Former Spy Editor Kurt Andersen Bemoans "Downside of Liberty," Castigates Casual Fridays, Capitalism

Former Spy-editor-turned-novelist-and-serioso-public-radio-dj Kurt Andersen bemoaned "the downside of liberty" in yesterday's New York Times. In high baby boomer dudgeon (Wikipedia says he was born in 1954), Andersen manages to blame the emergence of casual Fridays and runaway public pensions on - what else! - libertarianism run amok:

“Do your own thing” is not so different than “every man for himself.” If it feels good, do it, whether that means smoking weed and watching porn and never wearing a necktie, retiring at 50 with a six-figure public pension and refusing modest gun regulation, or moving your factories overseas and letting commercial banks become financial speculators. The self-absorbed “Me” Decade, having expanded during the ’80s and ’90s from personal life to encompass the political economy, will soon be the “Me” Half-Century.

People on the political right have blamed the late ’60s for what they loathe about contemporary life — anything-goes sexuality, cultural coarseness, multiculturalism. And people on the left buy into that, seeing only the ’60s legacies of freedom that they define as progress. But what the left and right respectively love and hate are mostly flip sides of the same libertarian coin minted around 1967. Thanks to the ’60s, we are all shamelessly selfish.

Whole thing here.

If this is what passes for meaningful social analysis by our graybeards, we are about to enter a North Korea-style famine when it comes to sage wisdom. Note that Andersen dates the current trend line to 1967 (the boomer touchstone year of Sgt. Pepper's when we could at long last hear colors and smell sounds and yadda yadda!) and rummages through his junk-drawer of complaints (declines in necktie wearing, public-sector worker getting titanium-plated benefits, globalized trade, increasing gun rights) to paint a dire picture of a "Me Half-Century."

Please, majorities of Americans favor pot legalization and gay marriage - this is selfish or a problem how exactly? "Moving factories overseas" somehow contributed to the single-biggest economic boom in any of our lifetimes by facilitating job-producing trade that lead to levels of employment unthinkable in the 1970s. For all the Gotham-centric invocations of firearm fears, violent crimes are at recorded lows. And the problem with the financial crisis wasn't that commercial banks became "financial speculators" - it was that the folks in charge knew all along that their pals in Washington would bail them out. Gay Pride parades and my disinterest in wearing collared shirts had very little to do with that.

There's a world of difference between, say, actually deregulating airline ticket prices (everybody won on that one, as even Ralph Nader, who helped make it happen, would attest) and rigging taxpayer-financed retirements and private-sector bailouts. And as much as I always recoiled from Marlo Thomas' Free to Be... franchise, lifestyle liberation has very little to answer for other than some bad concept albums.

If Andersen can get past his phobia of libertarians, he would do well to read up on public-choice economics, which predicts perfectly precisely what happened in the fall of 2008 and provides a road map to a different, effective form of regulation (otherwise known as eating their losses). But don't you see, Andersen would retort, that capitalists are more free than ever "to indulge their own animal spirits with fewer and fewer fetters in the forms of regulation, taxes or social opprobrium"? Except for the record number of regulations passed during the George W. Bush years, he might be on to something.

And as Veronique de Rugy and I point out in the latest issue of Reason (not yet online), we're not all equally selfish.

That mantle actually belongs to the main beneficiaries of today's pervasive generational warfare, in which relatively wealthy seniors are pickpocketing relatively poor younger workers via a Social Security program that is already paying negative returns on worker contributions to people retiring in 2010. As for Medicare, the other great age-based entitlement, it's bankrupting the country largely because everybody gets more benefits than they put in. That's why it's the single-largest driver of federal spending and highly unlikely to survive long enough for any of us under 50 to share in the ill-gotten booty.

As a late boomer (I was born in 1963), I grew up in a world that was by high school already teeming with sanctimonious authority figures drawn from the counterculture. They couldn't seem to get through a simple conversation without bemoaning the fate of the world and being preachier than a George Harrison solo record. Andersen inhabits that role fully, chewing the scenery like a post-Godfather Al Pacino:

Jefferson wrote that our tendencies toward selfishness where liberty and our pursuit of happiness lead us require “correctives which are supplied by education” and by “the moralist, the preacher, and legislator.”

On this Independence Day, I’m doing my small preacherly bit.

Didn't God die in like 1966? Next time you put on the collar, padre, please at least take a couple of minutes to collect your thoughts, check the data, and swap out the fat-tip Sharpie for a fine-point pen.

Nick Gillespie is the editor in chief of Reason.com and Reason.tv and the co-author with Matt Welch of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America, now out in paperback with a new foreword.

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

  • ||

    That guy can go fuck himself if he thinks I'll just let him take the Ark of the Covenant.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Does that count as a Godwin?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    What a fucking asshole.

  • Lord Humungus||

    I'm sure he could donate his (probably fairly substantial) wealth to some charity or *gasp* donate his time to helping others. That's probably the best way - lead by example.

  • deified||

    Now is the time for honesty: Kurt Andersen is the human version of an enema. Almost too disgusting to contemplate.

    If you've ever heard Ira Glass or Jad Abumrad and thought--man, NPR has some pretentious metrosexual hosts--Kurt Anderson outshines them on that count like the flash from Fat Man outshines a Roman Candle.

    Only in the protected asshole-sphere of Public Radio can the (allegedly) cunt-sniffing, asshole-rimming, toddler-raping, kitten-drowning MONSTER Kurt Anderson continue to exist.

