Libertarianism From A to Z With Jeffrey Miron

Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron is probably best known for his influential 2005 study The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition, which laid out in plain detail the high costs and low benefits of keeping pot illegal. During the financial crisis, Miron was one of the most eloquent and insistent voices opposing government bailouts at all levels.

Now Miron has produced Libertarianism From A to Z, an encyclopedic look at everything from abortion to zoos from an angle consistent with classical liberal thought and insights. Miron's book, which covers tough issues such as civil rights legislation, immigration policy, and much more, is simultaneously provocative and engaging.

Reason.tv's Nick Gillespie spoke with Miron in Reason's DC HQ; shot by Merdith Bragg and Dan Hayes; edited by Hayes.

Approximately 10 minutes. Scroll down for downloadable versions. Subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube channel for automatic notification when new material goes live.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Max||

    Jeffrey Moron?

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Max(ipad)?

  • π||

    Max(iwad)?

  • cynical||

    Making fun of illiterate people is kinda mean.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    "Making fun of illiterate people is kinda mean."

    So is making fun of the mothers of your peers through disgusting imagery, but that's not going to stop anybody anytime soon.

  • Sudden||

    Max(imum Douchebaggery)?

  • Xeones||

    Max/Forrest/Morris/Lefiti/Edward, it is way too early for you to be this retarded. Please back it off a notch or two, kay?

  • Colin||

    +1

  • Mike||

    Stop that.

  • Colin||

    I wonder if it let his libertarian views be known before or after he received tenure.

  • Max||

    Oh, after! Libertarians are sooo0 persecuted. Be brave, Colin. Be ready to die for the faith!

  • x,y||

    He's definitely a utilitarian libertarian, which is acceptable in some academic circles. If the evidence showed coercive government action was a net social gain, he would be all for it.

  • π||

    "I came for a visit...- asked what should I teach? - They said teach whatever you want."

    Then he asked himself what his views were. If you take it literally he may not have known what his views were before he was tenured.

  • ||

    He is a lecturer, not a regular faculty member. He is definitely a utilitarian. He has only been at Harvard a few years and was well known to the people there before he started teaching.

  • derpdeederp||

    Oooh, can I be trolled too?

  • ||

    Libertarianism works because every sane individual in the world can be relied upon to make good, rational decisions that have no negative impact on themselves nor anyone else!

  • x,y||

    Don't feed the troll.

  • ||

    “The claims of these organizers of humanity raise another question which I have often asked them and which, so far as I know, they have never answered: If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind? The organizers maintain that society, when left undirected, rushes headlong to its inevitable destruction because the instincts of the people are so perverse. The legislators claim to stop this suicidal course and to give it a saner direction. Apparently, then, the legislators and the 
organizers have received from Heaven an intelligence and virtue that place them beyond and above mankind; if so, let them show their titles to this superiority.”
–Frederic Bastiat, The Law, 1850

  • Soonerliberty||

    Bastiat is a fascist! Wait, he's French. I'm confused. We're supposed to like them, right? Oh, the mind of a warped progressive leftist.

    I would assume that their claim to superiority is a university education granted to them by even more superior geniuses who bath and cloth them in the leftist progressive religion. I guess most of it comes from a deep-seated rage based on the fact that workers of lower intelligence can make much more money than the so-called avante garde in our educational system. Jealousy and envy are on the march!

  • Soonerliberty||

    *bathe and clothe*

  • Marc||

    Good one.

    I find that about 90% of trolls were pre-emptively pwned by Bastiat.

  • π||

    Bastiat must have been a wise man, he agreed with me, and yet unlike myself could write the same thought down in a paragraph that I need a few pages for.

    It's that self perceived "superiority" in our most aggressive opponents that makes them impossible to reason with. They all have or a master-plan of their own or support one of another supposed "superior," but none of them seems to have taken a moment to so much as examine the master-plan, to test it's integrity.

    It's difficult to understand how an unwillingness, or inability, to think things through, or think for one's self could make anyone a superior.

    Given a choice someone who thinks for their own self and/or attempts to think things through, even if often mistaken, will always be superior to those who don't, won't, or can't.

