Democracy

Why Markets Matter More to Liberty Than Elections

Real freedom means doing what you choose as an individual and not waiting for the rest of society to vote on whether you can.

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wili_hybrid/Flickr

When the Berlin Wall came down 25 years ago this week, people in the Soviet Bloc gained something even more valuable than a right to vote: a free market.

Democracy is definitely better than taking orders from Communist dictators. But real freedom means doing what you choose as an individual, not waiting for the rest of society to vote on whether you can.

In politics, winners get to tell the losers what to do. In the marketplace, you buy what you want. I buy what I want. If some people want to buy movie tickets while others prefer to buy clothes for their dogs, neither side needs to worry it will lose a struggle over which option is best.

This election, as usual, there was a big push to get people to go out and vote. Yet most didn't (more vote in presidential elections, but still less than half the population).

After elections, pundits say, "the people have spoken." But we haven't. Often, we just chose politicians we hated less than others.

I'm glad big-spending Democrats lost Congress. But In the grand scheme of things, was that vote such a sweeping endorsement of anyone's political philosophy? The vote, as usual, was pretty close. Often it feels like America flips a coin.

That sounds cynical, but it's not just cynics who have doubts about the democratic process.

Economist and law professor Gordon Tullock passed away the day before the election. But had he lived another day, he still wouldn't have voted last week. He refused to vote, in part because the branch of economics he helped create—"public choice"—helped convince him that people behave just as selfishly and foolishly when they vote as when they make any other kind of decisions, but with more devastating effects on other people.

At the Cafe Hayek blog, economist Don Boudreaux writes that it's good if people don't vote because by avoiding politics they "come to depend more on personal initiative and less on untrustworthy, power-craving strangers." Well said.

We don't suddenly become wiser and nobler when we step into the voting booth. If anything, the decisions we make there are more ignorant and reckless than the ones we make when buying a car. You probably know more about what kind of car you want than about what sort of laws to impose on your neighbors. It's another reason why most of life is best left to free individuals.

The left treats markets with contempt and political processes as if they're sacred. Then, to explain why politics disappoints, they pretend that money sullies politics.

They're upset because the Supreme Court said money can be spent on ads that inform voters of different factions' views. It turned out that Democrats were the biggest spenders, but that doesn't stop them from complaining that evil Republican tycoons used money to manipulate voters who would otherwise have chosen the candidates decent Democrats want them to.

Republicans, meanwhile, get upset if money is used to bet on things. There once was a wonderful online predictions-market called Intrade. It allowed people to bet on future events, including elections. Intrade's odds were much more accurate predictions than those made by pundits and pollsters. That's because there is wisdom in large numbers, and because Intrade bettors put real money at risk (unlike pundits and water-cooler prognosticators).

But American regulators threatened Intrade with litigation, and the site closed. There's still another prediction market, based in England, called Betfair, but it's confusing and not as useful to Americans. Shutting down Intrade leaves us all less informed and more dependent on the political elite.

I get the creepy feeling that's the way the elite likes it. They want us to think of our grubby little individual lives—full of buying and selling, of self-expression and risk-taking—as something inferior to the exalted political process. I think our individual lives matter, not just those few moments we spend in the voting booth picking the lesser of two evils to run other people's lives.

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  1. Democracy only works when it doesn’t conflict with individual rights.

    1. i.e. a Constitutionally limited Republic.

      1. Yep. If only we could keep it.

        1. You’re too optimistic. That ship has sailed.

          If only we could have kept it.

      2. And even then it’s only less bad than the alternatives.

        The main value I see in democracy is that it adds a little bit of chaos and unpredictability to a political system which keeps people from accumulating too much personal power.

        1. Really, I think the advantage of democracy is it provides a way of getting people out of power without the mess and fuss of a civil war and revolution.

  2. Liberals treat the market with suspicion because it has a well-documented tendency to exploit large numbers of people when left unchecked. Why libertarians have contempt for democracy remains unexplained. Probably because it doesn’t give you everything you want all the time and you have the attitudes of little children.

    1. Democracy is fine, to a point. But liberty is a higher priority. And it’s hilarious that you complain about other peoples’ attitude about democracy after last week.

      1. Why? I’m grown-up enough to accept the outcome of an election I don’t like. Most of the elections I’ve lived through are like that.

        When libertarians talk about skepticism of democracy it usually seems that they are fine with it as long as they get a large number of their policy preferences set in stone outside of its reach.

        1. Re: Tony,

          Why? I’m grown-up enough to accept the outcome of an election I don’t like.

          I am not so sure that supine acceptance is the hallmark of adult behavior, Tony.

          When libertarians talk about skepticism of democracy it usually seems that they are fine with it as long as they get a large number of their policy preferences set in stone outside of its reach.

          We can only work with what we have. Same as you. Same as Alinsky.

        2. When libertarians talk about skepticism of democracy it usually seems that they are fine with it as long as they get a large number of their policy preferences set in stone outside of its reach.

          You mean like some sort of document that theoretically limits the ability of government to trample on individuals?

          1. Are you referring to the same document that explicitly allowed for the ownership and lifelong unpaid exploitation of human beings?

            1. I thought that was your favorite part of said document?

            2. And you’re complaining about markets exploiting people??

            3. Wow!

              Even Tony seems to agree that the 16th Amendment was a mistake.

        3. Tony:

          it usually seems that they are fine with it as long as they get a large number of their policy preferences set in stone outside of its reach.

          As opposed to everyone else, who…. is usually fine with it as long as they get a large number of their policy preferences set in stone outside of its reach.

          1. I don’t want my policy preferences outside of the reach of democracy. It is worrisome that so many people in this country are so immature as to have the other attitude.

            1. Tony:

              I don’t want my policy preferences outside of the reach of democracy. It is worrisome that so many people in this country are so immature as to have the other attitude.

              Listen if you’re absolutely just fine with 51% of the general public having the ways and means to go into a voting booth and completely fuck up your life in an unlimited number of ways, then, that’s fine.

              It’s stupid, but, you enjoy that.

            2. I’m pretty sure you want your policy preferences out of the reach of democracy. Democracy can grant you the right to marry, but it can also lock your ass in a camp for your sexual proclivities…

              1. And how do you propose to prevent it? These things only changed pretty much when a majority wanted them to. I don’t get what magic sparkle dust you think will protect rights in the absence of government doing it.

                1. Can’t prevent it, so it must be awesome?

                  Sour grapes is such a compelling philosophy.

        4. We already know you don’t recognize rights, Tony. Let’s not have this discussion again.

        5. When was the last time a libertarian got any policy they wanted not related to pot?

          1. Are you suggesting that your failures in democracy are why you are suspicious of it and entertain fancies of libertarian totalitarianism?

          2. https://reason.com/blog/2014/11…..bama-elect

            That seems like a good non-pot one.

        6. When libertarians talk about skepticism of democracy it usually seems that they are fine with it as long as they get a large number of their policy preferences set in stone outside of its reach.

          Those things are called rights, Tony. Rights should not be subject to violation via tyranny of the majority.

          Why you can’t grasp a concept as simple as this is astounding. Why, it’s almost as if you’re arguing in bad faith….

    2. Show me an “exploited” worker in a “sweat shop”, and I’ll show you someone who is grateful for an opportunity to leave something worse.

      1. Show me a libertarian and I’ll show you a sad, demented apologist for plutocrats.

        1. Um yeah. Because not taking is giving and not giving is taking. We know.

        2. This is why people like you are evil fucks. It doesn’t matter that markets have a well documented history of massively improving standards of living for most people. If the capitalists do what they do for the sake of their own benefit and profit, it doesn’t matter how many people it helps, his intentions were icky, so it must be bad.

          I’m no cut-throat, go get-em capitalist personally, but I’ve got eyes and a brain and I can see that more good has been done for more people by people simply acting in their own economic interests than all of the charity and altruism in the world has ever done.

          1. But it’s just not true. Start with the natural order of things prior to the industrial revolution: a few families had all the wealth and everyone else was lucky to make pennies scrubbing their chamber pots. That would be considered a “free market.” No untoward government intervention there. Just a little aggressive property protection.

            Industrial revolution comes (you can attribute that to the market if you wish, but a few technological leaps aren’t really the same thing, and this kind of upheaval isn’t even accounted for theoretically in classical economics). The little people change jobs but their lives don’t actually improve all that much. (The contemporary equivalent of libertarians would be talking about how good children working in factories had it because at least they weren’t starving.) Widespread prosperity didn’t come about until the labor movements that sprung up in response to the widespread exploitation in the “market.” For good measure this era also ushered in unprecedented new rights for women and minorities. Some of this work was outside government and some used government–and conservatives like you guys were there at every step trying to stop it.

            1. Is tony trying to argue that the pre industrial world, where most people lived in a fuedal serfdom arrangments, or tribal chieftoms, despotic kings who granted monopoly priveledge to the nobilty class and so forth was a “free market”?

              The last few hundred years, with the birth of classical liberalism, have been the exception to the normal state of humanity in that it’s the one time in civilization in which we have had something resembling free markets and the thought that individuals weren’t subjects to a central authority.

              The natural order is one of an overlord ruling peoples’ lives inlcuding their economic decisions – the order that Tony wants us to regress backwards to.

            2. That is a completely fantastical and demented narrative with utterly no relationship to historical facts.

              a few families had all the wealth and everyone else was lucky to make pennies scrubbing their chamber pots.

              Right. The few governing families. Pirates and barbarians who all got their money by organized expropriation and looting, which they formalized into an incredibly erratic system of government, based in large part on the principle that one man (the sovereign) owned everything, which he leased in fief to people who helped him steal. A system so antithetical to market economics that they actually had to import members of a despised religious minority to undertake any financial market transactions at all.

              The little people change jobs but their lives don’t actually improve all that much.

              Except for the fact that the population tripled. And except for the fact that all the people who possibly could flee living under the remnants of the previous system did so whenever they could, even if it meant abandoning their extended families and their generational homes and traveling thousands of miles in terrible conditions.

