Regulation

Libertarianism and Civil Disobedience

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Arnold Kling at TechCentralStation thinks libertarians should give civil disobedience a chance:

I am thinking more like open, nonviolent defiance of laws that require licenses, paying onerous taxes, and so on….like Gandhi in the sense that we would be counting on a civilized society not to engage in severe repression. We would have the same idea. Millions of ordinary, decent Americans engaging in peaceful disobedience, making it awkward for the government to engage in repression…..Run a small school without a license. Do some health care services without a license. Run a small part-time business without complying with the payroll tax.

Kenneth Silber thinks that's nuts. Kling begs to differ, natch. Kling's blogging partner Bryan Caplan weighs in.

reason contributions from Silber and Caplan.

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  1. Yeah, except that we’d get shot by the police, or they’d find some way to criminalize us so that when they shoot us, they can make us look like perps.
    For those of you who don’t care, go for it!

  2. We can’t get 20,000 people to move to New Hampshire to promote freedom. How are we going to get millions to act is ways that will get themselves jailed?

  3. I guess if jail time doesn’t count as severe repression…

  4. Don’t forget the general public has been conditioned to follow the rules and demand everyone else does, no matter how ludicrous. It’s for our own good after all.

    Civil disobedience means you will be incarcerated and live the rest of your life as a second class citizen because of your record. Carrying a pistol without a permit? That’s a felony, and you are a violent criminal. Get caught with dope? Go to jail, do not pass go, be forced into therapy and branded as either a nutcase or a mindless addict.

  5. “[W]e would be counting on a civilized society not to engage in severe repression.”

    Two words: Waco, Texas.

  6. If you really want to use civil disobedience then the harsher the punishment the better for the cause.

    I’m not going first.

  7. we would be counting on a civilized society not to engage in severe repression

    Kling needs to read the “Just Another Isolated Incident” archives here at H&R.

  8. Medical pot suppliers are already doing this.

  9. I’m not going second either.

  10. Kling needs a lesson from Autin Powers – “Millions” just isn’t that much these days. The population is 350 mil. What we need is TENS OF MILLIONS to have any effect.

  11. i think civil disobedience would only be effective with a very visible, widespread, single injustice, one more egregious than the many, many disparate and relatively smaller injustices of statism in our lives, and one which people were previously unaware of. if elections are mass-marketing for the status quo, as Kling says, so is civil disobedience mass-marketing for changing the status quo. some things are a lot easier to market than others; the countervailing desire in our society (and others) for authoritarianism and the warm embrace of the state is too powerful to oppose with small numbers of actions against small injustices.

    i think the most effective way to combat statism is through this here interweb. i think minds have to be changed and information made available and ideas presented to people, through forums like reason, or celebrities like drew carey, or public campaigns like ron paul’s. seriously, i think paul’s campaign has done a lot of good in exposing millions of young people to libertarian ideas; the media is behind the curve on this one. i believe this informative approach will work, especially as people’s desire for statism is overwhelmed by the grinding day-to-day experience of increasing, actual statism; combine this with an increasingly better-informed public and i think you have real reasons for optimism.

  12. To most people, you’d just look stupid.

  13. latte libertarian,

    I’ll go second if Aimee Allen goes first. And nekkid.

    Want third?

  14. ^ Is a part of “most people.”

  15. Hey, you cut off my double post, asshole.

  16. I think that civil disobedience is a very scary proposition today. If Matlin Luther King, Jr. did today what he did in the 60’s, he wouldn’t be facing some time in Alabama state court but in some federal courthouse under the RICO statutes or some new terrorism statute.

  17. Nah, I’ve decided the most useful thing I can do is infiltrate the Repubilcan party and make changes from the inside.

  18. I tend to think that civil disobedience would fail because the public would cheer as the state cracked down on the resisters. They would not be moved to pity, and they would not reconsider the status quo or anything else. Maybe in a different time or place the public would have done these things, but not this public.

    I think that if people with some funding and free time want to start attacking the system of petty state licensing, the way to do it is to remember that Ape Control has limited resources, and if you make them respond to every little chimp or gorilla whose conditioning lapses they would be overwhelmed. If you had a team of lawyers, a computer, and a book of stamps, you could pick some of the smaller and less well-staffed state governments, examine their codes for instances where licensing bodies are obligated by statute to respond to rules inquiries within a certain time frame, and then brutalize those licensing boards with correspondence. Madlib 100 inane legal questions a day, print them out, stick a stamp on them and mail them out. File hundreds of requests for statistical information. File as many frivolous complaints against licensees as you can dream up. Etc. Treat the bureaucracy like a Star Trek computer asked to calculate pi.

  19. Americans are pretty damned brainwashed as it is. They wouldn’t recognize civil disobedience as a good thing if it was right in front of them. People only like power that gives them more influence over what other people do, not more power over what they themselves do.

  20. This is essentially a special-interest problem: the beneficiaries are concentrated and coordinated, the victims diffuse. On top of that, the “vicitms” are frequently in conflict with themselves: many victims of one petty policy are beneficiaries of another.

