"Libertarians are the New Communists." And Anti-Libertarians Are Out of Ideas.

I've argued elsewhere that signs of the emerging "libertarian era" are everywhere around us, both in the voluminous and ever-growing positive press adherents of "Free Minds and Free Markets" and the increasingly shrill and misinformed attacks are drawing.

The latest example of the latter is on glorious, semi-literate display in the amazingly awful "Libertarians Are the New Communists," by Nick Hanauer and Eric Liu and posted at Bloomberg View.

It is less a fully formed op-ed and more the rough draft of a freshman composition scratched out after a long night out on the tiles.

The co-authors, who also penned a 2011 book called The Gardens of Democracy, assail a Dick Tracy-level Rogues Gallery of "nihilist, anti-state libertarians" including the Koch Brothers (natch), Sen. Ted Cruz (?), Grover Norquist, and Ron and Rand Paul. Ayn Rand's also part of the problem, of course.

Radical libertarianism assumes that humans are wired only to be selfish, when in fact cooperation is the height of human evolution. It assumes that societies are efficient mechanisms requiring no rules or enforcers, when, in fact, they are fragile ecosystems prone to collapse and easily overwhelmed by free-riders. And it is fanatically rigid in its insistence on a single solution to every problem: Roll back the state!

Curiously, you'd expect Hanauer and Liu to provide at least one quote - even taken out of context - in which any of the people they vilify call for actual anarchy or the total absence of government. Instead you get treated to such remedial-writing gems as

The public record of extreme statements by the likes of Cruz, Norquist and the Pauls speaks for itself. 

Back in the days when I taught college composition, that's exactly the sort of line I'd circle with a note asking, "Examples?" But it's not suprising that the authors wouldn't bother quoting any of their targets, since none of them (to my knowledge anyway) espouse what is more commonly called anarchy. Indeed, it's a curious but little-appreciated fact that in the federal budget plan Rand Paul submitted for consideration earlier this year, he proposed spending about $38 trillion over the next 10 years (see page 96). What a odd thing for a nihilistic anarchist who yearns for an America that's more like Somalia - where "libertarianism finds its fullest actual expression" - to propose.

In their hurry to create an ideological pinata to bat around, Hanauer and Liu pause to acknowledge that "social libertarians" - folks who "support same-sex marriage or decry government surveillance" - aren't the problem. After all,

Reasonable people debate how best to regulate or how government can most effectively do its work - not whether to regulate at all or whether government should even exist....

It is one thing to oppose intrusive government surveillance or the overreach of federal programs. It is another to call for the evisceration of government itself.

Hmm, debating how government can most effectively do its work? Opposing intrusive government surveillance or the overreach of federal programs? That sounds like a pretty good definition of exactly what the Koch Brothers and the others mentioned above are doing.

Yes they want to "roll back the state" - Rand Paul's budget would lower federal spending as a percentage of GDP to around 16 percent over the next decade - but they seem to be pretty OK with its continued existence.

And I suspect that they would also agree that "cooperation" is central to human flourishing (what are markets if not crucibles of voluntary exchange?). I don't agree with every utterance by the Kochs (one of whom, David, sits on the board of trustees of Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this website), the Pauls, Ted Cruz, or Ayn Rand. But to miscast them so flagrantly - and in absentia - is not unfair, it's unpersuasive in the extreme.

Hanauer and Liu's mode of argument consists of repeating negative statements ("Radical libertarians would be great at destroying," they are "fanatically rigid," they are "economic royalists" who are "mirror images" of communists, etc.) and writing opponents out of serious discussion (libertarians are not "reasonable people," so there is no reason to actually represent their viewpoint even while attacking it).

If this sort of ultra-crude and unconvincing style of argument (communists=bad; libertarians=bad; thereore, communists=libertarians) is the best that opponents of libertarian influence and policy can do, our future is indeed bright.

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  • Aloysious||

    I'm now a communist? Holy shit that was a paradigm shift.

  • WTF||

    We should all thank Nick for reading that stupidity, so we don't have to.

  • Aloysious||

    Thank you, Nick.

  • ||

    The Jacket reads that stuff and information is exchanged with Nick via fluids in a complex protocol involving the arrangement of glucose molecules.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    It filters out a majority of the derp...why do you think the jacket is black? It's the soot from the derp.

  • Huh?||

    Thanks Nick!

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, Thank You, Nick! But I got caught on this steaming turd on my terminal. I threw up a little in the back of my mouth it was so inanely stupid.

  • ||

    I choose to thank The Jacket.

  • ||

    If this sort of ultra-crude and unconvincing style of argument (communists=bad; libertarians=bad; thereore, communists=libertarians) is the best that opponents of libertarian influence and policy can do, our future is indeed bright.

    I wish I could be so optimistic. Such demagoguery is also prevalent in societies that are in decline and where dissent is morphing into the criminal.

  • Brandybuck||

    Only libertarians are allowed to call libertarians communist. We're sort of like the African-Americans of ideological labels.

    "Yo! Communist!"
    "Whazzup Dawg?"

  • fresnodan||

    yo, that's "capitalist running" dawg to you...

  • Wizard4169||

    capitalist IMPERIALIST running dawg to you, mutha...

  • Hugh Akston||

    Op-ed writing protip for Hanauer and Liu: If you're going to make the claim that you're not merely dueling with strawmen, you might want to include some quotes or citations from whatever it is that you're arguing against.

  • CE||

    It is less a fully formed op-ed and more the rough draft of a freshman composition scratched out after a long night out on the tiles.

    "Out on the tiles?" Huh? Were they out playing dominoes? What does that phrase mean? I've never heard it before.

  • Almanian!||

    I just know it as a Led Zeppelin song...

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Passed out drunk on the bathroom floor.

  • Sudden||

    Turn in your monocle. A real libertarian has a floor made of solid gold with inlaid bones of peasant children.

  • Agammamon||

    Don't forget the trim made from endangered hardwoods.

  • Heedless||

    Only extinct hardwoods make for acceptable paneling. The endangered ones are strictly for toilet paper.

  • JW||

    It's a parable designed to scare the proles back into line. We don't want them getting any dangerous ideas about self-determination or dissent.

    The Top Men will take care of everything. You go back to breeding paying your taxes and doing whatever else it is that you people do.

  • SugarFree||

    I assume the vast majority of it is Cheetos-related.

  • Brett L||

    One day, comrade, you -- the shining face of the proletariat embodied -- will also have shoes, chocolates, mistress, automobiles, and dachas on the Black Sea. Be patient, do what we in the Vanguard advise, and sacrifice to bring that day closer!

  • Brett L||

    We're fluoridating the water supply to corrupt their precious bodily fluids? This is why I only drink grain alcohol, hold the rain water.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Radical libertarianism assumes that humans are wired only to be selfish, when in fact cooperation is the height of human evolution.

    This is the most annoying accusation against libertarians because it is so easy to refute, but just refuses to die. Lack of coercion =/= lack of cooperation. This needs to be tatooed on the foreheads of everyone who continues to accuse libertarians of being "loners" (voluntarily, of course).

  • ||

    Also, coercion =/= cooperation, though that's exactly what they advocate.

  • Sudden||

    As Epi would point out (stealing your thunder buddy), its projection.

    Markets require voluntary and mutually beneficial cooperation in order to achieve your objective. Govt specifically forbids cooperation by demanding what it thinks is in your best interest (read: its best interest) through the threat of a violence.

    The scary part is that I think these idiots actually beleive the shit they write.

  • ||

    No, I hope everybody is starting to realize the projection that we constantly see. I have a theory that the reason they choose to project themselves onto whoever they want to be their boogeyman is that deep down the most frightening and evil thing they can think of is...themselves.

  • rts||

    The call is coming from inside your brain!

  • ||

    Yes, exactly. But they won't listen when we tell them that.

  • ||

    To expand on this, think about what these people advocate: coercion, force, and collectivism. They're the people whose ideology, taken to extremes, ends up with people in camps, or Big Brother. They're fucking frightening. And they have to live with themselves, all while trying to believe that they're the wonderful loving good guys because that's part of their self-image. That has to be tiring and difficult, and it seems unsurprising to me that they attempt to relieve the pressure by pointing to someone else (collectively, of course) and saying they're the bad guys.

  • John||

    They think they can create heaven on earth and solve any problem. And their entire sense of self worth comes from the belief that they can do that and they are fighting to do that. Once you believe your ideology is infallible and your belief in it makes you morally superior, it is a quick and inevitable step to killing and or imprisoning your enemies.

    I am creating paradise here. Why shouldn't I kill those misguided idiots who are trying to stop me? At the very least I should lock them up so they can't do anymore harm.

  • Invisible Finger||

    think about what these people advocate: coercion, force, and collectivism.

    What they really advocate, in their own egos anyway, is Coercion Lite.

    As if such a thing exists outside their own minds. But in their own minds they think if you just go along quietly with their coercion you'll see that they knew better all along.

    IOW, nothing but massive ego at work. Actually, more like some strange combination of arrogance and cowardice.

  • John||

    Finger,

    They never think that killing will be necessary right up until the moment they start killing.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I'd have more respect for them if "they" would at least do the killing themselves instead of hiring someone else to do it so as to pretend they still have the moral high ground.

    And don't mistake "more" for being anything other than a smidgen. Most of the actual killers will still believe they either acted in self-defense or that the dead killed themselves in the abstract.

  • Heedless||

    It's exactly the same idiocy that backed Obama into a corner on Syria.

    "I know what's best for you people, and it's so blindingly obvious that I'm right that I can threaten to hurt you if you don't do what I say. After all, it's so obvious that I'm right that you couldn't possibly disobey and I won't ever have to carry out my threats."

    Then when people don't obey, those in charge find themselves reluctantly forced to throw those people in jail, or shoot them, or bomb them. For their own good.

  • Sugarsail||

    yes, it's known as "shadow projection" in Depth Psychology. The aspects of themselves that they don't want to acknowledge are desperately projected onto others, often deservedly, but in this case largely without basis. The Christian right demonizes Iran as a Muslim theocracy and while earned it's because they are disowning their own theocratic fundamentalist aspirations. Also happens with liberal media pundits lambasting Fox for being biased, while their own media bias runs amok.

  • Wizard4169||

    Um, which theocracy has actually STONED people to death for blasphemy? You know, within the last two centuries? As much as I despise religion in general, some varieties are much more dangerous than others. Saying they're all the same may give you lots of warm fuzzies, but it leaves you dangerously open to false equivalency.

  • ||

    I'm honestly not sure they understand what cooperation is. Forcing a photographer to shoot a gay couple's wedding is not cooperation by any stretch of the imagination. But to these guys, the government stepped in and "facilitated" the transaction, so cooperation was achieved.

    It's as though you're trying to escape Warty's dungeon, but the state steps in and chains you to the tower of power. Now you can't try to escape and Warty can do whatever he wants to you. It's cooperation!

  • Carolynp||

    That is the scary thing. On one of the articles Gillespie wrote on The Beast last week there was a commenter who said the only way to have true freedom is to have a big intrusive government. Uuuuuhhh...how Orwellian. So, Stalin was a freedom fighter?

  • rts||

    Selfishness and cooperation aren't even polar opposites as that sentence applies.

    I want something you have (selfish), I have something you want (selfish), we negotiate a deal (voluntary cooperation), our selfish needs are met.

    This isn't rocket surgery.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    But people at the business end of a state agent's gun are usually eventually very cooperative (cooperation having a very specific definition which can't be strayed from).

  • gaoxiaen||

    In the cases where they are given a chance to cooperate. Sometimes they're not so lucky.

  • Wizard4169||

    It's kind of like arguing, "Which is more natural, walking or sleeping?" Competition and cooperation are both completely natural human behaviors. It's even possible to do both at once. (See any team sport. Or politics, for that matter.)

  • CE||

    And in the next sentence, they make the opposite argument.

  • Robert||

    The meme is surprisingly resilient, so obviously it must have something going for it. I'd say it's because those who assert the worth of individual liberty and being left alone are inadvertently advancing the idea that their opinion is that being left alone is globally preferable to any sort of cooperation, since most people think that the mere freedom to do something is worthless absent an argument in favor of the worth of that thing itself.

    You don't as often see cases couched (as well they could be) of persons being allowed to interact rather then being forbidden to do so by law. But it's hard to make that case, because almost every time, the law doesn't forbid all interactions between such persons, but only specific kinds. So, for example, the person who's not legally allowed to do you a certain service for money is still allowed to go bowling with you.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Now now, LynchPin, haven't you ever watched the old movies where the villain suggests torturing the hero to make him more..."cooperative"?

  • Michael Price||

    It's interesting that actually statists assume that humans are wired to be selfish. If they weren't why would we need the State?

    Even Ayn Rand said that humans cooperated, so who exactly are these guys criticizing?

  • ||

    They didn't include any examples because they don't need to. The whole purpose of an op-ed like this is confirmation bias for their fellow travelers, not persuasion of people who can actually think.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Perhaps. But, if so they chose the wrong venue. Their own comment section is basically ripping them a new rectum.

  • JW||

    Back in the days when I taught college composition, that's exactly the sort of line I'd circle with a note asking, "Examples?"

    Here's a review of their article in it's entirety:

    [citation needed]

  • Ted S.||

    I hope that back in the days when Nick taught college composition, he hated the misuse of the apostrophe as well.

  • JW||

    The next time you need an apostrophe, you can use that one.

