What Libertarianism Isn't

RobinEllis/FlickrRobinEllis/Flickr

At my first real journalism job, I started off covering personal finance. Not having the first clue about financial topics going in, I ended up asking patient sources a lot of questions like, "So tell me who should consider an REIT—and also what are they?" In my naivety this seemed very crazy to me, that people would let you write professionally about a topic with no prior knowledge of it. Yet journalists cover complex things they don't know about all the time, and this is usually okay because they research and talk to people who do know about it.

Unless, of course, they're writing about libertarians. 

Not only do you not have to know the first thing about libertarianism to cover it for major news outlets, it is perfectly fine to a) decline to ask anybody who does know, b) make up your own version of what it is, and then c) lament the terribleness of this terrible philosophy or people you have just created. Cases in point: approximately every 10th article published by Salon, this piece by Damon Linker at The Week

Linker's recent piece is titled, "How liberalism became an intolerant dogma," which made my ears perk up because, duh. This is a topic near and dear to me, many libertarians, and many liberals right now. The indolent hubris so many on the left express toward social progress and the corrosive Twitter-mob effect on the leftist discourse is roundly upsetting. As Linker puts it, "liberals have begun to grow increasingly religious about their own liberalism, which they are treating as a comprehensive view of reality and the human good." 

Linker laments "liberalism's decline from a political philosophy of pluralism into a rigidly intolerant dogma," which he feels like has been especially evident in the wake of the Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby ruling. But then—after decrying this type of liberalism as one that "that threatens to poison American civic life for the foreseeable future"—Linker suddenly brings libertarianism into things. Apparently it's us pesky libertarians that have had this contaminating influence on the left: 

The rise of dogmatic liberalism is the American left-wing expression of the broader trend that Mark Lilla identified in a recent blockbuster essay for The New Republic. The reigning dogma of our time, according to Lilla, is libertarianism — by which he means far more than the anti-tax, anti-regulation ideology that Americans identify with the post-Reagan Republican Party, and that the rest of the world calls "neoliberalism."

So... libertarians (who are really just post-Reagan Republicans), with our emphasis on personal liberty and freedom, are somehow to blame for liberals who want to limit liberty and freedom? How does this work? Linker follows by noting that libertarianism "fuels the American right's anti-government furies, but it also animates the left's push for same-sex marriage."

Huh. That makes us sound more like good guys than folks driving the slow liberal poisoning of American culture. But what "makes libertarianism a dogma," writes Linker, "is the inability or unwillingness of those who espouse it to accept that some people might choose, for morally legitimate reasons, to dissent from it."

On a range of issues, liberals seem not only increasingly incapable of comprehending how or why someone would affirm a more traditional vision of the human good, but inclined to relegate dissenters to the category of moral monsters who deserve to be excommunicated from civilized life—and sometimes coerced into compliance by the government.

As you can see, at this point Linker begins conflating libertarians and liberals entirely, and not just in a using-liberal-to-also-mean-classical-liberal (i.e. libertarian) way. Rather, he is looking to the opinions and actions of modern, mainstream American liberals and then labeling those he finds wanting as libertarian. Observe: 

The latter tendency shows how, paradoxically, the rise of libertarian dogma can have the practical effect of increasing government power and expanding its scope. This happens when individuals look to the government to facilitate their own liberation from constraints imposed by private groups, organizations, and institutions within civil society. In such cases, the government seeks to bring those groups, organizations, and institutions into conformity with uniform standards that ensure the unobstructed personal liberation of all—even if doing so requires that these private entities are forced to violate their distinctive visions of the good.

The main problem with this paragraph is that, while describing an observable phenomenon in political thought or behavior, it has nothing whatsofuckingever to do with libertarians.

We are the people arguing against the government imposing any particular version of morality—be it based in religion or progressivism or anything else—on private groups, individuals, and institutions. We are the ones arguing against forcing photographers and bakers to take part in same-sex marriage ceremonies and against the Health and Human Services Department mandating what kinds of insurance plans companies must offer. We certainly aren't advocating (as Linker suggests in another example) "that academic freedom shouldn't apply to ... conservatives" on college campuses. 

Libertarians are the ones who tend to both support same-sex marriage and people's right not to be compelled to work in service of one; to want to get both our bosses and the government out of birth control decisions; and to take free speech, freedom of conscience, freedom of association, and personal autonomy very seriously. For the benefit of future folks covering libertarians, here is a quick list of links (all from the past few months) to us expressing the exact opposite views Linker attributes to libertarians:

I hope I have helped clear up this misunderstanding. Linker also asks "where have been all the outraged liberals taking a stand against these and many other examples of dogmatism—and doing so in the name of liberalism?" Just a few, off the top of my head: "Sooner of later they're going to come for people you do like"; "We've Gone Too Far With Trigger Warnings"; "Feminism's Toxic Twitter Wars". 

There's actually a rather lovely alliance between liberals, libertarians, and conservatives whom I think of as the anti-hysterics—people who would rather see intellectual honesty, good-faith arguing, and a plurality of ideas than watch (social) media become a wasteland of orthodox, hyper-partisan attack dogs. I think we all do admirably at putting aside ideological differences to agree on the fact that the center cannot hold, so to speak ("the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity").

Whether it's dishonesty or just dimwittedness, Linker and other conjurers of straw libertarians are part of the problem; it does no one any good to go around fighting enemies that don't exist. By definition, those who believe people with dissenting opinions need to be "sometimes coerced into compliance by the govenrment" are not libertarians. 

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  • ||

    Nice piece, ENB. and I think our frustrations with non-libertarians are explained quite a bit in it.

    Funny that it follows on the heels of Richman's piece from,earlier today. And they really are companion pieces, as we should try our damnedest to get our philosophies to those who disagree with us FROM,OUR OWN MOUTHS as opposed to them coming from talking heads who know about as much about our beliefs as they do about string theory.

    And perhaps that's where we, as a loosely-aligned group of individuals fail. Mew are so busy living our own lives and trying to let others do the same that our message is lost because we are not our own messengers. Hopefully that will change as more libertarian-minded pols are reaching national levels and are being taken more seriously on the political landscape.

  • ||

    Also, suck it Fist! I'm first on this one.

  • John Galt||

    I always misunderstood the song to be 'Hang on Snoopy' and figured it was about the Peanuts' beagle dog.

  • ||

    Maybe you're just a big closet Royal Guardsman fan.

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

  • ConstitutionFirst||

    The song is titled "hang on sloopy"

  • ConstitutionFirst||

    Now how about: "What Liberalism Isn't" next?
    Many more people are confused about what Liberalism is or is not, most especially the people who call themselves "Liberals" but don't act in anyway, shape, manner or form; Liberal.

  • On The Random, Mandelbrot||

    I very much enjoyed this!

  • Marianna||

    Yes, very good article. thanks

  • AlmightyJB||

    Agreed, I rarely like these kinds of pieces but this was excellent. Hammer meet head.

  • John||

    Maybe this guy missed three Presidential terms of the Bush family, who were the country club, establishments Republican correction to the idealism of Reagan. The idea that the post Reagan Republican party is farther right is completely counter factual.

    As usual with these people it is about projection. If the Republican party seems further right now than it did in the 1980s that is because the Democratic party went so far left on the culture war. Gay rights were on the fringe of the Democratic party in 1985. Government enforced gay acceptance in the form of gay marriage was completely unthinkable. And there was no such thing as transvestite rights. Now, government enforced gay acceptance and transvestite rights are center pieces of the Democratic Party. Yet, this guy thinks it was the Republicans who got radical in the last thirty years. If only.

  • ||

    Gay rights were on the fringe of the Democratic party in 1985.

    In 1985? Clinton signed DADT in 93 and DOMA in 96. I'd go so far as to say they were on the fringe of society in 1985 and weren't a mainstream Democrat issue until the mid aughts. As for tranny rights, they're just now becoming important as the Dems focus on Latinos since they are a larger voting bloc.

  • John||

    Yeah. Gay rights didn't arrive until the 21st Century really.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    If by Gay rights you mean government handouts to people with same sex marriage certificates, and the calling in of the gestapo to force businesses to cater to them, then you are substantially correct.

  • Tony||

    You poor thing.

  • PitholeHermit||

    I used to be a vocal supporter of gay marriage until I realized the goal was complete control of others beliefs and violation of other peoples first amendment rights. Since all the other gay marriage support seemed to have no problem using the governments force to violate the first amendment I no longer give a crap about gay rights. If they could just be happy getting married and not feel the need to drag people with differing religious beliefs in to their ceremonies it would be fine. But that is not what they want. If they can't respect others peoples actual constitution rights why should we respect their court appointed rights. My gay friends are upset at my change. Also, I am not religious but support the first amendment.

