Free Markets

Free Market Socialism

A freed market has the effect of peaceful cooperation controlling the means of production

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Libertarians are individualists. But since individualist has many senses, that statement isn't terribly informative.

Does it mean that libertarians are social nonconformists on principle? Not at all. Some few libertarians may aspire to be, but most would see that as undesirable because it would obstruct their most important objectives. Lots of libertarian men have no problem wearing a jacket and tie, or shoes, socks, and a shirt, on occasions when that attire is generally expected.

Virtually all libertarians observe the common customs of their societies, just as they conform to language conventions if for no other reason than they wish to be understood. I don't know a libertarian who would regard this as tyranny. In fact, as one's appreciation of the libertarian philosophy deepens, so does one's understanding of the crucial behavior-shaping role played by the evolution of customs and rules—the true law—that have nothing whatsoever to do with the state. Indeed, these help form our very idea of society.

Libertarians are individualists in other respects, however. They are methodological individualists, which means that when they think about social and economic processes, they begin with the fact that only individuals act. That's shorthand for: only individuals have preferences, values, intentions, purposes, aspirations, expectations, and a raft of other related things. In truth these words don't actually refer to things we have, but rather to things we do. Strictly speaking, we don't have preferences; we prefer. We don't have values; we value. We don't have purposes; we act purposively. And so on. I'm reminded here of Thomas Szasz's statement that mind isn't essentially a noun but a verb. (It follows that one cannot lose it.) A favorite book of mine on this and related matters is Gilbert Ryle's The Concept of Mind.

From here, it's a short step to the principle that the unit of morality is the individual person. Morality concerns what individuals should and should not do, and what sort of life is proper for human beings. Interpersonal morality addresses, among other things, when the use of force is permissible (if ever), and this leads into the ideas of rights, entitlements, and enforceable obligations, also attributes of individuals.

None of this disparages the importance of groups, ranging in size from two persons to great societies. But it does implicitly remind us that the dynamics of groups cannot be understood without first understanding their components. It is certainly reasonable to talk about a college class doing things. But misunderstanding will plague anyone who fails to realize that class here simply indicates a group of individuals in a certain relationship with one another, with a professor, with a particular institution, and with society at large. When we say, "The class left the room," we don't mean that some blob flowed through the door, but rather that the individuals who count as members of the class left the room.

That's an easy case which no one is apt to misunderstand. But other statements shroud, perhaps intentionally, basic methodological and moral individualism. When the news media attribute preferences and actions to "the United States" or "the U.S. government," clarity would be served by keeping in mind that specific individuals with interests, preferences, and the rest—individuals whose legitimate claim to act on our behalf may be dubious—perform the actions. Collective nouns are unproblematic as long as we remember what we are talking about.

Nothing about libertarianism commits its adherents to what critics call "atomistic individualism." That would be a curious descriptor for people who love the ideas of trade and the division of labor, even among perfect strangers at great distances. That's why I long ago proposed an alternative: molecular individualism. Libertarians agree with the ancient Greek philosophers who emphasized the fundamental social nature of human beings. Baked into this concept is the idea that persons inescapably are reason- and language-using beings. An atomistic individual would be less than fully human because fundamental potentialities would be left unactualized, owing to the absence of contact with other reason- and language-using beings. Our ability to think beyond the most primitive level depends on language, which is by nature social.

The progressives' caricature of the libertarian as a rugged, self-sufficient, antisocial off-the-grid inhabitant of a mountain shack—a Ted Kaczynski sans the letter bombs—is ludicrous.

Libertarians, to the extent that they grasp the fundamentals of their philosophy, care about social dynamics, which accounts for their fascination with economics, especially the Austrian school.

I don't mean to downplay anything I've just said when I point out that, in an important sense, the social whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Economies are not machines; they are people exchanging things. We are the economy the statists wish to control. Yet our continuing interaction spontaneously generates—in a bottom-up way—a vast and complex order of interrelated institutions that no individual or group could possibly grasp in any detail, much less design.

The mundane price system is a perfect if unappreciated example. Prices are critical to our well-being because they enable us to plan our day-to-day lives. They do so by providing signals to us not only as consumers but also as producers. Prices guide our decisions about what to produce for exchange, how much to produce, and by what means. The resulting profits and losses reveal successes and failures at serving consumers. Without prices we'd fly blind, as Ludwig von Mises famously showed in his demolition of central economic planning. This is the upshot of the famous socialist-calculation debate.

Mises had other interesting things to say about the market process that go toward debunking the progressives' critique of libertarianism as hyperindividualist. For example, we meaningfully if metaphorically speak of the freed market's channeling resources from those who serve consumers poorly to those with the potential to do a better job at it. This is no reification of the economy, which in itself has no purposes—only people have purposes. An analysis of this channeling would refer to consumers' decisions to buy or abstain from buying goods offered on the market.

But no individual decided to put, say, the bookseller Borders, out of business. In an important sense, we did it collectively, but not at a mass meeting with people giving speeches and voting on whether the principals of Borders should keep control of the company's assets. Rather, the demise of Borders and the transfer of its assets to others were the outcome of many individual decisions, most of which were not consciously coordinated. It's just that enough people had preferences inconsistent with the company's business plan. So the people who ran Borders were out, however much they objected.

Think about it: When the marketplace is really free and competitive (rather than constricted by the state to protect privileged interests), it is we collectively who decide who controls the means of production. We don't do this in the legal sense, for example, by literally expropriating the assets of some people and transferring them to others. Yet that's the effect of free competition and individual liberty.

In other words, the freed market would give traditional leftists what they say they want: a society in which free, voluntary, and peaceful cooperation ultimately controls the means of production for the good of all people.

What well-wisher of humanity could ask for anything more?

This article originally appeared at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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  1. The progressives’ caricature of the libertarian as a rugged, self-sufficient, antisocial off-the-grid inhabitant of a mountain shack?a Ted Kaczynski sans the letter bombs?is ludicrous.

    Exactly. What libertarian would use the United States Postal Service?

    1. What can brown do for you? Reliably deliver letter bombs, perhaps.

      1. welcome to “the list”

  2. In other words, the freed market would give traditional leftists what they say they want…

    What they say they want. But distributed control is the opposite of central control.

    1. Revealed preference is always more reliable than stated preference. I also can’t precisely recall any socialist ever advocating for exactly what Richman says. Even to the extent that it is theoretically possible to achieve collective control of the means of production non-violently (tl;dr, it isn’t), socialist theorists haven’t exactly been universal in eschewing violence and revolution to achieve that outcome.

