"Bleeding Heart Libertarian" Cares So Much About the Poor He Wants to Make it Illegal for Them to Bear Children

In what I hope is a subtle satire of political philosophy gone mad (one of his co-bloggers Jacob Levy suggests as much in a comment, but that might have merely been a gentle way of firmly disagreeing) "bleeding heart libertarian" Andrew Cohen gives a supposedly libertarian argument for requiring a government-granted license to be a parent.

He writes that "we need to know what sort of licensing test are we talking about. I’m inclined to think there are two tests that are involved. First, a means test—that is, no one that cannot afford to raise a child should have a child." But don't worry, poor folk--if a private or state charity is willing to step up for you, it's cool for you to carry out the prime genetic imperative of your existence. He also thinks that a state must require a "psychological exam that indicates whether the individual (a) understands how to parent and (b) can handle the stress a child brings."

Infants--autonomous or property or something different or between?--raise many problems for scientistic political and ethical philosophy to be sure, for libertarians or statists. But one has to have a surprisingly unlibertarian view of the state to assume that even "greatest good for greatest number" utilitarianism would be served by legally severing people from one of the core elements of human choice and flourishing and, yes, nature.

Other Reason blogging on bleeding heart libertarians.

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  • Anonymous||

    Don't give us a link or anything, that would be dumb.

  • Brian Doherty||

    Sorry bout the link, it is there now.

  • ||

    You have to receive a government-granted license to access the link.

  • pigsfromagun||

    Goddamnit, you have to learn when to use a fucking comma and when to use a goddamned period to access the English fucking goddamn language, for Christ's ever-fucking-loving sake. Thank you.

  • Josh||

    That blog always seemed a bit douche and not hard hitting to me. Now I know why.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I assume the article was satire. That being said, it was the most boring piece of satire I've read. I'll pass on future Bleeding Heart Libertarian stuff.

  • Hunde Far||

    I recommend the stuff from Roderick Long and Gary Chartier on that blog (and the posts from Charles Johnson when he was guest blogging there). The rest, not so much..

  • Bradley||

    Yeah, those 3 are reliably good. Steve Horwitz's posts have also been decent. Most of the other writing consists of torturous attempts to make a "libertarian" case for a lot of dubious ideas.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "requiring a government-granted license to be a parent"

    Let's see...how about some sign that the potential parents, that is, the potential mother and father, are committed to staying together during the child's minority and to supporting, caring for and educating the child.

    Studies show that when parents have made the kind of arrangement outlined above, the odds of child poverty are greatly reduced.

    Now our public-policy think tanks need to get their heads together and work on some sort of arrangement which meets these requirements. It's a daunting task, since this is totally unexplored territory, but they can brainstorm until they come up with something.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    So, what, you mean government-enforced marriage? No divorcing until or unless the government determines it will grant you the required license?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    My comment was that we already *have* a system to minimize child poverty and promote good parenting - that is, the tried-and-true method of a man and a woman marrying each other and bringing up the children they have together.

    You may compare the child-poverty rates with the rates in single-parent households, or the crime rates among fatherless children versus children raised with fathers at home.

    By just about any measure, it seems that oppressive, heteronormative marriage is the way to go. Without it, we have purported libertarians declaring that potential parents have to get a license from the local Eugenics Officer.

  • ||

    I don't think that heteronormative needs to be there for it to work. I would be interested to see statistics about the wellbeing of children of committed gay couples. I would guess that they are probably even better off than in hetero marriages since a gay couple can't have a child without putting quite a bit of thought, money and effort into it.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I'd rather be raised by Bob and Steve than by a dysfunctional foster family, but that doesn't mean Bob and Steve provide the ideal environment.

    But even if Bob and Steve are as suitable as Barb and Steve, consider the kind of country in which marriage has been deregulated or redefined out of existence. There will be more of a market for ideas like Cohen's - "now that we've evolved beyond the old oppressive ideas of marriage, let's set up a system of parental licenses to replace the old system!"

  • ||

    Who knows. Maybe three parents would be even better than two. There is no reason to assume that the conventional hetero family is the ideal situation for raising kids. In fact, I would say that a large extended family including grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc. is even better than just a mother and father. I think that the focus on marriage is far too narrow.

  • robc||

    In the middle ages, marriage was pretty much done by decree. "We are married" -- "Congrats". If you let your church know, they would right it down in a book.

    You cant get much more deregulated than that.

    Something wrong with that system?

  • SIV||

    Not enough central planning apparently.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "There is no reason to assume that the conventional hetero family is the ideal situation for raising kids."

    Really? No reason at all? So the impact of single-parent households - the jury's still out on that?

    If you get mugged, the mugger is just as likely as a member of the general population to have been raised with his father in the house?

    The poverty in single-parent (generally single-mother) households is a statistical fluke?

  • skr||

    That would just be an argument that a 2 parent family is a minimum not necessarily an ideal.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Yes, and that's why the extended family scenario is a both/and instead of an "in lieu of."

    If the grandparents are there *in addition to* Mom and Dad, then cool.

    But sometimes the extended-family discussion is invoked to justify *replacing* one or more parents with a grandparent or uncle, etc.

    It takes a village to help Mom and Dad raise Junior.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Sounds good to me.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    The post right above was in response to a different thread.

  • Brett L||

    Well, yah. But then you've got selection bias. Kids adopted by straight couples probably do pretty well compared to kids raised in a single parent household. That doesn't mean shipping kids to someone else's care improves outcomes.

  • SFC B||

    I think you'd have a fairly large selection bias in the "done well raised by adopted parents" stat. Kids with problems don't get adopted.

  • protefeed||

    By just about any measure, it seems that oppressive, heteronormative marriage is the way to go. Without it, we have purported libertarians declaring that potential parents have to get a license from the local Eugenics Officer.

    So, we should suck it up and accept state control of marriage because someone who calls himself a libertarian, but is the exact opposite, calls for state control of breeding?

    WTF?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I said we "have to accept" lots more people *advocating* coercive family planning. Once the country accepts the abolition of traditional marriage, then the pressure is on for some way to contain the damage, and proposals like this will get more of a hearing. I hadn't expected an avowed libertarian to advocate this stuff, but plenty of people will be advocating it.

    Traditional marriage is a firebreak to protect the country from idealists like Cohen and others.

  • ||

    Or maybe people with more money are just more likely to get married or stay married.

  • Hugh Akston||

    As demonstrated by the many committed monogamies in Hollywood and Washington.

  • Number 2||

    I see you have never seen a divorce law practice in action. Greater income does not mean greater marital stability. It often leads to increased likelihood of divorce (esp. when the spouse's income potential was a motivating factor for the marriage in the first place) and certainly leads to nastier divorce litigation.

  • Hugh Akston||

    It's true. Why, people who have their relationships blessed by the church and the state have a nearly 50% chance of sticking it out for the long haul. I can think of nothing more stable and nurturing than the flip of a coin.

  • ||

    So long as we could establish that there would be no disparate impact, I don't see any downside to allowing the government to make these choices on the behalf of individuals.

    I do wonder what might happen if someone goes overseas and procreates there in violation of their license. Perhaps we could get the rest of the planet on board with this policy as well?

    (If it's seen as too draconian, maybe we could allow a "first one's free!" policy.)

  • ||

    So long as we could establish that there would be no disparate impact, I don't see any downside to allowing the government to make these choices on the behalf of individuals.

    Not sure if you're being as satirical as Cohen was. But in case you're not, what would we do, under such a system, to parents who had children without state approval?

  • ||

    "Sterilization" has become a dirty word in the wake of Buck v. Bell. Perhaps we could somehow change the name of "Sterilization" to something happier.

    "Sustainable Fertility".

  • ||

    "Sterilization" has become a dirty word in the wake of Buck v. Bell.

    Hmmm, and what to do with those who politely declined the sterilization . . .

  • ||

    By virtue of declining, they've demonstrated impoliteness.

    We can make them Green for the good of the planet.

  • ||

    We can make them Green for the good of the planet.

    Okay, now THAT'S where I draw the line. Slaver.

  • ||

    You're not being very polite.

  • ||

    *sigh*

    Okay, where do I report . . .

