What Does it Mean to Be a Libertarian?

Harvard's Jeffrey Miron gives his best two-minute answer here:

Questions, comments, concerns?

Read Miron's Reason archive here. Watch him argue the case for doing nothing about the 2008 financial crisis below.

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  • ||

    This is a pretty fair "common denominator" definition of libertarians, except for the abortion part.

  • Jingles||

    This. I don't think I've seen anti-abortion atheists in any other political camp.

  • Trouble Maker||

    Aborting an embryo has as much to do with religion as aborting an appendix.

  • prolefeed||

    You haven't spent much time studying theological beliefs if you think aborting what some people, due to religious beliefs, think is a human being and a literal child of God, has nothing to do with religion.

  • Trouble Maker||

    Religion has nothing to do with biology.

  • skr||

    no but religion does have a lot to do with the interpretation of biology. Since biology doesn't determine the classification of person other systems will naturually influence peoples belief as to what does.

  • Ray Pew||

    no but religion does have a lot to do with the interpretation of biology. Since biology doesn't determine the classification of person other systems will naturually influence peoples belief as to what does.

    I would disagree with this notion that biology cannot give strong support for the classification of "person". While "person" may need to be expanded in the event that other genera and species are demonstrated to share criteria of Homo sapiens, this does not argue that the current synonyms of "person = human being = Homo sapiens" is false.

    Religion can only argue for concepts of "soul", "divine creation" and other non-objective traits.

  • skr||

    I think biology can tell us if something is alive, human, and even levels of cognition or mental activity. That data can then be synthesized into a definition of person. However, other systems, whether legal, religious, or even ethical are naturally brought into the fray using or discounted said data. I'm not entirely sure "person" has indisputable concrete objective criteria.

  • skr||

    er discounting

  • Apogee||

    I think biology can tell us if something is alive, human, and even levels of cognition or mental activity.

    Then how do you explain government employees?

  • Sam Grove||

    You may not be aware, as I am, there there are indeed, some atheists who are opposed to abortion.

  • ||

    This. I don't think I've seen anti-abortion atheists in any other political camp.

    I am an atheist that has a problem with 3rd trimester abortions and I get a bit queasy over 2nd trimester abortions.

    It is in the states interest to define when a human becomes a human. Making that distinction when a person passes through a vagina or breaths its first breath seems a bit arbitrary to me.

  • nekoxgirl||

    He said "severe restrictions" which to me would be things like banning abortions in the first month or two of development along with bans on some types of contraception.

  • ||

    I'm sure alot of libertarians, even some here, believe that all abortion should be illegal.

  • Contrarian P||

    I would not be opposed to it being made illegal under certain circumstances, provided it was done at the state level and not the federal. This business of detecting a right to privacy in the Constitution that provides a right to abortion services guaranteed by federal action is highly dubious in my view. There are many arguments about whether or not a fetus is entitled to protections under law, but the proper forum for them is at the state level. Although I don't disagree that those who favor banning abortion are often more concerned with punishing a woman for engaging in what they deem is sordid sexual behavior, it shouldn't be the business of the Supreme Court.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That Harvard elitist, daring to define for me what it means to be libertarian.

  • Joe R.||

    Damn libertarians, imposing the right to choose on people.

  • ||

    Libertarianism means never having to say you're sorry.

  • The Progressives||

    Correct. Sorry is our job!

  • Almanian||

    Beat me to it...but it bears repeating: being libertarian means never having to say you're sorry. About anything. Ever.

    Ahhhhhhhh - that's so refreshing! Thanks, Reason!

  • GC||

    I thought libertarian meant never getting to see your candidate elected. Ever.

  • Also||

    Well, that, too.

  • Tony||

    Sounds like a run-of-the-mill dogma then. You're right about everything, be definition.

    Which of course means you're probably wrong about most things.

  • God||

    you're an idiot. Go back to fucking your mother.

  • ||

    What are you wrong about Tony? Come on give me one example you dogmatic asshole!

  • ||

    It means being totally & deliberately delusional about how poorly powerful groups will treat "the little guy" without rigorous intervention by the state & its laws. It means being just as crazy & impractical as communists, only your idol is "the free market" instead of the state. The libertarian fetishizing of "the free market" is especially ironic because there is no such thing as a free market, especially without strong regulation & penalties against bad actors enforced by the state. The natural order of any "free market" is to collude into cartels that game the system, fix prices, and commit fraud, as quickly as possible. It is only through balance, in the form of state coercion (regulation), that anything resembling a REAL "free market", or any other REAL FREEDOM for that matter, is possible for 99.99999% of people. Libertarianism = Dangerously unrealistic pipe-dream.

  • Hugh Akston||

    C+ trolling. You forgot about roads, and that every dollar of reduced government spending results in an act of human cannibalism.

  • ||

    what dave said plus they smoke dope, hate unions, & would gladly pay to drive on a private road...paved in shit.

  • sevo||

    ura stupid shit

  • ||

    no, the private toll road paved in shit is...stupid shit. wait, is that john galt paying the toll?

  • Almanian||

    My god, you're an idiot.

    Although you're right about the smokin' dope and hatin' unions thing, at least in my case...

  • ||

    im an idiot...except that im not. soo libertarian.

  • Almanian||

    Oh! It buuuuuuuuuuuuurns!

    Idiot

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    The natural order of any "free market" is to collude into cartels that game the system, fix prices, and commit fraud, as quickly as possible.

    I know you probably won't be back, as you are more than likely a hit and run (no pun intended) troll given that I've never seen you post on here before, but just for the hell of it:

    [citation needed]

  • sevo||

    "Libertarianism = Dangerously unrealistic pipe-dream."

    Unlike that utopian of statists, the Soviet Union. It only cost about 100,000,000 innocent lives in 70 years.

  • Half-Educated Lefty||

    But it was so worth it to live the dream...uh never mind.

  • ||

    As I said, Communists are at least as bad in theory & historically proven to have devolved into possibly the worst, most abusive & evil organizaitons ever known to man, particularly nsofar as Stalin is concerned, being that he was probably the single most evil human being ever to disgrace our species.

    However, the bankruptcy of communism does not prove any validity for Libertarianism. Libertarianism falls into the "good in theory, not in practice" category.

    Balance, my friend, not extremism, is the answer.

  • Chairman Mao||

    Meh, Stalin was an amateur.

  • Pol Pot||

    I am the per capita champ, though.

  • ||

    stalin was a failed marxist....which, in its pure form, is an economic model the libertarians should find attractive.

  • UrineOhio||

    Boy, you do bring teh stoopid HARD, Orrrrrrrin!

  • ||

    and u like hard

  • UrineOhio||

    Project much, ORRRRRRRRRRin?? LOL!

  • ||

    An economic model based on a certain group of people taking over the government and setting coercive policies that will benefit their group while ignoring the freedoms of other groups? Why, it's so different from what we have today! Libertarians must support it! Oh wait, it's antithetical to everything libertarians believe.

  • ||

    ur describing the oligarchs in lenin/stalinism not marxism. just like france gave anachary a bad name, the CCCP did for marxism.

  • ||

    LOL, you're delusional. That is the plan Marx himself laid out.

  • daveylee||

    Sounds an awful lot like the Corporatism that currently passes for Capitalism these days...

  • ||

    True dat! We need real democracy again

  • ||

    You mean tyranny by the majority?

  • ||

    If that's how you view Democracy, then sure, whatever.

    Maybe if the current system is sooooooooo oppressive, you should move to someplace where the government has no real power, like a failed state, such as Somalia. Or just build a shack in the wilds of the Arctic, it could be a long time before you have to suffer the horrible "tyranny" of actually living in the real world with real people & real problems.

  • skr||

    maybe you should read some of the Founders to see why they created a republic instead of a pure democracy like Athens. And then move to Cuba. (I mean really, the "why dont you move argument"? He can't even get them over the fucking plate can he? And he thinks he's throwing fastballs)

  • ||

    A man comes into your house and starts raping you in the ass. When you start to complain, he yells, "Well why don't you just fucking move if you don't like getting raped?"

  • ||

    I know the "move" argument is super weak. But the thing is, the world is brimming with 3rd world shitholes. Which is what this country would become if your pipe-dream "just pay for government & public goods if you want to" idea was implemented. So, rather than change this country to a 3rd world dump, I'd hope you'd make use of the many such dumps already available.

    As for the ass-rape. Really? We pay lower taxes than most (or maybe all?) advanced countries.

  • God||

    you're still here? Go fuck yourself somewhere else, you weak-ass numbnuts with no arguments.

  • Contrarian P||

    I realize this is probably a waste of time, but where exactly is the evidence for any of your gross assertions? The United States for much of its existence had much more economic freedom than anywhere else on the planet, resulting in the world's largest, most prosperous, and most powerful economy. We managed to soldier on through the New Deal and the implementation of the income tax, but as the forces of statist thinking have gathered steam, we have actually regressed. Our health care system prior to the advent of socialized medicine was the envy of the world. This before the absolutely absurd amounts of regulation that now cause everything to be twice as complicated, involve four times as much paperwork, and be ten times more costly than it should be. The evidence of our own history contradicts your points so thoroughly that you should be ashamed that you made them.

  • ||

    Health care, really? You are aware we rank way below most advanced countries on life expectancy, infant mortality, and bang-for-the-buck when it comes to healthcare right? And that the countries beating us have very socialized medicine, or single-payer state-controlled systems, right?

    Oh, and that regression. It's been occurring most rapidly since Reagan's policies that made the tax code more regressive, severely weakened education & social safety nets, and set up massive overspending on unnecessary military hardware.

    Talk about fail. Damn. You really nailed a fail.

  • ||

    Health care, really? You are aware we rank way below most advanced countries on life expectancy, infant mortality, and bang-for-the-buck when it comes to healthcare right?

    You fail at reading comprehension again. Here's what Contrarian P said:

    Our health care system prior to the advent of socialized medicine was the envy of the world. This before the absolutely absurd amounts of regulation that now cause everything to be twice as complicated, involve four times as much paperwork, and be ten times more costly than it should be.

    The reason our healthcare sucks is because it has been operating as an ineffectual hybrid between marketized and socialized medicine. When our healthcare was more marketized, it was the best in the world. Oh but I forgot you like "balance."

    Oh, and that regression. It's been occurring most rapidly since Reagan's policies that made the tax code more regressive, severely weakened education & social safety nets, and set up massive overspending on unnecessary military hardware.

    Lowering taxes for the rich hasn't changed how much tax revenue we've received. It has been around 18-20% of GDP for the past 70+ years. Education and welfare spending hasn't been going down, it's been sharply increasing. As to the military spending, well if you are going to argue that wasteful government spending causes us harm, then thank you for arguing my point for me!

    Talk about EPIC FAIL.

  • ||

    So you're saying that because extreme authoritarianism doesn't work, the only philosophy that rejects authoritarianism would also not work? Fucking logic, how does it work?

  • ||

    1+1 does not equal 1. Thus, 1+1 must equal 8.

    My car won't run on vegetable oil. What's the "opposite" of oil? Water! So, my car will run on water! Awesome!

    That seems to be your so-called "logic".

  • ||

    WTF? You're the one making the claim that the failure of communism proves libertarianism will fail. The burden of proof is on you. What you described above is your own argument. But thanks for admitting that your argument makes no logical sense, which is exactly what I pointed out.

  • Sugar Shane||

    FTW!

  • Sugar Shane||

    But don't you know they are both EXTREME!

    What makes something eligible fore the classification of EXTREME?

    Dave-O's unsupported opinion of course. ;-)

  • ||

    Wrong again douchebag. The burden of proof is on YOU. Libs are the ones asking to undo our current systems in favor of their own unproven dogma, even though we live in the richest & most powerful country in the history of the world. I'm saying the status-quo, though definitely not perfect, has had pretty good results overall.

  • Contrarian P||

    The status quo (i.e. the Constitution) was working just fine until your precious government regulators started screwing with it. It would indeed probably have been okay, except that neither party is ever content with it. They keep screwing with things that aren't broken, resulting in broken things, which of course need further regulation to fix, which further screws them up, and so on. You misunderstand the libertarian philosophy, unfortunately, and I think that is the root of why your arguments are garbage. Let me try to help.

    Libertarianism does not equal anarchy. Libertarians realize that government is a necessary thing in order to carry out certain functions, the chief of which is to protect the few from the many (which is why libertarianism also does not equal democracy, which is rule by the majority). This means having a military force for national defense (which does not equate to having bases all over the globe), enforcing contracts, enforcing the law in the event of a criminal act (which by libertarian philosophy would involve only harm to another person's body or property), and providing for other such basic functions. This is particularly true of the federal government. These things do cost money and libertarians recognize this, but where the problem occurs is when you work literally half of the year simply to pay for government doing things that from a libertarian (and Constitutional) perspective it shouldn't be doing.

    It is a philosophy of constant suspicion of the motives of the government, because government has a power that corporations don't: it can use force. That means not trusting the government, especially when it claims to be acting altruistically. It's a philosophy that emphasizes you having the right to make your own choices and that as long as you don't harm someone else it's nobody's business what you do. And contrary to your opinions, it does work. I'd challenge you to look back into American history and discover that the biggest problems that we've overcome were actually the direct result of government doing the very things you advocate. I realize I'm probably wasting my time here, but maybe the message will sink in.

  • ||

    Well, that's a relief. Good to know some of you aren't nuts.

    So, then, is it still valid to say, "if you want a court system (or fire dept, etc), you pay for it but nobody can make you pay for it"?

    Because that is just fantasy. It's like saying, "I'll gladly buy home insurance, but only once my house is actually burning down".

    And what about abusive employers? I've never, ever, heard a libertarian suggest actual labor laws or unions as a means to address that problem. They always say, "So work somewhere else. Eventually Company X will have too hard a time finding workers & then they'll make conditions better" Yeah, right, that's reeealllly effective.

    Also, I guess there is just a fundamental difference in our values to some extent. I believe we *do* have some degree of responsibility toward the weak, disabled, and also other species & future generations. And that it is a legitimate function of government to protect them. And that it is fair & reasonable to say that everybody who can has to contribute a little to the government so it can do those things.

    The degree of actual assistance the government should give to our most vulnerable is debatable - you'd presumably say none at all. I understand how that seems valid on paper, but in practical terms, I don't see how that makes much sense, assuming you actually believe in promoting human dignity.

  • Contrarian P||

    "So, then, is it still valid to say, "if you want a court system (or fire dept, etc), you pay for it but nobody can make you pay for it"?"

    Sure, provided that you are aware that you lose any and all rights to bring a case in court or to have the fire department come by your house in the event of your deep fried turkey going up this year. There are other ways of paying for the limited services a government should perform than income tax, by the way. A consumption tax like the Fairtax allows you to decide when and how much you pay, while still funding the functions of government.