      1. It tells you something that in order to abolish prices and control the means of production it requires a ridiculously high amount of murder. A vicious crime being prerequisite to the implementation of their ideology ultimately means the ideology itself is a crime when acted out.

  3. Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

    We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.
    Bastiat

    Since libertarians oppose coerced collective action, the socialists conclude that libertarians oppose all collective action.

    1. Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society.

      Its no coincidence that socialists, communists, fascists all share is the same totalitarian creed:

      Everything for the State. Nothing outside the State. Nothing against the State.

  4. Aww geez, more from the Purity Police. Are today’s libertarians so blatantly conformist? If so, might that be why the libertarian label is rejected by even 85% of libertarians? (Cato/Zogby Poll, 2006)

    a society in which free, voluntary, and peaceful cooperation ultimately controls the means of production for the good of all people.

    Which would include communes, as even Ayn Rand understood, if we ever stop placing ourselves in opposition to most of humanity. Other than the NAP, most of this is bullshit. As if we are a cult.

    Well, we can always create a free society by electing nobody, and … ignoring the majority of Americans that we’ve had for over 30 years.

    1. Which would include communes, as even Ayn Rand understood, if we ever stop placing ourselves in opposition to most of humanity.

      That was actually the point Richman was driving at. It would take your unique combination of senility and stupidity to find yourself in disagreement with a restatement of your own position.

  5. my co-worker’s step-sister makes $88 hourly on the internet . She has been out of work for eight months but last month her payment was $14150 just working on the internet for a few hours. visit the website….

    ?????? http://www.payinsider.com

  6. TL;DR

    1. Free markets provide the collective wisdom and control of the means of production which collectivists claim to want, revealing collectivists as wanting individual authority but collective responsibility, ie no accountability at all, ie corruption.

  7. socialism and free markets are like oil and water.Socialism is all about force at the point of a gun.Taxes,permits,regulations,zoning,start a business and see .

    1. What’s wrong with force at the point of a gun, you pussy. Stop crying about your fucking lame business and maybe you’d be able to read an article and respond to it rather than just bitching about your troubles.

      libertarianism is about personal responsibility, if you had any sense of it, your business would be successful. Many of us libertarians disagree with taxes, permits, regulations, and zoning laws of all sorts, but the reason why your business has failed is because you are a worthless;es piece of shit. Take some fucking responsibility and buy a gun, stick it in your mouth, pull the trigger and do the world a favor by becoming less of a burden on society, dummy.

      1. that was a little unnecessary and over the top.
        did he even start a business?
        which one?
        how did you know what caused his business (if existent)to fail?

        stop being an ass if you want someone to change the way they operate, its hardly a convincing case for liberty when you use free speech to tell someone to kill themselves,something about personal responsibility and the NAP.

  8. “In fact, as one’s appreciation of the libertarian philosophy deepens, so does one’s understanding of the crucial behavior-shaping role played by the evolution of customs and rules?the true law?that have nothing whatsoever to do with the state.”

    This really is the beginning and end of it.

    What Adam Smith was getting at in The Theory of Moral Sentiments seems to be the basis for every libertarian thing that came after it–in addition to Darwin’s evolution itself.

    Thinking we need a central planner to guide the culture or the economy is like thinking there needed to be a central creator to plan creation. Why cultural conservatives don’t realize they’re acting like socialists and why socialists don’t realize they’re acting like cultural conservatives is beyond me.

    Centrally planning an economy is just as dumb as creationism. Centrally planning a culture is just as dumb as centrally planning an economy.

    1. very true,and both hate free will to do as you please as long as you harm no one. Too many examples to list.Now,I must get stout and munches for the Browns game.

      1. I have the Browns -3 1/2.

        No Arian Foster? …and the Texans publicly committing to starting their back up for the rest of the season suggests they’ve given up on the rest of this season.

    2. Thinking we need a central planner to guide the culture or the economy is like thinking there needed to be a central creator to plan creation.

      Not all that much, in practicality. The “central creator” is generally imagined to possess supernatural properties, usually including omniscience and/or omnipresence, that ostensibly make it uniquely suited to the task of creationizing. Economic central planning imagines no supernatural unmoved mover. It’s even worse: it imagines that mere mortals with none of the supernatural qualifications required for such an undertaking are capable of orchestrating the behavior of millions or billions of individual people as if they were optimizing a simple computer algorithm.

      Another important difference: if creationists are wrong, the worst that happens is they look foolish. Believing in an animist universe preordained by an unseen divine force is, at worst, a delusion. The stakes are pretty low. Economic central planners’ errors are not an ethereal, abstract notion or belief held only by themselves. They come at great cost to everyone who must live under their fatal conceit.

      1. Economic central planning imagines no supernatural unmoved mover.

        I’m not so sure. Economic central planning requires a species of omnipotence, as in, the State has total control over anything it demands total control of.

        And, it requires the hubris to believe that the economic central planner has a species of omniscience – that it knows better than anyone else what should be done, and that it knows better than anyone else how to do it.

        1. True in a sense, but I think the real danger in economic central planning is that it doesn’t presume actual omniscience of the planners, but it is still, as you say, so hubristic as to presume that the planners, even operating under conditions of informational scarcity, can better make decisions for individuals than the individuals themselves.

        2. It always seemed to me that, like what you guys are saying, is that the socialists relied on materialism and atheism as central tenets – therefore the State becomes a god. It’s human hubris, like you said – the old “god-king” thing that the Egyptians, among other civilizations, did.

          I’ve even said that to a few people – that scratch a little at the rhetoric and socialism is basically just a faith-based economic system and a religion at its core. A sky-god (to use ancient polytheist terms) is replaced by a state. Surrender to them your life and they will pay you back with comfort and health and everything you “need”. Anger them by not subscribing to the true morality, and you will be punished severely.

          1. I think the basic mental habits that full-on central control fetishists have are pretty indistinguishable from the mental habits that your more primitive religious fundamentalists have, yes.

            1. The true believers, for sure.

              Then there’s the “intellectuals” who deify it…because they get to be the new kings – dictatorship of the intellectual vanguard and all that.

              I was always amazed at how many so-called Marxists and socialists never actually read Marx or Lenin. Same thing with the fundies – strikingly unfamiliar with the Bible, just follow what their pastor/reverend/minister says…

  9. Free Market Socialism

    Are we going to start conflating terms now? This is right up there with Chomsky’s “Libertarian Socialism”. “Socialism” by definition and in practice requires force as a means to an end with that end being complete centralized and socialized control over poduction & trade (among other aspects of one’s personal life). There is nothing voluntary or “free market” about it.