  • ||

    It is less a fully formed op-ed and more the rough draft of a freshman composition scratched out after a long night out on the tiles.

    This one completely escapes me. A long night out on the tiles?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I'm assuming the tiles of the bathroom you passed out in after vomiting near-ish to the toilet.

  • SugarFree||

    "Going out to bars." Also, a song from Led Zeppelin's 1970 album Led Zeppelin III.

  • sarcasmic||

    Blind Melon did an awesome cover.

  • Killazontherun||

    Not a fan of Heart, and they have pretty much turned into a Led Zep cover band at this point in their careers, but their take on 'Battle of Evermore' is just gorgeous.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LnmKSucVhw

  • Thomas O.||

    That or "Trampled Underfoot". You know, what happens after you pass out and hit the floor in a crowded bar.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Nazdrakke||

    I'm just going to take a guess that their "reexamination of democracy" ends up looking a lot like rule by the elite.

  • Hyperion||

    But this time we have the right people in charge!

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    The authors define true patriotism as country above self and explain how patriotism is lived every day in service to others, stewardship of resources, shared sacrifice, and other progressive values.

    You know who else defined true patriotism as "country above self" and demanded "shared sacrifice"?

  • John||

    The nation above the individual. The volk and blood, the soil, above the individual. They are advocating no shit fascism. Goodwin need to apply himself here. The charge is true.

  • JW||

    But it's a good fascism, John. How can you not get that? They only want what's best for what they say is good for you.

    The camps will be very inclusive, inviting and have all the creature comforts and the Ovens of the Non-Believers will be powered only by renewable energy.

  • Voros McCracken||

    "Organic poison gas"

  • CE||

    I think you mean Godwin.

  • WTF||

    Every totalitarian fuck dictator ever?

  • Jon Lester||

    "Blessings of the state, blessings of the masses."

    "For more enjoyment and greater efficiency, consumption is being standardized. We are sorry for any inconvenience."

  • DK||

    The True Patriot Network

    Were they flagged for IRS scrutiny?

  • Hyperion||

    blueprint for a new age of citizenship

    Doesn't that sound exciting, comrades?!

  • ||

    When you have an entire book premised on the True Scotsman Fallacy, you know you are dealing with some nuclear grade stupid.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The authors define true patriotism as country above self and explain how patriotism is lived every day in service to others, stewardship of resources, shared sacrifice, and other progressive values.

    It flows better in the original Italian, although the German and Russian translations are pretty smooth too.

  • GILMORE||

    "true patriot" = we dont trust any other americans so we must control them

  • John C. Randolph||

    Know who else called for placing the country above individuals?

    -jcr

  • cavalier973||

    JFK?

  • Michael Price||

    Correct. We would also have accepted Hitler, Stalin, FDR, Mao, Mussolini, and oh so many others.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    A withering away of the state. I think that's the one area of agreement with libertarians and communists.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    If you don't count that they both regard people as economic units, all perfectly equal and interchangable.

  • Virginian||

    Hey look everybody it's American. Hi American! Watched any good interracial cuckold porn lately?

  • Free Society||

    So now libertarians, the antithesis of communists, are the new communists? Merica!

  • some guy||

    So say the actual communists (per Heroic Mulatto's description of Eric Liu above).

  • John||

    This is what passes for thinking now among our top men. Remember, these clowns both went to top Ivy's. And this type of horrible writing and thinking is what they do at such places now. We live in a world of credentialed idiocy and insanity.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Are you not now or have you never been a member of a political party?

  • Pro Libertate||

    We believe in cooperation, not coercion. How it irks these people to not have the ability to use force to take people's stuff and to make them to behave in the proscribed manner! What contempt they have for people!

    We, on the other hand, believe people can live in a free society, relying on cooperation and minimal coercion. It's not like that's not how things are really happening, anyway. We're successful and relatively free despite the government, not because of it.

  • JW||

    Reasonable people debate how best to regulate or how government can most effectively do its work - not whether to regulate at all or whether government should even exist....

    The mushy middle is self-evident.

  • John||

    Tautologies are always self evident. Since when does debating the role of government preclude even questioning the role of government in a particular area?

    This thing is so poorly written and so illogical, I don't believe they are just lying and writing propaganda. Even if you meant it as propaganda, no one would put willingly put something this embarrassing out under their own name. They really are this stupid.

  • JW||

    I don't know if they're that stupid, but the underlying assumption is that the pearl-clutchers that they're writing to, are, not to mention easily panicked pack animals.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Except even the pearl-clutchers are running them over the coals.

  • Ted S.||

    Every time somebody says "There ought to be a law", my first instinct is to repond, "Perhaps there ought not be a law."

  • JW||

    I wonder if Nick would have red-penned that comma outside the quotation mark?

    And the response should be "Fuck off, slaver."

  • Sudden||

    Comma outside the quotation mark is the accepted style in Britain. And frankly, it makes more sense than putting a punctuation within the quote that's not inherent to the quote.

  • CE||

    Why not debate whether an entity based on theft and violence should continue to exist? Are we supposed to assume something is necessary just because it's the way it's done now?

  • cavalier973||

    I guess you just don't like roads, do you?

  • Brandon||

    The alternative to this extremism is an evolving blend of freedom and cooperation.

    Wow, this is terrible. Cooperation requires freedom, it can't be blended. If it is an alternative to freedom, it's not cooperation, it's coercion.

  • Nazdrakke||

    Look, if you insist on bringing actual logic and counterpoints into this you are obviously an intolerant extremist not interested in having a discussion about these important matters.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You will cooperate, or you will be sent away.

  • Brett L||

    Also, why is the statue of liberty a 3-toed sloth in the pic?

  • SugarFree||

    Because it drank Soviet Soda.

  • Brett L||

    Oh, right.

  • Sudden||

    Leninade?

  • Thomas O.||

    And it looks more like she's putting on deodorant than enjoying a communist beverage.

  • Brandon||

    Oh God, every sentence is worse than the last.

    True citizenship enables a society to thrive for precisely the reasons that communism and radical libertarianism cannot. It is based on a realistic conception of human nature that recognizes we must cooperate to be able compete at higher levels.

    The missing "To" is from the article.

    Freedom is responsibility. Communism failed because it kept citizens from taking responsibility for governing themselves. By preaching individualism above all else, so does radical libertarianism.

    How does libertarianism prevent citizens from taking responsibility for governing themselves? They fail to even attempt to address that.

  • John||

    The entire thing is one giant exercise in question begging an false dichotomies. Well no shit, everyone knows there has to be a balance between the state and the individual. No one other than the anarchists are saying there shouldn't be any laws or any restrictions whatsoever on behavior. And the whole issue is what that relationship should be. And these clowns response to that question is to say the choices are their brand of total state fascism or anarchy!!!

  • Michael Price||

    " No one other than the anarchists are saying there shouldn't be any laws or any restrictions whatsoever on behavior."
    Even anarchists don't say that (and I know I'm one) we just say that the restrictions shouldn't be imposed by the only people not subject to them.

  • WTF||

    What, you mean you don't find ridiculous unsupported assertions persuasive!?

  • Irish||

    Freedom is responsibility. Communism failed because it kept citizens from taking responsibility for governing themselves. By preaching individualism above all else, so does radical libertarianism.

    Shorter Eric Liu: "When libertarians say people should be responsible for themselves, they're saying that we shouldn't be responsible for ourselves."

  • JEP||

    "Radical libertarianism"
    What does this mean?

    "assumes that humans are wired only to be selfish,"

    One of the best descriptions of capitalism I ever read came from Taleb, who said that "capitalism allows us to take advantage of the fact that some people are selfish."

    "when in fact cooperation is the height of human evolution."

    That's arguable. But why should we need to force people to cooperate?

    "It assumes that societies are efficient mechanisms requiring no rules or enforcers,"

    When you leave them alone, they can be quite efficient. It assumes that individuals are better able to make decisions concerning themselves, than a centralized committee. There are rules and enforcers, the individual chooses what the rules are and how to enforce them.

    "when, in fact, they are fragile ecosystems prone to collapse and easily overwhelmed by free-riders."

    Free-riders like over grown governments, who can only take what others produce? Fragile ecosystems prone to collapse like the housing markets. Central control has only increased the severity of financial collapses.

  • SugarFree||

    I have never understood the cognitive dysfunction that allows leftists to complain about free-riders dragging down economic systems when the entirety of their policies are about creating as many free-riders as possible.

  • John||

    It is because leftists see the state as all encompassing. To leftists no one is allowed to opt out of the state. They see no distinction between the state and society. To them it is all one thing. So to a leftist, if your opt out of the state or something the state provides you, you are a free rider. You are refusing to do your part by participating and supporting the state.

    This is why they think people who home school or send their kids to private school are evil. When they do that, they opt out of the system the state is providing and thus not supporting the state and free riding. This is one of the reasons why they hate guns. Owning a gun and defending yourself and you opting out of the state's protection of you and thus undermining the state.

  • some guy||

    This is also the point of all regulation. If you try to obtain or provide a good or service outside the bounds of what the state has deemed to be "acceptable", then you are undermining the state.

  • Eric L||

    I have a problem with your comment that leftist think that people who send their kids to private school are evil. So many of the leftist I know personally here in Sacramento (but maybe I run in a rarified crowd) send their children to private schools. At the high school level most of them send their kids either to the local Jesuit run high school (if their child is a boy) or to elite boarding schools back east (Deerfield, Andover, Groton specifically) At the same time they make comments that conservatives and libertarians are the elitists.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I don't know those folks, but is it possible that the think they're *forced* to use private schools because the conservatives starved the public schools of resources to make them bad? Once California has a *truly* progressive govt, free of the restraints of Prop 13, then the public schools will be good again and private schools will not be necessary!

  • JEP||

    I think the right wing "free rider" would be the guy on welfare who's perfectly capable of working but chooses not to.

    The leftist definition of "free rider" would be the greedy CEO or the Wall Street banker who lives off the work of others.

    I don't pretend to understand these people.

  • BakedPenguin||

    That's basically what I was thinking. A libertarian government would be far less vulnerable to free riders than a massive welfare state.

  • John||

    That is because you think that there is a distinction between the state and the invidividual. Liberals don't see it that way. The state is all encompassing. To them everything you have comes from the state. You know, taxes are the price we pay for civilization and ROADZ. That kind of stuff. So to them a free rider is any person who doesn't do their fair share to support the government. Supporting yourself is not good enough or even relevant. You didn't build that success. Anything you have is because the government enabled you to have it. So you are judged by what you do to support the government.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yes, we are all the property of society, and since society = government, the rest follows. They might as well have just quoted Mussolini and been done with it.

    "Everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state"

  • John||

    Having grown up in America, I didn't really understand until the last ten years what actual totalitarianism looks like. I thought totalitarianism was something really obvious. But with the rise of the modern progs since 2000, I now understand that is not true. They are utter totalitarians. But they tell the world and even themselves they are the forces of freedom. It is people like you and I who are the tyrants. For the first time in my life I see what evil actually looks like. I always wondered how people in say Nazi Germany believed such obviously crazy and evil things. And now I am seeing it here. They believe it because they convince themselves those crazy and evil things are exactly the opposite of what they are.

  • ||

    I didn't really understand until the last ten years what actual totalitarianism looks like. I thought totalitarianism was something really obvious.

    I've been thinking about this for a while. Just because we don't have soldiers at every street corner and big brother in our bedroom through a telescreen doesn't mean we don't live in a totalitarian society. Just because you are allowed to work to the point you never see your kids, doesn't mean you don't live in a totalitarian society.

  • John||

    I wasn't talking about our society Troy. I was talking about Progs. They are absolute totalitarians. But they claim to be just the opposite. And in fact many of them think they are just the opposite even though that is exactly what they are. You just have to look closely to see it.

  • JW||

    Prosperity and Happiness Through Oppression.™

  • ||

    You don't have to look closely, John. TEAM BLUE constantly says flat out that they want to take away freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, the right to free assembly, and much, much more. They say it flat out. Now, their given reasons don't sound evil, but the end product is.

    Which dovetails perfectly with the fact that to TEAM BLUE, only words matter. Actions mean nothing.

  • Gray Ghost||

    +1932 Berlin or Moscow 1929.

    Similar to John's post, growing up and reading 20th century European history (I was a dork, sue me.) I wondered what it was like to live during that time, in those places. I wondered how people could not see what evil such unchecked authoritarianism was, and why they didn't do all that much to stop it. I thought it might have been some peculiarity of their culture, and could not think of what it might be.

    I'm learning a lot more about it now that I really wanted to. Not that we are there yet. But, like how you can see Las Vegas at night a very long way away from actually being there, the glow from the torchlight rallies is on the horizon. I think of the bald-faced way this government has taken whole swaths of rights and powers for itself, and think of how it would have been viewed even 15 years ago, and it's really uneasy.

    I think it'll get worse.

  • John||

    I was the same kind of dork Ghost and wondered the same things. And what we are seeing now is that evil and totalitarianism comes wrapped in a cloak of the best intentions and values and is always perceived even by its adherents to be the exact opposite of what it is.

  • ||

    An interesting observation, John. And I would add that in the process of convincing themselves that the crazy and evil things they believe are exactly the opposite of what they are, they psychologically invest themselves in an iron cage of their ideas, because to question them would mean having to come to grips with the fact that they willingly and eagerly participated in crazy and evil. This is why they are tireless in pushing their shit on everyone else, because it has to work or their entire identity will crumble.

