What Then is This Strange Beast, This Libertarian? Please Explain for Our Pals at The Atlantic.

Over at The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg and Ta-Nehisi Coates have been debating gun ownership by private citizens (Goldberg is generally for it, Coates against it). But like many intense conversations about politics, ideology, rights, and cold, hard steel, this one has given rise to strange and wonderful feelings that can both titillate and terrify. At least on the part of Goldberg, who explains that during his debate, certain long-buried - one might even say repressed - tendencies of his bubbled to the surface:

This is what I wrote to Ta-Nehisi after he said he would rather not own a gun for self-protection: "You don't want a gun to defend yourself, fine. That's your right. But denying someone else that right -- someone who is screened and vetted and trained and feels that he needs a gun to defend himself or his home -- is that right?"

I went on to write that my feeling about gun-ownership tracked with my feelings about pot-smoking (people should do it if they want to do it and not be punished for it); gay marriage (pro); and abortion (I don't like it, but I'm not going to tell a woman what to do with her body). I suppose my loathing for privacy-invading airport security procedures tracks with these beliefs. On guns, I believe that that people who are screened and vetted should be allowed to participate in their own defense. I think people should be treated like adults, and be allowed, within reason, to make their choices about who they want to be with, how they want to organize their lives, what they ingest and how they protect themselves.

After I wrote this, it struck me that I might be a libertarian. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with this feeling. I don't even know anyone at Reason magazine.

Whole thing here.

My question, dear readers, is this: What then is this strange beast, this libertarian?

How do you define libertarian and what are the hints, if not the tell-tale signs, that a person is indeed one?

Flesh out the comments below but, as always, keep it classy.

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  • Citizen Nothing||

    ...as always, keep it classy.


    Funniest thing I'll read all day.

  • nicole||

    Indeed.

  • Randian||

    It's on the same order of "whatever you do, don't look inside this box. Now, I'll leave you alone with it."

  • $park¥||

    If you press this button I'll come back and give you a pile of money, but someone you don't know is going to die.

  • Restoras||

    Umm...how mnay times can I press it?

  • Randian||

    I mean, people die every day. I might as well get paid for it.

  • $park¥||

  • ||

  • ||

    They're playing up to us now. Damn it, I wish I saw this when it first came out. Now my comments are passe.

  • Voros McCracken||

    I think it's time for a re-print of your Libertarian test. The one with the question about "heroin being legalized in public schools."

  • fish||

    On guns, I believe that that people who are screened and vetted should be allowed to participate in their own defense.

    Of course if you don't pass government muster you have a duty to die. If you're a woman just lie back and "Think of England".

    Good that we have these journos to set standards for us.

  • John||

    That is right. Got that DUI in college, fuck you, die. Got into that bar fight once, fuck you die. Had your ex wife accuse you of hitting her, fuck you die.

  • fish||

    Vote republican....or the horror....independent...well your forms were lost during processing!

  • tarran||

    Why can't Peter Bagge do the Friday funnies?

  • Brandon||

    Because Bok works for leftover cocktail party invitations.

  • Randian||

    +1 Cosmotini

  • John||

    Goldberg may support all of those things, but he doesn't vote based on those things. He is still an Obama supporter even though Obama pretty much pissed all over every one of those issues. Sure Goldberg holds some libertarian views. But clearly those issues are not issues he considers very important.

  • Sevo||

    "He is still an Obama supporter even though Obama pretty much pissed all over every one of those issues."

    But, see, Obama is *going* to do something about those. You're just not giving him time.

  • American Is Back||

    I didn't research this guy's background, but there is nothing wrong with being an Obama supporter and a cosmatarian. Look at our own writer Gode. As long as you profess your support because of your hatred of "those people," "homophobes," "bigots," and "gay marriage" because providing government subsidized benefits to homosexuals is supposed to cancel out having a national healthcare system.

  • R C Dean||

    there is nothing wrong with being an Obama supporter

    Yes, actually, there is.

  • Brandon||

    Did you read the rest of his idiotic screed, R C? He's a troll. Ignore him.

  • Killazontherun||

    Who is Gode?

  • Bobarian||

    I think he's a white indian?

  • johnl||

    Mike Godwin. And Godwin - Gode is some amazing spelling correction.

  • Jordan||

    A sudden interest in monocles is a sure sign.

  • Way Of The Crane||

    How about gold pocket watches?

  • T||

    It was the uncontrollable desire for a top hat to set me apart from the poor that clued me in.

  • ||

    Diamond encrusted cane.

  • Pi Guy||

    I'm a spats man myself. Darn spiffy, if you ask me.

  • ||

    Oh gosh, marry me. Nothing better than a man in spats!

  • Tim||

    Allowing commenters to make rape jokes? Allowing readers to sort out for themselves how they feel about that?

  • Reformed Republican||

    Do you think some people have the right to tell other people what to do? You are not a libertarian.

  • yonemoto||

    everyone has the right to tell other people what to do.

    no one has the right to make other people do something else.

  • Brandon||

    Stop being pedantic!

    Vs.

    Stop being pedantic, or I will kill you!

  • Stormy Dragon||

    no one has the right to make other people do something else.

    That's a pacifist, not a libertarian. If I come home someday and discover a bum has broken into my house and is sleeping on my couch, is it non-libertarian to make him leave?

  • Sevo||

    Has to do with kilts, I'm pretty sure.

  • Killazontherun||

    No, that's hipsters versus goths.

  • ||

    If your first reaction when something annoys or bothers you is "There oughta be a law", you aren't a libertarian.

  • AuH2O||

    No, I think that it is when you act on it, or don't have the immediate after thought, "No, there shouldn't be."

  • SIV||

    someone who is screened and vetted and trained

    If you believe the state should require an individual to submit to background checks, licenses and training in order to exercise a natural right you are not a libertarian.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Yeah, that's the key. I'd like to hear his explanation of exactly how the government is going to do the screening without creating a totalitarian state.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I think vetted will mean cops, judges, politicians or people who work security detail for people who can afford security details.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Flesh out the comments below but, as always, keep it classy.

    Hahahahaha!! Libertarian means you hate children, and old people. You "free ride" on roads and bridges, that the State graciously built for your benefit and if you don't like it you can move to Somalia. Although there are only a handfull of libertarians, they are able to influence US internal and external policy through a small cadre of extremely wealthy and well connected billionaires. Libertarians are racist. Libertarian want to replace the State by enslaving working people to corporations. Libertarians like guns and that Lanza kid was probably a libertarian or went to libertarian websites but we don't know, cause he smashed his computer (typical libertarian privacy nut). I had a friend in college who was a libertarian and he said the American Civil War was wrong because the South should be able to keep their slaves. Plus, they're racist.

  • Jordan||

    Also, it means you want the brown hordes to TAKE ER JURBS and rape our womens.

  • Brandon||

    +1 Mallory.

  • Romulus Augustus||

    You forgot "and sell heroin to school kids in the school yard."

  • AlmightyJB||

    Your showing your age Romulus. Heroin Vending machines in the school yards are much more cost efficient.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    let racists sell heroin to school kids in the school yard.

    FTFY

  • TayF3rd||

    Rachel Maddow is that you?

  • $park¥||

    My question, dear readers, is this: What then is this strange beast, this libertarian?

    How do you define libertarian and what are the hints, if not the tell-tale signs, that a person is indeed one?

    I was under the assumption that it basically followed along Mill's statement:

    "That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right."

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Boring!! College boy, more GUNZ!!!!

  • Randian||

    ha! gaaaaaay cosmotarian!

  • $park¥||

    Ugh. Does this mean I have to stop reading "On Liberty" because it's going to turn me into Randian? I'm finding it pretty fascinating so far.

  • Randian||

    When does John Stuart Mill start praising Putin and the dictator of Malaysia??! Huh, Cosmo? HUH?

  • $park¥||

    Right about here:

    "Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end. Liberty, as a principle, has no application to any state of things anterior to the time when mankind have become capable of being improved by free and equal discussion. Until then, there is nothing for them but implicit obedience to an Akbar or a Charlemagne, if they are so fortunate as to find one."

  • Randian||

    Oh shit, that really is there. Nice one.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, I have a problem with his Utilitarianism. That is not compatable with Libertarianism to me.

  • Brandon||

    Actually, I think utilitarianism is compatible with libertarianism about 90% of the time, since maximum individual freedom tends to lead to the best results for the most people.

  • nicole||

    But it doesn't necessarily lead to the best results for the most people, so if your first principle is utilitarianism you will end up with a lot of unlibertarian ideas.

  • $park¥||

    These are the problems I have with Mill too. Much of what I've read I think of as being pretty on target. Unfortunately he has a habit of taking good ideas off into the social justice weeds to be mangled.

  • Brandon||

    Oooh, I just got libertarian-served. By a girl, no less. I'll turn in my monocle.

  • ||

    "If your principal means of contact with women is being shown up by them on message boards, you just might be a libertarian."

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    but keep the spats as our gift to you.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Even if utilitarianism happens to coincide with libertarianism in a particular instance, that doesn't make it libertarian. If the government requires me to do something I was going to do anyways, that doesn't make it less a use of force just because I wasn't interested in resisting the mandates.

  • bmp1701||

    If you ride from each of your 12 strip mines on a gold litter carried by child-slaves, that's a sure sign.

  • Drake||

    "What then is this strange beast, this libertarian?"

    The one who, when faced with a choice, always chooses freedom. (Instead of safety, control, order, the children, whatever)

  • fish||

    ......http://tinyurl.com/d924o4b

    If your first thought after reading this was to buy a shovel you are a libertarian.

  • Xajow||

    I usually define libertarian as being politically sane. But I'm biased. More seriously, the basic sign that one is libertarian is believing individual human beings ought to be free, that human dignity and the common good stem from individual liberty, and that government should therefore be restricted in its attempts to control people.