    (P.s. I actually did breeze through the article and I understand where you are coming from, but I think it is unwise to conflate two very different things.)

    1. But the observation is that the general good is best pursued by respecting every individual’s right to make choices for themselves.

      It’d be a shame if we let the socialists claim they’re the only ones who take the bests interests of society into consideration–and left that unchallenged.

      If by “socialism”, they don’t mean the state seizing the means of production, only pursuing the common good, then we can claim that, too. And if they want to differentiate themselves by saying that they want the government to seize the means of production but we don’t?

      Then let ’em say that!

      1. It’d be a shame if we let the socialists claim they’re the only ones who take the bests interests of society into consideration

        They are, in fact, the only ones who take the “best interests of society” into consideration, because individualists, by definition, realize that there is no “best interest of society”, there is only the best interest of individuals. It so happens that in most cases, individuals pursuing their own best interests independently leads to good outcomes for everyone, but even if it resulted in “sub-optimal” outcomes, by someone’s judgment of “optimal”, it wouldn’t matter one bit.

        1. “They are, in fact, the only ones who take the “best interests of society” into consideration, because individualists, by definition, realize that there is no “best interest of society”, there is only the best interest of individuals.”

          No, not in fact.

          Somewhere on the internet, at this very moment, there are anti-socialist people on a pro-gun website posting comments about how it is better for society, generally, when more people have guns because it means there is less violent crime.

          Lots of anti-socialist people argue that individuals should be allowed to do things because it’s better for the rest of society generally—like all the freakin’ time on a whole host of issues.

          1. To the extent that there are people making such arguments, they certainly aren’t individualists. So perhaps to be more accurate, you’re right: socialists are not the only people who take the “best interests of society” into account – the broader category of collectivists are the only people who take the “best interests of society” into account. In any case, they will not find any commonality with individualists with regard to the “best interests of society” for the reasons I already mentioned. If you want to proselytize to them, preach the good word of individualism as a contrast to collectivism rather than trying to convince them that individualism is actually collectivist. It is not.

        2. It so happens that in most cases, individuals pursuing their own best interests independently leads to good outcomes for everyone

          This is a better angle to approach the idea from. Individualist intentions may not be “noble”, but the outcome of individualist action for other people is superior to the outcome of collectivized/coerced action, despite the latter claiming to have the noblest intentions.

    2. Free Market Collectivism would make more sense. Voluntary collective action may resemble coerced collective action to an observer, especially to someone who lacks the imagination to consider that people can act collectively of their own free will (Tony and such).

      1. You mean democracy where people can’t vote on market rules that eventually gets captured by a minority population of owners who can’t get voted out because they own everything?

    3. I tend to agree. Misusing terminology is accepting the premise of their fallacious arguments. Socialism means something very specific and the moment we start agreeing the term represents rainbows and unicorn farts is the moment we’ve conceded the debate.

      1. Actually, it’s challenging the premise of their fallacious argument–that only socialists contemplate the general good.

        And trying to reach irrational people by engaging them with the same labels and rhetoric that pushed them into that fallacious socialist belief in the first place is probably irrational.

        If they responded to the same old rhetoric the way they should, they’d already be libertarian rather than socialist.

        You know the definition of insanity, right?

        1. that only socialists contemplate the general good.

          Claiming to be socialists doesn’t seem to be a wise tactical choice when trying to invalidate socialism.

          And trying to reach irrational people by engaging them with the same labels and rhetoric

          Appearing to accept their irrational premise does not strengthen your own premise. You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into. Sophistry is not a vehicle for spreading rational thought.

          You know the definition of insanity, right?

          I assure you that the repetition of unfruitful activity is literally not the definition of it.

        2. This is exactly it – they tend to control the terminology, and thus define the attributes thereof. It’s part of their argumentative discourse to constantly redefine terms.

          Hence, the separation of communism and socialism – communism is what the Soviets did, it wasn’t true socialism and that’s why it failed. Now, they say countries like Sweden or Norway are socialist and that’s why they succeed, ignoring the fact they aren’t.

          Once we accept their use of terminology, it’s like trying to control water. That’s why they “win” debates (they don’t “win” – they just keep changing the terms).

          1. So don’t let them control the terminology. Don’t concede that “socialism” equals sharing and caring.

            1. Precisely. If we give them no opposition while they pursue “truth by definition”, we just handed them the debate.

              1. Hazel – When I do talk to “socialists” I always lay out the definitions (socialism is state-run economy, state-run culture, with little to no private property).

                Free S. – Exactly. I noticed they tend to change definitions, go either/or fallacy, and appeal to authority. They also misquote Marx…a lot.

                1. There should be something in there about the redistribution of wealth, as well.

                  From each according to his ability, to each according to his need is a very socialist concept–regardless of whether you want to nationalize industry.

                  And just because they want to use representative democracy to redistribute wealth gathered by way of a “progressive” income tax doesn’t mean they aren’t socialists.

                  1. Ken – Haha, yeah. I thought it was a given!

                    And yeah, but it always seemed like democracy was just a tool to achieve power, rather than the goal. And functionally, the socialists believe the “right” people should vote.

                    But a lot of it is conflation too. A lot of people who claim to be “socialists” are young and have only heard what is actually capitalism sold as “socialism”. Break them down and that’s their belief.

                    The scary ones are the folks who actually ARE socialist -acknowledge the flaws, the rule by elites, the pigeon-holing, the “breaking the eggs”, redistributing wealth based on revenge – they just don’t care because they know who’s good and isn’t…

          2. Communism didn’t happen. A greedy asswind took ownership of the system and called it “communism”

            Its kind of like N Korea. You really think that is socialist? No. N. Korea is Jung’s property

      2. Yes. Jason Brennan in ‘Why Not Capitalism?’ makes a good point that it’s fallacious to allow “socialism” to be equated to sharing and generosity, and “capitalism” to be equated to greed and sefishness.

        “Socialism” and “capitalism” are both nothing more than different means of assigning ownership of resources. You can have socialism with greed and selfishness (there was plenty of that in the USSR), and capitalism with sharing and generosity (early US colonial period is probably an example).

        What I think he means is that libertarians, contrary to the caricatures of the left, are highly concerned with social interactions. Libertarians aren’t isolated self-sufficient individuals, but are very much engaged in social organization. We just do it in a different way, through voluntary interaction and through market transactions rather than via the state.

