Libertarianism

Modern Liberalism: It Can Be Very Strange, Or, Don't You Know People Have Traditionally Been Slaves?

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In the latest of a now apparently endless stream of generic attacks on libertarianism in more mainstream or liberal-leaning intellectual outposts, see this from Claude S. Fischer (a U Cal Berkeley sociology prof) in Boston Review.

It refreshingly headlines what is pretty much the intellectual heft of most such plaints against libertarianism: "Libertarianism is Very Strange."

Why? Is it because some of us advocate such avant-garde notions as competing private defense agencies, tort over regulatory law to keep businesses from harming people, or full liberty of drug and food consumption?

Nah, libertarianism's weirdness is deeper than that. We are truly through the rabbit hole here, my mainstream liberal friends, dealing with libertarian loons who seem to believe that people are individuals and should be treated as such!

Why, don't libertarians realize that:

For most of history, including Philadelphia, 1776, more humans were effectively property than free. Children, youth, women, slaves, and servants belonged to patriarchs; many patriarchs were themselves serfs to chiefs and lords. And selling oneself into slavery was routine for the poor in many societies. Most world cultures have treated the individual as a limb of the household, lineage, or tribe. We moderns abhor the idea of punishing the brother or child of a wrongdoer, but in many cultures collective punishment makes perfect sense, for each person is just part of the whole.

What difference does this history and anthropology make to libertarian arguments about the good life? Plenty. If libertarians would move real-world policy in their direction, then their premises about humans and human society should be at least remotely plausible; we are not playing SimCity here.

In other words, post-Enlightenment modernity is very strange, and libertarians take aspects of it so seriously it freaks me out. It isn't just that Mr. Fischer is bothered by Rothbard, Nozick, or even Rand Paul. Everything that has led us as far as we have toward modern democratic capitalism strikes him as apparently anti-human in a deep and profound sense. 

Indeed, Mr. Fischer, we aren't playing SimCity. It's a shame so much modern governance, even today, tries to pretend we are as it tries to manipulate people by force to meet the goals of the state.

NEXT: Ex-Journalist Steven Glass' Bid to Become a Lawyer Fails

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  1. We are the Borg. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

    FTA:

    it took big government to end slavery.

    It took big government for slavery to exist in the first place.

    1. Exactly. To credit government for ending an institution that existed only because government enforced it is somewhere between dishonest and stupid.

      1. It feels so good for the victim when the bully momentarily stops hitting him on the back of the head with a notebook.

      2. It takes a bigger government to fix problems caused by a big government.

        1. Ah yes. The corporations control the government which is the people, but it’s controlled by the corporations. We need bigger government acting on behalf of the people to control the government that controls it. Because the government is the people, and the corporations are the rich. And if that doesn’t work, and the corporations still control the government, then we need to give more power to the government do it can control the corporations that control it. And if that doesn’t work, and the corporations still control the government, then we need to give more power to the government do it can control the corporations that control it. And if that doesn’t work, and the corporations still control the government, then we need to give more power to the government do it can control the corporations that control it. And if that doesn’t work, and the corporations still control the government, then we need to give more power to the government do it can control the corporations that control it.

          1. The solution to that infinite recursion is, of course, is to incorporate the totality of society into the government.

            There are already words for that? corporatism and totalitarianism. We’ve only redefined them away from their original meanings.

          2. And no, you may not ask how the corporate form came to be in the first place.

          3. Permanent recursive loop — Compile aborted. Head(explode).

            Well played sir.

      3. Stockholm Syndrome

    2. Nope, not self-interested commercial motivations, big government. Nobody wanted to own slaves, they were forced on them.

      1. Nobody wanted to own slaves, they were forced on them.

        The slaves were forced to be slaves through government force, Tony. That is the step you always seem to miss.

        Could you explain how slave labour would be possible in a libertarian society, Tony.

        1. Easy. A commercial interest amasses enough power to get around the minimalist, relatively powerless state, and it goes and captures slaves.

          You are so obsessed with the idea that government is evil that you fail to recognize that evil can exist in the private sector too. It’s all so many unicorns.

          1. Tony, nobody here is under the illusion that the private sector cannot be evil. That is why we all support the rule of law. You like to argue against things that no one is arguing.

            But, how does a single commercial interest amass this massive amount of power that can topple its own government? Do you have a realistic mechanism for this?

            1. It doesn’t have to be a commercial interest. It could be a political interest. It could be a gang of authoritarian communists. The point is, the state has to be strong enough to fight off challengers, otherwise society will not deliver on any of your promises. Once it’s large enough to do things like prevent slavery (something even the modern world has been unable to do), it’s not the minimalist state you are describing.

          2. Tony|1.27.14 @ 4:02PM|#
            “Easy. A commercial interest amasses enough power to get around the minimalist, relatively powerless state, and it goes and captures slaves.”

            Damn unicorns are gonna take over the world, I tells ya!

          3. You are so obsessed with the idea of states being sole prosecutors that you cannot envision victims being prosecutors.

            Any commercial interest (why is it always “commercial”, as if commerce were a dirty word?) which began amassing enough power to enslave people would quickly run up against the massed power of individual prosecutions, and pine for the days when they had simple class action lawsuits which only required a few corrupte judges to subvert. And note, Tony, that corruption is seldom as obvious as bribes.

    3. it took big government to end slavery

      This is simply another example to re-write the history of the Abolition of Slavery. While it ignores the fact that government made slavery possible, as the Doctor noted, it also attempts to imply that on the issue of Abolition, it was the government that moved the Culture, rather than the other way around. It wasn’t that good old Abe woke up one morning and thought “Human Slavery is evil, I will end it”. Instead, it was largely the religious, you know SOCONZ, who thought it an abomination.

      It is simply fucking amazing how many people would discuss Abolition and not even know of William Wilberforce.

      1. I will even agree with Bo if he wants to “blame” the socons for this.

      2. My understanding was that the Quakers were the religious group most involved in abolitionism. Not sure if they really count as social conservatives. Happy to be convinced otherwise.

      3. Instead, it was largely the religious, you know SOCONZ, who thought it an abomination.

        Why? The Bible is a-ok with slavery.

      4. Let us recall the Corwin Amendment, and how good ole ‘honest’ Abe was a staunch supporter of it. (this would have enshrined slavery in the US constitution)

    1. Did you sign up for the email and text message updates, RBS?

  2. Both historical and contemporary research suggests that Thoreau was wrong; the government that governs least does not govern best, whether the criterion is promoting the general welfare or promoting individual liberty. This does not mean that the converse is true, that maximal government is best. There appears to be a reasonable balancing point. We Americans seem to be below that reasonable point, and libertarianism threatens to drive us further down. Of course, Rand’s John Galt wouldn’t give a damn.

    What do you even say to a guy who’s this insane?

    1. “Reasonable” gets to be decided by the Top Men. Which is no doubt what a Berkeley sociology professor would think of himself as.

      1. I always used Hank Hill as the Reasonable Man in law school.

        1. I’d vote for him.

    2. No, no, we must simply average everything. Average oppression. Average standard of living. Average killing. Average, average, average.

    3. You won’t be saying much of anything when you’re in the reasonable camp. And if you do say something, there’s nice metal box in the courtyard that you can go into.

      1. Look, reasonable people can agree that there is some reasonable level of death camps necessary to maintain society. We in America seem to be below that point, but you don’t give a damn, do you?

        1. That’s it! I’ve had just about enough from you!

          To the very reasonable mines with you!

          1. Not the reasonably comfy chair!

        2. Look, a reasonable level of torture is, by definition, reasonable. So is a reasonable amount of executing people with unreasonable political views.

    4. Coase’s research seems to suggest we are WAY above the reasonable point.

      In some sense, I agree with his first two sentences, its the difference between libertarians and ancaps.

      That balancing point is somewhere south of 5% of GDP. Im not sure where exactly, but we should try to find out.

    5. Thoreau was wrong; the government that governs least does not govern best

      Well, every non-anarchist believes this to some extent since it would imply that the government that governs not at all is best. Any minarchist libertarian believes in the balancing point. But I’ll agree that believing that the US has too little government is pretty insane.

  3. Fischer seems to have made the all too common mistake of thinking libertarianism=anarchy. He seems to ignore all the minarchist libertarian arguments that allow for a role for government to protect people’s rights. Once again, someone makes the “serious” argument against libertarianism without actually having a sound idea of what he is arguing against.

    1. He seems to ignore all the minarchist libertarian arguments that allow for a role for government to protect people’s rights.

      What about the right to force smokers to go outside? What about the right to force people to eat healthily? What about the right to live off forced transfer programs? What about the right to force rich people to feed poor people? What about the right to force businesses to sell proper products?

      What about those rights? Huh?

      Libertarianism is tyranny!

      1. Libertarians are such hypocrites about freedom. They go on and on about it, yet they would never allow me the freedom to collect taxes from them.

        (I’ve actually seen this argument from a progressive)

        1. MJG, that is an astounding new level of self parody from a prog.

      2. How very Orwellian of you. I like it.

    2. No, he isn’t arguing against anarchy; he’s arguing against any social system that respects individuals as distinct beings with rights at all. It’s daring, and as pointed out below, probably NOT an arg he’d make about, say, the way women are treated, tho it’s the same argument.

      1. He may not technically be arguing against anarchy, but he keeps turning to the “but government did it” argument as if he were arguing against anarchism. It is similar enough that telling the two arguments apart would be difficult.

      2. There’s such a fundamental disconnect here that I’m not sure how to respond. The only unit that matters is the individual. Societies aren’t happy, people are. In fact, human organizations, whether voluntary or compelled, are largely illusions that are made real by agreement.