  • Killazontherun||

    Those are just excuses to allow profiteers to build smoke stacks everywhere they wish to do so (never mind that the municipalities and states exempted them from civil action during the progressive era when it became popular to scoff at silly notions like freedom).

  • Ken Shultz||

    "How do you define libertarian and what are the hints, if not the tell-tale signs, that a person is indeed one?"

    A libertarian is someone who thinks that people are generally better off when they're free to make their own choices.

    The tell tale sign of a libertarian is resentment against those who imagine themselves qualified to make your choices for you.

  • nicole||

    A libertarian is someone who thinks that people are generally better off when they're free to make their own choices.

    I'd be very wary of putting it this way. People might not be "better off" by all sorts of (outside) measures (but possibly even internal ones), but we still think they should be free to make their own choices.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, that's why I put "generally" in there.

    Some people will make the wrong choices, but still!

    I'm better off when I'm free to make my own choices rather than have someone else make them for me. So much goes into making any given choice (quality of life questions, etc.), that there's no way someone else could make the right choices for me more consistently than I can. ...and certainly not just because whomever won a popularity contest.

    Gay marriage bans, the Drug War, TARP, the individual mandate...all of these things are the imposition of someone else's choices on us. And Opposing other people making those choices for us is what ties them all together under the banner of "libertarian".

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    The tell tale sign of a libertarian is resentment against those who imagine themselves qualified to make your choices for you.

    This. A sure sign you're a libertarian is when you're pissed off that other people are debating the "two sides" of a policy, and refusing to consider the third side--no policy at all.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    people who are screened and vetted should be allowed to participate in their own defense.

    Credentialism- what can't it fix?

  • Way Of The Crane||

    How do you define libertarian and what are the hints, if not the tell-tale signs, that a person is indeed one?

    Property owning anarchists with jobs?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with this feeling.

    Lie on the fainting couch in a dimly lit room with a cool damp cloth over your eyes until it subsides.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Buy guns, gold and MREs, baby!

  • Tim||

    If Romney had won, we'd still be looking at the fiscal cliff, still be talking about gun bans and raising taxes, raising the debt limit. The only difference would be Democrats would rediscover their anti-war feelings.

  • Franklin Harris||

    I can imagine the future congressional hearings: "Do you or have you ever known anyone at Reason magazine???"

  • fish||

    Have you no decency sir?!

  • Randian||

    Half the Commentariat has already been sued just for commenting, so I imagine that Congressional inquiries are not far behind.

  • fish||

    Well there was that sheep fucking unpleasantness yes...but other than that we've been nearly model citizens.

  • Restoras||

    Careful, there...

  • Randian||

    But you make fun of ONE SHEEPFUCKER...

  • Pope Jimbo||

    awkwardness, not unpleasantness

    See the difference?

  • Randian||

    A libertarian, to borrow from Tuccille, is invariably the only adult in the room on any political conversation.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The REAL test of libertarianism:

    You're not free unless you're free to be WRONG.

  • Randian||

    That's it right there.

  • nicole||

    Win

  • Restoras||

    How about free to be an asshole? Or is that a subset of free to be wrong?

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Somalia's pretty wrong. Why don't you just move there?

  • CE||

    But being a libertarian means knowing you're RIGHT on every issue.

  • Ted S.||

    Only on the political issues. After all, there are libertarians who root for An Ohio State University and libertarians who root for Michigan. By definition they can't both be right.

  • ||

    But they CAN both be wrong.

  • American Is Back||

    Well, there is libertarianism. And there is cosmatarianism. Reason is essentially a Cosmatarian Magazine. To be worthy of bring a cosmatarian on here, you must believe in certain things. Firstly, you must believe that massive, third world immigration provides nothing but good to our country, even in our current welfare state. Secondly, not only you must believe, as the folks at National Review do, in legalizing drugs, you must believe that they are not harmful or destructive to society at all. Ditto with pornography. You cannot criticize the media decadence at all, for that will lead to you being accused of wanting to censor it, no matter how much you tell them to the contrary. You cannot generally be a a cultural conservative, these ideas are classified as "collectivism" rather than the oh so great "individualism." "Individualism" in the cultural sense is as important here at Reason as individualism in the political sense. If you maintain that our society would be better off without serial monogamy, if you express sympathy with children who have to be raised without a father, you will be classed as a "collectivist." An unspoken truth here is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with 40% of American children being born out of wedlock. These people will tell you you want to "force" your beliefs on people if you express cultural conservative views, no matter how clearly you deny it, in a similar way to liberals.

  • American Is Back||

    (cont) There are also certain beliefs about race and heredity that are at best never mentioned here. You see, twin studies have shown very conclusively that people are born half made. You cannot ever express this truth at Reason.com. Nor can you ever criticize NAM(non-Asian minority) culture, nor can you ever maintain that NAMs are whites from us in deeper ways. If you ever think that culture is at all important in this world, that it might affect economic prosperity, you will be ridiculed as a "culture warrior." Reason magazine is not the only libertarian thing out there, it must be emphasized. There are dozens of other blogs, websites, and publications that carry the libertarian label. My favorite is Taki's Magazine.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    "You see, twin studies have shown very conclusively that people are born half made."

    While I won't dismiss out of hand the twin studies you allude to, they are not "very conclusive" and IMO your characterization of them as such belies either an ignorance of the subject or an ideological predisposition which clouds your analysis.

  • Randian||

    I bet American! is an "English Only" kinda guy:

    nor can you ever maintain that NAMs are whites from us in deeper ways
  • American Is Back||

    I am. I live in America and I want my schools and my government to reflect that. In America we speak English. I want my schools to be in English, my government to be in English. Having more than one language of government means more money having to get spent on stupid things. We should not have a government that willfully aids the destruction of our country by encouraging immigrants not to assimilate. Another thing about cosmatarians. They would rather see a welfare state that gives to everybody possible than no welfare state at all. Never mind that only a handful of Spanish only speakers even pay taxes in this country that we used to call America.

  • Randian||

    In America we speak English.

    and then

    nor can you ever maintain that NAMs are whites from us in deeper ways
  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    The efficacy of bilingual education is open for debate, but there are certain areas where government can't run solely on English. Many of our commercial laws, taxes/tariffs, and regulations have to be translated for the purposes of facilitating trade. Courts have to have translators lest someone who doesn't speak English (citizen, immigrant, tourist -- whatever) get shortchanged when it comes to a civil or criminal dispute.

    That's just scratching the surface, but suffice it to say it would be impractical to have a monolingual government. Far from saving money and averting problems, such a decision would result in several costs for government and the general public -- which is why no country worth anything conducts and publicizes its affairs in only one language.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The efficacy of bilingual education is open for debate,

    As someone who studies the efficacy of bilingual ed for his daily bread and butter, I can tell you that, no, it really isn't up for debate. Every study will tell you that in a true bilingual ed situation (1/2 the day in the 1st language and 1/2 the day in the second language) the outcomes are much better than any other method of pedagogy. Especially, if we're talking K-12. However, things are a bit more complicated when we have an immigrant child who enters the school at say, 12 to 14. It takes 5 to 7 years of exposure to master cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP). Entering school at that age just doesn't give enough time. Baring bilingual ed. what seems to work the best is the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) developed and promoted by the Center for Applied Linguistics. What we do know is that sink or swim really doesn't work, despite anecdotal linguistic rages to riches stories.

  • robc||

    sink or swim really doesn't work

    Im guessing it does work, if you consider either option a success.

  • R C Dean||

    anecdotal linguistic rages to riches stories.

    Well typo'ed, sir.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I don't really have a dog in the fight (homeschooled most of my K-12 education and only learned English later in life), but as I recall the CA bilingual programs had some... mixed results. What do you think of WestEd's report on CA's K-12 education post-Prop 227? http://www.wested.org/online_p.....nalrpt.pdf

    I can tell you that in PR (where many schools teach using biligual methods), bilingual education has presented some problems for native Spanish speakers (esp at the university level).

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Prop 227 is exactly what I'm talking about. The switch from bilingual education to sheltered instruction was based entirely on politics not educational research. What the report shows is that it is impossible to master CALP in one year.

    The majority of schools and districts reported that Proposition 227 had no
    influence on the redesignation of ELs to fluent English proficient (RFEP) status.
    Schools reported that just under half (49%) of their EL students graduate or are
    promoted to the next school level having met local redesignation criteria and that
    the large majority of those EL students who were redesignated took more than
    three years to do so
    . Schools also reported that it is EL students’ academic
    performance in core subjects—even more than their English language
    development—which keeps them from being redesignated.

    Can you give me more detail as to how bilingual ed has caused some problems for Spanish speakers at the uni level? I'm guessing the instruction is in English?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Completely anecdotal, but yes -- instruction in all public universities in PR is to be conducted in either English or bilingually and many of the facualty are native English speakers. This tended to present problems since in general the K-12 bilingual instruction isn't at a level where students can speak technically or precisely in English. Vocabulary and syntax tend to be poorly taught in K-12 in the public schools, and English education (crucial to any post-high school education on the island) is very inconsistent. Kind of frustrating to learn a subject (say, History) when both the students and the teacher aren't very good at the language that the subject is being taught in.

    Obviously this problem is compounded by the fact that English is rarely spoken in PR unless you work somewhere where tourists are likely to frequent. From a layman's perspective, I think that bilingual education is on the whole beneficial to PR, but it does seem to have the trade-off that some people won't be able to reach their full academic potential on account of differing expectations of how and to what degree the secondary language (in this case English) is taught.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Thanks for the info. At first glance, it seems the problem lies in the curriculum and perhaps the pedagogical method. True 2-way bilingual ed requires the students to study the same material in both languages; it's not just that every school teaches an English class. So one day the history class is taught in English and the next day Spanish. This requires the students to be proficient in the vocabulary of both languages for the same topic. Of course, as you point out, you need fully bilingual teachers to do that.