    This is why, despite its failure, Harry Browne’s campaign platform made some sense: wrap all the downsides in one package, and throw it out all together: ask voters to consider giving up their favorite policy or perk, and in return, we’ll abolish the income tax.

    The only way to fight special interests is to find a way to wrap them all into one package that the victims can agree to fight. This kind of action is usually called a “revolution”…

  21. Troy-

    Thats very true. Sad, but incredibly true.

  22. Fluffy,

    They’d just ask for more funding to hire more inquiry handlers, and some jerkoff politician would think, “hey, this looks like I’m creating jobs. Narf!” and give them funding.

    End result = more of our money spent, more of your time wasted.

  23. Civil Disobedience?

    Not with this media. Look at Waco, Ruby Ridge, or any Presidential Campaign. That is how they will cover you, if you even get covered.

    Politicized flash mobs will eventually be the best possible method for change, right now it is just a bunch of mindless idiots dancing in a train station, but nobody seems to realize the potential.

  24. I suggest that civil disobedience would have a better chance to work if the disobedient were more immune to the effects of whatever repression was inflicted upon them. If there’s worry about a criminal record hindering employment opportunities, maybe the splinter-statists [Oops! that doesn’t sound right] should recruit from those who won’t be looking for work, e.g., the retired.

    Just a thought.

    CrackerBarrel.

  25. Civil disobedience is a charming idea, but like nearly everything that libertarians have proposed, it is ultimately only another dead-end strategy.

  26. Look at the way people view those who refuse to pay the income tax. Now tell me again how civil disobedience is supposed to work? Libertarianism isn’t popular.

  27. the only thing I can even begin to see working is for a respected celebrity to be sitting on an interview with PBS and just lighting up a bowl or something while he’s on stage, and then having someone else drive him away from the studio when he leaves.

  28. Gandhi tactics worked with the Brits, because they were Brits, and of that era. Would they have worked against the Nazis? Which do we more closely resemble?

  29. For civil disobediance to work there has to be a general feeling of oppression. With MLK everyone knew what was going on with racists. Same with Gandhi. Here in the US the many think we are as free as free can be. That is why people who would do civil disobedience would look stupid, because nobody sees what the fuss is about. Civil disobedience is only useful to help others overcome fear, not ignorance.

  30. “””I think that civil disobedience is a very scary proposition today. If Matlin Luther King, Jr. did today what he did in the 60’s, he wouldn’t be facing some time in Alabama state court but in some federal courthouse under the RICO statutes or some new terrorism statute.””””

    That’s probably true, and our founding fathers would be jailed for terrorism.

  31. Civil disobedience would have worked in the 1950s or 1960s, before the militarization of the police. But if no-one cares if the police are murdering innocent 80 year old grandmas to fight a war on drugs, no-one is going to care if you get gunned down for overtly breaking the law.

    A much better option is small acts of legal sabatoge.

    For example, if health care is nationalized, and Americans get “free” health care, go to the doctor often to discuss your “symptoms”. There will be no law against going to the doctor, and the appointment, and inevitable battery of tests will cost the government thousands or tens of dollars per person. And if the government tries to crack down on that sort of protest, they will inevitably also be cracking down on innocent people who are truly sick and need the care. If even a small percentage of people do this (think 2-3% of the people), it can devistate any public health system. And watch the outrage when socialists start getting arrested for enjoying too much of their socialist benifits.

    Or, maybe we should all be doing our duty as citizens to help our police force with the “War on Drugs” or the “War on Terror”. As long as you don’t lie, there is nothing illegal about reporting suspicious behavior to law enforcement… suspicious, of course, is entirely subjective, but we all need to do our part. In many cases, the police are required to investige every lead about these issues. If the government tries to crack down on this sort of protest, they are naturally going to crack down on innocent people who are truly trying to help the police as well.

    I mean, you care about the enviornment, don’t you? Well, if you believe that there are violations of enviornmental laws going on, report it! And boy, does our convoluted enviornmental law make it easy to report potential violations! The government should investigate each and every one, and if someone says otherwise its because they hate the planet, obviously!

    Think about it… There are any number of options of things to do that are entirely legal, don’t reveal any sort of political affiliation, and if done en-masse by even a tiny percentage of the population, can bring vital parts of the government to its knees.

    Don’t make demands saying “You must do this, or we will sabatoge the system”, simply make any sort of highly centralized government under unviable by secretly and relentlessly attacking them in ways that are of minimal or no risk to yourself.

    Remember that large centralized systems are struggling to fight entrophy constantly. Highly centralized system are precarious and of dubious effectiveness from the get go. Many collapse under their own weight without any sort of sabatoge. Small acts of secret sabatoge are often devistating.

  32. Civil disobedience? We can’t even get people to check “No” on the $3 Presidential Campaign Fund box on tax returns.

    Also, I would submit (sorry, poor word choice) that the Taser and the increasingly lax standards by which its use is considered appropriate has made traditional 1960s-style civil disobedience difficult if not impossible.

