that be libertarian?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    No. The ends don't justify the means, and the ends in this case would actually be fucked anyway.

  • robc||

    The ends don't justify the means, and the ends in this case would actually be fucked anyway.

    This. Part of being deontological is that its the means that matter, not the ends. If the means are liberty oriented, it aint libertarian.

    Killing all non-libertarians would lead to a libertarian society, but would still be non-libertarian.

  • robc||

    Claiming doesnt make it so.

  • tarran||

    Claiming doesnt make it so.

    Somewhere Eric Dondero is adding you to his enemies list. :)

    OK, so if claiming to improve freedom does not define something as being libertarian, what specific qualities do define it as libertarian?

    If I write a giant wall of text about Tarranism, and you decided to read it, what qualities would you look for before deciding whether or not you considered it libertarian?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    The fucked up part is, even though I earlier claimed to not believe the zero-agression principle is absolute, it would be the first thing I would look for.

  • robc||

    Somewhere Eric Dondero is adding you to his enemies list. :)

    Dont worry Im already on it.

  • tarran||

    It is a very long list.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I would like to compare/contrast the Hit & Run/general enemies lists of Dondero and LoneWacko.

  • ||

    As a side note:
    a communist that claims that once the proletariat sieze the means of production, everyone will be free

    Aren't they rather confusing the physical tools of production (factories etc.) with production as an economic process?

    It's sort of like seizing a bunch of guns without knowing how they work, isn't it? You can control the factory, but if you have no idea what to make with it or any means to tune your product to demand, then what's the point?

  • robc||

    Here then is the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world; here too is the design and end of government, viz. Freedom and security. And however our eyes may be dazzled with show, or our ears deceived by sound; however prejudice may warp our wills, or interest darken our understanding, the simple voice of nature and reason will say, 'tis right.

    Is it hypocritical to be a minarchist and oppose initiation of force? Probably. But one again, I refer you, once again, to Herr Gödel. I choose inconsistency over incompleteness.

  • Dan T. ||

    We generally call that "hypocrisy". Like tarran has said, we have established you are a statist. The question now is, how much of a statist are you?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Dan T., don't you realize that's not a damning question at all? Why do you think it is that there are different subsets of every political group, including libertarianism?

  • robc||

    The minimal amount necessary to secure liberty.

    Geez, got any hard questions?

    You havent been around for a while, so you missed where I described myself as a deontological realist libertarian. DRLs dont have problems with a few minor contradictions or hypocrisies.

  • Dan T. ||

    So you have to abridge liberty (in the form of taxation by force) in order to save it?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I don't have a problem with taxation, just taxation without representation.

  • tarran||

    But ART what is representation?

    For example, I don't consent to be governed. Not a single person whose held elected office in any of the states I've lived in has ever received my vote.

    How can one argue that they represent me? I can't fire them, they don't listen to my instructions as to how to vote on legislation.

    How is this any different from the Cosa Nostra sending someone over to collect protection money from me?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    It's not much different, but it's the only game in town*. I'm considering whether IRV would be a better system.

    *Like M&M Enterprises from Catch-22.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Don't get me wrong, you raise an extremely valid point about how awful democracy can be. I just don't have a better answer.

  • tarran||

    Come on Art-P.O.G....

    Come over to the dark side. ;)

    Or, have you considered Partri Friedman's Anarcho-blow-up-the-moonism, a philosophy that is so extreme ("Not only do we want anarchy, but we also want to blow up the frigging moon") that mere anarcho-capitalism looks middle-of-the-road by comparison?

  • Brian E||

    So you have to abridge liberty (in the form of taxation by force) in order to save it?

    You don't deserve a serious answer, but I'm going to give it anyway.

    Liberty is not the natural state of man. Absent government, if I don't have a reason to bother you, I won't. But if I think you might be a threat to me or a competitor for some vital resource, I'm going to slit your throat and take all your stuff before you have a chance to do anything about it. It's natural, it's logical, and anyone who claims that people will behave ethically without something like government is bullshitting.

