Libertarian Defined: Give Me Librium or Give Me Meth, But Don't Pay for My Rehab

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From Ron Hart, a columnist for the Columbia Daily Herald:

Hundreds of my readers have e-mailed me asking why I am a Libertarian and to define it. And by hundreds I mean about 12.

So I will seek to explain why I tend to be a Libertarian and let you think for yourself whether you might be one, too.

Libertarians believe in personal liberty and freedom with only the most minimal government intrusion. We are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. People make choices and they are held accountable for their outcome. In short, do all the crystal meth you want, just don't expect me to pay for your rehab.

Whole thing here.

NEXT: Drink It Up

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  1. Ronald Reagan was the closest president to the Libertarian view.

    Not sure where he gets that idea… for my money, it’d probably be Madison.

  2. From the movie S.O.B.:

    Culley: “Felix, let me put it to you straight.”

    Felix: “You think I’m crazy.”

    Culley: “Well, that was a little straighter than I intended.”

    I’m pretty much in tune with the author of hte article, and it’s clear traditional ways of portraying libertarianism don’t seem to have made much headway. But putting it this way makes it all too easy to misinterpret the message.

    I actually do care if someone does drugs to their own detriment. If it were a friend, for example, I’d try to convince him to stop. What I would not do is use any kind of force to make him stop.

    He gets to kill himself any way he wants – that’s part of the “he owns himself” deal. But that doesn’t mean I stand back and do absolutely nothing if I think he’s crazy. Exerting persuasion in favor or against certain courses of action is not the least bit un-libertarian.

  3. Is it the principle or the empirical results that are the driving force?
    For example, if it was be shown that a more intrusive government could provide higher economical standards of living, would the liberty principle still hold?

    [I am assuming that most people here believe that a more intrusive government does not cause higher standards of living. This is a hypothetical.]

  4. It seems like he’s trying to appeal to both sides of the spectrum here, but lines like “If you have gay sex, you might get AIDS” will make many inquiring liberals close the door to libertarian philosophy forever. Why not just “sex” period? It seems that if liberals who don’t understand libertarianism read this piece that they would believe libertarians hate gays, even though we wouldn’t support government action.

    Putting Reagan on a pedestal doesn’t help any either, especially considering the real divide between his libertarian rhetoric and actual decisions as President. And since Roberts is a Bush nominee and a blank slate as far as the SCOTUS is concerned, that makes him a poor sell on a libertarian interpretation of the constitution.

  5. It’s no surprise to me why Ron Hart is so smart, wealthy and good-lookin’: He grew up near a nest of my kissin’ cousins down there in the Columbia, TN, area.
    Does he post here?
    Has anyone e-mailed him to get him say something here?

  6. Nick, well done on the headline.

    Speaking of which, isn’t it time for everyone’s morning interval?

  7. Coach,
    It has to be the principal. I think what you are suggesting would be called a utilitarian approach. A lot of things “might” be effective, but be morally reprehensible or at the least require an authority to choose how benefits would be distributed.

    Going down that path leads to justification of eminent domain for the greater good or aborting babies to reduce crime.

  8. theCoach,

    there’s a brand of libertarianism for either.

  9. How can anyone seriously view Reagan as a libertarian? This drug-war bullshit alone (and introduction of “zero tolerance”) should downplay THAT theory.

    And saying “He was a great libertarian EXCEPT for the drug war” is like saying “the surgery was a success EXCEPT that the patient died.”

  10. How can anyone seriously view Reagan as a libertarian? This drug-war bullshit alone (and introduction of “zero tolerance”) should downplay THAT theory.

    And saying “He was a great libertarian EXCEPT for the drug war” is like saying “the surgery was a success EXCEPT that the patient died.”

  11. Y’all’s server is fucking up again. On an unrelated note, I just bought a new home computer, and I volunteer to donate to you the old 1998-model Micron it replaced. It HAS to be better than whatever the hell you’re running.

  12. The piece is fine for folks who are already libertarians (though not without its blemishes, as noted above), but I doubt how effective it will be in accomplishing its purpose: getting other people to think seriously about libertarianism.

  13. On my column, I am writing it to convert folks in the South to our way of thinking. It has to be easy for them to understand and funny. Granted, in the purest form the column is not precise enough for libertarian zealots, but give me credit for getting the story out there.

    As for gays, read my old columns on http://www.ronaldhart.com which says Big Brother leave them alone! “The Outing of the US Constitution” was one such column where I said I guess that if Frist wants gays to marry, they must wait their turn for Liza Minelli.

    Ron Hart

  14. Jennifer-

    I kind of like the idea of posting on a forum run by ENIAC.

  15. On my column, I am writing it to convert folks in the South to our way of thinking. It has to be easy for them to understand and funny. Granted, in the purest form the column is not precise enough for libertarian zealots, but give me credit for getting the story out there.

    As for gays, read my old columns on http://www.ronaldhart.com which says Big Brother leave them alone! “The Outing of the US Constitution” was one such column where I said I guess that if Frist wants gays to marry, they must wait their turn for Liza Minelli.

    Ron Hart

  16. Jennifer-

    I kind of like the idea of posting on a forum run by ENIAC.

  17. “How can anyone seriously view Reagan as a libertarian? This drug-war bullshit alone (and introduction of “zero tolerance”) should downplay THAT theory.”

    Jennifer,
    This is from Columbia, TN!!
    Do you want my excellent friend, Ron, to be tarred and feathered?

  18. On my column, I am writing it to convert folks in the South to our way of thinking. It has to be easy for them to understand and funny. Granted, in the purest form the column is not precise enough for libertarian zealots, but give me credit for getting the story out there.

    As for gays, read my old columns on http://www.ronaldhart.com which says Big Brother leave them alone! “The Outing of the US Constitution” was one such column where I said I guess that if Frist wants gays to marry, they must wait their turn for Liza Minelli.

    Ron Hart

  19. Gay sex is a vice that you should be punished for with AIDS? Fuck him.

  20. A bit too lengthy to read at work. Hafta get back with my whimsical comments on Monday. But yeah, fiscally conservative and socially liberal is a no brainer. Anything less would be evil. EVIL I tell you!

  21. Walnut-

    Take a look at the demographic Ron is trying to appeal to. He’s already admitted that he’s trading off pure philosophical consistency in the hopes of getting people to take a look at libertarianism that otherwise wouldn’t.

    Baby steps.

  22. “They are confident that this is the way to maximize liberty and freedom, but it’s still an open question.”

    Fortunately, the question of whether or not federal hyper-regulation is the way to maximize liberty and freedom is closed. Some sad few will never drop that banner, though. Too tempting for the peevish busy-body types, I’m afraid.

  23. “Libertarians believe in personal liberty and freedom with only the most minimal government intrusion. We are fiscally conservative and socially liberal.”

    I’ve used that line on people I know who are either very liberal, or very conservative. I can’t think of one instance where they got it. It makes perfect sense to someone who believes and practices such, but to a person who believes in the authoritarian enforcement of all that is right and good, it sounds stupid. What’s funny is that most people I know like the libertarian position, they just find it too idealistic to be practical.