        1. Libertarianism itself is about nothing if not the rights and wrongs of social interaction.

          1. Exactly. One guy living along on a desert island doesn’t need property rights.
            Property rights are for people to live together without constantly fighting over who gets to use what.

            1. This, this and only this. Property rights. Free markets, prices, and libertarianism presuppose individual ownership and property rights. Socialism’s primary aim is to abrogate individual property rights. The two cannot stably coexist.

              1. Socialism by itself cannot exist. The Soviets famously relied on foreign markets to discern rough estimates of the values of their inputs.

    4. Eh, ‘libertarian socialism’ was a thing way before Chomsky. The terms have shifted over time in the same way ‘liberal’ or ‘anarchist’ have.

      1. Chomsky also considers himself an anarchist too, that doesn’t mean the term has shifted in meaning, it just means he’s misusing it.

      2. Marx and Lenin called for the abolition of the state you know.

        1. To be replaced by an institution that is the functional equivalent of a more murderous type of state. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

    5. The meaning of words changes through time. It’s just the way language works.

      All you have to do is read some radical literature from around the turn of the last century and you’ll find people calling for absolute laissez faire and other things you might hear an anarcho-capitalist talking about. But you’ll also find that they called themselves socialists.

      There just wasn’t an absolute and explicit connection between socialism and totalitarianism at that point. And I think Richman is likely operating from that point of view.

  10. Surprise

    The federal government has significantly expanded undercover operations in recent years, with officers from at least 40 agencies posing as business people, welfare recipients, political protesters and even doctors or ministers to ferret out wrongdoing, records and interviews show.

    ———-

    Undercover work, inherently invasive and sometimes dangerous, was once largely the domain of the F.B.I. and a few other law enforcement agencies at the federal level. But outside public view, changes in policies and tactics over the last decade have resulted in undercover teams run by agencies in virtually every corner of the federal government, according to officials, former agents and documents.

    ————

    It is impossible to tell how effective the government’s operations are or evaluate whether the benefits outweigh the costs, since little information about them is publicly disclosed. Most federal agencies declined to discuss the number of undercover agents they employed or the types of investigations they handled. The numbers are considered confidential and are not listed in public budget documents, and even Justice Department officials say they are uncertain how many agents work undercover.

    Bonus “Entrapment is is a myth” quote from former FBI boss. I feel safer.

    1. Tony is an undercover agent for the state?

      I vote yes.

  11. “Economies are not machines; they are people exchanging things. We are the economy the statists wish to control.”

    The people who don’t get this idea don’t think of economies as machines; they think of economic forces as if they were invisible forces like gravity to physics.

    When I talk to these people, I tell them that “Market forces are people making choices”–that’s why you cannot restrain market forces without restraining people.

    Some people have a real hard time imagining economies and markets as the expression of individual choice. For some reason, it’s easier for them to see representative democracy that way. I suspect it might partially be a self-esteem issue.

    We’re taught to think of our own contributions to markets and the economy as unimportant but the contributions of politicians to government as both important and especially representative of us.

    And that’s…insane.

  12. Libertarianism is voluntary cooperation among free people making choice (right or wrong) in the market place (efficient or not). The belief is you can’t coerce people through policy or laws to control people’s free will and their vices and virtues. If this leads to a form of socialism where people’s actions lead to a common benefit to all so be it. I think socialism is already discounted in libertarianism with the marked difference it doesn’t accept mandatory or coerced practices to forcibly create socialism run and controlled by bureaucrats.

    That’s not socialism. That’s just dumb.

    The left get into trouble when they try and ‘right the wrong’ choices they perceive and tinker with the inefficiencies in the market system. Often making a greater mess of things in the process.

    1. The left get into trouble when they try and ‘right the wrong’ choices they perceive and tinker with the inefficiencies in the market system. Often making a greater mess of things in the process.

      To think that you and your chosen technocrats are in possession of more wisdom and knowledge than the sum total of society… the arrogance of central planners and their supporters is just astounding.

  13. One of these days, Richman might explain his boner for the word “socialism” and his frankly bizarre insistence that the word be used idiosyncratically and at odds with the history of the term for the last century.

    How, exactly, is the libertarian movement served by being identified with radical leftist economics?

    1. Murray Rothbard once pursued an ideological alliance with the left, pretty much entirely for being anti-war. He deeply regretted it later in life.

    2. How, exactly, is the libertarian movement served by being identified with radical leftist economics?

      In fairness to Richman, the latter is much more popular. If you could convince people that “socialism” actually meant everything that libertarianism really means, I guess you could construe it as a noble lie if you’re a utilitarian.

      1. PM – Optimistically, it may be a marketing tactic in order to educate so-called “socialists”. Socialism is often sold as a society where people are free to choose what they want to do, read, dance, eat, whatever, without evil rich corporations controlling their lives.

    3. I’ve often wondered if he’s just testing a theory.

      Perhaps he’s writing these insane articles in an attempt to find the one random mashup of words that will get socialists to scream “Fuck Yeah!” at their computer monitors and then rush out the door to vote libertarian.

      The old “throw everything and see what sticks” method.

    4. Don’t even start me on the disdain for “der Kapitalismus”…

    5. I’ve always wondered the same thing about socialists. If socialism is defined as the social ownership of the means of production and social management of the economy, how exactly is that not satisfied by people freely buying and selling stocks, and using their property in a free market economy?

      Because that seems a lot closer to the goal than the bullshit suggestions socialists usually come up with.

  14. “When [libertarians] think about social and economic processes, they begin with the fact that only individuals act. That’s shorthand for: only individuals have preferences, values, intentions, purposes, aspirations, expectations, and a raft of other related things.”

    That’s the most vulnerable spot in this piece.

    Modern group selection proponents can challenge this. There are even mathematical tricks to account for groups rather than individuals.

    Certain ants in a colony may seem to behave altruistically–and we can account for that citing Smith’s invisible hand (AKA Darwin).

    …but who attributes values, intentions, purposes, aspirations, or expectations to individual ants?

    People are different from ants in important ways, but the invisible hand worked on us (like it did with ants) long before we became aware of its existence. I known idiots who can behave quite rationally in response to price signals.

    1. Ken, unless you believe some entity with actual agency pops into being whenever more than one person agrees to act in concert with another, I don’t think you can actually dispute that statement.

