Libertarianism

Libertarians Do Too Have Morals: Just Different (Better) Ones From Those of Liberals and Conservatives

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The yin and yang of peace and prosperity

A couple of years back, I wrote up a column, "The Science of Libertarian Morality," based on a preliminary research paper by social psychologists Ravi Iyer, Jesse Graham, Spassena Koleva, Peter Ditto and Jonathan Haidt. That updated study has now been officially published in the journal PLoS One as, "Understanding Libertarian Morality: The Psychological Dispositions of Self-Identified Libertarians."

There is a nice summary of the study's findings over at Haidt's The Righteous Mind web site:

1) On moral values: Libertarians match liberals in placing a relatively low value on the moral foundations of loyalty, authority, and sanctity (e.g., they're not so concerned about sexual issues and flag burning), but they join conservatives in scoring lower than liberals on the care and fairness foundations (where fairness is mostly equality, not proportionality; e.g., they don't want a welfare state and heavy handed measures to enforce equality). This is why libertarians can't be placed on the spectrum from left to right: they have a unique pattern that is in no sense just somewhere in the middle. They really do put liberty above all other values.

2) On reasoning and emotions: Libertarians have the most "masculine" style, liberals the most "feminine." We used Simon Baron-Cohen's measures of "empathizing" (on which women tend to score higher) and "systemizing", which refers to "the drive to analyze the variables in a system, and to derive the underlying rules that govern the behavior of the system." Men tend to score higher on this variable. Libertarians score the lowest of the three groups on empathizing, and highest of the three groups on systemizing. (Note that we did this and all other analyses for males and females separately.) On this and other measures, libertarians consistently come out as the most cerebral, most rational, and least emotional. On a very crude problem solving measure related to IQ, they score the highest. Libertarians, more than liberals or conservatives, have the capacity to reason their way to their ideology.

3) On relationships: Libertarians are the most individualistic; they report the weakest ties to other people. They score lowest of the three groups on many traits related to sociability, including extroversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. They have a morality that matches their sociability – one that emphasizes independence, rather than altruism or patriotism.

The press release for the study also notes:

Convergent with previous research showing the ties between emotion and moral judgment, libertarians displayed a more rational cognitive style, according to a variety of measures.  Asked directly, using a series of standard psychological measures available at YourMorals.org, they reported being less neurotic, less disgusted, and less empathic, compared to liberals and conservatives, while also reporting a greater need for cognition and systematic understanding of the world.  When given moral dilemmas – e.g. being asked whether it is ok to sacrifice five people to save one – they reported fewer qualms than other groups, a pattern of responding that is consistent with a rational/utilitarian style.  Libertarians tended to do better on logic problems that included answers designed to fool more intuitive thinkers.

I concluded my earlier column by observing that I find the research results fairly convincing, but noted that the most important fact about libertarian morality is that …

…It changed history by enabling at least a portion of humanity to escape our natural state of abject poverty. Libertarian morality, by rising above and rejecting primitive moralities embodied in the universalist collectivism of left-liberals and the tribalist collectivism of conservatives, made the rule of law, freedom of speech, religious tolerance, and modern prosperity possible. Liberals and conservatives may love people more than do libertarians, but love of liberty is what leads to true moral and economic progress.

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325 responses to “Libertarians Do Too Have Morals: Just Different (Better) Ones From Those of Liberals and Conservatives

  1. Libertarians score the lowest of the three groups on empathizing

    Libertarians are heartless monsters, and we now have research to back it up.

    1. Damn you! Damn you to hell!

      1. we’re heartless libertarians, so your anguish is meaningless

        1. I care about other people, just not enough to help them.

          1. I care about people, just enough to see their temporary value as slave labor in my diamond mines. I do my best to ensure they are healthy and well-fed until they finally get the blacklung and are of no further utility.

          2. I honestly do care about other people, but the manner in which they are cared for matters to me. I do not believe that forcibly taking money from one group and handing it out to another is a legitimate method of help. Private charity, on the other hand, is of great importance to me. I donate money, time, and effort to many causes. And I CHOOSE to do it.

    2. My libertarian morals are rejuvenated by eating the souls of infant children. Oh, and their bodies too. Thats how you get at the souls. Although some people avoid the crunchy bits by just drilling a hole and sucking out the souly parts, but I think that’s just weird. Its not a goddamn twinkie.

    3. I prefer to think that I have just the right amount of heart. And liberals and conservatives have too much empathy.
      Seems about right to me.

      1. Is it really empathy if you want to solve peoples’ problems using other peoples’ money?

        1. Empathy is worse than useless if it leads people into gestures that actually make people worse off.

    4. Libertarians are heartless monsters, and we now have research to back it up.

      The Science is settled! All libertarians report to the nearest concentration re-education happy fun time camp at once!

  2. firsteenth!

  3. When given moral dilemmas ? e.g. being asked whether it is ok to sacrifice five people to save one

    Do I get to pick which five?

    1. Wait…. is sacrifice all 6 not an option?

      1. As long as they’re sacrificed for profit and not some emotionally derived sky man.

  4. “When given moral dilemmas ? e.g. being asked whether it is ok to sacrifice five people to save one ? they reported fewer qualms than other groups, a pattern of responding that is consistent with a rational/utilitarian style”

    This has not been my experience when dealing with libertarians–they tend to see utilitarian calculus as less valuable than a rights-based calculus.

    To wit:
    https://reason.com/archives/201…..eater-good

    1. Well, I guess if it’s your experience versus a study, I’ll take the study, Tiny Stuff.

    2. It doesn’t say they chose to sacrifice five people to save one, just that they had fewer qualms about choosing. Which makes sense, whether they are utilitarian or not.

    3. You’re too stupid–and short–to have an opinion, joe.

      1. How did I know joe derp would show up to this one?

        1. He’s compelled to be a fucking moron, and since you are highly sensitive to idiocy, being telepathically connected to it, you just knew. Well, that’s my theory, anyway, and I’m sticking with it.

          1. Its a blessing and a curse.

      2. This one is certainly true:

        They score lowest of the three groups on many traits related to sociability, including extroversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

        1. What a perfect example of confirmation bias.

          You literally are picking and choosing which aspects of the study you agree with, and which ones you do not, based on your own bias.

          Incredible!

          1. Epicshart proves this part of the study is correct– my bias is irrelevant.

            1. So ONE fucking guy on a comment thread is “proof” to you? And you think your bias is irrelevant? Wow. Just wow.

              1. joe has absolutely nothing of substance to say, so don’t respond to him with substance. He is as partisan as they come, and as stupid as that implies. Also, he’s incredibly short.

                1. Now don’t be confusing my comment about DONDEROOOOO! being short with Joe…I never met Joe, thank cthulu.

        2. Here’s the truth: you’re a short, idiotic scumbag who clearly can’t socialize outside of joining a political TEAM. Have you ever had a healthy relationship, short stuff?

          1. Did we ever decide what color joe’s jockey silks are?

            Do you think joe’s favorite author is Dick Francis?

            1. Yellow, obviously.

              1. Too close to gold and therefore too close to ‘more like crapitalism amirite’?

                I am thinking a grayish-turquoise.

      3. I think he’s right here though. A lot of libertarians will be as reluctant as Catholics to choose who dies.

    4. I’m not sure what that sentence means. That they have “fewer qualms” and displayed a “rational style” would be compatible with either approach. “All people have equal rights, so it is wrong to sacrifice one for another” can be applied quickly, without qualms, and drawn rationally from the underlying libertarian rights theory.

      Really, it’s about the consistency and strength of the rules that the respondent appeals to. If he adopts a more wishy-washy kind of utilitarianism, trying to calculate which outcome would be better for the world, he may be more hesitant about his answer and it may not appear rational to others (as it’s appealing to a person’s subjective valuations). A libertarian working on either natural rights theory or a rules-utilitarian theory would be more confident in his answer.

      1. Yes, I agree with you.

        1. No one gives a fuckk what you agree with, Napoleon.

          1. Then why do you respond to every comment I make?

            1. Because I feel like it, fuckhead. And I do whatever the fuck I want.

      2. MJG et al.: Basically libertarians are less likely to see much moral difference in the way that the famous trolley problem is posed: (1) flip a switch and divert a train from killing 5 to killing just 1, versus (2) push a fat person onto the tracks to save 5. Most people will choose to flip the switch and refuse to push the guy, even though the moral calculus is the same.(Implied is that you’re too skinny to jump on the tracks to block the train.)

        Research has shown that the 2nd version of the trolley problem activates “emotional” areas of the brain in most people – which libertarians are apparently able to ignore when making the calculations implicit in the trolley problem.

        1. Thanks for the explanation, that makes a lot more sense.

          A pure utilitarian would have no problem saving five each time, even if that meant pushing an innocent in the way. And those operating with a rights-based calculus would have no problem refusing to save the five each time.

          Which is why the two terms are linked together here despite being opposites.

          1. Hey joe, do women immediately dismiss you because of how short you are, or does your vile personality do it soon afterward?

        2. There need to be more options, including pushing a large number of fat people in front of the trolley, which fails to save anyone, causing the largest loss of life in trolley-history, enabling you to argue that these public transport options are unsafe, while simultaneously buying up the depressed trolley infrastructure on the side, cornering the municipal transport market, and aggressively putting smaller competitors out of business….

          1. You can’t actually corner the municipal transport market without either (a) using government power which no (truly principled) libertarian would do, or (b) offer better service or lower prices, etc. than your competition, which is a good thing for everyone.

