Libertarianism

Are Libertarians Looking for Results or Self-Congratulation?

There's a big difference between trying to win people over and merely trying to feel good about ourselves.

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When I was researching my recent article on Nathaniel Branden, who died last month, I came across an audio file of a talk Branden gave at the 1979 Libertarian Party national convention in Los Angeles. I was at the convention, but I don't remember attending the talk. I might have been busy with other things; on the other hand, I find it hard to believe that I had anything more important to do during that hour.

At any rate, the talk, "What Happens When the Libertarian Movement Begins to Succeed?," is remarkable in more than one respect. For one thing, Branden was commenting on all the attention libertarianism was getting—in 1979! At that time, the media were covering the libertarian movement more than ever, although that isn't saying much. Ed Clark, a libertarian who was listed on the ballot as an independent, had run quite a successful campaign for governor of California the year before, by libertarian standards, winning 377,960 votes, 5.46 percent of the total.

The party in California had also gotten publicity earlier that year for supporting ballot Proposition 13, a cap on the state's property tax, and for opposing Proposition 6, the Briggs Initiative, which would have denied jobs in the government's schools to gay people. The LP's position prevailed in both cases. Because of things like this, the Los Angeles Times sent a reporter to the convention, and other prominent newspapers and magazines later published stories. The 2,000-plus conventioneers were filled with excitement.

So Branden was justified in thinking that something good was happening. It wasn't the first time some of us felt that way. In 1971, the year before the first LP presidential ticket, John Hospers and Tonie Nathan, got an electoral vote, the New York Times Magazine published a five-thousand-word article by two libertarian college seniors: Stan Lehr and Louis Rossetto Jr., later a co-founder of Wired magazine. The article was titled "The New Right Credo—Libertarianism" (I gag on the title too), and it discussed the political and economic ideas of Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, Karl Hess, and others. Here's a passage:

While conservatives preached that all laws should be obeyed until repealed, libertarians placed the welfare of the individual over that of the state and argued that an individual is morally justified, for instance, in resisting the draft or smoking marijuana. Moreover, while traditionalists placed a premium value on stability and order, the libertarians were not all that opposed—in principle, at any rate—to the basic idea of shaking up or even overthrowing the liberal state. Most important, libertarians did not want to become apologists for and defenders of the existing order.

Rossetto and Lehr even reached back to Spinoza, a favorite of mine, to trace the roots of the libertarian philosophy:

All laws which can be violated without doing any one any injury are laughed at. Nay, so far are they from doing anything to control the desires and passions of men that, on the contrary, they direct and incite men's thoughts the more toward those very objects, for we always strive toward what is forbidden and desire the things we are not allowed to have. And men of leisure are never deficient in the ingenuity needed to enable them to outwit laws framed to regulate things which cannot be entirely forbidden.… He who tries to determine everything by law will foment crime rather than lessen it.

The article closed with this quote, playing off the famous John F. Kennedy line, from David Friedman, author of the excellent The Machinery of Freedom, which will soon be out in a new edition: "Ask not what government can do for you … ask rather what government is doing to you."

What was going on eight years later made those earlier years pale in comparison. Imagine what Branden must have thought in his last years, as the word libertarian became a recognized, if not fully understood, political category routinely included in public discussions of politics. (No doubt Ron Paul deserves much credit for this, though other sources of this recognition could be identified.)

As a psychologist, Branden was interested in how success might be received by libertarians. He had no doubt that as advocates of liberty, most libertarians would welcome the increasing public notice and growing number of adherents. But at the same time he realized that some number of libertarians had mixed motives and were attracted to the movement at least in part precisely because it was a minority, or fringe, movement that was ignored when not disparaged by most people. (Branden regarded such persons as having a "negative self-concept.) Thus someone with merely a rebel temperament, who never expected his ideas to prevail among the benighted masses, might be put off by the mainstreaming of libertarianism. If this libertarian saw himself as heroically fated to be on the righteous but losing side, how would he react to success?

Branden suggested that this might explain some of the infighting the movement (like other movements) was experiencing; anxious about impending success, some may feel the need to compensate by creating destructive factions within the movement. (I am reminded—along with many others, I'll bet—of the hilarious scene in Monty Python's The Life of Brian in which members of the People's Front of Judea explain that the only things they hate more than the Romans are the Judean People's Front and the Judean Popular People's Front.)

If you'll bear with the longish quote, here's what Branden said (hat tip to David Boaz):

So it becomes very interesting to ask ourselves—and obviously I don't wish to imply this applies to all of us, it doesn't— but these are trends to watch for in ourselves and in our colleagues…: "Okay, suppose that I or my friends or my colleagues, while genuinely believing in these ideals, at the same time have this unrecognized negative self-concept of which Branden speaks. That means that my self-sabotaging behavior wouldn't happen on a conscious level, but it would happen. How would it happen? What kinds of mistakes might we make?"

Well, for example, suppose that you're talking with people that don't already share your views, and yet you believe your views have evidence and reason to support them. Now, if you really believe that you're in this to win; to see your ideas prevail, then you give a lot of thought to how to become a good communicator, how to reach human minds, how to appeal to human intelligence.

What do you do if you're really in it to keep proving that you're a heroic—but doomed—martyr? What do you do if your deepest belief [about people that don't already share your views] is, "You're never going to get it. You're hopelessly corrupt. I may be one of the two or three last moral people on Earth. What am I doing at this party anyway?"

You engage in a lot of flaming rhetoric—you talk about statists, you talk about looters, you talk about parasites in contexts where you know this language is Greek to your listener. Why should you care? Your dialogue isn't directed to him anyway—it's directed to the spectator-you watching you being a hero. He knows what you mean—don't get confused over the fact that your listeners don't. The show isn't for them anyway.

Branden was appealing to libertarians to be ruthlessly honest with themselves about why they were activists. If the reason was something other than achieving a free society through persuasion, then self-examination would be in order. If one's motives were mixed, then introspection might identify why one engaged in self-sabotage, such as intentionally alienating nonlibertarians.

Branden's observation about the use of words that nonlibertarians don't understand is important. Among ourselves, "statist" is the severest term of condemnation. But who else gets that? We need to pay more attention to what we say. For example, when we talk about decentralizing power, which of course is a good thing, we must not forget that many people reasonably associate local authority with slavery, Jim Crow, and lynching with impunity, and central authority with the abolition of those evils. That doesn't mean we should abandon the idea, only that we should think carefully about how we explain it. Let's make sure people hear what we say. If our goal is to persuade others of the value of freedom, it's a mistake to assume that any confusion is the listener's problem. It's our problem.

What Branden was doing in his speech was applying his "art of living consciously" to libertarian activism. He urged us to ask ourselves explicitly what we are trying to achieve when we talk to nonlibertarians, most of whom are actually at least half libertarians. Are we trying to win people over or merely trying to feel good about ourselves, to feel more righteous than thou, or to display our erudition?

So, one of the signs that we want to look out for, and one of the most important signs, happens in how we approach communication. Are we really out to reach human beings? Are we really out to build a bridge to somebody whose context may be very different from our own? Do we still remember that a lot of what we now regard as self-evident once upon a time wasn't self-evident? Or do we walk into a conversation on the premise: I'll give you one chance, after which you're irredeemably evil?

You see, that could be called a communication problem, but I think it would be too superficial to describe it in that manner. I would call it a "phony image" problem: you're not in it to win, you're not in it to persuade, you're not in it to convince, you're not in it to reach out and touch another human mind; you're out to make yourself out as the lowly unappreciated misunderstood heroic martyr you always knew you were, ever since your mother gave more attention to your brother.

Branden went on to note that some libertarians "cannot seem to come off the level of extreme generality" and that this could indicate that martyrdom, not persuasion, is their goal. I recommend that we all pay close attention to that part of the talk.

Through this speech Branden once again demonstrated his value to the libertarian cause. We would all profit by taking his advice.

This column first appeared at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

NEXT: "The 5 Worst Moments" from Obama's State of the Union Address

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  1. So I’m supposed to compromise my views and how I express them because the slavers and rent-seekers are too stupid to understand that they’re slaving and rent-seeking ways are an affront to the very nature of liberty itself?

    Every cause has its loud and clumsy lout whom the cause’s opponents are more than happy to hold up its official spokesman.

    1. Cute! I take it you really dug this piece. Me too.

    2. Richman did not tell you to compromise your views. Suggesting that we modify HOW we express our views is a valid point.

      If you just want to win an argument with a progressive over beers some night, then venting and ranting at their stupidity might work.

      But if you want to actually change their minds, their way of looking at a subject, or plant an idea in their heads that they’ve been oblivious to, a different approach is necessary.

      1. Well, most of us are very aware of that. It’s like preaching to the choir telling us that.

        Me thinks someone does not read the comments here very often.

        1. BTW, I wasn’t referring to you about not reading the comments.

          I know that some of the writers here read our comments also, since they sometimes lower themselves down to the level that they actually respond to us.

        2. So all libertarians comment here? There must not be very many libertarians, then.

      2. Psst!: I think it was ironic.

    3. Compromise is how the federal government got so big.That and ‘for the children’.

      1. Yes. To them, “compromise” means you only giving up half your rights.

      2. Well then don’t compromise. People don’t respond well to yelling or name calling, but if you can find a way to express what you believe in a calm, rational fashion, we might all benefit from the conversation, and even change some minds.

        1. “People don’t respond well to yelling or name calling”

          Sure they do. Progressive Theocrats intimidate and bully, they shriek “racist sexist homophobe”, and it has worked for them. They have converted untold millions, and cowed millions more.

          What Sheldon and Branden fail to take into account is that people’s first inclination is to use the arguments that would work on them, instead of the arguments that *actually* work on their target audience.

          I submit that withdrawing moral sanction from Progressives would be enormously effective. They are truly slaves to the moral evaluations of others. Stop saying “they have good intentions, but…” That just grants them what they crave most of all – moral sanction.

          Observe them. They’re caught in obsessive moral self regard from their moral reflection in the eyes of others, and are thrown into a tizzy when their moral worth is questioned.

          Sheldon and Branden don’t think these things work. Maybe they don’t work on them. I think in general, it doesn’t work well on libertarians, as we don’t care so much what others think of us (else there is no way we would be libertarians), we care about what is true.

          I observe Progressives having a complete disregard for the truth, and a compulsive self regard for their own moral status. Attack them there, and they will crumble.

          1. I agree with your comment. As a libertarian ballot access petitioner, I’ve also seen it work, on some progressives. (For them, politics is the moral domain, not a “practical economics” domain. For this reason, nothing less than a moral argument will convince them of anything.)

            (BTW: It matters whether they’re already a government worker. No argument works on perversely-incentivized sociopaths, because they already perceive the truth, but they just reject publicly agreeing with it as “not helpful to their personal goals.”) I tend to convert approximately 1/3 of progressives I talk with to libertarianism, or set them “on the path.” It’s a path I once walked, so I know where it leads.

          2. (I’ve since been put on the LP’s hiring blacklist, which exists inside Bill Redpath’s mind, so I haven’t been doing much talking with the general public lately. The “single failure point” of the LP is its reason for not replicating Dick Randolph’s 1980 Alaska successes. This single failure point allows the LP’s donor money to be directed toward tasks that cannot possibly result in elected office, nor the expanded public attention that would merit. …Nobody likes a loser, except the opponents of the loser. As such, the LP is only still living because it’s useful to its opponents.)

            Of course, the single failure point, once controlled, controls many other “failure points waiting to happen,” because such “delusional right-wing rejects” wouldn’t achieve electoral success on their own. (This means you, AZ LP!)

          3. In any case, progressivism, like all moral hierarchies, has two kinds of adherents: those who understand the full hierarchy (Kevin Kelly at http://www.kk.org called them “early adopters,” Malcolm Gladwell, I believe, called them “mavens”), and those who emulate them (followers, “connectors,” etc), at all different levels of hierarchical comprehension.

            So, all arguments need to be tailored to the people listening to them, at their highest level of comprehension (moral, intellectual, whatever). There is one thing you could say to almost everyone that would make them a libertarian. (I’ve figured out this useless skillset, and now have to find something else to do with myself.)

            The point is: addressing an “early adopter progressive” at the level of a “empathy-driven follower progressive” constitutes a completely different set of arguments.

          4. Libertarians, by the way, already own the territory that is the core basis of all progressive arguments: we advocate the interference with unjust punishment, via the jury. Progressives often start out agreeing with this position, and also agreeing with putting it into practice! They can then be shown one of two things: (1)How to get past “voir dire,” and why it’s important to be prepared for it (strategy), or (2) Why tax evasion and gun ownership is also a victimless crime, not deserving of punishment. (no “mala in se,” no two elements of a valid “corpus delicti,” etc.) (applied philosophy)

            If they were totally immoral by default condition of their never having heard the correct philosophy, then you’ve just converted someone to Hayekian liberalism (sometimes called “libertarianism” LOL).

            Often, I’ve gained useful allies against the drug war this way. In fact, progressives are far more likely to actually shift their views toward effectual libertarianism than social “Conservatives” are. For years, the LP has been sniffing the ass of social conservatives, because they used to be social conservatives.

          5. Thus, the LP is comprised of “Honest conservatives” who have reached a certain level of education. But conservatives with any element of “social conservatism” can’t even be honest about the nature of reality, since they believe in god. This inherently morally opposes them to comprehending emergent order, which is the dominant order of the universe. This seems “messy” to them. Also: why did they cling to social conservatism as long as they did? There’s a heavy element of social intolerance with all of them. Now, it’s the same with self-proclaimed “progressives,” but the difference is, progressives don’t refer to the invisible and undetectable sky-god as their “highest moral authority.” As Szasz said: “If you talk to god, you’re religious. If god talks to you, you’re schizophrenic.”

            There’s no gentle way to deal with this. Whereas the progressive has made an error in applied law, philosophy, etc., the conservative must abandon his “highest moral arbiter” –and has all the indoctrination and bullshit, and self-deception of religious institutions and social connections to throw away, …before he even considers that god might not be real.

          6. The fastest way to get non-inherently-evil religious people to embrace libertarianism is to be dishonest, and advocate the Quaker’s path to freedom. Such people are natural advocates for jury rights (but rendered totally ineffective if they won’t lie to get past voir dire –which is usually the first thing I check). This will only work if the person is not a rigid church-goer, and has already somewhat rejected “organized religion.”

            The Southern Churches are the Fountainhead of tyranny. Tea Party events are made impotent by those who turn them into “prayer meetings.” If I had more of a “dog in the fight,” I would have challenged this transgression and taken the 1/3 of the room that was rolling their eyes with me. …But I had already been betrayed by the Libertarian Party, and realized it wasn’t worth getting arrested if there would be noone to bail me out. …Fuck ’em, let ’em vote GOP and get murdered by the FDA they voted for while they “fight Obamacare.”

          7. I used to be a pro-gun progressive. I couldn’t be anti-gun because my father taught me how to shoot when I was 5, and it was clear to me from observing history that, if the Nazis have just broken the glass out of your storefront, you should shoot them.

            I was an Economic illiterate who favored legalizing drugs, and voted Democrat. I considered myself an anti-capitalist, and listened to the Dead Kennedys, admired Jello Biafra and Robert Crumb, etc. Then, I read Ayn Rand, and agreed with the core messages of objectivism. Then, I read Harry Browne, and the consistently anti-war part of objectivism clicked with his description of the military as “the post office in fatigues.” Then, I read FIJA literature, and Clay Conrad, and realized why the USA outperformed Soviet Russia.

          8. As an “honest progressive,” I had to admit that the requirement for jury unanimity prior to state punishment protected tax non-payers as well as pot smokers, and that this was a morally proper thing.

            I also discovered that not everyone who wears a suit is evil, and that, though many of them are, there are lots of people like Harry Browne, Buckminster Fuller, and Doug Casey who are simply “dressing for respect.” Ideas matter more to such people than appearances.

            By the way, I assume you’re the same buybuydandavis as the one at LessWrong. Nice to see you here, since LessWrong is too servile and poorly-constructed to be of use to anyone who is truly rational (in any useful sense of the term).

            Peace.

    4. So I’m supposed to compromise my views and how I express them…

      Why should anyone, least of all you, be wedded to how you express your views to the point of refusing to adjust the expression in order to more effectively influence others?

      Is that the point of you expressing your views or are you just engaging an infantile primal scream?

    5. Exactly. Folks have been lying to themselves for far too long. Sorry if the effing truth hurts, but it’s time to stop pussyfooting around and let them know their ideology requires violence. I don’t even go to church, but know enough to see Jesus despised tax collectors, and government. Yet some folks who wave around the bible don’t even know what’s in it.

      Mark 2:15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

      17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

      So folks shouldn’t know they advocate theft, extortion, and violence that contradicts what they “believe” in?

      1. To be fair, tax collectors in Jesus’ time were a bit different than IRS agents. They were Jews working for the Romans and were working on commission. Accordingly, they were typically accompanied by a couple of strong men who were essentially mob enforcers. So they were viewed by the Jews as traitors and as men of low character.

        1. How is that different than IRS agents?

          1. IRA agents dress better.

    6. I sure hope this is sarcasm. If not, it’s a perfect example of what I was warning against.

    7. This is why I have mostly quit bothering to discuss libertarianism with non-libertarians (also, atheism with non-atheists). I either 1) don’t know how to communicate in a non-confrontational way or 2) don’t care enough to learn how. So I leave it to others.

      1. The rest of the Libertarian movement is right there with you! Sadly, they trust the LP to not be corrupt, and thereby, they donate money to the D and R political establishment to make sure that the “pressure release valve” doesn’t achieve accidental political success.

  2. Fuck off, slaver Sheldon.

    1. In many ways, I like Richman’s articles. They’re ?spicy?!

      Obnoxious, yes.

      Anyway, I do not agree when he says that “many people reasonably associate local authority with slavery…”

      Unless by “many people” he means people like Tony and PBP. I would argue that hardly anyone else jumps to that association/conclusion. To them, it’s a way to try to shut down the debate.

      1. Yep, Sheldon talks with many such people, so I think he overestimates the frequency of that response. You tell a random person that you think decentralized/local power is better than centralized power, and their response will not be, “What, like slavery!?”

