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What Do Ann Coulter and Slate Agree On?

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Will no one think of the widgets?

That libertarians are monsters, of course. Here's the conservative:

Sure, all good libertarians want to legalize drugs, but the question is whether that is more important than legalizing the ability to locate your widget factory where you want to put it. Even purists can have priorities.

Most libertarians are cowering frauds too afraid to upset anyone to take a stand on some of the most important cultural issues of our time. So they dodge the tough questions when it suits their purposes by pretending to be Randian purists, but are perfectly comfortable issuing politically expedient answers when it comes to the taxpayers' obligations under Medicare and Social Security.

If they could only resist sucking up to "Rolling Stone"-reading, status-obsessed losers, they'd probably be interesting to talk to.

In my book "Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America," I make the case that liberals, and never conservatives, appeal to irrational mobs to attain power. There is, I now recall, one group of people who look like conservatives, but also appeal to the mob. They're called "libertarians."

And here's the liberal (Stephen Metcalf, in this case):

Calling yourself a libertarian is another way of saying you believe power should be held continuously answerable to the individual's capacity for creativity and free choice. By that standard, Thomas Jefferson, John Ruskin, George Orwell, Isaiah Berlin, Noam Chomsky, Michel Foucault, and even John Maynard Keynes are libertarians. (Orwell: "The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians." Keynes: "But above all, individualism … is the best safeguard of personal liberty in the sense that, compared with any other system, it greatly widens the field for the exercise of personal choice.") Every thinking person is to some degree a libertarian, and it is this part of all of us that is bullied or manipulated when liberty is invoked to silence our doubts about the free market. The ploy is to take libertarianism as Orwell meant it and confuse it with libertarianism as Hayek meant it; to take a faith in the individual as an irreducible unit of moral worth, and turn it into a weapon in favor of predation.

Reason's just another word for Bailout Economics

Another way to put it—and here lies the legacy of Keynes—is that a free society is an interplay between a more-or-less permanent framework of social commitments, and the oasis of economic liberty that lies within it. The nontrivial question is: What risks (to health, loss of employment, etc.) must be removed from the oasis and placed in the framework (in the form of universal health care, employment insurance, etc.) in order to keep liberty a substantive reality, and not a vacuous formality? When Hayek insists welfare is the road is to serfdom, when Nozick insists that progressive taxation is coercion, they take liberty hostage in order to prevent a reasoned discussion about public goods from ever taking place. "According to them, any intervention of the state in economic life," a prominent conservative economist once observed of the early neoliberals, "would be likely to lead, and even lead inevitably to a completely collectivist Society, Gestapo and gas chamber included." Thus we are hectored into silence, and by the very people who purport to leave us most alone.

Thanks in no small part to that silence, we have passed through the looking glass. Large-scale, speculative risk, undertaken by already grossly overcompensated bankers, is now officially part of the framework, in the form of too-big-to-fail guarantees made, implicitly and explicitly, by the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, the "libertarian" right moves to take the risks of unemployment, disease, and, yes, accidents of birth, and devolve them entirely onto the responsibility of the individual. It is not just sad; it is repugnant.

I would provide a link to all of Reason's commentary in favor of too-big-to-fail guarantees made by the Federal Reserve, but, well, maybe the search engine's broken?

Watch Nick Gillespie with Ann Coulter on Red Eye below:

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492 responses to “What Do Ann Coulter and Slate Agree On?

    1. +1. Sometimes, all you can do is laugh.

      1. Or comment 400 times in various pointless ways.

        1. A male society has no art!!!

    2. I wouldn’t fuck Coulter with Michael Moore’s dick.

  1. Most libertarians are cowering frauds too afraid to upset anyone to take a stand on some of the most important cultural issues of our time.

    How is “its none of the government’s goddam business” refusing to take a stand? And how is taking the unpopular position an act of cowardice, again?

    Methinks Coulter is falling into the statist fallacy here. For her, the only stand is on how, not whether, the state should be involved.

    perfectly comfortable issuing politically expedient answers when it comes to the taxpayers’ obligations under Medicare and Social Security.

    Ah, so when libertarians actually take a position that isn’t unpopular, they do so only because its politically expedient.

    There is, I now recall, one group of people who look like conservatives, but also appeal to the mob. They’re called “libertarians.”

    Telling the mob to piss off is now “appealing to the mob”?

    1. Coulter reveals herself to be a political hack instead of a principled thinker, how unsurprising.

      1. she’s been a “hack” for some time now seeking to foam-up the wingnuts to buy her books.

        1. has she ever NOT been a hack?

      2. Coulter is a joke – she is a former leftist who took the caustic qualities of an enviro-terrorist, the redundancy of a talk-radio host, and analytical skills of a specific NY times op-ed columnist and merged them together to sell a shitload of books.

        1. You know who else sold a shitload of books?

          1. wait…hitler?

          2. Stephen King?

          3. Charles Dickens?

          4. L.Ron Hubbard?

          5. Come on, this is easy: Oprah.

          6. Amazon.com?

          7. Moses?

          8. Jack Chick?

    2. We can be criticized in any number of ways, but “unprincipled” is exactly wrong. In fact, one of the biggest internal disputes is over whether we should act with more political expediency, conceding on some principles to make things a little better, or strive for Libertopia and only Libertopia.

      1. I think one of the things that she was getting at here, and its not an entirely moot point, is that the two nominal libertarian candidates in the GOP primary have not spoken about fundamental entitlement reform. As much as I love what Ron Paul has done to bring libertarianism en vouge as a philosophy, he generally punts on the question of entitlement reform claiming that if only we were to end the empire, we would be able to carry on with SS/MC unscathed, and that I think is the point she’s making.

        1. Rand certainly goes about 10 miles further than Coulter would ever dare in slashing entitlements in his budget proposal. But I guess that doesn’t count…

          1. Rand’s budget proposal was to trim $500 billion a year, but he actually managed to do that without touching SS/MC. I know philosophically he would certainly go further than Coulter, and I know his opposition to Paul Ryan’s plan was that it wasn’t sufficiently broad, but to my knowledge he hasn’t put any specifics out there yet. I eagerly await it though since I do believe he ultimately is the best hope for libertarians in the broad sense of actual political chops and libertarian stances across the board for the most part.

            1. In addition to his budget bills, Rand had a bill with Mike Lee and Lindsey Graham to reform social security. It did not include private accounts. I think it just raises retirement age.

        2. The two libertarian candidates are at least likely to take on such reform. None of the others would, except maybe to expand entitlements (thinking Romney here).

          1. That’s the trouble. They keep thinking that by selling an upgrade to a bigger package, they can break even.

        3. and that I think is the point she’s making.

          then she should just come out and say it. I mean it’s not like coulter is afraid to piss people off.

          1. She says that libertarians worry about little stuff that is important to them while not making more important stuff a higher priority. She said what she meant.

            The libertarians inciting mob stuff is ridiculous if taken literally, of course. Just finding enough libertarians to fill a taxi cab can be problematic.

            Coulter doesn’t seem to consider that many libertarians obsess about the things they do in order to give a voice to concerns that otherwise wouldn’t get talked about.

        4. Wait, what? The coming fiscal doom is pretty much the only part of Gary Johnson’s message that has any appeal to the average GOP voter, and he’s been pretty outspoken about both the problem and his proposed solution (namely, hand it back to the states).

          1. Ya, Gary Johnson’s proposal for how he would deal with Medicare is about as specific and controversial as any proposal I have heard from the rest of the GOP candidates.

        5. Ron Paul has, on numerous occasions, expressed his views in detail with respect to entitlements. With many millions currently, completely dependent on entitlements, it would be insane to simply end them in one fell swoop. People were weened onto entitlements and need to be weened off them. Furthermore, it is hard to justify pulling the rug out from under “welfare queens” while we still have billionaires, essentially, gorging at the public trough. Dr. Paul recognizes that entitlements will have to end and he wants to do it in the most humane way possible before we get to the point where they simply can not be paid.

  2. Every thinking person is to some degree a libertarian, and it is this part of all of us that is bullied or manipulated when liberty is invoked to silence our doubts about the free market.

    Not unlike diminishing a very good article on libertarianism by inexplicably linking it with Ann Coulter.

    1. Maybe more polished, but not very good.

      Simply ignoring libertarian calls for the end of TBTF, auto bailouts, corporate welfare, etc…. makes Metcalf a willful liar or just plain stupid.

      1. Willful ignorance > willful lying.

      2. Read Metcalf’s article more carefully, not just the snippet given here. Metcalf is not saying libertarians don’t call for such things, only that they make so much noise elsewhere that that message gets ignored; and that by assuming institutions will behave the same as individuals, libertarians empower them to the point where their demands for privileges overcome the objections of the libertarians who empowered them.

        1. Both of your criticisms blame libertarians for the actions of the non-libertarians in power.

          It’s not libertarians’ fault that politicians selectively ignore them (lower taxes yes, lower spending no) and that politicians are easily bought by “empowered” entities.

          And if you’re going to argue against libertarianism on the basis of unintended consequences… where the hell does that leave liberalism, conservatism, and moderatism, which have been far more influential in creating the mess we’re in now?

          1. They have a point in criticizing us for policies with unintended consequences. After all, libertarians regularly use this valid argument against authoritarian policies. Here’s an example where such criticism from our opponents should not be ignored: badly run privatizations which only privatize part of an industry often result in privatized gains and socialized losses, which is arguably worse than full socialism.

            I think both Metcalf’s and Coulter’s critiques seem to say, “When libertarians agree with me they do so only half-heartedly and when they agree with the other team they are loud and effective.” This seems to be wrong. We’re very ideological on both economic and social matters and very ineffectual.

          2. There’s fault and then there’s fault. If you don’t lock your doors and maybe put in even more security, and someone breaks in and steals your stuff, well, sure, it’s the burglar’s fault — but should you not have foreseen the existence of burglars, and don’t you therefore deserve some blame? Not the same condemnatory type of blame, but blame nonetheless. I think that’s what Metcalf is getting at.

            Do security measures cost you money that could’ve instead gone into more stuff? Sure. So Metcalf is saying libertarians are loading up on stuff without sufficient care against misuse.

      3. I think he does you a favor by not mentioning your platitudinous objections to the interventions following the financial crisis. You were against some very bad tasting medicine, but it did provide the cure that was sought. I believe that you wouldn’t be complaining about a lack of corporate bailouts had they failed to act and thus ushered in a massive downward spiral toward long-term depression, but I think you’d still be complaining, and much more loudly.

        1. Tony, You are a moron.

          Really…

          The baiouts were an utter violation of libertarian principles. Now, with guys like Bill Maher and Wayne Allen Root calling themselves libertarian, I’m sure you could find a few people claiming the mantle that would have done so.

          However, the broad mass of libertarian policy experts and economists were unanimous in decrying the bailouts. The decried bailouts in theory back when no one was paying attention. They certainly didn’t call for bailouts when the dot-com bubble burst. They didn’t call for bailouts during the S & L crisis.

          I’m sorry, but this is unusually reality challenged, even for you.

          1. Sorry, I was trying to say that I believe that you’d be against the bailouts in any circumstance. So, good for you for being against something that nobody liked, but that actually managed to unite the two parties because of the huge abyss everyone was staring into. Libertarians and liberals are united in their horror at the moral hazard generated, I think. But while usually libertarian opposition to economic policies has the benefit of not having or seeking evidence, almost everyone agrees that letting the financial sector collapse would have had consequences far beyond merely punishing the bad actors involved.

          2. What’s wrong with Wayne Root’s labeling? I think it’s a mistake for him to be with the Libertarian Party, but that’s because it’s a mistake for anyone to be with LP, but I don’t see anything wrong with his description.

            Bill Maher may be no more libertarian than the avg. American, or maybe he is; but I don’t see Wayne Root as being even more of anything else than libertarian, if you’re talking policy.

        2. You were against some very bad tasting medicine, but it did provide the cure that was sought.

          Just like Chloroseptic cures strep throat.

        3. You were against some very bad tasting medicine, but it did provide the cure that was sought.

          Prevent bank CEOs from losing their perks? Destroy thousands of community banks at the expense of saving five giant ones? That cure?

        4. Tony, what you’ve just written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on H&R is now dumber for having read to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

          1. I just lold.

    2. If you read _The Road To Serfdom_ Hayek explicitly states that he takes no umbrage with welfare programs by the state. How does one exactly square that with what the author wrote? Though the snippet doesn’t mention it, Friedman argued for a guaranteed income for everyone.

      Anyway, what Hayek insisted was the road to serfdom was economic planning; he’s very explicit about this. Why his critics can’t actually pick up the book and read it I cannot say.

      1. I guess Metcalf DNRTRTS.

        1. can you blame him? It’s a slog.

          1. I disagree. The Road to Serfdom is a relatively easy read – compared with something like Human Action (or The Constitution of Liberty for that matter).

            (But I do realize you were possibly being sarcastic…)

      2. In his late life Hayek went against this, saying that at first he was not ready for where his theories were taking him and just assumed government had some role to play.

    3. What article was the good one, Tony?

      1. The Metcalf one. He expresses things clearly that I’ve been trying and failing to get across. I find libertarianism fascinating because individual liberty is something I happen to care about, but the philosophy of individual liberty goes about it so completely wrongheadedly, and I find that interesting. It’s that the “vacuous formality” of liberty matters more than substantial liberty, and can be defined merely as the absence of the state. But that definition only serves the interests of a select few at any given time, for whom a decidedly statist framework is already set up to serve. I like Metcalf’s theory that libertarianism only flourished when the economy was centrally planned in such a way to reward intellectuals.

        1. I’m turned off by liberals (Metcalf in this instance) who cannot take the time to read Hayek. Honestly, Metcalf’s claim regarding Hayek is as bad as Soros’ statement a month ago that Hayek was a member of the Chicago school.

          1. Well, he did teach at U Chicago. Though it is nice for people to know what they are talking about before they speak. You find it so rarely.