    5. its a morally ambiguous question. Do I have control of the complete situation or is it my decision that proceeds others decisions. What if I decide that all those fuckers gots to go? That ruins your stupid question, doesn’t it. Doesn’t it!!!

  5. Do you think a heartless monster like me gives a shit about your narcissistic whining, S?

    By the way, you’re on the list.

    1. You failed to note how much sarc would have to pay to be removed from the list. You have therefore failed in your rational/utilitarian, less empathetic libertarian duty, and must return the decoder ring and go back on a probationary period

  6. Out of all the modern dishonesties of language, I think the worst one is the use of the term “empathy”.

    The literal definition of “empathy” is the ability to understand and anticipate the mental and emotional state of another. This allows you to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes”, to use the cliche.

    But the word has been seized and is now used interchangeably with the word “sympathy”, loosely defined as “feeling bad when you hear that something bad happened to someone else”. It had to be seized, because using the word “sympathy” in a political context would be disreputable these days. It also is a useful formulation because “empathy” is seen as a psychological trait, something “normal” people just have, that requires no affirmative theoretical justification, so it puts it outside of the realm of moral argument; you need to bust your ass to devise a philosophical formula to justify altruism theoretically, but if you just turn around and say, “Well, normal people have empathy!” you can spare yourself the trouble.

    But empathy is not sympathy. Empathy and sympathy only overlap if you “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” and doing so reveals that the person deserves sympathy. But if I manage to “identify and experience the mental and emotional state” of, say, Barack Obama, the odds are that I’ll hate the motherfucker even more, because what’s currently in doubt would be confirmed.

    1. +1 copy of Middlemarch for Fluffy (one of the best books ever about empathy)

      1. Middlemarch? Really? What did Fluffy ever do to you? Kill your best friend’s cat or something?

        1. Well, he doesn’t need to read it, he already knows the message.

          1. See, a demonstration.

            Nicole has empathy for Fluffy, but no sympathy.

        2. He had to save the other 5 cats.

        3. Seriously, has anyone actually finished that book?

          1. Not that it should be a surprise, but I have. Twice, in fact. It’s long, sure, but it’s pretty compelling–lots of soap operatic elements.

            1. but it’s pretty compelling–lots of soap operatic elements.

              De gustibus… and all that. Although, I have to say my tolerance of Victorians being Victorians doing Victorian things is only slightly higher than that of Early Soviet Russians being Russian and doing Russian things.

              1. Well, you’re talking to someone who likes reading some really “boring” shit based on average tastes, but I think “who’s going to marry whom, and what does her mother-in-law have to say about it, and who is going to be financially ruined, and who is going to have a mysterious person from the past come and reveal a scandal” etc. is considered perennially dramatic by many.

                1. nicole: With respect one addendum: “considered perennially dramatic by many women.”

                2. Like Basketball Wives!

    2. When a politician says “I feel your pain”, he is lying his ass off. The more truthful answer would be “I feel for your pain”, but given that it’s a politician, they probably don’t have any sympathy either.

    3. Beautifully put, Fluffy. And the real kicker is that a tremendous amount of people are not capable of true empathy, and only generate false sympathy as a way of feeling like they are good people for sympathizing, but at the end of the day, they don’t actually give a shit. “I care about those poor workers in that third world country! So much that I want to take away their factory income! Because I sympathize, but in no way actually empathize and understand their actual situation!”

      1. What do you mean?
        It’s not fair that some rich capitalist is taking advantage of them and making profits!
        When the rich get richer, the poor get poorer!
        What kind of monster are you?

        1. It’s not fair that some rich capitalist is taking advantage of them and making profits!

          You forgot to mention how those ferners are all childlike savages that don’t understand the first thing about grownup stuff like employment and wages! They need the benevolent guiding hand of Western white liberals to tell them what’s best for them! And we know damn well what’s best is for them to continue living in medieval agrarian poverty!

      2. But he cried…HE CRIED!!!!

        yeah, not reacting emotionally when others aer is seen as lack of empathy which is a complete farce. I can understand exactly the pain inflicted, but maybe I’m just the one trying to figure out HOW TO STOP IT!!?!

        1. Well, that, plus why am I gonna get terribly emotional over people I don’t even know? I only have so much emotional energy to spare, and I’m not wasting it on complete strangers on the other side of the globe. I’ll get upset about people that matter to me.

          1. One rule I have for myself is never to feel sorry for anyone who has it better than I do. For example, why should I feel sympathy for a teacher whose salary is higher than mine but is striking for MORE?

            Also, why should I feel sorry for a steel worker who loses his job in Pennsylvania any more than a guy in Mexico who didn’t even have one in the first place? I don’t know either one of them!

    4. Both this study and anecdotal interactions demonstrate that libertarians have a very stunted sense of empathy. It’s my experience that you guys can barely fathom the concept of getting outside of your own heads. It’s little wonder this leads to an ethics of self-interest.

      The important question is whether people who score so low on empathy measures can positively contribute to public policy discussions. History suggests that you can’t make good policy sitting in an armchair, and poor representation leads to poor policymaking (i.e., an all-male legislature is inherently bad at making policy that factors in women’s concerns).

      Empathy is thus not a drawback when it comes to policymaking, it is the personal analogue to a diversity of viewpoints in groups. You cannot totally free yourself of biases informed by your particular station in life, how you were raised, and the other experiences you’ve had. And the prospect of people defined by their empathy-retardation making policy for the rest of us is just downright scary.

      1. Tony, your second paragraph suggests that empathy is irrevelant for policymaking, because “poor representation leads to poor policymaking.” You open your third graf with that claim that “[e]mpathy is thus not a drawback when it comes to policymaking,” which doesn’t follow, and then proceed to assert that it is not only not a drawback but somehow indicated, since the “empathy-retard[ed]” would be scary as policymakers.

        Also, I suspect you are conflating “empathy” with “sympathy,” as Fluffy discusses elsewhere. But mostly I just don’t get how your comment holds together.

        1. But mostly I just don’t get how your comment holds together.

          Welcome to T o n y land.

        2. I’m saying empathy in an individual is analogous to diversity in groups. Just as an all-male legislature will be inherently bad at making policy for women, an unempathetic person will be bad at making policy in general. He will be particularly prone to myopically insisting upon his own experiences and attitudes as being the most relevant. Humans are prone to this in general anyway in a way that should be constantly checked.

          1. By your suggestion that an all-male legislature would be inherently “bad” at creating policies specifically involving women, aren’t you undermining the very importance of the empathy you’re attempting to champion here? If we can only relate to those with whom we have shared experiences, then true empathy doesn’t exist, does it?

            1. Well, an empathetic male legislature would be better than a nonempathetic one. But any “body,” be it an individual or a legislature, is better served by a diversity of viewpoints.

              1. Wrong, A hypothetical group of diverse political affiliations would be horrible since most ideologies want more power for the state, The libertarians and constitutionalist would be outnumbered if the diversity was proportional by the statist since there are many more ideologies that need and love greater state power.
                Statist love to show what they can accomplish with other peoples money.

                1. We should probably only let libertarians vote.

          2. Of course Tony avoids the most important part of his argument: the definition of “good policy.” Obviously if you want to come up with liberal policies, you would put an emphasis on sympathy, so that policies would attempt to equalize outcomes.

            If you want to come up with libertarian policies, you would not want to have an emphasis on sympathy, since a poor man and a rich man can be equally free.

            So, really Tony is just arguing that libertarians would not create liberal policies. What a revelation!

            1. A poor man and a rich man cannot, by any definition, be equally free. That is the absurdity of libertarian liberty-based ethics. Theoretical freedom is more important than actual freedom.

              1. A poor man and a rich man cannot, by any definition, be equally free.

                Objeectively false: By the libertarian definition of freedom (you can do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t stop me from doing the same). Of course, you would know this if you had the ability to understand libertarianism.

                1. I should have said by any reasonable or meaningful definition.

                  1. That is the only reasonable/meaningful definition. All others created so far have been subject to the contradiction of rights against rights, rendering the whole meaningless.

                    1. Some rights assertions do contradict other rights assertions. A right never to be taxed conflicts with a right to any government service (including contract enforcement and hence property rights). Most people think such a right is worth sacrificing in order to gain other rights.

                    2. There is no libertarian right to government service, you ignorant ass. That’s something you have to pay for.

                      Why do I always feel like a broken record when I talk to you Tony? Do you have selective amnesia?

      2. Empathy can be misleading as it is not telepathy. Feeling for another’s situation is not that same thing as understanding a solution nor being able OR justified in determining the other’s path through life.

        Empathy is only worthwhile as motivation, but only rational comprehension as able to provide proper guidance to motivated activity.

        While empathy toward the plight of blacks and the societal vestiges of slavery leads many empathic souls to want to help them out with government subsidy and assistance, the net result has been the destruction of many families and the subversion of incentives that produce independence and replace them with incentives that produce dependence.

        Empathy works best at a personal level, it works very poorly at the macro level.

      3. It’s my experience that you guys can barely fathom the concept of getting outside of your own heads

        Perhaps because it’s impossible to get out of our own heads. Empathy has limited practicality, and can be damaging when used to understand, judge and then coercively “help” others.

        If we’re not trying to make policy “for the rest of” society, outside of a handful of egalitarian principles, what do we need empathy for?

        1. Those handful of principles lead to specific outcomes for all people. Your ethics seem designed to allow you to wash your hands of the outcomes–but its victims will see themselves as affected by government policy as much as in any other system.

      4. Everything is scary to progressives, because having that high neuroticism brings a lot of anxiety with it.

        Cowards don’t make great contributions to public policy discussions either.