    It is worthwhile to nuke all of Brooklyn--even all of NYC or NYS--if it means wiping out Kurt Anderson.

    This is me holding back my real views on Kurt Anderson.

  • SKR||

    Wow, I thought all that just by seeing him unironically use commonweal in a sentence.

  • R C Dean||

    refusing modest gun regulation

    WTF is he talking about? We would have to repeal a lot of laws to get down to the level of "modest" gun regulation.

  • Brett L||

    I think he's using "modest" to describe Britain's program, so we're just wingers because we won't let them take our pistols and lock up our long guns.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It's "modest" because he doesn't have a gun. If someone suggested "modest" regulation on what an author could write about restricting him from publishing his novels, he would be the first one at the rally regardless of how minuscule the imposition on his freedom. He just doesn't like the little people using freedom to excess -- why, then they might do things that he doesn't like.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Depends on where you are.

    I'm no fan of CCW with no training requirement here in PA. The prospect of walking on the same street as a 100 pound old lady who has never fired a gun before, carrying a loaded 44 Mag revolver which she has no experience operating, and having never even heard of the rules of gun safety... does not fill me with delight.

    $30 and eight hours is not an oppressive burden if you want to CCW.

  • sarcasmic||

    The prospect of walking on the same street as a 100 pound old lady who has never fired a gun before, carrying a loaded 44 Mag revolver which she has no experience operating, and having never even heard of the rules of gun safety... does not fill me with delight.

    As long as you don't try to mug or rape her, you should be all set. Just sayin'.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Or happen to be walking behind her when she scratches her side and pulls the trigger due to maladjustment of her horizontal shoulder holster.

    Or happen to be 500 feet away along the line that she and the attacker are on. Or more likely, on the line that she misses the attacker along.

    If you don't know gun safety and carry a gun, you are a public safety problem. Period. And I'm one of the more vociferous gun rights people around.

  • sloopyinca||

    Or happen to be walking behind her when she scratches her side and pulls the trigger due to maladjustment of her horizontal shoulder holster.

    Because this happens with such frequency in places with loose to no CCW permitting requirements. Nice strawman.

    Or happen to be 500 feet away along the line that she and the attacker are on. Or more likely, on the line that she misses the attacker along.

    Because this happens with such frequency in places with loose to no CCW permitting requirements. Nice strawman.

    If you don't know gun safety and carry a gun, you are a public safety problem. Period.

    No. If you don't know gun safety and discharge a gun, you may become a gun safety problem. Just carrying the gun is often a way to prevent becoming a rape/robbery/murder statistic.

    And I'm one of the more vociferous gun rights people around.

    Maybe in your own mind, but based on what you said above, I'd peg you as rather anti-2A.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Maybe in your own mind, but based on what you said above, I'd peg you as rather anti-2A.

    And the purges begin....

  • sloopyinca||

    It's hardly "purging" someone that says the 2A needs very defined and strict restrictions to it.

    The 2A doesn't say, "The right of the people to keep and bear arms should be infringed a bit less once they go through a state-sanctioned training class and pay a fee to be determined by the people their 2A right is there to protect individuals from."

  • Tulpa the White||

    The first amendment also doesn't say that "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, except in a courtroom or recorded testimony when you swear an oath to tell the truth, or if you threaten to harm someone,..."

    In fact, if we want to split literalist hairs, it shouldn't apply to state legislatures unless they're called "Congress".

  • sloopyinca||

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    If you swear the oath, you voluntarily agree to the rules of the court. Don't want to give up your 1A Rights? Don't swear the oath.

    And I'd say the Alvarez (Stolen Valor) ruling that came down last week would open up the court to a case where someone was convicted of lying under oath violating their 1A rights. And it should, IMO.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Don't want to give up your 1A Rights? Don't swear the oath.

    Testimony is not always voluntary. And of course, there is no other setting where "swearing an oath to tell the truth" forfeits your 1A rights.

    I mean, if a law was passed saying that a guy who didn't call back a woman he said he would call back after they slept together was subject to jail time, would you consider that to be copathetic with the First Amendment?

  • Tulpa the White||

    I mean sloopy, have you ever heard of a "subpoena"? You know what "poena" stands for?

  • R C Dean||

    This one, again, Tulpa?

    Perjury isn't punishment for exercising your right to speak.

    Its punishment for violating an oath.

    Don't want to take the oath or testify? Well, you do have the right in criminal trials to refuse to testify, don't forget. In criminal trials, at least, its more in the nature of "If you are going to testify, which we cannot make you do, then you will testify truthfully or get slapped."

  • Tulpa the White||

    Well, you do have the right in criminal trials to refuse to testify, don't forget.

    No, you don't. Unless you're the one on trial or can convince the judge that answering the question would be self-incriminating.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Criminal Law Basics

    Q: Can I be forced to testify?

    A: Yes. If the defense or the prosecution thinks you know something that's important to the case, they may ask the judge to "subpoena" you. A subpoena is a court order requiring you to show up at court at a certain date and time and give testimony in court. A subpoena may also require you to bring documents to court that the defense or prosecution thinks are important.

    If you ignore the subpoena and don't appear in court, you may be held in contempt of court. The punishments for contempt include a fine, jail time, or both.
  • ||

    Just walk away, sloop. Just walk away before the enormity of the stupidity overwhelms you.

  • ||

    Tulpy-poo, you need training and a permit to exercise that dangerous freedom of speech. You'll have to undergo an eight hour "training" session on using your freedom of speech, because you might use it wrong.

