Libertarian History/Philosophy

Liberaltarianism Redux, Plus Survivalists vs. Cosmopolitans

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Supply-sider and occasional Reason contributor Bruce Bartlett goes to one of those liberaltarian dinners in Washington, D.C. and expresses hope that "the dialogue continues." Along the way he makes some characterizations of Planet Libertarian (and, later in the column, some recommendations) that many here may find interesting. A selection:

Libertarian A

Libertarians' views on social policy and national defense make them sympathetic to the Democrats, while their views on economic policy tend to align them with the Republicans. If one views social, defense and economic policy as having roughly equal weight, it would seem, therefore, that most libertarians should be Democrats. In fact, almost none are. Those that don't belong to the dysfunctional Libertarian Party are, by and large, Republicans.

The reason for this is that most self-described libertarians are primarily motivated by economics. In particular, they don't like paying taxes. They also tend to have an obsession with gold and a distrust of paper money. As a philosophy, their libertarianism doesn't extent much beyond not wanting to pay taxes, being paid in gold and being able to keep all the guns they want. Many are survivalists at heart and would be perfectly content to live in complete isolation on a mountain somewhere, neither taking anything from society nor giving anything. […]

Libertarian B

One is not likely to run into that type of libertarian at a Washington dinner party. These libertarians tend to be well-educated, arriving at his or her philosophy through reading obscure books or random contact with some libertarian in graduate school. They don't own guns–probably never even fired one, don't mind paying taxes too much, have no particular nostalgia for the gold standard and certainly would not choose to live in isolation on a mountaintop. They are cosmopolitan, urbane, articulate and interested in ideas more than just about anything else. They are not especially career-oriented–they are happy to be paid less than they probably could make as long as they don't have to compromise their principles and can do work that advances the cause. For the most part, they aren't family-oriented or religious, and they mostly fit the stereotype of a nerd.

As a poorly educated, non-tax fetishizing, family/career-oriented, gun-firing, non-goldbug city mouse, I don't feel particularly represented in that list above. Nor, for that matter, do I hold much short-term hope for the liberaltarian project. But I'm not much of a joiner, and it's a worthwhile read.

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  1. “The reason for this is that most self-described libertarians are primarily motivated by economics. In particular, they don’t like paying taxes.”

    And why shouldn’t they be?

    After all, it is this arena that government has the most real-world impact on the lives of most people.

  2. And why shouldn’t they be?

    After all, it is this arena that government has the most real-world impact on the lives of most people.

    And arguably it’s the arena in which libertarianism needs the most help.

    The article also reaffirms that politics, even for the avowedly “rational” driven by Reason, really boils down to associating with people like you and whom you like, just like high school.

  3. Seems like Humprey Bogart in “Treasure of the Sierra Madre” is the classic libertarian.

    Gold, Gold, GOLD!

  4. Speaking of Cosmopolitan, The New Yorker has recently acknowledged Helen Gurley Brown as a “sexual libertarian.” She’s finally getting the credit she deserves.

  5. To say that libertarians are liberal on all social issues is an oversimplification. Most libertarians agree with most conservatives on some social issues like anti-smoking/fatty food laws and affirmative action. There are also some social issues, like capital punishment and abortion that don’t have an explicity libertarian side, and libertarians are split on these issues. In addition, there are some libertarian issues, like drug legalization and gambling legalization, that are opposed by both most liberals and most conservatives.

    On the other hand, liberals and libertarians are always on the opposite side on economic issues.

  6. Libertarians’ views on social policy and national defense make them sympathetic to the Democrats, while their views on economic policy tend to align them with the Republicans. If one views social, defense and economic policy as having roughly equal weight, it would seem, therefore, that most libertarians should be Democrats.

    The problem with this analysis is that neither major party is particularly close to the libertarian positions on social policy, national defense, or economic policy.

    The most left-leaning Democratic president of the past 40 years, for instance, is opposed to same sex marriage and laughs at the idea of decriminalizing marijuana. That same president proposed a larger budget for military spending than his extremely hawkish Republican predecessor.

    The Republicans talk a better game on economic policy, but when given a chance to control the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives, embarked on a spending and borrowing spree that made the liberal Democratic administration they replaced look like careful stewards of the national government’s finances.

    The main reason most libertarians lean Republican is that Republicans at least speak the same language, about the free market, the Constitution, and lower taxes. They consistently fail to deliver (or deliver the opposite of what they talked about on the campaign trail), but the slight social and military policy advantages in Democratic rhetoric don’t tend to materialize in enacted policy differences either, and certainly not in any radical or significant advance in any kind of freedom.

  7. Is this douchebag for real?

    I am an Ivy-educated, gold-buying, Rothbard-reading, anarcho-capitalist gun nut.

    I like being around other people: I play hockey several times a week; I go to concerts, bars, and do other assorted activities with friends; I respect division of labor and don’t make or do everything myself.

    But, unlike paying taxes, those interactions are voluntary. As I’ve said numerous times before, I pay taxes only because the government will throw me in prison if I don’t.

  8. The article also reaffirms that politics, even for the avowedly “rational” driven by Reason, really boils down to associating with people like you and whom you like, just like high school.

    Can’t be, ’cause I don’t like none of y’all. Of course, I like people in the other parties even less. Maybe it is true.

  9. don’t mind paying taxes too much

    Ah, so the libertarians he found aren’t libertarians. I’m going to go out on a radical limb here and say… if you have no problem paying taxes at the current rates and on the basis for which they are now collected, you are not a libertarian. You are supporting aggression, you are defending the bloated apparatus of the state, and you don’t give a fig about about liberty or the individual.

  10. Barlett is a douchebag. When libertarians agree with Rethuglicans and DemocRATs, they often agree for different reasons, so they’re not really on the same page at all.

    The survivalist stereotype is an annoying one, as some of those people are only “libertarian” in that they just want to be left totally alone. But Barlett goes right to it. Great.

  11. The reason many libertarians prioritize taxes over social freedom, if you have to pick one, is because it’s understood that with money… you can buy social freedom. Without money, you depend on the generosity of the government to “permit” you to pursue happiness.

  12. As a philosophy, their libertarianism doesn’t extent much beyond not wanting to pay taxes, being paid in gold and being able to keep all the guns they want. Many are survivalists at heart and would be perfectly content to live in complete isolation on a mountain somewhere, neither taking anything from society nor giving anything. […]

    F

    Try again, and next time, do a little more research than talking to people at BeltwayLand cocktail parties.

  13. Well, the second part fits me better than the first one, but it’s only partially accurate…However, this

    fit the stereotype of a nerd.

    Goosebumps.

  14. Squarooticus-

    Who says libertarians do not have the proverbial big tent? Look at the differences between the two of us:

    I am a NON-ivy educated, gold buying, Rothbard reading, anarcho-capitalist.

  15. Libertarians’ views on social policy and national defense make them sympathetic to the Democrats, while their views on economic policy tend to align them with the Republicans.

    This is incredibly stupid. Bartlett neatly leaves out some major non-economic issues where Libertarians agree with Republicans and disagree with Democrats, ie gun rights and school choice.

    And keep in mind it was the Dems who wanted us to invade the Sudan last year, and a Dem president who undertook the Kosovo mini-war over the objection of the Republican Congress.

  16. Bartlett manages to trot out nearly every disparaging caricature of libertarians in the space of a few short paragraphs, and then wonders why people who think libertarians and people who think they are survivalist gun-nut gold-bugs can’t seem to get along with each other.

    Color me deeply unimpressed.

    As noted above, most libertarians tend to identify with Republicans because the Repubs at least pay lip service to the idea of limited government, individual initiative, personal responsibility, etc. The Dems don’t; even on issues where we might agree on outcomes, our reasons are different.

  17. Shorter Bartlett:

    “Libertarians are CRAZY!”

  18. teh cosmotarian!!!!!11!!!!!!!!

  19. In Response to Bruce Bartlett
    “These libertarians tend to be well-educated, arriving at his or her philosophy through reading obscure books”

    Like the novels of Robert A. Heinlein and Ayn Rand?

    “They don’t own guns–probably never even fired one”

    I don’t own any (yet) but have fired many. I was in the Air Force and my grandfather was an armsophile.

    ” don’t mind paying taxes too much”

    WRONG! I very much DO!

    “have no particular nostalgia for the gold standard”

    My fondness for gthe gold standard is not based on nostalgia but basic economics

    “For the most part, they aren’t family-oriented or religious”

    I am family-oriented but not religious. I am an ignostic (no, I didn’t misspell agnostic)

    ” and they mostly fit the stereotype of a nerd.”

    Yes, I mostly fit the stereotype of nerd.

  20. Yum yum, Nick. Please feeds me more.

  21. I realize it’s not his entire point, but the Bartlett piece seems to read as “I’d rather be in a party with people I’d feel comfortable with at cocktail and dinner parties, regardless of their actual views.”

    Of course, that describes most people politically anyway.

  22. Nor, for that matter, do I hold much short-term hope for the liberaltarian project.

    The paleolibertarians already tried and failed at this sort of thing with their alliance with the paleoconservatives, which is all but dead except for within the pages of The American Conservative. I suspect “liberaltarianism” will be even less successful.

