Libertarian History/Philosophy

Attn, Philly-Area Reasonoids: Nick Gillespie and David Boaz Discussing The Libertarian Mind TONITE at 6.30pm

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Update: Go here to watch the event live on YouTube wherever you are!

I'll be discussing The Libertarian Mind with David Boaz tonight, February 16, at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

The Libertarian Mind is an updated and expanded new version of Boaz's essential book from the late 1990s, Libertarianism: A Primer.

The evening begins at 6.30 P.M. at Philadelphia's own Constitution Center on Indepedence Mall (525 Arch Street).

For more details, go here.

Reason recently sat down with Boaz for a conversation about his book, "the Libertarian Moment" (and movement), and more. Watch below and go here for a full transcript.

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  1. Topics I expect to be covered:

    1. Scott Walker doesn’t have a degree and why that makes him worse than Hitler.

    2. It’s Bush’s fault.

    1. Topics I expect to be covered:

      1. Where do you park a car in Philly?

      and…

      2. How has the Spirit of 1776 influenc…seriously guys, where the fuck do you people park your cars?

      1. Speaking of Philly:

        1. Cheese whiz or Provolone on your steak sammich?

        2. Why own a car when you have access to world class public transportation?

      2. 3. Why are you all assholes… or is it just he media that makes it seem like you’re all assholes?

        1. “Be true to yourself” somebody once said.

      3. For this event, you can park in the parking garage in the Constitution Center and take the elevator upstairs.

        There is plenty of parking in center city Philly; it just costs a lot of money to park. Elsewhere, you may have to park so far away that you might as well take public transportation.

        Real Libertarians do not live in Philly; they’ve all moved to the burbs in PA or New Jersey where they can enjoy their constitutional right to drive a car.

    2. You forgot number 3,

      Why becoming a transsexual is the greatest expression of the American dream.

      1. I think that answer is self evident.

        1. I saw that this morning. I am left wondering why anyone should take Nick seriously about anything. It was one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read.

          1. This is why there are no libertarian transwomen.

            1. And why Postrel hates us.

  2. what would it take for Reason to work with Sirius/XM to develop a Reason Radio station? What could I do to make this happen? (My only talent is criticizing other people’s works and ideas so they are forced to make them better… but I’ll bitch and moan for free!)

    1. “what would it take for Reason to work with Sirius/XM to develop a Reason Radio station?”

      More interesting writers.

      I went there.

      1. Jerry Doyle has a talk show. Or did.

      2. Shackford, ENB, and especially Soave are very good. Everyone else is at least mediocre.

        1. Too-chilly? Waaallllkkkeeerrrr?

          1. My two favorites.

  3. If Libertarianism is a “sense of life” then shouldn’t it evoke a deeper personal philosophy rather than a purely political one, Mr. Boaz?

    Your squishy stance early on seems to negate the idea that politics is more often than not a mental construct that likely results from a range of internal conceptions formed over time through the nexus of nature and nurture.

    I posit that the Libertarian mentality in whatever state of development precedes its political motivations in which case it is far more likely that the businessman who operates his commercial interests with ethical and empathetic regard can claim to be Libertarian in nature.

    1. If there is a “libertarian sense of life”, it is a commitment to personal responsibility and the willingness to assume the risk of misfortune. If you don’t believe in personal responsibility or are terrified of something bad happening, you are never going to embrace freedom because you will never want the responsibility that comes with it.

      This is why it is important that Libertarians not just embrace political positions that further freedom for the right reasons. There is a fine line between “I want my Pony” and a real commitment to freedom. The latter involves the commitment to accept responsibility for that freedom by accepting the consequences of your choices. Everyone wants the freedom to do what they want. The difference is people who believe in freedom and understand it for what it is rather than just another expression of “I want” understand and accept the responsibility that comes with it.

      1. Not taking responsibility for your choices is the new American way. I read an article about this woman crying that her cop husband chose the investment plan over the pension plan and now that he got killed it is unfair she isn’t going to get 100 percent of his pension for the rest of her life. Sorry sweetie your husband thought he could make more investing and chose not to get life insurance. It’s not the tax payers responsibility to pick up the tab. Lucky for her the Florida legislature thinks she has a good point and is retroactively giving pension benefits to any cop’s family killed, even if they weren’t in the pension.

        1. That is a good example of what I am talking about. Privatized pensions are a good idea so long as they come with the understanding that you are responsible for when it doesn’t work. Without that, you might as well stick to government pensions because bailing people out will be effectively the same thing and cost even more money.

        2. After 9/11, there was similar bitching about how one of the securities and investment companies wasn’t going to keep paying salaries to the deceased employees forever and how their poor spouses weren’t going to be able to keep up their lifestyle. Boo fucking hoo, your husband made six figures and couldn’t plan for his family if he got hit by a bus one day?

          1. I don’t have much life insurance because I have no kids and my spouse works. I’m not trying to make my wife a millionaire when I die. But if I had kids and a stay at home wife, you bet your ass I would carry more life insurance. It is just dumb to have people dependent on you and not have a plan for an untimely death.

