Libertarianism

Another Would-Be Critic of Libertarianism Takes on a Straw Man

How refreshing it would be for someone to set forth the strongest case for libertarianism before attempting to eviscerate it.

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We must face the fact that criticism of the libertarian philosophy in the mass media will most likely misrepresent its target, making the commentary essentially worthless. That's painfully clear from what critics publish almost weekly on self-styled left-wing and progressive websites. How refreshing it would be for someone to set forth the strongest case for libertarianism before attempting to eviscerate it. Is the failure to do so a sign of fear that the philosophy is potentially appealing to a great many people?

Kris Griffon/Flickr

The latest cheap shot is David Masciotra's piece at Alternet, '"You're Not The Boss of Me!' Why Libertarianism Is a Childish Sham." As the title indicates, the upshot of the piece is that only a child would wish not to be subject to the arbitrary will of others. Thus Masciotra has disguised a brief for authoritarianism as a plea for communitarianism.

Reading the article, I find it hard to believe that Masciotra consulted anything more than an essay or two by a high-school senior or perhaps a college freshman with no grasp whatsoever of the long, rich liberal tradition from which the modern libertarian philosophy is derived. In other words, our author makes no attempt to take on the strongest case for libertarianism. Instead, he does what so many of his allies do: take the easy way out, counting on his readers' confirmation bias to immunize him against skepticism. Masciotra quotes not one libertarian, though he gets in is the obligatory slam at the standard caricature of Ayn Rand—"the rebel queen of their icy kingdom, villifying [sic] empathy and solidarity"—as though she were the first and last word on libertarianism. He seems unaware that substantial libertarian critiques of Rand abound, not to mention that Rand's thought is more complex than he indicates. (And no, Mr. Masciotra, Scott Walker and Gordon Gekko are not libertarians; their views have no relevance to this political philosophy.)

So what does Masciotra have to say? Let's sample his "critique":

Libertarians believe they are real rebels, because they've politicized the protest of children who scream through tears, "You're not the boss of me." The rejection of all rules and regulations, and the belief that everyone should have the ability to do whatever they want, is not rebellion or dissent. It is infantile naïveté.

This is a typical misrepresentation: libertarians reject all rules and regulations; they demand the freedom to do "whatever they want." I wonder if Masciotra's failure to qualify "rules and regulations" with the word government is an innocent oversight. Or is he trying to sneak something by his uninitiated readers? Obviously, libertarians believe that each person's life, liberty, and justly acquired property should be respected as essentially inviolable. (Emergencies may create exceptions with respect to property.) Libertarians also advocate freedom of contract. All of that amounts to a web of rules and regulations that constrain the individual's conduct. When libertarians say the equivalent of "You're not the boss of me," they are saying that no one may properly threaten or use physical force to compel them do anything they have a demonstrable right to not do or compel them not to do anything that they have a demonstrable right to do.

Opposition to any conception of the public interest and common good, and the consistent rejection of any opportunity to organize communities in the interest of solidarity, is not only a vicious form of anti-politics, it is affirmation of America's most dominant and harmful dogmas.

If Masciotra had bothered to explore the multidisciplinary libertarian literature, he would have quickly learned how ridiculous this is. He seems ignorant of such luminaries in the history of (classical) liberalism as Adam Smith, Frédéric Bastiat, Thomas Hodgskin, Carl Menger, Herbert Spencer, Benjamin R. Tucker, Ludwig von Mises, and F. A. Hayek—not to mention contemporary left-libertarians such as Gary Chartier, Roderick Long, Kevin Carson, and Charles Johnson—because to read these thinkers is to realize that for serious liberals and libertarians, community and solidarity are indispensable to human flourishing. To conflate methodological and ethical individualism (specifically, eudaimonism) with atomistic individualism is to confess an unfamiliarity with the libertarianism. (For details, see my "Tackling Straw Men Is Easier than Critiquing Libertarianism.")

Radical libertarianism, especially its left-market-anarchist variety, is not anti-politics, broadly speaking. As Long writes in "Market Anarchism as Constitutionalism" (PDF):

Anarchy thus represents the extension, not the negation, of constitutionalism. Instead of thinking of anarchy as a situation in which government has been squeezed down to nothingness, it might be more helpful—at least for minarchists—to think of anarchy as a situation in which government has been extended to include everybody. This is what Gustave de Molinari, the founder of market anarchism, meant when he wrote, in 1884: "The future thus belongs neither to the absorption of society by the State, as the communists and collectivists suppose, nor to the suppression of the State, as the [non-market] anarchists and nihilists dream, but to the diffusion of the State within society."

…anarchy is the completion, not the negation, of the rule of law. Anarchy "comes not to destroy but to fulfil the law."

Libertarians favor an environment in which the widest variety of communities may freely be organized—but they believe that only voluntary communities are legitimate communities.

Back to Masciotra:

The disasters of reducing life, the governance of affairs, and the distribution of resources to such a shallow standard [viz., "how much money will it bring in?"] leaves wreckage where among the debris one can find human bodies.

I and the libertarians I know would agree. It's another gross caricature to hold that libertarians reduce all of life to money. Certainly the libertarians influenced by the Austrian school of economics would laugh at this notion. Money is desired only because it facilitates the achievement of one's objectives in life under conditions of scarcity, objectives that are necessarily embedded in social existence. That is, money is not an end but a means. It makes mutually beneficial exchange easier that it would be, and exchange is an important and desirable form of social cooperation.

Moreover, libertarians, and anyone else who appreciates how markets unimpeded by privilege work, understand that profit is a sign that producers have transformed scarce resources from a less useful form to a more useful form in the eyes of consumers. In other words, in freed markets, money returns signify and reward services rendered to others. (See my "Bastiat on the Socialization of Wealth" and "Monopoly and Aggression.") To the extent this is not true, we find corporatist privileges dispensed by the state.

Competitive individualism, and the perversion of personal responsibility to mean social irresponsibility, is what allows for America to limp behind the rest of the developed world in providing for the poor and creating social services for the general population.

People are harmed not by free competition, which benefits workers and consumers, but by competition-suppressing privileges bestowed on the ruling elite by the state. These include so-called intellectual property (patents and copyright), myriad burdens to self-employment and small-scale worker-owned enterprises (licensing, permitting, zoning, etc.), and more. Freed markets—void of all privilege—align personal and social responsibility though the libertarian nonaggression obligation. One would not be free to foul the air or water, for example, because other people's rights would be violated. As for providing for the poor, not only would there be fewer poor in a world without ruling-classes and state impediments to personal advancement, but short-run difficulties could be overcome through mutual-aid societies and labor organizations unencumbered by special-interest regulation and red tape. Government welfare programs are at best efforts to ameliorate ills the government itself causes. (For how freed markets achieve what state socialists say they want, see my "Free-Market Socialism.")

Who then are the libertarians rebelling against? The most powerful sector of the society is corporate America, and it profits and benefits most from the deregulatory and anti-tax measures libertarians champion. That sector of society also happens to own the federal government.

I can't disagree. But note that deregulation and (targeted) tax cutting are not the same as wholesale repeal of corporate privileges. Quite the contrary, deregulation often amounts to expanding previously granted privileges. The remedy here is not to maintain or increase regulation, but rather to eliminate the privileges. It is odd that this is lost on so-called progressives. Their reforms empower bureaucrats (further), when they should be liberating individuals. That's another kind of trickle-down process to be rejected.

Libertarians proclaim an anti-government position, but they are only opposing the last measures of protection that remain in place to prevent the government from full mutation into an aristocracy. By advocating for the removal of all social programs, libertarians are not rebelling, as much as they are reinforcing the prevailing ethos of "bootstrap" capitalism. The poor are responsible for their plight, and therefore deserve no sympathy or assistance.

The author's ignorance, again, is glaring. Had he taken on the strongest case made by libertarians (in my view, that's the left-libertarian case grounded in eudaimonism), he would know that 1) they oppose all aristocratic measures no matter how well established, 2) demand repeal of corporate privileges and subsidies before the repeal of programs for the least well-off, and 3) do not believe that poor people are generally responsible for their own plight. The least well-off deserve sympathy for being victims of the ruling class, but more than that, they deserve freedom from the ruling class and its executive committee, the state.

When children yell "you're not the boss of me" they believe they are launching a rebellion against the household establishment, but they are conforming to the codes of behavior visible among all children. Libertarians are attempting to practice the same political voodoo—transforming conformity into rebellion—without realizing that their cries for freedom coalesce with their childlike culture.

The essential matter is not conformity versus rebellion, but freedom versus aggression. If Masciotra sees the demand for freedom as childish, that says more about him than about libertarianism. Meek acceptance of authoritarianism is not a sign of maturity.

[Philosopher Charles] Taylor complicates the picture [of self-actualization in The Ethics of Authenticity] by adding the elemental truth of individuality and community that personal freedom is empty and meaningless without connections to "horizons of significance." That beautiful phrase captures the essentiality of developing bonds of empathy and ties of solidarity with people outside of one's own individual pursuits, and within a larger social context. Neighborhoods, religious institutions, political parties, advocacy organizations, charities, and social justice groups all qualify as "horizons of significance", and the connections that arise out of those horizons inevitably producs [sic] politics of communal ethics and public responsibility, in addition to private liberty.

The libertarians I have been citing would agree, except as anarchists we'd strike political parties off the list. Masciotra is still stuck on his caricature.

Defending and championing selfish indifference to collective interest and need conforms not only to the mainstream American practice of social neglect, but also to the most basic and brutish impulse of humanity's mammalian origins. The rebel searches for higher ground. The conformist crawls through the shallow end of the swamp.

By now, the reader can anticipate what I want to say, so I'll leave it at this: if Masciotra is concerned about the American practice of social neglect, he might ask why the corporatist Leviathan discharges social responsibility so deplorably, and how in its absence such responsibility would to fall on us directly as members of communities. In other words, government crowds out mutual aid and social cooperation —and does a rotten job to boot.