        1. But those illusions have been made real for SO LONG, Pro L. Even longer than the constitution has been around, and that’s, like, hundreds of years.

          1. Even the Constitution was an illusion, but at least it had fewer illusions about human nature than most political systems. We’re not to be trusted with power over other people.

        2. No, I get what is saying about this. Anthropology concludes that human development was social. Humans developed their defining characteristics (including our sense of individuality, ironically), both as a matter of evolutionary history and as a matter of current human development, via interaction within groups.

          1. Where people go wrong with that is in assuming that individualism is necessarily contrary to that. A lot of people seem to imagine that libertarians want every person to be completely self sufficient and not depend on social structures at all. When a lot of the point of libertarianism is that people will do better in natural, voluntary social organization than in social organization imposed by force.

            1. So it stands to reason that as long as people have an equal vote on matters (as we’re all born automatically into an existing society with existing rules), then any possible society that comes from that is libertarian-approved.

              Unless you want to limit people’s freedom to choose how their society is structured–because you know best.

              1. No. How does that stand to reason? You seem to think that having the opportunity to vote means that you consent to whatever the outcome is. Why is voluntary such a difficult concept?

                1. Because you seem to be defining it as “I get my way, not just on how my life and household are structured, but how society itself is structured, no matter how many of my neighbors disagree.”

                  1. Government != society. Government is a part of society and influences it, sure, but libertarians want to minimize that influence. And we want to do this so that you and your neighbors are free to try to organize all the rest of society however you want. You can even make your own little mini-society. You just can’t use force.

                    1. You can’t use force? So no laws against stealing. That would necessitate legal force.

                    2. I’ve seen the NAP principle explained to you before. You aren’t even arguing in good faith at this point.

                  2. What the hell are you smoking, man?

              2. So it stands to reason that as long as people have an equal vote on matters (as we’re all born automatically into an existing society with existing rules), then any possible society that comes from that is libertarian-approved.

                Are you really arguing that if those people with equal votes choose to vote in death camps and send Tony there because he’s in a minority in his sexual orientation, that is obviously libertarian-approved?

                Democracy /= libertarianism.

              3. Unless you want to limit people’s freedom to choose how their society is structured–because you know best.

                People should be totally free to choose how society is structured, as long as they don’t coerce anyone else in the process. Just like people should be able to swing their arms, with the same qualification.

              4. “So it stands to reason that as long as people have an equal vote on matters (as we’re all born automatically into an existing society with existing rules), then any possible society that comes from that is libertarian-approved”

                WARNING = The expressions “It stands to reason…” and “Research suggests…” are both red flags indicating the imminent release of a completely illogical non-sequitur camouflaged as ‘argument’. Shoot on sight, burn the corpse to prevent spread of virulent stupidity.

                – Oh, sure everyone gets a vote. And when the Aryans vote the Jews into the ghetto, I see no reason they should complain: its a democracy after all. They can voice their ‘dissent’. You had your vote, hebes, complaining is for losers! . Majority rules, suckers, now get in the boxcar.

    3. Who is the worse violator of individual rights? The BTK guy who took the lives of several women or the American government who routinely takes the life of innocent people in pursuit of its own ends? Scale matters. Or it should. The caretaker/night watchman government is unsustainable. It doesn’t balance. I’m convinced that the only things that will work are voluntary organizations in absence of a government. Everything else ends the same way, with the State abusing people on a scale no anarchy in history could hope to match.

      1. BTK comparison = awesome

      2. The horrors perpetrated by government far outweigh those committed by individuals or the left’s favorite boogeyman, the “corporation.”

        1. Corporations: The Ford Pinto
          Governments: The Ukranian Famine

      3. I lived in Wichita back then, and it was scary, but not nearly as scary as any number of things the government does.

      4. Anarchy ends the same way too. Dominant coercers, of which governments are the most innocuous example, arise naturally wherever there is competition for resources, and the anarchos have NO ANSWER for how their system would be able to prevent this.

        Also keep in mind that American minarchy lasted for about 150 years (the Revolution to the New Deal). That’s an incredible feat. It seems likely that a watchman state plays a similar role to intestinal flora in disease prevention, crowding out the space that a worse coercer needs to take root.

  4. People living their lives without asking permission and obeying orders, as long as they don’t interfere with the life, liberty and property of others?

    Liberty is oppression!

  5. we are not playing SimCity here.

    I’m pretty sure that most of the critics of libertarianism, are.

    1. What works for simple autonomous AI designed for a video game should work for real people too!!

      Plus i made the roads so that means i can demolish your property.

      /progressive

    2. I wish. It would contain the damage they do.

      1. Are you sure it hasn’t?

        Perhaps if progressives were not so distracted by their fake game cities our world would have descended into a giant gulag by now.

        One should note the new Simcity kind of sucks (EA has been treating its customers like sims)…perhaps this explains stuff like that Communist Rolling Stone article or all the crap articles Doherty has been finding and criticizing. All the crazy progs who would otherwise be distracted with Simcity are now out in the wild.

  6. His ‘argument’ seems to be that it is very rare as a matter of history and anthropology for people to see themselves as autonomous individuals and to have governments based on contracts which preserve liberty, therefore these ideas are unrealistic. It is a gross example of the ‘naturalistic fallacy,’ and what is more I am sure he would denounce it in many other forms. For example, what if he were told that as a matter of history and anthropology it was very rare for men not to exercise more power and authority than, and over, women. Would that mean that any person advocating equal power for men and women has unrealistic ideas?

    1. My reaction, too. Yes, what’s going on now is extremely uncommon in history. That’s (mostly) a good thing, because human history is filled with all sorts of unpleasantness for the vast majority of humans who have lived on this planet.

    2. I like to ask the advocates of the total state why a woman should have the right to decide for herself whether to abort. I don’t make too many friends among them that way, but I have the fun of watching them do a 180 on their immutable dogmas.

      1. Really, why not a local, well, Death Panel, to decide whether a child should be aborted or not? I mean, if the government is the best possible entity for making such decisions.

        Maybe that should be Choice Panel, which is more Orwellian.

        1. People’s Committee or nothing.

          1. People’s Choice Committee?

            1. Isn’t that already a TV show?

        2. I have been thinking about making a sockpuppet blog taking the lefts views to their logical conclusion.

          “Oh yes minorities are equal…but we must think of the common good. It is obvious that the right will never abandon their bigotry and hate so we must remove the animus of that hate. I am not saying we kill off minorities only that over time we make everyone the same. Darker skinned people can have children. They can adopt white children or be artificially implanted. In order to insure equality we must make everyone equal”

          1. Why are parodies like this of conservatives occasionally amusing while when progressives are parodied, it just comes across as sad and scary?

      2. but I have the fun of watching them do a 180 on their immutable dogmas.

        It is both sad and hopeful that feminists and leftists fight so hard against sociobiology.

        Sad they fight the material nature of the human mind but hopeful they at least hold some respect for free will and autonomy.

    3. “”His ‘argument’ seems to be that it is very rare as a matter of history and anthropology …”

      This is an idiotic starting point.

      It is ‘very rare’ in historical, anthropological terms to believe that disease *isn’t* caused by God’s Wrath. Appealing to ‘historical tradition’ as a matter of defining what is/should be considered ‘normative’ is possibly the dumbest fucking rhetorical gimmick I’ve ever witnessed.

  7. “America’s founding revolutionists, inhaling the earliest wafts of libertarianism in the 1700s, declared that we are created with “unalienable rights”; that is, people cannot sell themselves into slavery even if they want to, so fundamental is the independence of the individual.”

    Inalienable means you can’t surrender the rights of your children. The consequence of this is that if the government is invading the people’s rights so that your kids won’t have their freedom, you need to fight.

    Libertarianism is a Western phenomenon – could this have something to do with Christianity’s devaluation of the state? In contrast to cultures where the individual is an atom in the body of the state, or where where the ruler is also a priest or even a god, Christianity distinguishes the spiritual and temporal spheres, and puts the state in the latter. Christianity teaches that a state will die, but individual human beings will live forever. Without these premises, I’m not sure the Founders would have been able to envision the concepts of individuals being more important that the state and the author’s beloved network of relationships.

    1. I suspect I’ll have to deal with replies like “you say the Church is a bunch of libertarians!” No, I said Christian doctrine helps frame the issues in such a way that libertarian ideas can actually seem plausible, rather than meaningless.

    2. That is an interesting point. I have to wonder, did other cultures that influenced the Founders and which were not Christian, for example Greek, hold notions of liberty and minimal government?

      1. That’s hard to untangle, because Christianity is quite Greek in a number of respects. Some view the religion as Greekified Judaism, though that’s a somewhat simplistic viewpoint.

        1. “First ask yourselves, Gentlemen, what an Englishman, a French-man, and a citizen of the United States of America understand today by the word ‘liberty’. For each of them it is the right to be subjected only to the laws, and to be neither arrested, detained, put to death or maltreated in any way by the arbitrary will of one or more individuals….

          “…among the ancients the individual, almost always sovereign in public affairs, was a slave in all his private relations. As a citizen, he decided on peace and war; as a private individual, he was constrained, watched and repressed in all his movements…as a subject of the collective body he could himself be deprived of his status, stripped of his privileges, banished, put to death, by the discretionary will of the whole to which he belonged.”

          http://www.uark.edu/depts/comm…..ients.html

      2. I have to wonder, did other cultures that influenced the Founders and which were not Christian, for example Greek, hold notions of liberty and minimal government?