  33. Forget the taser, the military’s new anti-crowd microwave weapon will be the new way.

  34. consider giving up their favorite policy or perk, and in return, we’ll abolish the income tax.

    Abolish the income tax?? But my favorite perk is the fact that YOU get taxed!!

  35. Bullshit about the taser. Tasers and tear gas are certainly no worse than water cannons, billy clubs, and dogs.

  36. Or, maybe we should all be doing our duty as citizens to help our police force with the “War on Drugs” or the “War on Terror”. As long as you don’t lie, there is nothing illegal about reporting suspicious behavior to law enforcement… suspicious, of course, is entirely subjective, but we all need to do our part. In many cases, the police are required to investige every lead about these issues. If the government tries to crack down on this sort of protest, they are naturally going to crack down on innocent people who are truly trying to help the police as well.

    There is already an army of old ladies in retirement homes working on this one.

  37. Civil disobedience works best for grand ideas, and when implemented non violently. Non violently resisting trivial ideas, such as ignoring business licenses doesn’t draw much sympathy. Nor does meeting violent government action with violence (such as Waco) get the point across. Furthermore, one must be willing to die for the cause, but not kill, or even resist.

    It’s a pretty tough stance Kling has taken.

  38. Not to mention the fact they they can identify people in a crowd, and pull up all sorts of information on that individual in real time. Well no so good yet, but that system will get better thanks to the Real ID act. Hell, they will be able to identify you and pull up your personal data that you provided to MySpace, Facebook, Eharmony, all your public records, bank transaction, the list goes on. It’s not long before they put a real dent into protesting. Hell, they are trying to do away with autonomy, period. One day the government will know all.

  39. Where’s my Firefly-class transport so I can get the fuck out of here?

  40. People who put self-interest at the center of their political philosophy, elevating above the common good, are not going to put themselves at risk like that, at least not in any significant numbers.

  41. joe –
    that was unnecessary

  42. Like all of you, I have my share of fears about this proposal, but I have thought about it for a long time and think that it may be the only way. It is certainly the only way of living a life of conscience.

    That said: I don’t think any of the things all of you have mentioned (technology, culture, law) make civil disobedience in this respect any different than MLK or Gandhi and what they and their followers faced. Let’s not forget that both of those men were violently murdered. People were blinded, maimed, killed, tortured, lied about and otherwise abused. Their choice was harder than yours would be.

    The only difference is that they had no choice, in a sense. But the average white, young, upwardly mobile libertarian can bitch all day but keep his mouth shut, not ever take a stand, and still work his way up the system.

  43. joe — civil disobedience is all about self interest.

  44. I’ve heard people make fun of joe for being a liberal, but I often think he has intelligent things to say. But now he’s pissed me off with that great liberal bullshit about how collectivists are so much better than others because they put “society” or “the community” above themselves. Absolute bullshit, morally and empirically.

  45. While you are talking, we are doing.

    Man Jailed for Giving Manicure:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YErNRaDWk0w

    Lauren Canario Refuses to Show Papers:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=xndEhn8EUdc

    David Refuses to Pay Fine:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=_UceP262cjw

    Arrests at IRS Office:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=zpAK3DbTsNY

    Come join the fight! Join the FSP!
    http://freestateproject.org/

  46. joe makes another friend with an insulting, smug, and condescending–yet idiotic–statement.

  47. Lauren’s Eminent Domain Arrest (protesting Kelo decision)
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=v-ElrlwnMrA

  48. Forget the taser, the military’s new anti-crowd microwave weapon will be the new way.

    I read that as “anti-crowd microwave popcorn” at first. I visualized that in a few different applications before the sensible part of my brain slapped around the imaginative part.

  49. Why would you be protesting Kelo in New Hampshire? They passed an eminent domain constitutional amendment.

  50. We’re not desperate enough or angry enough to do any mass civil disobedience today. But we might be one of these days.

    Incidentally, the philosophical roots of civil disobedience come from individualists like Thoreau. People may go out and get arrested for others in some situations, but, by and large, the ones civilly disobeying are the ones personally affected by whatever injustice they oppose.

  51. joe makes another friend with an insulting, smug, and condescending–yet idiotic–statement.

    Yeah, ‘cept that one happened to also be true. Libertarians love freedom. Civil disobedience leads, at least short-term, to jail.

    Hell, I won’t even return those Social Security checks when I get old/disabled enough.

  52. Lauren was living in CT at the time.

  53. What a bunch of fucking, horseshit.
    Do you think we could have won the revolution with peaceful disobediance? No FUCKING WAY, ASSHOLES.
    Can you people read?
    I have written it before, I write it now and I will write it again;
    THE LIBERTARIAN MILITIA. It is the only way.
    Get on board or get out of the way.

  54. “There is more power in socially organized masses on the march than there is in guns in the hands of a few desperate men. Our enemies would prefer to deal with a small armed group than with a huge, unarmed but resolute mass of people.
    –Martin Luther King

  55. The Democratic Republican | February 28, 2008, 4:46pm | #

    joe — civil disobedience is all about self interest.