    Those who accept mankind is always flawed realize there are no superiors and if they actually think will always favor the individual as the only logical choice. Those who don't and believe in "superiors" will always favor the collectivist bee-hive model which obviously requires a master-plan to exist.

    Both right and left are master-planners, the left is just far more impatient, they demand it be done yesterday, the right is content with tomorrow or the next day. The rest of us are here stuck between the imbeciles to either side leaving us no choice but to occasionally throw our lots in with those moving slower, as repugnant as it may be, given the two choices and no other, the slower path to self-destruction is preferred.

  • Soonerliberty||

    And gov't works b/c people are too evil to be trusted and too dumb to make their own decisions! Wait, who is supposed to run it then?

  • ||

    "That government is best which governs least!" If you don't believe it just look at Haiti, Mexico, India...

  • Soonerliberty||

    The point being that gov't destroyed those societies, and is still doing so? According to the sarcasm of your logic, that would mean that the gov't that rules the most governs best. Look at USSR, PRC, EU (Greece, Britain, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Germany, France), Middle East, Africa, and so forth. Perhaps, we should throw the US in the pile of massive failures in gov't experiments. Or do you like wars and welfare? Or inflated currency? Or permanent poverty?

  • ||

    As a matter of fact, I am an ardent, ancient believer in limited government! On the other hand, Libertarianism is far too close to Anarchy, and Anarchy exists only so long as it takes the thugs to realize there are no restraints upon them, then they rule! Anarchy is the mother of kings! If, as is certainly likely, people will form communities, then conflicts and disputes will arise among them, and, if there is to be peace, some means of settling differences must be put in place. The institution that emerges becomes Government. The nature and reach of that government is determined by the culture of the community, and that culture will be shaped by the environment in which the community exists and by the community's responses to that environment. If the culture features hostility, aggressiveness and violence then it will require a harsher regime than will be required for one that lacks those elements. Not all communities are alike, and no form of government is appropriate to all. It is more accurate to say,"That Government is best that governs sufficiently and no more."

  • ||

    That Government is best that governs sufficiently and no more.

    It's good that we have smart people like you to define the parameters of "sufficient".

  • ||

    I think, therefore, you don't have to.

    Seriously, I would rely on you to help me in that definition!

  • ||

    To me the government should provide defense against outside aggression, and protection of citizens and their property from inside aggression. Other than that and possibly some infrastructure, roads and sewage treatment for example, I would pretty much leave people free to run their own lives.

    The roads and water are negotiable though, I just haven't heard any plausible/workable free market solutions to these...yet.

  • ||

    Try Walter Block's 'Privatization of Roads and Highways". And if you haven't read his, "Defending the Undefendable," it's excellent.

  • ||

    Well, capitol I, it's good that we have smart people like you to define the parameters of "sufficient"!

  • Soonerliberty||

    Isn't the existing framework between states that of anarchy?

  • Tony||

    These days most nation states are loosely confederated (although in reality institutions like the UN are trumped by the US's nuke-ocracy). But as someone said above, there being no magical formula for how big a government should be, it probably should be as big as is sufficient to deal with the problems that affect those within its scope. There are global problems now, and the level of global government is clearly not sufficient to handle them.

  • Soonerliberty||

    That's an interesting way of doing things. We legislate, which affects all of society and wreaks havoc throughout it. Therefore, we need a government big enough to redress the problems we caused with our own legislation. This is called reform. Funny how reform always involves ever more jurisdiction. With this winning formula, we'll have a universal government soon with universal reforms. Imagine the possibilities! We could even regulate the orbit of the planets, perhaps even readjust our distance from the sun to solve climate change. Nothing is impossible if we just work together.

  • Tony||

    Sooner,

    I realize the tendency here is to blame government for everything--to the extent that nearly every argument made by the home team is distilled to a Pavlovian "government=bad" formulation, but might it be possible that there are problems not caused by government?

  • Soonerliberty||

    Yes, Tony. We have discussed this many times. There are problems outside of gov't. Corporations can cause problems as well, especially when they join with gov't under the current system, or any social state for that matter. However, it is only when the coercion of the state comes to bear that these businesses remain intact. Libertarians would like to see them properly punished by market forces. You'll bailout the very companies you hate, not even realizing you're propping up the very system that causes the problems in the first place. We won't. That's the difference.

