Welfare

Reason.tv: Philosopher Matt Zwolinski on "Bleeding-Heart Libertarians," The Poor, and Social Justice

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"Libertarians … when they try to convince people of libertarianism, they do it by talking about the way in which free markets make life better for the poor," says Matt Zwolinski, a philosopher at the University of San Diego and a creator of the web site Bleeding Heart Libertarians, which features writing from various libertarian philosophers and economists on topics of social justice.

While the notion of "social justice" has long been anathema to some libertarians, Zwolinski says that a bleeding-heart libertarian realizes that an abiding concern for the most vulnerable in society is an essential part of any moral political system.

"But, simply being committed to social justice does not mean that you have to be committed to the view that government must directly try to promote the well-being of the poor and vulnerable members of society," says Zwolinski. Instead, the bleeding-heart libertarian looks to the empirical evidence for indications that small government and free markets are the best methods by which to provide for the poor.

Interview by Zach Weissmueller. Shot by Paul Feine. Edited by Weissmueller. Approximately 10 minutes.

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  1. an abiding concern for the most vulnerable in society is an essential part of any moral political system

    Citation needed.

    1. try the bible for starters.

      1. Try something other than an empty appeal to authority.

        1. Where does the Bible say to coerce others into helping the poor?

          1. The Biblical Appeal to helping the poor is not about improving the lives of the poor, it’s abut improving the soul of the one doing the helping. DUH

      2. The Bible isn’t a political manifesto, fuckstick.

        1. Irrelevant, shitbag.

      3. try the bible for starters.

        So what America needs is a tribal confederation/divine right limited monarchy is what you’re suggesting? Hell yeah. Clearly the great republican experiment that is the United States has failed.

        1. It has failed, but only because we’re so goddamned stupid. HOPENCHANGEYESWECAN!

      4. Indeed.

        Matthew 26:11

  2. I agree with Zwolinski that this is a way to convince others about the virtues of libertarian policies, but you run into a couple of problems.

    First off, liberals and progressives simply will not believe your motives or your data. Only government can provide a safety net in their minds. You can’t get past this.

    Second, many libertarians agree with you in a theoretical sense, but don’t care enough to be convincing on this topic. The sincerity and passion isn’t there.

    1. First off, liberals and progressives simply will not believe your motives or your data. Only government can provide a safety net in their minds. You can’t get past this.

      I concur with this. If “charity” doesn’t happen by threat of force, in their minds, it won’t happen at all.

      I think it says more about their own selfishness.

      1. The most powerful force in politics is projection.

        1. then use it against them. And remind liberals that they should follow your example and volunteer. Because, they so often don’t.

          1. Why volunteer when you can force other people to contribute money? Duh. Don’t you understand liberals at all?

            1. These jackbooted liberals that you all fear so much sound pretty terrifying. I’m picturing waves of goosestepping, unwashed, masses marching by the furor (Obama). A glorious sea of tie-dye, and patchouli…ready to take all we have worked so hard for – and give it to a poor person.

              1. Check out the Occupy Wall Street thread, Eric. There’s your waves of unwashed, tiedyed masses, right there.

            2. Here’s my take on liberal thinking:

              1. I would give money to charity but just my money wouldn’t be enough*
              2. If my money isn’t going to be enough then I might as well not bother
              3. The only way to get enough money is to make sure everyone contributes
              4. If people won’t willingly contribute then they must be forced to
              5. I will gladly be forced to give a percentage of my money as long as everyone else is too

              *In all cases, “enough” is some vaguely defined number which can never be met.

              1. Confusing charity with policy beliefs is a common flaw in libertarian thinking.

                1. Confusing my own delusions for reality is a common flaw in my thinking.

                  1. Winner

                2. Being a fuckheaded degenerate with an exceptional penchant for sickening immorality and barbarism in sociopolitical matters is one of your flaws, Tony, one you share with millions of other statist dipsticks.

                  1. The only moral value you have is “finders keepers.” Don’t lecture me about barbarism and degeneracy.

                    1. Tell us what the “fair share” amount is, Tony, regarding those Evil Rich People you liberals love to demonize.

                      C’mon, it shouldn’t be THAT difficult. Just pick a number over, say, 30 percent of every dollar in their paychecks/bank accounts/basement-level bank vault swimming pool combos.

                      Be the first!

                    2. It’s not about a number, it’s about what provides a dignified standard of living to all people. Whatever that costs, as long as it doesn’t have counterproductive results (and we’re nowhere near that tax rate), it’s more worthy a value than finders keepers.

                    3. Damn it MNG, they’re setting the goalposts in concrete. Get the jackhammer, quick.

                    4. I am constantly amazed that people pay any attention to this idiot (Tony)

                    5. All he has to do here is answer a simple question:

                      How much of every dollar should be paid in taxes for those over a certain income level?

                      But, candyass that he is, he can’t answer it.

                      It IS fun to watch him change the subject every time it’s asked, though.

                    6. Dignified standard of living for all people? Sending tax dollars to China now?

                      The social safety net, at best, is a mandatory insurance program. If it was for “raising humanity” the money would be better spent in Africa.

      2. except that there’s mucho private charitable giving…even by lub-rahlz

        1. If there’s so “mucho” being voluntarily given, then why do we need government to force us to do it?

          1. Don’t try to squeeze logic out of a stone.

            1. Stones have value. You can do shit with stones. You can use them as tools. You can decorate with them. Value.

              Liberal thinking has absolutely zero value.

              Horse shit has value. It’s part of the natural cycle.

              That’s how much statist hacks and their bullshit are worth.

      3. Just ask Warren Buffet

  3. The moral argument has always been enough for me. I have a hard time believing the beeding-heart argument will work on many people that don’t care about the moral argument, but good for him for trying.

    1. The moral argument means that it doesnt matter if “free markets make life better for the poor”, even though it does.

      Which is fine by me. In fact, I should probably come up with some pithy comment that reflects my views on utilitarianism.

      1. Every great evil is some (admittedly warped) flavor of utilitarian thought. “If we get rid of the… (kulaks, Jews, capitalists, wreckers, etc.), we can make this a paradise for the majority.”

      2. “Utilitarianism demands sacrifice by the few for the benefit of the many. You first.”

      3. But if libertarianism has both the moral AND the utilitarian argument in its favor, why not make both? The utilitarian argument, for all it’s faults, is more convincing than a moral code built around the primacy of one singular principle.

        1. That’s what I like about libertarianism. A while ago Reason asked if we liked it because it was right or because it worked? I say, why choose? Libertarianism is both morally right and empirically best.

          1. I agree, but I would also argue that morally right == empirically best.

            The outcome that comes from behaving morally is the best of all possible outcomes.

  4. The enforcement of self ownership rights is the only moral imperative that government should have; that this is of immense help to the most vulnerable people in society is evident.

  5. Hopefully this guy already has achieved tenure. Otherwise he’ll soon be looking for a new job.

  6. “…and this is something that we bleeding heart libertarians don’t disagree with at all, is that the welfare of the poor and vulnerable is often better promoted by laissez-faire.”

    Well, that’s an unfortunate side effect, obviously. But as long as laissez-faire keeps me in more monocles than the commoners, it’s something with which I can live.

    1. Agreed. It’s a shame that the proles also have to win, but I suppose it can’t be helped.

      **dons top hat, readies whip for Siberian girl rickshaw team**

      1. Dude, I’m nominating you for head of the DoT.

        1. DoT?

    2. Designer monocles.

  7. Huh, and all this time I thought being poor was a motivation to not be.

  8. “There are some libertarians who are strongly opposed to the idea, though, of social justice…”

    No fucking shit. This seems to me to be like the left’s attempted usurpation of the Christian message, riding in to Churchtown on the horse named social justice. I agree that libertarianism benefit all individuals, and it’s a good recruitment message that the poor are generally helped with less state involvement. But that’s not where social justice takes you.

    1. There are some libertarians who are strongly opposed to the idea, though, of social justice

      Even though I agree with him on the specifics, I think the term social justice is unalterably incompatible with libertarianism.

      1. 1%? You joined the Hell’s Angels or something?

        1. Nah. The Hell’s Angels joined me, Wart-boy.

      2. Indeed. It may have meant more at some point, but now the term “social justice” seems to mean little more than forced redistribution.

        1. It has never meant anything other than whatever the utterer of it thinks it is. It is an absolutely meaningless term, to the extent that I don’t even know what this guy means by it.

          1. It has never meant anything other than whatever the utterer of it thinks it is. It is an absolutely meaningless term, to the extent that I don’t even know what this guy means by it.

            ^^^This. There are, from my readings of social justice, no consistent objective criteria other than the personal ends that the speaker holds. It’s as nebulous as the phrase “we need to come together”, which inevitably means, “you all need to agree with me”.

          2. When I hear the term “social justice” is when I reach for my revolver.

            Whoever they are, they want something from me that I’m not willing to give them.

            1. JW – dispensing justice, 147 grains at a time.

              1. “Ottoman, there’ll be no Justice of the Peace for you; just a big piece of justice.”

              2. Sudden Acute Lead Poisoning?

      3. I would agree insofar as the term is popularly construed, but I would argue that one could believe in a concept of social justice that need not be carried out by the state (e.g. private charities), in which case it’s entirely compatible with libertarianism. Personally, as a libertarian who does not believe that the government should operate as a charity, I feel an obligation to contribute to private charities as I do feel a moral obligation to help those in need. I object to the state forcing me to help others; it need not follow that I object to helping others.

        1. i was going to write something similar. I’d only add that I think that the state does a poor job and creates dependency.