    It's for the children and pussy pantywaists like you, you see.

  • Ska||

    To be fair, the unsafe wielding of speech is only an issue for the Dovahkiin.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Other than death threats and perjury, I'm unaware of any speech that can kill a person.

  • ||

    I want you to find and cite examples of people who have a concealed weapon permit who have accidentally shot and killed someone. And it needs to be multiple examples. You know, the kind of numbers that would require violating a fundamental right to self defense.

    You have five minutes.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Who died and made you hegemon?

    It's not a violation of the fundamental right to self defense to impose a small burden, either. It's hard to imagine any situation where a training requirement would prevent someone from getting a CCW unless they're incapable of safely operating a gun.

  • ||

    So your answer is "I have no examples". Color me fucking surprised, you hypocritical piece of shit. You are as pathetic as we thought you were. Here is a suggestion: use your gun on yourself. Right now.

  • sloopyinca||

    It's not a violation of the fundamental right to self defense to impose a small burden, either.

    And who determines what a "small burden" is?

    Jesus Christ. Words have meanings. And "burden"="infringement" in every sense of the word.

    It's hard to imagine any situation where a training requirement would prevent someone from getting a CCW unless they're incapable of safely operating a gun.

    It would certainly prevent someone from (or infringe upon one's rights) to keep and bear arms that couldn't pass a state inspector's definition of "safely operate." And last time I checked, the 2A didn't have a safety class clause in it.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Neither does the 1st, but we still ban perjury and death threats with no complaints.

  • sarcasmic||

    His assertions are fact. Yours require citations.

    That's how equality works.

  • Tulpa the White||

    All I asserted was the possibility of being harmed by a gun carried by an untrained person. Surely you do not deny this possibility, do you?

  • ||

    Do you have any examples, asshole? Or are you as full of shit as always?

    Hey Tulpy-poo, maybe we can talk about address parsing too. You're certainly an expert on that. Just like everything else, right?

  • Tulpa the White||

    I was right about the address parsing. Walmart, Apple, B+N, and all the other online/B+M stores figure out tax rates just fine based on shipping addresses.

  • ||

    Right about the address parsing?!? You are even more delusional than I thought. Good to know you're as crazy as you are stupid, Tulpy-poo. You got fucking PWN'D for being an idiot and your insane mind modified it to you being right? Holy shit, you're worse than I thought. Well, not really. You're just stupider than I thought, which is saying something.

  • Tulpa the White||

    The argument was about whether getting the proper sales tax rate from an address was an intractable problem. If you're still looking for links regarding that question, here you go.

  • ||

    You fucking moron, you asserted that address parsing was easy. You got destroyed. Yet you continue to delude yourself that you didn't. What the fuck is wrong with you? Seriously, you're seeing a shrink for you problems, right?

  • R C Dean||

    Without citation, I'm going to guess that you are more likely to be struck by lightning that harmed accidentally/negligently by untrained/unlicensed concealed carry.

  • sarcasmic||

    Surely you do not deny this possibility, do you?

    You are the one who claims that there is a danger requiring restrictions of liberty, therefore the burden of proof is on you.

    Surely if the risk is a great as you claim, you should be able to come up with scores of examples.

    Hundreds even!

  • SugarFree||

    Surely if the risk is a great as you claim, you should be able to come up with scores of examples.

    Our modest gun-laws have been working! That why there aren't any.

  • Brett L||

    Based on a quick and admittedly unscientific Googling, you are most likely to get shot by a negligent CCW holder in a bathroom.

  • sloopyinca||

    All I asserted was the possibility of being harmed by a gun carried by an untrained person. Surely you do not deny this possibility, do you?

    The same could be said of incendiary writing, goofy religious practices, people refusing to let cops into their houses without warrants, people who invoke their right not to incriminate themselves, etc, etc, etc. Shall we put training classes together so the state can determine which people are ready to enjoy those rights as well? For a nominal fee, of course.

  • Tulpa the White||

    There is no way any of those things can directly cause the death of a person.

  • sarcasmic||

    There is no way any of those things can directly cause the death of a person.

    Still waiting for examples of people being killed on the street as a result of the lack of training requirement for CCW in PA.

    Or are you busy moving the goal posts again?

  • sarcasmic||

    Oh, and refusing the cops when they are serving a warrant can indeed get you (and you dog) killed.

  • ||

    Hey Tulpy-poo, how does getting destroyed once again feel? I'm starting to think you're a masochist.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm sure Tulpy considers this to be a great victory since nobody was able to come up with Tulpy-approved links to refute his assertions.

  • Fluffy||

    Tulpa, I would bet you right here and now that VASTLY MORE people are killed every year by discharges at training sites and shooting ranges than by untrained CCW holders adjusting their shoulder holsters.

    One of the MOST DANGEROUS THINGS you can do with a gun is train with it.

    I don't think a half-year goes by in Vermont without someone getting pegged by a stray round from a shooting range. And we are a teeny-tiny state.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Mr. Bayes sez your conditional probabilities are inside-out.

    The vast majority of gunfire, outside of war zones at least, occurs at shooting ranges. So yeah, that's the most likely place for an accident to occur. It doesn't mean that training is more dangerous, any more than the fact that more people are killed in auto accidents within a mile of home than elsewhere means driving near home is dangerous.