  • ||

    "Bleeding Heart Libertarian" -- the same blog linked by Shikha "I Hate Ron Paul" Dalmia at the end of her plea for Paul to grovel before the gods of Political Correctness." The link was to a piece by Steve "Please Grant Me Tenure, I'm Really a Leftist" Horwitz, smearing Paul, Murray Rothbard, and Lew Rockwell.

    What a coincidence!

  • ||

    Thanks for the spittle-rich rant, Justin.

  • ||

    If you're gonna give them cute nicknames, do it like they do in boxing. Like Murray "Machine Gun" Rothbard or Shikha "Boom Boom" Dalmia. Brevity's the key.

  • Almanian||

    Murray "Mama Mia!" Rothbard and Shikha "Celestial Tea" Dalmia.

    I guess those aren't very boxing-like.

  • ||

    I guess those aren't very boxing-like.

    No, but they're short, and as Bill O'Reilly would say, pithy. When you try to cram a full paragraph in there like Justin did, you come off as screechy.

  • Anonymous||

    Thanks for the quality comment, Justin "Shrill Word Salad That Manages To Put Off Anyone Who Doesn't Already Agree With Me And Goes On Way Too Long Besides Jesus Christ Someone Get Me An Editor" Raimondo. Hope to see you again soon on Reason.com!

  • KP||

    In Justin's defense (assuming that is actually Justin) this is the Hit and Run Blog, where nobody actually cares what is written.

  • ||

    You cared enough to write a comment.

  • KP||

    Because I like the sound of my own voice (or, in this case, the sight of my own text).

  • How about||

    Ken "The Douche" Shultz?

  • Trespassers W||

    RAIMONDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Howzabout Justin "Dictator Fellator" Raimondo?

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    RAIMONDOOOOOOOOO!!!

  • ||

    How about just Children of Men everybody? It'll put us out of our misery.

  • ||

    You mean the Heritage Foundation has not come up with this idea already?

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    You mean the Heritage Foundation has not come up with this idea already?

    Now you know that ain't fair.

  • white injun||

    If you had been gamboling, that never would have happened.

  • ralph||

    Thanks for the article. For info on people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues, please see http://www.Libertarian-International.org , the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization.


    In general, current Libertarian dialogue is that an appropriate method is the one provided by common law, divorce of parents by an unhappy child with stand-in parents or god-parents, which is being slowly re-implemented, and education in the extended family. In addition, there is a growing trrend for parenting certification and other classes on a voluntary basis. Latin law is a helpful model in seeing custody responsibility as to a seconday degree belonging to all near relatives, not merely the birth parents, derived from originary Roman law, and encouraging group involvement.

  • Krampus Kristen ||

    Libertarian or libertarian? One is a party, the other is an ideology.

  • Brett L||

    Certification classes? WTF? What a giant wank. Listen, if people want to take a class advertised to make them a "better" parent, that's fine. But treating parenting like a science, when it is not at all clear that children respond uniformly to a given parenting style, or any parenting style is junk.

  • Almanian||

    Yeah - my junk made three chillins, so watch out, unless you WANT chillins.

  • ||

    I could actually see evidence of parental certification as a form of "custody insurance," should a marriage go south and child custody ever need to be decided in a court or via arbitration. But something like this should never be legally REQUIRED prior to marriage or childbearing (as so much insurance now is required by law, these days).

  • John Kindley||

    Cohen replies in a comment to co-blogger Levy's suggestion that his post is satire: "In any case, if anyone's unsure: not meant as satire!"

  • ¢||

    I just came from there to here, and I was...annoyed. Because I expect some kind of windy version of LOL I TROLL U LIBERTARIANS R SO DUM (and it proves Ron Paul's a racist) to come of this, whether any actual trollin' has been done or not. And my annoyance is because it's impossible to tell whether there's any trollin' going on.

    The open-secret premise over there is that anything with an origin in "progressive" thinking/activism/academia/etc. is ipso facto morally superior to anything with any other origin; the "goals" (accepted as transparent statements-of-purpose warranting no critical examination) of progressive things/people are the only acceptable goals. But "progressive" arguments for anything are horrifying, so "libertarian" arguments should be sent in to take the place of them, provisionally, to serve those progressive goals (and to serve progressives, our rightful masters).

    And so a socially-sterilize-the-poor post is an example of that, re: class-based eugenics—a thing that progressives (historical, present, and of my personal acquaintance) love like rednecks love grillin' and camo bass boats.

    So the post is...what? Unconscious self-parody? Hilariously un-self-aware satire? Just them being the same assholes they always are, but in a more blatant way—and it's so assholey, they can plausibly retcon it as some kind of Nietzscho-hyperbolic analogy that shows what assholes you people are?

    ...

    What?

  • Capitalism is Collectivist Too||

    Capitalism is Collectivist Social Engineering that destroys Non-State lifeways.

    American Capitalism COLLECTIVELY:

    1. Formed government to kill off Non-State natural inhabitants
    2. Aggressively invades and occupies the Land
    3. Collectively builds mass systems of roads
    4. Collectively builds mass systems of drainage systems
    5. Collectively builds mass systems of irrigation projects.

    And then, the mooching TAKERS divvy up the loot amongst themselves, and call it...

    "Private" Property.

    Even Ayn Rand let it slip that the invasion and occupation was a violent TAKING of land.

    "[The Native Americans] didn't have any rights to the land ... Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to TAKE over this continent." ~Ayn Rand, US Military Academy at West Point, March 6, 1974

    Read that again: The RIGHT. To TAKE.

    Wow, some honesty, finally! And there you have Capitalism, in plain words, un-whitewashed.

    Officer, am I free licensed to Gambol about plain and forest?

  • Whiterun Indian||

    I used to gambol about plain and forest, then I took an arrow in the knee.

  • An arrow to the knee?||

    The current literature consistently reports that until the final stages of the Paleolithic Age—until
    just prior to the present 10,000-year era of domestication—there is no conclusive evidence
    that any tools or hunting weapons were used against humans at all.

    Arthur Ferrill, The Origins of War from the Stone Age to Alexander
    the Great (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1985), p. 16.

  • KDN||

    Honest question: do you have Asperger's? Your behavior around here seems to be a textbook case.

  • Trespassers W||

    Honest question: 1985 is "current"?

  • rsi||

    Chastity belts for all.

  • Gambol Lockdown+||

  • ||

    Chastity belts for some... miniature American flags for others.

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    Chastity belts are a fetish for some people. Still don't think they should be required by law.

  • Brubaker||

    I find myself in agreement that the original article must have been satire. With that said, however, I believe it is satire that makes a powerful point: We require licenses to drive cars, to fly planes, engage in medical or dental practice, and a host of other endeavors.

    Given the far greater implications of uncontrolled procreation, a licensing system might well be a key way of preserving civilization.

  • Spoonman.||

    Way to see the problem and then come up with exactly the wrong solution.

  • Who would want to preserve||

    ...City-Statism (civilization)?

    The great non sequitur committed by defenders of Civilization, is to leap from the necessity of Society to the necessity of Civilization.

  • Keanu Reeves||

    "You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father."

  • ||

    Whoa.

  • Brett L||

    Are Top Men (or Women) gonna be in charge? I can't sign on unless someone promises me that this will be managed by Top. Men.

  • The Toperest||

    LET ME BE CLEAR: There will be top men in charge!

  • Oliver Wendell Holmes||

    I like his line of thinking. Three generations of imbeciles, after all, are enough.

  • SIV||

    For progressives it always comes down to concentration camps and (in this case) eugenics.

  • Brett L||

    Control, control, control. I want to tie all of them down and tattoo Cromwell's injuction on them somewhere. "I beg you, in the bowels of Christ, consider that you might be wrong."

    No Godwin.

  • SIV||

    I should be clear: I am not proposing a licensing requirement for pregnancy. I am not sure I would oppose such, but a parental licensing program is not a licensing program for pregnancy.

    ^In case you missed it.^

  • Brett L||

    Shipping kids off to the State creche if their parents are "unfit". Has this guy ever looked into what sort of "success" children raised by the State have? I'd rather kids be raised by their meth-addicted mamas in 9 out of 10 cases.

  • ||

    "bleeding heart libertarian"

    Apparently, this term is a synonym for "SLAVER".

    Fuck off, bleeding heart libertarian.

  • Brett L||

    Was thinking the same thing. Bleeding heart libertarians look a lot like statist fucks.

