Regulation

"Suddenly, outraged liberals are sounding remarkably like libertarian advocates of laissez-faire capitalism"

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So writes A. Barton Hinkle of the Richmond Times-Dispatch in a column describing how pro-choice advocates in Virginia are responding to some arbitrary and meddlesome new anti-abortion restrictions passed last week by the state's General Assembly:

Abortion-rights supporters fume that the new rules really have nothing to do with protecting consumers and are, instead, part of an ideological campaign to "get" their industry. The same might be said about other industries fighting other regulations — e.g., payday lenders. Many people also find those operations morally odious and want to regulate them out of existence as well. Ditto the production of silicone breast implants, genetically modified crops, factory farming, and so on. That people with agendas exploit government power for political ends is not exactly news. Want to stop them? Limit government power in the first place.

Read the whole thing here.

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  1. I think about this every time liberals insist that I’m an extremist when I raise exactly the same objections to “reasonable” gun control laws. I suggest to them that they should re-think the notion looking through the prism of a right they care about.

    1. Abortion is the shibboleth of all good, right-minded and decent progressives. All that other stuff is not.

    2. So where does your right to bear arms end? Can you personally own nukes?

      1. If you can afford them, yes.

    3. So where does your right to bear arms end? Can you personally own nukes?

      1. Nukes are not ideal for home defence, but they have many peaceful uses, like this:

        http://www.projectrho.com/rock……php#Orion

  2. Nice work, Hinkle. There’ll be a little something extra in your envelope this month.

    1. I knew it!!

  3. “Limit government power in the first place”

    Why would we want to do that when government only works for the benefit of society as a whole???
    What’s that, you say? Government power can be used to force me to do something I don’t want to do and doesn’t agree with my authoritarian agenda? I’M OUTRAGED!!!!
    – typical dumbass liberal

    1. You could put the same quote in the mouths of typical dumb-assed conservatives too.

      I enjoy watching them get outraged at how Bush-era rules like the USA Patriot Act, which they strenuously and vigorously supported, can now be used to label their own political groups as “terrorist organizations.”

  4. But if we limit government power, then they can’t regulate the bad activities out of existence. The real solution is to give government more power, and just put the right people in charge.

    1. What is it that allows so many people to believe more or less this when the weight of the evidence is to the contrary? Some sort of “if I ran the world” syndrome?

      1. It’s because most people are fucking morons. Dude, just think of the number of people who play the fucking lottery. How can you expect someone that stupid to learn from history?

        1. Fair point. I only play the lottery when I have numbers off a fortune cookie. I think I’m playing the wrong lottery though, because I never win…

          1. Hey, don’t knock it. There was a story a year or two ago where the numbers in fortune cookies won in New York, and a few dozen people had played them.

          2. No, it’s the right lottery, but the wrong restaurant.

          3. You’re doing it all wrong. Forget the lucky numbers. You have to apply numerology to the actual fortune.

            1. I’ve time travel more reliable.

        2. I disagree with this reasoning. Many people are willing to take that bet because the near-certainty of losing an amount budgeted as disposable or for gambling is outweighed by the long shot of radically transforming your lifestyle. It’s also far more convenient because most states heavily restrict other types of gambling. It’s really akin to insurance (except you’re not betting against yourself), in that you will most likely lose money, but you positively evaluate a high payoff so much that the premium is worth it.

          It’s a totally rational decision, IMO.

          (FWIW, the real stupidity here is that it’s not a “tax on people bad a math,” but a tax on the poor, who are more likely to participate in such bets. By offering payouts as low as 30% versus private payouts of 90%+, it’s an enormous tax at that.)

          1. the long shot of radically transforming your lifestyle

            For most lottery winners, that transformed lifestyle is worse than their current won. Not much of a “prize” is it.

          2. if you want to gamble on a long shot, you are WAY better off buying some penny stocks. I know people who pay $10 a week on lottery tickets.

            You could buy 3 shares of a $3 stock (I pay $1 commission), for $10.

            You’re WAY more likely to hit a longshot doing this than you are winning the lottery. As a plus, your commission goes to an evil capitalist pig brokerage, and you are participating in a capital market, not feeding govt.

