Libertarian History/Philosophy

The Moral Case for Freedom Is the Practical Case for Freedom

The division of human life into the moral and the practical is of recent vintage.

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If I say that a government activity — "public" schooling, perhaps, or the war on selected drug merchants and users — helps turn the inner cities into hellholes and otherwise makes people's lives miserable, is that a moral objection or a practical (utilitarian or generally consequentialist) objection?

Some libertarians are inclined to say it's a utilitarian objection, but I've long been uncomfortable with this answer. For one thing, valid or not, utilitarianism is a moral theory, so utilitarian objections cannot be excluded from the realm of moral propositions.

Leaving that aside, we must inquire whether libertarian concerns are really divisible into a concern with duties (deontology) , say, regarding individual rights and a concern with practical consequences. This is an unfortunate feature of many libertarians' thinking, but it's not confined to libertarians. In this bifurcated view of the human world, there is a list of moral dos and don'ts that are not directly related to "practical" matters, specifically, the conditions under which human beings can prosper. That strikes me as odd, if for no other reason than that in this view the "moral" side appears to outrank the "practical" side: Success is nice, but the ethical test has priority. Some libertarians often say they would favor freedom even if it did not promote good things like prosperity because people have a right to freedom that is unrelated to its consequences. (Of course, they don't believe that freedom could have bad consequences. But is that just a happy coincidence? More on this below.)

I'm hardly alone in my uneasiness with this separation. In my camp is no less a personage than Adam Smith. Look at this passage from The Wealth of Nations:

The happiness and perfection of a man, considered not only as an individual, but as the member of a family, of a state, and of the great society of mankind, was the object which the ancient moral philosophy proposed to investigate. In that philosophy, the duties of human life were treated of as subservient to the happiness and perfection of human life. But when moral, as well as natural philosophy, came to be taught only as subservient to theology, the duties of human life were treated of as chiefly subservient to the happiness of a life to come. In the ancient philosophy, the perfection of virtue was represented as necessarily productive, to the person who possessed it, of the most perfect happiness in this life. In the modern philosophy, it was frequently represented as generally, or rather as almost always, inconsistent with any degree of happiness in this life; and heaven was to be earned only by penance and mortification, by the austerities and abasement of a monk, not by the liberal, generous, and spirited conduct of a man. Casuistry, and an ascetic morality, made up, in most cases, the greater part of the moral philosophy of the schools. By far the most important of all the different branches of philosophy became in this manner by far the most corrupted.

In commenting on this passage, Tibor Machan and David Brown wrote, in "The Self-Imposed Poverty of Economics,"

Smith saw that when morality, or ethics, is conceived along lines that would be fully realized in the work of Immanuel Kant — who denied that anything done to advance one's own cause can have moral significance — moral thinking cannot embrace the virtue of prudence, or practical wisdom. (Nor can any moral virtue be construed or justified, however broadly, in relation to the acting agent's own well-being and flourishing.) But prudence — recognized as a prominent virtue indeed in the ethics of Socrates and Aristotle — would make plenty of room for an ethical conception of most economic activity.… With prudence expelled from the moral realm, however, all the economists can do to render commerce and business respectable is to collapse them, along with the rest of life, into expressions of near-bodily functions à la Hobbes.…

As we see, the division of human life into the moral and the practical is of recent vintage. Smith's reference to "ancient philosophy" is a reference to Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, for whom this chasm would be unfathomable. Moral inquiry for them was essentially an investigation into the art of living as a reasoning, language-using social being. The concern of ethics, according to Aristotle, is to learn how such a being must think and act in order to flourish individually and as a member of society; the objective is "the practical life of man as possessing reason." That's why prudence (or practical wisdom) finds a place on his list of virtues. In Rational Man: A Modern Interpretation of Aristotelian Ethics, Henry B. Veatch elaborates on why ethics may be regarded as the art of living, although, to be sure, it is an art unlike all other arts.

So I, for one, don't accept the division of the case for freedom into "the moral" and "the practical." It's a mistake, not to mention harmful to the cause. But does this mean I am a consequentialist, or utilitarian? Heavens no! The consequentialist case for freedom is too insecure. How would you feel if someone said, "I will respect your rights to life, liberty, and property so long as I calculate that doing so will produce the greatest good"? The classic monkey wrench in the utilitarian machine is the question whether one person may morally be killed so that his harvested organs may save the lives of five others?

Practically speaking, how would a utilitarian go about netting out the good and bad consequences when interpersonal comparisons of subjective utility are by their nature ruled out? Moreover, as Gary Chartier emphasizes in his book Anarchy and Legal Order, the components of an individual's well-being are disparate and incommensurable — that is, not reducible to an underlying homogeneous element.

One response is along these lines: Yes, act, or direct, utilitarianism, in which each action is to be evaluated according to whether it will produce the greatest good/happiness/pleasure, is indeed problematic. Therefore let us substitute for it rule, or indirect, utilitarianism, à la Henry Hazlitt'sThe Foundations of Morality, according to which it is rules, not acts, that are to be judged according to their tendency to create the greatest good, namely, by maximizing social cooperation.

This seems like a promising approach, but as Roderick Long points out (PDF), there's a problem: "It has often been claimed that indirect utilitarianism is unstable, and must collapse either into direct utilitarianism on the one hand or into 'rules fetishism' on the other." (David Lyons prominently advanced this "collapse" argument, and the utilitarian  J. J. C. Smart conceded the point.) In other words, a hardy rule utilitarian will follow a rule even when it is expected not to maximize good consequences — if he did otherwise, he'd be an act utilitarian. But then following the rule, not achieving maximizing the good, has become the overriding objective (regardless of why the rule was adopted initially) — and this is no longer utilitarianism. It is deontology.

Thus, utilitarianism is fatally flawed. Rejecting it, however, does not obligate one to embrace deontology, or "rules fetishism." In the Aristotelian (eudaemonist or virtue-ethics) approach, a concern with consequences is obviously justified — remember, we're interested in "the practical life of man as possessing reason" — but that concern figures in the very formulation of the virtues, just as considerations of virtue, such as justice (including respect for rights), figure in our formulation of what constitutes good consequences. Long writes,

On this view, human welfare (whether individual or general) and justice are conceptually interrelated, with neither concept being basic but each depending in part on the other (and all the other virtues) for its content, just as Aristotle defines virtue and human flourishing in terms of one another. [For details, see Long's important article "Why Does Justice Have Good Consequences?"]

Finally, both sides of the artificial moral-practical divide need each other if the strongest case for freedom is to be proffered. Long writes in the aforementioned paper,

Most people are unlikely to find the deontological case for a given course of action compelling so long as they believe it would have terrible consequences; likewise, they are equally unlikely to find the consequentialist case compelling so long as they believe that the action violates human dignity, or equality, or liberty.

But there's more to this than strategic considerations, Long adds, because

In real life, one rarely finds members of either camp relying solely on a single set of considerations. It is a rare moral or political polemic indeed that does not include both consequentialist and deontological arguments.…

Whatever they may say officially, most consequentialists would be deeply disturbed to discover that their favoured policies slighted human dignity, and most deontologists would be deeply disturbed to discover that their favoured policies had disastrous consequences.

This "suggests that most professed deontologists and consequentialists are actually, to their credit, crypto-eudaemonists," Long writes elsewhere.

This is a big subject about which much has been written. Thus, lots more could be said. I hope I've said enough for now to justify seeing the moral and practical cases for freedom as one and the same.