    If the ultimate goal is to study at an English-speaking university, then sending your kid to an English-only school is an option. The child would naturally learn Spanish at home; however, this has the effect of limiting their academic vocabulary in Spanish, which would be a problem if your child wants to study in Madrid.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Most private K-12 schools in PR teach English-only for that very reason.

    What tends to happen is that about half the subjects are taught in one language, and the other half in another -- e.g, 8th-grade history might be taught in English while 8th-grade math is taught in Spanish. I believe that it is changing to be closer to the model that you describe (dunno how that works whatwith teachers not being fully bilingual, though).

  • Copernicus||

    " but there are certain areas where government can't run solely on English. Many of our commercial laws, taxes/tariffs, and regulations have to be translated for the purposes of facilitating trade. Courts have to have translators lest someone who doesn't speak English (citizen, immigrant, tourist -- whatever) get shortchanged when it comes to a civil or criminal dispute."

    I would say false on both counts.

    When the government is negotiating treaties, tariff, trade regulations, etc. it is functioning internationally, not intranationally. It is then the obligation of the USA and whatever other country to figure out a means of communicating. That is not what is being discussed when someone proposes that the USA have a single official (internal) language of English.

    Regarding the courts needing to provide a citizen, immigrant, tourist a translator... bullshit... The person needs to provide the translator. I've done it in foreign countries. If I have a legal/court issue, I get a bilingual attorney or an attorney + a translator, and I pay for it. either that or I learn the fucking language.

  • IceTrey||

    In Libertopia all education is private so the government wouldn't have any say as to what languages are spoken in schools.

  • American Is Back||

    Let me go into a little more detail here. With twin studies you can analyze the subject. In Twin studies, MZ(identical) twins and DZ(fraternal twins) are analyzed for similarity. Since they both shared close to identical conditions, if there was no genetic determination than there would be no difference. There is a lot of difference. Another method is to look at twins separated at birth. Indeed the effects of genetic determination are so great that the twins are usually more like each other than like their adoptive siblings.

  • Bobarian||

    I'm distracted by the spittle...

    Makes it hard to find a point.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I understand what a twin study is and am aware of the studies that you reference (Steve Sailor has made his case using such twin studies). The data that is available is compelling and deserving of more than mere dismissal, but is not nearly conclusive enough in and of itself -- nor is the race-based explanation the only or most compelling explanation for what has been observed in these studies.

  • fish||

    Good lord Mary..this persona is wordy! I still like it better than your co-opted White Indian though.

  • Randian||

    Lord I was born a Gambolin' Maaaaan

  • ||

    Daggone it! It should have been obvious this was Mary form the get-go. I almost fell for it. Nice police work, there, Lou...err...fish.

  • Brandon||

    Mary? But it does such a convincing Mallory impression!

  • John||

    She was on last night. It is Mary's new persona. Ignore it and move away.

  • Proprietist||

    Has Mary always been a SoCon? I always assumed she was a Jezebellian...and if she was White Indian, how can none of that show up in this persona? If she really is all three, she is an admirably brilliant troll to assume such vastly different personas.

  • ||

    I doubt Merkin is Mary Stack or White Indian, but he, Chris Mallory, and/or Patriot might be the same person. Merkin's said recently that his IP was banned, which could point toward abuse of multiple handles. Mallory is still posting, and I haven't seen Patty-cakes, so those two might have the same IP.

  • Randian||

    tl;dr

  • $park¥||

    Something about how he didn't like drinking Cosmopolitans I think.

  • Randian||

    Everyone thinks Cosmopolitans are girl drinks just because they are pink! NOT SO

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Cosmos love cosmos? I thought Pinot was the your beverage of choice.

  • Randian||

    It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention

  • Killazontherun||

    To think, for a short time there, I thought of Sandra Oh as being, wait, Nick said to keep this classy so I'll stop there.

  • Killazontherun||

    P.S. I would still do her.

  • Redmanfms||

    Have a thing for unattractive Korean broads huh?

    Were you in the Army?

  • Sevo||

    $park¥| 12.27.12 @ 11:27AM |#
    "Something about how he didn't like drinking Cosmopolitans I think."

    And especially if brown people were visible; just ruins the whole experience.

  • $park¥||

    Ain't that the truth. How come we're not done bombing them out of existence anyway?

  • Bobarian||

    I think he's talking about the brown people we give lots of gunz to and buy drugz from...

  • $park¥||

    Oh, well they all look the same to me anyway.

  • Benjy||

    If you think people should be punished for committing actual crimes(like violence or robbery), and not for behavior that is correlated with crime(like drug use), you might be a libertarian.

    If you think too many things are illegal, you might be a libertarian.

    If you think it's ridiculous how often the government has its hand out for fees, permits, licenses, etc... you might be a libertarian.

  • ||

    If you strive to use logic, data, and facts in your political decision-making, you may be a libertarian.

    If you think that your hippie next-door neighbor's pot smoking has no effect on your child's ability to play soccer, you may be a libertarian.

    If you think results trump intentions, you may be a libertarian.

    If you recognize that people are individuals, and don't fit into neat little boxes with neat little labels, you may be a libertarian.

    If you want to marry Ron Swanson and have his babies, you may be a libertarian me.

  • yonemoto||

    pretty sure 'results trump intentions' shouldn't be in there.

    Libertarians don't care about results, in fact that's often a hallmark of liberalism (because they can science! their public policy but shift the goalposts/choose their metric to justify their policy preferences).

    Libertarians think that *principles* trump intentions.

  • Disgusted Dem||

    I liked the "intentions" item because progressives believe that they're the only one with good intentions and, therefore, only their plans can yield results in keeping with those intentions. Everyone else is evil. At least, that's the brain washing they pull on the general public in order to keep their political power.

  • ||

    If you want to marry Ron Swanson and have his babies, you may be me.

    Can I go to the wedding?

  • Disgusted Dem||

    That's a great list Kaptious. May I also add:

    If Democrats routinely call you a conservative and Republicans routinely call you a liberal, you may be a libertarian.

  • ||

    No, that's a Cosmotarian. Everyone knows REAL libertarians are called conservatives by liberals, and conservatives by conservatives.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Not what they called Ron Paul.

  • Proprietist||

    So you're into mustache rides, then?

  • Brett L||

    The basic difference between libertarians and Mr. Goldberg is simply that we have a core set of principles we stick to even if the results make us uncomfortable. We also apply the Iron Laws and accept that all the foreseeable results are going to happen whether we would have them or not in Libertopia. Then, we make a value decision on what gives maximum liberty, just in case we are wrong.

  • ||

    What then is this strange beast, this libertarian?

    Dunno, but it has something to do with passing the libertarian purity test and aeguing over pictures of breasts in the Daily Fail

  • R C Dean||

    On guns, I believe that that people who are screened and vetted should be allowed to participate in their own defense.

    Which is to say, that only people who are allowed by the state should be allowed to defend themself.

    And this is the gun nut at the Atlantic, who believes that no one should own firearms without explicit state approval.

    No, you aren't libertarian, Goldberg. Not yet. Keep working on it.

  • yonemoto||

    I don't know. Libertarians generally take it on principle (to varying degrees) that the state should regulate the use of violence. If you think that the purpose of guns is to keep the state in check, via the threat of retributive violence, except for the conflict of interest, it's not unreasonable for the state to regulate guns to some degree.

  • Randian||

    A gun, like a pen, is a tool. I can pick up a pen and write a beautiful sonnet or the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I can pick up a gun and stop a rape...or commit one.

    There's no more sense in regulating guns than there is regulating any other tool.

  • R C Dean||

    If you think that the purpose of guns is to keep the state in check,

    That's but one of many purposes for guns, none of which justify the state control over this particular type of inanimate object.

  • Bobarian||

    Keeping the state in check is why guns should not be regulated.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    "Libertarians generally take it on principle (to varying degrees) that the state should regulate the use of violence."

    Not the ones I know.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I think libertarianism is more of a tendency towards liberty-based political arrangements, than a fully-formed and comprehensive ideology per se. If you can make a credible case that your politics and actions in that regard are intended to secure more liberty for yourself and others without depriving others of same, then I think you can be classified as some sort of libertarian or classical liberal. WRT Goldberg, I think it would be very difficult to argue that voting for and supporting Obama is a liberty-enhancing move, but I'm not one to play One True Libertarian.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    twin studies have shown very conclusively

    Is this based on Mengele's work? Is he still the go-to guy?

  • Sevo||

    Pretty sure Mengele's the gone guy by now.

  • R C Dean||

    Generally speaking, if you think the Iron Laws are accurate, you are probably a libertarian.

    1. You get more of what you reward and less of what you punish.
    2. Money and power will always find each other.
    3. If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.
    4. The less you know about something, the easier it looks.
    5. You aren’t free unless you are free to be wrong.
    6. Me today, you tomorrow.
    7. Foreseeable consequences are not unintended.

    I say this because nearly everything the Total State does, it does in defiance of at least one Iron Law. If people recognized and implemented the Iron Laws, we would be living in a minarchy, and our politics would revolve around whether we really wanted to make the plunge into anarchy.

  • Randian||

    I could see someone believing in all of those laws and being a totalitarian.

  • R C Dean||

    Really?

    While a totalitarian might embrace (1) and (2), if nothing else (6) would turn him right around, and (3) and (4) would point up the futility and inevitable failure of the Total State, of whatever the totalitarian was trying to accomplish.

  • Randian||

    Not if he's the one in charge.

  • R C Dean||

    That's what (6) is for.

    As Saddam, Khaddafi, Mubarak, and Assad have learned to their sorrow, and that's just in the last few years.

  • John||

    Six, while correct, doesn't take into account that not everyone lives by the rule. It sounds great and all to say you won't kill your political enemies because you don't want them killing you. Sounds great and works great that is until you have a political enemy who doesn't live by such a rule. Then you become the "you today".