    Sure, but here’s the rub: it is in every libertarian’s understood self-interest for there to be a big campaign of civil disobedience, but it is not in any single libertarians’ self interest to stick his neck out.

    Even if it hurts Episiarch’s to say so.

  56. Sure, but here’s the rub: it is in every libertarian’s understood self-interest for there to be a big campaign of civil disobedience, but it is not in any single libertarians’ self interest to stick his neck out.

    And this is specific to libertarians….how?

  57. It’s not, Reinmoose.

    What makes libertarians different from some other political groups is that liberals, socialists, or some varieties of conservatives (just to pick three) will engage in behavior out of concern for the common good, even at the expense of their self-interest.

  58. Yep, there are any number of eminent domain situations where a sizeable number of the public would sympathize with libertarians et al sitting down in front of the bulldozers. A $100 fine for disorderly conduct may just be worth the publicity.

    Years ago, a buddy used to send in magazine subscription cards and the like to members of the local draft board. Must have annoyed the hell out of them.

  59. Episiarch | February 28, 2008, 4:49pm | #

    joe makes another friend…

    It’s been obvious for a while that you are more concerned with popularity and personality that principles and ideas when you “contribute” to these threads, but it’s nice of you to confirm it like that.

  60. I’m not as convinced as some of you that civil disobedience is always and automatically a bad idea. But I do have to question how committed even Arnold Kling is to it, when I RTFA and get to this:

    What would be some examples of nonviolent activities?

    “Run a small school without a license. Do some health care services without a license. Run a small part-time business without complying with the payroll tax.”

    Would you personally be willing to go to jail for doing something like that?

    “No.”

    None of those CD acts are likely to be all that life-threatening in the current environment. So…what, he thinks it’s a good idea as long as other people do it? It’s certainly not going to start big; somebody’d have to start and take the lumps. Why’s he so convinced that shouldn’t be him? He brought it up.

  61. liberals, socialists, or some varieties of conservatives (just to pick three) will engage in behavior out of concern for the common good, even at the expense of their self-interest

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  62. Highnumber, why imagine when you can see the real thing. Well the one in your mind is probably much cooler looking. They also have one that’s truck mounted.

    http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/multimedia/2006/12/72134

  63. Depends on how you define “common good”, and whether you even believe it exists.

  64. joe,

    I think libertarian thinking is (or can be–we do have our outliers) more subtle than that. The libertarian response would be that there are times when it is in a person’s interest to do something in cooperation with others. In fact, we see that as the case quite often. Government is a cooperative activity, after all, and most libertarians acknowledge some need for that. Ditto markets, etc. Even ditto dealing with social injustices, like racism or slavery. In the end, we believe that individuals are the base unit of human society, not some abstract grouping of us.

  65. “””A $100 fine for disorderly conduct may just be worth the publicity.”””

    As long as it’s a ticket and a fine, but if they arrest you for disorderly conduct you end up having to explain that to a prospective employer. It could prevent you from getting a job in the future. That’s how they want it to work.

  66. What makes libertarians different from some other political groups is that liberals, socialists, or some varieties of conservatives (just to pick three) will engage in behavior out of concern for the common good, even at the expense of their self-interest.

    I think you’re confused, or willfully ignorant. One could just as easily say that a liberal wants socialized medicine because they want free/cheap health care. They’ve created an image for themselves that projects otherwise, but we have little reason to believe that (at least for those who would benefit).

    Similarly, you have poor libertarians who vote against entitlement programs for the poor, and who don’t accept them. Are those people acting out of self interest? And if they are, it’s only by using a very complex definition that would apply to other altruistic and principled behavior.

    It takes a tremendous amount of strength to be a Gandhi, not just some retardedly popular self-image of virtue, as someone who does good by supporting causes by wearing the color red and making other people give money to it.

    So don’t give me this shit about libertarians only acting out of self interest. It’s a tired and (in your case) willfully ignorant stance.

  67. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Bridge at Selma, bitch.

  68. What makes libertarians different from some other political groups is that liberals, socialists, or some varieties of conservatives (just to pick three) will engage in behavior out of concern for the common good, even at the expense of their self-interest.

    joe,
    Yer wrong.
    There are libertarians who benefit from social programs, but still would rather that they were eliminated. There are libertarians who benefit from the rent seeking of corporations, but still find it reprehensible. There’s all sorts of examples of ways that libertarianism is not in a specific individual’s interest, but the specific individual still prefers freedom to convenience.

  69. “””Depends on how you define “common good”, and whether you even believe it exists.”””

    Things that are good for me, but not for thee.

    Does that sound about right?

  70. Reinmoose,

    One could just as easily say that a liberal wants socialized medicine because they want free/cheap health care. Ted Kennedy keeps voting to raise his own taxes. So does Bill Gates.

    How about the Freedom Riders, or as the small government conservatives call them, the outside agitators?

  71. joe –
    Don’t be so thick. I didn’t call all liberals selfish.