    5. To touch on this a little more, empathy, at its heart, is nothing more than “theory of mind”. It may have range, sure, in complexity etc. but everyone over 3 years old or so (barring certain mental and developmental conditions) has theory of mind…EVERYONE!

      Example: I open a door to go out and at the same time someone else is on the other side looking in. I can surmise they want to come in thus concluding that I know someone else has this thought…that is it at the base level…I may not care, but that has nothing to do with empathy.

  7. If I want sympathy I’ll look in the dictionary between shit and syphilis.

    1. so it’s next to your taint?

      1. Complete with clingons.

        1. Couldn’t get thru this without the Star Trek reference, could we … and yes, I do still remember “The Empath” episode, that is where I first heard the subject word.

          1. If I meant Star Trek I would have typed “Klingon”, not “clingon”.

            See http://www.urbandictionary.com…..rm=clingon Def 1.

  8. If I had perfect empathy, and could read everyone else’s mind and heart 24/7, I’d probably be even more of a libertarian than I am now.

    Because I’d know exactly how wretched everyone else is, and I’d be even more determined to not be forced at gunpoint to enable their bullshit.

    And I’d be even more determined to constrain them with due process restrictions if they happen to be become LEO’s.

    And I’d be even more determined to bind them with a constitution if they become legislators.

    Because I’d know they were fucking animals, rather than merely suspecting.

    Such would be the wages of empathy.

    1. Well said.

    2. Also, you’d be able to tell who’s sincere in their desire to help others, and who’s just faking it. If someone’s sincere, there’s a much better chance they can be reasoned with. If it’s just bullshimpathy, you’ll know not waste your time.

      1. sincere in their desire to help others

        I love this tripe. There is absolutely no such thing as a selfless act. Just because you may not be able to measure the gain a person receives does not mean they don’t receive one. Who gives a shit what a person’s motives are if someone helps someone else.

        This is they same rationale used to steal money from one and give to another…and for the record, Robin Hood stole from the patricians and nobles who, according to my libertarian spidey senses, never had a just claim to the lives and property of others…therefore Robin Hood was not a socialist but a liberator and defender of property and natural rights.

        1. There is absolutely no such thing as a selfless act.

          Only if you define EVERYTHING in the terms of self-profit. It’s a ridiculous argument. There’s plenty of shit I can do that I get nothing out of. Contrary to popular belief, the right thing doesn’t always feel good.

          1. name one

    3. See you don’t even grasp the nature of empathy. You see it as understanding the contents of someone’s thoughts and feelings–which would give you information leading you to be even more of a misanthrope than you are? But being empathetic means being able to understand where the other person comes from. And nobody thinks of himself as wicked and depraved.

      You’re actually fascinating studies. You just have no business being anywhere near public policy.

      1. You don’t throw out your own ideas when you empathize with someone. “[B]eing able to understand where the other person comes from” doesn’t mean you adopt his opinions as your own. So just because the person you’re empathizing with doesn’t think he is wicked and depraved doesn’t mean you wouldn’t think he was if you understood him better.

        I mean, just think about it for a second. If you could empathize with a serial killer, would you stop thinking he was wicked and depraved just because he doesn’t think he is?

        1. Empathy is about recognizing the emotional state of another, not about justifying their every deed.

          For example, empathy might allow a person to see that a serial killer is motivated by psychological problems rather than moral failures like wickedness and depravity, while still believing that serial killing is wrong.

          1. joe, you fucking unbelievable pussy, you wait until you think some of us are gone to post more? You’re the shortest coward on the internet, pussy.

            1. When you make an actual argument, I’ll respond to it.

              All you’ve posted in the thread are inane conspiracy theories and stale insults.

              1. Maybe you should get some platform shoes, pussy.

                  1. I’m curious, moron, what fucking “conspiracy theories” are you blathering about? I’m fascinated as to what you will come up with. Come on, pussy, I’m waiting.

                    1. Your continued insistence that I am your ex-boyfriend Joe.

                    2. Your pathetic denials are endlessly amusing to me, joe. You truly have become even more of a pathetic joke than you used to be. How’s that feel?

                    3. Ok, so now that I’ve named the conspiracy theory you’re back to the original pattern.

                      How shocking!

          2. But what is the value of empathy here?
            You’ll institutionalize the killer either way.

            Wickedness and depravity are merely terms of convenience that really mean “I don’t understand the psychology of a serial killer, but it doesn’t matter, because he simply must be prevented from killing again.

            The solution is not altered by empathy.

            1. If empathy allows you to understand the psychology of the killer, the solution might be psychological, rather than imprisonment or execution.

              1. That doesn’t mean I’ll feel sorry for him. And who’s to say he has some sort of “psychological impediment”? People do bad things for bad reasons. Even if I understood how Hitler became the man he was, I doubt I’d feel any sympathy for the bastard. Try harder.

              2. the solution might be psychological

                I allowed for that in my comment.

        2. I can empathize with a serial killer. I can think about what it’s like to lack empathy completely and have violent tendencies. I suspect what would be most disturbing about getting inside the mind of a serial killer while retaining my own judgment would be the fact that the serial killer is not as free an agent as your moral condemnations would presume, that biology is to a large degree determining his actions.

          I’m already highly suspicious of assumptions about human agency that lead to strict moral condemnation of human behavior. I don’t believe in locking people up because they’re “bad people.” A violent psychopath is a danger to others, but he is, in my view, actually a sympathetic creature, since he was born (or made into) a violence-prone psychopath. Sucks to be him.

          But I wouldn’t want serial killers making public policy either, for the same reason.

          1. You completely dodged nicole’s question.

            And if morality is so predetermined, what’s your justification for granting the use of force to one group of people over another?

            I’m already highly suspicious of assumptions about human agency that lead to strict moral condemnation of human behavior.

            That, of course, hasn’t stopped you from denigrating everyone here and all of your “political enemies” as evil caricatures. Funny how you sympathize with a serial killer but you’ll gladly condemn your next-door neighbor because he’s on a different TEAM.

            1. what’s your justification for granting the use of force to one group of people over another?

              I’m not granting anyone anything. People will assert force over others. The trick is to channel that inherent habit of human beings into as legitimate and socially conscious a system as possible. There has never been a society that has managed to do without force. Even if people were on the whole good, decent, and respectful of boundaries, basic evolution suggests that some would exploit that system; thus some social application of force will always be necessary.

              If I morally condemn libertarians too much then I’ll work on that. Clearly you were born that way.

              1. If I morally condemn libertarians too much then I’ll work on that.

                I doubt it.

                basic evolution suggests that some would exploit that system; thus some social application of force will always be necessary.

                However you, of course, want force to rule every aspect of someone’s life (well, except for sex and abortion…kind of).

                1. No I don’t. I just recognize that human society is a always a competition of coercions. You can’t wish force away. You either deposit it in a legitimate government or you distribute it to a collection of strongmen and gangs.

                  1. “There will always be coercion” is as much an argument against libertarianism as “There will always be crime” is an argument against the justice system. Neither one promises to end coercion/crime, only to identify it as such and attempt to minimize it.

          2. I’m not looking for moral condemnation; you used “wicked and depraved” in your post. Go back to Fluffy’s “wretched.” Finding out just why and how someone is wretched doesn’t make you stop thinking he is wretched. You just know more about why, which may lead you to judge him either more or less harshly (or the same).

            1. It will probably usually lead you to judge him less harshly. There may be environments in which this leads to undesirable (unutilitarian) outcomes. If you’re a soldier and your job is to kill the enemy, an empathetic “feminine” attitude is probably counterproductive.

              But for most situations empathy and utility seem to go together. The US has a particularly harsh morality-based system that favors retribution over rehabilitation, and thus the largest prison population in the world at what seems to be a large and unnecessary social cost. Considering criminals less as agents of wickedness and more as victims of circumstance (including genetic and environmental) is both a more rational approach and a more socially useful one, imo.

              1. And again, a socialist completely discounts agency! Way to go.

          3. T o n y| 9.24.12 @ 3:24PM |#

            I can empathize with a serial killer

            That explains a lot, right there.

            1. I can empathize with a serial killer, too. Doesn’t mean I’ll feel sorry for the bastard.

          4. So according to T o n y we have no free will. So if nobody has any free will, and everything is predetermined, why make a public policy to begin with?

      2. I am starting to understand how Ayn Rand felt when she met an evil, ugly monster of a person.

        I feel like one of the Ten O’Clock People.

        1. There seems to be a bit of a disconnect–libertarians are supposed to be ultra-utilitarian, yet are constantly expressing moral indignation about everything and everyone not like them with a certainty that rivals the ultrareligious. Maybe it’s just the comically named Objectivists?

          1. Who says libertarians are supposed to be ultra-utilitarian? Are even half of the people on this board utilitarian?

            1. The study said that, but I think it’s using the word differently than we are currently.

              1. Hey joe, does being a humongous pussy make you proud of yourself?

                1. No, but having my own personal internet stalker does.

                  1. Well, you need something to be proud of because you have neither intelligence or height.

                    1. Neither/Nor

                    2. You don’t have a stalker, Derp… and if you’d just go the fuck away and stay gone the fuck away, you wouldn’t have to deny your Joe-ness to Episarch.

          2. Do you think morality and utility are divorced from each other?

            That would explain a lot.

        2. Tony revealed his true colors when he claimed that all rights were (and should be) up for debate in a democracy. That’s some evil shit right there. We are only free because he allows us to be free, and he can call for our enslavement at any time.

          But we are the wicked, depraved monsters.