        I get that you’re being passive-aggressive here, but to answer your question — not really. In the Greek and Roman tradition, liberty was not a grant to all men but a privilege granted to a select minority which was then fit to lord over the majority (who were, rightly, slaves). In the Christian tradition, if you have a pulse you’re a creature of God owed certain rights (what those rights are was, of course, subject to interpretation). To be cynical, I would point out that wherever the Founder’s view of liberty was rooted, they certainly tended to emulate the Grece-Roman conception of it moreso than the Christian one.

        Mises actually wrote a bit about this in one of his books.

        1. Moreover, government tended to be “limited” by natural factors and tradition, not so much by ideological conceptions of liberty more common to Enlightenment-era thought and libertarianism.

        2. There is definitely a difference in kind to modern liberal states and what we had before. Partially because of the greater inclusiveness today, but also the fact that the starting point was the individual, not the state/aristocracy/monarchy.

        3. “I get that you’re being passive-aggressive here”

          You get me wrong here then, I honestly can not recall much about what the classical Greeks thought on this subject, but I know that they too influenced the Founders quite a bit.

          “In the Christian tradition, if you have a pulse you’re a creature of God owed certain rights ”

          I do not think those rights necessarily involved liberty as some Scripture can be read to endorse slavery and the rule of men by other men as something allowed, or even blessed, by God.

          1. As far as the structure of our government goes, there are any number of influences, but I think the top two would be the British system and constitution (in both the positive and negative senses) and the old Roman republic and constitution. In the latter, they saw the many benefits of checks and balances, as noted with approval by Polybius and (later) Montesquieu.

            1. ” think the top two would be the British system and constitution (in both the positive and negative senses) and the old Roman republic and constitution”

              I think concerning the structures you are spot on about that, but I wonder if Eduard was pointing to something else, an underlying idea of liberty which those structures were seen as historical ways to achieve.

              1. Well, the focus on the individual certainly has multiple roots, but it’s impossible not to acknowledge Christianity’s influence. It’s particularly acute with Protestantism, which (usually) focused on the personal relationship humans have with God. If you start there, it’s hard to see how governments can ignore the importance of individuals if God doesn’t.

                1. Good points.

                2. It’s particularly acute with Protestantism,

                  This is horribly wrong, at least as far as Puritan Protestantism is concerned, which was (and still is) the dominant strain of Protestantism in New England. If there was ever a group of people who were (and still are) anti-individual it is Protestants.

          2. Besides, given that the nation that was the result of their thinking was one with a great deal of double standards allowing slavery, I think it could be argued the Founders view was not that far from the Greed idea which you describe as ‘liberty was not a grant to all men but a privilege granted to a select minority which was then fit to lord over the majority (who were, rightly, slaves).’

            1. …yup, absolutely.

          3. I do not think those rights necessarily involved liberty

            A right to so something — anything — necessarily entails liberty of action for that thing.

            some Scripture can be read to endorse slavery

            If you have poor reading comprehension, sure. I won’t argue that slavery was allowed and regulated under Levitical law, but that’s not remotely the same thing. Certainly there are a plethora of Scripture in the Old and New Testament exhorting individuals to get out from under slavery, to avoid it, characterizing slave-sellers and people who would put others into bondage as evil, etc. To oversimplify, the Christian view (and to a lesser extent, Jewish view as well) on slavery has been highly disfavorable towards the people who move others from a state of freedom into a state of slavery, favorable towards the liberation of slaves into freedom, and ambiguous towards people who obtain slaves who came to them in that condition. The Christian tradition further adds the requirement that slaveowners treat any Christian slaves as brothers in Christ and that they go the extra mile, so to speak, for unbelievers as an example in Christ.

            All that to say, a Christian slavery is allowable theologically but highly restrictive and impractical such that most Christian countries either abandon the practice (as was the case in most Western countries) or find inventive ways to ignore their religion on such matters.

            1. Again, I think the Scripture is not as clear as you would have it. Jesus encounters slavery and was explicit in denouncing practices he deemed wrong, but seemed not to denounce it. Even Paul, who wrote some of the things you point to, also exhorted slaves to serve their masters and returned a fugitive slave to his master.

              The tension does not seem that powerful: most major Western and ostensibly Christian nations found it not so impractical to engage in slavery for many, many centuries.

              1. Jesus encounters slavery and was explicit in denouncing practices he deemed wrong

                Not particularly. Jesus also encountered pagans, adulterers, publicans, and any number of sins and individuals where specific condemnation is not recorded. Indeed, specific condemnation of sins does not appear to have been part of Jesus’ temporal ministry. The Bible generally should not be read as a list of dos and don’ts, but the gospels especially have never been intended as such.

                Paul[…]exhorted slaves to serve their masters

                They should. Being a slave is not a sin; serving others is required of Scripture as is obedience to temporal authorities and being a witness to others.

                That issue is distinct from whether this person should be a slave (Paul also exhorted any slaves to get out of slavery if it was in their power to do so).

                most major Western and ostensibly Christian nations found it not so impractical to engage in slavery

                You should read more history. Slavery in Western Europe was essentially abandoned between Rome adopting Christianity as a state religion and the Middle Ages, despite its centrality prior to that time. One of the most common features of Christianization was the abandonment of slavery or slave-like institutions in the countries where this occurred (thralldom in Scandinavia, for example).

            2. Paul’s letter to Philemon in the NT being one of the prime examples of what you said.

              1. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever? 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.

                17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.

        4. To be cynical, I would point out that wherever the Founder’s view of liberty was rooted, they certainly tended to emulate the Grece-Roman conception of it moreso than the Christian one.

          To add to this, the colonists’ idea of religious freedom was mostly freedom from the C. of E. The way the Puritans behaved, as well as several of the southern colonies, they really just wanted their own colonies to have their own religions which would be chosen by their own TOP MEN and lorded over the plebes. Only in the Mid-Atlantic colonies did there every really exist any notion of individualistic personal freedom, the New England and the South just wanted freedom for the TOP MEN in not having to answer to the King.

          It’s not by accident that the French and Spanish colonies were uninvited to the original union because the French and Spanish colonies were essentially Catholic and the British colonies were essentially Protestant.

          It is this exact central planning impulse that fuels the left-wing idiocy of modern secularism; remember that the Puritans were essentially religious extremists not unlike modern evangelicals – tolerance is the opposite of purity. Again, it’s not by accident that Obamacare is targeting Catholic health care charities to be dismantled.

          1. Agreed.

      3. I think that the radical idea that even poor white men were endowed with inalienable rights vis a vis their government comes solely from radical Protestant ideas never seen before. Although the Frankish idea that “all free men fight and every fighting man is free” that held on until the Norman Conquest in Britain has some of the same flavor. And certainly even the Norman Lords used some of that sentiment to draft the Magna Carta.

        1. Really, some credit probably should go to the old Germanic tribes, who did see things on a much more individualistic level before the Romans messed them up.

          1. Yes that was where the principle of the weregild (blood price; or blood restitution) came from, which was also adopted by the Icelanders for their system. Essentially it was restitution as you fuck with me, I fuck with you.

            Statutory or positive law, which can only exist by the state, didn’t come until the Romans and the Church. Prior to this crimes were basically tortious or invasive actions. The church eliminated this and introduced distinctions between various types of crimes such as murder vs manslaughter. But this can only exist when you have a central authority to define criminal statues to begin with.

            1. the principle of the weregild (blood price; or blood restitution) came from, which was also adopted by the Icelanders for their system.

              Yeah, blood feuds are not exactly what I think of when I think “liberty”.

              Statutory or positive law, which can only exist by the state, didn’t come until the Romans and the Church.

              That’s really not accurate at all. Persia, Egypt and any number of empires had statutory law, and Rome was itself influenced by many of its neighbors in its statutory law.

              1. There weregild, or in general the principle based on responses to other invasive or tortious acts is a mechanism to protect liberty that does rely on the state. For once established, the state becomes the biggest aggressor of them all, without any escape.

                Even if there exists acts of aggression without a state, a Laissez-faire system of clans or phyles without a central authority dictating law everyone must abide by, rather than per-clan rules, is conducive to liberty because it ensures a dispersal of power, allowing choice, recourse, defense in the face of aggression.

                That’s really not accurate at all. Persia, Egypt and any number of empires had statutory law, and Rome was itself influenced by many of its neighbors in its statutory law.

                Yes I realize that, but I was responding to ProL’s comment about the Germanic tribes in Europe prior to their Roman conquest.

                1. edit: ..that does *not* rely on the state.

                  1. There weregild, or in general the principle based on responses to other invasive or tortious acts is a mechanism to protect liberty that does rely on the state. For once established, the state becomes the biggest aggressor of them all, without any escape.

                    That’s a tendentious claim itself, and not entirely germane to the topic. I don’t think the guy who believes in blood oath or weregild is immediately predisposed to think better of the idea of liberty.

                    I was responding to ProL’s comment about the Germanic tribes in Europe prior to their Roman conquest.

                    D’oh! My bad. Must pay attention to context.

      4. See:
        – Icelandic Free State
        – Ireland prior to Cromwell’s conquest

        also China:
        http://mises.org/daily/3903

        1. Daoism is very interesting, but 1) =/= libertarianism, 2) =/= a religion, and 3) certainly not an influence on the founders.

          The Icelandic free state was not conceptualized as a way for its people to retain maximal liberty or anything of the sort. It was a form of government that emerged because it was a small, rancorous Norse colony with little in the way of value and no need for large government. Certainly what went on there was not liberty-friendly, whether in terms of going a-Viking, the owning of thralls, human sacrifice, etc. Also not an observable influence on the founders or almost anyone outside some 20th-century American libertarians.