When will such critics finally understand that serious libertarians want to abolish aggression—especially the systemic aggression that defines the state—precisely so that we all may flourish by living fully human lives in fully human communities? This libertarianism is about self-actualization, peaceful social cooperation, mutual aid, and respect. If critics want to debunk libertarianism, they will have to debunk that.

This piece originally appeared at Sheldon Richman's "Free Association" blog. 

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  1. Nice post Sheldon, well stated.

    1. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is what I do
      http://www.work-mill.com

  2. Whiny pinko constructs retarded non-argument; weather at 10:00.

    1. I saw the headline at Alternet and figured that it wasn’t worth reading. After reading this, I realize that I was right.

      1. What’s alternet? Why would I care?

  3. Because nothing says “responsible adult” like a political movement that is built around certain people telling everyone else what they can and cannot do for their entire lives.

    I mean, I know leftist fucks are constantly projecting, but their entire belief system is that people are too stupid to make the right choices, and so they must be guided, controlled, and forced to make the correct ones. Like children. Progressives literally belief that we are all the children of the State.

    But somehow, libertarians are childish for wanting independence, autonomy, and liberty. This idiot is indulging in some Orwellian doublethink.

    1. “Because nothing says “responsible adult” like a political movement that is built around certain people telling everyone else what they can and cannot do for their entire lives.”

      Excellent point.

      1. When left-liberals talk about “quality of live”, they never take into account the quality inherent in not being bothered by the state.

        Or, back when the smoking bans were being debated, people would talk about the acceptability of benning smoking in private restaurants because the banners had a “right” to “clean air”. I suggested that what they were really seeking was the right to tell other people what they could do with their private property. Needless to say, that argument didn’t go down well.

        1. And we lost that argument BIG TIME.

          Now they want to expand that ban to other personal spheres including your home and car.

          ‘Clean air’ is code for ‘Control’.

          1. A recent headline was about a man in Cali who was ordered by a judge to quit smoking in his own home.

            His neighbors complained that the smoke was escaping his home and hurting them. They actually won a court order stopping him from smoking INSIDE his own home until the case weaved it’s way through the court system. IIRC

            1. I’ve been saying for years now that there is nothing really stupid that California won’t do.

              My state of Illinois, sadly, is constantly trying to play catch-up to their sorry asses.

            2. The woman who lives below me smokes so much that the odor has gone up the wet wall we share into my unit. It’s specially bad in the winter when she keeps her windows closed. Know what I did to her?

              Nothing, I bought an air purifier and it’s running by the wet wall access panel.

              (I might also be wishing for her to die or move.)

              1. Reminds me of a few years ago when there was a big griefer movement about certain pharmacists not carrying birth control or something.

                Around this time I went to a pharmacist and he didn’t carry what I needed, so I called the local media and wrote my Congressman WENT TO ANOTHER PHARMACIST!
                Problem solved.

            3. Cali? You mean the (in)famous city of Cali, Colombia? Oh! California! Well why didn’t you SAY so!

              -Born in California in the IGY

            4. That’s in DC, not Cali.

          2. Parks and beaches, too.

        2. When left-liberals talk about “quality of life”,

          they are talking about THEIR OWN quality of life. Not yours.

    2. Conservatives are just as bad as progressives by telling people what to do, who to do, what they can smoke, drink, or get high with, what to do with their sex organs, etc.

      1. Palin is always good for a tu quoque.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dqc6yRIHiW0

        1. Free Republic is probably more your style.

          Classic liberal DOES NOT EQUAL “conservative”.

          1. Conservatives discuss the same issues libertarians/classical liberals do.

            MUCH MORE than liberal/progressives.

            1. But when has an ELECTED conservative president ever proposed rolling back the entitlement state?

              I’ll save you the embarrassment – never. Not once.

              Instead they expand it. Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Bush the Lesser – all expanded it. Yeah, I know. The right Top Man has never been put in charge.

              1. And it’s point the crew has made – repeatedly.

                It still doesn’t detract that conservative publications are more willing to talk about the issues and themes libertarians follow.

              2. But when has an ELECTED conservative president ever proposed rolling back the entitlement state?

                BOOOOOOOOOOOOSH was onboard with a plan to convert Social Security into a Chile-like private pension system. I don’t know if that counts as rolling back the entitlement state, but it was definitely an attempt at reform.

                1. Doesn’t count because it was unfunded and SS taxes would have to be raised to compensate for the diversion of 1/3 the employee FICA contributions into those private accounts.

                  In reality it was an expansion of SS but he never explained how the shortfall would have been handled so it remains unsettled.

              3. But when has an ELECTED conservative president ever proposed rolling back the entitlement state?

                Funny, I seem to remember a recent President who, admittedly weakly, actually brought up Social Security reform. Who was that again? Oh, yeah BOOOOOOSH!!

                Not that GWB is particularly conservative.

                When was the last Dem to massively expand the welfare State? Oh, yeah, the guy who’s cock you can’t get enough of .

              4. Well, Reagan did increase the Social Security retirement age to 67.

                Sure, it was a marginal rollback, but it was a rollback.

                Unlike those cocksuckers Bush and Rove who pushed Medicare Part D.

              5. “But when has an ELECTED conservative president ever proposed rolling back the entitlement state?”

                Make a list of all the fiscally conservative presidents you can think if and I’ll give you a list of their achievements.

      2. Sure. Why don’t you go find some conservatives and tell them all about it?

        1. I like debating the conservatives here. They are easy prey.

          1. See, you’re just as guilty as the author of the article. You purposely lie about people’s positions here. You keep asserting they shill for ‘Team Red’ but I see nothing of the sort. Name who exactly is conservative here. John? Mike M. (who I think once admitted as much). Who?

          2. Buttplug finds his only intellectual victories come when his opponent isn’t present.

            1. This is much the same reason my liberal friends like to laugh and walk away instead of actually debate me about politics.

            2. I only argue for the classic liberal/open society view.

              On the ACA I admit that there is a lot of bad stuff in it. But the core of the ACA is a private marketplace.

              1. Classic liberal-private market place

                You keep using these words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

              2. You can’t force people into a limited space filled with only a select number of merchants selling only certain approved goods and call it a “private marketplace”.

                I sometimes wonder of you understand the words you use.

                1. I have always said that the “bad stuff” in the ACA were the mandates and subsidies. It is not a “free” market by any stretch but it is a private market that is heavily regulated like our electric utilities are.

                  I loathe Medicare – which is purely government single payer.

                  You fail reading comprehension.

                  1. “….. it is a private market that is heavily regulated like our electric utilities are.”

                    So, privately owned but government controlled.

                    There is a name for such a system, but I forget what it is. Something that starts with an F? It is right on the tip of my tongue but for the life of me I can’t remember it.

                    You really are an idiot shreek.

                  2. Do you really have to be such a snarky asshole? Make you arguments and leave the childish hubris and shitty attitude someplace for people who enjoy it.

                    1. Yes he does, and no he won’t.

                      Eat a dick, GregMax.

                    2. You seem lost. This is H&R, home of snarky assholes.

                2. And why do you fuckers keep defending Conservatism if you are libertarian?

              3. Palin’s Buttplug|3.15.15 @ 11:02AM|#
                “I only argue for the classic liberal/open society view.”

                Keep this in mind, folks.
                If turd isn’t lying as he is here, it’s either an accident or he’s practicing some other bit of dishonesty.
                Turd does NOT argue honestly; you are wasting your time.

              4. Holy lols, what horseshit.

              5. But the core of the ACA is a private marketplace.M

                Private market place doesn’t mean free marketplace.

              6. “I only argue for the classic liberal/open society view.”

                And this, of course, is why you shill for the Democrats, the party of Liberty.

                How does such a lying scumbag sleep at night?

                1. Because the lying scumbag is dimwitted.

              7. I only argue for the classic liberal/open society view.

                You only argue for opposites? Your “open society” is fucking socialism from top to bottom, and yes, your heros Soros and Buffett are not anything but socialists. Riding the government tit doesn’t make you a capitalist, even if you make billions.

                Science you really are an imbecile.

          3. Don’t be a bully. Otherwise, a bunch of southern baptist wasps will take away your condoms and burn down your house.

            1. My condoms! Nooooooooo!

          4. I like debating the conservatives here. They are easy prey.

            Go to fucking FreeRepublic if you want to debate conservatives.

    3. These are the same people who constantly whine about how republicans are destroying this country, and whining about how someone else should be paying their taxes for them, for all the public programs that they want people to have no choice over. The argument goes like this:

      progressive: “the republicans have turned this country into a plutocracy, ruled by the rich! The rich should be paying my taxes for me! Waaaaaaah!”
      Libertarian: “I find my lack of choices and my tax burden to be offensive”
      Progressive: “Oh, yeah? We’re all in this together, so love it or leave it, buddy!”

      Whatever they accuse libertarians of, toot wanting to pay their taxes is something they both typically have in common. Libertarians just fantasize less about someone else paying taxes for them.

      1. *not

        Damn you iphone

    4. That’s why the crying child as a symbol of libertarianism was used as a straw man in the first place. In the authors eyes, we are all children and we are just frustrated that Daddy Government is telling us to eat our fucking broccoli. The author sees himself as a sort of older brother, he knows better not to disobey and has crafted all sorts of rationalizations in his head as to why we, the children, must always listen to Daddy Government, so he is therefore superior to most other people, especially libertarians, who are apparently the loudest of all the whiners.

      The author sets up this straw man, not just for convenience, but because the mental masturbation he gets from it is more satisfying that way. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know he is mentally masturbating to a fantasy, which actually makes his experience all the more satisfying.

    5. It’s an old tradition.

      A century and a half ago, you could replace that “Like children.” with “Like slaves.” With economics being the “dismal science” because it contradicted this obviously true conclusion.

      And remember, the antebellum southern farm was the “beau ideal” of socialism.

    6. That was some asinine rant, brother. Because we how the right treats the citizenry like adults, yeah? WMDs! WMDs! WMDs!

      Now tell me how WMDs really were found in Iraq. That’s the latest backflip, isn’t it?

  4. The most powerful sector of the society is corporate America… That sector of society also happens to own the federal government.

    I can’t disagree.