  • cynical||

    Well, there's shitty forum trolls. Can't really blame the government for causing that, or even for letting it happen. Y'know, freedom of speech and all.

  • ||

    You have asked an inane question. I ask you a perceptive one: Isn't a framework an enclosure? Does it not limit and define? The states agree to an association and establish its nature.

  • ||

    My apology! This was intended as a response to Sooner Liberty's remarks about the state and anarchy.

  • ||

    "We legislate, which affects all of society and wreaks havoc throughout it." That statement is false since not all laws have have the same character and effect. The rest of your post is simply absurd.

  • ||

    Problem: people are living unhealthy lifestyles.

    Solution: The government should have complete control over everyone's lives and force them to live healthy lifestyles so that they live as long as possible.

    It's incredibly stupid to say "government needs to be big enough to fix all problems."

  • Tony||

    Yes it would be, if that's what I had said. But while you were busy constructing yet another libertarian straw man, I was talking about how government should not be a fixed size, but should be powerful enough to deal with problems only a sufficiently powerful entity can deal with. Big enough problems will be inflicted on people collectively, and that's why people have the right to collectively guard against them with their government.

    I'm not saying there is a clear answer, say to your example about unhealthy lifestyles. If a person has an unhealthy lifestyle, government has no business interfering with his choice. If the people as a whole have developed unhealthy lifestyles--if the cumulative effects of it are such that the death toll from unhealthy eating is more than traditionally recognized collective threats like armed invasion or natural disasters--then at least we can ask the question whether government should get involved.

  • ||

    Well I for one am glad that the organization that recently seated Iran on a commission chartered to protect women's rights and whose Human Rights Council membership at one time included Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Libya and that helped organize the Food-For-Oil scam and . . . oh hell, just about everything else they do is trumped by U.S. sovereignty.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    I think I would rather live in Mexico than North Korea, Venezuela, or any oppressive middle eastern regime (including Israel). Moreover, Mexico "governs" a lot by fleecing criminals/citizens for bribes and other graft in order to allow them to operate.

  • jacob||

    Anti-semite!

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    I knew that shit was coming.

  • ||

    And you didn't even attempt to answer the question. If people are irrational and make bad decisions which harm others, from where do we get rational, intelligent, virtuous leaders who will always make good decisions?

    Moreover, if the irrational, poor decision making individual with limited influence and power has a negative impact on the small circle of people around him, why would you want to expand that influence and power to where bad decisions impact millions; in the case of the U.S. government, hundreds of millions?

  • ||

    All of us are irrational at times, and we make decisions for all sorts of reasons and even impulsively, for no perceivable reason, and we never know how many suffer for our choices. There are no "...rational, intelligent, virtuous leaders who will always make good decisions..." We should not choose leaders. We should choose servants and limit the scope of their service.
    And, Drax, you may live where you choose, but know that where there is no law, you are either prey or predator.

  • Soonerliberty||

    You don't need gov't for law. In fact, the Anglo-Saxon system of law is the best example of that. Also, you assume that human nature is bad, which is a flawed premise. In fact, we survive mostly because we aid one another, not because we murder each other. That would be a bad evolutionary model for survival.

  • Guy with gun||

    My desire for your stuff overwhelms my desire for long-term evolutionary success, at the moment.

  • Soonerliberty||

    You assume I don't have a gun.

  • Guy with gun||

    Mine's bigger.

  • ||

    Doesn't matter. Dead is dead.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Since Soonerliberty is not a fucking douchebag Guy with a gun, he has amassed many friends. You may have a bigger gun, but he has 400 times more firepower backing him up, so fuck off before your corpse is desecrated. Moreover, he is a valuable member of society, whereas you're nothing but a murderous leach with nothing to offer but unjust death and most people aren't in the market for that. Just because there is no overt law, it does not mean you will not have your shit-filled intestines pulled through your nostrils for the satisfaction of those you scorned.

  • ||

    This tirade on a site called Reason!

