Economics

Salon: "Are Libertarians Misunderstood?"

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The liberal online journal of news and opinion conducts a dual interview with Reason's Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch about their new book The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America. Excerpt from the Teresa Cotsirilos-conducted Q&A:

Well, you guys wrote your book in the shadow of the Great Recession, but the book never actually addresses how the recession happened in the first place. And critics of libertarianism often cite the different actors in the subprime mortgage crisis, arguing that they took advantage of an unregulated system to consolidate power, and took advantage of a lack of understanding amongst consumers to sell them products that they didn't fully understand.

MW: It's a big question, so I'll just take on little bits of it. One is the notion that the financial crisis was caused by deregulation… The central libertarian argument about what to do in the wake of a financial crisis is let the people who made these terrible decisions go bankrupt. And when appropriate—and do it early and often—send the motherfuckers to jail, you know?

If they did something illegal. But one of the problems is that if the system's been deregulated, then it's not illegal.

NG: But fraud is always illegal.

MW: Yeah, fraud has never been deregulated.

NG: When you talk about—OK, think about it this way. If mortgage companies knew that they were on the hook for the mortgages they underwrote, they would be very careful in who they lent money to… What happened was that every mortgage originator basically knew that they would get $500 to $2,000 in fees for simply originating loans, and then when they sold them they didn't sell them to simply derivative companies—they sold them to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Because the government told these guys to buy every loan that they could get. They kept pushing banks and said, "We're going to regulate you to extend credit to more and more people who might not meet the gold standard credit regulations." … In fact, the housing collapse tracks with a libertarian understanding in that it's caused by government interventions in the private sector.

Whole thing here.

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  1. First!

    1. You know, you fellows (subjects of the interview) would make more progress if you didn’t swear and throw out insults to your opponents. My father used to tell me that if you swear all the time, you won’t have anything left to say when you’re really angry. That’s exactly what your interview contains… casual, pointless profanity, name-calling. All you’re going to do with that is direct the readership into reflecting upon your mode of speech, instead of the points you want to make — the content. It’s public speech of a sort, meant to inform, who knows, perhaps even persuade. Your words will do more for you if you learn to use them in an urbane and sophisticated manner. If you have a legitimate complaint about someone, put it in formal terms. Don’t say that they “can’t think” or call them a “motherfucker.” Say “so-and-so’s position is poorly thought out”, and then explain why.

      1. Mooommmm! Not in front of the other guys!

      2. But that wouldn’t be hip!

      3. This. But it will fall on deaf ears.

  2. Libertarians I think are generally misunderstood by Conservatives. We aren’t misunderstood by so called Liberals, and Progressives, they just hate us.

    1. apparently. Reading those comments is like reading about someone who wants you do die without knowing you at all.

      1. Lurk around Freeperville some time… you’ll see lots of hate for libertarians there.

  3. I’m tempted to take a look at the comments on the Salon article to see if Matt or Nick got through to any liberals.

    Would someone please sacrifice their sanity to take a look and see?

    1. Not worth looking, they hate everyone, they even totally loathe themselves.

    2. Against my better judgment I looked. Libertarians are shills for rich right wingers, love corporations, and something about our subconscious playing tricks on us. Or something.

      1. Don’t forget Anarchists

      2. I think modern libertarians can relate to the communists of the red-baiting periods. True, the commies had more power and influence than they were willing to admit, but the sheer hatred by their opponents is quite comparable to modern day liberals’ hatred of right-leaning libertarians.

        1. If you haven’t already, go post on sites like Politico.com and witness the venom and pure hatred spewed at any Libertarian by Progressives. Their reaction to Conservatives is quite mild in comparison.

          1. Their vitriol is indicative of fear, not hatred. Fear that we might actually have something to offer disaffected liberals who like some social leniency, but aren’t thrilled with the constant nanny tactics and big government collectivisms held dear by Team Blue.

            They understand us perfectly well; it’s that they intentionally misrepresent our arguments in order to scare those would-be libertarians in to believing that without wanting the government to control every aspect of our lives means we won’t have any roads.

        2. By the way, I’d like to adopt the pejorative “libbie” for libertarians.

          1. As if ‘asshole’ wasn’t already pejorative enough?

            1. *puts on monocle*

              1. Your top hat, sir. Washed in the tears of the poor, just as you like it.

        3. right-leaning libertarians.

          I am pretty sure they hate left leaning and middle of the road libertarians as well.

      3. But libertarianism, however weak its influence today, is a much greater long-term threat to the left than is any form of conservatism, and the leftist intellectuals sense this even if they can’t articulate why. Leftism, whether they know it or not, is a distorted permutation of the classical liberal tradition. The statist left did their deal with the devil ? the nation-state, centralized authority of the most rapacious kind ? supposedly with the goal of expediting the liberation of the common man and leveling the playing field. More than a century since the progressives and socialists twisted liberalism into an anti-liberty, pro-state ideology, they see that they have made a huge mess of the world, that, as they themselves complain, social inequality persists, corporatism flourishes, and wars rage on. As the chief political architects of the 20th century in the West, they have no one to blame but themselves, and so they target us ? the true liberals, the ones who never let go of authentic liberal idealism, love of the individual dignity and rights of every man, woman and child, regardless of nationality or class, and hatred of state violence and coercive authoritarianism in all its forms.

        http://www.lewrockwell.com/gregory/gregory217.html

        1. that pretty well sums it up

          1. that pretty well sums it up

            No…it does not emphasis enough that unlike progressive ideology libertarianism actually works in the real world in meeting the goals of liberalism.

            Public schools suck….the internet does not.

            1. Their goal is the next ten yards no matter how far they have gotten already, or how shit smeared they left the path in their wake. No looking back, no examination of goals and intent versus results (public housing, public schools, confiscated turnpike system turned into highly dangerous public roads, vast resources wasted on a war machine built on a mostly democratic history — until George Herbert came along — of aggression, etc.), they must move forward. Such is the way of progress!

        2. Word.

        3. We are the wreckers and sabotagers of their grand ideology. If only we weren’t in the way.

          1. Don’t give them any ideas

          2. That’s the thing — we aren’t in the way and never have been. We’ve never had any influence.

            1. They didn’t call themselves libertarians but I would say people like Hazlitt, Mencken, Suzanne La Follette, Rose Wilder Lane–all those journalists and writers were at least bombarding the media with their ideas for decades. There were huge swathes of the public since the Democratic party imploded in the 1890s speaking out against the statism that has its roots in Lincoln and Hamilton. This isn’t new, Tulpa.

    3. ACB,
      Let’s just say the ignorance runs deep and they aren’t afraid of revealing said ignorance to the world.

      1. Let’s just say the ignorance runs deep

        We still talking about liberals?

        *See also handle, pseudonym, anonymous, anonypussy

    4. For some reason I felt compelled to read the asinine views of the Salon commentariat. Apparently, history has repeatedly shown that every time libertarian free market priciples have been applied it has led to economic ruin and societal collapse. This assertion was proffered repeatedly by several different commenters. None of them ever cited an example to reinforce their declaration, but it seemed to be accepted by the other commenters as a mere truism.

      Every time I see so much daftness in one place, it disheartens me for the future of the country. On the bright side, perhaps if they keep getting their way, the empire will fall quickly and we can begin rebuilding. I think that would be preferable to this slow decline.

      1. I’m not so sure. What non-pelvic liberty we have left is largely from the fragile residue of the Enlightenment thinking that was fashionable at our nation’s birth, which hasn’t quite dissolved from our polity yet. I shudder to think what a constitution written by modern intellectual “luminaries” would look like.

        1. I agree with Tulpa, or at least I agree with what I think is his basic point. I don’t think you can ever reconstruct things the way you want to, nor will the result of a collapse and reconstruction look like anything we would hope for. I believe in dialectic. If there is a collapse resulting from a corrupt or irredeemable system, I don’t necessarily think there will be a system that allows for individual liberty that will naturally and easily replace the current one. Political corruption and mismanagement, if endemic enough to our everyday lives that it causes the fall of the Republic, will take many years to overcome. At the risk of hyperbole, I wouldn’t participate in a dance celebrating a systemic collapse for fear of dancing on graves left in its wake.