  72. highnumber,

    Believing the world would be a better place if the government didn’t mail you a check is one thing. My statement was that such people “will engage in behavior.”

    but the specific individual still prefers freedom to convenience. If that is the case, then he judges his self-interest to be better served by the freedom.

  73. Reinmoose | February 28, 2008, 5:25pm | #

    joe –
    Don’t be so thick. I didn’t call all liberals selfish.

    You asserted that they act out of self-interest, not for the common good, and I gave counter-examples.

    And not outliers, either.

  74. joe,
    Did you ever read Mark Twain’s “What is Man?”

  75. Common good? There is nothing wrong with that. I donate to charity. I help out those less fortunate. Help old ladaies across the street. If someone is so worried about the common good, take a homeless person into your house, what do you need that extra room for? Give him a quarter of your paycheck, stop being so selfish. I don’t see how getting someone else to do it is unselfish by any means. Frankly I see passing off one’s moral responsibility as rather selfish itself.

  76. highnumber,

    No. Can I get the 30 second version?

    PC,

    I hear you. I know that there is a strain of libertarianism that is interested primarily in the common good, and just sees the reduction of government as the best means to that end.

    BTW, I give to charity, too. So?

  77. joe contributes to the common good by giving us all some good laughs and entertainment. However, he does it for his own selfish reasons. OH NOES

  78. People who put self-interest at the center of their political philosophy, elevating above the common good, are not going to put themselves at risk like that, at least not in any significant numbers.

    Everyone is jumping on joe about this, but there is an element of sense to this, that bears exploration.

    A libertarian generally will not see that the way to confront injustice is to submit oneself to greater injustice.

    Sure, it’s unjust that you can’t do someone’s nails for pay this afternoon if you feel like it. But as long as all I’m suffering is not being able to do a job I don’t want to do right now anyway, it’s a comparatively insignificant injustice. But if I set out to start breaking this law, refusing to pay fines, etc., I may end up caught in the gears of the machinery of the state, which would probably mean submitting myself to much more injustice.

    And that just doesn’t make any sense.

    Libertarians are actually much more likely to resist the state with violence than with civil disobedience. [They’re most likely, of course, to do neither – but between the two very slight possibilities, I think aggressive resistance is more likely.] This is because active resistance creates the chance [however limited] that one will resist being submitted to injustice altogether. This is more appealing, I would submit, to the libertarian mindset than attempting to fight by taking blows.

    It may be related to different ideas of the common good, as joe suggests – but it is also deeply rooted in the fact that radicalism of the right seems intimately tied up with defiance, and defiance to most people is a shaking fist, not pulling oneself up on the cross.

  79. I will fail to do it justice in any summary, so here’s the 2 second version: Everything man does is in his self interest.

    Anyhow, post civil rights movement, I don’t think we’ve seen much civil disobedience in the US, except for maybe from pot smokers, and many them are, in fact, libertarians. Any legitimate political movement has in it people who are in it for good reasons and people who are in it for bad. We see plenty of Sobchak’s Syndrome sufferers around here, but, overall, libertarians don’t strike me as any more or less self interested than the general population.

  80. Also, I think one important thing to point out about the civil disobedience debate is that since there’s currently no draft to resist, most “normal” varieties of civil disobedience practiced today by the left result in extremely minor penalties – you get booked, get arraigned, and pay a tiny fine. It’s more a field trip or a fantasy camp experience than anything else.

    Civil disobedience of the type envisioned in the linked-to post – simply starting to ignore licensing laws and the like – carry much greater penalties, as well as the risk in many states of attorneys general pursuing civil actions for unfair trade practices, with treble damages per offense, investigation and court costs, etc.

    Lie down in front of the Republican convention in Minneapolis this year and you’ll end up with a story to tell at parties to impress the ladies. Open a bank without a license and you’ll end up with a 6 figure legal expense and significant jail time. These things are universes apart.

  81. I defy you all. Defiantly.

  82. I see the never ending bullshit meme continues unapaced — that is, “it’s not civil disobedience unless you’re willing to be punished for it”.

    It is just as much “civil disobedience” if someone takes a stand, AND REFUSES TO ALLOW THEMSELVES TO BE PUNISHED FOR IT, BECAUSE THEY HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG.

  83. Run a small school without a license. Do some health care services without a license. Run a small part-time business without complying with the payroll tax.

    I thought that was called the Black Market.

    BTW, the fines for not complying with the payroll tax are enormous. And all it takes is one disgruntled person who thought they ought to have had a W-2 complaining to bring the state or the federales down on you.

  84. Ignoring them quietly is also civil disobedience. If you shove their nose into the dog doo doo, they are going to react. If you just never buy a business license and keep your mouth shut, it might work out.

  85. Terry, would you pretty please, with sugar and a cherry on top, shut the fuck up about forming a militia and going around killing politicians, or whatever bullshit fantasy you have about throwing a revolution?

    Thankfully, in my experience, mouth-breathing ass jacks like you are absolutely shitty marksmen.