(Gary Chartier was immensely helpful in my effort to think through these matters. Of course, any missteps are mine alone.)

This column originally appeared on the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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  1. So, intentions are only good if acting on them results in success?

    For the proggie, having good intentions is the desired outcome. They really are puritans at heart.

    1. The run of the mill prog wants to be seen as having good intentions. The people who are actually at the top, the Elizabeth Warrens and the like, just yearn for power.

      1. The power hungry types are out there for sure. But Warren strikes me as one of the type who genuinely have good intentions. Her motivation is be perceived as being a resolute fighter for all the ignorant things she believes are true. She’s a genuine idiot.

        1. Would a well-intentioned person lie about being a native American and, thereby, displace a genuine native American’s from his or her rightful affirmative action slot?

          1. Yeah, why not? A person who believes their intentions are pure are the most capable of genocide.

            1. Yeah. It’s not like a ‘real Indian’ will be able to fight the good fight. If anything, she’s doing her tribe a favor!

        2. While I won’t dispute that Warren is an idiot, I’d suggest that she strikes me as less motivated by a desire for the good than a hatred of what she perceives as the ungood. And anyone who disagrees with her must be double-plus ungood.

  2. Which of the following describes ostracism of somebody who posts something akin to “hello” solely to be the first poster:

    a) moralsm;
    b) utilitarianism;
    c) consequentialism

    1. Petulance?

      “The real test of good manners is to be able to put up with bad manners pleasantly.”

      – I forget who and I am too lazy to look it up.

      1. I was just trying to come up with a witty way of being first. And your goddamn fingers beat me to the punch anyway! [/sarcasm]

        1. Witty trumps first. You did well.

    2. Hello.

  3. Hope we get a post about the NYT assessment of Benghazi. I haven’t read it yet, so no idea how strong their evidence is.

      1. “I suspect that the Times story tells us more about Hillary Clinton’s assessment of the threat Benghazi poses to her likely 2016 run for president than it does about what happened in Benghazi.”

        Yep.

    1. They said it’s a phony scandal, you Bush-worshipping peanut.

      1. Emulation of shreeek requires MOAR CHRISTFAG!

    2. I can’t say whether al-Qaeda, whatever that meant in 2012, had anything to do with Benghazi. But I’m certain that it had nothing to do with a stupid video. It’s really a shame that the NYT would trot that lie out again.

      1. They did it to give the left a base from which to argue….

        “It’s a well-proven fact that Benghazi was about a video, just like the president claimed…”

        They will cite the Times article again and again until the opposition figures it’s too much work to discredit the article every time they try to bring up Benghazi. Hence, Benghazi will die on the vine as an issue discrediting Hillary.

        1. Errrrr, Whitewater?.she has learned from her lessons?.

  4. This reminds me of arguments about people who are famous for being famous once everyone has forgotten why they were ever famous.
    Also, things that are considered fancy. My mother in law makes a face about using yellow mustard instead of brown mustard or dijon. She will rave over the results, but will not use the recipe.

    1. They serve yellow mustard at ball parks and pool halls!

    2. I am not sure why dijon is considered ‘fancier’ than yellow mustard. Yellow is not fancy because it is more common?

      Similar mentality with things that are old. Somehow, as things age they magically acquire value? An acquaintance has a bentwood chair. She wont let anyone sit in it. It is a cheap chair but she absolutely treasures it. When I tell her that she should replace it with one identical to it, that those chairs are still made with the same materials in exactly the same fashion she exclaims ” But that one is over 60 years old!”

      Huh?

      1. In a 1,000 years someone will be called a smug prick for daring to doubt the “self-evident” existence of Xenu.

      2. I can understand why people like old things. There used to be a covered bridge in the town I grew up in. It was badly in need of fresh paint and it was one lane, so sometimes traffic would back up as cars took turns crossing. A few years back it was replaced with a concrete and steel two lane bridge.

        As covered bridges go, this one wasn’t anything special. The new bridge does a much better job of being a bridge. And yet I was sad to see the old one go. I can’t come up with a good reason why other than to say that it made me feel a sense of connection to the past. I’m hardly a ludite, and I know I’m romanticizing the past that bridge was connected to, but damn it, I liked it all the same.

        1. Nostalgia does have a value to people. Nothing revolutionary or wrong with that.

          I lament the paved streets in my town that sit directly atop the old cobblestone streets. Every time they repave, they dig down to the cobblestone and for a month or two our city streets are cobblestone again, which looks romantic as fuck. Then they cover it up with poorly made and poorly installed concrete again.

      3. I am not sure why dijon is considered ‘fancier’ than yellow mustard.

        Horseradish!

      4. My mother went hog wild for family antiques a while back. Got rid of some really nice furniture and replaced it with all the family antiques, many of which are just plain crap.

        And the best mustard is Colman’s Mustard Powder.

        1. I use all sorts of mustard – including Colman’s.

          1. I like Colemans. Burns like hell.

        1. I don’t like Grey Poop on my food. I’m familiar with ostriches.

      5. CocaCola use to be considered a fancy treat.

        I blame the removal of Cocaine from its recipe….that or the price went down and its availability went up.

      6. All value is subjective, and none more so than art…. but lots of old stuff isn’t worth anything – those old things which have much greater market value than would be assumed by checking against averages for a like item, without respect to its age, maker, use, etc.

        & I think objectively speaking, art which is still read, listened to, watched, still performed, etc, etc, scores of years after its original release should be priced higher for that reason.

        Not that’s it’s always 100% true… but I’m saying longevity itself has a subjective value which isn’t necessarily easy to calculate, but always greater than zero.

        & I say this because regardless of how great something was at the time, fads always fade (see Beanie Babies). Great works do not.

        & FWIW – the same is true in a large sense in science and other things – a theory which cannot be proven becomes assumed true so long as the model itself is still accurate.

        & this remains true even though the only constant in life is that every thing we once thought was true and factual has turned out to not be and nothing at this point in human history demonstrates we will be any different.

        Even Issac Newton was wrong, even though, IMO, much smarter than Einstein who proved him wrong.

        But as Newton said, which is true for Einstein and all humans, “If I have seen further than others, it is only because I stand on the shoulders of giants”….but I’ve digress… or maybe in this case devolved… too may words – new goal – brevity.

        1. All that & I didn’t finish the first paragraph… I suck… but here:

          All value is subjective, and none more so than art…. but lots of old stuff isn’t worth anything – those old things which have much greater market value than would be assumed by checking against averages for a like item, without respect to its age, maker, use, etc, usually have longevity associated with them or historical significance.

          Like handmade desks from 200 years ago by whoever was the most famous desk maker at the time – high value. Desk made 200 years ago – just standard one, but used as a writing desk for the Declaration of Independence – high value.

          A handmade desk from 200 years ago made by no one of significance – worth what an old handmade desk is worth, depending upon shape, craftsmanship, etc, etc, etc, with maybe 10% more for age. Though since things have been and are being made better over time, possibly less.

  5. You thought Healthcare.gov was bad? Department of Transportation can’t find 70% of their computers.

    DOT’s 13 OAs manage the Department’s 454 information systems. DOT relies on these systems to carry out its mission, including safe air traffic control operations, preventing unqualified drivers from obtaining commercial driver’s licenses, and identifying safety defects in vehicles.