          1. Tony is the physical embodiment of an Ayn Rand villain. Literally, he is the left’s Rand.

            1. Toney is not 1/100 as intelligent as Toohey. You give him far too much credit.

            2. Nobody is as cartoonish as an Ayn Rand character, and her devotees’ constant tendency to see people as cartoons speaks volumes about their understanding of humanity.

              1. PROJECTION

              2. This shows your cluelessness about Rand’s purpose in creating those characters. She intended them to be caricatures to illustrate with high contrast. It reduces the number of characters that must be fleshed out.

                1. IOW, Ayn Rand was a bad writer and worse philosopher.

                  1. Rand, or Keynes?

                  2. We all know that leftists hate Rand. It has little to do with her writing.

          2. So which other things do you think should be decided autocratically, and just who exactly is the autocrat?

            1. Nothing and no one. I fail to see how you cannot grasp that, Ellsworth.

              1. If rights are not determined democratically and not autocratically, then where do they come from?

                1. Your hero Mao knew the answer.

                2. Where does gravity come from, Tony?

                  1. So you’re suggesting that rights–allowances to certain specific liberties and entitlements that only pertain to human beings, a recently evolved species on this particular planet–can be found in the laws of nature?

                    You’re just saying “God” in another form, and that’s all anyone asserting “natural” rights is saying.

                    1. So God is the only explanation for gravity?

                      Huh.

                    2. No, but I fail to see what it has to do with the topic. Gravity is a natural force. Rights were invented by human thinkers sometime in the past half millennium.

                    3. can be found in the laws of nature?

                      It’s an emergent property of life and agency, just as life is an emergent property of certain systems.

                3. If rights are not determined democratically and not autocratically, then where do they come from?

                  And you once described yourself as libertarian? So clueless.

                  What would you say is your goal in ordering society?

                  1. Support a political class
                  2. Support a wealthy class
                  3. Have a perpetual welfare state?
                  4. other

                  Explain.
                  Then perhaps you’ll be able to grasp where rights come from as someone explains it to you.

            2. You’re the one that has sanctioned slavery and rape as moral if they can get enough votes, and have given them blessing as a debate topic. I have nothing to answer for, here. You do.

              Really, the only interaction I want to have with you is to keep your sociopathic hands away from my family. At this point I’m hoping I live far away from you.

              Your only redeeming quality is that you probably don’t have enough ambition to do any real harm. You’re like a lazier version of Mao Zedong.

              1. Slavery and rape are always immoral. But that is among the easiest possible moral judgments to make, and consequently all decent societies have outlawed them. Things get messier when you get down to more difficult questions. So who decides what’s moral and immoral, assuming we’re not talking about things everybody agrees upon? History doesn’t present a third alternative to the people or a person, even when the single person is asserting his authority comes from a deity.

                1. Slavery and rape are always immoral.

                  Where do you get that from? I thought you just said that they wouldn’t be if 51% of people said they weren’t.

                  1. The reason they are always immoral is because far more than 51% of any modern society will say so.

                    Take a less easy question, one that society will split on roughly equally. Who decides? You?

                    1. “far more”

                      Define that number.

                    2. I don’t know. I’d say just about everyone who’s not a slaver or rapist, and many who are.

                    3. Sorry to blow your mind but there have been many societies (and there still are societies) that accept rape and slavery.

                2. T o n y| 9.24.12 @ 4:16PM |#

                  Slavery and rape are always immoral.

                  Yes, when my slaves commit rape, they are quickly executed.

                  But raping *your own* slaves? dear boy, it’s part of *why* you have slaves in the first place!

                  And I thought you said you *liked it* when the IRS rapes you, Tony?

            3. Rights were invented by human thinkers sometime in the past half millennium.

              Or were they recognized by human thinkers as accepted practice, seemingly ordained by a higher power?

              Rights should be determined by the parties agreeing to the obligations of an arrangement. Those rights compelled upon people without their consent should be abolished. Torts/violations of liberties should be punished.

              1. Same thing, and that’s all I’m saying.

      3. Tony: Frankly I think that “systemizing”, which refers to “the drive to analyze the variables in a system, and to derive the underlying rules that govern the behavior of the system” is a much basis for policymaking, than feeling someone’s pain.

        1. But it would seem that lacking an ability to understand the motivations of other types of people would present a large gap in one’s understanding of the underlying rules that govern the behavior of humans in a society.

          1. Tony:

            Empathy: 1. the power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person’s feelings
            2.the attribution to an object, such as a work of art, of one’s own emotional or intellectual feelings about it.

            Actually, it is quite possible to understand the motivations of other people without having to share the subjective “feelings” of people. Consequently, you have identified no “gap” in how libertarian understand the underlying rules.

            In fact, empathy as understood by people on the left apparently encourages them to destroy the free market economic and limited government political systems that produce wealth and social peace. People on the left really would benefit from a bit more systemizing and less empathizing.

            1. It’s my experience that libertarians consistently misread people’s motivations (often attributing to wickedness what can easily be understood as rational self-interest).

              And which laissez-faire society has produced (widespread) wealth and social peace? I think the best societies exhibit strong levels of empathy in social policy. I can’t name a single society in history I’d even want to set foot in that had a laissez-faire economy and weak government. Can you?

              1. Where are you getting this fire-and-brimstone caricature of libertarians from Tony? I can understand peoples’ motivations fine Tony, I just think they’re wrong.

                1. Also, if anyone suffers from a lack of empathy as you define it, it’s liberals Tony. Very few liberals have even a shallow understanding libertarian ideas.

                  Libertarians are basically forced to understand views they disagree with, since they are constantly inundated in them and harassed by them.

                  Where is the “empathy” when liberals deride us as selfish, racist, evil Koch-puppets? If you want to talk about empathy, i.e understanding others, I think libertarians actually have the edge in this world. Sympathy is a completely different matter.

              2. It’s my experience that libertarians consistently misread people’s motivations (often attributing to wickedness what can easily be understood as rational self-interest).

                That’s not really a uniquely libertarian trait. I find it as much in liberals and conservatives as I do libertarians.

            2. Ron, using the dictionary is “pedantic” behavior. Just ask Tony, when confronted with Webster’s definition of “racism”.

            3. (often attributing to wickedness what can easily be understood as rational self-interest)

              …Wha?

              What “libertarians” are you talking to?

              And what does it mean for a policy to “exhibit empathy”? I’m guessing it means little more than “policies which I think are good.”

              1. For example, a rehabilitative approach to criminal justice as opposed to a retributive one. Economic justice as opposed to social darwinism.

                1. You just don’t understand the difference between empathy and sympathy, do you? Just because I understand someone’s situation doesn’t mean I have to think it’s alright to steal from other people for them. But thanks for the idiotic claim that theft and coercion is the only moral response. That’s terribly incoherent.

                  1. Either you’re for some amount of government coercion and taxation or you’re an anarchist. Are you an anarchist?

                2. Once again Tony obfuscates the is-ought gap. Understanding something doesn’t tell you what to do about it. You’re hiding the implication that we ought to be rehabilitating criminals or equalizing economic outcomes under empathy, where it doesn’t belong. That’s just a bias that you hold, that you are claiming is inherent.

                  1. This is, I think, one of the fundamental ideas of the Tony-liberal. He thinks that there really is no is-ought gap, that his moral views are logically implied by the nature of the world. That is how “economic justice” becomes a scientific fact for Tony.

                    1. I unequivocally do not think my moral view, or anyone else’s, are logically implied by nature. I’ve said that explicitly. My moral views are consistent with social norms. It’s libertarians who try to weasel out of their philosophy’s inherent contradictions by claiming that some rights “just are.”

                    2. That’s exactly what is implied by the idea that understanding yields “good policy.” If what you’re saying doesn’t mean what you think, don’t say it at all.

                    3. Tony, where do social norms come from and why they have changed over time?

      4. Empathy is worthless, even dangerous, when it is used to lure people into supporting destructive policies.

        Your not seeing the value of systems oriented people.

        We understand the desirability of letting everyone enjoy prosperity, that’s actually a given for many of us.

        Our advantage over empathic types is we understand better how to get there, we are not interested in meaningless or destructive gesturing.

        Where’s the empathy in supporting an agency that is enabled solely sanctioned extortion?

        That’s a very short sighted empathy.

  9. return the decoder ring and go back on a probationary period

    BAH.

    I see somebody else wants to be on the list.

  10. but they join conservatives in scoring lower than liberals on the care and fairness foundations (where fairness is mostly equality, not proportionality; e.g., they don’t want a welfare state and heavy handed measures to enforce equality).

    Or we believe in equality of opportunity rather than outcome. We also have a different definition of fairness in the same vein. Doesn’t mean we don’t care about either.

    1. We also have a different definition of fairness in the same vein. Doesn’t mean we don’t care about either.

      I would say we actually care more than either Libs or Cons. Give a man an honest chance without rigging the game is all we ask.

    2. Yeah, I’d say libertarians are generally the most fair. Everyone plays by the same rules and gets treated the same.

      1. Zeb: In re fairness: Looking into the research one finds that liberals tend to equate fairness with equality whereas libertarians and conservatives think of fairness as people getting what they deserve, e.g., the person who works hardest and smartest should get more.

        1. But what about the feelings of the people who are lazy and stupid?

        2. “the person who works hardest and smartest should get more.”

          I’d be careful with that. Libertarianism is distinct from that type of rigid meritocracy, doesn’t generally make normative claims about end results (i.e. you can have an entirely just situation in which the hardest working, smartest person doesn’t wind up with the best outcome).

