Politics

Sunday Read: If I Wanted Acceptance from Normal People I Wouldn't Be a Libertarian

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Another company vital to our system.

"Whip conflation now," urges Rod Long (now that's a porn name) in a solid new argument [pdf] for a left-shift in the libertoid friend-finding strategy: 

There are many, many left-wingers whose primary motivation for their left-wing political stance is the very libertarian impulse to protect people who are being pushed around. These left-wingers look at contemporary society and see an economy dominated by mammoth, impersonal corporations with enormous and seemingly unaccountable power; they see lower-and middle-income people disempowered in the workplace and struggling to make ends meet; they see institutions and social practices rigged against blacks, women, gays, immigrants, and other oppressed groups – and they turn to government to redress these inequities, viewing the democratic state as an institution in principle accountable to the public, and thus able to serve as a bulwark against private power and privilege. Call this variety of left-wingers the anti-privilege Left.

And this is the Left we can reach. The anti-privilege Left is already largely on our side when it comes to civil-liberties issues and to war; these are the folks who didn't switch their positions on those issues when the White House turned from red to blue. I say they're only "largely" with us on civil liberties because this group still tends to be bad on (at least) one civil liberty: gun rights. But otherwise their chief sticking points are economic; thus we need to show them that a freed market can actually achieve the goals of the anti-privilege Left better than government regulation can – and that, thanks to public-choice problems on the one hand, and what Mises calls the "economic democracy of the market" on the other, markets are actually more, not less, accountable to the public than governments are.

Long wants to disambiguate the anti-privilege left's confuzzlement on the difference between an actual free market and the government-sustained economy of present-day America. He distinguishes between the reachable anti-privilege left and the unreachable aristocratic left – a step in the right direction after the nasty, brutish and short life of the "liberaltarian" movement, which seemed set up specifically to court the sensibilities of the aristocratic left. Examples of how to win the anti-privilege left include explaining why the monopolization leftists see as the natural result of the free market can in fact only be achieved with government support: 

Thus when left-wingers complain of an economy dominated by a few large, hierarchical corporations with global reach, crowding out smaller and more local production, they are complaining about a situation created and sustained by government – and we should be pointing that out to them, rather than leaping to defend those corporations as though they'd achieved their bigness under market discipline.

And the ancient imperative to help a brother out: 

As libertarians we are often unsympathetic to left-wing concerns about discrimination by employers against blacks, women, or other groups, as we think such practices cannot survive on a free market.

Whole article [pdf]

I'm skeptical of advice on how to do better evangelization. The history of efforts to position libertarianism as a natural fit with certain tendencies on either the left or the right does not inspire confidence. The reason to posit free-market economic ideas is that they are useful and accurate. That's very different from – and maybe the opposite of – being persuasive to a certain political school. I can spend all day explaining my rational reasons for choosing my set of politics – many of them very close to the anti-privilege left sensibilities Long describes. But I suspect my decision really comes down to my nostalgia for the great American tendency ta fuck shit up – which seems to me less present than it was when I was a lad, and to which the libertarians seem closer than either end of the left/right continuum. I suspect most people on the left and right are driven by similarly non-rational motivations, and thus are similarly not susceptible to rational persuasion on political matters. 

That said, it's a great article, full of red meat and including a meditation on whether Dilbert is a legitimate source of economic data. The topic is also an evergreen: Brian Doherty suggested a left-libertarian reader a while back. And in a Reason TV interview, the San Diego Union Tribune's Chris Reed boils the left-libertarian dialogue into one simple question: Are progressive policies producing the results progressives want? 

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275 responses to “Sunday Read: If I Wanted Acceptance from Normal People I Wouldn't Be a Libertarian

  1. we need to show them that a freed market can actually achieve the goals of the anti-privilege Left better than government regulation can

    I’ll be over here, holding my breath.

    1. *checks P Brooks’ pulse*

      My god… he’s dead!!!

      1. It’s his fault for coming in to work wearing a red shirt.

        1. Tiger made it through the day alive.

          1. I endorse this name.

            1. I would be confused if you didn’t.

  2. As long as the left clutch their beloved collectivism, they cannot be saved.

  3. “we need to show them that a freed market can actually achieve the goals of the anti-privilege Left better than government regulation can”

    Good luck to those poor souls trying to bring the libertarian evangel to liberals, but I’m not sure that a liberal, sans paradigm shift, really can entirely buy into libertarian notions. The market by its very nature cannot guarantee the preservation or creation of any social order, as it is itself a system that is endlessly changing.

    At best, you get semi-reformed lefties like MNG. Admittedly, I’d like all liberals to look more like MNG, but that’s a far cry from libertarianism. Quite honestly, I don’t think that encouraging semi-reformed liberals will work any better for libertarians than they did for conservatives (see “neo-conservatives”).

    I think that conservatives are better allies on the fiscal front precisely because they don’t come in with expectations with how the marketplace as a whole should look or work. If you’ll notice, most conservatives bitch about manners and moral decay, not the way that corps have changed over the years.

    1. NeoCons are nationalistic socialists.

      There is nothing conservative about them.

      1. Lolz and NeoComms are big bankers buddies… doesn’t have anything to do with normal conservatives.

  4. Our little sockpuppet buddy Tony is on the next thread down right now, claiming the only way to prevent unemployment is government hiring. That’s what we’re up against.

    1. Tony is a blog comment dweeb like the rest of us.

      He represents a small fraction of left. Also he is an aristocratic lefty.

      Or at least a sycophant of that group.

      He is not of the group Long is speaking about.

      Long is speaking of left leaning independents, not entrenched hacks like Tony is.

  5. Keep fucking that chicken, Rod.

  6. boils the left-libertarian dialogue into one simple question: Are progressive policies producing the results progressives want?

    Of course not. They want the government to run everything, so they are bound to be disappointed by the results of their failure to entirely free us of the remnants of a free market.

    They want results that are impossible to achieve — they want nothing bad to ever happen to anyone, ever. The pure distillation of this philosophy:

    LeGuin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas”

  7. There are many, many left-wingers whose primary motivation for their left-wing political stance is the very libertarian impulse to protect people who are being pushed around.

    There two too many manys in that statement. The primary motivation of most wingers is the belief that people aren’t being pushed around by the correct forces.

  8. But otherwise their chief sticking points are economic; thus we need to show them that a freed market can actually achieve the goals of the anti-privilege Left better than government regulation can

    Except that I don’t actually know that this is true. I think it probably is, but that is not relevant to my decision making. To use a made-up example: I’m sure that my poor neighbors lives would be improved if they were given free reign to just come on over and take everything I have, or even just enough to ‘even us all out.’ Just because several lives would be improved at the expense of my own, doesn’t make it a moral thing for them to do.

    There’s something explicitly anti-utilitarian in the strain of libertarianism I favor. You can’t just take something away form someone because you think it would make others better off.

    It’s like the old moral quandary: “Would you murder one innocent child if it would save the life of 100 others?” No, I wouldn’t

    1. Yes because taxing the top two percent at a slightly higher marginal rate is equivalent to murdering children. Right.

      Toolbags, all of you. Toolbags for Wall St. and MBA parasites who run this country into the ground.

      1. Extortionate taxes that depress economic activity result in a myriad of deaths among poorer people at the margins: not being able to afford health care, better food, safer cars, etc.

        Poverty kills, as any comparison of average life spans in poor versus rich countries amply illustrates.

        So, yes, raising marginal tax rates has the unintended side effect of preventable deaths due to the poverty it causes.

        1. And that’s why the Bush tax rates are giving us unimaginable economic prosperity today!

          Uh…right!

          1. The Truth|4.10.11 @ 9:47PM|#
            “And that’s why the Bush tax rates are giving us unimaginable economic prosperity today!”

            They are now the “Obama tax rates” dipshit.

            1. Obama has kept the Bush tax rates the same except for actually *LOWERING* them for working people.

              1. The Truth|4.10.11 @ 9:56PM|#
                Obama has kept the Bush tax rates the same except for actually *LOWERING* them for working people.”

                Define “working people” dipshit.

                1. Not gonna happen, Da Troof is more of a Dump & Run type of troll.

                  1. I think he is Joe only an insane Joe whose mind finally succumbed by its own logical fallacies.

                    His support of US military intervention in Libya I think was the last straw that did him in.

                2. “Working people” now often includes people who don?t or have never worked, and live off my taxes.
                  I?m tired of exploiting them.

      2. The Truth|4.10.11 @ 9:19PM|#
        “Toolbags, all of you. Toolbags for Wall St. and MBA parasites who run this country into the ground.”

        Aww, da troof, did your welfare check get cut again?
        Get a job, asshole.

      3. Instead of allowing those evil two percenters to waste that money on yachts, we can use it for nobler purposes like bombing Iraqi children, giving grants to Universities to research the effects of bombing Iraqi children, and douches to get the sand out of my vagina.

        1. We’re bombing Iraqi children because the Two Percenters wanted us to. The state serves their interests right now, not hte interests of the people.

          1. The Truth|4.10.11 @ 10:14PM|#
            “We’re bombing Iraqi children because the Two Percenters wanted us to.”

            And we’re bombing Libyan children because your fave asshole wants us to.
            Dipshit.

            1. What makes you think I like Obama?

              He’s a spineless corporate “New Democrat” sellout. He’s to the right of Eisenhower and Nixon for fucks sake.

              1. The Truth|4.10.11 @ 10:21PM|#
                “What makes you think I like Obama?”

                Because Stalin isn’t around any more?

                1. Because Stalin isn’t around any more?

                  Mao seems to be more his cup of tea.

      4. I am unconvinced that taxing the top two percent at a higher rate will generate any sustained increase in revenue.

        You may get a bump for a year or two, but then people will just move their money off shore, or get paid more in stock options. And if you try to raise capital gains taxes, you’ll just drive away investment, which is worse for the middle class than cutting social programs.

