Libertarianism

The Nation: Gov't-Mandated Lunch Breaks are Somehow Libertarians' Fault

Liberals inadvertently criticize liberal workplace intervention

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If we're going to game blamed for lunch breaks, can we take credit for awesome lunchboxes?

Rick Perlstein at The Nation has an odd, confounding story ostensibly about how a libertarian University of Chicago student's experiences with reality turned him into a liberal, the opposite of the conventional wisdom that the "real world" pushes people to the right as they grow older.

So apparently this young man, Alex Beinstein, described himself as a libertarian in college, but when they reconnected later, he had rechristened himself as a liberal. Here are a couple of paragraphs that show some real confusion, either on Perlstein's part or Beinstein's part (or more likely, both):

In my first post on this blog, I spoke of the right's "curious fallacy, a crushing intellectual failure. They'll act like only governments have the power to deprive citizens of freedom." Libertarian kids at the University of Chicago think so, too: "It was all about 'People have jobs, and that's that, and anything that gets in the way between employer and employee is unhealthy for the system.'"

What happened next? He got a job.

He sold books books at Borders in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It "did kind of a 180 on me. Just in terms of the rigidity of a corporate structure! You know: they tell you you have to take your lunch break at 1:00. But at 12:58 a customer starts speaking to you. And if you speak to them until 1:02 the bosses at Borders would start yelling at you to take your break at one, and then if you got an extra minute to 1:31 it throws off the whole schedule but if you volunteer to go two minutes early they fear they might be fined!"

Call it the irrationality of the market.

My own reaction was to furrow my brow and tilt my head to the side while I was reading, concluding with an actual out-loud giggle when I was done.

Which of these fellows doesn't realize that these restrictive lunch break policies are a direct result of government intervention over business policy? Did the word "fine" not tip anybody off? Who would be fining them?

Behold, Massachusetts' mandatory meal break law. These laws are a result of progressives getting directly between the relationship between the employer and employee. Perlstein should be praising this "corporate structure," not using it as some sort of misguided attack on libertarians. The government was protecting young Beinstein from potential abuse by his employer!

Their combined inability to grasp this relationship becomes more absurd a couple of paragraphs down when they lament the lack of paid sick leave.

Those paragraphs stuck with me because one of the many experiences that pushed me further and further toward libertarianism from the left was essentially the experience of being the boss of an office of Beinsteins and having to harangue them about lunch breaks. California has very strict meal break laws as well, and compliance could be a nightmare in a newsroom where folks are coming and going. I once had a situation where I had to formally reprimand an editor for repeated violations of these stupid regulations, and it was embarrassing for both of us. But it had to be documented because the state could come in and accuse us of refusing to let the employee take his government-mandated meal breaks and fine us.

There's more to Perlstein's criticism that's worth a read, if only to brush up on libertarian debate skills. Infrastructure issues are brought up (without any analysis of spending patterns or questioning of where the money that everyone says they want to go for infrastructure actually goes). Beinstein not incorrectly questions whether poor people in decrepit neighborhoods actually have much freedom, but has clearly done no research into the municipal regulatory system that makes it next to impossible for private citizens to fix their own problems anyway.

(Hat tip to Julian Sanchez via Twitter)

NEXT: Report: TN Wastes Money on Hollywood Subsidies

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  1. Guy spent all day in a building full of books and yet, remained stupid.

    1. Some books do leave you dumber for having read them, of course.

      1. Barnes and Noble and Borders are and were full of shitty material. Wall to wall “pop” political opinion or biography shit, self help horseshit, coffee table books, and thousands upon thousands of graphic “novels”.

        1. The B&N near me has extensive selections in subjects whose names end in “studies,” so there’s an ample supply of bullshit.

    2. Same thing happened to this guy.

      That’s not fair. That’s not fair at all. There was time now. There was all the time I needed…! That’s not fair!

      1. +1 internet a la Burgess Meredith

    3. You can lead a statist to information, but you can’t make him think.

      1. +1 horsey statist.

    4. The whole Borders story smacks of shitthatneverhappened.txt–it’s the kind of thing you see SWPL betas post on the internet about how they told off that RACIST OLD PERSON in the supermarket checkout line or left a harrassing jock confounded in a parking-lot verbal confrontation. It’s fantasy embellishment to try and bolster a non-existent point.

      1. Yep. If you read NotAlwaysRight there’s like one of these stories per page. They’re all fucking fake, all of them.

  2. Which of these fellows doesn’t realize that these restrictive lunch break policies are a direct result of government intervention over business policy?

    Neither. They are both being willfully mendacious, as in their twisted, perverse sense of ethics, the falsehood is justified in that it is for a ‘greater good’.