  23. Libertarians’ views on social policy and national defense make them sympathetic to the Democrats, while their views on economic policy tend to align them with the Republicans.

    EAT SHIT AND DIE you lying lowlife douche!
    Libertarians have nothing but HATE HATE HATE for the even-bigger government economic policies of the Republicans.

    GET IT RIGHT FUCK FACE

  24. I realize it’s not his entire point, but the Bartlett piece seems to read as “I’d rather be in a party with people I’d feel comfortable with at cocktail and dinner parties, regardless of their actual views.”

    That is, in fact, how most people form their political views.

  25. “After all, it is this arena that government has the most real-world impact on the lives of most people.”

    Well, there’s the roads, and the aquaducts, and the libraries, but apart from that, what has the bloody US government done for us???

  26. I realize it’s not his entire point, but the Bartlett piece seems to read as “I’d rather be in a party with people I’d feel comfortable with at cocktail and dinner parties, regardless of their actual views.”

    “I’d rather be at a dinner party than up on a mountain top with a cabin full of guns, wouldn’t you?” seems to be his major thesis.

  27. Well, there’s the roads, and the aquaducts, and the libraries, but apart from that, what has the bloody US government done for us???

    SPLITTERS!!!

  28. squarooticus, I’m a hockey player, too. I’m surprised that didn’t make it into the article…that libertarians are predominantly hockey players. Apparently it doesn’t take many to make it “predominant” to that guy…

  29. Truth hurts, folks. And there’s a lot of truth in what Bartlett says. It reminds me of the truth Obama spoke during the Bittergate scandal.

    I still think a large segment on self described libertarians are yokel right wingers at heart. Notice how much traction something like liberalized immigration law gets when brought up at some libertarian-ish sites. The same tired pseudo arguments about non-assimilation, welfare, crime all of a sudden get thrown up as common libertarian sense.

  30. “Well, there’s the roads, and the aquaducts, and the libraries, but apart from that, what has the bloody US government done for us???”

    They have turned us into slaves.

  31. It’s worse tyhan I thought.

    In short, there is a theoretical case to be made for liberals and libertarians at least continuing a dialogue. But for it to go anywhere, libertarians must scale back their almost single-minded focus on economic freedom as the sole determinant of liberty. They must work harder to defend civil liberties and resist expansion of the police state whether it involves suspected terrorists, illegal aliens or those who enjoy smoking marijuana.

    Libertarians should also be more outspoken about America’s disastrous foreign policy, which Obama seems to be doing very little to fix. This would seem like an obvious area for cooperation. The main problem seems that neither liberals nor libertarians are up to challenging the loudmouthed bullies on talk radio and Fox News who equate anything less than a 100% commitment to the “war on terror” as treasonous.

    Bruce Bartlett: cretin, or moron? You decide.

  32. This guy is obviously never met an actual survivalist in his life. Most survivalists are anything but libertarians. Most of them are whackjobs of various bents who would like to impose anything from anarchy to a Christan theocracy on the country.

    Most gun owners are not necessarily libertarians either. They are generally single issue voters. Does anyone here think most gun owners are just dying to eliminate national borders and legalize gay marriage and polygomy?

    Libertarians need to realize that while most people argree with them on some issues few people agree with them on all issues. For that reason, they need to work on single issues. Gun control needs to be the model for future libertarian action. There one group of people of very diverse views, gun owners, got together and voted strongly on that one issue. Gun control is dead in this country and it is not coming back anytime soon. Libertarians need to find other cases of unpopular government over reach and hack away at them one issue at a time. It is a never ending project. But because it actually accomplishes something it beats pining for paradise.

  33. In particular, they don’t like paying taxes.

    I’ve met very few people of any party who like paying taxes — just a few super-rich liberals who wish we could be more like France or Sweden. Libertarians regard taxes as theft, which tends to make us like paying them even less, naturally.

    They also tend to have an obsession with gold and a distrust of paper money.

    Define “obsession”. Expressing an opinion that a gold based monetary system would be superior to a paper currency based one after carefully analyzing the historical track records of each and the likely outcomes of current fiscal policies hardly qualifies as an obsession. And when has a paper currency ever proven trustworthy?

    As a philosophy, their libertarianism doesn’t extent much beyond not wanting to pay taxes, being paid in gold and being able to keep all the guns they want.

    Well, since the Constitution says that our right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, isn’t it a legitimate request to expect the government to follow its own rules?

  34. I play hockey several times a week

    You will be assigned to one of the major two parties based on how you answer this question, since the rest of you is so confused. (It is for your own good.)

    “Should fighting be removed from the NHL?”

  35. “I still think a large segment on self described libertarians are yokel right wingers at heart.”

    Interesting, for those of us who have never met such people could you please describe them for us? Preferably without using meaningless ad hominems.

  36. I’m a good mix of both. I live in an apartment in uptown Dallas and I’m highly educated and earn well. I also own a lakefront home in east Texas and love drinking with my red-neck friends down there. I would probably enjoy uptown better if it wasn’t filled with twenty-something who only seem to listen to rap. I’m 41.

    I don’t own a gun, but have shot plenty. Finally, I have no interest in gold and have always wondered why it has been given such a high intrinsic value. After all, it is just another commodity.

    I tend to agree with the sentiment here that economics issues are more highly valued as they affect far more people than the social ones and money can buy freedom to some extent. I seem to dislike all Democrats, but only most and not all Republicans.

  37. Well, there’s the roads, and the aquaducts, and the libraries, but apart from that, what has the bloody US government done for us???

    All of which could have been constructed and paid for by the users had the government not intruded.

    Jeez, can you wipe your own ass without a government program to get you through it?

  38. Interesting, for those of us who have never met such people could you please describe them for us? Preferably without using meaningless ad hominems.

    Like I said, truth hurts.

  39. Matt sure knows how to throw chum in the water.

  40. Well, there’s the roads, and the aquaducts, and the libraries, but apart from that, what has the bloody US government done for us???

    Hey, if that and providing a framework for justice and national defense was all the government did I’d be thrilled. My tax rate could probably be lowered to about 1% of what it is now.

  41. The reason certain libertarians don’t mind paying taxes too much is that, despite the bloated taxes, they don’t feel poor. For me, despite giving over 30% of my paycheck away to the government, plus all the other taxes (maybe 40%-50% of my money goes to gov’t?), I reckon I’m richer than 99+% of the people who have ever lived. Also, despite all the taxes we pay, modern Americans (including me!) generally live wealthy, easy lives.

    Once you’re happy with your financial situation, and America’s financial situation in general, it doesn’t make sense that $$$ should be your #1 issue.

    Sure, I’d prefer a smaller gov’t, but the issues that really rile me up are civil rights type issues. People who are wrongfully imprisoned (drugs, sex, etc), or cops doing horrendous things (read Balko), or schools failing (creating an uneducated population is a bigger problem than wasting money), or environmental damage (sorry about that one).

    I’ll still vote for smaller gov’t and lower taxes, it makes me sick that people love massively wasteful spending programs, and I’m taking good care of myself in preparation for the debacle of socialized medicine… but other issues are much more important.

  42. Well, there’s the roads, and the aquaducts, and the libraries, but apart from that, what has the bloody US government done for us???

    For all of you who seem to be missing this, the above is a quote from Life of Brian. It is a joke.

    I’m starting to think that mandatory Monty Python classes in school might be a good idea.

  43. Score another victory for Hope over Change:

    The US Department of Homeland Security is set to kickstart a controversial new pilot to scan the fingerprints of travellers departing the United States. From June, US Customs and Border Patrol will take a fingerprint scan of travellers exiting the United States from Detroit, while the US Transport Security Administration will take fingerprint scans of international travellers exiting the United States from Atlanta. The controversial plan to scan outgoing passengers – including US citizens – was allegedly hatched under the Bush Administration. An official has said it will be used in part to crack down on the US population of illegal immigrants.

    Just remember kids: the Democrats are better on social issues.

  44. I still think a large segment on self described libertarians are yokel right wingers at heart.

    I still think you’re a dog with excellent typing skills. Since both of us lack any convincing evidence for our thoughts, I guess there no settling the issue. Now bark for the biscuit, shecky.

  45. “Like I said, truth hurts.”

    You didn’t answer the question.

  46. “It reminds me of the truth Obama spoke during the Bittergate scandal.”

    I don’t know lots of people who own guns, go to church and live in rural areas. They don’t seem to be bitter at all. The only bitter people I know are maladjusted aging hippies who never got the help they needed back in the 70s. Only bigoted morons thought BO hit on any truth in that statement.

  47. “An official has said it will be used in part to crack down on the US population of illegal immigrants.”

    Wait, what?

  48. I’ve met very few people of any party who like paying taxes — just a few super-rich liberals who wish we could be more like France or Sweden.

    Have you ever noticed how those self-same individuals never avail themselves of the simple option of just writing a big ol’ check to the Treasury out of the goodness of their hearts?

  49. “Many are survivalists at heart and would be perfectly content to live in complete isolation on a mountain somewhere, neither taking anything from society nor giving anything.”

    As long as by not “taking anything from society” you exclude popular politicians that help me sell books and make money off of his two first names. But if he ever gets crap for anything I wrote in his name you can be damn sure that I won’t give anything back, I’ll just lay back as he gets crucified by the press.