  • ||

    He also thinks that a state must require a "psychological exam that indicates whether the individual (a) understands how to parent and (b) can handle the stress a child brings."

    "I'm Oliver Wendell Holmes, and I approve this message."

  • ||

    Some of China's biggest problems right now are a function of its aging demographics--created by their misguided one child policy.

    I guess it's hard for some people to believe that the results of centrally planned fertility are just as bad as centrally planned anything else--and for the same reasons too!

  • Brett L||

    Information wants to be free (as in speech, not as in beer), and, in fact, cannot be sifted from data by any one agent because people will value different data differently. Centralization fetishists assumes that there is an objective valuation of information that can be created. However, so long as some people value staying home with the kids over a second income, or screwing raw instead of putting off having kids, this is unpossible. And dooms the centralized power/morality/good people to failure. Spectacular failure.

    Actually, the current generation (starting with the Soviets in the 1930s) are worse, because they assume that by having state power, they make their assessment true.

  • ||

    Nobody, including China, would have a problem with "aging demographics" if they were not willfully and hopelessly shackled to the idea that there's only one economy available, the pyramid scheme of robbing younger workers to pay for the older ones.

    Abolish the pyramid scheme, make workers responsible for saving for their own retirement years and dotage, and the government needn't care about who breeds or how often.

  • ||

    If you have a scheme where the young pay for the poor, and you have a scheme to make sure there are a lot fewer young people?

    Somethin's gotta give.

    Oh, and given that your fertility scheme gave you a lot more young men than women? That's just gonna make whatever's gotta give even worse.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    In any case, if anyone's unsure: not meant as satire!

    Andrew Cohen telling you he's serious.

    If the government is hiring an arbitor of which citizens are qualified for parenthood, let me know. I think I would be very efficient in the job.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I will review potential mothers to see if they're fit. Just to make sure that their offspring are genetically sound, I will insist that they use my genes. I will post my office hours so that I can have the necessary consultations.

  • ||

    So he's serious?!

    I had to go look and see what the enforcement mechanism is supposed to be.

    Does he want to arrest women for being pregnant without a license and then forcibly anesthetizing them and giving them an abortion?

    Doesn't look like it...

    Its worth pointing out that I have not seen a good defense of the claim that natural biological parents should be assumed to have the right to raise the child they create.

    It looks like he's talking about Child Protective Services seizing unlicensed babies out of the Delivery Ward at the hospital.

    If he's joking, this is a great piece like a la "A Modest Proposal". If he's serious? It's a great piece a la The Three Stooges.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    In the comments, replying to (among others) Levy, Cohen says it's not satire. Take that as you will.

  • SIV||

    Does he want to arrest women for being pregnant without a license and then forcibly anesthetizing them and giving them an abortion?

    Yes

    RTFA

    I am not proposing a licensing requirement for pregnancy. I am not sure I would oppose such

    He excludes it merely for the sake of his argument.

  • ||

    I think what he's saying there is that babies who were born without a license would be seized by Child Protective Services.

    Those that should be refused a license to parent a child are those who are likely, in parenting, to harm the child. Those that should have a parenting license revoked are those who do harm the child. (In our society, the latter is called “termination of parental rights”...)

    http://bleedingheartlibertaria.....parents-2/

    That reads like what Child Protective Services does now. I don't see anything about forced abortions in there, but I could have missed something.

  • SIV||

    There is his "for the sake of argument" then there is "what he believes" bolded above. Eugenicists don't favor civil penalties and fines.

  • Brian Doherty||

    This seems to me a common statist sophiticated philosophical gambit: "I cannot come up with an airtight undeniable philosophically valid argument that all reasoning minds must agree with saying some individual has a right to something. Therefore, the state must have that right."

  • Sevo||

    And it's a short stroll to:
    "If it isn't specifically allowed, it's illegal"

  • Trespassers W||

    Sort of a "State of the gaps" argument?

  • ||

    There's definitely some of that going on. It's like a cognitive bias or something.

    There's something else to it that's hard to explain. It's like academic thinking requires a level of certainty--that doesn't exist in the real world.

    The choices real people make are always made in the face of uncertainty, but academic thinking is extremely hostile to uncertainty--and people who make choices when they're unsure about the consequences.

    It's like they think that if people are uncertain about whether the results of the choices they make will be a net positive, then they shouldn't make choices for themselves--they should defer to someone else's academic judgement. But the view from the individual's perspective is never certain!

    So, it seems to make for an academic bias against personal autonomy. If you're unsure about the net result of reproducing, then you shouldn't be able to get a license to reproduce--when he's arguing that in the name of liberty, he's projecting a top-down academic world of certainty on a bottom-up uncertain world.

  • Brian Doherty||

    Yes to all this Ken. But more basically, they never provide that similarly airtight all reasoning minds must agree argument explaining why the STATE should have any given area of autonomy, but seem to assume it if they can't find it for the individual.

  • Brian Doherty||

    Like the state is some sort of floor-sink of justification---everything we can't find airtight justification as belonging to the individual, falls down and goes into the state.

  • ||

    I think it's safe to assume academic self-avowed libertarian economists (feel free to place scare quotes anywhere you think appropriate) are much more concerned with avoiding the hurtful disapproving scowls of their establishmentarian peers than in actually contemplating the promulgation of personal freedom and responsibility.

  • ||

    None of us are born libertarians; we discover libertarianism and become persuaded.

    He seems to have gone full circle.

    Somehow, he seems to think our rights require some utilitarian justification--I don't see the big difference between his understanding of our rights and any given progressive or marxist take on the subject.

    I'll repeat his quote...

    Its worth pointing out that I have not seen a good defense of the claim that natural biological parents should be assumed to have the right to raise the child they create.

    http://bleedingheartlibertaria.....parents-2/

    Somehow my rights don't exist and shouldn't be respected unless academics, or others, somewhere, are convinced that they're worthwhile?!

    Whatever else libertarianism is, it's also the idea that my rights don't exist for the convenience of the state.

  • SIV||

    he seems to think our rights require some utilitarian justification

    That's the point of the whole site and much of "left-libertarianism".

  • ||

    It's an academic exercise for me.

    We used to run into this back in the heady days of the War on Terror, where people would argue about the efficacy of torture, etc.

    I'm willing to argue about whether the freedom to own a firearm really does or doesn't contribute to or take away from the level of violent crime in a community, but when it comes down to it, I support the right to own a firearm regardless of whether it's for the good of society.

    Pron may be a net negative for society as far as I know--not that I'd support taking away the rights of consenting adults to make dirty movies if it were a net negative.

    Utility is an important component in persuading other people, and I'm generally convinced that there's utility--that we're all generally better off--when we're free to make our own choices.

    But that's just the icing on the cake for me. I'll listen to reason, but I see freedom like hot chicks and money--stuff I like that requires no justification.

  • Brett L||

    What the fuck? "A right to raise the child they create"? They don't have a right, they have a duty. And the State sure as fuck doesn't have a claim on that.

  • Libertarian Perverts!||

    None of us are born libertarians


    Libertarianism is an unnatural perversion.

    You heard it here on Reason first.

  • ||

    And you read about it becasue you love it.

    And you comment about it because you care.

  • sarcasmic||

    Libertarians have no heart, so how can it bleed?

  • ||

    Here's some satire: "Someone has to pay for all this" http://nation.foxnews.com/home.....y-children

  • Sudden||

    We. Are. So. Fucked.

  • AJ||

    Your lede seems to have encouraged a lot of commenters to consider this view "part" of bleeding heart libertarianism, which simply isn't the case. There are a lot of diverse writers at the BHL blog and no specific doctrine, and it's a mistake to judge the entire concept by a single author's idiotic thought experiment (which, for the record, I think is embarrassingly bad and doesn't fit into any vision of libertarianism, BHL or no).

  • SIV||

    lol

    You fucking progs OWN eugenics.

    Coercion and murder is where collectivism and utilitarianism always lead

  • AJ||

    What's a "fucking prog," exactly? If BHL's were progressives (I assume this is what you mean?) I would see no reason for them not to just call themselves liberals. What's gained, in that case, by attaching themselves to libertarianism?