  • John||

    Yes Episiarch and the worse and more evil they get, the harder that is to do because leaving the ideology means coming to terms with that much more guilt. This is why they hate people who leave the movement more than even their enemies. When someone leaves and admits their error, it makes it that much harder for the rest of them to keep denying theirs.

  • JW||

    I'm trying to figure out how, exactly, in a system that requires voluntary cooperation for transactions to occur, that you can actually get free riders in the first place.

  • BakedPenguin||

    So long as there is any government, someone will be able to game it.

  • JW||

    well, there's any easy solution that that quandary.

  • Floridian||

    Charity.

  • JW||

    Charity

    That's a "free rider" by strict definition, but not by any realistic expression.

    A free rider in the case of a charity is one they have decided to undertake and thus, a voluntary transaction. Their business is charity, so in essence, no one can be a free rider in any true sense, except through fraud or poor management of the charity.

  • Floridian||

    I didn't mean to imply orphans are bad people by receiving charity, just that they didn't work for the money donated to them. The people donating got the feeling of doing good, so money well spent for them. It is not a "bad" transaction because everyone benefits.

  • Invisible Finger||

    "when in fact cooperation is the height of human evolution."

    Fact??

    It's not like humans haven't cooperated. We'd never have lasted this long if we didn't.

    So we've already reached the height and now it's just human devolution?

  • robc||

    "when in fact cooperation is the height of human evolution."

    Then they will outcompete the selfish in the free market and the selfish wont have any children.

    Thats how evolution works.

    I dont think they have a clue about science either.

  • Brandon||

    The comments are 90% good, but then there is this, on the same level as the article:

    Dana Blankenhorn, Dana Blankenhorn is a lifelong journalist alwys looking toward the future. 12 minutes ago
    Extremism in the defense of liberty is a vice, for in extremism there is no liberty. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is a virtue, for without moderation there can be no justice.

    What? "In extremism there is no liberty?" What does that even mean?

  • WTF||

    It means precisely what Dana Blankenhorn wants it to mean, nothing more, nothing less.

  • some guy||

    I've been trying to think of a way to parody Ms. Blankenhorn's comment, but I can't. My brain simply doesn't work that way. I never thought I'd see someone who could successfully fake literacy, but here we are.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • some guy||

    If your name is unisex you must be prepared for people to make that mistake. I stand by my statement.

  • JW||

    I've been trying to think of a way to parody Ms. Blankenhorn's comment

    It's tough to parody self-parody.

  • Killazontherun||

    Moderation in our paranoia means we burn down the building with all the nuts inside of it. You voicing any objection, that's extremism from which no justice can prevail.

  • Hopfiend||

    a little Rorschach commentary. The intended meaning simply tells us the author is stupid douchebag.

  • SugarFree||

    Dana read that on the tramp stamp of the last guy he picked up at truck stop.

  • BakedPenguin||

    "What do you say we slip into a room....and you two split me open like a coconut?"

  • JEP||

    "Radical libertarianism"
    What does this mean?

    "assumes that humans are wired only to be selfish,"

    One of the best descriptions of capitalism I ever read came from Taleb, who said that "capitalism allows us to take advantage of the fact that some people are selfish."

    "when in fact cooperation is the height of human evolution."

    That's arguable. But why should we need to force people to cooperate?

    "It assumes that societies are efficient mechanisms requiring no rules or enforcers,"

    When you leave them alone, they can be quite efficient. It assumes that individuals are better able to make decisions concerning themselves, than a centralized committee. There are rules and enforcers, the individual chooses what the rules are and how to enforce them.

    "when, in fact, they are fragile ecosystems prone to collapse and easily overwhelmed by free-riders."

    Free-riders like over grown governments, who can only take what others produce? Fragile ecosystems prone to collapse like the housing markets. Central control has only increased the severity of financial collapses.

  • JEP||

    "And it is fanatically rigid in its insistence on a single solution to every problem: Roll back the state!"

    Sort of like a central government forms a committee that then produces one "solution" to a problem, but forces it on everyone regardless of whether that solution actually works or not (Obamacare)? The alternative letting people try thousands of different solutions with failed solutions dying off and the successful ones rising to the top.

    These people need to look in a mirror.

  • ||

    Social conservatives don't believe in evolution. Economic liberals don't believe in the hidden hand.

  • Tony||

    But why should we need to force people to cooperate?

    Hello, because of free riding. I've asked a hundred times and nobody has explained how cooperation is supposed to happen in large societies without a measure of coercion.

  • JEP||

    Here's the deal: Whenever you create an involuntary system in which something is socialized, I mean shared between people, you're going to have the problem of free riders. Some people are going to have more to share than others. This creates resentment because it's obvious that some people aren't pulling their weight - they're free riders.

    So you've got two options: 1) Keep the system in place and try to make hundreds of rules and regulations in an attempt to make sure everyone's paying "their fair share" but you'll never be able to make it work perfectly and someone will always take advantage of the rules, or 2) Remove the involuntary system(provide the possibility of opting out) and you'll remove the problem you've created.

  • some guy||

    I think Tony's definition of "cooperation" is different from yours. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong Tony, but you believe everyone in society must cooperate on some issues and that's why coercion is necessary. Most of us here would argue that there is no issue on which everyone must cooperate, so voluntary interactions are the way to go.

  • Jordan||

    Tony's definition of cooperation is forcing everyone to act according to his priorities.

  • Tony||

    Except issues like:

    Agreeing not to murder, steal, or defraud
    Providing for a criminal justice system for those who do
    Providing a system of civil dispute resolution
    Providing for the social infrastructure of property rights

    And whatever other things you guys exempt from your stated first principles.

  • Hopfiend||

    Please explain how your chosen form of coercive statism has solved the problems you describe?

  • some guy||

    Tony, every single day cooperation happens between a wide variety of groups without coercion. You cooperate with your partner in making breakfast. Then you cooperate with everyone else in your company when you're at work. There's no limit to the size of a group of people that can cooperate without coercion.

    And we've explained this to you many times.

  • Marc F Cheney||

    Which is why you're idiots for engaging with him.

  • some guy||

    Every now and then he makes a point that I haven't thought about before and forces me to refine my own arguments for libertarianism. Sometimes his points force me to look up links to evidence that refutes him. I then remember those links in case I need them later.

    He is only making us stronger and he can never strike us down!

  • cavalier973||

    Were it not for the government monitoring him, Tony would have already slaughtered his partner, eaten the best parts, placed the remains in a non-biodegradable container, and left it at the local preschool.

  • ||

    Tony!

    Psh.

  • Whahappan?||

    Actually, it has been explained to you countless times, you just feign ignorance and ask the same questions over and over again, ignoring the answers and smiting down strawmen.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Coercion isn't cooperation, you brain-dead bootlicking pinhead.

    -jcr

  • BillEverman||

    Why do I need to care about free riders? If I want something and I'm willing to pay for it, why does it matter to me if someone else can then enjoy it without paying for it? If I play my guitar and someone in the next apartment enjoys hearing it, must I demand payment from them? Likewise, if I fund the minimal government I want and someone else doesn't, why must I care if they also enjoy the benefits of that government? If it encourages others to opt out of paying, then the consensus must be that we can only agree to a lesser amount of government than we claim to desire.

  • Rasilio||

    ""Radical libertarians would be great at destroying," they are "fanatically rigid," they are "economic royalists" who are "mirror images" of communists, etc."

    The funny thing is some of these may even be true to some extent, when applied to actual radical libertarians, the problem is all of the targets of their rant are about the most milquetoast kind of libertarian imaginable.

  • John||

    They confuse Libertarians and classical liberals with anarchists. I am not sure if that is the result of dishonesty or them being profoundly stupid and irrational. Right now I am leaning towards the latter.

  • Rasilio||

    Well some libertarians *ARE* anarchists, specifically Anarcho Capitalists, they do fall under the broad libertarian umbrella. But they are a tiny fraction of what is itself a small movement.

    Odds are that most progressives have never actually encountered an actual libertarian anarchist.

  • CE||

    They're being pretty unfair to actual anarchists, too.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    You can never be unfair to anaracho-communists.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I don't really think anarchy is as bad as people make it out to be. But people make it out to be bad because they believe that anarchists secretly want to install their own totalitarian government the instant anarchy is achieved.

    Sure that may be profoundly stupid, but it's basically just projection: You must follow my "way" because I am scared shitless someone else's totalitarianism. All they see is totalitarianism, except their own.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    But people make it out to be bad because they believe that anarchists secretly want to install their own totalitarian government the instant anarchy is achieved.

    Um Marx made no secret of it.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Like I said, profoundly stupid.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    Marx was an anarchist. The state was supposed to wither away once the dictatorship of the proletariat was finished with its business. This of course is idiotic but quite a few anarchists are mad that the State isn't taxing, spending and regulating enough.

    Hell that's why the term an-cap was chosen to distance themselves from those "anarchists."

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    they believe that anarchists secretly want to install their own totalitarian government the instant anarchy is achieved.

    ...historically, that would be an accurate charge (though in fairness not in the case of an-caps).

  • Tony||

    Not everyone living in an anarchist "society" would be a principled anarchist.

  • dinkster||

    Well you certainly are not principled about much.

  • Tony||

    Yeah well I exist in reality like a lot of other unprincipled dicks.

    The only way your society works is if people do not act like people.

  • ||

    The only way your society works is if people do not act like people.

    It's kinda good to see that Tony rejects the Marxist notion of cooperative communism and is perfectly content to settle for a strongman who keeps the trains running on time. Lay it bare, Tony.

  • cavalier973||

    Right back at you, slick.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, they are, until it's inconvenient. Then, they're just Republicans. It must be wonderful to live in these guys' world where reality and fact just morph to meet your convenience.

  • Brett L||

    The article is getting hammered in the comments at fucking Bloomberg. Wow.

  • JEP||

    "Radical libertarianism assumes that humans are wired only to be selfish,"

    Actually, it assumes the opposite. Libertarians make the assumption that if A is the "right thing to do", then people will figure it out and do A on their own accord.

    It's the statists who assume that people are morally bankrupt and therefore need laws and coercion to force them to do whatever the statists think is morally right.

  • Hyperion||

    easily overwhelmed by free-riders

    Well, at least they accidentally got one thing right.

    But I hardly think that 40 million people on food stamps and hundreds of thousands of worthless parasitical bureaucrats funded by tax payers, are the fault of Libertarians.

  • creech||

    You know, many libertarians need to stop apologizing or denying they are "selfish" and take it as a compliment. Saying "Thank you for noticing" will cause heads to explode (on the ones you'll never convince anyway) or lead to a further discussion where you can demonstrate who is really advocating greed and calling for using armed federal agents to take what is coveted.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    You know, many libertarians need to stop apologizing or denying they are "selfish" and take it as a compliment. Saying "Thank you for noticing" will cause heads to explode...

    PROTIP: Prepare to be accused of being a sociopath if you cheerfully say "I know" or "Thank you for understanding".

  • Invisible Finger||

    The proper response is "Probably. But selfishness isn't sociopathic like your self-centeredness."

    Certainly nothing is more self-centered than not leaving alone someone who has asked to be left alone.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    No. Wanting to preserve liberty for my posterity and fellow citizens is not selfish, and of course there is no one on Earth who can be said to personally benefit from every item on the libertarian agenda. The "libertarians are selfish" meme needs to die painfully, alone and in agony.

  • ||

  • Marc F Cheney||

    Welp, that was retarded.

    But you know how it goes: first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight strawmen versions of you, then they twerk you, then something with the Kardashians, then it's a new season of The Walking Dead, then they rail against e-cigarettes. In the end, it's the children who lose.

  • Andrew S.||

    Libertarians! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

  • Rasilio||

    "Libertarians! Fuck me."

    Um, you better be careful with your language. Epi or heavens forbid even Warty might hear you and think it was an invitation.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Warty doesn't need an invitation.

  • Rasilio||

    No but it helps in the trial that follows

  • Tony||

    Libertarians become so reasonable whenever they're called out on the very bullshit they constantly say.

    If libertarians don't think the solution to every problem is less government, but that each problem has a specific solution, sometimes involving less government, sometimes involving more, then what the fuck is the point of you existing? You're just liberals in that case.

    It is fact that the Koch brothers think freedom is making other people pay for their pollution. It is fact that Grover Norquist will countenance no tax increase for any reason (and the entire Republican party has the same idea these days).

    I agree that it's not the best takedown of libertarians I've ever read, but they were specifically arguing against radical libertarianism, not the happy moderate face you guys put on every time someone accuses you of believing what you say every goddamn day.

  • SugarFree||

    Fuck off, sockpuppet.

  • Marc F Cheney||

    That's the spirit.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    You're just liberals in that case.

    Except for, you know, the desire to reshape economic activity in the name of "social justice".

  • Tony||

    Because who would want that?

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    Because who would want that?

    Hmmm. I'll take "not me" for $500.

  • Hopfiend||

    That is a completely meaningless chant, that is why it is undesirable.

    the rest of what you wrote is just nonsense.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    It is fact that the Koch brothers think freedom is making other people pay for their pollution.

    Really? Do you have a statement on record to cite, since you claim it's a "fact," you mendacious asshole?

    It is fact that Grover Norquist will countenance no tax increase for any reason (and the entire Republican party has the same idea these days).

    Why are you talking about Norquist (a notorious neo-con) and other Republicans? I guess you feel you can't argue against libertarianism without engaging in equivocation.