  • Fluffy||

    It means that increasing the amount of training required to have a weapon will increase the number of training-related accidents, and decreasing the amount of training required will decrease the number of training-related accidents.

    While the number of "shoulder-holster adjustment accidental discharges that shoot Fluffy 500 feet away" will remain at 0.

  • sarcasmic||

    While the number of "shoulder-holster adjustment accidental discharges that shoot Fluffy 500 feet away" will remain at 0.

    That is absolutely false!
    Tulpa asserted it, so until you can come up with links in triplicate to prove it wrong, it is right!

    Behold the power of assertion!

  • Tulpa the White||

    Your probabilities are still not right. The ratio of gun range accidents to total rounds fired at gun ranges is extremely close to 0.

  • sloopyinca||

    I'd be willing to bet that it's greater than the ratio of "old lady adjusting holster misfiring and hitting someone," but I can't tell since you won't even cite a single, solitary example of it ever happening.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'd be willing to bet that it's greater than the ratio of "old lady adjusting holster misfiring and hitting someone,"

    That one doesn't work in Tulpa's favor, which is why the goalposts have mysteriously moved.

  • ||

    So you are a masochist. You just can't walk away from a beating. That's fucking hilarious. Well, I guess that makes me a sadist, because beating you down is just too much fun, you little whiny pussy.

  • Solanum||

    Tulpa is no pussy. Would a pussy drive an Echo?

  • Tulpa the White||

    I'm only a masochist in that I'm risking breaking my hand on yinz guys' thick skulls one of these days.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    It can seriously hurt feelings.
    Obamacare covers hurt feelings doesn't it?

  • Brett L||

    Right. Much safer to walk down the street with cops on it, right? Statistically, professor, which one is more likely to shoot you on the street?

  • R C Dean||

    Even if we accept a licensing requirement for exercising a Constitutionallty guaranteed right, there are pages and pages of laws and regulations that exceed anything I would consider "modest."

    Examples: the NFA, waiting periods, de facto registration via purchase applications and seller record-keeping requirements, prohibitions on open carry, etc.

  • Tulpa the White||

    I agree; but it's not always a case of less laws always being better. Some need to be repealed and others need to be strengthened.

  • R C Dean||

    So you agree that no sane person would regard our current gun control as "modest"?

  • Tulpa the White||

    Some sane people would, it depends on what you're used to.

    An 1800s person would find having to carry a passport and go through customes checkpoints when traveling between countries a horrible infringement on their freedom too.

  • robc||

    And they would be right.

  • robc||

    That was in response to the 1800s person, not RC.

  • Paul.||

    An 1800s person would find having to carry a passport and go through customes checkpoints when traveling between countries a horrible infringement on their freedom too.

    And 1700s people too. Because the ink wasn't even dry on the 4th amendment yet.

  • Vapourwear||

    Get out of my arbitrarily drawn geographic region with your statist trollery. Take your taxes on rights with you....

  • robc||

    But you would be okay with an untrained person open carrying?

  • Tulpa the White||

    I don't like that either, but OC is largely mythical here in Pgh, as all it takes is some leftoid calling 911 and lying that you brandished your firearm to enter you into a world of pain.

  • robc||

    It isnt where I live.

    OC is constitutionally protected, but I had to waste a saturday to get a CCDW.

    I prefer everyone who carries to learn and practice gun safety. But that isnt a constitutional requirement. Sometimes life sucks and you can randomly killed. Tough titties. Freedom is too valuable to allow things like that to get in its way.

  • sloopyinca||

    I don't like that either, but OC is largely mythical here in Pgh, as all it takes is some leftoid calling 911 and lying that you brandished your firearm to enter you into a world of pain.

    Soooooooooooo, restrictions on the 2A keep people from exercising a plainly-written and fundamental right to keep and bear arms, and by extension self-defense?

    Thanks for playing. Have a nice day.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Fundamental rights are irrelevant if the people falsely accuse you of wrongdoing.

  • SugarFree||

    People calling in about OC wouldn't have a downside if your beloved police ignored those calls as they should the exercise of all legally protected rights.

    911 Operator: Is he waving it around, making threats?

    Panicking Idiot: No. But it's right there, on his hip.

    911 Operator: The cops'll be there never. Have a nice day, and remember, calling false reports of crime into 911 is illegal, sir.

  • Tulpa the White||

    You missed the "brandishing" part. I was saying that the person calling 911 would lie. And please don't say that no one would ever lie about that.

  • SugarFree||

    Still a downfall on the part of the police. They get there, there is no brandishing, they should find the person that called in the false report and arrest them.

    Rights don't get curtailed because of panicking idiots or cops that don't know the law they are supposed to be enforcing.

  • Tulpa the White||

    So if I call 911 to say someone is threatening me with a gun, and after I end the call, the person puts the gun back in the holster, the police should arrest ME when they arrive?

  • SugarFree||

    No, they should do their fucking job and investigate. And then arrest the panicking idiot, cutting down on the panicking idiot population and eventually cutting down the panicking idiot calls. When panicking idiots can use the police to do the things they can't get away with through legislation, then that is the problem.

    That a melange of people want to interfere with OC rights, doesn't mean there is anything wrong with OC.

  • Tulpa the White||

    There are numerous situations in which there will be no way they can determine the truth by investigating in that situation. So it comes down to a flip of the coin, do they err on the side of one person or the other? I'm not willing to risk that coin flip, personally.

    That a melange of people want to interfere with OC rights, doesn't mean there is anything wrong with OC.