            1. You know who else taught at the U. of Chicago?

              1. Richard Epstein?

        2. It’s that the “vacuous formality” of liberty matters more than substantial liberty, and can be defined merely as the absence of the state.

          right. Ok. You’re a fucking most righteous activist, Tony. I want you to go to the police station and protest for the “substantive liberty” of people who are getting gunned down by SWAT teams, because, you know, that’s something that libertarians don’t give a shit about.

          1. This is a form of the bullying Metcalf was talking about. You’ll find that liberals and libertarians agree on a huge range of issues, such as the abuse of police power. But because we happen to believe in the state as a potential force for good, we are indicted for everything it does wrong?

            1. You can’t agree with libertarians on the abuse of law enforcement power, then say you believe in the power of the state as a “force for good,” when said state implements said good force via law enforcement power.

              1. Law enforcement is the basic role of the state–to be against that is to be an anarchist. You can be fore law enforcement (a good thing) and also be for strong checks and balances on it.

                1. Law enforcement is the basic role of the state–to be against that is to be an anarchist.

                  This is either the real Tony or a talented spoof. Tony begs the question like nobody’s business.

                2. I never said I was against law enforcement – only that to acknowledge that this power can be (and is often) abused makes your premise that government (and by extension, law enforcement) can be a “force for good” inherently contradictory.

                  Case-and-point: the Department of Education agents conducting a SWAT raid for (alleged) fraud and embezzlement, getting the wrong person, and completely violating his rights.

                3. False. Anarchism is not incompatible with law enforcement generally, but only monopolized law enforcement, which is the defining characteristic of the State. And good luck imposing checks and balances on law enforcers with a monopoly (“I am the law”, etc.).

                4. IF ONLY WE HAD THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN CHARGE….

            2. But because we happen to believe in the state as a potential force for good, we are indicted for everything it does wrong?

              Potential? You espouse it as the cure to all of humanity’s ills. So yeah, when it falls short you damn well better believe you are going to get indicted for its failures.

              1. You espouse it as the cure to all of humanity’s ills.

                Can we get the strawman police over here?

                1. When your body fat composition becomes a matter of national concern, one wonders what behaviors are left to be addressed by individuals.

        3. Tony, this is nothing more than another version of “the poor man is not free to dine at The Ritz.” Which should be rejected for the hogwash it is.

          “God said: take what you want. And pay for it.”

          1. The poor man isn’t free to dine at The Ritz. But the freedom to dine at The Ritz isn’t one that anyone thinks should be secured. The freedom that comes with having adequate healthcare and not starving is a more arguable case.

            1. Aspirin and penicillin would have been considered “ritzy” (if not miraculous) a couple of centuries ago. People who want “free healthcare” today aren’t talking about aspirin and penicillin, which have been made cheap not by government action but by capitalism, they’re talking about life extending treatments that require (for today) very expensive technologies. There are always going to be things that only the rich can have – but I say that if we let markets prevail, and innovation take hold, eventually the poor will be able to afford them too… and sooner than through government control and rationing. I see this happening everywhere, with all kinds of products and services, and I accept that as empirical evidence for my view.

              1. So how long do we have to wait (that is, how many poor people do we have to let die) before the market will make major organ surgery and cancer treatment cheap enough for poor people to afford?

                Healthcare is not like other products. Everyone needs it and nobody wants it. I say let the market innovate all it wants. Subsidizing access to its products will not hamper that in any way.

                1. So how long do we have to wait (that is, how many poor people do we have to let die) before the market will make major organ surgery and cancer treatment cheap enough for poor people to afford?

                  Let people sell their organs, or set up beneficiaries for their organs upon their death and you’d probably see the cost of a organ transplant drop significantly.

                2. Who is this “We” you keep mentioning?

                3. How many people will have to die in the future because you’ve taken the profit incentive out of developing new treatments today, in the interest making current treatments accessible to the poor?

                4. So how long do we have to wait (that is, how many poor people do we have to let die) before the market will make major organ surgery and cancer treatment cheap enough for poor people to afford?

                  We are going to get that for sure. But because it is so expensive it will be rationed by government. Until the government runs out of first rich people’s money and then everybody else’s.

                5. Poor people get major organ surgery and cancer treatment now.

                  I know a welfare recipient who got a heart transplant while a wealthy man waited. Either could have used the heart. But it was the wealthy man’s ability to have an alternate therapy while he waited that allowed the poor man to go first.

                  The wealthy man got a heart a few weeks after the poor man.

                  Treatment is rarely denied–hospitals scramble to find someone to pay for things.

            2. You will give links to data on able bodied people with reasonably sound minds who starve to death in the US?

            3. I’m all for freedom in those areas too, so let’s reduce the role of the FDA and USDA to the prevention of fraud only. Somehow I really doubt you’re arguing for freedom of healthcare or food, though. All you’re saying is that I shouldn’t be responsible for providing as much or more value to other people as I take from them in health care and food goods and services, even though I’m certainly capable of doing so. That’s not just practically stupid, it’s morally wrong.

              1. I think it’s morally wrong for a wealthy society not to subsidize healthcare for the poor. I think it’s morally wrong for a society to value letting the rich keep a few extra meaningless dollars more than that. See how far moral arguments get us?

                1. I think it’s morally wrong for a society to value letting the rich keep a few extra meaningless dollars more than that.

                  Since the cost of such a system would inevitably fall on the middle class and not the rich, your argument of moral superiority is financially meaningless anyway.

                  1. Since the cost of such a system would inevitably fall on the middle class and not the rich, your argument of moral superiority is financially meaningless anyway.

                    Well, we need to redistribute some of the vast depression-era-level wealth concentration at the top down so that the middle class can actually afford to help pay for such programs.

                    1. Well, we need to redistribute some of the vast depression-era-level wealth concentration at the top down so that the middle class can actually afford to help pay for such programs.

                      Oh, so the EIC has been a complete failure, then?

                2. I think it’s morally wrong for a wealthy society not to subsidize healthcare for the poor.

                  I agree completely with your statement as written, but that’s only because you forgot the word “involuntarily”.

                  1. I agree completely with your statement as written, but that’s only because you forgot the word “involuntarily”.

                    In a democracy, no policy is involuntary.

                    1. In a democracy, all policy for which 51% vote is involuntary for 49%.

                    2. In a democracy, all policy for which 51% vote is involuntary for 49%.

                      After you stop crying about that you might realize that the only alternative is for far fewer people deciding for everyone else.

                    3. Umm, no. Markets are the alternative. In markets everyone can decide for themselves. You get burger king, I get mcdonalds. My choice has no effect on you.

                    4. In a democracy, no policy is involuntary.

                      Is this a sockpuppet? Is the real Tony stupid enough to believe this? I can’t tell the difference anymore.

                    5. So the Patriot Act was voluntary, then? As were the various bank bailouts?

                    6. Now that’s just silly, Tony. If laws being imposed on my were enacted by politicians I did not vote for, how am I in any way voluntarily subject to those laws?

                    7. It’s the way voluntariness works on the scale of millions of people living together.

                    8. “In a democracy, no policy is involuntary.”

                      Tell that to the TSA.

                    9. “In a democracy, no policy is involuntary.”

                      Seriously, how many times must I explain this to you? Repeat after me:
                      Constitutional republic
                      Constitutional republic
                      Constitutional republic
                      Constitutional republic
                      Constitutional republic
                      Constitutional republic

                      Got it? Now, try to remember: the United States is not a democracy; it is a constitutional republic.

                    10. Now, try to remember: the United States is not a democracy; it is a constitutional republic.

                      What’s your point?

                    11. In a democracy, no policy is involuntary.

                      Slavery was voluntary? Jim Crow was voluntary? Your fundamental premise here is just entirely incorrect.

                    12. It wasn’t exactly a democracy for the victims of slavery and Jim Crow, now was it?

                    13. democracy only works when it’s a democracy. if people aren’t part of the democracy, that’s not a democracy. if the democracy decides to remove people from democracy, that’s democratic not-democracy, not not-democracy.

                    14. Yes, it was–well, it was a Constitutional Republic for them.

                      And Tony is, in a way, right. For this system to function, the 49% have to accept that they lost, and try to use the same system to change things. They voluntarily enter into that game by voting*. So there is something to what Tony’s saying.

                      *If you don’t vote, you don’t matter.

                    15. And what happens when that 51% decides for the complete abridgment of the rights to political process of the 49%?

                3. I think it’s morally wrong for a wealthy society not to steal from the rich.

                  FIFY.

        4. It only looks like “vacuous formality” unless you’re actually trying to take responsibility for your own life, including in economic matters. To put it another way, a libertarian is a liberal that tried to start a business and got mugged by government and his best buddy big business.

        5. We’ve had 80 years of liberals at the reigns of the federal government to one degree or another, and very little increase in “substantive liberty” to show for it. If you’re going to argue from pragmatism, you better make sure your own philosophy actually has results you claim would be lacking in the one you argue against.

          1. Very little increase in the last 80 years? I disagree. I’d say the last 80 years have seen the largest increase in substantive liberty in the history of the planet. Granted, if you’re a white heterosexual male of some means, the change might seem a bit muted from your perspective.

          2. Tony is a tool, this much is true. Still, we have not had “80 years of liberals at the reigns of the federal government”. The mess we are in now was a joint effort of both Team Red and Team Blue.

            1. The bureaucracy has been filled with liberals and the original “substantive liberty” policies have largely been untouched since the FDR administration.

            2. Good show, guy. Is there anyone who is against your ideology and not a tool in your opinion, by the way?

          3. We’ve had 80 years of liberals statists at the reigns of the federal government to one degree or another…

    4. “inexplicably”

      You might like the comparison, but it’s hardly inexplicable

  3. This just in: Statists hate anti-statists.

  4. There’s some fear mixed in with all that ignorance. And being despised by Team Red and Team Blue makes me feel all warm inside.

    1. Having Ann Coulter as a enemy bothers me not at all.

  5. I think Metcalf’s strawman could beat up Coulter’s.

    1. I must disagree – I think Coulter’s Snuke would subsume Metcalf’s Straw “Person” (being all culturally sensitive and non gender specific)

  6. First I quote someone I would love to hate-fuck

    Meanwhile, the “libertarian” right moves to take the risks of unemployment, disease, and, yes, accidents of birth, and devolve them entirely onto the responsibility of the individual. It is not just sad; it is repugnant.

    And I am immediately reminded of The Law.

    We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.
    -Bastiat

    1. whoops, I thought that quote was still Coulter.
      Never mind about the hate-fucking

      1. Admit it. Your inner self knew it was Metcalf.

        NTTAWWT.

    2. Funny, I thought of that quote while reading, but the phrase that triggered it was

      they take liberty hostage in order to prevent a reasoned discussion about public goods from ever taking place

      1. I wish he would have listed some of those public goods. I bet none of them would have actually been public goods.

    3. That is a fantastic quote. I wish I’d read it earlier since it gets at the problem so nicely. Thanks.

      1. The whole thing is worth a read

        http://bastiat.org/en/the_law.html

        1. Thanks to Reason commentors for linking to / referencing authors on Liberty, free markets, etc. I have really been learning alot in the 6 months I’ve been lurking on Hit & Run.

  7. I’m putting Coulter’s number in my phone, so I can call her up and ask her what I think. She obviously believes she knows.

  8. Most libertarians are cowering frauds too afraid to upset anyone to take a stand on some of the most important cultural issues of our time. So they dodge the tough questions – The Skinny Blonde Attila Chick

    When Hayek insists welfare is the road is to serfdom, when Nozick insists that progressive taxation is coercion, they take liberty hostage in order to prevent a reasoned discussion about public goods from ever taking place. – Dude With Whom I am Unfamiliar and Wish to Remain So

    Really? Talk about getting it backward and misrepresenting. The only response this tripe merits is….[…]

    Back to not giving a shit what these two weasels think about anything.

    1. That’s where you’d be wrong. They both made good points if you read their articles.

      1. That’s a pretty hefty price to pay. Can you provide a little hint of what good points they make to entice me to read them?

      2. But I DID read both their articles. And my comments stand.

      3. No they didn’t. Dumb blond equated not taking a vague ‘cultural stand’ (likely code for government intrusion) and cow equates protecting liberty with taking it hostage while demonstrating he doesn’t understand what liberty is.

  9. Never mind about the hate-fucking

    NTTAWWT

    We’re libertarians; we’re not here to judge you.

    1. You wouldn’t want to hate-fuck Coulter?

      1. I think PB was referring to hate fucking Metcalf – that’s OK…

      2. Just do ’em both. It’s a toss up which is more masculine anyway.

      3. I wouldn’t want to physically do anything to Coulter.

        I would like to have a candid discussion about libertarianism and its implications with her. She’s quite witty and fun when she’s not being an overbearing partisan cheerleader.

        1. Her entire public persona is being an overbearing partisan cheerleader.
          And nobody really wants to do her anyway.

          1. JJ Evans said that Ann was “DYN-O-MITE!” in bed.

            1. I heard she’s into glass bottom boat…NTTATWWT.

      4. Skinny chicks break too easily.

  10. Metcalf almost gets it. Poor guy, he almost understood libertarianism.

    But then he started a new paragraph, and off he went into the deep end of non-sequitur.

    Also, shut the fuck up, Tony.

    1. Every day here I see confirmation of Metcalf’s indictments. How can you argue that libertarianism isn’t utopian as he describes: it never takes responsibility for any policy, because there’s always a government around to blame when things go wrong.

      1. it never takes responsibility for any policy,
        Ah, yes. All those libertarian policies that have recently — or ever — been enacted. Bwahahahahaha! We rule! (Or, I mean, we would rule, if we believed in that “ruling” shit. Oh, you know what I mean. In any case, VICTORY!!!!!!)

        1. #Libertarianism #WINNING Duh!

        2. Well, we’ve lowered taxes occasionally and deregulated certain things. If your policies can’t work their magic until the whole world is set up exactly right, that is the definition of utopianism.