        The big problem with revenue isn’t that our tax rates are too low. It’s the entitlement programs – Social Security and Medicare.

        And the big problem for the middle class is that the regulatory environment and tax code discourages self-employment and encourages working for large corporations instead.

        Most people who get rich do so by starting their own business. If you make it too complex and hazardous (in terms of criminal penalties) to do so then they won’t.

    2. “I’m sure that my poor neighbors lives would be improved if they were given free reign to just come on over and take everything I have, or even just enough to ‘even us all out.'”

      That’s not even true actually. In a world where that is ok, you wouldn’t actually have any stuff for them to come over and talk. DUCY?

  9. He wrote this, so I’ll usually read what Long has to say, but this is pretty naive. Libertarians’ distaste for the use of government force makes it difficult to reconcile with either liberal or conservative statists. Even when we agree on things, it’s not always for the same reason; on gay marriage, for example, liberals have a hard time grasping the notion that the government has no business deciding who can get married.

    And there are some forms of corporate welfare that liberals adore.

    1. This is one reason I’m not terribly upset at the thought of universities getting the budget axe. Can you think of a more idiotic way to spend money than to subsidize surreal gibberish like this?

    2. Ahh, Feministing–without these fools and socially retarded nerds, Joss Whedon would be nothing more than a failed filmmaker.

      “OF COURSE A 110 POUND VEGAN GRRRRL CAN KICK THE SHIT OUT OF A 250 POUND BODYBUILDER, YOU HETERONORMATIVE JOCK BIGOT!!”

      1. Hey now! Don’t be talking shit about River Tam, or Firefly.

        Why you been sipping all the Haterade, man?

    3. Ah “Fisting”….the Onion of Feminism”!

  10. Not this again…

    I say they’re only “largely” with us on civil liberties because this group still tends to be bad on (at least) one civil liberty: gun rights.

    They usually suck on free speech too.

    There are a few on the left who could be swayed into the libertarian camp (Balko’s here, right?) but the numbers would be very small. Find some who are right on the gun issue, distrust the state even when the “right people are in charge”, actually support legalizing drugs, support free choice in medical matters/food choices,think kelo was awful…the problem is the tiny number of reachable leftists probably think of themselves as “left-libertarians” or anarchists already. Go get ’em.

    1. Here is a terrifying thing: I support the NRA position on gun rights, I distrust the state no matter what letter is beside the President’s name, I am pro-legalization of drugs, I think Kelo was awful, I opposed Obamacare and while I would support labeling measures I oppose restrictions on food choice. Does that make me a “reachable leftist?”

      Perhaps I need a shower…

      1. The important factor in reaching these people isn’t little policy positions, it’s a crucial schism in moral philosophy.

      2. MNG, I wish I could quit you.

        1. Thanks ? now there’s coffee all over my keyboard

      3. MNG|4.10.11 @ 10:25PM|#
        …”Does that make me a “reachable leftist?”…”

        Tell us again about how taxpayers should fund election campaigns and how the first amendment doesn’t matter.
        It never gets old.

      4. I support allowing people to put whatever labels they want on their food, including ‘GMO Free’. Can we compromise on that?

  11. Toolbags, all of you. Toolbags for Wall St. and MBA parasites who run this country into the ground.

    You for got the part about “I’m leaving, and I’M NEVER COMING BACK!”

  12. The central, uniting idea of the Left is economic collectivism. No matter how many personal liberties you place off-limits to the State, no matter how many corporate subsidies you cut, no matter how many rent-seekers you say no to, they will *never* be on our side for this simple reason.

  13. they turn to government to redress these inequities

    Fucking freedom- how does it work?

  14. The Immaculate Trouser|4.10.11 @ 8:59PM|#
    …”At best, you get semi-reformed lefties like MNG. Admittedly, I’d like all liberals to look more like MNG, but that’s a far cry from libertarianism.”…

    And if MNG is the best of the ‘semi-reformed’ lefties, s/he’s a pretty sad example. Read MNG’s posts on taxpayer-paid election funding; according to MNG, the first amendment really doesn’t matter.

    1. Yes, read them. I mean you.

      I called them “silly” policies but argued they were not unconstitutional.

      Yes, yes, I realize nuance is lost on you right-wingers and all.

      1. Here’s what I said about it in the most recent discussion thread:

        MNG|3.29.11 @ 9:26PM|#
        Sigh. I said above I can see saying this is a silly way to spend public funds, I’m talking about whether it is constitutional.

        https://reason.com/blog/2011/03…..tcontainer

        1. That was after you moved the goalposts from “this is why we should have this” to “well at least it’s constitutional!” Your first post:

          MNG|3.29.11 @ 8:43PM|#|
          If you want an answer here it is: leftists feel the bajillionaire should indeed have free speech like joe the plumber, but they feel they should not have bajillion times the speech. They actually agree with libertarians that money is tied to speech, and so they conclude that people that have a lot more money to spend will have a lot more speech (and the accompanying influence).

          1. I was telling Epi what supporters of these measures think, that doesn’t mean I think that. You can summarize the views of people you disagree with, can’t you?

      2. MNG|4.10.11 @ 10:21PM|#
        ‘Yes, read them. I mean you.”
        Thank you MNG, I already have.

        “I called them “silly” policies but argued they were not unconstitutional.”
        So you admit you’re an ignoramus? Glad to hear it.
        Let me repeat for those as stupid as you:
        Taking money from anyone and using that money to support causes which that person may not support is an infringement of that person’s freedom of speech.
        Followed by: “Congress shall make NO law…” (emphasis added so the ignoramus known as MNG *might* figure it out).
        Is this clear, shithead?

    2. Eh, better than what’s at the bottom of your standard liberal cesspool. I live in Tucson, and some of the leftists here make Tony and Hobie look like moderates by comparison: think a whole town full of “The Truth”s.

      At least MNG realizes that there’s merit in freedom, even if he doesn’t consider it a higher order value than efficiency per se; too many leftists see it as an impediment instead of a value.

    3. Meh. If the Democratic party was full of MNGs, I think we would be doing pretty well (within realistic expectations).

  15. Wanna pay down the debt?

    It’s real simple. Just bring back the Clinton-era rates (especially on capital gains, why should people get taxed more on their labor than on capital?), restore the Estate Tax (it is NOT a death tax, you aren’t taxed for dying, 99% of people in this country won’t even be affected by it), and ON TOP of that add some new marginal tax brackets:

    *$Over $500,000 taxed at 50%

    *Over $1 million taxed at 80%

    *Over $100 million taxed at 90&

    *Over $500 million taxed at 95%

    That’ll fix our revenue problem.

    1. Wanna pay down the debt?

      Nah.

    2. That assumes that wealth will stay the same even as you drastically increase tax rates. The actual evidence over the past century shows that revenue as a percentage of GDP stays the same whether tax rates are high or low: http://www.deptofnumbers.com/b…..on-of-gdp/

      Wealth will decrease as tax rates increase, leading to a stable revenue. So no, it won’t fix our problem. The only way the government can control the deficit is bye reducing its own spending, which has increased as a percentage of GDP for the past century. Increasing tax rates doesn’t necessarily increase revenue, but decreases in spending necessarily lowers the deficit.

    3. The Truth|4.10.11 @ 9:54PM|#
      “Wanna pay down the debt?”

      Yes.
      Cut your welfare check to zero. And who knows? You might have to find a job.

    4. Yes, setting income tax rates at a level such that, combined with state and local taxes, the marginal tax rate is ABOVE 100% is a GREAT way to spur people to work harder and thus increase government revenue.

      /sarcasm

      1. The top Two Percent don’t work, they make money off of moving their vast wealth around in the form of capital gains.

        Capital should be taxed at a much higher rate than labor as a matter of fairness.

        1. The Truth|4.10.11 @ 10:39PM|#
          “The top Two Percent don’t work,…”

          You think they’re lazy bastards like *you*?
          Prove it.

          1. That would be, like, work, dude.

        2. they make money off of moving their vast wealth around in the form of capital gains.

          __________

          You mean starting companies, paying workers, buying raw materials, etc. Then after they’ve risked their money creating jobs they get to keep their profits.

        3. “Capital should be taxed at a much higher rate than labor as a matter of fairness.”

          Fairness to who – the wealthy or labor? If you think pushing a disincentive to invest is a good way to help “labor” then I think we may need to re-explore the function of capital.

          And even then, I’m still not sure exactly what you mean by “fair.” If the rich weren’t already paying a disproportionate share I would default to assuming you are speaking in context of fairness of the tax-burden. But from what you said it seems like you’re just interested in kicking the more productive in the teeth than you are helping the less productive.

    5. Clinton also benefitted from the dotcom bubble.

      1. Even more from cheap oil and a strong dollar.

        1. Simpler to say Clinton benefited from Reagen’s tax cuts and Newt’s spending cuts.

          But then I guess we would be forgetting about the Berlin wall and the peace dividend.

          1. Peace Dividend?
            What have you been smoking, that went *POOF* with Afghanistan/Iraq.

            1. What have you been smoking, that went *POOF* with Afghanistan/Iraq.

              In case you did not notice Clinton was not president when Iraq and Afghanistan started.

    6. It’s cute that you believe the production level will stay exactly the same with an employment to population ratio at 57%.

  16. If only we explained our policies better …

  17. The opposition to the Estate Tax I can never fucking understand.

    Why do you get your panties in a wad about Paris Hilton’s father’s estate being taxed at 50% when he dies? Are you afraid the economy will collapse because people like here will spend slightly less on cocaine and gold-plated bathrooms?

    1. Why does every pro-estate tax argument center on Paris Hilton? The fact is that the Hilton fortune has been divided and sub-divided so many times that there is not much left for any of the heirs. Alone among the new generation of Hiltons, Paris has her own sources of income.

      Paris Hilton has made more money from being Paris than she has from being Hilton.