      2. Some probably associate it with Jim Crow. While this is an accurate example of local authority run amok you only need to look at the fugitive slave act to see the federal government doing the same thing or worse. The difference is when federal authority abuses people everyone is screwed instead of just the good citizens of mayberry, pleasantville, or whoville.

        1. Whoville will always be a vanilla city!

  3. Dude I never thought about it liek that befoe.

    http://www.BestAnon.tk

  4. I’m pretty much into libertarianism for the self satisfaction.

    …and all the chicks.

    1. I’m pretty proud of the fact that I was a libertarian before libertarian was cool. Why shouldn’t someone feel good about being right?

      But that really doesn’t have much to do with caring about changing minds.

      If I was only into a political ideology for the self congratulatory benefits, I’d be a prog. That way I could go over the HuffPo and on any article about anything, I could say ‘The Koch Brothers want to poison us all with evil oil for profits!’ and get 1000 likes.

      1. Libertarian is cool now?

        1. Dude, we’re having a libertarian moment! Didn’t you hear!?

          1. Ask any millenial. In fact, poll them!

            1. …Sounds like he’d rather pole them.

    2. If you’re in it for the chicks, you’ll have to do a lot of self satisfaction.

      1. But now that the libertarian women population is fluctuating between 2 and 5 on a daily basis, the odds are looking up. And some of those 2 – 5 are even libertarians on both Monday and Tuesday!

        1. Trouble is, libertarian girls are often Randroids who have recognized that John Galt would make a really good “provider.” (Of both genetic material and groceries.) …At least they’re getting more common on the campuses.

      2. Don’t you mean satisbation?

      3. …Unless he writes a thousand-page book,then, …look out!

  5. “You engage in a lot of flaming rhetoric?you talk about statists, you talk about looters, you talk about parasites in contexts where you know this language is Greek to your listener. Why should you care? Your dialogue isn’t directed to him anyway?it’s directed to the spectator-you watching you being a hero. ”

    So Branden had someway of seeing into the future and reading Reason’s Hit and Run comments section?

    1. Just your comments, Bo.

      1. Yes, I’m the go to guy for “flaming rhetoric?talk about statists, talk about looters, talk about parasites” around here…
        Derp

        1. Just your endless fixation on the evil SoCons and closet Conservatives who are taking over.

          1. You’ve got to be kidding, FUQ.

            Without Bo’s heroic efforts this place would become a sess pit of SoCon’s and Joooos.

            Just ask him.

            1. Our resident Rev Al weighs in

          2. Throw it on the wall maybe some of it will stick.

            I’ve said over and over I doubt there are many SoCons on the commentariat here. They’re a strange amount of conservatives that don’t like much focus on SoCon attacks on liberty though, but that’s more them not wanting what they see as allies being picked on than them being SoCons themselves.

            1. You just said a little while ago that there are SoCons here. Now you are even being contrary with yourself. See, that’s what happens eventually if you don’t stop.

            2. No, you idiot, it’s that Obama the Progressive is in power. When Romney is in power in 2017 I assure you the tide will change.

              1. This. Bo was just a wee lad when the hated BOOOSH was in power, but there wasn’t much love for him in these pages.

  6. We commentariat here spend an inordinate amount of time ‘splainin’ the theory of liberty to all who will hear.

    This issue is not that the unintelligent hordes do not understand the message, it’s that it’s not the message they want to hear. The message they want to hear is ‘We need someone to tell us how to think, what to do, and give us all the free shit we want because that’s easy and we don’t need to think about it’.

    No amount of reexplaining to the ‘statist’ sheep will change that. The only thing that can change it is that one day they have their own moment of ‘enlightenment’ when they finally get it that they are immoral scum and that they can’t live with that guilt any longer.

    So in summary, what I’m saying is that they’ve heard the message, and they understand it well enough, they just don’t accept it.

    1. Look, at least twice in less than ten comments we’ve already had examples of insulting non libertarians as just too stupid to get our awesome arguments. People are simultaneously arguing against Richman’s point while making it.

      1. Stop being a contrarian Bo and say something useful, you fucking statist, (;

        1. It’s frustrating that so many people are seemingly uninterested in liberty, I get that. And some people are just trolls. But we need to persuade people, and constantly going on about how people who don’t agree with us are obviously idiotic morons with deep seated enslavement personality issues is not going to do that, as much as it might make us feel better about ourselves.

          1. But we need to persuade people

            I waste a considerable amount of my life doing that, and not only here, but in real 3D life. I don’t think most of us need to be convinced of that.

            1. Sure, but we need to always keep in mind that line between persuading someone and trying to beat them in an argument, or worse berating them to look cool/tough to frustrated (with good reason) fellow travelers

              1. If you really think that being nice and reasonable with proggies will get results, go spend a few months at HuffPo or Politico like I did, doing exactly that, then come back and talk to me about your experience.

                To conservatives, libertarians are pot smoking anarchists. To progs, libertarians are one percenter gun toting anarchists who hate women, children, minorities, and the poor.

                You can talk to them until you are talked out, and you will not change those opinions at all in 99.9% of them.

                1. I wouldn’t say wade into their den, just be nice in ours.

                  1. Be nice to who? There aren’t any proggies here, except for Sheek, a raging partisan hack troll, and Tony, who has openly called for the genocide of white people.

                    Who are we to be nice to?

                2. If you really think that being nice and reasonable with proggies will get results, go spend a few months at HuffPo or Politico like I did, doing exactly that, then come back and talk to me about your experience.

                  You can talk to them until you are talked out, and you will not change those opinions at all in 99.9% of them.

                  Not necessarily.

                  You’re not going to get someone that you are engaging with to say oh I get it now and totally agree with you. But you might get them to rethink their position when they’re offline.

                  And anyway, you’re really performing for the audience, not the other actors, and likely will persuade some number of them with well crafted arguments.

                3. To conservatives, libertarians are pot smoking anarchists. To progs, libertarians are one percenter gun toting anarchists who hate women, children, minorities, and the poor.

                  Wait, we aren’t?

            2. we need to persuade people

              That’s what the articles are for.

              1. So what are the comments for? To turn off the guy who liked the articles so we can feel tough, supported or had a chance to vent?

                1. Self awareness is not your best thing Bo.

                  1. I’ll work on that when you reach mere awareness, deal?

                2. The comments are for whatever the hell you want. Fun, argumentation, pedantry… you name it. We’re not here to coddle or comfort.

                  1. +1 Curmudgeonly commentariat

          2. Bo, one thing to keep in mind is that a place like H&R is also nice as a place where you can say what you really think, without being diplomatic, to mostly like minded people who will get what you are saying. I think most are a bit more gentle when talking to people who disagree in other contexts (especially real life).

            1. Of course, Zeb, which is why I said below “But advancing the cause of liberty might not be what people want to use public outlets like this board for. It’s obvious a lot if people see this board as a social hang out spot for venting the inevitable frustrations of being a libertarian today or as a sort of escape from the mainstream/support group where one can hang out with a bunch of people that agree with them. And a lot if people find it more important to seem like a ‘badass’ libertarian, willing to take it to those ‘progs’ more extreme than anyone else.”

            2. I’ve found people around here to be pretty nice overall, compared with other sites.

              Just don’t say anything bad about hummus and you’ll probably be ok.

          3. It’s frustrating that so many people are seemingly uninterested in liberty,

            Those people are more likely to be influenced by utilitarian arguments than arguing from first principles.

            1. This.

              I’m surrounded by liberals at school, and SoCons at home (my parents church, which I attend when not at school, had many). I disagree with them a lot. I don’t compromise my principles and try to remain polite. More importantly, I resist the urge of thinking those who are not won over to my positions are deficient in intelligence, knowledge, character or mental balance. I know they’re for the most part reasonable people who are often very kind and good. The heart of their disagreement is different first principles, which usually has little to do with matters of intelligence or character. You have to find ways to appeal to those principles. So for liberals I remind them of how government power invariably falls disproportionately on minorities and the poor, for SoCons I emphasize that a government that enforces morality might enforce versions they oppose. This works sometimes, whereas calling them idiots curiously never does.

              1. +1 Respect, even grudgingly given.

          4. You can’t persuade these people through talk. They’ve been raised since birth to trust the police, to pay taxes, to thank the government for its benevolence.

            The only way they can be persuaded is to actually experience the state’s oppression. Fortunately, spying on every American citizen, killing them and their dogs with impunity, taking more and more of their income and killing people overseas in their names will only continue until these people see what’s actually happening.

            1. But look at the bright side: Those of these people who become police will be good, nice police, because that’s the image they have of he police.

            2. will only continue until these people see what’s actually happening.

              So, never, then.

            3. Well, I was raised that way. It took a while, but I got better.

      2. Many (most?) people do not look at “liberty” as an end in itself. Look at the desired goals, however people generally (or the people you are speaking to) define these. Explain how “liberty” will achieve these goals. What are your presuppositions? If those you are speaking with do not share those presuppositions, they need to be addressed first.

    2. So why did you want to hear it? You just smarter?

    3. I try not to push my political beliefs, other than rant about stupid government tricks from time to time, but if talk does get around to government, I usually trot out radio frequency allocation as my favorite example of areas which seem like a natural for government control but turn out otherwise. I got it all from Jesse Walker’s excellent radio history. It usually goes something like this ….

      The first radio users were geeks playing with a completely new technology, treating it as long distance phone calls. They kept lists of who was where and on what frequency, like a phone book. Commercial broadcasters came along later and got on the list, and it morphed into a frequency allocation list so people wouldn’t step on each other. The few rogues who did were shunned and didn’t last long.

      But eventually some businessmen who owned radio stations and networks decided they could block competitors and make easier money with the government in charge, so they ginned up stories of stations stomping on each other like the mythical wild west, gave campaign donations to a few influential congressmen, and that is how the FCC was born in 1934. The government was not part of radio for the first 30 years, only got involved long after everything was already control, and only because some corrupt congress critters got campaign funding from crony businessmen so the government could stomp on their competitors at taxpayer expense.

      1. It seems like pretty good approach. Even hard core statists usually don’t know it and have to admit surprise, usually throwing in a few desperate guesses that I am making it up or not telling the full story, which of course is true in some sense simply because it’s usually a one minute recap.

        But mainly, it puts enough doubt in people’s minds about the absolute necessity of government that further comments on what it means to be libertarian aren’t as messy and unbelieving. I don’t think I;ve ever converted anybody, but they at least seem to come away with a better understanding of why some people think government is vastly overrated. It’s my little ice breaker, and I owe it all to Jesse!

    4. Wow. You are like a parody of a self-martyring libertarian. I will now behave similarly and say: I don’t give a shit if I convince you of anything; I just want you to know that I think you’re an asshole.

  7. Also, I have to add, any notion that we don’t care about convincing statists to change their evil ways is beyond absurd.

    We even constantly disagree with each other and debate every single topic. It’s not like you see on proggie sites where you have a hundred people who cut and paste the same stupid one line talking point and then mindlessly ‘like’ each other’s posts.

    1. But why discuss convincing statists? Most people aren’t statists. Most people aren’t ideologs of any kind. So convince non-ideologs to adopt your ideology (ideally), or if not your ideology (as usual), then just your POV on some small or medium sized or even big thing.

      1. You’re right, most people are just team players. It’s all about team. IOW, they will mindlessly like or not like something based solely on the magic of Team.

        1. No, most people aren’t even on a team.

        2. I think team player is even too strong for most people. I’d say most people are either vaguely culturally associated with one party or the other, or don’t really follow politics at all. It’s a guess really, but given the trends in voter turnout and my personal experience talking to people, it seems likely. And honestly, that’s how it should be. There are better things to spend your time thinking about.

          1. “And honestly, that’s how it should be. There are better things to spend your time thinking about.”

            Like how to get your brother out of the prison cell he’s in for marijuana possession. …If there was only some way… If there was only some way to say, change the political situation that put him there. Hmmmmm. If only there was…

            Oh, wait, there is! It’s called “Strategically intelligent political engagement of political adversaries.”

            Something Libertarians generally don’t do. Yet, on the rare occasions when they’ve done it, they’ve both (1) won office, and (2)changed policy.

            Maybe the problem isn’t all libertarians in general, it’s “political relinquishment” advocating unserious people, and the few FBI guys who control the National LP Office’s “single failure point.”

            Food for thought!

    2. ^THIS^

      I make joke!

  8. If our goal is to persuade others of the value of freedom, it’s a mistake to assume that any confusion is the listener’s problem. It’s our problem”

    But advancing the cause of liberty might not be what people want to use public outlets like this board for. It’s obvious a lot if people see this board as a social hang out spot for venting the inevitable frustrations of being a libertarian today or as a sort of escape from the mainstream/support group where one can hang out with a bunch of people that agree with them. And a lot if people find it more important to seem like a ‘badass’ libertarian, willing to take it to those ‘progs’ more extreme than anyone else. This starts an arms race of sorts to see who can be the really crazy bravest one in the bar. The result is a board very much not what Reason would want: a board that would turn off newcomers interested but not sold on libertarianism. Reason takes great pains to not turn off such folks, but their comment section could care less what Reason wants. Postrel’s reaction comes to mind.

    1. Believe it or not, I also like it here because of the intellectual stimulation. We have the most intelligent posters on the web.

      I’ve posted a lot, previously, on HuffPo, Politico, Wapo, The Telegraph, and other sites. I just can’t tolerate the amount of stupid posts, and rarely anything of intelligence that is the daily grind at places like that. And it has nothing to do with people disagreeing with me. I mean really, how many times a day can you read stuff like this, with little or no variation?:

      Proggie: “Well, you bible thumpin cons are inbred hillbillies with your guns. We should round you all up at the next gun show and put you in a camp!”

      Con: “You dope smoking hippies on welfare. we should just lock you all up with your Kenyan Muslim!”

      Each of those will get 1000+ likes.

      Seriously, why wouldn’t someone like to hang out around here instead where there is at least some possibility of an intelligent conversation?

      1. We also get a lot of ‘f$ck off slaver’ and people inviting perceived ‘proggie’ trolls to go kill themselves. I just don’t think that’s what our hosts are hoping for.

        1. Sure people do that with known trolls. Do you think any amount of reason is going to help with Shreek?

          1. It’s not limited to him. And I don’t find him to be any more of a troll than some if more obviously conservative posters here.

            1. Holy shit Bo. A guy who shows up and announces that Rand Paul is a run of the mill republican partisan, you don’t find that trollish?

              When you say things like this one is tempted to….tell you to go kill yourself.

              1. What I said is no more trollish than some of our more conservative commenters here who don’t get the same treatment.

                1. You’ve never seen the term “Red Tony”?

            2. I’d agree that some people are a bit too quick to declare someone who disagrees a troll. But I wouldn’t say it’s most people.
              In any case, that’s something that comes with an open forum. The internet is full of assholes.

              1. Sure. The issue is how the rest of us respond to them, with cheers or jeers.

                1. My approach is to call out really offensive racists and bigots and mostly ignore the rest. And sometimes assholes have interesting things to say.

    2. As Bo should well know, looking for a welcoming environment to share opposing views in an internet message board is like looking for a virgin in a whorehouse.

      The H&R board is better than most with posters often willing to engage in reasoned explanations of their positions. Given the nature of message boards in general, it is unreasonable to expect that boorish behavior is not going to occur. If a newcomer is truly interested in learning some persuasive arguments on libertarian topics, the H&R board is a good place to go. But if they’re expecting a warm welcome of their preferred flavor of blue or red talking points, they’ve come to the wrong place. If they truly want learn about a libertarian viewpoint, they will wade through the BS.

      1. “it is unreasonable to expect that boorish behavior is not going to occur.”

        Sure, but how the rest of us react to it, whether we applaud it or call it out, is important.

        1. Please, Bo. Are you trying to place yourself above the fray, somehow? You may be better than some in this regard, but hardly a saint. Beside claims of libertarian purity, frequent accusations of NEOCON! come to mind.

          1. I never curse someone, never. I only insult people, and then mildly, after they’ve done so so to me to determine they’re not going to do anything else.

            Have you read Sevo or Sarcasmic? Or most people responding to an out and out liberal like Tony? I’m not perfect on this, or anything, but come on.

            1. As I said, better than some.

            2. Tony is NOT a liberal. He’s pretty much the opposite of that.

              1. There is nothing liberal about progressives. Tony, PB, American Socialist and the other usual trolls from the left are progressives. The left gave up on “liberalism” decades ago.

                1. Yep, the only liberals today are the classic liberals, aka libertarians.

                  1. There are enough remants to make some common cause. The ACLU types are still around and there’s a lot of points of agreement to be made with them.

                    1. The ACLU types are still around and there’s a lot of points of agreement to be made with them./blockquote

                      Except when that pesky 2nd amendment comes up or freedom of association. Or any number of issues where the ACLU is more interested in team vs liberty.

                    2. Block quote fail.

                      /hangs head in shame

                    3. Maybe that’s why I sad ‘lots’ and not ‘total?’

                    4. Yet you won’t give those evil SoCons the same benefit.

            3. It’s all a rich tapestry, Bo. Just dig it.

      2. If they truly want learn about a libertarian viewpoint, they will wade through the BS.

        Just to clarify, for the sake of anyone else reading , there are multiple “libertarian viewpoints”. They range from reasonable to ridiculous. Opponents of libertarianism will, of course, latch onto and emphasize the ridiculous. This is true of just about set of beliefs or ideology. Anyone who is intellectually honest will not dismiss libertarianism (or any other ideas) merely because of the more ridiculous comments made by some individuals who claim the mantle of the specific ideology in question. (Disclosure: I consider myself a “conservative with libertarian leanings”.)

    3. The result is a board very much not what Reason would want:

      Bo Knows

      Who’s a crypto SoCon

      Who’s been naughty or nice

      What Reason wants.

      1. You can know too if you read their intro line to the comments section, no Karnak needed.

  9. Conservatives are still trying to use the cloak of states rights to deny abortion rights, force school prayer on innocent students, and restrict marriage equality. Its like the Incorporation Clause of the 14A never happened.