    2. Well, Heaven and Hell are both absolute monarchys.

    3. But if we limit government power, then they can’t regulate the bad activities out of existence.

      Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  5. Any port in a st?rm.

  6. The real irony is to be found in the situation that the lawmakers are reacting to:

    Getting an abortion is infinitely easier than starting a business.

    2% of the public thinks that starting a business is wrong, another 30% think that it’s a necessary evil, and 68% embrace it.

    By contrast, 40% of the public thinks that abortion is wrong, another 30% think that it’s a necessary evil, and 30% embrace it.

    Quite the democracy, aren’t we?

    1. 2% of the public thinks that starting a business is wrong

      WTF? Are 2% of Americans hardcore Communists? Insane? Or just mishear survey questions?

      1. whoooooooosh!

  7. Of my many favorite features at Reason, one of the better ones is: “A Wingnut Makes a Clever,” where they play some goofy semantic game and everyone gets to cheer at having defeated the liberals.

    Let’s see what we have today:

    (reads)

    Yeah, pretty much same old same old: “Bwahahah! Try to get us to fund health care, will you? Then I’ll make sure that you’re punished for having sex!” Bonus Wingtard Points are Awarded for bringing up Reagan at the end.

    Does having this one mean we’re not going to get another article where some Hollywood liberal says something mean about tea partiers?

    1. Can you try making sense? It’s hard to read what you wrote when it’s…retarded.

      1. You try having coherent thoughts when you are starting to go senile and have no bowel control causing you to shit yourself in the middle of your post.

      2. Maybe, but the cinematography was outstanding.

        1. Just like the first Dr. Who movie!

    2. Either you didn’t RTFA or you didn’t UTFA. The point wasn’t to “defeat the liberal”, but to try to persuade them to take their outrage over government over-reach in this one little area and extrapolate it into other areas where they do not have such a personal investment.

    3. Over there is the point of Bart’s article, and here you are missing it.

  8. Dennis: I, on the other hand, have not taken a shit in days.

    Dee: Days?

    Dennis: Days.

    Dee: That doesn’t sound good.

    Dennis: Oh, no, it’s good! My body’s working at 100% efficiency, yeah. My body is absorbing every single nutrient, and it’s not wasting a single thing.

    Dee: Your body’s taking its job very seriously.

    1. Southland Tales. Movie was a win, even though I had to watch it four times just to absorb it.

  9. Eh, not really. The analogy doesn’t hold up.

    Consider: It’s not just vegetarians who object to factory farms. Meat-eating people who object to factory farms actually would like to see farms with animals who are less confined and more humanely processed. The practical effect may be to increase price and reduce meat consumption, but that is not the main impetus of the regs. The purpose of requiring a bigger pig cage is … to have a bigger cage for a pig.

    Similarly, people who object to GMO are generally content to have GMO labels so they can avoid the GMO product. They do not necessarily want to ban GMO to those who are perfectly content to chow down at Taco Bell.

    Ditto payday lenders. When advocates propose caps on rates, they would actually be content to see the business operate within the rate cap. The rate cap is not “designed to destroy.” The cap may make some lending unfeasible, but the regulator’s sincere objective is to cap rates, not destroy lending.

    The abortion regs are totally different. No pro-lifer actually gives a damn if a woman has an abortion at a clinic with a special permit, or after a sonogram, or after a getting fake scare info on breast cancer. They just don’t want her to get an abortion, period, and the regs really are just a mechanism for destroying the clinic.

    So the author has a legitimate larger point, but the analogy got stretched too far.

    1. The rate cap actually is designed to destroy, because you suddenly make the business not profitable enough to continue.

      Your complaint sounds like a variant of “but when we do it, it’s different!!”

      His point was that the left generally tends to poo-poo concerns of the right about increasingly intrusive government regulation of the marketplace, until it’s one of their oxes being gored – then all of a sudden it’s “stop all this intrusive government regulation!”

      I have no doubt that the reason those who voted in favor of this measure did so out of a desire to make it as expensive and difficult as possible to provide abortions legally in Virginia. I heard one of the delegates argued (quite effectively, I believe) against it, pointing out that these requirements don’t apply to colonscopies, laser eye surgery, and a whole bunch of other procedures that are just as equally invasive and risky. If it truly is about making sure the patients are safe, then why not apply similar requirements to those types of procedures? Nope; they singled out abortions.