    Thus liberty only exists because of an obligation of the individual to defend the principles of liberty for others. Some people pay this obligation directly. Others pay for it indirectly via taxes. Taxation to establish the preconditions of liberty is not theft, because absent liberty the concept of theft simply does not exist. As the inscription on Lincoln's pocket watch says, "thank God we have a government".

    How does this fit into the NAP? Fuck if I know. I never signed on because I thought it was incoherent and essentially a suicide pact. Real people don't play by those rules.

  • robc||

    Kurt Gödel answered that. No befuddlement at all.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Well said, robc. Theoretically speaking, all political philosophies break down at a certain point (I think we're all smart enough to figure out where they are). Libertarianism is no different. Luckily, they don't exist in a vacuum. I hope Dan T. didn't think he was the only person to figure that out.

  • Dan T. ||

    Not the first to realize it, but everytime you think "theft", just remember, you support some measure of theft yourself.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    OK, but what was with the whole Forrest thing? Welcome back, by the way.

  • tarran||

    I believe Forrest is Edward trying out a new identity so people will listen to him.

    Dan T was posting as Scotch Hamilton for a while.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I doubt it. I saw Edward form a coherent thought, maybe...once?

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Wait, nevermind...I saw Dan T. form a coherent thought, but not Forrest. So Forrest could be Edward.

  • robc||

    Is there some requirement that a government must tax? Couldnt it exist entirely on voluntary donations?

    Ha! You are wrong yet again.

    The idea of a government in which all officials are serving voluntarily (or being paid via a foundation) appeals to me. But, you may say, what about national defense, can you count on volunteers to defend the nation against invasion? Any nation in which you cant count on a volunteer army doesnt deserve to exist.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Good points yet again.

  • Dan T. ||

    Is there some requirement that a government must tax? Couldnt it exist entirely on voluntary donations?

    Again, the irony of a libertarian failing Econ 101 is never boring.

    You may want to refresh your memory and look up the "free rider problem". If enough of you donate, what incentive do *I* have to do so? If enough of us think like that (and we do, or sayeth the Dismal Science), you will not garner enough funds for an adequate defense.

  • robc||

    I dont have a problem with free riders, so it isnt a problem.

    Did you even read what I wrote:

    Any nation in which you cant count on a volunteer army doesnt deserve to exist.

    If free riders are that big of a problem, the nation doesnt deserve to exist.

  • Dan T. ||

    A volunteer army, voluntarily paid for out of the goodness of your heart and totally reliant on the charity of others?

    Like I said, one group is ahistorical and waxes lyrically about castles in the sky and runs counter to human nature...

  • robc||

    See Welsh poetry below.

  • JB||

    I think you would be surprised how many people would voluntarily support the military.

    Not at its current size no, but I don't think a few billion would be hard.

  • robc||

    I think you would be surprised how many people would voluntarily support the military.

    The convoy of pick up trucks heading north if Canada ever invaded would be awe inspiring. Sure the last trip to Pennsylvania didnt work out so well....

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    But whose side would Shatner be on?

  • ||

    His.

    SPOCK!

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Agreed.

  • josey||

    A classic false dilemma.

    You assume the act of securing funding by means of physical coercion, i.e. compulsory taxation, to be completely inseparable from the the process of developing societal organization, i.e. government. You do not state any basis for implicitly holding such a view, and instead pose the question in simplistic either/or , i.e. tax or government, terms.

    So here's a thought experiment for you: assume that nothing at all were changed, but that tax collections were not enforced. All existing government structures were allowed to continue on in their current forms, and either to grow or shrink based on incoming tax receipts. No law, tax or otherwise, would be changed and no regulation would be dropped -- I'm just trying to be clear: the only deliberate change would be that tax collections were no longer physically enforced.

    What kind of results might one expect to see?

  • JB||

    A good idea too.

    See how many of those Leftists keep paying all their taxes.

  • Edwin||

    There is no inconsistency. Minarchists are just realistic, and aren't fucking nerdo douches who think that one's political philosophy has to follow some stupid, rigid, completely theoretical theory-system. And minarchists don't think that they know better than thousands of years of cultural evolution just because they read a couple of gay books by some douchebags. The main basis of theories should be REALITY.