          The Emerald Isle prior to the Cromwellian conquest was historically one of Christianity’s most fervent converts. Besides that, very little of its political structure was the result of a desire for liberty and was similar to Iceland in its extraordinary tolerance for extra-governmental NAP violation.

          All that said, I do think that Buddhism has exerted a similar pro-liberty influence as Christianity in many parts of Asia.

        2. Wouldn’t any libertarian society be automatically considered to be “prior to [someone’s] conquest”?

  8. I’m at a loss for what the argument against libertarianism is supposed to be, here.

    Seriously.

    1. It feels good to force people to do what is best for them. Libertarians don’t believe in the initiation of force. Thus libertarians don’t want progressives to feel good. That makes libertarians bad people.

      1. No, that is not his argument at all as I read it. He is doing something similar to people who argue against some forms of feminism or Marxism do, saying their ideas are ahistorical and contrary to ‘human nature’ (though he seems to invoke a ‘social nature’).

        1. Except human nature and what humans perceive to be their own nature are two different things. A person can believe and be taught that humans are part of a collective and not individualized, but so long as he acts in a manner contrary to that belief (namely, as an individual) it cannot be stated that the existence of this person is evidence against individualization anymore than the existence of people who believe in Platonism is evidence against the heliocentric model.

          1. I think his argument is that as a matter of anthropology and history humans have a social human nature, they live in groups (with governments) and any individuality they have comes from and is preceded by their group life. Therefore the actual, natural way human beings live is contrary to the supposed libertarian assumption that individuals exist as ‘atomistic,’ autonomous selves.

            Again, it is quite similar to arguments that Marxism or feminism are ‘unnatural’ and ahistorical and therefore easily dismissed as ‘real world guides,’ though I doubt he sees the similarity.

            1. I believe that argument relies on a caricatured view of what individualism entails — a view which is hardly representative of the mainstream libertarian conception of individualism.

              1. I do not know, Pro Libertate seems to come close when he says supra ‘The only unit that matters is the individual. Societies aren’t happy, people are. In fact, human organizations, whether voluntary or compelled, are largely illusions that are made real by agreement.’

    2. Basically:

      “The majority of people have been slaves throughout history in some form, either de jure or de facto via the Patriarchy.

      Thus it must follow that slavery and subjugation to authority is man’s natural social condition.

      Because of this, liberalism is the best system out there because it subjugates man in the nicest way possible. Libertarianism fails, QED.”

      1. An argument that poorly thought-out and so disregarding of the individual speaks volumes about the character of the person who would articulate it.

    3. I think his argument is this: We were slaves in the past and therefor are not designed to be free.

      Reagan I think demolished this argument.

      “If no one is fit to govern themselves then no one is fit to govern.”

      1. Top. Men.

      2. This.

      3. Bastiat said this, too:

        If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?

  9. Also, is he really claiming that tribalism is a good thing?

    1. As long as his tribe is in charge, yes.

      It’s like the last 400 years never occurred in this weeping sores’s universe, except for the years 1917-1989.

    2. And sexism, and slavery, and general patriarchy…

      1. “What’s wrong with being sexy?”

  10. What difference does this history and anthropology make to libertarian arguments about the good life? Plenty. If libertarians would move real-world policy in their direction, then their premises about humans and human society should be at least remotely plausible; we are not playing SimCity here.

    I think my brain melted earlier today…i can’t make any sense out of these two sentence.

    1. I had trouble with it, too. To the best of my ability, I took it to mean that he believes our views are utopian and only work in simulated constructs such as SimCity, which, by the way, as much as I have loved that franchise over the years, is essentially a progressive’s view of urban planning, control and zoning to the nth degree. It’s no libertarian genre.

      1. is essentially a progressive’s view of urban planning, control and zoning to the nth degree. It’s no libertarian genre.

        I think it is telling that he thinks it is libertarian. He actually thinks simcity does not give enough fine control over the individuals in the game…The automatons are too autonomous for his tastes.

        1. Hence is undoubted preference for The Sims.

        2. I don’t think he is saying it is libertarian. I think he was trying to be snarky by painting libertarian ideas as something that only works in fantasy.

  11. We moderns abhor the idea of punishing the brother or child of a wrongdoer, but in many cultures collective punishment makes perfect sense, for each person is just part of the whole.

    These cunts just can’t imagine anyone not being part of their collective, can they?

    1. this type of thinking is why we see a tendency lately for parents to be punished for the actions of their children. It’s the slow method of working towards punishing all who belong to a group much like most progs on the Huffington Post believe all republicans should be outlawed if not out right eliminated. guilt by association and/or organization.

  12. or full liberty of drug and food consumption?

    Haa! Good times… I remember when my liberal friends back in the 80s advocated for that. My, how the times have changed.

    1. They all had kids?

  13. Everything that has led us as far as we have toward modern democratic capitalism strikes him as apparently anti-human

    As well it might. “Modern democratic capitalism”…what’s that? It surely isn’t capitalism. “Modern democratic capitalism” is a mixed economy, a mixture of freedom and controls, what some people call “crony capitalism.” Shouldn’t libertarians be supporting real, unfettered, unqualified capitalism?

  14. I say again, “liberals” lost the quiet war on the left. The left is now completely and undeniably about lionizing the state. Period. The end.

    Fuck them and their pro-government pep rally.

    1. I think in this case it is not quite that simple-note that he does say ‘the government that governs least does not govern best, whether the criterion is promoting the general welfare or promoting individual liberty. This does not mean that the converse is true, that maximal government is best. There appears to be a reasonable balancing point.’

      1. This is merely a parlor trick to appear “reasonable”. When Paul Krugman represents that middle point, you begin to realize just how far gone these people are.

        Those lionizing the state can continue to say things like “reasonable balance between security and privacy” until they’re blue in the face. We know what they really mean. Because they’ve been caught lying. Repeatedly.

  15. Mon, 2014-01-27 14:37 ? Nathaniel
    Nice write-up on the anomoly that is libertarianism.
    It’s strange how our relationship with government, whether we consider ourselves libertarian or not, is so often contentious. Libertarians especially seem to view the relationship between citizen and government as necessarily hostile, a constant struggle between opposing ends. They have this in common with anarchists, although anarchists tend to be far more concerned with how government oppresses those citizens of minimal means, while the archetypal libertarian is a person of moderate or large means seeking to protect his assets and justify his hoarding. The difference – between seeking massive redistribution of wealth on the one hand, and rationalizing self-interest (hoarding) on the other – is a telling difference, and is in my opinion what makes libertarianism such an ugly philosophical position to uphold.
    Of course, the obvious answer to either of these positions is to create a government which is not the enemy of the people, but one which enables and expedites the flourishing of a free and happy polity. But, like, that requires a whole lot of effort, doesn’t it?

    reply

    These people are so stupid that I’m shocked they don’t suffocate from forgetting to breathe.

    1. Lost me at self-interest=hoarding.

      1. Yeah, that is one of the dumbest things that a lot of these people seem to believe. It goes right along with believing that some people being rich necessarily causes other people to be poorer.
        Very few rich people hoard much if anything. Their wealth is in companies and bonds and other kinds of investments and loans. That means that their money is out there in the world, helping other people create wealth as well. It’s like they really do believe that rich people keep all of their wealth in a Scrooge McDuck money bin.

    2. while the archetypal libertarian is a person of moderate or large means seeking to protect his assets and justify his hoarding.

      Huh?

      Of course, the obvious answer to either of these positions is to create a government which is not the enemy of the people, but one which enables and expedites the flourishing of a free and happy polity. But, like, that requires a whole lot of effort, doesn’t it?

      Kelly Thomas agrees. Where to begin?

    3. This is why brain stem reflexes aren’t wired to the frontal cortex.

      1. BINGO!!

        +1

    4. Ah yes. Those massive accumulations of wealth.

      As if wealth is money, and if all that accumulated wealth was distributed around, then the poor could all eat.

      Never mind that that wealth is in the form of factories and machines, in means of production, in mining equipment, in trains and tracks…

      Those things only feed the poor when they are owned by responsible capitalists, and used to give the poor jobs and to provide goods and services.

      1. That may be the most frustrating thing for me about trying to talk to people who think that the 99% crowd and other redistributionists are really onto something. They seem totally unable to comprehend that even in the case of a rich person who just sits around living off of the proceeds of their trust fund, their wealth is not just sitting there. It is out in the world doing lots of things including creating jobs and wealth for working people, entrepreneurs and even charities.

    5. Libertarians especially seem to view the relationship between citizen and government as necessarily hostile, a constant struggle between opposing ends.

      In fairness, he got that right. Of course, his response (which has nothing to do with the rest of that paragraph) amounts to “nuh-uh!”

      Libertarians say that citizen and state are inherently opposed. His “answer” is to create a state that is not in opposition. Well duh, we should all drop our libertarianism now!

    6. Of course, the obvious answer to either of these positions is to create a government which is not the enemy of the people, but one which enables and expedites the flourishing of a free and happy polity. But, like, that requires a whole lot of effort, doesn’t it?

      Yeah, continuously, successfully reading the minds of millions of different people is a lot of hard work. And then on top of that you have to somehow figure out how to get them to all get along! Jeez, no wonder they call it the “knowledge problem.”

      1. The freakishly oblivious left just accepts it as a truism that gubmint is benevolent by default and when it isn’t, that’s because they weren’t trying hard enough. Or the right people weren’t in charge. Or bad luck. Or kulaks.