    I mean, I suppose you could view them as "collectivists" if you were completely fucking insane and assumed that collectivists would for some reason pretend not to be collectivists for the sake of appealing (or apparently, deeply antagonizing) a bunch of libertarians who would never buy into a collectivist ideology anyway. Or you could use some common sense and realize that not all libertarians believe the same exact thing, though they all do agree on a certain set of core principles. Until this post, I'd never seen any reason to believe BHL's veered far off of those core principles, which is why I think it's ridiculous to demonize the entire concept because of one bad piece.

    But I'm not sure you can hear reason over the sound of all that frothing.

  • John Kindley||

    Does Andrew Cohen have kids? If so, somebody needs to look into yanking his license. Nobody harboring such ideas is psychologically fit to parent.

  • ||

    He can't. No one would fuck someone that stupid...would they?

  • Sevo||

    Does Andrew Cohen have a state license to practice blogging?

  • Krampus Kristen ||

    While they're at it, they should also force well-educated, high-income women who don't have kids to procreate.

    Lebensborn FTW!

  • Spencer||

    WHITE too. Don't forget that part.

  • Krampus Kristen ||

    No no no...they're progressive and inclusive and PC, see?

  • ||

    Oh, so everyone but whites. Got it.

  • Max||

    Sort of off topic, but Jonah Goldberg really has Ron Paul's number:

    "By his own admission, Ron Paul cannot even run a stinking newsletter with his name on it.

    Let us believe the incredible — not only suspend disbelief but kick it over to another dimension — and deal with this as an admission of being too feeble of mind to be president. People are writing garbage and signing his name to it and Ron Paul was unaware of this for 20 years. That alone disqualifies him from being in Congress."
    --Jonah Goldberg

  • Brett L||

    Jonah Goldberg -- and all of NRO with the possible exception of Derbyshire -- have become Republican orthodox since Buckley's death. They may have been on their way there before, but NR has been unreadable for years by anyone who doesn't tow the lion for Elephants.

  • Colin||

    I never realized you had such love for Jonah Goldberg.

  • ||

    Jonah has Ron's number, but Jonah never calls. Ron is heartbroken.

  • Max||

    But you have to admit that Golberg is right: either Ron Paul is a racist or he's incompetent. And either way, he's a bag of shit.

  • Sevo||

    Max|12.27.11 @ 11:56AM|#
    "But you have to admit that Golberg is right: either Ron Paul is a racist or he's incompetent. And either way, he's a bag of shit."

    Wait! I think I've heard this tune before!

  • Ted S.||

    Or Paul has learned how to become an effective manager in the past 20 years.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Actually, no.

    He's 25 and an American citizen for at least 7 years, he was a resident of Texas at the time of the election, and he received the proper number of votes from voters in his congressional district.

    He's perfectly qualified.

    Governing wasn't designed to be hard. On purpose, even.

    If you feel like there are certain other qualifications or credentials to be in the house, you're doing it wrong.

  • Tony||

    Seems that the least government intrusive system to ensure that children get a shot at a decent life, no matter how crappy their parents, is "it takes a village." But it's no surprise that libertarians taking a shot at this issue would prefer authoritarian eugenics to a social safety net.

  • Spencer||

    Or, here's another thing, let's not worry about trying to ensure that children get a shot at a decent life, no matter how crappy their parents.

    That might sound cold hearted, but YOU can do something about it without forcing ME to do something about it.

    In short, WEAK SAUCE tony.

  • Tony||

    So the freest possible system is one in which the parental lottery is by far the biggest factor in your eventual success or failure? To boot, if one's parents are awful, one can starve to death for all you care?

    I don't see you volunteering to give up all the programs I help pay for that you benefit from, like property rights and police and courts. So yes not only does it seem cold hearted, not to say sociopathic, but also hypocritical, short-sighted, and ridiculous.

    We're all proposing systems for people to live under. They have to be about something. Maximizing the role of luck and minimizing actual freedom doesn't seem to have a lot going for it.

  • Spencer||

    One is about forcing someone to take care of someone else. The other is about not forcing someone to do anything.

    If you want to help the children, help them. Also, starving to death is a different situation and your analogy is false. You said decent life, which is subjective- but an indecent LIFE cannot involve starving to death, because then there is no life.

    Of course, if you were swayed by rational argument and understood your proposed means when taken to their logical conclusions, you wouldn't be a statist anyway.

  • Tony||

    I'm forced to take care of you by paying for law enforcement that secures your access to your property.

    It is hardly obvious that your toys are more worthy of taxpayer-funded protection than the life of a child.

  • sarcasmic||

    Law enforcement doesn't ensure or prevent anything.

    They investigate crimes after they have occurred, and poorly at that.

  • Tony||

    You don't think the threat of imprisonment deters at least some crime?

  • shorter Tony||

    For people that actually care about the law, yes. For those that don't care about the law, no.

  • sarcasmic||

    Way to move the goal posts Tony.

    Not that I would expect you to go more than two comments without committing some logical fallacy.

  • Tony||

    Oh so you said something obviously false, I said "really?" then you throw a tantrum and don't answer the question. Typical.

  • sarcasmic||

    And I'm not answering your question for the same reason I do not indulge my two year old daughter when she kicks her feet in the air and pounds the floor with her little fists.

    I'm not the one throwing a tantrum, Tony.
    You are.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Way to move the goal posts Tony.

    Not that I would expect you to go more than two comments without committing some logical fallacy.

    That's Tony's specialty. He must have humungous shoulders.

  • ||

    Oh, you're one of those people that thinks if there was no threat of punishment everyone would be at each others throats all the time? Are you perhaps projecting your own inability to control yourself without the threat of retaliatory government force?

    You'd think after years of talking to libertarian capitalists you'd notice we are for the most people being as free and rich as possible, all without force.

  • Tony||

    I don't trust civilization to run smoothly on the honor system, no. People are not angels, all you have to do is look at capitalism.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|12.27.11 @ 12:55PM|#
    I don't trust civilization to run smoothly on the honor system, no. People are not angels, all you have to do is look at capitalism."

    And all you have to do is look at socialism to see the worse alternative, shithead.

  • sarcasmic||

    I don't trust civilization to run smoothly on the honor system, no.

    I don't trust people in government to have any sense of honor, which is why I want government to be as strictly limited as possible.

  • ||

    I don't trust civilization to run smoothly on the honor system, no.

    Translation: I don't trust people to live their lives the way I want them to.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    ^^THIS^^

  • #||

    actually not really tony - as one owns more property, that owner pays more property taxes, which far excedes the cost of law enforcment to protect that property.

    If property owners only paid what it cost to protect their property, youd be looking at a gigantic tax cut.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Since the police are a completely reactionary entity, I'd be glad to stop paying taxes for the police in lieu of paying for services rendered. You know, just like every other service I get. Hell, I'd even be happy to pay an institution that ISN'T a state entity to do that job if I had the opportunity.

    Because I can guarantee you that where I live, in rural KY where crime is virtually nil to begin with, the cops don't prevent shit.

    If anything, it's the likelihood that virtually everyone has a firearm that keeps us safe.

    That, and where I live, people are decent and don't seek to steal everyone else's hard earned money.

  • ||

    The freest possible system leaves me out of rearing other people's children. I was not involved in the decision for those children to be conceived so I take zero responsibility for them, their lives, or their happiness. Luck is not real. It is a figment of your imagination.

  • Tony||

    "It's all about me me me!" You people sound ridiculous you do realize that?

    Give up law and contract enforcement, roads, armed forces, and every other government handout you personally benefit from, then you may have a point when you claim that it's oppression to force you to pay taxes for a safety net so that children don't starve in the richest country on earth.

    Otherwise you're just a hypocritical asshole.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|12.27.11 @ 12:57PM|#
    ""It's all about me me me!""

    Yes, shithead, we know it's all about you.

  • ||

    And herein doth Tony decree, again, that if the government does anything it should do everything.

  • spencer||

    How's this for hypocritical:

    A person decries the misfortune of those who can't help themselves- calling for someone to help them- all the time having the means to help them without waiting. He could end their suffering now, but chooses to wait until someone comes along and forces everyone to pay their "fair share".

    That is what you're advocating Tony. You and yours are responsiblt for allowing children to suffer. You and yours- were you not preoccupied with forcing others to live and spend their time and money how you see fit- could have ended hunger in the united states already with NO government intervention. Instead, while that child cries itself to sleep at night because it's parents can't afford bread, you bitch and moan about how someone else should be forced to pay for it instead of rallying around the cause and feeding those children.