    1. And this applies to the current article and conversation, how?

      1. I’m guessing because there was some talk about selling decentralization emphasizing how that might come off given the nasty things states rights rhetoric has been used to defend.

      2. It is not just Jim Crow and lynching that restrict liberty at the state or community level.

        So Richman is correct. The Feds often protect liberty more than local government does.

        1. I actually agree with you, but as Hyperion points out the Dems are just as bad on this score. Why omit that?

          1. Why omit that?

            Because he’s a partisan hack.

            Any amatuer political historian should know that it was the progressives who developed the separate-but-equal policies that made second-class citizens out of blacks, but Buttplug still suggests it was conservatives because it fits the narrative that progs are enlightened and cons are evil.

            1. ” it was the progressives who developed the separate-but-equal policies ”

              Er, no. Those were firmly in place before the progressive era (1890-1920).

              1. before the progressive era (1890-1920)

                I hate to break it to you, but we’re still firmly in the progressive era. Pretty much the only real loss they’ve ever suffered was the reversal of prohibition. They’ve made steady progress on almost everything else. If they can just get rid of those pesky first and second amendments, they will have won.

                1. No, Hyperion, the progressives even in the USA alone are being rolled back with charter schools & other school choice measures, alternative health practices & practitioners, and alternative media.

                  1. No, Hyperion, the progressives even in the USA alone are being rolled back with charter schools & other school choice measures, alternative health practices & practitioners, and alternative media.

                    I didn’t make any argument that the progs are not being countered and even at times, successfully. However, I maintain that they are still in almost complete control of our education system, the media, and many other facets of society.

                    1. If they’re in almost complete control, then they’ve gone almost as far as they can, and can only lose from here.

                  2. the progressives even in the USA alone are being rolled back with… alternative health practices and practitioners

                    The only thing being rolled back by “alternative health practices and practicioners” is rational thought. But hey, nothing new there. In a nation dominated by superstition, where’s the potential for surprise when the citizens embrace any type of anti-science agenda?

                    1. We may be discussing different alternatives. I mean allowing nurse practitioners, midwives, physicians’ assitants, optometrists, etc. to do more things they’d’ve previously needed another license to do.

                2. I thought about that when posting, but what do you do with the 1920s? If Coolidges presidency is part of the Progressive Era I’m not sure it’s a meaningful concept.

              2. Check your arrogance, Bo. Wikipedia says that it came out of a Louisiana law dated 1890 and was confirmed by Plessy v Ferguson in 1896.

                1. Check yours. That case only gave constitutional blessing to systems long in place. And btw, if the composition of that court is ‘progressive’ then it’s really a meaningless term.

                  Separate but equal was actually a step up from the black codes that immediately followed the civil war. The former at least tried to square the 14th Amendment and segregation with ostensibly race neutral requirements, the black codes were aimed straight up at blacks.

                  1. Definitely democrat.

                    In the 1870s, Democrats gradually regained power in the Southern legislatures, having used insurgent paramilitary groups, such as the White League and Red Shirts, to disrupt Republican organizing, run Republican officeholders out of town, and intimidate blacks to suppress and discourage their voting. Extensive voter fraud was also used. Gubernatorial elections were close and disputed in Louisiana for years, with increasing violence against blacks during campaigns from 1868 on. In 1877, a national Democratic Party compromise to gain Southern support in the presidential election resulted in the government’s withdrawing the last of the federal troops from the South. White Democrats had regained political power in every Southern state.[3] These Southern, white, Democratic Redeemer governments legislated Jim Crow laws, segregating black people from the white population.

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

            2. The Klan and the Birchers are progressives? You’re out of your mind.

              I am the only advocate of Open Society here. Under such conservatism/authoritarianism and progressivism/collectivism both die.

              1. The klan and the birchers didn’t develop separate-but-equal. Stop moving the goal post.

              2. The Klan was straight-up Democrat!

                Oh, and you have something on your chin…

        2. Heck, even the states protect liberty more than local gov’t does.

        3. The Feds often protect liberty more than local government does.

          LOL.

          No, just no.

          Your confusing the FEDs empowering people and groups that you like with them protecting liberty.

          1. Not a fan of McDonald v Chicago, Ricci v Destefano, etc eh Rev Al?

            1. The SCOTUS occasionally advances liberty, but only rarely so. Congress, the presidency and the federal bureaucracy even less so.

              So yes, I’m thankful for McDonald, but don’t delude yourself of that decision being the norm.

              And never forget that Wickard, Korematsu and Sebelius are all standing precedent.

        4. I could maybe get behind a system where the federal government makes sure states respect individual rights through vigorous enforcement of the privileges and immunities clause of the 14th, provides for national defense and leaves everything else to the states.

    2. Partisan hackery. What about Blue states using the cloak of state rights to take away 2nd amendment rights?

      1. Yes. The GOP can be fair weather federalists, but when the Dems invoke federalism it’s full blown farcical

      2. It happens and I oppose that too. I don’t have a political party.

        1. You may not have a political party, but you lean heavily to the left. There isn’t any use for you to deny that, we have thousands and thousands of posts from you that is irrefutable proof of that.

          Most of us here criticize the GOP as much as we criticize the Dems. You exclusively criticize the GOP, but never the Dems.

          1. I never espouse leftish positions at all. Clinton and Obama presided over massive economic expansions and managed not to start useless wars. It is a low bar Bush set.

            On the one crappy bill Obama signed I defend the fact that the ACA is a market based system that broke up a cartel. Single payer is the enemy – not the insurers. The conservative Heritage group agrees with me.

            Prove hate the insurance companies. I like them as contractors.

            1. Progs hate the insurers. Damn auto correct.

              1. ” I defend the fact that the ACA is a market based system that broke up a cartel.”

                ” I like them as contractors.”

                1. forcing people to do business with a group of companies is not a market based system.

                2. On an individual basis the government has no right to contract for me.

                1. ACA is a market based system that broke up a cartel

                  WTF? If anything it strengthened it.

            2. Cronyism is a leftist position.

              Clinton presided over a massive economic expansion because when the GOP took over congress he moved to the right and worked with them.

              There is no economic expansion under Obama. Maybe for the 1% super wealthy, but the middle class continues to decline under Obama just like it did under Bush.

              1. Cheney is a leftist? There is no bigger crony in history. The Iraq War was for oil/defense contractors.

                I measure expansion trough to peak GDP. Up 14 points with Obama.

                And Clinton got 0 GOP votes on his signature economic bill.

                1. Cheney is a leftist?

                  Cheney and Bush are both cronies, just like Obama. Did you think the NeoCons are libertarians or something?

                  See, this is how you think. Everyone is wrong by default if they are GOP, if they are Dems, they get a pass. Partisan hackery at it’s finest.

              2. Go read a few Cafe Hayek columns and try a little searching before you reflexively echo the redistributionist claim that the 1% are better off at the expense of the middle class.

                Piketty cherry picked his data like any good propagandist. The left eats him up like their savior.

            3. …ACA is a market based system that broke up a cartel.

              And just which cartel was that?

              The PPACA created a government monopoly in that FEDGOV will increasingly control most every aspect of the healthcare industry. Just how is this government “cartel” any better than the one you claim? And just how is it “market based” with all of the government control?

              1. To Shreek, ‘market based’ means cronyism on a massive scale. That’s what he believes in.

                1. Plug: “And Clinton got 0 GOP votes on his signature economic bill.”

                  Clinton had a signature economic bill. Who knew?

              2. Medicare is a government system. The ACA uses private insurers like Humana and Anthem that are somewhat regulated. You can’t equate the two. Medicare is far more wasteful and far more of an abuse of tax dollars.

                1. Seeing as the ACA doubled my insurance rate and sent the deductible for my wife and I from $1500 a year to $7000, I don’t think too fondly of it.

                  I have real world experience that forms my opinion. You have your partisan hackery. If Bush would have passed this, you would hate it. Or if you had to pay for it.

                2. Balderdash. The ACA is a government specification of what will, and what will not be, covered by said private insurers. That is government control. That the insurers are private only makes the ACA a fascist program instead of a socialist one.

            4. In what sense did the ACA break up a cartel? It did exactly the opposite.

              Eliminating restrictions on interstate health insurance is a market-based solution that would have resulted in lower insurance prices and better, more portable coverage. The Progs turned their noses up at that because it looked too much like a free market and not enough like a government program. Progressives (and yes, Sheldon, statists) want insurance to be more like the cable TV/Internet market, and less like the car insurance market. They want to limit choice to one or two pre-approved options and they want to act as the gatekeepers to the market. Cartels give them power and authority, and very often financial benefit to boot.

              The ACA did a number of things, none of which broke up any cartels, made insurance more affordable, or healthcare better or more cost-effective. Every single reform that would’ve resulted in a better outcome at the “cost” of reduced bureaucracy, lighter/smarter regulations, or lower gov’t revenues was ignored in favor of a massive bill that takes the same healthcare system we had and makes it worse, to the benefit of no one but federal employees.

              This would be one of those examples of your Team Blue blinders.

              1. Nope. Before the ACA insurers colluded on pricing, restricted new market entrants, cherry picked customers by operating a collective case database, and practiced rescission. They were a classic cartel.

                1. And after the ACA they have a new boss that has the power to throw people in rape cages if they don’t participate in this evil cartel you describe.

                2. And how would they accomplish that without government collusion? Insurance companies have been regulated for a very long time. Regulated industries are not market based, and therefore, you cannot blame the market for their behaviour.

                  1. I work in insurance (not health – property and liability) and the amount of regulation is astonishing. The states have to bless our rates, for example. Also, we have offices set aside just for regulators who pore through the books 365 days a year.

                3. Nope. Before the ACA insurers colluded on pricing, restricted new market entrants, cherry picked customers by operating a collective case database, and practiced rescission. They were a classic cartel.

                  And now they don’t have to because the government does it for them. And forces people to pay for it.

                4. This is just delusional.

                  The whole point of ACA is to create a cartel with minimum competition and coerced participation.

                5. This is just delusional.

                  The whole point of ACA is to create a cartel with minimum competition and coerced participation.

                6. This is just delusional.

                  The whole point of ACA is to create a cartel with minimum competition and coerced participation.

                  1. The whole point of ACA is to create a cartel with minimum competition and coerced participation.

                    So true it had to be repeated 3 times for impact.

                    /squirrels

    3. Yes, that goes back to the slaver Democrats on the Supreme Court denying the true intent of the 14th amendment back in 1873 or thereabouts in the Slaughterhouse cases. Both pro and con during the Congressional debates were united in their understanding that it would apply the bill of rights and the entire constitution to the states, yet just 7 years later, the Supreme Court said that was silly.

      Democrats. Slavers. Plain Sextoy, do you understand history at all?

    4. There is no incorporation “clause.” It’s the Incorporation Doctrine.

      I still argue that despite court rulings to the opposite, the BOR applied to the states all along, except for the first, which made an exception.

      1. The bill of rights went too far.

        The should have stopped with “Congress shall make no law”

    5. Good thing we’re not conservatives here, then.

    6. By states’ rights you mean enforcing 10A? People are trying to use the cloak of 1A to get away with saying a lot of things, does that mean we should ignore free speech?

  10. “Or do we walk into a conversation on the premise: I’ll give you one chance, after which you’re irredeemably evil?”

    I think liberals and conservatives probably need Branden’s advice more than libertarians.

    1. I think he’d say we need it more if only because we are a tiny minority compared to them, and if we want to make a difference we need to convert some of them.

      1. Most of them cannot be converted. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

        The approach most likely to produce results are to reach out to them on things we agree on and try to work with them. For instance, pot legalization with the progs and 2nd amendment rights with the cons. Let’s call it the Rand Paul approach.

        1. “Most of them cannot be converted.”

          This. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve made Constitutional arguments only to be told “It wasn’t intended as a suicide pact” or “that was written by rich white slave owners.”

          Dems and Repubs have made it very clear they will ignore the COTUS when it suits THIER causes.

          Most people want liberty for themselves, but not their neighbors.

          1. “Most of them cannot be converted.”

            Groupthink is a very hard nut to crack. The founders of leftist thought knew this. How can you be wrong when everyone agrees with you?

            “that was written by rich white slave owners.”

            The fact that this doesn’t by default make it wrong doesn’t dawn upon them.

            1. It’s all about identity, not philosophy, reason, or even pragmatism for the most part. Yeah, there are leftists, Progs (well, not so much…), and conservatives who arrived at their positions after considered deliberation and can engage in civil, reasoned debate. Maybe those nine people will be open to opposing views and might refine their positions. The majority of people–the ones who vote–don’t think that way, when they bother to think at all. Doesn’t mean we should stop trying, of course. Just means that you shouldn’t expect miracles.

          2. Most of my conservative friends claim to be staunch advocates of COTUS. Yea its a small sample but I’d wager that most grass roots conservatives are advocates of COTUS.

            Conservative pols are another matter. Once you get past the social issues (a situation that will eventually fix itself) then many conservatives line up with most libertarian principles.

            Progs on the other love control for it’s own sake making them hopeless. They have to be defeated as they cannot be co-opted.

      2. In all honesty. It’s not my job to convert anyone Bo. Each individual has a right to make up their own mind. It’s not your job to convert anyone either. You can persuade someone on an issue, by issue basis, but it ends there.

      3. Tiny minority? That’s only if you count only the radical libertarians, but include the moderates in counting those of the other tendencies.

        1. And that is a sign of the problem Nate Branden warned about: that libertarians don’t count unless they’re radical, while everyone else counts as radically anti-liberty.

          News flash, guys: On an absolute scale, practically everybody is much more libertarian than they are anti-libertarian. When you think about all the things that could conceivably be subject to controls, controls aren’t even contemplated on any but a small fraction of them. Consider for example your choice of colors in all sorts of material objects; only a tiny few have been subject to controls?bldg. exteriors in some places, vehicle colors at some times & places, margarine ditto?while everything that’s not a bldg. exterior, road vehicle, or margarine you have the full range of color choice, and most places & times even those 3 things aren’t color-controlled. Yeah, OK, I might’ve missed a thing or 2, but you get the idea.

          How about on a relative scale? Well, if you compare to the great majority of the world, the USA is very libertarian. It wouldn’t remain so for long if it weren’t for the people in it. (Sorry, not so lucky if you’re in some parts of the world.)

  11. When talking to the progs, with a faintest hope of putting a tiniest chink into their armor, I have an idea? Look at them openly and honestly and in a spirit of acceptance, and say, “I’d agree with you, only if?”

    Sample, and this one is true for me, “I’d be totally OK with socialist re-distribution of my hard-earned wealth, AKA, with my moral superiors making my charity choices for me, IF? Only ***IF*** I really-really had firm confindence in their moral superiority and / or knowledge. For example, if tomorrow, someone invented a brain-scanning device that could have God-like, soul-examining powers of sorting out who is REALLY working from WHAT motives, and how well are they grounded in reality? If the social workers and welfare-check-writers were ALL vetted by this new technology, and I’d have firm assurance that they all REALLY were working to genuinely fix poverty and help out, only those who truly deserve and need help, and to do it in an effective manner? I’d say, sure, take my money and make my charity choices for me, you are going to be better at it than I am. In the meantime, there are too many mis-guided, un-informed, and / or greedy and power-hungry people making my charity chouices for me.

    That might be a stimulus for thought for those proggies who still have the tiniest bit of an open mind? And are not just looking for “free shit.” “Free shit” addicts cannot be helped, I think?

    1. But why are you talking so frequently to progs? Most of the time, going by the law of avgs., you’ll be talking to just regular folks, who won’t need as much convincing.

      1. He talks to the ones that are tied up and gagged in his basement.

        1. Danged straight! And I have them all 100% convinced; I can tell, since they never give me any back-talk! Y’all should try it my way sometime?
          Actually that’s a few small fibs on my part?
          1st off, where I live, there is so much water-logged mud or clay down there, basements are too expensive to build? I have never seen a house in my area with a basement. So I keep my captive in the attic instead. She is an effigy-captive, in reality? Why do I keep her, and what sort of things do I do with her? To hear the full story, and to see some racy pictures, please see the full story at http://www.churchofsqrls.com/sonograms/ ?

    2. I wouldn’t agree with them even on that basis. No matter how smart and well-intentioned the “Top Men” are they will always make mistakes. I’d rather there be a lot of little mistakes made by individuals than 1 or 2 big mistakes that get us involved in a war and kills billions of people.

  12. H and R is exactly what turned me toward libertarianism. I was some kind of neocon, or something. Came here, found it exceptionally intellectually stimulating, and – lo! and behold! – my views on any number of subjects have changed immensely.

    I just kept coming back cause it’s fun. And I STILL get lots of differing viewpoints on stuff, and continue to change my views on things as a result.

    And I’m not out there to win hearts and minds, or change people’s thinking – I don’t engage in politics at any real level other than joking around about it here. Someone else can do that. It’s not my thing.

    And Richman’s right – at its most basic level, the onus is on the communicator to get through to the intended audience. I don’t really think that’s major the issue with libertarianism. It’s part of it, but not the major issue. The major issue is human nature.

    History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of men – GODZIRRA!

    Wait…never mind…

    1. at its most basic level, the onus is on the communicator to get through to the intended audience

      I’m afraid all of this founders when it inevitably washes up against the rock sporting the brass plaque engraved with “You can’t teach a pig to sing.”

  13. OK, seriously, this is the trap. The Proggies are mostly Self-Congratulation mixed with thirst for power, and we WILL go the same way if we ever become the dominant meme. It’s inevitable. I don’t quite see how the thirst-for-power part would work, but it would happen.

    I love a good rant as much as the next guy, but it convinces nobody and tends to put their backs up. And we shouldn’t NEED to rant. At this point just about every Proggie pipe-dream has been extensively tried. They don’t work. They almost never work, and when they occasionally do they don’t scale up worth a damn.

    Our message needn’t be complicated, or jargon laden, or heavily salted with lectures on principle. It is, more or less, “The government doesn’t do that well, and in trying wastes wealth that could be more usefully used elsewhere, even if elsewhere is paying for absurd consumer glitz”. There are a few, a very few, places where the State seems marginally preferable to private enterprise. The history of private armies is an ugly one, even by the standards of the history of the military. Private police don’t come off very well either. Others will come up.