    DOT Has Not Fully Complied With Configuration Standards
    To test DOT compliance, we selected a statistical sample of 994 of 79,759 computers from all OAs, but OAs could not locate 712 of the 994. Based on this, we estimate that OAs could not find 56,376, or 70.7 percent, of the Department’s 79,759 computers

    . This is an increase of 14.3 percentage points from 2012’s 56.4 percent.

    “We need this system to insure that planes don’t crash into each other, but we can’t actually locate 70% of the necessary computers.”

    1. Here’s another winner from the full report.

      According to the report, there are 372 DOT personnel who require specialized security training. How many of those people actually received the required training? According to the table, 10.

      10 out of a required 372. 2.7%.

      1. Truly, there are some things that only big government can accomplish.

        1. THEY WERE UNDERFUNDED!

          1. Obviously SEKWESTER!

        2. It was the obstructionist’s!

      2. Time until a certain someone blames all of this on Reagan? Or does he have the day off?

        1. It’s probably reviewing it’s notes from BCE’s little show two threads back.

          1. Wow, did he really write this:

            2. SOME immigration policy is federal, but as I noted the executive does not have a ‘free hand’ politically in this area.

            Just. Damn. At that point it is better to admit you have lost the argument than to continue to make a fool out of yourself.

    2. “We need this system to insure that planes don’t crash into each other, but we can’t actually locate 70% of the necessary computers.”

      I’m sorry….I’ve been reading Command and Control…a sprightly yarn about just how screwed up and haphazard the deployment and protection of nuclear weapons were from the 50’s to the 80’s!

      Nothing the DOT does or doesn’t do has any power to scare or disturb me.

      1. And yet, planes don’t crash into each other. Can we call it a win and get rid of the DoT?

        1. Can we call it a win and get rid of the DoT?

          From your lips to gods ear…

  6. Has anybody discussed this brain fart at Salon yet?

    Why I fled libertarianism ? and became a liberal

    1. Touched on briefly during another thread yesterday. The article didn’t gain much traction with the commentariat.

      1. Thx. Not surprising, I guess. Some fruit is hanging so low that it’s already rotting on the ground.

        1. Teh gays will be up in something about that one.

    2. 1100 comments at Salon.

      I read about 4 paragraphs and decided the author never was a libertarian to start with.

      I have been too afraid to dive into the comments at Salon.

      1. I have been too afraid to dive into the comments at Salon.

        The stench…..It never washes off!

      2. That’s why they do it. Salon is losing money and is far less relevant even than Slate. As a result, they need to publish these ridiculous link bait articles.

        They’re also the ones who published those idiotic Michael Lind articles on the same topic.

        They know that if they run these smug and moronic articles about libertarians, then the progs that still read Salon will work themselves into a lather and they will be linked to by dozens of libertarian blogs. You then end up with a flame war in the comments which drives page views.

        It’s flat out trolling, and people keep giving them the page views that their trollish hearts desire.

        1. I was actually a paid subscriber a decade or so ago. It used to be an interesting mix of tech and counter-culture articles with a little liberal politics thrown in. Then it became just another appendage of the DNC.

          1. The anus is an appendage?

            1. A ;prolapsed one like Salon is.

              1. You just had to fucking go there, didn’t you?

          2. I was a subscriber for a year about the same time as well. It’s been impossible for me to have a favorable opinion of the Left since then.

            1. The editorial staff started to loose their minds during the impeachment proceedings and then went completely bonkers when the Supreme Court ended Gore’s legal challenges to the election.

        2. I think this:

          In my experience, most seemed to be poor, white and undereducated.

          Proves your point that these are nothing more than ridiculous link bait articles.

          As if libertarians ideas are truly stupid, childish, evil, etc, etc, etc – would it matter if only successful rich, non-white people, mostly believed in it?

          Upon further reflection though – they are being consistent as many liberals, it actually would matter who believed in it.

          Just as Bush was evil for going to war with authorization from UN & Congress, but Obama is our savior for muderdroning wedding parties with zero oversight by any open legal authority, nor any transparency to allow Americans the ability to use their vote to show agreement or opposition in the policy (even as the UN starts to ask serious questions about it).

          So in the end – regardless of how much they claim otherwise – anyone who believes this honestly believes that the “right” answers can only come from the “right” people.

          Therefore, logically, if Obama and many others started to proclaim libertarian ideals to be the perfect way forward, they would have to change their minds as well.

          After all, the one thing they really, really fear is being ostracized. For them, losing team membership in the “right” group would be worse than death.

      3. Check out the Fark comments.

        1. Wow! An absolute classic….and only five comments in we have this gem:

          If you actually believed in maximizing personal freedom you’d be in favor of a strong central government with transparent (and functional) checks and balances and ed-emphasis of laissez-faire economics through increased regulation and a well funded, comprehensive social safety net……basically the opposite of what the libertarian party advocates.

          This poor chap doesn’t leave the group home unless he’s on his leash.

          1. If you actually believed in maximizing personal freedom you’d be in favor of a strong central government with transparent (and functional) checks and balances and ed-emphasis of laissez-faire economics through increased regulation

            I’m always amazed at how little progressives know about the words they use. Japan (with its 220% debt to GDP ratio) is secretly neo-liberal! Increased regulation is laissez-faire! A strong central government maximizes liberty!

            1. Doublethink: It’s not just for Orwell anymore!

            2. I think he made a type and it meant to write – de-emphasis instead of ed-emphasis

              1. ….and his comment is even worse with your correction.

                1. Agreed, but it is proper english – even though it’s a retarded belief.

          2. Well, if you define “personal freedom” as being able to sit on your own ass and force other people to subsidize your worthless existence, then yeah, he’s pretty much spot on.

      4. The moron writer probably heard Bill Maher say he was a libertarian. Since he, too, was attracted to hookers and blow, he thought that made him a libertarian, too.

    3. Has anybody discussed this brain fart at Salon yet?

      Twice.

      It astounds me that you guys can peruse that site without stroking out.

    4. That article is just pure fallacy. I have high blood pressure so it literally shortened my life to read it. The author was obviously never a libertarian if he arrives at the conclusion that libertarianism is about being pro-poverty and and pro-starving children. I think he claimed to be a libertarian just to bolster his claims about how evil libertarianism. This sort of thing is standard operating procedure for liberals/progs since their ideology has no intellectual leg to stand on.

      1. Why in the blithering fuck do people call public roads a “gift”? Did no one get paid to bulid them?

    5. Man, go somewhere if you don’t like libertarianism but to fall into the liberal camp? That’s just plain idiotic.

    6. Yeah.

      His argument uses Marxist false consciousness.

      In my experience, most seemed to be poor, white and undereducated. They were contortionists, justifying the excesses of the capitalist elite, despite being victims if libertarian politics succeed.

      He did not become a liberal he became a communist.

    7. I have to agree that this guy was never really a libertarian.

      However it is say that the only parts of the libertarian movement he came into contact with ate the Tea Party and the freakier elements of the Ron Paul movement.

      If he has encountered CATO/Reason libertarians, then he might have noticed that many of us are creeped out by exactly the same elements of the Tea Party that he is.

      That still wouldn’t explain why he thinks it’s self-evident that the government is “supposed” to step in to help people in a recession though. I think this is a guy from a right-wing background who progressed through a confused pseudo-libertarian phase without actually understanding libertarianism at all.

      1. sorry for typos.