    I can. Almost everything the federal government does is supported by a majority of the public: taxation, wealth redistribution, the drug war, food regulation, spying, preemptive military action, utilities regulation, farm subsidies, etc. There’s no shadowy cabal of corporate executives mind-controlling the public to do so. There are my neighbors, my coworkers, the clerks at the grocery store, the town crossing guards, and the UPS driver. Average people, who might disagree with each other on the details, but can’t fathom a world without a nearly omnipotent government that serves the “greater good”.

    1. Doing anything to your home? Yeah. Twice already had someone in the neighborhood call the city inspector down. Anonymous tipline for petty tyranny.

      ‘”You’re Not The Boss of Me!”

      *points to 99% of people around me*

      1. This is why I love living in the sticks.

        1. Ditto.

        2. It is nice being able to have bonfires, burn left over cardboard boxes and shoot at a small range I made in the backyard without anyone bitching.

          1. And riding dirtbikes, ATVs, snowmobiles without a cop showing up from a neighbor’s complaint only to write tickets for tags, licenses, or modifications.

            1. So you’re the fucking moron wrecking my Friday nights? Good to know.

        3. I can handle stray dogs. Not wild about having a committee telling me what style of mailbox I should buy.

      2. It’s MIND BOGGLING how people are so willing to snitch on their neighbors. It’s the same shit in the small town where I own my business. Inspectors drive around in Smart cars all day long spying on homes and folks are too willing to call them in. It’s unfortunate as it is disturbing.

        Fuckheads. All of them.

        1. Yeah I really don’t understand the psychology of it all. It’s like the little kid in school who always taddles on everyone else.

        2. This is why I roll my eyes at people who bemoan the lack of “being neighborly” in big cities. I don’t know my neighbors by anything more than sight, I don’t particularly want to know them – and in return we don’t stick our noses in each other’s business. The “snitching” y’all describe is a suburban and small town phenomenon.

          1. Part of the psychology BM alludes to entails the notion ‘if I have to follow the rules, so should my neighbor. Ergo, I’m right to call the authorities on them’. The thinking stops there. They don’t particularly seem to worry or care about the potential harm or ramifications they’re about to inflict on a neighbor who could possibly help them out in a time of need.

            It’s the same thinking we see about taxes. People would much rather see crackdowns by the IRS (or Revenue Canada) to get others to ‘pay because why should they get away with it?’ than make meaningful changes.

          2. Ugh small towns are the worst. Everyone knows everyone else’s business, and nobody seems to care for outsiders. I hate cities, but I would nuch rather live in a huge city where nobody knows one another then in a small town where everyone’s up each other’s ass all the time.

          3. Good point. What is less community oriented than snitching on your neighbors to the local bureaucrat because they violated (or might be violating) some petty regulation?

            You want a real community? You need people who respect each others rights instead of constantly trying to control everything they do.

            Progressives make the WORST neighbors and the WORST community member. They are the more hated busybodies. They are the do-gooders who are always up your ass about every teensy thing, getting in your face with their opinions about what you eat, what you wear, where you shop, and (in the near future) who you are allowed to be friends with.

            They are absolute destroyers of real community.

            1. I would nuch rather live in a huge city where nobody knows one another then in a small town where everyone’s up each other’s ass all the time.

              They are the do-gooders who are always up your ass about every teensy thing

              Please, could we stop using the phrase, “up your ass”, in a derogatory way. You may not realize it but you are micro-aggressing and othering the gays.

              1. Ok, thanks, now I know you’re a spoof.

              2. We could start using “up your ear”, but after a while nobody would be able to hear PBs shrill screeching any longer.

                1. Now you’re micro-aggressing against people with small penises, in fact I think the word micro-aggression might be micro-aggressing against the same people.

              3. You may not realize it but you are micro-aggressing and othering the gays.

                Help, I’m being oppressed!

                1. Help, I’m being oppressed!

                  Now bake me a cake, motherfucker!

                  1. “Can bake me a cake!” become the new “Make me a sandwich!”

                2. Help, I’m being oppressed!

                  See, there’s proof libertarians are anti-gay! /Alternet

                3. Help, I’m being oppressed!

                  It is the violence inherent in the system.

              4. Micro-aggressing and othering are my specialty, so no.

              5. Also, I believe “up your ass” is no longer acceptable terminology In the LGBTQWERTY community… We should be using “butt fucking” instead, and never as a pejorative…

                Side note, my phone’s autocorrect had some interesting suggestions to complete the phrase butt fucking…

                Butt fuckin’eh
                Butt fuckery

          4. Good call Rhywun. Totally agree.

        3. Something in the genetics, I guess. Only reason the commies hold on for so long, the willingness of citizens to sell each other out.

      3. I’d like to see the local reporters covering such stories ask the snitches why they like to snitch on their neighbors.

    2. taxation

      the ‘majority of the public’ supports the tax code?

      wealth redistribution

      *citation needed

      food regulation

      to include swat raids of amish dairy farmers?

      farm subsidies

      *another citation needed
      When exactly did the public vote on Net Neutrality, ethanol subsidies, obamacare, etc, etc, etc…many if not all of which had heavy corporate influence.

      1. They do it every 2 to 4 years, and in-between by not making a peep when those policies are put in practice.

      2. the ‘majority of the public’ supports the tax code?
        Absolutely. As I said, people may disagree on the details, but go out and try to find someone who thinks taxation should be abolished. I don’t think zero taxation even holds majority support among the H&R commentariat.

        wealth redistribution
        Almost every poor person. Almost every old person. Almost every Democrat. And most Republicans. Again, go out and try to find someone who thinks Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security should all be abolished.

        to include swat raids of amish dairy farmers?
        It’s easy to convince the average FDA supporter that SWAT raids of dairy farmers are isolated incidents that are bound to occur, but not indicative of a fundamental abuse of power, when people flaunt regulations that are put in place to ensure the safety of our food supply. Americans are utilitarians. They don’t care if a few farmers are sacrificed for the sake of society.

        farm subsidies
        Again, details. Americans might disagree on which crops in which states should be subsidized, but they all think that it’s necessary to have government’s metaphorical thumb on the scales of production in order to stabilize local economies and keep grocery stores stocked.

        1. they all think that it’s necessary to have government’s metaphorical thumb on the scales of production in order to stabilize local economies and keep grocery stores stocked make their food more expensive and put millions of dollars into rich farmers’ pockets

          Or they would if the government didn’t cleverly conceal the actual purpose of such programs from the voters.

          1. …would NOT…

          2. …would NOT…

            1. Geez.

              We heard you the first time.

          3. The actual purpose of such programs *is* to stabilize local economies and keep grocery stores stocked. I guarantee that even the executives of large agriculture companies who benefit from the subsidies truly believe that the handouts they receive are serving the greater good. Or at the very least, they think their subsidies are payback for the taxes they pay that go to other subsidies.

            And the politicans think the same. They might be wined and dined by corporations into supporting one crop over another, but they’re going to pick something. We’re not talking about intelligent, conniving people here. 99% of the senators, representatives, governors and presidents are as dumb as the people who elected them.

            1. The actual purpose of such programs *is* to stabilize local economies and keep grocery stores stocked.

              No, the actual purpose is to buy votes. There is nothing special about “agriculture” that requires communist policies to prop it up.

              1. Around my area, there are quite a few farmers who own land for the express purpose of planting whatever the federal government is paying farmers to NOT plant every season.

                They essentially bought land so that the government would pay them to let it sit unused, forever.

                Are you trying to tell me, X4, that this is somehow helping to increase the food supply?

                I sell to most of the farmers around my area. About six months ago, I was discussing a corn harvest with one of my best customers. He was explaining to me that he makes more money selling his crops to the government for ethanol production than he does to the food distributors.

                I couldn’t fault his desire to make more money, but in NO WAY does a huge corn crop getting uselessly dumped into fuel tanks increase the quality or quantity of the food supply. And this is, I came to learn, common of many farmers around the area.

                Farm subsidies hurt the food supply. Badly.

            2. There is nothing special about “agriculture” that requires communist policies to prop it up.

              Of course there’s not. Nor is there anything special about drugs that requires banning them to protect us from morphine epidemic. Nor is there anything special about people with handicapped tags that requires saving them a few extra feet of walking. Nor is there anything special about gas station attendants that requires banning self-service to keep them employed.

              The government does these things not because it has to, or even because it ought to, but because voters think it has to or ought to. We’d be living in a minarchy or anarchy if most people weren’t utilitarian statists.

              1. Your point about the public being comprised of utilitarian statists is absolutely spot on. Everyone seems to want what he or she thinks is best for the “common good”; the means to effectuate the end goal, and the impact they have on individual rights, always gets short shrifted in any conversation about public policy. Coupled with the general acceptance of the precautionary principle, most of the public seems to be OK with ever increasing regulations of all economic activity.

                I think we libertarians are losing the battle. Statism is the norm; we can only chip away at the edges.

            3. Farm subsidies hurt the food supply. Badly.

              Most people don’t know this. Most of the farmers you describe who are sucking off the government’s teet probably don’t even know it. They probably truly believe that government has a legitimate reason for keeping farmland unused (to prop up prices and prevent cutthroat competition perhaps), and that since someone has to own the land and benefit more directly from that policy, it might as well be them.

              1. to prop up prices and prevent cutthroat competition perhaps

                I suppose I would think too that “enriching myself” is a “legitimate” goal if the government is stuffing other people’s money into my pockets for no apprent reason. Not if I was being honest, though.

                1. Most people don’t think that deeply, Rhywun. Even when they do, they rationalize, essentially denying that the real reason they support the policy isn’t because it is moral, but because it leads to personal gain.

                  1. I can’t fault the farmers here for enriching themselves. There’s nothing wrong, really, with going for the best, most lucrative deal.

                    The actualy point to be made here is that if the government didn’t have it’s filthy fucking fingers in our food supply, it wouldn’t even be an issue to begin with.

                    1. I can’t fault the farmers here for enriching themselves. There’s nothing wrong, really, with going for the best, most lucrative deal.

                      I agree, up to a point.