    I agree, but for practical purposes OC is not really an option if you don't want to gamble with your freedom (or, more likely, the continued ownership of your gun).

  • Tulpa the White||

    My problem is with untrained carry, not open or concealed.

  • sloopyinca||

    Fundamental rights are irrelevant if the people falsely accuse you of wrongdoing.

    Your problem is accepting that "brandishing a firearm" is wrongdoing in the first place. That's the same as criminalizing someone saying he's gonna kick your ass.

    I'm sorry, but you fail at understanding the 2A. Don't feel bad because you're in a large group of people, but it is still a failure nonetheless.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Your problem is accepting that "brandishing a firearm" is wrongdoing in the first place. That's the same as criminalizing someone saying he's gonna kick your ass.

    Oh my f-ing God. Seriously?

    So if you're walking down the street armed and someone else brandishes a firearm, you would react in the same way as if someone said they were gonna kick your ass?

  • sloopyinca||

    So if you're walking down the street armed and someone else brandishes a firearm, you would react in the same way as if someone said they were gonna kick your ass?

    No. But that doesn't mean either should be criminalized. I wouldn't react the same if someone ran down the street brandishing their cock either. What's your point?

  • Tulpa the White||

    If it's grounds to shoot someone, it should probably be criminalized. No?

  • califernian||

    yes

  • Paul.||

    I'm no fan of CCW with no training requirement here in PA. The prospect of walking on the same street as a 100 pound old lady who has never fired a gun before, carrying a loaded 44 Mag revolver which she has no experience operating, and having never even heard of the rules of gun safety... does not fill me with delight.

    Provide statistics on # of people wounded or killed by CCW carriers due to accidental dishcarges in PA.

  • Romulus Augustus||

    usual bad rap for "selfishness."
    Has he considered that real culprit is the "other-interestedness" of the voters who allowed huge pensions and entitlements because they were constantly assaulted with pleas to be "compassionate" and "think of others first?"

  • SugarFree||

    "Libertarianism" is the "fascism" of the 21st century.

    When Anderson blames his litany of complaints on libertarianism, he's really just hanging a signifier onto an amorphous mass of people he doesn't like. It's the exact sort of laziness and myopic selfishness he purports to decry. At best, he might be making an argument about "libertinism" which places him fully into the so-con side of the ledger, a place he would run screaming from if he had an ounce of self-awareness.

  • Brett L||

    Its funny, every time I get into a discussion with people and identify as a libertarian, they start telling me what I believe. The few who have actually stopped and listened when I explained what I actually believe are always shocked about how much of what I say they agree with.

  • SugarFree||

    And it doesn't help that the TEA party started out as a libertarian(ish) movement. We get blamed for them as well.

  • Brett L||

    I have fun with it though. In Tallahassee, there are any number of starry-eyed government worshipers who really get angry when you point out that either their leaders are woefully ineffective or stupid enough to get rolled by people like GWB.

    I usually only pull that out on someone after they tell me I want to see people die in the streets.

  • R C Dean||

    I usually only pull that out on someone after they tell me I want to see people die in the streets.

    "Some people, sure." [Gives meaningful look.]

  • Brett L||

    I like your answer better.

  • sloopyinca||

    Its funny, every time I get into a discussion with people and identify as a libertarian, they start telling me what I believe.

    Reminds me of this.

  • ||

    "Libertarianism" is the "fascism" of the 21st century.

    "The word SugarFree has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies 'something not desirable'."

  • SugarFree||

    [sad trombone]

  • sloopyinca||

    Be prepared for a lot more of this revisionist opinion piece as we run up to the election. These people just have to do whatever it takes to get Obama re-elected because that evil libertarian Mitt Romney will just take us off the cliff.*

    *These people actually believe this.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    They would be correct about that cliff, they just don't realize they're barreling down the cliff path in Barry's VW minivan right now.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    So Kurt wants a country where the staggering levels of social authoritarianism are matched by arbitrary regulations on gun control and government confiscation of wealth, huh? I think there are some places in Africa that could accommodate him.

  • Mike M.||

    The "downside of liberty"? To assholes like this, there's not even an upside.

  • Brett L||

    In his eyes, the downside of liberty is that other people have it, too.

  • flye||

    Well put. Reminds me of PJ O'Rourke's take on population control advocates: Just enough of me, way too much of you.

  • Ska||

    Fuck off, Leahey.

  • RPR2||

    sorry Anderson, but you're over 30 so STFU.

  • ||

    My conservative Republican father thought marginal income tax rates of 91 percent were unfairly high, but he and his friends never dreamed of suggesting they be reduced below, say, 50 percent. Sex outside marriage was shameful, beards and divorce were outré — but so were boasting of one’s wealth and blaming unfortunates for their hard luck.

    "Here, let me support my whining with some bullshit that I made up just now!"

  • Brett L||

    He comes from a long line of idiots, apparently. Also, his great-grandfather probably thought clean shaven men were pansies. Which has just as much to do with the topic at hand as his father's opinion.

  • Ska||

    Don't drag Marty McFly into this.

  • Rasilio||

    And apparently his conservative republican father was an idiot because he failed to recognize that marginal tax rates only told half the story and that it is possible to cut the rates but still raise taxes. There is only 1 tax rate that matters, the effective rate and if you look at that it is down slightly from where it was in the 60's for the top 1% but up significantly for the next 20% and much of the decline in effective rates for the top 1% is attributable to more of their income being earned from Capital Gains as opposed to other forms which are taxed at higher rates rather than any actual change in the tax code.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Liberty does have some pretty big downsides. You're just as deluded as this fellow if you think otherwise.

