Cults

Thursday Morning Links

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* Cato embraces micro radio.

* The Nation discovers the Ron Paul Republicans.

* A socialist reads Hayek.

* Debbie Nathan reads Comstock.

* A child of a commune peers at the children of the FLDS.

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  1. Good morning Jesse. You got to open the office today, huh?

  2. Hayek was a surprise, in several ways. He’s nowhere near as extreme as his ideological descendants. He admits that there are a few rare economic circumstances in which market forces cannot deliver the optimum result, and that when these occur, the state may legitimately intervene.

    – Jesse Larner

    That could only be a surprise to a Socialist.

  3. That could only be a surprise to a Socialist.

    You can’t be serious. Read the Wall Street Journal on any given day and tell me the editors and columnists don’t believe that the market could deliver them better spouses and parents if it were allowed to.

  4. Could someone explain libertarian collectivism to me… I want to say it’s an oxymoron, but I’m not sure now. so confused…

  5. QED @ 0849

  6. Orwell was, after all, a libertarian democratic socialist

    WTF does this even mean? I am getting really sick of leftist assholes conflating libertarianism with their failed ideology in order to attach some semblance of liberty to their inherently anti-liberty positions.

  7. Kyle,

    libertarian collectivism

    He’s defending an idea from a non-existent attack. (Funny, isn’t that what he accuses Hayek of doing?) He’s trying to say that a Hayekian free market would somehow prevent people from forming farm collectives, or communes, or a co-op grocery store. More pure bullshit from the hard left. He shows an outstanding ability to to be able to grasp what the word “free” means. Color me shocked.

  8. Epi,

    Did he use the word “libertarian” correctly even once?

  9. “to be unable”

    Too early. Need snack.

  10. Elemenope,

    The free market can, in fact, deliver better spouses than a government assigned system.

  11. SugarFree, thanks.

    “libertarian” = adjective du jour !

  12. Epi,

    You beat me to it. I saw that and my brain almost throttled itself to keep that bastardization of a philosophical description from spreading.

  13. Did he use the word “libertarian” correctly even once?

    Maybe; I doubt it. I stopped reading about halfway through. I have better ways to waste time than reading the vomited-up scrambling of a douchebag trying to refute, while still praising, a purely liberty-oriented tome.

  14. Elemenope,

    Based on Texas and the polygamists, ditto parents.

  15. Kyle,

    A young gentleman named Kyle gave me the nickname I use as my screen name. I’ve pretty much liked all Kyles since.

  16. Yeah, I’d say that libertarian collectivist is an oxymoron. However, libertarian socialist is probably not, which is what Larner was really talking about anyway. Individuals who are free to choose can certainly choose to hold property in common, etc.

    We see here the importance of definitions. So many, like Larner, take indivualism to mean anti-community or some such nonsense. And yet he takes Hayek to task for not talking about how individuals may voluntarily form collectives without state coercion. What so many modern day socialists fail to recognize is the difference between the means and the ends. Libertarianism is means-based, socialism is ends-based. They need not be incompatable, and if certain communities arrive at voluntary socialism through libertarian means, then they should properly be considered as exemplars of individualism not collectivism.

  17. Individuals who are free to choose can certainly choose to hold property in common, etc.

    Some business partnerships could easily meet that definition.

    If these writers who despise “business” degrees (not saying he is one, yet) would actually learn something about business, then they might approach some valid complaints for their papers.

  18. A young gentleman named Kyle gave me the nickname I use as my screen name. I’ve pretty much liked all Kyles since.

    Former lover?

  19. Episiarch,

    Christopher Hitchens has described George Orwell as a Socialist, without qualification. Hard to find someone around today who is a better authority on Orwell too. Sometimes I am tricked into thinking that he and I are the only people left on earth that know Orwell’s given name too. But that is not true.

  20. Stretch,

    One might argue that many libertarians do a poor job of describing how community arises out of individualism.

  21. E,

    You missed his middle name 😉

  22. But now there are three . . .

  23. Former lover?

    Brother-in-law. Of course, for you the two may be one in the same. Your poor sister probably cries herself to sleep every night.