      The fact that we can assign probabilities and make predictions about groups doesn’t mean that those groups qua groups are agents making decisions to act in the predicted ways. Anymore than a cold front acting in predicted ways is an entity with moral agency.

      1. “The fact that we can assign probabilities and make predictions about groups doesn’t mean that those groups qua groups are agents making decisions to act in the predicted ways.”

        When fish school together, aren’t they acting in accordance with instincts they acquired by way of group behavior in the past?

        We’re dropping far below the threshold of the mirror test and still seeing the invisible hand at work. …and processes by which the invisible hand (which Smith referred to as “love” and evolutionary biologists refer to as “altruism”) happens in an explainable way.

        I wish more libertarians looked into evolutionary altruism as an expression of Adam Smith’s invisible hand. Smith applying the same insights to economies (by way of Wealth of Nations) made more sense at the time–because economic data was easier to come by and, thus, his ideas were easier to quantify in economics.

        But we’re not facing those data limitations anymore! Now that we have the tools to measure Smith’s invisible hand at work in evolutionary biology, we’re finding not just that the invisible hand works as libertarians expect–but also how it works and was propagated across species that hardly engage in anything like thought.

        Get your head around this:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P…..f_altruism

        There isn’t anything inherently unlibertarian about being able to measure the…inertia within and that drives groups of people rather than individuals.

        1. We’re deep into the attempt to put subjectivity into objective-sounding boxes with this:

          When fish school together, aren’t they acting in accordance with instincts they acquired by way of group behavior in the past?

          How do I attribute my actions to either “reflex”, “instinct”, “subconscious”, “free will”, etc.

          The point of people is that, in some of their activities, at least, they can and (and sometimes do) mediate their reflexes, instincts, etc. through a self-reflective consciousness.

          In a marketplace, you mediate your reflex to just grab that shiny item and punch the shopkeeper in the face if he objects through your self-reflective consciousness, and generally decide not to do so. For whatever reason.

          Fish don’t do that (as far as anyone can tell, at least).

          1. If what you’re saying is that there are distinctions between individual behavior and group behavior, and that these distinctions exist even in animal groups that have nothing like consciousness, then I think I agree with you.

            The point of the consciousless examples is to show that if groups of consciousless individuals can exhibit intentions and purposes that the individuals themselves can’t, then maybe there’s something to the suggestion that group intentions, preferences, etc. can be distinct from those of individuals.

            That doesn’t mean the two purposes are unrelated. They can be related by way of that group equation I linked. I mean, Smith’s invisible hand is ALL ABOUT the way individual purposes and group purposes are related. And if that process has been clearly described by evolutionary biologists to the extent that they have an equation for it?

            Then a progressive denying the truth of the invisible hand is like a creationist denying evolution. This stuff isn’t really so theoretical anymore. That’s why when a progressive like Tony comes along and asks me where our rights come from–I point to them as a social adaptation by way of evolutionary biology.

            Adam Smith was essentially writing about evolutionary social adaptations in 1759.

    2. People are different from ants in important ways

      Yes, the possession of cognizance key among them. Presuming that ants were, in fact, capable of realizing “values, intentions, purposes, aspirations, or expectations”, the individual ants themselves would be the ones who attribute those values, intentions, purposes, aspirations, or expectations to individual ants. That people respond to market forces (the “invisible hand”, which doesn’t correlate well to biological natural selection; your continued use of that analogy is kind of… odd) is actually a good demonstration of that.

      1. I’m not making this criticism to disagree with libertarianism or capitalism or free markets, etc.

        I’m pointing out that people will take issue with the idea that only individuals have preferences, values, intentions, purposes, aspirations, expectations…

        Some evolutionary biologists will argue that some groups exhibit certain kinds of those kinds of behaviors–even when the individuals themselves within that group don’t have the brainpower.

        Think of it this way:

        The Soviet economy was idiotic. They’d produce way too much of something hardly anybody wanted and not enough of things everybody needed. Then the market came along and started sending everyone price signals. Those price signals are expression of group intelligence that individuals didn’t have access to without the group. Right?

        Those price signals are the expression of “preferences, values, intentions, purposes, aspirations, expectations”–and those price signals didn’t exist without the market group. Those price signals did not exist in the individuals that made up the group before those individuals formed a group–even if individual preferences, etc. did.

        1. Those price signals are the expression of “preferences, values, intentions, purposes, aspirations, expectations”–and those price signals didn’t exist without the market group.

          Sure they did, the “price signals” you’re talking about are just the aggregate of people’s individual decisions. Placing a bunch of them together doesn’t change that.

          1. “It is a mundane yet intriguing fact that price signals induce people to respond to information they do not possess.”

            http://plato.stanford.edu/entr…..bEssDecInf

            Yes, placing a bunch of people’s individual decisions together does change things a great deal.

            It makes them smarter decisions than they could make otherwise. Take the market away, and watch how foolish their choices become.

      2. Value need not be consciously apprehended.

        If the Ant colony pursues anti-value, it dies.

    3. If you’re right, Ken, then get back in line.

      You’re an ant just like the rest of us.

      1. If Obama ran an ant colony in the way that he tries to run the US, the colony would have died a long time ago.

        Central planning makes people behave in dumber ways than they would have otherwise, and, like I’ve said, I’ve seen markets make idiots behave in rational ways.

        Markets make us smarter. Central planning makes us behave in stupid ways.

        People thinking that politicians can make better choices for them than they can for themselves is fundamentally an appeal to authority fallacy.

        And if you listen to progressives, denigrating the individual’s ability to make choices for themselves is what they’re all about.

    4. Modern group selection proponents can challenge this. There are even mathematical tricks to account for groups rather than individuals.

      Certain ants in a colony may seem to behave altruistically–and we can account for that citing Smith’s invisible hand (AKA Darwin).

      …but who attributes values, intentions, purposes, aspirations, or expectations to individual ants?

      Yes, but ants still act as individuals. Ants communicate one to another via antenna tapping, they follow scent trails that each other lay down. The group dynamic depends on the ants acting in certain ways, but the ants each act on their own. If an individual ant is born with some sort of defect, can’t understand antenna tapping, can’t sense the scent trails of other ants, etc., then he just wonders off and dies, despite what the group is doing, or what is good for the group.

      The reason no one attributes values, intentions, purposes, aspirations or expectations to individual ants is because individual ants frequently do not show any indication that they have values, intentions, purposes, aspirations, or expectations. They generally show a disposition to do a certain number of relatively simple things, over and over again, almost identically to the others of their own kind.