          1. Oh — that’s right! Every day, since the beginning of time, that there hasn’t been a tax increase, has been a libertarian victory! Every day when regulations haven’t been increased is a libertarian victory!
            The earth formed, oh, say 4.5 billion years ago. That’s a shit load of libertarian victories!!!
            So where is Libertopia? Where is your Libertarian messiah now, Hayek?

            1. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve had central planning moments and laissez-faire moments in our history. The former have always been in response to the failures of the latter. The latter have always come about because we got complacent in the successes of the former.

              1. So basically any kind of trade or free market that has ever existed only existed because the government got complacent about central planning? “If only the almighty guardian class would punish the rest of us more, we’d have no free markets at all.”

                1. No… in the context of our mixed economy, we’ve had times when we were capable of strong central planning policy, resulting in unprecedented prosperity and advancement. And we’ve responded to that success with amnesiac experiments with more laissez-faire policies, broadly the Reagan era from which we’re still struggling to free ourselves. That didn’t work out so well, but that’s OK for libertarians because there was still a government around to blame for anything that went wrong.

                  1. Big budgets and low taxes does not a libertopia make.

                  2. Are you seriously suggesting that everything was going swimmingly until Reagan cam along and screwed everything up with his deregulation and laissez faire policies? Are you that partisanly clueless?

                    1. Not swimmingly exactly, but there has been a noticeable increase in the frequency and size of economic crises over the last 30 years.

                    2. I think the data tells a different tale. the last decade, maybe, but I would also say that the most recent couple of crisis were caused by government intervention into the markets, mainly interest rate manipulation, and over regulation is what’s keeping us from getting better.

                    3. Yes, Tony,

                      Because you didn’t experience the 1960’s, they were less severe than the 90’s.

                    4. Tony, what you’ve just written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on H&R is now dumber for having read to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

                    5. Tony, what you’ve just written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on H&R is now dumber for having read to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

                      I get that a lot.

                  3. The failure of the USSR was due to bad planning. And the Chinese moving to a more market economy? Another planning failure.

                    But we finally have a President who gets it:

                    http://classicalvalues.com/201…..aks-sense/

          2. If your policies can’t work their magic until the whole world is set up exactly right, that is the definition of utopianism.

            I should use this on the Keynes thread.

            1. See — what did I tell you, dude? We stopped letting your blood for a day, and did you get all better? You did not.
              Goddamn your voodoo medicine! Olga, bring me more leeches!

            2. Good point here. Also, it’s interesting that academic type folks don’t admin nowadays that the shift from Keynesian post-WW2 models to “neoclassical”/”neoliberal” models was predicated by the stagflation of the 1970s. The Keynesian model found its own limitations just as much as Austrian/Chicago models found theirs.

          3. We’ve lowered taxes by doing things like mortgage-interest deductions and earned-income child tax credits, and lowered taxes by differentiating capital gains and payroll income. We’ve deregulated NOTHING – the CFR grows larger and larger every day. Repealing Glass-Steagall does not offset the creation of the Deparment of Homeland Seccurity.

            1. Repealing Glass-Steagall does not offset the creation of the Deparment of Homeland Seccurity.

              Creating the DHS doesn’t make up for the regulatory hole created by the repeal of GS. Agreed that government hasn’t shrunk overall, but I’m not the one who approaches everything with a blunt zero-sum outlook. It’s not more government overall vs. less, it’s what specific policies caused what specific problems, and in terms of the economic crisis, it wasn’t too much government police power over finance that was the problem.

              1. As someoen in the financial industry, I’m laughing at your thesis, Tony.

                In no other industry are there so many ‘thou shalt’s and ‘thou shalt not’s as in this industry.

                And, the regs are designed to make the older established firms and individuals rich. They aren’t designed to serve the consumer, and they certainly are not designed to promote responsible behavior. To the contrary the entire regulatory aparatus is purposed to shield people from their poor behavior – with a soupcon of Marxist exploitation theory inspired regs just to muddy the water.

                The root causes of the crisis:
                1) The Fed paying for Bush’s wars by printing money to loan Congress (it was circuitously done but that wasw the ultimate result.

                2) The new money being loaned by banks (after itwas deposited with them) to unsuitable borrowers whom they were willing to loan to only because they could sell the loans to other party’s. A policy encouraged by bank regulators – to the point that one bank in the plains states actually was threatened with sanctions because they declined to play.

                3) The loans were securitized using a piss poor econometric risk calculation theory with no praxeological underpinning.

                4) These securities were blessed as being safe by ratings agencies that were given an exclusive monopoly by the government on giving these ratings.

                5) The big players were unconcerned with what could go wrong because of their observation that the Federal Reserve always bailed out big players that were going bankrupt.

                So, in a free market what regulates behavior?
                1) A need to preserve ones reputation to engage in future trade.
                2) A need to remain solvent.

                The government regulation sabotaged both those principles. It encouraged risky behavior explicitly, punished prudent behavior, again explicitly, it implicitly privatized gains and socialized losses.

                And, because you are animated primarily by hate and envy, and you want the government to punish people who won’t share with you, you falsely assume that people who have the stuff you want must be thriving in a free market.

                You don’t understand, Tony, that the people you hate are playing your game of forcible redistribution of wealth. It’s not that they oppose compelled sharing; rather they are making you share with them.

              2. “It’s not more government overall vs. less, it’s what specific policies caused what specific problems, and in terms of the economic crisis, it wasn’t too much government police power over finance that was the problem.”

                OK – so you acknowledge that certain areas of the government suck, or at least are counterproductive. How can you ensure that this won’t happen at the SEC, FDA, EPA, Pentagon, DoE, CMS, and the newly formed Consumer Protection Agency and IPAB for Medicare??

                1. I can’t personally ensure that we won’t have bad government and bad policy. It doesn’t happen by magic. We need a highly educated population, strong checks and balances, a good system overall, and did I mention an educated population? Our country is in the shitter in large part because a large number of people cares more about what invisible sky daddies think about gay people than they do about good economic policy.

                  1. I can’t personally ensure that we won’t have bad government and bad policy. It doesn’t happen by magic. We need a highly educated population, strong checks and balances, a good system overall, and did I mention an educated population? Our country is in the shitter in large part because a large number of people cares more about what invisible sky daddies think about gay people than they do about good economic policy.

                    Oh the irony, Tony. You lambast libertarians for their delusions of a Libertopia and then you yourself elaborate your own Utopia.

                    We are an “educated” population. The problem is that “educated” doesn’t, and never did, mean omniscient, politically interested, or whatever projected definitions progressives insert when they talk of “educated public”. Because people can graduate from high school or secondary schooling, doesn’t mean shit in regards to knowing or having any interest in political philosophy.

                    1. True, but we can do much better than we are. A bit of a catch-22 though, since an educated population requires good education policy, and good policy requires an educated population.

          4. If your policies can’t work their magic until the whole world is set up exactly right, that is the definition of utopianism.

            We’ve pursued far more leftist policies than libertarian ones in the past 80 years, and we’re in a complete mess right now. Doesn’t that make leftists even more utopian?

      2. Wait . . . governments are taking the blame for L/libertarian policies?

      3. From HERE:

        Call it Mises’ Law: People of the most widely divergent views [e.g., Coulter, Metcalf] nonetheless always converge in condemning “free market” capitalism for whatever they believe wrong. Particularly relevant is its derivation, Loberfeld’s Law: In a mixed economy, it’s the market element that takes the blame. (See BAILOUT.) Statism is eternally innocent.

        1. Admittedly, I think Coulter’s thesis here isn’t that libertarians are too pro-market, its that the leading voices of libertarianism right now (Ron Paul and Rand Paul for the most part) have not offered anything in the way of serious entitlement reform. That I feel is a fair criticism.

          1. I think Ron Paul’s 10% “opt-out” idea is a start.

          2. Read her actual article and you’ll see that her main thesis is that libertarians tend to be superficial in their analysis. Her particular example is a good one that wasn’t even mentioned in Matt Welch’s quote.

            1. I’ve got a plan for social security/medicare/et all. First, eliminate it. Second, if you give a shit about your parents take care of them the best you can keeping in mind that no one is going to live forever and that is just a fact of life. Extracting $5 million from the public so grandma can live another year is not exactly moral. Third, if your parents beat you and/or treated you like shit, use this opportunity to not lift a goddamned finger for them. This would incentivize people to have children, thus erasing recent trends of population stagnation, but it would also incentivize parents to do right by their kids so if they end up drooling and shitting their pants, someone close may pay the nurse not to rob you. Oh and if you can’t have kids, then you probably should adopt. If you are a drunk wife-beating piece of shit, don’t be surprised when you die in the gutter at 58 from an ear infection while your bitter children spend their time coking up to forget about you. Ultimately, Social Security and Medicare and other half-assed attempts at the half-brained scheme of universal healthcare, enable some (most?) of the world’s assholes and resident pieces of shit to live longer than they deserve. And if you decide to live alone, well, without children it should be easier to prepare for the potentially lean, wheel-chair bound times decades down the road. Of course, this isn’t politically correct so even elected politicians of a libertarian-bent will have difficulty espousing it.

            2. Read her actual article and you’ll see that her main thesis is that libertarians tend to be superficial in their analysis. Her particular example is a good one that wasn’t even mentioned in Matt Welch’s quote.

              Sorry, but I read her entire article at Townhall and it was nothing more than a strawman hatchet job on the libertarian candidates who are threatening her Party’s chosen. She can’t make any credible argument that libertarians are “superficial in their analysis” while continually bending over for the very people who consistently LIE during their campaigns and do the opposite when in power.

          3. Has anyone other than Paul Ryan offered anything in the way of serious entitlement reform? And Ryan’s plan’s seriousness is certainly disputable.

      4. Why are you bitching about utopian ideals, Tony, when your party is busy trying to implement them?

        1. I would never be a member of a utopian party. The Democrats of today are so pragmatic they would have been Republicans 10 years ago.

          1. Yeah like how they’re “pragmatically” starting wars all over the world and continuing the Bush doctrine in Afghanistan.

          2. You just made my asshole giggle.

            1. its called a fart

      5. How can you argue that libertarianism isn’t utopian as he describes: it never takes responsibility for any policy, because there’s always a government around to blame when things go wrong.

        Perhaps libertarians are constantly pointing out that government policies actually are making Bad Things Happen?

        You’re not a scapegoat if you’re actually at fault.

        1. But it’s like blaming emphysema on oxygen. I could agree with you that any given problem is the fault of the state. That’s because I believe that there is such a thing as bad policy and good policy. Since there will never not be a state of some kind, your beef should really be with bad policy. But you blame the state itself. Which is awfully easy, considering it’s always there, thus your hypotheses about the right solutions to problem are always unfalsifiable.

          1. You start with the premise that if it exists then there must be some policy. Government must have an answer to everything. If a problem exists then there must be a government solution. A solution that does not involve government is not a solution since it is not backed up with threat of violent force.

            Libertarians take a step backwards and first ask if policy is really necessary. It is not a choice between good policy and bad policy, it is a choice between policy backed up with violent force and letting people figure things out themselves.
            That does not mean that there should be no government and no policy. It means that government is a tool to be used sparingly.

            1. It’s not that I think government has the solution to every problem, it’s that I don’t think there is any such thing as “no policy” for any given issue on the relevant scale. Laissez-faire policy is still policy. It’s still a choice with consequences. You don’t get out of responsibility for those consequences by virtue of the details of your policy beliefs (as Metcalf puts it, you want to place yourself “slightly above the political spectrum”).

              So we can both agree, for example, that government is to blame for the recent economic crisis. Bad government policy–in my opinion, government policy that encouraged reckless speculation on a massive scale. But the philosophy behind the policy I blame is laissez-faire, i.e., your philosophy. If you don’t want to take responsibility for any policy consequences in the world, then you seem to be claiming that if only everything were set up as you want, nothing would go wrong (or at least nothing would go wrong that wasn’t meant to go wrong)–the definition of utopianism.

              1. “But the philosophy behind the policy I blame is laissez-faire, i.e., your philosophy.”

                Let me get this straight.

                Government directing banks to change the criteria they use to determine credit worthiness is laissez-faire?

                Government not allowing politically connected businesses to fail is laissez-faire?

                Tens of thousands of pages of regulation is laissez-faire?

                Central banking is laissez-faire?

                All of these government created distortions in the economy are a result laissez-faire policy?

                OK Tony. Whatever you say.

              2. Nice straw man, Tony. You should specialize in building them.

                Any sane libertarian will readily acknowledge that complete laissez-faire will not magically solve every problem overnight. Yes there was over-speculation. But without the Fed’s obscenely low interest rates and other government stimuli for the housing bubble it would have been much less severe. Probably some people would have been burned, but not as many.

                In fact most libertarians I’ve read advocate precisely the opposite of utopia — helping ALLEVIATE, not ELIMINATE most problems, with the idea that we’ll never be able to completely get rid of certain social maladies. Only statists claim that their big governments are capable of “winning” the war on drugs, “beating” terrorism, or “licking” poverty. You don’t see free market advocates using that language. We simply offer to stop the bleeding.

                1. Fair enough. To me the only thing that matters is what the real-world consequence of any given policy is. Will there be more people starving or less?

                  You can argue that a radical restructuring of policy toward laissez-faire would result in fewer starving people, and I guess that’s a legitimate debate, but it does suffer from a lack of evidential support.

                  In the real world we won’t get a radical restructuring. We’ll get incremental change in one direction or the other. So, to me, what matters is what is the consequence of that incremental change. I place the bulk of the blame for the crisis on a lack of adequate government oversight and control of the financial sector. Do you think the problem was too much oversight?

                  1. I think the problem was that the state controls the currency and can set interest rates wherever it wants, and in this instance set them too low for too long in error.

                    The problem you face in arguing that there wasn’t enough oversight is this: there is no bureaucracy, anywhere, in all of history, that would have made the decision to stop overinvestment in mortgage bonds under the conditions present in 2006. None.