    1. i think it’s entirely possibly that they are just retarded enough not to realize that mandatory meal break laws are a product of the labor movement that their own side fought for.

      1. HazelMeade| 1.30.13 @ 5:56PM |#
        “i think it’s entirely possibly that they are just retarded enough not to realize that mandatory meal break laws are a product of the labor movement that their own side fought for.”

        I agree. Per my argument re: Mackey the other day, always presume stupidity over evil intent.

        1. Yes. After many years of giving progressives the benefit of the doubt, I’ve come to realize that it really is just that they’re stupid.

          They think they’re super smart and everything. But really, they’re fucking stupid.

          1. Well, the smart ones are the ones who figured out that they can manipulate the vastly greater pool of stupid ones with the greatest of ease; just say the right words and then actually do whatever the fuck you want.

            I kind of kick myself for not doing that but then I remember I actually have principles.

            1. What frustrates me, is why libertarians can’t do that too.

              Where are OUR hordes of slavering idiot minions ?

              1. Too busy getting high and sleeping with hookers.

                1. Ummmm…. you not supposed to “sleep” with hookers. You probably shouldn’t kiss them on the mouth, either.

              2. Unfortunately, our message is counter-intuitive to mouth breathers. Since it doesn’t make sense to an idiot, we can’t get legions of them to follow us.

            2. I kind of kick myself for not doing that but then I remember I actually have principles.

              Which means you’re not one of the smart ones.

      2. “i think it’s entirely possibly that they are just retarded enough not to realize that mandatory meal break laws are a product of the labor movement that their own side fought for.”

        Exactly

  3. Wait a minute. Progressives are confused about something
    and blame it on libertarians? That’s never happened before has it?

    Likely they also don’t realize that libertarian and classical liberal are the same thing.

    1. Likely they also don’t realize that libertarian and classical liberal are the same thing.

      Let it go dude.

  4. Pays $45k for 4 years of school, works in customer service at Borders. That’s enough to convince me he’s not credible as an expert on anything, and his anecdotal stupidity can be written off as just that.

      1. That, itself, labels someone as a dumbfuck.

        One can get an equally poor “education” for far less. There is the argument about making connections with other preppies who will help you take full advantage of the Peter Principle, as a justification for going to an expensive school. But he’s working at Border’s, so clearly he didn’t get that benefit.

        I thought Borders went under. If not, I’m sure they soon will.

        1. Borders is already gone. B & N is close behind, they just announced they’re closing 1/3 of their locations after an awful holiday season.

  5. This is the best The Nation can do? Fuck, they’d be better off hiring the guy behind the Shrike sockpuppet.

    1. Is this better?

      I was working with people in their mid-thirties who had kids and there was one day when somebody’s kid was really sick….but there was no paid sick leave, so they couldn’t afford to take the day off. And then you know people who have really long commutes to this job in Cambridge, and they’re not really investing in transportation systems in the Boston area…

      1. Most of the comments are reasonable, but then there is this one:

        In my experience, people who don’t have alternate models of the world as “furniture”, so to speak, in their minds, may never go through a process similar to the one described here. I have dozens of acquaintances who work harder, longer, under worse conditions, but who refuse to go with me even a *little* when I tell them that they have been fooled by the Right — in particular, it is *not* their duty to defend the rich. Without this person’s having a high school education, perhaps even a college education, Rick may have had a different conversation with this person.

        1. Wow – that hurt my head all the way through the net.

          Curse you for posting that, and me for reading it!!

          *shakes fist*

        2. When I try to tell people that the Man is oppressing them and the system is all a big conspiracy to enslave them, they look at me funny. I can’t imagine why.

        3. I have a theory that when you work a soul-crushing, back-breaking job you’re a little bit more fiscally conservative because of it.

          This is just only based upon my experiences working jobs as described above for just about all of my adult life. Though, most in these jobs will not be republicans, if you ask a guy doing manual labor at 7am his thoughts on welfare, he’ll most likely give you a far right-wing response.

          Conversely, when you are the type of person that went into college directly from high school, partied and slacked the whole time, then got an easy office-type job making good money within a few years, it’s easy to believe that people’s destinies are propelled by luck. That, “dang it, it wasn’t that hard for me, so I(we) should give (force people to give) something back!”

          1. if you ask a guy doing manual labor at 7am his thoughts on welfare, he’ll most likely give you a far right-wing response.

            And if you ask him whether millionaire CEOs should have higher taxes to pay for his kids’ health care, you’ll get a left wing response.

            1. hether millionaire CEOs should have higher taxes

              Because he’s not stupid, and he knows he’s getting the short end of the stick in that job.