      It’s just interesting how the left suddenly finds themselves railing against overly intrusive government control of something, when they tend to take the opposite tack when it’s something they don’t like (e.g., guns, smoking, etc.). Then it’s ok, becuase it’s “for the greater good”.

      1. The payday loan example is squishy at best. Everybody has a different idea about how “predatory” is too “predatory” when it comes to lending, and the current crop of payday lenders is across the line for all but the most dogmatically libertarian partisans.

        The better example would be guns. Gun opponents propose a lot of regs (waiting period, one per month) that are just meant to frustrate commerce in guns, with no real regard to to public safety — that’s for sure.

        1. “the current crop of payday lenders is across the line for all but the most dogmatically libertarian partisans.”

          And the millions of people who patronize payday lenders.

          1. It would be interesting to take an “exit poll” of payday lending customers to see what regs they would support.

            1. It would be “interesting” in the same sense as asking them whether they like free ice cream.

              Look, the allegedly-usurious interest rates charged by payday lenders are entirely a function of the risk of the loans. You’re handing borrowers who are frequently struggling to make ends meet — and who are thus poor credit risks — an envelope of cash, with no security.

              Ask those borrowers if they’d like to be able to get that cash more cheaply, irrespective of the consequences to the lender’s ability to continue to lend profitably, and what the fuck do you think they’re going to say?

              1. Ah, reflexive disdain for democracy, freighted with a bunch of questionable presuppositions. So predictable.

                1. Ah, sanctimony and blithering ignorance. So predictable.

                  1. I guess we’re even, then.

              2. Let’s ask anyone who walks out of anywhere what they would rather pay for the service/product they just obtained through regulation. The answers would almost certainly be “less than I just paid.”

                Of course, Danny-boy thinks people who use the payday loans are too stupid to know what’s best for themselves and therefore must be protected for their own good. He obviously doesn’t believe in economic liberty for the poor.

                1. You think they are too stupid as voters. You say I think they are too stupid as consumers.

                  Rather, let’s assume that they are smart enough all around, and can make a reasonable decision about whether voting or consumer choice can best serve their interests.

                  1. Consumer choice should never be voted on. If it were, would you support a democratic movement to force all auto manufacturers to offer a vehicle for $1000? Would you support a democratic movement to force lawyers to charge $25/hour for their services? Or how about a democratic movement that required any bank to lend unqualified lenders money under threat of prosecution.

                    Oops. I guess one of those has already been tried. The results weren’t what I’d call spectacular either.

                    1. “Consumer choice should never be voted on.”

                      Heh-heh. That’s a little too, ah, “definitive” for me, friendo. I’m all for liberty, but that means the people have room for self-government, too. What you’re implying sounds a bit too much like the dictatorship of an idea.

                    2. “self government” doesn’t mean you get to decide what i can buy or on what terms I can buy it.

                      Fucking freedom, how does that work?

                    3. We are talking about borrowing and lending, not buying and selling. And in any event, self-government certainly does entail some authority over market transactions. “Freedom” as you define is so deterministic that it could be managed by a big computer-robot, without any democractic input.

                      No thanks.

                    4. “freedom” doesn’t need to be managed.

                      borrowing and lending IS buying and selling.

                      seriously, you haven’t put a lot of thought into your positions or the comments about them.

                  2. But when people vote restrict labour unions, then no doubt you will claim that they were stupid or victims of some conspiracy (which still means they are stupid). So read the article again, democracy is supported only when the rules chosen suit you, otherwise people like you reject it.

                    1. I might deem the majority of “voters” stupid on any given issue. That does not mean I oppose the democratic process itself. The right to vote entails the right to vote “stupid.”

                    2. Well the right to consume entails the right to consume “stupid”, yet somehow that right is not allowed.

                    3. Well, I heartily endorse the proposition that the right to vote is superior to the “right to consume,” unless we are talking about the exercise of some fundamental right by way of consumption.