              Exactly the kind of things you’d expect to see happen even though there had been no material change in people’s lives at all!

            3. Go watch the first episode of Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose”. It’s on Youtube and replies to everything you say very well.

              1. Go watch the first episode of Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose”. It’s on Youtube and replies to everything you say very well.

                Yeah, well Tony isn’t interested in learning anything from us or from Friedman. He already knows everything there is to know. Otherwise he wouldn’t repeatedly throw out the same fallacies and straw men, have them thoroughly refuted by logic and reason, only to keep repeating them.

              2. And Tom Woods is very good on all of this stuff. Even gave my sister second thoughts and she is as “progressive” as you can get. Too many people care more about how than feel that they do about the truth of things.

                1. Too many people care more about how than feel that they do about the truth of things.

                  Yep.

            4. Re: Tony,

              a few families had all the wealth and everyone else was lucky to make pennies scrubbing their chamber pots. That would be considered a “free market.”

              By who?

              Industrial revolution comes The little people change jobs but their lives don’t actually improve all that much.

              You don’t consider working in a factory a definitive improvement over scrubbing people’s chamber pots?

              You can’t even argue coherently. You commit these contradictions in each sentence only because you keep a narrative in your head from which you are unwilling to deviate. People working in factories = bad. People scrubbing other people’s chamber pots = uh, equally bad!

              1. He takes everything that freedom and markets gives him for granted. Then, he focuses exclusively on regulations that satisfy his subjective preferences for dealing with corner cases, and extrapolates from there that regulation is truly awesome, while freedom is yucky yucky. Because the only freedom he can see is the freedom he wants to take away.

                1. What freedom do I want to take away? The freedom to not have a weekend or a living wage?

                  Oh, you mean a few pennies billionaires would otherwise spend on yacht polish. The real freedom.

                  1. What freedom do I want to take away?

                    You support minimum wage. This means you support taking from young and inexperienced workers the freedom to work for a learning wage, where they can gain the experience to earn a living wage.

                    By supporting the minimum wage, you are forcing the very poorest and least able among us into a cycle of poverty, because without experience they can’t get a job and without a job they can’t get experience.

                    Why do you hate the poor, Tony?

                    1. What if it turns out that a minimum wage doesn’t significantly affect employment, and that what it mostly does is cut into CEO take-home pay? Then is it OK? Or are you a sad, demented plutocrat apologist citing things not in evidence about poor little teenage workers so you don’t have to cop to it?

                    2. Minimum wage does not significantly affect employment in general. It mostly affects employment of young and unskilled workers trying to enter the workforce (the poor, minorities especially), and retirees to a certain degree. We’re talking about a relatively small percentage of the overall population, but they are affected greatly.

                      Why do you hate the young, the poor, minorities, and retirees? Why, Tony? Because the policies you champion are keeping them unemployed. Those are the results, and results don’t give a shit about intentions.

                  2. What freedom do I want to take away?

                    The freedom to do what you want so long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others.

              2. Neither income nor standard of living went up remarkably during the industrial revolution.

                1. Neither income nor standard of living went up remarkably during the industrial revolution.

                  Wow. That’s… Wow. I mean… I have no reply other than to say that’s one of the stupidest comments you have ever made. Wow.

                  1. I was surprised to learn it to.

                    1. I was surprised to learn it to.

                      Learn what? A complete lie that is thoroughly disproven by even the quickest glance at history?

                    2. Tony:

                      I was surprised to learn it to.

                      And, what a shock that you embrace a wildly improbable view of history that just so happens to conform exactly with how you wish it were.

                2. Neither income nor standard of living went up remarkably during the industrial revolution.

                  Holy fucking shit.

                  That is wronger than any wrong thing you’ve ever posted.

                3. Neither income nor standard of living went up remarkably during the industrial revolution.

                  lolwut? Seriously, I haven’t had a laugh that good in a while.

                4. Your such an ignorant shit-stain

                5. Neither income nor standard of living went up remarkably during the industrial revolution.

                  Holy shit. Sears Roebuck must have just started printing catalogs full of products that went to pretty much everywhere in the country and basically inventing mail-order shopping but must have had NO CUSTOMERS WHATSOEVER, because NOBODY’S INCOME WENT UP, and therefore those goods went to nobody, but somehow the company lasted over a fucking century basically purchasing goods from factories and selling them to absolutely nobody.

                  And now I have to order a new stupidometer, because you broke it.

            5. God your dumb

            6. The saddest part is everything Tony supports pushes us further and further toward the “new serfdom” undoing all the good the free market has done to free us from the last. The Royal/Noble/Serf system was built and calcified around “Top Men” at its most clearly drawn. The socialism Tony apparently supports is one where a consortia of Top Men will be installed to defeat all the harm of “free markets”. Yes, people such as Tony are that blind and stupid.

            7. The contemporary equivalent of libertarians would be talking about how good children working in factories had it because at least they weren’t starving.

              Actually, the alternative would likely have been working on the family farm, which is, of course, TOTALLY an easier life than working in a factory.

              Working in the factory allowed people to make more money and begin capital and wealth accumulation. Why do you hate the poor so, Tony?

            8. I hope you didn’t pay for a college education. If the end result was you defining free markets like you did you paid to much. At the very least your critical thinking is severely lacking.

              Direct democracy is messy and doesn’t work all that well. It would be horrible to allow 51% to fundamentally change our country.

              Imagine if 51% that turned up to vote were neo-cons.

        3. Looks like Tony knows his “exploited masses schtick” is BS and is upset that he got called on it… again.

          1. Looks like he’s doubling down on it. God bless ‘im.

        4. Businessmen work for me. I don’t want to make my own blue jeans or raise my own chickens. It’s cheaper and easier for Levi’s and Tyson to do it for me. If they get rich while supplying me with what I want, good for them.

    3. It is a mystery to you because you are ignorant. Luckily our Founders were better educated.

      The Greeks proved how bad a pure democracy can be 2500 years ago. I would suggest you study the unrestrained Athenian democracies – and how they self-destructed in waves of majority rule stupidity.

      The trials of Socrates and Alcibiades should be of particular note.

      1. Who is talking about pure democracy? The only ill-considered system I see being discussed is the “one dollar one vote” nonsense being treated as superior to actual equality.

        1. You should pay less attention to the voices in your head.

        2. And “actual equality” doesn’t exist adn can’t exist. “One person, one vote” is an example of legal equality. There is no political system that will prevent some people from having more power or influence than others.

        3. Re: Tony,

          Who is talking about pure democracy?

          You are, obviously.

          When you posit a Market/Democracy dichotomy, where in a pure market rich people have more “power” and where in a democratic society no one has more power than others, then you are talking about a PURE democracy.

          Implied in this dichotomy is a democracy that cannot have ANYONE with more power or clout than others. This means everyone in a democracy would have to be equally poor or equally rich, with absolutely no wants and needs (as people would otherwise trade with each other to increase their well-being,) where all things are decided by ballots and votes. This is exactly what you’re describing.

    4. Re: Tony,

      Liberals treat the market with suspicion because it has a well-documented tendency to exploit large numbers of people when left unchecked.

      Envy-based tirades do not constitute documentation that shows what you say, Tony.

      The Market is EVERY ONE of us.

      Why libertarians have contempt for democracy remains unexplained.

      It has been explained many times, to you, by many: it breeds tyranny.

      The Founders warned about Democracy many times, which is why they were careful to refer to the new nation as a Federal Republic, not a Democratic Federation.

      1. The market is indeed every one of us. And some of us are way more equal than others. But with wealth comes the birthright to rule, right, freedom lover?

        Nobody is talking about pure democracy, for the thousandth time. But checks on majority tyranny do not translate to “libertarians get everything they want because they’re just so special and right.”

        1. Re: Tony,

          The market is indeed every one of us.

          Yet you talk about the Market as if it were some sort of unknown machine that works in the background, humming all day.

          And some of us are way more equal than others.

          This is meaningless twaddle.

          But with wealth comes the birthright to rule, right, freedom lover?

          What does the Market have to do with ruling? Is your prejudice against the Market based on your prejudice against rich people? Is that it?

          But checks on majority tyranny do not translate to “libertarians get everything they want because they’re just so special and right.”

          Then what does it translate to?

          1. Yet you talk about the Market as if it were some sort of unknown machine that works in the background, humming all day.

            Isn’t that how you treat a democratic polity? As some evil oppressive force, rather than the collective interactions and decision-making that happen outside of the market? Why is this so difficult? In the market, if you have more money, you have more power. In a democracy, in theory, you’re supposed to have exactly as much power as everyone else. It’s supposed to serve as a liberalizing counterweight to the natural tendency of the market to concentrate power (and yes, wealth) in the hands of a few at the expense of the many.

            Then what does it translate to?

            It means protecting certain minority rights. Not a minority of people with differing opinions on routine policy questions, though.

            1. “It means protecting certain minority rights”

              and who is the arbiter of what certain minorities have protections?

            2. Re: Tony,

              Isn’t that how you treat a democratic polity?

              No. A Democratic polity is 50% plus one getting to decide on what the rest will have for dinner. In a Market, each of us decides what each of us has for dinner.

              The person incapable of conceptualizing these things is you, Tony. Not me.

              It means protecting certain minority rights. Not a minority of people with differing opinions on routine policy questions, though.

              Are you saying that in a Democracy minorities have rights if they belong to whatever category someone made up? Because you are making up one right now.

              If that’s the case, then the talk of “protections for certain minorities” is meaningless if the categories are that pliable.

              1. If that’s the case, then the talk of “protections for certain minorities” is meaningless if the categories are that pliable.

                Feature not bug for Tony.

                His piddletwiddle about minority rights is bullshit too, he doesn’t care about minority rights at all, as he doesn’t have a problem with slavery if it is passed democratically.