              Also lolling at the guy above who is working shit jobs but defends the rich from tax hikes and sucks corporate dick.

              1. Hey maggot–how does not robbing people = “sucking corporate dick”?

                You aren’t good enough for money, that’s why you don’t have any. You aren’t man enough to make money.

          2. if you ask a guy doing manual labor at 7am his thoughts on welfare, he’ll most likely give you a far right-wing response

            That’s usually the way it is; leftist views are often the privilege of those who already have all the time and money they want. My girlfriend doesn’t want to shop at Whole Foods because of the CEO’s political views. I try not to tell her that the guy who owns the tiny independent local pet food store is about a thousand times more conservative…

      2. ‘Cause once these huge transportation systems are firmly in place, the job markets never collapse and go elsewhere.

        Things were better back in the days Postrel was dealing out lessons on stasis versus dynamism!

    2. No, I need to convince them to let me write a Kirk/Spock slashfic blog with long articles about the inherent superiority/inferiority of various Mountain Dew flavors. It would be a huge hit, I’m telling you.

      1. You can write it for us to enjoy, but there’d better be some milf nailin in the story!

        1. Look, man, milf nailing stories are your responsibility.

          1. Damnit, I didn’t ask for that role!

        2. there’d better be some milf nailin in the story

          I’m not sure you understand the concept of slashfic. Oh there will be some nailin’ all right, just not of milfs.

  6. Not to mention that it’s highly debatable there would even be such a thing as a limited liability corporation in a libertarian society.

    1. Not this again . . . .

      1. I’m all for limited liability investments.

      2. I said “highly debatable,” since we obviously have our disagreements on whether it is the role of the government to make sure business owners should be able to socialize excess risk onto the victims of their business and taxpayers instead of paying for it.

        1. See, and I think its not the role of the government to impose liability on people who are purely passive investors, and that elementary principles of personal responsibility dictate against such liability.

          Essentially, you would have to do away with the requirement that someone be the proximate cause of loss before they can be liable, and that strikes me as a very bad idea, economically, legally, and morally.

          1. I give a co-worker $100 for his birthday. He buys a gun and shoots five people. I had no idea he was going to do this.

            I’m liable to his family, friends, and everyone they ever knew forever, including all of the affected descendents of all of those people.

            1. The similarities are superficial at best. You are not claiming ownership of, profits from or responsibility for either that guy or whatever he happens to buy with that $100, nor is he operating as your agent by contract.

              1. Shareholders don’t get the profits. They don’t directly control the company, either.

                Note that if shareholders do exert direct control over operations, they can lose their limited liability status.

                1. Shareholders don’t get the profits? What? They don’t hire the board of directors at shareholder meetings?

                  In the sequencing of paying for legal liability, it should go:
                  1.) The actual people responsible for the action
                  2.) Corporate Property
                  3.) The executives who hired the agents
                  4.) The Board of Directors who hired the executives
                  5.) The shareholders/owners who elected the Board of Directors
                  6.) The victims or taxpayers

                  The current system removes 3 and 4 in most cases, and 5 almost always, which means that it jumps straight to 6 from 2 in a state limited liability system. By adding 3, 4 and 5 as buffers before it gets to 6, you have incentivized the executives, BoDs and shareholders to create an insurance schema to protect their own wealth from the illegal actions of their agents.

                  1. Shareholders benefit by their share value increasing and/or through dividends. A company can be profitable as hell and not have either of those things.

            2. Where the fuck did he find a $100 gun these days? I want some!

          2. Again, you miss the point that when the “proximate cause of loss” has a direct path to the stockholders, who appoint the boards of directors, who hire the corporate executives, on down. If the responsible party and the remaining corporate assets by the time of the legal ruling are not enough to cover the cost of damages caused by the corporate actions, someone else pays. That is either the victim or the taxpayer.

            In a free market without a corporate entity, the owners logically reach an agreement to buy sufficient liability insurance to cover such excess damages, and risk mitigation and safe practices become a competitive advantage for profit maximization, not a cost that harms competitiveness and hurts profits and market share. Insurance profit incentives regulate the industry, removing the need for a regulatory state.

            1. Should creditors have the same liability? If not, why not?

              1. No, because they are not owners of the business and only claim the assets lent to the businesses plus interest. A corporation buying guns and murdering a small village does not make Visa liable since the corporation was not acting as contractual agents of Visa, nor did Visa conspire to assist in or have any prior knowledge of the massacre.

                Passive shareholders may not have assisted or conspired with the corporation, but they hired those responsible for the agents that did so to act in their interest without discretionary oversight. Whether this was a few rogue agents far below the passive investors or whether it operates on orders from the Board of Directors, why should the buck stop below owners and be passed to victims and taxpayers?