                      Where I disagree is in the context of elections. If the farmers vote for the guy who promises not to cut these subsidies because the other guy wants to do just that, then I can and will fault the farmers.

        2. ” I don’t think zero taxation even holds majority support among the H&R commentariat.”

          Speaking only for myself I don’t think zero taxation is a realistic notion. Killing the personal income tax most certainly is. The personal income tax is a sword of Damocles hanging over every individual’s head. It is deliberately constructed to be just that. List the top five bad ideas our government has had and it is definitely on the list.

          Alternatives to that are discussed here all the time. I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone here other than our despicable lefty trolls who support it.

          1. As a minarchist I can’t exactly support zero taxation, either. And I don’t believe repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment is feasible, even if desirable. Too many politicians want to keep their ability to buy votes in exchange for tax favors, and the federal income tax enables such transactions.

            1. Repealing the 16th Amendment is entirely feasible and desirable, we put a man on the moon for fuck’s sake. Support for the Fair Tax, which includes a repeal of the 16th, is growing.

        3. government’s metaphorical thumb on the scales

          Yes, nothing says fairness like cheating on the actual measure.

      3. When exactly did the public vote on Net Neutrality, ethanol subsidies, obamacare, etc, etc, etc…many if not all of which had heavy corporate influence
        I’ve never met anyone outside this board who opposed net neutrality. The only complaints about ethanol I’ve heard are from people scared that it harms their engines. And there were more than enough free-shit and bleeding-heart supporters of the ACA back when it passed. When exactly did the public not vote for politicians for either explicity advocated these programs or said nothing against them?

        1. *who either*

        2. The only complaints about ethanol I’ve heard

          Okay, now I know this is satire… did you have ear plugs in?

        3. I only know one person, other than myself, that opposes Net Neutrality. As far as I can gather, the only reason he opposes it is because “Fuck Them.”

          While not a terrible reason, I do rather wish he actually knew why they can get fucked.

        4. I have to agree with this, at least as far as the people I’ve known in several communities.

          Hell, most people I know, including my own damn brother who should know better, buy into the overpopulation myth and believe the state has a role to play in regulating production to fight it.

          It’s so depressing.

        5. I’ve never met anyone outside this board who opposed net neutrality.

          Polling has consistently found the majority of Americans opposed. The pro-Net Neutrality people are just very, very loud.

          1. I’ll believe the polls when they stop voting for politicians who fail to eliminate the FCC.

        6. “I’ve never met anyone outside this board who opposed net neutrality”

          Either you’re ignorant or a liar:
          http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/…..Rule-Grows

          1. The cited opposition in that article isn’t against Net Neutrality. It’s against the FCC’s rule that “would allow ISPs to offer premium access to content providers who could afford to pay for it”. They’re complaining that the FCC isn’t going far enough.

        7. Mexicans who pay more for their daily tortillas disagree.

    3. There’s no shadowy cabal of corporate executives mind-controlling the public to do so.

      True. Corporate mavens are as divided along party lines as the general population is.

      Wingnuts think the NWO, the Federal Reserve, Bilderburgers, and so on control them. Moonbats are similar and after 2008 think the “banksters” and oilmen own the country. They are both full of shit.

      1. the Federal Reserve

        Let me make sure I understand your stance on this.

        A giant, world spanning financial institution that has absolute and complete control over the reserve currency of the world and has the ability, at a whim, to inflate or deflate the U.S. dollar to disastrous levels in no possible way controls, manipulates, or abuses the power of government?

        Spiffy.

    4. That’s some pretty shallow ranting there.

      The proof that people are NOT natural control freaks who want zoning, occupational licensing, the drug war, food regulations, etc is that almost all such snitchery is on strangers, not family and friends. Think for a second — if people actually wanted all those outcomes, there would be no need for such laws. The very existence of victimless crimes is proof that they are not popular and natural.

      The problem is government. Once anyone has the power to control others against their wishes, ie victimless crimes, accountability goes out the window and corruption walks in the front door. This window dressing we have called democracy is a joke; once every couple of years, we get one lousy vote to telegraph all our wishes and all our complaints.

      Our natural inclination to MYOB is tempered by the knowledge that cronies are stacking the deck in their favor by trampling on everybody else. Tossing out a few victimless crimes which help some people at other people’s expense is like throwing a few life preservers into a pool of drowning people.

      1. YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!

      2. I see I waited way too long to refresh and want to counter the apparently common theme that people are natural snitches.

        There’s a big difference between snitching on friends and family, and snitching on strangers. If a guy works on cars in his driveway contrary to zoning laws or home association regs, his friends in the neighborhood are highly unlikely to snitch on him, but strangers, or people who don’t like him, will for the very reason I mentioned: government is a zeros-um game. If they have to obey the rules, why should that scofflaw get away with it?

        Compare that to murder, burglary, etc. Friendship and family matter a lot less for these real crimes. Friends and family may take some convincing, they may try to counsel and reform the guy, but they won’t lie for him. Well, depending of course on how much they give a shit for the police and depending on who his victims are — someone who only burgles Bill Gates’ house without harming anyone is more likely to have fans than enemies.

        That’s what I mean when I say people are not natural snitches and do not naturally want government minding other people’s business. But when government throws the the bone of zoning or occupational licensing, they are going to protect that life preserver when a stranger tries to horn in, or someone they know and don’t like or don’t trust.

        1. As I was pointing out upthread, the idea that the kind of people who would turn their neighbors in for victimless crimes are the good guys who will help create real community and solidarity is absurd on it’s face.

          You want community and solidarity? Start be respecting other individuals as autonomous equals. Not by demanding they obey a host of regulations designed to control them and force them into conformity with your values.

        2. That’s what I mean when I say people are not natural snitches and do not naturally want government minding other people’s business.

          I disagree. A good segment of the population wants to control others, and petty regulation is often the best way to do it. These people have a “vision” they wish to consummate, and if it comes at the expense of others’ freedom, then so be it. This kind of arrogance – that I am making the world a better place by cramming my preferences down others’ throats – is quite natural.

          1. And then they pat themselves on the back and scream that others are not being “community minded” when they object to having those preferences rammed down their throat.
            How dare you object to anything a progressive wants, you anti-social asshole?

          2. Earlier in this thread, someone made reference to “human nature”, which is an argument that I frequently use (and for which I am frequently criticized for using). For all of our capacity for love, compassion, kindness, and sympathy/empathy, we also have a propensity to be evil, mean, wicked, and nasty. It’s all part of “human nature”. Some folks are better than others. Some folks are worse. Some folks are naturally inclined to leave others alone and to mind their own business, to live and let live, while others are not.

          3. But most people will only snitch on those who they do not like or do not know. I posit this is because we all have an instinctive understanding that coercive government is a zero-sum game, that if we don’t snitch on the scoff laws while continuing to obey those same petty laws, we know we will lose whatever benefits we get from that same coercive government.

            I believe that without a coercive government to snitch to, most of us wouldn’t do it.

    5. They may not control it outright, but the ROI is fan-tas-tic (75,900%)!

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/…..rations-ge

  5. Does Alternet ever originate writing above the high school essay level? I certainly wouldn’t expect anything more from that eminently predictable cesspool of one-note nannies. Perhaps Richman’s (or Reason’s) offense derives from being similarly predictable, at least on certain subjects — say, immigration.

  6. Libertarian straw men? Can there be any other kind?

    For my whole life I have watched people adhere to philosophies which cannot be justified attack one that is essentially unassailable.

    There is no good case to be made against Liberty. No sound argument against self-ownership. Not a single one.Therefore straw men must be constructed.

    1. Libertarian straw men? Can there be any other kind?

      No, because the folks attacking us might have to learn something about us. That’s asking too much of them.

      1. Leftists don’t know anything about Libertarianism because they don’t have to. The media, the schools, the colleges, the popular culture all tend to have a leftist point of view. In that sort of enviroment leftists, or progressives can basically insulate themselves from other points of views. Libertarians, Conservatives, etc don’t have that luxury, they’re exposed to progressivism whether they want to or not.

        Libertarians, and Conservatives understand Progressives far better then Progressives understand Libertarians, or Conservatives.

        1. Yes, it’s the easy way out.

        2. And to add to my previous comment there isn’t really anyway to explain that to a progressive, anymore then you can explain to a fish that it’s wet. It’s the only enviroment they know.

          1. What if you called it prog privilege? They could probably understand that. They might deny it exist, but they’d at least understand the concept.

            1. Thats not a bad idea, use their own language against them.

              1. Ha, yeah. “Why are you progressives othering me?!”

        3. I’d agree with that. I was listening to a piece on NPR the other day and they were throwing out a left wing argument without any consideration of any other side. About halfway through it dawned on me they had probably never had any exposure to any ideas other than the extreme left wing.

          1. About halfway through it dawned on me they had probably never had any exposure to any ideas other than the extreme left wing.

            Well, what do you want? The far left view, or the left view? OK, how about the statist view?

            /NPR correspondent

        4. This reminds me of a story I told here once, a long while ago.

          I had a customer in my store come in, purchase a few things, and then begin to discuss politics with myself and my co-worker. He was a very conservative man with reasonable views on the scope and power of government. He even agreed about police corruption, for the most part, and we had an excellent conversation for a while.

          At one point, we began discussing freedom in general, and I brought up the fact that I was a libertarian. The man immediately shut up, he eyes widened and he flashed a waxy, thin-lipped smile. Then he turned and basically fled my store. Like I was a monster he had just drudged up from the depths of hell.

          The portrayal of libertarians from non-libertarians is apparently so awful that someone will literally FLEE FROM ME just for being one.

          1. It may have something to do with our willing association with Warty.

          2. One time, I was at a party talking to a girl when a friend walked by and said “He’s a Libertarian.”. She got that same look on her face that RPM described and practically ran away.
            I thought it was pretty funny, and typical of my many experiences with progs; they are very unlikely to consider any other point of view due to the bubble they live in.

    2. “There is no good case to be made against Liberty. No sound argument against self-ownership. Not a single one.Therefore straw men must be constructed.”