                    4. Please name these fundamental rights that trump democracy, why can democracy not override these fundamental rights ?

                    5. I don’t have a comprehensive list handy. But I’ll tell you what’s not on it: the right to have the government’s sheriff back you up because you can’t collect on a 1200% unsecured loan that you made out of a cage-gated storefront in the middle of Oxnard Missouri to a guy wearing a “Mountain Dew” t-shirt and a Hanna Montana baseball cap.

                      Yeah, if it’s my call then you’re entirely on your own with that one, shylock.

                    6. Name one, just one single one.

                      I have no idea what that rambling example is supposed to mean, but if democracy voted for it then its a right, otherwise you would be contradicting yourself.

                    7. I’m guessing you are still in college.

                    8. Your antisemitism is showing. Goose-stepper.

                    9. I vote that we all get paid one million dollars per year. Woo hoo!

                  3. the current crop of payday lenders is across the line for all but the most dogmatically libertarian partisans

                    Why not survey the payday lenders’ customers this way:

                    Would you prefer:

                    A) Continued access to payday lenders as an extremely high risk customer with a high likelihood of default;

                    B) Government regulations to reduce the interest rates of payday lenders to below the levels required to pay for risk — ensuring that your local payday lender closes up shop and you lose all access to credit?

                    The statist tends to think that people will vote for B — but they fail to follow their own regulatory requirements for “full disclosure” by noting that regulations that transform profitable businesses into money-losing ones lead to those businesses closing.

                    You need only access progressive Democratic Party paradises like Detroit, Cleveland, Toledo, North Philadelphia, Buffalo, or East St. Louis to see what “direct democratic regulations” do to the business climate of a place (and employment, quality of life, income levels, etc.)

        2. It’s “too predatory” when force or fraud are involved.

          1. That’s one opinion.

            1. Name a better one. That is, tell me when someone else’s opinion on an acceptable interest rate is superior to the decision reached by a willing lender and a willing borrower.

              1. Not my point.

                But, while we’re at it, maybe decision by democracy?

                Maybe the taxpayers who are going to be called upon to collect an unsecured loan should have a say about when and under what exact conditions that power can and cannot be invoked?

                1. Decision by democracy? Ask the 1 sheep how that works out when he votes with 2 wolves on what to eat for dinner.

                  1. Being constrained to do something else with your money besides lending/borrowing it unsecured at 1200% is not exactly like being killed and eaten.

                    There is a public interest at stake here whether you like it or not, and the people who fund the government’s debt-collecting function have a legitimate say in the process. An unsecured loan is not purely bilateral. The government is part of it, regulated or unregulated.

                    1. An unsecured loan is not purely bilateral. The government is part of it, regulated or unregulated.

                      What the fuck is this gibberish? In what way are they involved in an unregulated system except for when the lender takes the borrower to court for non-payment?

                    2. Exactly, bro, exactly. When they come to court (and the sheriff or other collection official) for nonpayment. Which, bro, happens a hell of a lot more with 1200% payday loans than other types of loans.

                    3. Do you have a cite for that? Part of the cost built in to the higher rate is the likelihood that the loan will just be written off with no collection efforts past letters and phone calls because the size of the defaults makes further means not cost effective.

                      Oh, wait, the government runs the Post Office and the voters should have a say in whether that mail can be sent, right?

                    4. That is a significant practical consideration, but as a matter of law, the debt is ultimately collectable by governmental process, so government power, and thus democracy, is directly implicated.

                    5. oh for gods sake by this logic every act and every thought is subject to a democratic vote.

                    6. Not at all. Unsecured high-interest loans are executory contracts with large risks. This does not mean that all matters of private exchange implicate state action to the same degree.

                    7. Er, no, it doesn’t. The overwhelming majority of payday loan defaults are, if they’re not simply written off as business losses, handled entirely through private collections processes. This is because defaulting borrowers are frequently judgment-proof. That’s part of the risk that makes the loans so expensive.

                    8. Refer you to what I just said to Night Elf Mohawk, supra.

                    9. Read for comprehension:

                      The thin reed on which you’re trying to justify majoritarian interference in contracts is that public resources will ultimately be used to enforce those contracts.