        They only need to work harder, gosh darn it, and we can avoid all those pesky wars, genocides and actual and real, hell-on-earth distopias!

    7. It’s strange how our relationship with government, whether we consider ourselves libertarian or not, is so often contentious.

      It isn’t strange at all. Whenever one group of people tries to force their preferences on another group of people, it tends to be contentious. Democracy does a good job of convincing the majority that they are justified in doing so, but the minority is always pissed about it.

    8. Abolitionists especially seem to view the relationship between slave and master as necessarily hostile, a constant struggle between opposing ends.

      -jcr

    9. Has “hoarding” actually ever occurred at an economically impactful level in modern history, or is it literally only a bogeyman of nitwit socialists?

    10. I kind of get the argument he’s making – why don’t we create a government that is not the enemy of the people? – but he is commenting on libertarianism and anarchism without, apparently, actually having read anything about either. I wonder if he’s aware of the anarchist belief that you can’t have a government that is not the enemy of the people, because it’s inherent in the nature of government, and making a “government that’s a friend of the people” is a ridiculous self-contradictory goal, like “let’s design water you can’t drown in”? Actually, I joke; I don’t wonder at all.

      I’d love to throw a Gandhi quote at this guy: “As the State is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence.”

  16. This seems to be the despondency both teams go thru when they realize that although libertarians voted with them recently, they haven’t converted to the team.

    It’s like they are saying “Libertarians have had 6 years to see how great we are and they still don’t get it. It was supposed to be a thing of beauty!”

    queue up Supertramp’s Logical Song.

  17. This does not mean that the converse is true, that maximal government is best. There appears to be a reasonable balancing point. We Americans seem to be below that reasonable point, and libertarianism threatens to drive us further down.

    Hmm let’s see – government controls 42% of the economy directly through spending, we have a couple million people in prisons, and millions more ensnared in justice system, either being fined or on probation for violation of various rules that even the lawyers have trouble deciphering, no new invention can be made without calls for its regulation, and you want more? Like, full on fascism?

  18. In other words, post-Enlightenment modernity is very strange, and libertarians take aspects of it so seriously it freaks me out.

    Freaks him out, apparently, more than actual fucking slavery.

    JsubD was a wise man.

    1. Because he abandoned his mortal coil and left the details to us?

      1. Jsub didn’t die. He sublimed.

    2. JsubD was a wise man.

      What did JsubD say about this?

      1. Fuck off, slaver.

      2. He said, “fuck off, slaver.”

        1. I didn’t realize that JsubD was the one who originated that phrase. Even though it is only 3:20 here, I am going to raise a glass in remembrance of his truly beautiful prose.

          To JsubD!

  19. I made no real attempt to understand what his point was since I know that would be a waste of time.

    1. Absofrickinlutely right!
      I have a lefty friend who has faaar lefty friends who sound like this. When you spout actual facts about the situation (like 60% of US 4-year college grads are now women) the big, blank look goes up and the next empty phrase comes rolling out like a magic incantation.

  20. Everything that has led us as far as we have toward modern democratic capitalism strikes him as apparently anti-human in a deep and profound sense

    I think this is partially correct. The major thing here is that humans kind of suck and if given the power to control other people a person will generally abuse that power.

    And so we need an inhuman contract, a constitution if you will, that prevents such abuse and guarantees certain rights that cannot be taken away regardless of how powerful a human or group of humans have become over other humans

  21. Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

    George Washington

    Words to remember. But I think only the libertarians remember them.

    1. That’s the other thing. This kind of asshole apparently has no understanding of the difference between coercion and voluntariness. It’s like the thought has never occurred to them that maybe, sometimes, you shouldn’t force people to do things they don’t want to.

      1. If that thought ever actually, truly occurred to statists…we’ll, they’d either just die, or end up here.

        1. Or deploy some weapons-grade doublethink. See my comment above about abortion.

      2. If libertarians could accomplish just one thing besides “FEAR GOVERNMENT,” I wish it could be this notion that we can do things in cooperation more effectively than by using coercion. It’s really at the heart of the success of capitalism, for example.

        1. How do you get more than a couple people to cooperate in a productive and long-term way without introducing a measure of coercion at some point?

          1. Payment for services, or emotional appeal?

          2. It’s just inconceivable that we don’t gut-stomp *someone*!

          3. How do you get more than a couple people to cooperate in a productive and long-term way without introducing a measure of coercion at some point?

            Good point. Every job I’ve ever held had a workforce of three.

            1. Every job you’ve ever held existed in a modern regulatory environment in which your employer was not allowed to exploit you.

              1. Tony|1.27.14 @ 4:13PM|#
                “Every job you’ve ever held existed in a modern regulatory environment in which your employer was not allowed to exploit you.”

                Aw. poor widdle tonie would be exploited left and right if daddy in the white house didn’t save him every day!
                Why, expecting infantile sleaze balls like tonie to actually negotiate as an equal partner is just impossible; tonie isn’t even capable of wiping his ass; daddy has to do it when he changes tonie’s diaper.

              2. If you don’t like a job, why not quit and find another one? All your modern regulatory environment does is it restricts the number of employers who will hire me.

                1. It does do that. It says you can’t make a profit if you can only do so by hiring children, by not paying overtime, by sexually assaulting your employees, etc., etc.

                  I don’t think any of you should speak about these matters until you go actually experience living in a society with no regulations. How can you possibly know it’s better, truly?

                  1. Tony|1.27.14 @ 4:26PM|#
                    “It does do that. It says you can’t make a profit if you can only do so by hiring children, by not paying overtime, by sexually assaulting your employees, etc., etc.”

                    Aww, poor widdle tonie. Did your daddy wipe your ass now?

                  2. How can you possibly know it is worse, truly?

                  3. I worked as a kid, and see only positives from that, I don’t get paid overtime, and really don’t care about that, assault is assault, and should be resolved through courts.

                    I was born in the USSR, and lived in post-Soviet Russia. While there were a lot of bad things going on in the 90’s, there was also a lot of progress. Yes, it was chaotic, but better than Communist regime prior to that. Also, freer than Putin’s rule.

              3. Illegal immigrants work largely outside the modern regulatory environment, and millions of them cross and recross the border, at great personal cost and risk, to do so.

                Now I’m not saying that illegal immigrants aren’t exploited, but evidently things are bearable enough that they are willing to risk their lives in pursuit of a better future here. And a lot of the exploitation that does go on could be solved by getting the government regulatory state you love so much out of the way, so that they could freely work wherever and for whomever they want.

                1. No no, let’s run with that. You would rather live like an illegal immigrant in the US than a full citizen with all those pesky regulations guaranteeing you freedom from abuse and a relatively decent wage? Whatever floats your boat dude.

                  1. If regulations guarantee wages, why stop at relatively decent? Why not guarantee ourselves rich wages? Like $1,000,000/year. Everybody would rich, no more poverty!

                  2. I provided you with a largely unregulated sector of the labor market that is apparently tolerable enough that people are willing to leave their families and their homes in droves, pay thousands of dollars to be guided across the desert or risk death doing it on their own, and live as an outcast, reviled by many in their new communities. So evidently their working conditions are aren’t all that awful. Then I asserted that the exploitation that does occur in that market could largely be eliminated by allowing people to work and move freely. If you have a rebuttal, I’m happy to hear it. But don’t put words in my mouth because I never claimed anything even close to what you said above.

                    And just so we’re clear, I’m a libertarian. I want myself and all people to be able to work for whomever they want under whatever terms they mutually agree on so long as they aren’t hurting anyone in the process.

                    1. A beautiful response. I suspect Tony has disappeared though.

                    2. If the lives of migrant workers in the US, who essentially have no rights and whose working conditions are awful, are better than what they left behind, all that means is that they must have come from someplace pretty shitty indeed. One of those big government welfare states in Mexico, no doubt.

                      The only pattern here is that more regulation seems to be better for workers.

                    3. According to the World Bank, per capita GDP in Mexico is about $US 9,700. That puts Mexico in about the top 1/3 worldwide. Illegal immigrants in the U.S. seem to be making about $US 15,000 on average, so they aren’t quite doubling their income.

                      What other factors could contribute to Mexican immigration? Drug violence in Mexico? I point you to these two maps that, at least to my eye seem to almost show an anti-correlation between per capita drug deaths and the origin of most Mexican immigrants.

                      My point? Life in Mexico may not be as good as it is in the U.S., but it isn’t a total hell hole. So your assertion doesn’t really stand up.

                      As for more regulation being better for workers, Heritage ranks Mexico as “repressed” in labor freedom. Given the way they measure that, it seems that Mexico has a more heavily regulated labor market than to the U.S. Yet Mexican workers are migrating the U.S. Your second point doesn’t stand up to scrutiny either.

          4. How do you get more than a couple people to cooperate in a productive and long-term way without introducing a measure of coercion at some point?

            Seriously? Do you work in a company with more than two employees? Are you forced to do so?

            1. Are companies islands of lawlessness now? Every single person in every company is coerced not to commit crimes and to abide by regulations. What are you even talking about?

              1. Tony|1.27.14 @ 4:27PM|#
                “Are companies islands of lawlessness now?”

                Aww poor tonie. Did the mean man say something that hurt your feeewings?
                Poor, poor, tonie.

                1. Sevo the clarity and depth of your arguments never cease to astound. Truly you of all the people here are the most likely to make me a convert.

                  1. Tony|1.27.14 @ 4:33PM|#
                    “Sevo the clarity and depth of your arguments never cease to astound.”

                    Poor, poor tonie. Go find someone else to change your diapers.