    And we have an obvious defense against those who immediately go to “Oh, you want to privatize everything! Want to own a private Army!”; We could spend out entire lives decommissioning Government programs that CLEARLY are failures, before we even get CLOSE to anything core.

    1. Yea but that the gov is extremely inefficient is really obvious but roundly ignored by most Prog institutions.

      1. Not necessarily; a lot of their argument is “If not the government, then who?”. And that sometimes applies. For example, in the case of a military; an inefficient military is preferable to a mercenary one.

        Or; an efficient Post Office would decline to deliver to troublesome addresses.

        A lot of our “more efficient” arguments beg a question; do you trust the State or do you trust private enterprise to be smart enough to not screw its customers? Given the thundering idiocy perpetrated by Corporations regularly, I’m not sure I can wholeheartedly sign on to the latter, but I SURE don’t agree to the former.

    2. I prefer to go with:

      “Why do you subscribe to an ideology that was directly or indirectly responsible for 100+ million deaths over the course of the 20th century?”

      And you know who ?else? was responsible … never mind.

  14. “Thus someone with merely a rebel temperament, who never expected his ideas to prevail among the benighted masses, might be put off by the mainstreaming of libertarianism. If this libertarian saw himself as heroically fated to be on the righteous but losing side, how would he react to success?”

    If libertarians take over tomorrow, I am going to become a proggy!

  15. I never espouse leftish positions at all.

    HAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Most un-self-aware comment ever, or most un-self-aware comment EVAR?! survey SAYS: 8% chance it’s not true.

    Shriek FTW.

    1. As someone said here, if cronyism cannot be defined as lefist, then it must be fascism. I can’t see any other category it would fit in.

      1. Fascism is leftist.

  16. If you’re a libertarian because you have a hero complex, stop having a hero complex. We will clean this house of any without pure motive, as deemed by us, and miraculously rise from 2% to majority one day.

    Confucius ? ‘The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.’

    Unless that name offends.

    1. Confucius ? ‘The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.’
      “A spade is a spade is a spade”, you say?
      Meh! A spade is “A device for re-locating assemblages of minerals, often including organic matter.”
      Or, just invent a brand-new term or snatch of jargon!
      Speaking of simple and honest labels or names? Didn’t cha know, Confucius was EVIL? He did NOT belong to the Church of Scienfoology (my church), ergo, he was evil, yes?

  17. “Thus someone with merely a rebel temperament, who never expected his ideas to prevail among the benighted masses, might be put off by the mainstreaming of libertarianism.”

    Does this explain the LP for the last, say, twenty years? There seems to be no “mainstreaming” of libertarianism, least of all from Sheldon who consistently refuses, as do most of us, to place libertarianism in the context of a real world. Like socialistutopia,
    libertopia explains the final destination with no real, incremental path of getting there. Gary Johnson, Rand Paul, anyone who departs from hard-core libertarianism is given a hard time. Yes, I don’t agree with everything they think or say nor should you. But we remain nothing more than people with a “rebel temperament who never expect our ideas to prevail among the benighted masses.”

    1. Rand actually has the right idea. He knows we can only get somewhere ‘an inch at a time’. In effect, he’s using the proggie approach. We just keep moving the goalpost until one day, anyone left of Justin Amash is a ‘left wing extremist’.

      So if everything goes exactly right, we should have something remotely resembling a libertarian society in about 120 years.

      1. We didn’t get where we are overnight. They only way to get to a more liberal society is slowly and by doing exactly what you say. Neither JFK nor Reagan would have a chance in hell of winning their own parties nomination today. The parties have moved to their extremes and away from liberty of any kind.

        1. Incrementalism only works in one direction.* That leaves only revolution, peaceful or otherwise, as an option.

          *unproven theory but I buy it.

          1. So give some evidence for your unproven theory. I can give tons of evidence the other way. One famous example is how witch hunting was gradually done away with over centuries. Incremental but very profound!

            The same went for slavery, but over an even longer period. One very important “increment” was that you wouldn’t enslave your own kind.

            How about the emancipation of women?

            1. New zealand budget cuts of the mid 80s.

              I was referring more to financial issues than social. I think incrementalism works fine on social issues.

              But we wont get a budget under control cutting one program at a time.

              1. In the USA the federal budget was cut so much after World War 2 that those persuaded of Keynesianism feared a return to depression conditions. That was pretty much from the cutting of a single program that involved a lot of shooting. Too bad the Cold War was about to start.

            2. How about the emancipation of women?

              Or the current legalization of cannabis by states. Things can definitely be done in increments. It just takes a long time.

        2. The parties have moved to their extremes and away from liberty of any kind.

          I don’t think that way. I think the 2 parties have become almost exactly the same. Only their divisive rhetoric is different. The results they want, more power for themselves, is pretty much the same.

          This is why no matter how much one team overreaches when they are in power, the other team won’t try to stop them, because they want to do the same as soon as they are back in power. So now we have run away corruption and cronyism.

          1. I think I see the extreme position of both parties as the exact same point anyway so I have to agree with that. It’s like drawing a line in curved space….eventually the endpoints meet 🙂

          2. I think the 2 parties have become almost exactly the same. Only their divisive rhetoric is different. The results they want, more power for themselves, is pretty much the same.

            Only their leaders want more power for themselves, because that’s in the nature of leadership. The rank & file want the same thing we all do: a better world.

            1. The rank & file want the same thing we all do: a better world.

              Except the ones who want to be the leaders that you were referring to. Which is most of them. Historically, I don’t think that a very high percentage of people have went into politics for noble reasons. Most of them just want power over other peoples’ lives.

              1. Except the ones who want to be the leaders that you were referring to. Which is most of them.

                Seriously? There’s like, 100 million Democrats & Republicans in the USA. You think 50+ million of them want to be leaders?

                1. I was talking about politicians, not the voters.

                  1. So when you referred to “the parties”, you didn’t mean the rank & file at all, just the minuscule proportion in the leadership. So your statement reduces to, politicians are after power. Well, duh! When was it not so?

    2. There’s approximately as much mainstreaming of libertarianism as there is of other comparable -isms.

      1. What? Surely you cannot be saying that there is as much coverage of libertarian ideas in the mainstream media as there is of conservatism and progressivism? There is just no way that is even remotely true.

        Even on web sites like Drudge, they go way out of their way to completely cover up the fact that a Rand Paul even exists as a possibility in the 2016 POTUS race.

        Now, libertarianism has gotten a lot more exposure the last few years, mostly because there are now enough libertarians that it’s getting harder to sweep under the rug all of the time. But the exposure is still pretty limited.

        1. Libertarianism may be the one thing that unites both teams. They both seem to equally hate libertarians just not for the same stated reasons.

          1. This is true. But proggies hate libertarians even more than they hate conservatives. On the other hand, I don’t see that with conservatives. They just seem confused as to how we can agree with them on some things and yet agree with those liberals on other things. This really confuses them I think, more than it makes them hate us.

            When I post on other sites, something I used to do a lot, but not so much anymore, it always amuses me to watch the reaction of both the team blues and team reds who have set themselves firmly against each other. I will say something that conservatives like and I’ll start getting likes and they think I’m one of them. Then I’ll say something the team blues agree with and the same thing happens. Then they get confused, and then both of them will turn on me and start calling me names no matter what I post.

        2. Surely you cannot be saying that there is as much coverage of libertarian ideas in the mainstream media as there is of conservatism and progressivism?

          How could that not be, when in most cases a libertarian idea is also a “conservative” one, and occasionally even a “progressive” one?

          But I was referring to the -ism per se, not about Rand Paul or whoever. All -isms have extreme & mainstream components & followers. There aren’t many extreme (radical) libertarians, but there aren’t many extremists of other ideologies either. Most people who can be said to be in any kind of stream are in the mainstream, or it wouldn’t be considered the mainstream. The proportion of libertarians who are in the mainstream (as opposed to the extreme stream) is probably about the same as the mainstream proportion of any other ideology you can mention.

          1. Ok, well in that case, you’re correct. We just weren’t talking about the same thing.

            1. The question is, what was creech talking about?

  18. Richman’s point?

    If you control the language, you control the argument
    If you control the argument, you control information
    If you control information, you control history
    If you control history, you control the past
    He who controls the past controls the future.” ? Big Brother, 1984

    1. HE WHO CONTROLS THE SPICE CONTROLS THE UNIVERSE!

      – Baron Vladimir Harkonnen

      1. Watch out or he’ll pull out your heart plug thingy!

  19. Now that we’re starting a war between the commentariat and the writers, let me start by pointing this out.

    The writers are naively optimistic about most topics and they jump on such things as the DOJ ‘ending’ asset forfeiture as some type of ‘libertarian moment’.

    Now when this happens, the commentariat here will point out that we are rushing into a foolish conclusion.

    What does this tell us?

    1. It means Bo will be down here in a second with another, “Well, actually…”

      1. Stopping Bo from being a contrarian is like trying to stop the expansion of the universe, or stop shreek from being a partisan hack.

      2. Haha. There’s no ‘well actually needed. Where the split between the commentariat and writers can’t be attributed simply to many commenters being paleos or just conservatives, there is indeed a gap between the sunnier, optimistic outlook of the writers (an outlook much more appealing to potential converts, exlemplified by Postrel or Reagan) and the more bitter cynicism of many here.

        1. There’s no ‘well actually needed.

          Little piece of advise. When someone calls you a contrarian, don’t disagree with them.

          1. Little piece of advise. When someone calls you a contrarian, don’t disagree with them

            I lol’d.

            Seriously, if you say that the moon is purple, Bo will argue you that it’s green.

            1. The moon is blue and made of cheese

              1. Mmmm…blue cheese. I’ve been using blue cheese in more things lately. Sometimes I use Gorgonzola, but usu. it’s whichever blue is cheapest.

                It used to be green cheese the moon was made of. Sometimes no particular color. I have audio tape of myself as a young child reading a book, prompted by Daddy, telling how Mighty Mouse went to the moon & found all that cheese.

                1. Blue cheese!? Take that moldy crap elsewhere. It’s made of mozzarella cheese. When a chunk falls off and makes its way to earth, it becomes smoked mozzarella.

                2. Went into a chain restaurant (Johnny Corino’s) on my never-ending (and rarely satisfied) quest for a good plate of spaghetti. Was offered a salad to start, and said “Sure, blue cheese dressing, please.” She said “Oh, I’m sorry sir, we don’t have blue cheese. But we do have gorgonzola.” I’m thinking, WTF is gorgonzola? But I say OK, because it’s my policy to never anger or even slightly annoy anyone connected with my food. So the salad arrives, and I swear on my honor, it’s the best salad dressing I’ve ever had. Gorgonzola. It’s awesome. The spaghetti, that was mediocre (which is just another way of saying better than most), but I’ve gone back just for the salad.

                  1. There are various blue cheeses, classified as to the milk they come from & the cultures used, it’s just that some of them are more commonly known by a more specific name, such as gorgonzola. I notice the actual colors of gorgonzola include both blue & green.

                    You actually go to restaurants specifically for spaghetti?! There must be subtlety to spaghetti I’ve yet to plumb.

              2. We need to give NASA more money.

          2. Poor guy, can you not see I agreed? A lot of is due to the optimism non optimism thing.

        2. What is wrong with paleolibertarians? And why arent there any on staff?

          1. Dead white men can’t type.

          2. Reason has never been part of that wing of libertarianism. You guys have Mises.

            1. All libertarians have Mises, his stuff is generally applicable.

              1. I’m talking about Rockwell’s institute and website.

                1. Never been there. Back in the day, when Bradford was alive, I was a Liberty mag subscriber.

        3. there is indeed a gap between the sunnier, optimistic outlook of the writers (an outlook much more appealing to potential converts, exlemplified by Postrel or Reagan) and the more bitter cynicism of many here.

          A reasonable person is neither pessimistic or optimistic but can, at any time, be any degree of either based on the particular situation. I think that’s called reason.

          1. What’s the better outlook for a salesperson?

            1. I get that, but when the salesman turns out to be wrong too many times, that can ruin the reputation of the product.

  20. I find many non-libertarians will readily acknowledge libertarianism as a ‘nice idea’ and that they agree with it morally, but simply don’t consider it practicable.

    1. Ask them to tell you why it’s not practical.

      I had a friend a few years back who I knew for a couple of years before the topic of politics was ever raised between us.

      When I told her I was libertarian she freaked out and started going hysterical about how ‘You can’t just let people do whatever they want!’.

      I had to end the discussion for fear that the poor girl would blow a neuron fuse or something and her head would catch on fire.

      1. Why not tell her the truth: that you don’t want to let people do whatever they want, only some things? Surely she didn’t want people to do nothing.

        1. I think the point to make in that situation would’ve been that, technically people are already free to do whatever they want in a status quo statist society?just, not without consequence of course. And the same would hold for a libertarian society, but via different means/methods of governance.

          1. Governance? The only libertarianism that could respect liberty would be libertarian anarchy. Mini slavery is BS.

      2. Funny. How’d you go about explaining to her that Libertarianism isn’t really about “people doing whatever they want”?

        1. Funny. How’d you go about explaining to her that Libertarianism isn’t really about “people doing whatever they want”?

          I couldn’t. Like I said, I had to stop the conversation before she had a damn stroke. Keep in mind, we’re talking about a lifetime MD resident.

          You have to pick your battles, because some you can’t win.

      3. When I told her I was libertarian she freaked out and started going hysterical about how ‘You can’t just let people do whatever they want!’.

        This is the problem with both teams. They can’t conceive of a society where everyone has the freedom to screw up and make stupid decisions. They want everyone wrapped in bubble wrap while top men make decisions for everyone.

        1. What libertarians propose isn’t society. It is a bunch of automatons with no connection at all to each other.

      4. Why is it not practicable? Let’s start with the idea that anybody has a “right” to come to the US regardless of how useless he is to the rest of society or how his presence disrupts the current order, as long as he is willing to work for some rich guy for less than the current wage. Exaggerated, yes but basically true.

        There is no concept of society, no recognition that there is a value in a society where there is some slack so families and groups have time to form and bond, so fathers and mothers aren’t constantly dealing with issues like having enough money to keep a roof over the families head.

        Some issues may be better solved with a libertarian bent but there can never be a real society of any value to it’s members with big L libertarianism.

        Libertarianism is the absence of society. That will never appeal to grown-ups. Religion, fascism and communism recognize the importance of people belonging to something bigger than themselves.

        1. Forced communalism hardly sounds like a desirable society.

          Societal interdependence and libertarianism aren’t mutually exclusive; e.g., t’s obvious that this sort of interdependence underpins all coherent market activity.

          I just prefer being able to choose who I bond with and what I belong to, etc.

          1. Except you also demand that people who don’t want people in their group HAVE to take them in your open borders world.

            1. Where’d I make that demand? I think if a community decides at a local level that it doesn’t want certain kinds of people in it, then they should be free to act on that interest as they see fit.

              1. So it is OK at the local level but not at the nation state level? This is the stupidity of libertarians in a nutshell.

                1. This is the stupidity of libertarians in a nutshell.

                  Please do not paint all people with a brush dipped in one person’s bucket.

                  This has been a public service message brought to you by the Department of Obvious Fallicies.

                2. What’s so stupid about that? You have a single organization tasked with (ostensibly) representing the diverse interests of 300+ million people? how are they going to go about making reasonably informed decisions conducive to the interests of that many people? It’s not possible.

                  Whereas a group of 300 people would be able to make more optimal decisions with respect to the interests of their group, since they have access to more granular and situationally relevant information at that kind of local level.

                  1. how are they going to go about making reasonably informed decisions conducive to the interests of that many people? It’s not possible.

                    So the Congress and the laws it creates under the Constitution cannot possibly compete with the profound wisdom of some commenter on Reason, especially a libertarian one. Also define “optimal” without letting your personal beliefs get in the way.

                  2. This is why government should be limited. Those areas where a large government CAN make decisions representing the diverse interests of 300+ million people (better than localized governments) are much fewer in number than those where they DO make decisions.

        2. Libertarianism isn’t the absence of society, you fucking dipshit. It’s the creation of VOLUNTARY society, not FORCED society. Seriously, go fuck yourself you troglodyte fuckmonger.

          1. You mean like a society voluntarily creating boundaries like borders and citizenship and having fuckingly stupid people like libertarians say what some illegal alien and his employer want is more important than this voluntary collection of people?

            1. Your confusing citizenship in a group and free association. It’s none of your business whom I hire to work for me. Your collection of people can set the rules on belonging to your group (citizenship) If your group doesn’t want to hire someone then don’t hire them but don’t force me to not hire them as well. I’m not going to force you to accept the person I hire as a citizen of your group either.

              1. Read you post and realize why people like you will never persuade anybody.

                1. I don’t support unrestricted open borders. I do support the right of people to freely associate with whomever they choose. Just because I invite a Mexican to visit me on my property doesn’t mean you have to feed him. Just because I choose to pay that Mexican to build me a house doesn’t mean I expect you to feed and house his family.

                  1. And when he is building your house and some American has to apply for welfare that I have to pay for and when you dump that Mexican and his family after he is done and he puts his family on welfare how do we send the bill to you?

                    We have a society where your actions affect the rest of society whether you like it or not. Panama had no blacks until saintly businessmen dumped them there when building the Panama Canal. Now they make up a large part of the underclass. The rich American’s who dumped them there never gave it a moments thought about the slums 100 years later.

                    They were true libertarians.

        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.

          It’s depressing that you are spouting the same kind of nonsense that was rebutted 150 years ago.

          1. You “rebutted” nothing.

            As for state education, even though in the last 30 years we are going backward due to political correctness, nobody can deny that we have experienced a huge technological advancement. Universal education does have a value. There is no evidence that if everything was private things would be better. The collective has to somehow pay the bills.

            I am against forced “equality” as well. Why do you presume people who value society are “socialists”? What was wrong with a society where the labor market was tight and Mom stayed at home and Dad made enough to afford extras for the family?

            Oh, yeah millionaires didn’t have cheap nannies or gardeners and companies didn’t have H-1Bs to kick around.