  24. JDM, that’s because every day the Mrs. Kravitz Goosestep Brigade continues its march.

  25. Mr. Hart, meet the Reason server. Server, meet Mr. Hart.

    I know what the trick is, RC. The questions still remain about just how “voluntary” are your associations with your employer, or the company that opened up a plant down the street, and what the extent of the night watchman’s ideal extent is. That’s what I meant by “open questions.”

    Oh, well, JDM has spoken, and the secretary who keeps getting her ass slapped by the fellas in the remaining mill in a former textile town going down the tuves is the very model of a free actor. All you complainers, get back to work.

  26. Hey, this piece is great. Very funny and gets our case across. And if you read it correctly, he is not saying Gays that have sex deserve AIDS, it is just a risk. We all know that.

    Kudos to Mr. Hart, he is brilliant.

  27. “I can’t think of one instance where they got it. It makes perfect sense to someone who believes and practices such, but to a person who believes in the authoritarian enforcement of all that is right and good, it sounds stupid.”

    mattc,
    Step Two is to take the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, roll it up into a cone, and jab it into their eye.

  28. Mediageek, I get what you’re saying, but it’s still a rotten hateful thing to write, and I want no part of it. To me it brings up what I call the sex with dogs question of libertarianism. People say they want free choice, but then they get squirmy when those choices get too weird. I for one don’t care if people have gay sex or sex with dogs (as long as the dog’s into it) or marry six partners. Let your freak flag fly.

  29. Hey, this piece is great. Very funny and gets our case across. And if you read it correctly, he is not saying Gays that have sex deserve AIDS, it is just a risk. We all know that.

    Kudos to Mr. Hart, he is brilliant.

  30. Hey, this piece is great. Very funny and gets our case across. And if you read it correctly, he is not saying Gays that have sex deserve AIDS, it is just a risk. We all know that.

    Kudos to Mr. Hart, he is brilliant.

  31. “Oh, well, JDM has spoken, and the secretary who keeps getting her ass slapped by the fellas in the remaining mill in a former textile town going down the tuves is the very model of a free actor.”

    You might want to pick a better example of your argument, Joe, because even to a libertarian, what you describe is an “unwanted touching” and therefore an assault, possibly a sexual assault. Therefore, it wouldn’t need federal employment regulation to address…

  32. Joe,
    If the secretary in the private firm gets her ass slapped, she can file suit and choose to work elsewhere. If in conjunction with the local city councilman the local real estate developer slaps her ass, she has to lift her skirt and ask “please sir may I have another” in the name of eminent domain.

    Guess those textile workers will have to find work wherever all those coopers and blacksmiths went to work…sigh…I hate progress.

  33. “Oh, well, JDM has spoken, and the secretary who keeps getting her ass slapped by the fellas in the remaining mill in a former textile town going down the tuves is the very model of a free actor.”

    You might want to pick a better example of your argument, Joe, because even to a libertarian, what you describe is an “unwanted touching” and therefore an assault, possibly a sexual assault. Therefore, it wouldn’t need federal employment regulation to address…

  34. Mmm. Because nothing says “job security” like filing a criminal complaint against your co-workers.

    Fine, verbally harrassed by people making references to falafels, then.

  35. They are confident that this is the way to maximize liberty and freedom, but it’s still an open question.

    That’s the problem. It would be nice if we would actually get a chance to answer that question. Every other lame-brained political philosophy has had a chance, why not ours?

    Lol, let’s tally up the last couple of days: the current server has been speculated to be:ENIAC, Commodore 64, a Pong Console, or a Timex Sinclair. I would like to continue by suggesting that it is actually hosted by a contraption in which humans operating a network of telegraphs have taken the place of the and/or gates in CPU chips, and memory consists of people chiseling info into stone tablets and handing them to runners for storage and retrieval in a bunker a mile away.

  36. dead elvis-

    I think the problem is that the hamsters get tired of running on the wheel and need a break.

    joe, could you lend them the services of the Baptist minister held captive in your basement?

  37. Dead Elvis,

    You had your chance to answer the question. The outcome was the tenements of New York cirac 1870 and the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.

    When people ask, “Are they allowed to dump stuff in the stream behind my house?” they want a clear NO, not a lawyer’s business card.

  38. Oh no, another cheap shot!

    But as JDM will point out, the women at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company were perfectly free from government intrusion as they chose whether to jump to their deaths, or burn alive.

    Oh no he di’int! Oh no he di’int!

  39. Why is this getting all about sex with dogs? He wrote a great column that is funny and might win a few folks over.

    I read a column of his once where he said Sen Rick Santorum needs to get the Feds out of the Gay marriage issue because it was a States Rights issue.”Therefore if Santorum wants to do something about gays he needs to change the name of the Hershey Highway in his state” Go Ron!

  40. I disagree with Joe concerning just how far the government should go to protect the weak from the strong, but I agree with the central point he’s making: governments are NOT the only organizations, and heads of state NOT the only individuals, whose power over those beneath them needs to be kept in check to ensure a truly free society.

    Yes, I know this is not pure libertarian thinking. On the other hand, pure libertarian thinking has never made any inroads into the American political system, so maybe some compromises might be in order? Come on, guys–things are so fucking bad that columnists are resorting to using Ronald “zero tolerance” Reagan as an example of libertarianism to sell to the masses!

    Oh, the shame. Oh, the ignominy.

  41. Probably the most libertarian solution to the issues surrounding a single dominant employer in a rural area is a (…ducking for cover…) union. Of course, union entry should still be voluntary.

    And libertarians should not be in denial that although there are benefits to the Corporate structure, there are flaws. In particular, it is difficult to truly hold a Corporation accountable for its actions. Corporations are a legal contruct that should never be written off as simply a quasi-individual. But none of these flaws leads me to be at all gung-ho about regulation, whose flaws usually outweigh unregulated interactions.

  42. Joe,

    You miss the fact that much of the interference in employees personal lives (e.g. drug testing) is mandated by government rules, driven by government policy wonks, and pushed forward with government grants.

    If it was not for government policies corporations would be limiting the liberty and freedom of their employees much less then they do today.

  43. “When people ask, “Are they allowed to dump stuff in the stream behind my house?” they want a clear NO, not a lawyer’s business card.”

    I don’t understand. Laws against dumping in streams are still libertarian.

  44. MP–

    What would you think of (in lieu of gov’t regulation of corporations) doing away with the legal fiction that a corporation is a human being and the protected legal status of the limited liability corporation?

    I have argued here for a return to the Victorian model of business responsibility–a business owner is NOT legally distinct from the business he owns. None of this business where Jennifer Incorporated sells hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of stocks or bonds to pay astronomical salaries to Jennifer Individual the CEO, and then when Jennifer Inc. declares bankruptcy, the bondholders are SOL, and Jennifer Individual retires to Switzerland with the salary she ‘earned’ from her defunct company.