    And nobody said every last libertarian thinks "taxes are theft" or strictly believes in the non-agression principle.

  • Edwin||

    and that's thousands of years of SUCCESSFUL cultural revolution. No group of people has ever led bet better lives than the 300 million people of America who take for granted effective medicine, utilities, cars, TV, telecommunications, etc.

    When you think that you know SO much better than the rest of society about how things should be done, you're basically just a hippy liberal college douche kid.

  • Ska||

    just because they read a couple of gay books by some douchebags

    Where do you normally post, Callofdutyforums.com? I applaud the phrase, reagrdless.

  • tarran||

    What's funny is that we 'douches' actually are being driven by practical history.

    For example, do you know *why* the U.S. Constitution was viewed as a step towards tyranny by so many people in the 1790's? Do you know *why* a secretive group of delegates decided to hijack an ammending convention and build a new central state aping many of the functions of the English Crown?

    Say the phrase "Shay's Rebellion" to minarchists % record the percentage that stare at you blankly.

    Say the phrase to anarchists, and you will find many of them are quite familiar with the rebellion by hick farmers who panicked George Washington & his mercantilist buddies by taking the promises of the Declaration of Independence literally.

  • Edwin||

    Oh god SHUT UP

    if you were driven by practical history you'd know that anarchy is never going to happen EVER.

    The constitution was a step TOWARDS tyranny? Are you listening to yourself? It clearly hasn't worked out that way, unless you're a little bitch dogmatic anarchist who pisses and moans about every little fucking government action

    The world is what it is, and you need to stop whining and accept it.

    I'll care about what anarchists say when they actually get something fucking done. Or actually say something reasonable and realistic.

  • dennis||

    you're kind of a dick

  • tarran||

    Hey you dorkbreath, you now need permission from the state headquartered in Washington DC to earn money legally. Is that a step toward liberty or tyrranny? Even the feces that you use for neurons should be able to puzzle out the right answer on that one.

    You think that would ever be contemplated under the articles of confederation?

    So shit for brains, when George Washington invaded Pennsylvania with the U.S. Army to collect a tax to pay for Alexander Hamilton's tax & spend policies, something again that would never been permitted under the Articles of Confederation, was that a step toward freedom or tyranny?

    Yes, we'll never see anarchy in our lifetimes. But so what?

    I'll never live in a society that will be free of murders. Does that make me a dork for saying that murder is bad?

  • josey||

    They'll get something done when they successfully provide you with a way of circumventing the systems of sovereign currency you are suffering under today. The relationship you see when you plot the rapidly-decreasing fiscal responsibility of national governments against the increasing capabilities of technology provides a strong case for saying that this will happen in the not-so-distant future -- it is simply a question of supply and demand.

    That aside, you are writing in a very absolute fashion; the real fact is that there are many different types and levels of anarchy to consider. In one sense, the world is currently in a state of anarchy -- there is no worldwide government. In another, it is not; most, if not all, humans currently find themselves under the thumb of one national government or another.

    So, if there is no worldwide government, and you do not (as I assume) consider this to be anarchy, how would you characterize a scenario, identical to what we see today, but in which there are no national governments?

  • zoltan||

    Edwin (hands over ears): Shut up, shut up, SHUT UUUUUUUUUUPPPPPPP!!!!!

  • robc||

    The anti-federalists werent anarchists.

  • tarran||

    The anti-federalists werent anarchists.

    Of course they weren't. However, that does not mean that when they decried the adoption of the United States Constitution as being a step toward tyranny they were wrong.

    The anti-federalist writer Brutus was particularly prescient in his prediction that the powers given to the new central government would lead toward a government that controlled much of our lives.

    And Madison's snarky essay on how the Congress is clearly limited to a few enumerated powers and that only someone with a poor grasp of English could read the Constitution and conclude otherwise is, to me, one of the more inadvertently funny political tracts I have ever read.