    Of course, every other feasible system has even bigger downsides.

  • sloopyinca||

    Liberty does have some pretty big downsides.

    For the individual? Or for the state?

  • Tulpa the White||

    For some individuals, aka the ones who starve or live miserable lives because of inequality.

    And please don't invoke the deus ex machina of private charity. Without collectivism there is no guarantee that charity will be able to take care of those people.

  • sloopyinca||

    Tulpa, you're out of your fucking mind today.

    For some individuals, aka the ones who starve or live miserable lives because of inequality.

    What does equality have to do with liberty? I'd reckon there is a lot more equality in North Korea than there is here. Would you take that trade?

    Without collectivism there is no guarantee that charity will be able to take care of those people.

    Citation fucking required.

  • Tulpa the White||

    No citation required for the denial of an extraordinary claim.

    And note that I did say that other systems have bigger downsides, so yeah I don't want to move to NK.

  • sarcasmic||

    No citation required for the denial of an extraordinary claim.

    Funny thing is, the extraordinary claim you are denying happens to be made of straw.

    No one that I know of claims that private charity would do what government programs currently do, which is to reward sloth.

    Charity is to aid people in desperate need, not give them handouts because they don't feel like providing for themselves.

  • Tman||

    What is going on with Tulpy poo today?

    Did you get stiffed at a BBQ yesterday or something?

    "Liberty can create inequality"?

    That's some powerful stupid. LIFE creates inequality, LIBERTY is the best way to overcome the cards that life deals you.

  • sarcasmic||

    Citation fucking required.

    Citations are only required when someone other than Tulpa asserts something.

    Tulpa doesn't have to follow his own rules when he makes assertions.

  • BakedPenguin||

    "Excellent. Give in to your hate, and your journey to the dark side will be complete."

  • Rasilio||

    Looks around

    Um, I'm not seeing any guarantee that the government can take care of them either.

  • R C Dean||

    Liberty per se doesn't have a downside for the ones who starve or live miserable lives.

    Their exercise of their liberty may well have led (or left) them in a bad situation. But that's not so much because they have choices, its because of what they do with their choices.

    And yes, yes, the situation you are born into makes a big difference. But being born into a bad situation isn't exactly the fault of liberty, either.

  • Tulpa the White||

    But being born into a bad situation isn't exactly the fault of liberty, either.

    Sure it is. Liberty is a negative concept, a lack (unless you're a left-lib).

  • R C Dean||

    Tulpa, are you seriously arguing that the absence of government control is responsible for people being born into bad situations?

    Could you spell it out a little for me? I mean, I could see how laws against poor people reproducing might have an affect on this, and perhaps laws against people with histories of violence reproducing.

    Is that what you mean? If we just kept the wrong sorts from having babies, all would be well? That would be very old school progressive, you know.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Downside doesn't imply moral fault, it implies negative outcome. Regardless of "blame".

  • robc||

    Everyone's outcome is the same.

    And its a negative (unless you view it as a positive).

  • R C Dean||

    Liberty does have some pretty big downsides.

    You are attributing the downside of people starving or living miserable lives because of inequality to liberty, or not enough government control.

    I am interested in what government controls you think are lacking to prevent this outcome.

  • Fluffy||

    Downside doesn't imply moral fault, it implies negative outcome. Regardless of "blame".

    Only downsides that are not the result of moral fault are worthy of consideration.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Equality has nothing to do with poverty,and someone would really have to be trying hard to starve in the US. Not to trivialize, but happiness similarly isn't a function of wealth: not very difficult to be miserable and wealthy, and not difficult to be poor and relatively content.

  • Tulpa the White||

    someone would really have to be trying hard to starve in the US.

    We don't have a free market.

    Take away food stamps and welfare and see what happens.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    How many people starved each year in the US before food stamps and welfare?

  • Tulpa the White||

    Lots. And full blown starvation isn't the only problem, as people tend to do liberty-destroying things along the way like robbery and cannibalism.

  • sloopyinca||

    Lots.

    Citation required. And please compare the statistics to those of a centrally planned and administered state. Feel free to use the Soviet Union, China, North Korea for your comparitive analysis.

    And full blown starvation isn't the only problem, as people tend to do liberty-destroying things along the way like robbery and cannibalism.

    And those actions can be handled by the courts...on the rare occasions they actually occur.*

    *Robbery being conducted on a grand scale by the government obviously excepted from this prosecution.

  • Fluffy||

    Lots.

    Citation required.

    Yeah, I'm gonna need a citation on that too.

    There was virtually no starvation in the United States between 1800 and 1932, other than in extraordinary frontier or wilderness situations like the Donner Party.

    It was probably damn near impossible to starve to death in Virginia for about a century and a half.

  • Fluffy||

    Oh, sorry, I also meant to specify "excluding among aborigines".

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Lots.

    Lots as an absolute number? Lots as a relative number? Lots compared to people who do liberty-destroying things because of a culture of dependency of food stamps and welfare? What do you mean by "lots?"

    Be sure to give cites to support your claim.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Of course if you took away food stamps and welfare immediately there would be harsh consequences. There's a whole section of society that has been indoctrinated into those programs and to be quickly expunged would be devastating, at least in the short term. But that does not make those programs the best solution, it just makes them self-propagating and hard to get rid of.