      I still struggle when confronted with the “so they should just die/starve?” argument.

      Help me out here.

  7. “You’re not the boss of me” is not a child being childish, but one trying to imitate the adult life he sees around himself, only doing it in from misunderstanding. It is part of growing up.

    A child attempting to be an adult may be misplaced but is a sign of growth.

    An adult craving parental authority over him, on the other hand, is sad and immature.

    The 8 year old screaming “you’re not the boss of me” is showing more maturity and a 40 year old progressive.

    1. More maturity than.

  8. Epic concert celebrating the fight and coming victory, when us children rebels finally win!

    1. Soundtrack chronicling the subsequent robot rebellion

  9. Ignorance is BLISS.

    They keep saying libertarianism is ‘childish’. Though I wonder if they ever realize libertarianism shares a common philosophical lot with classical liberalism; which was the base of The Enlightenment. More so than with Ayn Rand. But since when do left-wing buffoons make such nuanced distinctions, right?

    For me, as I grew (presumably) in wisdom and experience, libertarian principles became part of my world view.

    I remember reading history books written by liberals about classical liberalism in university. The ‘general’ overall tone was ‘it lacked compassion and thus progressive ideals were necessary’. I bought into that for a while.

    Then I grew up.

    1. Oh dear, now you’ve done it: You’ve gone and pissed off the Objectivists. 😉

      1. I thought Objectivists didn’t want to be grouped in with libertarians anyway!

  10. The disasters of reducing life, the governance of affairs, and the distribution of resources to such a shallow standard [viz., “how much money will it bring in?”] leaves wreckage where among the debris one can find human bodies.

    I’d agree, except that the shallow standards are communist, socialist and fascist.

    1. Dead people make great customers. (At least for a govt that loots your estate as they pry open your dead, cold fingers)

    2. Yeah, that one had me scratching my head. What the fuck is he talking about?

      1. He’s saying that, if it weren’t for all the laws and regulations that you libertards want to repeal, private actors would be literally killing people with their products and services.

        1. If we can just sell ONE of our patented Murderboners to everybody in America, we’ll be rich!

      2. He’s talking about the great humanitarians Stalin and Mao.

  11. While Rand is no libertarian, reading Atlas Shrugged was instrumental in my transition from Recovering Democrat (born, raised, and continue to live in Maryland) to promoting freedom for all.

    Ironic that the same people who so hate Big Corp criticize Rand without realizing that her villains are very people that they hate.

    1. I hope you enjoyed your day yesterday!

      Ironic that the same people who so hate Big Corp criticize Rand without realizing that her villains are very people that they hate.

      That’s because they want power. As I like to say about campaign finance “reform”, Big Government has enormous ability to fuck up people’s lives. It’s therefor only natural tha people will go to great lengths to ensure that Big Government is fucking up somebody else’s life. And yet a whole lot of people think the solution is for Big Government to have more power to fuck up people’s lives. Suggest that the solution is to take that power away from Big Government, and they go nuts.

      1. I did enjoy the day, thank you very much. Wore the “Pi Day of the Century” t-shirt that Mrs. Pi got for me.

        Celebrated with pie of the pizza variety for dinner. It was _not_ deep dish.

    2. Just when I think I’m no longer an Objectivist and have embraced some new way to promote liberty, I pick up Atlas Shrugged and try to find a page where at least one of Rand’s caricatures of a statist didn’t turn out to be spot on in 2015. Rand is like a batter with a horrible stance, no power and yet still manages to lead the league in avg.

      1. So Ichiro Suzuki then?

      2. Rand and Orwell experienced communism and cronyism first hand, so while they seem like prophets when you’re reading them, it’s really more like a history lesson.

    3. Oh, hey, lifelong Annapolitan myself, although I’m lookin’ to move within the next five years if I’m lucky.

      I was a libertarian before reading Atlas Shrugged, but reading that book during the Obama reelection campaign and seeing how shockingly accurate it was ( and I mean down to catchphrases being used by Dem pundits and political hacks ) locked it in. Listening to shit that, say, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was saying would bring to mind specific dialogs from the book, almost as if she’d read it herself and was determined to emulate the villains.

      1. Exactly. Rand didn’t really have a good grasp on how to go about constructing an ideal society, but she certainly new who the enemies of that society were.

      2. To be truly amazed, check out some of the shit coming out of France.

  12. The rejection of all rules and regulations, and the belief that everyone should have the ability to do whatever they want, is not rebellion or dissent. It is infantile na?vet?.

    That is a devastating critique of an ideology that I’ve never heard advocated.

  13. “Contrary to the libertarians, I say it’s *not OK* to turn orphans into soup.”

    1. What I do at my private monocle factory on my own time is my business. #orphansoupisdelicious

      1. Especially when the orphans are tender, and the tomatoes are ripe.

        1. So you had to braise them for like 8 hours to get them tender enough, right? Because otherwise you didn’t work them hard enough before they expired.

          1. I think you missed Step 2. Cover with meat tenderizer, and Step 3. Run through a wood chipper.

        2. “Spirit of Christmas Present: [quoting Scrooge] Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses? Are there no orphan soup kitchens?”

  14. OT: Orlando Figes’ “The Crimean War” popped up as a recommendation in my goodread’s feed. I’ve Figes before, but I’m drawing a blank on what the opinions of his work were. Anyone out there know about him and his work?

    1. In his “A People’s Tragedy…”, he spends an inordinate amount of ink trying to show that the commie reign of death was really a sort of a personality failure of certain people rather than structural to the commie religion.
      And, yes, I mean ‘religion’; jealous god and all.

      1. Great. Thanks!

  15. Speaking of progressive-communist-socialists, it used to be argued that communists in France and Italy during the post-WWII era (especially interesting in Italy where there was an economic miracle taking place) were not the ‘same’ as the totalitarian variant found in the Soviet Union. That it was a ‘soft communism’ to the extent it was democratic in the Western tradition. Somehow it disassociated itself with the murderous rapture of such an ideology. On some level, I suppose this was true.

    But in the end, it all shares the same common trait: The need to control others. And to exert control over free people, you need to apply coercion. To what degree this is taken is very much up for debate or chance (depending who gets into power, public apathy etc.)

    That’s why here in Canada I ignore the NDP and all their progressive sweet talking. For me, if I follow their logic to its end, I see nothing but the submission of individual liberty to the collective.

    1. But in the end, it all shares the same common trait: The need to control others.

      Yes, they’re all the same at their roots.

      Hayek said in The Road to Serfdom that this is why Communists and Facsists hated each other as much as they did. They were competing for the same followers, because at the heart the two philosophies were the same.

    2. There really isn’t a “soft” variant of collectivism, I think. It’s just how long you take to get the frog to boil. If your political system is predicated on using force to take private property and imprison or kill people who resist, you don’t get to claim a moral high ground of any sort.

      1. I agree. To borrow another example from Canada, particularly in Quebec.

        It goes something like this. ‘We trample on civil liberties because we need to protect our culture. Ergo punitive measures against others are necessary but it’s okay because DEMOCRATIC!’

        1. Ergo punitive measures against others are necessary but it’s okay because DEMOCRATIC!

          Nice! Everything is justified then.

      2. Perfectly put wwhorton.

      3. I disagree. We all believe, in our heart of hearts, that we know better than our neighbors. The question is what we are willing to do in order to get them to comply. A libertarian is unwilling to go beyond persuasion except in preventing force or fraud (there is obviously quite a bit of disagreement about where those lines are drawn).
        A soft collectivist is willing to use force, provided it doesn’t make him feel icky. (That’s actually a pretty useful restraint, and is the reasons that civil disobedience works in western democracies – it confronts people with the raw violence that is a necessary component of any law)
        Hard collectivists are willing to use any amount of force necessary to achieve their aims, indeed for the hard-core Communists, Fascists, and orher assorted theocrats, it sometimes seems that the violence is the point, and the philosophical trappings merely the excuse.
        Obviously there is a danger that a soft collectivist will become a hard collectivist when sufficiently frustrated (at, say, obstrukshunust Rethuglicans preventing universal healthcare), but you only have to read a few morning links comments to see at the temptation (if not the intent) to use violence against one’s political opponents is alive and well even in the depths of the Libertarian basement. It’s just part of being human.

    3. Communism worked in Italy because it doesn’t matter what name you give to a government that everyone ignores.

      1. To the best of my knowledge Communism never ‘worked’ in Italy. The most the Communists ever got in a national election was about 30%. Although Communists controlled some municipal governments, they never controlled the nation. The Mafia probably had more power in Italy than the Communists ever did.

    4. That it was a ‘soft communism’ to the extent it was democratic in the Western tradition. Somehow it disassociated itself with the murderous rapture of such an ideology. On some level, I suppose this was true.

      But, my guess is most of the other communisms were “soft” communisms. At least at first. I mean, I doubt the average Russian communist in 1917 was playing with his pud thinking about lining people up to be shot. He was probably thinking of all the good he could do. The thing is, people proved not to fit so neatly into the little boxes he wanted to fit them in. At that point, there’s two options. He can let up on the softness or he can let up on the communism. And he’d better be ready to fight if its the former. Because there’ll be no shortage of bigger bigger bastards than him willing to “do what was necessary”.

  16. Really, is Salon even worth rebutting at this point? It’s hard to believe anyone takes them seriously anymore.

    1. Oops, I guess I meant Alternet – same thing, even more so.

  17. 2) demand repeal of corporate privileges and subsidies before the repeal of programs for the least well-off…

    What exactly is the author going for with this point? Is this an effective counter to:

    By advocating for the removal of all social programs, libertarians are not rebelling, as much as they are reinforcing the prevailing ethos of “bootstrap” capitalism.

    Quit trying to equivocate. Just say, “yes, libertarians believe in bootstrap capitalism”.

    1. 3) do not believe that poor people are generally responsible for their own plight. The least well-off deserve sympathy for being victims of the ruling class…

      Oh, wait a minute. You really do believe this nonsense. I don’t understand how you can be a libertarian if you believe people are generally not responsible for their own lives.