  • prolefeed||

    So here's a thought experiment for you: assume that nothing at all were changed, but that tax collections were not enforced. All existing government structures were allowed to continue on in their current forms, and either to grow or shrink based on incoming tax receipts. No law, tax or otherwise, would be changed and no regulation would be dropped -- I'm just trying to be clear: the only deliberate change would be that tax collections were no longer physically enforced.

    What kind of results might one expect to see?

    One would expect to see government agencies offering services in exchange for fees, and private organizations taking away most of their business.

  • cynical||

    In same way that some people get up in arms about Kelo or Ratner but not about rights-of-way or using eminent domain to build roads, some people (certainly not all) distinguish between taxes taken for use on public goods and taxes taken from one individual and then given to another individual. The latter is certainly closer to a form of legalized theft, with the the government as middleman.

  • ||

    http://www.isil.org/ayn-rand/c.....etter.html

  • ||

  • robc||

    Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

    Speaking of The Simpson's references, I was watching that Life documentary the other day and when the meercats were standing up, I said "Ah, they look like a bunch of little Rory Calhouns".

    And that applies to this thread how? Yeah, I dont know either.

  • hmm||

    Not sure on the back story, but three things I didn't were a warrant, permission, or cause.

    At least they didn't shoot the dog or her
    Why is it always the semi crazy "I'm a sovereign" and so forth that have the presence of mind to film this shit. (not that such things have an effect on her rights being violated)

  • hmm||

    *I didn't see*

  • Sam Grove||

    Does government require a hierarchical power structure (the state)?

    Perhaps not.

  • Sam Grove||

    A middle aged man working in the youth co-operative that manages the hostel where I am staying with my family tells me with some pride that 95% of the population is part of the “organisation” (the other 5% apparently choose not the be in it, but they are benefited by the organisation nevertheless, since they sell their produce to it).

    The writer, or someone, is unable to distinguish between the market and the "organisation", else he would not suppose that the benefit is one way.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Good point.

  • Ceiriog||

    “I Blas Gogerddan heb dy dad!
    Fy mab erglyw fy llef,
    Dos yn dy o+l i faes y gad,
    Ac ymladd gydag ef!
    Dy fam wyf fi, a gwell gan fam,
    It golli’th waed fel dwfr,
    Neu agor drws i gorff y dewr,
    Na derbyn bachgen llwfr.”

    “I’r neuadd dos ac yno gwe+l
    Arluniau’r Prysiaid pur;
    Mae ta+n yn llygad llym pob un,
    Yn golau ar y mur.” –
    “Nid fi yw’r mab amharchai’i fam,
    Ac enw ty+ ei dad:
    Cusenwch fi fy mam” medd ef,
    Ac aeth yn o+l i’r gad.

    Daeth ef yn o+l i dy+ ei fam,
    Ond nid, ond nid yn fyw:
    Medd hithau, “O fy mab! fy mab!
    O maddau im O Dduw!”
    Ar hyn atebai llais o’r mur:
    “Trwy Gymru tra rhe+d dwfr,
    Mil gwell yw marw’n fachgen dewr,
    Na byw yn fachgen llwfr!”

  • robc||

    I have no idea how the anti-english filter let me post that.

  • JB||

    People need to realize that most Leftists are all about force.

    THAT is what gets them off. That and talking about helping people. They don't care about actually helping people.

    Just ask one Leftist if they ever voluntarily wrote a sizable check to the US government. I haven't met one yet.

    They are all about forcing others to pay higher taxes.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Many leftists actually do care about helping people, I'm sure. Others are exactly how you describe them.

  • prolefeed||

    Many leftists actually do care about "helping" people, using force rather than persuasion.

    Fixed.

  • zoltan||

    Both you and Art are definitely correct. When I was a 13-year-old leftist, I certainly thought my politics would help others and was heedless to the force involved and those it would hurt.

  • Apostate Jew||

    I thought of mocking this comment but I couldn't improve on the original.

    Hit and Run, now with more spluttering!

  • JB||

    "Just ask one Leftist if they ever voluntarily wrote a sizable check to the US government. I haven't met one yet."

    Any evidence to refute that? Nope? Then shut up.