      2. That was the biggest part of his screed that I didn’t remotely understand. I realize how exposure to some of the loonier elements of the Ron Paul movement might give one the willies, but thinking the lesson of the Great Depression is that government is supposed to help people shows either a complete ignorance or willful disregard of the lack of evidence that all of the programs put on by the Hoover and Roosevelt administration did anything. Indeed, there’s substantial evidence that the programs made the bad situation worse.

        1. Indeed, there’s substantial evidence that the programs made the bad situation worse.

          While true, liberals love FDR so much, I think they’re actively incapable of believing he did anything wrong.

          Actually, one of my wishes for the future it to see FDR’s presidency written about more accurately to include:

          1) His third election seen as an ego-fueled break with long held traditions, and a failure of the American public to see it.

          As he lied to the American people repeatedly about all kinds of things – including his health, which is very relevant when deciding his ability to serve.

          2) Also about entering WWII – he repeatedly told the American public that we were not going, while he was writing letters to our allies stating emphatically that we will join the fight.

          3) He lied about Pearl Harbor and many things that happened during the war.

          4) He threatened to increase the number of SCOTUS justices, because he knew his policies were unConstitutional (equivalent to a mayor breaking the law and when the police start investigating, threatening to increase the number of leaders to force a refocusing of resources).

          I honestly don’t know what it is about FDR specifically, but even if you ignore the fact his economics policies must likely harmed more than they helped, and are still harming us today, he repeatedly lied to the American public on several significant and relevant issues.

          But at least I can say “told you so” when they are forced to join me.

          1. strike last sentence – I should sleep….

  7. Anyone making fun of pyjama boy is doing so because they hate Jewish people.

    Interestingly ? and seemingly overlooked in the ensuing media hubbub ? the ad campaign’s actual purpose was to get those millennials to talk to their families about healthcare. The assumption being that twenty-somethings are more plugged-in than their parents to the details of the Affordable Care Act. Which they probably are.

    Bullshit. As a 20-something, my generation is fucking stupid. There is no way the average 25 year old knows more about Obamacare than their parents.

    This is an old, old motif.
    The Jew is the Other is the Effeminate is the Liberal. He is the urbanite, the parasite, the usurer, the lawyer. His effeminacy corrupts the Volk or the Heartland or the real American values. He wouldn’t know how to drive a pick-up truck if it was on cruise control. And he definitely votes for Obama.

    You see, even though no one actually said anything anti-semetic, people clearly only made fun of this nitwit because America is on the verge of sticking Jews in concentration camps.

    I’m really getting sick of these ridiculous martyr complexes that just about everyone seems to have at this point.

    1. … because America is on the verge of sticking Jews in concentration camps.

      Every time time someone criticizes a jew I think we’re that much closer to this happening…..I’m surprised it isn’t obvious to you.

      /concern troll

    2. The Jew is the Other is the Effeminate is the Liberal. He is the urbanite, the parasite, the usurer, the lawyer. His effeminacy corrupts the Volk or the Heartland or the real American values. He wouldn’t know how to drive a pick-up truck if it was on cruise control. And he definitely votes for Obama.

      This is really funny to me. There’s a jewish family lives down the road. He’s a raw boned 6’6″ farmer who drives a used-to-be-red 1970-ish F-350 with a flat bed on it. She’s the first person on your doorstep asking if you need anything after the hurricane passes. They worked for Sarvis in the last election, and for Ron Paul whenever they got the chance.
      You might say we get along.

      1. My close Jewish friends have asked me to run for office after many, many rants on the government in general.

        I refuse out of principle, but yeah – Jews aren’t as a whole liberals, though a large percentage do vote Democrat, I think that’s about shared sympathies with other minorities maligned in the past than policy, it’s not 80 or 90% or anything crazy.

        As a matter of fact, orthodox Jews tend to vote strict conservative…

        Not that facts matter for this idiot… just sayin’

    3. These people have so successfully propagated the notion that to be urbane one must be a twink that they now think the two are synonymous.

      It makes you wish that Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra could rise from the grave to machine gun them.

    4. “His effeminacy corrupts the Volk…”

      Godwin over pajama boy? Jesus.

      1. It’s hard to avoid when you’re on an anti-Semite riff.

    5. They really need to get out more if they think “effeminate” is the worst thing that is said about Jewish people.

      Or is it that they don’t care about actual anti-semitism, victimhood is just their first line of defense anytime their viewpoint is challenged.

      1. ding ding ding

    6. Somebody somewhere said that he “looked Jewish,” so the whole group of criticizers is tainted.

      1. You’re just saying that because you yearn to shove Pajama Boy in an oven in defense of Blood and Soil.

        Ein volk, Ein Reich, Ein Pajama Boy!

        1. With how many hobby farmers we have around here, you’d see a lot of Pajama Boys shoved into ovens in defense of our soil.

      2. I was wondering where the jewish thing came from.

    7. The assumption being that twenty-somethings are more plugged-in than their parents to the details of the Affordable Care Act. Which they probably are.

      Yeah right. Punk assed bitches on mommy’s health insurance know more about it than their parents who actual buy it.

    8. I never thought of the pj boy as being a Jew. I thought pj boy was going home for Christmas to talk about health care, and I don’t recall any menorahs or stars of David.

    9. The only person drawing from stereotypes about Jews is this author, which is ironic when you see the number of commentators who eat this shit up.

    10. He’s Jewish?

      Who fucking cares?

      A punchable face is a punchable face in any nationality or religion.

      1. He’s the Jew going home for Christmas.

    11. Bullshit. As a 20-something, my generation is fucking stupid. There is no way the average 25 year old knows more about Obamacare than their parents.

      Damn, dude. I thought you were in your 50s. Grumpy old man syndrome FTW!

      I think laziness, stupidity, and mindless self-absorption span generations. I brought up Edward Snowden to a professional acquaintance the other day, and his no shit response was “Who?”

      1. It’s not laziness, it’s that individual votes don’t matter. Your average American knows which channel ESPN is or how much his favorite Subway sandwich costs because that’s something that matters within the marketplace, but politics is like the tides. It just happens, so why invest a lot of time learning something irrelevant like the names of the three branches of government?

        God help us. Back to building the bomb shelter, see you guys after the apocalypse.

    12. Isn’t hanging around in your red and green PJs in your festively decorated living room drinking coffee during Christmas a Christian thing to do?

    13. I was encouraged by the comments, which with rare exception were a long list of people telling the author he’s an idiot.

  8. The hipster douchebag racetrollers on MSNBC are outdoing themselves, this morning.

    It pains them to think Republicans have daughters who will not be brought up as members of the Church of the Perpetually Aggrieved.

  9. Which of the following describes ostracism of somebody who posts something akin to “hello” solely to be the first poster:

    Sour Grape Drank -ism

    1. Grape drank!?

      RACIST!

    2. It’s not grape, it’s PURPLE.

  10. Hope we get a post about the NYT assessment of Benghazi.

    I just turned to Meet the Press, and this is the topic. Apparently, if it’s in the NYT, it’s indisputably true. So, IN YER FACE, Darrell Issa!
    LEAVE SUSAN RICE ALOOOOOONE!

    1. Just stop it Brooks….I prefer my Idiocracy at a slower pace on the final weekend of regular season football.

  11. Hey, you know the wonderful Romneycare Massachusetts law that was basically expanded to cover the entire United States?

    Massachusetts has the highest health care costs in the country.

    Massachusetts, whose health care reform program was used as a template for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, had the highest per capita health spending in the U.S. in 2009. According to the commission’s report, the state spent $9,278 per person on health care in 2009, which was 36 percent higher than the national average of $6,815, and 11.2 percent more than the next-highest state, New York, which spent $8,341.