        2. a concept of social justice that need not be carried out by the state (e.g. private charities)

          Calling providing for the needy via charity “social justice” strikes me as just randomly labelling it. What is “social” about purely private giving? What about purely voluntary action invokes “justice”?

          1. To me, “social” implies an interaction between individuals. Therefore I think that helping others is inherently social. I suppose I could define “social justice” as “justice for anybody other than yourself.”

        3. Social justice brought by individuals instead of the state? Sounds like social vigilantism to me.

          1. on the state is responsible enough to handle compassion. you can’t have untrained people out trying to make a difference.

          2. There is no state monopoly on justice. Vigilantism can be justice.

    2. I dunno if that’s true. I perceive, for example, IJ as a strong social justice organization.

    3. I’m strongly opposed to the idea of “social justice” because it just simply can’t be defined, and is an abuse of the terms that people use to twist other’s arms (especially via the state).

      However, I think I share a lot of matt’s aims.

      1. Yeah, I’ve got to side with the “can’t be defined” crowd on this. My church (United Church of Christ) spends a lot of time talking about ‘social justice’, and the best I can tell is that they mean it in the sense of ‘helping the less fortunate’.

        To me, the phrase is meaningless – Justice, so far as I can tell, is speciifcally concerned with righting a wrong/providing compensence for a wrong, and ‘wrongs’ can only truly be determined on an individual level. The idea of ‘righting’ societal wrongs is utterly incoherent.

        1. “The idea of ‘righting’ societal wrongs is utterly incoherent.”

          Well, yeah, but the problem is that those who believe in “social justice” are all about ‘righting’ these so called ‘societal wrongs’, as if there is some great injustice that some are poor.

          Yeah, some may be poor for no fault of their own, but others are poor due to their faults. Is that an injustice? And I think the idea of ‘teach a man to fish’ is better then to give out free fish. Sadly, those who believe in “social justice” seem to prefer giving out free fish.

          1. Sadly, those who believe in “social justice” seem to prefer giving out free fish.

            you ever deliver food to someone who had been shot up because she lived in the wrong neighborhood and is paralyzed in a wheelchair and suffers from severe aphasia?

            there are some people for whom free fish is really the only answer.

            1. yonemoto

              I believe he said, “Yeah, some may be poor for no fault of their own…” if you reread his post.

  9. BHL has been one of my favorite reads since the day it launched! Great stuff…

  10. First off, liberals and progressives simply will not believe your motives or your data. Only government can provide a safety net in their minds. You can’t get past this.

    That’s right we can’t and won’t! If I can’t get a government job “helping” people and making policy then it is by definition not a legitimate safety net!

    1. Stupid enough for Tony, but he generally ladles on more bullshit to try to mask it.

      C-

      1. The Real Tony doesn’t use that many exclamation points, either. His responses are usually robotic and monotone.

        1. What makes you think there IS a real Tony?

          1. Or only one Tony?

            1. I’m Tony!

  11. I challenge Matt Zwolinksy to come volunteer with me so that he can know that small government and free markets are not enough, and that encouraging people to be good neighbors of their own volition is also important.

    1. And where do you live where there is small government and free markets? Without those two things, how could you possibly know those are not “enough”. Also, please define “enough”. While you are at it, define “small government” and “free markets”. We need a point of reference.

      1. I live in San Diego, which is why I’m challenging Matt.

        And by “encouraging”, of course, I don’t mean that the state should do it.

        1. (see how this works? It’s self-referential)

      2. Also, please define “enough”.

        Hayek’s knowledge problem. “enough” is going to be different for everyone, but I think Matt will probably agree that it would be hard to imagine just “small government and free markets” taking care of these people, unless, by free market, you include “free market of ideas and free market of charity”

        1. I don’t see why they would not be included.

          1. and San Diego most definitely does not have small government. I live in CA myself.

            1. I agree that San Diego doesn’t have small government.

          2. well, you may not have an aversion to including them (and neither do I) but to most people “free market” doesn’t include those concepts.

  12. Hmm, The Libertarian Charity Fairy Solution? ? ? is kinda like Santa -grow up

    1. Care to join?

      1. I’m damn sure you can’t be RC and Libertarian

        1. And, as usual, you’re wrong.

          1. You can call yourself a Catholic but you cannot be a “Catholic in good standing” and be libertarian

  13. The Vietnamese boat people of the mid 1970s did it for me. They barely made here, (some died en route), had to learn our language, and in a few short years were graduating at the TOP of their high school classes. No affirmative action, no quotas, no set asides, they just out worked everyone else. Might there be a lesson here?

    1. Yes, the lesson is if you survive the Vietcong, you’re still damn lucky

    2. But it wasn’t fair that they had to work harder than everyone else. That’s a racist double-standard!

    3. and of course their spoiled children grew up to be liberals. Although I have to say, one of my coworkers, she’s mildly libertarian.

      1. I don’t know about their children. I had neighbors from Hong Kong who had a garage sale. The textbooks they were trying to sell were intimidating as hell.

        1. a lot of liberals are good at math. Most economists, for example, are really good at taking gnarly derivatives. This is not, however, a generally good thing.

          1. there is something interesting about a person with the family name of yonemoto using a ‘liberals + math’ stereotype: it reminds me of another simulacrum ….

  14. Believer-in-“social justice” is a social identity, a siding with power, not a reasoned-to (or -from) moral/ethical/philosophical/etc. argumentative position.

    There are “house” and “field” believers. “Bleeding-heart libertarians” are beggars for labor in the farthest fields.

    They’re right to be ashamed. They should be far, far more so.

  15. Okay, look, this is not complicated. Generosity and compassion and helping those out is a good thing and to be encouraged. The issue is using force (government) through taxation to compel people to subsidize the existence of others, the issue is giving government to power to take from some to give to others. Some libertarians are total imbeciles about this. I remember this one guy saying he couldn’t help his son out who was struggling to get by because it wasn’t libertarian. In fact, caring for and helping out your own families is exactly libertarian. Some people think that being libertarian means being ungenerous, when, in fact, part of the basis for advocating libertarianism and voluntaryism is the notion that people are generous and incline to help those out who need help and do not require big brother to compel us to care for each other.

    Many libertarians promote the caricature of libertarians as advocates of a dog eat dog society and social Darwinism. Part of the premise of libertarianism is that we are NOT dogs and will not eat each other. It is the “progressives” with their social engineering who think that left to our own devices we will devour each other and that is why we need benevolent overseers to make sure we don’t devour each other. If you really think the nature of humanity is, essentially, dog eat dog, then what the hell are you doing being a libertarian? Libertarians believe that people are naturally inclined to cooperate and care for each other (not all people, all the time, obviously) and therefore we don’t need big brother forcing us to have compassion.

    1. tl;dr for most liberals, sadly.

    2. Derp [UNMASKED] hurr durr [THINLY VEILED] blah blah blah [HURR DURR HURR] derp da derp [AG]rarian.

      Hunter gatherer. Derp.

    3. I also like the notion that if you aren’t {nice, neighborly, good, honest} to others* then absent coercive redistribution, people are more likely to kick you to the curb when you need help.

      *but feel free to be a jackass on anonymous internet comment threads

    4. Agree.

      Me, I’m involved in several voluntary organization, even as a leader. I spend my own money as such, which helps that organization, because I believe it in.

      I’m also a scout leader, and we do a lot of service. And I’m involved as an alumni volunteer with a service fraternity.

      Nothing wrong or ‘anti-libertarian’ about doing service.

      I’ve actually met a few libertarians with such orgs. But also quite a few conservatives, liberals, etc.

  16. Why, why, why was the BanHammer? lifted from The Thing That Shall Remain Nameless?

    WHY??!!!

    1. They hate us.

    2. incif is going into maximum overdrive.

    3. Because trademarked BanHammer? are just as delusional as your belief than ANYONE was given the boot

  17. Calling oneself a ‘bleeding heart’ is basically an admission that one places a higher value on emotion and sentiment than on rationality and facts. It is nothing to be proud and can piss off.

    1. Calling oneself a ‘bleeding heart’ is basically an admission that one places a higher value on emotion and sentiment than on rationality and facts. It is nothing to be proud and can piss off.

      I have read BHL several times and would have to disagree with this characterization. IMO, the “bleeding heart” moniker functions to lull the average retard into staying awhile to read their blog and hopefully introduce libertarian ideas to those who typically run screaming from any mention of “libertarian”.

  18. Once you concede that able-bodied adults need to be “taken care of,” you’ve lost the battle with the leftists, both on the moral and utilitarian sides.

    I make no such concession. In fact, I’m much more of an optimist and a believer in people than any leftist I know. People are surprisingly resourceful, but they won’t exercise those resources unless they are cut off from their source of dependency.

    On the moral side, it’s not my job or yours to take care of able-bodied adults who refuse to do so for themselves. Leftists see such people as little more than children, incapable of doing for themselves. I find that far more dehumanizing than anything I believe.

    1. Many people’s idea of “take care of” means imprison.

  19. Once you concede that able-bodied adults need to be “taken care of,” you’ve lost the battle with the leftists, both on the moral and utilitarian sides.

    I make no such concession. In fact, I’m much more of an optimist and a believer in people than any leftist I know. People are surprisingly resourceful, but they won’t exercise those resources unless they are cut off from their source of dependency.

    On the moral side, it’s not my job or yours to take care of able-bodied adults who refuse to do so for themselves. Leftists see such people as little more than children, incapable of doing for themselves. I find that far more dehumanizing than anything I believe.

    1. Didn’t mean to repeat myself. Double clicks and all that…

  20. Rather than try to make the utilitarian argument of promising a better better, it is much more sound, as well as convincing for the person making the argument, pointing out the detrimental effects of the non-libertarian ways.