      And The Truth is that Estate Tax raises very little money and only exists as a way to force wealthy people to buy high end insurance policies that they otherwise would not need in order to keep the family business intact after they depart. So a better question for you to ask is Why do I burn so many calories worrying that big insurance companies might lose this lucrative market.

      1. You assume that he gives a shit about revenue, nah the Troof and his ilk are class warriors. They will not be happy until everyone is equally poor.

        1. I care about revenue AND inequality.

          We used to have a broad middle class in this country in the 1950s, now we’re back to the Gilded Age. Let’s restore the 1950s tax rates and attitudes towards labor unions.

          1. Well 1950s tax rates won’t give you more revenue. In fact revenue as a percentage of GDP was lower in the 1950s than it is today.

            And it’s not the government’s job to change “attitudes towards labor unions.”

          2. You’re such an idiot, all you have are rhetorical exaggerations. You have no real arguments, just bold statements of opinion. Fuck off.

          3. How does the middle class shrink? The middle class is defined as the median income group, so the middle class (along with the lower and upper classes) only shrinks when population as a whole shrinks.

            1. Would “decline in their standard of living” be a better term?

              And don’t trust out the horseshit about how we have iPads and other plastic crap now and people in the 50s didn’t,I’m talking about things like low university tuition, health insurance, paid vacation, good working conditions, lack of credit card debt, etc.

              1. Well I appreciate your efforts to beg the question, but you’re simply wrong no matter which way you slice it. The median income adjusted for inflation has gone up since the 1950s. Life expectancy has gone up. Just about every factor of standard of living that economists use has gone up since the 1950s.

                As to your ridiculous categories, compare how many people in the middle class go to college, and more do now.

                Compare how many people had health insurance, more do now.

                Compare working conditions and paid vacation, they’re better today.

                As to credit card debt. LOL credit cards in the 1950s??? You’re an idiot.

                1. As to your ridiculous categories, compare how many people in the middle class go to college

                  The proportion of people in college peaked a long time ago. Mostly due to skyrocketing tuition.

                  Meanwhile, China is INCREASING subsidies for tuition in their universities. Once the last generation of scientists to be educated in the era of generous student aid and cheap tuition retire around 2020 or so, we’re fucked, and hard.

                  As to “credit card debt” perhaps I should have said “consumer debt”.

                  In the 50s, btw, students graduating from college didn’t start out their life with $100,000 in student loan debt.

                  1. Ah, back to China — YES!!

                    I love it when it goes full retard on us.

                  2. Vis a vis college — you realize that subsidies are the exact reason that we’ve had a higher education bubble, don’t you? I’m not going to ask you to read an ECON 101 book, because that’s clearly a task that’s beyond you, but could you at least look at the graph for what happens with a subsidy?

                  3. The proportion of people in college peaked a long time ago. Mostly due to skyrocketing tuition.

                    OK show me your source, because I know you’re wrong.

                    Meanwhile, China is INCREASING subsidies for tuition in their universities.

                    Meanwhile, NON SEQUITUR IN CAPS!!!!!1

                    As to “credit card debt” perhaps I should have said “consumer debt”.

                    Lack of consumer debt is a standard of living? This is news to all economists.

                    In the 50s, btw, students graduating from college didn’t start out their life with $100,000 in student loan debt.

                    Again, what the fuck does this have to do with the argument? People choose to take on that debt when they go to college. When are you going to actually argue with me instead of spouting irrelevancies?

                    1. @ Heller In the 50s, btw, students graduating from college didn’t start out their life with $100,000 in student loan debt.
                      Again, what the fuck does this have to do with the argument? People choose to take on that debt when they go to college.

                      People “choose” to take on that debt because over-credentialization locks out those with out degrees from jobs that do not require them.

                      I really don’t understand why some libertarians feel a need to reflexively defend the status quo.

                      You make yourselves into caricatures of the tools that socialists claim you are.

                  4. I’d wager that skyrocketing tuition is due in large part to Big Government subsidies.

                    When I went to college 20 years ago, I had to fill out the financial aid forms, which the college would then analyze to determine how much I (or more accurately my family, including me) could pay. The rest of the bill would be made up from scholarships, grants, work-study, loans, and so on. I immediately realized that if Big Government injected a bunch of money into the system in the form of “increased subsidies”, one of two things would happen:

                    a) Other parts of the financial aid would be decreased, or
                    b) Tuition would go up, and the extra money from Big Government would simply be tacked on to the financial aid.

                    It looks as though b) is what’s happened out in the real world.

              2. If you want low university tuition, you could privatize all colleges and force them to compete. Student would have a tiny bit more motivation to study, as community colleges probably aren’t self-supporting. Competition would eventually drive prices down.

                Not a perfect model.

                1. For-profit colleges?

                  Wow. So you really think University of Pheonix > University of Virginia? ITT Tech > Berkley?

                  1. So you seriously think that government funded schools are better than Harvard, MIT, or any other private school? God damn you’re a retarded motherfucker.

                    1. “Private school” is not the same thing as “for-profit”.

                      Harvard and MITs are non-profits. And really, they’re not any better than the top public schools, just more expensive. There’s not much daylight between the education you get at UVA vs. the education you get at Harvard, or UNC Chapel Hill vs. Yale. Just some social prestige for going to the Ivy League ones is all.

                    2. “Private school” is not the same thing as “for-profit”.

                      Yes, and the person you responded to was talking about privatizing schools, you idiot. You’re the one who brought in for-profit when the topic was private schools.

                      Harvard and MITs are non-profits. And really, they’re not any better than the top public schools, just more expensive. There’s not much daylight between the education you get at UVA vs. the education you get at Harvard, or UNC Chapel Hill vs. Yale. Just some social prestige for going to the Ivy League ones is all.

                      Bullshit, Harvard and MIT attract the best professors, who teach the best. They also have the best facilities and highest student approval ratings. Check the Princeton Review if you don’t believe me. Public schools consistently score lower than private schools in every category.

                    3. I’m at an Ivy League school right now. That “some social prestige” makes a huge difference when job hunting. The number of interviews I am getting quadrupled the second I put on an Ivy League grad school, and that was before I even started using the connections you make here.

                  2. The point (which you completely missed), is that there is no reason why private schools should try to lower their tuition when the government already provides low tuition education. So private schools can only do better by catering to those who want to pay more for a better education. Get rid of the government monopoly on low tuition schooling and that will change. Instead you’re whining about higher prices when your “solution” is what caused those prices!

                    1. In European countries, education is either free or next to free, and they didn’t privatize their universities.

                    2. Free??? You do know the Europeans still have to pay for education like the rest of us right? Their education doesn’t magically appear to them. They pay for it through higher taxes.

                    3. The cost is widely distributed through society, especially on the rich, rather than being concentrated on a 20-something recent graduate, ruining their life through debt before it even barely begins.

                    4. Uh no, that-20 something graduate will end up paying much more than a $100,000 dollar debt because of those high tax rates in the future. HERP DERP.

                    5. If you’ve got a $100,000 in debt then you should be making a ton of money. Unless you thought it was a bright idea to spend 6 years getting a bachelor’s in women’s studies at an Ivy League.

                      My total debt between undergrad and grad school is going to be $40,000 (without my parents helping at all) and depending which offers I end up getting, I’ll be making up to 80k starting.

                    6. The Truth|4.10.11 @ 11:41PM|#
                      “The cost is widely distributed through society, especially on the rich…”

                      You stupid shit! It’s ‘distributed’ to those who buy things, like food.

                    7. US universities also kick the living crap out of European ones. Partly because in Europe, there isn’t a big tradition of giving back to your school, and thus they have to subsist on much lower funding, often getting their profs poached by wealthier US colleges (some public).

                      Also, if you want to see lazy fuck students sometime, go to the big university town Salamanca in Spain, where quite a large portion of the student body is basically there to drink and party. Yes, I know that this is true of most US schools, but I got the impression that these people really did not give a fuck about getting an education.

                    8. Oxford? Cambridge?

                    9. Oxford and Cambridge are really about the only two. Seriously, take a look at global college ranking. The US dominates like the 92 Dream Team.

                    10. If you look at the lists, the top lists are filled with the ivy leagues, smsll liberal colleges on the east coast and just about every single UC outside of Merced. I went to as UC. So I may be biased but I bet my education against anyone outside the Livy’s.

                    11. but I got the impression that these people really did not give a fuck about getting an education.

                      Have you ever actually met a US college grad?

                    12. It’s also much more difficult to get into a European University.

                    13. It’s also much more difficult to get into a European University.

                      They also have a pretty good system of trade schools that focuses studies on trade skills rather then providing a “well rounded” education.

                    14. That is seriously the dumbest thing I have ever seen written here on hit & run. I hope The Truth sticks around

              3. The Truth|4.10.11 @ 10:51PM|#
                “And don’t trust out the horseshit about how we have iPads and other plastic crap now and people in the 50s didn’t,..”

                Of course not! Don’t let facts get in the way of stupid comments! Who would ever want that?

                1. Well, since when does having nicer stuff have anything to do with being better off?

          4. The Truth|4.10.11 @ 10:24PM|#
            “I care about revenue AND inequality.”

            Yeah, and you’re a stupid shit, so your “cares” don’t mean squat.

          5. Let’s restore the 1950s tax rates and attitudes towards labor unions.

            You really don’t get it. How the blue hell are unions supposed to protect jobs when the employer can simply liquidate and move everything overseas? This shit started long before Reagan came into office, you know.

            Bottom line is that in a global market, the US can’t compete on the labor scale. Everyone here expects at least $40K a year in salary, when your average Turd Worlder is ecstatic to get 1/5 of that. When all these firms moved their operations overseas, what were unions able to do about it?

            Not one fucking thing.