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I don't think Lenin was much of a believer in Rule 4. He thought that running a whole economy *is* easy for the vanguard party.

  • Killazontherun||

    Recent American administrations, so recent as to be current, treat economic policy like the greatest dorm room bullshit session of their lives.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    The Castros? The Kims? The CPC?

  • John||

    Stalin and Mao both died peacefully in their beds. Rule six is really more aspirational than truthful. If you are mean enough and lucky enough, it is never you tomorrow.

  • R C Dean||

    I would say if you are mean enough and lucky enough, it might not be you tomorrow.

    Luck is not a plan, in any event. If you're counting on luck to evade the Iron Laws, you don't really think they apply to you.

    Point taken, though, that not all dictators meet an ugly end.

    The problem with the total state is that, according to the Iron Laws, its failure is inevitable ((3) and (4) in particular point to its futility and inevitable collapse). A dictator who really believed the Iron Laws would eventually catch up, could only be assuming he would die peacefully before they did.

    But, c'mon, we know that's not how they think, or what they believe. Anyone who really took these to heart would never try to set themselves up as the head of a doomed project with a good likelihood of a violent death.

  • John||

    A dictator who really believed the Iron Laws would eventually catch up, could only be assuming he would die peacefully before they did.

    That is exactly how they think. They are terrified of their own people RC. I would say in fact, dictators understand Rule 6 better than almost anyone. They know that if they ever lose their grip on power, it will be them tomorrow. That is why they do things like start wars that seem irrational to you and I. They are not thinking about the long term. They are just thinking about how to stay alive tomorrow.

  • R C Dean||

    Fair point, John.

  • John||

    I agree with Randian. I could see Lenin understanding and embracing all of those laws. The only two that are even remotely problematic for the budding totalitarian are five and six. And I am sure you could twist those pretty easily.

    But what they are more than Libertarian are Conservative, as in respect the past. I don't see why someone like Russel Kirk or Buckley wouldn't embrace all of those.

  • R C Dean||

    See, totalitarians don't care about (5) at all: they don't care if you're free.

    That's where the Iron Laws break down as a prophylactic for totalitarianism: they assume a certain minimum set of shared values (efficacy and freedom good, failure and slavery bad).

    Just goes to show: no matter how savagely cynical you are, you really aren't cynical enough.

    If you're a psychopath who is willing to strangle a kitten to make a point, you can make the fundamental human/organizational dynamics captured in the Iron Laws work to your benefit.

  • ||

    But (5) isn't actually dependent on caring about freedom, just understanding what it means to be free. Someone could understand and still not care if other people are free.

  • nicole||

    we would be living in a minarchy, and our politics would revolve around whether we really wanted to make the plunge into anarchy.

    Stop it, RC, you're making me hot!

  • tarran||

    DO NOT TOY WITH US, WOMAN!

    You are playing with fire! :)

  • AlmightyJB||

    Shut up Tarran. Toy away Nicole.

  • nicole||

    I just...love freedom, okay guys? SOB

  • $park¥||

    Out of curiosity RC, where did you get these from?

  • R C Dean||

    I made them up. The exception is (6), which in its current form comes from Solzhenitsyn (I believe). It used to be a lot clunkier, but a commenter here suggested the current, more pithy and elegant, version.

  • $park¥||

    I only ask because, as I've said a few times now and I'm not trying to brag, I'm reading "On Liberty" by JS Mill right now and a lot of these ideas are present there in one form or another. If you haven't read it, you might want to check it out if such things interest you.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    There needs to be an iron law that any mention of the Iron Laws must be accompanied by an orchestral soundtrack...I'm thinking something with a lot of low brass and choral accompaniment, and a backdrop of RC siting on a barbarian-like throne.

  • Bobarian||

    A Throne made of swords.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    that sheep fucking unpleasantness

    Easy there, Mister Judgemental.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    After I wrote this, it struck me that I might be a libertarian.

    Don't worry Jeffrey, you're not.

    You'll fail at least one of the 97 ritual purity beliefs and be cast out with the commies.
  • Brett L||

    I don't know, I'm pretty sure one sign of libertarianism is the willingness to conduct purges rather than unite with ideologically impure to move closer to Libertopia.

  • Brandon||

    Seriously? He wants to allow gun ownership only for people "Screened, vetted and trained" by the state, and anyone who says he's not a libertarian is just too demanding?

  • ||

    Simple:

    1. People can do whatever they want, PROVIDED, in doing so, they do not infringe upon the rights of others.

    2. The ONLY purpose for government is to protect the rights of the individual.

    Apply those two tenets to EVERYTHING you propose and you are not only a libertarian, but you are moral.

  • ||

    Well said, good sir.

  • CE||

    The ONLY purpose for government is to put a veneer of legitimacy on stealing from the people to cement the rule of a warlord or class of warlords.

  • ||

    2. The ONLY legitimate purpose for government is to protect the rights of the individual.

  • IceTrey||

    1. People can do whatever they want, PROVIDED, in doing so, they do not initiate the use of force, threats of force or fraud.

  • ||

    So can a factory spew toxins into the air? They are not initiating force or threats, but are certainly infringing upon the rights of others.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    No, no, no. Silly cosmotarian, a trespass is a trespass is a trespass. All are violent, since they are done against the will of the victim. The violence is not necessarily done to his person, in the case of pollution it is done to his property.

  • ||

    " I think people should be treated like adults, and be allowed, WITHIN REASON, to make their choices about who they want to be with, how they want to organize their lives, what they ingest and how they protect themselves."

    Ahhh there it is....within reason. That inevitably means 'not allowed'. If Goldberg is a libertarian I am a flying reindeer.

    It isnt complicated. A libertarian, in a nutshell, is someone who believes in self-ownership and all of the logical conclusions that leads to.

  • nicole||

    Holy shit the comments on the Atlantic piece are really depressing.

  • Randian||

    Would you stop doing that please? You read the Worst Things Ever.

  • nicole||

    Sigh, okay.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    They've gone full retard over there in the last year.

  • nicole||

    As African-Americans have learned from decades of persecution and authorized murder, only a government of the people can save you, not a gun.

    Well, now I feel less bad for having potato chips for breakfast, because I'm about to throw them all up.

  • Randian||

    He probably used African-Americans thinking 'there, my black brothers and sisters can see how good of a person I am!"

  • nicole||

    Stop reading terrible things!

    Seriously, though, there is so much wrong with that one sentence it's amazing.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Yes, civil rights leaders during Jim Crow never went armed for self-defense, because, you know, they relied on their dream of a government of the people. And black crime victims don't need guns for self-defense because all they need is the warm feeling of protection by a government of the people.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "After all, the President and the mayor share my skin color, and *they're* safe from violence! So I suppose I must be, too!"

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • nicole||

    Oh hai, HM. I just had my first few sips of this and I think I might pass out it's so delicious.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Enjoy it in good health, nicole. ^_^

    I'm currently suffering from my bi-annual bronchitis, so I've been drinking a lot of Ba Bao tea. I first learned of it when once I shuffled into to teach a class while sick as a dog, and the next day my Chinese students were kind enough to make me some packets of Ba Bao.

  • Randian||

    The blessings of Western civilization have given you antibiotics, inhaled corticosteroids, and breathing machines. Put down the tea, hippie.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I'm using all of those actually. Doesn't change the fact that Ba Bao is soothing and delicious, Sinophobe.

  • nicole||

    He probably had a bad experience with Liptons or something.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    He needs to listen to more Professor Elemental.

  • Brandon||

    This guy is the worst. He may be Tony:

    pippinpippin Daniel Tanure • 2 hours ago −
    So why is YOUR freedom more important than mine? That's what you're saying. What else should you be free to do? Drive drunk? There can be laws restricting your freedom when it impinges on someone else's. This isn't an anarchy.

  • nicole||

    Yes, he is the worst. Have you gotten to the part where he starts talking about (basically) The New Professionalism?

  • Brandon||

    I just skipped over that vile bullshit. His earlier (lower?) stuff was at least not so predictable.

  • Brandon||

    Yep, he's Tony:

    pippinpippin BernardKingIII • 2 hours ago −
    The problem is, this is a -democratic- country, not a libertarian one. That is, nearly everything yields to the fact that we vote, and if we don't vote for the laissez faire country you envision, then what?

  • nicole||

    Well, even though Randian scolded me, I went back for more, and holy shit did I find something crazy:

    After over a week of arguing this issue with sundry supporters of the second amendment to the US constitution, I come back more strongly to a perspective that comes from a background your colleague James Fallows and I share: that of a private pilot. On any aircraft, either everyone has a parachute, or nobody has one. That tradition has a practical basis; a fight over parachutes could really complicate and in-flight emergency, but it also has a moral basis. No person has a categorically greater claim to life than any other. And from that moral basis, another practical basis arises; if we all face equal vulnerability in the air, we all have the same incentive to contribute to the safety of the flight.

    This clashes directly with what Jeffrey Goldberg calls the libertarian perspective, and which I would call the radical individualist perspective: if someone knows how to use a parachute, and can afford one, why should they not have it on a flight? I would answer this way: if everyone has the right to choose to keep themselves safe in any way they choose, then nobody has the right to choose the kind of community fostered by mutual and equal vulnerability.

    The new "right," folks: the right to choose a community fostered by vulnerability. I don't even know how to respond.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    if everyone has the right to choose to keep themselves safe in any way they choose, then nobody has the right to choose the kind of community fostered by mutual and equal vulnerability.

    Wait...Wha...err....What? Is this another example of "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously"? Is it a Zen koan? Is it just the incoherent logorrhea of a schizophrenic?

  • nicole||

    It's so much more revolting than that.