              2. Don’t argue with the straw men in your head. I’m not saying that employers should be allowed to sexually harass their employees. Some laws are good. But a lot are pointless if not harmful.

                What I’m saying is that you voluntarily work for your employer and your employer voluntarily employs you. You do so on terms you both find mutually acceptable. No one forced you to work there, or even forced you to work, and your employer could have hired someone else. If you found the conditions abhorrent you could quit, and there isn’t a damn thing your employer could do about it. The reverse probably isn’t true — I doubt your employer could fire you for any reason they wanted. But if they could it wouldn’t cause the downfall of civilization, it just means you would have to find an employer that you could get along with.

                Presumably the company you work for produces some good or service that other people voluntarily pay for. And presumably the sum total of you, your employer, the other employees at your company, and your customers is greater than two.

                1. Some laws are good. But a lot are pointless if not harmful.

                  Which is what every other human being on the planet believes. Okay…

                  I get what you’re trying to say, but you’re not describing the employer/employee relationship accurately if you’re leaving out the backbone of law and regulation that coerces certain behavior–some of which, as you said, you find necessary and proper.

                  You must point to an example of people cooperating on a large scale without any coercion involved. Point to an example of 10 people doing so. It doesn’t happen. Coercion is inherent in cooperation, because people disagree. It’s actually particularly odd to use the workplace as an example of less coercion than the democratic state. I don’t recall getting to vote on a single thing at my workplace. Everything is pretty much dictated from the top down. Sure I have the freedom to go elsewhere, but that’s only because indentured servitude is prevented by the state.

                  1. You must point to an example of people cooperating on a large scale without any coercion involved.

                    I’m not advocating for anarchy, so I have to do no such thing. I’m advocating for limiting coercion to where it is needed to prevent violations of life and liberty. All I need to do is point to an example of cooperation on a large scale under those conditions. Which I did above using the (admittedly imperfect) example of illegal immigration (and I attempted to address the obvious imperfections in it from the start).

                    I could also point you to a program at the homeless shelter I volunteered at in Virginia called Hunters for the Hungry. Hunters donated uninspected meat that they themselves hunted, which was given for free to the homeless in a shelter that was staffed and largely funded through the cooperation of multiple churches in the community.

                  2. I don’t recall getting to vote on a single thing at my workplace.

                    What does voting have to do with cooperation? Cooperation doesn’t mean majority rules. It means that people who can agree on a goal, or on terms of employment, voluntarily work together. If you decide that quitting is more to your advantage than keeping the job, then you can leave. That’s cooperation too. No one was forced to employ you and no one forced you to work for a particular employer.

                    1. So let’s apply that to the world we’re actually talking about. Hundreds of millions of people. Nothing gets done without total unanimity, and each dissenter is, what, allowed to form his own private duchy? Inviting those in who agree with him, then expelling those who disagree on an issue?

                      Why are kindergarten means of human cooperation so foreign to you guys? You don’t always get your way. You learn that in kindergarten too.

                    2. You didn’t address my points at all, but I’ll still address yours. 100% unanimity isn’t required for voluntary cooperation. In practical terms, you just need a net benefit most of the time.

                  3. I don’t recall getting to vote on a single thing at my workplace.

                    I don’t recall getting to vote on a single thing at your house. Oh no, wait a second, your activist government actually does make that possible. A majority of people voted to make it illegal for you to consume a long list of substances in your house. How’s that for freedom? Sodomy laws increase freedom too, right? After all, they give your neighbor a vote on what goes on in your bedroom.

      3. That is because he can’t comprehend there could be any principle beyond results in this world. If you are willing to let someone do something that is wrong, you are supporting that wrong. To idiots like this things like freedom and autonomy are just words that only mean something insofar as they produce results he likes.

    2. And they were not spoken by George Washington.

      1. And they were not spoken by George Washington.

        They have long been attributed to him. The statement still stands as to what government is.

        1. Unfortunately, there are a lot of great quotes which have been falsely attributed to one framer or the other.

          The interesting thing is, we have this set of documents full of quotes and such that actually is attributed to them which is pretty damning for those who lionize the state. Crazy talk like “CongreFs Shall Make no Lore” and stuff like that.

            1. Is this the long s you were looking for? Congre?s?

        2. It’s a good thing we’re adults and do not live our lives by platitudes.

          Government is force. So? That’s kind of the point. As you would immediately agree the moment someone tries to steal your shit.

          1. Tony|1.27.14 @ 4:08PM|#
            “It’s a good thing we’re adults and do not live our lives by platitudes.”

            So you fantasize that you’re reached some degree of maturity?
            Not from what you post here; you’re a pathetic infantile excuse for a moral agent.

          2. Are you referring to a non-government actor “stealing your shit”, or say, the government stealing your shit and retroactively calling it legal?

            1. What’s retroactive about it? You are born into a society of laws. In order to maintain that society, stuff’s paid for by taxes, which are and have always been legal. You don’t want to pay taxes, then you don’t get to tell me I’m not entitled to steal your shit. And good luck with that. Anarchy isn’t for the weak.

              1. Government is not, strictly speaking, necessary even for protection of life and property. Are you familiar with the concept of home/life insurance? Insurance companies have great interest in you staying safe and sound (to avoid payouts), and I see them as being much more effective agents for law enforcement than cops.

                1. I for one welcome our new insurance company overlords. Christ it’s like you don’t listen to yourself.

              2. Who’s talking about taxes? I’m talking about real property.

          3. Government is force. So? That’s kind of the point. As you would immediately agree the moment someone arrests you imprisons you and kills you for smoking weed.

            Fixed for you.

            1. And by that pristine logic, I don’t like the drapes in the guest room. Let’s burn the house down.

              1. Tony|1.27.14 @ 4:24PM|#
                “And by that pristine logic, I don’t like the drapes in the guest room. Let’s burn the house down.”

                Tony, your momma might have bought your sophistry as argument and I’ll bet that’s one reason you think you’re so clever.
                Your not. You’re a lying piece of shit.

  22. If libertarians would move real-world policy in their direction, then their premises about humans and human society should be at least remotely plausible

    Because leaving people alone and not restricting their behavior via the force of law is just not plausible.

    It astounds me how stupid these people are. First, you will never find someone who pokes more fun at the ANCAPs than me, but even I will admit there are plenty of alternatives to what we call government. There are and have been throughout history lots of ways to organize society that didn’t involve anything like what a modern person would call government. They may have fulfilled the same purposes, but something like a clan or cooperative is not a “government” in any modern sense of the word.

    Second, this idiot provides another example of my contention that all of these prog nitwits are in fact crude materialists with no ability to appreciate or understand the abstract, even though they all are too stupid to understand that is what they are. This idiot thinks “libertarianism” is implausible because he cannot comprehend how a full on perfect libertarian state could exist in the real world. He cannot comprehend the difference between the ideal and messy reality unless doing so involves excusing the various failures of his ideology. But even then that is not because the ideal can’t be reached. It is that we haven’t built it yet.

    1. No one is talking about Libertopia here you fucking troglodyte. We are talking about keeping the country something less than a totalitarian hell hole.

      1. Did a comment disappear, or did you just insult yourself?

        1. No. That was directed at the author of the article. It was supposed to be the end of my comment. But the damn character limit prevented it.

    2. I challenge you to describe a society in history that was freer for individuals than the modern democratic state.

      1. Sure. But last I looked that state is exactly what you and your ilk would like to destroy.

        Since when is welfare, affirmative action, and state control of our health care diets and commercial life necessary for a democratic state?

        I guess I am just not down with these “modern concepts” like fining people for not buying health insurance and jailing them for consuming a prohibited product.

        1. I’m saying explicitly, as the article does, that the modern welfare state increased individual freedom hugely, possibly more than any other program in the history of the world.

          The problem is how you define freedom: so narrowly as to be meaningless.

          1. I’m saying explicitly, as the article does, that the modern welfare state increased individual freedom hugely,

            Because nothing says “freedom” like dependence and social rot. And further, the people who have had their money stolen to pay for those programs haven’t had their “freedom” increased.

            Even by your moronic standard, I am significantly less free than average American was before the income tax.

            You are a great example Tony of what I am talking about. You see “freedom” in crude material ways. You are a retarded child of Marx and can’t comprehend any concept except through its results in the material world. So, you think idiotic things like “freedom is the same as money”.

            1. You are a retarded child of Marx

              Is there another kind?

              1. No. But Tony’s generation seems even dumber than his predecessors.

            2. If money doesn’t have anything to do with freedom then why are you bitching about being taxed?

              Sure, to have a functioning welfare state, you redistribute some money from the wealthy to the poor. This has long been seen as a good tradeoff. The blow to the wealthy person’s freedom is imperceptible. The gain in freedom of the poor person, who can now get educated, get treated when sick, and not starve to death, is immense.

              1. If money doesn’t have anything to do with freedom then why are you bitching about being taxed?

                Because there are other values than freedom you half wit.

                Sure, to have a functioning welfare state, you redistribute some money from the wealthy to the poor. This has long been seen as a good tradeoff.

                The results in the real world say otherwise. Being given money and told that you will lose it if you try to better yourself is not “freedom”. You only think it is because you are depraved.

                1. Nobody has ever passed on making more money because of taxes. This country had far higher taxes on the wealthy during its most robust period of economic growth. None of the bullshit you believe is real.

                  1. Nobody has ever passed on making more money because of taxes.

                    Only if you don’t count the endless evidence that says otherwise. And if taxes don’t change behavior, I am sure you won’t have any problem with a national tax on abortions and on abortion providers.