                1. And Tony is incapable of realizing that you don’t need to protect “minority” rights if you protect individual rights.

              2. Re: Tony,

                In the market, if you have more money, you have more power.

                More power to do what? The only power you have that comes with money is purchasing power. That’s it. But that does not mean anything, as a person only buys as much as the utility of what he purchases brings. A person with a lot of money may buy many cars, but he’s not going to buy ALL cars, as the utility of each additional car diminishes compared to the first cars.

                Besides, I don’t think you’re capable of defining exactly what power you talk about. You simply throw the term around as if it were self-explanatory. If what you mean is political power, then you would have to explain how is it that a person can have political power without democratic support from a MAJORITY.

                In a democracy, in theory, you’re supposed to have exactly as much power as everyone else.

                That’s not true, Tony. Those that belong to the MAJORITY have more political power, always. You don’t even understand the very thing you defend.

                Besides, the implication of what you say is clear: in order to have the perfect democracy where there is NO monetary influence, people would have to be equally poor or equally rich with NO different needs or tastes so they don’t trade at all, and be perfectly and instantaneously informed. It is an impossible setup, precisely because people have different needs and different tastes.

            3. A market is just people doing what people do. Buying and selling and choosing–this is all market. Running for office is marketing oneself, while voting is purchasing a representative. It’s all market, all the way down.

              You try to differentiate the market as just buying because you are envious of those who have more money to spend. But they typically have more money because they have more wealth. Wealth can be real or it can be something like knowledge or talent. Therefore, those who have more money to spend, usually have it because they have more to offer. They sell their talents in the market for money, then purchase other things with the money. You don’t like that they have more to offer the market than you do, so you want to limit the value of, or take away their wealth to make them more equal to you.

              You’re just a slaver.

              1. voting is purchasing a representative

                So why do I get one even if I don’t vote? Or get one I didn’t ‘buy’?

                1. Yeah, that was a bad choice of verb.

              2. I think what Tony has a problem with is the market’s super-wealthy benefactors buying their way into the government, influencing the politicians to make laws that protect their wealth and hobble their competition. And this is NOT what a free market looks like. We don’t want a Buy-N-Large Inc. completely taking over our markets, but we don’t want government telling us what we can and can’t buy, either.

                1. It’s like arguing with a 12-year-old. Or a college student. I don’t know how you guys can stand it.

            4. Tony:

              In a democracy, in theory, you’re supposed to have exactly as much power as everyone else.

              If you’re electing leaders, then you can throw that theory out the window.

        2. It’s funny that you refer to Orwell there, as “some animals are more equal” was meant to point out the inherent problems with putting anyone in charge of enforcing something like equality.

    5. Funny, you could swap “markets” with “democracy” in your trolling screed and it suddenly becomes much more sensible and historically accurate. Especially the whiny little children part.

      1. Liberals Libertarians treat the market democracy with suspicion because it has a well-documented tendency to exploit large numbers of people when left unchecked. Why libertarians liberals have contempt for democracy the market remains unexplained. Probably because it doesn’t give you everything you want all the time and you have the attitudes of little children.

        ftfy

        1. That was supposed to be a reply to Tony.

      2. Why because the social welfare systems that democratic societies tend to implement are like totally just as bad as authoritarian fascism?

        1. It’s fallacies all the way down, huh Tony?

          1. All of his arguments are fallacious. Without exception.

            1. I thought all of his arguments were phalluses…

              my bad.

              1. He sucks on both.

                1. Sucking cock is an admirable hobby – it’s the bootlicking that’s shameful.

        2. Tony:

          Why because the social welfare systems that democratic societies tend to implement are like totally just as bad as authoritarian fascism?

          Because the difference between democracy and free markets is that democracy is a way to make a decision, while free markets are a really, really good decision.

          The best decisions modern democracies have made is their relatively free market economic models.

          And, why someone would build their philosophy on the way to make decisions with groups of people, rather than what decisions are actually really, really good ones, is beyond me.

          1. I wouldn’t disagree with you except that we may differ on what “relatively” means. I think one of the best decisions modern democracies have made is also to temper capitalism with things like labor rights and monetary oversight.

            1. Then you have absolutely no perspective, and should be ignored.

              1. Like you do the plain evidence of history?

                1. You claim all that all the benefit of economic freedom in history is really due to labor laws and monetary oversight, and then tell me I’m ignoring the real history.

                  Whatever. The silly, progressive keyhole through which you see history is your own problem.

    6. Every single worker is exploited. To exploit simply means to use for profit. If they weren’t exploited they would have no job- because their labor wouldn’t lead to their employer’s profit.

      We should all be grateful when something exploits large numbers of people when left unchecked. That is the goal, right?

      1. You know what I mean. At least you should. If you didn’t have protections like overtime pay, weekends, workers comp., and all the other things delivered to you by the labor movement, you would be a socialist too.

        1. that doesn’t make any sense.

          First, you used a word incorrectly (which is understandable, since most people do). But, one can’t claim that the labor movement- which acted successfully in absence of government intervention- would prevent people from seeking government intervention… and then seek government intervention.

          And, no, I don’t think I would be a socialist- it’s not in my genes.

          1. I didn’t use the word incorrectly. One definition is to misuse or to use unfairly, and specifically when it comes to workers.

            I’m talking about the legal protections the labor movement achieved (which have been chipped away at in recent decades). An objective assessment of the history of capitalism shows widespread prosperity with strong labor protections and extremely concentrated prosperity without them.

            1. By the way, I don’t necessarily think many libertarians oppose unions in the private sector. If employees want to force their employer to go out of business or move to another country, so be it.

              Public sector unions are a whole other ball of wax shit.

              1. No they aren’t. There’s no good argument for why public sector workers shouldn’t be able to demand and get the same protections as private-sector ones.

                You only believe there’s a difference because the corporatist movement has managed to practically eliminate private sector unions and they have their sights set on the public-sector. So now you and your fellow minions have been trained to believe that, for some reason, government workers aren’t like real workers.

                1. There’s no good argument for why public sector workers shouldn’t be able to demand and get the same protections as private-sector ones.

                  Yeah, actually there is.

                  When private sector unions drive the cost of their employer’s goods and services above what customers will voluntarily pay, then the customers can choose not to pay.

                  When public sector unions drive the cost of their employer’s goods and services above what customers are willing to pay, they just raise taxes anyway.

                  One of these things is not like the other…

                  1. Yeah government can raise taxes. It’s one of its primary functions. It’s not illegitimate for government to pay for its workforce so I don’t see what the problem is.

                    1. It’s not illegitimate for government to pay for its workforce so I don’t see what the problem is.

                      Talk about missing the point.

                2. Please see below. The government workers are, by the nature of their employer, protected from discrimination, etc.

                  It is a very rational and supportable argument for the difference.

                3. Private sector unions have become practically extinct because people were given a choice to join them or not, and told the unions to fuck off.

                  ” There’s no good argument for why public sector workers shouldn’t be able to demand and get the same protections as private-sector ones.”

                  1.Private unions negotiate with the owners of the company who risk their own money if they give the unions too much. Politicians who negotiate with public unions have no skin in the game.

                  2. A bad employee in the private sector might make a really shitty car. A bad employee in government may shoot people or dogs, or abuse children and keep his job.

                  3. Even FDR knew that government employee unions would be a disaster.

                4. You only believe there’s a difference because the corporatist movement has managed to practically eliminate private sector unions…

                  No. Actually, the unions made themselves untenable. They pushed their industries to the point of bankruptcy and bankrupted themselves. They’re doing the same to governments as we comment. See Detroit.

                5. There’s no good argument for why public sector workers shouldn’t be able to demand and get the same protections as private-sector ones.

                  The legislature, which you are so enthusiastic about empowering in every other context, has to be able to set the conditions of state employment, Tony.

                  That should be at least a baseline power of the legislature, with which we can all agree.

                  But that would necessarily mean that people engaged in state employment can’t have employment contracts that run longer than the term of a legislature. Because if they had such contracts, that would be one legislature binding a future legislature – which is just as anathema to democracy as anything you accuse libertarians of.

                6. There is a perfectly good reason why the public sector shouldn’t be unionized. I linked an article from the NY Times so you couldn’t get out your crystal ball and tell me my news outlet corrupts me.

                  http://www.nytimes.com/roomfor…..tor-unions

                  In addition, public sector unions are terribly un democratic. You letting a small minority hold the majority hostage. Remember private unions exist for profit sharing, which is not the case with public unions.

                  If you want to get sick to your stomach make a friend (just imagine with me) in the federal government that deals with the union and HR. It’s mind boggling how much corruption and incompetence goes unchecked.

                7. Tony:

                  There’s no good argument for why public sector workers shouldn’t be able to demand and get the same protections as private-sector ones.

                  Oh, if only government workers were treated the same as private sector ones.

              2. Yes. the labor movement, read as collective bargaining, has a large place is a free market.

                However, public sector employees are already protected against unethical treatment- since their employer is legally bound to view all as equals under the law.

                Also, collective bargaining loses it’s rights when it attempts to co-opt the legislative power of the state to do it’s bidding.

        2. Re: Tony,

          If you didn’t have protections like overtime pay, weekends, workers comp., and all the other things delivered to you by the labor movement, you would be a socialist too.

          In my case I don’t and yet I am not a socialist.

          And I know plenty of people who enjoy those things either by law or by agreement with their employers and still are jealous self-righteous little children with a sense of entitlement. Or Socialists, to be more succinct.

        3. I worked in restaurants for a long time. During most of that time, hospitality was exempt from overtime laws. As in none of my employers had to, by law, pay me overtime.

          Yet they all did.

          How is that possible without them being forced?

          According to you that could never have happened.

          1. When did I say it’s impossible for employers to treat employees well without being forced? I’m just noting that it wasn’t quite the norm prior to the labor movement. That fact is what motivated the labor movement. It wasn’t a lark.