    I'm reminded of this article:

    Demunicipalize the garbage service

  • robc||

    Thats not a downside. They get to live (and die) as free men.

  • The Hammer||

    "Without collectivism there is no guarantee that charity will be able to take care of those people."

    With collectivism there is no guarantee that charity will be able to take care of people. There's a reason the Soviets had mass starvation and food lines while Americans have an obesity problem.

  • ||

    Intentions over results, all the time, every time.

  • sarcasmic||

    For selfless busybodies who feel the need to impose their will on people who don't know what's good for them.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    True. None of those downsides are listed in the article, though. "Knock me over with a feather"-esque observations about social conventions and boomer bitching about unfettered greed (whatever that means) do not constitute a problem.

  • sloopyinca||

    Or...this.

  • Canman||

    Blaming bloated public pensions on libertarianism has to be the most bizarre thing I have ever heard. It's the anti-libertarians, like Michael Moore and Rachel Maddow ("we're not really broke"), who defend them.

  • ||

    I try to read authors charitably and take what I can, but this is just a cranky old guy being cranky.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    but this is just a cranky old guy willfully stupid bastard being cranky a stupid bastard

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    "Do your own thing" is not so different than "every man for himself."

    Maybe if you are a sociopath or just want to make random, unsupported assertions.

    "Do your own thing" in no way excludes voluntarily helping others. I think it says a lot about the speaker when he implies that it does.

  • R C Dean||

    Indeed. Those who say people will be murdering, thieving beasts without a jackboot on their necks never seem to realize that they are saying that they, personally, would be a murdering, thieving beast given the opportunity. And the balls.

  • califernian||

    ""Do your own thing" is not so different than "every man for himself.""

    This is BY FAR the most common mischaracterization of libertarianism.

  • ||

    ...lifestyle liberation has very little to answer for other than some bad concept albums.

    Well, that, and the mass rapes.

  • Lord Humungus||

    OT:Nigel Farage Confronting the EUcrats
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....oh7XhYe1k#!

    ah, I love watching this guy.

  • Lord Humungus||

    argh, apparently the ! didn't take, so copy and open the link separately.

  • Lord Humungus||

    or
    Linky

  • Lord Humungus||

  • ||

    Awesome...not only does he call out those fuckers by name, he does it with style, humor and factual info.

  • Spoonman.||

    "Old man yells at cloud"

    Also, what happened to Matt Welch's piece on European and American institutions?

  • Invisible Finger||

    It's no surprise that the "ME ME ME Generation" now wants people to take care of them in their old age. Selfish as ever.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Shorter Andersen

    "All of this crap that we put into place didn't turn out the way we thought it would, so now we're going to blame those people who had nothing to do with it."

  • ||

    What have I told you people about feeding the troll?

  • Tulpa the White||

    Are you saying starvation can occur in the free market? Heretic!!!

  • R C Dean||

    Apparently, Tulpa, in the completely free market of this board, no troll goes unfed.

    Make of that what you will.

  • Killazontherun||

    Starvation can occur anywhere where there is no food but there are people. Now sign Form310c through Form32infiniti, confiscate an overpayment of 2000 percent on that bag of rice, make sure your underlings have their masters in public administration, and only then can we be assured little Marvin can eat.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Lack of food availability is not necessary. Starvation can also occur where there is food and the people who have it don't want to give it away to people who have nothing useful to trade.

  • Killazontherun||

    Tulpa is not a troll. He is just a damaged human being who also just happens to live under a bridge.

  • ||

    Wait, so he's a sex offender?

  • sloopyinca||

    The other kind of Analrapist, perhaps?

  • Killazontherun||

    If he ever got laid, I'm sure it would be quite offensive, so, maybe.

  • Tulpa the White||

    I get more action than Liberace did in a week.

  • Killazontherun||

    Andersen manages to blame the emergence of casual Fridays and runaway public pensions on - what else! - libertarianism run amok

    I blame everything on fucking retards, and Kurt Anderson is a fucking retard.

  • BoscoH||

    He forgot the part about people fucking their dogs. Has that turned out so bad?

  • Franklin Harris||

    According to Wikipedia: "He was also the architecture and design critic for Time for nine years."

    That explains it! Kurt Anderson is Ellsworth Toohey!

  • sloopyinca||

    You know what? This was fun. I haven't participated in a beatdown like this in days. Maybe even weeks.

    It was truly a pleasure.

  • Tulpa the White||

    More like a zombie horde swarm. When it's 20:1 in an argument, the 20 can say ridiculous things like that brandishing a firearm in public should be perfectly legal, that it's impossible for someone to starve in a free market, or compare speech to gunfire in destructiveness, without getting called on it. Pay a visit to Kos' threads if you want a taste.

  • Tman||

    Tulpa- Burning Man on line one....he wants to ask you about building bigger straw men..

  • Tulpa the White||

    Ctrl-F, dude. All those things are upthread.

  • Tman||

    I read them. You were making straw men.

    You sounded really stupid.

    Congratulations.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Apparently responding to real people's arguments constitutes "building a strawman".

  • Tman||

    "Responding to people's arguments" is not what you did.

    You set up a straw man argument "If you don't know gun safety and carry a gun, you are a public safety problem." and didn't back this up with any statistical or factual basis for the argument, thus you got called out.

    You should now better than that on this board. Haven't the Tony's of the world taught you anything?