    WHOOOOOO! Enjoy the collapse, ladies and gentlemen.

    1. Since it was law was written by government officials who did not know what they were doing in combination with Insurance employees who did know they wanted to maximize income then the outcome is not surprising.

    2. Liberals don’t really give a flying crap about the cost of health care, and they never have. Their main concern is turning it into another vehicle for welfare and redistribution.

      1. The don’t give a flying crap about the efficacy of the law either. They only care that they satiated their need to feel charitable and well-intentioned. Modern liberalism is purely irrational, and when you try to reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into, you’re going to fail more likely than not

        1. I swear to fucking Science that the other day my brother said “we are already paying for it”. He claimed that since emergency care is subsidized we will all save money because now those who are subsidized will have insurance and go to a doctor instead of the emergency room.

          When I asked him why they wouldn’t just go to the emergency room when it costs them nothing either way? He said, “what’s wrong with doing the right thing?”.

          He is my brother and I love him but damn, collectivism rots the brain.

          1. Yes, there’s nothing like adding several layers of government bureaucracy to keep the costs down!

    3. Irish, my friend from Boston thinks Mass. care is the best in the land. It don’t bother him none.

      Incidentally, I heard one of the architects behind Romneycare talk to Howie Carr last month about the increasing rising costs tied to red tape and that Mass. will have to nip that in the bud or suffer long-term financial issues.

      Erm, right. A state run by Democrats and liberal orthodoxy is gonna control costs. Right.

      I think Romneycare is gonna become Runawaycostscare soon enough.

      1. That’s when the rationing begins to kick in.

        1. Yeah – and that’s sure to work – just as it did for the Big Dig.

          Though as others have amply noted, new super intelligent Americans don’t care about facts all that much.

  12. David Gregory: We’d love to have Edward Snowden right here, at this table, for an interview.

    No mention of manacles or orange jumpsuits.

    1. Well, since he’d be here strictly in the interest of journalism and would clearly not be presenting a danger to anyone, Snowden would be safe from arrest. That’s how it works in DC, right Gregory?

      1. What, Gregory and his network can’t afford tickets to Moscow? What a fucking shit-stain.

        1. Either that or a webcam. It’s not that hard to interview someone anywhere in the world, or even in space, who is lined to the internet.

          1. If I were Snowden I would decline.

            You can hear some of the questions right now:

            “Mr Snowden – some people claim you’re a hero, do you think you’re a real hero?”

            & other BS.

            While he may want another outlet to say a few things he hasn’t yet said (beyond NSA docs yet to released), I think he’d refuse.

            As I’m pretty sure he’s got some help to navigate some of these things and if they and him combined have any reasonable understanding of current US cult politics, they wouldn’t willingly sign up to be willfully distorted and personally attacked from most major media in the US (tv, newsprint, all of it).

  13. Hollywood’s antii-statist year:

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/bro…..ainst.html

    1. Love the bullpup SBRs the six Sturmtruppen are carrying. They look a lot like the P-90, but without any sign of sights or optics.

    2. I read it, waiting for an idea, or a thesis. And then it abruptly ended. Cut to black.

      1. The only thesis is that pop culture has shifted from state-worship to cynicism about the state.

        Which is a good thing.

    3. I recently watched the desolation of smaug and (minor spoiler alert) found the entire lake town scene to be a huge jab at the state. With all the “real” weapons of the town locked up in the armory, out of reach of normal citizens, and the master’s assistant bickering to Bard about him only having a license to load empty barrels onto his barge, not barrels with fish. There were other examples too, but I can’t remember them all.

  14. But when moral, as well as natural philosophy, came to be taught only as subservient to theology, the duties of human life were treated of as chiefly subservient to the happiness of a life to come.

    This is really the chief flaw in Kant, bigger even than the many flaws attacked (from different angles) by Nietzsche and Rand: that it relies on the prestige of a morality rooted in a theology based on afterlife reward, while claiming to disdain the reward.

    Kant’s premise – that an act cannot be moral if one benefits from it – is just the ultimate extension of the Augustinian principle that morality consists of denying this world in order to be with Christ in the next world. But the next world has to be there, and has to have the reward to offer, to make that formula make any sense.

    Kant tries to maintain that morality without the afterlife reward, by placing moral ideals in a noumenal realm – but then specifies that we can never interact with that noumenal realm in any way. But if we can’t interact with it, who gives a shit?

    This is why so many theists are deadly afraid that without an afterlife reward system to offer the proles, there will be anarchy and rivers of blood – because they are so used to the notion that moral behavior can’t ever be related to happiness in this life. But that is an incredibly parochial view historically.

      1. Speak up, will you? I Kant understand you.

      2. No he didn’t, but it would be an easy mistake to make, since the world is filled with philosophy PhDs who can’t agree on whatever the hell it was that Kant was talking about.

        But this is also a popular claim among the Austrian/anarchist crowd: Kant wasn’t nonsensical, you just don’t understand him.

        Kant *was* completely full of shit, but his abhorrent scholasticism makes him attractive to people who think philosophy isn’t supposed to be intelligible anyway. Kant’s “noumenal world” is obviously contrived; if it is unknowable, how the hell does Kant claim to know about it? The “noumenal world” is actually a scholastic recycling of Plato’s supernatural world of forms, and Kant’s fake “analytic-synthethic dichotomy” is just a recycling of Hume’s arbitrary division between facts and logic.

        1. I never understood Hegel.

          Always reminded me of Uncle Giggles for some reason.

          1. Yeah, Hegel makes Kant look almost plausible by comparison. But without Kant’s divorce of reason from reality, you could not have quacks like Hegel (or Marx, or Heidegger, or the pragmatists or the logical positivists or the existentialists or the postmodernists, etc.).

            Kant really is the turning point in modern philosophy. If philosophy is to be rescued from the degeneracy to which it has fallen, it is Kant (and Hume, Plato, and Heraclitus) who have to be challenged and refuted (which is what Ayn Rand did).

    1. “This is why so many theists are deadly afraid that without an afterlife reward system to offer the proles, there will be anarchy and rivers of blood – because they are so used to the notion that moral behavior can’t ever be related to happiness in this life. But that is an incredibly parochial view historically.”

      Obviously denying the ability of humanity to live morally absent the carrot/stick of the afterlife.
      Similarly, progs deny that same ability absent the coercion of government; both are ‘religious’ in that regard, requiring humanity to have a ‘faith’ in some authority to become moral.
      The moral agency of the individual is anathema to both.

  15. Dumbest media quotes of 2013:

    http://www.mrc.org/notable-quo…..013?cat=15

    1. We need to redouble our efforts to make America stronger and healthier so it remains a vibrant counterexample to whatever bigoted ideology may have gripped these young men….And the best place to start is with a carbon tax.”

      Oh Friedman…you’ve done it again…..

      1. Friedman should just copy things from the Thomas Friedman Op-Ed Generator. A computer randomly generating Op-Eds makes more sense then Friedman.

        http://thomasfriedmanopedgenerator.com/about.php

        And remember this guy appears in the MSM as someone worth listening too.