      Being able to model a group as a group isn’t sufficient to ignore individuals. A tree in a forest doesn’t stop being a single tree in a forest just because no one ever talks about that specific tree.

  15. A shot across the bow

    OUR strategy for dealing with rape on college campuses has failed abysmally. Female students are raped in appalling numbers, and their rapists almost invariably go free.

    Then, later, this:

    But because of low arrest and conviction rates, lack of confidentiality, and fear they won’t be believed, only a minuscule percentage of college women who are raped ? perhaps only 5 percent or less ? report the assault to the police. Research suggests that more than 90 percent of campus rapes are committed by a relatively small percentage of college men ? possibly as few as 4 percent ? who rape repeatedly, averaging six victims each. Yet these serial rapists overwhelmingly remain at large, escaping serious punishment.

    No evidence of any specific, concrete definition of “rape”. No credible specific source for this claim.

    A soupy mishmash of anguished navel gazing ensues, with the sole coherent suggestion of lowering the drinking age, topped off by a call for some sort of weird “liason officer” to supervise campus kangaroo courts.

    1. The clear solution is to just randomly arrest 4% of all college aged men.

      1. Indeed. As many times as necessary to ensure that no womyn ever suffers from an encounter with a male that doesn’t go exactly the way she wants it.

      2. Why is there apparently no analysis of men getting raped?

        Every time I read these, we start talking about campus rape, and, the next thing I know, everyone’s talking about women victims and how frequently women are raped.

        Are men never raped? Hell, I’ll make the presumption myself: do men never rape other men?

        1. “Why is there apparently no analysis of men getting raped?”

          It’s not up to us to provide you and other homosexuals your masturbatory material.

          1. Ok, I guess I’ll leave everyone to their heterosexual rape fantasies. Funny, I didn’t think that was the point.

    2. That statement has two pretty obvious implications, it seems to me:

      (1) No decent human being would send their daughter to one of these rape factories. Women should only go to highly policed, strictly supervised womens-only colleges, where they are kept away from men.

      (2) Treating campus rape as an administrative issue for the college is obviously the wrong approach. The college should be relentlessly pursuing criminal penalties through the criminal justice system for these rapists.

      Yet, somehow, I suspect she comes to the exact opposite conclusions.

    3. No evidence of any specific, concrete definition of “rape”.

      If they did have a concrete definition and if that definition met the real definition (forced/coerced sexual penetration/activity against the will of the partner(s)), then there would be no cause for concern because the narrative would disappear. I the narrative disappears, then sjw’s have less to bitch about and less to use as a justification for tyrannical college campus tribunals aimed at ruining the lives of young men that feminazi’s appear to despise for the sole reason that they have a y-chromosome. But it’s not sexist when they judge someone by their gender.

      1. Starvation can’t be engineered and used to coerce action?

  16. Chuck Todd is crunching the numbers. Voter turnout was the key.
    Especially troublesome was the steep drop in the “youth” vote.

    It couldn’t be because they opened their eyes and saw how they have been played for suckers by the Democrats, could it? No. No, indeed. If only a strong marquee candidate like His Hopiness had been on the ballot, those kids would have flocked to the polls, and voted the straight Democratic ticket, and America would have been saved from the depredations of Rethuglitard insanity!

    1. Especially troublesome was the steep drop in the “youth” vote.

      Quick, to the MillenialMobile!

      In all seriousness, though, if Todd is even halfway right, the current crop of younger voters seems to have a marked preference for charismatic jefe-type cult-of-personality candidates.

      If so, that’s pretty scary. Where’s their vaunted irony, their fabled media-savviness inculcated since childhood, etc?

    2. I don’t see why not voting isn’t interpreted as a deliberate choice of “none of the above”.

      Those kids that didn’t vote didn’t just fail to show up out of laziness, they CHOSE not to show up. if they had been forced to show up there is no guarentee they would have voted for Democrats. They very well might have chosen randomly or voted for a third party.

      1. Not voting is like slaves not leaving their owners because they would becomes owned by a slightly less nefarious owner anyways.

        Look what happened. America is now being operated by the biggest scam artist fat cat in American history. A man who was a bully in school and inherited hundreds of millions of dollars he did nothing to earn which originally was created by labor and not his parents work. The “property” was, as is par for the course, procured and secured by force. If this was not the case, we would be living in a red skinned nation.

  17. “In other words, the freed market would give traditional leftists what they say they want: a society in which free, voluntary, and peaceful cooperation ultimately controls the means of production for the good of all people.”

    But they don’t want that, and that is why socialism is impossible except in very isolated, temporary circumstances. If everyone just wanted to get along all the time, we wouldn’t have to imagine it.

    1. Look at what actually happened in most of the hippie communes… hierarchies developed and they started resembling typical polyganist enclaves except crappier because they decided they didn’t need any of that old civilization stuff. Just free love and back to nature. Fun until a douchebag decides he wants to be in charge.

      1. And the “free love” side of things eventually erodes as people naturally tend towards monogamy in order to get along better.

  18. if Todd is even halfway right, the current crop of younger voters seems to have a marked preference for charismatic jefe-type cult-of-personality candidates.

    My suspicion (hope) is that this is more about Chucky’s projection than those youthful voters. He is probably baffled by their lack of faith in the Top Man of his dreams.

  19. “The progressives’ caricature of the libertarian as a rugged, self-sufficient, antisocial off-the-grid inhabitant of a mountain shack”

    Wait! Is it still ok for me to caricature progressives as whiny little dependent bitches?

    1. whiny little dependent bitches

      To be fair, this is more accurate than the caricature they give us.

    2. I don’t think they are necessarily dependent, they just equate social involvement to political activism.
      In their heads, government is the center of society through which all progress happens.

      1. caricature.

        1. I’m not so sure that’s caricature.

          Remember when the president said “You didn’t build that”, you know, since you use public roads to get to your business and employees who were educated in public schools?

          He was basically quoting Liz Warren’s standard spiel.

          “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own”

          —-Elizabeth Warren

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htX2usfqMEs

          Click in at about 0:49

          “Government is the center of society through which all progress happens” is the meme on which both Obama and Liz campaigned–and it resonated with progressives.

          What Hazel wrote isn’t a caricature of progressives. It’s a fact.

      2. No…rich people are the only ones responsible for progress.

        Rich people needed slavery because its unjust. The system which replaced slavery, which was not profit motivated btw, was not just a softened version of labor coerced into profit for the rich. It was designed to empower the best into benefiting the most people including themselves in terms of wealth access and degrees of freedom for the non-rich.