  • Tony||

    Sounds like you're making shit up to serve as an excuse. The 14th Amendment is in the constitution too.

    And even if there were troublemakers in the movement, why should all gays be collectively denied their rights because of that?

  • Brutus||

    They aren't being denied anything. No one has a right to the labor or property of another.

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    I recall the horror of my socially conservative parents when Clinton hosted a gay and lesbian ball at the White House shortly after his inauguration.

    The LGBT community didn't get much more than token support--certainly there was no effort to bring the power of the imperial state against people who would discriminate in trade--but the Clinton-led Democrats did a good job of bringing the minority into their ad hoc coalition.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Meh. Not so sure that the entire thing with transvestite rights is a conscious ploy on the part of the Democrats. I think it was simply the logical consequences of their policy getting out of control (in a way that could well blow up in their face). I can pretty well remember when the entire issue of gay marriage arose. It was the MA Supreme Court decision. There was a pretty much instant push to support the decision from the Democrats, almost to the extent one can suspect it was coordinated. They found their wedge issue. And the wedge was never really aimed at gays, who were always, as a voting block, pretty reliably Democratic anyway. Rather, it was aimed at single women. The mean old Republicans were just being mean to their gay friend. The strategy worked very well for them.

  • Brutus||

    What Sloop said. I ran for my state's legislature in 1995 on a platform of gay marriage and privatizing the state's worker's comp system. I was savaged by the Democrat for both positions. How things change...

  • Irish||

    If the Republican party seems further right now than it did in the 1980s that is because the Democratic party went so far left on the culture war.

    Exactly right. The Republican party has actually gotten farther left on almost every social issue and is similar in their economic beliefs.

    Compare the statements of John Boehner to those of Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid and then tell me which party is more radical.

  • John||

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/.....story.html

    The political calculus of immigration is shifting, at least according to the Washington Post. Did anyone tell the Jacket?

  • ||

    Obama is only capable of playing the politics of the aggrieved. That's why he is so focused on these "war on women" and "war on Latinos" as opposed to the war on the poor that his party are actively running with their EPA schemes and other job-killing executive actions meant to thwart energy production and job creation in sectors typically aligned with the right.

    He will continue the immigration fight even if it a loser because it's all he knows.

  • John||

    What amazes me is how incompetent he is. He manages to make any issue he supports unpopular. He is going to make closing the borders the consensus and popular position before he is threw.

  • fish||

    What amazes me is how incompetent he is.

    You aren't really amazed at this are you John? Okay shreeky maybe.....but not you!?

  • John||

    He manages to be so epically stupid he even amazes me sometimes.

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    He's a community organizer at heart. The only leadership methodology he knows is to remind Group A of its grievances against Group B and then lead the rhetorical attack.

    This is perhaps not the most valuable quality for a working executive to possess.

  • Brutus||

    That's how the Corporate State works, after all.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, they never talk about poverty anymore (kind of tough to do while living in the massive welfare state we have). Now it's "inequality" which is far from the same thing. The great thing about using inequality as a weapon is that it is perpetual no matter what you do.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Even there, they can't break free of their rhetoric that inequality is worse today than at any time before 1930.

    Which just highlights Obama's incompetence on one of his core issues.

  • Atanarjuat||

  • Sevo||

    Regardless of the fake number, the claim is just plain willful 'misunderstanding'; AKA a "lie".
    /s/
    More than half of the population.

  • Irish||

    Wow. I have a feeling that's a troll. There's no way they think the Republicans spent 24 billion dollars trying to stop Obamacare implementation. No one can be that stupid.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    I think it refers to the money "lost" when government shutdown last year.

    Doesn't make it any less asinine, of course.

  • Irish||

    So once again progressives mistake government for society.

    The government spending $24,000,000,000 less =/= society being cost $24,000,000,000.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    It is GDP - not real important to the Tea Party types who openly wish for a recession to pin on Obama.

  • fish||

    You mean the recession the has encompassed the whole of his administration?

    That recession?

  • sarcasmic||

    You mean the recession the has encompassed the whole of his administration?

    That recession?

    Yeah. Bush's recession. Because Bush started it. Bush started everything.

  • ||

    You mean the recession the has encompassed the whole of his administration?

    No no you are describing it wrong.

    It is the recession that was caused retroactively by republicans who did not support another 800 billion dollar stimulus and encompassed the whole of Obama's administration.

    In other news i think we found Shrike's new excuse why last quarter is going to have negative growth...."Tea Party did it by using their telepathic powers"

  • ||

    If you're. GDP disciple, you must be a huge fan of Bush's war in Iraq. Right? I mean, that was money being spent by the government after all.

    Go suck a hemorrhoid, dumbass.

  • Irish||

    I love that by the argument of the GDP worshipers, the government should just spend infinity dollars.

    I mean, every dollar they don't spend is a loss to GDP.

  • ||

    PB is the kind of retard that sees productivity in one government employee digging a hole on out tax dollars and another government employee filling it in on the same

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    No, I said it was GDP - not government spending. Are you daft?

    The argument from day one of the GOP shutdown was that it would and did hurt GDP. That is why the right-leaning Chamber of Commerce was against it.

    Ted Cruz fucked himself forever with the business types. I hope he enjoyed killing his presidential chances on that lark of his.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Of course anyone who thinks reductions in government spending hurt the real economy or the Chamber of Cronies was ever going to play nice with Cruz is a retard.

  • ||

    "...right leaning chamber of commerce..."

    I lol'ed. You really are retarded, aren't you?

  • Free Society||

    No, I said it was GDP - not government spending. Are you daft?

    Government spending is a component of GDP, thus if spending is halted the GDP goes down. This is precisely why GDP is a shit measure of economic growth.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "This is precisely why GDP is a shit measure of economic growth."

    Indeed.

    Government does not create wealth - all it does is forcibly redistribute wealth that has already been created by somebody else.

    Everything it does is merely forced transfer payments that can never net to any value greater than zero.

    And the GDP formula treats government spending as if it is adding to economic prosperity by counting one side of the transfer and pretending the other side does not exist.

  • GregMax||

    If the population grows then logically GDP would grow as well, yet be static on a per capita basis. In addition since GDP is measured in dollars, any real inflation beyond the inaccurate government numbers for inflation would further inflate the perception that GDP was growing.
    I think . . .

  • wwhorton||

    As devil's advocate, I have to disagree in very technical terms about the idea that government spending cannot create wealth. It can, it's just so terribly inefficient at it that in virtually every scenario more wealth would have been created within the private sector, if the gov't manages to even hit a break-even rate of return.

    I say this because it's important to remember when arguing against the broken window fallacy that, in that scenario, glaziers are in fact making money, and are going to argue in support of gov't sponsored Rock Throwing Festivals as a means of "getting money into the economy" that would've been saved or invested in other efforts.

    The example I typically use is that spending on law enforcement probably does indirectly benefit local businesses in such a way that they're able to make profits they wouldn't otherwise be able to make. Lower crime means they're not being robbed, more people shop in the area, etc. The real question is whether the ROI is better or worse than it would be if those businesses hired private security, or even provided it themselves. IMO, I'd bet that the private option would be better all around in economic terms.

  • ||

    God you're stupid shriek.

  • Bill||

    Of course, since govt. spending is retardedly included in GDP, it does by definition lower GDP but it does not mean anything.

  • Pulseguy||

    PButt....No one has to wish for a recession to pin on Obama. Just let him do his thing.

  • RJ The Terrible||

    Given manner in the Oblunder has ruled ... you would think he wanted a recession. Income inequality, a team blue measure of evil, has increased under the current idiot in chief. The only reason 'the plug' cannot see that is because it has its head up its ass. Truly plug like.

  • yofed||

    gdp reveals nothing about the real economy. sort of like the "official" unemployment number reveals nothing about the unemployment situation in this country.

  • Free Society||

    It's not a coincidence that all government numbers are designed to provide maximum benefit to political plunderers. I can't wait until markets stop even humoring the validity of political measurements of the economy.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    They also seem awfully confused about what their "god damned jobs" are. It isn't to kowtow to the guy in the White House, it's to represent their constituents which might include blocking bills and not making things worse.

  • ||

    I finally acknowledged somebody on FB the other day that said Republicans in congress had done nothing but try to undo legislation for the past 6 years.