            1. Yep, my wife would be able to pay off the entire mortgage and have more than enough to be comfortable on her earnings.

              1. Hmmm… no wonder my wife urged me to go IED hunting when I was in Iraq….all my insurance!

                1. You might want to think about getting a different wife if she is too curious about your life insurance situation.

      2. The latter involves the commitment to accept responsibility for that freedom by accepting the consequences of your choices.

        Yes, but social mores are barricaded and limited by security-through-legalism frameworks as a result of its fear of these consequences.

        Consequences should be accepted as a natural force on the vectors of freedom.

    2. I was going to say what John said, but he said it already. So I will throw this little anecdote out there because it just popped in my head when I read your comment.

      I remember hearing a Chinese communist describe American freedom as ‘the freedom to starve’. This was back in the day when moms chided their children to clean their plates at supper because children in China were starving.

    3. Re: Agile Cyborg,

      I posit that the Libertarian mentality in whatever state of development precedes its political motivations

      Libertarianism is a political philosophy that concerns itself ONLY with how people act with one another, if in a voluntary fashion or involuntary (i.e. coercive). The fundamental moral principle for libertarians to judge actions is the Non Aggression Principle.

      If you want to live a life of voluntary nicety, that is all good and sweet but that does NOT make you a libertarian. The fact that you do not engage in acts of aggression against others (you do not take their stuff, hurt them by physical action or kill them) makes you a libertarian.

      1. Sure, you may not be predisposed to voluntary nicety but clearly those engaged in non-aggression principles exhibit specific and rudimentary personality traits which probably includes empathy.

        I’m not suggesting that Libertarians trend as Mr. Pete Polite- I am suggesting that it is likely Libertarians are, for example, predisposed to operate their businesses in a much fairer manner than someone driven to obtain wealth with a merciless state of mind which can lead to inhumane work conditions and corrupt business practices. In which case, this revolting creature can cast his vote for any other party than the Libertarian one, in my rather selfish view.

        1. Re: Agile Cyborg,

          I am suggesting that it is likely Libertarians are, for example, predisposed to operate their businesses in a much fairer manner than someone driven to obtain wealth with a merciless state of mind which can lead to inhumane work conditions and corrupt business practices.

          Selfish interest would motivate you to be polite and attentive, as few people would like to do business with shady and repugnant characters. In that respect, I don’t believe libertarians would differentiate themselves from non-libertarians if both groups are equally motivated by profits.

          As to the other part of your argument, I believe you’re begging the question. The judgment of “inhumane working conditions” applies reasonably to prison camps since prisoners are compelled to accept such conditions by threat of physical harm or death, but not to situations where the relationships are voluntary. In other words, the working conditions in a place may be disagreeable in YOUR view, but that does not mean the owner can’t be a libertarian. The extra-effort to create a facade of niceness is totally unnecessary and, besides, there’s no guarantee such a facade will help change the view of zealots.

    4. Here’s how the thought process works for the majority of people:

      1. I want to be free.
      2. In order for me to be free, some of that person’s freedom needs to be restricted.

      It really doesn’t go much beyond that in terms of thinking about freedom. They really don’t get that the person next to them is thinking the same thing. That’s why they’re always surprised when the TSA agent starts groping their baby.

      1. Reminds me of numerous Protect Religious Freedom yard signs posted around here… I am literally driving through air vapor irony.

      2. Re: Sparky’s head exploded,

        2. In order for me to be free, some of that person’s freedom needs to be restricted.

        The basis for the little red Marxian’s favorite snide remark “Free to starve!” is derived from that very notion: only when people have money can they be free.

    5. shouldn’t it evoke a deeper personal philosophy rather than a purely political one, Mr. Boaz

      Sure. Its based on a priori principles like free will, moral agency, self-ownership, the inherent value of voluntary actions and relationships, etc.

      What it doesn’t do is define a “way of life” that tells you what to do with yourself, really. Maybe some more expression of that next layer would be of some value, but frankly I suspect it would be quite dull. Golden rule type stuff. Nothing to make you shoot your AK in the air and ululate, if you know what I mean.

      1. To me, libertarian philosophy at its base pretty much matches up with Kant’s categorical imperative.

  4. Flip, flip, flipadelphia. Flip, flip, flipadelphia. We should try to reignite the rivalry.

  5. Attn, Philly-Area Reasonoids: You are in or near the worst place in the history of all humanity.

    1. Is that how you speak about the birthplace of Los Constitution? I have a taint you need to lick clean.

    2. Camden NJ would be a socialist paradise if only they had the right top men, Fisty.

    3. A beer aisle with no Weyerbacher Insanity is the worst place in the history of all humanity, Fistocuff.

    4. They’re in or near Cleveland?

  6. Libertarians are the boogie-woogie of any attempt at civilization.

  7. I’ve made $64,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. I’m using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I’ve been doing,
    …. http://www.wixjob.com

    1. When is your best friend’s aunt buying her Aston Martin?

  8. Slam dunk it dude lets go.

    http://www.AnonWeb.cf

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