  • Tulpa the White||

    Quick, how many car accident deaths a year are caused by people not knowing how to react to a tire blowing out?

    Does the fact that you don't know the statistic mean that people who don't know how to react to a tire blowing out aren't a potential danger on the roadways?

  • Tman||

    Well, if I was going to argue that tire blow outs are a menace to society and thus we need to pass laws so the government makes sure we all have proper tires on our cars, I'd better damn well have some statistical analysis to justify my position.

  • Cavpitalist||

  • Tulpa the White||

    And that wouldn't be a strawman anyway, it would be a non sequitur.

    Strawman is when you argue against positions no one is actually taking.

  • Seamus||

    It does if you respond with a strawman.

  • SugarFree||

  • sloopyinca||

    That picture gives me a good product/marketing idea:

    Transformer vibrators. They could be cars on display but when a woman needs one, she reconfigures it into her "massager." That way, it remains inconspicuous to the casual guest and can be called into duty as necessary.

    Are there any patent attorneys out there?

  • sloopyinca||

    cars, planes, choppers, motorcycles, tanks, etc. The possibilities are nearly endless.

  • Tulpa the White||

    Megan Fox is on line 1.

  • Brett L||

    Yeah. I'd pick something that a kid isn't likely to pick up and put their diseased hands all over.

  • sloopyinca||

    Ooh, you'd pick a vibrator? You naaaaasty.

  • R C Dean||

    A book, I guess. Any other ideas for something kids aren't likely to pick up?

  • Ted S.||

    A bottle of Geritol?

  • Tulpa the White||

    The funny thing of course is that I was saying every system other than libertarianism has bigger downsides than libertarianism.

    But apparently that was enough to trigger a dogmazombie attack. "Liberty is perfect, CHOMP!"

  • Tman||

    No, Tulpa, you were arguing straw men. That's why you got the response you did.

    You were making ridiculous assertions that weren't based on any specific facts, just your own opinion.

    The fact that this explanation eludes you is unfortunate, but unsurprising considering the way your reacting.

  • Tulpa the White||

    This from the guy who misquoted me:

    Tman|7.5.12 @ 11:51AM|#

    What is going on with Tulpy poo today?

    Did you get stiffed at a BBQ yesterday or something?

    "Liberty can create inequality"?

    That's some powerful stupid. LIFE creates inequality, LIBERTY is the best way to overcome the cards that life deals you.

    I never said that, of course. Are you going to accuse me of creating a strawman by quoting your post now?

  • robc||

    No, you said there are downsides to Liberty. Big. Fucking. Difference.

  • Tulpa the White||

    I guess your text parser shuts off after the first sentence of a post.

  • robc||

    Liberty does have some pretty big downsides. You're just as deluded as this fellow if you think otherwise.

    Of course, every other feasible system has even bigger downsides.

    I fail to see the word "libertarian" anywhere in there.

    I stand behind my statement, you said "liberty". Im not sure what you think is in the 2nd or 3rd sentence that converts "liberty" to "libertarianism", but it isnt there.

  • R C Dean||

    Tulpa, this is what I got from your argument above:

    You are attributing the downside of people starving or living miserable lives because of inequality to liberty, or not enough government control.

    Does my parser need to go in for maintenance?

  • Tulpa the White||

    That was a later comment, and while that roughly matches what I was saying, it leaves out the context which was that "enough" govt control is going to cause worse problems on its own.

  • Brandybuck||

    Purists versus pragmatists. The hottest corners of Hell are reserved for the less than perfect.

  • Tman||

    You said "Liberty has its downsides" and then further explained these downsides specifically as the results for "some individuals, aka the ones who starve or live miserable lives because of inequality."

    That's not a straw man, you were arguing that one of liberty's downsides is that it creates inequality for certain individuals resulting in even cannibalism (?) or worse.

    Which again, is ridiculous.

  • Tulpa the White||

    I never said liberty creates inequality. Just that embracing it leaves significant inequality in place, the origin of which is irrelevant.

  • Tman||

    Which is why even bringing up inequality in the argument for or against liberty -because inequality is an unchangeable aspect of human nature- is irrelevant and stupid, thus A STRAW MAN.

  • Tulpa the White||

    You're referring a red herring, not a strawman. Now I see one reason I'm getting so frustrated, because everyone is calling every alleged fallacy a strawman.

  • Tman||

    The straw man accusation comes from the idea that you are trying to argue against, that "liberty" can somehow get rid of inequality. Libertarians aren't arguing this. They are arguing that anything that diminishes freedom will be extension increase inequality.

    There is a huge difference.

  • Tulpa the White||

    But it's not a red herring anyway, which shows that libertarians are mean and uncaring and don't adopt enough pound puppies.

  • ChrisO||

    I always knew that codgerism among the boomers was going to be an ugly thing, and this Kurt Andersen fellow is living proof that I was right.

  • Seamus||

    violent crimes are at recorded lows.

    Following the link reveals that when Gillespie says "at recorded lows," he means "lower than at any time since 1973." For those of us who (like Kurt Anderson) can remember a little before that that's not going to be very impressive. The rate of violent crime per 1,000 population in 1960 was only 1.6 (see http://www.census.gov/statab/hist/HS-23.pdf), which makes that 16.9 rate to which Gillespie linked seem pretty steep).

  • Stormy Dragon||

    And as much as I always recoiled from Marlo Thomas' Free to Be... franchise, lifestyle liberation has very little to answer for other than some bad concept albums.

    I loved that album when I was little.

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