    "Because that is just fantasy. It's like saying, "I'll gladly buy home insurance, but only once my house is actually burning down"."

    Nah, that's Obamacare.

    "And what about abusive employers? I've never, ever, heard a libertarian suggest actual labor laws or unions as a means to address that problem."

    Unions are not non-libertarian. Libertarians support the right of free association. You are free to join whatever group you wish. Your employer, however, should not be compelled to not fire the lot of you just because you are unionized. If an employer violates your rights to life, liberty, or property, you would have recourse against him or her. Your job, by the way, is not your property. Speaking of which, why not go start your own company if your employer is so bad anyway? I know I wouldn't want to work with someone whose only reason for not firing me is federal law.

    "Also, I guess there is just a fundamental difference in our values to some extent. I believe we *do* have some degree of responsibility toward the weak, disabled, and also other species & future generations. And that it is a legitimate function of government to protect them."

    You should read Alexis de Toqueville (I hope I spelled that right), who, when he visited America well over a century ago, was amazed at how many charitable mutual aid societies there were that took care of the less fortunate of society. Physicians used to view it as their duty to render pro bono care to those who couldn't pay. Now it's actually taxable income to a person to have bills for medical care forgiven. Not only that, but when money is taken from you to do good deeds in your name, the spiritual rewards you receive from acting charitably are gone. No matter how well intentioned, theft to do good is still theft.

  • ||

    If life was so great 100 years ago, we wouldn't have made the changes we did. People decidwd it's notcivilized or dignified to subject everybody to such imminent & constant risk of being ruined. Life doesn't need to be that callous or cruel. If most people wanted to live in such a harshly Darwinian society, we still would be today. Experiment has already been run, and it failed. Get over it & try to enjoy life.

  • ||

    Again, this argument is fucking irrelevant. If you don't want to take risks, don't. You can't make that decision for other people. The fact that you are scared of real life doesn't give you the right to force other people to act the way you want. You don't have a legitimate argument, fuck off.

  • Contrarian P||

    Your portrayal of the conditions of that time is not accurate. The fact that changes were made reflects only that things were not perfect. If you note, they aren't perfect now either. People today still live at risk of ruin. Your reasons for all the reforms you say were needed to get to where we are today still exist. That's the problem with your mindset. There will always be imperfections and things that are unfair and unpleasant, resulting in demands for more rules and government supervision, which will then create further problems, in addition to not solving the problems they purported to cure. You and those like you will then advocate for more government, in the mistaken belief that the government is made up of people who act strictly out of compassion and fairness and additionally have magical powers to alter the way the world works. I can tell by your posts that your heart is in a good place. The trouble is that you're part of the pavement of the road to hell.

  • ||

    Interesting. Still, doesn't the empirical evidence make a very strong case that the reforms made over the last 100+ years, though sometimes creating waste or unintended negative consequences, have also accomplished much of what they were intended to do? Poverty, for example, aint what it used to be, here in the USA. The "Big 3" of 1970's environmental law have led to resurgence of species formerly on the precipice of extinction, as well as better air & water quality in many areas, despite huge increases in energy consumption, population, and miles driven. If market forces alone had been sufficient, the problems never would have existed & precipitated government intervention. I agree it is mistaken to think government is always acting for the public good, and even more naive to think it can magically erase problems. But it can, and has, made a damn big difference in how just & fair our world is, and how severe the risk exposure is for ordinary people living ordinary lives.

    I think the most fundamental problem is a deeply flawed accounting system that seldom places any economic cost at all on "bads" like environmental destruction and abuse of power - particularly regarding employer/employee relations since that affects almost everybody.

    I think if our economics incorporated some of these basic values into the cost of business & government, a great deal of the laws that made such reforms would be nearly irrelevant, since the added costs would be the last straw for a lot of people, so they'd stop supporting such activities. But nobody will do that, and even if they wanted to, I don't see any reason to believe we'd ever reach agreements on what those costs are & how to account for them properly, so such a solution simply isn't workable.

  • ||

    SInce you're so dense:

    veg oil = communism
    car = society
    water = libertarianism

    Re-read.

    Society doesn't work right under communism. What's the opposite of communism? Libertarianism. But wait! Amazingly enough, it's possible for BOTH to be non-working options!

  • ||

    I don't see why I need to repeat myself. You are making the claim that libertarianism would fail. Your reasoning is that because communism is extreme and failed libertarianism will also fail. Anyone can see that this argument is incomplete. You can either make this argument make sense or admit that it's idiotic.

  • skr||

    the opposite of oil is water?????wtf

  • nekoxgirl||

    The opposite of scary is...tacos.

  • Ska||

    All the Tex-Mex places by me are run by Asians. Those tacos are a little scary.

  • Shity Taco||

    If you don't rike my tacos, move to Sommaria, you stupid ribertarian!

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Remember, the best solution is compromise between personal freedom and the government owning your ass.

  • Almanian||

    I gotta go with a D+ here - this is pretty bad trolling. You better be glad Hugh's troll grades count today, and not mine...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Authoritarianism means being totally & deliberately delusional about how poorly the state will treat "the little guy" without rigidly defined Constitutional limits. It means being just as crazy & impractical as libertarians, only your idol is the state instead of the free market. The progressive/conservative fetishizing of state authority is especially ironic because there is no such thing as liberty, especially without strong penalties against bad state actors enforced by the people. The natural order of any government is to collude into cartels that game the system, fix prices, and commit fraud, as quickly as possible. It is only through balance, in the form of free market competition, that anything resembling a REAL personal choice, or any other REAL FREEDOM for that matter, is possible for 100% of people. Authoritarianism = Dangerously unrealistic pipe-dream.

  • Restoras||

    This should be the opening scroll for Atlas Shrugged, Part I

  • ||

    Thick-headed, or just deliberately distorting the message?

    Again, just because Authoritariansim, or Communism, or Fascism, have been empirically proven to lead to severe abuse, that does not in any way prove that Libertarianism would work.

    The reason Lib. wouldn't work is it is fundamentally unrealistic about how groups of people treat each other. You assume people would be willing to act responsibly, fairly, honestly, non-aggressively, without coercion to force them to do so. You assume that other people's problems will somehow not become your problems, even though there are about 320 million people in America, and we have to live with each other. Quite an enticing fantasy if you like spending your days in la-la land, but still nothing more than fantasy.

  • ||

    Surely authoritarianism can work(if we define work as allow the state to continue to function for as long as it can leech resources off of society), what it can't do is allow people to be free.

  • ||

    arbeit mach frei

  • Ice Nine||

    "Not". No shit. Hitler would have gotten the grammar right.

  • ||

    Examples: I'd rather not be "free" to have my well poisoned by cyanide because you decided to open an unregulated gold mining operation that leached pollution into the water table. I'd rather not be "free" to have to open an analytical chem lab in my home to test all my food, medicine, & kitchenware for poisons. It's easier & more efficient to spend a dollar or two in the form of taxes every year to have that stuff taken care of or prevented by the government, leaving me FREE to live my life instead of being stressed by knowing there is a much greater threat that some unscrupulous asshole is literally poisoning me. It is more efficient & better for society as a whole to spend a couple dollars in the form of taxes to know that an employer can't just fire my wife for getting pregnant. That is also good for any employer who would like to do "the right thing" but needs to stay competitive, even against those who engage in a race to the bottom.

  • crossofcrimson||

    Not sure where any of that conflicts with libertarianism but continue setting up the strawmen...

  • ||

    It doesn't? How so? You think the "free market" will magically be better at enforcing responsible behavior than actually having regulations & the staffing necessary to implement & enforce those regulations?

    How did that work out for us when California de-regulated electricity? Oh, that's right, the "free market" quickly gamed the system, artificially causing rolling black-outs & a recession that spread from Cali to the rest of us.

    Or how about the recent 2008 meltdown?
    De-regulated financial companies manipulated the "free market" through fraud, and destroyed the life savings of millions of people in the process.

    No oversight = Disaster.

  • crossofcrimson||

    "It doesn't? How so? You think the "free market" will magically be better at enforcing responsible behavior than actually having regulations & the staffing necessary to implement & enforce those regulations?"

    Oh, I see. You seem to be under the impression that regulation can only exist at the hand of government. That would be where you went wrong.

    "Deregulation" of a municipal utility as a hypothetical proxy for what might happen in an open market? Really? Are you one of those people who think extending monopolistic government privilege to one or two companies is what libertarians mean by "privatization" too?

    As for the financial collapse - removing a couple of pieces from the regulatory Jenga pile does not a free market make. If you're under the delusion that there's "no oversight" in pretty much any sector in the economy, you can rid yourself of such delusion pretty quickly if you make the effort (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/)

  • ||

    "Deregulation" of a municipal utility

    >> So, the entire state of California, which is by itself one of the 8 largest economies in the entire world, is what you consider a "Municipal utility", as if it was some little town of 10,000 people?

    If you're under the delusion that there's "no oversight" in pretty much any sector in the economy

    >> Apology for semantics, then. Insufficient oversight. OK? Again, how do you think that if major reductions in regulation & oversight were this bad, getting rid of regulation would somehow be the best thing ever? Oh, right, "voluntary regulation". Because the loonies should always run their own asylum? WTF? Maybe that level of volatility & risk sounds fun to you?

  • crossofcrimson||

    "So, the entire state of California, which is by itself one of the 8 largest economies in the entire world, is what you consider a "Municipal utility", as if it was some little town of 10,000 people?"

    Are you serious or are you just playing dumb for effect? Generally when someone uses the term "municipal utility" they aren't referring to a state. In a conversation about the deregulation of POWER DISTRIBUTION in any given state, I'd seriously hope you'd be able to piece a simple sentence together in context. (Did I make it clear enough that time?)

    "Again, how do you think that if major reductions in regulation & oversight were this bad, getting rid of regulation would somehow be the best thing ever?"

    This is the problem with your argument: You're not realizing how the mountain of regulation and mandates already on the books (even minus two of them) are affecting incentives in what you seem to be calling a "free" market. I used the Jenga analogy for a reason. To be more clear, the market incentives that exist when you remove two out of ten thousand government regulations are not the same as the market incentives that exist when the government is completely absent in said affairs (what I would call a "free" market).

    "Oh, right, "voluntary regulation". Because the loonies should always run their own asylum?"

    Yes - they generally do or they run themselves into the ground. We're talking about matters of economics; this isn't a discussion about torts. A lot of people (both in an out of the financial sector) made a lot of awful decisions based on the incentives that existed - which were largely the result of bad government mandates and regulation (see the second video on this post). I know this might be hard for you to imagine, but most market actors don't usually have an incentive to over-leverage themselves to the extent they have leading into this recession. Banks usually don't have a vested interest in making loans to people who can't pay it back - and financiers don't generally have incentives to buy the mortgage confetti that result from shitty loans. The fact is that there are multiple layers of government-wrought incentives through mandates, restrictions in other areas, and both legal and de facto insurance and subsidization. Just as it is in a game of Jenga, you may be able to add and remove pieces (regulation) without toppling the damn thing but occasionally it's going to happen. Simply looking at the nature of the one or two pieces you removed and refusing to consider how all the other institutional pieces played a role is being...well...ignorant.

  • ||

    Examples: I'd rather not be "free" to have my well poisoned by cyanide because you decided to open an unregulated gold mining operation that leached pollution into the water table.

    And you think poisoning other people's property wouldn't be illegal in a libertarian society? You don't know what you're talking about.

    I'd rather not be "free" to have to open an analytical chem lab in my home to test all my food, medicine, & kitchenware for poisons.

    Nor would you need to. Private regulation companies exist in the market right now. You don't know what you're talking about.

    It's easier & more efficient to spend a dollar or two in the form of taxes every year to have that stuff taken care of or prevented by the government, leaving me FREE to live my life instead of being stressed by knowing there is a much greater threat that some unscrupulous asshole is literally poisoning me.

    Then by all means do so! Give your money to the government in return for whatever services you wish. But that does not give you the right to force other people who do not want to have those things to pay for them. You don't know what you're talking about.

    It is more efficient & better for society as a whole to spend a couple dollars in the form of taxes to know that an employer can't just fire my wife for getting pregnant.

    No, it is better for you and your wife. It is not better for the employer who is now forced to employ someone he does not want to employ. It would benefit me and many others if we could steal whatever food we wanted, but that would be wrong, because it is coercive to those we would be stealing from. You don't know what the fuck you are talking about.

  • Boxbot||

    I'm suspicious. None of this was in the informational packet the Kochs gave me.

  • ||

    And you think poisoning other people's property wouldn't be illegal in a libertarian society? You don't know what you're talking about.

    >> Have you EVER had to go to court? Sure, technically it would be illegal in a libertarian society. But you, as an individual, would have to track down the polluter, subpoena them, take them to court, and PROVE they did something illegal. Waaaaaaayyy easier & more efficient to have a government agency require them to get a permit, and as part of the permit process, prove their operation will be designed such that it shouldn't poison the water table. And then have said regulators actually inspect & audit from time to time as well. > Oh,I know, damn. Fucking humans, actually living, having families & shit. It's oppressive. Why do we even have bathrooms in the workplace? Have you ever seen how much that adds to the cost of a building? Stupid employees should hold it all day or piss their pants. Well, no, I'd fire them for pissing their pants. And if they don't like it, screw 'em, let 'em find a better job. Can't EVERYTHING just be done by robots anyway?

  • ||

    Have you EVER had to go to court? Sure, technically it would be illegal in a libertarian society. But you, as an individual, would have to track down the polluter, subpoena them, take them to court, and PROVE they did something illegal.

    You mean how all crimes are prosecuted? Wow what a fucking concept!

    Don't bother responding to my other points, I know you'll just screw it up.

  • ||

    Such deliberate dumb-assery again. The point is, we currently have the GOVERNMENT doing the heavy lifting on prosecuting such criminals, as well as PREVENTING such crime by having REGULATIONS, INSPECTIONS, and PERMITS.

    As opposed to having either no regulations, or no teeth in the regs because dumbass Libs like you refuse to fund the required agencies to oversee the permitting process that prevents such crimes, and would underfund the enforcement agencies that gather evidence & prosecute such crimes.

    So, no, it would be nothing at all like how crimes are prosecuted today, you deluded fool.

  • ||

    Such deliberate dumb-assery again. The point is, we currently have the GOVERNMENT doing the heavy lifting on prosecuting such criminals, as well as PREVENTING such crime by having REGULATIONS, INSPECTIONS, and PERMITS.

    Why don't we prevent violent crimes by placing people we don't like in jail before they've done anything? Now that's justice! Fuck "innocent till proven guilty," PRECRIME bitch! Gosh you're dumb.