    After correcting him and saying that they weren't trying to undo laws for the last 6 months of the Bush admin, were they, I pointed him to this page: http://blogs.loc.gov/law/2013/.....are-there/

    I then asked him if it wasn't just possible that we might possibly have enough laws and that they ought to spend more than the next six years doing nothing but unraveling the US Code and actually letting people control some,of,their own destiny.

    After saying I was being ridiculous, I pointed him to Silverglate's "Three Felonies A Day". I've yet to hear back from him.

  • ||

    I didn't go into the myriad regulations or the fact that the Us government can't even account for all of the properties they own. I figured his head would have exploded.

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    On a different forum, I recently had your typical Dewey-style progressive demonstrate how terrible the influence of the post-TP House had been by referring to a graph of legislation passed over the past two or three decades.

    The Tea Party had, horror of horrors, dramatically reduced the amount of legislation passed by the federal government. He clearly intended this to be unimpeachable evidence that the Tea Party had irreparably harmed the American Republic by preventing Congress from passing lots of legislation, legislation being how we as a society grow and move forward.

    Sometimes it's hard to get across to others just how fundamentally different our weltanschauungs really are.

  • Virginian||

    Sometimes it's hard to get across to others just how fundamentally different our weltanschauungs really are.

    Do you know who else used the word weltanschauungs?

  • Rhywun||

    My German teacher?

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    A man with comparably enormous feet and hands?

  • RussianPrimeMinister||

    Hooked on German Phonics?

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Very nice, ENB. A good one to pass on to left-leaning people that are not currently suffering Kool-Aid poisoning.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    All the left/right stuff in the US has turned into mumbo-jumbo. Here is Obama championing corporate tax cuts (to 25%), smaller deficits, and entitlement cuts (SS and Medicare) while the GOP is actively resisting him on every point.

    Matt W. is correct.

  • fuck you tulpa||

    and entitlement cuts

    lol

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Yep, remember Milt Romney campaigning in Florida on restoring Obama's $700 billion Medicare cuts? (or was it $400 billion?).

    Doesn't matter anyway since he was lying about it.

    Also the C-CPI cut in SS is on Obama (cutting future outlays - not base benefits).

  • John||

    You mean the $700 billion Obama cut and used to fund Obamacare, you know his signature entitlement?

    You are just fucking retarded. You are not a bot. You are just a profoundly disabled and mentally challenged individual. As fun as it is to laugh at you, it would be better if you got some help.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Yeah, that. At least some of the poor suckers stuck with payroll taxes will get something back from the "Me" generation living high on the endless bennies they voted in for themselves.

  • John||

    So it is not an entitlement unless it goes to old people. Yeah, that makes sense.

  • RJ The Terrible||

    Talking to you is akin to trying to train a dog in a room full of squirrels. The subject keeps changing with each comment and you obviously are incapable of learning a damned thing.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Obama championing corporate tax cuts (to 25%)

    Lies.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07......html?_r=0

    Not lies.

    Wrong again, Cyto-toxic.

  • Rhywun||

    in return for a pledge from Republicans to invest in more programs to generate middle-class jobs

    You left out a rather important part. Surprise.

  • ||

    It totally make sense why Sevo calls him a shit for brains.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    So what? Obama wants a "grand bargain" to fix things until the next Bush type idiot comes along.

  • Rhywun||

    Yes, we just need one more fix. And then everything will be perfect.

  • Ranselaer||

    It's hard to imagine Palin's BP is able to keep a straight face as he types these words.

  • Harun||

    Every election cycle the Democrats come out with some vaporware plan to cut corporate income tax. Kerry did in 2004. Obama has made some noises, too.

    Never happens.

    You just have to imagine what every progressive would say if corporate income taxes were cut.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    OT: But wow, talk about inspired casting: Christopher Walken to play Captain Hook in live musical adaption of 'Peter Pan' to be broadcast on NBC

    Oscar winner Christopher Walken will star as Captain Hook in NBC's follow-up to The Sound of Music, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt is expected to make the announcement during his session Sunday at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour.

    The casting reunites Walken with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron after his starring role in the producers' film adaptation of Hairspray.

    He's one of the most unique actors in our business," Greenblatt said. "He might really just be a song and dance man at heart. ... This might be the first tap dancing Captain Hook you've ever seen." Speaking to reporters after his Sunday session, the exec said that he was out to Kristen Bell to star as Peter but they couldn't work out timing due to her commitment to Showtime's House of Lies.

    In my opinion, Christopher Walken and Luis Guzman are the two actors that instantly make anything they are in significantly more watchable.

  • GILMORE||

    Nice one ENB

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    I have to say ENB is quickly vaulting up the ranks of my favorite Reason writers. I've begun really looking forward to her content. Hopefully she does not succumb to any "Obama is teh mostest libertarian president" or "3 reasons you should ditch your principles because I have FEELZ about this subject" pitfalls. So far, so good.

  • fuck you tulpa||

    Seriously what the fuck happened to Gillespie?

  • John||

    I think he wants a TV gig.

  • fish||

    He's like an animal who has molted....incredibly vulnerable to his surroundings until the new "jacket" has fully grown and hardened a bit.

  • ||

    Yup

    Though I still like Welch

  • ||

    I think welch is a wonderful writer. But I may have to abandon him after drunkenly accosting him and perhaps making hipster accusations at a Reason function last year.

    In my defense, it was a really, really good open bar.

  • ||

    drunkenly accosting him and perhaps making hipster accusations at a Reason function

    Brilliant!

  • Cytotoxic||

    Welch seriously thinks the shutdown fight led to the debt limit being raised. He actually said that. He and Suderderp should never write about politics. They are clueless.

  • ||

    OK.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    Seconded.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Thirded, she's pretty great. No idea where they found her but she's got some great writing.

    Almost like the Anit-Marcotte.

  • John||

    She is not bad. She seems to be able to put a sentence together and come up with a thought that isn't conventional wisdom.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Linker pines for a party that would affirm a more traditional vision of the human good.

    What a loaded statement fully consistent with the authoritarian brand of conservatism the Aborto-freaks and Christo-fascists espouse.

  • John||

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIEVv8eyhnc

    CRISTFAG!!!!

    I guess someone forgot their meds this morning.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Right John. You know damned well I can interpret conservative speak.

    "Traditional" means coat-hanger abortions and forced school prayer. It just sounds better your way.

  • John||

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIEVv8eyhnc

    BUSHPIG!!!

    If you don't take the pills, they can't help you.

  • fish||

    You'd think by now that his minders would just grind them in the bananas he's served for breakfast.

  • GILMORE||

    I was a sucker for this one from the get go.

    For I too was once an ignorant business-journalist. It is a wonderful 'first gig' out of college.

    Its a lot cheaper than an MBA too.

  • GILMORE||

    This was not a reply to butthead. Dont know what happened there...

  • John||

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/201.....-recorded/

    Coldest June in Antarctica ever recorded. So I guess the AGW cult's talking point about the polar areas warming just means some polar areas. The ones that fit the narrative.

  • fuck you tulpa||

    bu..bu..but...GLACIERS MELTING!!!!!

  • Redmanfms||

    But, POLAR VORTEX!!!!111!111!1

  • Cytotoxic||

    To be fair the North Pole still seems to be melting, and I think (?) Antarctica's ice volume is falling slowly.

  • ||

    The Antarctic ice level just reached an all-time high last week.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Ice extant is getting larger and larger in area but I think the total amount of ice on the continent proper-glaciers and the like-has shrunk. I think.

  • Alan||

    It's difficult to determine whether glaciers are expanding or contracting as a whole. Such environments change all the time, especially around the edges.

    Add in subglacial volcanoes occasionally melting the ice sheet from below across an area the size of Texas, and good luck with those measurements.

  • Bill||

    Did anything about the weather change? It was CO2 what dunnit! It can never be disproved. And like Paul Ehrlich's nonsense it will live forever.

  • Jon Lester||

    In a short amount of time, it seems mainstream politicos have gone from purposefully ignoring libertarianism to demonstrating what I hope is their own insecurity with its rising influence.

    Lately, whenever anyone suggests I'm wasting a vote if I don't choose either a Democrat or a Republican, I just tell them they're diminishing my fundamental right to protest. It's time to get blunt about the whole concept of rights and infringements upon them.

  • ||

    I'm totally using that as November approaches.

  • Irish||

    Yet journalists cover complex things they don't know about all the time, and this is usually okay because they research and talk to people who do know about it.