    The argument of least-harm, no-force, guaranteed potential vs guaranteed outcome, when broken down and illustrated with examples of the harm resulting from policies outside that sphere (or the “compliment of the set”), step-by-step is very convincing because you’ve illustrated the rationale. There is something an “aha” moment as you see how something that might initially sound undesirable works. It is making the case for what Matt in the video calls the “negative libertarian rights” which is an accurate term. Similarly, Ron Paul mentioned previously the notion of “negative freedom” in one of the 2008 debates if I recall. The hurdle is really convincing people “no, it’s not negative-as-in-bad”

    I think RP does a good job on this very issue about the poor and being compassionate, etc.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..4#t=32m45s
    The problem is that it takes time to explain though.

    1. “promising a better better” -> “promising a better life”

      1. I think, condensed, you’ve come up with the perfect political slogan.

        Promising Better!

  21. How would your views change if libertarian/contra-causal free will is false and either hard determinism or hard indeterminism is valid?

    This is a serious question as a great deal of scientists and philosophers reject free will. Many libertarians are atheists or at least irreligious, so it does not make a whole lot of sense why so many cling to the notion of libertarian or contra-causal free will.

    1. How would your views change if libertarian/contra-causal free will is false and either hard determinism or hard indeterminism is valid?

      I feel there are numerous problems with the determinist position, but barring that, if determinism can be PROVEN, then I don’t see why this proves that libertarianism is therefore invalid.

      1. I feel like the burden of proof should be on those who believe humans have libertarian free will.

        There are also the view of philosophers like Pereboom who believes indeterminism rules out free will as well as it would come down to randomness. Thene there are the views of Strawson who believes the whole idea of causua sui is not logical.

        My point is not that libertarianism is invalid, but how would it change your views?

        1. I feel like the burden of proof should be on those who believe humans have libertarian free will.

          Why?

        2. See my 3:12 post. Determinism would be meaningless, so even if its true, Im gonna go ahead and continue assuming that free will exists.

        3. “change my views”?

          In a deterministic universe, I dont have views. To change my views requires free will.

          1. You still have opinions and views. It’s just that they did not originate with you and are the product of some confluence of your genetics and your surrounding environment.

            1. Then they arent MY views.

              1. You are your brain, so I would say they are your views.

                Obviously we could just go with the buddhist idea that we are all one as a part of nature and that there is no real self

                1. You are your brain

                  I am my soul. Which might or might not involve the brain somehow.

            2. You still have opinions and views. It’s just that they did not originate with you and are the product of some confluence of your genetics and your surrounding environment.

              Free will allows for the above scenario.

              1. Contra-causal free will does not.

            3. If determinism is true, I don’t really have any choice in the matter, now do I? My views will change whether I will it or not.

              1. You will experience that change though. If you are never exposed to the idea of determinism it’s unlikely you would ever come to accept it and then examine its implications. That’s why I’m trying to start this discussion.

                1. Of course its experienced. But so what? If all the changes are deterministic, none of them matter. We may be in a deterministic universe, in which case all my “decisions” are useless, they achieve nothing.

                  But, I will continue to make them because with free will they have meaning. They matter. Maybe my belief in free will is deterministic, but there is not way to prove it because all proofs will be judged deterministically and will be accepted or rejected based on that ticking of the cosmic clock, not based on reason or logic.

                2. You will experience that change though. If you are never exposed to the idea of determinism it’s unlikely you would ever come to accept it and then examine its implications. That’s why I’m trying to start this discussion.

                  Experiencing change and “accepting” it are not equivalent. If determinism is true, then I don’t “accept” new ideas, by any common sense of the word. I am determined by previous causes to undergo an alteration of thought. All of the rationalization that may have occurred within my mind were merely gymnastics that provide the illusion that I am in control of adopting this new idea.

                  This problem likewise exists for the determinist. He can’t escape the conundrum of the illusion of reasoning.

                  1. This problem likewise exists for the determinist. He can’t escape the conundrum of the illusion of reasoning.

                    Bolded for emphasis. Exactly why a proof of determinism is impossible.

                  2. True, but I don’t see how this is a problem for determinism.

                    Yes our beliefs, actions, etc. are caused, but that does not rule out reasoning. We can still employ evidence when making arguments or carefully observe or measure phenomena.

                    1. We can still employ evidence when making arguments or carefully observe or measure phenomena.

                      No you cant. Its deterministic. You cant employ evidence except in the way that happens to be determined. And no one can be swayed by your argument unless it deterministically going to happen.

                      Both of those REQUIRE free will.

                    2. Okay and that’s a problem how?

                      If I am caused to carefully measure the movement of planets how does that make the research invalid?

                    3. If I am caused to carefully measure the movement of planets how does that make the research invalid?

                      Ive covered this. How do I “judge” your work? I cant because my judgement is deterministic. If I cant make a choice, I cant make a choice. Judgement is all about choosing.

                    4. So you couldn’t check the math?

        4. The question of free will is the silliest and most pointless ever posed by philosophers. It doesn’t matter at all, to anything, whether or not we have free will (if you can even put forth a coherent definition of free will). As our experience only includes one possible outcome of every decision we make.

          All that matters is that I have free will in the sense that if I decide to do something (i.e. I will it) and I am not physically constrained from doing so, I will do it. I can never make a decision that I didn’t make, so whether or not I could have is meaningless.

          1. If you believe someone could have or could not have done something differently then this will have an effect on how they are treated in certain situations.

            If determinism is true then it’s pretty hard to justify putting someone to death for an action they had no ultimate control over as their genetics and enevironment caused them to have the desire to carry out the murder.

            That’s why it’s important question, although I can understand your frustration.

            1. If you believe someone could have or could not have done something differently then this will have an effect on how they are treated in certain situations.

              If I can voluntarily control how I act towards someone, then I demonstrate some form of free will. The alternative is that, just as the murderer can’t control his actions, I can’t control my actions toward him. Any change of my actions towards him is not based on rational decision making, but the illusion of rationality.

              1. You can call it an illusion if you want, but people still possess rationality if determinism is true.

                Your rationality argument can be potentially thrown back at you: http://evanlouissheehan.home.c…..l_Will.htm

    2. Let say there is a study proving the lack of free will. The entire universe is deterministic.

      But, in that case, the proof wasnt produced via reason, but it was created deterministically, thus may or may not be valid.

      There is not way to judge it logically, because are judgement is deterministic.

      A deterministic universe is meaningless. I choose* to believe in free will, because the other choice isnt a choice at all. I prefer* a universe that has meaning, I choose* free will.

      Or, you know, this.

      *or do I? Maybe that “choice” was deterministically made.

      1. OUR judgement.

      2. But, in that case, the proof wasnt produced via reason, but it was created deterministically, thus may or may not be valid.

        Yep. But lets say we somehow can circumvent the whole “how do you know if something is true or not if your outcome is uncontrollably determined”, how does this argue against libertarianism and for some authoritarian system? It can’t.

        1. I cant circumvent it, so the latter doesnt matter.

          We have free will in which case libertarianism matters or we dont in which case nothing does.

        2. That isn’t my point, but it may cause libertarians to try and start understanding liberal and conservatives rather than constantly insulting them (this applies to all groups though).

          It may cause some right-libertarians to maybe consider geolibertarianism or soem other leftish version of libertarianism.

      3. So you believe reason is impossible under determinism? That is a strange view.

        In other words, you don’t believe humans can form inferences or come to conclusions based on facts or premises because they were caused to think in such a way?

        1. You got us.

          None of us personally knows any liberals or conservatives, we’re not aware of media culture that is saturated with their worldviews and none of us has ever been one in the past.

          1. Crap. That was in response to That isn’t my point, but it may cause libertarians to try and start understanding liberal and conservatives rather than constantly insulting them (this applies to all groups though).

          2. I understand, but the venom with which many posters on here refer to those who hold opposing ideological viewpoints is not productive at least imo.

            Especially when you consider either from a hard determinist or hard indeterminist perspective it is not ultimately their fault.

            1. Since I find determinism to be a load of crap, I hold those people wholly responsible for their own belief system.

              Consider the venom you see here to be therapeutic. Most of us aren’t able to fully express ourselves in our social circles without creating problems.

              1. Just curious are you religious?

                Also, what of hard indeterminism (rejects both free will and determinism)? Can you please explain why determinism is a load of crap?

                1. Isnt hard indeterminism just determinism via die roll?

                  1. Essentially our actions would be at least some degree random.

                2. Just curious are you religious?

                  Only on my deathbed.

                  Can you please explain why determinism is a load of crap?

                  How can a chaotic system be deterministic? Where is the machine that is controlling the actions of a near-infinite number of actors? Determinism would have to act on sub-atomic particles and in quantum states as well to be effective.

                  1. Look up adequate determinism. That would be a good place to start in relation to quantum mechanics and free will.

                    Controlling? Why does the universe have to be controlled in order for cause and effect to operate?

                    Indeterminism does not necessarily give one free will either. If your actions are random they are not free.

        2. So you believe reason is impossible under determinism? That is a strange view.

          Not at all. Its a common view, in fact.

          1. That’s possible. Direct me to some discussion among philosophers or scientists where this has come up?

            1. See the thread you are in.

              1. Two people?

      4. Oh, just suck it up and quote Rush.

    3. In a deterministic universe, it doesn’t even make sense to ask if I would change my views. The question presumes that I have free will.

      In a deterministic universe, there is no right or wrong, no better or worse. There is simply the ticking of the cosmic clock.

      1. Say what you like about the tenets of free will, but at least its an ethos.

      2. No, your views can change.

        Determinism does not mean the universe is static. Where did you get that idea?