            1. You have repeatedly said that no one does anything without being forced.

              1. Then you have reading comprehension problems.

            2. Let me get this straight.

              You say that it is possible for employers to treat their employees well without being forced, but at the same time say that none of us would know what weekends, overtime, etc are if not for unions.

              That’s a mighty fine contradiction you’ve got there, fallacy boy.

              1. Maybe some of you would, at the discretion of your beneficent employer. Liberalism is about putting a floor on the level of misery in society as a whole. Are you suggesting that most or all employers, in the absence of such protections, would defy supply-and-demand requirements and pay more for labor than they need to?

                1. Are you suggesting that most or all employers, in the absence of such protections, would defy supply-and-demand requirements and pay more for labor than they need to?

                  Considering it has happened numerous times historically in the US, most notably with Henry Ford, yes, yes that is exactly what is being suggested.

                2. Liberalism is about putting a floor on the level of misery in society as a whole.

                  Tell that to all the young and inexperienced people who can’t find a job thanks to the government mandated floor on the price they may charge for their labor.

                  Are you suggesting that most or all employers, in the absence of such protections, would defy supply-and-demand requirements and pay more for labor than they need to?

                  Here’s the thing. They don’t. They automate. They reject young and inexperienced workers. They move overseas. One thing businesses don’t do is pay more than they need to for something. They’re businesses, not governments.

                  1. If a serious concern is that children can’t find work, then we have a whole other set of problems. Young people should be in school.

                    It is potentially a real problem that full employment will become increasingly impossible because of automation. That’s not just because of the price of labor is artificially inflated (robots can easily be more efficient than humans at any price in this day and age)–and it’s pretty depressing to say the only way to go about this is to make human labor so cheap that companies don’t innovate.

                    1. If a serious concern is that children can’t find work, then we have a whole other set of problems. Young people should be in school.

                      Young people can refer both to teenagers looking for part-tie work during the summer as well as people in their mid 20’s just getting out of college with thousands in student loan debt an unable to find work they ‘deserve’ for having a doctorate in puppetry.

                      it’s pretty depressing to say the only way to go about this is to make human labor so cheap that companies don’t innovate.

                      It’s not depressing. The cost of automating is high enough that (so far) companies have been willing to pay for ever-increasing labor costs for low-skill positions, rather than pay for robots AND the electricity to run them AND the labor of skilled technicians to keep the robots running.

                3. Re: Tony,

                  Liberalism is about putting a floor on the level of misery in society as a whole.

                  How would a society even do that without envy and jealousy muddying the waters?

                  Are you suggesting that most or all employers, in the absence of such protections, would defy supply-and-demand requirements and pay more for labor than they need to?

                  Of course not, because employers don’t want to lose money. The question is interesting because you seem to suggest that in order to raise the well-being of society, employers would have to lose money. I don’t understand how is that conducive to society’s well-being. It is almost as if you’re harboring moral outrage against the Law Of Supply And Demand. That doesn’t seem rational.

                  1. I’m saying that, say, a minimum wage does not do harm to the “law” of supply and demand which you so ceremoniously capitalize as if it were something sacred. It simply changes the equation a bit. You shouldn’t be able to make a profit by enslaving people, right? That takes government intervention into the way things might naturally happen. Same with setting a floor on worker misery, just at a higher end of the spectrum. You’re religiously devoted to the idea of a perfect form of market, except including the nonsense idea that any sort of market can exist without rules (government), or without government as a creator of demand.

                    1. Re: Tony,

                      I’m saying that, say, a minimum wage does not do harm to the “law” of supply and demand

                      Yes, and you’re saying that because you’re embarrassingly ignorant of economics. You can’t “harm” a law, but you DO harm the very people you intend to help by raising their labor cost unilaterally. For one, you’re taking away their power to negotiate their wage.

                      You shouldn’t be able to make a profit by enslaving people, right?

                      Wages and slavery are completely different concepts, Tony.

                      You’re religiously devoted to the idea of a perfect form of market, except including the nonsense idea that any sort of market can exist without rules (government), or without government as a creator of demand.

                      First, rules do not ipso facto mean “government”. You’re committing a fallacy of EQUIVOCATION there. Second, government DEMAND can only mean taking away the demand created by others, which translates to thievery. That alone gives us libertarians the moral argument against government spending.

                4. No. Liberalism is about liberty. You’re talking about Progressivism/Socialism.

            3. When did I say it’s impossible for employers to treat employees well without being forced?

              You’ve done it for years.

              You are quite explicit and remarkably consistent in your insistence that nothing happens or exists absent government force.

            4. Re: Tony,

              When did I say it’s impossible for employers to treat employees well without being forced?

              It’s implied: “If you didn’t have protections like overtime pay, weekends, workers comp., and all the other things delivered to you by the labor movement…”

              I’m just noting that it wasn’t quite the norm prior to the labor movement.

              You gave no such clarification in your original proposition.

              1. Some slaveowners treated their slaves better than others. I wonder, if we were in another time, would sarc be pointing out how good the slaves had it, what with their free lodging? And how the liberal movement to set a floor on the amount of slavery allowed in society was a dangerous exercise in market distortion?

                1. If we were in another time, you would be defending slavery because government said it was OK.

                2. Considering you support for slavery so long as it is arrived at democratically this is amusing.

                  And how the liberal movement to set a floor on the amount of slavery allowed in society was a dangerous exercise in market distortion?

                  Liberals notably weren’t progressives (like you).

                  They argued exactly what you have been consistent in opposing, that people have innate negative rights that can only be violated with assistance of government force (such as slavery) and that the power of government should be limited for precisely that reason.

                  You are the fuckhead who’d be telling us the Scott v. Sandford decision was just as it upheld democratically created law.

                3. Tony:

                  And how the liberal movement to set a floor on the amount of slavery allowed in society was a dangerous exercise in market distortion?

                  Actually, he would probably be pointing out how slavery is a violent institution, contradictory to free markets, and ensconced by government regulation, in the form of slave codes.

                  After all, isn’t one of your favorite arguments “clearly, the government needs to do X, because it’s doing it, and if the market provided it, it wouldn’t? therefore, market failure!”

                  Well, then slave codes imply that the institution of slavery would undergo market failure if left to free markets. Or do we have a special pleading exception for that?

                  Sigh. Tony, I know you’re all butthurt over last week’s elections, and the whole “equality and democracy” philosophy just took a big cognitive dissonance hit. So, what better way to impotently deal with that, than to go trolling. Distractions can be good for the mind.

                4. Some slaveowners treated their slaves better than others.

                  lol.

                5. Re: Tony,

                  Some slaveowners treated their slaves better than others.

                  We’re not talking about slaveowners, we’re talking about employers and employees. The economic arrangement is different.

                  if we were in another time, would sarc be pointing out how good the slaves had it

                  If he did, he would be focusing on an irrelevant thing, since slavery is an unilateral appropriation of a person’s labor and freedom, which is an act of aggression.

                  And how the liberal movement to set a floor on the amount of slavery allowed in society was a dangerous exercise in market distortion?

                  Why are you conflating slavery with wages?

                  1. Why are you conflating slavery with wages?

                    You’ve never heard of wage slavery (yeah, yeah, it’s a fallacy I know)?

                    1. Re: sarcasmic,

                      You’ve never heard of wage slavery (yeah, yeah, it’s a fallacy I know)?

                      Oh, I understand Tony’s obfuscations and attempts at defaming markets. The best one is his question about employers paying more for labor than the market rates if they weren’t made to pay more.

                      Of course the answer is “no”, the employers will NOT pay more for labor than market rates because they aren’t in the business of losing money. But that question goes directly to Tony’s frame of mind, which shows a moral outrage at the idea people pay market prices for anything unless told not to, as if there was something nefarious about paying market prices. His outrage comes from his embarrassing ignorance of even the most basic economic concepts and his self-righteousness. Imagine an ignorant religious zealot, and you’ll get the picture.

                6. Tony:

                  And how the liberal movement to set a floor on the amount of slavery allowed in society was a dangerous exercise in market distortion?

                  When the floor on the amount of slavery allowed in society starts looking like some limit on taxation, please let me know.

                  It’s funny how readily you apply double standards without a moments thought. If the government aggressively taxes the population to satisfy the whims of special interests, well, that’s what government does. It’s just declared so, like a form of dogma.

                  However, if an employer wants to pay market rates for labor? Why, that’s slavery. Can’t have that.

                  Well, aren’t corporations supposed to make money, and try to do so as efficiently as possible? Why isn’t that just what they’re supposed to do?

                  I see any satisfactory address of this, other than vague “I like taxes, I hate low wages. Democracy!” and then lectures about how ashamed we should be for not respecting democracy enough.

                  Of course, you reserve for yourself the right to claim that, while you disagree with the choices in the recent elections, and think they were a mistake, you accept democracy. What does that mean? In what way are you accepting it that we are not? I don’t think anyone here is running out into the streets with guns (government is violence, etc), so, what is this magic acceptance of democracy that you have, that people here don’t? Is it a sour grapes thing? What value is that?

                  It just another double standard.

            5. When did I say it’s impossible for employers to treat employees well without being forced? I’m just noting that it wasn’t quite the norm prior to the labor movement. That fact is what motivated the labor movement. It wasn’t a lark.

              The problem with this argument is that millions of people braved hemispheric-scale travel (back when that meant something) in order to struggle to reach places where they – apparently – weren’t going to be treated well.

              Wow those people must have been pretty stupid, huh?

          2. According to Tony’s “logic” everyone who isn’t a union member or government employee should be making the minimum wage. Including doctors, actors, and pro athletes.

    7. “Liberals treat the market with suspicion because it has a well-documented tendency to exploit large numbers of people when left unchecked.”

      Citations and statistics please. And please put those citations and statistics into the appropriate context of the well-documented tendency of governments of all types to exploit large numbers of people when left unchecked.

    8. Liberals treat the market with suspicion because it has a well documented tendency to demonstrate that people by and large don’t want what Liberals think they should, and won’t take it unless under threat of some sort. Liberals have no philisphical objection to exploiting people. They just want to make absolutely sure that THEY get to determin who is exploited and to what end.