    As opposed to having either no regulations, or no teeth in the regs because dumbass Libs like you refuse to fund the required agencies to oversee the permitting process that prevents such crimes, and would underfund the enforcement agencies that gather evidence & prosecute such crimes.

    HA! Oh that's fucking rich, libertarians run the government. Right...

    Come on, it's like you're not even trying.

  • ||

    Oh, yeah, I forgot that having to get a permit that proves your mine is properly engineered for safety & have your mine inspected from time to time to reduce the risk of it killing people is EXACTLY the same as rounding up groups of law-abiding citizens and throwing them in jail forever.

    How silly of me! You're right, those are *exactly* the same!

    ROFLMAO

  • ||

    Uh, you didn't respond to my point, dumbass. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Why don't we force everyone to undergo psychological inspections to make sure they aren't going to kill people? It's only risk management after all...

    Also waiting for a response on every point I've made that you've ignored. There are quite a few in this thread.

  • ||

    Get a clue heller. I've never advocated extremism. Maybe you like fucking your straw-dolls, but doing so isn't a response to my actual points. Equating blatant tyranny & human rights abuses with something as simple & prudent as requiring mines to get their engineering plans approved before operating & requiring periodic safety inspections doesn't exactly make you come across as the most sane & stable person either. But hey, you're free to burn as much of your credibility as like.

  • ||

    Get a clue heller. I've never advocated extremism. Maybe you like fucking your straw-dolls, but doing so isn't a response to my actual points.

    That's the most self-unaware thing I've ever heard. What the fuck do you think you've been doing throughout this entire thread?

    Quit this balance bullshit. Apparently when you set the limit, it's a reasonable balance. When I set the limit, it's extreme. Making everyone submit to psychological tests once a year isn't an extreme position, it's just a stupid one.

    Equating blatant tyranny & human rights abuses with something as simple & prudent as requiring mines to get their engineering plans approved before operating & requiring periodic safety inspections doesn't exactly make you come across as the most sane & stable person either.

    Wow I wish I could so easily revert to ad hominem attacks in my arguments. [insert position here] makes you look insane and unstable. Great argument, retard.

  • ||

    After reading other people's posts, my biggest issue is not with libertarianism per se, it's just that you're a world-class asshole. So, you're not worth replying to anymore.

  • ||

    Finishing strong with another ad hominem in place of an argument? I'm so proud of you!

  • crossofcrimson||

    "Waaaaaaayyy easier & more efficient to have a government agency require them to get a permit, and as part of the permit process, prove their operation will be designed such that it shouldn't poison the water table. And then have said regulators actually inspect & audit from time to time as well."

    So having all producers, at the expense of both consumers and producers, fly everything by the government first and then be monitored constantly by government agencies is "Waaaaaaayyy easier & more efficient" than addressing an individual tort? I don't find this argument too convincing.

  • ||

    What court will you bring your tort to, if nobody has the right to coerce anybody into paying the taxes that make courts possible?

  • ||

    Wow, it's almost like I didn't refute this type of argument already... If you want a court system to protect your freedoms you pay for it.

  • ||

    Wow, it's almost like I didn't refute this type of argument already... If you want a court system to protect your freedoms you pay for it.

    >>Hmmm... Yes, that's realistic. I'll be sure to add that to my monthly budget just for fun, since nobody can make me pay my fair share. I'm sure that such reliable work prospects will draw quality people to public service, too. LOLOLOL!

  • ||

    "Wow, it's almost like I didn't refute this type of argument already... If you want a court system to protect your freedoms you pay for it."

    We do want them, and we do pay for them. We elect politicians who make laws. Those laws have said, budget after budget, that we want a court system, and how much we are willing to spend for it.

    Or do you really have no clue whatsoever how government actually works?

  • ||

    We do want them, and we do pay for them. We elect politicians who make laws. Those laws have said, budget after budget, that we want a court system, and how much we are willing to spend for it.

    I'm confused, if everyone wants a court system, why would we need a law that forces us to pay for one? Wouldn't we voluntarily do so? So either making such a law is redundant, or not everyone wants to use courts. That's fine though, because only the people who want to use them must pay for and use them.

  • crossofcrimson||

    What group do you bring your hunger to if nobody has the right to coerce anybody into paying the taxes that make those groups possible?

  • Joe R.||

    Sure, technically it would be illegal in a libertarian society.

    So...when you said

    I'd rather not be "free" to have my well poisoned by cyanide because you decided to open an unregulated gold mining operation that leached pollution into the water table.

    you knew you were being a deceptive piece of shit.

  • ||

    Depends. Is it coercive to make the mining company manage their pollution? I mean, if it occurs within the bounds of their own property, they can do anything they please, right, because Rand forbid we do anything at all that interferes with a person's property rights, no matter how reasonable or prudent some restrictions may be.

  • ||

    Dude, what the fuck does Rand have to do with anything? You do realize this isn't an Objectivist site right? Dumbass.

    Secondly, if they are only polluting their own property, why the fuck do you care? Why is it your business?

  • ||

    Your freedom, my freedom, the freedom of some random guy off the street, will all inevitably crash into each other pretty often. I say that means being mature adults means having to accept reasonable limits on your freedom now & then in order to live peacefully in a crowded, complex world.

  • ||

    Yes, your freedom ends where mine begins. If you truly believed that, you would be a libertarian.

  • ||

    Most people will disagree on where their freedom ends, or where someone else's freedom begins. Duh.

    Also, what about responsibility? What about some teensy weensy bit of responsibility for the weak & the poor, as well as for other species, and for leaving the planet in decent condition for future generations? Too oppressive for you?

  • ||

    Most people will disagree on where their freedom ends, or where someone else's freedom begins. Duh.

    The only way people could disagree is if they believe some people should have more freedom than others. If everyone has equal rights, then it is a simple matter of determining what those rights are: You have the right to do anything you want, as long as it does not violate the right of another to do the same.

  • ||

    Secondly, if they are only polluting their own property, why the fuck do you care? Why is it your business?

    >> Maybe this is a surprise, but --- property eventually changes hands. Your pollution then becomes somebody else's problem. Oh, and little details like the fact that the earth is a pretty closed system, so any pollution you make tends to get mixed up in my air, water, & land sooner or later, so my right to be as free from poison as possible requires telling people sometimes they can't just do anything they damn well please, even on or with their own property. I'm sure you're aware of that already, but just playing dumb so you can cling to your delusions of superiority in the face of actual evidence of how flawed your ideology is.

  • ||

    Maybe this is a surprise, but --- property eventually changes hands. Your pollution then becomes somebody else's problem.

    Yes, it changes hands voluntarily. The person that decides to buy the property is deciding to buy the property as it is: polluted. Is there a point somewhere in there? Guess not.

    Oh, and little details like the fact that the earth is a pretty closed system, so any pollution you make tends to get mixed up in my air, water, & land sooner or later, so my right to be as free from poison as possible requires telling people sometimes they can't just do anything they damn well please, even on or with their own property.

    Then the pollution is NOT confined to the property. Seriously, where is your argument?

    I'm sure you're aware of that already, but just playing dumb so you can cling to your delusions of superiority in the face of actual evidence of how flawed your ideology is.

    What fucking evidence? I've responded to every single little piece of shit you've dropped here. People much smarter than you have made much smarter arguments against libertarianism, and they too failed to prove anything. You aren't special or interesting.

  • Contrarian P||

    Isn't there tons of anti-pollution regulation in place now? Don't corporations and individuals have to get permits to do virtually anything? That means, using your argument that government regulation is so wonderful, that there should be hardly any pollution. Hell, there shouldn't be any litter on the side of the road! There are laws against it and permits needed! Beats me how Deepwater Horizon happened. It's hard to take your arguments seriously when reality has not shown the capacity to be markedly improved by what you advocate.

  • ||

    "Beats me how Deepwater Horizon happened."

    Deliberately lax regulation, plus decades of underfunding leads to inadequate resources in the agency that was supposed to be able to evaluate the safety of the operation, but wasn't able to do the job since, surprise surprise, key people didn't think it was important enough a government job until AFTER a disaster happened.

    That, and -- get ready for it --- sometimes, accidents happen, even if you try really hard not to have them. But since Libertarianism IS seriously detached from reality, it's understandable that you'd think perfect results every time would somehow be possible.

  • ||

    Deliberately lax regulation,

    By whom? The government? Surely your savior could have deliberately ignored its duty?

    plus decades of underfunding leads to inadequate resources in the agency that was supposed to be able to evaluate the safety of the operation, but wasn't able to do the job since, surprise surprise, key people didn't think it was important enough a government job until AFTER a disaster happened.

    Ignoring the fact that there is no lack of regulatory funding, regulatory spending has been going up up up for years now, which one is it? Either they deliberately ignored it or they wanted to do something but they didn't have the funding. You can't have it both ways. But we already know that the latter is false...

    That, and -- get ready for it --- sometimes, accidents happen, even if you try really hard not to have them. But since Libertarianism IS seriously detached from reality, it's understandable that you'd think perfect results every time would somehow be possible.

    Umm, you need to take a look in the mirror. You're the one arguing that the government can prevent these accidents from happening, not us. We already know the government cannot prevent them from happening. Projecting much?

  • Contrarian P||

    That's the problem to your approach. When things do happen, they're used as an example of "market failures" or whatever, and more regulation is introduced. This even when the incident may have been caused by the very regulations that were supposed to prevent it. It's a vicious cycle.

  • ||

    "It's hard to take your arguments seriously when reality has not shown the capacity to be markedly improved by what you advocate."

    I know facts are like Kryptonite to your fantasy philosophy, but reality has been "markedly improved by what I advocate"

    - Lake Erie was damn near dead, the Cuyahoga River caught fire, bald eagles & American alligators were nearly extinct. Thanks to government intervention, all of those situations have been reversed.

    That's reality.

  • ||

    Oh thank God the fucking alligators and bald eagles were saved. Now I see the error of my ways. Oh government, I'll never take you for granted again!

  • ||

    But seriously, what would stop groups of individuals from financing and creating solutions to these problems?

  • skr||

    And banning DDT killed millions of people through malaria.

  • Contrarian P||

    Yeah, but we've got damn fine eagles and alligators!

  • Resto Druid FTW||

    "Give your money to the government in return for whatever services you wish. But that does not give you the right to force other people who do not want to have those things to pay for them."

    This is precisely what the statists will never understand as they presume to know what's best for everyone.

  • ||

    But that does not give you the right to force other people who do not want to have those things to pay for them.

    >> Oh, so, we're assuming then that all taxes are completely voluntary? How realistic & workable. I'm sure we'd have really well-functioning courts, police, fire, etc, etc, if nobody paid for them unless they feel like it. How can you seriously not see how far off in fantasy land your cute little philosophy really is?

  • ||

    I don't have to buy groceries unless I feel like it, yet magically groceries are always available for me to buy. Fucking magic!

  • ||

    Right. Because public goods are sooooo exactly like groceries. Dumbass.

  • Contrarian P||

    You're right, they're not. If I don't eat, I will surely die. If I don't have a fire department, I may live my entire life without issue. I'd still be perfectly willing to kick in a few bucks to pay for one, though, and I suspect just about everyone would. We also pay for things like charities voluntarily and have since the founding of our country. It's when you take my money by force to give it to someone else because you've decided they need it more than I do, or to fund broadcasting that I do not wish to support, to give to tinhorn dictators because they are our "friends", or whatever else you want to do without my input or consent in direct violation of the document that is supposed to lay out what you can and cannot do that I tend to get upset. That's the part that I don't think you grasp.

  • ||

    Charity didn't eradicate smallpox, the U.N. did.

    Charity isn't that efficient -we have multitudes of individual charities that replicate all the administrative & fund-raising costs needed for their operation, when it would be better use of the money to have fewer, larger charities that fundamentally change the conditions leading to the problem, instead of patting themselves on the back for picking at the ragged edge of the scab every now & then.

    I too dislike a lot of how the government spends my money. But, I don't think saying I don't have to contribute to the government unless I feel like it is a realistic remedy. And, it would create lots of month-to-month unpredictability in government funding, which would de-stabilize the government & also deter quality people from doing public service work.

  • ||

    But, I don't think saying I don't have to contribute to the government unless I feel like it is a realistic remedy. And, it would create lots of month-to-month unpredictability in government funding, which would de-stabilize the government & also deter quality people from doing public service work.

    No more so than a company is unsure about its funding. As long as the company provides a service that people want to buy, it will have revenue to continue providing that service. What is so hard to understand here?

  • Contrarian P||

    "Charity isn't that efficient"

    The government is several orders of magnitude less efficient than the charities.

  • ||

    The only thing that makes something public is that it is produced by the government. The fact that something is public does not inherently mean that it could not be provided in a voluntary manner. Dumbass.

  • Joe R.||

    Examples: I'd rather not be "free" to have my well poisoned by cyanide because you decided to open an unregulated gold mining operation that leached pollution into the water table.

    You do know that under libertarianism the guy would be penalized for poisoning your well, right? He'd still have an incentive not to do it.

    I didn't even bother to read the rest, because I figured it was just as uninformed.

  • ||

    Yeah, you're right, it would work great.

    Why would I want to suffer the tyranny of a few dollars of taxes for regulatory, inpection, & permitting agencies in place to prevent such things, and to handle the gathering of evidence & prosectution on behalf of all citizens?

    Instead, after I've already been poisoned, I could sue a huge company that has millions of dollars to spend for every one dollar of mine. I could personally attempt to round up the evidence needed to win - I'm sure I'd get real far on that all by myself. Then I could personally keep going back to court again & again when the mining company fails to pay. Because, you know, I don't have a life to live or a job to go to or a family to spend time with. Nah, it's way easier your way.

  • ||

    That's a pretty good description of today's justice system. Now can we get back to talking about libertarianism?

  • ||

    To the extent that the regulatory agencies have been de-funded & the regulations themselves gutted, sure I agree it describes today's state of affairs pretty well. So your answer is to just finish the job & eliminate the regulations & the oversight altogether?

  • ||

    To the extent that new regulatory agencies and regulations have been created, and regulatory spending in general increased...

    I fixed that for you.

    So your answer is to just finish the job & eliminate the regulations & the oversight altogether?

    What does your first sentence have to do with the other, dipshit? God, it's like talking to a child.

  • ||

    ROFL! Now you're just blatantly changing what I wrote to make it inconsistent, then criticizing the inconsistency! I learned you're an incredibly dense & mean-spirited asshole, but I still expected you to have at least some integrity & honesty. Geesh!

  • ||

    No, I changed what you wrote because what you wrote was the opposite of readily available facts.

  • Joe R.||

    OK, one more sentence: I'd rather not be "free" to have to open an analytical chem lab in my home to test all my food, medicine, & kitchenware for poisons.