        Well, there needs to some system of morality in order for society to function some we need to promote some degree of accountability. That being said do you not believe humans have a general sense of morality that has developed over hundreds of thousands of years?

        1. He isnt saying the universe is static, he is saying any changes to his “views” are deterministic and thus arent “changes” or “views”. Just things that happen.

          Morality requires choices – free will.

          There is no morality in a deterministic universe as there are no decisions to be made.

          1. A ticking of the cosmic clock. Thing 1 happens then thing 2 happens then thing 3 happens. No morality, no choices.

          2. This is akin to saying there is no morality without God? Do you believe that as well?

            Without free will humans still have the freedom to do what they want. It’s just they have no control over what they want.

            While no “decision” we make is really a decision (meaning there actually is no other possible action as it is already determined) we don’t know what the future holds, so in a sense we are making decisions that have a real effect on things. Determinism is not fatalism.

            1. This is akin to saying there is no morality without God? Do you believe that as well?

              Im pretty much H&R’s house evangelical, so you might not care for my answer on that. I dont think there is ANYTHING without God, including free will.

            2. This is akin to saying there is no morality without God? Do you believe that as well?

              No it is not. robc’s statement argues the idea that if one has no control over his/her actions, then you cannot call them “moral/immoral”. I am not acting morally if I give my wallet to a homeless person at gunpoint. My choices were constrained and therefore not voluntary.

              Without free will humans still have the freedom to do what they want. It’s just they have no control over what they want.

              Then the use of the term “freedom” becomes meaningless. I simply act.

              While no “decision” we make is really a decision (meaning there actually is no other possible action as it is already determined) we don’t know what the future holds, so in a sense we are making decisions that have a real effect on things. Determinism is not fatalism.

              Yeah, I can’t figure out what the hell that is supposed to mean.

              1. I can’t figure out what the hell that is supposed to mean.

                I can. Its bullshit.

                Basically, to him, life is a roller coaster ride, all the fun and excitement with none of the controls. And a possible derailing at any moment. You are strapped in and will take what you get.

                1. How is that BS?

                  The problem here is that I’m coming into this debate from the perspective of an agnostic who leans towards there being no god, while you call yourself the evangelist of H&R.

                  Most libertarians at least from my experience are not very religious at all and are likely to be more receptive to the idea of hard determinism or hard indeterminism.

                  1. The problem here is that I’m coming into this debate from the perspective of an agnostic who leans towards there being no god, while you call yourself the evangelist of H&R.

                    That isnt a problem at all, God has no bearing on this issue.

                    And I didnt call myself the evangelist of H&R, learn to fucking read.

                    At least 1 of the people who agree with me is an atheist, possibly multiple.

                    1. That’s what I find strange. If you are an atheist it seemingly makes little sense to believe in something other than hard determinism or hard indeterminism. There is compatabilism, but they accept determinism without really embracing its implications at least imo.

                      Yes, you are right about atheist libertarians believing in free will, but who is more likely to be receptive to the idea of determinism?: someone who believes in the supernatural or someone who does not?

                      Religions often rely on the belief that people will be judged based upon their actions and/or beliefs.

                      I know of Calvinism (I’m assuming that was what you are talking about), but Calvinists are a minority.

                      I meant house evangelical. I apologize.

                    2. Calvinism pervades lots of protestantism. It may be a minority, but its a larger percent than the deterministic atheist libertarian percent, AFAICT.

                    3. And how many people have actually read up on hard determinism or hard indeterminism?

                      In fact, some academics don’t want skepticism of free will to spread outside of academia as they fear the consequences.

                      I’d say a great deal of the irrelgiious population would accept hard determinism or hard indeterminism if they were exposed to it.

                  2. Most libertarians at least from my experience are not very religious at all and are likely to be more receptive to the idea of hard determinism or hard indeterminism.

                    You should meet more libertarians then.
                    You couldnt be more wrong.

                    In fact, I will go this far:
                    Atheist libertarians are more likely to believe in free will than christians (after all, there are whole denominations that deny free will).

              2. My point is that you aren’t powerless. Our actions may be caused, but they have causal power as well.

                Even in a deterministic universe you can still believe murder is wrong. It’s just that you’d understand that the murderer had no real choice. The proper response would be to try and rehabilitate the murderer if possible as it wasn’t ultimately his fault.

                Society can’t function without a system of morality and humans have developed a shared morality through evolution (at least I believe so). Perhaps, morality really is relative, but society can’t operate under such an open system.

                ROBC didn’t

                1. “My point is that you aren’t powerless….the murderer had no real choice.”

                  Ummm….

                  1. “My point is that you aren’t powerless….the murderer had no real choice.”

                    Yeah, wondering about that too.

                    Why bother with rehabilitation if the action was pre-destined?

                    1. Killing someone for something they ultimately had no control over makes little sense.

                      Rehabilitation would give him/her an opportunity to reenter society and contribute.

                      We should try to deter murder even if murders may be out of the control of perpetrators.

                    2. Killing someone for something they ultimately had no control over makes little sense.

                      Rehabilitation would give him/her an opportunity to reenter society and contribute.

                      That’s utter gibberish. Either you control your own actions or you don’t. If you don’t, then no amount of rehabilitation will matter. You can’t rehabilitate fate.

                    3. Why not? Therapy, for example, could end up changing the person. It would act as a new input in the causal chain.

                      I want to make clear you see the distinction between fatalism and determinism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F…..estination

                    4. Why not? Therapy, for example, could end up changing the person. It would act as a new input in the causal chain.

                      Why isn’t execution a new input in the causal chain also? You can’t argue that it is immoral, since determinism destroys any semblence of morality. If one can’t choose between good and bad, then the act merely is. We don’t claim that a lion is acting immorally if it kills some of the pride’s young.

                    5. What would the justification be for putting someone to death for an act they ultimately had no control over?

                      It would surely have to be a consequentialist one would it not?

                      Execution would end that person’s life, so I would say it’s of a different nature than rehabilitation or some form of incarceration.

                    6. What justification is necessary? By what standard should the behavior be judged? There is no morality. We have no choice over who is the judge, jury, executioner, victim or assailant. At least from your world view.

                    7. And why would there be no morality? For example, would you want to suddenly start maximizing suffering if determinism was true (what the vast majority of people would now consider bad)?

                      If you believe morality is something that eveolutionarily developed as I do then it is in certain respects built-in. It can’t just be destroyed by the acceptance of dterminism.

                    8. Why can’t we still value human life if determinism is true?

                      Why wouldn’t we want to deter murder?

                    9. Why can’t we still value human life if determinism is true?

                      We demonstrate the value of human life by the proportionate punishment of those who violate the lives of others. By your example, you have destroyed the concept of human value. Murder is reduced to the level of a petty crime and the victim is relegated to obscurity, as all focus is placed on the rehabilitation of the murderer, so that he/she can go on living. The act of murder is no longer an outrage, the fact that the murderer is not being “rehabilitated” is. I can think of no greater moral confusion.

                    10. Who said we would forget about the victim? Murder would still be a tragedy.

                      The murderer would likely be separated from the rest of the population for a while due to safety issues and would very likely face incarcertaion time in order to act as a deterrent. It’s just we would be focused on rehabilitation rather than retribution.

                      I think unwarranted retribution also degrades the value of human life.

                  2. I was trying to make the distinction between fatalism and determinism.

                    1. How are you defining determinism?

                      To me, “determinism” means that all actions are mechanistically pre-determined and we’re just acting out a sequence of predetermined and inevitable events, like a global-scale trick billiards shot. And that our consciousness is only apparent – we experience the illusion of the process of making a choice as part of this mechanistic series of events, but we don’t actually make a choice and instead simply play out our predetermined role.

                      There’s no way to square that with the statement “murder is wrong”.

                2. The proper response

                  The response is deterministic. It will be to fry him, jail him, free him, or rehabilitate him and we have no control over which we choose to do.

                  Determinists never truly believe in determinism. There are always places where free will slips in, where we can make “proper” responses.

                  1. That Wikipedia article is a good idea of the sad silliness at play here.

                    As far as I can see, fatalism merely consists of listening to the arguments of determinists and believing them. So you apparently want to argue that there is no free will because we are all passive objects trapped by causality – but that it’s for some reason very important for us not to believe you when you tell us that we’re all passive objects trapped by causality.

                    1. Sorry, a good example.

                    2. Why not? Therapy, for example, could end up changing the person. It would act as a new input in the causal chain.

                      Maybe, but trying to convince us to do that is pointless. We’re either going to offer him therapy or we aren’t. We don’t have a choice regarding whether we do it. It’s already causally determined.

                      In fact, we aren’t actually having a conversation right now, in the sense that you’re trying to convince me and I’m deciding whether I’m convinced. We’re just typing words we were causally predestined to type and the entire pretense that we’re conversing is a sad joke.

                    3. I agree with all of Fluffy’s posts above, and in case you were wondering Fedup22, Fluffy and I are diametrically opposed on religious beliefs.

                      So much so, in fact, he can predict my taste in his writings.

                    4. **cant** predict.

                      My typing sucks.

                    5. So what?

                      How we act affects the future. If I was a fatalist I would believe no matter what I do, the same things will happen to me.

                      A determinist understands that while we may be the prodcut of cause and effect that our actions stills have effects.

                    6. Sorry, that is absolutely moronic.

                      And circular, in the way that all discussions of the application of determinism to morality are.

                      You are urging me to introspection, in the hope that I will make a different choice, because my actions have effects. But this is idiotic, because if determinism is true there is no such thing as introspection, I can’t make any choices, and there is no such thing as a normative discussion.

                      You are radically underestimating the degree to which our actions are “determined” under true determinism.