    In the context of the gun debate today, the extreme individualist position pushes hard against the notion of equality based on equal vulnerability. Gun advocates have mounted a concerted attack against prohibitions against guns, going so far that churches have had to resort to the courts to resist efforts to make it as difficult as possible for businesses and private individuals to exclude firearms from their premises. That very effort to force the acceptance of firearms in all venues has the effect of diminishing the perceived responsibility of gun owners to store their firearms safely. The onus passes from people such as Nancy Lanza to get, and use, an effective gun safe, to the teachers at elementary schools, clerks in convenience stores, university students everywhere, and so on.
    ...
    Perhaps in some conceivable circumstances a community based on mutual respect could work in these circumstances, but American gun culture does nothing to foster such a community. In fact, it does quite the contrary, expressing pretty explicit contempt for those who choose not to arm themselves, or for those legally prohibited from carrying weapons. ...Not only do I see plenty of evidence that gun advocates would have no idea how to foster such a community if they wanted to, I see plenty of evidence that gun advocates value a hierarchy that puts them, as they imagine, on top.
  • nicole||

    Shorter version: we can only be equal if we are all equally helpless, and obviously equality is the most important thing, because community.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    And we walk a little further down the road to "Harrison Bergeron".

  • nicole||

    I read something recently about how only stupid libertarians and conservatives think that's a good short story. Leftists are really starting to freak me out. I was totally brainwashed as a kid into thinking they didn't trust the state, and I'm still facepalming every time I realize how wrong that is.

  • Brett L||

    As with 1984, "Harrison Bergeron" has moved from cautionary tale by old-school liberal to instruction manual by progressives.

  • R C Dean||

    if everyone has the right to choose to keep themselves safe in any way they choose, then nobody has the right to choose the kind of community fostered by mutual and equal vulnerability.

    Sure you do. You just join a community where everyone agrees with you that no one should have a gun.

    The fact that you can't find such a community isn't my problem.

    The fact that you want to create such a community by kicking in my door, shooting my dog, and taking my guns is a problem.

    That this is the only way to create such a community would give a decent person pause.

  • ||

    That is an awesome idea! I can't even think of one time in my life that an airplane full of parachuteless individuals was used in a crime of mass-murder... not even one! Bravo for this iron-clad thinker!

  • LarryA||

    On any aircraft, either everyone has a parachute, or nobody has one. That tradition has ... a moral basis. No person has a categorically greater claim to life than any other. And from that moral basis, another practical basis arises; if we all face equal vulnerability in the air, we all have the same incentive to contribute to the safety of the flight.
    So we have two planes flying along. Each has six souls aboard. On the communitarian flight no one has a parachute. They are mutually and equally vulnerable. On the libertarian flight two people have brought their own parachutes.
    The two planes have a midair collision. Both are going to crash.
    The six people on the communitarian plane all have the same incentive to contribute to the safety of the flight. Unfortunately none of them have any ability to contribute to the safety of the flight. The plane crashes and the community dies.
    On the libertarian plane the two people who do have the ability to contribute put on their parachutes. They then say, "Each of us can hold someone else. Therefore each parachute can save two people." Being libertarians, and unburdened by the concept that life is "fair," the group decides how to allocate the resource. Four people jump, ride the parachutes to the ground, and survive. The plane crashes and the other two perish.
    The communitarian community ceases to exist, while 2/3rds of the libertarian community survives. How did mutual vulnerability help the community survive?

  • R C Dean||

    Read it and weep:

    Feinstein's new gun control proposal.

    http://www.feinstein.senate.go.....lt-weapons

    Of all the horrible provisions, the worst is the registration:

    Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National Firearms Act, to include:
    Background check of owner and any transferee;
    Type and serial number of the firearm;
    Positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint;
    Certification from local law enforcement of identity and that possession would not violate State or local law; and
    Dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration

  • Restoras||

    Weep? More like vomit. God are these people useless.

  • nicole||

    So I guess we'll be moving from three felonies a day to at least four of five, huh?

  • R C Dean||

    Given the unregistered arsenal I will have by the time this law passes, more like 8 or 10.

  • John||

    That is the idea RC. No one will follow that. They know that. That is what they are counting on. That law is not about registering guns. It is about making as many gun owners as possible criminals.

  • ChrisO||

    The response of the House and the Republicans in the Senate to this monstrosity will determine whether the GOP is really dead or merely smells that way.

  • R C Dean||

    If I was Boehner, I would lie low on this, let the Dems push it in the House, really blow some capital on it and expose themselves. Hell, I might even schedule it for hearings and a floor vote in the House, for the same reason.

    Let's really draw them out, so that as many as possible can be destroyed in 2014. This would make an excellent centerpiece for the 2014 campaign in all but the bluest states.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I really have to wonder how much political capital they are willing to flush down the toilet on this. Feinstein doesn't care because she basically has to remain batshit insane to get re-elected in CA. But nationally this is a loser for the dems. Many of them were willing to fall on a sword for Obamacare though so who knows.

  • robc||

    So, last night, in a morbid discussion with my sister (with my parents sitting at the table, hence the morbid part), I called "dibs" on my mother's revolver, which was her father's, which he got from his uncle.

    Its a Colt 32-20 WCF Police Positive Special.

    I couldnt find a serial number on it, but I think it dates to 1910s.

    Anyone know much about them, its out of my range of knowledge.

    Its in kind of bad shape, but I think it just needs some good cleaning/maintenance. My Mom used to carry it concealed in her van in the pre-CCDW days, but hasnt in about a decade or so.

  • John||

    I sent for my baby
    man if she don't come
    all the doctors in Hot Springs
    sure won't help her none

    And if she gets unruly,
    thinks she don't want do
    If she gets unruly,
    and thinks she don't want do
    Take my 32-20,
    and cut her half in two

  • robc||

    Thats cool and all, but doesnt really help me any.

    What I really want is to figure out how old it is. I know that if I had the serial number I could date it exactly, but I couldnt find it anywhere.

    Any clue where to look?

    I found three dates, but I think they are all patent dates. They ranged from 1884 to 1905. So obviously it was manufactured after 1905.

  • John||

    I bet it wasn't made after 1930.

  • Generic Stranger||

    It may not have a serial number. It wasn't required on firearms manufactured prior to 1964.

    Try checking under the grip panels, though. That's one area they like to hide them, IIRC.

  • Generic Stranger||

    Should have read further down; Redmanfms has the answer.

  • ||

    For the love of god, just DO NOT restore it.

  • R C Dean||

    So much this. You probably shouldn't even clean it without talking to a Serious Collector first.

    And really, that's what you need to do. Scare up a genuine expert on Olde Colts. Call one of the major gun auction houses, for a start.

  • Redmanfms||

    The serial number is on the frame underneath the cylinder crane. Open the revolver and look there.

    They really aren't worth much, but they are finely-made revolvers. .32-20 is loaded by Black Hills, but I'm not real happy with the quality of their ammunition. I've had split case necks with their .32-30 loads.

    Best bet is to get the stuff to roll your own.

    The .32-20 is a great little cartridge BTW.

  • CE||

    Yeah, like I'll list the types, manufacturers, serial numbers, modifications and dates of acquisition of all my weapons.... Good one there Diane!

  • Brett L||

    I really, really wish I'd bought stock in gun companies the day of the Joker shooter.

  • robc||

    I bought Philip Morris stock a few weeks after they lost one of their tobacco lawsuits in the late 90s.

    One of the best investments I have ever made. Still own that stock (well, part of it, I sold off the Kraft spinoff).

  • CE||

    As usual, L. Neil Smith said it best:

    If you remember nothing else I've said here, remember this: the only reason that... [Dianne Feinstein] wants to take your weapons away is so she can do things to you that she couldn't do if you had your weapons.

    http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle201.....16-02.html

  • Jerryskids||

    "ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country"

    If you throw up in your mouth a little every time you see this - you might be a libertarian.

    Libertarianism is all about the individual. Systems and organizations exist solely to further the interests of the individual. Whatever you may think the purpose of your life may be, the most important thing is what makes you the happiest. Interfering with someone else's pursuit of happiness is the most fucked-up thing one human being can do to another, because, really, that's all you've got in this world.

    What JFK was really saying was 'ask not what I can do for you - ask what you can do for me'. He was doing what served his own interests, what made him happy. And he didn't give a shit who paid the price for his pursuit of happiness.

  • Jerryskids||

    And there is no such thing as altruism - everthing you do is because you think it will make you happier.

    "But I took the wife out to dinner last night even though I didn't want to rather than stay home and watch the game on TV like I really wanted to do! Doesn't that prove you wrong?"

    No, your choice wasn't between taking the wife out to dinner or staying home and watching the game - your choice was between taking the wife out to dinner and having a happy wife or staying home and watching the game and having a pissed off wife. Staying home and watching the game and having a happy wife wasn't one of your options. Given the options, you chose to do what you thought would make you happiest. Right?

  • Randian||

    And there is no such thing as altruism - everthing you do is because you think it will make you happier.

    Psychological egoism is extremely lazy and rather boring.

  • Cavpitalist||

    You're thinking of "objectivism", not "libertarianism".

  • SIV||

    We're all for buying horse meat sandwiches for our children at a cockfight, right?

  • SIV||

    ^the freedom to"^

  • nicole||

    Aren't we? And crushing videos, too.

  • SIV||

    I think the progressive "technology available at the time of the signing standard" would only allow "painted glass slides projected with an oil lamp" of animal crushing.

  • ||

    We're all for buying horse meat sandwiches for our children at a cockfight, right?

    That probably came off sounding gayer than you intended, SIV.

  • Ska||

    Tobias Funke approves.

  • ||

    SIV, the world's *second* Analrapist.

  • Bobarian||

    Not as gay as going to the horsefights!

  • ||

    Adults of sound mind may believe and act as they wish free of the fear of violence, so long as their actions respect the life, liberty, and justly-acquired property of others.

  • R C Dean||

    Get rid of that "justly-acquired" and I would have no quibble, other than the way "of sound mind" makes me nervous, too.

  • Randian||

    Justly-acquired is a truck-sized loophole, for sure.