  86. joe makes another friend with an insulting, smug, and condescending–yet idiotic–statement.

    Amazing hypocrisy……

    Joe this morning:

    When I can expect to be treated with a modicum of civility and respect, and when I can expect that lowlifes like corning will be denounced without my having to do it myself, I won’t have to do things like that.

    Yep, that was him pissing and moaning this morning on another thread about how nobody here would stand up for him against that AWFUL FUCKING JOSH CORNING!

  87. What makes libertarians different from some other political groups is that liberals, socialists, or some varieties of conservatives (just to pick three) will engage in behavior out of concern for the common good, even at the expense of their self-interest.

    Just goes to show that joe can spend years hanging out on-line with libertarians and still not have clue one.

    (1) Libertarians believe that small government and maximum individual freedom and responsibility is “for the common good.”

    (2) Statists of whatever stripe don’t sacrifice their own self-interest in any meaningful way when pushing their agenda. Most statists in the poltical class benefit directly from any increase in state power. They draw their support from people who believe it is in their self-interest to have this or that government program benefit them at the expense of others.

    And super-rich people nattering on about raising taxes aren’t doing anything that is contrary to their self-interest in any meaningful way. At the Kennedy/Gates level of wealth, taxes are either (a) already avoided through wealth management schemes or (b) decimal dust.

    So you can climb down off your liberal high horse.

  88. You asserted that they act out of self-interest

    That’s true only if you can only read 26 words before of a post before deciding you know what it’s saying. Here it is again, so you can try to read it slower this time:
    I think you’re confused, or willfully ignorant. One could just as easily say that a liberal wants socialized medicine because they want free/cheap health care. They’ve created an image for themselves that projects otherwise, but we have little reason to believe that (at least for those who would benefit)

    Clearly, I specified both:
    1. That you could make the argument, although I was not making that argument
    2. You could make that argument wrt those who would directly benefit, which Bill Gates and Ted Kennedy would not.

    I then went on to give you an example of how not all libertarians act out of immediate self interest, which you chose to ignore.

    You’re trying to have it both ways. You insist that libertarians can’t act at the expense of their self-interest, and have to use elaborate definitions of “self-interest” to make that true. But then you fail miserably when that extremely broad definition of self-interest can now be easily be applied to all otherwise altruistic actions.

    In other words:
    You take a narrow definition, you lose.
    You take a broad definition, you lose.
    The only way you manage to convince yourself that you win is if you use a different definition for each group that you’re trying to apply the label to. Nice way to fall in to perpetuating group identity.

  89. If twenty or thirty million taxpayers refused to pay taxes or file returns the government would be finished. That’s my kind of civil disobedience. But it isn’t effective if 13 libertarians from Henderson Nevada march in front of the federal building in downtown LV carry signs proclaiming that they won’t file their taxes.

    No Way! We won’t Pay!

  90. What makes libertarians different from some other political groups is that liberals, socialists, or some varieties of conservatives (just to pick three) will engage in behavior out of concern for the common good, even at the expense of their self-interest.

    No, it’s just that the other political groups are better at convincing themselves that their self-interest is actually concern for the common good. “I’m not pushing for an anti-gay-marriage amendment because I’m a bigot; it’s because I’m so concerned about what effects gay marriage will have on society. I’m not pushing for city dress codes because I’m an old fart offended by today’s youthful fashions; it’s because I fear The Children will be harmed by the sight of teens wearing hip-huggers. I’m not pushing for cable-TV regulations because I’m too goddamned lazy to monitor my own children’s viewing habits; it’s because I fear society will be damaged by exposure to The Sopranos.” Ad infinitum.

  91. Oh, and as far as the Freedom Riders and Civil Rights movement goes?

    I got no problem with that. I regard them as libertarians to the extent they were pursuing a libertarian agenda of eliminating state-sponsored racial discrimination.

  92. The Nazis claimed to be acting in the common good, you know ?

  93. Gandhi’s salt-gathering and cloth-spinning stunts were basically anti-tax protests. What a selfish greedy bastard, refusing to pay taxes for the common good.

  94. I’ve smoked within 20 feet of the entrance of a building. REVOLUTION!!!

  95. The Nazis claimed to be acting in the common good, you know ?

    Way to Godwin the thread

  96. What makes libertarians different from some other political groups is that liberals, socialists, or some varieties of conservatives (just to pick three) will engage in behavior out of concern for the common good, even at the expense of their self-interest.

    Just goes to show that joe can spend years hanging out on-line with libertarians and still not have clue one.

    (1) Libertarians believe that small government and maximum individual freedom and responsibility is “for the common good.”

    (2) Libertarians have jobs.

    But seriously, Jennifer nailed it. Socialists/social conservatives truly believe that their self interest is the common good, plain and simple.

  97. That’s right Paul, I’ve taught my children not to throw McDonalds bags out the car window because it is in my self interest for the car to smell like rancid pickles and stale fries regardless of the common good.