    Unless, of course, they're writing about libertarians.

    Overall a good article, but I have to disagree with ENB's argument here. This reminds me of Michael C. Crichton's quote about journalism:

    Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray's case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them.

    In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

    ENB knows libertarianism so she realizes the idiotic arguments of some of its critics. She does not have knowledge of other things journalists write about, so she assumes that those stories are accurate.

    The truth is, if they can't write about libertarians, they're likely wrong about everything else too.

  • ||

    The truth is, if they can't write about libertarians, they're likely wrong about everything else too.

    Meh, not really. There are many journalists who know nothing, sure, but there are still plenty who know nothing about most things but have one or two things they are sufficiently knowledgeable of.

    But I agree with what Crichton said. Reading about "the OpenSSL protocol" in the wake of Heartbleed was painful (OpenSSL is software that implements the SSL protocol and its successor TLS).

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Exactly. On every subject I have some measure of understanding in, specialist journals and blogs are much, much better than their mainstream journalist counterparts (often contradicting the mainstream story).

    ENB wrote a good one here, but IMO her vignette about being a clueless finance journalist speaks volumes about what is wrong with journalism.

  • sarcasmic||

    The truth is, if they can't write about libertarians, they're likely wrong about everything else too.

    If they write about libertarianism without consulting any libertarians, they might as well consult a cook to get information about car repair.

  • Irish||

    No. Writing about libertarianism without asking any libertarians what they believe is actually like getting information about car repair from someone who actively hates cars and wishes they'd never existed.

  • sarcasmic||

    I suppose.

  • Rich||

    Anecdotal, but in the "news stories" for which I had intimate first-hand knowledge the "reporting" was terribly flawed.

  • sarcasmic||

    One of the reasons I like the Daily Mail is because the reporters get simple shit wrong all the time. It's quite entertaining.

  • John||

    Journalists in gene real and Washington journalists in particular are profoundly ignorant of the fields they cover. The smartest people do not become journalists. This is especially true as the field has become lower paying than it used to be.

    http://thefederalist.com/2014/.....s-problem/

    Media ignorance is a real problem.

  • ||

    “the rule of law,” Hayek’s term for the unwritten code that prohibits the government from interfering with the pursuit of “personal ends and desires.”

    That was painful to read.

  • sarcasmic||

    People who only understand control simply cannot fathom the concept of liberty. It doesn't make sense to them.

    Take John for example. When I explain that my generally low opinion of humanity means I don't want people controlling other people, because my general distrust extends especially to those with the desire to control others, he goes and accuses me of wanting people to be controlled because I have a low opinion of them.

    Some people are just dipshits. That's all there is to it.

  • Derpetologist||

    Some people are like you say. I think it's more common for people not to be curious.

    If I had not been curious, I would have never learned about libertarian ideas.

  • Rich||

    Or gender studies? ;-)

  • Derpetologist||

    Or derpetology!

    Or should I say, Derp Studies?

    Man, that would be a fun class to teach.

  • Almanian!||

    I would sign up for that class.

    I'm kind of a masochist that way...

  • Derpetologist||

    It's best not to go full masochist. Otherwise, you spend you're free time watching Chris Hedges interview Noam Chomsky.

    "Don't look at it, Marion!"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9eRrSfNzng

  • Almanian!||

    I am avoiding that link as though SugarFree himself posted it.

    Although then it wouldn't work, so...

  • seguin||

    I have degrees in derpetology AND derperonomy!

    /zoidberg

  • John||

    I can't wave a wand and make you smart enough to understand the arguments. Clearly you don't think everyone is stupid. You do t consider yourself stupid. Why not make you king? Or are you just as dumb as you claim everyone else is?

    There is more to liberty than the negative. There is also the positive which is to say people can and do learn from experience and will do what is best for themselves and others. That is the part you don't get and don't want to get because it keeps you from feeling special I guess.

  • sarcasmic||

    Why not make you king?

    Because I have no desire for power. Never have.

    Or are you just as dumb as you claim everyone else is?

    I don't claim people are dumb. I claim that they act in what they perceive to be their best self interest based upon what they know.

    Since most people are ignorant of economics, and skilled politicians are adept at exploiting this fact, people vote in a manner that appears dumb.

  • John||

    And I have never accused you of wanting people controlled. Stop lying My point is you don't want people controlled but if you really thought about the utter contempt you hold people in, that maybe you should want people controlled or maybe reconsider your views of people.

  • sarcasmic||

    And I have never accused you of wanting people controlled.

    You say that that's the logical result of your flawed perception *see above comment* of my opinion of people.

    You're saying I want people to be controlled, but I just don't know it. Same diff.

    Maybe if you really thought about my contempt for people who seek power, then maybe you'd see why I don't want them to control people.

  • John||

    How many times can you totally lie about what I am arguing? Are you really that stupid or that much of a thin skinned dick?

  • Derpetologist||

    ad hominem & false dichotomy

    I like you for the most part, but I can see how you earned the name Red Tony.

    It's possible to be distrustful without wanting to be king. In fact, many tyrants believe that their people love them and that they are acting in their best interest.

    See Ceausescu's last speech for an example.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I've read John's original exchange with Sarcasmic and Sarc is either being a mendacious fucker or he can't reading comprehension good.

  • Derpetologist||

    OK, perhaps I was too hasty. Do you have a link?

  • Cytotoxic||

    No sorry I don't hoard links but I'm sure John or Sarc has it these two can't stay out of each other's pants.

  • sarcasmic||

    toxic is quick to make personal attacks, but slow on evidence.

  • ||

    John and Sarcastic have been here a long time.

    The 'Original' link probably goes back to 2004 and was about the Iraq war.

    Loooooong standing argument here guys.

  • sarcasmic||

    See Ceausescu's last speech for an example.

    Or the bewildered Saddam Hussein right before he was hanged.

  • Rich||

    what "makes libertarianism a dogma," writes Linker, "is the inability or unwillingness of those who espouse it to accept that some people might choose, for morally legitimate reasons, to dissent from it."

    Well, I suppose some people might consider the Golden Rule morally legitimate.

    Talk about *projection* ....

  • ||

    Right, cause that doesn't describe Tony's ideology to a fucking tee.

  • sarcasmic||

    Then take Tony for example. He views libertarianism as tyranny because it would require force to stop those who initiate force on others to stop initiating force. So libertarians would by tyrants because they would control the controllers. The idea of no one controlling others simply does not compute.

    Some people are dipshits.

  • Derpetologist||

    Tony's problem is the belief that his idea of fairness MUST be enforced and the only way to do that is through govt. Hence his love of govt.

  • sarcasmic||

    He just loves the idea of using force against people he doesn't like. He's malicious and mean.

  • Derpetologist||

    That too.

    Govt is way for people to be thieves and bullies without having to take risks themselves.

    "The State vs. the Highwayman" and all that.

  • Brutus||

    Johan Hari wrote a piece about gay fascism a few years back. I think he was on to something.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Libertarianism is dogmatic. That's its strength and weakness. The problem is that critiques of libertarianism often amount to stating this fact, and imagining that they have found a flaw merely because of this dogmatism. IANAL, because I don't embrace libertarian values either axiomatically or dogmatically, but there are certainly areas where I am dogmatic (murder and free speech, for instance). Dogmatism is not in and of itself a bad thing, and whether a certain belief should be applied dogmatically can only be ascertained through reason (if such a thing can be ascertained naturally at all).

    Acting like you've won the argument when one has merely discovered dogmatism is absurd, and all too present in these critiques.

  • sarcasmic||

    When did ideology become such a bad thing? I mean, what's wrong with having principles and being consistent?

  • Rich||

    Because your "consistent principles" are wrong, *wrong*, WRONG!

  • sarcasmic||

    Simply having principles (other than "might makes right, and since government is might it is always right") is considered to be a bad thing.

  • Rich||

    Please define "principles". Are party planks "principles"?

  • sarcasmic||

    Please define "principles". Are party planks "principles"?

    Stupid shit like the the NAP and self ownership. Might Makes Right often violates those principles, but it doesn't negate them.

  • John||

    Fuck off the adults are talking.

  • Rich||

    So, the adults talk without defining their terms?

    Is refusal to have principles a principle?

    For a site called "Reason" ....

  • Almanian!||

    Thanks for the invitation!

    Can I pour one for you, Rich? What'll ya have...?

  • Rich||

    You're welcome, A!