    3. Oh, yes..much better to depend on a rich person to give us permission to work for a living at their profit.

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  21. ABC just ran Dumbass’ sound bite about how them evil KKKanucks are going to rape and rob us by shipping oil in the Keystone pipeline.

    Another example of the current noxious ignorance about economics poisoning the nation’s discourse:

    “Well, if we’re not going to be able to capture the economic benefits all for ourselves, why even do it?”

    1. Nothing says “enlightened leadership” like =

      ‘anything that benefits our largest economic trading partner (Canada) more than it benefits us – despite still benefiting the US substantially – is a bad idea… because…uh, fuck Canada! ‘

      e.g.
      “Understand what this project is: It is providing the ability of Canada to pump their oil, send it through our land, down to the Gulf [Coast], where it will be sold everywhere else. It doesn’t have an impact on U.S. gas prices.”

      Gosh, who ever heard of there being *any benefits in the business of mid-stream oil transport*??, or the thousands of US jobs it will create in materials, construction, and maintenance? Entirely setting aside that ‘creating a long term infrastructure for cheaper and safer transport and sale of energy resources’ actually DOES have an impact on global energy costs, which translates to improved productivity and higher profits for manufacturers, transport, chemicals industry…. and on and on and on….

      If ‘stubborn economic-ignorance and xenophobia’ were the real key objection to this project, i find it odd that it took him 4+ years to getting around to articulating it in such a bald and boneheaded fashion, such that the ‘environmental impact’ ceases to be relevant in the slightest.

      Obama has also never previously voiced his opinion to the people of Canada that our trade relationship with them is not simply ‘low priority’, but is blatantly spiteful and antagonistic for the sheer sake of it.

      1. It’s especially hypocritical considering the number of pipelines that US oil companies have built that run across Canada, from Alaska to the US.

        Canada allowed us to build those and now we’re going to be huge dicks and tell them to go fuck themselves when they ask us to return the favor.

        1. its not even telling them to go ‘fuck themselves’. Canada already pipes and trains plenty of oil-sands oil to their own refiners. The keystone pipeline simply makes for joining up north american resources so that ANYONE can get access to the massive resources located in the central parts of both nations. Keystone provides US-refinery access to North Dakota oil just as much as Canadian oil. It is clearly in our own interests even if Canada oil were not involved at all.

          He’s spinning the fact that it will be a “shared resource” in some kind of zero-sum economic fantasy where if Canada benefits, that somehow that’s ‘not in our interests’.

          I don’t remember the #s off the top of my head, but US refiners make something like $0.40 cents per gallon of oil processed =

          Obama seems to think that providing US refineries access to (rough math in head)… oh, 5 *trillion* gallons of Alberta-sands oil over the next few decades?… is somehow of zero economic benefit to the US.

          1. Obama seems to think that providing US refineries access to (rough math in head)… oh, 5 *trillion* gallons of Alberta-sands oil over the next few decades?… is somehow of zero economic benefit to the US.

            The man isn’t merely economically illiterate, he’s an economic invalid unable to tie his shoes or wipe his own ass. The real paradox of El Presidente is whether he’s really that backasswards retarded or if he’s just a diabolical progressive posing as black Forest Gump.

            1. You are talking about acquiring Canadian property for American profit.

              I suppose that isn’t a real distinction and that the Canadians are too retarded to capture the full economic benefit of their own resources….and they need American fat cats to hire a bunch of lackeys to do it for them.

          2. My point is, even if it WAS purely in Canada’s interest, Canada has done the same for the US on many occasions.

            They basically gave us an easement across Canadian territory to ship US oil from Alaska to the continental US. Now we are refusing to return the favor.

            1. true indeed.

              i was sort of piggybacking on your point

            2. Or natural gas maybe. There’s so much oil and gas infrastructure up there that I’m sure American oil or gas gets shipped via canada through some pipeline or other.

              1. A reason commenter, Butler, over on this thread linked to maps showing existing pipelines from Canada. The PDF in his second link shows many lines originating in Alberta and one in Montreal-ish.

  22. “The progressives’ caricature of the libertarian…is ludicrous.”

    To be fair, progressives’ descriptions of just about anything that isn’t progressive are ludicrous.

    1. They really think that the only meaningful way to be socially engaged is to participate in political activism of some sort.

      You’re either voting or participating in an advocacy group or going to the PTA or whatever.

      It’s strange how doing something like making a product that actually improves people’s lives doesn’t count. Only making the government pass a law to force people to give away products does.

      If I do some research and develop a drug that saves someone’s life, and then start a company and sell that drug, I’m a heartless selfish bastard whose only in it for myself. On the other hand, if start a group that marches around shouting and waving signs now I “participating” in the proper way, even if absolutely no improvement in anyone’s life actually results.

      1. To sum it up; they think the only meaningful way to socially engage is with violent force.

    2. “progressives’ descriptions of just about anything that isn’t progressive are ludicrous.”

      No = their characterizations of *themselves* are among the most ludicrous of all, if not the cherry on top of the cupcake of self-serving-narcissism.

      A case study = Thomas Frank’s ‘We are Such Losers‘*

      (*note= the title belies the actual point of the piece, which is to conduct a deep-body massage of the liberal ego, repeating lies about their *beneficent intentions, *sophisticated intellect, *moral superiority… but endlessly *victimized* by the horrible people that ignorantly oppose them. These lies serve a purpose in helping them endure election-failure while never needing to question their actual ideas)

      “We persuade ourselves that the answer to the savagery of the right?the way to trump the naked class aggression of the One Percent?is to say farewell to our own tradition and get past politics and ideology altogether. And so we focus on the person of the well-meaning, hyper-intelligent leader. We are so high-minded, we think. We are so scientific….

      ‘We are such losers'”

      He continues this theme in a more-recent interview , where he clarifies that ‘everything wrong with liberals is actually the fault of Nixon and Reagan

      1. Well put. I stand (happily) corrected.

    3. I don’t think that’s fair. Progressive’s descriptions of themselves are ludicrous too.

  23. Conservative’s descriptions of libertarians are equally absurd. ‘Selfish’ is the most common adjective that we’ve been branded with.
    Who said the following:
    “I think libertarians are greedy”.
    “Addiction is simply a lack of willpower”.
    “Birchers are kooks”.

    1. Well yeah. It’s selfish to want to keep what belongs to you. Sharing what does not belong to you is the highest form of altruism. Duh.