        1. Friedman should just copy things from the Thomas Friedman Op-Ed Generator.

          Now to be fair….we don’t know that he doesn’t. Someone should write a paper…“On the Nature of Recursive Stupidity: the Political Philosophy of Tom Friedman”

      2. This one made me laugh:

        “This has become a kind of conventional wisdom ? that the Republican Party has gone so far right, Reagan himself wouldn’t fit in….Ronald Reagan was an anti-government, union-busting, race-baiting, anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-intellectual, who cut rich people’s taxes in half, had an incurable case for the military-industrial complex, and said Medicare was socialism that would destroy our freedom. Sounds to me like he would fit in just fine….Both sides really should stop pretending he was something other than the man most responsible for our decline.”

        Really? Do progressives just not remember that the 1970’s existed?

        There’s information on that period all over the place.

        In the winter of ’72/ ’73, Burns was soon worried about inflation. In 1973, it more than doubled to 8.8%. Later in the decade, it would go to 12%. By 1980, inflation was 14%. Was the United States about to become a Weimar Republic? Some actually thought that the great inflation was a good thing.

        There was also 10% unemployment at the time. The western world was in serious jeopardy of being dissolved in a sea of hyperinflation and Reagan and Thatcher probably saved their countries by clamping down on inflation. Thatcher in particular gave Britain another few decades of serious growth when it looked like they were destitute.

        1. During the Carter years, the misery index (inflation plus unemployment) was over 20%.

          1. That’s fucking nothing. During the pre-Thatcher years in Britain inflation alone reached 25% in 1975. They also had 5% unemployment, giving us a solid misery index of 30%.

            I read an article from a lefty recently that was actually trying to defend the late 70’s American stagflation. He attempted to claim that because there was a large increase in the work force in the 70’s, high unemployment was inevitable. As a result, the high inflation kept unemployment from being even worse, and was a boon to the American economy.

            This ignores a few things:

            1. Increase in workforce size doesn’t result in higher unemployment because some of those people will start their own businesses. The increase in workforce size therefore increases demand for labor as well as supply and shouldn’t cause higher unemployment.

            2. If that’s the case, then why did Britain also experience stagflation? They didn’t have the same increase in the labor force that America did. The fact that we both experienced stagflation implies that we had similar policies that resulted in the problem.

            There is nothing so mendacious that a leftist will not say it.

            1. That’s fucking nothing.

              I wasn’t living in Britain trying to raise two kids on the income from the only shit job that I could find.

            2. I’ve read that 70s high inflation transferred wealth from rich to middle class because mortgages were devalued so quickly, as houses increased in value much faster than loan rates, something like that.

              1. Uh, no.

                Mortgage rates skyrocketed, well over 10%. You needed to make 50K a year to qualify for a 50K mortgage (I made 18.5K in 1981 doing skilled labor).

                Loan assumptions became all the rage. You would cash out someone’s equity and then keep paying the original loan at 3% or 4%. It was the only way anyone could afford to buy a house. So the price of old houses went up while new construction stagnated.

                They were really shitty times. The Obama years are bringing back lots of terrible memories.

                1. The Obama Years still aren’t as bad as the late 70’s. Imagine if we had the economic situation we have today, but gasoline price controls were also leading to massive gas shortages.

                  There would be riots.

                  1. “There would be riots.”

                    They’d be holding signs saying “Bush Made Him Do It!”

                  2. The Obama Years still aren’t as bad as the late 70’s. Imagine if we had the economic situation we have today, but gasoline price controls were also leading to massive gas shortages.

                    There would be riots.

                    I don’t think so. People still think rationing was a logical response to shortages, not the other way around.

                2. I think the argument was that middle class tend to have salaries that keep up with inflation, but the rich have to invest their money as it is losing value and they tend have their wealth diminished as they lend to the middle class, whereas the middle class wealth in the form of home equity increases.

                  1. I think the argument was that middle class tend to have salaries that keep up with inflation

                    Unless they’re formerly middle class people who lost their jobs due to 10% unemployment and are now having their savings gutted by 12% inflation.

                    1. Yeah, well it was in a book about the Federal Reserve, it was a lefty perspective but many years ago and I didn’t know anything about the Fed. In fact it was before people paid much attention to the Fed.

                    2. Which reminds me, no one paid any attention to the Fed before lightbringer Greenspan became a household name. No one in daily life talked about Volcker back in the 80s that I can recall.

                    3. No one in daily life talked about Volcker back in the 80s that I can recall.

                      I don’t remember while he was in office but I remember reading shortly afterward that the fed had “strangled inflation” with high interest rates.

                      Both inflation and interest rates were in the teens. I remember having a neighbor, who had good credit, who had a 14% mortgage!

                    4. Unless they’re formerly middle class people who lost their jobs due to 10% unemployment and are now having their savings gutted by 12% inflation.

                      I think the point was that it was the rich who’s savings were gutted whereas the middle class was gaining in equity.

                      Even if there was some truth to it, it doesn’t take into account that wealth creation and jobs are dependent on a low stable interest rate. Wealth equality claptrap.

              2. It transferred it from creditors to debtors, that’s for sure.

                1. My 12:10 was a reply to SP’s

                  “I’ve read that 70s high inflation transferred wealth from rich to middle class because mortgages were devalued so quickly, as houses increased in value much faster than loan rates, something like that.”

    2. What, no love for:

      “What is Reagan’s real legacy?…He deregulated industries, eroded environmental standards, defiantly ripping down the solar panels that Jimmy Carter had put on the White House roof, weakened the middle class, busted unions, heightened the racial divides, widened the gap between rich and poor….As far as Reagan’s much-vaunted role in winning the Cold War, the lion’s share of credit goes to Mikhail Gorbachev ? a true visionary and, it turns out, the real democrat.”

      1. Well, the local community college has certainly done a fine job indoctrinating this mush-headed sad sack.

        Notice he doesn’t even mention Reagan’s deficits, no doubt because Obama’s managed to outdo the old man in that regard by orders of magnitude.

    3. Not to say nothing, but Palin is correct.

      Excessive debt IS slavery.

      1. Excessive debt IS slavery.

        Which our founding fathers agreed with – which is why debt cannot be transferred upon death to kin, and why debtors’ prison didn’t/doesn’t exist in the US, and one of the main reasons for bankruptcy laws championed by Benjamin Franklin and others.

        But Palin is a stupid, redneck loser and Obama is uber genius – so there’s that.

  16. Political paralysis in Washington is an embarassment to the world.

    Oh, okay.

  17. And the best place to start is with a carbon tax.

    WTF?

    I never even bother to read Richman’s turgid navelgazing.

  18. Oops- I see that quote was not Richman’s, but rather T Friedman (I assume). If I had read the post, I might have known that.

  19. Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher has suffered a head injury while skiing in Meribel, France.

    1. What does the ‘B’ in Benoit B Mandelbrot stand for?

      Benoit B Mandelbrot.

      Nice.

      1. That’s fucking awesome – sending to my Pa.

  20. A friend of a friend posted on Facebook yesterday that owning a gun was irresponsible. I said “good to know I am not a responsible citizen”. The guy then as what my reasoning was for owning a gun. My answer: “feminism”. I love throwing that shit back at them. They expect women to be perpetual victims waiting on authority figures to rescue them.

    1. You should check on the guy/gal Kristen….they’re probably still in the fetal position…suffering from an inability to reconcile the two concepts.

    2. My answer: “feminism”.

      Thanks for making me laugh out loud early on a Sunday morning.
      Usually not very easy to do.