  4. Liberals don’t understand anything else, why would anyone be surprised if they don’t understand Libertarians?

    -jcr

    1. They just lump us in with George Bush, Sarah Palin, Zionists, and global warming deniers.

      1. I’d rather be lumped in with those figures than with most liberals.

  5. Dick Morris, the toe-sucking fetishist and Republican presidential advisor

    This is the usual kind of journalistic accuracy you can expect from Nick Gillespie.

    1. That is accurate, Dick Morris was a Republican presidential adviser to a Democratic president.

  6. “Understanding” means losing the ability to spend other people’s money, so, yeah, don’t hold your breath.

  7. WooHoo!

    From Salon comments:

    If It Quacks Like a Duck…

    Libertarians deny they are anarchists like Republicans deny they are fascists.

    Freedom=crime, law of the jungle

    Individual liberty=commit crime

    Personal responsibility=blame the vicitm

    deregulation=authorize crime
    ?mCovah

    1. LMAO, did I not just say, don’t forget Anarchists!

    2. Libertarians deny they are anarchists like Republicans deny they are fascists.

      Fascinating. And who is it who likes playing with trains, making sure they are high-speed, and ensuring that they run on time?

      1. Um, I didn’t see any denial that Democrats are also fascists.

      2. Fascinating. And who is it who likes playing with trains, making sure they are high-speed, and ensuring that they run on time?

        That was a three-chuckle comment.

        Well played.

        1. and smoke-free

    3. Awesome – I had no idea that’s what I believed. Thanks for clearing that up, mC!

  8. I was really amazed to see a decent word said about libertarians on Salon. Needless to say, the comment thread over there was about 100% anti-libertarian.

    1. What do you expect? Extremists like us could wind up denying them their next government sponsored check, courtesy of tax paying right wing heathens.

  9. The comments are GOLD! I’m not going to paste anymore except for this excerpt:
    (-lister)
    I can’t really take seriously libertarians who are also Republicans. who smoke pot.

    I don’t know why he left off the bolded portion.

    1. Honestly I can’t really take seriously “libertarians” who reflexively vote GOP or shill for GOPoliticans either. The politician that happens to be better overall for Liberty usually depends on what part of liberty one personally emphasizes, and is usually a crapshoot in the worst sense of the word in the best of times.

      1. Honestly I can’t really take seriously “libertarians” who reflexively vote GOP or shill for GOPoliticans either.

        Good thing you weren’t around for the Scott Brown fellatio-fest.

        *barf*

      2. Honestly I can’t really take seriously “libertarians” who reflexively vote GOP or shill for GOPoliticans either.

        Me neither, do you know any?

        1. If Mexicans want to come into this country, the police should just shoot them dead on the spot. The law must be obeyed!

          Read more on my blog, libertarians4statism.blogspot.com!

          1. +1

            Have you noticed Gregooo quit coming around?

        2. Paul, I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but when Scott Brown was running in Mass we were treated to an endless stream of fawning articles. The comments section followed suit.

          There was maybe 2 articles about Joe Kennedy, the libertarian candidate. I was also told, with quite a lot of confidence I might add, that Brown’s victory would insure the death of Obamacare. Basically the libertarian was sold out for a statist pretty boy.

          Go check out some of those threads for the lulz.

          /soapboxblog

          1. They were still right. Obamacare had to be rushed and there was no time for debugging. Those bugs are its seeds of destruction.

            Not voting reflexively for the same loser party over and over does not a tool/sellout make. Quite the opposite.

          2. I don’t know how bad my own comments may be, and I doubt if I gave a Republican who isn’t Gary Johnson anything better than a ‘meh’ endorsement at the very best, but come on! It’s Massafuckingchusetts! And the guy took Teddy’s seat. In Massafuckingchusetts! I chuckle thinking of that outcome, no matter what a oily tool Scott Brown is in fact.

            1. Mostly I was upset that the Reason coverage, in a hotly contested race, of the libertarian candidate was essentially nonexistent. I was that fucking close to cancelling my (also nonexistent)subscription.

              I thought it was bad judgement to focus on a romneyesque republican when there was a good libertarian candidate that had the potential to be a spoiler. And despite cyto’s assertions that that election had a definitive negatory effect on obamacare’s survival(which will probably come down to a SCOTUS coin flip), it’s alive and kicking as of now.

              1. Okay, I misread a bit you there. In covering the NC governor’s race they did a pretty good job of interviewing the libertarian candidate and reporting on his run*, so my general view concerning their coverage of local libertarian races is likely biased in their favor based on that.

                * If the local Dems were as savvy as they think they are, they surely would have never elected that barely literate idiot Bev Purdue, and would have supported the libertarian Adlai Stevenson, Mike Munger, instead, but no, they are all affectation, shitty attitude and little else.

      3. Honestly I can’t really take seriously “libertarians” who reflexively vote GOP or shill for GOPoliticans either.

        It’s even harder to take seriously those libertarians who offer only criticisms and no viable solutions.

        With regard to large scale elections, voting LP is not a solution, at least not as long as its nominating process strongly resembles final exams at a clown college. Voting LP in local elections may be more promising.

        And those who don’t vote at all and don’t encourage others to vote for the more liberty-friendly candidate merely give the politicians who win more reason to ignore liberty issues.

    2. This certainly cements my theory that liberals (the modern, Democrat kind) can’t give two shits about drug legalization or the war on drugs in general.

      As Number 2 postulated, it was just a wedge issue during the election.

  10. Why do you guys bother trying? The comments are painful.

    1. Nick and Matt live in the world of the main article where the discussion is civil, rules are fair, and you have ample space to frame your thoughts.

      We live in the world of comments, where you think that you can tear down an entire political philosophy with in just 140 characters.

      1. the communist manifesto could be improved by distillation into tweetform(tm). brief and woefully wrong is better than longwinded and woefully wrong

        1. crush the bourgeoisie
          a workers dictatorship
          state withers away

          1. work suks, capitalists suk, che is dreamy, if the peasants won’t fill their quotas, kill them.

            1. You guys should write haikus

    2. So too to all of you at salon, and hit & run, and, really, everywhere. but at least here they’ve got christfags.

  11. Like, oh my god, like libertarians are, like, so awesome. We, like have so many awesome ideas, like, deregulation and, like, free market capitalism.

    Like, oh my god, did you see that shirt Gillespie was wearing on Eliot Spitzer. It was, like, so tacky.

    But did you see Welch’s close. They, like, totally didn’t fit him at all.

  12. Ok, I can’t resist… against my better judgement I am going to visit a site with a name like Salon.. 5 beers ago, I would not have done this…

    1. So beer makes you “curious”. jk:)

      1. Less cautious to bear witness to extreme stupidity is probably more like it.

      2. it’s yellow

    2. OMG, that was a mistake… more entitlement crowd big govenment zombies than I have seen anywhere outside of Fluffington Host…

      1. Ah. You obviously have never been to ThinkSoros…

  13. I think there is a lot of confusion surrounding the word “regulation” by many people. They equate regulation with rules or laws instead of with central planning, price controls, etc. So to them deregulation really does mean anarchy where corporations can do whatever they want (like commiting fraud) with no consequences. There’s a huge difference between promoting market efficiences and promoting lawlessness. Unfortunately most people, particularly liberals just don’t get it. Deregulation doesn’t mean you can dump toxic waste into the cities water supply but that’s what a lot of people seem think it means. I think polititions who want to impose centralized micromanagement of industries on the left know full well that this confusion amongst the public exist and try and expoit it by inferring that deregulation does mean lawlessness even though they themselves know that it doesn’t. Talk about fraud.

    1. That can’t be right, because WalMart charges us too much for milk, but government writes us checks for free money to buy the milk, for doing nothing! Therefore, Walmart BAD, government GOOD.