    And of course we want to live in isolated areas, as far from Welfaria as we can be.

  50. Jordan,

    It should be noted that idea originated in 1996 under Clinton. It languished under Bush but didn’t die. Now it has returned. It spans three Presidencies of both parties. But Dems will protect your privacy and freedom. Right.

  51. people who like ideas and are intelligent don’t care much about their families?! wtf?! I don’t have a gun in my house, but this makes me want to drve up to a gun show in NH today and get one.

    How about you grant me the right to print money and I’ll write my own budget for the service I am doing for you? and you can raise your taxes to pay for my “services” since you don’t need any more money for your family that you don’t care about.

  52. “In short, there is a theoretical case to be made for liberals and libertarians at least continuing a dialogue. But for it to go anywhere, libertarians must scale back their almost single-minded focus on economic freedom as the sole determinant of liberty.”

    Translation: “If these dern libertarians would just stop bein’ libertarians, I could work with ’em!!”

  53. I still think you’re a dog with excellent typing skills.

    Excellent, for a dog, that is.

  54. Matt sure knows how to throw chum in the water.

    Yup. I’m sure this opportunity was too good for him to pass up.

  55. “They are not especially career-oriented–they are happy to be paid less than they probably could make as long as they don’t have to compromise their principles and can do work that advances the cause. For the most part, they aren’t family-oriented or religious, and they mostly fit the stereotype of a nerd.”

    What a jackass. Aren’t most of the Reason staff, which would be the best example of who he is talking about, married? You could call them nerdy, but a lot of people are. Most of them, however, seem to be mainline and nothing like what he is describing.

  56. I’m a highly educated, urban-dwelling, gold-standard-wanting, ideas-motivated person who minds paying taxes and doesn’t own a gun but would like to live somewhere out there alone. And I’m a registered Republican.

    I’m not sure I like being shuttled into one of these groups I’m not a member of. It feels very collectivist.

  57. Jordan, to my knowledge, my finger prints are not on file anywhere so the scan would mean very little. I am a US citizen. Would I be stopped from exiting the country under the Retarded Gestapo Plan?

  58. I don’t understand this idea that libertarians are more in line with Republicans on economic issues. People may think that’s true because it gets repeated so often, because the assumption still hangs around that Republicans are somehow fiscally conservative, but they aren’t.

  59. Excellent, for a dog, that is.

    True. My dog is still working through his keyboard issues (gnawing vs. typing), but I have hopes that someday he’ll contribute as much here as shecky.

  60. The libertarian need, by some, to pigeonhole every fucking person gets tiresome. The purist mindset of so many libertarians I come across drives me nuts and to be honest it is what I consider the largest road block for any progression. No one wants to play the all or nothing game.

    This is just an example of some intellectual tard talking shit as usual about the loons that own guns, like to be prepared for anything, and aren’t too fond of fiat currency. People who can often be easily dismissed as armchair quarterbacks or a detriment to any progression. People that would rather sit around and argue esoteric nuances of philosophies rather than deal with the people. The people, of course, being the whole goddamn reason for being a part of a political movement, regardless of the philosophy.

    I’d rather spend two hours talking to a gun crazy, bunker building, MRE stashing redneck than have to endure 10 minutes of some self righteous libertarianism at the hands of some “cosmopolitan, urbane, articulate” douche who wants to argue economic theory ad nauseam.

    Fucking elitist piss me off more than anything. No matter who they are. Everyone gets the same rights. Why play the us and them game everyone else plays?

  61. Funny how he would try to generalize a group of individuals. The strength of libertarianism is that every one is different and are not trying to be lumped into a bloc. Of course that’s also our downfall. It’s hard to herd cats.

    I submit that all people are naturally libertarian. At least they are libertarian for themselves – it’s just that the folks who come here, would like others to experience the same.

  62. would be perfectly content to live in complete isolation on a mountain somewhere, neither taking anything from society nor giving anything.

    OMFG!!1 That’s me. And- I live in Montana, no less.

    Be afraid, Bruce…

  63. “I’d rather spend two hours talking to a gun crazy, bunker building, MRE stashing redneck than have to endure 10 minutes of some self righteous libertarianism at the hands of some “cosmopolitan, urbane, articulate” douche who wants to argue economic theory ad nauseam.

    Fucking elitist piss me off more than anything. No matter who they are. Everyone gets the same rights. Why play the us and them game everyone else plays?”

    A fucking Men.

  64. To nerds, I’m a normal. To normals, I’m a nerd.

    Despite his ad hominem and rhetoric, Epi gets it right. Libertarians aren’t defined by their policy preferences, they are defined by how they reach their policy preferences. Libertarianism isn’t a political movement as much as it is an ideological movement. Therein lie the strengths and weaknesses of institutions like the Libertarian Party. (It is only “disfunctional”, if you want it to function like a political, that is power grabbing, entity.)

  65. “Jeez, can you wipe your own ass without a government program to get you through it?”

    Jeez! It was a Python reference!

  66. Fun with stereotypes! Bartlett, you’re NOT HELPING.

  67. No, I’ve participated in too many Libertarian Party conventions and committee meetings to buy that it’s “only ‘disfunctional’ if…”

    The LP is dysfunctional, broke, something went haywire — either the very concept that you can have a libertarian political party, or the way the party evolved into what it is today.

  68. I’m a highly educated, Massachusetts city living, moderately goldbug, family and career oriented, gun buying, not-particularly obsessed with taxation, although against it in principal, libertarian.

    This is the stupidest article I’ve read describing libertarians.

  69. Everything Hmmmmm just said.

  70. Bartlett doesn’t quite have my number, but I think he is specifically referring to the Cato and Reason types here.

    Living on a mountaintop is cool, but at this point in my life I don’t think I could survive without access to ethnic food and an MLS franchise.

  71. “Wait, what?”

    Illegal immigrants always fly in and out of Detroit and Atlanta.

  72. Despite his ad hominem and rhetoric, Epi gets it right.

    Dude, Epi’s insults are his greatest strength. Behind his perversion, I mean.

  73. “Fucking elitist piss me off more than anything.”

    It’s nice to know that those baser parts of human nature that fuel resentment towards those who have climbed higher and further than you thrives even among a subset of libertarians (paleos)…

  74. SHIT!

    “Jeez, can you wipe your own ass without a government program to get you through it?”

    Jeez! It was a Python reference!

    Apologies Stamp….! Picked up on “SPLITTERS”! Whiffed on yours.

  75. Stupid cosmos with their fancy talk, uppity book learnin’ and culturally aware, highly eclectic tastes!

  76. People that would rather sit around and argue esoteric nuances of philosophies rather than deal with the people.

    With whom do such people argue philosophy, without resorting to “dealing with people”. Do they argue with their dogs? I submit that nearly all people who argue with their dogs are not Libertarian.

  77. Hey, I just noticed that Bartlett’s douchebaggery proved even more distracting than the Angelina Jolie pic! No one retreating to their bunk[er]?

  78. “It’s nice to know that those baser parts of human nature that fuel resentment towards those who have climbed higher and further than you thrives even among a subset of libertarians (paleos)…”

    I’m a wealthy, white land-holding male (born lucky) and I dislike elitists too. It has nothing to do with income level; it’s about their false sense of self-importance/worth.

  79. Shut up Dagny, I was trying to jack off without anyone noticing. Now you’ve ruined everything. Again.

  80. Bruce Bartlett should stop calling himself a libertarian. He should call himself a retarded, stuck-up, self-fister who thinks in stereotypes.

    I know all sorts of libertarians and not one fits any of his descriptions.

    What a clueless fool. I hope his writing for reason is over.

  81. “I submit that nearly all people who argue with their dogs are not Libertarian.”

    I dunno Rich, I expect a few posters here spend a bit of time extolling the non-aggression principle to their dogs in between mumbling about creeping socialism and the evil that was the New Deal or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Their dogs probably don’t stop licking their own balls to take in much of it though…

  82. Jeez! It was a Python reference!

    but perl is so much more compact

  83. “He should call himself a retarded, stuck-up, self-fister who thinks in stereotypes.”

    Jeez JB, I never knew you and Bruce Bartlett were so much alike! Like peas in a genetically modified pod you two are…

  84. “Their dogs probably don’t stop licking their own balls to take in much of it though…”

    WRONG! My dog licks her cunt and the only thing we are at odds with is that she calls her cunt MNG, which I think is stupid because cunts serve a purpose.

  85. “And then, while they sat helplessly around the campfire…a demented knife-wielding escaped lunatic libertarian zombie mutant snuck up and–”

    Fry was, of course, talking about Warty.

  86. Should fighting be removed from the NHL?

    Hell no!

    So, ummm, what does that make me?

  87. Stupid cosmos with their fancy talk, uppity book learnin’ and culturally aware, highly eclectic tastes!

    Because the rest of us use monosyllables in communication, are functionally illiterate, only know what’s in WalMart, and all have the exact same tastes, right?

  88. At least tell me you were simultaneously pondering Angie’s rumored cosmotarian tendencies, Warty.

    Wait, she’s all elite and urban, and has a shitload of kids? Unpossible.

