Libertarian History/Philosophy

Lessons for the Liberty Movement

Patience and empathy are key to presenting the freedom philosophy effectively.



It goes without saying—I hope—that we libertarians should be patient and empathetic when we talk political economy with non-libertarians. Patience and empathy are generally virtues, of course, but libertarians have an additional reason to practice them in their political lives: they are keys to effectively presenting new ideas.

We ask a lot of people when we ask them to appreciate the merits of our political philosophy. [I'm assuming the goal is persuasion and not mere self-gratification.] We should think back to when we first encountered the philosophy. None of us started out understanding it. We had to read, think, and talk with people more advanced in their understanding than we were. Even a fledgling libertarian who starts out favorably inclined intellectually and emotionally to the philosophy needs time to digest the ideas. I can recall running newly acquired, but not-yet-well-understood, libertarian ideas by friends, parents, and siblings—only to be stumped by their questions and objections. I had to go back to the books or my libertarian teachers for further study and contemplation. The process takes a long time. Leonard Read used to say it takes a lifetime, and I believe him. Keeping this truth in mind will help shape our approach to non-libertarians. Don't underestimate the persuasive power of empathy.

Think what we're asking of non-libertarians. All their lives they (and we) were taught that government is the source of social order. It's easy to believe this because government is so visible. It's got all those big buildings filled with bureaus and people doing things that they say are indispensable to social order. Signs of disorder are easily attributed to nongovernmental sources. [Rising prices associated with inflation are easily blamed on the greed of sellers.] Then we libertarians come along and say it's not so. Perhaps we quote Proudhon (maybe without knowing it was Proudhon who said it): "Liberty is the mother, not the daughter, of order." Are we crazy?

Or perhaps we try to explain what Thomas Paine wrote so beautifully in Right of Man:

Great part of that order which reigns among mankind is not the effect of government. It has its origin in the principles of society and the natural constitution of man. It existed prior to government, and would exist if the formality of government was abolished. The mutual dependence and reciprocal interest which man has upon man, and all the parts of civilised community upon each other, create that great chain of connection which holds it together. The landholder, the farmer, the manufacturer, the merchant, the tradesman, and every occupation, prospers by the aid which each receives from the other, and from the whole. Common interest regulates their concerns, and forms their law; and the laws which common usage ordains, have a greater influence than the laws of government. In fine, society performs for itself almost everything which is ascribed to government. [Emphasis added.]

We can say those things, but why should anyone believe us? If the primacy of liberty were true, people would have heard long before we came along, right? Order without a conscious creator of order? It's counterintuitive. 

Libertarians have a good story to tell, but it's complicated. How many of us breezed through Adam Smith, Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, Milton Friedman, Murray Rothbard, Israel Kirzner, and Henry Hazlitt? [Okay, maybe a few did.] Most people need to hear the story several times before it even begins to make sense and appears worth looking into. But before that can happen we need to get their attention. We need to give them a reason to question their worldview. That's no small task.

The idea of spontaneous, or undesigned, order is crucial to persuading non-libertarians that we are worth listening to. Most people like freedom. They want to live worthwhile lives, and they understand that this requires self-direction. Following a path set by someone else is intrinsically unsatisfying. What holds them back from embracing total freedom is their understandable fear that "too much" freedom would produce chaos. Sure, they value freedom, but they value order too.

"We can't have everyone running around doing whatever they want!" they say. Even if you explain the nonaggression obligation, they may not be fully convinced because they can envision chaos resulting from non-aggressive acts. They grew up believing that the Great Depression—mass long-term unemployment, poverty, hopelessness—was a natural market event that required government intervention to reverse. It's no easy task to scrape away layers of misinformation. It requires patience, and patience requires respect and empathy.

Some libertarians of a deontological bent may not want to cater to people who are apprehensive about the consequences of freedom. These libertarians insist that morality would compel them to favor freedom just as enthusiastically if they expected the worst kind of chaos to result. Of course, they don't think chaos would result, and despite themselves, they spend a good deal of time describing the good consequences of freedom and the bad consequences of government intervention. [That's what economics is for, isn't it?] In the face of bad consequences I'd still favor freedom too—though less enthusiastically—and I would not be hard on people who think consequences matter. We're not likely to get far trying to persuade people to embrace freedom and not worry about how things might actually turn out. [This, by the way, doesn't make me a consequentialist, or utilitarian, however. See "The Moral Case for Freedom Is the Practical Case for Freedom" and "The Consequences of Liberty."]