                    1. Oh please do point me in the direction of this endless evidence. I want citations of people, en masse, deciding they’d rather be middle class than rich because of the higher tax burden.

                      I personally want to incentivize abortions so I wouldn’t want such a tax, but I encourage you to contact your local Republican politician and tell him to advocate it.

                    2. Tony|1.27.14 @ 4:22PM|#
                      “Oh please do point me in the direction of this endless evidence. I want citations of people, en masse, deciding they’d rather be middle class than rich because of the higher tax burden.”

                      Thank you for one more demonstration of your skills at sophistry.
                      Oh, and get fucked with a garden shovel.

                    3. I want citations of people, en masse, deciding they’d rather be middle class than rich because of the higher tax burden.

                      Dishonest much? Many people who made it big started small and toiled for years. The more expensive you make it to even start small, and the less rewarding you make the prospective payoff, the less likely people will be to even attempt it.

                      For the vast majority of people, particularly entrepreneurs, their choice is not between staying middle class or being rich, their choice is between staying middle class or taking huge risks in an attempt to get rich.

                    4. All self-fellating theory, no reference in historical reality.

                  2. And yet, no country has ever taxed itself into prosperity.

                    Funny, that.

          2. Tony|1.27.14 @ 4:00PM|#
            “I’m saying explicitly, as the article does, that the modern welfare state increased individual freedom hugely,…”

            Yes, taking property from people at gunpoint really does increase freedom.
            I swear some ignorant turd really wrote that statement above, and it’s a good bet he’s stupid enough to believe it.

            1. It’s not a gunpoint you cliche-spouting simpleton. It’s dues paid for services rendered, agreed to via the democratic process. It may not go in the order you’re accustomed to, but some allowance for the way humans are born and live must be made. Otherwise you’re admitting the article’s point: your bullshit only applies to a fantasy world.

              1. Tony|1.27.14 @ 4:11PM|#
                “It’s not a gunpoint you cliche-spouting simpleton.”

                Yes it is at gunpoint you lying slimy turd.

                1. You find it perfectly acceptable to point a gun, or have a proxy point a gun, to someone attempting to steal your stuff.

                  But you want to avail yourself of all the existing services and the peace and prosperity of your society without paying for any of it.

                  One of these days you will realize that you are the thief in this scenario.

                  1. But you want to avail yourself of all the existing services and the peace and prosperity of your society without paying for any of it.

                    Do you pay attention to anything people say around here? No one wants to use the welfare state for free. They don’t want a welfare state. They want to keep more of their money and take care of people in a way they see fit.

                    1. Then you guys should stop saying that taxation is immoral theft and say that you merely have a disagreement about which programs the state should undertake.

                    2. Tony|1.27.14 @ 4:30PM|#
                      “Then you guys should stop saying that taxation is immoral theft and say that you merely have a disagreement about which programs the state should undertake.”

                      You should find a local community college and take a course in remedial English.

                    3. Then you guys should stop saying that taxation is immoral theft and say that you merely have a disagreement about which programs the state should undertake.

                      Well there are people here who do believe taxation is immoral theft and that government should be abolished. And there are people who believe taxation is immoral but a necessary evil to fund a minimal government. And there are probably people here who may think taxation isn’t immoral and actually do disagree more on what is funded. We’re a diverse group.

                      None of which contradicts my previous statement.

                  2. Tony|1.27.14 @ 4:17PM|#
                    “You find it perfectly acceptable to point a gun, or have a proxy point a gun, to someone attempting to steal your stuff.”
                    Correct.

                    “But you want to avail yourself of all the existing services and the peace and prosperity of your society without paying for any of it.”
                    Lies, but expected.

                    “One of these days you will realize that you are the thief in this scenario.”
                    I’m quite sure you will NEVER understand that YOU are the thief; your ignorance is profound.

                    1. No, I pay what I owe. I’ve never stolen so much as a pack of gum in my life.

                      You want everything you get that is paid for by taxes and you want it for free. You are the most entitled freeloading man-children this planet has ever known.

                    2. Tony|1.27.14 @ 4:29PM|#
                      “No, I pay what I owe. I’ve never stolen so much as a pack of gum in my life.”

                      Yeah, you make sure someone else is handling the gun.

                    3. Tony, you are the most mendacious of turds. The fact that you come here to troll without even attempting to comprehend the arguments being made is the bright line over which you rocketed into pure Asshole.

                      You talk about us wanting things that we don’t want to pay for. That is utter bullshit, and you know it, you proglodytic tapeworm. You talk as if the only way things are done in a public setting is by taxation. It’s not, and it’s because of people like you, so scared that your pet social projects won’t get done and ameliorate your petty fears, that stand in our way of trying anything that’s actually, you know, voluntary.

                      Of course, you’ll probably want to trot your tired, old “social contract” argument, but we’re not buying it here. We didn’t sign, and it’s not like you’re any kind of authority over us to make us get in line.

                      So please, won’t you kindly take you contract, and just stick it right back up your statist ass?

                    4. Sure, once you say a single thing of substance.

                      What are you not allowed to voluntarily do that you think you ought to? Besides do drugs and hire hookers, because we all agree on that.

                    5. What are you not allowed to voluntarily do that you think you ought to?

                      Hire or work for someone on terms that we both agree to.

                      Pay for government programs germane to protecting people from their neighbors, and not much more besides.

                      Take care of my own health as I see fit and using the model that works best for me.

                    6. Get on an airplane without being groped.
                      Communicate in privacy,
                      Leave the country with my belongings, including as much of my money as I please.
                      Transact business without having to document every penny for tax purposes.

                    7. All of the above, plus produce and or purchase any products of my choosing.

                    8. But you also want everyone else to live like that.

          3. the modern welfare state increased individual freedom hugely

            Go home, rent boy. You’re drunk.

            -jcr

      2. The existence of worse governments does not make any government good.

        -jcr

      3. I challenge you to describe a society in history that was freer for individuals than the modern democratic state.

        Constitutional democratic, or just democratic democratic? Iran is a Democratic state.

        And we’re not that democratic any more. Laws are passed by non-representative government on a continuous and ongoing basis. That ain’t democratic, no matter how much lipstick you put on it.

      4. I challenge you to describe a society in history that was freer for individuals than the modern democratic state.

        The US in 1990s

        1. The US in the 1970s was balls more free.

          1. Price controls, state enforced telecommunications monopoly, a few years of the draft, heavily regulated air travel.

            Admittedly most those things ended in the 70s…still the 70s had them.

            1. Not to mention continuing controls on gas & oil. It was also before the movement to shall-issue in the states. It was before a big cut in federal income tax rates. For most of that decade, many large jurisdictions still didn’t allow cable TV. It was before the Indian & Atlantic City casinos. Marijuana decriminaliz’n (in some places from felony status for simple possession) took most of that decade.

              Overall I’d say that in the USA, yeah, the 1990s were considerably freer than the 1970s.

        2. That counts as a modern democratic state.

          1. That counts as a modern democratic state.

            The point being that the freedoms in a modern democratic state not only can but have degraded.

            You running around defending some asshole who says libertarians are wrong because we need to be slaves needs the facts and scope of this argument shoved in your face.

            Pull your head out of your ass.

            1. Sure “modern democratic state” encompasses many different countries and more than half a century of time. There are several examples that outshine the US by many measures. The two things they all have in common are: any rational person would choose to live in them over any alternative that came before; and they are all considered tyrannies of the highest order by libertarians.

              1. and they are all considered tyrannies of the highest order by libertarians.

                Really?

                You are a complete pile of shit.

              2. Re: Tony,

                There are several examples that outshine the US by many measures.

                Rather than reading your words, one only has to look at the rate of migration of those countries you think “outshine” the U.S. and compare it to the U.S., and you would see that people who live in those paradises are still choosing to move to the U.S. New York is full of French people, for instance.

                1. I prefer to deal in data, and we are not the best by a lot of quantitative and qualitative measures.

          2. That counts as a modern democratic state.

            In the spirit of our president from the 90s, “a” is not “the”.

  23. They’re so scared. That has to be why all these articles keep cropping up.

    1. I think you are right. These sorts of articles all say the same thing; some variation on “you can’t say that”. They know they can’t win a rational argument and are thus doing everything they can to prevent one from happening.

      1. What scares me is that they clearly aren’t bringing out the heavyweights yet. These are downright childish arguments against libertarianism and are really easy to dismiss. And yet some people are still eating it up. When some of the more…skilled progressives (and conservatives) start to really go on the attack, it will take a lot of effort to prevent the average person to even listen to the counterarguments.

        1. I think this is the best the Progs can do. I am increasingly convinced there are not any skilled or smart progs left.

          There are some skilled conservatives. But they will not do a lot of damage and their attacks will be areas of Libertarian thought. There are large areas of things that conservatives and libertarians agree. The situation is so dire that if Libertarians could get 20% of what they want, things would get a lot better.

          1. Maybe. But if this is the best they can do then libertarianism then we should have already won the debate.

            We haven’t, because a lot of people disagree with libertarianism on a visceral level — they don’t want to let other people live their lives in a way they object to.

            The real debate will start if/when someone starts reminding people that libertarians want to take away the current means of control. That is when we will have to start really winning over hearts and minds.

            1. We haven’t, because a lot of people disagree with libertarianism on a visceral level — they don’t want to let other people live their lives in a way they object to.

              I really don’t see that being the case anymore. There are certainly hardcore ideologues on both sides but most Americans are live and let live.* What Americans are viscerally against is letting people starve in the streets and/or allowing the Muslims to blow us and our children up, which we are constantly reminded is the inevitable consequence of shrinking govt.