            “Changing our attitudes toward labor unions” won’t matter a bit. You want to know why unions have such a shitty reputation? Because their track record on actually protecting jobs over the long run is garbage. When you can’t prevent the person paying your salary from packing up and moving, you have NO leverage whatsoever. Why else do you think so many industries moved to right-to-work states or overseas?

            And that “broad middle class” was built on the back of a global industrial holocaust that killed tens of millions of people overseas, and leveled the infrastructures of our most capable global competitors. Are you really daft enough to believe that situation should have lasted forever?

            1. You forgot to mention the part about unions CAUSING firms in their industries to move overseas by jacking up labor costs to unbelievable levels.

              It’s not just that they can’t prevent capital from moving, it’s that the parasites suck their hosts dry and then -DUH!- can’t fucking revive it.

      2. It’s envy, pure and simple.

        The fact that Paris Hilton got this wealth, and that she’s not as productive and hardworking as they are burns them up. They feel they deserve it more.

        Of course, every penny Paris Hilton received as part of her inheritance she deserves, since the person who decided to will it to her felt she deserved it. And, as it was that person’s money, it’s really their call who deserves to get it when he or she dies.

        1. And, as it was that person’s money….

          Not so fast, buddy.

    2. Wow Da Troof, I never thought about it that way. I’m not rich, so why should I care when the government takes their money?

      1. You shouldn’t give a shit, no. They’re not going to starve. They’ll never have to worry about money, ever, even if their marginal tax rate on their incomes above $100 million goes to 80%.

        I shed no tears for them. They have an obscene amount of money and if the government needs revenue to promote the general welfare thats where it should look FIRST.

        1. Yeah fuck freedom, fuck property rights, the ends justify the means! Is that all you have Troof?

          1. Human rights > property rights.

            1. The right to property is a human right, you dolt.

            2. Define “human rights”, differentiate them from “property rights”, and explain why the one should be emphasized above the other (assuming that a dichotomy exists, of course).

              1. The Immaculate Trouser|4.10.11 @ 10:48PM|#
                “Define “human rights”, differentiate them from “property rights”, and explain why the one should be emphasized above the other (assuming that a dichotomy exists, of course).”

                Good luck. That’s da troof from whom you’re asking actual analysis.
                Not going to happen.

                1. At this point, I just think it’s funny to hear it contradict itself so openly.

                  1. At this point, I just think it’s funny to hear it contradict itself so openly.

                    It’s like screwing with Ask Jeeves.

            3. So, if I read this correctly, I have a human rights interest in other people’s money but not my own?

        2. Policies born out of envy and hatred are not likely to bring about peace and prosperity.

        3. Since I’m not “The Truth” why should I care when the government takes his life?

        4. if the government needs revenue to promote the general welfare thats where it should look FIRST.

          The sad thing is he wants the government to go there first even though overwhelming evidence demonstrates that the government can get more revenue if it focuses on growing GDP by keeping regulations and taxation in check and keeping spending at sustainable levels.

        5. They have an obscene amount of money

          Even if you only had $1, that would be an obscene amount of money for you to have.

          Not for the rest of us, but for you, absolutely.

    3. Why do you get your panties in a wad about Paris Hilton’s father’s estate being taxed at 50% when he dies?

      What’s magic about “when he dies”? That bastard’s not using all his money now, is he?

      /sarc

    4. *sniffles* They haf more money than me, itz no fair! itz no fair!
      *throws self on floor screaming and crying*

      1. Teh Stoopid is strong with it.

    5. The Truth|4.10.11 @ 9:58PM|#
      “The opposition to the Estate Tax I can never fucking understand.”

      We’ll add that to everything else you can’t understand.
      Does ‘gravity’ make sense to you, or do you continue to fall over and gripe about it?

    6. Are you afraid the economy will collapse because people like here will spend slightly less on cocaine and gold-plated bathrooms?

      You could have just said “Death to the Kulaks!” and saved some time and pixels.

      1. Middle income peasants aren’t the same thing as Wall Street Banksters.

        1. The middle-income peasants were the seredniaks, not the kulaks.

          1. Bullshit.Kulaks were the middle class. The class I want to EXPAND, not shrink.

            1. You bourgeois fuck! Capitalist parasite! Death to the middle class! The workers will unite and take what’s theirs!

            2. Of course, Da Troof never stops to ask himself what the middle class actually is, why inequality in itself is bad, or any of the other important questions. His mentality is fueled by catch-phrases and sound-bites, not intelligence.

            3. So you want be to be able to hire labor, own agricultural processing equipment, have surplus facilities and equipment to rent out, and have money to engage in lending, trade, and other non-labor sources of income? (This is the definition of a kulak as per the Council of People’s Commissars in 1920)

              Oh, and their were three classes of peasants according to Soviet theory: bednyaks, seredniaks, and kulaks.

              Shouldn’t you be trying to help the bednyaks first?

              1. One good trait of communists is that they never lie.

                Wasn’t it Zinoviev who famously said that any peasant with a full belly was considered a Kulak by the party?

                1. “We are fond of describing any peasant who has enough to eat as a kulak.”

                  Grigori Zinoviev, 1924, 12 years before Stalin had him executed.

        2. The Truth|4.10.11 @ 10:27PM|#
          “Middle income peasants aren’t the same thing as Wall Street Banksters.”

          And I’ll bet an ignoramus like you thinks that means something.

    7. “Why do you get your panties in a wad about Paris Hilton’s father’s estate being taxed at 50% when he dies?”

      For the same reason I’d have a problem with you walking into my house and taking 50% of my belongings when I die.

  18. Bringing leftists to libertarianism is to libertarian think tank eggheads as bringing peace to Israel and Palestine is to US presidents. Everyone has to make an attempt, and everyone fails.

    Now, I think it’s possible to bring individual leftists into the fold, but it’s not going to be as easy as making an argument or even running an ad. Human nature is very much aligned with statism; the question we are inclined to ask is not whether there will be an absolute leader of our tribe, but will he be a good one. Look at the responses of a liberal and a libertarian to the problem of failing schools in inner cities:

    Liberal: We need to spend more money on educational materials, extracurricular programs, and teacher salaries to encourage good teachers to stay rather than bailing as soon as they can to go to suburban school systems.

    Libertarian: If we close the public schools, then wealthy charitable folks will donate money to educate poor youth.

    Someone who doesn’t really steep themselves in the issues will never accept the libertarian answer. There’s too many dots not connected, and too much apparent question-begging. Now everyone here knows there’s a lot of question-begging in the liberal answer too, but that takes critical thinking and study. Most leftists — and most people in general — are not going to bother with it.

    1. But again that’s assuming that the liberalism and libertarianism answer the same question: “Which system works better?”

      But this is only true if both the liberal and libertarian are utilitarians. The fundamental difference between the two is not a question of utility but a question of moral philosophy.

      1. And I don’t think the difference in opinion on what is fundamentally right and wrong is reconcilable between the two groups.

        1. There are plenty of consequentialist libertarians out there. I would agree that there’s a basic difference of moral standards between deontological liberals and libertarians, but the problems with both deontological and consequentialist liberalism can be traced back to an undue reverence for elites and coercive institutions.

          1. Where liberalism and libertarianism branched off (philosophically and historically) was on the issue of positive rights. The liberals accepted them, compromising negative rights, while the libertarians rejected them and kept the original liberalism.

      2. If you throw away the utilitarian advantages of libertarianism, the argument you have left is a bare appeal to selfishness. You’ve taken the idea of “enlightened self-interest” and stripped the enlightenment away. Most people raised in Western culture — including myself — find such an ideal utterly morally repugnant.

        And at that point you have few tools to win converts, as you’re arguing first principles, which is usually impossible. If we were in a society where children were commonly taught to advance their own interests at all costs, regardless of the consequences for others, you’d have a better shot.

        1. You have no idea about libertarianism, do you?

          1. If you think that’s the case, perhaps you could point to my misconception rather than immediately rushing to insult…another thing many libertarians need to work on.

            1. I think what he means to say is that there are several deontological approaches to libertarianism that don’t require the moral egoism espoused by Ayn Rand — for example, a commitment to the non-aggression principle. I’m not a deontological-only libertarian, but there are plenty of solid deontological arguments for the ideology that don’t rely on selfishness.

              1. I don’t see how land ownership rights are compatible with the NAP. Well, unless you redefine aggression to include stepping over an imaginary line on the ground… at which point you’re playing the same wordgames the liberals do.

                1. Left-libertarians broadly do not see land ownership rights as legitimate. Moreover, there’s always the homesteading principle — I think it’s thin gruel, but it’s plausible from a deontological standpoint.

                  Then there’s always the “God said so” libertarians, bless their hearts.

                  1. Neither of those approaches requires a belief in moral egoism.

                  2. OK, perhaps I should modify my comment to say that once you throw out utilitarianism, you’re left with a grab bag of arguments that don’t hold water (homesteading/mixing labor with the land), beg the question (God said so), or are based on principles that elevate the self above all else.

                    Not sure if that puts anti-utilitarians in much of a better light, but there’s virtue in making sure one is precise as well.

                    1. It’s called the Golden Rule and the foundation of most religions and moral systems.

                      Don’t do things to others that you wouldn’t want done to yourself.

                      This really isn’t hard: do not commit force or fraud against other human beings.

                      But there are a whole bunch of cunts who think they can just scream ‘BUT, BUT, BUT the childrens!!!1!1!!’ while forcing other people to do things and that makes it all morally good.

                      They will find out one day; either in this life or the next.

                    2. It’s called the Golden Rule and the foundation of most religions and moral systems.

                      Don’t do things to others that you wouldn’t want done to yourself.

                      There are plenty of non-coercive things that few people would want done to them. For instance, I would not want to be denied a job because of my race. I would not want to be left on the sidewalk to bleed to death because I don’t have money to pay the hospital. etc, etc. But libertarianism would approve of these things being done to me anyway.