    I'll have a Virginia Postr, uh, a Virgin Mary, since I really need to go do some chainsawing.

  • sarcasmic||

    Fuck off the adults are talking.

    I can tell you don't have kids, because parents who don't want their kids to say "Fuck off" don't tell kids to fuck off. I would assume that if you were a parent you wouldn't want your kid(s) to go around telling people to fuck off, but I could be wrong.

    I once had your contempt for children, but then a bit of carelessness resulted in a pregnant wife. Best thing that ever happened to me. I hope you don't die in regret. Or maybe I do.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Yes, but adults will tell the obnoxious kid down the block to fuck off.

  • Derpetologist||

    All law boils down to "might makes right". Law & order types don't like to admit this, but that conclusion is inescapable.

    Imagine 2 people have a dispute in a place with no courts. They will either settle the dispute peaceably or they will fight until the stronger one wins.

    Now imagine that 2 people have a dispute in a place with a court system. They go to court and the judge and/or jury will decide who is right. If the guy in the wrong resists the decision, there will be a slow escalation of threats & punishments all the way up to death.

    So either way, might makes right.

  • Free Society||

    Might does not make right. It's about a moral right or obligation which the mighty are most often in violation of.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Not to point fingers, but I'd guess right about the time that the left's big ideological project collapsed (I'd say the 30s, but they'd probably say 1991).

  • Bill||

    Along those lines, does anyone else hate the quip about "consistency being the hobgoblin of little minds?" Or did he mean people with small minds don't understand consistency?

  • seguin||

    He meant consistency has 1+1 hit die.

  • JD the elder||

    I mostly hate the way the statement has been used. Firstly, the full version is "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

    The entire essay is basically about being true to yourself, and not forcing yourself into consistency with something you think is wrong just because it's "time-honored" or "what everyone else is doing" or whatever. But of course the modern small minds just love that part because they think it means, "Yay, I don't ever have to be consistent!"

  • Robert||

    I don't know exactly when ideology became a bad thing in America, but it goes back to at least the middle of the 20th C. Americans pride themselves on pragmatism and not having simple rules to generate opinions. "Convictions make convicts," as RAW wrote. Ideology is thought to lead to bad outcomes. See for example "ism" in that oft-referenced cartoon.

  • Irish||

    Moral arguments are always dogmatic. When a progressive argues in favor of fairness, that's dogmatism. When a conservative argues that sovereign borders must be protected and therefore opposes unchecked immigration, that's dogmatism.

    Any political belief is founded upon dogmatism. What happens though is this: Mainstream political beliefs claim they aren't dogmatic because their precepts are believed by the majority of society. When someone claims that libertarianism is dogmatic, they're not actually arguing that pragmatism is better than dogmatism, they're arguing that the dogmatism of the majority is superior to the dogmatism of the minority.

    Both slave owners and those who wanted to end slavery were equally dogmatic. Today you'd have a hard time finding anyone who believes their views were equally moral, despite the fact that there was a time when abolitionists were a severe minority.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I'd say a good back-of-the-envelope definition of dogmatism is degree of importance to which you hold an idea, its consistency, and its logical consequences.

    In this sense, neither conservatives nor progs are very dogmatic: liberals because of a studious refusal to embrace the internal consistency and consequents of a belief in egalitarianism. This has to do with the failure of that moral system. Conservatives are not dogmatic largely as a result of philosophical origins, a lack of real confidence in their beliefs, and inherent incoherence. Conservatives make little to no attempt to order their moral views on government. The reason conservatism looks lazy is because it is.

  • Irish||

    The reason conservatism looks lazy is because it is.

    I'd agree that conservatives might not have a consistently principled view of government, but they're very dogmatic on individual issues. Ask a conservative his opinion of the military or immigration. Their views on such things rarely come off as particularly rational.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I'd like to use a different word for an obsession with a particular issue independent of a rationale from starting premises: zealotry. Dogmatism, however silly its conclusions, always starts from a core premise or idea. Zealotry does not require reason to intrude into an emotional attachment to a specific issue.

    Pro-choice sentiment among feminists is a good example: the rational argument of 'my body, my choice' must logically require much more from feminists than what they grant. One rather quickly determines that 'my body, my choice' is an argument of convenience rather than a starting principle.

  • John||

    All ideologies are dogmatic. The terms are nearly interchangeable.

  • ||

    The wagon-circling continues: Amazon, a Friendly Giant as Long as It’s Fed

    Vincent Zandri hails from the future. He is a novelist from the day after tomorrow, when Amazon has remade the worlds of writing, printing, selling and reading books so thoroughly that there is hardly anything left besides Amazon.

    Mr. Zandri, an author of mystery and suspense tales, is published by Thomas & Mercer, one of Amazon Publishing’s many book imprints. He is edited by Amazon editors and promoted by Amazon publicists to Amazon customers, nearly all of whom read his books in electronic form on Amazon’s e-readers, Amazon’s tablets and, soon, Amazon’s phones.

    His novels are not sold in bookstores, and rarely found in public libraries. His reviews are written by Amazon readers on the Amazon website. “Has a little bit of something for everyone,” one enthusiast exclaimed. “Heavy machinery, love, humor and mystery.” And his latest prize was an award from Amazon.

    It is the 21st-century equivalent of living in a company town, but Mr. Zandri, 50, is far from a downtrodden worker.

    The shamelessness with which the MSM has fallen into line with Hachette astounds me. I guess I'm not jaded enough yet.

  • Irish||

    It's especially funny given that *writers* were no better off with Hachette than they would be going through Amazon directly. The MSM is therefore shamelessly supporting one massive company against another massive company and has somehow come to the conclusion that they're fighting on the side of David against Goliath.

    Meanwhile the actual Davids are being totally ignored.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I don't understand. Am I supposed to find The Future scary here?

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    His novels are not sold in bookstores, and rarely found in public libraries.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F54rqDh2mWA

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Was there ever any doubt that they would? While Hachette's interest here is commercial, the same phenomena that they are combating threatens the MSM, the ability of electronic communications to dispense with the role of gatekeepers.

  • GILMORE||

    no world cup open thread?

    For shame, cosmotarians, for shame.

  • Almanian!||

    +1 GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL!

  • Almanian!||

    the inability or unwillingness of those who espouse it to accept that some people might choose, for morally legitimate reasons, to dissent from it

    Yeah, I already got that this dude didn't get it, but....wow.

    "Do whatever you want - just leave me the FUCK alone to do what I want [without infringing on you]" is SO totally not accepting others may have a different view.

    On the other hand, this is my shocked face...

  • GILMORE||

    Apparently each of the world-cup players has been given their very-own orphan-child as a pre-game consolation prize.

  • GILMORE||

    Argentina has announced that if they win the World Cup then they will add 3 more zeros to their currency and therefore make everyone rich.

  • ||

    And Germany said if they win, they will cut the tumor that is the EU away from their host body...making everybody there rich.

  • GILMORE||

    "Its Not a Toomah!"

    Plus, do you really think they're going to abandon the *4th Reich* so quickly?

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    a recent blockbuster essay for The New Republic

    Okay, now I know this is an April Fool post where someone input the wrong posting date.

  • GILMORE||

    You have to read said 'blockbuster' to truly appreciate how retarded the whole thing is.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    From the 'What the Hell is Wrong with People' files: 36 year old woman who had sex with 12 year old boy gets 10 years

    A 36-year-old woman who had sex with a 12-year old-boy has been jailed for 10 years.

    Joy Leaann McCall had sex three times with the young boy who was the same age as her own children.

    She was given 10 years in prison for each charge of lewd or lascivious battery on a child between 12 and 15 but told the sentence would run concurrently.

    McCall, from Ocala, Florida, pleaded guilty to the second degree felony charges and was given a 134 day credit for time already spent in jail.

    The court heard that the 12-year-old, who has not been named, told police that he received Facebook messages from the woman.

    He said the messages 'continued to get more heated' and he later received photos of her posing in underwear.

    McCall arranged to meet the boy at a local shopping mall where she picked him up and ended up having sex in the back seat of her car.

    The boy claimed he contacted her again five days later.

    She collected him and drove him to some woods, where they had sex again.

    Appears to have been consensual. So, dogmatic libertarians, is that a criminal offense under libertarian principles?

  • Almanian!||

    I just always think of that woman - I think she was in Colorado - banging her son's friends.

    "I just wanted to be the popular mom!"

    I'm sure you were, honey...