              * I do tend to agree with The Joker on what would happen to this mangnaminity when Americans get hungry and/or fearful.

              1. While the trend does seem to be moving the right direction on certain issues (marijuana legalization, same-sex marriage, international adventurism, maybe privacy), I’m not as optimistic as you seem. I’d love to be proven wrong.

  24. Unemployable, tax-dependent academic smears libertarians. Film at 11.

    -jcr

  25. Claude S. Fischer (a U Cal Berkeley sociology prof)

    You don’t say. He completely doesn’t fit the mold.

    1. Is there anyone in the field of academic sociology is not a dangerous half wit?

      1. When I was in law school, for a short time I dated a sociology professor. Even he admitted that what went on in sociology was complete and utter bullshit whose only verifiability/falsifiability was the applause that one got at conferences.

        1. verifiability/falsifiability was the applause that one got at conferences.

          Kind of like politics.

      2. Maybe Mao was onto something. He only killed the wrong intellectuals.

      3. Some of them are affable half wits.

        1. You meant “laughable”, right?

  26. …”For most of history, including Philadelphia, 1776, more humans were effectively property than free.”…

    You can take long odds that there is some jargon-laced explanation which ‘proves’ this, so long as you accept the official sociological definitions of, for example, what “is” is.
    I’m sure a careful application of the standards would easily ‘prove’ I am the property of my tropical fish.

  27. Social psychologists have demonstrated how anomalous is the Western, especially American, view of autonomous selves. For example, Americans are likelier than others to explain what happens to people as a result of their individual traits and choices, to perform better when we are allowed to choose our own tasks, to get upset if we sense a lack of personal freedom, and to care greatly about our self-esteem.

    In that case, I’m happy to be anomalous.

  28. First sentence, second paragraph

    “outside the fantasy novels of Ayn Rand and Robert Heinlein”

    A writer that displays ignorance of the difference between science fiction and fantasy needs to look for other work.

    1. Are you saying that Number of the Beast was Sci-fi?

    2. Ultimately all science fiction is fantasy…

      Of course all fiction is fantasy as well…plus I think the science fiction and fantasy community have gravitated to calling it “genre” now.

      1. What do other genres have to say about that?

  29. We must be hitting a nerve.
    We have some idjit claiming (I presume with a straight face) that we can’t possibly be right, since everybody owned everybody else forever.
    Then we have our own slimy turd claiming that taking property at gunpoint makes everyone more free!
    If the opposition is reduced to making up fantasies like these, I gotta believe we’re on the right track. Even some proggies might see though those sorts of lies.

  30. Indeed, Mr. Fischer, we aren’t playing SimCity. It’s a shame so much modern governance, even today, tries to pretend we are as it tries to manipulate people by force to meet the goals of the state.

    I believe it’s called projection.

  31. Does any of you think Sevo contributes to your cause? Just curious.

    1. Sevo said this about you:

      Then we have our own slimy turd claiming that taking property at gunpoint makes everyone more free!

      Which is accurate.

      So yes he does contribute to our cause.

      1. But the only thing that accomplished was to make me wince and feel sorry for his mother.

    2. Tony|1.27.14 @ 4:35PM|#
      “Does any of you think Sevo contributes to your cause? Just curious.”

      Does any of you (sic! He claims to be an EDITOR!) think Tony contributes to his cause? Just curious.

  32. Can Reason run a piece, something along the lines of, “I Was a True Blue American Liberal!” or “Confessions of an Ex-Socon”? These articles are so popular lately.

  33. Libertarianism is the intellectual framework for a society in which the state insures against the risks of the wealthy but refuses to do the same for the poor. It is, quite simply, the most immoral system anyone could possibly dream up that doesn’t involve ovens and gas chambers.

    1. The only thing that comment accomplished is to make me wince and feel worry for Tony’s mother.

    2. Tony – grace us with your moral calculus.

      If my neighbors and I get together and decide to take and divide all the money from the house up the street over the objections of that house’s owner, what size does the neighborhood have to be for that to be moral?

      1. The morality of a political system for a large society isn’t really applicable to a society of three. If two want to overpower one, nothing really is going to stop them. How big of a government bureaucracy do you want to protect the interests of the one?

    3. Tony|1.27.14 @ 4:46PM|#
      “Libertarianism is the intellectual framework for a society in which the state insures against the risks of the wealthy but refuses to do the same for the poor.”…

      Poor, poor widdle tonie. Did you find some one to change your diapers?

    4. The poor have just as much interest in protecting their own property, if not more, since they can less afford to lose any given piece of property.

      Nor can they afford to purchase private protection.

      The poor have just as much interest in freedom of speech, freedom of association, etc.

      1. In Tony’s world, not taking is giving and not giving is taking.

        So whatever the government doesn’t take from the rich, it is giving to the rich.

        And whatever the government doesn’t give to the poor, it is taking from the poor.

        The only way for the government to stop subsidizing the rich is to take everything they own, and the only way for the government to stop taking from the poor is to give them everything it stole from the rich.

        1. Re: sarcasmic,

          After watching the episode of The Independents where the crew had the chat with the communist, I noticed the very same arguments that Tony has been laying here for years:

          a) Capitalism is evil, it’s slavery, it’s sexism, etc.
          b) We could not have private property without the state’s enforcement of those rights.
          c) There hasn’t been a true libertarian society ever.
          d) Liberty is a mirage (at least, he implied it.)

          I could almost see this guy sitting in his mom’s basement, wearing nothing but his adult diapers and covered in cheetos, writing to us under the handle “Tony.”

          1. There’s a troll on cafehayek that makes the exact same arguments.

            He’s known as yasafi (you are such a fucking idiot).

      2. Bulllllshit. If you’re poor, you actually probably don’t own much property. Property being a special government guarantee, backed up with guns and tax money of a person’s monopolistic use of something. Fine. But the rich certainly have more to lose, and they have every single aspect of government you like at their disposal to protect that interest.

        A poor person needing healthcare? Fuck off and die. That’s what you call a moral system.

        1. A poor person needing healthcare? Fuck off and die. That’s what you call a moral system.

          Just because you will tell poor people to fuck off and die if no one else is forced into helping them doesn’t mean everyone else is a selfish bastard like yourself.

          And if you think morality means forcing people to pay for things that you will only pay for if everyone else is forced to pay as well, then you’re one fucked up motherfucker.

          1. Seems as if you’re missing the entire fucking point.

    5. Re: Tony,

      Libertarianism is the intellectual framework for a society in which the state insures against the risks of the wealthy but refuses to do the same for the poor.

      Your definition does not even make sense logically. The state and society are not the same, so conflating the twi is fallacious. The state does not require an intellectual framework to justify anything it does, as the state is force by definition. Even if one would accept the absurd notion that libertarianism provides an intellectual framework with which to justify the state (a contradiction in terms) it would be in itself a mere academic exercise.

  34. Fischer is partly right. “We” are not playing Sim City. However, government bureaucrats/legislators/executives are playing Sim City with peoples lives.

  35. Having read for years and not joined.

    Tony is a moron. Please ignore him. It helps no one.

    Read the article. So we have always been slaves? So the best thing is to continue to be slaves? I should use the language my fore bearer from Virginia taught me. But I just have to use something more modern. WTF!? So slavery is normal. The whole civil war thing? Just a waste. People have always been owned. So the whole revolution thing was just dumb? Lots of dead human for nothing. Yah, add in ww1 and www2 and Stalin and Cambodia and oh wait the list never ends for your side. Just minor mistakes because people are always slaves. Its just the slavers weren’t nice enough…..god almighty.

    uhmmm . My favorite here from Reason…. Fuck off slaver.

    I will come back another time to use the words of the Virginian. Slave Owners or not, at least he knew wrong was wrong, these fuckers don’t have a clue and won’t even admit what they are.

    1. They feel themselves to be right. No amount of facts, logic or reason will change the conclusions they arrived at by emotion.

    2. It’s called a very obvious strawman representation of the argument. Do you feel like a slave? Like one of the people the Civil War freed? Do you think he said that’s what we are and that’s a good thing?

      1. Slavery existed only because it was backed by the unjust use of government force.

        All libertarians want to do is undo unjust uses of government force.

        All you want to do is unjustly use government force.

        Fuck off, slaver.

        1. Er, slavery is treated as an already ancient institution in the Scrolls of Hammurabi, when government was a novel idea. There is no need for government for slavery to exist. Slaves can be punished for disobedience, chained up to prevent running away, and chased down if they do run away without help from govt.

          The “problem” the Old South had was powerful neighbors to the north who sought to undermine their peculiar institution by interfering with the catching of runaways and triggering slave unrest.

          1. Government was not a novel idea by the time of Hammurabi, only written laws, as far as we know. Even animals have hierarchies.

  36. What is surprising about all this, is that it is exactly backwards. Republicanism arises from aristocracy, and the fundamental humility of the Counciliar movement of early Protestantism, with its ideas of subsidiarity, self-reliance and responsibility. Modern monarchy, on the other hand, attaches itself to individuals like a leech. There’s plenty of evidence that this is a relatively new phenomenon in Western politics, tho you need only look at the Old Testament to find it is anything but, and that with the king came the priests. Our so-called scientists like to speak about the development of sociability as a genetic factor, but we are not ants and the fact is that the nuclear family is largely of Protestant invention, and the infallible Holy Mother Church, full of homosexuals and lesbians. If anything, separate male and female spheres is the norm, like some animals driven by hormones to mate, but not know each other afterwards. The feudal world did indeed have its castes and tenants, but they all occupied a place believed ordained by God, not by men.

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