                      You appear to be using a definition where genetics and environment place bounds on a person’s capacities and make it difficult for them to, say, refrain from murder. But that’s not really true determinism. Under true determinism, we are all absolute automatons and consciousness is an illusion and a lie. Your brain cells may pass through states that appear to be deliberative, but it’s just playing on a tape – it was written already at the time of the Big Bang, and you cannot alter it one iota by any effort of will – because there is no will.

                      “Maybe we should give murderers therapy instead of executing them” – This is a meaningless argument because of the word “should”. There is no “should” under determinism.

                    7. You are technically correct, but please tell me what would be wrong if I was the one to convince you that determinism should be applied to morality in such a way? It may have been predetermined, but so what? If I hadn’t tried you never probably would have under this scenario.

                      People can still change under determinism, so if you were to embrace determinism something would have had to have caused it. Maybe, it would be me or something else. It wouldn’t just come from nowhere and that is why trying to persuade you could be successful.

                      You and I don’t know the future, so just because my actions may be determined it does not mean they can’t be successful in achieving the goal that I wish (and yes I realize I had no control over my desires/wishes).

                      Consciousness may in fact be an illusion, although it hard to define in the first place. Some scientists have begun to question whetehr there actually is a true self and I find their arguments intriguing. The Ego Tunnel is a great book you should check out if you want to learn more.

                      If people accepted determinism do you really believe there would be rampant murder or do you believe humans have not developed some kind of shared morality?

                      If someone commits a murder he is not ultimately responsible for and people knews this by what reasoning or logic would they put him to death for. They may do it, but that does not explain why or what they were thinking.

                      Also, if determinism is false then it’s not clear at all the resulting indeterminism would actually be able to provide us with free will.

                3. Even in a deterministic universe you can still believe murder is wrong. It’s just that you’d understand that the murderer had no real choice. The proper response would be to try and rehabilitate the murderer if possible as it wasn’t ultimately his fault.

                  But if the universe were truly deterministic, your response to the murderer and his response to your efforts are also predestined, so you only have the illusion that your attempts at rehabilitation can make any difference.

                  1. Except what you do does matter even if it is determined. That’s the nature of cause and effect. Different causes will create different effects.

                    Thus my attempts at rehabilitation determined as they may be could still very well make a difference.

        2. No, your views can change.

          Sure, but not by any voluntary control.

  22. Yes, yes, yes. This sums up exactly what I’ve been saying: if libertarians don’t make the compelling case that libertarianism reduces poverty better than welfarism, we will never build a big enough coalition to support libertarianism. Poverty is the easiest tool for statists to exploit to increase their own power. That’s partially why statists love policies that cause poverty, especially when they can claim at face value their policies reduce it.

    By continuing to associate with poverty nihilists on the aristocratic Right, libertarians shoot themselves in the foot and allow themselves to be coopted by corporatists who have little intention of returning to free markets where business owners are fully responsible for their actions and the economically elite will continue to use the political elite to maintain market share.

    Laissez-faire with basic natural rights enforcement stimulates small business competition, makes big business internalize their costs and losses instead of socializing them, ends currency inflation (a disproportionate tax on the poor) and allows everyone to make better decisions when their careers are not subject to political whim and government market distortions. Government regulation disproportionately results in punishing or passing costs onto the poor. Moreover, it only treats the effects of state incorporation instead of the causes, enabling corporate crimes where the individuals that commit them aren’t fully liable and can keep profits.

    1. Pulling out the government safety net also promotes self reliance. Cutting taxes leaves people with more of their own money, so they can save more easily.

  23. Capitalism self-evidently does not help the poor. It’s right there in its name. And most of you don’t care about the poor; even this article suggests using the poor merely as a rhetorical tactic. The basic morality of libertarianism is that you’re poor because you chose to be because you are a bad person. The only evidence you have of capitalism’s benefit to the poor is (often revisionist) historical correlation.

    Capitalism rewards wealth and punishes poverty as it concentrates wealth over time. There is not even a theoretical mechanism by which it can do anything else.

    1. “And most of you don’t care about the poor; even this article suggests using the poor merely as a rhetorical tactic”

      I care about progress for the poor. That’s why I don’t support policies where the ends create more poverty. A pure meritocracy rewards poor people who work hard and hurts rich people who don’t.

      Contrast this to yourself, who advocates policies that make you look like you care so deeply about the poor but then in reality place the costs disproportionately on poor people and small businesses, entrench corporate interests in Washington to influence politicians that control their markets and subsidize them, restrict poor people from jobs in the name of “public safety” and “fairness” and steal their property in the name of development and tax revenue, and end up encouraging conglomeration and too big to fail by forcing smaller competitors who can’t replicate the accounting and legal infrastructure of their larger competitors.

      I hope you feel great about yourself, though. At least your intentions were pure.

      1. Yes, Tony. Continue to ignore my post instead of answering it. You always do that. Do you not have any answers?

        1. I just don’t accept your accusations. How do I support entrenching corporate interests in DC? It’s true that larger firms will be able to get around the intentions of the rules easier, but I fail to see how simply ridding ourselves of the rule will make a better situation.

          Yes, I believe that if you can’t make a profit without poisoning people, you don’t deserve to make a profit. Call that a barrier to entry into the marketplace if you like, but protecting people’s safety is the job of government, NOT protecting private businesses’ right to as much profit as they want.

          Government is simply the more democratic avenue for people to secure their interests. Even as corrupt as ours is, it is still accountable to voters as equal individuals, moreso than any private firm. In the market it is one dollar, not one person, that equals a vote. That’s fine as far as it goes, but that’s no way to make public policy in which everyone, rich and poor, has a stake.

          All I am asking for is a government-supplied social safety net to manage the extremes of capitalism. Nothing about capitalism is hindered by public investment in a safety net. It simply limits the extremes to which people can fall if they succumb to risk. True, this means limiting the extreme on the other end. But anyone subject to the actual risks of capitalism should want to forego making $10 million a year in favor of $9 million if it means that no matter how bad your luck you won’t starve to death. If, however, there is practically no risk whatsoever that you’ll ever fall to that line because your wealth is coddled and protected and bailed out, you are not so incentivized.

          1. And of course, by limiting extreme risk in capitalism, you help capitalism. People are more productive when they’re not starving.

          2. “How do I support entrenching corporate interests in DC?”

            If you support giving the government arbitrary control over every industry, you will inherently entrench corporations lobbying to get the arbitrary control they’d prefer. Surprised when the most economically powerful get political priority?

            “Yes, I believe that if you can’t make a profit without poisoning people, you don’t deserve to make a profit.”

            Everyone here would agree that the rights of the poisoned to fully recoup damages takes precedence over the non-right of the poisoner to commit that poison for profit. If owners were fully liable for their actions, most would not commit them in the first place and such an action would be fully illegal in any libertarian society.

            “Government is simply the more democratic avenue for people to secure their interests.”

            Yet Wall Street, a reflection of both “democratic” government market distortions and the democracy of the market itself, is the root of all problems?

            “Even as corrupt as ours is, it is still accountable to voters as equal individuals, moreso than any private firm.”

            Actors in the government are less liable for their actions than private actors because of sovereign immunity. I advocate for less personal immunity for private actors violating rights in the name of corporations as well.

            “That’s fine as far as it goes, but that’s no way to make public policy in which everyone, rich and poor, has a stake.”

            You’re the one calling for an arbitrary system of control that will inherently favor the wealthy because of the nature of political interference with the economy. We are calling for equal natural rights enforcement for everyone, no more, no less. Thus the market does not “govern” the law, because the law is no longer arbitrary or distortionary.

            “All I am asking for is a government-supplied social safety net to manage the extremes of capitalism. Nothing about capitalism is hindered by public investment in a safety net.”

            I agree with a basic safety net for the truly mentally and physically handicapped who are unable to work. Beyond that, the “extremes” of a laissez-faire market would be the result of people making really good or really bad decisions.

            “It simply limits the extremes to which people can fall if they succumb to risk.”

            So do you support allowing corporations to poison customers or not? There should be no “bottom” limits to risk if your risky actions damaged someone else. There should be no “bottom” if you mismanaged your business so badly that you are so far in debt you have to screw over your creditors.

            “But anyone subject to the actual risks of capitalism should want to forego making $10 million a year in favor of $9 million if it means that no matter how bad your luck you won’t starve to death.”

            Yeah, it’s called “buy insurance.”

            “If, however, there is practically no risk whatsoever that you’ll ever fall to that line because your wealth is coddled and protected and bailed out, you are not so incentivized.”

            None of us here advocate bailouts, although we do believe that profits earned without damaging the rights of others are yours to keep and no one else’s.

            When will you stop being so disingenous? You’ve been around here long enough to know our arguments, but you seem willfully ignorant about what we actually believe.

    2. I don’t think capitalism rewards wealth. Certainly some families stay wealthy over time, but many do not. If wealth per se was rewarded and concentrated over time, then no rich family would ever go into decline, and the manifestly is not so.

      1. If capitalism worked as claimed, that is, it rewards risk-taking over time, then yes wealthy families would be at risk for decline all the time. But having wealth is a great bullwork against risk by itself, especially if you have enough to ensure a good lifestyle in perpetuity while investing the rest.

        Arguments for a welfare state aren’t just about protecting the poor from starvation, it’s about protecting the rich if they happen to have a run of bad luck. Anyone, no matter how much you have, in a risky capitalistic society, should have an interest in a safety net. It impedes nothing, it merely limits the depths to how far a person can fall.

        1. It can hardly be a bullwark against risk when you imply that, in order to have wealth over a long period of time, it must be invested.