      1. If they’re victims of the “ruling class”, then why don’t we kick the “ruling class” to the curb?

        Wait, the ruling class is corrupt and evil politicians that pay lip service to my political ideal? MORE POWER!

      2. I do appreciate a certain amount of this.

        One of the problems with the army of straw men we’re usually confronted with is that it distracts away from some of the assailable positions we really do defend.

        I’d rather suffer more 9/11s than do away with the Fourth Amendment and suffer the Patriot Act, and Obama’s NSA. I’m not saying there necessarily would be more 9/11s if the government respected our Fourth Amendment rights, but even if there were, I’d support keeping the Fourth Amendment anyway–because I have a qualitative preference for more freedom despite that risk.

        I feel the same way about a lot of things.

        I’d rather have more armed robberies even IF IF IF getting rid of the Second Amendment meant that. I’d rather keep Fifth Amendment protections for accused criminals–even if keeping the Fifth Amendment meant campus rapists sometimes get away. I’d rather keep First Amendment protections even if some idiots use their speech to antagonize Islamist extremists. And that’s just the beginning of the list.

        Why do they make up straw men? Why not come after me/us for positions like that?

      3. I remain convinced that Republicans don’t hate us because of our stance on civil rights. The Republicans hate libertarians because we make them look like a bunch of phonies on capitalism. Likewise, the Democrats don’t hate because of our stance on capitalism. The Democrats hate us because we make them look like a bunch of phonies on civil rights (Again, see Barack Obama on gay marriage).

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5L2LMJcRIg

        In other words, the progressives make up straw men, and don’t come after us on our civil rights positions–because we expose them as frauds on civil rights. They’re just as anxious to deny us our civil rights as anybody–and if you look at the Obama Administration’s treatment of the Fourth Amendment, you’ll see that they don’t even have a different shopping list. The progressives are just as quick to violate our civil rights as anybody, they’re just as quick to use scare tactics to do it, and every time they come after us on those positions, it exposes them as frauds on civil rights.

        Much better to build an army of straw men.

  18. It’s demeaning to even have to argue with something posted at Alternet.

    1. It’s like praising your child for not playing with his own shit.

      1. Wasn’t there a survey that said something about 9 out of 10 millennials believe they should be praised for not playing with their shit?

  19. Libertarians favor an environment in which the widest variety of communities may freely be organized?but they believe that only voluntary communities are legitimate communities.

    Does this mean that for a law to take effect, for example a zoning law forbidding brothels within a mile of schools, there must be one hundred percent unanimity. This does not seem practical. It is also ignorant of actual human behavior. Why would hundreds or thousands of people continue to allow their desires to be impeded by one petty jackass?

    1. Oh, the horrors of a society in which it is no longer possible to forbid someone from operating a business that caters to consenting adults, just because you find it offensive.

      1. Oh, the horrors of a society in which it is no longer possible to forbid someone from operating a business that caters to consenting adults, just because you find it offensive.

        So, you are in favor of complete unanimity. Or, you felt compelled to display your moral superiority. The example was irrelevant, my point was practicality. You can not just go with what sounds right or makes you feel good (morally superior). Actual human nature has to be taken into account.

        1. Yes, it would be so horrible for the law to conform to what is morally right and prevent people from violating other people’s rights.

          1. Yes, it would be so horrible for the law to conform to what is morally right and prevent people from violating other people’s rights.

            You use the word “rights” as if it was a real thing like gravity or electromagnetism and not just an arbitrary human construct.

            1. “You use the word “rights” as if it was a real thing like gravity or electromagnetism and not just an arbitrary human construct.”

              I’m glad you said that. You’ve got it perfectly backwards.

              The law is an arbitrary human construct.

              Our rights are reality.

              When reality comes into conflict with an illusion, it’s the illusion that disappears.

              For instance, the State of Alabama said that Rosa Parks didn’t have the right to sit in the front of a public bus. Rosa Parks said she did.

              Jim Crow was an illusion. It’s Rosa Parks’ rights that were real.

              Our rights, I believe, emerged out of an evolution process–much like the same process that created language. When societies that feature individual rights more prominently (like the U.S. and the U.K.) came into conflict with societies that did everything they could to undermine them (Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, the USSR), the societies that featured rights more prominently dumped the societies that didn’t feature them, smoldering, on the ash heap of history.

              It’s true that governments can go a long time ignoring the reality of people’s rights sometimes. But even a society like China’s saw that it had to move to an economic system where individuals had the right to make economic choices for themselves if it wanted to survive. That is to say, even the CCP had to face the reality of people’s right and move away from the fantasy that they somehow only exist if the government says so.

            2. They are an arbitrary human construct that enables us to live in peace with each other as autonomous equals.

              Why should the “majority” get to prevent an individual from doing something that harms nobody? They shouldn’t. End of story. If the individual is violating someone’s rights then others can step in and stop him. But they can’t just stop him because they don’t LIKE what he’s doing.

              1. They may be a human construct, but they’re not arbitrary.

                When you violate people’s rights, cross culturally, certain things start to happen.

                The law is an arbitrary human construct.

                It can evolve in harmony with the reality of our rights, in which case it remains. I believe the law’s legitimacy (acceptability to average people) stems from being in harmony with the reality of our rights.

                When the arbitrary human construct of law moves into conflict with the reality of our rights, the law loses legitimacy and is eventually repealed or replaced or a much higher level of law enforcement is required to keep it that way.

                An example would be the Drug War.

                The idea that the government can arbitrarily stop people from consuming certain substances is a fantasy. The reality is that people have the right to make a choice to consume these things if they want to.

                The law is a fiction when it is in conflict with the reality of our rights, and the only time the law isn’t a fiction is when it is in harmony with the reality of our rights.

                1. true. Abritrary is the wrong word. They are very carefully chosen to create a just society of equals.

              2. But they can’t just stop him because they don’t LIKE what he’s doing.

                Yes they can. Why should we care if you don’t like it? We are stronger, what do we care of your moral judgments. I understand that you are attempting to use persuasion to manipulate me so that your desires prevail. However, your attempt is ineffective and I will throw my strength behind your opposition. I only seek what benefits me and avoid what harms me. I am not yet sensitive enough where your disapproval causes me great discomfort.

                1. I think it’s great that you’ve being honest about that.

                  If you’re gonna be a brute, you should be honest about it.

                  We’re certainly going to be honest about what you are.

                  It’s actually unreasonable to expect us to pretend you’re somethings else.

                  But understand that most progressives aren’t being honest about being brutes.

                  They imagine they’re being brutes for the suffering masses, and they expect us to pretend right along with them.

                2. bluff|3.15.15 @ 12:15PM|#
                  …”We are stronger, what do we care of your moral judgments.”…

                  Real fan of that guy Stalin, are you? Hitler a real hero?

                3. Why should we care if you don’t like it? We are stronger, what do we care of your moral judgments.

                  So, might makes right?

                  1. So, might makes right?

                    This is the ultimate principle undergirding pretty much every progressive response, which simply reveals that the ideology isn’t one based on ethics, but something else altogether.

                    1. Yes, and they think we’re the ones who are selfish.
                      We want to respect the rights of everyone and let society evolve from that. They want to trample other people to get the kind of society they want.

                    2. Nothing says “I love and care about you” like shooting you and stealing your property.

                4. Why should we care if you don’t like it? We are stronger, what do we care of your moral judgments.

                  And if life were a one-time thing, you might have a point. But, it’s not. It’s an iterative game.

                  So, this time you were able to summon more force. What about next time? Or the time after that? Eventually, you’re going to find you’re the one who needs the other guy to refrain from pressing his advantage.

                  Lots of luck with that when you’ve thrown out the basis for that.

            3. Yeah, like “murder”.

        2. No, it doesn’t require unanimity.

          Libertarians like to argue with each other so much because once we agree that everyone should be free to make choices for themselves, we don’t really have to agree on much of anything else.

          I suspect a more libertarian local government would be less likely to relegate strip clubs to the industrial section of town over by the airport.

          On the other hand, do you have any idea how far we are away from the decisions of where strip clubs should be allowed are made by libertarians?

          Our influence has been profound–particularly in the areas of gay marriage and marijuana legalization. But we’re not about to take over your town and deregulate you out of existence. Unless you happen to live in certain parts of New Hampshire, our influence is mostly intellectual. We’re espousing a more tolerant ideology than a lot of people think they’re capable of–but we’ve seen worse.

          Two and a half years ago, Barack Obama’s official position on gay marriage was that, “Marriage is between a man and a woman”.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5L2LMJcRIg

          This is the extent of our influence. We influence the debate. We change people’s minds.

          The purpose of libertarianism isn’t to seize the levers of power and inflict libertarian doctrine on America from above. That’s what progressives want to do.

          Mostly what we do is argue, persuade, ridicule, and expose.

          …which is scary to a lot of people, I know.

    2. So, this brothel you suggest. . .I’m curious.

      Does it advertise as a brothel on the outside? Does it have a huge glowing neon sign of massive jiggling tits over the words “HUGE HONKING WHORE HOUSE”? Are there naked women patrolling the sidewalk in front of the place, ready and waiting to suck in a vulnerable child and do unspeakable things to them?

      Or is it just a normal business, indistinguishable from any other small local business, and not causing any harm? Because I just can’t see a huge gaudy whore house displaying itself prominently and audaciously directly across the street from a school (except maybe a high school) managing any business at all. It would quickly be shunned by the community at large and go out of business.

      OR, and this is a big idea, parents could get back all the money they spent on that particular school (perhaps in the form of a voucher?) and send them to a different school? Choice and all that?

      Or are these questions too much for you to answer?

      1. OR, and this is a big idea, parents could get back all the money they spent on that particular school (perhaps in the form of a voucher?) and send them to a different school? Choice and all that?

        Brothel Owner: Okay, my first brothel, which I opened next to a public school, was immensly successful. Must have been all those stay at home dads. I think I will open my next one next to that private school on the other side of town.

        Or is it just a normal business, indistinguishable from any other small local business, and not causing any harm?

        Are not the local residents in the best position to judge if there is any “harm”. Perhaps you are right and someone like you, a non-resident who lives a thousand miles away, should make that assessment?