  • ||

    "In fact, the Anglo-Saxon system of law is the best example of that.'

    Because, you know, Medieval England had no government!

  • π||

    And Mexico is an oil exporter that takes in billions every year from it's citizens working here, had they not favored a democratic model for so long, a model that begs for corruption, ultimately enriching the connected while holding the masses at whatever minimal level the planners consider livable, there is no reason Mexico couldn't have a standard of living equal to ours.

    Democracies blow, fortunately we had a constitutional republic model that focused on the liberty of the individual, or we would have been no different than Mexico. Of course, we will be Mexico before long. Even intelligent people tell me as matter of fact we are a democracy now. - Oh really, and at what point did this happen? The vast majority of the Founders held very negative views of democracies so we certainly were not one from the start.

    As Franklin stated in 1759: "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"

    Which ever of the two wolves the two wolves vote into power, I would hope the Liberty loving lamb would contest it, especially now that we somehow found ourselves in a "democracy."

  • Tony||

    That quote is almost certainly not Franklin's. For one thing, he wouldn't have used the word "lunch."

    But anyway. I don't get this fight about whether we're a democracy or a republic. Madison used the term "republic" to mean representative democracy rather than direct democracy. So, what's the relevance, and why do so many Republicans and libertarians insist on using one shorthand term over another, as if it means anything? Often it seems that "we're a republic, not a democracy" merely means "I should get the form of government I want and you shouldn't no matter how many people agree with you."

  • mgd||

    Democracy is the rule of the mob. If 51% of the people vote to deprive the remaining 49% of all their property, that's fine in a pure democracy. The constitutional republic the founders set up strictly limited what the federal government could do. It was specifically designed to prevent the sort of abuse noted above. "We're a republic, not a democracy" means that there are things that are wrong, if even a majority says otherwise; it means there are things that the federal government does not have the power to do, even if that government was duly elected by a majority of the populace.

  • mgd||

    Another thing, Tony. We no longer get to vote on the form of government we want. The Constitution defines exactly what we have. But correct, no matter if you can whip up a majority that say we should be a parliamentary monarchy, too bad--we aren't.

  • Tony||

    We could, it would just require large supermajorities, defined constitutionally. I know we're not a direct democracy. Everyone who's graduated 6th grade knows that. These terms are not absolute. Again, Madison only meant republic in contrast to direct democracy--nothing to do with minority rights and checks and balances, just simply representative democracy. The point is, both terms are loosely defined so this is all pointless.

    The strange recurrence of this stupid pointless semantic debate reeks of Republican wordfucking. We're a Republic. Get it. That's why we should vote 'Republic'an.

  • mgd||

    Not everyone that has graduated 6th grade knows that. I would posit that most people, regardless of educational level, are not aware of the difference.

    The debate is not stupid, nor pointless, nor even semantic. The fact is that the terms are absolute, and that by design, the majority cannot be allowed to violate the rights of the individual.

    Call it what you like; political parties name themselves without regard to reality. Democrats are clearly not democratic, or they wouldn't have allowed the passage of Obamacare against the clear will of the majority of Americans; Republicans are not republican for any number of reasons that I have not the heart to delve into now.

  • Doc Merlin||

    Haiti had a corrupt government that stole from people and constantly made laws making it easier for them t steal,
    Ditto Mexico...

    India is a socialist country, explicitly in its constitution.

  • ||

    Univac.

  • ||

    I can't stand consequentialists. Why does he get to call himself a libertarian? If the data changed, he would become a statist.

  • Tony||

    What's a statist? I tried checking Wikipedia but the article was just a bunch of libertarian bullshit. Someone who believes that states should exist, i.e. anyone but an anarchist? Is it another term for communist? Or could it perhaps be a pejorative unique to libertarians--a name you call anyone who doesn't buy into your dogma?

  • ||

    Wiki huh? "someone who believes states should exist". Wow you have terrible reading comprehension.

    Next time look up 'statist' on the back of a box of Kellogg's Raisin Bran Crunch because you'll get pretty much the same result.

    Then you can come and challenge us to defend the statement that "statism is basically 3% of your daily allowance of Vitamin C".