    9. “Tony – Probably because it doesn’t give you everything you want all the time and you have the attitudes of little children.”

      Projection.

    10. I have contempt for the modern concept of democracy because it’s epistemologically and ethically absurd.

      There is one and only one ethical justification for democracy: to prevent rulers from entrenching themselves, you need a process to turn leadership over.

      But officeholder selection is pretty much the only real justification for democracy. Democracy to fundamentally alter the laws is an absurd construction on its face. The laws are either just, or they are unjust – entirely as a result of their content. An unjust law cannot be made just because people like it.

      Any other formulation requires the good to not exist before it is created by the democratic process. And that is fundamentally self-contradictory. If there is no identifiable good before the people vote, then all of the individual view people hold about the good are equally worthless – tied at null (not even zero, but null), because the good doesn’t exist yet. But no matter how many nulls you add together, the sum is still null. The modern concept of democracy-in-all-things is nothing more than sleight of hand trying to conceal utter nihilism.

      1. There is one and only one ethical justification for democracy: to prevent rulers from entrenching themselves, you need a process to turn leadership over.

        Bang on, Fluffy. I would only add that you need a peaceful process to turn leadership over.

      2. Who gets to define what’s just or good?

        The point of democracy is that these things are decided on collectively instead of by one guy. Which guy do you have in mind?

        1. Which guy do you have in mind?

          The individual.

          1. Name one thing that you think you should be free to do that you can’t (that I don’t already agree with you like do drugs).

            1. that I don’t already agree with you

              Well isn’t that convenient phrasing. It does lay bear the lie that you believe “people should have an inviolable right to determine their own course in life as long as they don’t harm others” like every other civilized person though, doesn’t it?

            2. Re: Tony,

              Name one thing that you think you should be free to do that you can’t

              I cannot braid hair without a license.
              In some parts, I cannot offer rides for money without a ‘medallion’.
              In some other parts, I cannot offer my extra room for short-term rent without permission from the government.
              I cannot use certain woods to make guitars even when the woods were obtained legally in another country.

            3. Tony:

              Name one thing that you think you should be free to do that you can’t (that I don’t already agree with you like do drugs).

              Why the special exception? Do the one’s we agree on somehow not count? And, if so, why? I mean, democracy democracy herdy derp derp, for shame!

              1. I don’t only want the freedom to do drugs. I don’t want to be forced to contribute to the drug war so that jerk offs completely disconnected from reality can go on believing they’re doing the entire world a favor by forcing me to support throwing people in rape cages for possessing certain forms of vegetation.

              2. I’d like the freedom to consume any drug or medical treatment I want, without requiring FDA approval.

              3. I’d like to avoid being forced to pay for military adventurism around the world. If lots of Americans want to go saving people from their dictators, that’s great. Set up a donation site and let people donate, taking into account their personal finances and how much they really hate whichever foreign asshat it is that would be fun to kill vs. how much money they want to leave themselves and their families. It’s funny the good ideas that suddenly go away once people have a real actual choice beyond pulling a lever for an ‘R’ or a ‘D’. But, democracy, fuck yeah!

              I could go on. It’s not hard. But, I guess if you agree on any, then, what? Democracy is awesome, despite these little “blips”? Yeah, collective decisions sure are awesome.

    11. You can see with Gruber that liberals treat the electorate with contempt and corrupt the process of democratic decision making. The open subversion of the political process shows how ends driven the Dems actually are.

    12. TROLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLO

    13. “Why libertarians have contempt for democracy remains unexplained.”

      It’s not contempt for democracy per se but for unnecessarily turning what should be individual decisions into collective ones. There’s a dead simple 2-sentence explanation in the article for why that’s a problem:

      In politics, winners get to tell the losers what to do. In the marketplace, you buy what you want. I buy what I want.

      Tyranny of the majority is still tyranny.

      1. Precisely. I think democratic decision-making has its merits, and if we are going to have a state it seems like the least problematic way to choose legislators. The problem is turning anything and everything into a political/collective issue, and pretending it is fair and just because it was decided democratically.

        1. Who then gets to decide? Much of the time there’s no such thing as not making a choice. We either let a factory pollute or we don’t. We either have a minimum wage, and set at some level, or not. Do you believe things like these ought to be settled by forcing people not to have a choice in the matter? What’s the issue here?

          1. Do you believe things like these ought to be settled by forcing people not to have a choice in the matter?

            Absent regulation, people would already have a choice in the matter. If a factory is polluting, and I, or by extension, my property are harmed, I may sue. If I don’t like my wage, I may seek employment elsewhere.

            But, speaking of choices, how is it that I, or anyone else, should have a say in someone else’s business?

          2. Tony:

            Do you believe things like these ought to be settled by forcing people not to have a choice in the matter? What’s the issue here?

            Yes, that’s exactly the point, Tony. People ought to have choices in the matters that effect their lives.

            When you notice that all of your policy preferences require taking people’s choices away, get back to us.

    14. Liberals treat the market with suspicion because it has a well-documented tendency to exploit large numbers of people when left unchecked.

      For values of “exploit” that exclude the voluntary exchange of goods and services . . . .

      Oh, wait, that would exclude all “exploitation” by the market. By definition, because the market is the voluntary exchange of goods and services.

      Tell me how people can be exploited by the market, Tony.

    15. Ok, I got it. The market exploits people, but not government.

      Amirite?

      1. Both can, obviously. Let’s see how much better government does once we get rid of democracy like you guys seem to want.

        1. Except for the ancaps, I don’t think most here would get rid of democracy (in the colloquial sense) entirely. We just see it for what it is and would rather minimize it’s influence.

  3. The left treats markets with contempt and political processes as if they’re sacred. Then, to explain why politics disappoints, they pretend that money sullies politics.

    Have I mentioned how much I love John Stossel?

  4. I’m sure that image at the top of the page is intened to be a criticism of “American style democracy”, but the reality of the matter is that the image is true on a deeper level. Every one of those companies have to compete for my dollars. If I decide to watch a Disney movie, or eat at McDonalds, I’m not stuck watching Frozen and eating Chicken McNuggets for the next two, four, or six years. If I decide Disney and McD’s isn’t working for me, I can fire them today.

    There is no such thing as a market “left unchecked”, either in reality or even in theory–including the theories of anarcho-capitalism, and the reward for the most exploitative institution ever goes to government.

    1. I try to bring people around by explaining that “the market” is just shorthand for people making choices. “Market forces” is just the cumulative effect of those choices. Sometimes it works.

    2. Yes, and I think a major problem that libertarians often let slide – see above in the big Tony threads – is the comparison of “democratic power” to “market power.” The debate shifts to which is more “equitable,” with democracy winning out because everyone only has one vote. While the rich get some kind of tyrannical power in the marketplace. Libertarians often focus on arguing against the rich’s “market power” or explaining why it’s OK.

      But the important, obvious difference is usually ignored: you still retain a whole lot of choice in the market. Maybe a rich person can influence the market enough to get some good that he wants at the expense of some good or brand that you want. But you can still choose alternatives, you can create alternatives, you can go without it, etc. With democracy – that is, with government decisions – the choice is forced upon you. One system is about and respects individual decisions, the other is only concerned with collective, non-unanimous decisions.

      If David Koch loves BK’s chicken nuggets and pours so much of his money into them that McD’s figures it will not even bother trying to sell McNuggets any more, that does suck for you. But you are not forced to start eating BK’s nuggets, and you don’t have to depend on 50%+1 of voters to bring them back.

      1. Nobody’s criticizing the market when it offers consumer choice. And there’s no point to comparing it to democratic choice as if they are in some kind of zero-sum competition. I actually don’t get Stossel’s angle here, I just find it kind of frightening that for no good reason you guys love to criticize democracy, as if you have some alternative to offer that isn’t some version of tyranny.

        1. Then nobody should criticize the market at any time, because it always offers consumer choice.

          Democracy is all of us forcing Tony to eat only deep dish pizza, artisanal mayonnaise, and craft beer, and read nothing but books by Milton Friedman for the rest of his life, because our “yea” votes outweigh his “nay” vote. If he doesn’t like it, he can leave, unless, of course, we all vote to pass a law saying that Tony can’t leave. Because that’s what Democracy’s for: to compel people in a minority position to do things that the majority wants.

          The Market is Tony getting to vote yea or nay for himself, at any time, for any reason.

        2. Tony:

          I just find it kind of frightening that for no good reason you guys love to criticize democracy, as if you have some alternative to offer that isn’t some version of tyranny.

          There’s a difference between criticizing democracy, and not wishing for all aspects of life to be regulated through democracy. Democracy is not the opposite of tyranny.

          There are a myriad of ways in your personal life in which you are glad that the democratic majority doesn’t get to dictate your life, despite how much you love democracy. That is not a wish to force a tyrannical independence on your neighbors, for, say, not letting them vote on who your best friends are. And no sane person would be convinced that your desire for individualism becomes tyranny, even your neighbors insisted and voted.

          If you want to go around hysterically screaming “Tyranny!” every time someone suggests that letting democracy decide something isn’t a good idea, then go ahead. You should throw in racism, too. I’m sure one of those scary words will make the case for you.

      2. If David Koch loves BK’s chicken nuggets and pours so much of his money into them that McD’s figures it will not even bother trying to sell McNuggets any more, that does suck for you.

        Actually, Koch couldn’t shut down McD’s that way. Koch can buy as many BK nuggets as he wants, but unless practically everyone else just decides to stop eating at McD’s, it doesn’t even matter: McD’s would go on making mcnuggets.

        Really, Koch would have to buy McD’s and shut it down. Or Buy BK and McDs and merge them into BKs only. Of course, why he would want to do that is beyond me. He’d really have to hate McD’s.

        Or, maybe he’d buy all of the fast food restaurants, and establish a monopoly!