  14. Reading further there are a few “I’m sympathetic to libertarian ideas but…” and proceed to describe Welch and Gillespie as radical anarchists who hate poor people. That’s a funny take on two of the most prominent Kosmotarian Kochtopus Konsequentialists

  15. I think people like Peter Schiff covered it pretty well

    1. Whoa. Squirells are hungry. Did somebody forget to feed them?

      …before it even happened:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6G3Qefbt0n4

  16. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyn…..ense_o.php

    Watch out, guys. PZ Myers wonders if libertarians have a sense of humor!

    1. Best comment on that thread:

      Posted by: chigh | May 14, 2010 4:24 PM

      Yes, we do. I find that rather amusing. πŸ™‚

      While I have libertarian leanings, I do have a humanistic side.

      1. My problem with libertarians is that they seem to care an awful lot about what the government is doing with the couple hundred dollars it is “taking” from them. Public education? Peh. If I wasn’t taxed so much, I could send my kids to a better private school. What? Private schools cost more than a couple hundred dollars a year? Whoops.

        Public schools cost a couple hundred dollars a year.

        1. According to my property tax bill, public school costs me FAR more than a couple of hundred dollars, and I send my son to private school.

        2. Close to 60% of the US population winds up paying less than $1000 in income tax…so this attitude is quite pervasive.

          1. In Texas there is no state income tax, so everyone pays property tax, whether directly or through higher rents.

            1. I would rather pay higher rent to cover property taxes then pay for the “privilege” of working my ass off 50-60 hours a week.

      2. I’ve avoided PZ’s website since I learned how supply and demand work until just now. Never. again. It’s only slightly better than youtube or espn.com. I’m done debating people online. I would love to sit down with them and tell them why they’re wrong, but online it’s useless. That’s why I almost-exclusively read the comments here. They’re great, except for the occasional tony thread. That new guy is pretty bad, too. The guy almanian rips on, whoever he is.

    2. Posted by: ‘Tis Himself, OM | May 1, 2010 11:22 PM

      Cats are libertarians. They’re selfish. They expect everyone else to support them without doing anything in return. They feel superior to everyone else. Cats are the epitome of the libertarian “I’ve got mine, fuck you” ethos.

      Apparently libertarian = welfare queen in this commenter’s confused little mind.

  17. Well, you guys wrote your book in the shadow of the Great Recession, but the book never actually addresses how the recession happened in the first place. And critics of libertarianism often cite the different actors in the subprime mortgage crisis, arguing that they took advantage of an unregulated system to consolidate power, and took advantage of a lack of understanding amongst consumers to sell them products that they didn’t fully understand.

    Matt, Nick, gotta pen handy? You are going to get this question again, certainly. Here is a handy answer.

    There are so many false assumptions built into that question I’ll need to spend the remainder of this interview correcting each and every one of them. Do you really want that because I came prepared to that if you really want to be a dick about it.

    Even if those assumptions about deregulation were true, the market is a much quicker learner than the state which never learns from the past,

    http://www.economicpolicyjourn…..jects.html

    nor punishes itself (as if there even existed a means to that!) for present and continuing mistakes.

    1. For some reason, liberals interpret thousands of pages of regulation as deregulation.

      1. But…but…they probably deleted one paragraph, and that’s all it took FOR THE WORLD TO FUCKING COLLAPSE. WHICH MEANS WE NEED MORE, MORE, MORE, MOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

        …Ugh sorry. I just imagined what the typical Salonophile would say in response to your cogent statement. Now I think I am going to be sick.

  18. Or,

    I’m not going to play this game where you liberals pretend that you didn’t run the show. It doesn’t matter which party, Republican or Democrat, the regulatory state has continued to expand, not contract, and guys who think like you do, who vote like you do, run it.

    1. That’s an interview stopper right there.

      1. i personally don’t see how anybody who has ever run a small business could EVER claim that the US suffers from DEregulation.

        heck, just to trade on a futures account as an individual trader, one has to read a metric assload of disclosure forms, etc.

        liberals see the markets (stock, futures, etc.) as being largely unregulated. in fact, they are INSANELY regulated.

        granted, this didn’t stop the hunt bros’ (for some time), but that was then… this is now

        1. You can say that again.

      2. i personally don’t see how anybody who has ever run a small business could EVER claim that the US suffers from DEregulation.

        heck, just to trade on a futures account as an individual trader, one has to read a metric assload of disclosure forms, etc.

        liberals see the markets (stock, futures, etc.) as being largely unregulated. in fact, they are INSANELY regulated.

        granted, this didn’t stop the hunt bros’ (for some time), but that was then… this is now

        1. The US suffers from bother way too much red tape and DEregulation. Instead of having a few meaningful, precise laws, millions of pages of forms were created. A paradise for bureaucrats and lawyers. A nightmare for everybody else.

          1. Millions of pages of forms = deregulation

            War is peace!

    2. I’m trying to figure out if “progressives” can even really mean it when they say something like “Look what Fannie and Freddie did! That’s what we get for listening to you libertarians!”
      How uninformed can you possibly be about someone’s beliefs and still feel entitled to say a word about them?
      Next up in bullshit retroactive Proressive history…Bush started the war in Libya! Can you honestly say that’s more ridiculous than blaming the real estate crisis on libertarians?

  19. After reading the comments, I have lost all hope

    1. Nick, Matt, let this be a warning…DON’T DO AN INTERVIEW WITH SALON! It deprives us of hope to read the comments.

      1. hope is the thing with feathers – emily dickenson

  20. I have read all of the comments and lived to tell the tale!

    Whatever, here’s the winner:

    “A Libertarian is an Anarchist that wants police protection from his slaves.” ? Kim Stanley Robinson

    Also, someone was posting as @libertate and pissed off someone so bad they are still smarting over it, hmmm…

    1. you are truly a brave warrior…

      1. I’ve been drinking beer all day.

        1. It took 5 beers for me to read a few comments there. I am still recovering and trying to suppress the gag reflex so I can have another.

          1. That hate and vitriol in those comments says something to me. It says maybe we’re hitting a nerve. Maybe they’re hearing their red/blue friends say things like, “Maybe the government shouldn’t be involved in…”, and the veil is slipping.

            And never forget that the first and last refuge of a statist is the state. Why else would bi-partisanship seen as the ultimate political virtue? Or that a supposedly impotent political philosophy, i.e. libertarianism, is the object of such derision?

            /rambleblog

            1. As I was saying earlier, go over to Politico.com, register and put in your political affiliation as Libertarian. The progressives are losing it. I swear they are reduced to foaming at the mouth, totally incoherent, vile hate speech. They know that they are exposed and up against a wall, pinned into a corner. They have no logical arguments and if you pin them down, they go off on crazy non-sensical tirades! I was just over there and there is some lib loon rambling on about the evil Zionists Jews and lumping everyone into that pot… Hillary Clinton was the last that I recall mention of, lol…

              1. I knew that when Glen Greenwald became a target something was afoot.

              2. vile hate speech

                Like this?

                NotSure|5.15.11 @ 5:58AM|#
                Perhaps he goes to one of those American prisons where he will get sodomized by some big black guy. Justice for this socialist slime ball cannot come too soon.

                NotSure|5.15.11 @ 6:32AM|#
                You are right real justice would be that they first tattoo “Bubbas Bitch” on his arse and then prison rape him

                sloopyinca|5.15.11 @ 12:26PM|#
                …Fuck him with a ball peen hammer if the incident didn’t happen. Fuck him with a monkey wrench if it did. He’s a piece of shit either way.

                Dominique Strauss-Kahn|5.15.11 @ 1:32PM|#
                DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN RAPE SHEEP RAPE MAIDS. DOMINIQUE RAPE WHO HE WANTS.

                1. I had no idea that Dominique Strauss-Kahn is really Steve Smith.

            2. In other news, would you put Jagr and Talbot on the same line?

              1. Or,

                What’s worse: finding your wife in bed with Jeff Carter, or Max ‘chikachi’ Talbot?

                Also, seeing Orpik light up Jagr will be sweet. Jagr had a prime opportunity to finish his career with class, now he’ll never see his jersey retired(as long as Mario’s alive that is).

            3. I can’t even express the disgust I feel after reading the libertarian mindset. Nauseating.

              I liked this comment, which was the 3rd. Way to smack down the libertarians Adam Parker. It really makes me think about how nauseating I am. I’m convinced.