                    The only data point that means anything here is the foreclosure rate, which translates into the default rate and from there into the credit risk for the securities in question. You’re asking me to believe that at a time where new lows were being set yearly for the foreclosure rate, there is a bureaucrat somewhere who would have pointed at the banks and said, “Lend less!” That is flatly impossible. That is a political fact.

                    No regulator – none – is going to tell banks to stop lending (or especially tell them to stop lending to poor people and people of color) in the face of data saying that current lending practices were producing the lowest foreclosure rates ever seen. There’s no way anyone in a regulatory environment advances that argument or wins it once advanced.

                    You’d have to convince me that your imaginary regulator would make the right decision even when confronted by data distorted by the sum of decisions made by other regulators, and that’s just not realistic.

                    The only mechanism we have for sending economic signals to warn people about their behavior that has ever worked worth a damn is the market. When you distort the market to prevent those signals from being sent, eventually you will fuck up.

                    1. Brilliant point Fluffy, about the inability of regulators. But, as we know, Tony and his friends in the electorate will call for more regulations, and regulators.

                    2. there is no bureaucracy, anywhere, in all of history, that would have made the decision to stop overinvestment in mortgage bonds under the conditions present in 2006. None.

                      That is definitely a fair point, and a frightening one. I am not convinced that achieving some sweet spot of intervention vs. laissez-faire is possible, given the realities of human psychology. But not even trying is not the answer. We may be forever doomed to merely respond to crises with solutions that come with expiration dates. I don’t see how you fix the human flaw of getting complacent when things seem OK–the biggest and scariest consequence of this flaw, I think, will be our theoretically preventable but probably inevitable unwillingness to respond to global warming.

                      But we can attempt to apply some measure of evidence and experience to policy. My understanding is that there wouldn’t have needed to be “statist” policies without a failure of laissez-faire to respond to.

                    3. But not even trying is not the answer.

                      Why not?

                      If we had “not even tried” to prevent a recession in 2001, we wouldn’t have had a housing bubble or subsequent crisis.

                      So we would have had a mild recession in 2002 instead of a severe recession in 2008.

                      Why is that so absolutely unthinkable?

                    4. Fluffy I don’t think it was the public sector alone that was responsible for the housing bubble. Finance certainly didn’t do anything to discourage it, and they weren’t held at gunpoint and forced to engage in reckless speculation. What history shows us, though, is that an unregulated market tends toward larger boom-and-bust cycles, which is the very thing that interventions were innovated in order to respond to.

                    5. “and they weren’t held at gunpoint and forced to engage in reckless speculation”

                      If government shields you from consequence of failure, why not be reckless?

                    6. If government shields you from consequence of failure, why not be reckless?

                      Absolutely agree–but the coziness of government and industry is not the fault of the state existing. Without the state, industry simply wouldn’t need to bother paying lobbyists. The coziness is the fault of a lack of adequate government power in the relevant areas.

                    7. “…is not the fault of the state existing. Without the state…”

                      Now you’re back to arguing against your “limited government means no government” straw man.

                    8. Now you’re back to arguing against your “limited government means no government” straw man.

                      So find some rhetoric besides “government=bad.” I’ve been forever asking for people to get beyond this childishness and argue for policies on their merits. But you don’t want to do that, because then you’d have to face the reality that your policies are disastrous. In what way do you limit government such that other powerful interests are kept better in check? Sounds like a contradiction to me.

                    9. So find some rhetoric besides “government=bad.”

                      Another straw man.

                      There are some things government should do, and there are some things government should not do.

                      React to force and fraud, react to the violation of property rights, react to breached contracts, react to invading armies… YES!

                      Proactively try to prevent anything bad from happening… NO!

                    10. React to force and fraud, react to the violation of property rights, react to breached contracts, react to invading armies… YES!

                      Proactively try to prevent anything bad from happening… NO!

                      OK then. We could agree on everything, at least with respect to the financial crisis, as long as you accept my definition of fraud and police power.

                    11. as long as you accept my definition of fraud and police power.

                      Probably not, since I’m pretty sure your definition of fraud includes taking risk, and your definition of police power includes preventing bad things from happening.

                    12. So find some rhetoric besides “government=bad.”

                      It’s telling that you complain about libertarians using a blanket “government=bad” argument, while you yourself use this very argument against private industry. Without strong government, private industry becomes the de-facto government assuming all the atrocities that governments routinely implement.

                    13. but the coziness of government and industry is not the fault of the state existing.

                      If there were no political favors/regulatory capture to dispense, why would an industry seek them?

                    14. If there were no political favors/regulatory capture to dispense, why would an industry seek them?

                      Exactly.

                    15. If there were no political favors/regulatory capture to dispense, why would an industry seek them?

                      They wouldn’t need to. They could go on their merry way engaging in various abuses totally legitimately, since there would be nobody to stop them.

                    16. “The coziness is the fault of a lack of adequate government power in the relevant areas.”

                      The coziness has nothing, nothing to do with the government having the power to do favors for big business. That you would actually say that the way to stop the crony capitalist relationship is to give the government greater authority is insane.

                    17. Actually, he’s correct here. I know someone who worked in a loan office at the time, and head officers in the bank had an attitude of “*shrug* it’s not my money” when approving $400K home loans for Joe Schmo the janitor. From what I have heard from other insiders, many banks were staffed with fifth rate incompetents.

                    18. I know someone who worked in a loan office at the time, and head officers in the bank had an attitude of “*shrug* it’s not my money” when approving $400K home loans for Joe Schmo the janitor. From what I have heard from other insiders, many banks were staffed with fifth rate incompetents.

                      The problem with this statement is that the data were on the side of the fifth rate incompetents.

                      There is this fantasy out there that “a regulator” could have applied “common sense” to avoid allowing banks to make lows to Joe the Janitor.

                      It’s just that. A fantasy.

                      We live in a positivist world now. [Also largely also the fault of statists, but that’s another argument.]

                      The way decisions are made in a positivist regulated environment is:

                      1. Two guys walk into a regulatory meeting. Mr. X wants to make loans to Joe the Janitor, and Mr. Y doesn’t.

                      2. Mr. X shows charts proving that since he started making loans to Joe the Janitor and people like him, the housing market has exploded, people have been employed and made money, and the foreclosure rate has dropped to levels lower than it has ever been.

                      3. Mr. Y says, “Ignore those charts! It’s just COMMON SENSE!”

                      4. The regulators laugh at Mr. Y and he gets fired. They then write the regulation Mr. X wants.

                      When the macro mistake is large enough, there is no way to overcome it by tactically making specific regulatory adjustments. It’s politically and sociologically impossible.

                      The Fed’s mistake was so big that no one could fix it or stop it once it got rolling.

                    19. “We may be forever doomed to merely respond to crises with solutions that come with expiration dates.”

                      Better yet let people fail.

                      That is the best solution. Let people fail.

                      That is how people learn. By failing.

                      Regulation is a poor substitute for wisdom.

                    20. That is how people learn. By failing.

                      With the caveat that I certainly believe there should have been some CEOs in handcuffs after the crisis, letting the financial industry go under wouldn’t just have punished those responsible, it would have punished everyone. That’s the whole problem. TBTF isn’t just about being cozy with government, it’s about being literally TBTF–that is, too big to fail without systemic consequences, and I don’t think even your draconian philosophy would place the blame and thus punishment on every single human being in the path of what would have been financial collapse.

                    21. “With the caveat that I certainly believe there should have been some CEOs in handcuffs after the crisis”

                      For what? Following the advice of regulators? Taking advantage of the knowledge that if they fuck up they will be bailed out?

                      “too big to fail without systemic consequences”

                      Then perhaps there is a problem with a system that cannot exist without government shielding the biggest actors from the consequences of their actions?

                    22. With the caveat that I certainly believe there should have been some CEOs in handcuffs after the crisis, letting the financial industry go under wouldn’t just have punished those responsible, it would have punished everyone.

                      Don’t you see that’s the bullshit the federal government sold you, and you bought it? They want you to think the only way to save the country is to keep the sick festering parts of it on life-support, where they can poison the rest of the economy indefinitely. Liquidation would’ve been a lot more effective, and cleaner, and we’d be on the mend by now, almost three years later, instead of still wallowing.

                    23. Joe M,

                      I certainly think there were better policies in theory than what was possible in practice, but people here are advocating some pretty reckless stuff. That’s because they’re ideologues who like the idea of being reckless especially since their ideology has built-in escape hatches for anything that could possibly go wrong.

                      I would have preferred nationalizing and restructuring the industry to a blank check bailout.

                    24. Nationalizing would be an even better way to destroy the economy. Look at what it’s doing to Venezuela.

                    25. That’s because they’re ideologues who like the idea of being reckless especially since their ideology has built-in escape hatches for anything that could possibly go wrong.

                      Government is the answer to any problem is not an ideology?

                      Government wasn’t aggressive enough is not an escape hatch?

                      I would have preferred nationalizing and restructuring the industry to a blank check bailout.

                      Which means you want to keep incompetent people in control and put assets to political use.

                      What about allowing them to go bankrupt which takes the incompetent people out of control, then letting competent people buy up the assets and put them to productive use?

                      Hooray! The recession is over and it didn’t cost the taxpayers a dime!

                    26. With the caveat that I certainly believe there should have been some CEOs in handcuffs after the crisis, letting the financial industry go under wouldn’t just have punished those responsible, it would have punished everyone.

                      It would have radically reset asset prices down.

                      This would have felt like punishment while it was happening.

                      But so does going to the dentist.

                    27. But isn’t that kind of what Volcker did in the early 80s when he raised interest rates? Obviously that was not in the middle of a boom so it’s not comparable. But I do give that guy some credit for doing a very unpopular thing. Clearly he’s an exception, though.

                  2. Do you think Fannie Mae had anything to do with the housing crisis?

              3. Tony
                We covered this on other threads, it wasn’t “REALLY” laissez-faire, smaller government, etc., they just need to TRY it harder, or more, or whatever.

                1. The decision to force encourage banks to invest in mortgage-backed securities rather than make their own loans and hold them in portfolio was made by regulators in the first place.

                  They thought they were making the banks sounder and the system as a whole safer.

                  How did that work out?

                2. Of course it wasn’t really laissez-faire. The government had significant involvement in the housing market.

                3. One of the most intricately regulated sectors of the economy, and the reason it failed was not enough regulation? And you trying to throw “laissez-faire” back, seriously?

        2. You fuckers are always blaming all your troubles on the the guy hitting you on the head with a hammer!
          You fucking hammer haters! You anti-hammer-worshiping freaks! I hope you’re happy in No-Hammertopia!

          1. See — I think its fair to say there have have been moments in history when guys with hammers hit other guys in the head a lot, and moments when guys with hammers hit other guys in the head a little. The former have always been in response to the failures of the latter. The latter have always come about because we got complacent in the successes of the former.

      6. because libertarianism is anit-DYSTOPIAN, you fuckwad. Not the same thing as utopian.

        1. As opposed to all those pro-dystopian political philosophies…

  11. Every thinking person is to some degree a libertarian, and it is this part of all of us that is bullied or manipulated when liberty is invoked to silence our doubts about the free market.

    Wow.

    Talk about working backwards from your conclusion.

    1. How do you bully an inner libertarian by invoking liberty, exactly?

      1. Free market advocates are such BULLIES because we point out that because taxes are collected by force and the main revenue source for most governments, then maybe, just maybe we should try to avoid spending tax money and let the market handle as much as possible.

      2. The devil quotes Scripture for his own purposes.

      3. The attitude that leaving people alone is the same thing as imposing an ideology on them would be funny if so many people didn’t keep saying it as if it made sense.

  12. It is not just sad; it is repugnant.
    You know what’s really repugnant? The fact that Stephen Metcalf claims the moral high ground. Is he evil, or just an idiot?

    1. BTW — I’m already pretty sure Ann Coulter is both.

      1. HIYO!!!

      2. She’s an idiot? Let’s compare her 1040 form to yours.

        1. money != intelligence

          1. Yes, it does.

        2. Good one! Derp!

    2. Is he evil, or just an idiot?

      Empahtically, “yes”.

  13. Confusing crony capitalism with economic liberty like a good progressive, eh Metcalf?

    1. This is what I mean. I doubt Metcalf can really be that stupid. I mean, he writes coherently enough. So I’m leaning “evil.”

      1. One can be articulate and completely unimaginative.

        1. Or uh one can be uh considered uh articulate due to the uh soft uh bigotry of low uh expectations. uh.

          1. The wizard of uh’s!

        2. Or incurious to the extreme.

  14. Coulter is the one who’s a fraud. She’s just a more polished version of Morton Downey Jr. — a clown looking for publicity by being more and more outrageous.

    One day they’ll find her in a restroom with a swastika carved into her head.

  15. …a prominent conservative economist once observed of the early neoliberals, “would be likely to lead, and even lead inevitably to a completely collectivist Society, Gestapo and gas chamber included.”

    Apparently this is a quote from Rueff attacking “intransigent liberals” like Hayek and I presume Mises. Yet Mises himself called those neoliberals at the MPS a bunch of socialists.

  16. It takes a heap of Jack Shafer to wash away some of the stupid that always gets on me whenever I visit Slate.

  17. I am slightly heartened that so many of these types apparently believe that libertarianism is now worth attacking — and that there does seem to be just a touch of “oh my God, this stuff is getting some traction!” fear in their ravings.
    Why would that be? The Pauls? The tea party?

    1. The GOP usually turns on the libertarian wing whenever the party is in a minority position. They view such dissension as an unacceptable impediment to their return to power. . .which is all they care about.

      1. So far I see it the inverse- they appeal to the libertarians when out of power, forget ’em at the levers, rinse, etc. To paraphrase Harry Brown, they campaign as libertarians and govern as democrats.

        1. I think they erect the big tent immediately after suffering a loss–like in the years the Democrats controlled both branches. However, as soon as the cycle appears to be turning, the jettisoning begins. In any event, they do everything possible to prevent any wholesale policy changes towards libertarianism. Ask the RLC about that.