  • Cytotoxic||

    It was not consensual because 12-year olds are incapable of 'full consent' in such a relationship. 10 years may be too much but she's a criminal.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    I agree that 12 is far too young, but at what age do you think human beings develop the ability to fully consent to something?

    18 sounds pretty arbitrary to me.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I favor breaking up the 'minor' category in two to reflect the fact that teenagers aren't 8-year olds. We're getting teens tried as adults all the time anyway.

  • Virginian||

    Yep. lower drinking age, smoking age, and fucking age to 16. Raise the voting age to 30 or to net tax contributor status, whichever comes first.

  • Derpetologist||

    Unfortunately, there is large bloc of neo-Puritans (left & right-wing) in this country. These people get their rocks off by outlawing pleasure and punishing those who engage in it.

    I think it should cost $20 to vote. That would thin the ranks of the free shit brigade.

  • Tony||

    You people are frightening. Or would be if you ever won any political power.

    A poll tax? Seriously? We tried that.

  • Virginian||

    A poll tax? Seriously? We tried that.

    Did we?

  • Derpetologist||

    Yes. There is an amendment that banned them.

  • Virginian||

    Yes. There is an amendment that banned them.

    But that's like, over a hundred years old.

  • Derpetologist||

    Yes. There is an amendment that banned them.

  • Derpetologist||

    If you can't scrape together $20 to vote, you have no business voting.

    Things that cost nothing are worth nothing. If people had to spend money to vote, they'd be more likely to actually make an effort to get informed.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Eh, I'm not a fan of the Starship Troopers definition of a republic. Especially since you're just buying a membership card to join the 2 wolves and a lamb voting on what's for dinner.

  • Derpetologist||

    I see a bad system a wonder how it could be better.

    In the UK for a long time, college-educated people got 2 votes. I don't think that's a good idea.

    How do you prevent dumb people from voting? Or are dumb people also entitled to representation?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I'll set aside radical 3H-style arguments against voting for now and just ask how does one define "dumb". If you mean less than average intelligence, then you've already barred 49.9 percent of the population. Again, any determinate of dumbness is going to be as arbitrary as determinations of the age of consent.

  • Derpetologist||

    When I say dumb, I mean lacking knowledge and being unable to recognize patterns.

    If you can't get an average score on Raven's Progressive Matrices, I don't think you should vote.

    I think pattern recognition is pretty fair way to measure intelligence. RPM does not require any special knowledge. You don't even need to be literate to take it.

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    When the special-interest state is unconstrained in what it can do, you can't fix that problem by tinkering with the margins of who gets to vote.

  • Rhywun||

    ^This. Also, the free-shit brigade are not "dumb" - they are voting in their self-interest just like anyone else.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Yes, what KY and Rhywun said. Basic knowledge and pattern recognition are two different things in this case. I'm not convinced that knowledge of civics and American history is correlated in any way to the lessening of the free-shit impulse. Similarly, of the few welfare slugs I have had the displeasure to know, it is outstanding to see the mental gymnastics they are able to perform on a daily basis as they calculate the most effective legal and illegal ways to squeeze as much money as they can out of the the various benefit programs in which they are enrolled.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    You people are frightening. Or would be if you ever won any political power.

    I thought we already did? Don't the Koch Brothers control the political process and spread their free-market tentacles across our economy and government?

    Get with the talking points, Tony.

  • Rhywun||

    The US is 17 trillion dollars in debt and it's the libertarians' fault. Duh.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    A poll tax? Seriously? We tried that.

    Yes, because a sarcastic, off-hand comment on a blog by a single commenter is indicative of the actual platform planks of the Libertarian party.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    In all honesty, the question of how to make sure dumb people don't vote is a rather uninteresting one. I am sure that someone like Eric Hobsbawm or Trotsky would fit within the definition of reasonably intelligent. I sure as hell would not want either gentleman voting in an election for an ostensibly free nation. More interesting is the question of how to organize a stable system wherein the significant power goes to (and stays in) the hands of those who have an ideological commitment to liberty, and where the power-hungry are trapped in the machinery of deadlock to play with insubstantial amounts of power.

    It is one reason I am not an an-cap: a free market in coercive force means that the power-hungry (who are interested in wielding force over others) will put their money where their preferences are and own the sources of power in a straightforward fashion, and we will be made unfree in short order.

    The best ideas I've heard all relate to identifying and then restricting the vote only to those who are disinterested in wielding power over others, and then allowing for other mechanisms to reduce the extent to which such a political system atrophies over time (as it inevitably would).

  • Tony||

    Well he goes on to defend his advocacy of a poll tax.

    You are frightening because you are dogmatists. You don't think you should have to submit your ideas to the marketplace of ideas (ironic); you're just right, and democracy is an unnecessary roadblock on your path to building utopia. Now why does that sound familiar?

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    So Tony, if democracy decides that gay marriage, abortions, and a wall of separation between church and state are no longer needed, would you embrace that?

    After all, it would be rather dogmatic of you to want those things to be off-limits from the whim of a mob and not subject to the "marketplace of ideas".

  • Tony||

    if democracy decides that gay marriage, abortions, and a wall of separation between church and state are no longer needed, would you embrace that?

    This is a typical but pointless objection. So are you saying I'm correct and that we should do away with majority rule, because you're just so right about everything?

    We've found it prudent to enshrine some exceptions to majority rule that are necessary to protect individual rights against mob rule. The rights of minorities necessitate such protection for obvious reasons. If a majority can subjugate a minority then we no longer have democracy since the minority can't participate fully. But for routine matters majority rule is simply and obviously the only fair way to do things. What is your alternative? Give you your way because you say so?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    If a majority can subjugate a minority then we no longer have democracy


    And yet...

    The rights of minorities necessitate such protection for obvious reasons.


    So I guess we don't have a democracy, then.

    See, I'm not the one who has to present an alternative. Constitutional republics with strong minority protections seem to work pretty well (even though they do have a 'sell-by' date, no thanks to participants such as yourself), and they work even better with a restricted franchise.

    You're the one who needs present an alternative to this model, since you are the one suggesting that not subjecting some view or another to a majority vote is a "subjugation" of the majority which needs correction.

  • wheelock||

    We've found it prudent to enshrine some exceptions to majority rule

    Wow. So glad "we've" been so kind. Where is it exactly that these exceptions are enshrined?

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    We've found it prudent to enshrine some exceptions to majority rule that are necessary to protect individual rights against mob rule. a majority can subjugate a minority then we no longer have democracy since the minority can't participate fully.

    This demonstrates that majority rule isn't the end all, be all of right and wrong.

    However, note the apparent contradiction: democracy is great, and all ideas should past its test. However, we found it prudent to enshrine some exceptions, to protect individual rights against mob rule. And how do we define those exceptions? Through democracy.

    So, we protect minority rights from majority rule with democracy, the system which lets the majority decide.

    How absurdly circular.

    Follow by a dash of an appeal to ignorance, and the logic is unassailable... if you're an idiot with no moral compass, waiting for the mob to tell you what to think.

    How enlightened.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    So are you saying I'm correct and that we should do away with majority rule, because you're just so right about everything?

    I think the point is that the majority isn't always right, Tony. It's not a difficult ethical concept, and you obfuscate it because you've only been able to cobble together two quasi-principles in your quest to justify your own subjective policy preferences:

    1. Equality.
    2. Democracy.

    You're just someone who's read Rawls, little else, and thinks its the end all, be all of political, ethical thought, when it's neither. If that's the extent of your moral compass, then you win the psychopathy award.

  • Brian||

    If you've really take your twin quasi-principles of equality and democracy seriously (as opposed to a convenient argument justifying your own subjective policy preferences over libertarians), please explain to me how you apply them to the drug war.

    Specifically, please show me how the drug war is either right or wrong based on appeals to equality and/or democracy.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Once again, Tony comes on to confirm what we've all been saying.

    There is nothing "frightening" about dogmatism. It is a way to approach knowledge and axioms, nothing more nothing less. In the case of murder, I'm quite certain that you'd prefer a "dogmatic" anti-murder view to a "moderate" or "flexible" view on the subject. There are hundreds of subjects on which you would poll similarly.

    No one who has any sense would submit their ideas on morality for review to the "marketplace of ideas" (whatever the hell that is). Without knowing where you or anyone else is coming from, I have no reason to believe that you 1) have thought about it as long as I have, 2) have the same interest in morality as me, 3) think carefully, or 4) that you even have an interest in behaving morally in the first place. Placing one's values before the mob or a disinterested audience chosen at random is no more intelligent than leaving your wallet on a park bench -- both are to be avoided for roughly the same reason.