    How does it feel to be responsible for so much suffering?

  • ||

    To boot, if one's parents are awful, one can starve to death for all you care?

    I think you've captured my philosophy perfectly; good job. Humans are far from an endangered species; there is no need to engage in heroic measures to save those who are unable or unwilling to provide for their own children. If you do care, you are perfectly free to write them checks or give them your own money or food.

    Lousy, poor, and/or neglectful parents have served as powerful motivators for kids to improve their lives when they're adults. It's completely believable (and I know has certainly happened in my own family) for kids to grow up in poverty and neglect and say to themselves, "when I grow up, I am not going to live like this; I'm going to do everything I can to avoid this kind of life," and then act on that self-talk.

    Unfortunately, there are also other kids who either passively accept their poverty and misery, or blame it on others and wait to be rescued by some outside system that they're convinced is responsible for providing for their comfort, needs, and whims. I'm sure they and their descendants will be grateful for your donations, right after they wonder why you're so stingy that you can't even spring for a new Xbox for their kids.

    The programs that you claim to help pay for, we also pay for. And these programs (protection of property rights, a system of criminal justice) are prescribed in the Constitution. Raising children, and determining who can have children and who cannot, is not prescribed in the Constitution because these things were understood by America's founders not to be functions of government in a free nation.

  • sarcasmic||

    False dilemma.

    Holy shit you're in love with phalluses fallacies.

  • Almanian||

    phalluses fallacies

    Why not both?

  • Whiterun Indian||

    I was going to post a rebuttal to your tiresome bullshit, then I took an arrow in the knee.

  • An arrow to the knee?||

    The current literature consistently reports that until the final stages of the Paleolithic Age—until
    just prior to the present 10,000-year era of domestication—there is no conclusive evidence
    that any tools or hunting weapons were used against humans at all.

    Arthur Ferrill, The Origins of War from the Stone Age to Alexander
    the Great
    (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1985), p. 16.

  • Spencer||

    Excepting thousands of years of human nature.

  • Whiterun Indian||

    See Maba Man, which is dated as about 125,000 years old.

    What's the matter....did somebody steal your sweetroll?

  • Max||

    Hey, Tony, trying to reason with these halfwits is futile. Jusy call them cock suckers. They understand that.

  • Sevo||

    Max|12.27.11 @ 12:00PM|#
    ..."Jusy call them cock suckers."...

    Max, ol' buddy, you seem to have this fixation, and it's not pretty.

  • ||

    I've lived in some pretty crappy villages. I didn't have kids back then 'cause I couldn't have lived with myself if I'd subjected my children to a village like that.

    Oh, and if the progressives who cling to that village idea were really serious about letting a village of parents raise their own children, they'd stop subjecting villages all over this country to the god damn teachers' unions and every damn federal agency that wants to justify its budget by saying it has something to do with raising our children.

    To some people, a village is just a village. But the federal agencies, teachers' unions, and state bureaucracies that screw up our children? In no way resemble a village.

  • Tony||

    You can nitpick all you want about the nature of the safety net, but there is a principle at work. Bellyaching about bad parents only gets you so far. No matter how lazy or horrible parents are, the children remain innocents. If capitalism is meant to reward personal ingenuity and hard work, how do you justify a system in which the most important factor in success is whose loins you happened to shoot from?

  • ||

    You're barkin' up the wrong tree with me, Tony.

    I left home at 14. I went to a boarding school and worked my way through with odd jobs--on farms. Loading and unloading trucks under the table. When I got to be 16, old enough, I took a job at a local saw mill, and worked my way through that way.

    When I was supporting myself at 14, how much money did I owe all the poor children who were disadvantaged? I remember people justifying all the money they stole out of my self-supporting paychecks back when I was 16, too. Saying I owed it to all the disadvantaged kids!

    They didn't say it to my face. They mostly said it to each other. ...and on TV, radio and print media. Do have any idea how much harder it was to support myself because of all those regulations that were put in place, ostensibly, to protect kids like me?

  • shorter Tony||

    but... CHILD LABOR IS BAD!!!!11111

  • Tony||

    I'm all for there being plentiful jobs in this country, though I suspect a child in this day and age would have to exercise his ingenuity by moving to China and hoping there's a sweatshop opening.

    Children don't need to be working, they need to be in school. There are plenty of adults who need jobs and not enough jobs for them as it is.

  • shorter Tony||

    see, told you that's what I was going to say.

  • ||

    Let's examine why there aren't enough jobs. Oh yeah, excessive government regulation and taxation.

    Why shouldn't children work? That's an almost exclusively 20th century notion. I learned a lot in the various jobs I had as a minor, arguably more than I learned in public school. I learned how to deal with customers. I learned how to follow directions from someone who was paying me. I learned how to clean. I learned how to maximize efficiency in delivery systems. I learned how to prepare food.

    You know what I learned in high school? I learned that most of my teachers didn't give a fuck. And the ones that did were teaching me English Literature which helps no one in the real world. I also learned that if you can't be an engineer, you can at least get a job teaching high school physics.

  • ||

    I was in school.

    Having an after-school job and learning how to be a productive member of society--never hurt anybody.

    Instead of kids leeching off what they think everybody owes them? Learning to take other people's hard earned money for granted?

  • Tony||

    I do believe this country has become fat, lazy, and decadent. But I'm not blaming it on the most vulnerable people. It's not starving children and old people who caused it.

    It's people who have benefited from the prosperity their parents and grandparents delivered by winning WWII, passing the GI Bill, and doing all the collective things that created unprecedented prosperity and opportunity, then saying we don't have to do any upkeep, we'll all be better off if we just cut taxes. As this ethos has dominated politics for 30 years, programs have been cut, and more and more people have become vulnerable.

    I'm not talking about lavishing anyone, just providing a floor beneath which we as civilized people don't let vulnerable people fall beneath, for the sake of everyone's interest. We do need more personal responsibility, but we sure as hell aren't going to get it by defending a zero percent inheritance tax to the death.

  • ||

    Again, there are many millions of liberals in America that COULD if they wanted to, support all the starving children. But you continue to insist on the use of force to make YOUR goals a reality. You are more selfish than all the libertarians put together!

  • Tony||

    It's not force, it's democracy, the way large groups of people freely decide things. You feel entitled to exactly the society you want to pay for, and I'm selfish? The only principles at work are that people should be able to decide what kind of society they want, and you don't get to freeload off it just because you are all pouty that you didn't get your way.

  • spencer||

    Direct democracy leads to tyranny of the majority Tony. You want to use the 51% to force the 49% to do what you say. That's democracy.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Until it's the 51% who oppose something like gay marriage or abortion or drug liberalization, Tony is all about democracy.

  • Tony||

    You all say the same stupid fucking thing every time I defend the right of people to consent to their government. "Direct democracy is tyranny of the majority!!" Yeah well who said anything about direct democracy? Jesus. Why is it always the same 8th grade civics with you guys?

  • Destrudo||

    It's called nature. It's life. It isn't fair. It can be horrible. Sorry.

    The children of bottom-of-the-barrel losers are innocent - you are correct. But nobody has a right to seize my assets to provide for them either. If you have 12 kids you can't afford, your kids starve. Tough.

  • Tony||

    Well I have a better system that improves upon natural selection. Some call it civilization. You're not making a very good sales pitch.

    What you guys are advocating is highly unamerican. We were supposed to be about getting away from hereditary privilege. You want to enshrine it as the freest possible system!

    Because freedom, to you, is "I get whatever I want, including government handouts you pay for like the police and courts, and everyone with slightly different needs can fuck off and starve."

  • Destrudo||

    If you don't think there is a difference between police and courts and subsidizing the existence of people who cannot provide for themselves, you are truly hopeless dude. Can I quit my job and start fathering babies and sit on my ass watching tv whilst being on welfare? Are you cool with that? Do you understand how incentives work? If common policing is the same thing, then don't I have a right to have my kids raised at the expense of others, just like the losers can? Or are you differentiating by some sort of marxist "according to need" method? The problem with liberal morons like you is you try to reverse the fundamental laws of reality and human nature and don't understand why that is a problem and fails. Go get teabagged, Tony.

  • sarcasmic||

    If you don't think there is a difference between police and courts and subsidizing the existence of people who cannot provide for themselves, you are truly hopeless dude.