          1. “However, as soon as the cycle appears to be turning, the jettisoning begins.”

            And we start to hear the word “electable” more often.

            1. That word means nothing except “statist status quo.” Even when it comes to winning, winning with an anti-state candidate is worse than losing for them. And no, that’s not an exaggeration.

              1. It’s curious that no matter how many electable candidates are dumped in the District, things get worse. It’s like putting electability over principles is actually working as a strategy. Curiouser and curiouser.

      2. I am slightly heartened that so many of these types apparently believe that libertarianism is now worth attacking

        First they ignore you, then they laugh at, then they fight you, then you win.

        or

        First the republicans ignore you, then the democrats laugh at you, then they both fight you, then Ron Paul wins 12% of the overall primary vote and the cycle begins again.

        1. 12 percent? Who are you — Little Miss Sunshine? I predict high single digits, tops.

  18. If they could only resist sucking up to “Rolling Stone”

    Rolling Stone? It is hard not to ad hominem this twig when she is this amazingly stupid.

    1. What are you talking about? Rolling Stone is where all the cool kids get their marching orders!

    2. She makes a joke, though perhaps not a very good one, and you take her literally. Who’s the stupid one?

      1. Your Mom?

        1. My mom is your sister, too, Dad.

  19. Public Goods

    GIMME GIMME GIMME!

  20. You know who else was repugnant?

    1. Carrot Top?

      1. This. Espacially after he bulked up.

    2. The Ice Capades, Rap music, Fraggle Rock, child proof lighters, Epi wearing a thong, The Grammys, Neopalitin Ice Cream, onion farts.

      1. Dude, speak not of Fraggle Rock in the context. Junior Grog was Girard DiPardue’s breakthrough into acting.

  21. Thus we are hectored into silence,

    Yeah, that is totally what’s happening.

  22. liberals, and never conservatives, appeal to irrational mobs to attain power

    That is so true.

    1. Agreed.

    2. Yup.

      1. Right. Evangelical Christians are actively proud of the fact that they are irrational.

        But they’re invisible to Coulter.

        1. Evangelicals are always smashing and burning things, totally out-of-control.

          Maybe you can provide examples of mob mentality in action with regard to Evangelicals? Coulter makes the point that not all large gatherings of people are mobs.

          1. I said they were irrational and proud of it.

            When you base a significant number of decisions on non-empirical and non-rational cognitive methods (like revelation, and oceanic experience, and received wisdom from authority) you’re irrational.

            When you declare that the fact that you do so makes you morally superior, and entitles you to an eternity of reward while those around you are cast into eternal perdition, I’d say that makes you proudly so.

            1. The belief that all people are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights is both nonempirical and nonrational.

                1. Quote scripture to me, Fluffy!

              1. The belief that all people are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights is both nonempirical and nonrational.

                Where do you get the idea that moral theory is non-rational? There is a huge literature of philosophy that delves into moral theory and is far from non-rational.

                1. The first principles are nonrational, which renders the conclusions nonrational regardless of how much reasoning goes on in between.

            2. I said they were irrational and proud of it.

              And Coulter wrote about appealing to irrational mobs to obtain power. That doesn’t mean she is blind to Evangelicals.

  23. Ann Coulter, explaining Paul’s motivations for wanting the federal government out of the marriage business, says that he doesn’t want to upset his “video-clerk-base.” She also says that libertarians (presumably including Paul) want to appeal to loser Rolling Stones readers.

    Rolling Stone-reading video clerks are Paul’s key demographic. They simply swoon at his denunciation of abortion and his attempts to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction in cases relating to abortion and church-state relations.

    Whenever video clerks gather to read Rolling Stone, they are constantly saying things like, “I hate the way the federal courts are trying to ban school prayer – if we don’t stop them in time, they’ll take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance!”

    “Yeah, man,” another clerk will chime in, “and abortion sucks, it’s a child, not a choice. Pass the bong.”

    1. Video-clerks presumably have a superior understanding of econ 101 compared to Coulter.

    2. At this point I suspect the video clerks’ main political position is banning Netflix and Redbox.

      1. Netflix and Redbox are taking our jobs! They must be run by Mexicans!

  24. Thanks in no small part to that silence, we have passed through the looking glass. Large-scale, speculative risk, undertaken by already grossly overcompensated bankers, is now officially part of the framework, in the form of too-big-to-fail guarantees made, implicitly and explicitly, by the Federal Reserve. Meanwhile, the “libertarian” right moves to take the risks of unemployment, disease, and, yes, accidents of birth, and devolve them entirely onto the responsibility of the individual. It is not just sad; it is repugnant.

    This is nonsense. Since when did libertarians support bailing out too big to fail banks? We were the ones screaming the loudest against the too big to fail crap in 2008. And I’m pretty sure libertarians despise the Fed’s current program of debt monetization.

    1. Did she get her definition of “libertarian” from the left? Because there appear to be many of them that think George Bush was a libertarian.

    2. Oh, and as for the second part of that paragraph, the disconnect here is that if you are against the government taking care of people, you obviously want them to suffer and die, since there is no other means of taking care of them. Where’s my monocle?

    3. We passed through the looking glass because we listened to people like Metcalf BEFORE.

      HE made the Federal Reserve able to do these things. Not me. HE decided that the risk of economic dislocation meant that there were no rules and the state could do whatever it wanted. Not me.

      This fucker is complaining about the very things he demands. Fuck him.

      1. That’s the liberal ratchet. The solution to ill consequences of regulation is more regulation.

        Of course, conservatives have their own ratchet with regard to legislating morality, which is how we got Sudafed put behind the counter and placed under a quota.

        1. The “war on drugs” was supported across by both Dem and R politicians, I believe.

  25. Metcalf’s objection to libertarianism is well-stated and (gasp!) reasonable, even if I disagree with him. Coulter’s vomit OTOH is almost entirely content-free.

    1. Wait, Metcalf claims that Libertarians have

      Thus we are hectored into silence, and by the very people who purport to leave us most alone.

      Thanks in no small part to that silence, we have passed through the looking glass. Large-scale, speculative risk, undertaken by already grossly overcompensated bankers, is now officially part of the framework, in the form of too-big-to-fail guarantees made, implicitly and explicitly, by the Federal Reserve.

      And you call that well-stated and reasonable? Holy crap, just the notion that the 50 of us libertarians have hectored his 40 million plus “progressives” into silence renders the argument laughable. But then he tags us 50 Libertarians with responsibility for Bush and Obama’s collaborative “to big to fail” and Fed policies? There’s nothing remotely approaching truth or fact anywhere in that bile. Jeez….

      1. The exercise of free speech by libertarians = not leaving people alone.

        I didn’t realize being a libertarian meant never expressing libertarian opinions.

        Sorry, my bad.

      2. > Holy crap, just the notion that the 50 of us libertarians have hectored his 40 million plus “progressives” into silence renders the argument laughable.

        This is an uncharitable interpretation, i.e. a straw man. You do not have to read “we” to mean “all progressives” but just “people actively disagreeing with libertarians”.

  26. In my book “Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America,” I make the case that liberals, and never conservatives, appeal to irrational mobs to attain power.

    What is the tea party if not a conservative, irrational populist mob?

    1. What is the tea party if not a conservative, irrational populist mob?

      A mob that cleans up after itself at its rallies.

  27. “If they could only resist sucking up to “Rolling Stone”-reading, status-obsessed losers, they’d probably be interesting to talk to.”

    That is some funny ass snark there. But Colter makes a good point. If you got rid of government sanctioned marriage you would create a avananche of litigation. All marriage is is a set of enforcible rights. That means when to people get married they have this set of rights against each other. That means we dont’ have to worry about writing long marriage contracts because the government has set the rules for us. That avoids a lot of litigation. Coulter writes in a section curiously not quoted by Reason

    Get the government out of it” is a good and constitutionally correct answer to many questions, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer to all questions.

    It was a good answer, for example, when libertarian Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, was asked about government assistance to private enterprise and government involvement in the housing market.

    But it’s a chicken-s**t, I-don’t-want-to-upset-my-video-store-clerk-base answer when it comes to gay marriage.

    Asked about gay marriage, Paul said, in full:

    “The federal government shouldn’t be involved. I wouldn’t support an amendment (prohibiting gay marriage). But let me suggest ? one of the ways to solve this ongoing debate about marriage, look up in the dictionary. We know what marriage is all about. But then, get the government out of it. … Why doesn’t it go to the church? And why doesn’t it go to the individuals? I don’t think government should give us a license to get married. It should be in the church.”

    If state governments stop officially registering marriages, then who gets to adopt? How are child support and child custody issues determined if the government doesn’t recognize marriage? How about a private company’s health care plans ? whom will those cover? Who has legal authority to issue “do not resuscitate” orders to doctors? (Of course, under Obamacare we won’t be resuscitating anyone.)

    Who inherits in the absence of a will? Who is entitled to a person’s Social Security and Medicare benefits? How do you know if you’re divorced and able to remarry? Where would liberals get their phony statistics about most marriages ending in divorce?

    She also calls Paul out for his hypocrisy.

    Paul can’t even scratch Social Security and Medicare off that list by taking the libertarian position that there should be no Social Security or Medicare, because he also said during the debate: “We don’t want to cut any of the medical benefits for children or the elderly, because we have drawn so many in and got them so dependent on the government.” (And of course, those programs do exist, whether we like it or not.)

    So Rep. Paul is a swashbuckling individualist when it comes to civilization’s most crucial building block for raising children, but willing to be a run-of-the-mill government statist when it comes to the Ponzi-scheme entitlements bankrupting the country. He’s like a vegetarian who says, “I’m not a fanatic ? I still eat meat.”

    And that is why her snark about sucking up to liberal losers rings true. Paul Mr. Radical when it comes to something that is culturally fashionable like gay marriage. But when it comes to the ponzi schemes that are bankrupting the country, he all of the sudden is Mr. Centrist.

    He deserves to be called out for that.

    1. John:

      The really obvious way to get government out of the marriage business without destroying the web of legal rights associated with it is to call all government-sanctioned unions civil unions.

      As always, the Gordian Knot solution is the right one. SLASH! And the entire question becomes moot.

      The 14th Amendment issue disappears, but no one can whine that “marriage is between a man and a woman”. OK, fine. Knock yourself out with any definition you want, bitches.

      1. Yeah, it is one of those “trivially simple to solve” problems that lets you know that they don’t want the problem solved.

      2. That seems meaningless. So you are okay with “marraige” as long as we call it “civil unions”? That doesn’t make any sense. To get the government out of the marriage business means the government no longer has a set of rights defining the relationship between two people.

        To say that can do it as long as they don’t call it marriage and let two men do it, is a sorry ass cop out. And frankly below what I would expect of you.

        1. To get the government out of the marriage business means the government no longer has a set of rights defining the relationship between two people.

          Are you fucking stupid or something?

          Why is it impossible for you to remember posts on this board from one day to another?

          “Getting the government out of the marriage business” has ALWAYS meant switching to civil unions only.

          The only important thing that needs to be accomplished here is avoiding the word. Because every last objection you Christfuck moron cunts have is based on the word.

          So we will let you have your fucking word. Because you’re scum, but it’s easier to give you your damn word so you don’t have to think that baby Jesus is angry at you. I am happy to concede the word to you because it means nothing to me. But it apparently means something to literal retards like Mike Huckabee.

          1. The bigot in you comes out. You don’t give a shit about marriage. You just want to use the government to oppress the fuck out of people you don’t like. You know good and well that the moment we have civil unions or gay marriage, they will make it illegal not to recognize them and tell everyone in the country that they must recognize the gay lifestyle or face civil or criminal sanction.

            I don’t have a problem with gays or gay marriage. And I don’t like Mike Huckabee. But I think he has a right to do what he likes regardless of if I like him or not. And I will damned if I will stand by and let bigots like you go after him because you won’t stop there. You will come after me next.

            1. Look, if it’s your argument that we can’t treat people equally in the area of civil unions because if we do, someone will use some other law I think shouldn’t exist in a lawsuit in which I think they should not prevail, all I can say is Fuck you, baby.

              The discrimination laws are a huge problem. Absolutely. Let’s get rid of them. Today. Repeal ’em all.

              But their existence really isn’t my problem. I get to demand that contract law in the US be constructed in accord with the requirements of liberty and equality. I would do that even if there was some law on the books right now saying “If two gay guys get a civil union, Skynet must immediately nuke the whole country.” I’m not going to let you use one bad law to justify the existence of another bad law.

          2. you Christfuck moron cunts

            I like marriage, too. Why don’t you love me enough to call me a moron cunt?

      3. What would these “civil unions” look like that would make them different than marriage? If you are going to make them not like marriage, then they would just have to be a contract between any number of consenting adults. And that means you could have a civil union with your brother or your father or your five wives you brought from Pakistan.

        So, in the end, what you want is a complete end to marriage as we know it including the government recognition of polygamy and everything else. This is of course exactly what Coulter is objecting to and accusing libertarians of being chicken shit in not admitting.

        If you want polygamy, argue for it. Don’t clothe it in some bullshit call for “getting the government out of your life”. Bullshit, as soon as you recognize the right of people to go to court and enforce contracts, you are getting the government involved. You remind me of the old people that snarky libertarians like to accuse of wanting to “get the government out of my medicare”. You just want to “get the government out of your government sactioned and enforced contract law”. Whatever.

        1. I have no objection to non-coercive polygamy for adults and would want to hear the specific objection you have to it other than “ick that’s gross”.

          I have also admitted that here many times.

          You have the memory of a fucking gerbil, John.

          1. My objection to polygamy is that it leaves men without the hope of getting wives and has never been practices in any society that wasn’t fucked up backwards and mysogonistic.

            And if you want polygamy, that is your business. Just don’t ask for government sanction of it. You are as bad as the people you claim to hate. It is not good enough just to be able to live with who you want. NOOO you have to have the government recognize you and your relationship. Real libertarian there fluffy.