          Investment is properly understood to be risk ‘personified’ (so to speak) through monetary returns. The only way for the rich to live risk free is to NOT invest any of their wealth, which will erode the wealth over time anyway as they continue to, you know, live.

          Your ideas are so flawed that it’s shameful you’ve made enough money to afford a computer and internet access. In a perfect free market, where you were free to put your ideas into practice and suffer the results, you’d be completely destitute (and living off the kindness of the locals running the soup kitchen)

          1. Surely you’re not suggesting that a poor person and a rich person each enjoy the same amount of risk in society. The only way to make the level of risk more equal is to make the distribution of wealth more equal, to make no bones about it. Wealth inequality in this country is so extreme (more extreme than prior to the great depression) that if you’re at the top, you have enough wealth for 100 lifetimes; there is absolutely no risk beyond the usual getting hit by a bus.

        2. If capitalism worked as claimed, that is, it rewards risk-taking over time, then yes wealthy families would be at risk for decline all the time.

          They are. What you are arguing is the false notion that because there is not a 50/50 ratio of successes and failures, then it isn’t happening. Your argument ignores the reality that obtaining wealth, by in large, requires the accumulation of knowledge and skills that generates wealth. This knowledge and skills DOES guard them from many risks that encourage poverty.

          But having wealth is a great bullwork against risk by itself, especially if you have enough to ensure a good lifestyle in perpetuity while investing the rest.

          Yeah, that is just logical.

    3. My compassion for the poor is inversely proportional to the size and extent of the welfare state.

      1. Awesome.

    4. The basic morality of libertarianism is that you’re poor because you chose to be because you are a bad person.

      Why the fuck do you keep coming here if you are completely unwilling to argue in good faith about what most people here believe? Fuck you.

      1. A variant on this claim is that the poor are victims of government. And that’s why we should cut them off and leave them to fend for themselves. Am I missing something?

        1. Yes. Some fucking connection between the first sentence and the second.

    5. Capitalism self-evidently does not help the poor.

      I mean seriously, what the fuck are you thinking? This is the most absurd claim I have seen all day. Capitalism has done more to help the poor of the world than all the private charity and government welfare programs in the history of humanity have ever done.

      1. Ah, the “let them eat iphones” defense.

        1. You’re joking, right?

        2. No, it is the “a job is better than a gift” defense. Obviously, since you are not human, you can’t understand that turning people into dependents is evil.

          1. I don’t want people to be dependents, that’s why I support a social safety net. There is nothing magical or pure about starvation being the minimum level of existence allowed. If we can afford to make the minimum less extreme, we should, because it’s in everyone’s interest.

            1. Guys, I’m gonna be honest. I wear a bib so my drool won’t stain my Che tshirt. I am completely incapable of rational thought, and am what some people call “mentally retarded”.

            2. Shorter Tony:
              “I only want people dependent on a social safety net”

    6. One might point out that the moniker “capitalism” was popularized by the enemies of free market economics, not its supporters. One might suspect that there was a MiniTru type motivation behind the word “capitalism”.

    7. “It’s right there in its name.”

      WTF?

    8. Damn, Tony, you are a hell of a mind reader. In fact, I am certain many people in here do care about the poor. There is an entrenched underclass which is the direct product of so called progressive policies. I have no doubt whatsoever that in a genuine free market economy the vast disparity in wealth we see now would not be nearly so massive and there would be vastly fewer people living from hand to mouth and dependent on government redistribution in order to survive. If I didn’t believe absolutely that a libertarian society would be vastly more humane than any utopian socialist fantasy ever would, let alone vastly more humane than our current grotesquely distorted system of corporatism I would not advocate it. Honestly, I think you are wedded to an ideology and care not a bit for the actual truth of things. I think this make you culpable in the fundamental unfairness of the current system in which those in proximity to political power are able to feather their own beds and the beds of their friends and which is characterized fundamentally by rent seeking.

    9. Capitalism self-evidently does not help the poor.

      Only if you ignore the past few hundred years of human progress, where capitalism and freedom and industrialization and the division of labor have made the lives of the poor (and everyone else) far, far better than they were a few centuries ago.

      And then ignore the failures of the War on Poverty, which instead has led to the breakdown of families and the perpetuation of poverty.

  24. I took exactly one philosophy course when I was in college, 20-21 years ago.

    And, yet, I am apparently better at it than some who are professionals.

    1. I was a philosophy major and it worked out great for me. You just have to do it right. And stay well away form anything written in the later half of the 20th century (unless it is about logic or math).

      1. Im not knocking it, but damn, determinists are stupid. And they predated mid-20th century.

        1. I certainly didn’t want to imply that everything earlier is good.

  25. A sampling from the current page of Bleeding Heart Libertarians (which should come to some terms with Bernard Henri-Levi regarding ownership of the acronym)…

    * Assume there is a moral principle indicating that states (or citizens therein) that have adequate (or better) resources have an obligation to aid those in states that have inadequate resources. Such a principle has been defended, of course (see, for example, Charles Beitz’ 1979, esp. 136-143).

    * In the last Republican debate (transcript here), Ron Paul went through the three stages in depressingly predictable order.

    * A great discussion between Jason Brennan and Kevin Vallier on the proper role of religious reasoning in public political discourse on Philosophy TV.

    * The Ethics of Voting on New Books in Philosophy

    * The argument, made by both Robert Nozick and Friedrich Hayek, purports to show not merely that the idea of distributive justice advocated by left-liberals like John Rawls is immoral, but that it is conceptually confused.

    * Here’s a recent podcast (from the Institute of Humane Studies’ Kosmos project) of me talking about markets in kidneys and children.

    * Jason Sorens continues his critical discussion of Kevin Carson’s Studies in Mutualist Political Economy over at Pileus Blog. Make sure to catch the first and second installments too.

    Heady stuff, no doubt.

    If you’re really trying to “convince people” though, I’ve found that accurate reporting on police brutality, the destruction of Americans’ wealth, and local apparatchiks using redevelopment agencies or unreadable zoning codes to destroy people’s homes speaks more to my gut. Traffic numbers suggest they speak to the guts of others as well.

    1. Hey Tim, a question I’ve always wondered. Many Reason writers and readers agree that the state should not be involved in private marriage contracts, yet they still seem to support state incorporation contracts.

      Why should the state be involved in private business contracts and artificially designate a line between the owner’s personal and business property? If no such line was there, business owners would have a more compelling reason not to violate the property rights of others or commit fraud. I’ve always argued that state incorporation is the biggest market distortion of all, and Adam Smith seemed to agree with this. In a free market, would not every business be a proprietorship or a partnership? These entities could sell “stock” to non-managing owners and buy insurance to protect their liability, but then the insurance would function as the regulator and the stockholders would have incentive to avoid liability.

      Would not consistent laissez-faire libertarians be entirely anti-corporate?

      1. Yes (not answering for Tim).

        However, I think ending incorporation is about #5,372,846 on my list of things to change, either just before or just after ending copyrights and patents.

        1. I think the question is that if state incorporation IS the biggest government market distortion as I claim, and artificial limits on liability results in both increased violations of rights/fraud as well as increased arguments for government regulation to combat these violations of rights/fraud, why would it be the lowest priority? Why deprioritize fighting socialization of risk while prioritizing fighting socialization of profit?

          1. I dont think its THE biggest government market distortion.

            I think its a minor one.

            I think you can fight against regulation/subsidization/etceteraization while allowing incorporation.

            1. So you support the government handouts known as incorporation, property entitlements, and police protection of that property, but very little else. What is the pattern here?

              1. I believe that each person individually possesses the right to employ violence to defend their persons and their property, and that property rights precede the existence of government.

                I think that the government taking over the police function is a practical response to the problems of anarchistic enforcement of these pre-existing rights. But I don’t consider them a handout. If the government stops defending my person and my property, then they just lose the right to complain if I start doing that myself. But I don’t think they’d like the results. (Maybe not from me, personally, but from the problem that would arise as people did that in the aggregate.)

                1. a practical response

                  Careful, that slope is slippery.

                  The type of government that only protects property finds itself in the position of being the defender of the haves against the have-nots, who might see it reasonable to wonder just why they should have to pay for the security of other people’s stuff.

                  1. This is crap, unless you are claiming the have-nots should otherwise be entitled to steal or destroy the legitimate property of the haves. In such cases, the law SHOULD be on the side of the haves.

                    Reciprocally, if the haves steal or destroy the property of the have-nots, the law should be just as equally on the side of the have-nots.

                  2. The have-nots don’t pay for security of shit, dumbass. They don’t have anything to pay with. It’s kinda part of the definition, dumbfuck.

      2. No, for more reasons than I have time to go into today. There’s some fairly solid practical and ethical reasons to not hold owners accountable for the sins of the managers. There’s also some valid reasons why the corporate form came into being. All of those reasons haven’t changed. One could, and I have, argue that the earliest versions of corporate law were nothing more than a recognition of current practice.

        1. Owners are 100% accountable for financial repercussions of sins of the manager. Now or in a non-corporate situation.

          The only issue would be criminal acts committed by a manager. And any criminal acts are the responsibility of whoever committed them. Many things that are criminal now due to corporate regulations would stop being criminal anyway.

          1. No they aren’t. If a manager of my chemical plant decides to cut costs by sticking the waste disposal faucet into the community water supply, and causes millions and millions in damages, I, the owner, am only liable for the amount of stock I own. So my company declares bankruptcy, I walk away with the loss of capital holdings but keep everything else not allocated to the business. Any losses beyond the value of the company end up being socialized and the burden of cleanup is laid upon those whose property and/or health was damaged (or the government/taxpayers). If my mansion and Maserati was on the line, and my manager has full criminal and civil liability for his actions, the action most likely would not have happened in the first place, and I would have taken additional safety precautions to avoid such violations of rights.