  45. ” Ronald Reagan was the closest president to the Libertarian view.”

    I know that the libertarian philosophy might seem simple at first glance, but he should have noted that you can’t sum up the entire libertarian philosphy in such a short article.

  46. I follow the left leaning libertarian philosophy mainly in the sense that rich, powerful corporations and private institutions are not individuals and therefore need to be kept in check by individuals to ensure personal liberty. All that means to me is keeping monopolies from taking away freedom from people by fiat, not because people are too stupid to make their own decisions.

  47. What would you think of (in lieu of gov’t regulation of corporations) doing away with the legal fiction that a corporation is a human being and the protected legal status of the limited liability corporation?

    The economic advantages of the risk mitigation offered by Corporations are enormous. It is significantly harder to raise capital if investors/shareholders are directly liable to corporate malfeasance. The drastic reduction in societal wealth that would result from the elimination of Corporations significantly offsets the problem related to not being able hold a Corporate entity as accountable for its actions as an Individual.

  48. The outcome was the tenements of New York cirac 1870 and the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.

    Not that one again. You didn’t notice that it was the government fire department that didn’t have the equipment to reach high enough? Or the government building inspector that permitted doors that opened inwards instead of outwards?

    Jeff

  49. Another thing. One reason the “slippery slope” argument works so well in politics is because we’ve seen it happen in the past. Unions, OSHA, and Anti-Trust Laws have reasonable origins but have grown into authoritarian monsters. I think there are a lot of cases were laws have been made for a good reason, but end up becoming harmful once the original reason goes away. I’m not quite sure why laws aren’t reviewed for irrelevency on a regular basis. Perhaps its because of apathy or maybe a conditioned response that all rules are set in stone.

    I believe a lot of the resistance to libertarian principles has to do with this.

  50. They key to getting more acceptance is doing what this column did–explain it in simple and humourous terms.

  51. Joe: Well, (libertarians) like to tell themselves that. They absolutely believe in the right of private corporations to limit the liberty and freedom of their employees and others, without the government interfering.

    Whereas Republicans believe in the right of private corporations to limit the liberty and freedom of their employees and others with the government’s assistance, and Democrats believe in cutting out the middleman and exerting the right of the government to limit the liberty and freedom of employees and others directly.

  52. I’d venture to say that the prison term I’d impose on anyone unwantedly slapping a woman anywhere (when I’m finally appointed dictator for life) would be a good bit harsher than most people’s.

    Anywho, my point was about joe’s preference in every instance to impose more and better regulation as a solution to every problem that comes up on these boards ever. Which is admittedly non-sequitous to the narrow point joe was making here.

    I’d go so far as to say that self identified libertarians and Libertarians could well be harmful to the cause of liberty, convincing people that concern for individual liberty is the domain of lunatics and losers through comments such as:

    “Come on, guys–things are so fucking bad that columnists are resorting to using Ronald “zero tolerance” Reagan as an example of libertarianism to sell to the masses!”

    A little perspective would be nice sometimes.

  53. You didn’t notice that it was the government fire department that didn’t have the equipment to reach high enough? Or the government building inspector that permitted doors that opened inwards instead of outwards?

    Umm…you appear to be advocate more goverment with this line of reasoning.

  54. Great column! Ron Hart is what we need, another PJ O’Rourke. PJ did more for spreading the word than overly argumentative slicing and dicing of what we believe in. Great work Mr. Hart!

  55. Umm…you appear to be advocate more goverment with this line of reasoning.

    Not in this lifetime. Just countering the position that government intervention is what’s needed by pointing out another instance of government failure.

    The inward opening doors were simply a matter of the custom of the time. People simply hadn’t learned yet. And if memory serves correctly, it wasn’t until a movie theater fire that people finally wised up.

    Jeff

  56. I like the line about “Katie Holmes only had to sign a document that had 26,910 words in it to marry Tom Cruise” Good stuff Ron, very funny-especially if you know this nut case Tom Cruise.

  57. TJIT, “If it was not for government policies corporations would be limiting the liberty and freedom of their employees much less then they do today.” The first employees in my town’s mills were required to rise for chapel services every morning, and could be fired from their jobs for gossiping or being the subject of gossip. Sorry, not buying it.

    jeffiek, “You didn’t notice that it was the government fire department that didn’t have the equipment to reach high enough? Or the government building inspector that permitted doors that opened inwards instead of outwards?” Yes, I noticed that the government failed to have strict enough regulation on the height and design of industrial buildings, and that they didn’t commit the necessary resources to public services. Thanks for the help. 🙂

    Larry A, that might be true, but the point I was making was about liberals, who believe the government has the right to limit the ability of corporations to limit the freedom of their employees.

    “Anywho, my point was about joe’s preference in every instance to impose more and better regulation as a solution to every problem that comes up on these boards ever.” JDM, that is most horrible and egregious exaggeration that the world has ever seen. Your frenzied desire to overstate your case makes you worse than Hitler.

    “The inward opening doors were simply a matter of the custom of the time.” Giving the hot secretary a little “playful” razzing is simply a matter of custom, too. So, in some places, is female genital mutilation. Stopping people from acting according to destructive customs is one of the purposes of government.

  58. If it was not for government policies corporations would be limiting the liberty and freedom of their employees much less then they do today

    Yeah, remember the golden age when employers wanted forty-hour workweeks and two-day weekends to be the norm for their workers, but the mean ol’ government made the employees work six days a week for twelve hours a day instead?

  59. Stopping people from acting according to destructive customs is one of the purposes of government.

    It would be nice if that were true. But I don’t live in fantasy land. I live on planet earth.

    Here, government continually fails at that objective and actually uses destructive means when it does try to achieve them.

    Jeff

  60. Government is like guns: not inherently good or inherently bad. It just depends on who’s holding it and what they want to use it for.

  61. “If it was not for government policies corporations would be limiting the liberty and freedom of their employees much less then they do today.”

    I, like joe, call bullshit. Henry Ford’s workers weren’t so ‘free’, were they?

  62. The best and most subtle line in Ron Hart’s column is: “Libertarians want simpicity, common sense and the right to decide for ourselves (based on our religious, cognitive, personal conclusions) how we should live.” Well said and brilliant!

    Any commons sense spending $200 billion to rebuild New Orleans under sea level?
    As one of Hart’s columns on this matter mused “Nagin Please”.

  63. Joe, if you have a point, why don’t you just come out and make it instead of dancing around and jeering? For example, you seem to be claiming that somehow the Triangle Shirtwaist fire deaths can be pinned on a libertarian philosophy. Well, gee, Joe – we do have fire codes, zoning laws, sprinkler laws, etc., and people STILL die in fires. Can we pin all these deaths on the government, since you get to do the converse? (BTW, your jibes also contain the unexamined assumption that New York City and New York State of 1911 were libertarian paradises.) Like I said, if you have a real argument, make it. Saying “Triangle Shirtwaist! Sexual harrassment!” does not constitute an argument.

  64. “I, like joe, call bullshit. Henry Ford’s workers weren’t so ‘free’, were they?”