            4. capitol l |7.1.11 @ 10:42PM|#
              That hate and vitriol in those comments says something to me.

              Indeed.
              https://reason.com/blog/2011/05…..ss-kahn-ar

              1. PROTIP:

                I know you think that through your bitch and whine act you can appear principled and above it all.

                You don’t. You appear as you are: a whiny bitch.

                If you want to be taken seriously then before you post ask yourself if your comment has the air of a spoiled little child being told “NO!” for the first time. If it does maybe tone down the whining to at least an adolescent begging for a hand job from Mary lou Rottencrotch in the back of his dad’s station wagon. It ain’t perfect, but it’s better than your ususual crybaby routine.

  21. Speaking as a former big-government liberal, as well as a regular at Salon, I would just like to say that, yes, libertarians are misunderstood by at least some liberals. I was one of them. When, during the summer of the Libertarian Democrat (2005), I started actually reading up on libertarianism, I saw that libertarians had the same social vision that I have always had, but had significantly more reasonable and realistic ways of getting there. So spending time at a site like Salon is not necessarily a fools errand for libertarians. Not everyone in the comments sections is a loud mouth idiot. And besides, the loud mouth idiots are kinda fun to skewer.

    1. That’s heartening. Sort of. Not all that much, really.

      Still, I’m glad you came around.

  22. I wonder if California would ban a video game in the likeness of Fallout 3 that featured liberal posters in place of of super mutants? just a dark fantasy I have fallen pray to ya know… just a sec, I think I hear the feds knocking at my door…

    1. The Feds don’t knock.

  23. I once naively believed that “liberals” actually valued personal freedom and autonomy.

    God was I stupid.

    1. Haha, yeah, that is sort of like believing that progressives are for human progress…

    2. Prior to the ascension of identity politics and “political correctness” I think there was a substantial contingent left-liberals who valued personal freedom and autonomy. Everything seemed to change in the 1980s.What is really sad are the ones who still think they are aligned with a political ideology that values civil liberties, government intrusion into personal affairs, and the rights of individuals.

      1. “government non-intrusion”

      2. They are, they just understand it in a different way than you do. To them, civil liberties and rights of individuals means that the government needs to tax everyone to death, except for them of course.

        1. I love watching liberals bitch about their tax burden.

          While working at a university I saw a liberal’s liberal rant for an hour about how they had taken taxes out of a prize she had won.

          It was fucking great.

          1. Yep – Leftists go into “insane spin froth mode” when actually confronted with taxes.

  24. Are liberals “misunderstood” because I think they’re basically for protecting an archaic welfare society that has long outlasted its own usefulness. And they’ll protect it all costs, even if that means accumulating a gigantic debt that will enslave future generations.

    Am I wrong?

    1. Nope, you are not wrong. They will protect it until the government runs out of our money to give them. Then… Greece…

    2. Outlived its usefulness? Have poor, old, and disabled people suddenly become cheap to provide healthcare to?

      Or do you mean that society has found a more civilized way: let them all die in the street so you have more space to move around?

      1. *snivel*

        1. This isn’t even good sockpuppeting.

        2. Meaning Tony at 1:35PM, who I’m convinced, the more comments it leaves, is just a sockpuppet characterization of a lefty.

  25. Sorry, commentariat, but you WILL read the comments and learn the meaning of absolute despair. Or hilarity. Depends on your mood:

    I can’t even express the disgust I feel after reading the libertarian mindset. Nauseating.
    -Adam Parker

    Someone find this delicate flower and fainting couch.

    There are two flavors of libertarians
    1) Those who believe in corporate freedom at the expense of personal freedom

    2) Those who believe in personal freedom over corporate freedom.

    The former fall on the right, the latter on the left.

    ?MysteryPrincess

    CORPRARASHUNS!!!!BLARGHHH!!!!

    Simple answer
    I know the headlines aren’t written by the article authors, but:

    Are libertarians misunderstood?
    Yes. By Libertarians.

    Libertarians think that they are unappreciated geniuses who champion a system which could save the world if only the rest of us were smart enough to adopt it. In point of fact, Libertarians are greedy morons who ignore the fact that every time their policies are adopted it results in failure and collapse, and who ignore the behavior of actual, non-theoretical humans and aggregates of humans (whether societies or corporations or countries).

    Libertarians think they are logical — the magazine is, after all, “Reason”. All the evidence suggests, however, that Libertarianism is a religion — the behavior of a Libertarian hearing about what has happened when their theories have been acted upon in the past is approximately the behavior of a Christian hearing what neurology says about the possibility of an immaterial soul.

    The rest of us are not fooled, and recognize Libertarians for what they are — shills for rich right-wingers.

    ?The Vicar

    Apparently libertarians have been running America and they’ve been too dumb to realize it. I wonder what these “libertarian policies” are The Sucker alludes to?

    Well, that was painful.
    The nice thing about being a libertarian is that you never have to take responsibility for any of your ideas. You never have to examine the logical consequences of your actions, because they can all be explained away with the wave of a hypothetical hand. You never have to provide a road map on how you get from here to your libertarian utopia, you just get create your perfect world out of whole cloth.

    Q: Isn’t the financial crisis a sobering look at the perils of deregulation of the banking industry?

    Libertarian A: Not at all, it’s a look at the perils of too much regulation.

    Q: So you’re saying that we wouldn’t have financial crisis’s if didn’t regulate banks at all?

    Libertarian A: “Yes.”

    I mean really??? You don’t have to provide one example of a banking system that did just fine without any regulations? Just one? Afghanistan anyone? How could you get more deregulated that the Bank of Kabul?

    It’s a ridiculous, unproven, unprovable social philosophy. The only thing more ridiculous is that anyone takes it seriously.

    ?ForestStone

    SOMALIA!!!!!!1111!!!1!!eleventy-one

    But THAT is the real problem with conservatives and libertarians (and even liberals.) The government IS the community. It’s citizens coming together as a town, or a city, or a state, or a nation, and taking care of its needs. Saying in essence, “We need to build and maintain roads, and we’re going to elect officials to take care of that. We also understand that those roads are going to cost money, so we’re each going to contribute X amount of dollars.”

    Too many Americans have an idea that the government is our enemy, that it’s working against our interests. It may sound cheesy, but IT IS OUR GOVERNMENT. We’ve granted it the power to take care of social services and infrastructure.

    Now, the same people who complain bitterly about taxes…don’t seem to have any problem tithing 10 percent of their income to church. And yet the church doesn’t maintain roads, or electricity, or police and emergency services or education (unless you pay above and beyond your 10 percent tithe.)

    ?Burning Daylight

    ROADS!!! CHRISTFAGS!! ROADS AND CHRISTFAGS!!!

    Libertarians are really understood all too well
    The 13th amendment to the Constitution is the basic minimum wage law. According to that law, you can’t just keep someone in your backyard and throw them whatever scraps you feel like to keep them alive.

    When people COULD be kept in your backyard, it had a terrible effect on wages and living standards. Free white people couldn’t find work in the South, because the slaves did all the work, handing over any money they earned to their owners. That kept most free white people crushingly poor.

    That’s what a minimum wage law prevents: a race to the bottom where most people find themselves outbid for work by people willing to work for less and less and less.

    ?nerdnam

    The “Collectivist” policy of a minimum wage for unskilled labor is a deliberate preference of a form of competition which promotes efficiency over a form of competition which aims at (apparent) cheapness.

    Which is the most desirable method of selection? The Individualist policy results in the degradation of labor and the increase of burdens upon the State; the Socialist policy, so far from favoring the weak, favors the strong, if weakness and strength are interpreted as relevant to social value; it is a process of conscious social selection by which the industrial residuum is naturally sifted and made manageable for some kind of restorative, disciplinary, or, it may be, surgical treatment. (Sidney Ball, St. John’s College, Fabian Socialist extraordinaire)

    Why does everybody assume “Independent” = Better?
    Readers have pretty much gone back and forth and all around on the whole libertarian aspect of this article, but I’d just like to point out that these guys make the same tired, stupid mistake the MSM makes, which is to project their fantasy image of thoughtful, free-spirited, enlightenment onto people who are “independents.”