    No, he does not.

    Because the dollars that fund the police and the dollars that fund people on welfare both come through coercion, he sees no difference between the two.

    Either government does everything, or it does nothing.

    It's like he can't tell the difference between a fallacy and a phallus, so he sucks on them both with vigor.

  • Tony||

    You tell me the difference then, because I don't see why your car and TV are more worthy of collectivist protection than the life of a child. And taxes-as-coercion is your formulation, so explain yourself if it's something other than "I'm a selfish prick and Ayn Rand says that's OK, so I got mine and fuck you starving child!!!"

  • sarcasmic||

    You tell me the difference then

    I have tried.
    However logic has no effect on people who only understand emotion.

  • Destrudo||

    The government can't protect us from life. Can't stop us from dying. How much of my money are you willing to spend to fight a futile battle against the nature of life itself? Also, I always hated ayn rand.

  • ||

    OK, I'll explain it to you. My TV and car are purchased with my own money. If I cannot afford them, I cannot have them. Children are the same way. Protection of TVs and cars and children all come from the owners as well as the police/courts through taxation/fees. But the expense for them to exist comes solely from the owners. TVs and kids should be paid for by the owners.

  • #||

    "You tell me the difference then"

    Law enforcment used to protect property is payed fro by the property taxes levied on that property.

    Welfare is paid for by another party and is nothing but a confiscation of wealth by one party to hand out to the second because the second has allies in control of the guns.

  • Tony||

    subsidizing the existence of people who cannot provide for themselves

    You mean like infants and toddlers? Moochers!

    You're still trying to pretend that your system is about treating the morally unfit like they deserve. But what about the children they're popping out? Oh yeah, you think they deserve to die for the sins of their parents. Life isn't fair, etc.

    Yeah I'm a liberal moron in that I think brute natural selection can be improved upon. The fact that you can't help but take all the benefits your existing taxpayer funded civilization gives you just makes you all the more a sociopathic douchebag.

    Isn't it funny how libertarian freedom is all about what you want out of life, and anyone else's needs are not legitimate?

  • Destrudo||

    I don't think that assuring people get what they "deserve" is the job of the government. Does the man starving on a desert island deserve his fate? And just to clarify, I do believe we should have a modest safety net tony. Maybe I should have changed "can't" to "will not" provide for themselves to be clearer. But we can't reverse the natural incentives that exist in nature, no matter how distasteful you find them, without horrid consequences.

  • Tony||

    Property is unnatural. You don't get to say I have to pay for the vast system of laws and enforcement that protects your property if I don't get to say we need to prevent starvation among children. The latter is objectively the more important social goal, but to you it's only the former that is legitimate.

  • anon||

    "Property is unnatural."

    No, it isn't. That's why you can have a "right" to property.

  • Destrudo||

    Speaking for myself, I'm not saying that. I rent, and don't own land. But do you not see the difference between common welfare/benefit, which is defense and courts, and individual welfare/benefit, which is food for needy families? We can argue about the morality of it, but you at least can see the conceptual difference right? Smart guy like you...?

  • Tony||

    There isn't a difference. You don't go to court to redress a collective wrong, but one done to you individually. So it's both. Same with a safety net, which anyone can benefit from provided one has a run of bad luck, including you. It's a floor beneath which you personally can't fall beneath. You benefit individually, society benefits collectively.

  • Destrudo||

    How do I benefit from some chav piece of shit being on the dole while I work hard every day?

  • sarcasmic||

    You don't get to say I have to pay for the vast system of laws and enforcement that protects your property if I don't get to say we need to prevent starvation among children.

    You can't have private property and also have a system of forced sharing.

    The latter negates the former.

    However the former does not disallow for voluntary charity.

    Not that you would understand what that means.

  • Mr. Chartreuse||

    If property is unnatural, why do animals, such as wolves, create territories and enforce their own version of punishment on trespassers who try to intrude on the wolves property?

    OK, Tony, here's an attempt to be cordial. What if, instead of current benefit programs which are inefficiently doled out by federal, state, and local governments, we go to a negative income tax that is coupled with a flat tax? Thereby, you still get to help the children with someone else's money, and the government can do away with all the excesses of those programs.

  • sarcasmic||

    You mean like infants and toddlers? Moochers!

    Are you saying that adults are in fact children, and government is their parent?

    I know that that will forever apply to you, for you have the cognitive ability of a toddler, but others of us mature into full adults and are capable of taking care of ourselves.

  • J_L_B||

    What you guys are advocating is highly unamerican. We were supposed to be about getting away from hereditary privilege.

    This is a common misconception about America. Historically, governments actively promoted hereditary privilege through laws and customs. America's hostility to hereditary privilege only sought to bring the government into a state of indifference to hereditary privilege, not outright hostility.

    Benefits will always be available to those born into it, even if not promoted by statute, and it would encroach on liberty to determine who benefits too much.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|12.27.11 @ 12:43PM|#
    "...Your response: tough! I got mine, fuck you!..."

    No shithead, you obviously can't read, either.
    The response is 'I was dealt a bad hand and played it anyhow', shithead.

  • sarcasmic||

    What you guys are advocating is highly unamerican.

    No. What you are advocating is highly un-American.

    Americans are the most charitable society on the planet. We help each other in need. Not because the government tells us to, and I'm not talking about government programs.
    I'm talking about voluntarily helping each other.
    Government charity or socialism crowds that out, and is decidedly un-American.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    That's right!!

    Tony has a better system than 4 billion years of evolution on earth!

    Someone needs to put him in a suit and send him off to DC so that he can make all of our decisions for us!! That's the American way!

  • Tony||

    But thank you for making my point so explicitly. You don't have an answer for the fact that the children of personally irresponsible are innocent and don't deserve to be left to nature. Your response: tough! I got mine, fuck you!

  • Destrudo||

    It has nothing to do with me having mine, dipshit. If I was poor I would suck it up and work hard to climb out of it. You wouldn't hear me bitch and try to steal. Why do you try to come here and pitch collectivist ideas? Do you think we are going to magically be convinced and say "geez, that gaywad is right, maybe we SHOULD start being socialists"?

  • Clint||

    "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it."

  • Sevo||

    Tony|12.27.11 @ 12:09PM|#
    "You can nitpick all you want about the nature of the safety net, but there is a principle at work."

    Shithead, "nitpicking" about the fact it doesn't work ain't "nitpicking".

  • Tony||

    How would you know? Where is the example of a laissez-faire America wherein children of poor parents do better?

  • ||

    You say they don't deserve to starve, which I agree is true, but why do they deserve my stuff? I have my own kids to raise. Why are you insisting on taking from my kids to give to other kids? There are many millions of liberals in America. Why can't liberals give their OWN money to feed starving children? Why must you take my money? I would gladly stop paying taxes for police and courts if that is what must happen for me to also stop paying taxes for welfare, both corporate and individual.

  • sarcasmic||

    Why can't liberals give their OWN money to feed starving children?

    Liberals give less to charity than any other demographic.
    Look it up.

    They're the first to clamor that the government do something, and the last to do it themselves.

  • Tony||

    No you wouldn't, because without police and court your claim to your money and property is simply a matter of having the bigger weapon than another guy who also claims it.

    You understand the need for certain types of security paid for collectively. You are just so bent out of shape by stupid stereotypes from the Reagan era that you don't realize that a safety net for vulnerable people is exactly the same sort of thing as property protection--a form of security we all potentially benefit from.

    I'm just saying we should have programs that provide security for all people, not just those who have wealth.

  • sarcasmic||

    You are just so bent out of shape by stupid stereotypes from the Reagan era

    Straw man fallacy.

    Are you sure you're a homo?

    Maybe you're just a moron with a fallacy fetish, but someone tricked you into thinking it's a phallus.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm just saying we should have programs that provide security for all people, not just those who have wealth.

    Then give to charity.
    Whoops! I almost forgot. You're a liberal.

    Liberals only give money that belongs to other people, not their own.

  • Tony||

    Libertarians take what they need and then authoritarian-like proclaim that there is no legitimate need other than their own.

  • sarcasmic||

    Libertarians have enough intelligence to understand that paying for police/courts/military is not the same as transferring wealth for the purpose of transferring wealth.