        Of course, that has some problems:

        1. People don’t have to eat fast food, so there really is a limit to how much you could jack prices.
        2. Maintaining a monopoly in a free market requires being willing to buy up all competition. This corresponds to a massive increase in demand for fast food restaurants by competitors, since they know that someone’s insisting on buying all fast food chains. This simultaneously, drastically encourages new entries into the market, while jacking up their cost to the monopolist.

        If you really want the monopoly that bad, you gotta pay for it. Or just beat the competition by providing superior products at cheap prices that makes lots of people happy. Or, as socialists would say, “predatory pricing.”

  5. It’s so easy to ignore commenters who come here just to argue in bad faith. Why do people take the bait ? You are responding to a Master Baiter.

    1. Idle curiosity.

      1. I all for it myself often, but it does seem kind of pointless. Even when caught in contradictions of his own words, Tony just ignores the results and moves the goal posts around.

        Emotively, he thinks he’s right, so no amount of logic can change his position. Which is why hundreds of logical answers don’t have any affect at all.

        For reference, out of the thousands of posts Tony makes monthly, how many times has he posted something along the lines of “that’s a good point” to somebody rebutting his argument.

        I don’t remember seeing him do it once.

        1. That’s a good point. Why do I shoot fish in a barrel instead of spending my time more productively, say debating people who are halfway engaged with the real world?

          1. Why do I shoot fish in a barrel

            Your myriad logical fallacies show that you seem to be deluding yourself.

      2. Idle curiosity.

        Idle hands with a master baiter…

    2. It’s nice to have someone to say all the things to that you want to say to your prog friends but don’t for the sake of social pleasantness. That’s why I respond to Tony.

  6. they pretend that money sullies politics.

    Close, but not quite. They pretend that other peoples’ money sullies politics. Their money doesn’t. Only the money of their political enemies.

    1. I believe it’s called “dark money” coming from “outside groups”

      1. In Maine, Question 1 was soundly defeated. It was an attempt to basically end bear hunting. Pretty much all of the money in support of the question came from people outside the state.

        Funny, but there was not a single peep from the left about “dark money” coming from “outside groups.”

        Why? Because the money came from fellow leftists.

        1. AND IT DIDN’T WORK!

          No one is going to go, “you know, I disagreed the first 50 times I saw the sign, but now… I’m on board!”

        2. “Why? Because the money came from fellow leftists.”

          If someone referred to a Leftist group providing “dark money”, well that would be racist. /derp

        3. So the “left” favors the right to keep & arm bears?

  7. I never understood the argument that money sullies politics. Are you ever swayed to support a position you oppose because the other guy spends more money on more ads? NO? Then why would other people be?

    It’s a lot of money preaching to the choir.

    1. “Money” doesn’t mean all (any?) money in this context, it means money from sources they don’t like (Koch bros), not money from Soros or labor unions.

    2. Re: Spencer,

      I never understood the argument that money sullies politics.

      That’s because it is a canard, not an argument. Instead, you would be right if you say that politics sully money. Politics is the game of appealing to the basest emotions to obtain power. Money is but one more tool in the politician’s bag.

    3. It’s about the politicians themselves being beholden to the people who give them money. You do understand the concept of bribery? It’s something like that.

      If money made no difference then why do they spend half their professional lives raising it?

      1. If only we could make bribery illegal.

      2. Let’s say we actually had a free market where the government didn’t decide winners and losers by creating legislation and regulation to control the economy.

        How much money do you think there would be in politics if market actors couldn’t pay politicians to destroy their competition?

        *whoosh* (that was the sound of my point sailing over Tony’s head)

        1. Let’s say unicorns shat rainbows. There is no such thing as a market without government. It doesn’t remotely make sense. A market is the rules set up by government for trading. You suggesting that the optimal system is a total black market? Or do we only have children sold as sex slaves because of meddling government?

          Anyway, all you’re suggesting is removing the middleman. They only have to bribe politicians because there are rules in the first place. Without rules they could do what they want… roll a tank onto their competition’s property and blow it away.

          If your point went over my head it’s because it has no aim behind it. This crap really count as deep political philosophy to you?

          1. Why do you exclusively focus on how money buys politicians, instead of how politicians buy votes?

            1. Why do you exclusively focus on how money buys politicians, instead of how politicians buy votes?

              Of more interest really is why anyone sees fit to buy politicians in the first place.

              Tony argues for a Utopia he should know is impossible. A place where the diligent men of government wield absolute and final authority over every aspect of human life, influenced only by group that received the greatest plurality in the last election, and completely immune to the corrupting influence of money.

              Tony is a New Soviet Man believer.

            2. I think there’s much more virtue in politicians having to “buy votes” by distributing wealth around rather than concentrating it so that wealthy interests can buy theirs.

              1. And that is in no way sullied by its base connection to materialism and money. Shocker. If a rich guy wants a government subsidized belch factory, it’s awful. But, if lots of people want ponies, why, that’s awesome. Because, they have less. And, ponies!

          2. There is no such thing as a market without government. It doesn’t remotely make sense.

            A market is nothing more than people voluntarily trading with each other.

            What about early explorers who traded with whomever they met. That was a market. And no government involved.

            You suggesting that the optimal system is a total black market?

            Obviously not. I’ll explain it one last time today, and then leave you to blather on at straw men.

            The optimal market system is a free market that does indeed rely on government. It relies on government to enforce property rights and contracts, to enforce criminal laws against force and fraud, to provide courts as a means of settling disputes without resorting to violence, and that’s about it. I say “about” because there are some libertarian arguments in favor of some environmental protections. Otherwise, just let people succeed and fail.

            1. Re: Sarcasmic,

              The optimal market system is a free market that does indeed rely on government.

              I don’t think you’re getting the implication of what Tony is arguing.

              He’s arguing that we trade and have markets because of government and not because humans like to trade: “A market is the rules set up by government for trading”

              You see? If it weren’t for government, NO ONE would trade, not even bubble gum cards. He’s so incredibly ignorant that he can’t even notice the absurdness of what he just wrote.

              1. He’s so incredibly ignorant that he can’t even notice the absurdness of what he just wrote.

                What’s the difference between willful ignorance and stupidity?

            2. What about early explorers who traded with whomever they met. That was a market. And no government involved.

              Okay, a “free market” is simply the operation of supply and demand. So as to what you’re referring to: the supply was other people’s continents, and the demand for it came from people with more advanced weapons. So plunder and genocide. If that’s a market then we’ve pretty much defined the word into uselessness. And how was no government involved with “early explorers”? How early are you talking about? The only times there weren’t rules for trade are times when people were just plundering. That’s what I’m trying to get at. When we talk about the market we’re talking about the set of rules that define what counts as legitimate trade and what doesn’t.

              The optimal market system…

              How the fuck do you know what the “optimal market system” is? Did Jeebus come down and tell you? This is not something humans can possibly have figured out yet, as optimal outcomes have yet to be achieved by any society. You’re motivated primarily by hatred of government, so you assume that it’s bad first, then tack on the few government functions you know we can’t do without and pretend that they’re special and exempt from the premise that government is bad. I suggest that we’ve advanced beyond mere enforcement of property rights and have found ways to further optimize the market, since the version of the 18th century.

              1. Re: Tony,

                Okay, a “free market” is simply the operation of supply and demand.

                Why don’t you simply ask those of us who know what is the definition?

                A free market is a market where buyers and sellers can trade at the prices they agree without hindrance from outside parties. That’s it. The law of Supply and Demand is something ELSE which, by the way, is unbreakable and works regardless of how free is a market. Supply and Demand acts even on a heavily-regulated service like single-payer healthcare.

                the supply was other people’s continents, and the demand for it came from people with more advanced weapons. So plunder and genocide.

                Plunder and genocide is not a market. Market is buyers and sellers. You’re a dishonest louse. Those are facts, Tony.

                1. Re: Tony,

                  How the fuck do you know what the “optimal market system” is?

                  You have been told many times over: a market where there is no undue hindrance from a 3rd party, like the State.

                  You’re motivated primarily by hatred of government,

                  Sure, everybody is motivated by hatred. Not principles or morality.

                  I suggest that we’ve advanced beyond mere enforcement of property rights and have found ways to further optimize the market, since the version of the 18th century.

                  Markets were not invented in the 18th Century, by the way.

                2. A free market is a market where buyers and sellers can trade at the prices they agree without hindrance from outside parties.

                  Does that include the external hindrance of enforcement of laws against theft, for example?

                  1. Re: Tony,

                    Does that include the external hindrance of enforcement of laws against theft, for example?

                    I don’t know. I am not aware of any agency that protects the market from government action (i.e. theft)

              2. The only times there weren’t rules for trade are times when people were just plundering. That’s what I’m trying to get at. When we talk about the market we’re talking about the set of rules that define what counts as legitimate trade and what doesn’t.

                And these rules, did exist, can exist, and can continue to exist absent government force.

                  1. How?

                    See: “The Not So Wild, Wild West” by Anderson and Hill.

              3. Gee, when absurdness is pointed out, Tony changes subject. Hey! Look over there! Genocide!

                Yeah, without the government, people never exchanged anything. They couldn’t figure it out.

                Caveman Oog had a rock, and caveman Urg had a stick, and Urg wanted the rock, and Oog wanted the stick. But, they just couldn’t figure it out.

                Then, Boog came by, and told Oog to give Urg the rock, and Urg to give Oog the stick, and if one of them gave the one without giving the other, why, then Boog was going to bash their skull in. So, they traded, in the first market. And Boog was the government.

                And if you try the similar situation, but leave Boog out, well, then Oog and Urg are the government. Because, we’re just going to go ahead and say that anytime people come up with a rule or a negotiation, that’s government. In fact, let’s just go ahead and bastardize the concept of government completely away, and say that all cooperation and coordination is government. That way, we can say that government is practically everywhere and everything!

                Victory! Hazzah!

            3. It relies on government to enforce property rights and contracts, to enforce criminal laws against force and fraud, to provide courts as a means of settling disputes without resorting to violence, and that’s about it.