    “Independents” are just people who haven’t registered as belonging to a particular party. They are not necessarily less affiliated with the same schools of thought that prevail amongst Democrats or Republicans, in that most are really just conservatives or liberals or moderates without a party label. They are not a uniform political movement.

    Recent studies suggest that an individual’s partisanship actually increases with his or her I.Q. and knowledge of the political process. So the rise in independent voters just reflects the fact that there are more and more ill-informed people out there. And these media yahoos keep pinning their hopes on that fact.

    ?Taylor’s Ghost

    RAH RAH TEAM BLUE! RAH RAH TEAM RED!

    1. there is one simple response to this “show me where libertarianism was enacted and actually WORKED”

      gun laws.

      EVERY ** SINGLE ** PREDICTION ** THAT ** LIBERALS ** MADE about what would happen if gun laws were libertarianized (for lack of a better term) in Florida etc. did not come true. in fact, the opposite of what they predicted, happened.

      in EVER SINGLE STATE THAT INCREASED RKBA FREEDOMS

      i used to have a lot of fun at the democraticunderground.com guns forum. those guys (the pro RKBA) know their stats, history, etc.

      it is simply undeniable that over a course of a couple of decades that have seen a marked increase in right to carry states, etc. that crime has continued to fall.

      PER-I-OD

      more guns =/= more crime

      PER-I-OD

      1. Go and drive around for a while in a big city in Brazil, especially Rio, if you really want to test the theory of how very strict gun control works. That is if you don’t mind laying out the cash for an armor plated car.

        1. i’ve shot my way through the favelas in modern warfare 2. does that count?

          1. Only if I can get my wish for the next Fallout game with liberal posters replacing super mutants…

            1. there’s always mods. i remember way back in the day having a “Barney” doom mod

              1. Woah, that takes me back. Tried out a somewhat modernized Doom port not so long ago, but 2.5D graphics now give a headache. Tis a pity, some of the most fun game play ever was created for Doom, the original Duke, Rise of the Triad, Shadow Warrior, Strife, etc.

                1. loved ROTT!

        2. Or if you want to save on airfare, go to the South Side of Chicago.

      2. When here in Missouri, a few years ago, CC was voted in… the liberals went on a binge of, basically, saying dead bodies would be stacked like firewood and there would be Wild West shootouts all over the place.

        Of course, none of that happened – not even close – and still, the Tonys of the country would revoke the 2nd Amendment if they could get away with it.

        Fuck ’em.

        1. You are delusional if you think this country doesn’t have a problem with gun violence.

          1. I said nothing of the sort, Tony.

        2. You are delusional if you think this country doesn’t have a problem with gun violence.

  26. I’m immune to feministing and Jezebel, but those comments hurt me badly. I need to work on my resistance.

    1. oh my gawd. feministing during the duke “rape” scandal was unbelievable. i got called every name in the book for daring to opine that the “victim’s” credibility appeared lacking, and the “duke boys” appeared to be doing everything consistent (based on 20+ yrs of investigating crime and falsely reported crime, to include rape) with what INNOCENT people do when accused.

  27. This one is my favorite, because it made the most sense:

    CORPRARASHUNS!!!!BLARGHHH!!!!

  28. The problem is that evil Libertarians just do not understand that the answer to all of our problems is to tax those damn billionaires making over $250,000!

  29. I don’t know what’s more depressing.

    1) John Carpenter’s decline after They Live, or

    2) These Salon comments?

    1. Vampires and to some extent Escape from LA (I think I can get behind any excuse to bring back Snake Plissken.) excluded.

      1. Vampires was a poor rendition of the Steakley book. It actually made me sad…

    2. or

      3) listening to anything that comes out of Barack Obamas mouth and realizing that there are still people alive on planet earth that are brain dead enough to idolize him.

      1. Wouldn’t they have to listen to only half of what comes out of his mouth? Since he inevitable tries to take both sides of almost every issue, I think one would have to pick and choose which statement to actually believe if they have any intention of forming a consistent mental image of Obama’s positions.

        The worst thing about Obama’s both sides approach is that it’s not even waffling. He tries to say he’s on both sides of an issue simultaneously. The guy is a political M?bius strip.

        1. They’re not really listening.

    3. Or Cam Newton and Auburn cheating their way to a national championship. (If there are any von Mises Institute people out there, go FUCK YOUR OWN FACE!)

      1. Have you ever been to Auburn? Let them have the national champ.

        1. Well, if you count 1913 as an Auburn national championship, then they average 49 years in between titles. So, yeah. Fuck ’em. Let them have their title.

        2. It’s not like Oregon would have been able to keep the title if they had won… (Fucking amateurs. In the SEC, we know how to cheat, dammit!)

          1. Please, god, peachy, don’t say you’re a ‘barner.

            1. In the spirit of full disclosure, I have familial and friend ties to Auburn. Not that I wish them well when they play my alma mater.

  30. Well of course libertarians are “misunderstood”. I read a paper a while ago, in which the author argued that there is a strong connection between statism that warps the free market, and public opinion where people believe capitalism is a “rigged game”. So they equate libertarian philosophy with the “rigged game” because it is “capitalism” and they reject it out of hand. Plus, they wouldn’t get to be the central planners that they so desire to be, telling everyone how to live according to their ‘perfect’ little plans.

    Darn if I can’t find that paper now, anybody know what I”m talking about?

  31. Wasn’t there a Will Smith song about this?

    1. Yes, but it was the converse proposition: Parentalists Just Don’t Understand [Libertarians]

  32. My big question is, how can these people inhabit the same reality as the rest of us? Does _anyone_ enjoy a visit to the DMV? Or the tax assessor? I’m thinking the answer is no. And so why do they stick up for it so vociferously? It’s not because they really favor it, it’s because they don’t want to budge an inch and give us a “victory”.

    1. give em an inch, they’ll take a…your asshole.

    2. why do they stick up for it so vociferously?

      Because they’re functionally retarded.

      Look, even in the H&R comments, which are mostly sloppy, the statists continually get their asses kicked and slither off without response once they’re cornered.

      They don’t seem to be able to construct an honest (or conscious) comparison between their actions vs. those of their ‘fantasy’ society.

      Every time, their responses will end up falling into some sort of logical fallacy.

    3. The only other answer would be that they are the ones profiting from it (i.e. the bureaucrats & their contractual “buddies”), and are simply attempting to continue the scam.

  33. After reading the comments on Salon I’m struck by the realization that these people share the same affliction as Brooks from Shawshank Redemption, they are institutionalized. These people actually can’t cope with the thought of a world where free people make decisions without the heavy hand of the nanny state dictating what is allowed.

    It would actually be funny if it wasn’t so sad. πŸ™

    1. this is a brilliant analogy imo. i shall use it in the future… AND CALL IT MY OWN πŸ˜›

    2. Brooksians.

    3. They ask permission to go to the bathroom.

    4. Goddam. Comment of the month. I am so using that. And giving credit to dunphy.

  34. Remember, MNG and Tony are smart and open-minded liberals.

    1. Compared to the boot licking statists on Salon, they might have a point. A very, very small point.

      1. They do come here intentionally to argue with those who disagree with them.

        That is sort of good.

        Of course as a fond student of Machiavelli the skeptical side of me tells me their intention is not to open their minds too new ideas, but only to sharpen their swords.

        1. They keep mistaking a lye soap on the roap for a whet stone, so I’m not exactly worried.

          1. lol! roap! whatadope! Seriously, hitting the delete key while pressing down Enter accidentally sometimes causes a premature send.

            1. Nothing like a good old fashioned late night accidental premature send.

              1. Thank whateverisoutthere that there is no Send All key on a traditional keyboard. So far, my kittens in sweaters video collection remains safe.

    2. AXIS OF RIBS!

  35. So, virtually none of the commenters were enlightened by Nick or Matt?

    Wow, and to think that I was once a liberal who, upon reading more about libertarianism, found the arguments persuasive and exciting.

    Not that I think libertarianism is the gospel-truth, but when I was discovering libertarian philosophy, it never struck my as “nauseating” or “evil.”