  • ||

    LOL

  • ||

    "Be a pejorative unique to libertarians--a name you call anyone who doesn't buy into your dogma."

    Gulity as charged. Quick, let's get him a PhD for his brilliant insight!

  • AA||

    Hi Tony. Hope your having a great day.

  • mgd||

    I agree. There should be federal labeling regulations.

    I kid, I kid. And I do agree with you. If there are no absolute rights, as Miron argues, then there are no rights at all.

    By banning abortion, in his view, "We may have negative effects for some of the kids who are born who might have been terminated, or some the families..." I can't think of an effect much more negative for the kid than being "terminated". But again, if it all comes down to consequences, yes, go ahead and kill the inconvenient.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    "I can't think of an effect much more negative for the kid than being "terminated". "

    To be fair, when I look at my bills, debt, and taxes, I wish I was terminated.

  • mgd||

    Touche.

  • ||

    Libertarianism has always pique'd my interest until the big abortion cop out hurdle.
    But pardon me an honest question here. If a libertarian, living in his libertarian world, and preferring to live in a well kept subdivision with weedless landscaped yard, has his neighbor sell to a liberal neighborhood organizer who immediately turns his abode into a shithole; where does said libertarian turn and on what ground does he execute that turn?
    Does he build a wall, suffer the shithole, strangle the liberal, or begin to see the wisdom of zoning?

  • ||

    Well, it's pretty simple. You have your property and he has his. You can ask him nicely to clean the fuck up, you can try to pay him to clean his place up, you can build a wall to prevent you from seeing his property, you can move, or you can suffer.

  • ||

    I assumed that to be what the libertarian position must be.
    Might I respectfully submit, that libertarianism will ever suffer cult status, based simply on the well landscaped lawn position.

  • AA||

    I happen to like being a part of this cult. Especially because of the "well landscaped lawn" position(Actually I've never even heard that as the reason before. I thought it was because people think we are anarchists or something like that).

  • ||

    I'm confused, do people think you can force other people to do things? What other way is there to solve the problem without making people do things against their will?

  • ||

    Well? Tell me.
    Let us assume, if the lawn edging and the pissing fountains puts off the analogy, the neighbor blasts rap or classic hymns music large woofers during the night. If blight is in the eye of the libertarian beholder....is noise? I'm only asking here, as the libertarian view, in the extreme, seems a bit childish.

  • ||

    I'm not sure why the answer should be different, unless you thing there is a significant rights based difference between excited photons and varying compression of air. If you can argue such a difference, you could use force to prevent it, but I'm not seeing it. As is your options are politely asking, seeing if you can pay him to stop, soundproofing, suffering, or moving. I suppose you could also try to fight him by blasting Garage Punk and Classic Rock.
    But again, unless you can convincingly argue that (barring no other prior agreements, e.g an apartment that has explicitly stated noise policies) playing music loudly violates your rights, then those are your options.
    This is the way it always is with libertarian things, unless it's violating your rights it's not prohibited. However, most sane people realize any unpleasant behavior (Adultery, Loud noise making late at night, yelling fire in a theater) can be punished if the people who own the property establish rules.
    But in the case of 2 adjacent purely privately owned properties (without prior owner, and thus no extra rules) I have already listed your options.

  • ||

    I see. Thank you for the response. I'm afraid I'll have to pass.
    There are any number of things,some trivial like well kept yards, others more complex, that I'd feel a bit more comfortable with a reasoned majority holding sway. For lack of a better explanation, I'll go with some nebulous "reasonable man" theory on imposing some authority. I recognize how everyone has a position on what's reasonable, so perhaps the one man, one vote theory does indeed work best, acknowledging the chaos that generally follows. At the least, the rules seem more plausible...workable, at least for me.

  • ||

    The German people voted Hitler into power.

  • ||

    As to the significant difference between the excited photons and varying compression of air, the obnoxious neighbor does not generate the former, and you may avoid the view by averting your gaze. The compressed air, on the other hand, is deliberately caused by the neighbor, invades your property and consciousness and is pervasive. It is both an assault upon you and a disturbance of the peace which you are under no obligation to suffer. Happily, there are LAWS that address such situations.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    I would just blast heavy metal right back for as long as it took while putting in earplugs to reduce my own discomfort. Metal always wins. ALWAYS.