          Most libertarians DO believe, of course, that on the whole, the smartest and hardest working WILL achieve the best results. The difference is that they don’t require it in order for a situation to be “just” in a moral sense.

  11. Will this lure our former resident Lifeboat Ethicist out of hiding?

    1. Lifeboat Ethicist?

      1. Someone who thinks you can derive an entire civilizational code based on exigent circumstances.

        Here is an intro to the subject.

  12. We used Simon Baron-Cohen’s measures of “empathizing”

    Seriously? Who gives a fuck what Borat thinks?

    1. I knew someone would beat me to the Borat joke!

      (it’s actually Borat’s cousin)

      1. Yep, and Sascha himself is a Cambridge grad.

      2. I thought it was his brother.

    2. Exactly. You can tell a lot about a person’s morals from the fact that they shit in a bag and bring it to the dinner table.

  13. Libertarians, more than liberals or conservatives, have the capacity to reason their way to their ideology.

    BOOYAH motherfuckers!

  14. Libertarianism is childish and logically unsupportable. That’s why it exist no where in the natural world and it gets no credit for the success of the modern social democracies. A pure libertarian society ultimately rewards the most wicked among us the most and results in a small minority of people controlling all property and all the means of production leaving the rest of society with no liberty and in servitude to the landed gentry. Its a silly silly notion that greedy self centered man-children who’s mothers never taught them about sharing and working together believe in to the point that they have to mold reality to fit their preconceptions.

      1. Oh c’mon, he included authentic troll spelling and grammar mistakes like “That’s why it exist [sic] no where[sic]” and “who’s [sic] mothers”

        That’s a C+ at least.

        1. I’m giving him a D because I used to read Cafe Hayek, which was like 50% muirgeo trolling at the time.

          1. Yeah, I remember that. And I agree with the D.

            1. I say “F”, because Tony sets the curve pretty high.

              1. Well, you can tell neither one reaches his conclusion by logic.

                Anxious, hypersensitive, self indulgent, angry, easily depressed. All the hallmarks of the highly neurotic.

          2. I still read Cafe Hayek, but muirgeo killed the comments for me. Which was too bad. There were a lot of smart people commenting on that blog.

        2. Muirgeo can be found at many libertarian leaning websites, including Cafe Hayek under the name George Ballela Jr. His arguments are usually poorly thought out and are a basic summery of what you might find in any Naomi Klein book.

          1. Also, what nicole said.

    1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      Sharing! Children! You just needed “the adults table” or something else retarded like that and you’d have hit all the notes.

      1. umm i didnt see any ROADZ!!! thank you.

    2. That’s funny. I was taught to share, but I wasn’t taught to use a gun to force others to “share” with me…

      1. I teach my offspring that if it is hers she doesn’t need to share if she doesn’t want to. BUT if it is community property (i know SLD) like the park swing etc. That she should share and if someone else is being a jerk that she should see that and move on (we will get to making lists later).

    3. “it exist no where in the natural world and it gets no credit for the success of the modern social democracies. A pure libertarian society ultimately rewards the most wicked among us the most and results in a small minority of people controlling all property and all the means of production leaving the rest of society with no liberty and in servitude to the landed gentry.”

      You should try to at least make it through your first paragraph without contradicting yourself. You correctly note that American society is far from Libertarian, then proceed to blame Libertatianism for the OWS’s critique of what American society has become.

    4. leaving the rest of society with no liberty

      So the key to more liberty is LESS liberty! Why didn’t I think of that!

    5. landed gentry…oh how I aspire to my top hat and cane!

      1. I can get you a top hat, cane, and monocle. For a small fee, of course.

        Spats, as always, are extra.

    6. The democrats and OWS reward the wicked among us — unions, Solyndra, bureaucrats.

    7. See? Neurotic!

  15. Liberal morality – I am more compassionate than you. I’m so compassionate that I’m willing to have the government take your money by force to ensure that my moral vision is realized!

    Conservative morality – I am more compassionate than you. But only because God forces me to be. If God ever takes a nap, I’m going to rape and murder everyone I can get my hands on! Until then, however, I’m willing to have the government take your freedom by force to ensure that my moral vision is realized.

    Libertarian morality – Not something I really feel compelled to force down your throat. But, if we agee, I’m willing to work with you to help make our vision a reality, using our own time and money.

  16. A pure libertarian society ultimately rewards the most wicked among us the most

    Nailed it.

    1. Whose definition of “wicked” are we using? Yours? Why is yours the one that we should all be made to obey at gunpoint?

      Your willingness to make us obey at gunpoint fundamentally disqualifies you from making moral decisions. Next!

      1. I think he’s just mocking him. To my knowledge, Brooks isn’t one of those kind of commenters. I could be wrong, though.

  17. Libertarians score the lowest of the three groups on empathizing, and highest of the three groups on systemizing.

    Libertarians are the most individualistic; they report the weakest ties to other people. They score lowest of the three groups on many traits related to sociability, including extroversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

    So basically, we’re all suffering from a low-grade Autism spectrum disorder?

    1. I would not be surprised if I were to be diagnosed as a low-grade Aspie.

      1. You didn’t take the online test the last time this subject came up?

      2. Even though I have been accused as “Aspie” (a total bullshit ‘diagnosis’ if one ever existed) here on these pages, I am actually the one of the most socialable and agreeable people I know.

        I love people, and it is for precisely that reason that I want to unshackle them from the use of force in their daily lives. If you really cast a gimlet eye on the interaction between an average person and government, it makes you sick to your stomach to see the rank, I say rank, corruption and theft inflicted on a person every single day.

        1. You don’t believe that Asperger’s is a real psychological condition?

          1. I am not going to buy into your simplistic Manichean premises.

            1. Just FYI, there’s a lot of similarity between the behaviors described as “asperger’s” and the behaviors we see in gifted individuals. Perhaps people are observing the latter but assuming the former.

            2. Am I the only one who finds an Objectivist complaining about Manichean reasoning to be hilarious?

          2. It used to but it’s use to pigeon-hole anyone with the slightest introverted inclination makes it just another BS diagnosis to psychologize everyone and all their actions.

            1. I agree that kids can be misdiagnosed with Asperger’s.

              However, you have to demonstrate far more than “introverted” behaviors to get the diagnosis appropriately.

              Things like stereotyped, repetitive behaviors, intense focus on single or limited subjects, and problems with nonverbal communication.

            2. I’d hate to side with the Derider, but he’s correct that it requires multiple characteristics to qualify as Aspergers, or Autistic for that matter. It’s much more than simply being “introverted”. It’s considered a milder version of Autism, without the language difficulties (e.g., not speaking). As to misdiagnosis, in the past it was rather the opposite. People with Autism or Asperger’s were diagnosed as being, say, mentally retarded.

              For example, Temple Grandin was originally diagnosed as a child with “childhood schizophrenia”, and her mother was advised to place her in an asylum, with the assumption that she’d be completely unable to develop as a functional person.

          3. What about your Napoleon Complex, joe?

          4. TD: You’re way behind times, psychiatrists no longer think it’s a real psychological condition, or at least not one worthy of a separate diagnosis.

            1. That’s not an accurate way to describe the change.

              Psychologists continue to think that the array of symptoms formerly described as “asperger’s” is a psychological condition, but that the distinction between “asperger’s” and “autism” is pointless, and thus what was formerly “asperger’s” is now part of “autism spectrum disorder”.

              1. We should just broaden the ASD definition to include everyone.

            2. at least not one worthy of a separate diagnosis.

              This is a much more accurate assertion. Asperger’s has been considered an Autistic Spectrum Disorder for years, but the line between Asperger’s and Autism in general has always been fuzzy. That does not, however, mean it’s not considered a real condition.

        2. I am actually the one of the most socialable and agreeable people I know

          Is that because you’re actually sociable and agreeable, or just because you hardly know anybody? ;

        3. (a total bullshit ‘diagnosis’ if one ever existed)

          No more than schizophrenia is a “bullshit ‘diagnosis’ “. Both were dealt with as mental illnesses, but as time goes on studies continue to find biological differences that help account for both cases.

          People diagnosed with Asperger’s have been shown to have differences in the way their neurons connect with each other, and multiple physical mechanism have been proposed to explain the actual phenomenon.

        4. I am actually the one of the most socialable and agreeable people I know.

          As am I, and I was diagnosed with Asperger’s when I was in 4th grade. I would not, however, call it “bullshit”. Having dealt with growing up with Asperger’s, and reading about other people with the same behavioral traits as me, it would be difficult for me to conclude that it isn’t real. The issue is that the pathology isn’t well-defined. Multiple theories as to function have been proposed, but research into physical differences is still ongoing.

          As I mentioned, I can be quite sociable. That’s actually one of the criteria that’s separated it from Autism for as long as it has. People with Asperger’s, unlike other Autistics, don’t have any difficulty or delay in learning language, and are just as likely to seek social situations as anyone else. However, there is still an awkwardness of social interaction brought on by a lack of empathy: that is, an impaired (I would NOT call it nonexistent) ability to understand what other people are thinking and feeling. In addition, language is often oddly formal and/or stilted, using words larger or more obscure than the average person would use, and going on favorite topics for minutes at a time without checking if the listener is interested. Add to that obsessiveness with particular topics (which may be quite odd: such as license plate numbers), and children with Asperger’s are more likely to do less well socially, or be ostracized.

          1. Yep, you pretty much just described me to a great degree. I wouldn’t say I’m empathetically challenged, necessarily – I just find human contact exhausting. Everything else pretty much fits me.