                      Yes, yes, I know that there are reasons to believe those things wouldn’t actually happen in our society even if we allow it, but that’s a consequentialist argument, and it’s inappropriate to make it while damning consequentialism.

                2. “I don’t see how land ownership rights are compatible with the NAP. Well, unless you redefine aggression to include stepping over an imaginary line on the ground… at which point you’re playing the same wordgames the liberals do.”

                  Ownership of “external” matter is derived from the axiom of self-ownership. If you walk through it deductively the idea that you own your “self” but nothing “else” you apply your labor to you start to put yourself in odd positions. Ironically, Roderick Long has a wonderful exposition on this in the media section of the Mises website. Others like Rothbard have laid out pretty solid deductive expositions of property rights as well.

                  1. You’re essentially invoking Locke’s homesteading argument, which is a monumental edifice of question-begging.

                    First, that’s not how land property rights work in practice. A lot of owned land is not worked at all. If I go to Yellowstone and start cutting down trees in an area where no one has ever “worked the land”, I’m not going to get a property deed for my trouble, but an arrest warrant.

                    Second, the logical link from working the land to the right to exclude others from entering such land is dubious. So if I pull a few weeds and put up a “keep out” sign, I’m then entitled to shoot anyone who walks over the patch where I pulled weeds (and in practice, the surrounding area as well)? Please.

                    1. “You’re essentially invoking Locke’s homesteading argument, which is a monumental edifice of question-begging.”

                      No, actually, I’m not. Believe it or not there exist “homesteading” arguments that have little to do with “Natural Law” as commonly perceived by Locke et al. Again, Roderick long himself has a nice exposition on it if you’d like to explore it.

                      “First, that’s not how land property rights work in practice. A lot of owned land is not worked at all.”

                      And who claims that law, in practice today, is effectively how “propertarians” believe ownership should operate?

                      “If I go to Yellowstone and start cutting down trees in an area where no one has ever “worked the land”, I’m not going to get a property deed for my trouble, but an arrest warrant.”

                      Obtaining a tract of land and operating it as a conservation project, or, better yet, renting its use out to recreationists as a preserve is arguably “applying your labor” to the land. The former example, however, is certainly a bit tricker. But there is a world’s worth of difference between saying some issues relating to property rights are fuzzy and saying you can’t justify property rights.

                      “Second, the logical link from working the land to the right to exclude others from entering such land is dubious.”

                      It’s less dubious than assuming you don’t own an exclusive right to it – especially when you acknowledge that all matter in your body is essentially an application of labor/will to the external world and expropriating resources. You didn’t “create” the atoms that make up your cellular structure. And when the cells in the various tissues in your body die, you form new ones by expropriating external matter to gather resources (through breathing, eating, etc.). When you inhale you are literally homesteading air from the commons and applying labor to it (whether necessary or not). So if we’re faced with two competing concepts – one in which I own the air and food I expropriate from the commons, and one in which I can’t claim ownership to the matter in the food and air I’ve expropriated which now constitutes the tissues and organs which make up my being…and yet somehow some external individual or group in fact does have say or control (ownership) – I’m going to presume the latter.

                      “So if I pull a few weeds and put up a “keep out” sign, I’m then entitled to shoot anyone who walks over the patch where I pulled weeds”

                      First of all, please realize there are several schools of libertarian thought. That being said, it’s not a necessarily accepted libertarian principle that you can simply shoot someone for trespassing. A good amount of libertarians believe in some for of constraint/reciprocity.

                      There is no stand-alone “right” to do anything to anyone, quite frankly. Although this is often misunderstood by many libertarians I think. The only justification for force (for libertarians) is in restoring property rights which have been violated. So, if someone is trespassing, you have the right to remove them from your property (which doesn’t arguably necissitate killing). If someone steals something that you own, you have the reciprocal right to restore that property to its rightful owner. In fact, more controversially, you do not have the “right” to make your guests wear dinner hats when they come over to your house for the evening. The reality of it is masked by the way we use the common vernacular. But the only right you actually have is within the threat of removing them from your property if they don’t comply with your wishes…which is a very different thing even if it functions similarly.

                    2. “I’m going to presume the latter.”

                      Leave it to me to ruin my own reply. I meant the former. Sigh.

            2. The other commenters have done a pretty decent job elaborating on the point I was alluding to.

              As for that being an insult, perhaps I should have responded more like heller?

        2. the utilitarian advantages of libertarianism

          Utilitarians and libertarians generally don’t mix as the former disdains the very idea of natural rights (hard to sacrifice the few for the sake of the many when the few have the right to not be sacrificed) and the latter takes natural rights as an absolute principle.

          bare appeal to selfishness.

          Selfishness is not inherently negative, either to the individual or people around them. A baker doesn’t make bread out of the goodness of his heart, but the expectation that he will be paid for the results of his material and labor. Yet the people who buy bread willingly consider it a service done in their favor.

          you’re arguing first principles

          I prefer reciprocity. I know, as a human, what is undesirable to my continued survival and peace of mind. I do not wish to be killed, I do not wish for any possessions I have acquired to be taken without my consent, I do not wish for my dwelling to be intruded upon, I do not wish for violence to be visited on my person, and I do not wish be disturbed by the actions of others from outside while within my dwelling. Assuming that other humans I encounter are similar or identical to me, they have similar or identical desires and find those same things undesirable. And what expectation would I have not to have those undesirable things done to me if I do them to others? Therefore, what I find undesirable, I don’t do to other people. I don’t murder people, I don’t rob them, I don’t batter or rape them, I don’t break or enter their homes, and I don’t harass them.

          a society where children were commonly taught to advance their own interests at all costs, regardless of the consequences for others

          Except libertarianism does not advocate zero-sum game/king of the mountain ethics. Progressives and statists generally scream zero-sum economics at the top of their lungs as the basis for their desire to control and distribute resources according to whatever scheme they’ve devised.

          1. Utilitarians and libertarians generally don’t mix as the former disdains the very idea of natural rights (hard to sacrifice the few for the sake of the many when the few have the right to not be sacrificed) and the latter takes natural rights as an absolute principle.

            Question-begging: libertarianism specifies a (small) set of legitimate functions of government, not a set of “natural rights”.

            Selfishness is not inherently negative, either to the individual or people around them. A baker doesn’t make bread out of the goodness of his heart, but the expectation that he will be paid for the results of his material and labor. Yet the people who buy bread willingly consider it a service done in their favor.

            This is a consequentialist argument, so it’s not appropriate to make while condemning consequentialism; and it doesn’t even apply to every activity that libertarians condone.

            I prefer reciprocity. I know, as a human, what is undesirable to my continued survival and peace of mind. I do not wish to be killed, I do not wish for any possessions I have acquired to be taken without my consent, I do not wish for my dwelling to be intruded upon, I do not wish for violence to be visited on my person, and I do not wish be disturbed by the actions of others from outside while within my dwelling.

            You probably don’t want to be left for dead in the street after you slip on ice and break your hip in 10 degree temperatures either, but libertarianism allows that.

            Of course, the Golden Rule itself is flawed; to see this, consider two people competing for the same job… neither one wants the other to pull out all the stops to impress the people doing the hiring, but both will try to do exactly that.

            1. Question-begging: libertarianism specifies a (small) set of legitimate functions of government, not a set of “natural rights”.

              And you’re trying to conflate minarchism to libertarianism.

              This is a consequentialist argument, so it’s not appropriate to make while condemning consequentialism; and it doesn’t even apply to every activity that libertarians condone.

              And you realize that is only the best “consequence” instead of simply the only consequence?

              You probably don’t want to be left for dead in the street after you slip on ice and break your hip in 10 degree temperatures either, but libertarianism allows that.

              Yes it does, assuming that absolutely no one, either out of empathy or personal gain would assist you, in which case you condemn as humans a race of sociopaths.

              Of course, the Golden Rule itself is flawed; to see this, consider two people competing for the same job… neither one wants the other to pull out all the stops to impress the people doing the hiring, but both will try to do exactly that.

              Does that include ambushing the competition in the bathroom and stabbing them a few times? That would certainly pull out a stop to getting that job.

              This is wonderfully Hobbesian. Humans will eat each other without the firm hand of the state to guide their actions and threaten them with punishment.

          2. I think you need to have some utilitarianism in any political philosophy. Government action, in my opinion, needs not only to be moral, but to be useful in some way.

        3. If you throw away the utilitarian advantages of libertarianism, the argument you have left is a bare appeal to selfishness.

          Did you read that at HuffPo? You’re such a dumb fuck Tulpa. Non-consequentialist libertarianism is an appeal to freedom as morally just, rather than simply utile. It has nothing to do with selfishness.

          And at that point you have few tools to win converts, as you’re arguing first principles, which is usually impossible. If we were in a society where children were commonly taught to advance their own interests at all costs, regardless of the consequences for others, you’d have a better shot.

          Wow, so really don’t get what libertarianism is?

          1. Wow, more insults. Never would have expected that. To quote Neu Mejican (barf), your inability to have an adult conversation is pathetic.

            Non-consequentialist libertarianism is an appeal to freedom as morally just, rather than simply utile.

            Define “freedom” in a way that excludes trespassing and includes violence against trespassers. And you’re not allowed to use consequentialist arguments after you’ve condemned them.

            1. No less adult than characterizing libertarianism as selfishness.
              My insult was just more direct.

              Define “freedom” in a way that excludes trespassing and includes violence against trespassers. And you’re not allowed to use consequentialist arguments after you’ve condemned them.

              That’s easy, someone who aggresses against you by refusing to respect your property rights loses the reciprocal freedom to not be aggressed against.His freedom ends where yours begin.

        4. “Most people raised in Western culture — including myself — find such an ideal utterly morally repugnant.”

          Oh, I’m not so sure of this. I think the liberal strain (and I mean that in the classic sense) that is responsible for a good amount of Western political philosophy for the last few hundred years is very much, at least in part, grounded in deontological concerns.