      1. What “belongs” to you is a social construct.

        Unless you claim ownership by superior force as has been the standard through out all of history.

        Altruism is selfish

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  25. Wait so if Sheldon Richman thinks “capitalism” has been corrupted as a term then why does he want to revive “socialism” which hasn’t been used in the context he’s using it in since in the last one hundred years.

    1. Many of us also want to rehabilitate the unadulterated term liberal.

      As for Richman’s rejection of the term capitalism, it wouldn’t be a terrible idea if we were to begin talking about free markets or voluntary exchange or market seduction instead. There are plenty of good reasons: capitalism is a Marxist term; capitalism overemphasizes the production of capital, which is emphatically not the goal of voluntary exchange; the term is deeply confusing, as libertarians usually consider the American economy essentially fascist, while anti-marketeers call it capitalist.

      Are we really going to castigate Richman–who is as close to a Rothbardian as Reason has ever published, save Rothbard himself–for trying to get libertarians to read Benjamin Tucker and pre-libertarian thinkers who were essential our evolution to understand where, exactly, we come from ideologically? Yes, he uses words in an unconventional sense, but he’s writing to the most intellectually curious libertarians who should understand that words only have the meaning that listeners and readers impart to them.

      1. We’ve co-opted some of their terms, too.

        “Creative destruction”, for instance, was a Marxist criticism of capitalism.

        “In the earlier work of Marx, however, the idea of creative destruction or annihilation (German: Vernichtung) implies not only that capitalism destroys and reconfigures previous economic orders, but also that it must ceaselessly devalue existing wealth (whether through war, dereliction, or regular and periodic economic crises) in order to clear the ground for the creation of new wealth.[3][4][5]

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_destruction

        1. We’ve co-opted some of their terms, too.

          “Creative destruction”, for instance, was a Marxist criticism of capitalism.

          I didn’t know that (thanks, Ken), but along with the libertarian moniker itself, it’s a good example of how liberal and libertarian thinkers can use the effective methods of the socialist/Marxist cadre to our own benefit. No idea that Schumpeter was such a wild card.

          I think Doherty and Cox credit Paterson with the theft of libertarian from the European labor theorists.

      2. “Are we really going to castigate Richman–who is as close to a Rothbardian as Reason has ever published, save Rothbard himself–for trying to get libertarians to read Benjamin Tucker and pre-libertarian thinkers who were essential our evolution to understand where, exactly, we come from ideologically? ”

        The fact that he doesn’t mention Obama, means he is not criticizing him, and therefore tacitly endorsing his policies. As such it doesn’t belong here.

        1. The fact that he doesn’t mention Obama, means he is not criticizing him, and therefore tacitly endorsing his policies. As such it doesn’t belong here.

          My deep pride in my own sarcastic wit bows to its master.

      3. Are we really going to castigate Richman–who is as close to a Rothbardian as Reason has ever published, save Rothbard himself–for trying to get libertarians to read Benjamin Tucker and pre-libertarian thinkers who were essential our evolution

        If you care to go back further than Benjamin Tucker, the word ‘socialist’ had a much more broad meaning that would include even a minarchist’s “nightwatchman state”. However for contemporary libertarians to adopt this term, they’re going to confuse their audience. Even those who would like to reclaim the word ‘liberal’ must continuously offer qualifiers of what they mean by the word before it can be used with a lay audience.

        However in reclaiming ‘liberal’ from the left, we’re making a statement about the illiberality of the leftists, and more importantly we’re simply applying the term as it is defined in every context with the notable exception of politics. The word ‘socialism’ however, has but a single contextual use in modern language and thus is more problematic to “reclaim” or redefine. It’s quite simply not worth the effort to rehabilitate the term, unlike others we might try.

        1. However for contemporary libertarians to adopt this term, they’re going to confuse their audience.

          I like to think that Reason readers are redasses people like us who know that calling someone a liberal was a good thing prior to 1932. I believe that Richman is writing to us, not to those who think that Ron Paul invented libertarianism.

          More than that, I’d like to force the technocratic left to take their own medicine by waging a war of words and language. It may be the Heroic Mulatto in me, but it’s irritating to see them reinvent the tired racism card by introducing the “privilege” bs, or to continue to use the anti-concept of social justice. That’s one of the reasons why Rand is so important to us, in spite of her many, many flaws: she realized that politics is about glamour, and she fought a war of and over words.

          It’s quite simply not worth the effort to rehabilitate the term, unlike others we might try.

          I hate to side with Libertarius over you, but I disagree.

          People are symbolic thinkers. The symbols we use matter very much. It matters whether we say “mental illness” rather than “psychological disorder,” because illnesses are treated by physicians. And it matters if we let them use liberal, or even let conservatives use liberal, as a synonym for fascist, without protesting.

          And if some future generation of libertarians reclaim socialism for the cause of individualism, I will salute them from the grave.

  26. freed market

    So according to Richman the “free market” is too associated with government favors to businesses yet “socialism” isn’t too associated with big government and high taxes. Huh.

    1. Not at all. He’s saying the word “free market” is associated with the current dynamics of the economy, which is misleading since it’s definitely not a free market. I don’t know how you misread that so badly.

  27. What’s next? Libertarians are the True Communists because they oppose repression of communities? Or libertarians are socons because they want to conserve society?

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  29. Free market socialism-
    Ill live my life capitalistically, you can live it socialisticlly. so long as its all voluntary i could give half a fuck who my neighbors pool their resources with, the second they show up at the door demanding part of my resources they will get plenty of lead donations.

  30. Just boil it down to the fact that libertarianism is about the prohibition of state coercion. In fact, people willingly engage in socialism-like behavior many times when given a free choice, such as in cooperative associations and mutual insurance. The problem with state socialism is the coercion and the reason behind coercion. Coercion is needed because there are those who benefit much more greatly than average compared to what they put in (compared to, say, insurance where we benefit from having coverage in case of a casualty, but on average cannot get benefits that are not commensurate with the premium value). The flip side of this is that it requires many to participate who receive a benefit that is not worth the price paid.

  31. This looks good on paper but the freed market Richman envisions will not happen in the foreseeable future because there are to many psychopaths in the mix, people who’s only goal is to profit while causing others to loose, people who will do anything they can get away with to make this happen, people who, if stranded with you on a desert island, will immediately start planning how to kill you so they can eat your flesh and drink your blood. In a perfect world a freed market would be good for everyone but this world is far from perfect. Anarchism, which I support, also looks good on paper, but will not come about for several centuries, if ever.

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