                      In the overwhelming majority of payday loans, that is simply not the case. This owes to the “you can’t get blood from a stone” principle: debtors default because they don’t have the money, and suing them in small claims court in an effort to recover the debt won’t change that. Accordingly, the loans almost always get sold to private collections agencies or simply written off as a business loss. Public resources are used to collect only a vanishingly small number of these debts.

                      This is not merely a “significant practical consideration.” It fatally undermines your entire justification for majoritarian interference in these contracts.

                    10. Then you should have no problem with removing the government’s role in collection enforcement entirely. The loans can be made but, as far as the government is concerned, repayment is entirely voluntary. The government will not involve itself in collection, and no breach of the peace can be made in private collection attempts.

                      Heh-heh. Doesn’t really work, does it?

                    11. It does work, retard. You’ve just described the status quo, more or less.

                    12. You are being deliberately obtuse. I am not talking about the status quo. I am talking about a system in which the lender has no legal recourse to state enforcement. You know this. You are gaming and dodging. We’re done here.

                    13. Where “deliberately obtuse” is defined as “trying to convince Danny to extract his head from the filthy heat of his own ass,” I guess. There is no meaningful difference between a hypothetical alternate universe where payday lenders have no ACTUAL recourse to public resources to collect debt, and the real world where payday lenders have no PRACTICAL, USEFUL recourse to public resources to collect debt.

                      If either one of us is “playing games,” it’s the assclown who keeps moving the goalposts in an effort to salvage his increasingly untenable argument. I’ll leave it as an exercise for other readers to decide who that is.

                    14. you should have no problem with removing the government’s role in collection enforcement entirely

                      I absolutely endorse removing the government’s role in collection enforcement entirely, once the government removes the expectation of taxation from the lenders themselves.

                      Deal?

                    15. Any contract agreement is ultimately enforceable by law so by your argument the tax payer should be ‘protected’ in every transaction through government regulation.

                      These aren’t high loan rates, they are short term loans. You borrow $100 at $10 a week, its a fair price. If you don’t pay it back for a year, yeah, you’re going to get reamed.

                2. Taxpayers are called upon to collect from defaulting borrowers?

                  You really don’t have the first fucking clue what you’re talking about, do you?

                3. Yes, economic decisions by democracy. What could go wrong? Let’s vote on the maximum price for eggs, and gas, and Murci?lagos, too. Because the whims of voters can overcome supply, demand, and the profitability of artificially low interest rates for bad credit risks.

                  I wonder where we could find some real world examples of the downside of artificially low interest rates.

                  1. Lots could go wrong. And price caps on eggs would be stupid. But if voters don’t have the prerogative of making a stupid vote on something important, they really don’t have a right to vote on anything important, do they?

                    1. Yeah, they can make stupid votes on public issues all they want. My decision to take on a loan at 4%, 400%, or 4000% isn’t a public issue.

                      And why is a price cap on eggs stupid but one on interest rates isn’t?

                    2. I never said a cap on interest rates is, for certain, a good thing. I just maintain that it (and the legal price of eggs) is potentially within the power of the democratic process, stupid or not.

                    3. Prices are the result of market forces. You can vote to make pi=3, but that doesn’t make it so.

                    4. Thus, “legal” price. snap! snap! Pay attention, Britt.

                    5. The “legal” price? Is there an “illegal” price?

                    6. Goddamn the best part of your father’s genetic material ended up rubbed into the floor of a Baltimore bus station’s men’s room.

                      How the hell can you not understand the simple concept of mutually beneficial transactions between consenting adults being no one’s goddamn business but the parties in question.

                      Fuck off, slaver.

                    7. Fuck off, slaver.

                      9 cents please.

        3. The payday loan example is squishy at best. Everybody has a different idea about how “predatory” is too “predatory” when it comes to lending,

          Ooh, ooh, I know when lending becomes too “predatory.” It’s when a lender breaks into someone’s house and puts a gun to their head and forces them to take money.

          It’s another attempt to legislate morality.

          1. It’s an attempt to legislate the conditions under which state action can be invoked. Unsecured loans have to be collected under color of law, y’know.

            1. Yeah, I know butthole. And that’s what the contract is there for.

              Any attempt to legislate what conditions can be entered into by willing participants where there are clearly defined terms (and no fraud/coercion) is bullshit.