            1. True enough, but I think the manager would have full criminal and civil liabilities for his action.

              It wouldnt be your mansion and Maserati on the line UNLESS you told him to do it.

              And under the current system, that veil would be pierced anyway.

              1. I still think the owners should take full liability before the victims or the taxpayers. Whether the owner knew or not, the manager was acting as their agent. Being fully liable forces everyone to think about long-term interests before short-term profits in cases where the two are mutually exclusive.

            2. As has been mentioned plenty of times, without incorporation, there are still ways to protection against personal liability. You even mentioned one, insurance.

              Another would be to form the company without owners, but organize as debt holders with variable repayment. Or some such. As T said, incorporation acknowledged current practice.

              1. It’s not just the owners’ liability that is protected. The managers and workers are also protect by the state-provided corporate shield.

                Insurance forces businesses to internalize damages and risky practices and decrease them in order to maximize profits. Like car insurance rewarding better drivers and punishing bad drivers, this is healthy, vs. incorporation which externalizes damages in excess of corporate value and encourages owners, managers and workers to cut corners with other peoples’ rights for collective profits.

            3. Would you also make anyone who lends money to the chemical plant liable?

              How about anyone who by contract has an option to buy a share in the chemical plant at a date of their choosing, but doesn’t actually own a share at the moment the accident happens?

              ‘Cause I gotta tell you, if your answer to these is No, I can recreate limited liability ownership in pretty short order.

              There are a couple of millennia of business history out there chock full of schemes you can employ to provide the benefit of limited liability. Because limited liability is so obviously attractive. Providing a straightforward method for incorporation doesn’t really add anything new or particularly pernicious to the concept of ownership – it just takes something that used to be furtive and makes it slightly more above-board and transparent.

              1. Damn it, I’ve answered this twice and squirrels keep swallowing my response.

                No, asset and service providers are not owners, as long as repayment is tied to pre-negotiated rates for those specific assets or services, and not to a percentage of business profits. A bond holder or insurer would not be an owner either for that reason. A court adjudicating a dispute could decide that any contract tying repayment for assets or services to business profits is no different from technical ownership, however.

                Beyond that, I’d be interested to know how a business could be structured like a corporation in a free market without the aforementioned insurance liability protection for owners and actors (that actually places burden of liability with the owners), or without having an unclaimed non-owned business to which lenders have no contractual control beyond repayment for assets or services provided at pre-negotiated rates.

                1. It’s pretty straightforward:

                  1. Judgment-proof straw buyer starts business with $1.

                  2. I lend business all of its operating capital as a line of credit. A condition on the loan is that no profits can be distributed to the straw buyer while the loan balance is outstanding, and the loan is not subject to prepayment.

                  3. I write an open-ended option to buy the business later for $1.

                  4. A manager is hired for a fixed salary. The manager, like the straw buyer, is prevented in his contract from distributing any profits beyond his salary.

                  5. I let the business run happily. All profits accumulate in the business accounts. When I want them, I execute my option and dissolve the enterprise, rolling its assets over into a new entity that starts over with #1 again.

                  I would have limited liability for the entire time the business is operating. My only point of risk is #5. If I undertake #5 and the business has substantial liabilities that aren’t apparent to me at the time, that could potentially fuck me if I don’t wind the affairs of the business down quickly enough. But I could just do due diligence between steps 4 and 5 and only pull the trigger if I have reasonable certainty I’m safe. In the meantime I can just enjoy interest payments and annual fees based on the line of credit.

                  1. adjust #3 and #5 and you can have a publicly traded corporation.

                    Sell open options to purchase a fixed number of shares and these can later be executed and the company immediately buys them back.

                    You dont have to create a new entity, you are just pulling out a portion of equity whenever the owner of an option needs it.

                  2. In this case, if the straw buyer is not considered the legal business owner, anyone outside the contractually-bound straw buyer could execute a claim on the business accounts and assets, as they are legally unclaimed property to which no one holds the rights. You could certainly technically execute the option seconds after they lay claim to the property, but nothing would stop them legally from coming in and liquidating everything first without notifying you, then paying back your loans and keeping all net profits, as neither you nor anyone else held any ownership claim to that property. I thus think claiming non-ownership would be a risk business option holders would prefer to avoid.

                    Insurance is simply the only practical way to limit liability in a free market. It’s how proprietorships and non-LL partnerships do it today. And it puts the cost of risks on the business and their voluntary insurers instead of involuntary future victims and taxpayers, while removing negative incentives to violate rights. Of course, this is assuming a society could exist without arbitrary regulation, frivolous lawsuits, etc.

                    1. Your first paragraph is entirely wrong.

                      1. The straw buyer is the owner, his shares just dont allow him claims on the profits.

                      2. Non-profits and other orgs arent owned, but can still own property.

                      3. The debtors would have rights on the property but since they are the same as the options owners, its a moot point.

                      4. How is your insurance company organized without incorporation? Yeah, I thought so.

                    2. If the straw buyer is the owner, he assumes full liability until you lay claim to it. Why would someone assume full liability for no claim or profit from business property, especially when that property/ownership can be seized at the option holder’s whim?

                      Non-profits are limited liability corporations with special tax privileges. They wouldn’t exist as distinct entities in a free market either, especially since no business would be taxed on profits.

                      If the debtor denies ownership, and thus liability, he can not claim retroactively to have owned the property thus exclude another from claiming it first. He can only claim repayment via contract fulfillment for the assets or services provided.

                      The fourth point is the sticking point in my philosophy that I’m honestly still fleshing out. But essentially, if there is market demand for limited liability, the market will find people and companies (that don’t need to be corporation) who are willing to fully risk liability for the profits of levying insurance rates on the businesses. These companies and individuals could also find other companies and individuals willing to limit the top level insurer’s liability, for lower risk and return. Note that I’m referring to payment for claims that exceed the value of desired insured assets for the business owners. I doubt any business would logically insure every penny worth of assets from liability, but would have good reason to insure the personal assets of their owners and actors. Insurance would not even pay out until they reach the liability threshold that the business set, and the insurer has plenty of incentive to ensure that the business will not reach that threshold or set higher insurance rates if that probability goes up.

                    3. If the straw buyer is the owner, he assumes full liability until you lay claim to it. Why would someone assume full liability for no claim or profit from business property, especially when that property/ownership can be seized at the option holder’s whim?

                      No ones liability exceeds their net worth. The straw owner is someone judgement proof. Unless you are eliminating bankruptcy and bringing back debtors prisons, there will always be someone judgement proof who is willing to take on zero risk for a litte bit of cash.

                  3. Not sure the purpose of #1. Since we are doing away with incorporation, there is no need to have a technical owner at all. Just form the company without an owner.

                    Form it as a non-profit, not in the tax avoidance since, but in the there are no (current) owners to distribute profit to since.

                    1. If no one owns the assets, how can they prevent another from claiming control of the assets minus the contractual repayment of loans, bonds, etc.? If the “lenders” assert that they can exclude this from happening, are they not admitting to being the owners and thus assuming liability for actions?

                      Point being, in a free market there would be no “separate business entity” from the individual owners, from a legal standpoint. There is merely claimed and unclaimed property, and only claimed property can be defended in a court of law by its owners. If liability can not be attached to the owners of property, we essentially shift full cost of damages on to someone else, usually the victims.

                    2. Can I claim the Sierra Club’s assets? No one owns them.

                    3. The “corporate entity” of Sierra Club owns them. If the court does not recognize the existence of a distinct entity from the owners themselves and hold that claims to shares of business property and profits equals business ownership however the “owners” decide to contractually obscure or allocate liability internally, they can still determine indirect liability for the actions of agents of those individuals. Thus if you are going to be held in court as the owner anyway, you would still logically purchase insurance to protect your personal property from the actions of your business agents – and you would insert plenty of safeguards to CYA and avoid liability in the first place.

  26. If social justice is libertarianism’s justification, it will fail miserably in politics. The effectiveness of a given system means nothing in the face of altruistic philosophy.
    Libertarianism MAY succeed with social justice as its sole justification, but not without a major philosophical-cultural shift away from the collectivism of the left, and the altruism of both the left and the christian right.

    1. So it will fail or won’t it? We “bleeding heart libertarians” believe such a cultural shift is possible via out-arguing the altruistic statists. If utilitarian/progressive arguments for libertarianism are needed to reinforce the moral arguments to reach a large enough audience to implement libertarianism, so be it. That’s the language the Left speaks, yet their own policies are indefensible on those grounds – and libertarianism is far moreso.

      1. libertarianism is far moreso effective/defensible from this perspective.

  27. If social justice were just, they’d just call it justice.

    There is injustice against the poor. Government asserts various ownership claims to the earth on the possessors versus the dispossessed, and the dispossessed receive no compensation. Similarly, all sorts of regulations limit the freedom of the poor to purchase what they could afford, when it doesn’t meet the standards of the relatively wealthy.

    For these impositions by the possessors and the regulators, the poor should receive compensation. This is justice, not the bogus social justice.

    Thomas Paine libertarianism. He recognized the imposition the landed made on those without land, and suggested compensation.

  28. When so-called Social Justice rationalizes coercion to take something from someone to give to another, then it ain’t justice and it ain’t social beyond being Socialist.

    If social justice is merely a fancy way of saying that we should praise voluntary acts of charity, then …. why use the pompous term?

    Fitting in maybe? Camouflage? Or maybe the chicks like it.