    You know all that stuff that's labeled "Kosher for Passover"? Is that certified by the government, or are all individual observant Jews visiting the factories with their rabbis?

    Just to name one example. There are others. The MPAA, UL, Good Housekeeping, Consumer Reports. They all function quite well voluntarily.

  • ||

    And how many of them are basically industry's attempt to get ahead of regulation?

    Sure, government can be scary. But sometimes the threat that government might have to get involved is exactly what's needed.

  • ||

    LOL, most of them are third parties that are competing with the government in regulating industries.

  • Contrarian P||

    Umm, none? But thanks for playing. I'm pretty sure that kosher things are not the Jews way of getting ahead of regulation, seeing as those dietary laws are several thousand years old. You made yourself look quite silly with that comment, I'm afraid.

  • skr||

    The near entire history of humanity is one long series of examples illustrating that unscupulous assholes will clamor to government and use the power of the state to fuck everyone else for their own personal gain.

  • ||

    The near entire history of humanity is one long series of examples illustrating that unscupulous assholes will clamor to government and use the power of the state to fuck everyone else for their own personal gain.

    >>Agreed. And your point is what exactly? What do you think the Bill of Rights is for? What do you think our Constitution outlining a republic with 3 branches of government that each checks & balance the other branches is for? You act like this is some kind of totalitarian state. It's not. Sure, the 'war on drugs' is worthless & stupid, and both parties spend way too much money on very narrow & vested interests that don't benefit most people. But that doesn't mean government is not valuable & doesn't have a central role to play in creating the environment needed for widespread prosperity & peace.

  • ||

    And what is your point? Libertarians say the same thing.

  • ||

    Except if, as you claim, nobody has the right to force you to pay for government stuff unless you feel like it, what do you think will happen? And if the government doesn't even have the power to tax, will it be able to prosecute & punish criminals & defend the weak? Not very effectively, if at all, I'd have to assume.

  • God||

    you're a glutton for punishment. I do hope you don't come back, just because you're such a waste of bytes. Dumbass.

  • ||

    Except if, as you claim, nobody has the right to force you to pay for government stuff unless you feel like it, what do you think will happen?

    You can keep repeating this, but it doesn't make it true. You should have to pay for the things you buy. You shouldn't have to pay for the things you don't buy. If everyone who uses the services of the police and courts pay for it, where the fuck is the problem? Why do I have to keep repeating this?

  • ||

    "If everyone who uses the services of the police and courts pay for it, where the fuck is the problem?"

    So, if I don't have money, I don't get to report a crime? I can get beaten & robbed, but, if I can't pay the bill for police services, what, exactly?

    Oh, damn. I just realized this was a heller post. No wonder it didn't make any sense.

  • ||

    Yes, poor people would starve in a libertarian society, because no one cares about poor people until the government tells them too. I'm sick and tired of hearing this hypocritical argument. If you care about the poor then wouldn't you pay for them?

  • ||

    You do realize we survived as a nation and PROSPERED for over a hundred years without the motherfucking income tax right?

    You seem to be confusing libertarianism with anarchy. Which is funny since if we did what most of the writers, and at least some of the commenters, on Reason suggested (takes us back to a 1999 level government) we wouldn't have mass death in the streets. It's doubly funny since this is a comment section on a video that defines libertarianism as NOT being anarchy.

  • Contrarian P||

    Where exactly in the Constitution, which you apparently so ardently advocate, does it empower the government to do all this regulation you describe? The interstate commerce clause, I assume? It clearly did not mean to the founders what it has come to mean. They envisioned a highly limited federal government, with checks and balances as you describe. Since you are such a Constitutional diehard, how is it that you advocate things that are completely at odds with its meaning?

  • ||

    You mean like how the government did such an awesome job with Love Canal? The chemical company refused to sell the contaminated land to teh School Board, insisting that it was contaminated, and even showing proof of the contamination to the government, but they insisted in purchasing the land anyway? Or how awesome a job did the USDA do with the contaminated eggs? They even admitted they knew the eggs were diseased but overlooked them. And then they asked for more money after their failure. And the Mineral Service and BP-- no regulatroy capture there...Yea government! great job!

  • Apogee||

    Look, Dave-O isn't that bright. Don't bring up government malfeasance, because Dave-O can't conceive that his precious regulatory state is staffed with the same human beings he is so loath to grant 'freedom', lest they go all crazy and shit and ruin the planet.

  • Michael||

    By your logic, those 320 million would have to be under surveillance 24/7 to maintain a condition even vaguely resembling order.

    Tell me something. Why is it that people who presume the absolute worst from others in the absence of a regulatory state always seem to be the first to seize the any available opportunity to cheat?

  • ||

    Yet again: Are you actually too dense to understand, or just deliberately distorting the message? BALANCE! It's not that difficult a concept.

  • Michael||

    Yet again: Why is it that people who presume the absolute worst from others in the absence of a regulatory state always seem to be the first to seize any available opportunity to cheat?

  • ||

    I'm confused Dave-O, do you want people to be free, or do you want to control society so that you feel safe? You can't have both at the same time.

  • ||

    BALANCE!

    What are your views on the Nash Equilibrium?

  • MWG||

    "Are you actually too dense to understand, or just deliberately distorting the message?"

    Yea, b/c you're not doing that at all with comments like:

    "I'd rather not be "free" to have my well poisoned by cyanide because you decided to open an unregulated gold mining operation that leached pollution into the water table. I'd rather not be "free" to have to open an analytical chem lab in my home to test all my food, medicine, & kitchenware for poisons. It's easier & more efficient to spend a dollar or two in the form of taxes every year to have that stuff taken care of or prevented by the government, leaving me FREE to live my life instead of being stressed by knowing there is a much greater threat that some unscrupulous asshole is literally poisoning me. It is more efficient & better for society as a whole to spend a couple dollars in the form of taxes to know that an employer can't just fire my wife for getting pregnant. That is also good for any employer who would like to do "the right thing" but needs to stay competitive, even against those who engage in a race to the bottom."

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    FREEDOM! It's not that difficult a concept. Do I win now?

  • crossofcrimson||

    "You assume people would be willing to act responsibly, fairly, honestly, non-aggressively, without coercion to force them to do so"

    Actually, we assume roughly the opposite. We know that human beings are flawed and that it's overly idealistic to assume that we'll all simply act fairly or responsibly. It's precisely the reason why we believe that we should limit any monopoly on coercive force as much as possible (some of us pushing that line further than others).

    If the mainstream thought is - "If men were angels we wouldn't need government", the libertarian thought is "If men were angels, there would be no problem with government."

    The men whom govern (regardless of how they are placed in such a position) have the same innate vulnerabilities as the rest of us. We're hesitant to push for wrestling the segregated power achieved through trade and cooperation and consolidating into the hands of the few PRECISELY because men are flawed. There is no libertarian delusion that men will always and forever live in some Utopian harmony. But there is also no libertarian delusion that the best way to protect us from the abuse of power and privilege is to entrust it to the hands of the few. I wish I could say the same for our detractors.

  • Joe R.||

    Indeed. If it is true that some men are evil, then we absolutely MUST limit the power of government, because those evil men will be in government. In fact, they will be more highly concentrated there than in the public at large, because evil men will inevitably seek more power.

  • crossofcrimson||

    Exactly. I'm not saying there isn't room for disagreement. But to say that libertarianism assumes perfect men is to get things absolutely backwards.

  • ||

    "Actually, we assume roughly the opposite. We know that human beings are flawed and that it's overly idealistic to assume that we'll all simply act fairly or responsibly. It's precisely the reason why we believe that we should limit any monopoly on coercive force as much as possible (some of us pushing that line further than others).

    If the mainstream thought is - "If men were angels we wouldn't need government", the libertarian thought is "If men were angels, there would be no problem with government."

    The men whom govern (regardless of how they are placed in such a position) have the same innate vulnerabilities as the rest of us. We're hesitant to push for wrestling the segregated power achieved through trade and cooperation and consolidating into the hands of the few PRECISELY because men are flawed. There is no libertarian delusion that men will always and forever live in some Utopian harmony. But there is also no libertarian delusion that the best way to protect us from the abuse of power and privilege is to entrust it to the hands of the few. I wish I could say the same for our detractors."

    Eloquent & appealing. Also a bit quaint though. The government is still a democracy, so we can demand to see what's going on & we can throw out people who abuse its power. None of that is true of corporate power, though. And even though no individual corporation is as big as our gov't, they collectively hold a lot more real power in today's world than government.

    Also, the government is the only institution with the potential to efficiently address things that don't lend themselves to profit-making ventures but are nevertheless major public needs & social ills.

  • Contrarian P||

    If something is a major public need, it will become a profit making venture. I challenge you to name an example of something that is highly needed where nobody is making a profit.

  • ||

    The government is still a democracy, so we can demand to see what's going on & we can throw out people who abuse its power. None of that is true of corporate power, though. And even though no individual corporation is as big as our gov't, they collectively hold a lot more real power in today's world than government.

    Corporate power? Like the power to buy things? OH NO THEY CAN BUY THINGS!!! Government is the only true holder of power, the power to coerce you. The only way a corporation can have power over you is through the government, which is an argument against giving the government power, not against having corporations.

    There's also the problem that elections don't come around too often, and between them politicians can coerce you to do alot of things. Corporations, on the other hand, depend on you voting with your wallet every single day, and they have to please us constantly or they will fail.

  • crossofcrimson||

    "The government is still a democracy, so we can demand to see what's going on & we can throw out people who abuse its power."

    That point is both true and comforting...if you happen to find yourself in the majority.

    "None of that is true of corporate power, though. "

    Yes and no. The market is certainly a democracy of sorts. A company that poisons its customers is going to find his "market-favor" (money) drying up pretty quickly. Companies that serve their customers however may enjoy continued patronage.

    Of course the great thing is that if most people like company X and I don't, I'm not forced to do business with government X. Unfortunately it's not that simple with government as we know it.

    As David Friedman put it:

    "Imagine buying cars the way we buy governments. Ten thousand people would get together and agree to vote, each for the car he preferred. Whichever car won, each of the ten thousand would have to buy it. It would not pay any of us to make any serious effort to find out which car was best; whatever I decide, my car is being picked for me by the other members of the group. Under such institutions, the quality of cars would quickly decline."

  • crossofcrimson||

    I meant "company X" not "government X"...typos abound.

  • Almanian||

    Thick-headed, or just deliberately distorting the message?

    I'm voting that you're both, Dave

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Thick-headed, or just deliberately distorting the message?

    The latter.

    My point, better made by others here, is that no matter how badly you believe you can be treated by private institutions, that pales in comparison to the abuses which can be heaped upon you by an overbearing state. Government is a self-interested, human institution just like whatever private institutions you fear hiding under your bed. Only the state is also an institution that can actually imprison you.

    Like any ideology, libertarianism comes in a large palette of options. While I may be unfairly painting your philosphy the color of fascism, your comments suggest the broad brush you're using is dripping with the hue of anarchy. Libertarians can see a role for the state, just one very rigidly defined. Libertarians don't really believe in a collective utopia; I don't think there's any delusion there. Libertarianism is about freedom of personal choice, whereas statism in whatever degree is the abdication of personal choice.

  • nekoxgirl||

    Kind of shows how little you know about libertarians if you think anarcho-capitalism is the only version of it. I'd personally be happy if the power was given back to state and local governments instead of centralized in the federal government.

    So tell me, why don't liberals and conservatives trust the American people to govern themselves? You don't believe society can exist without government. Got it. But why do you think the only form of government that is valid is the democratic dictatorship we call the federal government?

  • ||

    I'm not passionately sold on any particular division of federal vs State/local power.

    But, if I were selling consumer goods, for instance, I'd prefer the balance more toward federal so that I could focus on making better products & optimizing my business instead of navigating a maze of 50 different regulatory environments.

    There's a lot to like about libertarianism:

    1) less activist foreign policy & military misadventures.
    2) Stop wasting money on the counter-productive 'war on drugs'.
    3) Stop distorting the market with massive subsidies of corn, etc., so that better technologies have a chance.
    4) Presumably repeal things that infringe on the Bill of Rights, like how the "patriot act" has been used.

    But, I do believe we have responsibilities as well as rights. How would libertarianism realistically address things like:

    1) Public access to education
    2) Environmental quality
    3) The mentally ill, disabled, etc.
    4) Public health (a government, if you consider the UN a government, eradicated smallpox. Not a bunch of random organizations)
    5) Public safety (fire, non-victimless crimes)

  • ||

    Ask not how libertarians would address those things, ask how you and every other individual that agrees with you would come together voluntarily to address those things. Every individual would have the power to change things in a libertarian society.

  • Contrarian P||

    "Public health (a government, if you consider the UN a government, eradicated smallpox. Not a bunch of random organizations)"

    Not exactly. The campaign toward the elimination of smallpox actually started in the 19th century. It was known that the instillation of coxpox was protective against smallpox and so various governments began vaccination programs. While you are correct that government action contributed to the eradication of smallpox, the United Nations came in quite late in the fight against the disease. The United Nations is also absolutely not a government. Of course, history also has plenty of examples of government harming citizens in the name of public health (Syphilis study anyone?), so your argument is at best inconclusive.

    5) Public safety (fire, non-victimless crimes)

    If something is non-victimless, wouldn't that mean there is in fact a victim? Libertarianism advocates the existence of government to redress the grievances of those whose life or property have been violated. I assume you meant victimless crimes. But then the question in the libertarian philosophy is: if the crime is victimless, why is it a crime? What exactly is the point of prosecuting things which have not harmed anyone else?

  • ||

    1) Public access to education: Some might beat me about the head, neck, and shoulders for this but I would suggest that the best solution in our current situation would be to give parents a voucher for their property tax and let them decide where to send their kids.

    2) Environmental quality: Define quality. (This isn't snark. Some people's definition of quality is higher than others).

    3) The mentally ill, disabled, etc.: The only reason you could see them as a problem is because the people who are supposed to take care of them (that pesky thing called family) aren't doing their jobs. There are lots of variables in this situation so I would need you to lay out a scenario.

    4) Public health: Unfortunately, health care is not a right. For it to be a right you are saying that I can lay claim to another person's mind, body, and talent. Also, from what I've learned, historically doctor's and the companies that actually produced vaccines DID feel an obligation to help those less fortunate, without the government telling them to do so.

    5) Public safety: Where I grew up we only had volunteer fire departments because people didn't want their taxes going up. Worked out pretty well for everyone involved. The court system is actually provided for in the Constitution. As far as police go, I'm not sure where I stand on them, but I will say they are not in the job of crime prevention. Prevention implies they have the ability to stop something before it even happens. Last time I checked, no one alive has precognition. If you do, can you give me next weeks lotto numbers?