        1. bluff:

          Are not the local residents in the best position to judge if there is any “harm”. Perhaps you are right and someone like you, a non-resident who lives a thousand miles away, should make that assessment?

          This would be a more compelling argument if progressives actually proposed more respect for federalism, with less federal power and decision making, with more power being assumed by states and local governments. But, they don’t.

          Behind this statement is an implicit assumption that decisions are best regulated by the people actually involved in the decisions, as they impact individuals and locales differently.

          However, since most of the programs and policies progressives are most fond of involve “people thousands of miles away” making decisions for everyone, it seems kind of a moot point.

          Libertarians realize that, if you take the limit as power dispersion goes to infinity, you get federal and state governments that do a lot less, leaving more to individuals and communities to solve their own problems. Which, at this point, progressives usually start screaming like children that civilization will collapse, or something.

          It’s funny to me that progressives justify overreaching federal programs that give people no choices, regardless of their circumstances, and justify this by examples of a person operating a metal smelter in a residential neighborhood, despite the protests of his neighbors, or something like that.

          1. What he said, too.

        2. Well, 1) I wouldn’t have a problem sending my child to school in Whorington. There’s nothing bad about prostitution in my eyes, and I don’t believe any harm would come to them.

          And 2) The local residents can judge by shopping at the business. If there’s a market for Schoolside Whores then so be it. I guess the local population has voted with their wallets and dongs. Don’t like it? Move.

          1. And 2) The local residents can judge by shopping at the business. If there’s a market for Schoolside Whores then so be it. I guess the local population has voted with their wallets and dongs.

            What motorized vehicles don’t exist outside of Whorington? I, myself take a bus from three towns over to frequent Schoolside Whores. Not only because of the reasonable prices and friendly service but also because of the outdoor deck where I can bang whores in front of the students during recess. I also like to proposition the mothers as they drop their children off.

            1. Now where on earth do we get the idea that progressives don’t argue in good faith, I ask you.

              1. Well, maybe because none of them ever do.

              2. Now where on earth do we get the idea that progressives don’t argue in good faith, I ask you.

                You are not being fair:

                RussianPrimeMinister|3.15.15 @ 12:32PM|

                Don’t like it? Move.

                I was purposelessly being excessive to this glib comment.

                1. You know how often progressives have used the “love it or leave it” line?

                  And, usually after going on a whinefest themselves about how plutocrats are destroying this country?

                  The lack of self-reflection is quite humorous. Apparently, all of their preferences are rules that all reasonable people should live by, its a complete tragedy that they can’t get those rules exactly to their own liking, and anyone who doesn’t agree should just leave the country, or else they probably, secretly love the status quo results.

                  It’s mind boggling, really.

            2. Holy fucking shit, this whorehouse is so successful that they’ve got fat useless fucks like you actually bussing their asses from three towns over to do business with them?

              I’d bet just about anything that the business being drawn into th town is making everybody in the county as happy as hell. Except for a few pearl-clutching soccer moms who can’t imagine that whoring is a proper job for a woman and want to bring the iron fist of government down on them.

              Son of a bitch, I’d LOVE to see a whorehouse get so big that they litterally have to bring their clents in by the bus load. It would probably be one of the cleanest most repectable places you’d ever find.

              1. I’d bet just about anything that the business being drawn into th town is making everybody in the county as happy as hell.

                Hmm, now I remember reading something knocking this argument somewhere … oh yes it was this very article:

                I and the libertarians I know would agree. It’s another gross caricature to hold that libertarians reduce all of life to money. Certainly the libertarians influenced by the Austrian school of economics would laugh at this notion.

                1. happy as hell

                  reduce all of life to money

                  Money =/= Happiness.

                  And I can’t help but notice that you haven’t actually stated a single, actual downside to any of this. You’ve just gone of a binge of randomly pointing at things I’ve said and going “look, look at the evil libertarian” as if there were some kind of weight to your petulant whining argument.

                  1. happy as hell
                    reduce all of life to money
                    Money =/= Happiness..

                    Is this really your response? I can understand why you mixed in the insults with such a weak post.

                    Just to be clear:

                    I’d bet just about anything that the business being drawn into th town is making everybody in the county as happy as hell.

                    This happiness that everybody in town is experiencing has nothing to do with money? Perhaps it is the exclusive discount on handjobs that residents of Whorington get at Schoolside Whores.

                    1. Perhaps it is, perhaps it is.

                      Still don’t see your argument against the whorehouse eixisting where it is, though.

                    2. Still don’t see your argument against the whorehouse eixisting where it is, though.

                      I don’t have an argument against the whorehouse. I was trying, probably not doing a good job, to show that it is impractical to think that residents would passively accept a whorehouse opening next to their children’s school. If the residents have no legal recourse they will begin undertaking acts of property damage and anonymous threats, escalating till a definitive resolution. People, including myself, can be extremely petty and vindictive.

                    3. “If the residents have no legal recourse they will begin undertaking acts of property damage and anonymous threats, escalating till a definitive resolution.”

                      Numerous contradictions to this assumption exist.

                    4. However, that is quite an insight into the nature of the state:

                      “Government: we’ll be violent, so you don’t have to.”

                      Not exactly the catch phrase I’d get behind for a movement, but no one faults statists for creativity.

                    5. “Government: we’ll be violent, so you don’t have to.”

                      I thought this was at least half the reason for the existence of the criminal justice system. Understanding a human’s natural need for vengeance and trying to quench it in the least destructive manner or at least in an orderly manner.

                    6. I like the way your phrased that. At least we’re not pretending it’s “social justice” or some other sort of rubbish.

                    7. Wait. . .THAT was your point?

                      You were trying to say, in the dumbest and most roundabout way possible, that people who don’t like things and can’t get them banned will just wreck said things out of spite?

                      Er. . .good. Good. Yes. Very good point.

                      Now. . .please. . .WHY were you making this point? Nothing about this conversation has indicated why that matters, seeing as how violent people wiling to tear down and destroy private property because they just don’t like it are not new and will always be around, regulation or no.

                    8. Now. . .please. . .WHY were you making this point?

                      I don’t remember. It was probably something profound. Let’s just say it had something to do with the greater good. Better yet, it was a homage to Spock and his famous phrase, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”. No, now I remember I was trying to argue that with great power comes great responsibility.

                    9. I was trying to argue that with great power comes great responsibility.

                      And handjobs. I luvs me some handjobs.

                    10. The doctor or the Vulcan?

        3. If harm is being done, sue the brothel for damages.
          End of story.

          You don’t get to shut people down who aren’t doing anyone any harm.

          I find it amazing that progressive think this is an example of BAD thing about a libertarian society. The inability to penalize people for doing harmless things you happen not to like.

          1. You don’t get to shut people down who aren’t doing anyone any harm.

            You hate democracy Hazel – there’s just no way to sugarcoat that.

        4. I actually live around the corner from a brothel with my wife and kids. Recently it was shut down due in part to the local progressive Supervisor. After we had lived here for a couple years I pointed it out to my wife. She laughed and said “don’t you go there now”. I have always had a live and let live philosophy, but didn’t really get the economic arguments of libertarians unil I was in my early 30’s.

  20. Well, you aren’t the boss of me!

  21. “Opposition to any conception of the public interest and common good, and the consistent rejection of any opportunity to organize communities in the interest of solidarity, ”

    So someone who got a job in government, either elected or hired, should force people to associate with others that that person thinks they should associate with, even if it isn’t who they want to associate with, is a common good ?

    It always boggles my mind when I think that there are actually people who think that hiring, or electing, their next door neighbor to tell them what to do and how to live, is a good thing.

    1. This commentariat is a community…created by libertarians…ergo he is fucking wrong.

  22. Progressives seem to think that true community can only exist when everyone else knuckles under and does what they are told.

    Libertarians realize that true community can only exist when everyone starts from the position that other people are free and autonomous equals. Only then is it possible to negotiate social contracts that are genuinely mutually beneficial. Only then is it possible to have real solidarity. Once you start demanding that some people simply obey others demands, there is no longer any mutuality, and no longer any true solidarity. Only people who command and people who obey.

    1. Progressives are just coming to grips with their own narrarative. They fancy themselves as rebels themselves (see OWS). However, despite their claimed maturity, when a protest movement involves youth taking shits on police cars with practically no coherent policy advocacy beyond student loan forgiveness, they’re forced to admit that, yes, progressives ARE the establishment. They are the man, and the status quo.

      So, naturally, in this context, rebellion against the establishment is just childishness that has no place in adult policy conversation. Because thy know that they’re the real rebels, regardless of the establishment they worship.

  23. “The rejection of all rules and regulations, and the belief that everyone should have the ability to do whatever they want, is not rebellion or dissent. It is infantile na?vet?.”

    A right is the right to make a choice.

    If government has any legitimate function at all, it is to protect our rights.

    We have a military to protect our rights from foreign threats.

    We have a police force to protect our rights from criminals. Rape is criminal because the victim doesn’t get to make a choice.

    We have a civil court system to protect our rights from each other and the government.

    We have a criminal court system to protect the rights of accused criminals!

    Everyone has a right to make choices for themselves. Everyone should have a legal right to make choices for themselves.

    There isn’t anything naive about any of that.

    What’s naive is progressives using the government to impose their choices on the rest of us–because it’s what the people want.

    Why are they so afraid to let us make choices for ourselves?

    Isn’t it because somehow, deep in their hearts, they know so many of us–do not want–what they want?

    Isn’t that why progressives demonize the uneducated, the religious, the blue collar, and the working poor?

    1. Demonize them? Not quite. More like infantize them.

  24. The self-important lefties aren’t burdened by reality. They are the adults in every conversation, and everyone else is a little child who needs to be looked after and taught proper manners.

    1. …And of course, those same lefties haven’t quite come to terms with the fact that life is unfair….and never will, bless them.

    2. “Proper manners” = agreeing with everything a progressive believes.

      1. I would laugh, but the progressives try SO HARD to actually control the language we use and the arguments we’re allowed to make that this is basically true.