            2. So I can lose my house because of my 1% share in a corrupt corporation whose corruption I have nothing to do with? The net effect is that you’re not going to have any corporations because no one will want the risk.

              I’d rather have corporations heavily regulated by the state than do that. (and you could evade regulation by not forming a corporation)

              This quasi-libertarian use of liability insurance as a means of enforcing one’s will “non coercively” is getting old. Hazel was doing the same thing with guns a few weeks ago. Anything that requires insurance is a deadweight loss unless it enables the market to do something it wouldn’t otherwise.

              1. You can lose your house because of your 1% share in a corrupt corporation that failed to buy liability insurance to protect their owners from any chance of liability.

                If you loan your car to a buddy to run an errand for you and he gets in a wreck, your insurance pays for it. Same concept, applied to corporate ownership.

                1. Funny how libertarians are all about personal responsibility until it might cost them a buck.

  7. I love when the takeaway someone has from “I worked for a big unwieldy corporation with a ton of bureaucracy” isn’t “well maybe a ton of bureaucracy is bad” or “well maybe I should work for a small business or a startup instead”, but rather “corporations are inherently evil and something needs to be done”.

    It’s basically an indication that this moron is a lazy, stupid, and terrible worker, and wants the government to make their job easier or more comfortable.

    1. A whole lot fucking easier to switch employers and careers than governments.

    2. When the big corporations and the government are colluding to protect the big corporations from competition from small businesses or startups, “maybe I should work for a small business or a startup instead” isn’t as realistic an option as it should be.

      1. So the solution is to support more collusion?

      2. When the big corporations and the government are colluding…

        Let’s play One of these things is not like the other, what do you say?

      3. The govt didn’t do a very good job of protecting Borders.

    3. Yeah, this.

      Hey, Beinstein, I don’t know how you’re able to care for yourself without assistance, and way to draw utterly the wrong conclusion from your experience! I’m sure you’ll do well when The Collapse and Chaos comes.

  8. Relax, folks.

    If an asteroid strikes the Earth tomorrow, it will be blamed on libertarians.

    1. Don’t worry, not enough people know that we exist yet, they’ll blame it on Rethuglicans.

      1. Aren’t those the same thing? Because the teevee said Republicans are an Ayn Rand-worshiping death cult.

        1. Shreek has a TV show?!

          1. Yes, but he has cleverly disguised himself as a butch lesbian on MSNBC.

            1. Chrissy Mathews? You can see the skin crawl on the other women when they are around her.

            2. Ah, don’t watch the channel, nor any cable news for that matter, so it took a while to recall Rachel Maddow. Personally, I think she is too dorky to come across as butch.

    2. Because they cut funding to NASA?

    3. No, it’ll be blamed on global warming, which will be blamed on libertarians.

  9. Another missed connection:

    Even if those stupid corporate policies weren’t essentially mandated by the government, but were purely corporate bullshit:

    Does not he not comprehend that he holds that job voluntarily (which is to say, freely), that by taking their money he is agreeing (again, freely) to abide by their rules? That there is nothing in his relationship to the corporation that “deprives him of his freedom”, since there are no restrictions on him doing whatever the fuck he pleases that he hasn’t voluntarily and freely agreed to?

    1. It’s like saying “well, I need to eat, so I have no choice but to eat kale.”

    2. Yet when we disagree with anything that the government does, we should move to Somalia.

      1. This is the classic from a lot of people: they demand that your system, whether it be libertarianism, anarchy, etc., be perfect, while theirs or the existing one can be full of flaws. It’s an incredibly dishonest tactic, which is why Tulpa uses it.

        1. This is the classic from a lot of people: they demand that your system, whether it be libertarianism, anarchy, etc., be perfect, while theirs or the existing one can be full of flaws.

          ^^^YES!!! I’ve become more aware of this tactic over the years and love to call the bastards out on it. Don’t sit there and demand perfection for any alternative when we can list page after page of problems of the current system.

          1. What’s more, every hypothetical problem they foresee are drawn from examples of those same problems they see existing in spades with the current system. There are countless examples. “If drugs were legal, we’d have lots of drug addicts…” “If guns weren’t outlawed in Chicago, we’d have ton’s of gang murders…” and so on.

        2. they demand that your system, whether it be libertarianism, anarchy, etc., be perfect, while theirs or the existing one can be full of flaws.

          “Anarchy would never work! People would kill each other by the millions!” Says a guy with a passing familiarity with 20th century history.

        3. “But under libertarianism/anarchy, cities will be violent hell holes! Armed thugs will walk the streets, oppressing the common man! Many children will receive subpar education!” etc

    3. For valuable skills, there’s competition among employers for employees. Without all of the government intervention, we’d see more of the benefits of that competition.