  98. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk,and on and on and..
    Why do you talk about solutions, which, you know in your heart, are worthless?
    Is it because you use as a front so not to see the coward in the mirror? YES.
    Thomas Jefferson said “The tree of liberty needs to fertilazed from time to time with the blood of tyrannts and patroits.”
    That is it people. If you think the creeps in Washington are going to give up the unconstitutional power by persusasion or the goodness of their heart, then you are a fool.
    LIBERTARIAN MILITIA, IT IS THE ONLY WAY.

  99. ithaqua | February 28, 2008, 3:41pm | #

    “[W]e would be counting on a civilized society not to engage in severe repression.”

    Two words: Waco, Texas.

    The Waco Massacre began 15 years ago today, actually.

  100. Christopher Hitchens went on a “crime spree” on the streets of New York City as a way of highlighting Bloomberg’s ridiculous and restrictive nanny-state laws. Was written up in Vanity Fair a while back.

    He sat on subway station steps, he smoked in a restaurant, and I think he might have taken a ride on a bicycle without a helmet.

    An exemplar of civil disobedience?

  101. So murdering federal agents, which triggered the Waco incident, is part of civil disobedience now? The ATF needs to be disbanded, but I’m not ready to kill them. I admit to being at a disadvantage because I don’t have voices in my head giving me the inside scoop on their machinations.

  102. Wait, the Waco incident started because Branch Davidians were going around murdering federal agents?

    This is a new twist I hadn’t heard of. More, please.

  103. Wingnut Central,

    Blow it out your ass. Your reaction is why civil disobedience will not work. Because you look abusive tactics on the part of law enforcement as completely acceptable because the MSM has told you 10% of the story and that is all you need to make what you think to be an educated decision on a topic. It is the same thing that will get protesters tasered and grandmas shot on no knock warrants. Whatever the MSM tells you must be thorough and final? Forget the investigation, the course of events, the horribly handled evidence, the jury ruling in San Antonio, and the conduct of the government, the MSM says the government says that the government didn’t do anything wrong.

    If Koresh and the Davidians murdered federal agents, then why did they “lose” all the evidence that would easily acquit them? The front door disappears and so does the tape of the initial raid. I’d also like to know what kind of heat the davidians’ dogs were packing as well. I also am not keen on the whole idea of shooting from helicopters with innocent women and children inside, who if it was an oppressive cult would be innocent victims. Add to that the bright lights and blaring music day in and day out while those who turned themselves in were separated from their families. Then the gas and the fire. Also if you would kindly show me how a kid is supposed to wear one of those gas masks I would like to know. What were the feds expecting to leave behind when this was resolved? Gassed kids? There have been many cases of “suicide by fire” when “federal” law enforcement is involved. Of course it could have been avoided had they just picked up Koresh on his daily jog. They had him under surveillance. They also had an undercover cop who could have arranged to have Koresh arrested at any time but that doesn’t sell more funding, the lifeblood of all government agencies and growth creates vitality. Nobody should have died.

    This is why civil disobedience is useless, because too many assholes like you don’t give a shit.

  104. Lev,

    Go ahead and break the law you feckless fuck. Have some balls.

  105. Way to Godwin the thread[.]

    .,

    It was a moral imperative.

  106. This is why civil disobedience is useless, because too many assholes like you don’t give a shit.

    Exactly. This is the reason that the tiny minority of us who are paying attention and who actually do give a shit will likely be forever stuck with the government that the fuckwits among us truly deserve.

  107. MK2,

    You an Obama shill right? At least that explains it, you match facts with nothing.

  108. Because you look abusive tactics on the part of law enforcement as completely acceptable because the MSM has told you 10% of the story

    Imagine how different the aftermath of Waco would have been if the MSM had reported that half of the Branch Davidians were black? (source: No More Wacos)

    Instead of supporting the raid as a reasonable common-sense gun control measure, BATF boot-licking Left-Wing apologists like Charles Schumer would have condemmned this act of police brutality.

    And if it had happened a few years later, the Branch Davidians probably would have had cell phones, making it much harder for the federal police agencies to restrict the flow of inforation out of the ranch.

  109. joe;
    please don’t tell me you have any sort of contact with people who live in reality.
    Especially people who are “insane.”
    You are stupid beyond words.
    Jesus are you stupid beyond words.

  110. Hey, Terry, how many politicians have you shot?

    What?

    What’s that you say?

    None?

    Well then, why don’t you just have this 40 oz glass of SHUT THE FUCK UP.

  111. Terry, your accusations of cowardice are nothing more than a classic case of projection.

  112. Hey, Terry, I’m interested in your ideas and I think you’re swell.

    Pay no nevermind to the naysayers.

    Would you mind posting the date, time, and location for the next Libertarian Militia field training exercise?

  113. One again I am horrified to discover that I agree with fluffy.

  114. As a land developer the fines for doing what the hell you want with your land are pretty mild, but the result is you do not get the plat done and you do not get the profits from selling lots off that plat.

    Plus if you get away with it you still have to go back to the same people and ask permission to get a different plat approved or a different rezone later down the line….and the assumption is that they will be pissed and will use every trick in the book to fuck you.