  • Tony||

    Really? Do you have a statement on record to cite, since you claim it's a "fact," you mendacious asshole?

    Let me rephrase. It is a fact that the Kochs heavily and successfully lobby government to get other people to pay for the costs they impose in the form of pollution, which they call "freedom."

    Why are you talking about Norquist (a notorious neo-con) and other Republicans?

    So which tax do you want to go up?

  • WTF||

    Guys, as you can see it doesn't argue honestly or in good faith. The only appropriate response is "fuck off". Feel free to add "slaver" or "mendacious twat" or an epithet of your choosing.

  • Marc F Cheney||

    ^^^ This.

  • JW||

    The only appropriate response it to ignore it.

    Stop feeding it and it will go away.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    It is a fact that the Kochs heavily and successfully lobby government to get other people to pay for the costs they impose in the form of pollution, which they call "freedom."

    Ipse dixit. The Defense rests, your honor.

  • WTF||

    Yet it will dishonestly continue to pretend that government is not the problem.

  • Tony||

    I insist that government, conceptually, cannot be *the* problem with anything.

    Government, in one form or another, will always exist.

    You guys want to make everything about the meaningless nonsense that government, per se, is everything that's wrong with the world. But government is just one of those institutions people have to help them organize civilization. The only thing to talk about is how to make it function best. Talking about how the very concept is bad is absolutely substanceless.

  • Hopfiend||

    Mainly it is narcissistic martinets, such as yourself, that are the problem. If government could be trusted for self limitation it wouldn't be the debilitating, corrosive force that it is. But that is not the case.

  • Tony||

    Like all libertarians you pay attention to only one side of the equation. Government provides a lot of necessary good too, and you cannot deny that. Also, a free market has flaws.

    The problem is the most simplistic possible manifestation of a good vs. evil mentality.

  • John C. Randolph||

    I insist that government, conceptually, cannot be *the* problem with anything.

    Tell it to Dred Scott or Korematsu, you pathetic little toady.

    -jcr

  • Marc F Cheney||

    You suck, HM.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    What did I do now?

  • some guy||

    He's trying to use peer pressure to encourage you to not respond to Tony.

  • Robert||

    Norquist is no neo-con! It's not his ideology. Besides, it would be very hard for a neo-con to have a Muslim spouse, so of all the ideologies to misidentify him with, why'd you pick that one?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Because, for whatever reason, I had him confused in my brain with Sununu.

  • sarcasmic||

    Now I have a headache.

  • WTF||

    DERP DE DERPITY DERP

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • Irish||

    It is fact that Grover Norquist will countenance no tax increase for any reason (and the entire Republican party has the same idea these days).

    I will agree that Grover Norquist is a moron, but not for the reason you say. Norquist is an idiot because there's an obvious way around his tax pledge. You can just spend the money anyway without a tax increase and pay for it through future inflation and debt accumulation.

    The fact that Norquist didn't make an anti-spending pledge instead is a great sign that he's nothing but a demagogue.

  • Robert||

    Yes, he is a demagogue, and a damn good one, with more organizing ability in his pinkie than most libertarian activists have in their whole soul. We need more like him.

  • Nazdrakke||

    How did I know that this fuckwit wouldn't be able to resist this thread? Further question; how can he be posting here for so long and at least not have a basic understanding of what a libertarian believes?

  • WTF||

    He understands, he just deliberatley mis-characterizes because he's a dishonest asshole.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Or maybe, all this time, he was really Eric Liu.

  • BakedPenguin||

    That's what he said.

  • Tony||

    Because you change your tune depending on how someone is criticizing you. I'm constantly told that taxation is theft, but that you're not anarchists. Both of these cannot be true.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I am an anarchist, thank you very much.

  • Tony||

    Then you take issue with this piece, I take it.

  • sarcasmic||

    There will always be people with the last word in violence, and when they steal they call it taxation.

    The question then becomes one of when violence is justified, because everything government does is based upon the premise that they are the last word in violence.

    We say violence is justified only to react to or prevent force and fraud, while you say violence is justified for whatever makes you feel good.

    Not that I expect you to understand. This comment is more for the benefit of others than for you.

  • Tony||

    In other words we have absolutely no disagreement about the utility and legitimacy of government force, only about which measures it's legitimate to use it for. Why you think your preferences are the result of logic and reason and mine the result of emotion is not clear to me.

  • sarcasmic||

    Why you think your preferences are the result of logic and reason and mine the result of emotion is not clear to me.

    We know. You have made it abundantly clear that you have no grasp of logic and reason.

  • ||

    In other words we have absolutely no disagreement about the utility and legitimacy of government force, only about which measures it's legitimate to use it for.

    Which is more or less like saying "we both acknowledge the utility of an erect penis, we just disagree slightly on the circumstances under which it should be shared!" Assuming that just because there is a legitimate use of government that therefore all use of government force is legitimate is your error.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Anarchist here, and there is a such thing as non-coercive taxation.

    Just because you're too dim to think of how it can be done isn't my fault.

  • Tony||

    I've read tons of masturbatory fantasies about how anarchic utopias could be done, I just don't buy any of them.

  • General Butt Naked||

    The violent sadist believes peaceful cooperation is a masturbatory fantasy...

    Quelle surprise!

  • Tony||

    Without laws, norms, and prosperity it is. Or have you not been paying attention to the last 100,000 years of human history?

  • Long Range Boredom||

    Well based on your arguments, you certainly haven't.

  • Enigma||

    Tony, democracy was also a crazy idea back when it was first being floated around. I guessing you like democracy, no? Also, slavery was always very common in the last 100,000 years of human history, so when people decided it shouldn't exist, many pointed to thousands of years of precedent as a counter argument. In short, your defense of the state is the same as a defense of slavery. Or racism. Or sexism. Or tribalism.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Actually, I have mulled over a possibility - a contract tax. The tax wouldn't be mandatory. However, if no tax were paid, it wouldn't be enforceable in a court of law.

  • sarcasmic||

    All he knows is emotion.

    "Social justice" and equality feel good.

    Free healthcare for all feels good.

    Wealth inequality feels icky.

    Economic truths like scarcity feel icky.

    Taking from the rich by force feels good.

    Feeding starving children feels good.

    Corporate profits feel icky.

    He understands nothing. All he does is emote.

  • Tony||

    I gave up emotions in college you one-note shit-for-brains. Though I imagine that children not starving does tend to elicit positive emotions in people.

    Because it's pure robotic rationalism that leads you to libertarianism. HAHAHAHA. Ayn Rand did a fucking number on you idiots.

  • WTF||

    Hey, 'Tony' is turning into shreek!

    Fuck off you mendacious twat.

  • sarcasmic||

    Starving children feels icky.

    Voluntary charity feels icky because being voluntary, people can say no.

    Government charity feels good because it forces everyone to contribute.

    It's all about emotions.

  • Tony||

    Force and fraud feel icky. Boohoohoo.

    See how this works?

  • sarcasmic||

    Yeah. I see how false equivalency works.

  • some guy||

    It's a recognition of the natural equality of all sentient beings that leads me to libertarianism. And I don't mean equality of capability.

  • CE||

    Ayn Rand was an Objectivist. She called libertarians "hippies".

  • Tony||

    I've rarely met a libertarian who doesn't talk like a Rand acolyte. I presume it's because libertarian thinkers were too deep.

  • acidovorax||

    To a Leftist, anyone who mentions "individual rights" or "free markets" sounds like that bitch, Ayn Rand, that they never bothered to read but were told that she was evil incarnate.

  • Tony||

    I've read everything she's written. I bought into it in 9th grade, then I entered late adolescence and got over it. There's a reason she's not taken seriously in philosophy of political science.

  • acidovorax||

    I've read everything she's written. I bought into it in 9th grade, then I entered late adolescence and got over it.

    Uh huh. Of course you did.

    There's a reason she's not taken seriously in philosophy of political science.

    Reasons, you say? Well, officer, there's a reason why I shot up that bus of retarded children.

  • ||

    Let's say your only experience with "libertarians" was Dave Weigel and Will Wilkinson...

  • John C. Randolph||

    I gave up emotions in college

    Lust for power is an emotion, Tony. So are your love for the taste of boot leather, and your desire to see your neighbors forced to obey you.

    -jcr

  • Rasilio||

    "If libertarians don't think the solution to every problem is less government, but that each problem has a specific solution, sometimes involving less government, sometimes involving more, then what the fuck is the point of you existing?"

    No, libertarians do not think that the solution to every problem is less government, they think the solution to every problem is a non governmental one and the cause of a great many problems is too much government.

    Furthermore even if libertarians did think the solution to every problem was less government it would be rather irrelevant since we haven't really had any input into governing since before 1930. If we actually shrunk government from time to time then maybe just maybe you might be able to argue against too much shrinkage but the government has done nothing but expand continually since at least 1948

    Finally Gorver Norquist is not a libertarian, he is a small government conservative republican. There are similarities to be sure but just because cats and dogs are both mammals does not mean you can call a cat a dog.

  • CE||

    The solution always involves less government, because we have way too much right now.

    That's not the same thing as saying a moderate libertarian-leaning Constitutional conservative Republican like Rand Paul wants to "destroy" stuff.

  • Tony||

    The solution always involves less government, because we have way too much right now.

    So the article being critiqued was spot on, would you say?

  • Hopfiend||

    Frankly no, the problem is government controlled by lawless, violent, people, such as yourself, that is the problem. The article isn't spot on, the article is dead wrong, and since an honest exposition and interchange of ideas wasn't the goal it must of been motivated by another desire.

  • Tony||

    Government is controlled by people. So is the market. Let's factor that fact in to grand schemes of how it all should work, shan't we?

  • Whahappan?||

    I'm going to treat you as if you're arguing in good faith, if just to give you the benefit of the doubt. Government is coercive, markets are not. That's the difference. Why you refuse to see that is beyond me, but maybe others can learn.

  • Tony||

    It's government's job to be coercive. You're faulting it for doing what it's supposed to do. And there's no coercion in the market?

    Why is only coercion people get to vote for bad to you guys?

  • ||

    Government is controlled by people. Cars are controlled by people. GOVERNMENT IS CARS! OMG GUIS!! MIND = BLOWN!!

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Most of already have. Markets decentralize power. Governments inherently centralize it.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    No. And you're retarded for suggesting as much. Now, fuck off, you mendacious twat.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    No. And you're retarded for suggesting as much. Now, fuck off, you mendacious twat.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    "it's not the best takedown of libertarians I've ever read" - Tony

    How's that for a rave review...

  • acidovorax||

    It is fact that the Koch brothers think freedom is making other people pay for their pollution.

    This occurs under your policies too. The regulatory costs don't simply get eaten by the big bad capitalist, it gets rolled up into the costs of the final goods or it decreases supply by putting companies out of business. Your "externality" argument is laughable, as it willfully ignores the externalities produced by government intervention.

  • Tony||

    And you completely ignore the value produced by government intervention.

  • ||

    Especially when there isn't any.

  • acidovorax||

    And you completely ignore the value produced by government intervention.

    More generalized ramblings. Lets ignore the fact that you dodged the point of intervention created externalities, since it doesn't fit your paradigm, WHAT value SPECIFICALLY?

  • cavalier973||

    No real solution, excepting, of course, the Final One, requires more government.

  • Michael Price||

    "Libertarians become so reasonable whenever they're called out on the very bullshit they constantly say."
    But they didn't do that did they? They simply made bullshit assertions and didn't back them up.

    "but they were specifically arguing against radical libertarianism,"
    No they were arguing against a strawman and everyone knows it.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    More insight into Eric Liu; the man who thinks he has the intelligence and inherent ability to plan and control society, yet is such a fucking idiot that managed to be illiterate and barely conversant in Chinese despite being raised by a linguistically gifted and bilingual father.

  • some guy||

    You could pay me to read that. But I'm sure you'd find the fee to be unacceptable.

  • Pro Libertate||

    One thing I find really odd is that there's really no rational argument against the fact that libertarians are, for the most part, just wanting a return to constitutional government. That's "radical?" It's not like libertarians are suggesting we roll back the clock in all regards, either, so bullshit like "They want to bring back slavery" is just that--bullshit.

    We're largely a conservative, traditionalist movement in a lot of respects. Granted, we're also generally nonconservative and nontraditional in our social mores, but that's really not that much of an issue, given our noncoercive politics.

    I'll grant that some of us are more radical, looking to eliminate government altogether in some cases, but that's just some voices out of many. And they have a legitimate case to make, too, and I hope someday the battle is between minarchists and anarchists, with the statists all converted to a more sane position.

  • Irish||

    That's "radical?" It's not like libertarians are suggesting we roll back the clock in all regards, either, so bullshit like "They want to bring back slavery" is just that--bullshit.

    Especially given that slavery is opposed to the self-ownership libertarianism is based on.

    We're largely a conservative, traditionalist movement in a lot of respects. Granted, we're also generally nonconservative and nontraditional in our social mores, but that's really not that much of an issue, given our noncoercive politics.

    Don't necessarily agree with this. I think that 'classical liberalism' remains the most radical idea in the history of human kind. Enlightenment thinking is the most radical branch of philosophy in history. Progressives, feudalists, mercantalists, fascists, communists, nationalists...all of them are just different brands of collectivism. Collectivism has been the most common philosophical idea in human history, which is why most of human history consisted of desperate poverty and violence.