            1. All you have to do to avoid recognizing the marriages you don’t like is to not recognize any of them.

              All you have to do to avoid recognizing the civil unions you don’t like is to not recognize any of them.

              You’re the one arguing that the consequences of that are just too dire. Not me. So I’m trying to give you an out, that at least protects the word you seem to love so much.

              You don’t get to sanction your own relationships unless you are going to sanction the analogous relationships of all, in a way that does not infringe on either liberty or equality. If you consider that oppression, cry me a fucking river.

              1. Sanction with the police power of the state, that is.

            2. You are as bad as the people you claim to hate. It is not good enough just to be able to live with who you want. NOOO you have to have the government recognize you and your relationship.

              WAIT!!!….that’s the very argument you use for heterosexual marriage. You can’t logically demand government recognition of your form of marriage and demand that others not be able to demand the same thing.

      4. “OK, fine. Knock yourself out with any definition you want, bitches.”

        That is disengenious bullshit and you know it. Once they recognize gay marriage then they will tell everyone that you have to recognize every marriage or no marriage. Tony and MNG and their ilk will be right there to make objecting to homosexuality illegal. What will you say then? Sorry.

        You know that will be the result and you don’t care because you don’t care about anyone’s rights you don’t like. But at least be honest and stop pissing on my leg and telling me it is raining by claiming “go knock yourself out”. Bullshit.

        1. So repeal the Civil Rights Act of 1963 and all subsequent discrimination legislation.

          Another problem solved. Wow! I am on a roll.

          1. Do I get a unicorn too? Who the fuck are you kidding?

            1. “One bad law exists, therefore we must keep this other bad law over here.”

              That’s your argument? Seriously?

          2. Another gay wrapping himself in intellectually vacant claims about his rights being violated. Gays, as a group, are defined by their behavior. Behavior is not race.

            And don’t try to say that being Gay is an “orientation”. That’s just muddling rhetoric. You are what you do. Just because some self-righteous Bible-quoting Republican says he isn’t gay doesn’t mean his frequent trips to a blade bar don’t occur.

            1. I am not gay.

              I just don’t let John pretend he’s not a Christard.

    2. The problem is not that Coulter criticizes specific policies which Paul advocates, but the fact that she claims insight into Paul’s subjective motivations – which allegedly involve catering to left-wing video clerks.

      Coulter seems congenitally incapable of disagreeing with people without calling them traitors or (audaciously) panderers. Because a bestselling author never panders to her audience.

      The stereotypical gay-rights-supporting video clerk presumably thinks that Paul is sucking up to the Religious Right with his anti-abortion, school-prayer-legalizing position.

    3. Also, Ron Paul once ran for President on the libertarian platform, which called for ending the Social Security system, but for continuing to pay benefits to existing recipients who had been hoodwinked into the system.

      So Coulter is basically saying he’s a hypocrite for continuing to hold the position that was on the party platform when he received that party’s nomination for President.

      1. So what? He still looks like a cosmo dick when he wants to tear up everyone’s marriage contract but thinks that we should honor their social security contract. He has no problem telling everyone who got married under a set of rules to go fuck themselves because that is the fashionable thing to believe.

        1. Who’s saying they’re going to rip up anyone’s marriage contract?

          “After July 1, the state of New York will no longer issue marriage licenses. It will issue civil union licenses only.”

          Wow. That problem was so difficult to solve it took me all of ten seconds.

          1. If you are putting the governmetn in the business of giving out civil unions that mean the same thing as marriage, how have you gotten the government out of marriage?

            1. You might not believe it, but I am actually trying to be tolerant here.

              I am willing to recognize that you silly Christians have existing institutions (hell, one of the biggest silly Christian churches even calls marriage a sacrament) and it hurts your little feelings to see other people use the word “marriage” to describe something you don’t think fits into the Christian framework.

              So I’m trying to help you save face.

              As I’ve said before, if the state was giving out something called a “Bar Mitzvah” license, I’d probably raise my hand and say, “Maybe we should change the name of that to something else.” Because otherwise Nazis could walk into the county clerk’s office and lay down $20 and get a Bar Mitzvah license, and then call their Hitler Birthday Party celebration a “Bar Mitzvah” officially sanctioned by the state. To avoid having that happen, I’d say, “Change the name.” I’d suggest that as a courtesy. In much the same way I think we should switch to civil unions as a courtesy.

              1. Nice save. I was beginning to tilt toward John’s side. This is why I hate Godwin’s Law: examples using Hitler and Nazis clarify issues instantly.

    4. John, the “marriage” part would just be the religious (or whatever else) ceremony and title. The legal, civil union part would remain a government-enforced contract. The government shouldn’t be in the business of defining marriage, which is historically a religious concept. It can allow people to legal bind themselves together in whatever pairings they desire.

      1. Regardless of the marriage position, the criticism of RP for not addressing substantive entitlement reform is sadly accurate. But, Coulter needs to check herself because Romney, TPaw, Cain, Bachmann, et al didn’t seriously address the issue either. The only one that did was Santorum, which pissed me off because he revealed one issue I can actually respect him to some small degree on (even if he was just saying he fully supported the Ryan plan).

        1. A Rick Santorum presidency would be measurably more libertarian than a Barack Obama presidency (yes, I realize that’s not saying much). Cosmotarians and Liberaltarians hate on Rick too much, judging by these comment boards. He’s not that awful.

          1. Nobody is arguing that Santorum is more libertarian than Obama. The problem is that there are dipshits that come onto this site and try and convince us that Bachmann/Santorum et all are more libertarian than Ron Paul.

      2. No, marriage is not historically a religious concept. People seem to have gotten that idea from the existence of church marriages, but marriage is a very old concept predating even Homo sapiens, which took on legal and religious trappings as those institutions respectively developed.

        1. All we’re worried about is the legal trappings.

          If you want to go declare yourself to be part of a Homo Erectus marriage I honestly don’t give a shit.

          1. “All we’re worried about is the legal trappings.”

            What the fuck does that mean? Right now, you can’t discriminate against people because they are married. You can’t say, you get to get spousal benefits but someone else doesn’t. So once you go after the legal benefits, you are by definition shoving your foot down my throat and telling me that I have to recognize every kind of marriage you want to recognize or not recognize any marriage. Bullshit. Unless you are will to say that I don’t have to recognize a marriage regardless of what the government says, then you are not arguing for freedom.

            1. No, you have to recognize the right of people to form legal partnerships. It doesn’t have to have any religious connotations at all. Allowing other people to form those partnerships does not impinge on your freedom. Let all the different churches and other groups define marriage however they want.

              1. If you make me recognize those partnerships it sure as hell does infringe on my freedom. Unless I am free not to recognize them, I am not free.

                1. Eh??? So your freedom is infringed upon by every single legal contract in this country, apparently. No voluntary contractual agreements can exist without infringing on the freedom of others? You’ve really gone off the deep end here.

            2. ?????

              What the fuck are you talking about?

              What spousal benefits do you personally have to give anyone?

              If you’re talking about requirements as an insurance company or as an employer, hey, fine – I don’t think you should have those. Problem #2 solved.

              1. I have never once seen a civil union or a gay marriage law that said people could opt out of it and not recognize it if they choose not to.

                This has nothing to do with marriage fluffy. Most gay people don’t want to get married. A very small percentage of them ever will. This is about making it illegal to object to homosexuality. And people like you are nothing but willing stooges.

                1. So are our freedoms infringed by heterosexual marriage too? What if I don’t want to recognize them? Sounds like I’ve lost my freedom.

                  1. If you want to change the law and allow private companies and individuals to decide what marriages they consider valid, feel free. I won’t object.

                    1. Oh no you don’t, biotch. Joe M just laid down the trump card, and I hadn’t even seen it before.

                      If he can’t argue based on the existence of existing law, neither can you.

                    2. John, you numbskull. You’ve been around here long enough to know full well libertarians believe individuals and businesses should be able to operate and believe whatever they want. Supporting equivalent legal rights for gays and straights does not imply in any way we support government thought control or mandates to provide services on private actors. We support equal civil rights for all, but oppose government interference with private contracts. Our view on flawed gay marriage legislation would be no different than our view on the flawed Civil Rights Act.

                      However, us cosmos will still think you’re an a-hole for treating gays differently because you find them icky. We have values too, ya know.

                  2. Can you seriously claim otherwise?

                    Of course there are many laws prohibiting discrimination based on marital status, for example. Say for employers and landlords.

                    And discrimination is just another word for a free choice that is politically (or morally/whatever) incorrect.

                2. Most gay people don’t want to get married. A very small percentage of them ever will.

                  Also, where the fuck do you get the idea you know what most homosexuals actually want with regard to marriage and/or civil unions?

                3. This is about making it illegal to object to homosexuality.

                  Big time strawman bullshit. Please tell me ANY politician who endorses this.

          2. If you want to go declare yourself to be part of a Homo Erectus marriage

            No homo

        2. marriage is a very old concept predating even Homo sapiens,

          ????????????

          That’s going a mite too far unless you relax the definition of marriage to mere monogamous mating. Even then it would hard to prove it existed before recorded history.

      3. The government shouldn’t be in the business of defining marriage, which is historically a religious concept.

        Marriage is a cultural concept. Religion reinforces culture. Governments, historically, usually get wrapped up with religion in order to defend the status quo. It is politically convenient, in America, to try to cast opposition to efforts to change the definition of marriage as religious, since separation of Church and State arguments can then be invoked to silence or override said opposition, but it is dishonest to do so.

        It can allow people to legal bind themselves together in whatever pairings they desire.

        Only pairings? You bigot.

    5. What is bizarre is that Coulter is advancing the argument of gay-marriage proponents that the state must define marriage.

      There is an age-old provision of common law that settles the issue for those who fail(or choose not) to enter into a formal contract.

      1. But it does not settle the issue for 3rd parties such as insurers.

        1. Actually it should settle the issue for them, and would have, had marriage not become a political football.

          1. And just who is it that has made marriage a political football? Would you now like to make the argument that it wouldn’t be a political football if everyone would just surrender and let gays impose their values on everyone else?

            Reminds me of Walter Cronkite saying that the Cold War would have ended if McGovern had been elected.

            Just surrender and stop the war, already!

            1. No, letting activists impose their values is what makes it a political football. “Spouse” has a meaning that exists regardless of what any lawyers, statute books, etc. may say.

              Surrender wouldn’t stop the war, because then as long as words were understood to have meanings imposed by edict rather than custom, they would become the ground of more wars.

        2. You seem not to understand what “getting government out of marriage” means. It doesn’t just mean not licensing marriage in the future, it means stripping reference to marriage out of the entire legal code.

          1. But that wouldn’t get gov’t out of marriage either, because there’d still be court cases over who was married to whom, as long as private legal documents mentioned the terms “spouse”, etc.

            1. The whole aim behind the government defining marriage is so that they can exclude certain couples from its definition. If a private document mentioned a “spouse” of the same sex and the government didn’t legally define marriage, they’d would be able to enforce the contract as if it was a marriage. However, they wouldn’t necessarily have to enforce it, I suppose. For instance if someone “marries” a minor and tries to use the government to enforce that marriage, the government — even without a law “defining” marriage on the books — may still have discretion to simply refuse to uphold the legality of the contract since it involved a minor.

    6. Every fucking candidate running on both sides of the aisle deserves to be called out for that.

      FIFY

      Is there anyone else who favors reducing the size of government more than Paul? Did the rest of the candidates (Herman Cain, et al) say anything remotely close to abolishing Social Security?

    7. If you got rid of government sanctioned marriage you would create a avananche of litigation. All marriage is is a set of enforcible rights. That means when to people get married they have this set of rights against each other. That means we dont’ have to worry about writing long marriage contracts because the government has set the rules for us. That avoids a lot of litigation.

      Bzzzt. Ever witnessed a divorce? Marriage as it stands now results in far, far more litigation than any other kind of contract anywhere in our legal system. Well, I suppose you could argue that wills produce more litigation but those aren’t really contracts.

      1. To clarify, spouses generally don’t get involved in enforcing marital rights against each other until they’re getting a divorce or at least separating. So I highly doubt that the govt involvement in marriage is saving us any litigation.

  28. Most libertarians are cowering frauds too afraid to upset anyone to take a stand on some of the most important cultural issues of our time.

    Here’s my stand:

    Ann Coulter is a stupid cunt who looks like a transvestite and she is dead wrong on all cultural issues.

    So I guess in a single sentence I disproved both of her claims – first, that I wouldn’t take a stand (I just did) and second, that I’m afraid to upset anyone (Since I’m more than happy to call Ann a cunt, and would be perfectly delighted if she was upset by that. Not that I think she cares either way, mind you, but if she DID, I would laugh in her face and be delighted.)

    1. I thought I was the only person who noticed the bitch has a *lot* of adam’s apple going on. Just saying. Well, at least her(?) omnipresent crucifix necklace goes well with her(?) fake tits.

      1. We college bros have been calling her Man Coulter for ages. We’ve tried to come up with something better, but we’re not that creative.

        Have a brewski.

  29. Metcalf is interesting on Slate’s Culture Gabfest, but when anything political comes up his brain vanishes and he puts down libertarians with the smuggest condescension he can muster.

    It must be due to the fact that he’s the typical blue-blooded, east coast liberal who’s never had a “real” job that we all love to hate. That, and he was “Master Stephan Metcalf” in the Social Register. FACT.

  30. Coulter has gone from inconsistent to incoherent. She isn’t even advancing a conservative case:

    How about a private company’s health care plans ? whom will those cover?

    1. it may or may not be considered a conservative case, but it’s not incoherent. They take it to court, and the answer is, “Sorry, we’re not allowed to decide. Haven’t you heard gov’t has gotten out of the marriage issue? Why don’t you try trial by combat?”

      1. False dilemma.

        Plenty of private health plans cover domestic partners despite the lack of a govt definition for that status.

        1. Polygamy changes things. The fix isn’t too hard – just define benefit limits no matter how many spouses, which then gets into rebates for singles.