              Again, you are either attempting to legislate morality or you hate poor people enough that you don’t want them to control their own finances.

              Which is it?

              1. Well, Ballchinian seems to think that you and I are both wrong. Maybe you can explain reality to him?
                ***
                In the meantime, unless you are going to go all Merchant-of-Venice, you have to draw the line somewhere. Taxpayer resources — including those that fund the debt-collecting functions of courts and law enforcement — are finite. I submit that other contracts and other government functions can be prioritized above a 1200% payday loan, even definitively and preclusively by law.

                Tell you what: make any payday loan you want. Charge 1200% interest. Take a pair of old sweatsocks for security. Don’t come bitchin’ to me or any other taxpayer if you don’t get paid back. It’s not my job to fork over my hard-earned tax dollars so that a government-salaried sheriff can help you collect on some stupid 1200% loan.

                1. In the meantime, unless you are going to go all Merchant-of-Venice, you have to draw the line somewhere.

                  And I suppose you’re just the guy to draw it.

                  I submit that other contracts and other government functions can be prioritized above a 1200% payday loan, even definitively and preclusively by law.

                  I’ll submit that legislators functions can be prioritized above payday loan rates. Way. The. Fuck. Above. It.

                  1. “And I suppose you’re just the guy to draw it.”

                    Nope – it should be one man one vote.

                    (Sorry, really not following your meaning in the second part.)

                2. So what’s your alternative for the borrower when these loans go away? Someone who doesn’t particularly care about the niceties of the FDCA when it comes to getting his money back?

                  Maybe your hard-earned tax dollars can go for some new kneecaps when the borrower you purport to be protecting defaults to someone who uses a baseball bat instead of the courts.

                  1. That is a practical consideration, and maybe an important one, that should be weighed in the deliberative process. It does not, however, define the abstract limits of our “rights” to lend or borrow money on any given terms under the law.

                    1. Again, someone else wanting to vote that I can either not have access to money to fix my car so I can get to work for the rest of the week or I can go to someone who will break my kneecaps if I don’t pay isn’t really any of their concern.

                      I don’t see how the idea that other people get to deliberate on how I can spend my money could appeal to anyone other than a statist.

                    2. I don’t see how the idea that other people get to deliberate on how I can spend my money could appeal to anyone other than a statist.

                      Then you should be able to win a popular or legislative vote on the matter handily. Nothing to worry about!

                3. Well, Ballchinian seems to think that you and I are both wrong. Maybe you can explain reality to him?

                  And if he thinks I’m wrong, I’m sure he’ll speak for himself.

                  1. I’m referring to his 5:42 pm message above.

                    1. Refer to my 6:15pm message above. There may — may — be an extremely attenuated public interest in many private contracts from an enforcement standpoint, but the overwhelming majority of payday loans are not enforced through public processes and thus implicate no public interest at all.

                    2. We all “bargain in the shadow of the law,” to borrow a phrase. You can’t pretend like the governmental enforceability of debts is not a legally cognizable factor.

                    3. I’m enjoying watching the goalposts move.

                    4. … in the rear-view mirror of your diesel-powered goalpost-mover.

                    5. Hey, I’m not the douche who went from arguing that, “these contracts should be subject to majoritarian interference because public resources will be used to enforce them,” to arguing that, “these contracts should be subject to majoritarian interference because public resources COULD be used to enforce them, hypothetically.”

                4. Taxpayer resources — including those that fund the debt-collecting functions of courts and law enforcement — are finite.

                  Unless we’re talking about spending on military adventures, public sector pay and benefits, or one’s preferred social program. Then, they’re unlimited.

                  Let’s also not forget that:

                  1) Payday lenders pay (high) taxes;

                  2) Courts typically charge court costs to cover their administrative costs — typically to the plaintiff.

    2. “Ditto payday lenders. When advocates propose caps on rates, they would actually be content to see the business operate within the rate cap. The rate cap is not “designed to destroy.” The cap may make some lending unfeasible, but the regulator’s sincere objective is to cap rates, not destroy lending.”

      Known consequences are not unintended.