            1. You’re probably too dumb to realize it, but your view of the 1950s is a fantasy. The material quality of life of the average working man was much much lower than it is today. Societal problems existed and were swept under the rug. Including broken marriages, alcohol and drug abuse, interpersonal violence etc.

              1. Things weren’t perfect then of course but are they better now? The material quality of the working man was hardly lower than it is now. Try looking at your typical working class neighborhood and imagine it if the wives weren’t all working or there was no welfare and free breakfasts and lunches at school.

                I don’t support any of those programs but they became part of society once the labor market became gutted and their was new constituency of illegal aliens to provide welfare for in spite of the law – free lunch at school is welfare for illegals by another name.

                1. Things weren’t perfect then of course but are they better now? The material quality of the working man was hardly lower than it is now.

                  Oh please.

                  My father was a factory worker with four kids in the 1950s. In a three bedroom one bath house. Three boys shared one bedroom. They all shared one bathroom. My mom had to work on and off during that decade to help make ends meet, even though she described herself as a stay at home mom. They had to hand down their clothes from one kid to the next, including my sister. Oh and they rarely ate meat. Like once or twice a month.

                  1. The families in the neighborhood included a number with a violent drunk father that would be the crap out of his kids and or wife on a regular basis and others with bored housewives that screwed around, got drunk and used pills during the day when their husaband was at work and the kids in shcool.

                    The TV shows of the 50s were aspirational, not an accurate reflection of reality.

                    1. Were things better in the 20s and 30s when workers were even treated more like shit?

                      You know in the libertarian Disneyland?

                    2. The families in the neighborhood included a number with a violent drunk father that would be the crap out of his kids and or wife on a regular basis

                      And it was better in the 20s and 30s with Libertarian Disneyland in place?

                  2. Same with me but the house my dad bought on a foreman salary is now worth 400,000. What worker can qualify if interest rates aren’t 3.25%.

                    It is too bad you were so comparatively poor. My dad was nowhere near doing as well as a lot of people (just probably at the 65 percentile) yet he is far better off than kids graduating from college now.

                    I lived through it all. Don’t give me any BS about how bad it was compared to now.

                    1. Same with me but the house my dad bought on a foreman salary is now worth 400,000. What worker can qualify if interest rates aren’t 3.25%.

                      Which is a tautology.

                      If interest rates weren’t 3.25% then the price wouldn’t be $400,000 today.

                2. I don’t support any of those programs but they became part of society once the labor market became gutted and their was new constituency of illegal aliens to provide welfare for in spite of the law – free lunch at school is welfare for illegals by another name.

                  Those programs were enacted in the late 1960 and fully implemented in the early 1970s. The growth of illegal immigration followed and was a response to the expansion of welfare, not the cause of it.

                  1. The growth of illegal immigration followed and was a response to the expansion of welfare,

                    Now the illegals come for the welfare? I thought in libertarian Disneyland they only come for the jobs Americans won’t or are too stupid and lazy to do.

                    1. You might find it useful to engage with actual libertarian arguments rather than the strawmen that you create.

        4. Libertarianism is the absence of society.

          Only when you conflate government dominance with society.

          Society has to do with mores and culture–not government. As I understand, Libertarianism (and other political isms) deals with government structure and reach. This has little to little to society.

    2. That’s OK, they don’t have to consider the -ism practicable, just a little piece of its consequences here & there. For example, you don’t have to accept as practicable allowing all employment terms to accept as practicable some exception in a minimum wage law, or a lowering or non-increase of the minimum wage. You don’t have to accept as practicable abolishing drug laws to be convinced it’d be a good idea to make birth control pills or marijuana available over the counter.

      1. You don’t have to accept as practicable abolishing drug laws to be convinced it’d be a good idea to make birth control pills or marijuana available over the counter.

        This is my new approach to talking with progs. I think this is the right approach. You can’t convince them that they are wrong or that libertarianism is the solution. But you might get them to agree to some things that you want as far as civil rights are concerned and help form a majority coalition. This is happening now with cannabis being decriminalized and even legalized. This is how we win on this issue. Now you can’t get a lot of conservatives to agree on that particular issue because their team (team red), don’t like no damn hippy weed round these here parts.

        But you can get the cons to agree on 2nd amendment, and in general on the economy. So in effect, we use both sides to help us win, even though we can’t convince either side that we are right on all the issues.

        1. I’ve found it’s possible to make headway w/ conservatives on marijuana legalization by presenting it as a personal responsibility issue. Basically that for people to become more morally upright las most conservatives claim to desire), they have to be exposed in life to the possibility of making bad decisions.

          1. I have had very little luck with that. While most of them will be polite, they’ll just get that smug look, and you know you are not going to convince them that cannabis is ok, because look, icky liberal hippies use it, and they’re on that other team, so it must be bad. Seriously.

            I can’t even convince my wife of the total folly and evil of the WOD yet, and I’ve been trying for 5 years. It typically comes down to her looking at me and saying something like ‘you don’t want to use pot do you honey?’. At which point I can’t go on. But I won’t stop trying!

            1. Can you convince them at least to favor keeping tobacco products legal? How about nicotine vape?

            2. Libertarians think legalizing marijuana just involves not hassling the guy smoking a joint in his dorm room. The problem is not that.

              If everybody did like they do with alcohol and went to the liquor store or grew their own there would be no problem. The problem is the local drug house where all the losers in the neighborhood congregate who steal anything that isn’t bolted down and who destroy what little value there is in the houses in the neighborhood – places where people are generally poor and their house is their only significant asset.

              Solve that problem. Even Colorado still has a black market. Yeah I know there are functional alcoholics working but I doubt you would have as many functional pot heads.

              1. Libertarians think that we shouldn’t have to get permission (legalizing) from the governement to smoke a joint. Legalizing is the problem. It’s not your fucking business if I want to smoke a joint or even if I want to smoke meth. If someone is stealing your shit then shoot them or have them arrested but it’s none of your damn business what someone is doing on their own property unless there is a direct threat or encroachment on your rights.

                1. It’s only your own body if you want to have an abortion or have a gay marriage. Otherwise it’s the decision of the state. You’ll have to get a prog to explain this seeming hypocrisy to you because I don’t get it.

                2. So it is OK that free gang members freely join together to protect the drug house by intimidating all the local residents of the community? of course if the local resident shoots some gang member who isn’t actually shooting at him the resident goes to prison.

                  1. The gang members are free to associate with whomever they want. I never said it was okay to violate other peoples rights with violence. If drugs weren’t illegal the chances of having armed gangs threatening the local community over their drug house would be almost non existent. There would be no drug house to protect. I don’t see gangs intimidating the local residents to protect their home brewing operations.

                    And yes if the local resident shoots someone who isn’t committing violence against them then they need to go to prison. You don’t get to aggress against someone because of your perceived fears.

                    Again, it’s the prohibition of the substance that causes all the violence not the actual substance itself.

                    1. Again, it’s the prohibition of the substance that causes all the violence not the actual substance itself.

                      Yeah nobody ever gets in a bar fight.

                    2. Yeah nobody ever gets in a bar fight.

                      People get in fights over parking places so obviously we need to outlaw cars.

                      Derp!

                    3. Yeah nobody ever gets in a bar fight.

                      So the booze jumped out of the bottle and started whooping peoples asses?

              2. Even Colorado still has a black market.

                Not putting ridiculous tax rates on it so that black market prices are cheaper might help a little. Tax it at the same levels as other consumer goods. Sin taxes are a problem, not a solution.

                1. Not putting ridiculous tax rates on it so that black market prices are cheaper might help a little. Tax it at the same levels as other consumer goods. Sin taxes are a problem, not a solution.

                  Also the lag from the regs people had to follow to produce legal pot to maintain the supply side. The black market will get squeezed out for the most part. They will likely be the same percentage as moonshiners are in the booze world. Most people will pay a little extra to guarantee quality, therefore when supply is high they will visit the shops and not the guy down the street.

                  1. The black market will get squeezed out for the most part.

                    Based on what? Your assertion. The rich kids will pay the extra price to not have to drive into crappy neighborhoods but the low income will still use the black market. Criminals will likely still use it as a way to avoid tracking by the police.

                    1. Show me all the black market stills and home brewing operations out there that the criminal element and poor are flocking to buy from. They go to the store and buy their booze like everyone else. And yes there are people brewing moonshine and people buy it under the table. If alcohol wasn’t taxed and regulated like it was then most of those operations would dry up as well. Or those guys would sell openly thus removing the violence because it’s not illegal.

                2. The sin taxes should pay for their costs to society.

                3. There is still bootleg alcohol even though I can’t figure out why anybody would buy it.

                  1. There is still bootleg alcohol even though I can’t figure out why anybody would buy it.

                    I don’t care why they buy it and it shouldn’t be of any concern to you either. Selling the steam from cooking corn, sugar and yeast shouldn’t be illegal in the first place.

              3. The problem is the local drug house where all the losers in the neighborhood congregate who steal anything that isn’t bolted down and who destroy what little value there is in the houses in the neighborhood –

                Why do you suppose that alcoholics don’t engage in similar behavior?

                Of all intoxicants, alcohol has the highest incidence of anti-social violence, and yet it doesn’t lead to the type of externalities that you fear.

                If only we could figure out what the difference is between it and illegal drugs.

                1. I doubt alcohol exceed meth in problems.

                  1. It does.

                    Most people that use meth do so to lose weight or as an aid to stay awake. Hell the military gives speed to pilots.

                    The problems with meth most arise from impurities and inconsistent dosages cause by illegal manufacturing.

                    To return to an alcohol analogy, imagine how bad alcohol problems would be if a person thought that they were drinking a beer but ocaissionally got one with five times the alcohol content or that was contaminated with methanol and other impurities.

                    1. Anything as addicting as meth creates it’s own problem not related to the impurity of the drug.

                    2. Is that why the military give it to soldiers and pilots?

                      That’s a nice legal, well documented usage that I’m sure you can comb through to provide citations for the problems that the drug use itself causes.

                      Beside, nice goal post shifting from your original assertion that it causes more anti-social violence than alcohol use.

              4. If everybody did like they do with alcohol and went to the liquor store or grew their own there would be no problem.

                Right. But how are they supposed to do that with the so-called “war on drugs” going on?

                The problem is the local drug house where all the losers in the neighborhood congregate who steal anything that isn’t bolted down and who destroy what little value there is

                This is not a consequence of drug use. This is a consequence of the war on drugs — prohibition II. Same general class of things happened the first time around — and ended when prohibition I ended. If we could just get these idiots to rescind prohibition II, then there is every reason to expect the vast majority of socially significant problems to go away naturally. They’re almost all consequent to the WOD; the idea that the WOD is intended to prevent them is nonsensical doublespeakery worthy of Orwell.

            3. While most of them will be polite, they’ll just get that smug look, and you know you are not going to convince them that cannabis is ok, because look, icky liberal hippies use it, and they’re on that other team, so it must be bad. Seriously.

              The ones that I’ve encountered actually believe the propaganda that drugs are uniquely evil because one toke will lead to a person’s enslavement to the drug and complete loss of free will.

              It’s impossible to get past that kind of nonsense. Fortunately, it’s primarily older ones that believe it and it will die out with them.

            4. I can’t even convince my wife of the total folly and evil of the WOD yet, and I’ve been trying for 5 years. It typically comes down to her looking at me and saying something like ‘you don’t want to use pot do you honey?’. At which point I can’t go on. But I won’t stop trying!

              Recreational drug use was illegal before the war on drugs began. So ending the war on drugs does not require legalization or decriminalization.

  21. Uncomfortable position for libertarians: libertarians against liberty http://waltherpragerandphiloso…..berty.html

    1. What the fuck did I just read? What is that fucking stupid horseshit?

      1. ENGLISH, MOTHERFUCKER, DO YOU SPEAK IT?

      2. Someone printed a page of words that had no real meaning combined together the way they were

  22. OT: chief Prog at TBT calls for hated republicans to exert more control over health care.

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/p…..ng/2215028

  23. “I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.” — Bernardo de la Paz

    I dont need to convince others, Im already free. If they want to listen and understand and become free also, good for them.

    1. The person that wants to hurt you for acting like you’re free might benefit from some convincing.

      1. Or a bullet.

  24. Are Libertarians Looking for Results or Self-Congratulation?

    Inarguably the latter.

    1. See my comment above, we already have results.

  25. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

    Good point. Liberty is about responsibility as well as freedom. And this is why so many despise and fear it.

  26. http://freebeacon.com/national…..iberation/

    so instead of visiting Auschwitz, your president will be bowing to the new King of Saudi Arabia to make sure they keep up those oil exports.

    1. Oil exports that are killing the North Dakota boom. But hey, we have to bring the Russian bear to his knees.

    2. This is more disgraceful than blowing off Paris a while back. He really has no shame.

      1. He is just anti-Semitic. It is a bit sad to think of all of the liberal Jews who voted for him. Obama doesn’t like white Americans and he doesn’t like Jews of any stripe. Yet, millions of each voted for him anyway.

        1. I still can’t figure out why Jews vote predominately Democrat. I think they tend towards socialism for whatever reason, that’s the only explanation I can think of.

          1. Pretty much this.

    3. So at least Obama & Putin can “agree” on something.

    4. Maybe he’s like me and is afraid he will laugh at a really inappropriate time if he visits a serious and somber place like Auschwitz.

      1. The way he can’t stop himself from belittling people who he thinks are beneath him… that sounds entirely plausible.

    5. Good why do we need to be at Auschwitz we didn’t build the place or run it? If more people stopped going to the guilt trip events they would soon die off.

  27. “Thus someone with merely a rebel temperament, who never expected his ideas to prevail among the benighted masses, might be put off by the mainstreaming of libertarianism. If this libertarian saw himself as heroically fated to be on the righteous but losing side, how would he react to success?”

    I don’t think this is what’s happening.

    It might be instructive to look at factionalism in other movements–like Christianity. The same Christians tend to act differently when they’re in front of different audiences. They “witness” (all inclusive) when they think they’re talking to non-believers, but when they’re talking to other Christians, the same people can be just as ferociously factional as anybody.

    When they really get into trouble is when they assume they’re talking to other Christians–but it’s actually a mixed audience. For instance, when they’re talking to Christians from other denominations, they may savage another faction’s sacred cows–without even realizing that other Christians disagree.

    I think it’s the same with libertarians. I am sometimes guilty of being distressed to learn that Republicans aren’t that libertarians. How many Republicans come here and are shocked–SHOCKED!–to discover that libertarians are not Republicans?

    https://reason.com/reasontv/201…..nt_5043023

    1. We need to be more conscious of when we’re talking to a general non-libertarian audience, but we’re human, and we’re just so accustomed to only speaking to other libertarians, that thinking about how non-libertarians interpret what we say doesn’t come naturally.

      It’s not that we don’t want success; it’s that we’re just not accustomed to that situation.

      I do have a couple of tailor made ideas I present to general audiences that I’ve found to be effective.

      1) When I’m talking to Christians, I don’t talk about the “Non-Aggression Principle”; I talk about “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

      2) For an even more general audience, I summarize libertarianism as the idea that each of us should be free to make choices for ourselves. You can even avoid using the term “individual (rights)” that way, which is a loaded term to some in a general audience.

      YMMV.

      1. Ive found that the parable of partial slavery makes progs uncomfortable, even if it doesnt change their mind.

      2. When I’m talking to Christians, I don’t talk about the “Non-Aggression Principle”; I talk about “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

        When you’re talking to heathens, make it, “Do unto others as they do unto you.” That’s actually more to the point & comes easier to most people.

      3. And you will just come across as smug Ken. The rational response to the “people should make choices” is “but what if those choices are horrible?”

        1. “And you will just come across as smug Ken. The rational response to the “people should make choices” is “but what if those choices are horrible?”

          That almost always comes up, and it’s the perfect opportunity to talk about it.

          Well, what if people choose to rape?

          It’s the perfect opportunity to talk about libertarian principles.

          Why is rape wrong, John? Isn’t because the victim wasn’t free to make a choice for herself? Isn’t that what makes most everything either right or wrong?

          Yeah, libertarians believe that each of us should be free to make choices for ourselves, and, yes, we believe that means rape victims, too. And if government has any legitimate function at all, it’s to protect our right to make choices for ourselves.

          I wish I could have that conversation with every American. Tell people that libertarianism is the idea that each of us should be free to make choices for ourselves, and you’ll have that conversation, too.

          1. What about people who use drugs and cause all kinds of harm to themselves and their families? What about them? What about people who do to know fault of their own lose their jobs and become homeless or get sick and can’t get help?

            The non aggression principle is one of the most simple minded and least compelling ideas there is. Anyone outside the Libertarian hive just roles their eyes and mentions the sort of things I talk about above.

            You have to convince people why it is that unfair things happen and why trying to mitigate those things via government action makes things worse not better. The non aggression principle does nothing to help you in that.

            1. “You have to convince people why it is that unfair things happen and why trying to mitigate those things via government action makes things worse not better.”

              No you don’t.

              You just have to persuade them that our rights are the right to make a choice for ourselves and that the government should protect (rather than violate) our rights.

              Even if we only got everyone to understand that a right is the right to make choice for ourselves, America would be a much more libertarians place than it is today.

              We certainly don’t want to reenforce the utilitarian horseshit belief that our rights should only be respected insofar as it’s in the rest of society’s best interests to do so. That’s completely self-defeating!

              1. You just have to persuade them that our rights are the right to make a choice for ourselves and that the government should protect (rather than violate) our rights.

                Which you never will do as long as I think fairness is the preeminent value in society and feel that we all personally have a duty to stop it.

                You are giving a great example of what I am talking about Ken. You are a typical Libertarian who can’t seem to understand that people can have different values and make different assumptions. Your appeal to the right to make choices is only compelling if I find freedom to be a compelling value over fairness or equality. If I don’t, you are just going to talk right past me and completely miss my point.

                1. The fact that they aren’t libertarian already is the problem under discussion, John.

                  We’re talking about how to appeal to them.

                  The job at hand is how to talk about our values to people who do not share them.

                  What you’re saying is like saying that Christians shouldn’t tell the heather about Jesus because they don’t believe in him. That’s the whole purpose of Christians talking to them in the first place–why wouldn’t they mention Jesus?