          The point remains, though, that marriage is so embedded in law that there would be a lot of disruptions and fixes that would have to be made.

          1. There’s no limit on the number of children you can have on a plan, so I don’t see why there would have to be a limit to the number of spouses (assuming you’re paying extra for each one).

        2. How is it a false dilemma? Does the fact that some health plans cover domestic partners mean that no contracts anywhere mention the status of marriage as a term?

      2. The government may get out of the marriage business, but as long as it is in the tax business, the issue of employer health care coverage remains.

        Ditch the current tax code. Flat tax!

  31. Another way to put it?and here lies the legacy of Keynes?is that a free society is an interplay between a more-or-less permanent framework of social commitments, and the oasis of economic liberty that lies within it. The nontrivial question is: What risks (to health, loss of employment, etc.) must be removed from the oasis and placed in the framework (in the form of universal health care, employment insurance, etc.) in order to keep liberty a substantive reality, and not a vacuous formality?

    In other words, none of my employees are free, unless I am their slave. As usual.

    Because the “risk” of government violence and the “risk” that I might not buy the same labor tomorrow that I buy today are the same.

    1. Libertarians, fighting for the employers right to push the worker to work for a wage below the minimum wage! Because the worker is always free to say no and go live off the fat of the land (unless he owns no land, then its No Trespassing Hobo!).

      1. Shorter, and more eloquent MNG (and just as wrong): “The poor man is not free to dine at The Ritz.”

        1. Well, it’s true that the poor have many fewer opportunities than the rich. But more importantly they have less bargaining power because they cannot go without as long, the certain minimum that one needs before they are actually suffering is always closer for the poor person. This is why I’m fine with government stepping in and setting a floor below which he cannot be pushed lower by the employer’s superior bargaining power.

          1. You know… I don’t know about you, but I’ve actually known some owners of businesses, large and small, billionaire and just-getting-by, and there’s one thing they all have in common: they care about their employees, and want them to do well, and in doing well, to become wealthier. Business owners encourage their employees to earn more – as long as their efforts can help the capitalist earn more.

            1. It is definitely in every employer’s best interest to have employees who can afford to buy his product. On a macro scale this is the recipe for a virtuous cycle of prosperity just as you describe. So it’s a mystery why wealthy interests so often favor race-to-the-bottom policies that serve only their very short-term interests.

              1. Reading Naomi Klein lately?

                “It is definitely in every employer’s best interest to have employees who can afford to buy his product. ”

                Like Boeing?

          2. You know, I always hear the “good” liberals arguing this way. But then why don’t they push for a rational rejiggering of the welfare state? Why not, say, a simple guaranteed minimum income (negative income tax) that would provide a basic safety net while still allowing liberty/market forces to work?
            Because the “good” liberal, who values helping the poor more than controlling them (and everyone else), is more a theory than a fact, our good friend MNG notwithstanding.

            1. Same thing with the “greens.”
              If reducing AGW (assuming it really does exist) were really the goal, why no groundswell for a strictly revenue-neutral carbon tax to replace, say, the corporate income tax?

              If I could replace the welfare state with a negative income tax, and current business taxes with a straight-up carbon tax — I’d be happy to do it. It’s not a libertarian solution, but it certainly is better than what we’ve got. Why no liberal love for something like that? I have, as noted, my suspicions.

              1. Speaking for myself, I don’t care about the means so much as the ends. I don’t actually care about “controlling” the poor, and I think my motives are pure with respect to other policies. IMO we can re-jigger the system any way you please as long as the outcome is more security, liberty, justice, and fairness for more people.

                1. Ah, ends and means. Well, I think we might be able to murder our way to prosperity. Less people = less people around begging for jobs, polluting, hoarding their ill-gotten money, etc. Let’s get on that shit Tony.

                  And no, I’m not going to be like these other hacks and compare you to the Nazis, Maoists, or the Soviets or other self-named “well-intentioned” policy wonks. Oh shit…

                  I should mention that Lincoln had no problem keeping the slaves … enslaved (means) if it meant preserving the Union (ends). Nope, nothing wrong with that.

                  1. My calling for security, liberty, justice, and fairness for all is exactly like slavery and the Nazis!

                    Much better not to care about ends at all, and have policy based on what the voices in your head tell you.

            2. You’d better watch out CN! Soon you’ll be joining with me and my MMT friends and calling for an Employer of Last Resort (ELR) program, as many of us do. Much better than a minimum wage (which is an intellectual horror), the ELR provides a job to all able-bodied citizens who cannot find work in the private sector, all at the same below-private-market wage. This serves as a buffer stock of laborers, naturally expanding during recessions and contracting during booms. And there’s no need for welfare or “welfare bums.” No one willing to pull weeds, cut fire breaks, etc. would ever starve. And the country would be improved and beautified.

              Perfect? No. Perfectly libertarian? Hell no. Better than what we have now? Decidedly so.

              1. Yeah — I’d worry about the government wielding this labor force, and about the social engineering implications.
                I’d much rather just hand out the cash.
                But I guess I’d probably take your ELR over what we got.

      2. I will only take your objections seriously when the seller of orange juice is given as much power at law to abuse YOU as a purchaser of orange juice as the sellers of labor have to abuse the purchasers of labor.

      3. Because the worker is always free to say no and go live off the fat of the land (unless he owns no land, then its No Trespassing Hobo!).

        This is of course ironic, since it is actually the minimum wage regime that leaves poor unskilled workers with no employment options.

        In libertopia such a worker would be free to look for another job that paid more. If no one is willing to pay him the wage he wants, he is still able to find a job to get paid something.

        Whereas, in the presence of a minimum wage, a worker whose labor and skills are not worth the minimum wage really does have no option but to go live off the land.

  32. One of the really funny scandals of libertarianism in academia is how the academics who espouse it who aren’t recipients of subsidy from corporate interests are the rare exception. Even with all this welfare, it still struggles in the marketplace of ideas.

    1. But that would mean that all the academics who DON’T espouse it are recipients of state welfare.

      Assuming we allow you to define deliberate private sponsorship of work product as “welfare”, and I don’t.

    2. Yeah, when compared at the ballot box with “vote for me and I’ll steal money from those other people over there and give it to you”, the libertarian ideology doesn’t do well at all.

      1. I’ll take democracy over oligarchy any day.

        1. Your right to free speech exists due to oligarchy.

          1. I’m sure someone could have figured out free speech even if the chattel were allowed to vote at the time.

            1. The Athenians executed Socrates.

              I’m actually dead serious here. The entire Bill of Rights was written by a clique of wealthy white men and represented a clear departure from previous practice. Leftist thinkers have spared no expense in constructing arguments purporting to prove that the Founders were motivated by bourgeois self-interest.

              So let us take them at their word. An oligarchy of wealthy men, who had limited the franchise to themselves, got together and concocted your right to free speech. That’s just what happened.

              1. I don’t dispute your point, but I don’t think it’s an argument in favor of oligarchy so much as an argument in favor of massive good luck. The underlying problems of rule-by-elites are always there. Whether democracy would have been possible without being invented by a small group of aristocrats is certainly a very interesting question. Equally interesting is whether the allegedly pacifistic nature of democracy would have been practicable without a bloody revolution.

                Still the problems of oligarchy persist: I really don’t think I’d like the outcomes of the policies that your preferred elites would choose.

                1. Democracy is neither necessary nor sufficient for any kind of liberty, including freedom of speech.

                  Remember, Hitler was elected democratically.

          2. How do you figure? Our right to free speech comes from courts following the Constitution which was passed by a super-majoritarian process?

            1. The franchise was limited to a minority of free men at the time.

              Those men wrote a Constitution for themselves and then passed it by voting on it in state legislatures elected by an oligarchic minority.

              1. Interestingly that promise of free speech was hardly ever successfully invoked against government until times where nearly everyone could vote…

                1. Not because anyone voted for it.

                  In fact, the average voter is a low-down free-speech hating dog, on some issue or another. Scratch any douchebag American and you’ll find somebody who deep down hates free speech.

                  And when free speech is defended in the modern era, who is it defended from? The legislatures, that’s who. Acting in the name of their constituents, who are no-good free speech hating scum.

              2. In addition, to the extent that any semi-democratic, limited-franchise institutions were even created, they were stripped of the power to limit free speech.

                When you write a Constitution that says that Congress shall make no law abridging the right to free speech, what you are saying is: “Well, I guess we need some semi-democratic institutions, but since free speech is so important let’s tell those institutions and the people who vote for them they can go fuck themselves, and we’re going to oligarchically decide they don’t get to limit free speech before we even let them get started.”

        2. One of the really funny scandals of libertarianism in academia is how the academics who espouse it who aren’t using corporate tollways to get to work are using government roads.

    3. One of the really funny scandals of Tony is how many of his giant straw men arguments about libertarianism that aren’t lifted from the NYT or some other liberal rag exist, they are a rare exception. Even with all the education about libertarianism he receives at this site he still struggles with developing an original argument that isn’t easily deflated once the straw man aspect is removed.

      FTFY.

      1. That’s because Tony is just an alt of a cosmotarian and cosmotarians, like most journos, mostly sit around talking to the rest of the journo herd.

    4. Even with all this welfare, it still struggles in the marketplace of ideas.

      Academia’s a closed shop, not a marketplace.

  33. Yeah, and look at the mess all those Libertarians in Congress and the Oval Office and the state legislatures have made over the years. If only the Libertarian Party weren’t such a dominant force in society today, everything would be so much better!

  34. Man, am I tired of shrieking harridans and some guy I never heard of telling me what I believe. Especially when they are wrong.

  35. Both Coulter and Metcalf had good points, although you managed to entirely omit Coulter’s, resulting in a total “WTF?” on the excerpted, out of context bit of hers here. You did a so-so job of bringing out Metcalf’s in the space you took.

    The point applies to libertarians as well as anyone analyzing anything according to any preference: Don’t become glib and overconfident, and don’t assume your primary consideration will automatically override any other consider’ns.

    Coulter’s particular point is one I’ve made many times: that sloganeering blinds oneself to the real issue of same sex marriage. There is no way to “get gov’t out of marriage” unless gov’t doesn’t include courts. There will be legal questions about who is married to whom, and courts will need some way to decide.

    Metcalf’s point is that it’s too glib to generalize from extreme cases. His more particular point is that you can’t automatically extrapolate from the behavior and values of individuals to those of institutions.

    1. Not if you only allow the state to issue licenses for civil unions.

      1. Explain how that solves the problem.

        1. He can’t.

          1. Presumptuous much?

        2. It solves the problem because the government would be out of marriage but the courts would still be able to decide all the legal issues about property and children you want them to be able to decide.

          1. “It solves the problem because the government would be out of marriage but the courts would still be able to decide all the legal issues about property and children you want them to be able to decide.”

            Without laws? And once you have laws doesn’t that mean the government is involved?

            1. The courts already decide custody matters involving unmarried parents, so it’s ridiculous to claim they need govt involvement in marriage to decide such issues.

              Property issues in quasi-marital relationships could easily be dealt with by normal contracts.

              1. “Property issues in quasi-marital relationships could easily be dealt with by normal contracts.”

                which would cause the explosion in litigation Coulter is talking about. Most people don’t bother with contracts. So we have this thing called marriage so they don’t have to.

                1. Why? We don’t subvert normal contract rights to government in other areas and there’s no litigation explosion there. There is no reason for marriage to be anything other than a contract.

                2. You’re not going to have quasi-spouses taking each other to court over property issues until the quasi-marital relationship has fallen apart…an eventuality that also causes a shitload of litigation in our current system.

                  1. It’s not about the quasi-spouses taking each other to court. It’s about enforceable, contractual provisions involving other parties C that take effect depending on whether A is married to B.

                    This isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened. One notorious kind is when sovereigns decreed new meanings (mainly, whatever Banker So-And-So says) to terms that once had agreed-on meanings of weights of precious metal, like pound and thaler/dollar. Sure, you’re still free to trade in things said to be units of those currencies, but they don’t mean what they meant at the time their meanings began to be usurped.

                    It’s not always about simple freedom. Sometimes it’s about enforcement of agreements. Why can’t women marry women? It’s like asking why morphine can’t be sawdust. It’s not about whether people are allowed to have morphine or sawdust; whether there’s a law against either, morphine is still not sawdust.

                    1. Sure, you’re still free to trade in things said to be units of those currencies, but they don’t mean what they meant at the time their meanings began to be usurped.

                      Sure, it’s marriage inflation. Jesus Christ, why do I even listen to you conservatives anymore.

                3. How would litigation increase over the existing divorce litigation? You don’t think gay partners can break up and sue each other over shared property or contracts under existing law?

                  1. Also, in John’s take on existing policy, unmarried heterosexual couples must never sue over child custody or shared property, either? Really, John, the “eliminating gov’t marriage will increase litigation” argument is weak sauce.

    2. If the govt has actually gotten out of marriage, there won’t be any reason for courts to care who is married to whom, any more than they currently care about who is best friends with whom. You and Coulter both fail to give any valid examples where the courts absolutely must care about marriage.

      1. Do best friends get employer benefits? No, so some clarifications would be required.

        1. you mean government-mandated employer benefits or something more which is mutually agreed to by employer and employee in the employment contract?

          Because the former would seem to be covered by the “government out of marriage” part. And the latter is your own damn fault for agreeing to the terms when you took the job. Demand terms which cover your best friend if you want.

          1. The problem comes when the term means one thing when the agreement is made, and then gov’t (by judicial, executive, legislative, or plebiscitic decree) purports to have changed the meaning in the meantime. Once that damage is done, sure, then no problem — until gov’t changes the meaning again!

            Same with dollars. Sure, now everyone knows they’re not weights of silver. But at one time they were counting on it.

  36. Who cares what comes out of that thing’s mouth. Just ingore it and maybe it will go away.

    1. like palin went away?