    As for democracy as an "unnecessary roadblock", it is certainly unnecessary in most things (even in our system), but utopias are and have always been the concern of the left. You have room to talk when libertarian dogmatists are responsible for anything worse than a lack of handicapped parking.

  • Virginian||

    You don't think you should have to submit your ideas to the marketplace of ideas

    Derp!!!!!

  • ||

    A marketplace implies choice and competition.

    There is no choice when the feds make law and they kill and imprison the competition.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    You don't think you should have to submit your ideas to the marketplace of ideas (ironic) you're just right, and democracy is an unnecessary roadblock on your path to building utopia. Now why does that sound familiar?

    Now, let the gnashing of teeth over Heller begin.

  • ||

    16 or 17

    Maybe have some sort of gradient.

    So someone who sleeps with 14 year old gets a few years hard time while someone who sleeps with someone 15 only gets 6 months.

    Also consent is important even if it is consent of a minor. If the minor says yes then less time if the minor says no then bury them in prison for 30 years.

    12 years old seems to young. 10 years seems long but at that age i think child abduction comes into play. She did pick him up in a car and drove off with him.

  • Edwin||

    why does everyone always think the age of consent is 18? It's not, it depends on the state. Here in NY/NJ, it's 17, with younger teenagers having a 4-year elder gap max difference with their boo, and teacher-student relationships barred.

    Learn the facts first

  • Alan||

    Is anyone really capable of "full consent"? Is anyone really capable of understanding all the consequences of their actions?

    I signed up for the military when I was 17. I didn't fully understand all the implications until years later. Then again, I only came to understand many of those implications because I signed up for the military.

    I think 12 year olds are capable of knowing whether they want to do something or not. In fact, I think children are capable of this from a rather young age. The common law agrees with me - the traditional age of consent (the age at which a person could be held responsible for such "crimes" as fornication) was 10, though some jurisdictions reduced this age as low as 7, and traditional Jewish law pushed it as low as 3 years and a day.

  • Derpetologist||

    What she did was scummy, but I'm hard-pressed to call it a crime.

    It would be funny to see a gender-switched version of "To Catch a Predator". I wonder if the results would be similar.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Like any intense experience, we have evidence that sexual experience causes physical changes in the brain, now if having sex with this woman has caused the child's brain to rewire itself so that he now expresses his sexuality in socially maladaptive ways, you could argue that what she did was a form of assault. Not that I necessarily buy that argument, but I can see where it comes from.

  • Derpetologist||

    In prairie voles, sure. Is it the same way with people?

    As I said, I'm hard-pressed to call it a crime because the boy went to her. It's not like she roofied him and dragged him away.

    That said, she should have known better.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Prairie voles are the classic go-to animals for that type of experiment because I believe that's where we first found the bonding properties of oxytocin. At this level, mammalian neurosexuality isn't going to differ so much that you can't make generalizable statements.

    There have been studies concerning real-life human teens and the subject as well.

  • Derpetologist||

    That study is about hamsters.

    Also, I'm not sure you can measure depression in hamsters.

  • Sevo||

    Heroic Mulatto|7.13.14 @ 4:52PM|#
    Like any intense experience, we have evidence that sexual experience causes physical changes in the brain,"...

    I am extremely cautious regarding drawing analogies between human and (non-reasoning) animal behavior.
    Can human recognition of this effect thereby affect the human response to that effect?
    Erhlich's fallacy is built on exactly that ignorance (his) of the difference.

  • ||

    begins conflating libertarians and liberals entirely

    Excellent.

    My plan is coming together perfectly.

    Soon we will have our word back

    Soon...

  • Jim Walsh||

    How the hell did we ever get ourselves lumped in with the wingnuts? Granted, any attention is better than none at all, but are we really doing the movement a service by lining up with the anti-flouridation crowd...

  • Virginian||

    What are you talking about?

  • ||

    I'm not really sure how he got on the topic, but I imagine he's referring to the Alex Jones types, who often fashion themselves to be libertarians.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    A Bircher anti-communist crazy flouride CT anti Federal Reserve nutcase reference.

  • ||

    anti Federal Reserve nutcase

    Yeah cuz anyone who is against the dollar losing 95% of its value since the FED's conception would have to be crazy.

    By the way Shrike now that the weather is nice what are you going to blame our current recession on when new GDP numbers come out?

    You going to fall back on the tried and true "BOOOOOSH!!" or can we expect a new, never preformed, trick?

  • RussianPrimeMinister||

    And yet the communists and the Federal Reserve are in fact evil.

    So, go fuck yourself.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Also, govmt has no business putting flouride in our water. So fuck off and die again,

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    I can't speak for the cosmos who are okay with some public works, but I for one adamantly oppose covering people with flour against their will.

    I also oppose state-run water supplies laced with fluoride or not, but flouridating people is racist and beyond the pale.

  • ||

    lining up with the anti-flouridation crowd

    Fist time I heard about anti-fluoride I heard it from a left wing environmentalist working for OSPIRG which is an environmentalist cult in Oregon who go door to door preaching like Mormons.

    Maybe you are talking about the left...IDK.

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    The anti-fluoridation movement was and is proto-libertarian, and most of the hardcore Austrians continue to adamantly oppose it, even though it's been bumped pretty far down the list of state abuses and can be remedied these days by most households without too much expense.

    http://archive.lewrockwell.com.....ard85.html

  • ||

    Is it in Doherty's book of everything libertarian?

    If not then i am sticking with what i heard with my own ears and saw with my own eyes...

    And i am especially not going to rely on lewfuckingrockwell.com

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    It's a Rothbard article.

  • Derpetologist||

    So, I'm still listening to Chris Hedges yap.

    Good gravy, what a pompous, insufferable twat.

    He drones on and on. His high-pitched nasal whine rattles in my eardrums. He pauses.....at random. It is like watching a 5 year your old throw a tantrum in slow-motion. His melodramatic delivery is self-parody.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    He preaches fear to the far left like Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed do to the far right.

    They both suck.

  • Derpetologist||

    This may be the most intelligent thing you've ever said here. Bravo!

    *polite applause*

  • Sevo||

    Don't encourage the turd. Kick him in the nuts.

  • GregMax||

    Functioning nuts precludes being a collectivist tool.

  • Rich||

    Sheesh, Derp, why submit yourself to that? I gave ol' Chris a good solid minute before moving along.

  • Derpetologist||

    Derp is my passion and profession.

  • Rich||

    Maestro, thank you.

  • Jerry on the sea||

    Messi....misses.

  • gad-fly||

    I am not at all sure why liberals fear the political clout of the headless libertarians whose strong opinions never translate into new political directions. Herding cats is really problematic.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Okay, here's my own version of Spot the Not!: Salon Headline Edition.

    Two headlines are from the Twitter parody, one is from the actual Salon. Yes, you all can go cheat by looking it up but I'll just go with the honors system here. Anyway:

    1. Four tips for planning a progressive alternative to the 4th of July

    2. Apple's sexist iPad engraving policy: They'll allow "penis" but not "vagina" (?!)

    3. Why I can’t look at ads anymore without thinking about capitalism’s manipulation of desire

  • Derpetologist||

    Hmmm. Tricky.

    I'll go with #1.

    I am pleased that Spot the Not! is growing in popularity.

  • Virginian||

    2 is my guess

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    1

  • ||

    Uh....not fair choosing Salon headlines. Even Salon editors can't tell the difference.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    And the actual Salon headline from an actual Salon article is:

    Number 2!

  • Derpetologist||

    Well done!

    More please.

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    Enjoyed the article, Elizabeth.

    One of the chief problems in the post-Marxist, post-Chomsky age is that the meaning of words in the intellectual sphere has become a free for all.

    The word libertarian, like liberal or conservative, has been repeatedly uprooted and redefined to the point that every discussion of the debate has to include a pointed definition session. Every discussion with a lefty or righty begins with the assertion that when I use the word libertarian, I mean someone who adheres to the principle of non-aggression against person and property.

    The great strength of the so-called left--the socialists--is that they're adept at isolating and redefining the ideologies of other groups in their own terms. It's something that religion excelled at for millennia (Gentile, infidel, and pagan all being terms explicitly intended to redefine and isolate the views of people outside your particular tribe), but the left has perfected the art.

    Republicans who run around calling everything they don't like "liberal"--whether it's statist or not--have a lot to learn from religion and the commies.