              Dead on. The shorthand for this, BTW, is the “night watchman state”.

              1. Even the night watchmen state is too big and too intrusive. Moreover, the optimal market does not need a monopolist dictating how disputes shall be resolved.

          3. There is no such thing as a market without government.

            So you are saying that government is responsible for the market in child sex slaves?

            No one is denying that bad things can happen when there is a freer market. Many of the bad things that happen now with government interference in economic matters would still happen without. I’m not sure how this is supposed to be an argument against free markets.

          4. Re: Tony,

            There is no such thing as a market without government.

            Yes, there is. All black markets, for instance, operate outside the government, not because of it.

            A market is the rules set up by government for trading.

            That would be a first. Markets exist before government. Looks like you haven’t been in a farmer’s market recently, but all agreements in price and quantity are done NOT under the watchful eye of government but with mutual understanding of what each market participant wants.

            You suggesting that the optimal system is a total black market?

            A “black market” exists only because of a prohibition, but that does not mean a) it is not a real market (it is) and b) that markets without government turn “black.”

            Anyway, all you’re suggesting is removing the middleman.

            Government is NOT a middleman.

            If you’re going to make such displays of stupidity regarding the purpose of each thing you defend, Tony, you would do better to argue somewhere else.

          5. Wait, if there’s no such things as a market without government, how do black markets exist?

            1. Even the black market is defined by government rules of course–as being the illegal type of trade. No government, it’s not a black market, but it’s not really a market either. It’s just people plundering what they can.

              1. No government, it’s not a black market, but it’s not really a market either. It’s just people plundering what they can.

                Wrong.

                Markets involve voluntary transactions.

                1. Thank you for agreeing with my point?

                  1. Your point that plunder = trade?

                    What, are you delusional on top of being fundamentally wrong?

                    1. How do you have voluntary transactions in the absence of law and order?

                    2. How do you have voluntary transactions in the absence of law and order?

                      Really?

                    3. Re: Tony,

                      How do you have voluntary transactions in the absence of law and order?

                      Honestly, do you really need the government to tell you that your transactions must be voluntary?

                      It that is so, I pity your neighbors.

                    4. How do you have voluntary transactions in the absence of law and order?

                      Interesting projection going on here. From here it would appear that your mind is vile and evil and, absent a corrective force, you would have no compunction against violating the rights of your fellow men.

                      Huh, never would have guessed.

                    5. How do you have voluntary transactions in the absence of law and order?

                      Easy.

                      Brian: . o O (Man, I could really, really use a stick of gum.)
                      Brian: “Tony, I’ll give you five dollars for a stick of gum.”
                      Tony: . o O (Holy crap, five bucks for a piece of gum? I can buy a shitload of gum afterwards!)
                      Tony: “Deal!”

                      The transaction begins with the offer and ends with the exchange. Note the distinct lack of any government official.

                    6. Voluntarily?

                      Is this a trick question?

              2. Re: Tony,

                Even the black market is defined by government rules of course

                How quaint – a Question-Begging assertion.

                The point is that your argument which says: “There can’t be NO market without government-made trade rules” is fallacious.

                No government, it’s not a black market, but it’s not really a market either.

                It is a market.

                Besides this, you’re contradicting your main objection against us libertarians, that we want a pure market. How can there be a pure market if only government can create markets [your own argument]?

                1. Take the word “government” out of your mind for a second if you must. It seems to trigger some kind of reflex. Not talking about any specific kind of government. A tribal chieftain is a government. Anything that enforces a rule against theft is a government. Or can a healthy market operate in the absence of a rule against theft?

                  1. Anything that enforces a rule against theft is a government.

                    The gun in my hand says you won’t be taking my shit.

                    Is it a government Tony?

                    1. A very primitive form of it, sure. And if I have more guns, I am government and I say whether you get to keep your shit.

                    2. Tony:

                      A very primitive form of it, sure. And if I have more guns, I am government and I say whether you get to keep your shit.

                      OK, so basically, government is violence?

                      How inspiring! We should definitely be trying to solve complex social problems more and mroe with that.

                  2. Tony:

                    Anything that enforces a rule against theft is a government.

                    OK, then when I beat the crap of that guy who tried to mug me, that makes me a government.

                    If your point requires bastardizing concepts beyond the point of recognition, then it’s not much of a point that you’re making.

                    But, go on, continue making the argument for the night watchmen state, that slides into an excuse to have any government of any size you desire, because, really, you just can’t imagine why not, after that.

                    1. It’s not an excuse, it’s that I’ve determined based on my observation of reality that a government that is more activist actually makes people’s lives better. Even billionaires. What we should be doing is debating the merits of each individual policy, but you guys want to take your fairytale shit and declare it the only proper form of society, even in the face of civilized people having chosen differently the world over.

                    2. TOny:

                      What we should be doing is debating the merits of each individual policy

                      No, we should be whining about the virtues of democracy, regardless of individual policies or their outcomes. And then, if someone brings up that, you know, perhaps democracy doesn’t actually make everything that spews from the asses of general humanity magically turn into unicorn skittles, we should shame them for thinking their policy ideas might be more important than letting majorities do anything they may want to.

                      I mean, what’s all this BS about arguing policy?

                    3. It’s not an excuse, it’s that I’ve determined based on my observation of reality that a government that is more activist actually makes people’s lives better.

                      Really? Because I kinda noticed that socialists have really paired down their idea of socialism from “government owned means of production” to “free market capitalism plus welfare state.”

                      That doesn’t suggest that more activism equals more better, always.

                      If you want to debate real policy, then fine. Stop whining about democracy, since we’re debating choices, not how to make choices. And, actually open your mind beyond “more activism makes live better”. Because that’s just begging the question.

                    4. Re: Tony,

                      It’s not an excuse, it’s that I’ve determined based on my observation of reality that a government that is more activist actually makes people’s lives better.

                      With no risk of self-deception, right? Because the most activist government EVER was Pol-Pot’s. And I am NOT being facetious: you cannot get more ACTIVIST than that, making all other governments pale in comparison.

                      The problem is that you’re easily impressed by a few services provided by socialist governments that seem to “improve” the lives of people, but that is looking at the ‘seen’ and not at the opportunity cost of each person, the ‘unseen’. This is the error that most people unfamiliar with Economics make.

                  3. Don’t obfuscate. Government means a specific agency that has the monopoly of force.

                  4. Tony:

                    Or can a healthy market operate in the absence of a rule against theft?

                    OK, so how do black markets function?

                    I mean, I know you pulled the red-herring with “governments define the black market”, but you didn’t really explain how they rule those transactions and make sure theft doesn’t happen.

                    People can buy drugs, right? There’s money in it, right? I mean, the entire drug trade doesn’t consist of various people stealing from each other, none of which actually pay anyone for anything, right?

                    1. The black market drug trade (and others) as you well know consists of extreme levels of violence and other crimes. Is that the model we should adopt for all aspects of the economy?

                    2. Actually, that’s a great point, and it works more against you than for you.

                      If you’re operating under the assumption that peaceful exchanges occur as a function of government enforcement, then, how do you explain that the most violent producers in the world are engaging where strict government regulation and violent enforcement is at play? It’s not like murder and kidnapping are legal for drug cartels, but only illegal for other producers. So, why aren’t other producers in Colombia so violently inclined? Or, Google and Microsoft, for that matter? If peaceful exchange is a function of government enforcement, shouldn’t drug cartels be just as peaceful as everyone else? They don’t have some special exception on behalf of the government.

                      So, it seems that peaceful exchange isn’t actually a function of violent, government enforcement. And, since the most violent producers are operating under extreme regulatory pressure and violent enforcement by the state, it seems that violence of producers actually correlates with violent government enforcement, not the other way around. The violence is injected by the state.

                      And, it makes perfect sense. Does microsoft really want to get away with bombing google? Of course not. Given the choice (and drug cartels show that, yes, being violent really is an option), its much better to peacefully do business than to start trying to kill people; that shit comes back. And, given the freedom to do so, people frequently choose peace.

        2. If we had a free market devoid of regulation, then the white male heteropatriarchist capitalists would rape mother Gaia until she was no longer able to support life!

          /Tony

      3. “Tony – It’s about the politicians themselves being beholden to the people who give them money.”

        So no politician should be able to accept any donation from a person, right?

        And I believe the Leftist point is that Corporations should not be considered people, correct?

        So, logically Leftists should be arguing to ban donations from individuals, but be agreeable to donations from corporations.

        Not that I really expect a logical argument to persuade you Tony.

        1. I’m for whatever policy that makes politicians more responsive to the needs and wants of their human constituents on as equitable a level as possible and that reduces the role of money in their decision making. If that’s public financing, fine. I don’t really know how to solve this problem. I just indicate that, unlike you guys, I care about it.

          1. I just indicate that, unlike you guys, I care about it.

            That’s just an outright lie Tony.

            We care about the problem of undue influence in politics, which is what spawns the many rants about rent-seeking to be found in the comment threads. The difference is that we know the ultimate source of this undue influence and cronyism is because of the power politicians have to peddle in the first place.

            Power that you happily hand them.

            And then fallaciously claim that undue influence is the result of a “free market.”

          2. Translation: I’m going to skip the difficult, contradictory parts of my incoherent philosophical ramblings, and just drop some mushy sounding goodness that I think everyone agrees with. We should just do whatever it takes to make politicians good and do good things for most people, and not be bad people, or do bad things for bad people.

            Great. I think everyone’s onboard.

        2. It’s about the politicians themselves being beholden to the people who give them money

          And when, under public financing, all their money comes from a government agency?

  8. And the progs on FB are already up in arms about how they engineered the fall of Communism, not free markets. This is truly the season of their discontent.

    1. They, damn them to hell, propped up Communism any way they could and thus are acessories to the murder of tens of millions.