  • Vaccine||

    There is a long standing common law principle called "nuisance" that would apply just fine in this case. Libertarianism isn't anarchy.

  • AA||

    Appearantly you can get government to force people to do what you want if your property value is at stake. Why engage with your fellow citizens on a personal, voluntary basis when you can get someone else to force them to do what you want?

  • AA||

    Tolerance and compromise are overrated qualities anyways.

  • ||

    This is your best reply to a genuine inquiry into your, evidently, core political belief system?

  • AA||

    Actually, your post about noise pollution didn't post until after I wrote my response to the overgrown lawn one. I didn't see it. The noise pollution point is better.

    In most neighborhoods, or condo/apartment complexes, there are clauses on the deeds dealing with such matters. The developers of neighborhoods, in order to attract more people, would put some sort of noise ordinance into the deed. Buyers would know before hand what they are getting into, and in most cases, I would bet there would be a limit on noise after a certain time. I would think this doesn't generally happen because government has already set the standard.

  • ||

    This seems a bit confusing. What you're saying is, neighborhood rule is about right?

  • AA||

    Yes. Why not let different neighborhoods decide what is best for them? It wouldn't end up perfect for every person, but there would be much more choice. For people who want to be in a louder area, a place would pop up, probably near a college. With minimal zoning restrictions, similar places tend to clump together anyways. I think Houston is a good example.

  • ||

    Thanks again. I'll pass again.

  • AA||

    Cool. Have a good night.

  • ||

    You seem to be confusing voluntary cooperative behavior with coercive state behavior. The two situations are:

    1. A person VOLUNTARILY buys property in a community with ordinances prohibiting certain behavior such as playing loud music and putting cars up on blocks in the front yard.

    2. A person buying property in an area with no restrictions then gets pissy about what his neighbor does put a car on blocks in the front yard and calls the cops.

    The difference is that in the first scenario people of like mind get together and work out a set of rules that EVERYONE agrees on ahead of time before any property changes hands. The second scenario describes someone buying properties in areas without those restrictions, then tries to use physical force to get their neighbors to change their ways AFTER people have bought their property. The first is wholly voluntary, while the second is wholly coercive.

    The beauty of the first scenario, dupe, is that you will be able to find a place where people are required to keep their lawns nice. Of course, this means that you will have to buy a house in an area where an HOA or something like that exists to prevent your neighbor from doing something you consider egregious. The beauty of the first scenario,also, is that if I want to buy property and live like a pig, letting my grass die in areas, while letting weeds grow around the dryer and refrigerator in they front yard and a wide array of other decaying objects in the back, I can do that too, while you live in a neighborhood of perfectly manicured lawns far, far away from my trashy property. Of course, we couldn't live in the same communities as our respective communities have VOLUNTARILY decided on the rules by which we live.

    There is no beauty in the second scenario because you think it would be okay to pull a gun on me, or being the pansy you probably are have a cop pull a gun on me, to force me to clean up my property.

  • ||

    So, the community then CAN have zoning laws, gotcha. But, that's pretty much what we have now, zoning in cities, less so in out county (rural) areas. These communities have (evidently) voluntarily imposed these rules upon themselves, so what's the difference under libertarianism?

  • ||

    i'm not sure i'm clearly understanding the implications here...

    so, in an attempt to ensure that everyone fully realizes their rights, people are allowed to infringe on the rights of others (e.g. the right to a full night of sleep without being blasted with garage punk from next door), and the best recourse of the 'victim' is to buy up to a better neighborhood?

    it seems to me that, very quickly, those with the means to acquire wealth would voluntarily live in policy riddled communities separated from the lawless poor. shortly after, some of the poor who didn't care for lawlessness would begin exchanging board and room in the back houses of the rich for servitude. not long after that, those voluntarily indentured poor would claim some kind of bizarre right to freedom, but within the walls of the rich neighborhood. then some of the rich would start saying things like, "let's build a smaller neighborhood within our neighborhood where we can live without these pesky peasants trying to force their views on us."