  • Sam Grove||

    Every critique you make of people in a market is doubly damning of political government.

    If you want to screw people over with little personal risk, you must get other the government to do it.

  • Brian D||

    Damn right! Freedom is all about doing what other people tell you to do!

  • ||

    Don't forget about hookers and blow.

  • Joe R.||

    "Remember the hookers and blow" is on my bumper sticker.

  • Charlie Sheen||

    And I trademarkered that phrase, so PAY UP, SUCKER!

  • Pat O'Brien||

    I beg your pardon!

  • prolefeed||

    It means being totally & deliberately delusional about how poorly powerful groups will treat "the little guy" without rigorous intervention by the state & its laws.

    Being Dave-O means being delusional and thinking that coercive government is not the most powerful group of all, with a long and documented history of treating peons poorly via its interventions.

  • nekoxgirl||

    Yes, because the industrial revolution (due to which we all in the developed world owe our high standard of living) took place at a time of increasing government regulation...or is it the other way around?

  • ||

    My definition of a libertarian is even shorter than that.

    A libertarian is someone who doesn't think politicians are the solution to our problems.

  • Trouble Maker||

    That's it? A definition based upon a negative? Poor, very poor.

  • ||

    Given the world we live in, that's the line in sand.

    When everybody who thinks politicians are the solution to our problems steps over the line, the only people left are libertarians.

    Reality is what it is. If libertarianism is opposition to something, then that's what it is. Whatever else libertarians disagree on (and we seem to disagree on everything else), the one thing we all agree on is this:

    "Politicians are not the solution to my problems."

  • Joe R.||

    My favorite short version comes from Roderick Long: "Other people are not your property."

  • affenkopf||

    A libertarian is anyone who adheres to the non-aggression principle. Everyone else is just a conservative or liberal prentending to like liberty.

  • ||

    I have to agree with you here, ape head. Most people, even those who call themselves libertarian, will usually find something that they can justify using force for.

  • ||

    I'm not sure about this, but doesn't affe mean monkey and Menschenaffe mean ape?

  • ||

    Pretty sure affe is ape. Ape head, can you clarify for us?

  • ||

    Hey, leading question! Monkey or Ape Head, can you clarify for us?

    VM could also make a ruling. He's got some Nazi powers.

  • affenkopf||

    Technically Menschenaffe is ape and Affe is monkey but in practice Affe is used both for monkey and ape.

  • ||

    In other words, more imprecision from Episiarch.

    Thanks, Monkey Head!

  • ||

    Non-Human Primate Head

  • ||

    Now you're being silly.

  • Ice Nine||

    >>"Affe is monkey"

    Racist!

  • ||

    Soylent Grün sind die Menschen!

  • kennewick man||

    >>"Affe is monkey"

    Racist!

    The three inch spear tip embedded in my hip has something to say about this but i have chosen to ignore it.

  • RandomGermanDude||

    My name is RandomGermanDude and I approve of this message.

  • ||

    Which message? The Soylent Green one or the monkey-ape business?

  • skr||

    tail, no-tail, why ya gotta hate?

  • RandomGermanDude||

    The explanation given for the word "Affe". The other one does not compute because the original English sentence can't be translated literally to German very well.

    "Soylent Green ist Menschenfleisch" (Menschenfleisch = human meat) is the translation they chose for the German dubbing.

  • ||

    Ah, thank you. I hate to yell like Charlton Heston in German incorrectly. I'll amend myself going forward. Well, until I forget, anyway.

    Soylent Green ist Menschenfleisch!

    Is it "Green" because it's a brand name and shouldn't be translated?

  • ||

    Soylent Grün!!!

  • RandomGermanDude||

    "Ja" on the brand name thing.

  • Warty||

    MICHAEL FUCKING BAY

  • ||

    I must resist the temptation, Warty. I must resist.

  • cynical||

    Most libertarians do too, they just cleverly redefine those things as forms of aggression to give themselves a free pass.

  • ||

    I suspect Somalia & other failed states must be very good approximations of pure libertarianism in action.

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Thanks, I could use a good drink.

  • sevo||

    "I suspect Somalia & other failed states must be very good approximations of pure libertarianism in action."

    Of course you do; you're an ignoramus.

  • ||

    Well, where's the mis-alignment with Libertarian dogma? In a failed state, you're totally free from "the oppression & tyranny of government". You're free to pay for as much or as little of anything as you want, and to decide for yourself if the products you buy are hazardous, rather than suffer the indignity of paying taxes or having some government bureaucrat butting into everybody's business to test your food & medicine for poison, for instance. Isn't that what Libertarians dream of?

  • ||

    Somalia isn't a free country. It has governments. The only difference is that these governments are more open about being criminal organizations than ours are.

  • skr||

    this^^^^^^

  • crossofcrimson||

    No one should probably have to say this out loud; but since many non-libertarians like to invoke Somalia, I guess it warrants saying:

    There's something to be said for transition. Even if we were to assume that Somalia is completely devoid of government (which seems a stretch if you actually know anything about the region), no one is proclaiming that if you move from a strong state to the absence of one in the shadow of the night that it's going to be all rainbows and unicorns.

    Part of a state's general purpose is to hold monopolies or semi-monopolies on institutions that presuppose the need for it (law, education, defense, etc.). If you take what exists of a free market and quickly strip it of institutions that it was functionally integrated with you can't exactly expect perfect institutions to organically and immediately take their place.

    For instance, if government claimed a monopoly on food production and the government magically dissolved overnight, I would not expect we would magically have a broad chain of food distribution set up the next day. Couple that with the harassment and tribal rule of warlords how have now partitioned and assumed control of the massive arms that your once proud state had accumulated, and now we have some additional issues.

    To put it bluntly, pointing to Somalia as an example of why small-to-no-government can't work is like pointing to a combustion engine dying on an empty tank of gas and telling me that engines that don't use gas can't work.

  • ||

    There's something to be said for transition.

    You should note that Somalia with no government is doing better then many nations that surround it that have governments.

    In its relative development and geographic location Somalia as a libertarian state is doing better then none libertarian states.

    Of course it is not a libertarian state. It is the anarchy that replaced its collapsed state.

  • crossofcrimson||

    Yes, I should say that I don't mean to completely discount the fact that Somalia, by all general accounts, is MUCH better off even throughout this tough transition, with virtually no state than they ever had been before. I just wanted to make the point that when a state collapses we wouldn't expect perfect institutions to immediately arise and replace the old ones.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Without monocles, it's not Libertopia.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I've had to recently buy reading glasses anyway, so I think I'm finally gonna pull the trigger on this.

  • ||

    Looks like cheap junk. You have to get a custom fit one or it'll fall out all the time. Also go with real gold.

  • ||

    Troll-O!

  • Hugh Akston||

    Awesome! Well played. Your grade gets Bumped up to a solid B.

  • prolefeed||

    I suspect Somalia & other failed states must be very good approximations of pure libertarianism in action.

    Yes, North Korea is an almost perfect illustration of pure libertarianism.

    /sarcasm

  • MWG||

    Drink.

  • ||

    M.S.L. - Interested to see your rebuttal, but seems the link didn't show up in your post.

    But, there's a good reason why Teddy Roosevelt had to become a big trust-buster. That's what so-called "free markets" always do: quickly devolve into cartels that strangle competition, particularly from new players (who are often the most innovative).

    BALANCE is the best way of life, extremism is a recipe for abuse. Communists & Libertarians are merely the two sides of the same delusional coin.

  • Almanian||

    Continued D+ - try HARDER, please.

  • ||

    You think your arguments are original? They were proposed and debunked long before you or I were born.

  • ||

    Not original. Just correct & accurate.

  • ||

    LOL, you're the only delusional one here. You think libertarians are still trying to answer these questions? They've been refuted to death, we've moved on. Get over it.

  • Jingles||

    Fun fact: the ICC was created in response to price gouging by the railroads... which only got into their monopolistic positions because the government gave them land and subsidized construction.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    Oh, OK, I see. So we're talking about companies like Standard Oil which was responsible for massive innovation in the oil industry that caused the price of kerosene to fall from $0.26/gallon in 1870 to $0.06/gallon in 1897. The same Standard Oil that when anti-trust litigation was enacted against it had already seen it's market share fall from 85% to 64% in a free market due to innovation of new competitors. You probably didn't know any of that because you got your information from reading the hit piece written by the bitter daughter of a competitor that Standard Oil put out of business, Ida Tarbell. I'm sure Roosevelt had a reason to become a "trust buster", but it's not because he had to do so to keep the free market intact.

  • silent v||

    You probably didn't know any of that because you got your information from reading the hit piece written by the bitter daughter of a competitor that Standard Oil put out of business, Ida Tarbell.

    You are being way too generous. More likely he got his information from his High School Social Studies teacher who got it three or four levels removed from someone who actually looked into it enough to read the Tarbell piece.

  • ||

    M.S.L. - Interested to see your rebuttal, but seems the link didn't show up in your post.

    What the fuck are you talking about? Go learn to read before you come here...

    But, there's a good reason why Teddy Roosevelt had to become a big trust-buster. That's what so-called "free markets" always do: quickly devolve into cartels that strangle competition, particularly from new players (who are often the most innovative).

    Can you show me an example of a free market creating a monopoly in US history? Can you show me an example of a free market in US history? No you can't. The US has never had a true free market, only a mixed economy. But it's a common mistake of the economically illiterate to think such things. Don't feel bad retard.

    BALANCE is the best way of life, extremism is a recipe for abuse. Communists & Libertarians are merely the two sides of the same delusional coin.

    You cannot be free and unfree at the same time. There is no such thing as a free slave. Either you value freedom or you value coercion. Either you are free, or a slave. Arguing that the slave shouldn't have to work all the time isn't balance. Libertarianism is on one side of that coin, everyone else is on the other side.

  • ||

    [citation needed] is all that shows up, Heller, so WTF is your problem?

  • Sugar Shane||

    pretty simple response to ya, Governments create and maintain industry monopolies and/or cartels, even the black market (drugs ect) cartels exist as a consequence of the governments intervention into market affairs

  • Sugar Shane||

    When he says "[citation needed]", he is asking for some source or history lesson to support you statement (cartels being inevitable in a free market).

    What say you sir?

  • ||

    Care to reply to what I said, or are you just going to continue to affirm our suspicions that you are a complete and utter moron?

  • ||

    I'm not the one dumb enough to believe that just letting everybody do anything they damn well please & shirk their responsibility to PAY for things that benefit everybody but aren't easily assigned to specific people would somehow NOT blow up in our faces.

  • ||

    So now you are arguing from personal incredulity? Can you get any more irrelevant?

  • Almanian||

    No

  • Joe R.||

    Fucking magnets. How do they work?

  • ||

    Holy fuck, are you uninformed.

    I'd argue with you, but you clearly have no interest in learning anything, just spewing partisan propaganda.

  • skr||

    I have absolutely no responsibility to pay for anything against my will that benefits others.

  • Michael||

    That's what so-called "free markets" always do: quickly devolve into cartels that strangle competition, particularly from new players (who are often the most innovative).

    What you're basically saying is that producers of popular goods or services need to be kneecapped in order to give the producers of shitty goods or services a fighting chance. I've never seen someone so absolutely relentless in their stupidity.

  • ||

    GM bought out trolley cars to shut them down. Tucker had a better car & got buried by the Big 3, who didn't want more competition.

  • You're a Dumbass||

    Toyota. Hyundai.

    How about we stick with "current events" rather than "ancient history", dumbass?

  • skr||

    hey dumbass, how do you think Tucker was brought down? ummm the SEC.

  • ||

    What's wrong with buying out trolley cars? If that's all they did, the trolley car owners presumably sold at a price they felt reasonable, and your argument falls on its face. Now if GM used government to force the trolley cars out then your argument falls on its face. So which is it? Or did something else happen. I actually don't know the history, but I'm interested to learn and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • ||

    "What's wrong with buying out trolley cars?"

    Good for GM, bad for the public, and bad for having actual competition. They bought them in order to get rid of competition for their product.

    It's an example of how a genuine "free market" is mostly just fantasy. Companies don't like to compete. It is a helluva lot more profitable to have a monopoly or a cartel. Left to their own preferences, companies will merge & merge & merge until such monopolies or something very close to monopolies exist.

  • ||

    The trolley car company was not forced to sell, were they? Only government can do that, so in either case, your argument falls on its face.

  • ||

    A free market is simply a collection of voluntary transactions between groups and individuals. How does your example show this to be a fantasy?

  • ||

    Microsoft killed Netscape, even though Netscape was better than Explorer.

    It's not that hard to understand. Competing is a pain in the ass. If they can, companies merge, form cartels, use their size unfairly against competitors by selling at a loss than jack prices back up later, or otherwise do whatever they can to avoid real competition.

    So, no, you've totally misinterpreted or misread me. I'm pointing out that without a strong enough government to be the "referee", the game quickly degenerates from honest competition into rigged systems that screw over the little guy, and guarantee shoddy products & even worse customer service.

  • ||

    Yes, because Microsoft went on to monopolize the software industry. Oh wait, Microsoft has not, and never will monopolize the software market. So you're... WRONG. That's the word. Wrong.

  • Contrarian P||

    And yet I'm surfing the internet typing this right now using Firefox running on an Apple machine, both of which are not Microsoft products. Bad example.

    When companies become unresponsive to the needs of their customers, new companies form to compete with them, unless there is a government sponsored monopoly in place. See IBM if you want a real good computer example of a company that formerly dominated the marketplace but lost massive amounts of share because it didn't listen to its customers. Microsoft is the industry leader, yes, but there are plenty of other software providers out there. It's your choice to buy what you want.

  • John Calhoun||

    No, Netscape was not better. It quickly bloated and by IE5 Microsoft had crushed the corpse of Netscape. Have you seen Netscape post version 4?

    And from the Netscape-related open source project Mozilla there was birthed FireFox.

    And we had Opera which went free. And now we have Chrome. And Apple has brought forth Safari.

    Free market at work.

  • Colin||

    Good thing for him he's got tenure.

  • Warty||

    I disagree with the poor grades for Dave-O. waffles is doing a fine job today.

  • PunkJohnnyCash||

    Why do the people here at reason never mention the non-aggression principle?

  • ||

    Why do you think we don't?

  • ||

    Why doesn't every album review begin with chord structure theory?

  • Almanian||

    heh heh heh!

  • Hugh Akston||

    Because the priority is to establish the styntactic and grammatical rules of the language the review is being written in.

  • ||

    The front matter of everything published should be a dictionary and a grammar textbook. Sure books are going to be huge, but how else can we say we are on the same page? (tee-hee!).