  10. OFF TOPIC:

    There is an add space between the article & the comments saying

    (3 People Unfriended You) SEE WHO

    I would like to thank those of you who did so.

    1. If they were Canadians, then they only count as 2 de-frienders.

      Exchange rate and all….

      1. And I thought my bank was ripping me off!

        From Xe today:

        1.00 CAD = 0.998411 USD
        Canadian Dollar ? US Dollar
        1 CAD = 0.998411 USD 1 USD = 1.00159 CAD

    2. We only friended you in the first place to get pictures of your mom.

      1. Wait, that was his mom?! The hockey stick and playoff beard really threw me off.

    3. I don’t have a facebook account. So I don’t have three people to unfriend me in the first place.

  11. Indeed, the whole mandatory lunch breaks thing is a labor regulation. Including the fact that individual employers aren’t allowed ot skip lunch even if they WANT TO, because – get this – that would encourage employers to differentially reward employees who don’t take breaks and thus undermine the right to take a lunch break.

    In unionized environemnts this has led employees to be crazed assholes about when other employees take their breaks. You can’t take your break at the wrong time because that might threaten someone else’s break time. Everything is scheduled and micromanaged to allow zero flexibility.

    1. Yeah, I was gonna bring up unions as well. If he hated arbitrary bullshit like that he’d never survive a union environment.

      1. Unions are pretty much designed to ensure that no individual employee can ever get ahead of the pack.
        They will cannibalize anyone who tries.

    2. Well, there’s the Brinker case and all. At least in California. Employers must make breaks available, but don’t have to force employees to take them.

      Yes, I’m a libertarian practicing in plaintiff’s class action wage and hour litigation. Shitty for my soul but awesome for the pocketbook.

      1. They don’t have to, but they generally do anyway, because it’s the only way to be sure they won’t end up getting fined.
        Because if employees aren’t taking breaks, the government will think they are somehow being discouraged from taking them.

  12. The language you linked to includes this: “An employee can voluntarily give up the meal break.” So the employer requiring the employee to take lunch is not mandated by law; the law is nothing but a requirement that employees not be forced to work longer than 6 hours without a break. It’s an increase in freedom at face-value.

    And that’s part of the entire point you’re deliberately refusing to address: government isn’t the only source of infractions on individual liberty. Surely libertarians don’t actually think this, in which case it can be said that libertarians are actually for minimal individual liberty. Liberty from government interference means, especially if we’re talking about reality, the business realm gets to infringe upon your liberty as much as it wants.

    Freedom from government is not equivalent to freedom generally.

    1. Slavery is Freedom. Herp Derp Derp.

    2. “Freedom from government is not equivalent to freedom generally.”

      Yes, actually it is.

      1. No, actually, it isn’t.

        1. I want the freedom to fuck your mom. Oh wait, I already have that.

    3. And just when I think we’ve reached Peak Retard, here comes Choney to lower the bar.

    4. the law is nothing but a requirement that employees not be forced to work longer than 6 hours without a break. It’s an increase in freedom at face-value.

      If an employer is willing to pay me a premium to skip a lunch break maybe it would be worth it to me. The fact that I can not contract to do this by law is a violation of my freedom. On the contrary, someone “forced” to work lunch by their employer or “forced” to take lunch by their employer who does not like the corporate policy can quit and find a different job.

      government isn’t the only source of infractions on individual liberty

      That very reason is why most libertarians are miniarchists and not anarchists, accepting a minimal government as a lesser evil than either vigilante justice or unchecked injustice.

      1. It really goes without saying that libertarians are for maximum employer liberty and minimal employee liberty. This is dressed up in such language (addressed in the Nation article) as “You can just quit!”

        But we had a world prior to government protections of workers and one after it, and workers were freer, literally freer, after. They weren’t any less free from government, but that’s not the only thing in the world that can affect freedom!

        1. How can you say that one has more liberty than the other when there is zero force involved in an agreement between employer and employee? Liberty can only be decreased by coercion. If no coercion is involved, no liberty is lost. But you’re not talking about liberty, you’re talking about the ‘privilege’ and ‘fairness,’ which no here gives two shits about.

          1. If you don’t think there’s any coercion in the relationship between employer and employee, especially in the absence of worker protections, then you’re delusional.

        2. It really goes without saying…

          Tony says this when he is about to say something he can’t support to back up something stupid he said previously.

    5. The language you linked to includes this: “An employee can voluntarily give up the meal break.” So the employer requiring the employee to take lunch is not mandated by law; the law is nothing but a requirement that employees not be forced to work longer than 6 hours without a break.