          And to be fair to modern liberals (although, dear lord, why should we be?) I think most of their utilitarian philosophies rest on a bed of first principles. I think a lot of them would have a hard time shooting one person to save five. The stances that they’ve taken on war (on occasion), although often to their political advantage, has been grounded in the idea that killing innocent civilians is not acceptable…even to reach a “greater good.”

          Now, to be sure, that doesn’t describe all liberals. But if most of them had no principled foundations they would be out hunting libertarians (literally) and other political opposition in the night – as i’m sure they could imagine our non-existence as a net gain for humanity…especially over a long enough time-horizon.

    2. There’s also the fact that a Rawlsian liberal is generally inclined to believe in some sort of economic determinism; the unstated premise behind Rawls’ famous veil of ignorance is that you are doomed to act out the role that you are assigned when the veil drops, and that there is little that you can do about it.

      There are too many toxic ideas in modern liberalism (neo-colonialism and general thoughts about poverty and its proximate causes) that are flat-out wrong to make it salvageable or compatible with libertarianism.

    3. I have to disagree with you on what the Libertarian solution to failing inner city schools would be.

      I would posit that it would be closer to “If we close the public schools, then an entrepreneur would find a way to make money by providing poor youth with educational services”.

      1. Let them eat Cake…I mean, ITT Tech!

        1. The Truth|4.10.11 @ 11:32PM|#
          “Let them eat Cake…I mean, ITT Tech!”

          You stupid shit! ITT Tach *exists* because of the failure of public schools.

        2. Let them eat Cake…I mean, ITT Tech!

          Beats the hell out of
          “Let them starve, for the children”

        3. What is your obsession with for profit educational institutions? The only problem with them is that they inflate their prices with available government aid, just like the private and state run universities. Do you really think that a place like ITT could stay in business for so long without providing some service of value to its customers? A tech school is not going to stay in business if it does not improve the job prospects (and therefore quality of life) of its customers.

      2. Yeah, there are probably a lot of different responses possible for both sides. But I suspect they’ll all come down to “do the public school thing better” on the liberal side, and “let the market take care of it” on the libertarian side… and the latter is a much tougher sell to people who aren’t/don’t want to pay attention.

        1. It is only a tougher sell because too many people don’t see an alternative to the “make the government schools better” idea.

          However, in almost every community where some sort of competitive elements have been introduced these ideas are popular with those whom it truly matters…Parents and their children.

          Selling an open educational market is toughest to either those whose livelihood depends on the continued existence of the status-quo (such as teachers) or those whom have no “true” skin in the game (the “we ‘need’ an educated society” crowd)

  19. If the left wants to be our friends this week, that must mean the right is currently winning in Washington.

  20. Alright, I think I’ve taken Da Troof much more seriously than he deserves already. He’s had enough punishment today.

  21. You’re right to be sceptical.

    I suspect most people on the left and right are driven by similarly non-rational motivations, and thus are similarly not susceptible to rational persuasion on political matters.

    But you’re also wrong.

    But I suspect my decision really comes down to my nostalgia for the great American tendency ta fuck shit up ? which seems to me less present than it was when I was a lad,

    50% of Americans don’t vote.

    50% of Americans have worked it out.

    Unfortunately you’d need to get these people to vote – which is probably even harder than getting liberals to admit they’re wrong.

    1. I seriously doubt that most people who don’t vote choose not to do so for principled libertarian reasons.

  22. The left claims to endorse social freedom, but in reality they would like those “freedoms” to be heavily subsidized by government and/or only enjoyed by specially anointed groups.

  23. About the point that
    “””I suspect most people on the left and right are driven by similarly non-rational motivations, and thus are similarly not susceptible to rational persuasion on political matters. “””
    This is why it’s an illusion when libertarians share policy views with people on the left or the right. In the last 40 years torture has gone from something that the left said wasn’t very important and the right oversimplified, to something that was universally opposed, to something the right said was a good thing that the left wanted to take out of our arsenal to weaken us, to something that left and right are agreed is no big deal. All along the libertarians haven’t changed their views because they are based on principles rather than what team is in charge.

    1. All along the libertarians haven’t changed their views because they are based on principles rather than what team is in charge crackpot ideologues who don’t need to be listened to.

      FTFY. Now it’s media approved.

      1. Thanks that reads better.

      2. It’s hard to imagine a meme more sophomoric than the “FTFY” thing. Seriously.

  24. But I suspect my decision really comes down to my nostalgia for the great American tendency ta fuck shit up ? which seems to me less present than it was when I was a lad

    cherry bombs under garbage cans does have its romance….but anon just shut down Sony’s network this last week…

    Just saying.

    1. Actually, I wasn’t sure what Tim meant by this. At first glance, I’d take it to mean invade/bomb other countries, but since he meant it as a good thing, I didn’t know what he meant. Did he mean innovate? Piss of Europeans with more relative prosperity?

      1. Did he mean innovate? Piss of Europeans with more relative prosperity?

        No he means an individual fucking shit up: Being an instigator.

        That is how i read it.

        Unless he responds we will never know.

        1. He said “American tendency” not “America’s tendency”

          This is why I think he is talking about a tendency of Americans and not a tendency of America.

          1. That makes more sense, then.

        2. Ah, so his nostalgia for it was sarcasm.

          1. Ah, so his nostalgia for it was sarcasm.

            No.

            It was sincere I think. When he says fuck shit up he is not talking about violence per say.

            Think more Hunter S. Thomson fucking shit up and less Charles Manson fucking shit up.

  25. I had some moderate success today attempting to convince a generic left-liberal that despite the “system” being fucked up that you could effectively “drop out” of the system economically by being self-employed and enaging in low level commerce such as barter and labor trading.

    I think a productive route is to encourage anti-privledge leftists to start their own independent system that relies on such mechanisms.
    Then they basically turn into left-libertarians.

    1. You would think that agorist principles would attract a lot of lefties, but the anti-market indoctrination they receive through compulsory education has the pretty well inoculated.

  26. “…a step in the right direction after the nasty, brutish and short life of the “liberaltarian” movement, which seemed set up specifically to court the sensibilities of the aristocratic left.”

    I’m sure that’s the way it was intended, but it played to my ear like a bunch of big government liberals trying to appeal to anti-war libertarians.

    And the befuddlement was on the part of the aristocratic left…

    They want to cut spending and taxes?! …but what about the economy?!

  27. The reason to posit free-market economic ideas is that they are useful and accurate.

    I guess that puts you in the utilitarian camp, Tim. The other reason to be an advocate of the free market is because it’s a logical extension of the non-aggression principle.

    I’m always curious about utilitarian-libertarians thoughts on this: If, let’s pretend, someone developed a centrally controlled and planned economic system that had “better” (whatever your criteria for better) results than a free market, would you support that system?

    1. And, btw, the “better” system is what the progressive movement (and every other political movement) is trying to implement. I feel the utilitarian approach to free markets enables all sorts of planners to advocate for some sort of centrally controlled “better” system. Given how easy it is to manipulate hypothetical scenarios into your favor, it’s no wonder we have a government full of busy bodies ready to make our lives “better” whether we like it or not.

    2. Short answer: No.

      Long answer: No, because they have a flawed philosophical justification for libertarianism that they came up with after they were already libertarians.

    3. Yes, but utilitarianism doesn’t have to address counterfactuals. That’s like asking if people were made of titanium would it be OK to shoot them.

  28. I think right about now would be a good time to look in and see how the bleeding heart libertarians are doing

    http://bhl.typepad.com/bleeding-heart-libertaria/

  29. I might be off base, but I’ve always tried to get through to the Christian socialists by explaining that Jesus himself was firmly against coercion, which is at the center of statist policy. After all, he politely asked the rich young ruler to give up his possesions, he didn’t call him a capitalist leech and force him at sword-point to do the virtuous thing. And then of course I mention the obvious fact that Jesus would think it rather short-sighted to focus on man’s temporal needs rather than his spiritual needs, something the state has no business forcing on people.

    As a still-practicing Christian, I take issue with the typical liberal taunt that Jesus would be some left-wing socialist by today’s standards. No, he’d actually be a libertarian socialist, meaning he’d be the guy running a voluntary commune.

    1. No, he’d actually be a libertarian socialist, meaning he’d be the guy running a voluntary commune.

      Of the worlds top 5 religions Christianity is the most libertarianish.

      It could be the top 10 but I can’t seem to think of what number 6 would even be.

      1. Nah dude, Judaism. Compare Jesus’s Golden Rule (Treat others as you would treat yourself) to Hillel’s (Don’t treat others as you would not treat yourself).

      2. Romans 13:1-7

        (1) Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. (2) Therefore, whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. (3) For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; (4) for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer. (5) Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but because of conscience. (6) For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. (7) Pay to all what is due them?taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.

        Again, the Scriptures deal very little with politics, but when they do they endorse the status quo at the time (which was invariably authoritarian).

        1. But wasn’t Paul the anti-christ? I mean take anything Jesus said about a subject and you can find Paul contradicting it…no?

          (^_~)

    2. “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s.”

      Jesus, assuming he existed and did and said the things in the Gospels, did not really address politics much, and when he did, pretty much endorsed the status quo.

      1. True, Christians are to be accepting of authority, but we do live a society that allows us to peacefully change the government. So I don’t think Jesus would frown upon participating in democracy.

      2. Jesus, assuming he existed and did and said the things in the Gospels, did not really address politics much

        By definition this makes Jesus the most libertarian.

        The new testament has very little to do with how poeple should be governed.

        The vast majority is about how an individual should govern himself.

        The same cannot be said about Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, or Buddhism.

        1. Political apathy is not libertarianism.

      3. You could read that as a separation of church & state, not as a status quo. And perhaps the ground roots for the enlightenment.
        I?m no theologian, so I like it when prophets stick to spiritual matters.