    But then again, this was 2005, when liberals were probably more likely to form a coalition with libertarians against the ruling Republicans.

  36. And so why do they stick up for it so vociferously? It’s not because they really favor it, it’s because they don’t want

    anyone who’s hurt by it to stop?or to ever be free or able to stop?being hurt by it.

    Statism is sadism. It’s nothing else. Ever.

  37. A couple of favorites comments:

    “Doing away with the minimum wage entirely? I’m sure we would have 100% employment in this country if everyone that is currently unemployed was paid $1 an hour, but how does that solve any problems?”?skoc211

    It solves the employment problems of the people who couldn’t get hired at more than that rate.

    I wonder though, if businesses might find it in their best interests to offer more money to certain people in order to be able to utilize their skills. Nah…probably not.

    Or that in an area with full employment and thus a de facto labor shortage a business that wants to expand or even a new firm trying to start might pay more for workers to come there and that existing business might counter by offering even more to keep their employees. Nah…probably not.

    Or maybe some work is so disagreeable or dangerous that to get anyone to do it at all the company has to pay more than $1 an hour. Nah…probably not.

    “That businesses will build and maintain roads because it is in their best interest to build and maintain roads. (of course, it is in their best interest to build and maintain only the road that runs right in front of their store, but they don’t think of that because they’re so absorbed in their weird Randian utopia”
    ?Burning Daylight

    I assume this person is talking about individual companies not otherwise in the road building business. Because it would make no sense for a firm that builds roads to only build one right to the office building they are in. What would be the point?

    So I’m guessing that the assumption is that merchants will be so incredibly shortsighted that they will not cooperate with others to get a road built throughout an entire business core.

    For do not the merchants want to shop and eat at other places? Would they not want to make it easier for people to travel from another business to theirs?

    I could see this being the case for an isolated facility. Of course they are only going to build a road to themselves. If there is not other place to build a road to they are not going to just randomly start laying down asphalt.

    Most of these folks have no idea of the history of private road construction in this country or the private mail service, the private fire fighting, the private dispute resolution, the private product testing and so on.

    1. That Burning Daylight quote is an example of liberal stupidity that still makes me laugh.

    2. The problem with sarcastically responding to those who are apparently forced to vomit by reading libertarian arguments is that they will note the sarcasm and create a victim culture around the sarcasm.

      1. Boo hoo!

    3. the history of private road construction in this country

      Please enlighten us on this topic.

      I hope you’re not including roads built by local governments as “private”. It will also help if you’re talking about paved roads rather than mere clearings that turn to mud when it rains.

      1. http://eh.net/encyclopedia/art……turnpikes

        There’s nothing special about roads that only allows for coercive funding of their construction or for the routes themselves.

        1. http://mises.org/journals/scholar/internal.pdf

          This one focuses on the boondoggle that government road building was back in the day.

    4. Most of these folks have no idea of the history

      You can leave it at that.

    5. ” “Doing away with the minimum wage entirely? I’m sure we would have 100% employment in this country if everyone that is currently unemployed was paid $1 an hour, but how does that solve any problems?”?skoc211

      ” It solves the employment problems of the people who couldn’t get hired at more than that rate.

      ” I wonder though, if businesses might find it in their best interests to offer more money to certain people in order to be able to utilize their skills. Nah…probably not.

      ” Or that in an area with full employment and thus a de facto labor shortage a business that wants to expand or even a new firm trying to start might pay more for workers to come there and that existing business might counter by offering even more to keep their employees. Nah…probably not.

      ” Or maybe some work is so disagreeable or dangerous that to get anyone to do it at all the company has to pay more than $1 an hour. Nah…probably not.

      All good points.

      I have actually never understood the pro-minimum wage attitude from people who are paid WAY more then minimum wage, who have probably not been paid minimum wage since probably college (if not earlier). Its somehow that they think that if minimum wage was gotten rid of, that somehow their way more then minimum wage rates will suddenly be threatened.

  38. Our Libertarian friends are basing their ideas on creating the world that their psychological dysfunctions tell them MUST be created in order for them to feel comfortable living in it.

    So if we substitute Liberals for Libertarians this quote doesn’t apply? Come stronger next time gkrevvv.

  39. Libertarians think that they are unappreciated geniuses who champion a system which could save the world if only the rest of us were smart enough to adopt it.

    So if we substitute Liberals for Libertarians this quote doesn’t apply? Come stronger next time The Vicar.

    1. FWIW, that statement does accurately describe me. However, that in no way implies that it accurately describes all or even any other libertarians. I can only speak for myself.

      1. Actually, on second glance, it needs a slight revision to accurately describe me:

        Libertarians think that they are unappreciated geniuses who champion a system which could save the world if only the rest of us were smart enough to adopt it.

        1. Libertarians think that they are unappreciated geniuses under the radar supervillians who champion a system which could will (no ‘could’ in libertopia, my friends!) save damn the world if only the rest of us were smart enough to adopt to the law of tooth and claw capitalism once the robot army comes on line!

      2. FWIW, that statement does accurately describe me.

        I’m willing to bet Muslim terrorists just wish the right people were in charge. Wait a second…OMG! Libertarians = Muslim terrorists!

  40. The nice thing about being a libertarian is that you never have to take responsibility for any of your ideas. You never have to examine the logical consequences of your actions, because they can all be explained away with the wave of a hypothetical hand. You never have to provide a road map on how you get from here to your libertarian utopia, you just get create your perfect world out of whole cloth.

    So does this mean that Liberals/Conservatives can take credit for the current situation we are in?

    1. Oh yeah, this was ForestStone

  41. MW: I’m greatly influenced by living in Central Europe between ages 22 to 29 in the early ’90s, beginning less than a year before communism collapsed. And for me, free trade and immigration are the quickest way I can think of for poor people to get rich … It’s not some weird accident that in China and India in the past two decades we’ve seen more than half a billion people pulled out of poverty. And it is because they went in directions of market reforms … The opportunities just got better for everybody, and that’s what jazzes me up in the morning. And if a rich asshole makes a mistake, he should go bankrupt. My motivation is exactly the opposite of what Steven Metcalf thinks. To the extent that he thinks.

    Okay, that was good enough for a membership renewal. You know the sad thing for me, Matt. Around the same time as the Soviet block collapsed, I had this crazy notion that liberals would give up on their hokey pokey central planning schemes, and a few mea culpas at the time, Robert Heilbroner, for one, gave me some reason to hope.

    I was entirely misguided by those feelings and sentiments. If anything, the hippie spewed nonsense strangling the kids critical faculties in the schools has intensified over the two decades.

    In just the past few years alone, liberals have upped the unreasonable devotion to the centralized state up to the eleventh notch. A combination of a poor understanding origin of the 2008 crash (Market Fundamentalist Bush Rebuked!) and having a Messiah of their own have made them righteous beyond Reason.

    1. poor understanding origin of the 2008 crash

      poorly understood

      Can’t just correct one part of a sentence without effecting the others, alan.

  42. That said- notwithstanding the protests of the interviewees- most of the Libertarians I talk to on this forum are ideology-bound nutcases.

    You just had to get this dig in, cabdriver, didn’t you? Way to undermine any rational argument you had by getting emotional.

  43. I actually heard a lawmaker say (talking about the health car law as it was pending) that it was up to the COMMUNITY to take care of the least among them. “Not the government!” He said.

    My mouth fell open.

    Great! Your mouth fell open BurningDaylight. I don’t give a shit about your feelings.

  44. “A Libertarian is an Anarchist that wants police protection from his slaves.” ? Kim Stanley Robinson

    HAHAHAHAHA Boots. You got us with a quote from someone who is not you and I have no idea who Kim Robinson is. And I don’t give a shit who that is. Can you explain what Kim means by “police”? I’d gladly pay for private protection instead of public police.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA, I looked up Kim Robinson. A sci-i writer is your authority on libertarians?

    1. A horrible writer at that. Writes like he is still trying to please his long idealized tenth grade English teacher.

      “Science fiction can be literate, wholesome and chock full of vitamins and minerals and stuff that’s good for you just like main stream literature can! Doggone it, I know it’s so, Miss Fugbottom!”