In the end, the success of the libertarian movement depends a great deal on its advocates. The ideas of course are important, but if libertarians do a bad job of presenting those ideas, most people will never give them a chance. It's up to us.

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

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  1. Most people like freedom. They want to live worthwhile lives, and they understand that this requires self-direction.

    Election results beg to differ with that statement.

  2. Oh shit, the comments section has gone to hell already.

    1. There were two comments by a fellow you don’t like on the thread. “The thread is ruined!”

      Life must be tough for such a delicate flower as yourself.

      1. Good lord, man. There’s twenty comments here and you have like five of them. Pace yourself. You’ll run out of steam by ten!


    1. And here comes the (online) community watchman. Our own Zimmerman. Those punks ain’t gonna get away with trespassing on our community this time!

      1. Here comes Bo. The defender of the downtrodden and misunderstood. Only Bo understands people like Hihn, Tony, PB, and American and their true contribution to the discussion. Jump into the phone booth and change into your super hero suit.

        It’s a bird
        It’s a plane
        It’s Super Pendant.

        1. Ah, my personal stalker appears. Because an obsession isn’t really an obsession without some compulsion to go with it.

          1. Boredom isn’t obsession. But it sure does wind you up that people won’t just shut up and follow your lead. We must all be secret conservatives because we just don’t see the value of a progressive concern troll such as yourself.

        2. I wonder if they all meet up for drinks somewhere. It would be like the Superfriends…but obviously without the positive connotation.

      2. Bo

        Just for the record, while I don’t agree with some of what you post ai enjoy the perspective you bring here.

        1. For the record, I also think its amusing to watch intellectual midgets like Bo try and pick fights with grown-ups.

  4. The political process is a dead-end for what Libertarians are seeking, hence why it’s never worked and never will.

    1. More free shit!

      Utopia by force!

      Mind your own business!

      One of these is not like the other.

      1. The problem with ‘Libertarian politics’ is that the state and its believers will always be the one setting the terms of any political dialogue/debate. “Mind your own business” will never be a core working assumption in this calculus.

    2. The government wants to fight homelessness. The government presupposes homelessness is a choice. The government then designs its program to ‘end homelessness’ based on faulty logic. Thus that false premise leads to its inevitable failure. It was dead before it even began.

      Like pretty much ALL government initiatives. See, this is where it gets weird for libertarians. This is the mindset. It’s the point of origin they start from: Before government: Chaos. After: Order.

      Yes, the state has brought some stability but the history of mankind is BUT about bondage, slavery (debt or otherwise), excessive taxation, war, monarchies, dictatorships etc. The idea of a truly ‘free’ man didn’t come until it was enshrined in the American constitution. The idea is still in its infancy and demands eternal vigilance. The flow of history is against libertarianism.

    3. Never worked for what libertarians are seeking?! Political processes got rid of slavery in most of the world, brought down the Berlin Wall, got air travel deregulated, is making it legal for people to buy & sell marijuana…just little things like those.

      1. “Political processes got rid of slavery in most of the world, brought down the Berlin Wall, got air travel deregulated, is making it legal for people to buy & sell marijuana…just little things like those.”

        It was political processes that created those problems in the first place for the most part.

        I guess we should celebrate the political processes that are finally righting their own wrongs but I can’t get too excited over that.

  5. Patience, my ass. Slavery wasn’t ended by people patiently waiting for it to go away.


    1. Patience, my ass. Slavery wasn’t ended by people patiently waiting for it to go away.

      The institution of slavery went away because it became economically impractical due to technology of the Industrial Revolution.

      Activism/politics had nothing to do with it.

      1. How did it ever become economically impractical to employ people by force? That would still be a swell deal for employers today if they could get away with it.

    2. -1 armchair abolitionists

  6. I like Richman for his ability to get the right wingers here into a tizzy, but a guy who compares a soldier to Adam Lanza should probably not lecture others on being patient and empathetic when debating our ideas.