    We're opposed to the most common philosophical belief in history, which makes us hyper-radical even if we are in tune with the beliefs of the founders.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You can view it that way, but classical liberalism is hardly new, and it's built into the foundation of this country. Granted, that foundation is full of holes, now, but just restoring the Constitution alone would be a major win for most of us.

    I sure hope the future isn't more of the same--government oppression and human misery.

  • JW||

    Cutting the budget back to 2007 levels is "radical."

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's like dogs and cats living together talk, dude.

  • CE||

    Yes, the sequester proved that even the most meager of cuts in the projected spending increases = disaster.

  • robc||

    Someone posted this the other day, but it fits here too:

    About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers. -- Calvin Coolidge

  • Hawk Spitui||

    Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary.

    Indeed they are, bless their hearts! However, contra Gillespie, they are hardly out of ideas, a criticism that sounds rather absurd coming from a man who's idea of thinking outside of the box amounts to peddling an agenda that sounds oddly like it came from the Frankfurt School, with an addendum of "...and oh yeah! Free markets!" tacked on to the end of it.

  • DJK||

    ProL, what makes you think that classical liberal ideas are built into the Constitution? The Constitution is nowhere close to a treatise on libertarian values. It was mainly a bunch of compromises to get a bunch of people who loved the state (their particular state) to cede power to another state (the new federal government). It recognized slavery, the worst offense against libertarian values, as allowable. And all kinds of other things totally incompatible with the general libertarian ethics.

  • DJK||

    Sure, the Founders were familiar with Locke and Montesqieu. Some of them (Madison?) may have actually been fairly libertarian. However, I'm convinced most of them just used this language to make their statist ideas more palatable (Hamilton?)

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    We're largely a conservative, traditionalist movement in a lot of respects.

    Rockwellian balderdash. Advocacy for liberty has nothing to do with grumbling about sagging pants and the "hippity-hop" music while pining for the days of sharing a malted milk at the sock hop with your "steady".

  • Pro Libertate||

    I meant politically conservative in the catholic sense. Not conservative Republican. The Constitution and the festival of limited government all started over two hundred years ago. Ain't radical now.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Eh, it's still "new" by, say, Chinese history terms.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What do the Chinese know about freedom?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Not much, if Mr. Eric Liu is any guide.

    (It's actually a shame that Yangism, as a philosophic movement, was destroyed and never survived to counter the Legalists.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Couldn't Daoism be interpreted as having an essentially libertarian message? Hell, even some parts of Confucianism could be interpreted in that way -- in that respect, sounds pretty old to me :)

  • LynchPin1477||

    Although a good malted milkshake would be nice right about now.

  • SugarFree||

    If they have to defend "big" vs "small" government, they know they aren't going to win. Or just end sounding like communists. So they are forced to pretend that we want no government, or no taxes, no roads, no police, no firemen, no ice cream and no rainbows.

    Most humans have a gut instinct that tells them they are being ripped off. They have to throw a lot of neural chaff up about social justice to quiet their's when they see their pay stub. Or they don't actually work in the first place.

  • DJK||

    I want no government and no taxes. I believe that, even in such a system, we will still have roads, police, firemen, ice cream, and rainbows. And they'll be of higher quality.

  • Whahappan?||

    Sure, and I agree, but most libertarians aren't anarchists, and this piece, and many other critiques of libertarianism, treat it as anarchism in order to refute it in the eyes of their audience.

  • NoVAHockey||

    "between minarchists and anarchists"

    someone posted a line a few weeks back in one of those "when we're all in the progressive re-education camps" jokes. .... but i laughed for days .. basically it was

    "the anarchists are comparing the miniarchist to the guards!"

  • Pro Libertate||

    Episiarch and I have plans to run separate gangs in the camps--the Anarchs and the Mins. Lots of fists and knives, but no guns. The guards take all of those away.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Since, I'm becoming more and more convinced that I'm just dumbed down sock puppet of you, I know what side I'll be on.

  • Pro Libertate||

    [Hands Dr. Frankenstein a shiv.]

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    I'll wait for the signal. Just tell me what NY pizza eating greaseball you want done and it'll happent.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You could poison his bootleg mozzarella operation. But get me some before you do that.

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Consider it done.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Good. I like having my archenemy in the labor camps dealt with in advance like this.

    I'd better go re-read King Rat in preparation.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Hey! What about us minarchist New York pizza eating greaseballs?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    we're also generally nonconservative and nontraditional in our social mores

    ...are we? I know we like to joke, and that none of us wants government force to be used against people who are into that sort of thing, but I'm not sure if that's true.

    Starchild and LP craziness is a very small part of the libertarian movement.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I agree. There's a tendency (particularly amongst socons) to act like libertarians don't want to ban nonconservative and nontraditional behavior because they want to engage in it. But, think about the bulk of libertarians you run across - engineers, economists, doctors. Generally, not the most wild and crazy bunch of guys you'll be inclined to meet.

  • Irish||

    After earning his philosophy degree from the University of Washington, Hanauer got his business start at the family-owned Pacific Coast Feather Company, where he continues to serve as co-chair and CEO.[2] In the 1980s he co-founded Museum Quality Framing Company, a large West Coast franchise.[3]

    In the 1990s Hanauer was one of the first investors in Amazon.com (where he served as adviser to the board until 2000). He founded gear.com (which eventually merged with Overstock.com) and Avenue A Media (which in 2007, under the new name aQuantive, was acquired by Microsoft for $6.4 billion).[4]

    In 2000, Hanauer co-formed the Seattle-based venture capital company, Second Avenue Partners. The company advises and funds early stage companies such as HouseValues[5] Qliance,[6] and Newsvine.[7]


    - Eric Hanauer's biography

    In other words, he got his start by taking over a family business, which according to Google was opened in the '20s and is worth 400 million dollars, and then investing money that his parents gave him.

    Why is it that only right wing billionaires are attacked for getting money from their parents, but rich ass leftists can run their mouths about whatever they want and the fact that their success is entirely owed to their parents never gets brought up? This fucker's a philosophy major. I don't think he's be a rich venture capitalist without his parents' money.

  • Tony||

    People who owe their success to their families yet advocate a liberal social safety net are not the ones being cruel hypocrites. People call out the Kochs because they advocate a philosophy of no safety net and total self-reliance while being the beneficiaries of the most potent form of welfare there is: rich parents.

  • John||

    And Tony comes around to show the world an example of someone who thinks the state is all encompassing. No one has any individual success. There is no success or anything outside of the state.

  • Tony||

    And here comes John with yet another tired-ass straw man.

  • John||

    Tony, you are so stupid and unaware, you really don't even understand what you believe. I really think you mean well and have no idea how vile and evil your beliefs are.

  • Irish||

    Tony, you are so stupid and unaware, you really don't even understand what you believe.

    Sort of like yesterday when he said 'I believe in protections of minority rights!' and subsequently said the majority should be allowed to vote on whatever it wants?

    He did not seem to understand the contradiction between those two statements.

    He also claimed he was an heir to the enlightenment, which was hysterical since his policy preferences are completely opposed to every enlightenment belief.

  • Tony||

    Apparently neither of you understands what I believe or the difference between your assholes and your elbows.

  • Tony||

    Lemme see. I don't understand that I actually believe that the state is "all encompassing" and that "there is no success or anything outside of the state"? Well, thank you for letting me know.

  • acidovorax||

    Lemme see. I don't understand that I actually believe that the state is "all encompassing" and that "there is no success or anything outside of the state"? Well, thank you for letting me know.

    Yet you have no problem running into every thread and contriving cartoonish mischaracterizations of libertarianism. Pot...meet Kettle.

  • Tony||

    That's the whole point. You say things that are absolutist, then bitch when I say "you're an absolutist." This weird habit of libertarians is called out in the article I referenced.

  • ||

    Confronting Tony with the self-contradicting implications of his own ideology that he can't keep straight for an hour at a time on the same web page is, in his mind, exactly the same as repeating outright lies that he's been called on a million times. He's not even a very fun troll because he has absolutely no adaptability.

  • Marc F Cheney||

    Can you just not help yourself, or what?

  • sarcasmic||

    Parents earning wealth and then voluntarily leaving wealth to their children is equivalent to government cursively taking wealth from people who earned it and giving it to strangers?

    What a strange world you live in.

  • sarcasmic||

    *coercively*

  • gaoxiaen||

    *cursedly*

  • FYTW||

    People who owe their success to their families yet advocate a liberal social safety net are not the ones being cruel hypocrites.

    No, they're just thieves who think it's okay to be charitable with other people's money.

  • Tony||

    So you're an anarchist?

    Or are you okay with taxing and spending to protect your property rights?

  • Irish||

    Or are you okay with taxing and spending to protect your property rights?

    I'm okay with taxing and spending to protect individual rights, property or otherwise. This includes a military to protect the public against autocratic foreign governments. This includes police to protect both property and safety, although our police forces are so poorly run that they often don't do either. It also includes fire departments to save people when their houses are burning or to rescue little Annie's cat from a tree.

    You, on the other hand, are okay with 90% of the public ordering those police officers to kill all the Jews, as you have publicly stated your advocacy of strictly majoritarian government. Compared to your advocacy of a fascist mob state, I don't think I have anything to be ashamed of.

  • Tony||

    You, on the other hand, are okay with 90% of the public ordering those police officers to kill all the Jews, as you have publicly stated your advocacy of strictly majoritarian government.

    This is a big fat lie. I have made it clear many, many times that I am not in favor of direct democracy. And I'm even more sure I've never advocated genocide.

    So let's see, you're for evil government thieving and coercion for programs you deem legitimate, just like me. Yet you're more moral because you don't think people should have the choice to enact anything other than what you like? Who's the fascist here again?

  • acidovorax||

    So let's see, you're for evil government thieving and coercion for programs you deem legitimate, just like me. Yet you're more moral because you don't think people should have the choice to enact anything other than what you like? Who's the fascist here again?

    That would still be you. Your argument is not compelling because you conveniently left out a crucial distinction between your view and Irish's: the details. The difference between taxpayer funded majority rules vs taxpayer funded very limited powers is night and day. The former enables the fascist elements of society to control others while the latter can limit this threat. My anarchist sympathies would be very subdued with a level of taxation that paid for the latter. I don't expect perfection.

  • Tony||

    How does the latter limit the threat?

    You just say it will happen, as if by magic.

  • ||

    You know how you don't think anybody should have guns because they're terribly dangerous and they hurt people? Imagine the government is a gun. A scary, scary gun (maybe even with a collapsible thingy and scary black parts a pistol grip). If you take out the firing pin, or load it with blanks, or at least try to keep the caliber small enough that it may not kill with the first shot, it's a lot less dangerous than, say, the 200 gigaton H-bomb that represents the government of your wet dreams in this analogy.

  • acidovorax||

    How does the latter limit the threat?

    You just say it will happen, as if by magic.

    This is why you have no credibility, Tony. You have every right to disagree with libertarianism, but to claim that libertarians simply claim "magic" is pure dishonesty.

    Are you really confused on how a limited power government is less dangerous than one with unlimited power?

  • gaoxiaen||

    Well, we already have a guiding text regarding that matter, albeit one that is usully ignored or distorted.

  • Michael Price||

    "This is a big fat lie. I have made it clear many, many times that I am not in favor of direct democracy. "
    Which nobody claimed you were in favor of. What they said you were in favor of is "strickly majoritarian government" i.e. the government can do whatever the majority tells it to. That includes gassing the Jews.

    So you claim never to have advocated genocide, good for you. But you've advocated a system that could commit genocide and eventually would if given enough time.

  • Floridian||

    Why can't I pay for private security? Why do I have to be robbed to pay someone to keep other people from robbing me?

  • Tony||

    Why can't I pay for private security? Why do I have to be robbed to pay someone to keep other people from robbing me?

    What of those who can't afford private security? Is their stuff fair game, or what?

  • acidovorax||

    What of those who can't afford private security? Is their stuff fair game, or what?

    Where does this free security world exist? Not here, as even the poor are paying taxes for this service.

  • Tony||

    Yeah. But what about the everything-is-a-market-commodity world that I was addressing?

  • acidovorax||

    Yeah. But what about the everything-is-a-market-commodity world that I was addressing?

    Everything IS a commodity that is bought and sold and still is when paid for through taxes, it's just that the costs are blurred.

    So why would paying for the service directly be so much different than indirectly?

  • FYTW||

    Whoa, look at those goalposts move!

  • Michael||

    Hey, Tony. Do you ever get tired of fighting back against people that consistently prove you wrong every single time you open your yap? I imagine that has to be pretty exhausting.

  • some guy||

    It's only exhausting if you actually realize you have been proven wrong. Tony appears to be incapable of that realization as he continues to ask the same questions of us and act as if we have never answered.

  • ||

    You are mistaken in assuming Tony does anything but skim over the replies he gets. He already knows the truth, so your input is unnecessary.

  • Irish||

    People who owe their success to their families yet advocate a liberal social safety net are not the ones being cruel hypocrites.

    Actually they are. This guy is rich as hell and is advocating policies that get poor people dependent and stuck in a cycle of poverty. He then pats himself on the back for being such a good liberal. It's disgusting narcissism, so of course you'd see no problem with it.

    People call out the Kochs because they advocate a philosophy of no safety net and total self-reliance while being the beneficiaries of the most potent form of welfare there is: rich parents.

    1. Getting money from your parents is not the same as welfare. 2. The Kochs advocate tons of policies that would in no way benefit themselves. Neither one is gay, yet they've been in favor of gay marriage for decades. They have given enormous sums of money to organizations that are in favor of gay equality, they've given money to PBS for science programs, they've charitably built a ballet theater in New York. There are many other examples.