  30. And thanks to the reasoning we’ve offered, more and more former left-statists are being won over and joining the ranks of the left-libertarians.

    YOU LIE

    No one is persuaded by being cowered before, and every thus-far-presented variant of left-libertarian/liberaltarian whatever, especially Long’s, begins in cowering, e.g.

    I think the main obstacle we face in persuading the anti-privilege Left is the perception that libertarians are “just like conservatives only more so”; we need at all costs to avoid confirming that perception.

    and proceeds, or attempts to, or pretends to, without ever leaving its knees.

    The “anti-privilege left” are, at best, a deluded tool of the “aristocratic left,” and the degree to which they’ll ape persuasion-by- or joining-with-libertarians is precisely, and only, the degree to which they’re allowed by libertarians to feel they’re tooling them in turn.
    Tell them they’re wrong, that they’re fooled, that what they say is bullshit?not that their always-perfect intentions may manifest themselves occasionally in imperfect policy to which libertarian policy may present an also-imperfect but maybe marginally better alternative, but that they’re wrong.

    Just once. About anything. If you can. And watch what happens.

    1. I think the main obstacle we face in persuading the anti-privilege Left is the perception that libertarians are “just like conservatives only more so”; we need at all costs to avoid confirming that perception.

      I don’t know if it is the main obstacle or if we need to avoid it at “all” costs…but it is a problem.

      Libertarians do get pigeon-holed as conservatives, and almost any conversation I have with a left leaning independent I have to wade though the facts of how I am not a conservative.

      Don’t use Tony as an archetype left leaning independent. He is entrenched in his left wing fantasy land and anti-libertarian stance.

      Many independent lefties are not like him.

  31. How does a freed market protect an average family against e.coli in the foodstream, contaminated beef, cars that are so fundamentally mis-designed that they are unsafe, cribs that kill babies with entrapment, contaminated alchohol wipes in the ER’s, poorly designed blow-out preventers in deep-well drilling rigs, nuclear reactors with inadequate safety plans, global pandemic threats such as SARS, or worse (and less likely) Ebola? Who funds this stuff?
    I, as a citizen, want to have well-paid experts at the national level who can help identify, regulate, target, and eliminate risk. I think government has a role. And i will happily pay for it. But, I pay less tax than most. I don’t think that’s fair. And you should not either.

    1. I, as a citizen, want to have well-paid experts at the national level who can help identify, regulate, target, and eliminate risk.

      B-

    2. All of those things have happened while government was watching, retard. And if you want experts to watch over you, please go ahead and do so, but don’t force the rest of us to be watched over or to pay for it.

      1. If you so much as use a municipal water supply that you don’t have to boil every time you use it, then you should shut your ignorant face. You sound like a child. I don’t think a single libertarian here wants the massive decrease in living standards that would come by getting rid of all of these protections. You want your lifestyle as you know it, just with less government, and you assert that this is possible but don’t ever offer evidence–no evidence needed for a system that’s never been proven. We’ll just take your word for it.

        1. Does real Tony still exist? Did he ever?

        2. A lot of municipal water supplies are owned and run by private companies. TO you really think that absent government standards, the water companies really wouldn’t see the enormous advantage of delivering safe water to their customers?

          1. Do you really think…

            1. Zeb,

              Look to India’s municipal water supply issues for an interesting case study. It isn’t so straight forward which strategy would be the most profitable. If you can get people buying your bottled water, there may be a business model buried in there somewhere.

        3. If you so much as use a municipal water supply that you don’t have to boil every time you use it, then you should shut your ignorant face.

          There are private water systems.

          Do you have any evidence what-so-ever that they are inherently less safe then government owned water systems?

          Also it is not uncommon in these here states for poeple to trust buying privately sold and delivered water for drinking and cooking simply because they do not trust their municipal water system.

        4. Tony have you asked yourself whether force is actually necessary in providing any of the services government does? You don’t need to force people to pay for something they already want. And if they don’t need it, they won’t pay for it. Every time you use this argument, it falls on the same falty premise.

    3. But, I pay less tax than most. I don’t think that’s fair.

      No doubt you are right. So, decide how much would be fair, and send your check or money order payable to the United States Treasury to the address below:

      Gifts to the United States
      U.S. Department of the Treasury
      Credit Accounting Branch
      3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
      Hyattsville, MD 20782

      There you go. Problem solved.

  32. The anti-privilege Left is already largely on our side when it comes to civil-liberties issues and to war; these are the folks who didn’t switch their positions on those issues when the White House turned from red to blue.

    Ah, in other words, a group not much bigger than libertarians, and one that’s impossible to peel away from Democrats and Greens.

    I say they’re only “largely” with us on civil liberties because this group still tends to be bad on (at least) one civil liberty: gun rights.

    Which is not merely a quibble but our Second Amendment. Disagreeing about whether an amendment should apply if it disagrees with policy preferences is tantamount to an enormous grant of arbitrary power to government. Supporting the 2nd’s repeal is fine, but most on the left would rather seek to erect barriers to its implementation instead because they know only urban Democrats and fellow travelers actually support gun control.

    They arrive sometimes at similar conclusions as libertarians but do so in a way that demonstrates a huge difference in principles, so why ally?

  33. I have started to notice some signs from some on the Left lately, that at least a few are beginning to understand libertarian ideas. I think we can rule out a simple Liberal-Libertarian alliance, but we could be seeing a shift such as occurred during the 1930s or in 1980, where there were large realignments of alliances.

    I have, incidentally, recently been reading “A Renegade History of the United States” by Thaddeus Russell, who came from a liberal background but has come to value libertarian and other perspectives. It’s excellent – one of the best books I’ve read, and I’ve read a lot of books.

  34. “I say they’re only “largely” with us on civil liberties because this group still tends to be bad on (at least) one civil liberty: gun rights. But otherwise their chief sticking points are economic…”

    Long’s blind spot here is considering the disgreement over economics to not be a civil liberty issue. Most libertarians consider property rights to be the foundation civil liberties rest on. The left has a fundamental philosophical problem with respecting property rights. Perhaps some of these people can be convinced, but then they would be rejecting a prime assumption of the left and therefore would not be leftists anymore.

    1. Unless you believe in a fundamental right not to be taxed, then there isn’t that much daylight on property rights between liberals and libertarians. If you do believe in a right not to be taxed then you have to call yourself an anarchist, and there shouldn’t be any surprise when people don’t go along with that brand of radicalism. If you accept that taxes are necessary for a functioning society, then the only disagreements are in how much and what to pay for. Don’t tell me that a flat tax means property rights are respected and a progressive tax means they are being infringed upon. That’s a policy argument that is trying to get extra credit by tacking on an argument about basic liberties.

      1. The left can justify to itself restricting free speech because it’s not “fair” that some people have more resources to pursue speech than others. That is representaative of the fundamentaal differnces between the left and libertarians regarding property rights.

        “Don’t tell me that a flat tax means property rights are respected and a progressive tax means they are being infringed upon.”

        Yes, it does. Especially if the progressive tax is justified by its supporters for its social engineering utility rather than revenue purposes.

      2. This is basically true. However, the right to not be taxed does not mean that one has a right to the things that governments usually provide, such as police, courts, and so forth; these things need to be purchased. The market anarchist believes that these services (and all worthwhile goods and services) can best be, and ought to be, provided by the free market.

        Where Tony is being disingenuous, though, is insinuating that there is something inherently ludicrous and dangerous about someone promoting any type of anarchy, and that nobody should even consider such a suggestion. This is the strategy of the committed statist, who is deathly afraid that anyone should ever get the idea that society could survive, even thrive, without the boot of a coercive government on everyone’s neck.

  35. There are a few on the left who could be swayed into the libertarian camp (Balko’s here, right?) but the numbers would be very small. Find some who are right on the gun issue, distrust the state even when the “right people are in charge”, actually support legalizing drugs, support free choice in medical matters/food choices,think kelo was awful…

    Funny thing is…I don’t have a problem with anything on your list…and yet I ain’t a libertarian. You won’t “get” people as long as your rhetoric includes concepts like, e.g., taxes in a democracy = theft.

  36. The left has a fundamental philosophical problem with respecting property rights.

    Not true. “They” just see difference on the boundaries…on the margins. It is not a fundamental difference with the central idea that property rights should be respected. They are just placed differently in the hierarchy of concerns.

    1. The left think the government has a fundamental right to determine through zoning what can and cannot be done (Density, use, etc.) on private property.

      That is not a difference at the margins.

    2. It is not a fundamental difference with the central idea that property rights should be respected. They are just placed differently in the hierarchy of concerns.

      Your sophistry impresses once again. By the same standard, one could argue that the PRC respects freedom of speech, they just place it beneath “national security”, social harmony, government stability, and several other concerns.

    3. See, I see property rights as an ESSENTIAL basis for any “fair” or “just” system.

      Everyone ought to be treated equally, without regard to how much property or money they posess.

      You simply have to respect property that was acquired through voluntary contracts (or even produced directly by oneself), or else you are violating that basic concept of justice.

      At what point does a series of exchanges of produce and labor become unfair or unjust and need state correction? The only non-arbitrary point you can put this at is if it involves violence or coercion of one party, which is exactly where libertarians put it. If you define that point in terms of the pre-existing wealth of the parties involved than you’re creating unjust discrimination.

      Moreover, by undermining the equal justice principle you’re doing damage to the principles that PROTECT the weak and the poor from being preyed upon by wealthy and politically connected individuals – as in eminent domain abuse.

      Eminent domain abuse is really a direct illistration of how undermining property rights on behalf of “the general welfare” ends up resulting in direct abuses of the less powerful and wealthy by the more so.

  37. Anyone who thinks we can solve the deficit with higher taxes is mathematically illiterate.

    Try this, for a start:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/bus…..ch/237000/

    The post winds up talking about base broadening, but even that misses the historical cap on federal revenues that has endured across generations at around 19% of GDP, regardless of the gyrations of the tax code.