      Though, the truth is worse than that. He aims to please the faculty lounge. From a PC alternative history of non Western nations dominating pre twentieth century development with every boring ass plot trope you’ll find in your standard post Pynchon post post modern novel, to a public works hierarchy on Mars where the motivation of not a single character in the melodrama makes even a lick of since. Blech!

      good god, do i hate that guy.

      1. standard correction aimed at getting the squirrels to allow post send correcting — you all should start doing it —

        makes even a lick of since. sense

    2. I’m starting to feel the need to hire private protection from the police.

    3. I had Robinson on my to-read list.

      Not now. Not ever.

  45. From Somalia,

    the libertarian paradise.

    DRINK! Thanks eagoldman!

  46. If the world were just and people were decent

    then yes, Libertarianism would work out pretty well!

    So you are better than the majority of people, frogandbanjo? Would you assume that the majority of people would agree with you? Should we just make you dictator for life right now?

    1. Your persistence at this is heroic. I could only get through three pages.

      1. Insanity is not heroic

    2. This was one that really got me. The vast majority of people are just and decent. The statement belies the authors hatred of people.

  47. Recent studies suggest that an individual’s partisanship actually increases with his or her I.Q. and knowledge of the political process. So the rise in independent voters just reflects the fact that there are more and more ill-informed people out there.

    Citation needed, Taylor’s Ghost.

  48. I think th No tax libertarians

    are selfish bastards who want to deregulate our government for their selfish interests. They are really just republicans in disguise.

    Because Republicans want to abolish taxes. Right bernbart?

  49. This country started heading down hill

    when politicians started listening to the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation.

    Yup, the Cato Institute is running the government. Right bernbart?

    1. I think they left out Ayn Rand from that list…

  50. Asking them their opinions just makes them think they’re right. They’re not.

    Wow, you are so open-minded, Shardanacles.

  51. ‘Anarcho-capitalism’ is an oxymoronic terms invented by morons like Murray Rothbard. Doesn’t anybody know the history of anarchism? It’s a 19th century left-wing ideology which grew out of the European socialist movement. Anarchism is socialism (without government) or it is nothing. Anarchists like Bakunin, Malatesta and Kropotkin were to the *left* of Marx and Engels.

    What, Mark G? Please make sense next time.

    1. Obviously in Mark G.s hoity-toity world, Spoon doesn’t count as an anarchist because his name is one syllable and his name is also pronounceable on the first try.

      Likely, I’m being too generous. He has never heard of Spoon. His political science education begins and ends with what his center-left professors told him.

      Everything outside the refined air of acceptable academia is, uhm, unworkable nonsense that doesn’t meet the needs of the real world.

      1. hey, at least he knew Rothbard’s name.

      2. All types of anarchy are unworkable, at least without an implausibly convenient group of people living in it.

        I still haven’t heard an explanation of how the strongest individual or group in an anarchy is prevented from engaging in coercion and essentially becoming a government.

        1. Why would you dislike that? Authority is authority.

          1. Not really; limited govt is much better than a totalitarian one in my opinion. And a govt that arises from a power vacuum is highly unlikely to be a limited one.

            1. You’re being too sporting with my ‘dig’ at you.

              Okay. I also haven’t heard any explanation of why governmental authority will not inexorably flow to the ‘strongest’ (or, simply, most corrupt) individual or group.

              The idea is in limiting authority, be it government, group, or individual. The problem of limiting governmental authority is the veneer of legitimacy imparted by the supposed social ‘agreement’ that forms the government.

              As we easily see even in these threads, there are many who simply want to run other people’s lives and take their property and money. They will make up any rationalization for doing so – and it will never stop – because that is the only way that people like that can survive.

              Limited government is nice, but government is always made up of people, and usually people who want money and power, which strains against said limitations.

              This is why, IMHO, Jefferson knew best what course of action would eventually be necessary to preserve individual liberty.

      3. Do you mean Spooner?

        1. “Spoony”, affectionally.

      4. Spoon? Do you mean Lysander Spooner?

        Also, what about Benjamin Tucker?

        AFAIK, there are several ‘non-left’ anarchist in the 1800s.

  52. I challenge libertarians to explain how sewage treatment would work in their fantasy world.

    Seriously? Ever hear of privatization, possum666?

    1. I’m spent. Contact is included if you think I’m a dick.

    2. People like drinking water. Wastewater is cheap to purchase. If you can treat it effectively and at low cost you can make profit, and it would be far cheaper than purchasing water rights. Paying someone to dump the wastewater (so you don’t damage someone else’s property) — from which they would recover nothing — would be expensive.

      Roads Somalia you can’t explain that.

    3. Ah, privatization. The “expecto petronum” of the libertarian warlock.

      There are plenty of areas where privatization is likely to make an even more inefficient mess out of something that govt already does badly. Roads and police protection are probably at the top of the list, but sewers are probably not far behind.

      1. apparently Tulpa has never heard of a septic drain field.

  53. One of the Saloners quoted Taleb Nassim thusly,

    The government should be there to enforce the rule of no socialization of losses. You want to make sure the banks are never big enough to take these risks at the expense of society

    It wasn’t at the expense of society until they were fucking bailed out. Oh sweet Jesus, NOW it is at the expense society, not just in your theoretical world where if they had been placed in receivership and liquidated, as they deservedly should have been, the economy would have collapsed, but in the here and now we are paying the price. Maybe, we would be paying the price in that world, too. Given the Great Recession we have since been mired you can’t feasibly be declaring it a GREATER price. No, at the very worst, you cannot claim it to be an equivalent price because if you did not bail them out, you weaseldicks, they would be sharing in the misery instead of profiting from it, thus lessening our load. Those who got off scot free due to the greatest PR maneuver in history, those four gilded words Too Big To Fail, that all too simplistic argument that magically got the entire 40 left to 40 right of the 50 yard line political establishment to believe they were only reluctantly bailing out the banks by appealing to the establishment’s vanity (Paulson on his knees begging Pelosi, you really expect her to say ‘no’?!?) that they were altruistically saving the world in their decision to save the banks from the pains of a market correction.

    Those who made the mistakes were rewarded, those who did not were punished by being denied the liquidation fire sale, so in the twisted world where politics trumps markets, placing your money on the malinvested bet was the correct decision to make after all.

    Taleb’s comment does the disservice of reinforcing this mythology while possibly handicapping our economy by stifling growth in the banking sector. Is there an inherent reason why the banking sector should not have a bank that dominates that sector the way Wal Mart dominates retail? Too Big To Fail says ‘yes’, but that argument is all wet.

    1. Also, of all people to quote, Nassim Taleb? He’s a damn self-identified libertarian (no purist, mind you) whose entire thesis is an extension of the Austrian school’s theory on the futility of centralized planning. The man adores Hayek.

    2. Is there an inherent reason why the banking sector should not have a bank that dominates that sector the way Wal Mart dominates retail?

      Well, yes. Not a regulatory one, mind you, but the issue with economies of scale in banking and the nature of dealing with the complexities of risk management. Most banking costs are pretty fixed (aside from things like regulatory compliance and trading). You quickly reach a point where, once the systems are in place, your loan officer can make no more loans per day. Your branches won’t bring in many more customers than the local credit union.

      It’s just not a massively scalable business. A doctor can see one patient at a time, and a broker can deal with one client. Wal-Mart’s size extracts pretty huge bargains from suppliers; large banks transact in the same market as everyone else. Certainly, you can outsource and automate credit decisions, but that came at a huge cost to everyone who tried.

      On the risk side, banks can be levered 40x — and often have to be to make a profit — which means that the more fields they’re in, the more sensitive the entire institution is to collapse from the failure of a single business line.

      I think it’s possible we’d have several large banks. But several of the regulatory incentives right now are to be a huge bank, while there don’t seem to be many disincentives.

      1. You show why it may be economically impractical for it to occur, and the history of banking in my state with it’s early adoption of laissez-faire chartering that not only lead to several strong players, but the continuing creation of healthy competitors ready to expand market share off of the dominant players mistakes bares that out pretty well. But as a legislative/legal matter, is there any reason why they should be prevented from becoming dominant? I’ll just point out that ‘too big to fail’ doesn’t muster as an argument.