  • Kanye||

    books are too wordy and shit

  • Gov. Brown||

    Pfft!

    You guys would starve if it wasn't for people like me.

  • ||

    More than anything else, libertarianism means there is no vacancy in the Inn of Life for nation states.

  • ||

    I wish "libertarianism" meant not arguing the the same tired troll bullshit when it's posted under a new name.

  • ||

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

  • ||

    What part are we on?

  • ||

    The third.

  • ||

    Sorry, no. They aren't fighting us yet. It's either a condescending pat on the head or a flaming bag of shit on the doorstep at this point.

    When the four primary things that non-politics obsessed people think about libertarians (assuming they don't automatically think were are Republicans/Tea Partiers/Limbaughians) are:

    Huh? (50%)

    Bill Maher (30%)

    No Stoplights?!? (10%)

    OMG! RAND! (10%)

    ...we aren't even being properly ignored yet.

  • ||

    Libertarianism has been "criticized" by most major political pundits and opinionators. I would call that fighting.

  • ||

    I call it shadowboxing.

    I'm not trying to be mean or defeatist, but this is a very insular bubble we and pundits are in. I'm very upfront about my leanings with a lot of people, without being a glaze-eyed fanatic. Most people have no clue what we stand for even in a basic strawman sense. Not really knowing you exist is not the same as ignoring you.

  • ||

    So? Not everyone is complicit in opposing libertarianism. But plenty of people do, regardless of how much they understand libertarianism. That is what my original statement was about.

  • ||

    So some people, who don't know very much about what we believe, argue against us mostly on their terms?

    I don't see that as an indicator we are trembling on the precipice of winning.

  • ||

    I do. The only thing we need to do is win the argument. It's really the "easy" part if you think about it.

  • prolefeed||

    The only thing we need to do is win the argument. It's really the "easy" part if you think about it.

    Nope. First they need to know what we stand for.

    Then we have to undo all the statist propaganda they have been indoctrinated with throughout their entire life.

  • ||

    Calling them names & insulting them will help you gain more followers too! LOL

    I don't know what kind of dope you're on, but it must be good.

  • ||

    At least I don't use insults as arguments, you mentally-deficient troll.

    Does being a hypocrite hurt inside?

  • prolefeed||

    I agree with SugarFree. Most people I talk to have no idea what a libertarian is. Many have never even heard the word defined, some have heard it but think it means something like "Whatever Glenn Beck says."

  • ||

    It is true we're fighting against a false perception advanced by non-libertarians who say they are libertarians. It's the purity test covered in a Himalayan mountain of shit and we are uncovering it with one pitchfork and a can of Fabreze.

  • ||

    The libertarian fetishizing of "the free market"

    Sweet weeping Cthulu; "teh free market" doesn't even exist in the sense dopes like you imply. You've got it backwards.

    What I "fetishize" is a vast array of free individuals making decisions based on their own needs and desires.

  • Resto Druid FTW||

    I "fetishize" my wife's feet. :D

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And that thing you do with your hands? Very bad.

  • ||

    I'd like to be a Libertarian, I really would. Only, what I like even MORE are safe working conditions, clean water & air, safe consumer products, reliable city-wide sewer systems, the public good created by firefighters, an educated population, and financial regulation. Sure, we've lately gotten poor marks on the last 2, but that's been mostly due to neglect or outright sabotage by politicians. It's not that it wouldn't be fun to never pay taxes, smoke dope anytime I want, or even better yet grow & sell opium, and pretend that I'm so smart & superior to everybody else. I'm just mature enough to realize that will be bad for everybody in the long run. That's all. Maybe some of you will grow up someday too.

  • Sugar Shane||

    Or maybe someday you'll come to find that all of those services can be provided cheaper and more effective by businesses(people who have a desire to do what they do well) catering to consumers(who walk away from shoddy products) than by politicians catering to voting blocs and special interests....cause results matter more than intentions.... maybe?

  • ||

    guess who else fetishizes "free markets"?

    >who is SATAN

  • UrineOhio||

    Bring teh stoopid HARD today, Orrrrrrrrin! HARD!

  • Applederry||

    Lions and tigers and baseless assertions, oh my!

  • Warty||

    And you still haven't mentioned roads. What the fuck is wrong with you?

  • Almanian||

    I'm just mature enough to realize that will be bad for everybody in the long run.

    But, but ROOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAADDDDDZZZZZ!!!!SOMALIA! Old people eating cat food! Children starving! Children eating old people! Chaos, tumult, angst, fear and loathing!

    Because none of that happens now, anywhere, as a result of government actions. And never has in history. And that is the only possible result of "less" or "no" government. Of course.

    Keep coming back - this elementary-level of stupid we don't get very often!

  • ||

    Only, what I like even MORE are safe working conditions, clean water & air, safe consumer products, reliable city-wide sewer systems, the public good created by firefighters, an educated population, and financial regulation.

    That's awesome! You can have all those things under libertarianism! The only difference is that no one will be able to coerce anyone else in order to make them happen.

    I'm just mature enough to realize that will be bad for everybody in the long run. That's all. Maybe some of you will grow up someday too.

    The essence of immaturity is the belief that I am bigger than you and therefore have the right to force you to do things. You're the one that needs to grow up.

  • ||

    You can have all those things under libertarianism! The only difference is that no one will be able to coerce anyone else in order to make them happen.

    >> So, what you're saying is, for most people, they WON'T be able to have those things. Or did you forget that prior to unions, people worked 12-14 hour days, 6 days a week, in hazardous conditions, and if they got sick or hurt, there was no recourse except to hope the local church charity would fill the gap.

  • Sugar Shane||

    Funny how you mentioned poor working conditions and unions but not government... hhhhmmmm

    may i recommend the Applachian region's history of government backed goons fighting AGAINST unions as an example of the fallacy of your assumptions...

    besides that, social progress and government intervention are not tied hand in hand. Sometimes the authorities are behind a step, sometimes they are ahead a step, always they seem to be unneccesary.

  • ||

    No, when did I say that or infer that? Maybe when you start arguing honestly you'll understand a little bit more about libertarianism. Until then, you'll just keep flinging feces in the dark.

    Again, I don't know what you're comment about unions is supposed to show. Did unions form because individuals decided they wanted better working conditions? Or were unions created by some kind of coercive force?

  • daveylee||

    In REACTION to some coercive force...

  • prolefeed||

    So, what you're saying is, for most people, they WON'T be able to have those things. Or did you forget that prior to unions, people worked 12-14 hour days, 6 days a week, in hazardous conditions, and if they got sick or hurt, there was no recourse

    They have that now in North Korea, except with even longer working hours and the bonus of mass death from starvation.

    Clearly, North Korea must be a free-market libertarian far-right state.

  • skr||

    why wouldn't people be allowed to get together in a union under libertarianism. You can hang out with whoever you want. You can pay the dues they ask of you. They wouldn't be able to force you to join though and businesses wouldn't be forced to negotiate with that union although they could choose to do so if they desired.

  • RandomGermanDude||

    As far as I can tell unions are compatible with libertarian thought. They just can't use state privilege like a "right to strike".

    One might think that unions would not work without privileges like that but there are non-coercive, non-contract-breaking options for unions to make their point (threat of collective quitting for example).

  • Cruz||

    An-ar-chy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ||

    safe working conditions,

    Perfectly attainable in a libertarian society, via competition for labor and application of basic principles of liability for negligence and restitution.

    clean water & air,

    safe consumer products,

    See comment above on working conditions.

    reliable city-wide sewer systems,

    I missed the part where basic municipal services are not allowed in a libertarian society.

    the public good created by firefighters,

    You should look into (a) the concept of volunteer firefighters, and (b) the fact that basic municipal services are not precluded in a libertarian society.

    an educated population, and financial regulation.

    Well, micromanagement by a centralized state doesn't seem to be delivering those, so I'm not sure what your point is.

  • ||

    I missed the part where basic municipal services are not allowed in a libertarian society.

    >> My bad. However:

    What I "fetishize" is a vast array of free individuals making decisions based on their own needs and desires.

    >> How many people will actually pay for that shit if they don't have to? Alternatively, how many third-world diseases will start popping back up because nobody subsidizes that shit for people who can't afford it?

  • Almanian||

    Ah, now we're on to the utter speculation. Bravo!

  • ||

    What the fuck? You pay for what you buy, you don't pay for what you don't buy. Are you seriously this ignorant?

    Not to mention that you obviously have no idea how diseases or vaccinations work.

  • ||

    Heller - you're a rude jerk. Way to represent!

    Oh, and since you asked about disease & vaccination, let me lay it out step by step:

    1) Unsubsidized sewers means lots of low-income areas don't have this service, or don't have enough of this service. 2) Consequently, human feces contaminates the streets & our water supply. 3) Cholera, typhus, and a multitude of serious diseases are spread by fecal contamination. And no, these diseases don't somehow know if you personally did the responsible thing & paid for sanitation services. Even rich white guys can get cholera. 4) Lack of subsidized vaccination programs means low-income population under-vaccinated, giving diseases that shouldn't be a problem a new lease on life. Once again, even the child of a rich man can get sick, so it's not just those darn worthless poor people who die off, you know.

    Oh, what's that? I'm free to pay not just my current share of subsidizing these public goods, but yours & all your other irresponsible, selfish Libertarian pals' share too?

    No thanks. "Taxes are the price we pay for civilization". Grow the fuck up & quit bitching! The fact that you have able mind & able body, and the ability to earn a living, is a blessing. Some people can't. And yes, I expect you to do your fair fucking share of filling that gap, as well as for the other public goods necessary to a 1st world society rather than a 3rd world hell-hole, you whiny bitchy little crybaby!

  • You're a Dumbass||

    Really, you don't need to show us any more. Writing longer, stupider things is not helping you. Just shut the fuck up. Really...

  • Almanian||

    Yes, my private sub, where we paid for the ROADZAZQ!! and SEWERSSSZZZ!!!11! AND we get to pay for yours in the township as well through taxes! Everyone wins, right?! Cause I'm paying for ALL OF IT!

    Fuck, you're stupid - you're down to E-, moron.

  • ||

    Whah, whah, pooooor pooooor baby! To have to be cursed with living in an advanced, mostly free country, that allows you to get really rich if you want to, but still requires you to chip in & keep this from being a 3rd world cesspool! Oh, how horrible.

    Talk about seeing the glass as half-empty. No wonder Libertarians aren't serious contenders in American politics. This is a country of optimists, and you're too pessimistic.

  • ||

    Again, you fail to see why this type of argument is futile. Do you want a sewer system? Doesn't almost everyone want a sewer system? Then why would you assume that no sewer system would be created unless someone forces them to buy one?

    Speaking of pessimism, what kind of fucked up person do you have to be to think that people would be too stupid to come up with a sewer system through voluntary transaction?

  • skr||

    or be too stupid to invent the septic tank.

  • ||

    Unsubsidized sewers means lots of low-income areas don't have this service, or don't have enough of this service.

    That is odd.

    If this is true than why does the government need regulations that prevent me from building a sewer system for a low income development?

  • ||

    you don't pay for what you don't buy

    >> Exactly my point. You won't pay if you don't have to, because you're a selfish child. Meaning the cost of basic public necessities gets jacked way up for those of us responsible enough to pay our way & recognize that no amount of fantasizing & libertarian utopia will eliminate the fact that there will ALWAYS be some people who simply CAN'T take care of themselves adequately.

  • ||

    Exactly my point. You won't pay if you don't have to, because you're a selfish child.

    I'll see your selfish child and raise you an authoritarian slaver.

    Fuck off.

  • ||

    So what if your authoritarian slaver is terrible?
    There's no monopoly on bad ways of organizing society. Feudalism sucks, communism sucks, theocracy sucks, etc, etc. So what?

    Does the fact that the opposite of an extreme is also an extreme somehow imply that your extreme is better? No. Extremes bad, balance good.

  • ||

    Wow. You really don't get it? Do you?

    Have fun with those tasty means. You can use the ends to soak up the blood.

  • ||

    Extremes bad, balance good.

    Spoken like a true caveman. How about arguing philosophy based on merits and not on labels? Hey look I can argue this way too:

    Apples and oranges are fruits. Therefore if you don't like apples, you will not like oranges, or any other fruit for that matter.

    Fucking logic, how does it work?

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Yes. I particularly like compromises between pain and pleasure. I like a good a balance between cancer cells and healthy cells. Always compromise with rapists: if they insist on anal, give them a blow job. It's the right thing to do. If someone tries to mug you, you owe them half the money they wanted. If someone threatens to kill you, let them stab you just a little. Only ever let people strangle you half-to-death: no more, no less! Remember, balance good, extremes bad. I know I always like to drink my whisky with hemlock.

  • ||

    You won't pay if you don't have to, because you're a selfish child. Meaning the cost of basic public necessities gets jacked way up for those of us responsible enough to pay our way & recognize that no amount of fantasizing & libertarian utopia will eliminate the fact that there will ALWAYS be some people who simply CAN'T take care of themselves adequately.

    What the fuck is so hard to understand about this? Those who don't pay won't get those services. There is no free-rider problem here. Before you spout stupidities like this, think about what people want and what they are willing to do for what they want. When there is a demand for something, there is always an incentive to supply it. None of this involves force.

  • skr||

    public sewers how do they fucking work?

    I'm pretty sure that solid waste disposal charge pays for my sewer use.

  • ||

    Read the other part of the thread dummy. It's not about whether you pay for ONLY your use. Who subsidizes public goods when necessary, if you only pay for what you PERSONALLY use?

  • ||

    If everyone pays for what they personally use, what the fuck is not being payed for???

  • skr||

    exactly. who doesn't pay for their sewage, of course except children that live with their parents and people with septic tanks? (but of course there is maintenance on those)

  • skr||

    You do understand that the government's sewage fairy doesn't go around building sewage lines right? The property owners are responsible for that. In the case of a new development, the developer pays for that and the roads because properties with those things are far more valuable than those without. If the property owner doesn't want sewage they can build a septic system. If that septic system malfunctions and damages the neighbors property their neighbor will sue them for damages. There is a lawsuit right now in the news here in L.A. over a septic system. If you weren't so ignorant people wouldn't be calling you stooopid all the time.

  • Apogee||

    Dave-O doesn't understand anything.

  • .||

    Dave-O understands that he wants certain things to exist, but he doesn't want to pay what they are worth to him. He wants others to subsidize his "public goods" even if they don't find them to be of the same value - just so that he can have them at the price he would like to pay. And like most Progressives he assumes that everyone else is as dishonest and selfish as he is.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    "How many people will actually pay for that shit if they don't have to?"
    Well, presumably you would, so that's one. Is everybody else stupider, meaner or more selfish than you? I'm guessing not. Problem solved!