  89. It’s nice to know that those baser parts of human nature that fuel resentment towards those who have climbed higher and further than you thrives even among a subset of libertarians (paleos)…

    Don’t mistake a dislike for those that feel they are better or their perspective is more accurate because of their education or station in life with some sort of envy. The only thing worse than elitists are dipshits who make assumptions on the impetus of a statement that have no basis in the statement itself. How’s that for a baser reaction? Fucking troglodyte.

  90. “It’s nice to know that those baser parts of human nature that fuel resentment towards those who have climbed higher and further than you thrives even among a subset of libertarians (paleos)…”

    Oh shut the fuck up. The problem is that we have lost respect for people who actually do things. Really, who is this loser? Why do I know who he is or should care what he says? I have more respect for the guy who can fix my car or draw my blood for a blood test without stabbing me a hundred times than I do for some douschebag who happens to write for a magazine.

    Is there a place for public intellectuals? Yes. But it is a small one. The downside of the modern mass media is that every moron whose daddy can write a check big enough to go to the right university and take a low paying job at the right magazine thinks they are a public intellectual. Before the rise of the national media, shitbags like this guy would be working real jobs and restricting their pontification to drunken rants at the local salon or pub. We wouldn’t know his name. We would only know the names of or have to listen to the few truly brilliant public intellectuals. It was a better world in many ways.

    Look, I don’t begrudge this guy for being able to make a living as some snot nosed hack. Good for him. Thank heavens we live in a world where not everyone has to actually work for a living. But that doesn’t mean I have to respect him. It also doesn’t mean I have to pretend his mediocre musings are somehow more respectable than real work.

  91. rumored cosmotarian tendencies,

    That means tits, right? If so, yes.

  92. The article takes as a given that every libertarian is a Utilitarian in terms of morals. With that assumption, of course he would come to the conclusion that liberals and libertarians should be working together.

    How much water does this assumption hold? How many of you would describe yourself as Utilitarian when it comes to your morals? Of the libertarians I’ve known, its probably about 50/50.

  93. “How much water does this assumption hold? How many of you would describe yourself as Utilitarian when it comes to your morals? Of the libertarians I’ve known, its probably about 50/50.”

    Even if it were true, which I agree with you that it is not, it would make libertarians arch enemies of liberals. Liberals are romantics. They are anything but ultilitarian.

  94. Brian Lockwood,

    Ummm…50/50 seems really high. At least on here, utilitarianism if really low. With only our current house liberal (I miss joe) claiming it.

    Oh, and, since your brought it up:

    Fuck utilitarianism. Evil fuckers trying to justify more evil.

  95. “Thank heavens we live in a world where not everyone has to actually work for a living. But that doesn’t mean I have to respect him. It also doesn’t mean I have to pretend his mediocre musings are somehow more respectable than real work.”

    Not good hard-workin’ folk like yourself, eh John?

    Sadly as is pointed out here all the time the amount of work that goes into something is hardly the determinant of that thing’s value…

    “Don’t mistake a dislike for those that feel they are better or their perspective is more accurate because of their education or station in life with some sort of envy.”

    So you hate it when someone who has done better than you acts like they have done better than you. Ok.

    “Because the rest of us use monosyllables in communication, are functionally illiterate, only know what’s in WalMart, and all have the exact same tastes, right?”

    Hey T, I didn’t bring you into this, you did 😉

  96. “Liberals are romantics.”

    You mean we give girls flowers and candy to get to see their snatches faster? Guilty!

  97. I guess that to Bruce Bartlett I must be some kind of unicornish creature.

    I enjoy cocktail parties and talking about ideas.

    I’m also heavily into shooting and firearms. Sorry to disappoint Bruce, but not all gun-owning libertarians like to go out in the desert and shoot guns into the air while waving a cowboy hat and yelling “Yee-Haw.”

    God, what a putz.

  98. “The reason many libertarians prioritize taxes over social freedom, if you have to pick one, is because it’s understood that with money… you can buy social freedom. Without money, you depend on the generosity of the government to “permit” you to pursue happiness.”

    Well I’d say it’s also due to the fact economic issues actually have an effect on virtually everyone whereas the hotbutton social issues such as “gay marriage” actaully only have an effect on relatively few.

    After all, if I’m not gay and have no interest in gay marriage, what compelling reason is there for me to care about it at all?

    On the other hand there is plenty of reason for me to care about taxation and massive, meddling government regulation and mandates that interefere with freedom of contract.

    Most people of middle income status and up would personally be far better off without being forced to participate in and pay for programs such as social security, medicare, etc. They could retire far earlier with far more wealth than they will otherwise be able to. That is a significant real world incentive to care.

  99. Paleo-libertarianism: for those who think the normal libertarian disapproval of things like child labor and civil rights laws is far too measured…

  100. Also, the Jolie image doesn’t do much for me, as I coincidentally watched Foxfire last night.

  101. “not all gun-owning libertarians like to go out in the desert and shoot guns into the air while waving a cowboy hat and yelling “Yee-Haw.””

    Indeed. Many prefer to yell “Yippy ki-yay!”

  102. “Not good hard-workin’ folk like yourself, eh John?”

    No. Read my comment. It is not that being a public intellectual is disreputable work. It is that there is little need for such. What is disreputable is not writing and thinking but this guy thinking that his writing is adding anything significant to the world or somehow more important than making the trains run on time.

  103. Poorhouses.

    Don’t forget poorhouses, MaunderingNannyGoat.

  104. We would only know the names of or have to listen to the few truly brilliant public intellectuals. It was a better world in many ways.

    Yeah, back in the good old days where historians had monolithic views about FDR, the New Deal and the Great Depression.

    Back in the good old days when we were all told that the Triple Entente were the “good” guys and the Triple Alliance were the “bad” guys, and Woodrow Wilson’s 18 points were the bee’s fucking knees.

    Those good ol’ days?

  105. It must meet some need, people pay lots for it, and you and I are here debating what he wrote, with nary a word about whatever work you’ve done today…

  106. MNG-

    ,|,,

  107. “I enjoy cocktail parties and talking about ideas.

    I’m also heavily into shooting and firearms.”

    The best ones are the cocktail parties that involve ideas and firearms.

  108. Libertarians’ views on social policy and national defense make them sympathetic to the Democrats, while their views on economic policy tend to align them with the Republicans.

    Modern Democrats have moved away from being socially liberal along time ago. He must have been napping around the time the PMRC was formed, and thinks it is still Woodstock.

    No, it is the socially communitarian trends that I despise even more in the Democratic party and the Huckabee wing of the Republican party even more than the high taxers. After all, you will only get so much income tax out of me, good year or bad, but two fucking bucks a tax on the occasional pack of cigarettes where there are no viable alternatives in the black market (as least not, at this time). Banning saturated and transfats in restaurants, and bans on smoking sections. You can successfully make my life a living hell until the day where the cost benefit ratio of not voting with my feet becomes skewed to the other side.

  109. “Yeah, back in the good old days where historians had monolithic views about FDR, the New Deal and the Great Depression.”

    You clearly have no idea of when the good old days were and what they were actually like. First, the mass media and braying jackasses like this guy were quite well in the 1930s. Second, this may come as a shock to you, but there really was dissent before the internet. There was even dissent before your life time. They had entire intellectual movements and even revoultions before the internet and the mass media. You can look it up.

  110. In all seriousness folks, a movement that is trying to expand its influence should see the similarities of positions between its various factions (cosmos vs. paleos) and try to overlook the differences. If you guys were in power, or say breaking 5% of the vote* in national elections, then maybe splintering would be a better idea, but as such this is nucking futs…

    Later gators

    * I really don’t mean that as a crack, a party can have greater influence than it has in votes and I think libertarians accomplish that at times

  111. mediageek,

    Understandable. I just noticed it’s from the UK version of Cosmo, which is, in my experience, usually a little tamer.

  112. “So you hate it when someone who has done better than you acts like they have done better than you. Ok.”

    Your little theory doesn’t account for me, cocksucker. Try again.

  113. “You mean we give girls flowers and candy to get to see their snatches faster? Guilty!”

    Language isn’t your strong suit, is it?

  114. There is no getting around the fact that it has been a very bad 20 years or so for freedom. In the 1980s, the world got a lot freer. Europe and America thanks Thatcher and Reagan got much more free economiclly in the 1980s. Communism fell. Even right wing authoritarian countries like South Korea, The Phillipenes, South Africa and Chile became much more free and Democratic.

    That all came to a grinding halt in the 90s. And it has reversed itself in the 00s. Iraq and Afghanistan are the only two countries I can think of the world that is freer now than they were 15 years ago. And those are only free because the US invaded them. And I can think of any number of countries, including our own and all of Western Europe, that are significantly less free.

    The reason why both Republicans and Democrats are more hostile to freedom than they used to be is because the world is more hostile to freedom.

  115. “After all, if I’m not gay and have no interest in gay marriage, what compelling reason is there for me to care about it at all?”

    But they’ll have butt sex on our childrens’ playgounds!

  116. “But they’ll have butt sex on our childrens’ playgounds!”

    Don’t they already do that? They certainly do it in our parks and public bathrooms. I don’t see how marriage has anything to do with it.

  117. “Later gators”

    Chickenshit cocksucker.