            Anyways, I’m cool with whatever I am, but if a doc wanted to study my brains and posit a diagnosis of Asperger’s, I would not be in the least bit shocked.

            1. I saw a video a few months ago that my mom showed me, about a kid with Asperger’s who became an Eagle Scout (I’m also an Eagle Scout). The description of his behavior, both in and out of Scouting, was so close to mine it was eerie. Seriously, if that video had removed the kid’s name, I would have sworn they were talking about me. I wish I could find that video again, it was a great example.

            2. I’d say I have a mild problem with it. In the past it has taken me a bit longer to realize what people are feeling, or how they would react to me saying something. I’ve also had a little trouble with figurative language. I’m a lot better at it now though; like with many things, it’s partly a matter of experience.

      3. Aspies are the lowest grade of austism. Seriously it’s like 90% bullshit.

        1. Fuck off.

        2. Ever wonder what might’ve happened if the Neanderthals could have classed Cro-Magnonism as a disease?

    2. Psychological testing is ridiculously easy to manipulate, but then that would reflect what actually happens in life. I’m as introverted or extroverted to the extent I need to be or want to be at any given time. I suspect most people are similar. I have had jobs in the past where a great amount of face time and socializing was necessary, and others where if you didn’t bury your head in the work flow and ignore people you weren’t going to get much accomplished. Nailed both types of situations without a problem.

  18. A pure libertarian society ultimately rewards the most wicked among us

    But a society that grants a group of people, what’s the term, oh yeah, “a monopoly on the initiation of force”, well, just no way that could ever reward the most wicked.

  19. Funny libertarians are happy and able to reason through and to a position until military action comes up and then it’s all warbonerz and BOMBING bROWN BABAIES.

    1. Because that’s exactly what you are. You are a warmonger. You’re desperate to see other people die. It’s a bare fact.

      I don’t blame you: Pope Peikoff and Cardinal Yaron have poisoned a lot of minds.

      1. It’s hilarious to get the ‘you’re religious’ treatment from a member of the Faith of Noninterventionism.

        Yeah I want to see certain other evil people die as all RATIONAL people do. That’s healthy.

        No the reason 95% of you assholes go straight to WARBONERZ and other emotionalistic crap is because you got nothing else. John and I and others routinely shred the ‘arguments’ we’re presented with. Every. Time.

        What’s odd is that this is a totally emotional left-wing response from people who are normally analytical and systematic. Thank goodness there are lots of libertarians who don’t believe in quasi-pacifism.

        1. No the reason 95% of you assholes go straight to WARBONERZ and other emotionalistic crap is because you got nothing else. John and I and others routinely shred the ‘arguments’ we’re presented with. Every. Time.

          No you do not. What you actually do is adopt a hypercollectivist ‘analysis’ of Middle Eastern nations and then take the few Rand quotes that back up your position (even though you fail to properly analyze them and put them in context), add a dash of Bush Doctrine, and declare yourselves ‘teh winnerz’.

          Yeah I want to see certain other evil people die as all RATIONAL people do. That’s healthy.

          Just because there are evil people in the world does not mean it is in the United States’ best interest to pursue them across the globe. What is it about that don’t you get?

          When it comes to foreign policy, you are a Wilsonian liberal. You don’t believe in intervention for your nation’s sake; you believe in ‘spreading enlightenment’ through the point of a gun.

        2. What’s odd is that this is a totally emotional left-wing response from people who are normally analytical and systematic.

          Because I’m analytical and systematic I think that the same moral code applies to all men, everywhere, all the time, without exception.

          Doing that leads to results that, in this particular international context, don’t always allow the war party to do whatever they want to do at this exact moment. That’s a lot different than being “quasi-pacifistic”.

          1. Exactly.

            For Cyto, his rationality stops at the water’s edge and his emotionalism begins right after.

  20. libertarians are happy and able to reason through and to a position until military action comes up and then it’s all warbonerz and BOMBING bROWN BABAIES.

    Or maybe our moral calculus is based on the notion that all men are equal, and that killing fifty thousand Afghans as revenge for the death of twenty five hundred Americans to get votes is infinitely corrupt and reprehensible.

    1. killing fifty thousand Afghans

      But making shit up is okay?

      1. o get votes

        And burning strawmen is alright?

  21. The Righteous Mind is kind of a joke. Evidently, liberals score well in fairness, not so well in authority. But this is only because liberals like to think of themselves as fair, and against authority — which they view as protecting the status quo, and in many left publications the police is seen as protecting the interests of the rich. That’s why OWS seems so much about fairness, and they protested the police, and Michael Moore said that if you see someone in a uniform, don’t trust them.

    Well, but the experience of true leftists has been the opposite. In the implementation of their road to good, they have to use immense police power to force their vision on the world. Hence you have the mass executions of people like Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Che Guevara. OWS people protested cops spraying pepper spray into student’s eyes for holding a peaceful sit-in. But a side effect of their vision is a world where cops do much worse to an even greater number of people, for the crime of challenging the state.

    Even Obama, though no communist, has pushed through healthcare with an iron fist, shut down large number of coal factories. In his implementation of fairness, he has to exercise immense authority and be unfair to others. Dems also pushed through Dodd-Frank. His calm demeanor makes him seem less tyrannical.

    And while the left criticizes the right for worshiping the bible, they also have a religion of their own. The religion of Keynes, which seriously is itself an act of faith.

    1. Last week the baseball player who wrote the Spanish equivalent of ‘faggot’ on his cheek was punished for doing so, and I have no qualms about the fact private parties did so, but it is telling how far they went to punish him. 87,000 dollar fine, has to work the tolerance program chicken circuit of faux outrage before auditorium meetings of school children, has to under go sensitivity training, and on and on with that nonsense, a dulled thud of expectations outrage. There is no proportion nor limitation to what constitutes fair punishment in the progressive mind when their taboos are stoked.

    2. And while the left criticizes the right for worshiping the bible, they also have a religion of their own. The religion of Keynes, which seriously is itself an act of faith.

      And like most religions, they got the message they wanted from him, not the message he actually gave.

  22. I’m going to answer Tony down here, because upthread everything is all tangled up:

    If you truly experienced empathy for a serial killer, you’d clearly see (for example) how to experienced sexual excitement at the infliction of pain. You’d “hear” what he thought when he looked at people around them and sized them up as victims. If he happened to be a serial killer who wasn’t caught yet, you’d “listen” as he chortled in his own mind at how clever he was, and how the stupid cattle around him hadn’t caught him yet.

    You wouldn’t read it as text. You wouldn’t get just a summary of his background (assuming he had a history of abuse himself); you’d experience the results.

    Are you seriously asserting this would make you hate him less? It would make me hate him more. It would raise my loathing of him to a fever pitch.

    In my dorm when I was a freshman, there was an incident where an underage girl got drunk and passed out and was handed around. People knocked on doors to ask their friends if they wanted a turn. Picture stepping inside the minds of those people and realizing that they were experiencing this as fun, as a laugh riot. Then picture being asked to join with those guys in the Brotherhood of Man.

    1. I see what you’re getting at, but I don’t have to step inside their minds to be as disgusted as I possibly can be at such behavior. It’s clear they’re enjoying it. Why else would they be doing it?

      It just seems to be the case that humans tend to be better at judging others (especially strangers) than empathizing with them, that humans will err on the side of too much condemnation of bad behavior. So empathy, imo, is not only useful in providing more human-concerned outcomes, but something that must be constantly worked at.

      Recall the experiments that, by altering their environment, perfectly decent people can turn into monsters. Recall Abu Ghraib. Is it the case that these people were all by nature wicked, or did they commit wicked acts as a result of some environmental pressure? If we realize that the latter is true then we can formulate more useful policies in terms of preventing the wicked behavior, i.e., fix the environment.

      1. Yeah, putting underwear on a man’s head is just like being Hitler.

      2. I see what you’re getting at, but I don’t have to step inside their minds to be as disgusted as I possibly can be at such behavior. It’s clear they’re enjoying it. Why else would they be doing it?

        What I’m saying is that you don’t have to step inside their minds to be disgusted by them, but if you did, you’d almost certainly be even more disgusted than you are when just reading about it.

        If you had some sort of Strange Days device that gave you literally perfect empathy and allowed you to directly experience their mental state(s), you’d probably be the most disgusted of all.

        And that would mean that increasing your empathy would make you like them less.

        So that means that empathy is not the same as sympathy. Which is all I’ve been trying to argue. Empathy will tend towards sympathy when the people whose “shoes you step into” are worthy of sympathy. If you step into an asshole’s shoes, you’re likely to have less sympathy for them precisely as you perfect your empathy for and with them.

        1. I’m not sure that’s the case, but it’s relatively interesting fare for this place. By fully empathizing with the monster, you’d, for a time, be taking on his own feelings toward his actions, so by necessity you’d be more sympathetic (since his own feelings are not disgust toward his own behavior but approval). You would be taking on that approval.

          So I gather you’re saying once you step outside of his head, your experience of the fact that he approves of the behavior would disgust you all the more? Maybe. But if you’re empathizing, you’re not only experiencing the emotions associated with the horrible action, you’re feeling the lifetime of experiences and possibly innate tendencies that led him to think and behave that way. This maybe comes down to a free will question–but I suspect you’d come away from such an experience more deterministic, and hence more sympathetic (but that’s because I’m a determinist).

          1. by necessity you’d be more sympathetic (since his own feelings are not disgust toward his own behavior but approval)

            Empathy does not mean just LITERALLY feeling what they feel. Certainly emulating their emotions can be a form of empathizing (I do it all the time), but only on a basic level. You’re not going to understand their mind just by feeling angry when they’re angry. I’d actually consider that to be a sort of “shallow empathy”. You’re just feeling their emotions, their instinctual responses, not getting an insight into why they feel that way, or much else about their thoughts. To truly understand, you have to know the thought process behind their actions, and why it makes sense to them.

            to be continued….