      That’s not how it actually works in practice. I havn’t worked in a service environment for a long time, but during by high scholol and college days, whatever the law supposedly *says*, employers would REQUIRE you to take a break because they were that scared of getting fined.

      Really. That is a fact. Ask anyone who has ever worked at a fast food joint.

      1. That might be considered an acceptable price to pay for the freedom of being guaranteed a break after a certain amount of hours worked.

        There are places in this world with few worker protection laws. Surprise, workers work long hours in hellish conditions.

        1. These laws don’t apply to lots of employees (like me) who are exempted. Yet somehow my employer (and every other one I known of) is nice enough to let me take lunch. In fact, I decide on my own how long my break is going to be. Imagine that.

          1. Good for you. I have the cushiest job in the world, as evidenced by my near-constant presence here, but because I’m not a comically self-centered libertarian, I don’t think my personal little world mirrors the circumstances of everyone else.

        2. Phew, well thanks to my superiors for making that trade-off for me.

      2. DING DING DING!

        Yes, an employee can voluntarily give up a lunch break. So the employee regularly tells the manager they’d rather work.

        But when that employee gets fired (for cause), the next thing you see is a lawsuit by the employee claiming the employee was *prevented* from taking their lunch break and threatened that they’d be fired if they do so.

        If you can’t prove that the employee volunteered, the employee gets the benefit of the doubt. *That’s* why employers are so paranoid about ensuring the employees actually take their “optional” meal breaks.

        1. So it’s more amendable to freedom to allow employers to forbid employees from ever taking a break? Or do we just need to tweak the law a little so that the outcome you describe is avoided?

          1. You mean it’s more amendable to freedom to allow employees to work for as many hours as they agree to work for? Yes, yes it is, Tony. Good job.

          2. I don’t worry much about it. I’m an “exempt” employee as are the guys I manage, so as non-punchclock folks I really don’t have to worry about it.

            But I’ve been in meetings where managers of non-exempt employees are told to make *sure* that their employees take their break, even to the point (as Scott Shackford suggests) that they be formally reprimanded for doing so.

            All I’m saying is that this guy in the original article who blamed bureaucracy for all this and expected government to *fix* it should realize that the situation is a logical consequence of government policy. *Regardless* of the wisdom of that policy, it’s certainly not something for which libertarianism can be blamed.

            1. *err, that should read

              “formally reprimanded for NOT doing so”

              My bad.

          3. The point is that the mandatory lunch breaks thing is not IN ANY WAY a product of the free market, so it makes NO FUCKING SENSE to cite it as an example of corporate bureaucracy oppressing workers freedom.

      3. And they make you take a break at times when business is slow so they can save money.

        Been there, done that.

    6. Now, this quote from shithead is worthy of consideration:
      …”a requirement that employees not be forced to work longer than 6 hours without a break. It’s an increase in freedom at face-value.”…

      Consideration for dumbest post in this young year.
      Note that “a requirement” is somehow “an increase in freedom”.
      Yes, folks, a guy who clams to have graduated from some form of ‘higher education’ made that statement.

      1. It’s a (minor) decrease in freedom for the employer, no doubt about it, but an increase in freedom for the employee. The only reason government requirements are necessary is because this relationship, in the absence of them, tends toward maximum freedom for the employer and minimal freedom for the employee. That’s one possible arrangement for a society, but it’s not by any means the best one.

        1. It’s not an increase in freedom because the employee was never being forced in the first place to not have lunch. The employee agreed to the terms of employment, you paternalistic fuck.

        2. You are confused about what the word “freedom” means. “Do it or you’re fired” is not using force.

          Using force is “Do it or you’re under arrest” or “Do it or we kill you”.

          Hope that helps.

        3. And yet, the guy in the article is claiming that it is a DECREASE in HIS (the employees’s) liberty, because he is being FORCED to take a lunch break, and to take it at a specific, regulated time.

          You can’t argue both sides of the point, Tony. If you’re going to claim that the mandatory lunch breaks are an increase in worker liberty, you should admit that the author of the article is a fucking moron who doesn’t know what’s good for him.

    7. If I feel that my employer is “infringing on my individual liberty”, I can quit, meaning I have been deprived of no liberty at all.

      1. So we do have to have the legal protection that says workers are free to quit, i.e., no indentured servitude. Congratulations, you’ve made it to the 19th century! Come on now, a long way to go yet.

    8. Oh my, we haven’t had our daily dose of stupid yet, so along comes Tony to provide some much needed relief.

      Can we quit the government today and get another one tomorrow, Tony? How do we do that? Oh, yes, I forgot, move to Somalia.