                  And, yes, the right of individuals to make choices for themselves is as central to libertarianism as Jesus is to Christianity.

                  1. No Ken, what I am saying is Christians are not going to convert anyone if they don’t convince people that Christ is the son of God and the savior. If they just assume people know and think that, they won’t get far.

                    If you don’t talk to people about why freedom is important and just skip to the next step, people will just disagree with you and think you are an idiot. You have to talk about values and assumptions. You can’t just mindlessly appeal to freedom assuming everyone values it. They don’t. You have to convince them otherwise.

              2. We certainly don’t want to reenforce the utilitarian horseshit belief that our rights should only be respected insofar as it’s in the rest of society’s best interests to do so. That’s completely self-defeating!

                Leave me out of that “we”. To me that’s exactly what it’s about. We should decide what system of rights/rules is in society’s best interest. Turns out individual liberty is that system.

                1. “Turns out individual liberty is that system.”

                  That may not always be true from every perspective.

                  I wouldn’t support slavery even if it were the most beneficial system on earth–to non-slaves. For all I know, genocide might be a net benefit for some victors, too, but I would never support that.

                  I’d also point out that the utilitarian questions are always put before us in the present tense–when we might not have all the necessary information about what will and what won’t be in society’s best interests. Sometimes, the preponderance of available evidence might go against the libertarian case–in the present tense from one point in time.

                  One of the great things about being libertarian–with a non-utilitarian outlook–is that you can take society’s collective qualitative choices into consideration, too. When each of us is free to make choices for ourselves, we each take our own qualitative judgements into consideration, and we end up with better qualitative outcomes for society in general than the utilitarian outlook can ever account for.

                  I would still support the right to choose to own a handgun even IF IF IF it meant that we lived in a more violent society with more violent crime than we would have otherwise. And that is because I have a qualitative preference for freedom of choice that no utilitarian can ever account for. Part of what I’m talking about when I talk about libertarianism is that qualitative preference for freedom of choice.

                  1. Of course if the known facts change, you’ll change your mind. Any other stance would be pure obstinacy.

                    The facts as they are known lead to the conclusion that libertarianism is best. If you came to know that the world was going to end in a month, then you’d best loot all you could get away with in the meantime. You could always imagine facts absurdly different than they are, but who cares?

            2. The non aggression principle is one of the most simple minded and least compelling ideas there is

              No it isn’t. It’s one of the foundations of libertarian thought.

              But it’s limited to aggression towards others as it has to be. You must own yourself to have liberty. You cannot commit a crime against yourself, because whatever you do to yourself is your own business, since you own yourself. Otherwise, you don’t own yourself and there is no liberty.

            3. “What about people who use drugs and cause all kinds of harm to themselves and their families? What about them? What about people who do to know fault of their own lose their jobs and become homeless or get sick and can’t get help?”

              The government can’t balance their own budget, the idea that government is the solution to these problems is laughable. There used to be charity in this country before the government took over that role and threw money away trying to cover the void.

              Just remind them that the government spent $3 trillion dollars in 2014. That’s equivalent to giving each American citizen about $10,000 in cash. Would you rather have a government that kills in your name, imprisons non-violent people, prevents you from living a free life, or would you rather have $10k in your pocket?

            4. What about people who do to know fault of their own lose their jobs and become homeless or get sick and can’t get help?

              Because before the government there was no thing as charity.

              Peak derp can never be acheived

              1. You guys don’t get it. It is not that I find those hpotheticals compelling. I don’t. It is that other people do.

                You have to understand why they do, if you are ever going to convince them otherwise. And you guys just don’t get it. Some people are bothered by bad results in the real world. They care about crude material results more than they do principles.

                You have to one, show them that the government does more harm than good when it tries. But you also have to convince them that some unfairness and inequality will always exist and that isn’t a bad thing when compared to the value of freedom and personal responsibility.

            5. What about people who [use drugs | eat too many cheeseburgers | drink coffee | drink alcohol | are superstitious | are greedy | light their farts | etc.] and cause all kinds of harm to themselves and their families? What about them?

              Here’s what about them: If they do not pick the pocket of another, and they do not injure another, and they do not unjustly injure the reputation of another, all with the understanding of “without consent”, then leave them to the consequences of their actions.

              If they do cross those lines, then they can, and should, be prosecuted under laws protecting people from the non-consensual consequences of the acts of those who usurp our right to make our own choices.

              The idea that the state should pick this or that self-destructive (or presumed to be self-destructive) act and forbid it leads to the state controlling so many acts as to leave us in padded rooms.

              Yes, this means you are free to drug yourself into insensibility and death. And good riddance to you if you so choose. Just as you can kill yourself with cheeseburgers right now, and no one will lift a finger to stop you.

  28. Libertarians are generally terrible at understanding why people who disagree with them think the way they do. The is usually because Libertarians forget that reason is value neutral and the results of reasoning are determined by the assumptions you make and the values you hold. The people on the other side are not irrational or just mindlessly evil “statist” whatever the fuck that loathsome term means. They are rational people who hold different values than you.

    If you value things like equality, tolerance, stability, security and fairness over all else, you are not going to be too receptive to Libertarian ideas. The world, if left to its own devices doesn’t produce those things very often. The world is unequal, unfair, insecure and generally intolerant. To find Libertarian or small government views of any kind compelling you have to value freedom, autonomy, risk taking, and individual excellence more than you value stability and security and tolerance and the like. Libertarians constantly forget that and just argue past their opponents assuming that everyone values the same things they do. Well, they don’t. If you want to convince them of your side, you have to convince them of your values not just yell statist and slaver at them.

    This is why the culture war is important. As long as the left continues to win the culture war and equality and tolerance and stability more and more become society’s primary values, the case for small government is going to continue to lose.

    1. Libertarians are generally terrible at understanding why people who disagree with them think the way they do

      I don’t see this as true at all. I think most libertarians fully understand why others think the way that they do.

      Most people think the way they do because they see themselves as part of something. And agreeing with most others who are a part of that something makes them feel right and safe. This also relieves them from thinking too hard about these things because life is short and there are too many other pressing things to think about in life than icky politics. Just vote for your team and let the elected figure it out. Which is why we are in the place that we are today.

      1. No. Most people think they way they do because they think it is the right way to do it. They think the way they do because they have a given set of values. They are not just mindless TEAM voters.

        You guys just don’t get it. And this is why you are such born losers in politics. You manage to be right but utterly unable to convince anyone of your case.

  29. I’d like to see more anti-corporatist pieces at reason.

    IMO, we libertarians should be aggressively pointing out the crony capitalist nature of our financial structure. Many people think libertarians are pro-business, which we are, but we’re really pro-free markets and much of what passes as ‘business’ in America today is crony favoritism. See Davos.

    We’re going to lose even more freedom when the next economic downturn hits. The left will blame it all on the ‘markets’ and more regulation favoring more cronies will be the policy course with more freebies given away as individual and corporate welfare. If we aren’t clear about what differentiate libertarians from pro-business, we’ll lose. period.

    I’m sorry to say it but many of the older 40+ writers here focus on the culture stuff. While important, that battle has already largely been won. Economic freedom is where it’s at and can be framed (and is) an extension of the culture war.

    Talking ala Ron Paul about auditing the Fed is good but needs to be placed in larger context. Many people see theses regulatory government agencies as hero’s trying to restrain the excesses of the banks and brokers when they’re really cronies who cooperate with them. And the government has really won the argument about who caused the financial crisis: it was the banks.

    1. Here is the problem Lady, the culture stuff has been won but it has been won for the wrong reasons. In fact, the culture “win” is the very reason why you are losing so bad on the economic stuff.

      The culture was issues are nothing but leftists Trojan horses. They look like Libertarian values on the outside but really they are slipping in the leftest values of tolerance and fairness.

      Gay marriage is the best example of this. Libertarians think it is about freedom. It is really not. It is about using the power of government to make society more tolerant and fair to gays. On the surface that sounds fine. We all love gays and know the world would be a better place if we were all more like them. The problem is that we have now bought into the idea that tolerance and fairness is the proper end of government and indeed a primary value.

      Think about that. If you really believe that ensuring a more tolerant and fair society is a proper role of government and that achieving a tolerance and fairness is a primary value in a just society, why would you ever buy into small government? There are lots of really intolerant people out there and tons of really unfair things happening. The rational conclusion is to use government to stop it. If we can use government to make society more accepting and fair for gays, why aren’t we using it to make it better for people who lose their jobs or have some other misfortune?

      1. Eh. I don’t think it really matters what intents Progressives/Leftists might’ve had in pushing gay marriage. Sanctioning it is a step in the right direction regardless, and it’d be trivially easy for Libertarians to come along and redirect that into a broader message endorsing liberty/freedom as a core ideal rather than fairness/tolerance or whatever.

        Though in any event, I think trying to wage so-called “culture war” is pointless and generally counterproductive.

        1. Though in any event, I think trying to wage so-called “culture war” is pointless and generally counterproductive.

          The Left doesn’t care. They are going to wage it constantly and forever. The Left uses the culture war to marginalize their opponents from society and make their arguments not acceptable. That way they don’t have to engage in any messy arguments.

          At some point the culture war is going to find you. At some point you will be on the other end of it. It is just a matter of time before the left gets around to finding you. So you may think it is pointless, but you are going to fight it eventually because eventually whoever you are will be on the other end of it.

          To give an example, I bet that scientist who did the press conference with the shirt that had the super hero women on it thought the culture was was stupid and a waste of time too. Two hours later when he was groveling on TV giving a full self criticism and apology session he found out not so much.

          Libertarians love the left winning the culture war because they think it is great to see their enemy conservatives get theirs. Well that boot that is on their face is coming for you too. Just wait.

          The culture war is about creating an oppressive leftist society. It is about making every aspect of our lives into the political.

          1. At some point the culture war is going to find you. At some point you will be on the other end of it. It is just a matter of time before the left gets around to finding you.

            I’m sure that’s true, because as you point out, the culture war is ever-shifting. Occasionally it even reverses field, and then you’re on the wrong side for keeping the same side as before.

            But are you saying that the leftist culture warriors gain momentum & energy for future battles from your being on the same side as them now? I don’t see that.

            1. John wants to believe that gay marriage and other issues anathema to KULTR KONS are going to destroy freedoms, and demands libertarians indulge that delusion. So he starts from that conclusion and justifies it with tortured illogic.

              1. I happen to agree that same sex marriage is bad for liberty, but I was trying to consider the more general situation of culture wars.

            2. Winning the “culture wars” is good. The “culture wars” are won by Government. Hence, we need more Government. Got it?

          2. Well, I’m not interested in either the Right or Left winning any ‘culture wars’, bc I know full well that both sides comprise douchey moralizing control freaks with a lust for social engineering.

            Yes, the Left has been smarter in the way they’ve gone about getting their ideas seeded into the minds of the general populace?largely by being more covert and passive-aggressive about it. Whereas the Right’s usual approaches on the matter tend to look exactly like what it is?i.e. some priggish douchebag trying to tell people how to live. Which understandably turns many off.

            But for whatever successes the Left has had in warping societal values/outlooks up to now, I don’t foresee much of it sticking in the longer term. Not in the kinds of environments we live in now (internet, etc.) where so many are regularly exposed to contradictory ideas & information, conditions which render lockstep ideological conformity more difficult to attain.

            Basically from what I can discern, the traditional sociocultural contexts that’ve tended to imprint people’s mores/values in a given society, are declining in their potency to do so, and odds are will continue to become less pervasive in the future. Hence why I’m just not that worried about a hypothetical Leftist cultural takeover.

            1. Well, I’m not interested in either the Right or Left winning any ‘culture wars’

              Sometimes they both win at the same time. See ‘prohibition’.

              1. Sometimes they both win at the same time. See ‘prohibition’.

                True that.

          3. Libertarians love the left winning the culture war because they think it is great to see their enemy conservatives get theirs. Well that boot that is on their face is coming for you too. Just wait.

            The culture war is about creating an oppressive leftist society. It is about making every aspect of our lives into the political.

            Yep.

            Take ‘gay marriage’ as an example.
            Most libertarians see extending government privileges to the 1% or less of the population that will be in same sex marriages as an advance that is worth the trade off of restricting freedom of association of everyone else. Not to mention the inevitable restrictions on religious liberty and conscience that it will lead to.

      2. My point, John, is that if we experience another large scale shock similar to ’08 all the culture war stuff is going to look trivial. We’ll look back and be amazed at how we focused on it when another real crisis was brewing.

        I get that it would be preferable to achieve libertarian objective via libertarian means and how using the state to enforce ‘fairness’ even in the name of fairness is a loss. But, we’ve actually got much bigger issues at play.

        As an example, since ’08, the Fed has been advocating and agitating for “macro prudential tools” to regulate. Few if any reason readers have a clue what that means in part because libertarian publications do a pretty poor job of describing what’s happening at the macro level.

        1. Well, we’re pleased to see that you know what it is. You can explain it if you like.

          1. Basically, price controls.

            That’s what google’s for, sweetie.

            1. What would the Fed have to do with controls on the price of anything other than their notes? Do you mean their people are just lobbying for a gov’t policy of price controls?

      3. If you really believe that ensuring a more tolerant and fair society is a proper role of government and that achieving a tolerance and fairness is a primary value in a just society, why would you ever buy into small government? There are lots of really intolerant people out there and tons of really unfair things happening.

        Because some policies lead to more fairness & tolerance, while others lead to less, and it just so happens that policies that move away from liberty make things less fair & people less tolerant. You try to force people to be tolerant, they just get angry & more intolerant in response.

      4. A tolerant society is not built upon forced tolerance. The only society that can come close to a tolerant one is one in which intolerance is tolerated.

    2. Lady Bertrum|1.25.15 @ 11:48AM|#
      …”IMO, we libertarians should be aggressively pointing out the crony capitalist nature of our financial structure. Many people think libertarians are pro-business, which we are, but we’re really pro-free markets and much of what passes as ‘business’ in America today is crony favoritism. See Davos.”

      Reason should also be more careful about confusing ‘privatizing’ with rent seeking; see Elon Musk’s many activities.

    3. but we’re really pro-free markets and much of what passes as ‘business’ in America today is crony favoritism.

      This is the libertarian fantasy land in action. Somehow in this make-believe world if there were enough “freedom” then things like cartels, monopolies, and market corners simply couldn’t exist. When more freedom is given in the economy and more collusion and crony capitalism ensue it is proof that “more freedom” is needed not less.

      They think that people are so interested in getting everything for themselves they they “have” to compete against each other. They don’t realize that the intelligent want the most with the least effort so that collusion and monopoly is the natural choice.

      Explain how a totally free market doesn’t get controlled by free people freely colluding to make as much money for themselves as possible? How does a company like Intel not control the entire semiconductor market given the high costs of semiconductor foundries if other governments don’t backstop the losses of nascent companies?

      Of course markets don’t work. They don’t work because not everybody has the same brains and information so somebody is always at a disadvantage. The SEC wasn’t created because the market was working it was created because insiders were screwing the public blind using inside information, colluding to buy up shares and use their media sources to run the prices up and dump the shares.

      1. Libertarian society only works with “libertarian man” same as communism only works with “new Soviet Man” and capitalism only works with “economic man”. None of them work with real men.

      2. Monopolistic collusion becomes pragmatically impossible in any market with low barriers to entry.

        If the state weren’t involved in legislating arbitrary nonsense like patent laws, licensing fees, and other obstructive regulatory hurdles, then barriers to entry would remain much lower.

        1. Monopolistic collusion becomes pragmatically impossible in any market with low barriers to entry.

          This makes sense but involves very few modern industries.

          Getting rid of patents is a stupid libertarian idea that needs to go away. There are product development costs that have to be recovered. The issue is how much and what are legitimate.

          Pharmaceutical companies greatly exaggerate their development costs and understate how much of their drugs are actually the result of government research. However knowing how much is BS is hard to prove.

      3. Lol, please name a monopoly that has ever existed that didn’t have the protection of the state behind it? Markets don’t cause monopolies, they can’t. Government causes monopolies, because they can.

        1. Lol, please name a monopoly that has ever existed that didn’t have the protection of the state behind it?

          OPEC, Standard Oil, drug smuggling cartels, and the Hunt Brothers cornering the silver market to name a few. You people are so blinded by your beliefs that you can’t see reality. it costs billions to build a semiconductor chip foundry and hundreds of millions to keep the technology current. If a company like Intel wanted to crush AMD years ago they could have but they would have had to deal with antitrust laws.

          Yes you can’t monopolize the hand made shoe market but modern factory made products have high start-up costs and sometimes such low profit margins that in a totally free market a monopoly could crush any attempt to enter the market.

          1. OPEC is comprised of actual nation states – YOU FAIL!

            Standard Oil – never was a monopoly and had to keep buying out competitor and slashing prices to maintain market share. YOU FAIL!

            Drug Smuggling Cartels – are not monopolies. YOU FAIL!

            Hunt Brothers – went bankrupt because they cornered the market by buying high and selling low. YOU FAIL AGAIN!!!!

            MArk, someone here is blinded by his beliefs, and it ain’t us. Maybe you should go and study a little bit of economics, before you embarrass yourself much further.

            1. You don’t know shit about what happened to the Hunts and as for “knowing something about economics” it only shows what a buffoon you are. Economics is not a science so anything coming from it’s asshats is just an opinion.

              1. Economics is a sub-discipline of Cybernetics, which is not universally describable as a “hard science” either. However, cybernetics has contributed greatly to the study of homeostasis (some say it is the study of homeostasis), adversarial systems, engineered feedback systems, biology, etc. Often “hard science” engineers say that cybernetics is also “mumbo jumbo,” because it doesn’t give a single “solution.” …But cybernetics innovations reliably shot German planes out of the sky.

                Networks are complicated, but predictions can often be made about them. Also, given past observations, future action can be more reliably predicted, within a range.

                Proper economics can often make accurate predictions within a range. Improper economics is now widely taught, because it’s lucrative to make well-respected opinions that legitimize the whims of powerful sociopaths. Those making accurate predictions using proper economic thought often benefit from their economic study and research by being able to make useful predictions about the future that enhance their portfolio.