    Sound of 1000 libertarians googling for evidence of relationship between Henry Ford and the government.

    Aha! Henry Ford sold trucks to the Army! Clearly, liberty would have otherwise reigned in his factories.

  65. Stopping people from acting according to destructive customs is one of the purposes of government.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH…*deep breath*…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHaHaHaHahahahahaha…wheeeeee!

    Destructive customs like volunteering to be cannon fodder in foreign wars?

    Or using SWAT Teams to stop people from smoking a joint in their own home?

    Or mandating obnoxious hoops one must abide by in order to protect one’s hearing by putting a sound suppressor on a firearm?

    Or bankrupting small businesses because they failed to dot every i and cross every t on the IRS’ byzantine tax forms?

    Or telling gay people that they can’t get married?

    Or telling you that if Fido doesn’t have the right fur color that they’ll confiscate him and put him to death?

    Or continually spending tax money in an attempt to keep tabs on every aspect of your financial and personal life?

    Or passing laws that infringe on the freedom of speech, but only 90 days before a general election?

    Yeah, government really does a good job of stopping destructive customs.

  66. “Joe, if you have a point, why don’t you just come out and make it instead of dancing around and jeering?”

    OK, there’s always one: the lack of government oversight of Trianglel’s operations led to the hideous deaths and maimings of hundreds of people. Death and disfigurement tend to inpinge on people’s freedom.

    “Well, gee, Joe – we do have fire codes, zoning laws, sprinkler laws, etc., and people STILL die in fires.” Yes. Just a lot fewer.

    Nobody else seems quite so baffled about my point, you know. But here it is again: the lack of regulation of buildings and industrial operations led to the, er, “severe curtailment” of the freedom of Trianle’s employees.

  67. Joe and M1EK,

    You are not buying the fact that government policies drive corporations to limit the liberty and freedom of their employees. This is a glowing testament to your ideological blinders:-) but does not change the facts on the ground.

    The fact is the DOT, OPS, NIDA, SAMSHA, and numerous other government groups are MANDATING or facilitating private corporation interference in personal lives with drug testing. If it were not for government action to push drug testing the drug testing industry would be a fraction of its current size if it existed at all.

    This is your government at work today. Your counterarguments were from at least 70 years ago and are not cogent to the point.

  68. joe, would you rather be oppressed by Microsoft or the US government?

  69. geek,

    John is a man does not equal All men are John.

  70. I, like joe, call bullshit. Henry Ford’s workers weren’t so ‘free’, were they?

    Free enough to say “I quit” if they so desired. That’s a damn site more free than anyone who’s ever lived in any place calling itself a “Workers’ Paradise.”

  71. joe, would you rather be oppressed by Microsoft or the US government?

    I’m not joe, but last time I checked, Microsoft doesn’t have the guns or resources to kick my door down and force me to install Windows.

  72. TJIT,

    “You are not buying the fact that government policies drive corporations to limit the liberty and freedom of their employees.” No, I agree, that can happen. But the sloppy lumping of all government actions under the rubric “government” fails to capture the facts on the ground.

    You don’t want to repeal the health and safety regulations Big Brother imposed on those poor, plucky little corporations like Triangle Shirtwaist? The hell you don’t…

    Nathan, I’d rather not be oppressed by anyone. This being the real world, I think a system that checks the power of both is the best way to muddle through.

  73. Joe, please, tell me, just how exactly is the power of government “checked” in any real sense in this day and age?

  74. Joe – I think he was refering to the utopian community Ford built for his workers. Or maybe not.

  75. Yes, I know this is not pure libertarian thinking. On the other hand, pure libertarian thinking has never made any inroads into the American political system, so maybe some compromises might be in order? Come on, guys–things are so fucking bad that columnists are resorting to using Ronald “zero tolerance” Reagan as an example of libertarianism to sell to the masses!

    Well, it all depends on what consititutes impure libertarian thinking. I consider myself a fairly moderate minarchist in that I’m willing to accept some minor actions by government that I don’t think are proper in exchange for keeping government as a whole small (like some minimalist emergency welfare), as well as some actions on a small scale (say, sending tsunami relief) in order to save lives.

    But the sort of government I’d consider “acceptable”, not ideal, is light-years from what we have. How much more do I have to give up to be acceptable to people who want a government nothing like what I’m interested in, and what can I possibly get out of it?

  76. I am sending this to my friends who are on the fence about being a libertarian. You get more with honey that you do with vinegar. Well done Ron!

  77. BTW, I’m not arguing that all government actions further freedom.

    Rather, I’m refuting the argument that all government actions reduce freedom – which is to say, Mr. Hart’s implication, so ruthlessly seconded by y’all, that personal freedom and liberty is only furthered by, and indistinguishable from, a lack of government intrusion.

  78. last time I checked, Microsoft doesn’t have the guns or resources to kick my door down and force me to install Windows.

    I’d like to have seen Gates’ hissy fit when his lawyers told him he couldn’t do that. You know it had to have come up at some point.

  79. Hart is saying “minimal government intrusion” Joe! Not that there should be none.

    I liked Dead Elvis’ comment on Microsoft!

  80. Hart is saying “minimal government intrusion” Joe! Not that there should be none.

    Joe knows, Gary. It just suits his purposes at times to misrepresent those he disagrees with, even to the point of outright lying about what people have said. Yesterday, for example, he attributed a statement by me that the Katrina victims suffered because they were lazy. (I naturally said nothing anyone with a brain could construe as that.)

    It’s why I don’t respond to the guy anymore.

  81. the lack of regulation of buildings and industrial operations led to the, er, “severe curtailment” of the freedom of Trianle’s employees.

    NO. And yes, that’s intentionally in caps. Hopefully the “shout” might get your attention. The “severe curtailment” was caused by ignorance not the lack of regulations.

    The Triangle tragedy was just that. A tragedy. Not caused by malicious intent. And certainly not prevented by the government.

    The cure is knowledge, not regulation. And if you try to use knowledge and government in the same sentence I’ll get sick to my stomach.

    Jeff

  82. I, like joe, call bullshit. Henry Ford’s workers weren’t so ‘free’, were they?

    You might want to look up how Ford increased production by his employees.

    I’ll save you the trouble. He raised wages. Without government regulations.

    Jeff

  83. The Triangle tragedy was just that. A tragedy. Not caused by malicious intent. And certainly not prevented by the government

    No, but the government’s passing of laws like “You can’t lock your employees in with no way for them to leave in case of emergency” did at least help prevent similar tragedies later.

  84. “I, like joe, call bullshit. Henry Ford’s workers weren’t so ‘free’, were they?

    You might want to look up how Ford increased production by his employees.”

    Shall I take that as an admission that the original theory on freedom at corporations was completely wrong, since you’ve moved on to “but they got a raise!”?

  85. “The inward opening doors were simply a matter of the custom of the time.” Giving the hot secretary a little “playful” razzing is simply a matter of custom, too. So, in some places, is female genital mutilation. Stopping people from acting according to destructive customs is one of the purposes of government.