      1. But as long as there’s merely a theoretical freedom of mobility when it comes to finding a job (and the merely theoretical ability to find a job with modern standards of workers’ rights), that’s perfectly OK.

        1. Is there some empirical evidence you’re thinking of when you claim that most, many, or some workers have no practical choice in employer?

          And before you start appealing to slums in the 19th century, I think we have to keep in mind the state of production in the 19th century and what the alternative was (rural farm work). Yes, sweatshop work can be shitty. But farm work is shittier. And there is a reason why so many former rural residents are packing the factories that make your clothes.

    9. Part of freedom is being able to form a binding contract where you commit yourself to do something in return for someone else doing something.

      Entities other than government can infringe on liberty, but a purely voluntary contract certainly is not an example of that.

    10. And that’s part of the entire point you’re deliberately refusing to address: government isn’t the only source of infractions on individual liberty.

      Yes, I’m glad you picked up on the main fallacy of the article. Since when do libertarians support murder, theft, rape, etc. by common criminals? The don’t. But for some reason, I hear all the time that libertarians only care about government coercion! Maybe they are confused because libertarianism, as a political movement, focuses on the government because it is “legitimized” coercion, whereas all other coercion is almost universally despised.

      Liberty from government interference means, especially if we’re talking about reality, the business realm gets to infringe upon your liberty as much as it wants.

      No, that’s only true if you think someone’s right to hit you over the head is part of their liberty. It isn’t. No individual’s liberty has to conflict with any others’. This only happens when you use the failed progressive definition of liberty.

    11. Except that the story in the article isn’t about someone that wanted to take no break but was forced to take one. It’s about how the business was so strict about when he took his break. The mandatory requirements and possible penalties are primarily responsible for that

    12. Re: Tony,

      […] the law is nothing but a requirement that employees not be forced to work longer than 6 hours without a break.

      Not to be confused with forcing people to work for the government 1/3 of their life with nothing in return.

      Liberty from government interference means, especially if we’re talking about reality, the business realm gets to infringe upon your liberty as much as it wants.

      Interesting idea – just what example can you give of a business “infringing” on people’s liberty? To be exact: An example that does not involve giving away money for nothing.

      Because for dishonest mountebanks like you, businesses infringe on people’s “liberty” when they refuse to “pay their share.”

    13. I think Tony’s point is that the employee’s only recourse if he is dissatisfied with the relationship is to either quit or do something that will get him fired or arrested. While the employer has a ton of options if he’s dissatisfied with the employee. Also, it’s much easier for the employer to find a new person to hire or just do without an employee, than for the employee to find a new job or do without one. (we’re talking of course about a shit service job, not working as a skilled auto mechanic or something where an employee is hard to replace)

      So while there’s no coercion per se, there is a strong power imbalance in the relationship.

      That said, govt attempts to interfere usually lead to worse outcomes.

      1. *Also, it’s much easier for the employer to find a new person to hire or just do without an employee, than for the employee to find a new job or do without one.*

        I’d say that depends on the circumstances. I seem to recall Burger King offering $10,000 bonuses for anyone who would go to New Orleans after Katrina (or something like that).

        1. Oil fields of NDakota is a good example of a place right now, where workers are holding all the cards.

          I remember the dot com boom when it seemed like half the office would come back after lunch and announce that they were leaving for a more lucrative job. At the time employers had to bend over and kiss employees asses if they wanted to keep staffed.

          Power shifts between employers and employees as the economy shifts. The problem for employers is that their power peaks during bad economic times which causes resentment.

  13. Why do you guys keep talking to it. He’s only here to fuck up the thread.

    1. I have been preaching that to everyone for a week now, and I just forgot my stand and fed the troll.

      I hang my head in shame and plead for a chance at repentance.

    2. I’ve been asking that question for a long time.

      1. I agree they are best left ignored, but SOMETIMES MAN…..

        …..just saying.

        Shreek annoys me off more than Tony though. Tony says stuff that’s so unbelievably ridiculous that you just shake your head, except that you then realize he sounds like most of the talking head in the media.

        THIS IS WHAT THEY ACTUALLY BELIEVE.

        Whereas Shreek is just a one trick pony with the whole Christofag deal. That’s just annoying. Tony is profoundly stupid.

        1. Neither of them are anything except a character designed to suck people in to arguing with them. The Tony or shriek puppets aren’t stupid; they’re just puppets purposefully saying stuff that drives you nuts. Why would you let yourself be manipulated by a fake character? It doesn’t make sense. How can something that isn’t even real make you angry?

            1. “Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.”

              1. You know, he’s supposed to be spayed, and, uh… he ain’t that. Go ahead, ask me how I know. Go ahead. Ask me.

          1. Episiarch| 1.30.13 @ 6:27PM |#
            “Neither of them are anything except a character designed to suck people in to arguing with them”

            Evidence?