  38. “They” just see difference on the boundaries…on the margins.

    I don’t think so. “They” see all kinds of “positive rights” to which property rights are subordinate. Those positive rights are endless, boundless, and satisfying them require ever-increasing encroachments on property rights.

    That’s the thing about “marginal” disagreements that stem from fundamental differences – it turns out they aren’t marginal at all.

    1. I don’t think so. “They” see all kinds of “positive rights” to which property rights are subordinate. Those positive rights are endless, boundless, and satisfying them require ever-increasing encroachments on property rights.

      “Positive rights” would be a place where there is a fundamental difference of opinion. But that does not equal “fundamental philosophical problem with respecting property rights.” The fundamental difference, as far as I can tell, is the placement of rights within a web of responsibilities…something libertarians will frequently argue do not exist. But when we keep it on topic as a discussion about respect for property rights, the idea that the differences really are at the margins. Now, there are those on the extreme left that believe property is theft, sure, but that is not who we are talking about.

      1. Now, there are those on the extreme left that believe property is theft, sure, but that is not who we are talking about.

        The famous Proudhon claim is logically contradictory. One must own something (property) in order to make a valid claim of theft and if no one should have ownership, then theft can never occur.

        1. Not sure that is true. Proudhon’s point was more along the lines that trying to claim “exclusive” control of a common resource is analogous to stealing from those that have an equal right to access and utilize that resource.

          1. Not sure that is true. Proudhon’s point was more along the lines that trying to claim “exclusive” control of a common resource is analogous to stealing from those that have an equal right to access and utilize that resource.

            Proudhon’s self-refuting phrase was even attacked by Marx as logically contradictory, because it is. Property presupposes an ownership claim and ALL cannot reasonably make such a claim. The final utilization of property will be decided on by one or a few, to the exclusion of the remaining. A given parcel of land can only have one structure built on it, so those who want a school will exclude those who want a hospital, a factory or for it to remain unused. Even if decided ‘democratically’, the final use excludes those who wish for some other use.

            1. Again, that was not Proudhon’s point,as far as I can tell without being able to read the original french. He was talking, primarily, about the use of land to generate income and comparing the charging of rent, which adds no value to the work done with the land, to stealing. Claiming exclusive control over the land that you are not utilizing and charging someone who would use it productively rent was compared to stealing.

    2. Those positive rights are endless, boundless, and satisfying them require ever-increasing encroachments on property rights.

      My perception is that progressives will never be quite satisfied with society. Their worldview is dominated by the believe that society must always strive for improvements in social welfare standards. If they ever got universal heathcare, they would just move on to universal day care, universal fitness, and eventually universal instruction in music and art. There is no end to “making the world a batter place”. There is always just the “making it better”.

      Really, it’s a whole mindset that is much like religion. One’s purpose in life is to devote onself to improving the world for others, with no necessary endpoint at all. A modified form of the Christian martyr complex, which is not in essence any different from the philosophy that nuns and monks live by.

  39. the idea that

  40. Clearly what will save libertarianism from continued political marginalization is to branch out from our core of crazy, unelectable, radical libertarians and recruit from amongst crazy, unelectable, radical leftists.

  41. But that does not equal “fundamental philosophical problem with respecting property rights.”

    I think it does, because positive rights cannot be delivered without violating property rights. Somebody was arguing around here that the positive right to medical care justified the enslavement of medical providers.

    The fundamental difference, as far as I can tell, is the placement of rights within a web of responsibilities…something libertarians will frequently argue do not exist.

    Libertarians are generally quite vehement that individuals are responsible for the consequences of their actions.

    Now, if you mean some kind of abstract web of responsibility that looms large over society a priori, then you are essentially arguing that it is a natural law of some kind. And I didn’t think you believed in natural law.

    1. positive rights cannot be delivered without violating property rights.

      What makes you think owning property is a negative right? What are property rights but the forceful exclusion of others?

      1. What makes you think owning property is a negative right? What are property rights but the forceful exclusion of others?

        The “forceful exlusion of others” IS a criteria of a negative rights claim. It is a proposition that asserts what others may NOT do towards an individual, without risking retaliation. Forceful retaliation is the consequence of infringing on the right of ownership.

      2. Owning property would be a positive right if someone else had to provide it for you.

        As it is, property rights are just an aspect of respecting individuals self-ownership and right to engage in contract with eachother. You produce the property. You agree to trade it with some other person, and each of you is entitled to keep the proceeds. Simple as that.

        Unless someone jumps in and insists that you give the produce to the other person for free, then it doesn’t become a positive right.

  42. Now, if you mean some kind of abstract web of responsibility that looms large over society a priori, then you are essentially arguing that it is a natural law of some kind. And I didn’t think you believed in natural law.

    If there is such a thing as natural law it includes both rights and responsibilities. The term “positive rights” is used to refer to these responsibilities by those that want to deny their existence. Most of the world recognizes both rights and responsibilities as essential elements of society and civilization.

    Libertarians are generally quite vehement that individuals are responsible for the consequences of their actions.

    They use those words, yes. But they don’t mean them. The reason I say this is that to maintain a coherent system, they have to couch this claim in terms of “positive actions initiated by the individual” or some such construction. They would deny that you have to take any responsibility for a “failure to act.” Most of the world recognizes that there are situations where a person should be held accountable for their failure to act.

    1. Most of the world recognizes that there are situations where a person should be held accountable for their failure to act.

      In very rare circumstances, and they would not prescribe the same punishments for failing to act as they would for acting in a harmful manner.

      For instance, do you really think that a person who fails to rescue a drowning man should be charged with murder, or even negilgent homicide?

      I think the only time failing to act is really considered punishable is if a person is explicitly charged with a responsibility to act under certain circumstances, but does not.

      Simply being a bystander normally does not impose such an obligation. Indeed, being a bystander who acts positively in some cases exposes one to liability since you might end up doing more harm than good.

      1. I don’t think these circumstances are as rare as you imagine. But, yes, failure to act is rarely as serious as homicide. Although the concept of criminal neglect certainly codifies failure to act for specific circumstances.

        1. Yes, but climinal neglect doesn’t exist for bystanders, only people who have some sort of statutory responsibility.

          Parents are legally held responsible for their children. Legal guardians for their wards. Nurses are responsible for taking care of patients, etc.

          We all totally understand that a nurse who fails to respond to a distress call is violating some sort of contract.

          However, except for parents, we’re pretty much talking about people who have voluntarily assumed a responsibility. And even in the case of parents, there is a responsibiltiy assumed by not giving the child up for adoption.

          But find an example of people imposing a punishment for failing to act on a complete bystander, who has NOT made any voluntary choice to assume any responsibility and who is otherwise uninvolved.

          1. You are looking at this very narrowly. Society has many responsibilities that are codified and punished if an individual fails to act in a certain way. From getting your dog license to paying taxes, there are lots of little responsibilities that are part of your obligation as a member of the community. Not acting on those often carries a punishment. Most people see that as basically proper. Although all, I would assume, see rules that they find unnecessary or unreasonable, and perhaps most think there should be fewer of these rules. The libertarian who sees all of these obligations as improper because they involve compelled actions is, however, far from the mainstream.

            1. Why should I have to get a dog license? Besides, owning a dog is a positive action.

              What responsibility do you have to take some positive action, which you have NOT assumed by taking some prior action (other than being born), that is legally punishable if you don’t do it?

              Name some specifics.

              1. And I’m not talking about some fucked up law of recent invention. Let’s bring this down to moral intuitions and common law precedents.

  43. The author misses the point about the mainsteam modern left. With the exception of a few hardcore radicals, most accept that “real socialism”, nationalization of industry etc does not work. They admit that the private sector is the only vehicle to wealth creation and have chosen to bleed and regulate it (via taxation, union rights, regulation). They admit they need us, which is a welcome development, but having industry regulated in the “public interest” inevitably results in gross corruption. Namely lobbies, some of which the left actively supports (unions, ACORN, the race grievance industry), others which are unideological (bribing politicians) and the mixed thing (industry buying privileges for donations to left-wing causes and such).

    They will decry the “privileges” of the rich, even as their policies promote a legion of opportunists who game the system. But you won?t get them to accept the free market. They already exchanged socialism for crony capitalism with a human face, they don?t have anything left to turn to.

  44. Eh. This is a rehash of an argument that’s been going on in libertarian circles for at least 45 yrs., as evidenced by the Rothbard quote. (I knew it to be the case anyway.) It boils down to something we can’t possibly know and therefore can only speculate about, namely the difference between what we have now and how arrangements would be if freed. It’s like whether the Laffer curve, if known at any place other than its ends, would be a smooth and simple function, or a path-dependent “technosnarl” as diagrammed by Martin Gardner. From comparing mixed economies to totalitarian ones, we can’t really extrapolate to total freedom.

    In some cases I think freedom would make a big difference, and in others very little. I just don’t know which.

    Meanwhile, what’s the difference between the “aristocratic left” and the aristocratic “right”? Is it just their self-identif’n?

  45. This dialog won’t even get off the ground unless
    a) The “anti-priviledge left” become open to the possibility that a freed market could be beneficial to their mascot groups…and they become willing to open themselves to alternative views of history, economics, etc.
    b) libertarians in general don’t just start chanting “Statist” and the “NAP” at anyone who is not an anarcho-capitalist
    c) egoism takes a holiday and the emotional intelligence of the population rises

    I don’t see any of that happening in my next several lifetimes

  46. Buying handbags from a website?

  47. Why you been sipping all the Haterade, man? wholesale NFL hats

  48. I think it does, because positive rights cannot be delivered without violating property rights. Somebody was arguing around here that the positive right to medical care justified the enslavement of medical providers.

  49. I would be confused if you didn’t.

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