    Speaking from nearly complete ignorance of the subject: Was there, contemporaneous with the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, or at some time closely prior to it, a widespread call by government or anyone else for outward-opening doors for emergency purposes? Or was it an idea that simply hadn’t occurred to people on a wide scale yet?

    If the latter, then the deaths in the fire can hardly be attributed to some bug inherent in capitalism itself or even in the actions of that particular factory. No government — not even joe’s fantasy Kerry Administration — can enforce a regulation or propose a set of regulations that it itself has not thought of yet.

  86. Serious question for the get-government-out-of-employment-regulation people: do you oppose laws like “Employers cannot lock their employees inside buildings during work hours” or “employers must make sure employees have a means of escape in case there’s a fire?”

  87. Eric the .5b,

    You’re a loathsome sack of crap, you know that? How about you stop attributing motives to everybody you disagree with which are not only noxious but obviously false?

    Along the lines of:

    “Eric the .5b knows that. It just suits his purpose to post otherwise while he’s feeding smoothies made out of puppies to his collection of 4-year-old slaves in his basement on their once-daily nourishment breaks in between sewing clothes for export”.

  88. Phil–

    It’s my understanding that the problem at Triangle wasn’t so much the inward-opening doors, but the fact that the doors were LOCKED to prevent employee theft.

  89. I’m lost here. How does giving raises limit the freedom of employees? Or was there some other original theory?

    Jeff

  90. John is a man does not equal All men are John.

    Joe, I know that since you take The King’s shilling you are obligated to come to his defense, but couldn’t you at least put a little heart into it?

  91. I guess my question will go unanswered. But I’m guessing that the “Randroid in my head” (as Joe would say) would answer like this:

    The government does NOT have the right to pass laws mandating that employees be able to escape their workplace in the event of a fire. After all, if employees don’t like working in firetraps they’re perfectly free to work elsewhere! Let the market solve the problem on his own. If the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory had kept all of its doors unlocked during working hours, then the owners would have had to spend MONEY hiring guards to watch the doors to make sure employees didn’t walk out with stolen goods! And that would have raised the prices of his products, which would have made it harder for poor people to afford them.

  92. “Or was it an idea that simply hadn’t occurred to people on a wide scale yet?”

    There is a large amount of writing out there about how most of the reforms attributed to government regulation actually came about by people following the ideas voluntarily before they were actually passed. Child labor was nearly ended in this country before any child labor laws were passed, etc.

  93. You’re a loathsome sack of crap, you know that? How about you stop attributing motives to everybody you disagree with which are not only noxious but obviously false?

    While it’s fun to just giggle at the guy who calls folks liars and accuses them of being Republican partisans saying anything like this (not to mention the guy who blamed people like Joe for Kerry losing the election), it behooves me to point out that you, at the most charitable take, misread my post.

    I didn’t assign motives, I just said it “serves his purposes”.

    If you actually have a coherent criticism to try to make (besides just spraying foam), go for it. We all need a laugh.

  94. Serious question for the get-government-out-of-employment-regulation people: do you oppose laws like “Employers cannot lock their employees inside buildings during work hours” or “employers must make sure employees have a means of escape in case there’s a fire?”

    Jennifer, of course not. But I have to say I find it mighty ironic that joe is using a lack of 19th century, government-mandated fire safety as the lynchpin of his defense of a government that now happily surrounds buildings filled with women and children and then merrily burns them down.

  95. It’s not clear how much death can be attributed to locked doors and how much to ones that opened inward. In either case the cause was ignorance of the consequences.

    In consideration of that I oppose the “prevention” laws. The intent is obviously desirable. But they’re unnecessary. Knowledge is the cure for ignorance. Not regulation.

    The problem is what you also get with regulation. You also get a government with the power to enforce them. And governments aren’t noted for limiting their own power. Now that initially honorable purpose is extended to measuring the exact height of stair railings and other equally ridiculous rules that consume far more resources (which in turn causes harm ) than any possible benefit.

    There’s also the problem of people having a false sense of security. People relying on government regulations are more likely to take the attitude that “if it’s legal it must be safe” even when presented with circumstances to the contrary. How much harm does that cause?

    Jeff

  96. Sometimes it take people more than twenty minutes to answer you, Jennifer. You haven’t answered me yet, after all.

    Serious question for the get-government-out-of-employment-regulation people: do you oppose laws like “Employers cannot lock their employees inside buildings during work hours” or “employers must make sure employees have a means of escape in case there’s a fire?”

    Those are laws I’m perfectly willing to live with, even if I find them less than ideologically ideal. However, if there were, say, organizations specializing in promoting vicious boycotts of (or unignorable petition drives to harass) companies engaging in unsafe work practices, I’d say we wouldn’t need the laws.

  97. There’s also the argument that a great big muthafuggin’ precedent would get set from all the lawsuits with obscene payouts levelled against those who failed to take proper safety measures in the first place.

    While this certainly wouldn’t help the victims resulting from negligent safety precautions, I bet it wouldn’t be long before even the most cretinous Scrooge would be able to read the signs loud and clear, and realize that the low cost of basic safety precautions would far far far outweigh being sued into life-shattering poverty.

  98. Phil, as a matter of fact, there was an active progressive movement fighting for safter workplace conditions, including means of escape and the like. Due to the influence of Big Business and their arguments about property rights and the glories of unfettered capitalist industrial development, the movement made only halting progress. Until the Triange Shirtwaist Fire, that is, when the images of women plunging to their deaths, hair on fire, changed the political dynamic away from what would today be called “libertarian” thinking, and towards support for regulations. Thanks for asking.

    “In either case the cause was ignorance of the consequences.” Mmm hmm. Because, prior to that episode, it had never dawned on anyone that being trapped behind doors that won’t open could prevent people from being able to escape from a fire.

    mediageek, if I was arguing your side, I’d try to change the subject, too. Look, it’s David Koresh! Snicker.

  99. And in return Jennifer, what non-libertarians are going to be willing to stop at “Employers cannot lock their employees inside buildings during work hours” and “employers must make sure employees have a means of escape in case there’s a fire?”?

    History shows they didn’t, after all. If people still died after those laws were passed, even if it was because the laws were broken, the solution was – more laws (or regulations). Now we have thousands upon thousands of pages of workplace laws and regulations.

    What’s my option here, to continue the point from my post? Shut up on removing government interference in markets? OK, fine. Shut up on opposing government social programs? OK, fine. Shut up on property rights, etc? …OK, fine.

    Repeat enough times and I’m back to just being a civil libertarian Democrat. So I’ve given up tons, and I’m just as ignored as those libertoids.

    Whoopee.

  100. “While this certainly wouldn’t help the victims resulting from negligent safety precautions, I bet it wouldn’t be long before even the most cretinous Scrooge would be able to read the signs loud and clear, and realize that the low cost of basic safety precautions would far far far outweigh being sued into life-shattering poverty.”