        I would contend also that the collapse of a Wal-Mart would be far more devastating economically than the collapse of a Goldman Sachs. As you pointed out, the actual practice of banking is pretty ubiquitous, Goldman Sachs could be skinned and cannibalized by the other players with barely a hiccup before the after dinner fight to decide who gets its head as a trophy on the mantel.

        Wal-Mart has a distribution system that is damn near proprietary. But even still, that would be the selling point for the buyers. The market could absorb the collapse of either if not prevented to do so by politicians and regulators.

        Then there is the argument from the standpoint of the FDIC which doesn’t function in a normative manner as an insurance. You can’t ever be ‘made whole’ on your losses when malefactors outside of your own fault come in to play as is the vital purpose of insurance because you get billed not only as a ‘client’ of FDIC, but as a tax payer who bails out that system. A sound argument based on keeping that system relatively risk free isn’t a sufficient reason to prevent dominant players either because FDIC is screwed up at its very fundamentals.

  54. The irony is that all claims that libertarianism have been shown or proven to never work have been shot down when you actually look around the world at countries that have implemented certain libertarian policies both economic and social.

  55. Yeah thats kinda crazy when you think about it.

    http://www.total-web-privacy.tk

  56. Of course we’re misunderstood heres the proof
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dVmwoR24rc

  57. Took an hop and a skip over to this article: http://www.salon.com/news/poli…..index.html

    Here’s a great comment.
    Right-wing authoritarianism is a documented psychological phenomenon. Left-wing authoritarianism doesn’t even appear to exist.
    -Clavis

    Left-wing authoritarianism doesn’t even appear to exist.
    LEFT-WING AUTHORITARIANISM DOESN’T EVEN APPEAR TO EXIST.

    As a former left-libertarian, I’m appalled by this statement. I love the utter hatred they have for Greenwald and the rest of the liberals who point out that Obama hasn’t kept any of his promises on civil liberties. It these kind of statements that made it impossible to to argue with Marxists in my leftist days. No, the state will not just “whither away” in a classless society.

    1. And even if there *are* left-wing authoritarians, such people are actually conservatives, according to reputable and impartial social scientists at Berkeley:

      “The researchers conceded cases of left-wing ideologues, such as Stalin, Khrushchev or Castro, who, once in power, steadfastly resisted change, allegedly in the name of egalitarianism.

      “Yet, they noted that some of these figures might be considered politically conservative in the context of the systems that they defended. The researchers noted that Stalin, for example, was concerned about defending and preserving the existing Soviet system.”

      1. Which would mean that Stalin’s opponents, such as [Godwin edit], were actually liberals, since they wanted to overthrow a conservative regime.

        (Also, the Cuban exiles in Miami would be liberals, too.)

  58. We’re stealing your “property” like the words “anarchist” and “libertarian”:

    Confusion arises because, in the twentieth century, people like the interviewees here started stealing the term “libertarian,” as well as, appallingly, “anarchist.” They’ve had an uncomfortable degree of success.

  59. It wasn’t at the expense of society until they were fucking bailed out.

    A nice bumper sticker, but the reality is more complex. Many costs are socialized without the help of the government. This is certainly true in the financial markets. If’n the government had stayed out of it and let those institutions fail…large chunks of society would have felt those costs…the costs would have been socialized. The bailouts attempted (however poorly) to minimize that impact by spreading the costs out across an even larger sector of society.

    In a sense, even, the large companies can easily fall victim to the individual actor in their own system that takes personal profits out of the system via compensation/incentive structures…and leaves the company holding the bag of shit.

    All in all Nick & Matt come across very hedgehoggy in the interview. They’re doing something analogous to those that try to predict the future…they are trying to use their narrow world view to explain the past. This process is almost as likely to get it wrong as the business of predicting the future.

    1. This is certainly true in the financial markets. If’n the government had stayed out of it and let those institutions fail…large chunks of society would have felt those costs…the costs would have been socialized. The bailouts attempted (however poorly) to minimize that impact by spreading the costs out across an even larger sector of society.

      You are really not getting this, at all. That cost would have borne out through buy outs. I laid out a careful argument there which I don’t take credit because it is the same that a VP of BB&T gave me when they were smelling trouble in the air for Bank of America. The socialization of loss occurred strictly through the intervention.

      1. same that a VP of BB&T

        Don’t wanna pull a shrike there. This guy holds large parties in town. Invites anyone with a decent golf swing to play his back six, and I happen to have one, and would tell anyone who shows any interest in his profession the same thing he told me.

    2. large chunks of society would have felt those costs

      Cite? Or just your opinion? Is it your contention that “large chunks of society” have not felt the current economic state, because of all the “necessary” bailouts?

      Large companies that allow “individual actors” to game the system and abscond with obscene profits deserve to fail, and those responsible deserve to answer to the shareholders in court for fiduciary fraud.

      1. and those responsible deserve to answer to the shareholders in court for fiduciary fraud.

        Amen to that. The entire establishment fell for a shell game they mistakenly thought they had some coin in, and they hate to be reminded of their chumpitude.

    3. And no, I don’t consider it socialization of risk when the stock holders get pennies on the dollar. They expect to reap the benefits when they get it right, they should be willing to take the hit when they don’t.

    4. A nice bumper sticker, but the reality is more complex.

      Just a note, ledes are almost always quotable quips if they are any good, but you didn’t address the substance of the yes, complex, argument that I actually did give underneath it. Thanks for condescending, bro.

      1. Thanks for condescending, bro.

        No problem. It’s what I do. But the fact that you seem to have misunderstood my comment in your rant/response puts us back on even keel.

    5. large chunks of society would have felt those costs

      Large costs like 9% unemployment, a 20% drop in the value of the dollar, a none existent loan market, 40% drop in the value of real estate, high energy and food prices, collapsed local state and federal tax revenues, and trillion dollar deficits….

      I am failing to see how those costs you are talking about were avoided.

      1. People are having trouble reading ’round here it seems. Did I say they were avoided?

        1. See below.

          1. Apogee|7.3.11 @ 6:56PM|#

            See below.

            Seen. Why’d you waste my time so?

  60. Given the Great Recession we have since been mired you can’t feasibly be declaring it a GREATER price.

    We’re in recession?

  61. No, at the very worst, you cannot claim it to be an equivalent price because if you did not bail them out, you weaseldicks, they would be sharing in the misery instead of profiting from it, thus lessening our load.

    This doesn’t really follow, ya know. I realize that you carefully laid out this argument. But, it doesn’t seem to be well thought out. The alternate reality without the bail out is an unknown. The scale of the pain could have been far greater, or less, or equivalent. But what you can’t do is make statements with any degree of certainty about what that world would have looked like. Both sides of this argument are just making wild-ass guesses, but in both alternate realities, the cost are socialized.

    1. But what you can’t do is make statements with any degree of certainty about what that world would have looked like.

      From your 7/2/11 7:18PM – If’n the government had stayed out of it and let those institutions fail…large chunks of society would have felt those costs…the costs would have been socialized.

      If the government would have stayed out of it … the costs would have been socialized.

      Would have beenyour statement, implying a state of being that does not exist in the current timeframe due to government action.

      If what you wrote was incorrect, then admit it. But please stop pretending that others don’t comprehend your clear language.

      1. If the government would have stayed out of it … the costs would have been socialized.

        This statement is being put in opposition to “It wasn’t at the expense of society until they were fucking bailed out.”

        Which means…based on this…

        Would have been – your statement, implying a state of being that does not exist in the current timeframe due to government action.

        that you seem to have a problem understanding my clear language.

        The “would have been” does imply a world where the government stayed out of it…which they didn’t. In that world…the costs would have been socialized. I guess I could have said “would still have been socialized,” but the “still” is hardly necessary. Really, it ain’t that hard folks. If you want to defend alan’s oversimplification of the situation you’ll need to try harder.

  62. I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by fed3x. I will never again pay expensive r3tailprices at stores.I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, buzzsave. c0m……..

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