  • Apostate Jew||

    Charming.

  • JB||

    My evidence is better than your empty spluttering. Thus, shut up if you have nothing of value to add.

  • ||

    Fundamentally, it's about resentment and envy. They bitch about "greed" all the time, but really, they are more greedy tham most. That's why they hate the fact that other people have more money tham them. If they weren't greedy they wouldn't care.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Fundamentally, JB, your characterization of liberals seems as cartoonish as the stereotype of libertarians as monocled, mustache-twirling, tophatted villains. Oh, wait, the one about libertarians is true.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Of course, I guess you did qualify that with a "most leftists."

  • JB||

    Yes, it's not all, but it is a large number.

  • robc||

    My monocle is currently in the shop being repaired, but other than that....

  • Atanarjuat||

    Hazel Meade, FWIW, that describes all the leftists I know perfectly. They all come from fairly well-off families too.

  • Edwin||

    Indeed. I doubt it describes all leftists, but it seems to be pretty dang true a disturbingly great amount of the time.

  • ||

    Well, it describes the ones that want to redistribute wealth and hate everyone with money.

    There are species of left-libertarian whose attitude is less about ass-raping people that are richer than they are, and more about wanting to be left alone to form a hippie commune. They are more likely to form a local coop than demand a federal program to fulfill their needs, which is kind of positive.

  • zoltan||

    They are more likely to form a local co-op with greedily outstretched hands for government subsidies.

  • josey||

    It's sometimes that, and sometimes just a different, more modern form of paying indulgences. What drives certain people to do that? Guilt? The need to establish some type of moral superiority? Who knows, but for whatever reason that it worked well for the church in the past, it's working well for government now. Of course, with the neat added spin that it's not only your own sin (i.e. your existence) that you absolve, through the sacrifice of your own money, but the sins of society itself (i.e. human existence; see also: extremist environmentalism), through your willing participation in the confiscation and subsequent sacrifice of the money of others at the incorruptible altars of public charity, public education, public healthcare, etc.

    This is one of the main reasons why confiscationist government worshipers tend to despise private charity -- it is not so much that they don't understand it, it is that they have no way to inject themselves into that equation, and therefore cannot reap any psychological benefit from the transaction.

  • ||

    Hmmm. I dunno. They could inject themselves into the transaction by providing charity themselves. That doesn't work.

    Perhaps it's more that they don't want those evil rich people deriving any benefit from private charity. It's no fun if the wealthy give away their own money voluntarily. They have to be FORCED, or it doesn't satisfy the need to get revenge on them for having money. Taxing the wealthy is emotionally satisfying in a way that watching Bill Gates donate a billion dollars to charity isn't.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I think you're onto something, Hazel. Likewise, josey.

  • ||

    Occam: Those with the aphrodisiacs of power and influence wish to enforce bliss upon others.

  • ||

    I'm starting to think I need to troll on some leftist sites, personally. The psychoanalysis will drive them nuts.

  • josey||

    Sure -- like I did say -- sometimes. There are hundreds of species; the sincere, the martyrs, the vicarious power-mongers, etc., etc. Nearer the bottom, various psychological devices serve to provide justification to the individual for the contradiction of his own self respect in the face of his inherent disrespect of those like him; that is to say, they enable him to operate from a basis of perceived sincerity. As you move toward the top, this personal need to validate becomes more unnecessary, being displaced by the drive for power. At the same time, the old justifications, while no longer useful to the individual himself, still hold value as a powerful propaganda in which he may couch his developing quest for power.

  • proud libitard||

    somewhere near salinas lord
    I let him slip away
    looking for that home and I hope he finds it

  • ||

    Dan T (this one, anyway) smells a lot like MaunderingNannyGoat.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Where's MNG been at, anyway?

  • ||

    Playing Scotch Hamilton.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I think "Dan D." would be a lot better of a name than "Dan T." anyway, but so it goes.

  • Warty||

    I miss Dave W. So much crazier than Dan T.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    That's the HFCS guy, right? He was semi-vindicated, LOL.