    ...and so on and so forth...

    and eventually, you'd wind up with an ultra concentrated minority comprised of the richest of the rich. they would feel threatened by most of the varying degrees of lawlessness beneath them. they'd be likely to hire a security force made up of members of lower classes who could be trusted in exchange for a change in class status. eventually, they'd realize that, after having been motivated by greed and selfishness into isolationism and protectionism, they should just take it to the next step and have their well paid security detail begin enforcing rules on lower classes that most benefited the super-privileged minority... under the guise of providing everyone with the same quality of lifestyle they wish they could afford.

    whammo!!! plutarchy...

    did i miss something, or is AA's version of libertarianism ultimately just another version of all the other systems that are so hated?

  • ||

    My assessment exactly. With that reinforcement I won't bother to read the book, at least. I am, however, still stumped as to the consensus libertarian take on the issue. My poor pud is still edging his lawn and still pissed.

  • ||

    Dorkrock,

    Since most communities have HOAs I'm not sure what you're talking about that only rich (I'm assuming that you mean rich in America, since nearly everyone in America is rich by worldwide and historical measures). When living in Texas, most of the communities I looked at with housing prices

  • ||

    No, dupe, NOT zoning laws. HOA agreements ARE NOT zoning laws. They are voluntary contracts between property owners.

  • ||

    "Does he build a wall, suffer the shithole, strangle the liberal, or begin to see the widsom of zoning."

    Uh, he minds his own fking business.

  • ||

    What "wisdom" of zoning? Zoning is justified by fear-based bullshit. There were no businessmen building polluting factories right next to subdivisions or schools, for instance, BEFORE zoning came in. It's just another obsolete tool of the Progressive Movement.

    Besides, Houston, just to name one, has few or no zoning laws, and they're doing fine. In fact, zoning laws and many other housing regulations only INCREASE the cost of housing. And the benefits are few and far between. I mean, look at rent control. Sure, if you can actually FIND an apartment, good for u. But if you can't b/c of a shortage, then lower prices don't really matter do they

  • ABC||

    I'll stick with Defending the Undefendable.

  • Kevin Breen||

    I designed the porcupine that's used on the cover of this book. Finally, my content appears in Reason! :P

  • ||

    I am very confused by this guy...So natural rights, which are the basis of a libertarian ethos are out, and everything should be evaluated based on cost-benefit (I guess utilitarianism is declasse now in academia).
    Thought experiment:
    By his statements in this interview, the south should have been allowed to maintain slavery because A. these issues are best handled at the state level, and B. the market will determine whether there is slavery or not. Of course it was totally in the interest of southern farmers to have free labor. Rothbardian libertarianism would be squarely against slavery as a sin against the natural right of self ownership.This is derived a priori with NO CONSIDERATION OF UTILITY!
    What libertarian? this guy is a free market federalist at best.
    But I guess the world looks different fromt the faculty lounge at Harvard.

  • ||

    There are no Libertarians on this board; there are only posers and posturers and blatherers who falsely claim that title.
    If you wish to be a Libertarian, go naked into the wilderness. Construct your shelter with tools of your own manufacture. Raise your own crops and flocks and feed and clothe yourself. Suffer the consequences, good and bad, of your own choices and actions. Avoid the curses and blessings of association with other humans. Be governed only by that tyrant, Nature. Be a man!!
    But don't sit at a computer which you did not design nor build, wearing a shirt you did not sew and shoes you did not cobble, while snacking on food you did not produce, all the while condemning the customs, the laws and the political institutions which sustain that society of which you are a part and whose benefits you enjoy!
    You are not heroic defenders of perfect Freedom and Liberty. You are frauds and hypocrites.

  • ||

    Fuck off, Fonix. Oh yeah, and I suppose fighting for anti-progress regulations up the wazoo is any better. What about libertarianism says we must become hermits? That's the dumbest thing I ever fucking heard!

    Libertarianism is mostly about VOLUNTARISM. Let the market and free association promote progress, not gov't or social engineers. Not some bogus welfare state that spends a lot more than it would even take to 'solve' poverty. Not a ridiculous healthcare system LITTERED w/ regulations that drives up costs of drugs, insurance, etc.