  • ||

    It's true, though. There are plenty of property claims that are unjust and deserve no respect. It's also a recognition that we don't live in a free market, and the current property arrangement is not a product of free markets, liberty, etc.

  • Randian||

    So naturally we ought to set the jackboots out to make it right.

    Ho-kay. Let me know when we move the Cherokee back.

  • R C Dean||

    There are plenty of property claims that are unjust and deserve no respect.

    Example?

    It's also a recognition that we don't live in a free market, and the current property arrangement is not a product of free markets, liberty, etc.

    And aren't you just proposing that two wrongs make a right, and that we should continue with the political allocation of property?

    Because reallocating property based on whether it was "justly" acquired via "non-political" means sounds awfully political to me.

  • Doctor Whom||

    If feminism is the radical notion that women are people, libertarianism is the bat-shit-insane delusion that individuals exist in themselves and are not administrative divisions of the collective.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    As African-Americans have learned from decades of persecution and authorized murder, only a government of the people can save you, not a gun.

    Wait, what?

  • John||

    No one ever voted for the Nazis Brooks. Didn't you know that?

  • Brandon||

    Yes, this was the stupidest part of an astonishingly stupid screed.

  • Hopfiend||

    I would say,

    "A profound disinterest in the peaceful behaviors of your neighbors."

  • R C Dean||

    I was explaining the other day that my politics can mostly be summed up as apathy.

    I just don't care what other people do, so long as they aren't stealing my shit, trespassing on my property, or threatening me with violence.

  • Sevo||

    I'll add that if the government did what it should do, I'd have a profound disinterest in that, too.
    The government is due exactly the same interest as the stock-kid at the local market.

  • CE||

    This definition of liberty is still the best I've seen, and if you agree with it, you're a libertarian:

    Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add "within the limits of the law," because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual. Thomas Jefferson

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    Beautiful.

  • Romulus Augustus||

    Except, of course, African slaves have no equal rights not being "men" as I wrote in the Declaration.

  • ||

    Or, perhaps, many of the founders (Jefferson in particular) realized that fighting that particular battle at that particular time would have ensured the failure of the government they were attempting to establish.

  • robc||

    Jefferson tried to fight it, but that paragraph got stripped from the DoI.

  • $park¥||

    And all they succeeded in doing was putting off that particular battle 80 years. They would have been better off, and built a stronger country, if they had worked it out in the beginning.

  • ||

    There would have been no country. The constitution would never have been ratified. Delaying it 80 years, while not so good for the slaves, had the benefit of having an existing framework in place when the battle was over.

    Not principled, granted, but pragmatic. I think we can all agree that Jefferson had a hard time living up to the principles he espoused.

  • $park¥||

    I think if they had worked at it they could very well have setup two countries independently. Even after the formation of the Constitution that was basically how the United States functioned right up until 1860 anyway.

  • CE||

    Actually, there were 13 countries, united to fight England. They didn't become one country until 13 years after the Declaration.

  • R C Dean||

    And, cue the ad hominem attacks from Romulus.

    You realise that's a fallacy recognized as such thousands of years ago, yes?

  • CE||

    Hey, I didn't say the author was flawless. I just said he got the definition right.

  • William Patton, Jr.||

    Let’s assume the federal government had all the money it needed to operate with revenue it collected from fuel taxes, land sales and leases, tariffs, corporate taxes, fees, etc. and it did not need to collect a federal income tax on individuals.

    If one favors a an income tax anyway, even just on higher incomes, because the he or she may fell that the government has an obligation to keep things “fair”, then he or she is NOT a libertarian.

  • T o n y||

    The libertarian is simply one who has achieved liberals' enlightenment with respect to individual rights but who isn't quite smart enough to channel that into anything but a simplistic reflexive antigovernment ideology. ("Ideology is the science of idiots." --John Adams)

  • ||

    Shorter Tony: True enlightenment can only be achieved by taking other people's stuff.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Even shorter Tony: A is not A.

  • T o n y||

    Poodles are poodles. Thus, national healthcare is a basic human right. Ipso facto!

  • ||

    national healthcare is a basic human right.

    No, it isn't, because to obtain your "right" you must take money from others to pay for it. Others who may not wish to "donate" to your cause.

    Your "basic human right" in this instance is a positive right. The only positive rights that exist are those specifically alluded to within the founding document of a Constitutional Republic.

  • T o n y||

    So if we amended the Constitution to allow for universal healthcare, it would suddenly become morally permissible? Isn't that just a matter of process?

    Your initial moral claim seems superfluous if it can be countermanded by a piece of paper.

  • ||

    It is the framework we've chosen to live under. It's not perfect. If it was up to me, you could replace most of the Constitution with my two tenets (the remainder being how the government is set up). And THEN it would be perfect.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 12.27.12 @ 3:23PM |#
    "Poodles are poodles. Thus, national healthcare is a basic human right. Ipso facto!"'

    Shithead chimes in with shithead's normal quota of lies and more random dishonesty!
    Hey, shithead! I hope you get food poisoning on New Years, asshole!

  • Proprietist||

    --Internal Program: CheckHumanRights
    --by Tony Jingletoes
    Declare basicHumanRights As Array;
    basicHumanRights(0) = "Free Ponies";
    basicHumanRights(1) = "Majority Rule";
    basicHumanRights(2) = "National Healthcare";

    Declare fakeLibertarianRights As Array;
    fakeLibertarianRights(0) = "Third World Orphan Slavery";
    fakeLibertarianRights(1) = "Corporate Externalities";
    fakeLibertarianRights(2) = "Somalian Anarchy";

    counter = 0;
    counter2 = 0;
    libertariansSupportHumanRights = FALSE;
    Loop While counter < fakeLibertarianRights.count()
    (Loop while counter2 < basicHumanRights.count();
    (If fakeLibertarianRights(counter) = basicHumanRights(counter2) Then Set libertariansSupportHumanRights = TRUE))

    Display libertariansSupportHumanRights;

    Output: FALSE

  • Brandon||

    Where do you get that liberals have any "enlightenment with respect to individual rights," dumbass? You are the one who, whenever you are losing this exact argument, goes back to the "democracy uber alles" trough, which has absolutely no regard for individual rights.

  • Hyperion||

    And here's Tonys 3 foundations of liberalism.

    A. Statism

    B. Cronyism

    C. Free stuff

  • ||

    B. and C. are pretty much the same thing.

  • $park¥||

    liberals' enlightenment with respect to individual rights

    I would love to see just one example of this.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    The libertarian is simply one who has achieved liberals' enlightenment with respect to individual rights


    "Enlightment" and "liberals" go together like fuel-oil and water.

    but who isn't quite smart enough to channel that into anything but a simplistic reflexive antigovernment ideology.


    Only because they don't subscribe to your simplistic pro-government ideology?

    Ah, the quaintness of the Tu Quoque - reminds me of kindergarden.

  • T o n y||

    So you're saying you are an ideologue?

  • Brandon||

    You can't actually read, can you, Tony?

  • T o n y||

    I accused him of being an ideology. He said "so are you." Then he accused me of engaging in a to quoque fallacy. I can read, but you can't make this stuff up.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    I accused him of being an ideology. He said "so are you."


    No, I pretty much said "The Pot Calling the Kettle Black."

    Then he accused me of engaging in a to quoque fallacy.


    I am not accusing you, Tony - I am pointing it out.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    So you're saying you are an ideologue?


    Are you saying you're not?

    By the way, being anti-government does not stem from ideology but from morality: It is immoral to impose your will on others. Now tell me that that is not true.

  • T o n y||

    Are you saying you're not?

    What was that about tu quoque and kindergarten?

    By the way, being anti-government does not stem from ideology but from morality

    Because ideologies never assert moralities!

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    What was that about tu quoque and kindergarten?


    You just called me an ideologue; I just wanted to know where you stand so I can know where I stand - are you saying that you're NOT an ideologue?

    Because ideologies never assert moralities!


    So what if that's the case? That does not mean all moral precepts are derived from ideology.

    You didn't answer my challenge, by the way: It is immoral to impose your will on others - now, tell me that that is not true.

  • T o n y||

    Yes, I'm saying I'm not an ideologue and you are. You are uncompromising and dogmatic in your political beliefs and you see that as a virtue, hence ideology.

    Is it immoral to impose my will on others? Depends. Is the other my child? Is the other a criminal? The problem here, as with all ideologies, is the assumption that simplicity (dogmatism) is a virtue.

  • ||

    Yes, I'm saying I'm not an ideologue and you are. You are uncompromising and dogmatic in your political beliefs and you see that as a virtue, hence ideology.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    You are so fucking dishonest, it's hilarious. Yes T o n y, having principles is generally a virtue, while your only principle is "might makes right". Dogmatic yet ever-shifting at the same time, anything is right to you if enough people want it.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 12.27.12 @ 3:15PM |#
    "Yes, I'm saying I'm not an ideologue and you are"

    Yes, shithead, there is no one here who is not familiar with your constant dishonesty.
    May you suffer very severe medical problems now.

  • CE||

    So liberals believe in individual rights, except when it comes to their individual rights to keep the fruit of their labors, or to protect themselves and their families with firearms?

  • Hana||

    Libertarian Principles according to Rockne H. Johnson:

    The Principles are these: (as I read them, try to find a
    place for a government agent)
    A. That each individual possesses the right to life and liberty and justly acquired property;
    B. That no person or institution, government or private, has the right to initiate the use of
    physical force or to initiate fraud against another;
    C. That all individuals are entitled to choose their own lifestyles as long as they do not forcibly
    interfere with the equal right of others to live their lives in whatever manner they choose;
    D. That the voluntary exchange of goods and services is a fundamental right of the individual;
    E. That the only moral basis of politics is the protection of individual rights.