    Except for the part where the Triangle Shirtwaise Fire took place THREE GENERATIONS after the industrial revolution, and the ability to sue in the courts had failed to make commonsense safety precautions widespread as you predict, this is a very strong argument.

  101. In my town, there was a famous mill owner who refused to put a railing around the open hole in the floor of his factory, through which the drive axles connected to the water-powered gears below projected. Roughly a dozen girls fell to their deaths over the years, but as a good capitalist, he stood on his property rights, alway pointing out that those who didn’t want to work in his factory didn’t have to. Each time it happened, there were rumblings about safety regulations, and each time, he stood on his rights as a property owner to be free from the government telling him what to do.

    As a nice epilogue, when he collapsed with a stroke on M___________ Street downtown, passersby applauded as died before their eyes.

  102. One of you posters needs to mirror joe (you know, a dog with a bone). Just bring up the Tuskeegee (sp) experiments and mention it in every post.

    And I do have a question: Where is the Triangle Shirtwaste company today?

  103. I just wanted to say (if it’s not too late) that I thought Ron Hart’s piece was a pretty decent entry-level introduction to libertarianism.

    Maybe the thing about “if you have gay sex, you might get AIDS” wasn’t quite so deft as it might be. But his point was that if you do something that other people don’t approve of, then as long as you’re assuming whatever risks it might entail upon yourself and are not (potentially) hurting anyone but yourself, then other people should butt out.

    And yeah, Ronald Reagan was by far the most libertarian president we’ve had, if you read that as implicitly meannging “the most libertarian president we’ve had within the living memory of anyone who is likely to be reading this, and may not be too aware of the political philosophy of Washington, Jefferson, etc. in any detail.”

    Reagan was far from a pure libertarian. He was much less libertarian than President Ron Paul or President Murray Rothbard or President David D. Friedman. But compared to anyone in our lifetimes who has actually med it into the Oval Office, yeah, he was pretty libertarian.

    Reagan was the first president to say, “more government is not the solution, it’s the problem” and that was some pretty radical shit when we heard it circa 1979. (Possibly Goldwater was more libertarian as a campaigner, but I was too young to remember him, although I vaguely remember my parents talking about him when I was little.)

    In fact, it was probably Reagan who first pushed me down the libertarian road and, eventually, into the anarcho-cap corner. Hell, when I started thinking of myself as a libertarian it was a several more years before I realized the War on Drugs was a really bad idea, myself.

  104. Ok, you’ve forced me to spend some time googling.

    The Triangle Shirtwaist fire wasn’t the only, or even the first, example of the danger of inward opening doors.

    See http://www.eastlandmemorial.org/iroquois.shtml

    This occurred in 1903. Eight years before Triangle. Really puts the kibosh on the government not having the knowledge. Doesn’t look too favorably on building owners either.

    I especially like this part:
    “Hearings revealed that ‘complimentary’ tickets motivated city inspectors to ignore the fire code and let the theater open.”

    Eight years seems like a long time to us now, but in the early 1900’s change would take longer.

    Joe: No, the danger of inward opening doors didn’t occur to people, at least at first. Sad but true, most of the time people don’t think these things through until tragedy occurs, usually more than once. Governments, being made up of people, posess no special ability to do any better.

    Jeff

  105. “Sad but true, most of the time people don’t think these things through until tragedy occurs, usually more than once.”

    And then, even when these things do occur to them, some people are too cheap, selfish, or lazy to do anything about it. That’s where the govenrment comes in.

  106. sage, if you ever have an actual argument that involves the Tuskeegee experiments, go ahead, bring it up. You know, like I made an actual argument, with intellectual content and everything, about the Triangle Fire.

    Personally, I’m not going to hold my breath.

  107. Where is the Triangle Shirtwaste company today?

    It no longer exists, on account of its having been burned to a crisp back in 1911. The owners were tried for manslaughter, but acquitted.

  108. “Oh, the ignominy”
    You can say that again, Jennifer! Have it with gravy over it for supper, or in the grits form with sugar for breakfast, along with scrambled brains and eggs. mmmmm!

    Peyton,
    Are you one of my cousins down in the Columbia, TN, area?

  109. Did a little extra searching: even though the owners avoided criminal responsibility, they certainly suffered financially, though! Here’s an exact cut and paste:

    Twenty-three families sued the two owners and eventually they each were paid a sum of $75.

  110. And then, even when these things do occur to them, some people are too cheap, selfish, or lazy to do anything about it. That’s where the govenrment comes in.

    Incredible. In spite of the evidence:

    “Hearings revealed that ‘complimentary’ tickets motivated city inspectors to ignore the fire code and let the theater open.”

    that government is as bad as individuals, you still support them. Or is corruption moral?

  111. “mediageek, if I was arguing your side, I’d try to change the subject, too. Look, it’s David Koresh! Snicker.”

    Joe, I’m hardly changing the subject. Your basic premise in this entire argument is to engage in a ridiculous slippery slope argument that any move towards a more libertarian government will suddenly result in people trapped in buildings burning to death, children forced to work on factory lines, and unskilled Asian immigrants being killed when their evil bosses decide to detonate the dynamite in the mine to save on paying them.

    It doesn’t follow. It’s patently obvious to even the most casual observer that we live in a day and age where governmental encroachment is so all-encompassing as to be absurd, but any attempt to discuss rolling it back results in you running around like Chicken Little, screeching that without a bigger government, we’re all doomed.

    Christ, Koresh was a goddamned whacko, but he wasn’t the one who set up a giant dog and pony slaughterfest in an attempt to justify his budget.

    “Except for the part where the Triangle Shirtwaise Fire took place THREE GENERATIONS after the industrial revolution, and the ability to sue in the courts had failed to make commonsense safety precautions widespread as you predict, this is a very strong argument.”
    Perhaps you’d like to enlighten us all to just how many of these lawsuits were filed? I was positing the argument more as “what would a pure ancap stance be on this issue.” Much like Eric, I’m more or less happy to put up with stuff like fire codes, so stop getting your dick in a knot.

  112. jeff, the inspectors doing nothing about the situation is a violation of my beliefs.

    It is the embodiment of yours.

    geek, “Your basic premise in this entire argument is to engage in a ridiculous slippery slope argument that any move towards a more libertarian government will suddenly result in people trapped in buildings burning to death, children forced to work on factory lines, and unskilled Asian immigrants being killed when their evil bosses decide to detonate the dynamite in the mine to save on paying them.”

    No, actually, it’s not. My basic premise is that libertarians “…absolutely believe in the right of private corporations to limit the liberty and freedom of their employees and others, without the government interfering.

    They are confident that this is the way to maximize liberty and freedom, but it’s still an open question.”

    Or to put it another way, “I’m refuting the argument that all government actions reduce freedom – which is to say, Mr. Hart’s implication, so ruthlessly seconded by y’all, that personal freedom and liberty is only furthered by, and indistinguishable from, a lack of government intrusion.”

    If these statements of principle look familiar, it’s because they are cut and pasted from the comments above.