    Fools get off me. Statists, STFU. You're only making things worse. Now, I have nothing against regulation, but it has to be done PROPERLY and only the minimal amount necessary. But left and right-wingers never look at evidence and studies when proposing new regulations. All they care about is "doing something" vs. "doing nothing."

  • ||

    Besides, why should I automatically take the words of CBO as gospel? What makes them any more qualified than a university economist or some other expert in economics and statistics who can come up with much better estimates?

    The CBO, like anything else w/in Congress, is first and foremost a gov't agency. Gov't, at least in the U.S., tends to be riddled iwth inefficient bureaucracy. Why wouldn't it at least be somewhat true of the CBO? And how do we know the CBO's leadership didn't tweak the results to fit their or their Obama Administration leaders' goals? The current CBO head IS a Democrat, isn't he? Unless he's VERY nonpartisan, I doubt he'd throw away a result in his studies obtained by shoddy methods that would help push forward the HC bill.

    Furthermore, what makes the CBO exempt from the corruption endemic in just about every other gov't agency? Or the bribery by higher-ups in gov't or higher-ups secretly forcing their hands? Who knows what Obama may have told the head of CBO to get his way. "You promote a case that's good for my HC bill, or I'll fire you." Obama clearly is not above that. We know this b/c he is just as arrogant as the rest of em.

  • ||

    Brandon, I hope you read this. It is a much belated response to a post that I overlooked.
    Am I supposed to be intimidated by your opening sentence? Funny, it's just not happening. It must be your impotence that undermines your belligerence. As for your claim that my remarks were, (...the dumbest thing I ever fucking heard.), you can easily set a new standard for that honor by reading your own shit aloud!
    Let me clue you in. We were all Libertarians when we were three years old, but most of us grew out of that about the time we were completely housebroken and began to clean our own arses. We soon realized that if we were to be a part of a family or a larger community a certain amount of regulation was going to be required.
    As we grew older and the communities of which we were a part became larger, the relationships which we shared became more complex. The number and kinds of conflicts also increased. To mitigate and mediate such conflicts, rules have been established by the communities or leaders within them. If the individual members of the community, counsel together and act on consensus, the rules that ensue are likely to be no more than are required for safety and harmony. If, however, the rules are made by self-appointed "leaders" they are almost certain to be of a very different sort.
    What is certain is that there will always be some who think they would be content if there were no rules at all. They imagine that because they have never experienced such a situation and do not know what the inevitable consequences are. They have not seen the violence of Anarchy and Chaos nor have they felt the weight of tyranny.
    You say, (Let the market and free association promote progress...). The "markets" are men not magic, and men cannot associate freely when they are constantly at odds, and every difference is a quarrel, and every quarrel becomes a fight. Without laws there will be no peace, and there must be means, including coercion when required, to enforce those laws.
    Now as to your presumptions about my political opinions: I am not nearly so much a fool as you are. I am ardently opposed to the expansion of government powers. I am opposed to the welfare state and national healthcare. I believe that the rights of the individual must be protected and that the responsibilities of the individual must be acknowledged and exercised by him. I also believe that we must retain the means and the will to defend those rights and responsibilities.
    If you wish to continue this intercourse, then do it with this post as a basis of understanding.

  • ||

    And when you DO look at studies of your proposed legislation, you act in a partisan manner- either the study supposedly concludes what you believe so it's "good", or the study DOESN'T confirm what you think, so you toss it out the window and go ahead anyway.

    I'm sure the CBO got at least a few things wrong in its estimation that we'd "save over $1 trillion" in the federal deficit within the next 20 years. Maybe accumulated over many years, perhaps. But the ACTUAL yearly deficit (for one given year) won't go down. Does the CBO know nothing about trends in gov't? The gov't RARELY cuts major spending.

  • ABC||

    Shut up Fonix.

  • ABC||

    Oh, the things you mentioned are produced by the market. All the government does is make things either more expensive, illegal, or of poorer quality due to protectionist laws, subsidies, etc. We don't benefit from the state; we suffer as a result of it. We're not survivalists.

  • ||

    Sarcasm, I trust.

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