  • ||

    FARCES WANNO MO'

  • ||

    Reporting for duty, sir!

    I post infrequently :)

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Oh, I remember you! Awesome.

  • get a ||

    room

  • Suki||

    Where would you rather live? Hamasistan or Libertopia?

  • ||

    Depends. Who has the hotter womens? LOL

  • Suki||

    Libertopia, of course! We only explode in self defense on our own property.

  • ||

    As long as the womens also accept cunnilingus for explosive vaginal orgasms, sold!

  • zoltan||

    Usually cunnilingus results in clitoral orgasms but most women aren't complaining about the terminology.

  • ||

    Physiologically and anatomically speaking, you are correct. I meant to imply coitus would follow oral copulation leading to a greater chance of vaginal ecstasy.

  • Paul||

    "You feel definitively the presence of both and this is unsettling and make[s] someone like me nervous."

    Surely some political body should be looking into this economy to mold it and shape it so that what's good will remain and flourish, and what's bad can be exorcised from the landscape.

  • ||

    This type of arrangement is fairly common in almost ever poor country I have been too. As an example, in Africa if you go on safari - every driver has a land rover. I didn't think much of it until we saw another driver with a broken leaf spring. There were about 10 other driver that had stopped, but our driver had a leaf spring - and every driver had something. Instead of triple A, they drove the same car and all carried a few spare parts, sooner or later if you broke down, someone would come by with the part you need. Collective roadside insurance - it works great when everyone drives the same car, but they where all very much capitalists out to make a buck (if the government would get out of the way).

  • ||

    Many minarchists argue that a society lacking a legal system that acts as a final arbitrer of disputes will degenerate into violence

    That would be me. Based on little more than the history of every tribal or clan-based society on the planet.

    and that a libertarian society is one that limits itself to having as few services delivered by the state as possible while keeping society functioning.

    There ya go.

    Strictly speaking, though, it's a hypocritical stance: the minarchist is arguing, like the progressive, that some institutions are too important to be left to the market.

    Not that some are too important to be left to the market; rather, that the market cannot provide some services in principle. Markets are necessarily about choice and competition; however, choice and competition for setting basic rules and resolving disputes leads to an unstable society. Why do I believe this? Because any society that has grown larger than a pretty small and primitive clan-based society has a final arbiter, that's why. As far as anyone can tell, without kinship ties to pressure someone into accepting an adverse decision in a dispute, violence and instability will prevail.

  • josey||

    I don't really agree with the approach of blindly superimposing results found by studying one society over another. The fact is that non-monopolist government has never been observed in a context anything close to our present society (I refer here to the developed nations), and it is therefore tenuous to say that it would definitely result in such an such.

    Analytically speaking, crime is essentially a question of cost vs. benefit; I posit that the outstanding level of productivity realized in modern society must tend to shift that curve decidedly in a direction which produces a strong preference for what we would generally consider to be 'civilized' behavior.

    I am in no way suggesting that technology somehow obliterates all cases of violent and/or criminal behavior, but rather that the instability you are expecting to see might not really tend to reach anything close to the level that you apparently envision.

  • JOR||

    Because, as all statists know, Final Arbiters aren't made of that pesky substance called people, and thus don't have any incentives to speak of, least of all any incentives to do whatever violence and mayhem they can get away with (which happens to be unlimited by definition).

    They're made of magic.

  • ||

    "owever, the international solidarity fair trade circuit can offer to buy only 5 hundred Kg a month in sweaters at the given fair trade price (which, although higher than market price has an obvious upper limit, because also the fair trade operators have a business to run and a commodity to sell). This implies that the rest of production of wool ( up to 20 thousands Kg. a month, which is the maximum capacity of the plant), enters the normal market circuits and provides the raw material for underpaid and overexploited textile workers around the world. This is one way in which the damned capitalist “law of value” enter Salinas."

    That made the whole read well worth it.

    Gotta get started on another week of being overexploited now. Doh!, lousy market economy.

  • lj220||

    i would rather live in the country LJJLJLUIDS

  • oakley sunglasses 2012||

    i want to go with you DG3bsFFY

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