      1. thread jacker

      2. First you would have to ignore her for it to apply.

    2. Somebody is listening; her books do sell. Coulter’s red-meat rhetoric is tedious at times, but I do credit her as being one of the few willing to speak on college campuses and directly challenge the liberal orthodoxy there. In that role, over-the-top rhetoric does usefully fight fire with fire.

      1. Yes, you can always win intellectual arguments by outmoronning morons.

  37. Metcalf’s objection to the Wilt Chamberlain example is also moronic.

    The Chamberlain example provides justification for an initial allocation of wealth to Chamberlain. But unless he can subsequently dispose of it exactly how he sees fit, or save it for use in the future, we haven’t allocated anything to Chamberlain at all. Therefore, if you agree with the justice of the Chamberlain example with regard to income, you implicitly concede the issue of savings, as well, unless you come up with some compelling argument to explain to me why you haven’t. And as soon as you concede savings you’ve conceded capital and owners and every last one of the non-state examples Metcalf lists.

    BTW – isn’t it a little stupid for Metcalf to claim that Nozick was a serious philosopher in 1974 for arguing for the same non-outcome-based moral justification of capitalism that Rand argued for in 1956?

    1. Seems like you’re ignoring what Metcalf wrote, which is exactly that the implications don’t follow automatically the way you think — or that, if they do follow, then something was wrong with the initial presumption.

      1. That isn’t what Metcalf writes at all.

        He merely LISTS the different ways wealth might be acquired, and relies on us to ASSUME that these are categorically different.

        To me, it’s immediately obvious that if the first link in a chain of voluntary exchanges is morally justified, then all subsequent voluntary exchanges are transitively justified. If we demonstrate that Wilt Chamberlain earned his income, then that money is his, and if he gives it to a child or spouse then it’s theirs.

        If Wilt can’t dispose of the money the way he wants, then it’s not actually his. So we’d be right back at trying to prove that he shouldn’t have had the higher income in the first place.

        1. Don’t you think that’s what Metcalf is writing?

  38. Anybody with half a brain who is married should explicitly name their spouse on their will and as a beneficiary on retirement plans. And even when registering a spouse, what’s the big deal? She’s making it seem like registering your marriage with the government magically automates all that stuff and cuts all that extra red tape out. Uhh, no it doesn’t.

    1. Marriage doesn’t prevent probate, but it does provide a default answer to who inherits what in many cases. Without a default answer of some kind, deciding who gets what becomes very messy.

  39. libertarians are cowering frauds too afraid to upset anyone

    Right. I mean, no libertaian would think of calling someone like Ms. Coulter a “statist douche”. After all, it might upset someone.

    Hey Nick, you should try this next time you’re on the boob tube with Ann.

  40. Good, Ann, I can feel your anger. I am defenseless. Take your weapon. Strike me down with all of your hatred and your journey towards the dark side will be complete.

    1. Ooooooh I wish I hadn’t clicked on that link…..

      1. Too many of us have learned the hard way not to click on links provided by the Warty-SugarFree-Episiarch axis.

  41. Sure, all good libertarians want to legalize drugs, but the question is whether that is more important than legalizing the ability to locate your widget factory where you want to put it. Even purists can have priorities.

    I fight everyday to get back the right to put your widget factory where you want to.

    That being said throwing people away in jail as if they were garbage for smoking and/or selling weed is a far worse affront to liberty then idiotic zoning regulations.

  42. I’d also posit that Ann Coulter and Slate are both “anti-birther”

  43. There is, I now recall, one group of people who look like conservatives, but also appeal to the mob. They’re called “libertarians.”

    HA!!!

    The nearest libertarian I know is Epi….he is over a 100 miles away.

    Do two dudes who have never physically met living over a hundred miles from each other constitute a mob?

  44. My problem with the Chamberlain story is that it is so goofily abstract. People who rightly scoff at social contract theories accept this? If all disparities could be shown to have derived from free trades then I think I’d be fine with it, but in real life Chamberlain would be rich because he inherited money from his father who inherited it from his father who got rich running the family plantation worked with slave labor.

    1. It’s not abstract in the least.

      People bitch and moan ALL THE TIME in REAL LIFE that Michael Jordan makes more money than a brain surgeon, or a teacher, or whatever other occupation someone wants to extoll as more worthy than a basketball player.

      It’s actually a very neat, precise, and non-abstract way to examine the issue: to take a straight look at the way in which providing small amounts of value for large numbers of people can make you rich.

      So the moral question becomes: if you provide millions of people with a small amount of value each, should they get that value for nothing, or should you get something in exchange for that value, even if that makes you richer than a teacher?

      in real life Chamberlain would be rich because he inherited money from his father who inherited it from his father who got rich running the family plantation worked with slave labor.

      That’s real life to you?

      Find me anyone in the US – anyone at all – currently enjoying a lifestyle of leisure based on direct sequential inheritance from an ancestor whose primary means of generating wealth was a slave plantation.

      Please. I’d like to see it.

      Those people were all Blanche Duboised three generations ago at a minimum.

      1. I think it’s hard to dispute that this country as a whole owes its success in part to some pretty horrific past abuses of individual human dignity.

        1. Only if you don’t know anything Tony. They burned the South to the ground in the civil war. One sixth of the adult male population was killed. The wealth dropped dramatically. The South for all its faults paid in blood and treasure for slavery and had to virtually start over.

          1. How comforting that must have been to the slaves and their descendants.

          2. And who has paid for the extermination of the native peoples?

            1. Most of the native people died of disease, which wasn’t anyone’s fault. And both the native people and the former slaves live better than their ancestors ever did. Should they have to give that wealth back?

              1. Descendants of the slaves live immeasurably more comfortable lives than their ancestors’ masters did, actually.

              2. My great-great grandfather fought for the Union in the Civil War — he begged his family to buy his way out but they couldn’t raise the bucks. (I’ve got a great letter from him at the front.)
                All you fuckers owe me.

            2. Why does someone always have to pay for the depredations done to a group? That whole idea is so lawyery. How many groups of people have been exterminated during man’s reign? How often have entire towns been wiped out without anyone ever talking about reparations?

              1. Often. Clearly, there will never be total justice in this universe. That’s certainly no reason to pretend that every cent everyone happens to have his grubby hands on was earned virtuously and thus shouldn’t be taxed to support the society that so generously lets him keep most of it, despite any ill-gotten means by which it was acquired.

                1. Often. Clearly, there will never be total justice in this universe. That’s certainly no reason to pretend that every cent everyone happens to have his grubby hands on was earned virtuously and thus shouldn’t be taxed to support the society that so generously lets him keep most of it, despite any ill-gotten means by which it was acquired.

                  And it’s completely ludicrous to argue that the institution that supported and enforced many of these atrocities should be held up as the source of all societal good.

        2. Because the presence of slavery correlates so well with economic progress doesn’t it? Just look at places that currently practice it.

        3. You know, it’s funny, actually.

          The objection to the Wilt Chamberlain example that is usually raised often sounds something like what Tony is saying here:

          That in the past there was a lot of injustice, and that means that people now don’t deserve their wealth and income, even if they personally came by it honorably.

          But here’s the problem with that:

          If true, that would mean that no human being has ever had any right to the income or wealth generated by their labor, since no matter how far back you go there’s always a previous act of injustice you can refer to.

          But that would mean that Native Americans had no right to their land, and Africans had no right to their labor. Because we stipulated that prior acts of injustice had invalidated all claims to wealth and income.

          But if that’s true, taking the Native Americans’ land and the labor of Africans by force wouldn’t actually have been an injustice. No one took from them anything they had a right to. Right?

          That’s the real strength of the Wilt Chamberlain thought experiment. As soon as you draw anyone into it, the natural leftist counterarguments all end in the Proudhonistic fallacy.

          1. But how does it follow that therefore we ought to minimize any redistribution of what exists in the status quo? Any setup you have will be government encouraged, if not totally directed. Either the market rewards things like virtue and innovation or it rewards things like fraud or already having wealth. Too often libertarians seem to want to argue that no matter the circumstances that led to the status quo, any redistribution is unjust, and that the injustice of redistribution trumps all other possible injustices.

            1. You can’t get past the fact that the government “encouragement” you refer to applies to all wealth, not just the ill-gotten wealth. Further in addition to the moral problem with punishing many innocents to get at a subset of thieves (how can that ever be anything but unjust btw?), you also have the practical problems with this system of yours, which discourages honest wealth-generation.

            2. Either the market rewards things like virtue and innovation or it rewards things like fraud or already having wealth.

              Why either or? The market rewards producers who satisfy the consumers preferences; the end. People will pay for “vanity” items (weight loss pills, age reducers, etc.) even if only the remote possibility that it will work. Having wealth correlates with better education, better connections, etc. so the fact that many benefit from it should not be shocking.

      2. The Dukes would be the closest thing I can think of. But they made a lot of money in power generation. But they got their start in slavery and would never have had the money to create Duke Power without it.

        But you are right fuffy. Margeret Mitchell didn’t call the book “Gone with the Wind” for nothing. The slave economy and the wealth built with it was destroyed in the civil war. The South was devistated and didn’t fully recover for a century. The idea that someone in the 21st Century US’s wealth is based on slavery is just a myth, unless they have holdings in the Sudan.

  45. I really wished Coulter and Gillespie would duke it out when they were on Red Eye together. Alas, they kept it peaceful.

    1. I know I could get stoned for this but, when taken out of her native left-right cable news split screen environment, IMO she is actually pretty engaging.

      1. I thought libertarians *loved* being stoned.

        1. Frowned upon by my employer.. anyhow I meant the bad stoned.

  46. Translation of Metcalf: “When you point out the obvious fact that sometimes my emphasis on equality and fairness takes precedence over liberty and individualism, the terrorists win.”

  47. “The nontrivial question is: What risks (to health, loss of employment, etc.) must be removed from the oasis and placed in the framework (in the form of universal health care, employment insurance, etc.) in order to keep liberty a substantive reality, and not a vacuous formality? ”

    Vacuous formality” , eh?

    The claim that freedom has anything to do with compeling others to provide one with material goods or services is the epitome of vacuousness.

    1. What’s vacuous is the claim that the only constituent of freedom is a lack of state force.

      1. Well you’re wrong again, Tony.

        As usual.

      2. No, what’s vacuous is that the only constituent of freedom seems to be made of various forms of mandatory “insurance” programs funded by the federal tax dollars. Now, the next time I go through the nut scanner at the airport, or get my grundle fondled by a TSA mall cop, or hear about troop deaths in Afghanistan, or have to pay a lawyer to do my tax returns, or watch another DEA raid on state-legalized pot clinic, or have to call my friend to bet on a football game, or any other thing that I involuntarily am forced to do against my will or involuntarily am prohibited from doing by Federal law and regulation, I’ll remember to shut my mouth and not write anything either because I really have liberty since I am forced to buy health insurance and I have checks waiting for me at 67 to cover my greens fees … assuming I live that long. Who cares about having a little fun and freedom at 30 anyways?

    2. Now insert food clothing and shelter, the far more important basic needs, that make one repugnant for denying. forcing the proletariat to get jobs and thereby be “enslaved” by the bourgeois.

  48. Wow – 340+ comments. Son, I am surprise.

  49. That article on state marriage by Coulter you linked to is quite possibly the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen her write. I admire her to an extent, but there’s no denying she also replaces reason and contemplation with the desire to “conserve” to an extent also.

  50. Another way to put it?and here lies the legacy of Keynes?is that a free society is an interplay between a more-or-less permanent framework of social commitments, and the oasis of economic liberty that lies within it.

    Lord Keynes stood before The People, and cast forth, ‘Behold! I have brought you tablets from Mt. Sinai.’

    And the people listened, and the people believed that it was GOOD, and it was RIGHT.

    They rang their bells, shouted hosannas and said to Lord Keynes, ‘from this day forth, ever and onward, you shall be Vox Populi!’

    1. a free society is an interplay between a more-or-less permanent framework of social commitments, and the oasis of economic liberty that lies within it.

      Anyone else get the feeling that the left view the free market as something that only happens in college towns?

      1. That was me above. Metcalf’s argument has a coherence to it, as some put it, but only in the same way that a creation myth or the zodiac has coherence. It is a self sustained argument, but there isn’t a shred of truth to it.

        How have libertarians just voicing our opposition to anti free market rhetoric ‘captured’ the argument, and held society ‘hostage’?

        It’s nuts.

      2. Anyone else get the feeling that the left view the free market as something that only happens in college towns?

        Little Headshops are the back bone of the working class American economy. If libertarians had there way with legalizing pot, deregulation, and zoning reform, those independent operators would be taken over by Big Bong. Thankfully, because of Big Government, there is no Big Bong.

  51. There are only a few individuals for whom I reserve the epithet “cunt”. Coulter and Hillary are two of them.

    1. Judge Judy

      1. Nancy Grace

  52. Wait a gosh-darn-minnut – I thought Libertarianism was all about roads. I’ve been lied to again!

  53. While she’s mostly wrong, she did have a point with the Rolling Stone jibe.

    Many Libertarians (well, this place) would be much better without playing up the hipster wannabe act. It plays into the stereotype that a Libertarian is a Conservative that wants to date Liberals.

    1. …because Ludwig von Mises was SUCH a stoner, dude.

      I actually met Hans Sennholz once (I rented a room from his son in college), and had the misfortune to be wearing a baseball cap at the time. The guy got extremely annoyed — it was a huge faux-pas to him. My super-Austrian influenced macro econ professor who taught Rothbard’s Man Economy and State was one of the most straight-laced people I’ve ever met. For several years (basically until I discovered Reason), I though of most libertarians as very stuffy intellectual types who sit on the ivory tower and can’t really relate to the real world. Thank God for a forum like this that’s a little more worldly and fun.

      1. Social conservative gun nuts hiding out in the militia-infested hinterlands, or pot-smoking hipster douchebags trying to ingratiate themselves with the Beltway cocktail party set.

        God damn it, can libertarians not even get a consistent caricature?

  54. “Guilt by association” is called a fallacy for a reason.

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