  118. Jeez JB, I never knew you and Bruce Bartlett were so much alike! Like peas in a genetically modified pod you two are…

    Yes because responding to stupidity or force are the same thing as initiating it. …

    You sure are dense, MNG.

  119. “Don’t they already do that? They certainly do it in our parks and public bathrooms. I don’t see how marriage has anything to do with it.”

    I keed. I keed.

  120. MNG just likes to think better of himself because he was stupid enough to get a doctorate.

    That sentiment informs a lot of his thinking.

    For what it’s worth, that sentiment is wrong. Quite a large chunk of people pursue graduate degrees because they want to avoid actual work. Many smart people think 4 years of bullshit is enough and don’t want to shovel more years of it.

  121. So you hate it when someone who has done better than you acts like they have done better than you. Ok.

    Ya that’s it. I’m not going to play the out of context troll game.

  122. “MNG just likes to think better of himself because he was stupid enough to get a doctorate.”

    And he spends all day here? That’s a great use of that doctorate.

  123. People may think that’s true because it gets repeated so often, because the assumption still hangs around that Republicans are somehow fiscally conservative, but they aren’t.

    Although the counter-assumption that Democrats are somehow no worse fiscally is just as inaccurate.

    The Republicans are only fiscally conservative when in opposition, which includes holding Congress when the Democrats have the Presidency. Partially that’s because they’re out of power, though Democrats out of power call for even more spending than Republicans.

    It’s also because calling for less spending is unpopular. Republicans only win by appealing to people who want more spending, and the marginal Republican who provides the majority will always want more spending.

    Look at the Bush record. Spending went up faster in 2001-2004, when the Republicans won elections, than in 2005-2006, when they lost elections. It’s very difficult to me to draw from that the idea that the Republicans lost because they spent too much.

  124. “So you hate it when someone who has done better than you acts like they have done better than you. Ok.”

    Define “better”.

  125. * I really don’t mean that as a crack, a party can have greater influence than it has in votes and I think libertarians accomplish that at times

    Is it me or is MNG a *condescending prick?

    * No offense, MNG!

  126. but there really was dissent before the internet. There was even dissent before your life time. They had entire intellectual movements and even revoultions before the internet and the mass media. You can look it up.

    John, you might just be pig-ignorant or you might be dishonest. I haven’t decided yet. My point was that before the internet, counternarratives were not very popular among the masses. At all. It’s the reason why veneration of FDR continues to this day: but it’s changing thanks to the availability of the internet.

    And you have a lot of nerve talking about the “working man”. Aren’t you a lawyer? What are you, some kinda conservative John Edwards?

  127. “Look at the Bush record. Spending went up faster in 2001-2004, when the Republicans won elections, than in 2005-2006, when they lost elections. It’s very difficult to me to draw from that the idea that the Republicans lost because they spent too much.”

    No. They lost because of Katrina and the Congressional scandals. They spent money but it should be noted that the deficit peaked in 2004 and dropped every year until 2008. The economy was good and the deficit was not particularly large by historic standards when compared to GDP. I don’t think people wanted the spending as much as didn’t care. The only people who wanted the spending were the cabal of crooks who were connected to Congress and benefited from it. But, since the economy was doing well, most people didn’t care enough to do anything about it.

    Now that the economy is bad and the deficits are much larger people are more concered. Under Bush it was like the bank fucking you on a big fee every month when you were making a big salary. You have plenty of money and have better things to do so you let it go. Under Obama, you have now lost your job and the bank emptied your account and left you with an IOU for half and monopoly money for the other half. Now you are a little more pissed off.

  128. “Even if it were true, which I agree with you that it is not, it would make libertarians arch enemies of liberals. Liberals are romantics. They are anything but ultilitarian.”

    John,
    I think you are mistaken. They might not be quoting John Stuart Mill on a daily basis but utilitarianism is the underlying assumption for most liberal policies, even if it is an implicit assumption. Next time you are talking with a liberal, dig a little deeper and you will probably find that utilitarianism is the only moral principle they actually ascribe to.

  129. “My point was that before the internet, counternarratives were not very popular among the masses.”

    And that shows a complete and utter ignorance of history. Counter narratives have always been popular among the masses. Even taking your FDR example, in some quarters of this country FDR is hated. Not everyone who grew up in the 1930s loved him. You just think so because you don’t know any better.

    You are just pig ignorant. Read history for God sakes. I mean real history not the fairy tale kind. There has never been a time in history where the entire population agreed on a single narative about anything. Never.

  130. “I think you are mistaken. They might not be quoting John Stuart Mill on a daily basis but utilitarianism is the underlying assumption for most liberal policies, even if it is an implicit assumption. Next time you are talking with a liberal, dig a little deeper and you will probably find that utilitarianism is the only moral principle they actually ascribe to.”

    But how do you explain things like environmentalism. Try arguing a utilitarian position with a green sometime. I think liberals, like a lot of people are really confused about what their morals are. As a result, they fall back on utilitarianism because it is easy to understand and explain not because that is what they really are.

  131. There has never been a time in history where the entire population agreed on a single narative about anything. Never.

    Does anybody here, other than John, apparently, think this is what I said? Way to knock over a strawman, John.

    you just telling me to “read history” is a real hoot, because that’s not what I am talking about either. I am talking about the fact that there are intellectuals and quasi-intellectuals (of whom you are sneeringly derisive) doing good work counteracting historical myths that have been ingrained into us thanks to the public school system.

    you seem to pine for the days when it was very hard to counteract these myths. too bad for you.

  132. “I am talking about the fact that there are intellectuals and quasi-intellectuals (of whom you are sneeringly derisive) doing good work counteracting historical myths that have been ingrained into us thanks to the public school system.

    you seem to pine for the days when it was very hard to counteract these myths. too bad for you.”

    And no one ever counteracted widely held beliefs before this new wave of intellectuals? What the hell are you talking about. People have been argueing about and changing naratives since the dawn of civilization. That is what people do. We don’t need to have a class of quasi-intellectual media types to do so. They generally don’t add anything to the conversation. And more often than not they just reaffirm the things that need to be changed.


  133. Is it me or is MNG a *condescending prick?

    He’s a fucking hillbilly as he admitted years ago. He barely has enough education to get by as a passable read on an open forum site, for Christ’ sakes. You really shouldn’t get so bothered by some phony’s attempt to get under your skin when employs a condescending attitude to do it.

    Give yourself more credit than that.

  134. I don’t know where sympathies lie for the most part among libertarians, but I do know here that the slightest defense of social insurance programs gets firebombed mercilessly while movement conservatism talking points and outright mouth-breathing bigotry usually get a chorus of crickets.

    But maybe John’s constant licking of GOP balls distorts the picture.

  135. Bartlett’s division of politics into economics vs. social issues vs. foreign policy proves he doesn’t understand libertarianism. The insight of libertarians is that this dichotomy is useless. Libertarians believe in freedom. Conservatives and liberals differ on which bits of freedom they happen to tolerate the best and shit upon the most, but in the end both seek to impose their preferred brand of statism.

  136. And no one ever counteracted widely held beliefs before this new wave of intellectuals?

    I didn’t say that, John. LEARN TO READ.

    Look, you see the corner you’re backed into. You outright stated that you yearned for the days where it wasn’t so easy to get your opinions into the national stream of ideas. So own up to it already…you deride “elitists” and then turn around and yearn for the days when only elitists were heard.

  137. re: Utilitarianism

    I actually am utilitarian for personal ethical decisions (and I think about maximum utility for all sorts of stupid little stuff: most common decency or manners are pretty utilitarian most of the time). I’m mainly libertarian when it comes to the use of force and political considerations.

    Or, to put another way, I think maximum utility includes a very very heavy weighting for increased liberty (combined with more standard stuff like happiness, lack of negatives, etc).

  138. TAO, long before the internet, the gossip rags would routinely include UFO and alien encounters coverage as well as stories like Hitler sightings in Chile. So, counternarratives were given some “mainstream” play.

  139. “So own up to it already…you deride “elitists” and then turn around and yearn for the days when only elitists were heard.”

    No. I yearn for the days when the “elites” were actually worthy of being elites. As opposed to now when any mediocrity who happens to get a magazine job can claim to be one.

  140. John, TAO does make a good point in the last sentence of his 2:54 post.

  141. “I don’t know where sympathies lie for the most part among libertarians, but I do know here that the slightest defense of social insurance programs gets firebombed mercilessly while movement conservatism talking points and outright mouth-breathing bigotry usually get a chorus of crickets.”

    WAAAAAAAA. Are people being mean to you on here Tony? Do you need a hug?

  142. Or maybe you see conservative talking points and bigotry everywhere you look.

  143. Conservatives and liberals differ on which bits of freedom they happen to tolerate the best and shit upon the most, but in the end both seek to impose their preferred brand of statism.

    As a liberal I feel that I value individual freedom as much as you do. I just believe that in the modern world the democratic state has the ability and the mandate to facilitate individual freedom. At any rate liberalism in America is pretty weak, and implying it’s just like authoritarianism by calling it statist is to turn off your brain.

  144. “People have been argueing about and changing naratives since the dawn of civilization.”

    Mort Sol and Lenny Bruce come to mind.

  145. outright mouth-breathing bigotry usually get a chorus of crickets.