            1. How could I give you evidence? It’s not like I have their IP addresses or something. I can only give you my opinion. And based on lots of little patterns, I am 100% sure they’re sockpuppets. Trust me, I am not the only person on H&R to hold this opinion.

        2. What about BOOOSH? Or his hatred for “bushpigs,” a term which he is bizarrely proud to have invented. Or his hatred for, “Rush Limbaugh, king of the rednecks?” Or his insistence that George Soros and Warren Buffet are libertarians and/or fans of the free market? Shriek has plenty of “tricks.” His original schtick is probably still in the repertoire, but has taken a back seat to other bits that he does.

    3. I’m talking about the subject of the article. Yours and the 20 posts below you are debating whether you should talk to people who disagree with you. Who’s fucking up the thread again?

      1. I will not agree with Tony. I will not agree with Tony. I will not agree with Tony. I will not agree with Tony. I will not agree with Tony. I will not agree with Tony. I will not agree with Tony. I will not agree with Tony…

    4. I think people are answering it sheerly for the benefit of outside lurkers who might be confused as to why we don’t address his points.

      No one here is under the delusion that Tony wants any legitimate discussion or expect to actually convince him of anything. Tony’s a retarded 8 year old that likes farting into his cupped hands and holding it up to our faces for the lulz. It takes a special kind of troll to do what he does.

      1. I’m answering it because I enjoy debating people with different points of view more than nodding in agreement and patting eachother on the back for how right we are.

        It’s a point I’ve always felt that libertarians were better on than progressives.

        Are you trying to prove me wrong?

      2. ^Prop hit it on the head.^

        Feeding/Not feeding the trolls is one thing, but never underestimate the value of the collective wisdom found in the links here.

        Not saying it’s anyone’s responsibility to be the teacher, but, if you want more converts, don’t be shy to beat down the assholes from time to time.

  14. The idea of “clocking out” for breaks sounds retarded.

    1. How else do you prove to the all powerful regulatory state that you gave the required break when required and for the duration required?

  15. whether it is the role of the government to make sure business owners should be able to socialize excess risk onto the victims of their business and taxpayers instead of paying for it.

    Umm, yeah. Every fucking day.

  16. Their combined inability to grasp this relationship becomes more absurd a couple of paragraphs down when they lament the lack of paid sick leave.

    Remember the guy who rambled on about how government fucked everything up and then summarized by saying, “See? Capitalism!”

    Yeah, you lose by even trying to argue.

  17. I’ve always rankled under these requirements, even as an employee. In a previous job with which I had some latitude over my comings and goings, I quit taking lunches altogether. I figured they’d catch on eventually and I’d be reprimanded, but it’s easier to ask forgiveness etc. They never did. I left after about a year and a half having never involuntarily taken lunch.

  18. He was no longer fidgety. He was confident, not overconfident?a grownup.

    This is the worst part of a terrible, fallacious post. The smug condescension is just infuriating.

  19. Perlstein is an odd duck. His book on Goldwater was generally considered pretty good. The one on Nixon was considered good by lefties while most others weren’t impressed.

    I’m part of a private e-bulletin board made up mostly of libertarian & conservative academics. Some liberal academics & writers (v. v. similar to RP) post there sometimes. One (v.v.v. similar to RP) posted the other day that they could no longer debate with all the ill-informed people on the board who insisted government was growing (the posts he referred to were about the federal government). When several people posted & linked to data which showed the feds growing in size while state & local govts. were shrinking, even the crickets were silent.

  20. Re: Tony,

    So it’s more amendable to freedom to allow employers to forbid employees from ever taking a break?

    See how Tony the dishonest mountebank equates not wanting to pay people for not working with “forbidding”?

    Employees can take all the breaks they want. An employer can also do with his or her money anything he or she wants. What you don’t consider – because of your incredible ignorance of economics – is that employers compete for workers and have to offer better value for the labor being exchanged, which can translate to: paid vacations, breaks, bonuses, higher pay. Just like auto makers offer more and flashier bells and whistles in their cars to attract more customers, employers have to offer similar amenities to their potential workers in order to get the best of the crop.

  21. Okay, first, libertarians are not “right” and the right is not and has never been anti-government. Let’s just keep adding more confusion fuel to the fire.

  22. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Perlstein? Bernstein? Why is Reason to anti-Semitic?

  23. The real world moves everyone toward the middle. That’s why it is the middle. The “-ist”s tend to have less of their respective “-ism”, and that includes libertarianism. Some will move away from the center, but the overall trend it toward it, otherwise it would cease to be the center.

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