            1. But if you’re empathizing, you’re not only experiencing the emotions associated with the horrible action, you’re feeling the lifetime of experiences and possibly innate tendencies that led him to think and behave that way.

              Here you sort of touch upon the point I just made. But knowing these things doesn’t make your mind or perceptions go away. It’s just like playing pretend as a child; in your head, you’re a warrior or wizard or something, but you know you really AREN’T those things. You still have your own sense of self and your own way of interpreting information. You’re correct in saying that feeling what they feel, including experiences, might increase sympathy, but only momentarily. When you compare those things to your own sensibilities, THAT’S when you discover whether you feel sympathy for someone, and to what extent (since it’s not just a choice between the two). And that doesn’t mean that empathy IS sympathy, just that it can lead to it. Whether you feel sympathy or not ultimately depends on your own sense of things. You can understand what they’re feeling, and why they’re feeling it, without being sympathetic to their emotions or reasoning.

      3. And consider, here we are using the example of someone whose misdeeds are known, so we already have assigned to them an unpleasant mental state.

        Now picture all the cases where a person’s inner self is at least partially obscure to us because we don’t know them well.

        The question becomes, “Would perfect knowledge of this person’s soul make me like them more, or less?”

        Perfect knowledge of their soul would probably give you access to their fond recollections of the times they beat up a kid in high school for “acting like a fag”. Or perhaps to the feeling of elation they feel when they trick their social worker, or embezzle funds from their employer. Or to the erotic fascination they have for their neighbor’s 12 year old.

        1. In these cases, perfect empathy would probably take us from feeling fairly neutral general good will to the person, to active dislike.

          1. You’re not talking empathy but telepathy. Empathy doesn’t mean peeking into someone’s hidden pedophilia, it means feeling his pedophilia.

            1. Perfect empathy would approach telepathy on a parabolic curve.

              If I have zero knowledge about a person, I am neutral towards them, tending towards general goodwill. Every insight about that person I gain from that point will either make me like them more, or make me like them less. That means that the question of whether empathy will tend to sympathy depends on the character of the person you’re asking me to empathize with.

              If I was some kind of Aspie with no empathy at all, I could be living with someone who was totally hateful, and because of my inability to imagine their emotional state and my inability to decode social cues, I’d have no idea. I might think they were just swell. And if you gave me a pill to take and suddenly I was “normal” and realized I was living with a StormFront member who continually mocked me before others in ways I didn’t understand, your gift of empathy to me would make me like that person less. It would be the emotional equivalent of the part in Flowers for Algernon where Charlie realizes that his coworkers have always been mocking him.

            2. You’re not talking empathy but telepathy.

              Dude, you’re the one who said this:

              [I]f you’re empathizing, you’re not only experiencing the emotions associated with the horrible action, you’re feeling the lifetime of experiences and possibly innate tendencies that led him to think and behave that way.

    2. If you truly experienced empathy for a serial killer, you’d clearly see (for example) how to experienced sexual excitement at the infliction of pain. You’d “hear” what he thought when he looked at people around them and sized them up as victims. If he happened to be a serial killer who wasn’t caught yet, you’d “listen” as he chortled in his own mind at how clever he was, and how the stupid cattle around him hadn’t caught him yet.

      It NEVER makes me hate them less.

      Here’s the thing: I CAN feel all those things (except the sexual excitement; UGH!). Sometimes I think of some figure I find totally reprehensible and think to myself how good it would feel to wipe them off the planet. Sometimes I really feel like everyone around me are ignorant, foolish idiots who can’t think for themselves.

      If I try, I can imagine the world the way a serial killer would. I don’t pretend I COMPLETELY understand it, but I think I have a pretty good idea. And I NEVER sympathize with people like that. When you think about it, the justifications for their actions don’t treat those people as real. The justifications don’t have any morality to them, the way killing random villagers in a video game doesn’t have any morality to it (and I STILL don’t like playing evil, dangit!). They’re just not considered to be real people anymore. And that’s an awful, AWFUL way to look at people, even people I dislike or hate. I don’t feel much of any sympathy for someone that feels that way.

    3. Like an FBI profiler! “Whoever fights monsters…”

  23. So who decides what’s moral and immoral, assuming we’re not talking about things everybody agrees upon?

    Me.

    You, too.

    Also John, and Cytotoxic. And everybody else here.

    To me, a “right” is “something where, if I am denied it, I am morally entitled to use force to reclaim it”.

    Ultimately, everyone has to decide that for themselves.

    If it’s 1852 and you’re a slave in the south and you say to yourself, “This violates my right to liberty so I’m going to kill these motherfuckers!” you’re morally correct.

    If it’s 2012 and you live in LA and you say to yourself, “The fact that January Jones is not blowing me right now violates my rights, so I’m going to go cut her head off!” you’re morally incorrect.

    Who’s the final arbiter? There isn’t one and there can’t be. But those of us who want to be moral (for whatever reason, and there are many we could discuss) will sit around and try to figure out what the right answers are.

    1. You’ve made two moral assertions after claiming I’m allowed to disagree with you about all moral assertions, and that there is no possible way to determine who is correct.

      The answer is society determines norms. These can take the form of strict rules (enforced either by a type of autocrat or a type of democratic government), or generally agreed-upon standards enforced socially. Slavery was considered morally permissible for far longer in human history than it has been considered morally abhorrent. You’re right that there is no final arbiter, but there is an arbiter, and it is the standards of a particular time and place containing human beings living socially. Disagreeing factions will compete, and some will win and others will lose.

      But you seem to be asserting the complete opposite of what most here are: total relativism with respect to morals. Everyone else is trying to cram a set of specific norms down the world’s throat and claiming nature will have nothing else.

      1. But you seem to be asserting the complete opposite of what most here are: total relativism with respect to morals.

        No, I’m not.

        I think there’s a right answer and a wrong answer.

        There’s a right answer to the question “What is 2 + 2?” But if someone is bound and determined to insist that it’s 5, what can you do? Nothing.

        1. There’s a right answer to the question “What is 2 + 2?” But if someone is bound and determined to insist that it’s 5, what can you do? Nothing.

          Hulk Smash!

        2. So not relativism, but fatalism?

          1. fatalism to one who’s sole goal is to force everyone to agree with him…so to you..yes

      2. There is no such thing as total relativism except in the theoretical history of all mankind and even then, societies that embrace it will vanish when the bad actors destroy them. There are some pretty good rules to live by, even if we disagree how they came about. And forcibly taking someone’s money to give to another wasn’t one of them.

        1. On the contrary, there has never been a right not to be taxed, and every society, decent or otherwise, has needed to redistribute wealth to some degree.

          Not that it even makes sense to talk about “someone’s money” (invoking both legal ownership and legal tender) without the context of a taxpayer funded government.

          1. the ten commandments were light on monetary redistribution.

            and stop splitting hairs, money, goods, tradeable items, whatever you want to call it. The only reason government exists is to preserve an ordered ownership so that wealth can be increased by peaceable trade. Once the government exceeds that mandate, it starts corrupting itself as witnessed today.

            1. Oh, so forcibly stealing someone’s money to give to another is OK as long as it’s for that purpose. And anyone who thinks there are other legitimate uses of taxation and appropriation is wrong, because you say so?

              1. its your belief that government can only exist because of forcible theft of someone’s livelihood. A government can be a group of representatives that only come together to discuss disputes between factions. Granted I can see you would never be able to grasp such an arrangement because of the lack of monuments and such.

                1. I suppose it’s too much to ask for some reasonable-sounding pathway to that completely altered reality.

                  It’s obviously too much to ask for evidence that it would work.

  24. Both this study and anecdotal interactions demonstrate that libertarians have a very stunted sense of empathy.

    That’s entirely what I’m disputing above.

    The measurements that are now being used for “empathy” are corrupted by the fact that it’s being used as a proxy for “sympathy”.

    I’ve seen the types of questions that are used as markers on tests like this one, and they’re incredibly skewed towards “whatever answer someone would give if they just want to help people regardless of moral judgment”. And that’s simply not what empathy actually is.

    It’s like the narcissism test. Read the fucking questions on one of those some time. They all date back to the 40’s, and the only way to not score as a narcissist is to have less self-assertion than a 1940’s housewife.

    1. Sounds like someone scored high on narcissism and low on empathy on one of these tests. Imagine finding someone like that on a libertarian blog.

      1. Its like you didn’t even read the topic…I bet libertarians could rig a test to show that liberals lack self-awareness and fail to grasp basic economic principles, but then again, why would one need to rig anything.

        Tony could lead us all into a fair and just misery if we just let him.

      2. Sounds like someone scored high on narcissism and low on empathy on one of these tests.

        So here’s Fluffy attepting to engage you in reasonable debate, and you pretty much accuse him of being a narcissist with low empathy. Nice. Pot, meat kettle.

        Imagine finding someone like that on a libertarian blog.

        And then you procede to imply that all libertarians fit that description. Wow. And you wonder why so many people here give you shit.

        1. *meet Kettle.

          dammit.

        2. Gentle ribbing. I respect Fluffy.

          But I am positing the substantive point that people whose personalities skew in such ways are gonna be pretty bad at making social policy.