  113. Why must we all be so serious about this?

    Hart’s column is funny as hell, and if you read his old stuff that is less political you will really laugh. His one about the guy that mailed himself across country in a Fed Ex box he called “Ship for Brains” is particularly funny.

    We need to get behind this guy, he has a voice!

  114. And you may very well have a point, but I find it somewhat troubling that the best example you’ve been able to muster about how government interference protects freedom dates to 1911, and only from a particularly egregious example. It had been known for some time that the Triangle Shirtwaist company was run by a couple of greedy assholes, as it had evidently been the flashpoint for a previous strike.

    Joe, at what point would you consider government interference in the lives of citizens to be wasteful and unwarranted?

  115. “Joe, at what point would you consider government interference in the lives of citizens to be wasteful and unwarranted?”

    Good question. One that has to be answered on a case-by-case basis.

    Anyway, I appreciate that you’ve come around to agreeing with may point, that the simple “more government is less freedom” line is faulty reasoning.

  116. WHY CAN’T WE JUST ALL GET ALONG?
    RODNEY

  117. BECAUSE THAT MAKES FOR BORING-ASS THREADS!

  118. BECAUSE THAT MAKES FOR BORING-ASS THREADS!

  119. “Good question. One that has to be answered on a case-by-case basis.”

    How about when government doctors give you aspirin for your syphilis, telling you that it will make you fell better but just dragging out your suffering to see what the disease will do to you? How about when they do this to you and 400 of your friends and let it go on for 40 years?

  120. KICK HIS ASS! KICK HIS ASS!

  121. sage, you realize that, in your example, the government is guilty of not doing enough, rather than doing too much, right?

    Those men had no other way to get medical treatment than through the free clinics offered by the government. They were poor and couldn’t afford private doctors – that’s why they went to Tuskeegee. In libertopia, they’d have no way to get medical treatment at all, and the results would have been the same.

    So my answer is no, the lack of adequate medical care given to those men is not an example of an over-active government.

  122. Anyway, I appreciate that you’ve come around to agreeing with may point, that the simple “more government is less freedom” line is faulty reasoning.

    nnnnrrrgghghh.

    Joe, I didn’t “come around” to agreeing with your point. In reality, I am willing to admit that there is benefit to such things as fire safety codes, even if, on a purely philosophical level, I acknowledge that they are an infringement on liberty.

    Fire codes saving lives does not make people more free. It makes them less free. It isn’t possible to have a freedom that comes at someone else’s expense. Never has been, never will be. That doesn’t mean there isn’t benefit to it.

  123. joe, more government is less freedom because the buck stops with the government. When a business goes wrong employees can quit and customers can take their business elsewhere. Even in outlier cases like a one employer town or other monopoly, the monopolist has no coercive power over the individual.

    When government goes bad, what recourse do people have? Assuming a democracy, they can vote every few years, but the tyranny of the majority can be a real bitch. And then, when governments go spectacularly wrong, being a refugee is the only way out.

    Overall, the free market achieves more freedom, wealth, and happiness for rich and poor alike because it is a dynamic, self correcting, competitive system. Government has none of these advantages.

    Pop quiz: how many people have died because of bad governments and how many have died because of bad businesses?

  124. “Good question. One that has to be answered on a case-by-case basis.”

    How about when government doctors give you aspirin for your syphilis,

    Sage, the real question isn’t about any case, it’s how you decide the case. In other words, when one guy asks “well, when is this justified?” and the other guy says, “You figure out whether it’s justified on a case-by-case basis”, the first guy is asking how you decide those cases – the crux of the issue. The case-by-case answer is what people pull out when they can’t articulate the criteria, don’t know, or want to dodge the question.

  125. “sage, you realize that, in your example, the government is guilty of not doing enough, rather than doing too much, right?”

    Yeah, I know. I guess as long as they were at it they could have given the guys a shot of herpes to see how THAT played out. Or told them that they just discovered they could end their misery by eating a turd.

  126. And because it deserves clarification, an inability to articulate criteria may not be any fault of the person making such a distinction. The criteria may be unarticulated knowledge, or else the terms of the discussion may be unclear to that person.

    But before you start imposing force on people, you need to be able to say why

  127. “Pop quiz: how many people have died because of bad governments and how many have died because of bad businesses?”

    Except for Bhopal India, I guess you are right.
    That is why what Hart said is so true, the only way to make the world a better place for all is capitalism. Goverments are just there to referee.

    Currently the referee like it is WWF wresting. But baby steps my friend, baby steps. He is heading folks in the right direction.

  128. Yeah, I know. I guess as long as they were at it they could have given the guys a shot of herpes to see how THAT played out. Or told them that they just discovered they could end their misery by eating a turd.

    Zing!

  129. BECAUSE THAT MAKES FOR BORING-ASS THREADS!

    Like replying for people. I hate when folks do that. 😉

  130. Fire codes saving lives does not make people more free. It makes them less free.

    Yes, but this isn’t an action of government. The National Fire Protection Association and Underwriters Laboratories are both private organizations, founded by the insurance industry.

  131. In libertopia, they’d have no way to get medical treatment at all, and the results would have been the same.

    Really? None at all? That’s rather categorical, and I submit that it’s also probably wrong.

  132. though higher math for a liberal to understand: we all should hope for a government that encourages the standard of living for each of us to be raised, NOT the standard of living for each of us to be averaged. Statism or redistributionism by definition averages, libertarianism lets the invisible hand work (pun intended) for the best of all.

  133. “fiscally conservative and socially liberal”

    yuck.

    That phrase makes it seem like libertarians have a hodge-podge, inconsistent philosophy, which is rubbish.
    And no libertarian I know “borrows” philosophy from either Dems or the GOP…If I happen to agree with Ann Coulder or Al Sharpton on something, it’s purely by accident and probably for completely different reasons.

    Maybe I just like disageeing with people. I loved “Nevermind” until everyone else did, then I had to stop liking it. Now I secretly like it again.

    If Reasonoids take over the World I’ll probably join a secret society to overthrow you bastards. And when I succeed, I’ll join you again.

    Whatever.

    I’ll shut up now.

  134. Sage, the real question isn’t about any case, it’s how you decide the case.

    Well said. The epistemology of social utilitarians is all hosed, which is why there really isn’t much of a way to come to a consensus with them.

    That, and they change what constitutes a need for “the greater good” about every 2-1/2 minutes.

  135. Eric the .5b,

    You’ve made this Limbaughesque-style attack on people now about five times since the last time I called anybody a liar (and, of course, they really WERE lies, but let’s forget that inconvenient fact for now). How many more times must I sit by and stomach your crap before I get to complain about it?

    Your pal,
    M1EK

  136. You’ve made this Limbaughesque-style [sic] attack on people now about five times since the last time I called anybody a liar

    I’m not sure how the timing is relevant, but even if it were, how about quoting these five or so attacks I’ve made, and giving even a short explanation of how they’re reminiscent to you of Rush Limbaugh’s schtick? “Disparaging towards a Democrat” doesn’t count, mind you.