    Hey, now, that Sotomayor quote got a lot of attention.

  146. “Next time you are talking with a liberal, dig a little deeper and you will probably find that utilitarianism is the only moral principle they actually ascribe to.”

    No I don’t think so.

    Actual utilitarianism can only be employed as a means to achieve desired outcomes AFTER decisions have been made as to what those desired outcomes happen to be.

    The relative value of outcomes (for better or worse) is a matter of personal opinion based on one’s own philosophy. It is not something that can be “proven” by somebody claiming a “utilitarian” approach.

    For example, there is no utilitarian way to prove that a government mandated socialized medicine scheme produces a “superior” national outcome than a free market system where health care is considered just another consumer commodity available for those capable of paying for and unavailable for those who can’t.

  147. I just believe that in the modern world the democratic state has the ability and the mandate to facilitate individual freedom

    *crosses eyes*

    Mandate freedom? I hope I’m not engaging in Nineteen-Eighty-Faux, but HELLO Ingsoc!

  148. John and TAO, what about the elites who pretend or try to be joe the plumber? I hope that you guys find that trait nauseating.

  149. As a liberal I feel that I value individual freedom as much as you do.

    And so does that guy* who argues that legalized prostitution would make us less free. I guess the road to hell won’t pave itself, though.

    * Can’t find that article at the moment, unfortunately.

  150. Hey, now, that Sotomayor quote got a lot of attention.

    Are you intentionally trying to prove the point I was making?

  151. Mike,

    My issue is not with people having a say. My issue is with losers like this guy having a disproportionate say. I don’t see how the typically journalist is any smarter or more interesting than the typical welder or greese monkey. There are people out there who really are giant brains and deserve a larger forum than your average person. The problem with the mass media is that it gives a big forum to people who don’t derserve it. We are better served by the internet where everyone gets about the same forum unless they earn a bigger one.

  152. you said mouth-breathing bigotry doesn’t get any attention. I was just pointing out one example 😉

    of course, if you think the libertarians here give racism a pass, you’re dumber than hotsauce on a brick.

  153. Mandate freedom? I hope I’m not engaging in Nineteen-Eighty-Faux, but HELLO Ingsoc!

    Not what I said… I said it has the mandate to facilitate greater individual freedom. By that I mean it operates on the will of the people to provide relief to them from the liberty-killing realities of nature.

  154. A “disproportionate say”? Is that anything like Microsoft having a “disproportionate market share” or Exxon’s “disproportionate profits”?

    In your rush to bash on intellectuals (for whatever bizarre reason), you’ve now just accused the internet of market failure because you don’t like what you get.

  155. “John and TAO, what about the elites who pretend or try to be joe the plumber? I hope that you guys find that trait nauseating.”

    It is all nausiating. Just be who you are. Like the imortal Ted Knight said in Caddyshack said “somebody has got to dig the ditches”. Somebody has got to do everything in the world. But whatever something you do or are, doesn’t necessarily give you exclusive access to the truth.

  156. By that I mean it operates on the will of the people to provide relief to them from the liberty-killing realities of nature.

    “how can a man with an empty stomach truly be free?”

    Yeah, yeah, we get it. Not the most novel or interesting talking book in the Leftist playbook, you know.

  157. “By that I mean it operates on the will of the people to provide relief to them from the liberty-killing realities of nature.”

    So how is that working out?

  158. I think the contributors and writers have a pool to see which blogs can get the most responses.

    So, what’s the prize for the winner?

  159. “In your rush to bash on intellectuals (for whatever bizarre reason), you’ve now just accused the internet of market failure because you don’t like what you get.”

    Where did I ever say “ban them”? No where. I don’t want to ban them. I just want people to ignore them. Which, judging by the financial performance of the mass media, they are doing.

  160. TAO, so by parroting the latest ridiculous narrative of the far right wing you’re trying to convince me I’m wrong that most of you guys are just movement conservatives without the Jesus? (except John, who loves Jesus)

  161. John and TAO, what about the elites who pretend or try to be joe the plumber? I hope that you guys find that trait nauseating.

    I’m neither of them, but yes. It’s like fingernails on a chalk board.

  162. Yeah, yeah, we get it. Not the most novel or interesting talking book in the Leftist playbook, you know.

    It’s central to liberal philosophy, not a talking point. You seem to be saying that it can be rejected on the grounds that it makes a lot of sense.

  163. I’m toying with you, Tony. you’ll note that I substantively and nonjokingly replied to your silly assertion that we don’t care about racism. If it’s not the paleos stating that reasonistas are all about race, it’s airheads like you saying we don’t care enough about that noble savage, the Brown Man*.

  164. It’s central to liberal philosophy, not a talking point. You seem to be saying that it can be rejected on the grounds that it makes a lot of sense.

    That’s central to your philosophy? I feel sorry for you. So, we get to the bare bones of liberalism and find out that surprise! it’s communist in nature.

  165. John, I think I have an equal protection claim against you. Why?

    Well, in response to Tony stating that you constantly likc the balls of the GOP, you asked him if he needed a hug; whereas in response to my statement, last Friday, that you suck on Caesar’s titties, you did not ask me if I needed a hug-you told me to “Fuck off.”

  166. If anything, LM, he was treating you as an adult and a man, where he’s treating Tony as a tiny-minded child.

  167. “That’s central to your philosophy? I feel sorry for you. So, we get to the bare bones of liberalism and find out that surprise! it’s communist in nature.”

    Yeah – what a surprise.

    It’s about as surprising as the fact that submarines don’t have screen doors!

  168. Sorry Mike. Do you need a hug to?

  169. See that kid, over there? He is starving. So, stick ’em up, and hand me the keys to your Maserati. I’m going to spin doughnuts in your lawn.

  170. By that I mean it operates on the will of the people

    Does it really? How, then, to explain the democratic state implementing so many policies that are opposed by the majority of the people? I refer, most recently and prominently, to the serial bailout bills passed by Our Democratic Congress.

    to provide relief to them from the liberty-killing realities of nature.

    We need the state to assure that our basic survival needs are met? Is that what this is supposed to be about?

    We can’t provide for our own food and shelter (the lack of which is what I assume you mean by “the liberty-killing realities of nature”), but must, necessarily, rely on the state to provide them, and sacrifice our freedom so that the state may do so?

    Is that seriously what you are arguing?

  171. As a liberal I feel that I value individual freedom as much as you do.

    Ahhh, empathy.

    I just believe that in the modern world the democratic state has the ability and the mandate to facilitate individual freedom.

    You believe all “freedom” derives from the generosity and beneficence of the state.

    Guess what I believe.

  172. John, you may not think the example I am going to give applies to you point about elites and average joes, but, IMHO, a lot of the people in the Tax Honesty Movement (okay, call them tax protesters) illustrate the point that the average joes have it all over the elites. I personally know carpenters, electricians, used car salesmen, a UPS supervisor, a local tire wholesaler and distributor, housewives, an assistant manager at Staples, to name a few, who know more about the constitution, the founding and the tax code than the vast majority of lawyers and CPAs.

  173. R C Dean,

    But I don’t accept the premise that everything the state does is necessarily anti-freedom. I believe that properly ordered the entire reason for the state’s existence is to secure the blessings of liberty, to use a famous phrase. I take it that means it exists to leave you alone. I find that incoherent. It’s gotta do something in the service of securing maximum individual liberty, not just continually negate itself. Nature (and I would argue the unfettered marketplace) leaves a tiny minority free to do as they please and the vast majority shackled by the whims of fortune.

  174. You believe all “freedom” derives from the generosity and beneficence of the state.

    No, I don’t. Every single rebuttal I’ve received here is a ridiculous straw man argument. Just because I believe the state has some role to play in securing individual liberty doesn’t mean I believe it necessary for the state to be totalitarian, which would be the opposite of securing individual liberty.

  175. In other words, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”.

    We get it, Tony. Now, in the parlance of one of your intellectual ancestors, please kindly place yourself in the “dustbin of history.”

  176. TAO-3:20

    Yes, to John’s credit.

  177. TAO equates all liberals with authoritarian communists and I’m the intellectual child?

  178. Mike,

    To your point above. There is that old statement by William F. Buckley that he would rather be ruled by 100 people taken randomly from the Boston phonebook than the faculty at Harvard. There is a lot of truth in that. Education does not always lead to wisdom. To give you another example of average people knowing a lot, I would take your average civil war geeks knowledge of the civil war over your average American history professor’s any day.

  179. By that I mean it operates on the will of the people to provide relief to them from the liberty-killing realities of nature.

    Strawman or not, that sounds suspiciously like “The State must prevent anyone from failing,” and it just cannot work that way.

    RC’Z Law, “There is no freedom, without the freedom to fail,” applies.

  180. “It’s gotta do something in the service of securing maximum individual liberty, not just continually negate itself.”

    No it doesn’t.

  181. “TAO equates all liberals with authoritarian communists and I’m the intellectual child?”

    Is both a choice here?

  182. JB:

    Quite a large chunk of people pursue graduate degrees because they want to avoid actual work.

    If laziness is a crime then I am guilty as charged. By the way, professor at a four-year college is the best job in the world.

    Many smart people think 4 years of bullshit is enough and don’t want to shovel more years of it.