  • ||

    try to find a place for a government agent

    To adjudicate and punish those who would infringe upon the rights of others.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Politics is power. I would consider Libertarianism to be a power structure that is as decentralized as possible with all power going to the individual except that which violates the rights of others. Then it would go upwards from community up all the way up to federal where the power structures above the individual only exist to protect the rights of the individual from other power structures internal and external. The only purpose of the federal government as I see it would be national defense or the protection of individual rights when lower power structures can't, won't, or are complicit in.

  • ||

    and what are the hints, if not the tell-tale signs, that a person is indeed one?

    Can't speak for others, but personally ...

    If you see a middle-aged white male with a hot young chubby Vietnamese girlfriend who looks kinda like the pornstar Kya Tropic, and that man has stick-on nail polish on all his fingers and hair dyed red, and goes off on quiet rants with hardly any provocation about all government being a criminal gangs, and smokes weed and can be seeing wearing a black T-shirt saying, in I think Mandarin, "Got Rothbard?" with a profile of that guy ... that's a pretty broad set of hints that you're looking at a libertarian (or not a libertarian at all because anarchists aren't libertarians according to mini-statists).

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    hot young chubby Vietnamese girlfriend who looks kinda like the pornstar Kya Tropic

    Pics or it didn't happen.

  • ||

    Libertarian:
    You never say to yourself, "there ought to be a law", rather you ask yourself "does this (existing law) serve do good and no harm?"
    The 51% does not tell the 49% what to do.
    No victim, no crime.
    You are not guilty of anything until you actually initiate the crime.
    Trade is not a weapon.
    People have the right to live, and die, as they choose, as long as it does not infringe on others.
    Taking away the liberty of the responsible to help the irresponsible is not a solution.
    Only the police state can eliminate crime, it is not worth the trade.

  • Shmurphy||

    There are a number of factions within the other political parties as well, I don't understand why we're held to such a standard of homogeneity when the others don't... ohhhh yeah, they're the ones controlling the conversation. That's why.

    I'm an anarcho-capitalist myself, and if I run into a constitutional conservative or a voluntarist there's only a 17% (scientifically calcu-tronned) chance of it coming to fisticuffs.

  • Killazontherun||

    Pretty much the case one on one, but when you run into a press gang of voluntarist it always ends up with fisticuffs, a bottle smack over the head, and waking up in the boiler room of a ship with a shovel in hand.

  • ||

    The 'preview' function is not working, and sure enough I made a typo due to editing a sentence. That first line should be "You never say 'there ought to be a law' you ask yourself if the existing law does enough good to justify the harm that law will always do.

  • freeAgent||

    When you find yourself accused of hating one or more of the following, you know you're a libertarian:

    *Poor people
    *Minorities
    *Women
    *Children
    *Religion

  • Brandon||

    That seems to only work if you get at least 4 of those.

  • Killazontherun||

    Poor People -- I've been poor.
    Minorities -- I'm a minoritah inside of a minority.
    Women -- Married to one. Will change tire or do basic road side assist for any.
    Children -- was one, haz one.
    Religion -- can't say that I dooz.

  • BoxyBoxyBoxyBoxy||

    Needs revision. Plenty of socons would be accused of hating women and minorities (mostly gays), for starters.

  • GILMORE||

    I believe that that people who are screened and vetted should be allowed to participate in their own defense. I think people should be treated like adults, and be allowed, within reason, to make their choices...

    i think the actual danger of this dude having a road to damascus moment and finding himself transformed into a 'libertarian' is pretty low.

    he cant even frame the thought outside of "things the government allows us to do."

    hes a statist who simply thinks that similar 'libertarian'-type freedoms/end-results can be achieved via an enlightened and progressive bureaucracy

  • nicole||

    I know, the "allows" just jumps out, doesn't it? I mean, to actual libertarians.

  • GILMORE||

    its the entire conceptual framework of the thing -

    he goes to lengths to ensure he isn't even *suggesting* that any of these "issues" are in fact "inalienable natural rights"... oh no. That would be "extreme", wouldn't it??

    I mean, really =

    .... I believe that that people who are screened and vetted should be allowed to participate in their own defense

    See = things like, "right to defend your own life and property" really don't work in the *real world*, and what we need is to just ensure that everyone is properly.... Screened and Vetted.... because we can't have *the wrong* people having these rights!

    And as far as people being able to make choices about their own lives? Well of course they can!....

    ..."within reason!"

    'Reason' of course meaning, until a committee of bureaucrats have decided 4Loko presents both a threat to Children and an excellent platform to grandstand... and who cares if it puts someone out of business for no reason!

    No, the guy wants the "nice" parts of Libertarianism - i.e. 'freedoms' - without having to put up with any of the actual yukky individual responsibility stuff.

  • Hyperion||

    The one sure way to weed out faux Libertarians, just ask the following question:

    Are you in favor of legalizing all drugs?

    Works every time.

    One could argue that you could still be a Libertarian and not be for legalizing heroin, but I don't buy into it. Telling someone else what they can or cannot put into their own body is about as anti-libertarian as you can get.

    Also, during any political discussion if anyone mentions either 'children', or 'roadz and bridgez', they are out of the club.

  • Brandon||

    How could you argue that you could be a libertarian and be against legalizing heroin? That's absurd. Heroin IS Libertarianism.

  • Brett L||

    'Cause it makes me feel like I'm a man

  • Gene||

    I guess but I just don't know.

  • lafe.long||

    .

    The Silver Rule.

    That is all.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    he cant even frame the thought outside of "things the government allows us to do."

    "All rights are granted by the state" is not a libertarian precept.

  • IceTrey||

    All these comments and no ones said libertarian: social liberal, fiscal conservative.

    Libertarian Bill of Rights

    Article 1

    No person may initiate force, threats of force, or fraud against any other person's self or property.

    Article 2

    Force may be used in defense against those who violate Article 1.

    Article 3

    No exceptions shall exist for Articles 1 and 2.

  • T o n y||

    So your whole premise is a catch-22?

  • ||

    They're big words, Tony, but with a dictionary you might be able to figure it out.

  • T o n y||

    You can't use force, except when you can. Surely you can see how this can be interpreted into different policies than the ones libertarians happen to support.

  • ||

    Did you and Alice Bowie learn reading comprehension from the same teacher?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    You can't use force, except when you can.


    You can't INITIATE force against others. I-N-I-T-I-A-T-E.

    What is it that makes you ignore that word, Tony? Some kind of special lefty dislexia the medical sciences are unaware of?

  • ||

    Acknowledging that word is detrimental to his argument. Better to just ignore it.

  • T o n y||

    Says who, though? Who prevents the initiation of force? Because I'm pretty sure you include taxation to pay for police as an initiation of force. Without police, or some analogous entity, how do you keep these rules? The honor system?

    A restriction on the initiation of force does not necessitate using force in response. There is such a thing as passive resistance. You are explicitly making a place for force in your system. If you can do that, namely for the purpose of keeping wealth and property in people's hands, why can't I make a place for it for other purposes?

  • ||

    You are explicitly making a place for force in your system. If you can do that, namely for the purpose of keeping wealth and property in people's hands, why can't I make a place for it for other purposes?

    What you do not get, and refuse to acknowledge, is that our "system" is designed with a purpose in mind. That purpose is to maximize liberty.

    The following maximizes liberty:

    1. People can do whatever they want, PROVIDED, in doing so, they do not infringe upon the rights of others.

    2. The ONLY legitimate purpose for government is to protect the rights of the individual.

  • T o n y||

    And if I say healthcare is an individual right?

  • ||

    It isn't a negative right as it requires that you forcibly take money from others to pay for it. It is by definition, a positive right. The only legitimate positive rights are those specifically mentioned within the founding document of a Constitutional Republic.

    You want healthcare as a right? Pass a constitutional amendment providing for it.

  • T o n y||

    You acknowledge that rights are things written down on a piece of paper (and presumably enforced by a government). So the only reason universal healthcare is impermissible is because it's not in the Constitution? This entire thing is about how you'd prefer the history of constitutional case law to have gone? Not moral first principles, just policy preferences that you want to artificially protect by pretending there to be a constitutional impediment to anyone else's preferences?

  • ||

    As I said above:

    It is the framework we've chosen to live under. It's not perfect. If it was up to me, you could replace most of the Constitution with my two tenets (the remainder being how the government is set up). And THEN it would be perfect.

  • GILMORE||

    T o n y| 12.27.12 @ 3:37PM |#

    And if I say healthcare is an individual right?

    You havent' even acknowledged the distinction between positive and negative rights, so why bother smacking that pinata around?

  • Redmanfms||

    And if I say healthcare is an individual right?

    You violate Precept 1.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 12.27.12 @ 3:37PM |#
    "And if I say healthcare is an individual right?"
    Go ahead, shithead. You can also say pixie dust should be available to everyone.
    Stupidity has no limits.

  • Sevo||

    T o n y| 12.27.12 @ 3:19PM |#
    Parsed:
    (Oh, says shithead, I just got busted on what is right there on the screen! What am I gonna do? Oh, move the goal posts!)
    "Says who, though?"
    Go get sick and die, shithead.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    So your whole premise is a catch-22?


    "No person may initiate..."

    Is not the same as:
    "Force may be used in defense against those who violate Article 1."

    Using force to defend or deflect already-initiated force is NOT initiation force, so I cannot see how all of this can be construed as a "Catch 22" scenario.

  • T o n y||

    Who can use force to defend against initiated force? The police, who get tax-funded paychecks? If not, then people generally, who will all behave and only use force in defense because... you say so?

  • R C Dean||

    Spacy Tony, I believe, is trying to create a collapsar, a singularity, of obtuse stupidity, in order to suck all of us beyond his event horizon of imbecility.

  • $park¥||

    Tony only understands things in terms of force. The rejection of the use of force appears to be beyond his capabilities. Because he only understands force, and he is super smart, he assumes that everyone else is the same way. He has no choice but to project his state of mind onto everyone else in the world.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Sparky,

    It's not that. He simply operates on the idea that people will (not that they could, but will) behave like animals in the abscense of government and tax-paid thugs he wants to call (with a very sick and disturbing sense of humor) "police".