          1. skew in such ways are gonna be pretty bad at making social policy.

            from what basis? to me, someone who lacks what liberals would call empathy would see a dispute much more rationally than one who wrapped himself in the emotions of others. given how much of religion is based on emotional appeal rather than factual demonstration, I would not see anyone libertarian fighting for institution of religious doctrine. They also would see the economic benefit to a rational immigration program. You are only afraid because they would not agree that the NEA requires public funding anymore than sports stadiums would. So overall, how would social policy suffer because emotions were removed?

  25. See you don’t even grasp the nature of empathy. You see it as understanding the contents of someone’s thoughts and feelings–which would give you information leading you to be even more of a misanthrope than you are? But being empathetic means being able to understand where the other person comes from.

    Says the guy who repeatedly demonstrates an inability to empathize with libertarian POVs.

    1. I can totally empathize, having been a self-described libertarian for a time. I get it, I really do. It’s just that in the months and years following reading The Fountainhead I read some other books.

      1. funny, you have never demonstrated an understanding of libertarian motivations.

        1. I could mimic a libertarian quite completely, though it would require taking on some fallacious viewpoints, as libertarianism, I have come to believe, is self-contradictory and more of a philosophical smokescreen for a desired outcome than a real ethical system.

          1. more of a philosophical smokescreen for a desired outcome than a real ethical system

            Since Plato’s time virtually every western moral philosopher – all of them – pretty clearly sat down to their task with the intention of reaching a conclusion that supported either altruism or statism.

            Every one.

            So if libertarians are guilty of creating smokescreens for desired outcomes, they’re in prestigious company.

            How do I know this to be the case?

            Because when reason didn’t come up with good enough support for altruism and/or statism, it was the occasion for profound cultural despair. “Woe are we!” the cry went up. “Reason has failed us!”

            It was only a cause for despair if only one moral outcome was acceptable.

            1. But libertarianism, perhaps uniquely, claims not to be concerned with deciding outcomes, rather that certain preconditions lead to the best outcomes, which are otherwise unknowable. (There’s already a breakdown, as this is circular reasoning–the best outcome is whatever the preconditions lead to.)

              I’m not saying all libertarians are involved in a duplicitous conspiracy, but libertarian economic policy is tailor-made for certain economic outcomes, namely maximum wealth inequality and hence plutocracy.

              Given certain facts: libertarianism is logically flawed (force/taxation is morally impermissible for everything, except when it’s not); libertarianism is not well-respected by academia; libertarianism in publication is almost totally subsidized by specific wealthy interests–the inevitable conclusion is that libertarianism is a philosophy specifically meant to justify maximum wealth concentration and plutocracy.

              1. Which one is it, we’re not concerned with outcomes or we’re concerned with the best outcomes? Can you put together a single description of libertarianism without contradicting your own strawman?

              2. Given certain facts: Tony diddles little children, Tony is blind to his own biases, Tony is a liberal, Tony projects his flaws onto others–the inevitable conclusion is that Tony is an awful, awful human being.

                1. Another inevitable conclusion: the Enlightenment was a conspiracy designed for the sole purpose of enriching Big Oil.

              3. Is it possible for you to make a post about libertarianism that doesn’t include poisoning the well or strawmen, you mendacious fuck?

                1. You just don’t have enough empathy to see that libertarians are really just Koch puppets.

              4. But libertarianism, perhaps uniquely, claims not to be concerned with deciding outcomes, rather that certain preconditions lead to the best outcomes, which are otherwise unknowable. (There’s already a breakdown, as this is circular reasoning–the best outcome is whatever the preconditions lead to.)

                You’re confusing different libertarian arguments. There are moral arguments, and there are practical arguments. There are arguments that are both moral AND practical. Libertarianism, despite all the talk of “rights” in the commentary, isn’t based on any one idea of morality or practicality. Different people have different genuine reasons for being libertarian. That you refuse to acknowledge this is probably why you can’t understand our motivations, and then claim they’re “smokescreens” for other things.

                the inevitable conclusion is that libertarianism is a philosophy specifically meant to justify maximum wealth concentration and plutocracy.

                It’s hardly “inevitable”. You’re just a dishonest clod. It’s entirely possible to think libertarians are wrong, without believing we’re all (or mostly) money-grubbing ne’er-do-wells.

                1. I don’t believe that at all. I believe most libertarians are the useful idiots of money grubbing ne’er-do-wells.

              5. force/taxation is morally impermissible for everything, except when it’s not)

                You’re doing two things here: 1) conflating different ideas. AGAIN. and 2) that there cannot be ANY moral distinctions between different reasons for taxation.

                First, and contrary to your straw assertion, not all libertarians agree about issues of taxation. Some people really do think it’s never permissible to tax, that’s it’s always morally impermissible as “stealing”. Other libertarians don’t think that, and have reasons for why it’s sometimes ok and not other times.

                As to the second, the idea that taxation principles are incoherent unless they’re either ALWAYS for taxation or NEVER for taxation is sort of like claiming it’s moral positions on violence are limited to it NEVER being moral to attack someone, and it ALWAYS being moral to attack someone. It’s absurd. Obviously, there are positions that lie between those two extremes, and there are distinctions for why violence is morally wrong sometimes but morally right other times.

                1. I totally agree with you. But once we admit that there is a gray area on which taxation is permissible and which isn’t, then all we really disagree on are policies. You don’t get to draw your line somewhere in this gray area and declare it sacrosanct just because.

                  1. all we really disagree on are policies

                    Nope, we disagree on principles, which is generally why people support some government actions but not others. Or do you not believe people HAVE principles?

                    You don’t get to draw your line somewhere in this gray area and declare it sacrosanct just because.

                    Nope, I have to have an ACTUAL reason. Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

          2. mimicry is not empathy unless you can describe why such arguments were made. Fail.

      2. I can totally empathize, having been a self-described libertarian for a time.

        Bill Clinton once called himself libertarian, so your claim is of little value

        I get it, I really do.

        No, you don’t, you really don’t.

  26. Here’s the Narcissism Personality Inventory.

    There is political and ideological content waiting to be unpacked in just about every one of these questions.

    1. Those are some incredibly loaded, high contrast black and white questions. Almost to an impractical degree. I don’t think I could answer half of those questions.

  27. I think I’ve been more patient with Tony than a lot of commenters here, but he really jumped the shark with this one. You can’t mouth off about empathy one minute then call us Koch-puppets the next without coming off as a complete maniac.

  28. I think this is a good sketch of a libertarian leaning personality, but by no means comprehensive. I’m female, score higher in agreeableness than most libertarians,(and even most liberals), and low on neuroticism like most libertarians.

    And I think I come by my libertarianism intuitively. It’s something you “get”, and for me, it seems like being honest helps you “get it” more easily.

    1. I think I’d score pretty well on their “sympathy as empathy” tests. I’m a very emotional person at heart; thinking too much or too deeply about sad situations, or seeing people in pain, makes me want to cry.

  29. Re: Tony,

    But libertarianism, perhaps uniquely, claims not to be concerned with deciding outcomes,

    This is false. Choice is based on expected outcomes – fool.

    […] libertarian economic policy

    Libertarianism is not an economic policy, but a political policy.

    is tailor-made for certain economic outcomes, namely maximum wealth inequality and hence plutocracy.

    They’re not the same – you’re equivocating. One does not lead to the other – you’re committing a non-sequitur. Either way, yours is a clumsy fallacy.

    Given certain facts: libertarianism is logically flawed (force/taxation is morally impermissible for everything, except [sic] when it’s not [sic]);

    Clumsy strawman.

    libertarianism is not well-respected by academia;

    Appeal to authority. Who’s “academia”?

    libertarianism in publication is almost totally subsidized by specific wealthy interests

    And, finally, just crass defaming. Gee, you’re on a roll, Tony.

  30. Oddly enough I was just listening to a podcast with the author of the study, Jonathan Haidt. It’s on the official podcast of the Comedy Cellar (club in NYC) and it was actually incredibly interesting because the owner of the club, which launched Louie CK, Chapelle, Colin Quinn, Chris Rock, Aziz Asari and others, is a libertarian (though identifies as a Republican) as are many of the comedians before they “go hollywood”. Really good listen. http://www.riotcast.com/thecomedycellar/

    1. Can you link to the actual podcast mentioned?

  31. So… basically because we actually take time to really THINK ABOUT things rationally and don’t make all our judgements simply based on emotions without any concern for the consequences, be it emotionally misguided ideas from the left like socialism and social justice, or emotionally misguided ideas from the right like nationalism, and warmongering……
    …and apparently that is a bad thing according to this person.

    1. You are obviously a terrible person for thinking about things instead of FEELING about things.

  32. I wonder how many poor people liberals actually know. If poor people were happy drones content to take orders, then they wouldn’t be poor. People like that are absorbed into corporations and bureaucracies. It’s people who want to be their own boss, make their own hours, and reserve the right to refuse service to anyone who end up poor. Not being poor is low on their agenda. They want freedom, not stuff.

  33. Liberals have a very conditional empathy. Ask about their empathy for their political enemies, conservatives. They have little to none.

    In fact, it might be observed that their great empathy is the flip side of their great enmity for their political mirror image.

    Libertarians have the best kind of empathy, the kind that leads them to oppose the use of political power (extortion) against any and all peaceable individuals, because we do empathize with victims of political coercion…as individuals.

  34. One of the things Jonathan Haidt discovered in his research was that conservatives understand liberal motivations better than liberals understand conservative motivations. This was a surprise to the liberal Haidt.

    IOW, liberal empathy is confined to the liberal fold.

  35. This is why well never be big political winners. Never met a libertarian (me included) interested in “Canvassing”

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