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    AFWIW, we did steal libertarian in virtually the same manner in which liberal was stolen from us, so it's a game that everyone plays.

  • Sevo||

    Where was libertarian used originally?

  • Professor Woland||

    anarcho-socialists and syndicalists used it quite a bit in the 19th century. In the US some people who would be libertarians by today's standard called themselves "voluntary socialists." There was a time when anyone who proposed a radical shift in the structure of the economy was called a socialist, so the term applied to advocates of pure lasiez faire as well as opponents of private property. It was a strange world.

  • M.O.||

    "Yet journalists cover complex things they don't know about all the time, and this is usually okay because they research and talk to people who do know about it."

    They do? I've seen little evidence that most reporters do this.

  • Sevo||

    Micheal Crichton called it the "Gell-Mann Syndrome" (where he admits he just grabbed the name):
    You read something in the paper where you have some expertise, and you see that the article is a complete fuck up.
    You turn the page, read that the world is ending tomorrow and believe it!

  • ||

    The left lies about what they want because if you see them for what they are they will be rejected.

    They lie about who libertarians are because if libertarians are seen for what they are they will be embraced.

    It is as simple as that.

  • Rich||

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Why are you othering Lizard People-Americans, bro?

  • Rich||

    For the Children-Americans!

  • ||

    Heh. Nice.

    We will be in a much better place when no one notices if the AG is black, white or lizard only cares if they are a crook or not.

  • Knarf Yenrab!||

    When your system of morality has its basis in race and class consciousness, it's easy enough to say that the election of an authoritarian, incompetent black president indicates that the nation is fundamentally better than it was in the 1960s, when the electorate's interest in charming incompetents met its limits in a Catholic.

  • Mickey Rat||

    That a black person holds these offices is a sign of progress, that these two particular black people hold these offices is not.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Okay, Round 2 of Spot the Not! This time we will go with Vox headlines.

    Two are real Vox.com headlines from their Twitter feed and one is a parody. Spot the parody:

    1. Congress is abandoning the principle that drivers should pay for highways

    2. The cultural idiot's guide to "Turn Down for What"

    3. Why jobs created in Texas don't count

  • Irish||

    I say three.

  • RussianPrimeMinister||

    Definitely 1.

  • GILMORE||

    UNO

  • Derpetologist||

    3

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    This game of Spot the Not! Vox Edition, will conclude at 2:35 PST.

    And make sure to stick around, as after posting the answer I will (attempt to) create one more game for today: Spot the Not! Lindy West Edition!

    I feel I should spread my wings a bit and try to imitate writing styles like Derptologist does.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Number 3 is a parody Vox headline.

    If there is sufficient activity in the latest thread I will attempt to fool you all on Lindy West quotes.

  • GILMORE||

    Looks like Germany has it locked down in extra time...

  • ||

    Gil, no kidding. There were only six minutes left.

    Until then, Argentina held an ever slight edge but couldn't finish.

    Nice goal by Gotze.

    Well deserved by Germany as a whole.

    Onto 2018.

  • Plàya Manhattan.||

    I can't wait!
    /Sarc

    Off to cook some Kraft Mac N Cheese
    /No Sarc

  • GILMORE||

    a remark about Soccer/Football fans...

    .. I appreciate being a big fan of your team, and being nationalistic about a game and all that...

    ..but for the love of God... WEEPING? Men? Over a freaking game?

    You deserve to lose over and over and over again for all eternity if that's how you deal with defeat. Get a fucking life.

  • Rhywun||

    Yep, I don't get it at all but I really enjoy laughing at it.

  • Jerry on the sea||

    You know who also didn't cry for Argentina?

  • GILMORE||

    +1 Madonna

  • Almanian!||

    Juan Peron?

  • Sevo||

    Someone asked when kickball was gonna be over.
    It looks like after ninety-eleven minutes or so.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    The tears of Notre Dame fans are sweet nectar. RTR.

  • Sam Grove||

    The reigning dogma of our time, according to Lilla, is libertarianism

    Say what?

    I guess that explains how the ACA passed,.. those damned libertarians.

  • sarcasmic||

    Technical issues prevented me from commenting round 3PM and after, so I commented when I could. John.

  • RishJoMo||

    I dont think that sounds like a very good idea dude.

    www.AnonToolz.tk

  • Bgoptmst||

    This was actually a mistake. Someone at Salon "find & replace" progressive with libertarian. The result is "intolerable dogma" no longer makes sense.

    Seriously, Salon is InfoWars packaged better.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Yet journalists cover complex things they don't know about all the time, and this is usually okay because they research and talk to people who do know about it.

    LOL

    Sure they do.

  • ||

    AMEN. NO goal justified enforcement on those who do not share it. NONE.

  • rogerfgay||

    I don't think you've cleared up anything. I think you've imagined something on both sides of the argument and built your own critique on what you've imagined. There are a lot of issues that are related. For example - the push in favor of same-sex "marriage" by Reason and Cato and the masses who label themselves libertarian support the enforcement (emphasize "enforce") a dogmatic view in opposition to both the previously globally established institution of marriage and all individual human rights.

    It takes some knowledge of the subject to understand that and in fact I've written about it many times - going back to the history of arbitrary government intrusion into family life that make this true and how it relates to the rise of same-sex "marriage" along with the other consequences. The simplest, most uninformed view seems to suffice for libertarian writers these days.

    It's one thing to state a simple principle that you believe in; such as squirrels and humans are mammals, therefore squirrels deserve human rights and hold a squirrel habitat liberation rally. But if you want to push further into the issue, and attempt to engage in the wider debate, you can't unwittingly (or otherwise) support forcing people to spend a lot of time in trees eating nuts and then insist that you're the ones who want to liberate mammals.

  • Eggs Benedict Cumberbund||

    I read this post about five times. What you are saying makes little sense.

  • BladdyK||

    So reporters all cover subjects with near perfect accuracy except when they cover libertarians? In every article that I've read where I've known the subject matter well it's pretty clear the journalist doesn't know what they are talking about. I guess this just makes the writer special.

  • Ann N||

    Pretty sure that new sequel movie (and its original) are anti-libertarian propaganda.

    Its called "the purge", and the implications about minarchism are transparent.

    additionally, the new planet of the apes may be along the same lines. I haven't seen it, but Stefan Molyneux reviewed it. His analysis was that the freedom inherent in human civilization was a corrupting factor (causing civ collapse/nasty disease), and that the noble savage hierarchy of the apes (neo statism) was morally superior.

    I wasn't really expecting it, but they are ramping up direct antiliberty ideology. I thought they would attack more fringe and less correct value systems to keep the sheep in their pastures, but they are singling out the core of liberty and turning it into a strawman. the purge: anarchy.

    they are branding libertarianism (the ideology) in the minds of the masses.

  • Eric T||

    I'm often puzzled by the inability of people to not see both the consistency and predictability of libertarian beliefs. Each new issue finds them struggling to imagine what the "libertarian" position might be. Does this indicate that liberty is not a universal impulse, one with logical applicability in a variety of circumstances?

  • chmercier||

    A lot of it might be the TEAM mentality, or just the whole bicameral idea - if you're not a Democrat, you must be a Republican. If you're not a Socialist, you must be a Fascist/Nazi. If you're not a "liberal", you must be "conservative".

    I've often thought people just pick a team and go down the list. "I'm liberal, therefore, I believe these things" without actually bothering to think about what they really believe - which leads to the reactionary pseudo-morals of progressives and conservatives both. They're moral relativists and sophists, therefore cannot understand libertarianism. That's why all the proggies and neocons often conflate libertarians with the other side. Progs see libertarians as robber barons while neocons think we're just a bunch of decadent weirdos, even worse than liberals.

    Liberty is a personal impulse much as lust for power is to the authoritarian. I think it's just that the progs/cons only lust for power and have to frame libertarianism in their terms - it doesn't make sense to them because they have no morals.

  • Federale||

    I haven't seen any libertarian publication publish anything significant on the right to freedom of association. Libertarians suport the coersive State when in comes to free association. I have seen nothing in Reason about the right to not make cakes for homosexuals, nor, more importantly, have I seen anything in Reason in opposition to the impositions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and other laws that force a person to deal with other people. If you can't discriminate, you are not free. But modern libertarianism supports the so-called civil rights laws that violate freedom of association.

  • Brutus||

    It's as if a sports reporter wrote a piece about how players run the bases in a clockwise direction on a baseball diamond. We routinely get the shabbiest reporting and opinion in politics, things that would be laughed off the page in sports.

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