    Tony lacks the intelligence to be a libertarian.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|12.27.11 @ 1:41PM|#
    "You understand the need for certain types of security paid for collectively."

    Yes, shithead, as bad as the law-enforcement process is, we've yet to find a better arrangement.
    Which says absolutely nothing about your false equivalence, shithead.

  • sarcasmic||

    Where is the example of a laissez-faire America wherein children of poor parents do better?

    200 years ago Tony might have asked
    Where is the example of a slave free America wherein children of black parents do better?
    and then claimed victory over those who would want to abolish slavery.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|12.27.11 @ 1:06PM|#
    "How would you know?"
    Well, if you sort of 'keep up with the news', shithead, you'd see how it doesn't work.

    "Where is the example of a laissez-faire America wherein children of poor parents do better?"
    'Scuse me shithead, see me make that claim?. Why don't you keep on topic, shithead?

  • sarcasmic||

    Why don't you keep on topic, shithead?

    Because if he does he will lose.
    So he changes the subject, and when you don't take the bait he calls you names.

  • ||

    If capitalism is meant to reward personal ingenuity and hard work, how do you justify a system in which the most important factor in success is whose loins you happened to shoot from?

    ___________________

    My dad was a poor factory worker. This has always prevented me from working hard. Damn you, cruel fate!

    I didn't even know my dad. -- Steve Jobs

    Hey me too! -- Bill Clinton

    Dreams from my father? -- Barack Obama

    I wasn't born rich but got rich anyway and then you hated me for it. -- Sam Walton

    I was adopted after being given up by my unwed 19 year old mom. -- Larry Ellison

  • Tony||

    It's a good thing all children are geniuses.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Mr Hope and Change, never had a job more complex than community organizer and adjunct professor, is NOT a genius.

  • pigsfromagun||

    Gawd. I might have actually wasted some time doing some reading on BHL, had Doherty not done some nice vetting for me.

    This from a comment by the BHL post's author:

    "In any case, I am a BHL mainly because of children. I don't know what you see everyday in terms of bad parenting. What I see is infants and young children raped, burned, beaten, etc. We can stop their parents after the fact or before. I want it to be before."

    Aren't all statist pejoratives against the concept of LAWS ultimately "for the children"? I'm having Bill-Hicksian fantasies of a blood sprinkler right about now...

  • Bradley||

    Cohen's post is asinine; not everything on BHL is.

  • ||

    I was going to comment, but I just checked and my license to post comments on the internet has expired.

  • Number 2||

    Let's stop screwing around and require government licenses for each person's existence. After all, studies show that 99.9% of manmade social ills are caused by people.

  • Almanian||

    We're all Oliver Wendell Holmes now.

    Wait - no - I KNOW YOU ARE, BUT WHAT AM I?!

  • ||

    they should also force well-educated, high-income women who don't have kids to procreate.

    Yes, indeed. This is a popular position among the progressives (and the so-cons, too, but for somewhat different reasons): "The WRONG PEOPLE are breeding."

  • Colin||

    "The WRONG PEOPLE are breeding."

    This was actually how Planned Parenthood came to be.

  • Brett L||

    This has always been the complaint from the aristocracts. The Normans complained about the Anglo-Saxons. And everyone knows those dirty Irish/Polacks/Italians/Lithuanians/Blacks breed like rabbits.

    The essence of the sin is breeding while poor.

  • Colin||

    Assuming for a moment this is a serious piece, what would be the penalty for license violations?

    Forced abortions?

    If so, liberals would love this idea, especially as it would help lower the nation's carbon footprint.

  • Spencer||

    Nope, your kids become an instant burden on the state. You're forced to take classes until you get licensure and you're allowed to visit them in their military bases state homes for children.

  • SIV||

    Cohen is not opposed to licensing procreation. The state-forced sterilization, abortion and infanticide just isn't relevant to his argument for state-licensing of custody.

  • ||

    If its due to population control in the united states,he makes the case to start deporting every alien that came here over the last 50 years! Born here or not!

  • Devil's Advocate||

    It costs at least $200,000 to raise a kid to 18 - college not included! So which is worse: I am forced to pay a share of raising paupers' progeny, to the detriment of my own; the paupers and their children are left to suffer in a Hobbsian state of nature; your mandatory contraceptive implant comes out when you, and/or spouse, and/or a charity post a bond for the raising of a child?

  • ||

    the least government intrusive system to ensure that children get a shot at a decent life, no matter how crappy their parents, is "it takes a village."

    This is why children must be removed from their parents and sold at auction.

    Balanced budget? Fuck that, we'll run a surplus.

  • mr simple||

    "You're under arrest for child neglect, child endangerment, depriving children of food, selling children as food, and misrepresenting the weight of livestock!"

  • np||

    While I agree with just about everything Brian argued for (or against such ridiculous statist policies), I have to nitpick the idea of "prime genetic imperative" of procreation...

    I don't think so. I think the prime imperative is more accurately about sex. If it were actually about procreation, we would not be so worried about how to prevent it without depriving ourselves the joy of sex.

    I think if it were truly primitive on an instinctual, deeply biological level, there would be some mechanism to deter against such "fruitless" sexual activities

  • anon||

    I don't think you understand the word "genetic."

  • ||

    Somehow my rights don't exist and shouldn't be respected unless academics, or others, somewhere, are convinced that they're worthwhile?!

    Jeepers, Ken, don't you get it?

    RIGHTS ARE CREATED AND GRANTED BY THE STATE

  • Brett L||

    Its funny, I would swear there was a foundational document in my country that said something different. Something about being "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights." I must be misremembering.

  • anon||

    Oh, that old thing? You must understand, it's a living document too.

    Fucking words, how do they work?

  • anon||

    Man, what a great way for the government to ensure the welfare state continues forever and ever. "Oh, we have too many rich children. Quit giving rich people parenting licenses."

    It's enough to make Mao proud.

  • AC||

    This is just another example of conflicting rights, in other words the reason for the state and the fatal logical flaw at the heart of libertarianism. In this particular case, whose "core element of human choice and flourishing" (i.e., right) are we talking about anyway? Which generation's? For people who believe that their cynicism is excused by their cleverness, to me you look like quite a soft-minded bunch.

  • anon||

    What, specifically, are you referring to? To me, you look like an idiot.

  • AC||

    I see you took slightly less than a minute to read my post. Perhaps you needed 5.

  • anon||

    "This is just another example of conflicting rights"

    There's no way to identify what "this" is. I don't know what flaw you're trying to expose. Are you referring to the linked article from this article, or this article itself? The two are different. I'll give you a minute, and won't hold it against you if you read merely the headlines of both articles.

  • AC||

    If you read once again you'll notice that I quoted the line I was referring to. Specifically, the end-of-article punchline which serves on Reason as a prompt for much witty banter and general sheep-like group-think. Admittedly this exchange of ours has not been witty so far.

  • Sevo||

    AC|12.27.11 @ 1:03PM|#
    "...Admittedly this exchange of ours has not been witty so far...."

    If you really try, you might get half-way there.

  • anon||

    "But one has to have a surprisingly unlibertarian view of the state to assume that even "greatest good for greatest number" utilitarianism would be served by legally severing people from one of the core elements of human choice and flourishing and, yes, nature."

    What flaw do you read in that sentence? Is this the sentence you're referring to?

  • AC||

    Yes (for the third time) that is indeed the sentence I am referring to. It's a tortuous sentence though, and I'm referring more to the implicit acknowledgement of universal values ("choice", "flourishing" etc.) at its end. Values which are a dead end in libertarian theory, since in practice one person's choice and flourishing are another's constraint and misery.

  • Sevo||

    AC|12.27.11 @ 1:42PM|#
    "Values which are a dead end in libertarian theory, since in practice one person's choice and flourishing are another's constraint and misery."

    Other than what you post is a lie, it's not bad.

  • AC||

    A lie being a intentional untruth, you are by definition wrong (because I believe what I said!). But let's not split hairs when simple-minded provocation will do.

  • anon||

    Yeah, I really don't believe that me flourishing causes another's misery. Quite the opposite, my prosperity generally makes life better for others as well.

  • Tony||

    In what way?

  • anon||

    I fix your car for money. You have neither the time nor knowledge to fix your automobile. Without my profession, you would have to replace your car rather than fix the specific problem with your vehicle, or have to spend countless hours learning how to fix your vehicle and actually make the parts required to fix your vehicle.