  24. Your poor sister probably cries herself to sleep every night.

    She does, crying out about some hideous creature she saw called “Sugar Free Jay” and the nightmares she has. Weeping sores, strange allergies, she said “it” had them all.

  25. libertarians do a poor job of describing how community arises out of individualism

    I agree with this, but only so far to to say that community seems to sprout spontaneously where ever enough people converge, whereas individualism has to be constantly defended from the mob. You don’t have to teach people to make unattended bread mold, but thousands of books exist on how to bake it.

    When most people say “libertarians do a poor job of describing how community arises out of individualism” all I hear is “libertarians do a poor job of describing how a community as I envision it arises out of individualism.”

    (Not meaning that’s what you did Colin.)

  26. good job critiquing that article. Notice how he segues from voluntary collectivist enterprises to single payer health care, which is entirely government mandated. And of course the “civil liberties” he praises that arose from the New Deal exclude economic liberty.
    The Road to Serfdom is paved with libertarian
    totalitarianism.

  27. “Sugar Free Jay”

    Oh, lay off. It’s not my fault someone stole the sugarfree@gmail.com that should have rightfully been mine. And the blogspot address squat for sugarfree is a travesty as well. Not updated since 2001? WTF?

  28. One might argue that many libertarians do a poor job of describing how community arises out of individualism.

    There’s no question about that, but poor explanation of one’s beliefs is hardly limited to libertarians. Again, not only is there a natural confusion over the meanings of certain words, there are also those who intentionally seek to distort definitions to serve their own ends. Individualism (often poorly explained by us) is protrayed by non-libertarians as a selfish, greedy concept that atomizes people and is so rigid as to never allow any community action.

    Of course, the libertarian community should be better about dispelling such notions. The problem is (at least for me) that I have to spend so much time correcting misconceptions. Whenever someone asks me what a libertarian is, I usually have to say “Tell me what you think a libertarian is and I’ll tell you why you’re wrong.”

  29. Which is why I call you NutraSweet. You must realize that my wisdom far outstrips anything in your understanding. Just obey.

  30. Yeah, I’d say that libertarian collectivist is an oxymoron.

    Depends on what you mean by “collective”, I guess. If you mean a voluntary collective, then the term libertarian collectivist is redundant. If you mean a mandatory collective, then it is, indeed, an oxymoron.

    If you can’t tell the difference, then you are, yourself, a moron.

  31. In other news, Cato notices that Venezuela has become a police state:

    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2008/06/05/a-police-state-takes-hold-in-venezuela/

    Who woulda thunk it?

  32. If you mean a voluntary collective, then the term libertarian collectivist is redundant. If you mean a mandatory collective, then it is, indeed, an oxymoron. If you can’t tell the difference, then you are, yourself, a moron.

    An excellent taxonomy.

  33. SugarFree,

    …whereas individualism has to be constantly defended from the mob.

    Well, isn’t the point to persuade the “mob” that individualism is the right course? To persaude them to follow a libertarian “ethic?”

  34. One might argue that many libertarians do a poor job of describing how community arises out of individualism.

    David Boaz does a good job of this in his book The Politics of Freedom

  35. Colin,

    I don’t think we disagree, we’re just talking past each other a bit. defended from = persuade as far as I’m concerned. As long as libertarianism is considered “kooky” then trying to prove “not kooky” will be a priority over trying to prove is a “good idea.”

    You have to get people to admit drinking your own urine is not crazy before they actually try a glass.

  36. Reading that Hayek article was a weird experience. You guys have hit the nail on the head regarding it (as if led by an invisible hand).

  37. “You have to get people to admit drinking your own urine is not crazy before they actually try a glass.”

    Sugarfree, I admit that libertarianism and drinking my own urine sound equally appealing.

  38. That’s why you are a troll.

  39. I admit that libertarianism and drinking my own urine sound equally appealing.

    You don’t know until you try. Stop being so close-minded.

  40. I take so many medications I’m pretty sure my urine can cure a lot of diseases. And it comes in many magical colors.

  41. SF,

    Ditto.

  42. I meant on your 1054 post.

    Ick on the 1100 post!