  21. Sounds like a solid plan to me dude.

    http://www.BeinAnon.tk

  22. The guy then as what my reasoning was for owning a gun.

    KKKRAZY.

    duh

  23. They expect women to be perpetual victims waiting on authority figures to rescue them.

    Better to die on your knees, et c…

  24. OBEY

    Connecticut gun owners are rushing to register certain firearms and ammunition that will be considered illegal contraband in the new year.

    ———-

    Michael Lawlor, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s undersecretary for criminal justice, predicted a flood of registrations over the final days of 2013.

    “It sounds like a lot of these folks were holding off on doing it in anticipation of a potential decision or something,” Lawlor said, referring to pending legal challenges to the state law, which expanded the definition of assault weapons in Connecticut to include more banned weapons. The law also bans the sale or purchase of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Like the newly defined assault weapons, existing magazines can be kept so long as they’re registered with the state.

    “One thing is clear,” Lawlor said. “If you haven’t registered it, on the following day, it is completely illegal contraband” starting on Jan. 1.

    That last law was completely ineffectual, but we’ll get it right this time! And besides, look at the whole new class of criminal we have invented.

    1. My friend is an RCMP officer.

      He believes gun-control and registration to be a complete social fallacy.

      The criminals will ALWAYS have the guns.

      Not impressed.

  25. Lt. J. Paul Vance, a spokesman for the Connecticut State Police, said the agency is trying to make the process as smooth as possible for those looking to register their weapons and magazines. For example, notaries have been stationed at the DESPP headquarters to assist applicants. To obtain an assault weapon certificate, gun owners need to submit proof such as a valid sales receipt that they purchased the weapon before April 4. They also can submit a sworn affidavit that must be notarized.

    The application requires information such as the individual’s name, address, telephone number, motor vehicle operator’s license, sex, height, weight and thumbprint, as well as information about the weapon, including the serial number, model and any unique markings.

    The large-capacity magazine declaration form includes much of the same information, including the applicant’s address and driver’s license number.

    It’s a certificate, see? Not a permit.

    It’s not as if they are making some sort of permanent registry of these weapons which would enable them to easily locate and confiscate them at a later date. And besides, they would only do that in the event of some compelling public safety emergency, so shut up and get your ass in line, you paranoid crackpot. It’s for your officer safety.

  26. I’ve long held this view, with more the bent of the idea that [i]only moral policies will lead to good outcomes[/i], that by the machinations of the universe, this will always hold true, but not in a super-natural sense, but in the plain sense that if our starting values are good, every good policy will flow from that. It’s no surprise that FREE-MARKET economics leads to human happiness and (relative) wealth, because of the basic Randian premise that man is a thinking animal, and he must be able to act freely on his mind so that he may plan and work towards those things which make him happy.
    There only seems to be a disconnect, particularly among libertarians, when
    A) Libertarians outright make a logical mistake which is rather frequent, particularly for the young, idealistic, aspberger-types
    B) Current policies that are NOT free market, are CALLED free market, when they’re not

    Simple examples would be: people hate the idea of no drug laws because they understand implicitly that ADDICTION CIRCUMVENTS the concept of free will, and libertarians should understand this. This doesn’t mean that the current drug laws are OK, but that there probably should always be SOME form of drug laws.

    1. another simple example would be:
      We currently have no freedom to make SOCIAL CONTRACTS, so a lot of the emptiness of modern life, and the horrid state of marriage, stems from that. Even if a contract is social in nature, it’s still a morally enforceable contract; people are NOT happiest with complete, endless, whim-of-the-moment freedom; we are most rewarded with good, strong relationships with others.

    2. and of course another example is our semi-socialized, fuck-everyone-in-the-ass medical system is NOT remotely free market, and its mixed nature makes it WORSE than real socialized medicine

    3. ADDICTION CIRCUMVENTS the concept of free will

      That’s just stupid. I’ll grant that addictions suck, but they do not remotely circumvent free will. People can quit if they want to, as is proven by the millions of recovered addicts.

      If fact, more than a few addicts end up in jail for small stints and end up clean before leaving prison (I’m not saying drugs don’t exist in prison, they just don’t exist in the levels necessary to sustain addictions for all prisoners who were addicted prior to incarceration).

      Many go back to the drugs long after their physical addiction was solved. That’s not addiction, that’s free will, habit, and desire.

      Additionally, even if I were to grant you that full blown addition does somehow magically erase or nullify free will, true addiction takes work, time, and energy to accomplish all of which was accomplished with free will knowing the possible consequences.

      As such, saying that if plausible known results of actions of behavior entered into using free will actually happen, then free will is somehow circumvented, is logically equivalent to to a murderer after having shot her victim in the head 5 times claiming it shouldn’t be murder because that wasn’t the intention.

      Sorry – but humans are responsible for the outcomes of their behaviors. No one else and nothing else is to blame.

      & while here – misidentifying blame – is no help at all to addicts. So this belief may feel “nicer” but it’s not – it’s harmful as well as stupid.

      1. It is none of those things:

        “People in chronic pain chronically take pain relievers.”

        PTSD mostly.

  27. More laws, more criminals.

    Nearly a year after passage of the state’s new gun law, dealer sales of popular AR-15 semi-automatic rifles have ended in New York and arrest data show more than 1,000 gun possession charges in New York City were boosted from misdemeanors to felonies because of the changes.

    Meanwhile, 59 people have been charged statewide with misdemeanors for possessing large-capacity magazines or having more than seven bullets loaded in a magazine, both outlawed by the law passed last January in the aftermath of the school massacre in Newtown, Conn.

    ——–

    “The numbers are indisputable. The SAFE Act has enabled the state to better protect New Yorkers,” said Melissa DeRosa, spokeswoman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

    Indisputable.

    1. Just imagine how much better protected New Yorkers will be once NY outlaws Big Mac wrappers in the passenger’s-side floorboard.

      Of all the dumb fucking things humanity has ever done, politics is the dumbest fucking thing.

    2. “The numbers are indisputable. The SAFE Act has enabled the state to better protect New Yorkers,” said Melissa DeRosa, spokeswoman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

      So that is logic is what? We passed a law to stop school shootings, have found a number of people who broke that law, but have zero evidence that in doing so any shooting was prevented ever.

      Yet we are able to publicly claim the mere fact that some people were caught breaking the law must work as intended?

      Similarly, they could argue that people who don’t wash their hands after using the restroom are all terrorists.

      Then pass some hand washing laws, do some stings, arrest a bunch of people – then claim the law is stopping terrorists?

      But I should just search google right, as I’m sure the sharp tacks in the media caught this stupidity and asked something akin to “exactly what evidence is there that these charges have reduced any violence?” right?

      No? Not one single question anywhere? Not even in an opEd by a major NY media outlet?

      Color me surprised.

  28. A DEA agent stopped at a ranch in Texas and talked to an old rancher. He told the rancher, “I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs.” The rancher said, “okay, but don’t go into that field over there…”, as he pointed out the location. The DEA agent verbally exploded and said, “look mister, I have the authority of the federal government with me!” Reaching into his rear back pocket, the arrogant officer removed his badge and proudly displayed it to the rancher. “See this badge?! This badge means I can go wherever I want… On any land! No questions asked, no answers given! Do you understand old man?!” The rancher kindly nodded, apologized, and went about his chores. Moments later the rancher heard loud screams, he looked up and saw the DEA agent running for his life, being chased by the ranchers big Santa Gertrudis Bull…… With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer, and it was likely that he’d sure enough get gored before he reached safety. The officer was clearly terrified. The old rancher threw down his tools, ran as fast as he could to the fence, and yelled at the top of his lungs…… “YOUR BADGE! SHOW HIM YOUR BADGE!”