        1. They learned it from the Russians.

  25. It’s quite clear that Mr. Masciotra doesn’t understand libertarianism in the least.

  26. [puts on prog hat]

    Libertarians are anarchists!

    Libertarians are just Republicans who want to smoke pot!

    They worship Ayn Rand!

    They think people should be allowed to own machine guns!

    They would get rid of roads and schools! SOMALIA!

    Libertarianism is the velvet glove over the iron fist of racism*!

    Libertarians are selfish and immature!

    Libertarians are all white guys!

    Koch Brothers!

    Corporations are NOT people!

    I can haz job with Alternet now?

    *actual quote from Thom Hartmann

    1. Oops I forgot one:

      Libertarians have Aspergers!

    2. They think people should be allowed to own machine guns!

      Well, we do, don’t we?

      1. And nukes, don’t forget the nukes.

      2. Yes, but I don’t think it’s the top priority.

        Sometimes I hear “nuclear bombs” or “bazookas” substituted for “machine guns”.

        http://platedlizard.blogspot.c…..ainst.html

    3. Damn, I forgot another one:

      LIBERTARIAN WANT TO USE ORPHAN CHILD LABOR IN THEIR MONOCLE FACTORIES!

      1. Only until the monocle polishing robots are perfected to stop breaking the damn things…

  27. I’m a little surprised to see Richman writing against intellectual property. Certainly intellectual property laws have been abused and the current system is not ideal, but the protection of intellectual property would seem to be one of those things important to a Libertarian society. Richman is an author. I imagine he would have a problem with me making a copy of Separating School & State: How to Liberate America’s Families, tacking my own name on it and re-publishing it as my own.

    Libertarianism is a credible philosophy, because it understands the need for at the very least a night watchman state to protect basic liberties. Anarchism is not. It’s a silly, unimplementable, unreachable fantasy that ignores human nature and it’s the anarchist branch that gets Libertarians ridiculed.

    1. I think it’s even worse than that. Try talking to a prog or a socon about repealing some law because it gets broken all the time or is a bad idea for some other reason. I’d bet my last dollar their rebuttal will be something like “well, why don’t we just repeal laws against murder?!”

      For many people, the thought of repealing even 1 law puts us on the slippery slope to anarchy.

      Almost everyone wants freedom for themselves, but they live in fear of what other people might do. That’s why most people’s thinking on laws begins and ends with “bad things might happen, so we need laws.”

      Libertarians are individualists- they tend not to identify strongly with groups. But the vast majority of people are very tribal, and instead of using general principles to decide what is good and bad, their view is whatever helps their tribe is good and whatever does not help it is bad.

      1. Almost everyone wants freedom for themselves, but they live in fear of what other people might do

        ^this^

        Statists and even ordinary run of the mill busy bodies are more worried about what their neighbors are doing to the extent that they would give up their own freedom to prevent the guy across the street from partaking in some activity that they don’t like.

        SoCons and progressives have much more in common with each other than either do with libertarians.

        SoCons will agree with us on economics for the most part and progs will agree with us on legalized cannabis, but the 2 of them will eagerly join forces and gang up on us most of the time.

  28. The reason progs infantilize themselves and others is because they really do think of themselves as children:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8rp-tlgqa4

  29. ‘not to mention contemporary left-libertarians such as Gary Chartier, Roderick Long, Kevin Carson, and Charles Johnson?because to read these thinkers is to realize that for serious liberals and libertarians, community and solidarity are indispensable to human flourishing

    a) who?

    and

    b) I see no difference between ‘left-libertarians’ and Adam Lanza

    1. Left libertarian is an oxymoron.

      You cannot be in favor of a central authority that will micro-manage every aspect of your life from cradle to grave and be a libertarian at the same time.

      These so called leftist libertarians are just too ignorant to know that when you give a government total power, they will take away the things that you like along with all of the stuff that you don’t like. They believe in big benevolent government, IOW they’re fools.

      1. Left libertarians don’t believe in a central authority. Left libertarians think that absent central authority people will naturally organize themselves into voluntary communal or communitarian societies.

        1. ‘voluntary communal or communitarian societies.’

          yes, sure. like Home Owner’s Associations.

          1. HOA’s are a decent example. Some people love them, some people hate them. I’m not against other people buying houses in subdivisions with strong HOAs. Voluntary cooperation. Maybe some people like more stifling social environs.

        2. …people will naturally organize themselves into voluntary communal or communitarian societies.

          But why do they think this? It boggles the mind.

          I think it’s very uncontroversial that different organizational structure work best for different sizes of groups.

          At the family level, authoritarianism often works pretty well.

          Small primitive tribal groups — often extended family units — engage in “communal or communitarian societies,” but that never endures in a society once it reaches the point where not everyone knows and trusts everyone else. It doesn’t even endure well in a society where everyone does know everyone else in the community, but the community as a whole has to deal with the outside world. Invariably.

          Once the natural communitarian tribe falls apart, communism and socialism always — always — have to be maintained by authoritarian force. Always with horrific consequences.

          It’s like anarchists and “left libertarians” can’t think beyond small, isolated groups.

          1. I think it’s very uncontroversial that different organizational structure work best for different sizes of groups.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar‘s_number

            1. Fuck the URL parser on Reason’s comment board.

              Redo: http://is.gd/JOvxCV

          2. Or, like any ‘communal organization’ (aka “Corporation”) that is successful, people start to want to *join* and benefit from their wonderful system.

            At which point the value of their ‘share’ rises, and dilution is highly opposed by those who founded the organization. Class structure emerges, and they devolve into petty oligopolies

            See: Home Owners Associations. Or, “The Failure of Every Utopian Commune, Ever”

            Left Libertarians are even more retarded than the Idealistic Communists who claim its “never really been tried”. While the latter may have a point, the former dont = there is absolutely nothing stopping purely voluntary, communal groups from organizing. They do, all the time, and always follow the same patterns defined by basic self-interest. The only way any illusion of mutual self-interest is maintained is by keeping everyone dirt poor.

            1. And communal societies have endured – just not on the terms that Marxist theory demands.

            2. The only way any illusion of mutual self-interest is maintained is by keeping everyone dirt poor.

  30. I write about Mr Richman’s own straw man arguments about Tax Honesty on my blog “Non taxpayers for Ron Paul”. He claims that when asked about the definition of “includes” in the taxing statutes that courts have said it is a word of enlargement. He also says that tax honesty people “become evasive” and provide “ludicrous arguments” when discussing the use of includes.
    Mr Richman has attended Libertopia meetings in California which features many left-libertarians such as himself, but which also feature tax honesty advoctates, like Larkin Rose, Mark Stevens, the Free Enterprise Society, etc. Did he discuss the meaning of includes with them, and did they become evasive?
    Courts and Title 26 itself say that “includes” is expansive but only within the category being discussed. If the statute says that withholding is defined by a public sector employer (and it does) than any other employer that is not specifically included must also be public sector.
    Since the income tax is a classical liberal tax on public offices, which goes back to William Blackstone’s day in England and was the basis for the American Civil War income tax, it would greatly assist his thesis in this article to embrace tax honesty as a forerunner for eliminating public privileges. If you tax something, you get less of it. Not to mention the ethical obligation to understand the nature of the tax you pay every year through “voluntary compliance and individual self assessment.”

  31. Not sure if some of you here took over the comments section over there, but the majority of the comments are bashing the hell out of the idiot author of that piece of brainless ramblings.

    1. I start feeling like a filthy retard anytime I visit Alternet, so I try not to make a habit of it.

    2. Lot of infantile progressives on that thread, too.

    3. Why did you get me to read the comments? My brain is bleeding out my ears now.

      Especially the comments by that Aldous Huxley fellow… He’s a “small l libertarian” who believes Citizens United should be overturned, and we’re all “LOLbertarians” apparently.

      Just kill me please.

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  33. “…and the consistent rejection of any opportunity to organize communities in the interest of solidarity”

    He slams Ayn Rand and then says this?
    How about reading one of her books asshole.

  34. A well-crafted strawman is a wicker man.

    1. Not the bees!

  35. Richman whines about cheap shots. Apparently he’s never read anything he’s written.

  36. When will such critics finally understand that serious libertarians want to abolish aggression?especially the systemic aggression that defines the state?precisely so that we all may flourish by living fully human lives in fully human communities?

    Never.

    They worship the State as their benefactor, their sufficiency and their strength.

    If you do not worship their god, you’re a heretic and you deserve whatever abuse they can heap upon you.

    Great article, but you’re casting pearls to swine.

  37. Everything that comes out of the Progressive Theocracy is propaganda – words aimed to manipulate for The Cause. Any correspondence to reality is entirely coincidental.

    The point of these straw men articles isn’t the arguments they make against the straw men, it’s the lie that libertarianism consists of such straw men.

    Libertarianism gets a little play in the media. Progressives go through a kabuki dance of “confronting” the evil ideas, to pretend they’re something they’re not. They don’t believe they’re discussing what libertarians actually believe, they just figure they can *get away with it* as long as they stick together and support the lie.

    Do you think Lois Lerner believe the Dog Ate Her Hard Drive? Do you think Obama believed there was Not a Smidgen of Corruption?

    1. Again Mr. Richmond gets close, or exceeds a three hundred count commented post. =)

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  39. Really mature people–you know, like “liberals” (and by “liberals” I mean of course “tax-happy, coercion-addicted, power-tripping State-fellators”)–embrace serfdom! Grow up, you jejeune liberty-addicts, and learn to kiss the hand that holds the whip!

    1. “You should go live in Somalia with the other anarchist libertarians.”

      The writer is responding to a published argument. The ones people throw around otherwise are even more ridiculous.

      “Since your fantasy is to act out some version of Mad Max in this country, I can’t take you seriously.”

      My personal favorite was a friend telling me I need to stay away from people of a libertarian bent, specifically Ron Paul supporters, because they’re crazy and racist. I asked him to provide me some example. He couldn’t find that example in that particular moment (or ever, I guess) but it didn’t shake his faith in the argument. UW should pay that man reparations for what they did to him.

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