  • RandomGermanDude||

    Let me say that volunteer firefighters are the norm over here. Works pretty well. Wikipedia says that Chile got 100% volunteer firefighters.

  • skr||

    and it hasn't burned to the ground completely? I'm shocked. SHOCKED I TELL YA.

  • .||

    I'd like to be a Libertarian, I really would. Only, what I like even MORE are safe working conditions, clean water & air, safe consumer products, reliable city-wide sewer systems, the public good created by firefighters, an educated population, and financial regulation.

    What you really like is forcing others to pay for and provide and live under what you deem to be "public good" even if they don't value it as much as you do. Pay for your public good yourself, you damned parasitical slaver. The rest of us aren't on this earth to be harvested by the likes of you!

  • Adriana||

    I hate being called a fiscal conservative, but the rest was fine.

  • ||

    I'd like to be a Libertarian, I really would.

    No, you wouldn't. Freedom is SCARY.

  • ||

    Freedom IS scary for alot of folks. They just can't imagine how the world would function without some benevolent daddy controlling things. The reality that you get assholes like Chuck Schumer, just to pick a non-random example, running things never seems to dislodge the belief that you can't just let people, you know, be responsible for themselve.

  • Joe R.||

    More non-randoms:

    Michael Bloomberg
    Mike Huckabee
    Harry Reid

  • ||

    Libertarianism is saying "No you CAN'T have my lunch money, you giant ignoramus."

  • ||

    and my fat ass wont give it to starving kids who could easily work in confined spaces or kiddie porn for a fair wages.

  • UrineOhio||

    Hello again, piss facktery! Way to start up with the strawmen and non sequiturs! You're on a ROLL today with the stoopid!

  • ||

    i did not know u were fat

  • ||

    Someone inform OhioOrrin's parents that he escaped from day-care again.

  • UrineOhio||

    Looking in the mirror again *sad face* ?

  • cynical||

    Actually, it's saying "I don't believe you're entitled to my lunch money, you giant ignoramus, but since I don't want my ass handed to me, here you go. Goddammit. I'll get you for this, one day."

  • Sugar Shane||

    BTW i don't normally comment but i read you guys (journalists and H&R commentors) everyday... you're all awesomesauce in my book :)

  • ||

    When the lurker surfaces, we are all richer for it.

  • Citizen A. Nothing||

    Awesomesauce is my middle name. True story.

  • ||

    You told us it was the 'A" in Fuckin' A.

    Now I feel dirty.

  • Citizen Awesomesauce Nothing||

    You're thinking of F.A. Hayek.

  • ||

    Excellent.

  • No||

    A "libertarian" is someone who argues with strangers all day long about what it means to be a "libertarian." The end. Go home.

  • ||

    That would make Tony, Chad, and all the others libertarians. I submit your definition is false.

  • No||

    No.

  • ||

    Yes.

  • No||

    You prove my point. And your narcissist personality disorder is unusually active today. I think you could use a break, but your illness prevents it.

  • ||

    Does anyone give a fuck what you think? No.

  • ||

    Libertarianism is saying "No you CAN'T have my lunch money, you giant ignoramus."

    But your lunch money is that stands between some sick child and DEATH.

    *Bashes Heller's skull in, goes to lunch*

  • Warty||

    Being a libertarian is constantly having this conversation:

    Brian: Please, please, please listen! I've got one or two things to say.
    The Crowd: Tell us! Tell us both of them!
    Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't NEED to follow ME, You don't NEED to follow ANYBODY! You've got to think for your selves! You're ALL individuals!
    The Crowd: Yes! We're all individuals!
    Brian: You're all different!
    The Crowd: Yes, we ARE all different!
    Man in crowd: I'm not...
    The Crowd: Sch!

  • ||

    I love that scene. But I do wonder how many people "get it".

  • ||

    [inert "all" where appropriate]

  • ||

    Keyboards- how the fuck do they work?

  • Almanian||

    I believe magnets are involved. Somehow.

  • Chupacabra||

    It's god's work. Like the tides.

  • Almanian||

    They come in, they go out....MAGICK!

  • ||

    Never a miscommunication.

  • ||

    Fiscal Conservatives, Social Liberals that only offer "grandiose ideas" not meat and potatoes policies!
    Libertarians need to get better than this if they want their 250k members to be taken seriously after 40 years!

  • Sugar Shane||

    I usually find the opposite to be true.

    When it comes to the War on Drugs I hear Libertarians discussing specific policy changes on the local, state and federal levels to address the prohibition-caused violence, the purity (safety) of the products, ect, while non-libertarians just throwing more money and guns at it (obama and mexico's guy today)

    same goes for public education policies, transportation, police brutality, foriegn policy, immigration.

    everyone else is sound bites while we are giving actual solutions, it's not our fault that the solutions that actually work and have been shown to work place greater power into the hands of individuals and not into those of centralized authority figures.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    Cato Institute and Reason Foundation, the group that funds this website, have plenty of policy recommendations. Try Google sometime.

  • Trespassers W||

    Pfft. More like Mackenzie Phillips.

  • Joe R.||

    McLean Stevenson

  • jacob||

    LOL

  • Jack On||

    You're all stupid. Libertarianism, in it's purest form, has nothing to do with politics or economics. The entire movement began as a splinter group who broke off over an argument in 1959 over who would win in a fight, King Kong, or Godzilla.

    The inconclusive nature of the end of the one film to seriously treat this subject ensured that the breach would never be sealed. I have no idea how the NAP or economics got injected into the philosophy, but they were added at a much later date.

  • ||

    yea plus that robbie the robot self-doupt causing spontaneous combustion.

  • Trespassers W||

    DO NOT GET ME STARTED. THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED.

    In favor of King Kong. Who gets to wield a giant monkey-fighting knife.

  • ||

    Whatever. Godzilla has radioactive fire breath. Your ape-god would be bald on chemo in a week, assuming Godzilla even let him live.

  • ||

    Agreed, King Kong couldn't even deal with World War I era pea shooters. Godzilla ate comanche helicopters and tanks for breakfast.

  • The Cloverfield Monster||

    There's a new kid in town. Bring it!

  • Jim||

    And here I thought Libertarianism was started in 1998 as a fight between the supporters of the original Command & Conquer game, and the advocates for C&C: Red Alert. Which is how anti-communism became a platform of our group.

    But everyone else is correct, Godzilla would destroy Kong IRL. Utterly, utterly destroy.

    There was a poll on the Rivals college football boards the other day about Godzilla v. Voltron. Voltron won in a landslide, but I called shenanigans, b/c Godzilla routinely defeats giant robots (Gigan, Mechagodzilla, etc).

  • ||

    OK, what about Godzilla vs. Donkey Kong?

    Those barrels are tricksy, they are.

  • ||

    Scale. Godzilla would just step on him and any spaghetti-twirler that got in the way.

  • ||

    Not heavy planet Donky Kong. His BMI is near infinity.

  • ||

    A libertarian is someone who believes in the non-aggression axiom. Everything else follows from that.

  • ||

    I officially declare the troll known as "Dave-O" to be vanquished. Let us celebrate with hookers, blow, and child flesh!

  • Sugar Shane||

    Real Child Flesh? Cause i don't like that soy sh*t... you can't taste the screams

  • ||

    Heller - you're a rude jerk. Way to represent!

    Oh, and since you asked about disease & vaccination, let me lay it out step by step:

    1) Unsubsidized sewers means lots of low-income areas don't have this service, or don't have enough of this service. 2) Consequently, human feces contaminates the streets & our water supply. 3) Cholera, typhus, and a multitude of serious diseases are spread by fecal contamination. And no, these diseases don't somehow know if you personally did the responsible thing & paid for sanitation services. Even rich white guys can get cholera. 4) Lack of subsidized vaccination programs means low-income population under-vaccinated, giving diseases that shouldn't be a problem a new lease on life. Once again, even the child of a rich man can get sick, so it's not just those darn worthless poor people who die off, you know.

    Oh, what's that? I'm free to pay not just my current share of subsidizing these public goods, but yours & all your other irresponsible, selfish Libertarian pals' share too?

    No thanks. "Taxes are the price we pay for civilization". Grow the fuck up & quit bitching! The fact that you have able mind & able body, and the ability to earn a living, is a blessing. Some people can't. And yes, I expect you to do your fair fucking share of filling that gap, as well as for the other public goods necessary to a 1st world society rather than a 3rd world hell-hole, you whiny bitchy little crybaby!

  • Your Ass||

    called, and wants to give your shoulder back its head...

  • ||

    OOOOO!! What an amazing rebuttal!

    You convinced me of your superior intellect. Where do I join your cult of Rand?

  • nekoxgirl||

    Hey! Some of us worship Mises, Hayek and Rothbard asshole!

  • UrineOhio||

    You have convinced us all of your subpar intellect way upthread. So shut the fuck up and stop wasting everyone's air and bytes and stuff.

  • Ray Pew||

    Oh, and since you asked about disease & vaccination, let me lay it out step by step:

    1) Unsubsidized sewers means lots of low-income areas don't have this service, or don't have enough of this service. 2) Consequently, human feces contaminates the streets & our water supply. 3) Cholera, typhus, and a multitude of serious diseases are spread by fecal contamination. And no, these diseases don't somehow know if you personally did the responsible thing & paid for sanitation services. Even rich white guys can get cholera.

    Then please explain rural areas and many suburbs that don't have city sewerage service, but instead have septic tanks? The suburb I live in, in the Atlanta area, uses septic tanks per home, and amazingly there is no rampant cholera and typhoid fever occuring. How can this be???

    4) Lack of subsidized vaccination programs means low-income population under-vaccinated, giving diseases that shouldn't be a problem a new lease on life. Once again, even the child of a rich man can get sick, so it's not just those darn worthless poor people who die off, you know.

    Subsidized vaccination has reduced the number of pharmaceutical companies that produced vaccines from over 20 in the early 1900's to roughly 5 major players today. Because of government intervention of vaccine purchases, it is not profitable for companies to stay in such a market, which makes us less safe, not more.

  • Tony||

    Then please explain rural areas and many suburbs that don't have city sewerage service, but instead have septic tanks?

    But that obviously wouldn't work in an urban area.

    This is the most important factor determining political belief, imo. People in densely populated areas understand and appreciate and want more government, because there's just more people who are required to get along. The more spread out you are, the less government you want, because really the less government you need.

    Of course the problem in this country is that if you are rural you have more influence on national government than if you are urban, by a lot, so those of us who appreciate and need complicated regulations and socialized services are at the mercy of people who think the whole country is like their farm.

  • ||

    Wait, is Tony whining about democracy in action now? Fucking hypocrite.

  • skr||

    we have very few places in the US where the density is too high for septic systems. Hell, damn near all of Los Angeles is really a suburb. Unincorporated LA county, which is definitely not rural, allows septic tanks.
    And just who do you think builds the sewage lines? Property owners. Main lines are build and maintained by user fees. New developments have sewage systems built by the developer. Why is government a necessary actor?

  • ||

    Because without the government to tell them what to do, people would live in their own shit and gurgle like babies.

  • Tony||

    Say what you will, such things as managing human waste tend toward the efficient. If you think millions of individual septic tanks is better than sewer systems, feel free to demonstrate your case. Sounds ridiculous to me.

  • A Serious Man||

    Really Tony, I think your operating under the assumption that people are stupid. If I live in city, why can't I say to my neighbors, "Hey guys, why don't we voluntarily pool our resources and build a sewage system to carry our waste away?" Clearly it's in the best intrests of everyone to have this, so they will consent without need for coercion.

  • ||

    It's just UNPOSSIBLE for Tony to even CONCEIVE of the idea that people could form groups in order to fund and create large solutions to problems, rather than small ones. Even though it happens every day, it's just UNPOSSIBLE!!!11

  • Tony||

    I believe that wholeheartedly. I just don't understand why you think governments are outside of the scope of human group action. It's how people do really big things! Any "voluntary" system you would come up with to meet the various needs of many people would start to resemble government very quickly.

  • ||

    Yes, WITHOUT COERCION! How many times do I have to say it? I have no problem with a government that is created and operates voluntarily. Try to think outside of the Tonyism that libertarians hate government no matter what.

  • skr||

    People in densely populated areas understand and appreciate and want more government, because there's just more people who are required to get along who piss them off and need to be controlled.
    FIFY

  • Ray Pew||

    But that obviously wouldn't work in an urban area.

    Because "urban" areas are bastions of heavy government intervention, and therefore difficult to retro-fit public services with private, doesn't demonstrate that market solutions could not have provided the services in the beginning. Too many believe that what is must be the only possibility.

    I demonstrated that market means provided the solution for the problem that Dave-O claimed would occur if public services didn't exist.

    This is the most important factor determining political belief, imo. People in densely populated areas understand and appreciate and want more government, because there's just more people who are required to get along. The more spread out you are, the less government you want, because really the less government you need.

    I only agree with your assertion that these populations "want" more government intervention. There is no reason to believe that market solutions could not provide for many of the "public services".

    Of course the problem in this country is that if you are rural you have more influence on national government than if you are urban, by a lot, so those of us who appreciate and need complicated regulations and socialized services are at the mercy of people who think the whole country is like their farm.

    Mischaracterizing "rural" areas with "farms" doesn't help your argument. In many of the Atlanta suburbs, sewerage and trash are private concerns. Yet no cholera epidemics and streets littered with trash exists. How can this be??

  • Tony||

    There is no reason to believe that market solutions could not provide for many of the "public services".

    There's even less reason to believe markets would, since they never have. We have plenty of room for the market in this country. The mere existence of government doesn't rob it of its powers. Or is the market both all-powerful and fragile as a flower, depending on what's convenient?

  • ||

    You're joking right? Yes, why don't private companies just start operating municipal services? It couldn't be because doing so is either illegal, or there is no reason to pay for private services when the government already forces you to pay for theirs. No, the mere existence of government doesn't rob the market, but its regulations and coercive monopolization of services do. Duh.

  • Tony||

    There is no reason to believe that market solutions could not provide for many of the "public services".

    There's even less reason to believe markets would, since they never have. We have plenty of room for the market in this country. The mere existence of government doesn't rob it of its powers. Or is the market both all-powerful and fragile as a flower, depending on what's convenient?

  • ||

    You're joking right? Yes, why don't private companies just start operating municipal services? It couldn't be because doing so is either illegal, or there is no reason to pay for private services when the government already forces you to pay for theirs. No, the mere existence of government doesn't rob the market, but its regulations and coercive monopolization of services do. Duh.

  • ako||

    What a fantastic argument for heavier weighting of government action at the local rather than federal level. What's good for a particular city dweller might not be good for the Texas rancher (and vice versa).