    Suckers!

    Oh and on utilitarianism, I think it is the most morally dangerous philosophy ever. It’s why I love Star Trek III.

  183. Strawman or not, that sounds suspiciously like “The State must prevent anyone from failing,” and it just cannot work that way.

    It is a strawman. I don’t want the state to protect people from failing. Just to protect them from starving to death. It’s the 21st fucking century and if it can’t at least do that much then we’re not really trying very hard to be civilized.

  184. THIS DESCRIBES ME PERFECTLY.

    These libertarians tend to be well-educated, arriving at his or her philosophy through reading obscure books or random contact with some libertarian in graduate school. They don’t own guns–probably never even fired one, don’t mind paying taxes too much, have no particular nostalgia for the gold standard and certainly would not choose to live in isolation on a mountaintop. They are cosmopolitan, urbane, articulate and interested in ideas more than just about anything else. They are not especially career-oriented–they are happy to be paid less than they probably could make as long as they don’t have to compromise their principles and can do work that advances the cause. For the most part, they aren’t family-oriented or religious, and they mostly fit the stereotype of a nerd.

  185. “I don’t want the state to protect people from failing. Just to protect them from starving to death.”

    Is it really your position that without the state, people would be starving to death?

    Tell that to the North Koreans. And the folks in Zimbabwe.

    The state is a parasite.

  186. Tony,

    Why do you feel compelled to cloak your collectivist views in the rhetoric of individual liberty, and in so doing distort the concept’s original meaning into something totally opposite? Just call yourself a fucking progressive like all the cool kids.

    Individual liberty exists in the absence of coercion. You don’t secure the blessing of liberty with coercion. As you don’t secure the blessings of vegetarianism with a hamburger, or of a woman’s virginity with a man’s cock.

  187. Evil starts with treat’n people as thing.

    People as things.

  188. Individual liberty exists in the absence of coercion. You don’t secure the blessing of liberty with coercion.

    Really? But aren’t all laws examples of coercion by the state? Are you suggesting that there would be more individual freedom without laws?

  189. Tell that to the North Koreans. And the folks in Zimbabwe.

    Again, just because I’m not an anarchist as apparently everyone else here is doesn’t mean I advocate authoritarianism. Not just any old state will do. One that actually secures the individual liberties of the people it governs would seem to be necessary.

  190. It is no coincidence that the bigger and more authoritarian a government is, the poorer and less free that state’s people are. Government does not secure liberty — totally the opposite is true.

  191. neener,

    I feel my individual liberty is far more threatened by nonstate megacorporations (which are in essence mini-authoritarian dictatorships) than a democratically accountable government with the specific charge to secure my liberty.

  192. “Not just any old state will do.”

    When Daniel Boone was out exploring the west, did he need any help from the state?

  193. Really? But aren’t all laws examples of coercion by the state? Are you suggesting that there would be more individual freedom without laws?

    A very limited state is granted a legal monopoly on the use of force to protect people from the coercion of private thugs. Not to redistribute resources so people can be “truly free to live up to their human potential” and all that shit.

  194. “I feel my individual liberty is far more threatened by nonstate megacorporations (which are in essence mini-authoritarian dictatorships) than a democratically accountable government with the specific charge to secure my liberty.”

    Please name five.

    Thank you in advance of your efforts.

  195. They also tend to have an obsession with gold

    I see, so libertarians are just like that Grizzled Prospector character on the Simpsons:

    Goooold! Ahahahahaha!”

  196. When Daniel Boone was out exploring the west, did he need any help from the state?

    When the day comes that everyone lives in the unexplored frontier instead of a deeply interconnected civilization, you might have a point.

  197. I feel my individual liberty is far more threatened by nonstate megacorporations (which are in essence mini-authoritarian dictatorships) than a democratically accountable government with the specific charge to secure my liberty.

    Then we’re in agreement. Protect people from force and fraud, and get out of the way. No redistribution of wealth needed!

  198. neener,

    I feel my individual liberty is far more threatened by nonstate megacorporations (which are in essence mini-authoritarian dictatorships) than a democratically accountable government with the specific charge to secure my liberty.

    You can feel all you want, but you’d be wrong. It wasn’t corporations that ran gas chambers in Germany, the GULAGs in Soviet Russia, or filled mass graves in Cambodia.

  199. “When the day comes that everyone lives in the unexplored frontier instead of a deeply interconnected civilization, you might have a point.”

    I respectfully disagree.

  200. “You can feel all you want, but you’d be wrong. It wasn’t corporations that ran gas chambers in Germany, the GULAGs in Soviet Russia, or filled mass graves in Cambodia.”

    Those governments were just protecting their populations from Big Corporate. Sure some people got hurt, but sometimes you have to raze the village…

  201. BTW, Tony, we’re still waiting for your top five picks…

  202. “But how do you explain things like environmentalism. Try arguing a utilitarian position with a green sometime. I think liberals, like a lot of people are really confused about what their morals are. As a result, they fall back on utilitarianism because it is easy to understand and explain not because that is what they really are.”

    The utilitarian environmentalist would most likely fall into one of two camps. One camp probably believes that the only way people can be happy is by living in a more pure state of nature. The other puts the suffering of animals, plants, etc. on equal footing with people. As such, in order to maximize happiness for all the things being considers, drastic sacrifices on the part of humans is required in order to benefit the others. Environmentalist do come in a third flavor which is more like a religion of the environment. I’m not sure where most environmentalist fall but I can say that utilitarianism is definitely the basis for the entire animal rights movement and the rational for environmental policies given by mainstream greens seems to come from the utilitarian arguments of the first camp.

    As for your second point, you are right. Most Liberals are confused and will make any argument in order to advance the policy which the academics or the party say is best. However, the policy makers and academics sure as hell know what they are advancing and use utilitarianism as their underlying assumption.

    libertarian democrat,
    Utilitarianism can be used to argue for libertarianism. Friedman and Hayek are good examples of this line of argument. Typical in this line of thinking is a false assumption linking freedom and happiness. Although it is typically a pretty good assumption, there are many that would gladly be a happy slave than a possibly unhappy free person. As for including freedom in utility calculations, freedom is too amorphous of an idea to concretely say what increases or decreases it. In my eyes, its more of a means to an end.

  203. I feel my individual liberty is far more threatened by nonstate megacorporations (which are in essence mini-authoritarian dictatorships) than a democratically accountable government with the specific charge to secure my liberty.

    Right. Pfizer maintains prisons full of pot dealers, ADP withholds money from my paychecks, ADM conscripted thousands of young men to grow corn in Iowa, and Goldman Sachs killed 6 million Jews. Meanwhile the government is just there, benevolently securing my liberty.

  204. Those governments were just protecting their populations from Big Corporate. Sure some people got hurt, but sometimes you have to raze the village…

    What’s funny is that public companies are much more accountable to their stockholders than the Federal government is to the voters.

  205. The utilitarian environmentalist would most likely fall into one of two camps. One camp probably believes that the only way people can be happy is by living in a more pure state of nature. The other puts the suffering of animals, plants, etc. on equal footing with people.

    This is just stupid. Maybe there are some fringe environmentalists who care about plants and animals equally or more than humans, but most recognize that humans live in the environment and thus protecting it is in our own interest.

  206. BTW, Tony, we’re still waiting for your top five picks…

    Sorry, I don’t understand the question.

  207. I feel my individual liberty is far more threatened by nonstate megacorporations (which are in essence mini-authoritarian dictatorships) than a democratically accountable government with the specific charge to secure my liberty.

    You may be shocked to learn those corporations are created by and only continue to exist at the discretion of your democratically accountable government, and are required to follow every law they pass as well as being subject to the whims of their consumers. So your formulation makes little sense.

  208. You may be shocked to learn those corporations are created by and only continue to exist at the discretion of your democratically accountable government, and are required to follow every law they pass as well as being subject to the whims of their consumers. So your formulation makes little sense.

    Despite the best efforts of Republicans armed with libertarian talking points.

  209. I know I feel a terrible chill off oppression run down my spine every time WalMart forces me to buy something at a huge discount. Those white aisles, the little happy face signs, and My GOD! the prices… no human being should be subjected to this kind of mistreatment.

    The horror.

    The only difference between me and Natan Sharansky is I can buy 20 socks for two dollars.

  210. Despite the best efforts of Republicans armed with libertarian talking points.

    Just how long do you think a business would remain solvent if it were openly maiming and/or killing its customers?

    Your Michael-Moorish stereotypes of corporations are utterly laughable.

  211. Tony,
    You confuse the terms environmentalist and conservationist. Environmentalist wish to preserve nature for its own sake. The conservationist believes in preserving nature so man can continue to exploit it (don’t mean to use exploit in a negative manner here, exploiting nature is a great thing). These are the people who see a self interest in preserving nature. Most people who are environmentalists probably mean to say they are conservationist, however the people leading the environmental movement typically are what they say they are. They could care less about human survival if it at the expense of nature.

  212. It wasn’t corporations that ran gas chambers in Germany, the GULAGs in Soviet Russia, or filled mass graves in Cambodia.

    Those are all just a myth, manufactured by corporations to trick you into voting for the status quo.