      1. Look, having a 65 mph speed limit instead of an autobahn means that certain trips won’t be made by car. Does that mean only the anti-car tree-huggers would support a 65 mph speed limit? Of course not.

        Keep it real, already.

        1. Squirm all you want worm. You’re already on the hook.

        2. No. It means that people who support 65mph speed limits think that those trips not being made is an acceptable tradeoff for whatever they hope to achieve with the limits.

          Similarly, advocates for payday loan rate caps think that radically reducing the ability of payday lenders to operate profitably is an acceptable tradeoff for whatever they hope to achieve with the caps.

          The point is that it’s not inappropriate to hold these people accountable for the consequences of the policies they advocate. What they want to achieve is interesting but ultimately irrelevant in light of what they actually achieve when their policy advocacy comes into contact with reality.

          1. That may be true, but that is not what the article’s analogy was saying, and my point was about that. Now we are somewhere else entirely.

        3. Look, having a 65 mph speed limit instead of an autobahn means that certain trips won’t be made by car. Does that mean only the anti-car tree-huggers would support a 65 mph speed limit? Of course not.

          I assume your freeway has strawmen set up every fifty yards to keep the crows away?

    3. Spot on.

    4. True, in all of the case you describe, people were just directly trying to ban things they saw as immoral.

      Of course, the Supreme Court hasn’t yet ruled in favor of a Constitutional right to usury or factory farming, so they don’t really have to use sneaky methods to pursue their goals. Only people that have already been told what they’re doing is not acceptable (southern cities trying to fight equality for blacks, progressive cities trying to fight gun rights) have to do that.

  10. This is a topic about abortion.

  11. Fucking legal monopolies on the use of force, how do they work?

  12. SUPPORT FOR ABORTION IS A LITMUS TEST FOR LIBERTARIANS – IF YOU DON’T SUPPORT ABORTION – YOU ARE NOT LIBERTARIAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Um, wait – I thought libertarians were against it.

      I’ve recently taken to adopting an old line – “I’m not a member of any organized political party – I’m a libertarian.”

    2. There will never be consensus on abortion, because there will never be consensus when life begins.

      1. No one says a fetus isn’t alive, the dispute is about when personhood begins.

        1. or the dispute is about at what point does the fetus’ right to be brought to term outweigh the woman’s right to terminate it for the given reason.

          i think most people think somebody shouldn’t be able to terminate a 30 week fetus on a whim.

          whereas a whim is all that’s needed for most (and under roe v. wade) in week 5

          personhood has different relevance in a legal vs. a policy argument

      2. I saw a bumper sticker once that said “Life Begins At 40.”

        So there’s that.

        1. So, under this standard – theoretically – Justin Bieber could still be aborted, right?

          1. absofuckinglutely. I suggest we find his mom and bring a coat-hanger.

        2. And “60 is the new 40”. So perhaps personhood begins at 20?

          1. Then why do I feel like 40 is the new 60?

            1. You guys suck at flamewars.

              1. Only YOU can prevent flamewars.

              2. SUCK AT FLAMEWARS??!!

                FS, the gang identified a logical, legal way to snuff Justin Bieber.

                Nuff said…

  13. Proof of the old adage, ‘live by the sword, die by the sword’

    1. Poor baby, how does that feel?

      1. You mean how does it feel to be a schizophrenic cunt pickler?

        1. what’s it like? Does defeat make you feel less of a man?

          1. I’m a big girl you dumb poopy-head spoofer. All you men are little boys, except for my Daddy.

  14. How about this argument. Government is good when it advances ends that I favor. That’s the liberal position and I don’t see anything wrong with it.

    Libertarians take it a step farther and say: government is bad.

    Thats making a more abstract normative point. So, really, these arguments are passing by each other in the night.

    1. And by extension, if my political views happen to directly oppose yours, goverment is therefore good when it advances ends that you OPPOSE.

      That’s the Statist position, and I don’t see anything right with it.

      1. Well, in a sense, you are favoring government action. You are favoring government NOT acting on particular subjects, because that inaction furthers your ends, which are liberty/freedom of contract, etc.

        A liberal is saying I prefer government action here, were it furthers goals of equity though it may limit economic liberty, and government inaction THERE, where it furthers freedom of sexuality. I don’t see anything wrong with that UNLESS you are assuming that government action is ALWAYS bad.