    If the Kochs were all about themselves, they wouldn't give so much money to charitable organizations. They're opposed to forced taking of money, not to helping others, and any claim to the contrary is a left-wing smear by an ignorant dullard like yourself.

    There's nothing wrong with getting money from your parents. I'm just criticizing the double standard.

  • Tony||

    policies that get poor people dependent and stuck in a cycle of poverty.

    Bullshit doubletalk. You do propose to cut poor people off entirely, do you not? Think starvation will provide that little boost of motivation they need? Poverty causes its own cycle. Also, children exist. When you can fully wrap your mind around that minor little fact, you'll have to stop being a libertarian.

    Getting money from your parents is not the same as welfare.

    No it's much a cushier form of a free ride, obviously. Presumably you grew up rich as well.

    The Kochs advocate tons of policies that would in no way benefit themselves.

    Good for them. I believe them that they are merely ideologues and not just out for the government loot. But there is no excuse for believing that pollution is free and other absurdities, and they absolutely do rent seek with the best of them. It would be bad business practice to do otherwise.

  • acidovorax||

    But there is no excuse for believing that pollution is free and other absurdities

    Yet you believe the fantasy that regulations don't cause their own externalities.

  • Tony||

    No I don't. I actually believe in externalities. You guys only believe they are possible when government causes them.

  • acidovorax||

    No I don't. I actually believe in externalities. You guys only believe they are possible when government causes them.

    More dishonesty. You claim that market externalities must be corrected by government intervention, regardless if the public has not demonstrated any desire to address the externality, then ignore the externalities created by the intervention. If people -the market -don't act on said externality, then they don't prioritize it's effect in the bigger picture.

  • acidovorax||

    Think starvation will provide that little boost of motivation they need?

    It's sad that you believe that the only thing preventing the masses from starving is the State. All evidence shows that our economic system, and moreso a free market, drives down the cost of such basic necessities. Yet one of the functions of the Federal Reserve is to keep prices propped up (price stabilization). And I am bombarded daily with PSA's telling me how millions go to bed hungry. So how again does the State prevent such starvation?

  • Whahappan?||

    So did Americans starve before 1965? How about before 1932? Of course not, and we're much richer today, and will be even richer in the future. Even you are not stupid enough to believe that anyone in America would starve even if the welfare state was phased out. Government dependence creates its own cycle, that's why poverty rates declined steadily until the Great Society, and then stagnated.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Presumably you grew up rich as well.

    You know what, Tony, FUCK YOU! I didn't grow up rich. In fact, probably a lot poorer than you did. We just didn't get any handouts and got by. And to hear hear a snot-nosed little cocksucker like yourself (and no, it isn't a reference to the fact that you're gay; there's plenty of heterosexual douchenozzles I call cocksuckers) write off the fact that it was the old man's money to give and not yours, mine, or the government's by accusing Irish of being a rich kid convinces me you're not just someone whose politics I deplore, you're a godawful excuse for a human being. And if I ever found out that you'd suffered an excruciating death, I'd probably laugh.

  • Michael Price||

    "Bullshit doubletalk. You do propose to cut poor people off entirely, do you not? "
    From what? The ability to steal? Yes we do. And we want to cut the rich people off from the same thing. Of course you believe, for some reason that the current system of stealing is run mostly for the benefit of the poor. Because the poor have so much political influence.

    " Also, children exist. When you can fully wrap your mind around that minor little fact, you'll have to stop being a libertarian."
    Yeah because children are helped so much by the government.

    " Presumably you grew up rich as well."
    Yeah because there's no such thing as a libertarian born poor, except you know, most of the most influential ones.

    "and they absolutely do rent seek with the best of them. "

  • Killazontherun||

    Like I said of a mainstream journalist a few days ago, this reeks of the desperation of losers. They write as if the limited knowledge base they have built careers on is in danger of having to be expanded significantly by these libertarians introducing software upgrades to the system the office has used for decades with their crazy ideas and if they don't adjust their thinking, its going to threaten their job security.

  • NoVAHockey||

    Non-Hack Tea Parties and Anti-War Dems team up

    Greg Sargent on the coalition shaping up in the house.

  • Irish||

    I'll admit that I've been impressed with the Democrats over this issue. I initially assumed that they'd fall in behind Big Daddy, but many of them have actually stuck to their principles.

  • Killazontherun||

    Most surprising was Grayson. He was perfect on that MSNBC show. Jaw droppingly on the money.

  • Brett L||

    Yeah. I still think he's an asshole and an idiot, but I have to remove unprincipled from my critique.

  • BakedPenguin||

    He might have just been looking at the poll numbers, but I was still impressed. That was a full body slam of an interview.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Reading NoVA's article, I'd have to take that back. If Grayson is leading the charge among the anti-war D's, he's probably doing that from principle. They may forgive someone who strays, but they won't forgive the leader of the strays.

  • Brett L||

    No, I looked him up the other day when I saw he was out in front of this. I obviously don't like the guy, nor agree with him much, but he has been remarkably consistent in his positions in both of his terms in Congress.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I said this on the AM thread - he was "my" rep when I lived in central Florida, yet I think this is the first time he's ever actually represented me.

  • Whahappan?||

    And that's the difference between you and mindless partisans. Most anti-war Democrats won't credit Rand Paul or Justin Amash for their principled stands against war in Syria, or their criticism of the security state, and most Republicans are loath to agree with them on specifics of reining in the welfare state, although they may mouth vague platitudes.

  • Zenjuris||

    Calling Somalia a libertarian paradise is as much a strawman as calling North Korea a progressive paradise. In fact, it's worse. You are more likely to find progressives who admire North Korea than libertarians who admire Somalia. Moreover, the North Korean government portrays North Korea as a shining example of many of the principles supported by progressives. You don't see Somali officials advocating libertarian principles.

  • Tony||

    Nobody claims you admire Somalia, just that it's what a country looks like with government limited to the extent you guys claim you want.

    Cue "But we're just talking about a modest rollback in government spending (until tomorrow when all taxation becomes theft again)!"

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    Nobody claims you admire Somalia, just that it's what a country looks like with government limited to the extent you guys claim you want.

    So the level of government is Somalia's problem? So if you have a country with major economic troubles, long-standing tribal hatreds, and minimal foreign investment, all you need to do is add a magical sprinkle of government and everything is better? Must be why Egypt is such a smashing success.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The irony is that Somalia has a government. It just happens to be a government run by corrupt, violent, bat-shit insane Islamist thugs.

  • Jordan||

    If only the Randian sheeple in Somalia would give those Islamist thugs more power, then Somalia would be a veritable utopia.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    Plus tribalism is a government system. Probably the oldest governmental system in the world. It even has collectivist values (Within the tribe members) and Top Men!

  • Tony||

    I don't know but libertarians surely have to contend with the fact that these things do exist.

    Any prescription for how people should live must take into account how they've already been living, right?

  • Michael Price||

    "I don't know but libertarians surely have to contend with the fact that these things do exist."
    Why yes, and they existed under the not-exactly-libertarian government or Barre didn't they? And in fact they were made worse by that government weren't they? And all of these problems got better under anarchy, faster than they did in most comparable countries. So your argument is that anarchy isn't an instant cure-all. Well Tony you win, it isn't. You can fuck off now.

  • Andrew S.||

    Christ, Tony, just... stop it. You know the old saying. It's better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and prove it. And you're proving it here.

  • Michael||

    Nobody claims you admire Somalia, just that it's what a country looks like with government limited to the extent you guys claim you want.

    So two insanely violent government powers locked in a death match for control over a country equals no government. Got it.

  • Tony||

    Yeah that's pretty much what happens when you get rid of a strong centralized government. What do you think will happen? Everyone starts farting rainbows?

  • ||

    Don't worry. Eventually the biggest thug will kill enough people to come out on top and establish the kind of strong authority you crave.

  • Fluffy||

    Somalia is pretty close to what I think would emerge following the creation of an anarchy.

    Hordes of micro states fighting each other to re-establish a macro state.

    But libertarianism is not the same as anarchy. Colonial era Pennsylvania was a lot closer to a libertarian state than Somalia is.

  • John||

    And of course Somalia is full of communists and Islamic nuts and tribalists and all sorts of people who would love nothing better than to have one big powerful government. No one in Somalia believes in limited government. There isn't any one sect powerful enough to set up the big oppressive government they want.

  • LynchPin1477||

    There are people (some of whom comment here) that are proud anarchists and that closely identify with or as libertarians. It's convenient for some people to latch on to one particular viewpoint, often on one particular issue, project onto a large group, shout it down, and then act like they just discredited the entire intellectual movement of libertarianism.

  • Killazontherun||

    But libertarianism is not the same as anarchy.

    Wished I had seen this closer to the time you wrote it. Libertarian is one according to my 1880s vintage Oxford dictionary is one who advocates liberty. It doesn't matter what -archy under which that advocacy takes place to qualify. Be it monarchy (Burke, Hoppe), anarchy (Rothbard, the one most responsible for the modern adaptation of 'libertarian'), minarchy (Von Mises, Friedman), or an expanded emergency condition wartime state (W F Buckley), all that matters is a belief in liberty as the highest political ideal for one to be a libertarian unqualified by other factors.

  • crashland||

    States have been responsible for slaughter on such a vast scale. Millions upon millions dead at the hands of State actors like Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Bonaparte, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro... When considering all of the millions upon millions killed by these wonderful States, Somalia sucks much less.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    People have explained this to you many, many times. SOMALIA IS NOT A LIBERTARIAN STATE. It is a failed communist then socialist then Islamist (read communism with a god) state. And the reason it failed is that the various tribes identity groups broke out into open warfare to obtain the goods and services that said state made it policy to redistribute.

  • gaoxiaen||

    On the other hand, Somalia does have beautiful uncrowded beaches. Just buy a cheap woven straw mat at the local market and carry it to the beach. Everyone that sees you assumes that you're a Moslem.

  • Michael Price||

    "Nobody claims you admire Somalia, just that it's what a country looks like with government limited to the extent you guys claim you want.
    No actually it's what a country looks like after being run by believers in big government for 3 decades, then having a civil war and having an anarchy for a few years.

    The "Somalia" argument is that a country didn't turn into a paradise after a few years, therefore anarchy doesn't work. It's the biggest admission that the statists have lost that can be conceived. It would be like having the Nazis run Australia for 3 decades, then the Green Party leading a revolt and governing for a few years, and then saying "See moderate socialism produces a state that has shitty infrastructure.".

    The sad thing is Tony, that Somalia is the best argument for libertarianism anywhere. If you had asked me how well anarchy would work in Somalia just after it had been established I'd have said: "It won't. It's not a fair test because there are longstanding and entrenched ethnic hostilities, large bands of armed men used to the idea of getting paid to shoot people, a society that doesn't believe in the rule of law or basic freedoms, etc."
    That Somali anarchy worked so well under those conditions shows anarchy is almost indestructible.

  • Michael Price||

    "Nobody claims you admire Somalia, just that it's what a country looks like with government limited to the extent you guys claim you want.
    No actually it's what a country looks like after being run by believers in big government for 3 decades, then having a civil war and having an anarchy for a few years.

    The "Somalia" argument is that a country didn't turn into a paradise after a few years, therefore anarchy doesn't work. It's the biggest admission that the statists have lost that can be conceived. It would be like having the Nazis run Australia for 3 decades, then the Green Party leading a revolt and governing for a few years, and then saying "See moderate socialism produces a state that has shitty infrastructure.".

    The sad thing is Tony, that Somalia is the best argument for libertarianism anywhere. If you had asked me how well anarchy would work in Somalia just after it had been established I'd have said: "It won't. It's not a fair test because there are longstanding and entrenched ethnic hostilities, large bands of armed men used to the idea of getting paid to shoot people, a society that doesn't believe in the rule of law or basic freedoms, etc."
    That Somali anarchy worked so well under those conditions shows anarchy is almost indestructible.

  • Andrew S.||

    You're new here, aren't you?

  • Killazontherun||

    Korea really is the end result of communist policies, as were Soviet Russia, Communist China, Cambodia, Cuba, etc. Somalia is the end result of a Communist revolution, followed by a civil war, followed by juntas, followed by UN involvement creating perversed reward incentives for which goods were fought over, followed by more civil war.

  • JW||

    Somalia is the end result of a Communist revolution, followed by a civil war, followed by juntas, followed by UN involvement creating perversed reward incentives for which goods were fought over, followed by more civil war.

    Right, textbook libertarianism.

  • gaoxiaen||

    All of which were accompanied by famine or near-famine.

  • Michael||

    Holy fuck. I clicked on the Wikipedia link HM posted and ended up going down the massive rabbit hole of retardedness that is Paul Krugman and his less-than-half-wit followers. An example:

    Charley JamesMinneapolis MN

    I've discovered over the past few years that smaller merchants, independently-owned neighborhood stores for example, are perfectly willing to discount a cash purchase. I wait until there aren't any other customers around the register and quietly ask if there's a different price for a cash purchase. More often than not, the merchant - who's often the store owner - will glance around furtively and nod a 'yes' at me.

    Stores are as fed up with credit card companies as are most people who have a Visa, AmEx or Master Card, and more than happy to help wage a quiet guerrilla war against them.
    Sept. 6, 2013 at 11:55 a.m.

    tewLos Angeles

    Charley,

    If the discount is more than a penny or two on the dollar, the cash discount isn't to avoid credit card transactions. The reason is to either avoid taxes (if you're dealing with an owner) or steal the money (if you're dealing with an employee).
    Sept. 6, 2013 at 2:07 p.m.