              2. Even narrowing one’s options to “a range of good choices” and a “range of less-good choices” is useful.

                However, in a sociopath-dominated political system is more of a cybernetic phenomenon than an economic one. Once voluntary choices are interfered with on a grand scale, one can no longer make as accurate and useful predictions about positive action. Prior restraint (lack of investment, etc.) doesn’t enrich portfolios.

                This then leaves improper economists fat and happy, with a bigger megaphone for the centralized state. Sporadic examples of proper economists don’t counter that very well. They say: “We can’t make accurate predictions now, because the pricing structure is thoroughly compromised.” This turns investors into speculators ( http://www.caseyresearch.com ), by necessity.

          2. OPEC, Standard Oil, drug smuggling cartels, and the Hunt Brothers cornering the silver market to name a few.

            OPEC is a collection of governments.

            Standard Oil created a temporary monopoly by dropping the price to consumer to 1/10th of what it previously had been – why is that a negative?

            Drug Smuggling Cartels do not have a monopoly and in any case only exist as a response to prohibition. Which is a goverment program.

            The Hunt Brothers never cornered the silver market and lost a large fortune in attempting to do so.

            1. The Hunt brother never cornered the market because the government changed the rules on them mid-game. Yes it was the evil government that forced the Hunt’s into bankruptcy not the market.

              The government put a limit on how many silver contracts you could have and made the Hunts sell. If that hadn’t happened all the speculators who wrote naked silver contracts would have been wiped out on margin calls and the Hunt’s would have had their money.

              1. If that hadn’t happened all the speculators who wrote naked silver contracts would have been wiped out on margin calls and the Hunt’s would have had their money.

                IOW the people that were merely betting on the price of silver would have lost their bets.

                so what.

                Meanwhile the supply of silver on the market was increasing dramatically in response to the money that the Hunts were throwing out there. Meaning that the price would have quickly dropped, as it did.

                1. It dropped because the Hunt’s had to sell. It dropped because they weren’t buying anymore. Just because the prices eventually fell means what exactly concerning cornering the market, something that “Isn’t possible unless government allow it”?

                  You just can’t admit that your idiotic libertarian fantasy world isn’t real.

            2. OPEC is a collection of governments.

              And this is supposed to mean what to people who don’t put any value in the nation state?

              1. No it means that your claim that OPEC is non government monopoly is false.

                1. What “government” controls OPEC?

                2. VG, what makes Mark’s cite of OPEC as a non-governmental monopoly even more pathetically funny is that OPEC isn’t even a monopoly. It’s a cartel that controls a great deal of production, yes, but they are forever riven by the “cheating” of cartel members who need a little more money and produce more than the cartel agreed to do so. Then of course, there are all the oil producers that don’t take orders from OPEC’s executive council.

                  So, controlled by nation states (complete with the late unlamented Saddam Hussein acting as the enforcer – remember the invasion of Kuwait? :D), not a monopoly, and it’s the first thing he cites.

                  1. Good points.

      4. …insiders were screwing the public blind using inside information

        Like today’s congress. Well, except that they’ve made sure no one can stop them. Just a little tweak in the process.

        1. In my opinion the public should abandon the stock market. It was and always will be the biggest legal con in the world.

          They are little different than their ancestor bucket shops.

          1. The public is free to make that choice.

      5. Crony favoritism does not equal free markets. Crony favoritism equal corruption with thrives on money and power. If government didn’t have the power to pick winners and losers than consumers (ie free market) would. Unfortunately, corruption has existed in every government throughout history including ours. Limiting government through the constitution is the number one tool we have against corruption, unfortunately the constitution itself had been corrupted by congress and the courts.

      6. This is the libertarian fantasy land in action. Somehow in this make-believe world if there were enough “freedom” then things like cartels, monopolies, and market corners simply couldn’t exist.

        Can you name one long-lived cartel, monopoly, or market corner in human history that wasn’t supported by government?

        Explain how a totally free market doesn’t get controlled by free people freely colluding to make as much money for themselves as possible?

        Because if people collude to create monopolies and drive up prices, defection from the monopoly results in even higher incomes. The only way defection can be prevented is through government force.

        1. If any private group (corporation, cartel, gang, etc.), becomes large and powerful enough, it becomes a de facto government in itself.

          1. This is why I generally try to think in terms of “power centers” instead of specific types of groups or organizations.

    4. Many people see theses regulatory government agencies as hero’s trying to restrain the excesses of the banks and brokers when they’re really cronies who cooperate with them. And the government has really won the argument about who caused the financial crisis: it was the banks.

      First of all the regulatory agencies, if they are doing their job, are supposed to restrain the excesses of the bank. That they became corrupted is not the fault of their existence only of the ability of people to walk across the street and get more money working the other side of the desk – you know a free movement of labor.

      Hint about who caused the financial crisis: It was the banks. Forget that stupid nonsense about the CRA. Why didn’t we have a housing bubble under Reagan based on the CRA? We did have a commercial real estate bubble based on giving banks and thrifts more leeway in their lending to commercial real estate. Why not residential?

      1. First of all the regulatory agencies, if they are doing their job, are supposed to restrain the excesses of the bank. That they became corrupted is not the fault of their existence

        Yes, that they became corrupted “is the fault of their existence”. Regulatory agencies always and invariably become corrupted. Non-corrupt regulatory agencies are an impossibility in the real world.

        Hint about who caused the financial crisis: It was the banks

        Well, yes: a huge, monopolistic banking industry that is highly regulated and in bed with the federal government, a government that instead of letting them fail, threw billions of taxpayer money at them.

        Why didn’t we have a housing bubble under Reagan based on the CRA? … Why not residential?

        Because banks were encouraged to make risky loans to private individuals who should never have bought homes in the first place, and the federal government effectively assumed the risk. The same wasn’t true generally for commercial real estate.

        And it wasn’t just the banks who defrauded the public, it was also the home owners who didn’t lose their homes because they were effectively bailed out by the government. As someone who actually made sensible housing choices and paid off his mortgage, I ended up paying for the stupid people. Why should I be careful next time if I can just get the federal government to bail me out too?

        1. Because banks were encouraged to make risky loans to private individuals who should never have bought homes in the first place, and the federal government effectively assumed the risk.

          Banks were encouraged to make risky loans but it wasn’t “the government” that encouraged it or assumed the risk. The banks were encouraged by Wall Street buying them (the free market) to repackage so the banks thought there was no risk in making no-doc loans. The government assumed the risk in the bailout but nobody knew that when they made those loans.

  30. If the reason was something other than achieving a free society through persuasion, then self-examination would be in order.

    Those are some incredibly insightful and prescient observations from Branden. But let me put this in a way that is in selected brotherhood with the upcoming Black History Month and the French. I believe it is incumbent on those who understand the sanctity of liberty to achieve a free society by any [fucking] means necessary.

    1. Your society is only as free as the people in it want it to be. You can’t force people to think differently. If people don’t want to be free, your society won’t be free, even if it had a Libertarian dictator.

      1. Libertarian dictators, fighting to dominate the world to leave you the hell alone.

      2. If people *choose* not to be ‘free’, that should still be in line with libertarian principles. It’s just a matter of how many are forced to go along for the ride.

      3. This is actually largely false. Most people tend to not be dedicated to any strongly-held viewpoints, and will be benevolent under a benevolent system, and malevolent under a malevolent system. Also, people tend to follow the rules set up by those “at the top,” unless those rules violate their self-interest. Milgram noted that the “appearance of legitimacy” determines whom most people determine to be “at the top.” (“Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View”) This was in the variant of his famous experiment that had conflicting directives issue from “two experimenters.” The obedient tried to discern which of the two experimenters was “actually in control,” using crude heuristics (appearance, questioning, observation of external communication, etc.).

        So, a large majority will follow legitimate rules or illegitimate rules. There will be some defection from illegitimate rules, which will then subject the illegitimate rules to continual testing by the highly-intelligent. If there’s a way for the highly intelligent to “break” the system created by an illegitimate rule, they will. …Even if it’s only out of narrow self-interest or profit motive.

        Most people aren’t strongly committed to unfreedom, because they aren’t strongly committed to any opinion. If they were, their genes wouldn’t have survived to evolve a tendency toward shifting loyalty in chaotic times.

    2. Interestingly, a dedication to “freedom by any means necessary” tends to drive intellectually honest people away from violence. (Some exception can be made here, if the state actually completely eliminates all physically-existing democratic limits on government power, such as press freedom, elections, jury trials, and widespread private gun ownership. “Legally,” or “theoretically,” we’ve already passed that point. However, practically, we have not, because the state is waiting to develop “leading force technology.”)

      The difference between practice and law/theory, for these purposes, is the difference between bottom-up “actually omnipresent emergent organization,” and the top-down “command and control” or “recurring attempts at creating an omnipresent pseudo-organization.” The state creates some malevolent, coercively-organized emergence (black markets), but its laws are only followed by people who engage with them. Bottom-up emergence applies to all actions, of all people, everywhere, shaping giant markets.

  31. Keep in mind that Branden made that speech about 5 years before David Bergland discovered Jungean personality typing during his run for President which ultimately lead to the creation of the Advocates for Self-Government. The Advocates’ purpose is to teach libertarians how to communicate their beliefs in a non-threatening manner by learning to recognize the personality type of the person they are conversing with by the language they use.

    It is not enough to be right. You have to know how to reach people so that they will believe that you are right. Libertarians are already noted for scoring very low on empathy tests. Perhaps because the people being tested lie more to the rebel side of the equation. It is not a compromise in principle to be careful about how you argue.

    1. Where are libertarians noted as scoring very low on empathy tests? That’s horseshit.

      1. I believe that many libertarians (like many people in most groups) are sociopaths. I believe that the libertarians society sees are the ones targeted by the ex-Republicans who tend to dominate the LP. Such people are strong executives in rigidly logical “reductionist” domains. They tend to be utter failures in holistic domains (google Monica Anderson, or http://monicasmind.com/?p=78 for a description of what I mean by this), or “domains that need empathic networking skill to succeed.” Reductionists are largely “conservative,” and likely trend toward sociopathy. (I’ve seen this a lot. …Especially in “objectivists.” After all “social conservative” is synonymous with “socially intolerant” –the detail-level of “pathocratic.”)

        1. The remaining “holistic” libertarians are not targeted by “Libertarian Institutions” (LP,AFP,GOP,CP,C4L) with anything that appeals to their priorities, so they then tend to self-identify less as libertarians, and more as small-L libertarians or small-L “liberals.” (Such as Hayek himself did.) Not identifying with people dissimilar to yourself, tends to result in a lack of self-labeling with that group. (So, perhaps the scurvy ex-Republican dogs should all be purged from the LP, immediately, so the empathic libertarians can actually present a “sticky” case for libertarianism that isn’t based on passionless economic abstraction. LOL)

          That said, “empathy tests” are very weak indicators, unless they measure involuntary response. “Empathy” or “conscience” exists at several hierarchical levels. Involuntary responses would more accurately indicate the presence of “mirror neurons.”

          Also, strongly empathizing with any specific group may tend to override empathy, by teaching antipathy toward that group’s opponents. (Strong ideologues of any kind then, are likely to be less empathic.)

  32. Here is the reality of the state of debate in this country:

    With progressives,you are constantly dealing with emotional appeals. When the emotional appeals are abstract, such as Blacks have poor access to education, therefore, more money needs to be spent on it, then you can at least have a chance of seperating the emotional aspect from the conversation and move on to a rational discussion, but all too often the person arguing “knows” or is “related to” someone who fits the condition, so now, you have to either play grief counsellor with them to calm them down to a state where they may be able to hear a rational argument, or, you can save time and walk away.

    With conservatives, you are constantly dealing with emotional appeals of a different form. Any conversation about torture will quickly devolve into a script writing session for 24. And the notion that we are a “nation of laws” cannot be easily overcome. Laws, no matter how silly, must be followed and punishment must be severe in order to be effective. Just ask Bill OReilly.

    1. It’s hard not to, as a libertarian, want to point out to both conservatives and progressives, just how big of a hypocrite they can be.

      For instance, I see conservatives calling out progressives for wanting to infringe upon our 2nd amendment rights and trying to violate all sorts of civil rights, and then turn around and say they want to throw all pot smokers into a prison camp and defend the cops when they kill innocent people.

      Then I see proggies endlessly whine on about a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body and then condemn women who want to have sex for money.

      This makes it difficult to talk to these people, but we have to just take the high ground and ignore those things, and see how we can use both sides on certain issues to further our own agenda, because that is definitely possible, and actually benefits everyone in the long run.

      1. You were typing this, while I was tacking on the comment below as an addendum to my original comment in order to avoid violating the 1500 char rule…

      2. You could take advantage by saying that if we had guns we could shoot the pot smokers, and that if women had more choices of what to do they wouldn’t have to have sex for money.

        1. You can’t shoot people who are high on pot, because anyone who has ever smoked it knows that when you are high, you can just Matrix-bend out of the bullets path, while making a bullet whizzing sound in a slow-motiony voice.

          1. But, one of the side effects of smoking pot is that it takes fucking forever to chew a peanut butter sandwich. With great power comes limited mastication skills.

            1. It’s all relative. At the same time you chew your peanut butter sandwich, give one to a dog. Observe the relative temporal effects.

            2. I used to smoke so much pot that when I wasn’t high it took me longer to tie my shoes cause I had to think about it.

    2. My point here is that it is early impossible to convert anyone on almost any libertarian ideal over the course of one conversation. The conversation must be repeated and you have to take time to drip these concepts out slowly. You need to get the other person to agree on at least one basic principle before applying it to a specific situation. The non-aggression principle should be an easy win, and it is, so long as it remains theoretical, but once you apply it to say taxation, or gay marriage, then you begin to pluck at emotional strings. I think the more you can get somebody to think, at least conceptually about the non-aggression principal, the more likely you will be able to break through the emotional stuff when it comes to applying it in the real world.

      One way to do this is through examples that do not trigger such emotional reactions, such as ideas you know they already appreciate. For progressives, start with gay marriage or pot and explain the NAPin those terms. For conservatives, use religious liberty or heavy handed regulation.

      Once you have them thinking of these policy concerns within the window of the NAP, then just keep dripping it and dripping it so that they are constantly engaging ideas from this perspective. That is essentially how I became a libertarian.

      1. The fact that “civil disobedience” is built into our system of law in the form of “jury independence,” makes libertarianism (“individual freedom”) easy to explain in terms of concrete examples. No sense in marrying yourself to the term “libertarian,” if the LP doesn’t get its head out of its ass. Explain that you’d vote for a D or R who favored restoring jury independence, because that would give us the level of freedom America was designed to have, and that would be “good enough for me.” (If it wouldn’t, then you haven’t done the math yet, and that’s OK, but I don’t want to describe it here. Read the Appendix of “Send in the Waco Killers.”)

        If they are liberal, ask if they think pot smokers should go to prison. If not, then tell them how they can stop that from happening, by getting past “voir dire,” and educating everyone in their social circles about it. Most small-L libertarian “nullifiers” are weeded out in voir dire. The statistical impact would be felt immediately.

    3. With progressives,you are constantly dealing with emotional appeals. When the emotional appeals are abstract, such as Blacks have poor access to education, therefore, more money needs to be spent on it, then you can at least have a chance of seperating the emotional aspect from the conversation and move on to a rational discussion, but all too often the person arguing “knows” or is “related to” someone who fits the condition, so now, you have to either play grief counsellor with them to calm them down to a state where they may be able to hear a rational argument, or, you can save time and walk away.

      You should use winning emotional libertarian arguments on liberals. Such arguments should show them how jury nullification applies to marijuana laws, anti-abortion laws, etc. You should point out that gun possession is a democratic limit on government power, because it’s useful for resisting genocide/Kristallnacht-type-events only if there are lots of gun owners. If they object, ask them if they object to voting. If they do, move on to someone who votes, because investing time in people who won’t help your effort is stupid. (Ds and Rs know this already, libertarians don’t. Or, they yell “statist” at you when you point out this true fact of strategic reality.)

    4. With conservatives, you are constantly dealing with emotional appeals of a different form. Any conversation about torture will quickly devolve into a script writing session for 24. And the notion that we are a “nation of laws” cannot be easily overcome. Laws, no matter how silly, must be followed and punishment must be severe in order to be effective. Just ask Bill OReilly.

      You should use winning legal arguments on conservatives, that show them how jury nullification applies to gun laws, tax laws, etc. You should point out that gun possession is a democratic limit on government power, because it’s useful for resisting tyranny only if there are lots of gun owners. If they object, ask them if they object to voting. If they do, move on to someone who votes, because investing time in people who won’t help your effort is stupid. (Ds and Rs know this already, libertarians don’t. Or, they yell “statist” at you when you point out this true fact of strategic reality.)

  33. Sheldon Richman, a guy whose main schtick is to condemn anyone who doesn’t jibe with his narrow and dogmatic foreign policy views as ‘neocons’ and ‘imperialists’ is now tut-tutting libertarians for their divisive rhetoric and self-congratulation? SELF-AWARENESS LEVELS CRITICAL

    1. Cytotoxic, a Canadian whose main schtick is to condemn Americans who don’t jibe with his narrow and dogmatic foreign policy views as “racists” and “peacenazis” is now tut tutting everyone who doesn’t agree with him and his divisive rhetoric and self-congratulation. SELF-AWARENESS LEVELS BEYOND CRITICAL

      1. How lame. Typical.

  34. If I wanted to join a movement just to be cool, or to be a martyr, I’d be a prog.

    I just want to be left alone by the fundamentalists on both the left and the right, and I’ve been around long enough to know that trying to reason or compromise with a prog, especially, is fruitless and will result only getting a headache. Mockery and shunning is how I deal with anybody who equates less centralized planning with slavery.

    Just as a recent example, progs could not connect the dots between Big Gov and the Garner murder, and righties like Rush, who I kind of like, refused to blame the cops for the incident.

    So no, I’m not going to play nice.