        Thus, liberals are not unconsciously echoing any libertarian principle here.

        1. Not sure WHY I keep capitalizing WORDS in my posts. Bad habit.

          1. need [moar] brackets!

        2. Does it take a special effort to conflate inaction with action? Or have such ludicrous thoughts become second nature?

          1. Choice is “action.” Your beef is with the inherent weaknesses of language, not with me.

            1. My beef is with you conflating “minding one’s own business” with self-righteous interventionism.

        3. Government action is almost always either coercive or violent, else voluntary interaction would have been sufficient to solve the issue.

          Libertarians believe coercion, per se, is evil (outright violence, even more so). However, coercion can be used to achieve good, and when that good outweighs the evil of the means of achieving it, it may be justified — although it’s not even as simple as that, since laws tend to allow a mix of justifiable and unjustifiable coercion, even if only due to the risk of abusive or mistaken enforcement, or due to setting a precedent that makes worse laws easier to pass.

          Since government action is inherently somewhat evil, it’s absolutely understandable to favor inaction over action until some threshold for justification of action is met. To the libertarian, they are both choices, but that does not make them morally equivalent choices.

          1. when that good outweighs the evil of the means of achieving it, it may be justified

            Utilitarian bullshit.

            The ends never justify the means. Never. The morality of the means is all that matters (but, of course, if choosing between two moral means, feel free to choose the one with the better end result).

            Fuck Utilitarianism!

        4. A liberal is saying I prefer government action here, were it furthers goals of equity though it may limit economic liberty, and government inaction THERE, where it furthers freedom of sexuality. I don’t see anything wrong with that UNLESS you are assuming that government action is ALWAYS bad.

          Or, you might make the assumption that liberty and individual rights shouldn’t be subordinate to wild inconsistency based on personal whim and rent seeking, UNLESS you are assuming that there are a group of ‘betters’ that can be trusted to always make the ‘correct’ decision.

          If it’s ok to change the rules for everyone based on the whims of a few that have no basis in consistency, then what would be your problem with an authoritarian dictatorship?

          Also, as an added bonus, could you illustrate situations of forced ‘equity’ that actually cost those advocating for such equity, rather than ‘society’ in general?

    2. I think it’s more accurate to say that government is a necessary evil, and that statists focus on and sometimes overstate the “necessary” while losing sight of the “evil” while libertarians tend to act in reverse.

      1. It’s even more accurate to say that government is an unnecessary evil.

    3. Government is good when it advances ends that I favor. That’s the liberal position and I don’t see anything wrong with it.

      Actually, that’s the liberal, conservative, socialist, fascist, communist and all other statist political ideas’ philosophy.

      Hell, there are even many “libertarians” who share that view (but get very annoyed when you point out that it’s not very libertarian)… just ask one of the “states’ rights” libertarians who insist that the feds shouldn’t be able to prevent a state from violating one’s individual liberties because “the state government has a right to do that.”

      1. one can think a state has the right, under the law (or more correctly – the authority) to do something without thinking that if it does that something, that’s a good thing.

  15. IRON LAW #5: Any power used for you today will be used against you tomorrow.

    *Hat-tip to RC

    1. Thanks, Kant, but that was actually updated to the pithier:

      Me today, you tomorrow.

      1. Too abstract for the dumbasses I have to drag it out for.

      2. Better: “live by the sword, die by the sword.”

        1. “I’ll get you, and your little dog, too!”

          Wait, what….?

  16. To be fair, it is not only the liberal who are hypocrites. NASA was surely a right wing favourite government project, now that it is been morphed to doing research for climate change and helping the Muslim world, the old favourite has become the enemy.

    Democracy for both sides works as follows: When your team wins then there has been a triumph of the people, when your team loses then the mob has won fooled by some shadowy influence.

    1. Unless you haven’t “picked a side”, ala Epi’s REDTEAM/BLUETEAM meme.

      Then the complaint is merely, “same shit, different day.”

    2. But I will agree that both “sides” are hypocrites. I think you will be hard pressed to get an argument here, with a few notable exceptions.

  17. Hinkle consistently writes good stuff.

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