      One day the Proggie idiots will decide that the time really has come for Revoltion. They will stockpile AKs (for the look of it), and probably manage to take certain cities … for a while. When they try to kore out into Flyover Country they will run into people who actually know what they are doing, and get the curbstomping they so richly deserve,

  9. Because markets have property rights as a prerequisite. Democracy does not.

  10. The first observation is that electing representatives is not a democratic system. In a democratic system, the people themselves vote on
    the laws, not their “representatives,” who about half the time vote against their wishes. That’s one reason people don’t think much of their right to vote – it doesn’t actually determine anything.

  11. Republicans and Democrats exist for a single reason- to strangle freedom into grey-faced submission.

  12. Real freedom means doing what you choose as an individual, not waiting for the rest of society to vote on whether you can.

    Beautiful.

    1. Yeah, try telling that to the retard who’s been shitting all over the thread.

  13. I just want to say that the beatdown up above has been beautiful to read.

    Just a warning, though: Tony’s typical MO is to revisit threads where he’s been thrashed rhetorically about twelve hours after everyone has stopped posting to post more smug responses. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s deliberately waiting until there’s no one left to respond to him so that he can feel smug about “getting the last word” or if it actually takes him that long to come up with a rejoinder.

    1. It’s because I like to go out to lunch. I don’t know when these things officially end. And the most fascinating thing about you guys is how utterly convinced you are of your rightness despite believing in silly dogmatic horseshit that’s never been taken as otherwise by anyone serious.

      1. silly dogmatic horseshit

        Tony, you continue to make the mistake that having principles that one sees as inviolable as being a flaw. Being a craven, cynical asshole only interested in power is not a positive character trait.

        1. Dogmatism: the tendency to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true without consideration of evidence or the opinions of others.

          It’s not about you believing people should have an inviolable right to determine their own course in life as long as they don’t harm others. Every civilized person believes that. It’s not high philosophy. It barely counts as a principle. Your dogmatism is that you stretch this to mean a whole host of specific social policies that nobody is allowed to question for some reason. Where is the principle in saying that government shouldn’t do anything because it’s too violent and corrupt–except those things that require shooting people in the face, like making war and protecting property? That’s not principle, that’s just a policy recipe for making me pay to protect the interests of people with property and not the interests of people who are starving.

          1. Every civilized person believes that.

            You don’t.

            That’s not principle, that’s just a policy recipe for making me pay to protect the interests of people with property and not the interests of people who are starving.

            That’s interesting, considering that most of us view taxes as theft and are generally opposed to making anybody pay for anything they don’t want.

            It’s almost like you are a lying duplicitous worm who has spent years purposefully constructing strawmen to slay rather than actually present a defense of his own views.

            1. Sure I believe it. I just understand that there are more forms of harm than exist on a school playground, forms that come from the arrangement of society and not necessarily individual agents. Like pollution or poor working conditions or lack of opportunity or lack of access to basic needs. There is absolutely no coherence to the argument that I should pay taxes to protect other people’s property but it’s totally unjust to pay taxes to protect other people from starving. There just isn’t.

              But you suggest you’re an anarchist (all taxes are theft). So I don’t have to pay to protect other people’s property rights? I get to come in your house and take what I want provided I am a quicker draw? Or are we just descending further into incoherence?

              1. Re: Tony,

                –“But you suggest you’re an anarchist (all taxes are theft)”–

                Taxation IS theft. That is a truth regardless if one is an anarchist or not. It is the taking of property by force or threat of bodily harm.

                1. If that is how we must define it, then we are obligated to be anarchists. Anarchy either sucks or is impossible, so perhaps we ought not to define it that way.

                  1. Re: Tony,

                    If that is how we must define it,

                    Stop patronizing me. The action of taking property that does not belong to you is called “theft”. I am not defining it, it is already defined. That is what it is.

                    then we are obligated to be anarchists

                    Why are you turning it into an either/or thing, if all that is required is for government to stop thieving?

              2. Sure I believe it. Blah blah blah.

                With that ridiculous, preening smarmy paragraph you very conclusively proved that you don’t.

                But you suggest you’re an anarchist (all taxes are theft).

                Nope, not actually an anarchist. The government operated quite adequately without income taxes (and not much in the way of tariffs either) for well over a century.

                I get to come in your house and take what I want provided I am a quicker draw?

                Yeah Tony, that’s the crux of the argument…

                You know, the funny thing is, there aren’t any police guarding my property right now. There never actually have been.

                Even so, I don’t quite get how you go from protection of negative rights to believing that’s just a hop and skip to the total state Hell you’re a proponent of.

                1. And I don’t quite get how you are arguing for the dismantling of most of modern civilization and then are puzzled when people think that might be a bad idea.

                  So you’re okay with a little taxation and a state that doesn’t do much? A little theft is good then? See how I might think this is incoherent?

                  1. Re: Tony,

                    And I don’t quite get how you are arguing for the dismantling of most of modern civilization

                    Modern civilization, the child of the government?

                    Do you really believe that? The government can’t even backup their own e-mails.

                  2. Tony:

                    See how I might think this is incoherent?

                    Democracy is good. Anyone who questions it should be ashamed. However, I do disagree with recent election outcomes. The people recently made very unwise, incorrect decisions. However, I support and accept them, because, democracy. Even though they’re wrong.

                    My policy ideas are great, and supported by democratic majorities. And, if that’s not good enough for you, then you’re a silly person who doesn’t respect democracy. Unlike me, who respects democracy, while I disagree with its outcomes, sometimes.

                    See how I might think this is incoherent?

          2. Dogmatism: the tendency to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true without consideration of evidence or the opinions of others.

            What was that about projection, again?

            Every civilized person believes that.

            Actually, not many people actually believe that “people should have an inviolable right to determine their own course in life as long as they don’t harm others”. If you go by their revealed preferences, anyway.

            And that definitely includes you.

          3. Re: Tony.

            Dogmatism: the tendency to lay down principles as incontrovertibly true without consideration of evidence or the opinions of others.

            Actually, Tony, dogmatism means: holding ideas as true without consideration to reality or logic.

            By the way, an opinion by someone is NOT proof against an argument. Just throwing that out there, college-graduate.

            It’s not about you believing people should have an inviolable right to determine their own course in life as long as they don’t harm others.[…] Your dogmatism is that you stretch this to mean a whole host of specific social policies that nobody is allowed to question for some reason.

            Looks like you still have an issue with basic logic – not to mention the coherent expression of ideas.

            First, you have it backwards. The PRINCIPLE that everybody has the right to determine their course in life is the baseline by which libertarians QUESTION the validity of social policy. So far it has been YOU who has taken us to task for QUESTIONING social policy!

            Second, we libertarians do NOT create policy or suggest it, because there is no other policy except Do No Harm. Only Statists believe in social policy, not libertarians.

            Of course, you’re going to backpedal and say that we want the rule of the jungle and anarchy instead of social policy. I know that you like to be all over the place.

            1. Who enforces “do no harm”? And who decides what constitutes harm? Is pollution harm? Do we get to enforce rules against that? Or is that off the table because you say so?

              1. Re: Tony.

                Who enforces “do no harm”?

                You need someone to tell you “do no harm”?

                I pity your neighbors if you do.

              2. Who enforces “do no harm”?

                There are many possibilities. Oh, I suppose one of them is government. Apparently, though, that’s the only one your brain can conjure up.

                And who decides what constitutes harm?

                If it violates self-ownership, it is harm. We’ve been over this before. If one accepts the concept of self-ownership, harm is merely a logical question.

                Is pollution harm?

                Depends. Was anyone or their property harmed?

                Do we get to enforce rules against that?

                We? Get? Rules? Are you asking if rights will be upheld? Depends again. The institution of government doesn’t exactly have the best record. If, however, someone were to sue the polluter for damages, I guess it would depend on the case and the jury.

  14. Re: Tony,

    Nobody’s criticizing the market when it offers consumer choice.

    But you just did, above! By insinuating that a market left to the devices of supply and demand (i.e. Consumer Choice) equates to slavery and imperialism.

    And there’s no point to comparing it to democratic choice as if they are in some kind of zero-sum competition.

    You’re right in one thing: The Market is not a zero-sum game. Both buyer and seller win in the transaction. In a democracy, the minority (whichever happens to be) always loses.

    I just find it kind of frightening that for no good reason you guys love to criticize democracy

    The really frightening part is that you are completely oblivious to the concept of democracy, instead believing it is some sort of pill against tyranny.

    as if you have some alternative to offer that isn’t some version of tyranny.

    See? You are incapable of honest discourse. Nobody has proposed anything of that sort, only that people are left alone.

  15. Re: Tony,

    Name one thing that you think you should be free to do that you can’t

    I cannot braid hair without a license.
    In some parts, I cannot offer rides for money without a ‘medallion’.
    In some other parts, I cannot offer my extra room for short-term rent without permission from the government.
    I cannot use certain woods to make guitars even when the woods were obtained legally in another country.
    I can’t sell raw milk.
    I can’t sell hemp.
    I can’t buy or sell medicines.
    I can’t sell Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs like those sold everywhere else in the world. At least, not without a lot of paperwork

    Oh, you said “one”.

    1. Holy hell you’re practically in chains aren’t you. I pretty much agree with all those tiny, minor regulatory gripes. Do you think we should throw out most of civilization over these incredibly minor policy beefs? Or that the freedom to do these things should be made outside the scope of government, because you have a preference?

      1. throw out most of civilization

        Nah, no question begging there. No sir.

      2. Or that the freedom to do these things should be made outside the scope of government, because you have a preference?

        Sounds good to me.

      3. outside the scope of government, because you have a preference?

        vs inside the scope of government because you have a preference?

        How’s that working out by the way?

  16. Tony Tony Tony…… The market is the reason people’s lives improve, not government. Government is the guy who jumps in front of the parade and pretends he’s the one leading it.

    It’s amazing that I can grasp a better understanding of government and the market than you before I even reach my 20th birthday.

    I have read every comment and was so glad to see people defend liberty and the market.

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