  43. From the article:
    “But this does not mean that public disbursements in the social interest necessarily start us down a slippery slope to the totalitarian state, and Hayek, in suggestively conflating government spending with government planning, pulls a bit of a sleight of hand in Road. With more than sixty years between us and the first edition, we are able to put his ideas to some empirical tests. In fact, various episodes of Labour government in Britain-and the British Labour party of the 1920s and 1940s was no watered-down “third way” Blairite party-did not destroy British democracy. Nor did the New Deal in the United States. In a rebuttal of the government spending part of Hayek’s thesis, economic historian Rick Tilman points out that civil liberties in the United States expanded dramatically from the New Deal through the Great Society. “

  44. More:
    “Because the benefits of socialized medicine have been so apparent in Western Europe and in Canada, without any erosion of political freedoms, to deny them would be to put a free-market ideology above empirical evidence.”

  45. Guy
    Come one. It does not strike me as incredible that you have dabbled in both libertarianism and urine drinking. You’re the real deal.

  46. I take so many medications I’m pretty sure my urine can cure a lot of diseases. And it comes in many magical colors.

    Your genetic weakness disgusts me.

  47. It’s all organic damage. I was fine before I got shot.

  48. MNG, troll^n.

  49. The quotes make actual arguments.

    Hayek stated that government economic intrustions would lead to the loss of civil liberties. That did not, as an empirical matter, happen, in the case of Britian under a strong labor regime, much of Western Europe, and with the specific example of national health care.

    When folks believe something that sounds good in the abstract but which lacks empirical verification, they have a name for that.

  50. “In most of this work he shows a tendency to an abstract idealism that it is hard to imagine as compatible with actual human social life, and with the exception of his powerful critique of the planned economy, his ideas have not been resoundingly vindicated by historical experience. This is not what those who honor Hayek as the valiant individualist who destroyed the intellectual foundations of the left would like to believe. To them, Hayek is the author of universal truths, and he has taken on the status of a prophet. The rest of us, I hope, have learned to be wary of prophets.”

  51. It’s all organic damage. I was fine before I got shot.

    Who shot you, jilted lover Kyle? Tell us the truth.

  52. SF,

    Ditto.

    Guy accidentally wins the thread.

  53. A friend of mine when I was 20. It was an accident and is a very long story.

    shattered femur -> tons o’ drugs in the hospital -> destroyed pancreas

  54. I don’t even get AN ASSIST!?! THIS GAME IS RIGGED! RIGGED, I SAY!

  55. Hmm, sucky. Your physical weakness disgusts me.

  56. Well, then Jesse would have to give the origination assist to MNG. Do you really want that?

  57. “SF,

    Ditto.

    Guy accidentally wins the thread.”

    Jesse,
    Reading the article in question and bringing up the points it makes is trolling now? Or being opposed to drinking urine? Man, that’s harsh…

  58. Is that a “cosmotarian” thing ;)?

  59. Jesse,
    Reading the article in question and bringing up the points it makes is trolling now? Or being opposed to drinking urine?

    I was referring to Guy’s inadvertent confession about his urine.

  60. I’m glad you got that straight. I thought perhaps this urine drinking thing was some high-falutin (or high flatulence) “cosmo” stance.

    I’m quite sure that a red-blooded American paleo-libertarian like Ron Paul would never drink his own urine.

    Store it in jars in the trunk of his car, yes. But drink? No way!

  61. Mr. Nice Guy,

    While neither the UK nor Western Europe have turned into totalitarian states, some would argue that there has been a loss of liberty in those states. However, from a liberty perspective there were a lot of things that were wrong with Europe in the 19th century that have been alleviated (consider the economic status of women as dictated by the state as an example) since that time so it could be viewed as a wash or as a gain. Has anyone ever tried to measure this particular variable over that time period?

  62. Oh, and I’m ignoring the loss of liberty associated with the rise of Nazi Germany, etc., I’m just wondering what the average gain or loss of liberty in Europe (particularly Western Europe) was over say the past two centuries.