    1. I just want to be left alone by the fundamentalists on both the left and the right,

      OK, you’ve made your fantasy known. I have the same fantasy, but…

      and I’ve been around long enough to know that trying to reason or compromise with a prog, especially, is fruitless and will result only getting a headache

      …I’ve been around long enough to know that “progs” are either never going to be libertarian, or are already “almost libertarian.” In any Green Party meeting, I walk away with 1/3 the meeting taking my side, and thinking they’re actually libertarians. The same is true of any Tea Party meeting (although the organizers of those meetings are far less open to letting me speak, so ponder that).

    2. Mockery and shunning is how I deal with anybody who equates less centralized planning with slavery.

      Unless done judiciously against an unsympathetic and belligerent opponent (“getting a crowd on your side”), this strategy simply isolates you, makes you less powerful, and makes your opponents more powerful.

      Those whose emotions place us in sympathy with them (socialists who call themselves “liberals”), are far more likely to become libertarians than empathy-lacking “social conservatives.” Always ask “Would you punish this person for breaking specific law, just because a judge told you to?” Then, bring it back to the Milgram study: empirical evidence.

      Libertarians are too used to presenting economic arguments. Economic arguments don’t work on the economically illiterate, OR on the economically literate. …Unless they’re as economically literate as Hayek, in which case they’re already bloviating on this message board.

  35. I’m just here for the Moral Self Licensing.

  36. $89 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And i get surly a chek of $1260……0 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.
    Here is what i did
    ?????? http://www.paygazette.com

  37. How to Win Friends And Influence People
    By: Someone Nobody Particularly Likes or Takes Seriously

  38. I’m by no means a great debater, and generally I avoid political arguments, but I’ve had a few successes with changing minds of friends and coworkers and I credit it mainly to this incredible book I read awhile back. http://www.amazon.com/Clear-Si…..0691029172 It’s a writing style book, but unique from most in that it examines style as a function of thought, not mechanics. It focuses on what the authors call “classic prose”, which they sum up as “clear and simple as the truth, but no clearer or simpler.”

    Anyway, what this book taught me about rhetoric, that I’d never considered before, is that it’s possible to frame an argument in such a way that is compelling without being manipulative and it starts with your attitude toward your audience. That they are an intelligent person who is capable of appreciating the truth, but someone needs to show it to them without dumbing it down or overcomplicating it. And what I’ve found is that when I can strike that balance while explaining my political position to people, I occasionally change the other person’s mind. That never happened before.

    1. I try and take that tact when I talk to otherS about issues. Often I will have a lot of success in getting people to agree to almost every premis of an argumement which would seem like it would logically lead them to to correct conclusion but very frustratingly they can’t make that logical leap And just repeat whatever bullshit bumper sticker idiom that supports the statist quo.

      1. just repeat whatever bullshit bumper sticker idiom that supports the statist quo.

        Perhaps you could get them to return the favor and list the premises and arguments supporting the bumper sticker slogan. This would, of course, require sincerely listening to someone else.

  39. my classmate’s sister-in-law makes $67 /hr on the computer . She has been unemployed for 8 months but last month her income was $16675 just working on the computer for a few hours. visit here……

    http://www.Jobsyelp.com

  40. Actually some of the articles Reason publishes makes me wonder the exact same thing. They combine an argument that is so far off the reservation from what the general public believes that it seems to reinforce the loonie tunes characterization of libertarians along with a point that is so far down on the libertarian wish list of policy changes it’s like why are we making these arguments when there is so far to go to ever even get to that minor nit. Do we just not want to be taken seriously?

  41. Also, I’m not necessarily going to make an argument with someone at a bar the sameway I woukd here because the context is often different. If you’re here making legitimate points my response will be different than if you’re here just trolling people to piss them off. I’m not trying to qoing the latter over to my viewpoint because that’s just taking their bait. That is good use of time versus wasting time.

    1. /scratches JB off the trolling list

  42. Just tell me what I’m supposed to think already. I have shit to do.

  43. I used to be a pretty vocal libertarian. But now that I’m getting older, I just wish that society would hurry up and self-destruct before I die. I want to see how it plays out.

    1. LOL. I’m getting there as well:)

    2. Hah. After some time, misanthropy does tend to creep in.

  44. Agree with Sheldon’s argument that perceptions are different. Disagree that people will be convinced. The whole idea that we need to win other voters over to advance liberty implies that democracy works. But we know it doesn’t work most of the time. And it certainly isn’t a tenable way to maintain liberty even in the few marginal instances where it does.

    I think Samuel Konkin’s method actually advances liberty the most in any statist society, at the risk of the trailblazer’s lives or livelihood. The ending of alcohol prohibition was an example counter-economics, so is reform in nominally legalizing MJ in the states. People didn’t twiddle their thumbs, remaining dry like a good law-abiding citizen, waiting for the government to change its mind. If people did that, alcohol prohibition would have never ended. Since coercion works as a social engineering tool, after that initial dry law-abiding generation, the second generation would then think it’s normal.

    Cryptocurrencies and related services, folks like Defense Distributed are another modern example. Uber, ride-sharing and sharing services like Air BnB is another midler example of counter-economics, to the degree they effect libertarian change (not withstanding creeping cronyism in their political dealings when they partially cave-in).

    1. On the financial side, Bulgaria’s low flat tax system is a result of counter economics when you look at their history of non-compliance during the Soviet era:

      Now, this is not a part of the world where tax compliance is particularly strong. The immediate post-Soviet years turned the entire region into a veritable Deadwood, and devoid of any functioning tax authority, people got used to dealing in all cash and keeping 100% of their earnings.

      And they’re definitely not alone, with a number of European countries having low taxes (including some with zero income taxes) and less regulation.

  45. “Are Libertarians Looking for Results or Self-Congratulation?”

    We’re looking for love in all the wrong places.

  46. Richman is full of shit. Ask yourself: did you get persuaded of libertarianism by someone “reaching out to you” and by “building bridges”? People who think that you are corrupt and evil, which is the view of libertarians that progressives and conservatives are being fed, aren’t going to bother listening to “bridge building”.

    The best thing you can do as a libertarian is to be clear about your conviction that libertarian positions are the moral and fair one, while the progressive and conservative approaches are oppressive and unfair.

    Now, I will allow for “bridge building” to the degree that you are better off using the language and terminology of progressives and conservatives, and illustrate their own contradictions and moral failings within their own frameworks. But that’s about the extent of it.

  47. Libertarianism = classic liberalism = the philosophy of the Founding Fathers and the US Constitution. It is the mainstream of American politics, but “conservatives” and “liberals” have an interest in marginalizing it and “libertarians” seem to like it that way. They like to be a powerless third party.

    1. Gee, I never really thought about it that way before.

      Thanks!

      1. He truly has opened our eyes!

    2. Libertarianism = classic liberalism = the philosophy of the Founding Fathers and the US Constitution. It is the mainstream of American politics, but “conservatives” and “liberals” have an interest in marginalizing it

      We bow to your superior wisdom! And here we thought libertarianism was an independent 21st century invention, you know, like sex and pot are.

      and “libertarians” seem to like it that way. They like to be a powerless third party

      Let’s throw out public choice theory, rent seeking, corruption, misinformation, school indoctrination, and incompetence as explanations! Now I finally see why libertarianism fails! It’s because libertarians want it that way! Thank you for finally letting me see the truth!

    3. There was not one philosophy among the founding fathers. There were sometimes bitter disputes among them. Some ideas lost, some won. The constitution itself cannot be said to be anything other than a big-government solution to the problems of the prior less centralized system. Hamiltonian economics won out over more libertarians Jeffersonian ideas. You are welcome to advocate any governing philosophy you wish, but you don’t get a gold star affixed to them by dead white guys.

      1. The constitution itself cannot be said to be anything other than a big-government solution to the problems of the prior less centralized system.

        Bullshit. The Constitution is a strict limit on federal power. It was corruption from people like you who turned it into anything else.

        You are welcome to advocate any governing philosophy you wish, but you don’t get a gold star affixed to them by dead white guys.

        Ah, Tony, your inner racist is showing again.

  48. Somehow, I suspect if libertarians ever succeed in gaining power, their significance will be just as trivial in success as it is in failure.

  49. Mr. Richmond. If you read these comments. I would like to say that you make a good point. It’s like the old saying “You will attract more fly’s with honey, than you would with vinegar.” However, the bacteria that is responsible for fermenting vinegar originates on the feet of fly’s.

    There are some people I do not want on “My Side”

    Anyway keep on writing. I may not agree with you all the time, but sometimes I do.

    =)

    1. “You will attract more fly’s with honey, than you would with vinegar.”

      I think somewhere along the line that saying got mixed up with the one about bears, because while honey attract bears, vinegar attract flies. Fill up a jar with vinegar, cover with saran-wrap, poke some holes on top and watch as flies/gnats gather to their doom.

  50. I pop in here every 2 or 3 years for a much needed alignment for over fifteen years now. If you lean one way for very long, you start to go in circles. If you only go down the middle, you miss out on all the great scenery. I’ve never liked labels much and I’ve never had the privilege of accomplishing anything in my life without compromising some of my beliefs. Sometimes to attain them, but most often than not, to sustain them.

  51. Thanks for the article. Branden was assuming his audience was familiar with the distinction between in-/formal small-l libertarians and formal large-L pledged Libertarians not covered in his talk.

    For info on actual people using voluntary Libertarian tools on similar and other issues worldwide, please see the non-partisan Libertarian International Organization @ http://www.Libertarian-International.org

  52. Neuro-linguistics teaches us that the results we get is the communication we gave. I suspect Branden would have understood that.
    Murray Rothbard used to regularly tell libertarian activists, “Radical in content; conservative in form.” by which he was recommending more or less what Branden was, from a different perspective. The intervening years suggest they are correct.

  53. Thanks for the reminder, Sheldon. While it is fun to vent and progressives and conservatives, it is most certainly a waste of time and counter-productive.

    In our interactions with non-libertarians, I think that it is essential to not so much convert them or berate them, but just help them understand what libertarian thought is even if they don’t buy it.

    Unless someone already has a libertarian inclination, there’s no way they are going to come to our side just because we yell at them.

    I think Arnold Kling’s essay, The Three Languages of Politics, is helpful in this regard. It won’t help you convert social justice warriors or god and country patriots to libertarianism.

    Rather, it will help you understand how they misconstrue our position. In most cases the best we can do is explain libertarianism in a way that might show them that what we value is not simply a negation of what they deem important.

  54. Sheldon’s comment on the word “statist” is right-on. You know who uses goofy-sounding “new words” as if they expect mainstream people to know what they mean? Cults. And yes, the “People’s Front of Judea” bit is a well-known classic, especially among the few existing dedicated LP activists!

    It’s not the strength of the word “statist” that makes it a bad term, it’s the uselessness of it, the lack of familiarity with it, and the fact that, once clarified, the person doesn’t take it as an insult, but is mildly glad you showed them a new accurate descriptor for themselves. It’s a word being used with a seeming strong negative connotation (the anarchist’s silly-seeming indignant outrage), that bears no connotation of any kind, either before explanation or after. Worse, it’s a word that identifies the user as a member of a marginal group (a follower! failing the heuristic mainstream conformists use to spot “groupthink!”), which can safely be ignored. So, it’s not even useful as a “negative pressure” or “shaping pressure” term, since the user’s use of it implies he’s too weak to do anything about the objected-to “statism.” For all of these prior reasons, it’s a great idea to stick to terms that have been adopted into popular usage.

    Now, if a word is very descriptive, has high utility, and is used positively to describe, that might be different.

  55. Now, if a word is very descriptive, has high utility, and is used positively to describe, that might be different. For this reason I’ve taken Konkin’s pejorative “minarchist” to describe myself more accurately -I don’t necessarily want the amount of government the constitution describes, I want “minimal government.” That way, when I say I favor constitutional government, and the person I’m speaking with believes the constitution is infallible and starts arguing in favor of all of its weakest language, I can note that his arguments are right, but that the constitution wasn’t my ultimate standard. (Only useful with people, such as self-described “constitutional conservatives” who have passed through an “intellectual honesty” heuristic filter.)

    Now for more comments on this excellent article. Every Libertarian Party ballot access petitioner intuitively understands the entire content of this article, or he/she cannot earn a day’s worth of payment. There are philosophical LP petitioners who want the LP to succeed (the LP throws rocks at them until they go away), and there are mercenaries who cannot spell the word libertarian (the LP, since 2008, prefers to hire these mercenaries, and puts them in leadership positions over the philosophical petitioners, so the philosophical petitioners will leave the party).

  56. So why does the LP drive out good activists? There is a good reason for this: the LP is as perverse and corrupt as the other parties, at the (true)leadership level. (I like Nick Sarwark, but he’s not currently the true leader of the LP, until he upsets its “bad apple” cart. …The subsystem in the LP that decides where resources are allocated is the true controller of the Libertarian Party. It’s currently comprised of less than 5 people, but with a few influential replacements at the ready. You didn’t really think the central bankers would let a rag-tag group of unorganized freedom-lovers stop the printing presses, did you?) In any case: Philosophical activist Libertarians tend to call attention to the fact that they are being used in a manner that wastes 100% of their skill, doing things that cannot result in success for the LP. Philosophical activists attempt to hold the leadership accountable for its petty vendettas. Philosophical activists understand “where the money goes,” and “what it’s buying.”

    I know this because I’m one of them, and I’ve seen the LP’s greatest successes (Detroit 2002-2004) or educated myself about them (Alaska 1978-1982, “Freedom for Alaskans” by Dick Randolph; “Radicals for Capitalism” by Brian Doherty; several days’ worth of first-hand conversations with local libertarians in Alaska).

  57. A realistic interaction with a newbie libertarian activist, from the standpoint of a petition-signer:

    I was talking to this libertarian guy in a Whole-Foods parking lot, just the other day, and he said I was “statused,” to which I thought, “Thanks for the compliment! I believe my status is very high.” I signed his petition, but when he wanted to talk further I said “I have to go, my ice-cream is melting!” (Plus, I kind of had to take a shit.)

    Just then, a police car pulled up, and a bunch of cops took the guy’s ID and told him he had to leave. I watched for a few seconds, and was considering scratching my name off the petition (because I don’t want to do something that’s illegal, and the presence of the law made me second-guess signing), but the “turtle started peeking” so I just went to my car to “push it back in,” and I left.

  58. A realistic interaction with a newbie libertarian activist, from the standpoint of a petition-signer(continued):

    Later on, I read a comment on a message board of some weird libertarian site where I found out that the word was “statist,” which apparently means that I think that leadership positions should be elective, but that libertarians take this as an insult, while also asking that people vote for their candidates. That seems self-contradictory.

    I also read that John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, considers himself a Libertarian. This seems strange then, because the police kicked out that Libertarian Petitioner from a Whole Foods parking lot. I also read that John Mackey then told petitioners that they were free to petition on the public sidewalks that border the parking lot (so as to not be able to talk to any of the foot traffic visiting Whole Foods). This also seemed odd.

  59. A realistic interaction with a newbie libertarian activist, from the standpoint of a petition-signer(continued):

    …If Mackey is a libertarian, and therefore has some influence over the store chain he administers as CEO, couldn’t he convince Whole Foods that one of the “corporate responsibilities” of Whole Foods is to respect basic interpersonal speech? I mean, sure, noone has a right to speech on Whole Foods property, but aren’t respecting (1) basic free speech and (2) the ability of your own political party to access the ballot, and (3) the ability of all-comers to access the ballot (a basic right that’s easy to defend to the public), pretty easy to defend to your corporate board? I mean even if your corporate board were all raging fascists who thought everyone should just “shut up and shop” and didn’t want anyone besides the Ds and Rs to access the ballot, wouldn’t you still have some sway as CEO? (Mackey claims he defers to his corporate board on the ability of petitioners to petition in front of his stores. He doesn’t go as far as K-Mart and Giant Foods do in respecting “messy” free speech. After all, if the LP fails to access the ballot as libertarians in several states, and therefore fails to generate awareness among the general public, FUCK THEM, a few non-libertarian dollars are worth more than that.)

  60. A realistic interaction with a newbie libertarian activist, from the standpoint of a petition-signer(continued):

    But doesn’t John Mackey at least say that people can petition on sidewalks outside the borders of the parking lot? Well, I asked my brother about this because he has a law degree, and he says that the Supreme Court’s rulings allow anyone to speak freely on a public sidewalk. So, John Mackey wants to allow only the level of speech that the Supreme Court forces him to allow, but, when he has a chance, he doesn’t even support as much freedom of speech as Giant Foods or K-Mart? John Mackey appears to be a well-respected libertarian. …So, “libertarians” have less respect for freedom of speech than mainstream non-libertarians like Giant Foods and K-Mart does? Also, libertarians are so strategically stupid that they pay money to a political party to overcome ballot access restrictions, and then don’t allow petitioners access to difficult-to-obtain “high foot traffic” petitioning locations that they themselves control?

  61. A realistic interaction with a newbie libertarian activist, from the standpoint of a petition-signer(continued):

    Maybe “big-L” Libertarians are just a bunch of strategically-illiterate douchebags and assholes who have no idea how to
    1) Cyclically hire people to do basic ballot access work, for the purpose of building loyalty and a networked “movement”
    2) Defend the people they hire, and keep them on good working relationship terms
    3) Approach the general public with anything approaching a logically-consistent and rational-sounding “American-sounding” message
    4) Speak to freedom-sympathizing-but-inconsistent American citizens with English words like “individual freedom,””freedom of speech,” “right to privacy,” “due process,” and “Bill of Rights”…

  62. A realistic interaction with a newbie libertarian activist, from the standpoint of a petition-signer(continued):

    In any case, I went to the website on the card the libertarian guy gave me, and it seems the LP once elected several state legislators in Alaska. Maybe if they start running for winnable offices like that in my state, and laying the groundwork by registering voters, etc., I’ll consider voting for them. However, their presidential candidates recently have been 100% delusional, non-libertarian, or uninspiring as “alternatives,” and their national party appears to be waging a war on any activist who’s worked for them for more than 5 years. Hmmmm. Seems like “controlled opposition” that that radio chap, Alex Jones has been talking about.

    Oh well, that’s too much philosophy for one day, I think I’ll go eat some ice-cream.

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