    That explains the nonsense he wrote above.

  • T o n y||

    People are animals and I think it's not controversial to claim that they can act pretty viciously in the absence of a system of law and order. It is true that there would be no crime if there were no law (since everything would be legal) but you explicitly claim that shouldn't be the case. You can't wish away the necessity of enforcing laws just because it happens to turn your premises into contradictions.

  • ||

    People are animals and I think it's not controversial to claim that they can act pretty viciously in the absence of a system of law and order.

    To Tony the gap between Anarchy and Libertarianism is invisible.

  • Sevo||

    To shithead, the gap between his lies and reality is invisible.

  • Cavpitalist||

    People are animals and I think it's not controversial to claim that they can act pretty viciously in the absence of a system of law and order.

    Good thing we mitigate the animalistic behavior of People through a system of law and order created and administered by People.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Who can use force to defend against initiated force?


    What kind of question is that? It's like asking who can swat a fly.

    Of course, anyone can use force to defend against force.

    The police, who get tax-funded paychecks? If not, then people generally, who will all behave and only use force in defense because... you say so?


    You're not making sense. Why would the proposition that one can use force to defend against initiated force be invalid if a person is otherwise naughty or an asshole? What kind of argumentation is that?

    And you still want me to believe that you're not an ideologue?

  • Brandon||

    Stop using words you don't understand.

  • OldMexican||

    Libertarianism is the political philosophy of holding human liberty as the most important political goal.

    What is liberty? The unrestricted ability to act upon your choices and your property.

    Based on the above definition, libhertarians hold as the key moral or ethical attitude not to initiate aggression against another person, as such violates the condition of unrestricted action.

    (For those that lack the ability to think, the above implies ipso facto that you cannot restrict someone else's action upon their choices and their property as others cannot restrict yours, so there's no need for provisos or conditions.)

    What is action? The ability of employing and applying your efforts according to choices and ideas. This in contrast to reaction, which is reflexive operation upon reception of external stimuli, according to a program (i.e. instinct.)

    Enough for you?

  • JonnyK||

    Nick, to me, a pure libertarian is one who requires near absolute freedom of individual choice (as long as those choices do not deprive others of their choices) and therefore requires minimal government (economically and politically) with no interference in personal affairs. It is because of these absolute freedoms of choice that pure libertarians hold personal responsibility above collective responsibility. Individual rights and liberty outweigh the wants and needs of the community.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Who can use force to defend against initiated force? The police, who get tax-funded paychecks?

    This is your consciousness; a shambling, shackled, wasted ruin.

    I pity you.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I read something recently about how only stupid libertarians and conservatives think that's a good short story. Leftists are really starting to freak me out. I was totally brainwashed as a kid into thinking they didn't trust the state, and I'm still facepalming every time I realize how wrong that is.

    What? You never figured out Question Authority meant "How can I serve you better, Master?"

    Try to keep up, Nicole.

  • nicole||

    That's a good one

  • ||

    Can we purge Megan McArdle already?

    As libertarians go, I’m not particularly fussed about taxes–I am, for example, on the record as in favor of letting the Bush tax cuts expire.

    But I am uncomfortable when the government makes more money off your labors than you do. Yes, some people don’t work very hard to earn their money, or earn it in ways that seem illegitimate. But the solution is to change the law so that it’s harder to earn money in illegitimate ways, not to take the majority of their money in taxes–and the majority of the money of other people who work quite hard indeed.

  • ||

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    Since you asked, here are a few thoughts on what a libertarian "is." First of all, if you go along with government-required-or-approved vetting before "participating" in your own self-defense, you're more of a Canadian or a US "moderate," than a true Libertarian.

    A Libertarian knows that when you are truly "at liberty," it is completely up to you, what you do and how you do it. That is, neither your neighbors nor their civil servants in government can exercise prior restraint on your actions, or coerce you to act.

    This doesn't mean, however, that you are legally immune for the bad consequences of your actions, especially if others are harmed or their property is damaged by what you do. A true libertarian expects to reap the full benefits of good consequences and not be excused from the bad consequences -- he certainly doesn't expect others to be forced to mitigate bad consequences or compensate him for them.

    (continued in reply comment)

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    (continued from above)

    A true libertarian is prepared to support the same liberty for others as he expects for himself. I say, "prepared," because letting other people live in freedom requires no small amount of bravery, as well as conducting oneself & arranging one's affairs to minimize both the intentional & inadvertent injuries that might befall one, due to others' exercise (sometimes, abuse) of their own liberty.

    Libertarians do not advocate, and Libertarian activists will not tolerate (vigorously protesting & opposing) the initiation of force & the use of fraud, especially the "legitimized" use of force by government. A Libertarian supports voluntary transactions in free markets; freedom of thought, speech, religion, & conscience; & property rights -- especially the absolute right of self-ownership.

    A Libertarian understands that, if you must ask permission before exercising a right, then it is a "privilege," granted by someone else, & not a right.

    Libertarians know that even defensive wars reduce freedom at home, & that elective wars are the most anti-libertarian government programs possible. While I agree with Hyperion above, that a reliable way to separate out the Libertarians from the chattering chaff is to ask whether all drugs should be legal (the true libertarian says, "yes"), I have also found support for elective wars -- in particular, the US need to project its power around the world, despite regrettable "collateral damage" -- is also a great litmus test.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Can we purge Megan McArdle already?

    I purged that dumb cunt from my consciousness a long time ago, but every once in a while somebody dredges her up out of the stinking sewer of idiocy.

  • ||

    I think what bothers me is that she seems to insist on calling herself a libertarian but I don't think I've ever seen her articulate principles which qualify under the umbrella.

    She seems to think that being to the right of the Democrat Party on fiscal issues and to the left of the Republican Party on social issues is the standard.

  • Lord at War||

    “Under what circumstances is it moral for a group to do that which is not moral for a member of that group to do alone?”

    “Uh… that’s a trick question.”

    “It is the key question, dear Wyoming. A radical question that strikes to the root of the whole dilemma of government. Anyone who answers honestly and abides by all consequences knows where he stands – and what he will die for.”

    ~ Professor de la Paz and Wyoming Knott in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress"

  • T o n y||

    An individual can't lawfully kill foreigners, but a state can. Of course if you want to avoid the problem you can acknowledge that it is a bunch of individuals acting on behalf of the state. It's moral for an individual to kill by permission of the state but not otherwise. No contradiction.

  • ||

    Actually if that individual was acting in legit self-defense he could lawfully kill anyone who had initiated deadly force against him.

  • ||

    "Actually if that individual was acting in legit self-defense he could lawfully kill anyone who had initiated deadly force against him."

    Yes, and it should be pointed out that that includes agents of the state should they be the ones initiatinig the force.

  • ||

    Shit, I leave for a couple of hours and come home to find T o n y here spouting his usual complete bullshit.

    "It's moral for an individual to kill by permission of the state..."

    No T o n y, it isnt.

    Everyone take note of how this scumbag thinks; morality is derived from the almighty state.

  • ||

    Tony, your sophistry abounds. The word "lawfully" was never used in the quote and is irrelevant. An individual can NOT morally kill anyone except in self-defense, foreign or otherwise. It is NOT moral for an individual to kill by permission of the state. The contradiction is based in your inability to comprehend basic English. No where else.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I don't think I've ever seen her articulate principles which qualify under the umbrella.

    I was duped into reading her stuff for a little while, until it became obvious to me she is incapable of straightforward logically consistent thought.

  • ||

    I think we had a discussion about this once...how statists have simply replaced God with the state.
    Well, there it is on full display in T o n y's post. It is moral to kill with the states permission. God, that fucker makes me sick.

  • DADaniel||

    A Libertarian is a person of reason, commonsense, education and critical thinking that understands the worlds problems are more easily solved by more liberty rather than less and that personal responsibility and protection of the individual, their property and their actions, so long that they are not injurious to the common good, creates a world of Unique, Strong, Free, Tolerant, Generous and Civic Minded people.

  • ||

    Throwing in loose terms like "common good" keeps your idea as open to revision as some other "living document" that is basically worthless.

  • GILMORE||

  • Voros McCracken||

    J. Frank Parnell was a great American. RIP

  • CE||

    If you don't get why everyone worships Abraham Lincoln, you might be a libertarian....

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Being the great man that he was, Lincoln should have circumcised his children. Discuss.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    So...a "debate" between someone who wants to ban all guns (though he acknowledges that his African-American parents brought him up to believe in self-defense), versus an *opponent* who thinks that people who have been "vetted" by the government should be graciously permitted to own guns.

    And this is the progressive version of a "debate." Only responsible people are allowed to participate!

  • rallenhughes@gmail.com||

    Being a libertarian is simple. When you see someone doing something crazy, irresponsible, demonic, fun or bad for them and they are not violating your rights, as much as you want to stop them or have someone else stop them, you simply shake your head and move on.

  • ||

    I don't even know anyone at Reason magazine.

    Journalist for "The Atlantic" can't figure out how to use email.

  • hrsdty||

    A libertatrian believes a person should enjoy autonomy, to act as they see fit, and further believes that only a mountebank restricts a person's enjoyment of autonomy on account of said person's "interest" or "the general welfare" as determined by the mountebank and his friends.

  • PeterW||

    Libertarianism is about two things:

    1. The non-initiation of force.
    2. Respect for property.

  • JeremyR||

    I think F. Paul Wilson summed it up pretty well in his LaNague Confederation novels, a word called "Kyfho"

    Keep Your F-ing Hands Off

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Damn! You've outed me!!

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Right-wingers have a problem with sex. Left-wingers have a problem with money. Libertarians have a problem with authority.

  • ||

    Nice. I like that.

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