    I charge a measly fee compared to what it would cost you to replace your vehicle, freeing up the tens of thousands of dollars for you to spend on things you need more; like food.

  • Sevo||

    AC|12.27.11 @ 12:09PM|#
    "This is just another example of conflicting rights, in other words the reason for the state and the fatal logical flaw at the heart of libertarianism."

    Nope.

  • robc||

    Rights never conflict. If there is a conflict between two things you think are rights, you are wrong about one of them.

  • AC||

    Crazy stuff! There's a name for that idea, it's "fascism". Libertarianism unmasked?

  • anon||

    Also, Andrew Cohen doesn't recognize the problem isn't bad parenting, but the government sponsoring bad parents to create even more bad parents.

  • freeforall232||

    ^This^

  • B-ill||

    Sounds like someone thought Idiocracy was a documentary from the future.

  • anon||

    Maybe he has a time masheen.

  • ||

    Does Cohen have a shrine to this guy in his house?

  • Alice Bowie||

    David Duke (former Imperial Wizard of the KKK) once suggested that we sterilize high-risk welfare folks.

    Sounds pretty similar.

    I would think that libertarians would NOT ban children production by the poor. A Libertarian would say that the poor are free to have as many babies as they'd like but would have to take 'personal responsibility' for them.

    Ha ha ha ha ha

  • Brett L||

    Everyone knows poor babies have stronger bones, which make for better monocles. Middle class babies make better leather for gloves and seats.

  • ||

    This is just another example of conflicting rights, in other words the reason for the state and the fatal logical flaw at the heart of libertarianism.

    Gibberish.

    Try harder.

  • anon||

    Good, for a minute there I really thought that I lost my ability to comprehend english.

  • AC||

    I'll try harder. The sentence was perhaps too concise for some of you. The idea that individuals have a fundamental right to children ("core elements of human choice and flourishing") must be relativised for the same boring reason as ever, namely that other individuals also have rights. In this case that means the children, who will not have asked to exist. It is another instance of why a hands-on state is often necessary, and why (I posit) libertarian theory is fatally flawed in its very own terms.

  • Me||

    Still gibberish. Try again.

  • mr simple||

    HAHAHAHAHA!

    So parents don't have a right to procreate because they didn't consult with their unborn children?

    It is another instance of why a hands-on state is often necessary

    Just because you're an idiot doesn't mean I need people to tell me how to run my life. But what can you expect from someone who relishes living under a monarch?

  • AC||

    You're not arguing, you're just spewing talking points.

  • Sevo||

    AC|12.27.11 @ 1:19PM|#
    "...The sentence was perhaps too concise for some of you...."

    Not the problem.
    The problem is that you're an obnoxious twit who isn't real bright.

  • AC||

    I'll take the obnoxious and leave the dumb twit bit to you.

  • Mensan||

    So first the left-wing statists steal liberal from us, and now they are trying to wiggle their way in and steal libertarian too?

  • SIV||

    Yup

  • ||

    To be fair, we also originally "stole" the latter word from [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchist_communism]these[/url] [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism]guys[/url], inasmuch as it is possible to even steal a word.

  • ||

    F***ing hotlinks, how do they work...

  • sarcasmic||

    Lying and stealing, that's what they do.

  • Alice Bowie||

    As a progressive liberal statist that everyone likes to hate, I must say that this idea of licencing parenthood is not LIBERTARIAN...but it does come from the RIGHT WING..and not the LEFT.

  • Kaon Kristen ||

    If you think Andrew Cohen and BHL are "RIGHT WING", I have a bridge to nowhere in Alaska I'd like to sell you.

  • ||

    This is the original modest proposal.......http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Modest_Proposal

  • ||

    Its worth pointing out that I have not seen a good defense of the claim that natural biological parents should be assumed to have the right to raise the child they create.

    Once we assume that parents have no right to raise their own children, then there is no reason why all children cannot be seized by the state, regardless of how they are being raised or by whom.

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • sarcasmic||

    First start with the false premise that the state and society are one and the same.
    Add in a second false premise that it is the duty of all of society to raise children.

    From there it is a simple task to construct a proof that the government has the right to take away any child for any or no reason at all.

    We know that a proof based upon false premises is a fallacy, but they don't.

  • anon||

    Amazing. You've just summed up every TEAM RED/TEAM BLUE argument.

  • ||

    The sentence was perhaps too concise for some of you.

    If, by "concise" you mean filled with self-referential definitions...

  • ||

    I think Andrew's post is trying to make a point about the limits of ideal theory, though perhaps much to subtly for his own good. All of the criticisms that people are raising are exactly right, but if you assume an ideal world, especially an ideal state, you can answer them. And that's the problem.

    As Jacob Levy noted in one comment: philosophers who assume an ideal state are doing the same thing as economists in the old joke who "assume a can opener."

  • Geoffrey Allan Plauché||

    Cohen may be making a point about ideal theory rather than actually arguing for parental licensure, but believe it or not there really are people who make such moronic proposals as I noted in this old post:

    http://www.libertarianstandard.....-says-yes/

  • anon||

    Pretty sure Hitler made a similar argument in the 30's and 40's.

    Boom! Godwin's law bitches.

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    I really do like you and your writing Mr. Horwitz, but your defense of Andrew Cohen's (crappy) piece is more tortured then a prisoner at Abu Ghraib.

  • ||

    I suspect Cohen never gets this sort of constructive criticism ridicule when he trots out his little nuggets of progressive genius at faculty parties.

  • ||

    in practice one person's choice and flourishing are another's constraint and misery.

    Yup. Just as I suspected.

    Fuck you and the zero-sum-universe broom you rode in on.

  • AC||

    Unpersuasive, but full marks for panache. It's true that the argument I used takes some beating. It must be frustrating for you guys to hear it over and over again.

  • anon||

    Yeah, if the universe is a zero sum game, someone's been getting -really- fucked these past 10000 years.

  • Sevo||

    AC|12.27.11 @ 2:03PM|#
    "It must be frustrating for you guys to hear it over and over again."

    No, it's boring to read the same crap from one half-wit after the other.

  • ||

    the argument I used takes some beating.

    It's your horse. And it's obviously dead, so beat away.

  • AC||

    That sparkling wit again, but alas no sign of a counter-argument other than the peace-and-love Care-Bear-land idea that we'll get on just fine because we all share exactly the same conception of freedom. But of course we do! In practice libertarianism means anarchy and anarchy means freedom for the strong. Inspirational stuff.

  • ||

    No, in practice, the absence of anarchy means a century in which nation states slaughtered hundreds of millions.

  • ||

    I would suspect that any self-proclaimed "libertarian" who advocates for parent licensure would also advocate for (or quickly come around to supporting) elective, pre-emptive, aggressive war. That is to say: no kind of libertarian at all. I grow weary of all the semantic contortions that people go through to claim "libertarianism" despite holding key positions that are clearly not libertarian in any defensible way. All this does is muddy the meaning of the word, which certainly benefits libertarianism's foes.

  • sleeping thinker||

    so this exercise in eugenics would work in similar fasion as drivers liscences??.....need to obtain a liscence to have a child,...BUT...,if you was to feed them the [state decided] wrong dinnerfoods, you will be fined or child impounded, teach him something the state hasnt decreed, you will be fined or your child will be impounded.......you know, in the name of public safety and all.....this idea is some sick shit!!!

  • MJ||

    "Shanna and Jon Ravenelle both read a draft of this post and gave me useful suggestions to improve it."

    Not nearly enough. I feel sorry for those two for having to slog through the "unimproved" version.

  • Greamen||

    Would you propose starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option? http://octavinsu.blogspot.com/.....ows-8.html

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    I do hope one bad essay doesn't sour Hit&Run; on the entire web-site. This article is OK: http://bleedingheartlibertaria.....our-fault/

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    I do hope one bad essay doesn't sour Hit & Run; on the entire web-site.

    I also hope that typo doesn't sour Hit&Run; on me.

  • Audrey the Liberal||

    Damn, where dose ; come from?

  • Greamen||

    Amazing blog! Do you could have any tips for aspiring writers? I am planning to start my very own blog quickly however I'm a bit of misplaced on everything. http://octavinsu.blogspot.com/.....nesia.html

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