    Unfortunately when most people say "there should be a law!" they mean federal. When you introduce a piece of legislation at the federal level, it's going to affect 300 million people.

    Pushing more legislation from the federal to local level also has the side effect of creating government competition (not to mention your vote counting more at the lower level). I'm not sure why I don't hear more libertarians focusing on this type of localization. IMO, legislation should be in a pyramid form, with the largest portion at the lowest level (district and city) and decreasing as you move up (county, state, federal). It feels like we're moving in the opposite direction.

  • skr||

    ever hear of herd vaccination?

  • ||

    I've herd of a heard vaccination...

  • ||

    vaccination programs

    Damn! He's right! This collapses our entire argument and justifies the existence of the entire state apparatus.

    I'll let the millions of incarcerated non-violent drug offender and all the Afghan orphans and widows to quit their bitchy whining pay their fair share.

  • ||

    Oh, and since you asked about disease & vaccination, let me lay it out step by step:

    Yeah, this argument fails from step one, as I explained above.

    And yes, I expect you to do your fair fucking share of filling that gap, as well as for the other public goods necessary to a 1st world society rather than a 3rd world hell-hole, you whiny bitchy little crybaby!

    Umm, no. If you expected me to do that, you wouldn't need to support the use of force to make me do it. Do I agree with you in giving charity and aid to those less fortunate? Of course! The difference between me and you is that I don't believe in forcing other people to conform to that belief. You do. So shut the fuck up if you think you can act like your side is the responsible, charitable side. Giving away someone else's money is not charity.

  • Tony||

    Democratic-oriented government is just the way large groups of people decide things. Either you provide a service or you don't, but there's got to be a way to form a consensus. Any group larger than one will have to find some way to figure these things out among themselves. Government is the way thousands and millions of people do it. Does it require some measure of coercion and force? Of course. How else can it be?

  • ||

    Bull. Shit. Individuals can make decisions for themselves. They should not make decisions for others. That's how it can be.

  • Tony||

    Even the proposition "don't steal" requires a consensus of people about what constitutes stealing and how to enforce the rule. Get 10 people in a room and very soon things will start getting decided on a consensus basis that won't necessarily please each of the 10 totally. You're selling a fantasy dude.

  • ||

    A mugger comes up to and demands that you give him your wallet. You refuse. Two more muggers come over and all three vote that you should give them the wallet. Then a hundred come over and vote, then a thousand, then a million. When does your wallet become theirs?

  • Tony||

    As soon as there are too many for me to fight off, obviously. Absent some legitimate democratic system, there will still be muggers! They just won't ask you first.

  • ||

    Really? So you would not seek retribution, you would just hand it over and say it was theirs? Thanks for showing us all how fucking retarded you are.

    Without freedom, without the ability to say Stop! when being harassed by the majority, you are merely a slave. You might not be called a slave, they might say you are free, but that is what you are. Your life is valueless to the majority.

  • Tony||

    heller you can't defend the absence of government by assuming that in the absence of government nobody would commit wrongs, or if they did "might makes right" would be the most purposeful form of justice, and the sheer power of your wisdom and oratory is enough to make people behave correctly.

  • ||

    heller you can't defend the absence of government by assuming that in the absence of government nobody would commit wrongs, or if they did "might makes right" would be the most purposeful form of justice, and the sheer power of your wisdom and oratory is enough to make people behave correctly.

    Tony, it was an analogy. I never assumed their would be no crime in a libertarian society. I am merely showing you that there is no difference between coercion by a "legitimate" democracy and coercion by a band of thieves. Just because the thieves are normal people and there are a lot of them doesn't change the basic fact that it is wrong. I didn't think the analogy was that hard to get.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Not only would he hand over his wallet, he'd be happy to because that's his part of the social contract.

  • ||

    Also, I don't think you really understood the analogy. That is true democracy. It's the legitimization of force, might makes right.

  • Apogee||

    It's far beyond the time where you might possibly think that Tony has the capability of understanding an analogy.

  • Tony||

    Oh I get what you're trying to say. Taxation is theft by force blah blah blah.

    Your problem is you can't explain how to prevent real force and real theft in the absence of a tax-funded government, except hoping that you have the biggest gun.

  • ||

    Your problem is you can't explain how to prevent real force and real theft in the absence of a tax-funded government, except hoping that you have the biggest gun.

    1. We need police to protect us

    2. The police need to be payed for

    3. ?????

    4. Without taxes there will be no police

  • ||

    Well stated, Tony!

  • ||

    Yes, you both enunciate your stupidity very well.

  • ||

    Democratic-oriented government is just the way large groups of people decide things.

    The more enlightened ones won't use force as a default setting to impose their will.

  • Tony||

    Most people would find the type of society you want to be a major imposition on them, and I fail to see how you could achieve it without force. In fact, the clearest examples of attempts at laissez-faire systems in the modern world are ones that were imposed at the point of an American gun.

  • ||

    Your continued existence is a major imposition on me. Can I end it?

  • ||

    Anyway, this is like saying, most people find that theft being illegal is an imposition. Or that people find that murder being illegal is an imposition. There is nothing wrong with defending your life and property with a gun.

  • Tony||

    Anyway, this is like saying, most people find that theft being illegal is an imposition. Or that people find that murder being illegal is an imposition. There is nothing wrong with defending your life and property with a gun.

    They are impositions, but ones most people are willing to accept for the sake of social stability and their own well-being. The operative word is most. Few want what you're selling, no matter how right you think you are.

  • ||

    Few want what you're selling, no matter how right you think you are.

    I'm not "selling" anything, I am demanding that my and everyone else's freedom be recognized. If you or anyone else don't want to be free that's fine, but you can't force that choice on me.

  • Ray Pew||

    Most people would find the type of society you want to be a major imposition on them, and I fail to see how you could achieve it without force. In fact, the clearest examples of attempts at laissez-faire systems in the modern world are ones that were imposed at the point of an American gun.

    Which laissez-faire systems do you speak of?

  • Tony||

    Which laissez-faire systems do you speak of?

    The most recent example would be Iraq.

  • ||

    The most recent example would be Iraq.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • Ray Pew||

    The most recent example would be Iraq.

    I think I'm speechless.

  • yonemoto||

    "In fact, the clearest examples of attempts at laissez-faire systems in the modern world are ones that were imposed at the point of an American gun."

    You forgot SOMALIA!

  • Chupacabra||

    I'll set my spit roaster right now!

  • Almanian||

    Can we have some blood of sacrificed Mexican and Chinese infants, too? In the nice gold goblets!

    Canwe canwe canwe!!!!

  • STEVE SMITH||

    STEVE SMITH FINALLY WANT COME TO LIBERGRRTARIANISM! STEVE SMITH DELICIOUS BABY WANT WANT!

  • ||

    To paraphrase Warren Buffett:

    He says he's a genius at allocating capital, but that talent wouldn't amount to anything if he had been born poor & in a 3rd world country. He had to have a whole society based on a balance of government & private freedom, to be able to sharpen his talent & use it to make billions of dollars. He wasn't some Rand-ian fantasy of a "superman" who somehow gets where he is PURELY by his own initiative.

  • X||

    oh boy

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    Well, Buffett is right. It's unlikely he would have been able to amass the wealth he now has without raping grieving families at estate sales due to the death tax.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    So yes, without the government imposed death tax, he would probably not look like such a genius.

  • ||

    hey if the dead can vote & get elected then they should pay taxes too.

  • UrineOhio||

    Hello again, piss facktery!

  • skr||

    so his talent wouldn't have amounted to anything if he was dirt poor and under the thumb of a third world dictator? well duh and that "anything" should probably be changed to "his talent wouldn't have amounted to as much as it did" because even poor people in third world countries enjoy benefits from being intelligent.

    He had to have a whole society based on a balance of government & private freedom, to be able to sharpen his talent & use it to make billions of dollars. He wasn't some Rand-ian fantasy of a "superman" who somehow gets where he is PURELY by his own initiative.

    Well that and be able to get a shit ton of TARP money for Berkshire-Hathaway.

  • Ray Pew||

    He had to have a whole society based on a balance of government & private freedom, to be able to sharpen his talent & use it to make billions of dollars.

    Many libertarians agree with this concept, they just disagree with you on where the "balancing" point is.

  • ||

    Doesn't this beg the question in assuming that a libertarian society would be a third world country? Civilization and freedom are proportional to each other, not inversely proportional.

  • Mean Guy||

    "Libertarianism" has its head stuck in the sand of just one branch of philosophy (Politics) without bothering to investigate the others (Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ethics, Aesthetics). Consequently, its adherents limit themselves to a very narrow range of ideas. "Libertarianism" is a soft-shelled, adolescent philosophy. It's Objectivism's semi-retarded cousin, stuck forever on the short bus of philosophy.

  • ||

    Libertarianism is a political philosophy. It's adherents are free to adhere to philosophies in other areas. It's not that libertarianism doesn't bother to investigate other areas, it's that it has no need to. Your assertion that libertarians limit themselves only to the philosophical premises of libertarianism is completely false and baseless. Now fuck off.

  • RandomGermanDude||

    I don't know how broad you define libertarianism but there sure as heck are libertarian or at least libertarian-leaning treatises on all those topics.

  • ||

    I just want people to see the beauty of Tony's hypocrisy as clearly as possible:

    Tony|3.3.11 @ 7:30PM|#|show direct|ignore
    Democratic-oriented government is just the way large groups of people decide things. Either you provide a service or you don't, but there's got to be a way to form a consensus. Any group larger than one will have to find some way to figure these things out among themselves. Government is the way thousands and millions of people do it. Does it require some measure of coercion and force? Of course. How else can it be?

    Here we have Tony saying that democracy is just how we get things done, and if coercion is necessary for that so be it. Stop whining about tyranny of the majority you libertards!

    Tony|3.3.11 @ 7:19PM|#|show direct|ignore
    This is the most important factor determining political belief, imo. People in densely populated areas understand and appreciate and want more government, because there's just more people who are required to get along. The more spread out you are, the less government you want, because really the less government you need.

    Of course the problem in this country is that if you are rural you have more influence on national government than if you are urban, by a lot, so those of us who appreciate and need complicated regulations and socialized services are at the mercy of people who think the whole country is like their farm.

    And here, only 11 minutes earlier, we have Tony complaining about how rural people outnumber urban people and therefore make the decisions. Waaaaaah, tyranny of the majority sucks!

    Beautiful. Brings tears to my eyes.

  • Contrarian P||

    Wait a minute. The majority of the country lives in towns and cities. The rural are outnumbered by the cityfolk. So how in Tony's democracy are the rural more influential than the urban? Did I miss something?

  • ||

    It must be a conservative conspiracy.

  • Tony||

    Senators: 2 to a state be it California or Montana. House: less so but still quite over-representative of non-urban areas. Electoral College same deal. I'm not complaining about rural people's numerical or democratic advantage, I'm complaining about their outsize, undemocratic political advantage.

  • ||

    How exactly is the House over-representative of non-urban areas? What does this mean?

  • .||

    Dude, hasn't that 8-ball run out yet?

  • Tony||

    Each state gets one representative at least, so Montana will still have more representation per person than California.

  • ||

    If you want true democracy, why don't we just eliminate representation and put all policy up to a vote?

  • ||

    Not true. California has one representative per 702,905 people. Montana has one representative per 989,415 people.

  • ||

    "Wow, it's almost like I didn't refute this type of argument already... If you want a court system to protect your freedoms you pay for it."

    We do want them, and we do pay for them. We elect politicians who make laws. Those laws have said, budget after budget, that we want a court system, and how much we are willing to spend for it.

    Or do you really have no clue whatsoever how government actually works?

    That's the whole thread's worth of argument in a nutshell.

  • ||

    You wish it were the whole thread's worth of argument. You do a nice job of ignoring the arguments you have no answer for. Anyway, here's the answer I gave up thread:

    I'm confused, if everyone wants a court system, why would we need a law that forces us to pay for one? Wouldn't we voluntarily do so? So either making such a law is redundant, or not everyone wants to use courts. That's fine though, because only the people who want to use them must pay for and use them.
  • Tony||

    But that's exactly what they do. Democratic governments are as voluntary as you can get when millions of people have to agree on how the system works and to abide by a uniform set of rules.

  • ||

    And libertarianism is not more voluntary because...?

    Millions of people don't have to agree on what kind of system there has to be. The point of a voluntary, market-style system is it caters to individuals, not groups. There's no reason to assume that there must be one cookie-cutter system. The only rule that is truly necessary across the board is voluntaryism, which is already inherent to the idea of people choosing what system they want.

  • Tony||

    Okay so in "libertarianism" do I get to set my own rules for what constitutes murder, theft, assault, trespassing, etc., etc.? Or does everyone need to come together in some fashion, let's call it a "government," and institute official and enforceable standards that everyone will agree to?

  • skr||

    All those things have objective definitions. And why are you arguing anarchy? Oh right to be completely obtuse.

  • ||

    Okay so in "libertarianism" do I get to set my own rules for what constitutes murder, theft, assault, trespassing, etc., etc.?

    In the context of voluntaryism, all those things are well defined.

  • A Serious Man||

    Hmm, the bullshit is strong with this one. But please, Tony, continue to amuse us by disingenuously conflating libertarianism with moral relativism and nihilism. We've long given up on you ever seeing the light of reason.

  • ||

    It's fucking hilarious to me that we are the evul meanie heads who want everyone to live in SOMALIAAAA!!!1!!! but the people who always come here to argue with us believe that humanity is too stupid and vulgar to make good decisions for themselves or help their fellow man voluntarily.

  • Publius||

    "Microsoft killed Netscape, even though Netscape was better than Explorer.

    It's not that hard to understand. Competing is a pain in the ass. If they can, companies merge, form cartels, use their size unfairly against competitors by selling at a loss than jack prices back up later, or otherwise do whatever they can to avoid real competition."

    This is absolutely false.

    I know this won't help, because conversations on this site have become almost 4-chan-esque in their anarchic trading of contrarian insults, but what the hell....

    Netscape died because they did something really stupid: they dumped their old code base and started from scratch. As Joel Spolsky pointed out over ten years ago, this is one of those things you should never do in the software business.

    The browser market is in a state of constant flux. Don't take my word for it, just look at these stats.

    The software market is just about the best example one could imagine of the free market at it's finest: everything is constantly getting more useful, more powerful, and cheaper; without any help from any government anywhere.

  • John Calhoun||

    You won't see this but I just responded to that up thread because of the sheer stupidity and ignorance when I was reading this thread days later.

    It's like he's not even aware of the history of the browser. Nor the current state of the browser market where Microsoft is not only trying to kill off IE6 but is playing catch up in many respects.

    Not that it's shocking considering his other comments.

  • florence haridan||

    Thank you for the worK you are doing!

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