    Buy my book! It’s published by one of those evil corporations so I can buy stock in other evil corporations so my kids have trust funds.

  213. Ease up guys. There are so many of us and only one Tony. I’m sure that’s why he responds selectively and then only with a shallow repartee.

  214. exploiting nature is a great thing

    Statements like this make baby Gaia cry.

  215. It comes down to property rights. Libertarians fall to the right side of the spectrum because they believe in private ownership of property. Liberaltarians fall to the left because they distrust private ownership. Along for the ride are distrusts of meritocracy, wealth, and business.

  216. “Sorry, I don’t understand the question.”

    You wrote:

    “I feel my individual liberty is far more threatened by nonstate megacorporations (which are in essence mini-authoritarian dictatorships) than a democratically accountable government with the specific charge to secure my liberty.”

    I asked you to name five. It’s a very simple request. You just tell us the names of these nonstate megacorporations that threaten you. You don’t even have to explain why. Just name five.

  217. Environmentalsylumist,
    It also makes Italian American actor Espera “Iron Eyes Cody” de Corti cry.

  218. I feel my individual liberty is far more threatened by nonstate megacorporations (which are in essence mini-authoritarian dictatorships) than a democratically accountable government with the specific charge to secure my liberty.

    I’m fairly certain that the number of megacorporations who’ve dispatched heavily-armed enforcement squads against those they deem to be in violation of some corporate edict is far outnumbered by the number of similarly-armed groups dispatched by the government.

  219. A libertarian who is not concerned with taxes is not much of a libertarian. Taxes harm the productive, voluntary activities we see in society, and voluntary activities are what libertarians are basically all about.

  220. I asked you to name five. It’s a very simple request. You just tell us the names of these nonstate megacorporations that threaten you. You don’t even have to explain why. Just name five.

    AIG
    Chevron
    Wal-Mart
    Halliburton
    Imperial Sugar

  221. You think you’ve defeated us? Fool! Soon we will create a corporation so powerful no government can stand before it! It’s profits will shake the Earth and the mighty will tremble before its earnings statement conference calls!

    And then it’s off to the slave mines with you, my pretty! And your little dog, too!

  222. …than a democratically accountable government with the specific charge to secure my liberty.

    The U.S. government (and the state governments) is clearly not democratically accountable in any meaningful way. The mere fact that a majority of Americans have consistently disapproved of all the bailouts that were undertaken under Bush II and Obama is illustration enough of this. What drives the U.S. political scene are interest group politics (to which only a minority of the U.S. population is privy), not democratic accountability.

  223. I’m fairly certain that the number of megacorporations who’ve dispatched heavily-armed enforcement squads against those they deem to be in violation of some corporate edict is far outnumbered by the number of similarly-armed groups dispatched by the government.

    You’re ignoring the fact that governments that have been weakened by decades of Reagan/Thatcheromics often become pawns of corporations, and the frequency with which governments dispatch armed squads purely for corporate interests.

  224. Tony, in no way can AIG be claimed to be a “nonstate megacorporation” after the bailout.

  225. Imperial Sugar

    Oh no, my secret is out!

    Quick, my Oompa-Loompa army! To the Gumdropmobile! Man the CottonCandifiers! We’ll give them a fight their fragile tooth enamel won’t soon forget!

  226. I’m not defending the U.S. government. It has many problems, and at the top of the list is its entanglement with corporate interests.

  227. the frequency with which governments dispatch armed squads purely for corporate interests.

    It’s true, I tried to go to a local store instead of WalMart the other day, and the National Guard was called out to stop me.

  228. Crony capitalism is a direct and predictable result of any sort of regulatory scheme. Social democrats basically get the exact opposite of what they expect, which is commonplace in the world of state intervention into the life of the individual.

  229. AIG
    Chevron
    Wal-Mart
    Halliburton
    Imperial Sugar

    Imperial Sugar has been downsizing since ’01, and Halliburton spun off KBR back in ’07, which means they’re strictly in the oilfield services business. And since you’ve probably had your head up your ass for a while now, AIG is basically owned by the Feds.

    Get new talking points, fuckwit.

  230. I’m not defending the U.S. government. It has many problems, and at the top of the list is its entanglement with corporate interests.

    If you voted for either major party recently, you’re basically an enabler of this behavior and a hypocrite. Wake the fuck up.

  231. … and there’s no problems with the gov’t and corporations in basically “socially-democratic” nations. Like Belgium. No corporate problems there, nope.

    but Edward, that’s an argument (the big business one) against the last administration. And this current one. As Gunnels notes at 5:20, it’s the regulatory scheme!

  232. Oppressed Consumer,
    You should see what will happen if you try to organize a boycott. Lets just say it involves Tobasco sauce, a telephone and the anus.

  233. Brian – awesome reference! by the way, that is one of the BEST BATIN methods out there!

  234. Corporations are inherently evil, because they’re run by people who are working together to achieve a common goal.

    Governments are inherently good, because they’re run by people who are working together to achieve a common goal.

    Is that pretty much it?

    What did I miss?

  235. @Tony

    I consider myself a libertarian and would agree that some social welfare programs, specifically those that meet the characteristics of public goods. Your argument though about “facilitating freedom” from the “liberty killing” ravages of nature does seem a bit ingsocy, it lacks a clear reasoning of what programs are justified and what are not leaving that largely up to the arbitrary decisions of the state or majority with little regard for minority interest’s (not just racial minorities) rights. It further presupposes that people need the government to help themselves out of such situations and that the government programs actually leave such people better off, as shielding some people from the realities of life can lead to dependency, complacency, and moral hazard. Helping starving children is one thing, bailing out people who took out adjustable rate mortgages to buy 700,000 dollar homes are another. F.A. Hayek was down with public education (I favor vouchers) so I agree that many libertarian purists drive away those who would be sympathetic to their cause, however I feel that most public assistance programs if they aren’t massive failures or power grabbing schemes are not very cost effective at achieving their purpose when compared to free markets or market based programs such as voucher-type programs.

    I would advance that any public program must first meet the criterion of a public good using real math and not just touchy feely intuitions about social costs and benefits, should endeavor to remain publicly financed as opposed to government run, and should be subject to regular and strict scrutiny about whether or not it actually achieves it’s desired results with reasonable costs.

    However, as a libertarian and a cynic I feel that government’s tendency tword incompetence, laziness, corruption and its simple lack of information relative to the market implies that this would never happen; so to me any such program is guilty until proven innocent. But if you prove one innocent many will listen.

  236. Edit, my bad

    I consider myself a libertarian and would agree with you that some social welfare programs can be beneficial, specifically those that meet the characteristics of public goods.

  237. “I feel my individual liberty is far more threatened by nonstate megacorporations (which are in essence mini-authoritarian dictatorships) than a democratically accountable government with the specific charge to secure my liberty.”

    Man, I wish that were the case. Surgeon General warns kids not to smoke, MegaSmoke has him capped by untraceable assassins. Smelly protesters show up at a nuclear power plant, Comedian sprays ’em down with a flamethrower. The left reduced to a mere remnant trembling in fear and living in the shadows.

    That’s the world I would like to live in, but unfortunately, corporations are nothing like you describe.

  238. When I need something, I always try to get the lowest quality for the highest price; preferably wrong size, wrong color. I do, honest.

    But fucking WalMart won’t let me.

    Bastards.

  239. Tony, you moron, how many people did corporations kill in the 20th century?

    How many did governments kill?

    Liberals and democrats are dumb. You are proof of that.

  240. “I feel my individual liberty is far more threatened by nonstate megacorporations (which are in essence mini-authoritarian dictatorships) than a democratically accountable government with the specific charge to secure my liberty.”

    The problem with this is no matter how a corporation is governed, it has little to no power over you unless you decide to interact with it in some way. The government has the power to threaten your liberty no matter how it is governed. Your politics supports giving government more power to coerce individual decisions, so what you support works to undermine liberty.

  241. “Tony, you moron, how many people did corporations kill in the 20th century?

    How many did governments kill?”

    As Tony pointed out this is a stupid question because often governments are tools of corporations, indeed often governments and corporations are the tools of wealthy interests in general. Since only governments legitmately exercise (or excuse or justify) the use of force of course by defintion horrible examples of the use of force are going to be pretty relegated to governments…Basing ideologies on tautologies are usually a bad idea.

  242. The best thing about stupid paleos is how they growl so loudly, and of course so impotently, when you poke ’em with a stick. OK paleos, I release you back to your fatback, cornfields and Nascar races while us cosmos go back to our fancy book learnin’ and other elitist, vain, non-productive cultural pursuits. Have a good weekend!

  243. “because often governments are tools of corporations”

    OK, I would reverse the wording here and say corporations are tools of governments. But, either way, it is governments that are the problem. They are the ones granted the monopoly on the use of force.

    By the way, do you view me as a “cosmo” or a “paleo”? I am an atheist who has no problem with gays tying the knot but I am also a member of the NRA and the LvMI. I also was born in Appalachia if that matters to you. I was also at one of the Tea Parties and waved a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.

    So, how do you classify me?

  244. I was also at one of the Tea Parties and waved a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag.

    So, how do you classify me?

    You plainly are a threat to decent people everywhere; the DHS is right.

  245. So close to three hundred. Damn the modern day attention span!

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