  • John||

    I have this piece of plastic that allows me to effectively borrow money interest free over short periods and pay for shit virtually anywhere without bothering to carry cash. I have no idea why anyone would want to pay a premium for that. Those companies are just ripping me off.

    And if I am a store owner, these evil companies let my customers pay me if if they didn't bring cash and pay me with a card, which is something that people are known to be more willing to spend money with than they would be using cash. No way would I pay anything for that service.

    These credit card companies are just stealing from people.

  • Brett L||

    One of my friends owns a pretty successful local restaurant. She was paying a minimum of 5 cents on the dollar for credit card usage. Some retail places with low volume pay a minimum of 35 or even 50 cents a transaction. These people are kidding themselves if they think a 5% discount is the owner "helping" anyone.

  • Rasilio||

    Actually the merchant pays transaction costs ranging from 3 to 6%

    So in many cases a 5% discount makes a lot of sense

  • FYTW||

    Are we sure Tony isn't named Eric Hanauer or Eric Liu? This is exactly the sort of fact-free screed that he'd write.

  • Jordan||

    No kidding. It's hilarious how he comes and parrots exactly the same shit that was in this article. Projection and strawmen are all that proglodytes have.

  • SugarFree||

    He's doing no more and no less than trolling to get people to respond to him. All he has to do is stick his crooked dick into the glory hole and someone will starting sucking it right away.

    Insult it if you must, but talking to it like it's a real person just lowers the tone.

  • PH2050||

    ^THIS.

    Just fucking ignore the idiot.

  • Fluffy||

    And as usual, these people simply don't understand the meaning of the word nihilist.

    Describing Ayn Rand, for example, as a nihilist is an absurdity of the highest order. Rand destroyed herself and her movement by hypermoralising. Objectivists literally sit around and morally berate each other for not liking the appropriate art and music. If Rand could have figured out a way to make cuisine preference a moral issue, she would have done it.

    To point at that person and describe her as someone who refuses to believe in the existence of moral or aesthetic values (i.e. a nihilist) means you just don't know what you're talking about. It's like calling the Pope an atheist.

  • Marc F Cheney||

    Objectivists literally sit around and morally berate each other for not liking the appropriate art and music.

    I don't know how much that really happens any more.

    But that reminds me of something I read on Cracked recently which described the end stage of Objectivism as a society where everybody smokes and yells at other. I liked that.

  • Fluffy||

    I don't know how much that really happens any more.

    Only because she's dead, man.

    If she could rise from the grave, cigarette holder in hand, to bitch me out for liking Lady Gaga, she would.

  • John||

    If Rand were alive today, she would be a prudish and smarter version of Camile Paglia, only with better taste.

  • Killazontherun||

    Another aspect I found amusing of the Miley Cyrus bashers last week was Paglia jumping aboard that bad wagon. Camile Paglia! Who worshiped at the alter the Queen of Bad Taste, Madonna Ciccone and wrote a book about it.

  • Killazontherun||

    band wagon.

  • pmains||

    Meh. Six in one hand. Half dozen in the other.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Do you mean that she would have liked The Sopranos?

  • BakedPenguin||

    If you like Lady Gaga, she should.

  • ||

    If she could rise from the grave, cigarette holder in hand, to bitch me out for liking Lady Gaga, she would.

    In all fairness, it shouldn't take the resurrection of Ayn Rand for you to get bitched out for liking Lady Gaga.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Fluffy, consider yourself bitched out by me for liking Lady Gaga. Geh!

  • Irish||

    It was more true when Rand was alive and had her little personality cult. They'd shake their fists and chain smoke while insulting someone for liking chamber music that had a collectivist message that only Ayn Rand could hear.

    It's kind of bizarre that objectivism became such a personality cult considering that it's supposed to be pro-individual.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    It's kind of bizarre that objectivism became such a personality cult considering that it's supposed to be pro-individual.

    It is inevitable when your cult is made up of nerdy 20-something Jewish guys and your leader is giving them all blowjobs.

  • John||

    I am a WASP, but why couldn't I ever get into such a cult?

  • Pro Libertate||

    First, find a Russian woman.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Dude, it was Rand giving the BJs. 50-something Rand.

  • John||

    No woman looks that bad with your....

    Well, you know the rest.

  • Irish||

    Do you really want a BJ from Ayn Rand? I personally think that it would be very unpleasant.

  • Pro Libertate||

    She seemed to have some sort of pain thing going. I recommend that you do not do this, John.

  • SugarFree||

    I personally think that it would be very unpleasant.

    The smoker's cough is very stimulating when you are all up in there.

  • Brett L||

    If you really want to warp your mind I suggest The Passion of Ayn Rand where in Ayn (played by Helen Mirren) convinces her partner, Eric Stolz and his partner that she and Stolz should fuck like bunnies because it is necessary for her to complete her masterpiece (Atlas Shrugged). I thought the casting sucked because nobody is going to leave Peter fucking Fonda to screw Stolz, and Stolz's wife was way too smoking hot to get beat out by anyone, even Mirren.

  • BakedPenguin||

    That reminds me of Fatal Attraction. Cheating on an in-her-prime Anne Archer with Glenn Close? He should have got what the rabbit got.

  • John||

    It goes back to my point above. To these people there is nothing outside of the state. They are totalitarians. So to them rejecting the state is rejecting everything.

    You and I see them call someone like Rand a nihilist and laugh are asses off at how absurd it is. But that is only because we see the world as consisting of things out side of the state, and moral beliefs and values being something different from the state. These people don't. To them, the state is morality. So when Rand rejects the state, she is rejecting morality and is thus a nihilist.

    They are fucking scary.

  • Tony||

    They are totalitarians.

    No, you're just an idiot John.

    It is a hallmark of a radical to assume reasonable people are, themselves, radicals.

  • John||

    No Tony. You don't understand your own beliefs. That is why you are so immune to rational argument. You can't be persuaded by arguments against positions you don't realize you hold.

  • Tony||

    I'm pretty sure I know exactly what I believe.

    I do not actually believe the ridiculous insane straw men you claim I do.

  • ||

    I'm pretty sure I know exactly what I believe.

    At any given second, sure.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    It is a hallmark of a radical to assume reasonable people are, themselves, radicals.

    I don't think this is remotely true.... but if so & if radical is "bad" - see no further than the current administration and all their lackies in the press as consummate examples of "radicals" - because anyone that doesn't agree with them is an extremist who lacks common sense to "do what everyone knows needs to be done".

    They even go so far as to claim that people who advocate for a smaller state are in fact equivalent to those in the past who advocated for an all encompassing state.

    But for me - radical just describes a person espousing an idea (or set of ideas) which go against current conventional wisdom.

    As such - radicals are neither good nor bad by definition, only good or bad depending upon the ideas they espouse.

    For instance - espousing a smaller government in the face of consistent and continuing government growth is radical, but IMHO not bad.

    However, espousing a return to slavery would also be radical - but, unless you're Tony and believe in majority rule, espousing a return to slavery while radical, would also be bad (and immoral - assuming you believe the state isn't the arbiter of morality - if you do, like Tony, then the state moving to slavery is ok- why? because the state said so).

  • Tony||

    Let me go on record saying slavery is bad.

  • Michael||

    You should always try to remember that to these people, nihilist = anybody that believes in something they find objectionable.

  • pmains||

    I think it's more nuanced than that. Libertarians are nihilists for not having a comprehensive program detailing how others should live. Thus, we must not care how other people live; whether they act morally or immorally, whether they live fulfilling lives or are self-defeating. Nope. Libertarians, because we don't endeavor to plan the entire world, must have no opinions on how the world should be.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    If Rand could have figured out a way to make cuisine preference a moral issue, she would have done it.

    COLLECTIVIST! It is well known that a vegetarian is anti-life in that he is specifically denying himself the pleasure of the flavors and textures of animal flesh. This is why vegetarianism was so popular with collectivist mystics, like Buddha, Hindu gurus, and Hitler.

    (I came up with that in one minute. I should have been a cult leader.)

  • Killazontherun||

    It's never too late.

    I saw a trailer for a new movie that looks like it is based on Wikileaks and Julian Assange. It made me clinch my fist in the air, 'why couldn't I've been born to look like a lanky, albino Eurotrash supervillian!' It's the role in life I was meant to play.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    That's not bad.

  • FYTW||

    Say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Fluffy, but at least it's an ideology.

  • John||

    The other pathetic thing about this article is that it accuses Libertarians of not understanding that people are corruptible and having some kind of idealized view of human nature.

    The truth of course is that libertarianism and classical liberalism are both built on the assumption that people are absolutely corruptible and having anything but an ideal nature. That is why they can't be trusted with power and why government must always be small and limited.

    It is Marxists and their retarded step children the progressives who think human beings have some kind of better nature that can be brought out through the right government policies.

  • Almanian!||

    We're just....one more regulation away from perfection...

  • Killazontherun||

    That is one thing arch libertarians like myself, other members of this blog and the better renown like H. L. Mencken have demonstrated over the years, an absolute faith in humanity doing the right thing.

  • John||

    Especially when given power and authority over others. Nothing says "libertarian" than the belief that people will do the right thing if only given enough power.

  • Irish||

    When did H.L. Mencken demonstrate an absolute faith in humanity doing the right thing? His entire body of work consists of him talking about his hatred of 95% of humanity.

  • Killazontherun||

    Check the batteries, Irish. They're dead.

  • Irish||

    Well...sarcasm is hard when it's in written form.

  • Killazontherun||

    That's why I chose Menken instead of, say, Postrel. His hate of humanity was unambiguous.

  • CE||

    As usual, Thomas Jefferson had this figured out over 200 years ago:

    Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he then be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.

  • Tony||

    That is why they can't be trusted with power and why government must always be small and limited.

    How do you propose to limit this power? Won't evil people simply take power for themselves if given the opportunity? What external force do you imagine is capable of keeping government limited if there are people who want to come and impose their own form of "government" on you--the very thing modern governments exist to prevent?

    Also, when did you become a libertarian?

  • Michael S. Langston||

    How do you propose to limit this power?

    My answer my differ from the individual you asked - but following the very limited scope of the Constitution would be one way of limiting power.

    If the government isn't allowed to have massive power over people's lives than even electing an evil ruler is a problem that is easily contained.

    Of course if your government says it can arrest anyone it wants, hold them indefinitely without trial/reason, it can investigate free press for printing truthful articles, it can spy on all citizens communications everywhere, it can murderdrone you if it deems you're a threat, it can start wars without imminent threat nor public approval, it can directly attack its opponents through force of law (IRS, Labor Board, etc), it can ignore any law it wishes, even laws it recently passed and said was necessary, etc, etc, etc... all while arguing that none of its citizens needs ability to defend themselves...

    Well, when government is allowed that much power, electing even a semi-evil person will be the end of all freedom.

  • Almanian!||

    when in fact cooperation is the height of human evolution

    1) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    2) [citation needed]

  • Almanian!||

    Oh, I forgot:

    3) Beg the question much?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Cookie Monster:Arch-Progressive

    --Brought to you by The Children's Television Workshop and PBS

  • Almanian!||

    I love a picture i found of Cookie Monster sitting wearing a smoking jacket with the caption:

    "1% of Monsters Eat 99% of Cookies"

  • ||

    The Jacket is the new communist for not giving me a hat-tip.

  • Killazontherun||

    To each according to his abilities, to each according to his means, Apatheist.

  • ||

    I guess I need to get a gang to get Gillespie to "cooperate."

  • lap83||

    Anti-libertarians don't need ideas. They have free shit and feelings.

  • Agammamon||

    Does . . . does the statue have stinky pits and so she has to use communist deodorant?

  • Biden's Scroteplugs||

    Libertarians are the New Communists

    these guys must know Shriek

  • Loki||

    I think we may have at long last discovered the true identity of Shriek and Tony: Nick Hanauer and Eric Liu. This sounds like exactly the sort of thought free drivel that they like to spew.

  • JoshSN||

    I'm the anti-libertarian, your critique of this article is fine, and I am made out of ideas.

    And, by the way, when Grover Norquist says he wants to get the government so small he can drown it in the bathtub, it precisely resembles the remarks you don't believe are coming from the targeted individuals.

    One of my favorite anti-libertarian blog posts actually does compare libertarians and communists, but in a very different way. It's actually making fun of a Reason event, specifically, so, you've been warned:

    http://examinedlife.typepad.co.....were_.html

    Reason recently published a debate held at its 35th anniversary banquet. The flavor of this discussion is indescribable. In its total estrangement from our political and social life today, its wilfull disregard of all known facts about human nature, it resembles nothing so much as a debate over some fine procedural point of end-stage communism, after the state has withered away. Child-care arrangements, let's say. Position A: there will be well run communal creches! Position B: nonsense! the amount of work required from each individual to maintain a perfectly functioning society will be so small that people can care for their own children and those of others on a spontaneous basis, as the need arises!
  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Fair warning to anyone who may be tempted to click the link -- it starts with this sentence:

    I think Matthew Yglesias' response to Josh Chafetz' exercise in wishful thinking was about right, even if Brad DeLong's is more nuanced.

    Be forewarned.

  • JoshSN||

    I warned them with the phrase "you've been warned" and "I'm the anti-libertarian."