    1. All social justice means is that we apply the principles behind normal justice (which does entail government coercion to take something from someone to give to another–taxes to pay for police and courts) to reality instead of just theory. You may have a right to legal defense (a government handout, of you will), but if you’re poor, you’re less likely to have an adequate one. Social justice takes into account the inherent disparities in actual justice that exist because people have different amounts of resources at their disposal.

      1. In general social justice simply means that the state or some group of men who want to be in possession of the state have aims they wish to achieve that they can’t achieve without committing obvious injustices against one or more individuals.

        They try to cover for those injustices by claiming to be serving a higher, “social” justice.

        This is useful because it doesn’t require you to go to the trouble of getting rid of existing concepts of justice. You can leave them in place. You’re just exempting yourself from them for the duration of your pursuit of a particular policy.

        For example, we have a justice system that considers it an injustice if you break into someone else’s property and help yourself to its contents. It is generally considered “justice” when burglars are preventing from burgling. But if the members of a union want to engage in a “sit-down” strike, where they seize and occupy the premises of their employer, an advocate of “social” justice might support them in this – because even if they would otherwise consider acts of burglary unjust, they believe that it’s OK to submit this particular property owner to that injustice, because the workers need the advantage of being able to seize property in order for the “right” or “socially just” outcome in their labor deliberations to be achieved.

        1. I fail to see why you can’t just sue burglars after the fact. Instead you want a fully funded security and justice apparatus to protect your interests, paid for mostly by other people.

          But if people have to resort to sit-ins to get political traction (because they can’t afford to buy it), that’s a violation of some ethic?

          1. Sure.

            Maybe if the people doing the sit-in don’t believe in property at all, I can see them disputing that they’re violating some ethic.

            But the overwhelming majority of them would believe in property for themselves.

            If I left the location of a sit-down strike, went to some striker’s home, kicked in the door and went inside and took a shit on his couch, he would be annoyed and would consider himself the victim of an injustice.

            That’s why the two terms are needed, for the people who use the “social justice” term. Because they want plain old vanilla justice there, so they can rely on it when they complain about things like me taking a shit on their couch. They want that justice to remain, but to be augmented by a second concept of justice – the “social” type – that allows them to violate the property of others when they think they have a good reason.

            1. See, this is one of many examples that should show you that property rights may not be the only rights that matter, or even the most important. The central libertarian fallacy in my book is picking property rights as the one right that trumps all others. As if designating your place of business one that caters to the public shouldn’t entail certain rights for that public when they enter.

              What good are these rights to people who own nothing? Why don’t they deserve any economic rights? You want everyone to pay for your property entitlements but you don’t want to contribute to any other function of society? What makes you, a property owner, so special? You want your property protected but someone else doesn’t even have the right to have her health protected?

              1. “The central libertarian fallacy in my book is picking property rights as the one right that trumps all others.”

                Well, as a shithead ignoramus, that’s not surprising.

          2. BTW –

            If you don’t like the fully funded security and justice apparatus, I can always just fucking kill the sit-down strikers myself, ending their lives in a hail of gunfire and swinging billy clubs.

            You appear to think that ending the war of all against all only benefits property owners, and that’s just silly.

            That fully funded security and justice apparatus is the only reason that weak aren’t chattel slaves and concubines. Or dead.

            We might not have the same set of rich people if that security and justice apparatus went away – but we’d still have rich people. And those rich people would simply kill the poor whenever they wanted, if they weren’t worth owning or raping. The poor have benefited from the existence of the bourgeois state more than anyone else.

            1. No doubt anarchy would punish everyone. But some have more to lose. Return to a state of nature and the rich guy’s privilege extends only as high as his gate. The status quo is always in the interest of those who most benefit from the status quo.

              1. You choose violence.

                You are a power worshipping apologist for the thug-state.

                You are reasonable.

            2. Which is to say this: social justice is a natural evolution of increasing individual liberty that has been the project of modern civilization. Locke’s conception of rights as passed through Jefferson was about not a specific right to property, but a right to selfhood that entails the right to own and trade. Property entitlement is just one of those ‘government handouts’ that exists to secure the underlying individual right to selfhood.

              But there’s no reason to be so conservative to think the project ended there. Social justice is about actualizing the same goals expressed as property rights. It’s to say maybe there are more ‘government handouts’ other than protecting property and preventing violence that work to secure individual freedom.

              What there has never been, ever, is the right not to be taxed/to freeload on society.

              1. Tony|10.5.11 @ 10:21PM|#
                “Which is to say this: social justice is a natural evolution of increasing individual liberty..”

                Shithead offers lies minus evidence, pretty much like shithead always does.
                Right, shithead?

  29. I am highly sympathetic to this guy’s views. But then I am a dirty liberaltarian.

  30. More people have been lifted out of poverty in China and India because of free market reforms that dwarfs every single government and pseudo government action in every country of the world. I could be wrong about the exact numbers, but for China it is about 400 million and for India it is about 300 million people who were lifted out of poverty (real poverty like in starvation poverty not the US one). The numbers alone beat all “social justice” arguments spouted by people like Tony. These numbers also demolish the so called 99% who think the masses are behind their cause, for everyone of these spoiled brats, who think having bad student loans, there a many more people who would eagerly take their circumstance and easily make a success out of it.

    1. There is no dispute that capitalism generates wealth. How that wealth is distributed is what determines who is lifted out of what.

      1. Both China and India had regimes that supported redistribution, equality, social justice and all the other stuff you believe. Both countries were in a dire situation, China was pathological under Mao, but India was badly stifled by bureaucracy for decades. China took off as soon as Peng freed the economy, likewise India in the early 1990’s, when free market reforms were started, has never had better economic growth.

        You want to know how wealth was distributed ? People who had absolutely nothing, now have something, they have a future that looks better than ever before.

        1. You just repeated what I said. Capitalism created wealth in those countries. Did they do away with their redistributive programs at the same time? Don’t you think it’s a little… odd to use China as an example of the virtues of free market capitalism?

          1. Tony|10.5.11 @ 7:44PM|#
            “You just repeated what I said. Capitalism created wealth in those countries. Did they do away with their redistributive programs at the same time?”

            Shithead, they did away with the “supposed” redistributive programs; people were allowed to keep some portion of what they produced.

        2. Not that China ever had a robust welfare state. They have begun implementing one only in the last few years.

          1. Tony|10.5.11 @ 7:48PM|#
            “Not that China ever had a robust welfare state. They have begun implementing one only in the last few years.”

            Flat-out lies, shithead.

            1. From your eye-straining method of quoting to your substanceless name calling, I find you as an interlocutor less than useless.

              1. Tony|10.5.11 @ 10:22PM|#
                From your eye-straining method of quoting to your substanceless name calling, I find you as an interlocutor less than useless.”

                So you admit those are lies? Good, shithead.

                1. Like they needed one back when they were a completely totalitarian state.

                  When is North Korea getting its welfare state? What’s the holdup?

      2. And in order to distribute that wealth, taxes must be levied.

        So… how much on the dollar should be paid by those who make over a certain amount of income?

        This ain’t rocket surgery. Answer it.

  31. Imaginary empathy for the “impoverished”, hahaha, I feel so guilty for all the stuff I have!! The very notion actually makes me produce real laughter…

    …to me it’s like feeling sorry for the guy ya don’t even know who could have been fucking the girl who just finished polishing your rod to a high gloss shine. Imagine the happiness and satisfaction that this poor guy could have experienced had he only the opportunity that I did! I feel so bad! I swear I’ll never do it again!

    I shouldn’t laugh, it’s really pathetic that people think and feel this way. It begs the question… Why? What purpose could this kind of empathy really serve evolution?

  32. This is garbage.

    The idea of property right is fundamental to the right of freedom.

    If I own myself and I can make my own decisions, then what I acquire in trade for my services, skills, organs, must be mine. To take that from me is fundamentally wrong.

    Govt muust never be given the power to take from me to give to another. The contract with the govt must be minimal for it has the power of coercion.

    If you wish to provide charity, the govt is the WORST place from which to run it.

    Bigger govt = less liberty.

    1. If you wish to provide charity, the govt is the WORST place from which to run it.

      Bullshit. The government can provide infinite service to an infinite amount of people. Did you not know this?

      1. Indeed – if the govt can print as much money as they want we can all stop working. Keynes proved that an economy has nothing to do with production, only consumption. Production is neither necessary or desired.

  33. Charity should be reserved for those that are incapable of helping themselves.

    To help the poor we should treat them fairly. Offer them a fair wage for what their work is worth. Hold them to their contracts and let them suffer the consequences of their actions.

    Raising children has taught me that “spoiling means ruining”. To give to a functional human without payment or obligation destroys that person.

    Bleeding hearts are usually willing to destroy the object of their charity to make themselves feel good. There is no morality in that.

    Making others participate in your folly by coercion of the govt is doubly immoral.

  34. Raising children has taught me that “spoiling means ruining”. To give to a functional human without payment or obligation destroys that person.

    It’s sad that you have to say that as if it is some kind of new reality.

  35. really, I don’t see any point to any government whatsoever. Not even “keeping contracts” or “police” or “army”. Ayn Rand was wrong. Private citizens drive this world, and there is no reason that humanity needs a government.

  36. This ain’t rocket surgery. Answer it.

  37. Again, look, there is a moral imperative to take care of those in need and those less fortunate, but the government should not be in the business of enforcing moral imperatives. Government should not be in the morals business at all. Morals are a personal/individual issue and while some may share the same moral values, there is no such thing as collective morality.

  38. I can’t believe I gave that school $140,000 and didn’t take one of his classes.

  39. Social justice sounds good and reasonable, right up until you try to define what a reasonable subsidy to the poor, infirmed etc. amounts to. I would argue that with 1/2 of our population not paying any taxes at all, they already have been subidized plenty.

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