  115. AWFUL FUCKING JOSH CORNING!

    wha?

  116. What makes libertarians different from some other political groups is that liberals, socialists, or some varieties of conservatives (just to pick three) will engage in behavior out of concern for the common good, even at the expense of their self-interest.

    Are you fucking kidding me?!?!

    you honestly believe this shit joe?

    Jesus you are an asshole.

  117. The idea is interesting, although I doubt it would work.

    But what I do think libertarians ought to be doing is setting up our own alternatives to government programs. Not only private schools, but homeless shelters and the like. It is in our self-interest to demonstrate to people that there is an alternative to the nanny state which will not just turn its back on its neighbors. The mafia has supporters in part because it offers government-style services to those who cannot avail themselves of the services of the actual government; in that sense, the mafia is in competition with the government.

    So why shouldn’t libertarians be in competition with the government as well? This does not require law-breaking, simply the act of offering government-type services without all the bullshit that comes with it.

  118. The Ron Paul campaign is planning a huge march on the streets of Washington D.C. later this year.

    If freedom-lovers can get organised and bring out 10,000 people then we can see how viable this whole civil disobedience idea really is.

    Otherwise it’s all talk and libertarians are better off infiltrating academia and persuading the intellectuals (whose views will then filter down to the media through a compliant media).

  119. Correction: make that 100,000 people.

    A 100,000 libertarians marching on Washington D.C., organised by the Ron Paul Revolution.

    That should be the goal.

  120. wha?

    Apparently you are not on Joe’s Xmas Card list.

    Now, you might assume that the TWC family came from Corning but in reality, we came from Amsterdam.

  121. In practice, the only people who can get away with civil disobediance are government officials. Say there’s a picky, technical law against torture, but an official (civil or military) really wants to get information out of a suspect. So go ahead and break the law.

    If you’re not a government official, civil disobediance simply makes the government’s repressive tasks easier.

  122. There is disobedience, and there’s disobedience. I prefer the one described in The Spirit of Disobedience, an article by Curtis White that was published in Harper’s about two years ago. In the article, he described the withdrawal from formal economy as a form of civil disobedience. This is not too difficult to do. Obviously, one cannot withdraw completely from formal economy, but there are plenty of ways to limit one’s exposure – barter and self-sustenance being the two most common. We all have been doing those from time to time, some of us more often than others. For example, I tend to do wedding photography in exchange for services, so even though both my services and the services I get in return have value, since neither counts as a monetary transaction and thus they don’t involve sales or income tax. This way I managed to get services ranging from medical services to landscaping, and the other party saved a few hundred or more for paying sales tax for the pictures and income tax for their services. The only problem I see with this kind of civil disobedience is that the barter system is dependent on the size of the network of people you can barter with. Having something more organized would greatly help, and libertarians as a group seem to be perfect for such kind of organizing.

  123. James –
    There are already private, non-government, (mostly) tax-exempt charities who do a lot of what the government does and does not do. One thing that comes to mind is food banks, run by locals, either with or without a church backing it. The mindset of those who volunteer and support the food banks/soup kitchens/other charities should be irrelevant as to whether or not the organizations would function without the government. Is it simply that you think it should be labeled as a “libertarian” soup kitchen? Or are you talking about much more substantial programs?

  124. A way to overcome the disadvantages of going first is simultaneous action:

    eg: a pledge website for war tax resistance or draft resistance. There is no cost if the appropiate number of pledges is not reached.

  125. Just 10.000 tax resistors would be enough to collapse the IRS

  126. I think that civil disobedience is a very scary proposition today. If Matlin Luther King, Jr. did today what he did in the 60’s, he wouldn’t be facing some time in Alabama state court but in some federal courthouse under the RICO statutes or some new terrorism statute.

    Civil disobedience was plenty scary in the 50s and 60s. Someone spoke at my church who had been in some marches in Selma in ’65, while the civil rights movement was well underway, about how frightened he was when, after strategically placing himself at the back of the line, the march turned around and went the other way.

    For the next march he said he made sure to be smack in the middle.

    There were a lot of people who died in those civil rights marches. I don’t doubt things could easily be worse today, but you make it sound like that was easy. My friend who marched in the safest spot he could find was one of the brave ones. Many people agreed with what he was marching for, but wouldn’t dare go themselves and tried to stop the people who did because they feared for their safety.

  127. Hey, Terry, haven’t heard from you. Clicking on your username didn’t give me a link to a usable email address.

    So, if you would, please feel free to post here in the thread when the next get-together for the Libertarian Militia is slated to be.

    Thanks!

  128. Years ago I figured out the best infrastructure of the type Kling wants: a perjury club. Thousands of people who will testify for each other that they didn’t do it.

  129. Maybe this type of action regarding libertarian social issues like the drug war, the war on terror, privacy issues, the military industrial complex.
    It would also be a chance to form some alliances with (gasp) liberals.

    But you’d probably look like a dick protesting a hike in the estate tax or something like that.

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