    Typical government regulating libertarian, wanting to put up more and more street signs.

  • JoshSN||

    I warned them with the phrase "you've been warned" and "I'm the anti-libertarian."

    Typical government regulating libertarian, wanting to put up more and more street signs.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Thanks. I won't read it.

  • crashland||


    Radical libertarianism assumes that humans are wired only to be selfish, when in fact cooperation is the height of human evolution.

    Hey dipshit, humans can cooperate with each other without being forced to do so by an oppressive and confiscatory state. People come together in churches and social groups and lend each other a hand freely without any enforcers required. Taking from one citizen and giving to another is thievery. Citizens freely giving to assist their brethren is charity. Charity is honorable. Thievery is a crime.

    They can fuck off and die. I served in the army to kill Ivan. Gave plenty of money to the GOP over the years. Voted for nothing but Republicans until this past election where in spite of family pressure to suck it up and for the the non-Obama candidate who could possibly win, I finally decided to quit voting for the solid turd versus the squishy turd and pulled the lever for Johnson.

    I was a conservative Republican, then a socially liberal, fiscally conservative Republican, then a libertarian and now I'm sliding toward being a damn anarchist. Fuck the state. Fuck their social contract.

  • Tony||

    You live in pretty much the freest situation any human being has ever lived in the history of the world, give or take a few dollars and government policies. Why on earth do you assume anarchy would be an improvement?

  • Michael S. Langston||

    BS - this country was freer just 10 years ago. Freer still years before that and so on and so forth.

    & given that the current administration claims in court the ability to detain indefinitely, kill whomever it deems a threat, and start wars against public opinion and without legal approval = I think it should be self evident that no government is better than that.

    But I'm not an anarchist - so I don't actually assume it will be better in most cases, but it's largely an academic question since we've never really had an anarchist society.

    However, without question you believe in a more expansive role in government that we currently have, and history has shown over and over again that expansive governments are very, very good at limiting rights and killing millions - yet you assume every time that any problem we are facing can be fixed with more government.

    So the real questions is - with history as your guide - Why on earth do you assume having an all powerful government will be an improvement over our current situation?

  • Tony||

    I don't believe in having an all-powerful government.

    None of you can address the plain, simple liberalism I believe in. You all set your hair on fire and scream totalitarianism. Because you are fucking idiots.

    The world is more peaceful in terms of human body count than it has ever been. The US is more free than it's ever been, particularly if you're not a white heterosexual male.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    None of you can address the plain, simple liberalism I believe in.

    No, actually we have and shown it to be a load of horse shit. What we can't address is your insistence on not paying attention.

  • ||

    I seem to recall you advocating, on more than one occassion, that all industry be nationalized and obama be given complete control over them. I assume that you meant that would be desirable only as long as obama is president because you also suggested that he be made president for life. I also assume you suggested this because you believe government is superior to the private sector in efficiency and 'fair' distribution of resources.

    On other occasions you have used terms like 'wealth apologist' to accuse your opponents.

    The system you admire resembles ones instituted by totalitarians. When I say resembles, I mean in the same way that a stone resembles a rock.

    Yeah, plain simple liberalism.

    Wow.

  • Robert||

    I've heard the same since the 1970s. And of course it's correct. Extremists have as much or more in common with each other than we do with the moderates of their kind. I didn't invent the saying, "It's easier to turn a radical/activist into a libertarian than it is to turn a libertarian into a radical/activist."

    Once you get it into your head that there are certain things that are right or wrong over a broad range of circumstances, other consider'ns notwithstanding, then picking what's right & wrong is a relatively minor detail.

  • Tony||

    Here's a much better critique along the same lines:

    Marxism of the right

    And I swear I did not read this before making this exact point above:

    "But because 95 percent of the libertarianism one encounters at cocktail parties, on editorial pages, and on Capitol Hill is a kind of commonplace 'street' libertarianism, I decline to allow libertarians the sophistical trick of using a vulgar libertarianism to agitate for what they want by defending a refined version of their doctrine when challenged philosophically. We’ve seen Marxists pull that before."

  • Tony||

    (A conservative critique, I should say.)

  • Hopfiend||

    The writer slides right in to slander people who are attracted to libertarian philosophy by essentially calling them hippies. This passes as an intellectual critique of libertarianism?

  • setTHEline||

    "The most fundamental problem with libertarianism is very simple: freedom, though a good thing, is simply not the only good thing in life. Simple physical security, which even a prisoner can possess, is not freedom, but one cannot live without it. Prosperity is connected to freedom, in that it makes us free to consume, but it is not the same thing, in that one can be rich but as unfree as a Victorian tycoon’s wife. A family is in fact one of the least free things imaginable, as the emotional satisfactions of it derive from relations that we are either born into without choice or, once they are chosen, entail obligations that we cannot walk away from with ease or justice. But security, prosperity, and family are in fact the bulk of happiness for most real people and the principal issues that concern governments."

    What a confused analogy. So someone who sleeps with locked doors at night in a secure location (maybe a house?) isn't really free? And that somehow undermines the central idea of libertarianism? Couldn't someone be CHOOSING to sleep in a secure location? Sounds like free to me, guy. Sort of embarrassing that you would post such a terrible argument.

  • setTHEline||

    Oh and one more thing, having a family (or at least owning up to your family) is definitely a choice, and is therefore indicative of freedom.

  • Tony||

    I'm most interested in the argument that freedom is not the only good or valued thing in life, and that people, freely choosing, never choose a libertarian regime. Explain that.

  • setTHEline||

    But I just showed you that security, family, good things, etc. are not mutually exclusive with freedom. Nobody is arguing that you should be able to violate the rights of others (except for you I guess), only that people be allowed to make their own choices, insofar as it doesn't infringe on the rights of others. Why is that so hard to understand? And you're right, most people try to control others, which is why in a constitutional republic, the individual is supposed to have rights that can't be voted away by the majority. That's the essence of the constitution, and it's a classical libertarian essence (though obviously not perfect).

  • FYTW||

    You're approvingly linking to an opinion piece in which the author argues, apparently in all seriousness, that pornography "vulgarizes the culture."

    He is an assclown. You are an even bigger assclown for imagining that he has anything important or valuable to say about anything.

    Fuck off, sockpuppet.

  • Tony||

    I disagree with the hysteria over porn, but agree with the devastating takedown of libertarian bullshit.

    I get that it's uncomfortable for you to have to face reasonable criticisms of the dogma you've chosen to adopt, but that's why you shouldn't adopt dogmas.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    lol - I'm sure you agree with this:

    If Marxism is the delusion that one can run society purely on altruism and collectivism, then libertarianism is the mirror-image delusion that one can run it purely on selfishness and individualism.

    But it's false and shows a major misunderstanding of libertarianism.

    Their mistake is yours - since they (and you) believe in the power of the state and only the state to make right - they simply cannot understand that libertarianism does not advocate a society to be run on selfishness and individualism.

    As unlike the current liberal philosophy which dictates what you believe in, how you think, how you dress, what you eat, what you drive, where you live, what fuel you should use to provide lighting, how you vote, etc, etc, etc, - libertarianism does none of that.

    It's not about how society should act, but only how government should act - in a very limited way.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Continuing...if you contemplate if - in libertopia people could be collectivists if they wished.

    For instance, if a bunch of individuals decided to get together, form a collective, pool resources for healthcare, food, or anything else they wish - libertarian society wouldn't stop you.

    However, in Obama's America, if you try to form your own collective with your own group and pool your shared resources, you better believe that they will not allow it without proper paperwork, forced government schooling, regulations on which healthcare insurance can be purchased, and all the other regulations that would cover a commune (zoning requirements, building permits, sanitation requirements, food prep, business permits , etc, etc, etc.) that it would simply fail to exist.

    Unless you're lucky enough to be Amish and have a legally ingrained religious exemption or unless you happen to be politically connected, any attempt to build a full functioning mini-society, even on private land, would be shut down in Obama's America.

    Yet you, this author, and many others think libertarianism is all about "force"...

    Project much?

  • Tony||

    The problem is, despite your fetishizing of choice, nobody freely chooses to live in a libertarian society. And you don't see people's choices as legitimate if they choose a society different from your preferred model. I won't assume you'd want to impose it by force. But it's the only way you're going to get it.

  • Tony||

    See above. Address what liberals really believe and stop waxing hysterical about totalitarianism. It undermines your entire argument because you are attacking an obviously ridiculous straw man.

  • ||

    but that's why you shouldn't adopt dogmas.

    ... unless they are mine!

    God you're a cunt...

  • Tony||

    I reject all dogmas.

    Not being so attached to your worldview that it can change with new evidence is truly liberating. You guys should try it sometime.

  • RightNut||

    I found the Stupid! What prize do I win?

  • Brandybuck||

    This thread is too long for me. Has anyone mentioned the ROADZ yet? If not, here is my contribution:

    ROADZ!

  • FYTW||

    SOMALIA!

  • setTHEline||

    "Radical libertarianism assumes that humans are wired only to be selfish, when in fact cooperation is the height of human evolution."

    And by cooperation, I think they mean, "do as you're told by your overlords".

  • Tony||

    Cooperation is what people do outside of their jerkoff chair out in the real world. Libertarians understandably have a hard time with this.

  • sarcasmic||

    Cooperation is when people voluntarily work towards a common goal. It is understandable that you cannot grasp the concept because all you know is force. You won't work with anyone or help anyone unless someone makes you. What you don't understand is that just because you are a piece of shit who won't do anything unless you are forced doesn't mean everyone else is a piece of shit like you. Other people cooperate because they want to. They work together because they want to. Not because someone makes them, but because they want to. I know. It's a strange concept, but believe me it's true. Not everyone is a piece of shit like you.

  • setTHEline||

    What a meaningless definition, can you elaborate on cooperation in the context of force? Cooperation is voluntary, otherwise I think the dictionary would define it as something else. Maybe "force", or "coercion", not cooperation though.

  • Silvergoat||

    It's been amazing to see the left all seem to band together with the same meme: If you don't support Obama in this attack, you are a Putin loving communist. I've read the same general attack response over 6+ blog sites, most recently at the Dailybeast.com and Garrett Berntsen's post. The vilification is amazing. You are a traitor if you don't join the sheeple. It's also been seen at Puffington and Politico. There is just too much coordination and similarity in the commentary to be an accident. I guess Organizing for Obama has new marching orders, independent thought be damned. Oh, and don't point out how Putin has shamed and humiliated Obama. That brings out a level of hysterical response that is amusing as long as you don't take their attempt at personal destruction too personally.

  • Silvergoat||

    this was crossposted at Instapundit.

  • Treg4RonPaul||

    Nick Gillespie's sorry reply is what is completely wrong with the Reason/Cato libertarian crowd. It is a snob's reply that should make real libertarian intellectuals puke. It is without defense. The critic is right on target with his criticism, and his criticism deserves a well reasoned answer, point for point. All libertarians should be so THANKFUL to its honest critics because that is the opportunity to explain and expound and correct. That is something Nick fails miserably to deliver here. The critic states that like communism which place equality at the forefront and so was out of step with human nature, so too is libertarianism which places Liberty above all other ethical goals and so is also out of step with human nature. Nick fails to correct. Nothing is more disturbing to me than this kind of dismissal of our critics with childish retorts. The charge that libertarianism is out of step with human nature is a serious charge, just as serious as the claims that a libertarian society is unworkable. By the way, those are the very charges libertarianism made against communism & socialism, and now the question is, can libertarianism answer back to the same charge? It can, but not with snobbish dismissive replies such as the one Nick offers here. This convinces no one but the already convinced and the true believer; ie two groups who should be highly avoided at all costs should you seek out objectivity.

  • RightNut||

    The criticisms were childish, so Nick is more than justified in treating them as such.

  • RightNut||

    Whoa 400+ comments?! Stupid(tony) must be trolling in here somewhere.

  • Thomas O.||

    And no spam posts either! That's a fucking miracle in itself.

  • ||

    Take the Tony out of this thread and it is probably one of the bestest ever. Well, some of the replies to Tony are worth keeping.

    Thanks Nick, and keep up the good work.

  • umh||

    While the thought that "cooperation is the height of human evolution" may be idolized by some; anyone with reasonable powers of observation will notice that there is a parasitic subset of people who feast on the cooperation of others. Many of these are politicians. Many more are just lazy and have to low a level of cunning to enjoy a feast so they just latch onto the host because it's easy.

  • Greendogo||

    I appreciate that Reason doesn't go out and say that Libertarianism eventually leads to civil anarchy. It is a more public view into Libertarianism, than say, the Mises Institute. But seriously, stop insisting that Libertarianism en masse don't believe in [civil-]Anarchy. Because that's where it rightfully leads. Go read some Rothbard, you statists. :P

  • Sigivald||

    Rothbard's libertarianism isn't the only kind, is the thing.

    (And, well, Nozick made excellent arguments against the possibility of actual Anarchism rather than a minarchy...)

    (On the main topic, oh lord are those excerpts howlers.

    They depend on - assuming honest delusion rather than cynical deceit - having never heard any libertarian theory that wasn't presented by either a Progressive or a sociopathic teenager who skimmed Rand, and nothing more.

    The idea that "selfishness" and "cooperation" are not just compatible but go hand in hand is doubtless incomprehensible to them.)

  • triclops||

    Tony has, on many occassions, vigorously stated that if the state doesn't do a thing, it doesn't exist. It is strange that he so emphatically denies this.

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