    1. + infinity

      …and I’m stealing it.

    2. Probably based on a true story.

  29. The power hungry types are out there for sure. But Warren strikes me as one of the type who genuinely have good intentions.

    Most of the politicians I have known, left and right, are both power hungry, have good intentions, and think that what they do will have good outcomes because they think they are almost always right, evidence and outcomes be damned.

    Warren appears to be this toxic mix ramped up to epic proportions.

  30. Warren appears to be this toxic mix ramped up to epic proportions.

    I used to refer to Hillary’s thousand yard “Joan of Arc” stare.

    Warren is worse. “Toxic mix” of well intentioned moralizing scold and dogged powerseeking is right.

  31. The moral is the practical. I advocate freedom and individual liberty for all because it is the right way for us to live and the only way for us to prosper. Individual freedom is a requirement of our survival. I have seen no reason to advocate or even tolerate some human beings having power over other human beings.
    Keep up the good work Sheldon.

  32. It is Ayn Rand and the Objectivists who have answered the false dichotomy of moral vs. practical, but to admit that would make the leftoids go spergtastic at the cocktail party (because they know it).

    Haven’t you guys figured it out yet? As you so often point out, the leftoids have no self-awareness, and they tell you everything you need to know (about their motives) through their own shabby projections and propaganda. Through their actions, they tell you who they consider to be the greatest threat to collectivism and statism, and it isn’t Milton Friedman, or the Cato Institute, or a piker nobody like Murray Rothbard (who no one has even heard of, or will); there is no one, *no one* who is the object of more desperately hysterical smears from the left, than Ayn Rand.

    You should ask yourself why. And you should discover, regardless of whether you subjectively like it or not, that Rand was right, and the left knows it, but you don’t.

  33. Ayn Rand gets all the flak because she was the most prominent critic of liberalism in past several decades. I prefer Bastiat and Sowell, but neither of those guys reached as big an audience as Rand.

    I tried making a kind of Myers-Briggs breakdown for political ideologies. I note that most liberals are what I call feeling-joining-cynics whereas libertarians tend to be thinking-loner-believers or thinking-loner-cynics.

  34. Some libertarians often say they would favor freedom even if it did not promote good things like prosperity because people have a right to freedom that is unrelated to its consequences.

    I’m in that club. I believe in freedom for freedom sake, not because it necessarily leads to better outcomes. I would bet that a well-fed slave would feel better than a hungry free man, but I would rather be a hungry free man than living under the tender mercy of a master who can change his mind on a whim.

    1. I would rather be a hungry free man than living under the tender mercy of a master who can change his mind on a whim.

      (Wipe gentle tear here.) Damn it man, write a book! Or at least a country tune.

    2. Yeah, pretty much. Having your freedom and prosperity completely at the mercy of the whim of another, whether that be a person or a government, is a recipe for evil, particularly when those things can be taken away with popular acclaim when it’s for “the common good”.

    3. I believe in freedom for freedom sake, not because it necessarily leads to better outcomes.

      I agree, but I believe that it does also create better outcomes, so it is a two-fer.

  35. How can we be talking about such mundane things as “freedom”, when our schools are falling behind so badly, compared to the rest of the world, including nations like Finland, Singapore, and Canada?

    I mean, if we don’t win that imaginary scholastic trophy in this imaginary international educational horse race, then, um, bad things are certain to occur!

    1. Yes, because there has been so much direct correlation proven between test scores and the performance of the economy, let alone the lifelong success of the individual.

      1. Dude, just because the US Economy has a per capita GDP of over $50,000, while the Finnish economy ekes out a per capita GDP of $37,000 doesn’t mean that we have a superior economic system! LOOK AT THE TEST SCORES, AND DESPAAAAAAIIRRRR!!!!

  36. There is mustard, and then there is Coleman’s mustard. That shit will put hair on your balls.

  37. “Smith saw that when morality, or ethics, is conceived along lines that would be fully realized in the work of Immanuel Kant ? who denied that anything done to advance one’s own cause can have moral significance ? moral thinking cannot embrace the virtue of prudence, or practical wisdom.”

    He probably didn’t take into account that Immanuel Kant was a real pissant, who was very rarely stable.

  38. utilitarianism(fascist),pragmatism(fascist), subjectivism(Anarchists), Materialism(Karl Marx), are anarchist, fascist and progressive philosophy.

    Libertarian and classical liberals philosophy are Ethical egoism, Objectivism, egoism.

  39. I really do want what freedom gets me and nothing more. If the freedom to use drugs finds me in a world full of useless drug addicts…so be it. If legalized prostitution finds me in a world of whores and sex addicts…I’ll be surprised but I won’t try to force anyone to behave differently.


  40. my roomate’s half-sister makes 74 dollars an hour on the laptop. She has been without a job for 7 months but last month her check was 19922 dollars just working on the laptop for a few hours. published here

    http://www.tec30.com

    1. your roomate’s half-sister is a whore.

  41. “The division of human life into the moral and the practical is of recent vintage.”

    If by “recent” you mean within the past 2,300-years, then, yeah, it’s “recent.”

    The moral-practical dichotomy is directly attributable to Plato’s mind-body dichotomy, which was morphed by Christianity into the soul-body dichotomy and which then was resurrected by Cartesian Dualism.

    “As products of the split between man’s soul and body, there are two kinds of teachers of the Morality of Death: the mystics of spirit and the mystics of muscle, whom you call the spiritualists and the materialists, those who believe in consciousness without existence and those who believe in existence without consciousness. Both demand the surrender of your mind, one to their revelations, the other to their reflexes. No matter how loudly they posture in the roles of irreconcilable antagonists, their moral codes are alike, and so are their aims: in matter?the enslavement of man’s body, in spirit?the destruction of his mind (Galt’s Speech, _For the New Intellectual_, 138).

    1. The New Intellectual . . . will discard . . . the soul-body dichotomy. He will discard its irrational conflicts and contradictions, such as: mind versus heart, thought versus action, reality versus desire, the practical versus the moral. He will be an integrated man, that is: a thinker who is a man of action. He will know that ideas divorced from consequent action are fraudulent, and that action divorced from ideas is suicidal. He will know that the conceptual level of psycho-epistemology?the volitional level of reason and thought?is the basic necessity of man’s survival and his greatest moral virtue. He will know that men need philosophy for the purpose of living on earth (Ibid, 51).

      http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexi…..otomy.html

  42. See also: Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy

    http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon

    /analytic-synthetic_dichotomy.html

  43. While Richman and others (attempt to?) argue from principle regarding the superiority of freedom, it seems to me the results are enough.

    Freedom is highly correlated with human prosperity on many levels. If we want human prosperity (who knowingly argues for human misery?) then we should support less government and more freedom.

    The problem people are those who want to make offending others illegal with punishment handed out by government, and those arguing for more government to increase human prosperity (usually to their individual benefit, but sometimes they actually believe it).

    The right amount of government is about 3% of GDP (to fund ALL levels of government: federal, state and local), which it was from 1776 thru 1890 when the US became an economic powerhouse. http://www.usgovernmentspendin…..ng_History Today, government is spending over 14X that amount. And it represents the degree to which government, instead of protecting our liberties (including the right to keep the fruits of our labor), it steal from us.

  44. reason.com is turning more progressive everyday

  45. egoism is what this country and libertarians was built,and not this evil utilitarianism you preach.

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