    (and, of course, they really WERE lies, but let’s forget that inconvenient fact for now)

    Then what’s your problem with my pointing out that Joe made a wildly untrue claim about me that I challenged him twice (in two different threads), to prove or take back, and that he did neither)? Is it just inconveniently true?

    How many more times must I sit by and stomach your crap before I get to complain about it?

    You wait before complaining? News to me.

  137. Sorry, that should read:

    Then what’s your problem with my pointing out that Joe made a wildly untrue claim about me that I challenged him twice (in two different threads) to prove or take back, and that he did neither?

    Darn punctuation.

  138. That was funny, King Thom, how you mangled your syntax when you tried to insult liberals’ intelligence. Ha ha!

    mediageek, NathanB, I think you are defining your conclusion – as in, government action can’t possibly expand freedom, because freedom is defined as the lack of government action.

    This is not how freedom is actually experienced by people.

  139. i dont give a damn what yall say about a it I kike what the man has to say. and if you take offense to the gay AIDS joke, relax dammit, its a joke nothing more. I like the freshness of his style and if he makes a jke or two thank god no one in the media has the balls to do it any more so more power to him.

  140. This is not how freedom is actually experienced by people.

    If we went purely by the “experience” joe, freedom would be a purely subjective phenomenon, and different for different people. But I know why you want the “experience” standard, because that validates the view of the “wage slave,” the basis of left-liberalism.

    Liberty is the absence of coercion against one’s rights. Now, it doesn’t only take a government to threaten one’s rights, it could take the thug on the street. But that’s what it comes down to, regardless of people’s subjective “experience”!

  141. Joe, if it has to come at someone else’s expense, then it isn’t a freedom.

    Taking certain basic safety precautions is certainly the ethical and moral thing to do. Mandating those precautions makes my knee twitch, but is something I’m willing to tolerate.

    But I won’t call it something it isn’t.

  142. “how about quoting these five or so attacks I’ve made, and giving even a short explanation of how they’re reminiscent to you of Rush Limbaugh’s schtick? ”

    I’m not going to go back through the comment threads here to satisfy your anal desire to have every single thing cited. I HAVE explained the Limbaughesque characterization – it is ascribing unquestionably bad motives or deeds to the guy you’re arguing against which are not even remotely supported by what he actually said.

    As in:

    Eric the .5b knows that. It just suits his purpose to post otherwise while he’s feeding smoothies made out of puppies to his collection of 4-year-old slaves in his basement on their once-daily nourishment breaks in between sewing clothes for export.

    The difference between this and me labelling someone a liar (when they clearly are)? I stick to the same thing each time, and it’s clearly supported by the combination of what they said and objective reality. Yours requires that we somehow peek inside joe’s brain.

  143. Would that include the freedom of a mill owner to run his operation in a dangerous manner, at the expense of his workers?

    You know our answer, joe! 🙂 In light of mediageek’s last post, I would think that he would say that he’s reluctantly willing to accept safety regulations, but he won’t mislabel such regulations as forms of freedom. When you tell someone how to run his business under threat of coercion, that is simply not freedom, regardless of the updside of doing so.

    Excuse me for not searching 140 posts, joe, but what, praytell, do you add into your definition of “freedom” that is not included in “liberty”? Checking the words in the dictionary comes up with pretty much identical results. Perhaps the one line in “freedom” not covered in “liberty” is “The capacity to exercise choice; free will.” But if, as mediageek points out, such “freedom” comes at someone else’s expense, is that the kind of freedom you really want? Apparently so, if it threatens people’s “experience” of freedom.

  144. “how about quoting these five or so attacks I’ve made, and giving even a short explanation of how they’re reminiscent to you of Rush Limbaugh’s schtick? “

    I’m not going to go back through the comment threads here to satisfy your anal desire to have every single thing cited. I HAVE explained the Limbaughesque characterization – it is ascribing unquestionably bad motives or deeds to the guy you’re arguing against which are not even remotely supported by what he actually said.

    The matter of joe, first.

    OK, so what inner motives did I ascribe?

    I didn’t. I don’t really know what joe’s motives are. A libertarian may have bit him as a child. Maybe there’s a liberal forum somewhere where he’s known as a cantankerous Objectivist contrarian. No idea.

    I do know that he knows libertarians enough to know that most aren’t anarchists, so reading “minimal” government as “none” is a questionable action at best. And this was pointed out to him, of course, without him correcting himself.

    I also know pretty well that he falsely attributed a statement to me that is nothing like I’d ever say or believe. To make a point of it, this is a rather obvious, demonstrable deed that he did do, M1EK. I called him on it, giving him a chance to say “Oops, sorry, that was the libertarian-in-my-head, not you, my bad”. I posted that twice, just in case he missed it in the first thread; the second one is in the then-top “Flaming in Calgary” thread, which is still listed on the main page as I type this. Joe’s a smart guy, if nothing else. It’s pretty obvious this sort of thing is deliberate, and there is a pattern.

    If you’ve got a different explanation or anything remotely like a counter-argument to that, be my guest. I don’t expect it, of course – I expect nothing more than a brief screech like this one how I, like everyone you whine at, is a lying liar who’s lyyyyyinggggg. And probably an evil Republican partisan.

    Which brings me to you.

    The difference between this and me labelling someone a liar (when they clearly are)? I stick to the same thing each time, and it’s clearly supported by the combination of what they said and objective reality.

    Like your blather about the five-plus horrible things I’ve said since the last time you said “liar!”, the remarks that you shy away from even pointing out?

    You know, if you were to have quoted a couple of them, or even tried to paraphrase them and mention the contest, that would have meant you were playing straight with me. Even if you had come across as astonishingly hyper-sensitive in your choice of outrages, I would have respected that these were actual things that offended you. I probably would have explained why you were mistaken, but I would have tried to be conciliatory and regarded you as less of a agitated twit.

    (A warning: here, I will go ever so slightly into motivations.)

    But I’m quite certain that you aren’t dealing with in anything approaching good faith, because these remarks don’t exist. And since you squirmed and said you don’t want to go to the trouble of finding these obscure remarks that were previously burning in your mind, then leapt to the attack, it’s clear that it’s not because five or more popped into your head instead of “a couple” or “maybe one other time” or “I bet he’s been saying things like that” and you’re just too uncomfortable about the error to apologize.

    It’s because it’s a lie, M1EK. It’s because you are a liar.

    A downright “limbaughesque-style” one, to boot.

    So, this is the last I’m going to say to you – at least until you post something so amusingly stupid that I want to reply.

  145. The last paragraph sums things up nicely…

  146. Ron Hart’s column was one of the best I have read in awhile. If it gets wide circulation, it will serve us well.

  147. “You know, if you were to have quoted a couple of them, or even tried to paraphrase them and mention the contest, that would have meant you were playing straight with me.”

    Or it could mean they aged off the main page, and I don’t feel like wading through the archives.

    Or it could mean that I don’t believe you’re playing straight with me (the “overwhelm your opponent by demanding that he spend 150% of his available time digging up quotes” defense).

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