  63. …I’m not trying to ignore…

  64. “Libertarian collectivism” makes sense from a European standpoint–unlike in the US, “libertarian” originally had nothing to do with capitalism, but was instead a descriptor for a variety of socialism that rejected the state. It’s decidedly anti-capitalist.

    So it’s right to say that here in the states, it might not make sense to be a libertarian collectivist, libertarian democratic socialist, or what have you. But in Europe, “libertarian” itself means something quite different from how the term developed in America.

  65. “When folks believe something that sounds good in the abstract but which lacks empirical verification, they have a name for that.”

    Yeah, it’s called Libertarianism.

  66. Wait! So when I was playing the drinking game, I was supposed to be drinking my own urine? For a magazine called Reason… puke!

  67. Jesse Lerner:

    Many of his arguments rest on a reductionist idea of socialism?

    And Hayek is correct. What socialism reduces to is force-coercion. Lerner’s failure to appreciate that leads him to further errors later in the article:

    WHEN HAYEK strays from discussing the evils of the planned economy he becomes markedly less convincing, and the political strength of for-profit medicine rather ironically suggests something that Hayek misses about spontaneous collectivist tendencies…The paradox is that forming spontaneous associations for the collective good of insiders seems to be a universal human activity.

    Talking about political power being a motivation for a spontaneous action is an oxymoron. There is nothing spontaneous about the attraction of political power. Political power is most certainly the definitional antithesis of Hayek’s spontaneous order. Political power might be described as a “force magnet”imposed on the economic milieu.

  68. Colin,
    From the excerpt from the article below one could infer that this economist must have had some measure of such a variable (whether it was a valid, reliable one I can’t say):

    “In a rebuttal of the government spending part of Hayek’s thesis, economic historian Rick Tilman points out that civil liberties in the United States expanded dramatically from the New Deal through the Great Society.”

    One could look at our own society and look at, for example, the area of criminal justice alone where during the Great Society we easily had the greatest expansion of the rights of the accused right alongside a steep rise in government growth and spending…

  69. Reason had a very thoughtful artice reviewing the book of a “socialist” economist who was an admirer of Hayek. This was last year some time, I’ll try to fish it up (Jesse Walker, any help?). Whoever the guy was, he was more favorable towards Hayek than this guy.

  70. A socialist reads Hayek and finds…justification for socialism.

    One could look at our own society and look at, for example, the area of criminal justice alone where during the Great Society we easily had the greatest expansion of the rights of the accused right alongside a steep rise in government growth and spending

    Correlation is not causation.

    Question: is economic freedom not a a civil liberty?

    Why not?

  71. No, I don’t stutter.

  72. Right wingers love Friedrich Hayek. The Austrian-British economist is revered by true believers at the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, the National Review, and the Weekly Standard.

    What a moron. Sure, I believe that the Weekly Standard love Hayek….just like I believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus.

  73. Thanks JW, that’s the one.

    “Question: is economic freedom not a a civil liberty?

    Why not?”

    Perhaps Sam, but even if so then, if there is not a relation between it and other civil liberties then Hayek is reduced to arguing that restricting economic freedom restricts economic freedom…

  74. Hayek stated that government economic intrustions would lead to the loss of civil liberties. That did not, as an empirical matter, happen, in the case of Britian under a strong labor regime, much of Western Europe, and with the specific example of national health care.

    I wonder if anyone would still claim that, for example, England under a labor regime and with nationalized health care has not experienced a loss of civil liberties.

    As we well know, publicly financed healthcare is the wedge for regulating all kinds of personal behavior, on the grounds that it increases the cost of publicly financed healthcare.

  75. One could look at our own society and look at, for example, the area of criminal justice alone where during the Great Society we easily had the greatest expansion of the rights of the accused right alongside a steep rise in government growth and spending.

    To be followed shortly by a contined increase in government and massive inroads into the rights of citizens vis-a-vis the police state.

    I think you can cherry-pick relatively short periods of time where government growth doesn’t impinge on anyone’s liberties (except the poor bastards who have to pick up the tab, of course). But I don’t think anyone can point to a government that has grown and subsumed more and more civil society, that doesn’t eventually and inevitably get around to restricting liberty across the board.

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