    1. One insufferable twit likes another for being insufferable!
      Surprise, surprise!

    2. Hint to Bo; when someone asserts something that is batshit crazy they probably aren’t worth listening to. Perhaps the ‘right wingers'(*snicker*) are on to something.

      Also, keep up the ‘you are all closet republicans and right wingers’ crap and you sound just like shreek.

      1. Shreek and Bo both share the same problem: they have to constantly try to tear down other people to fuel their own egos. They think that getting an emotional reaction makes them correct and superior to the people they insult. It’s just a vapid narcissistic feedback loop.

        1. Everyone who criticizes the right is basically the same for John.

          1. Yes Bo, your constant attempts to collectively smear people who disagree with you as ‘right wingers’ and grandiose sense of self importance (and complete unwillingness to recognize your own character flaws) is in no way similar to Buttplug, nor does this behaviour reveal your obvious self-esteem and social interaction problems.

            You just keep beating that strawman there buddy.

            1. Of course not everyone who disagrees with me is a right winger. But a lot are.

              Episarch is clearly not a right winger, but that guy hates me (and most people I’d bet).

              But it’s plain that there’s an odd number of right leaning commenters here, which is especially odd since Reason is pretty well known as a left leaning libertarian magazine (‘cosmo’ to its detractors).
              And it’s just laughingly obvious: check out any thread on immigration, abortion or same sex marriage, to name a few. You’ll see 50/50 splits in the comments quite often when you’ll see no such split among Reason writers.

              1. There is no “libertarian” position on abortion because no one can define when life that should have rights begins. It’s probably a 60-40 split.

                The only real split on immigration is because of the existing welfare state. the overwhelming majority of commentators are for unrestricted immigration. It’s when the unrestricted immigrants have unrestricted access to our welfare system that some people have issues. If you remove welfare access it might be 90-10 split otherwise I would say 60-40

                SSM is clearly overwhelmingly supported by the commentariat here. The few people that don’t support it also want government out of marriage completely. They don’t want government suppport of marriage for anyone. The few who don’t support SSM are clearly not libertarian anyway or go on rants about nonsense (John).

                I also didn’t notice that Reason writers were the be all of libertarianism. And aren’t you the same asshat who complains about this being an echo chamber when we disagree with the concern trolls who don’t argue in good faith? So as long as everyone toes the Reason party line we would be okay in your eyes? Because comparing Adam Lanza to Chris Kyle is a hill I don’t want to die on.

                1. I wouldn’t say I favor unrestricted immigration, but greatly expanded legal immigration. I won’t buy what either major party is trying to sell.

                2. There is no “libertarian” position…

                  That entire post was golden PFUQ, but I’m afraid it’s wasted on its intended target.

                  1. “That entire post was golden PFUQ, but I’m afraid it’s wasted on its intended target.”

                    Yup, See below.

                3. “There is no “libertarian” position on abortion”

                  Sort of, sort of not. The LP has long had the pro choice position that the government has no place in abortion decisions, but I realize not all libertarians should be held to that standard.

                  “The only real split on immigration is because of the existing welfare state. ”

                  That’s a nice try, but we get all kinds of reason for opposing freedom of movement re immigration here.

                  “SSM is clearly overwhelmingly supported by the commentariat here.”

                  Assumes facts not in evidence….

                  “I also didn’t notice that Reason writers were the be all of libertarianism”

                  They’re not, but it is odd when half of the commentariat consistently disagrees with them.

                  1. The Libertarian Party is not libertarianism.

                    Most of the reasons you get for opposing freedom of movement are government related. The welfare state and becoming defacto citizens head the list.

                    The fact that you don’t see the overwhelming majority of people here support SSM while blasting those that would restrict freedom of association is just sticking your head in your ass so you can make claims not in evidence. We have a small handful of right wing nuts who show up for those threads, John who has lost his mind and Notorious. 90% + of the commentariat support equal rights for gays.

                    This 50% disagreement with Reason writers is in your head along with SoCons and Conservatives in your head you argue with. If you argued in good faith and weren’t such a pedantic asshole you might find people more willing to have a rational discussion with you.

                  2. Libertarian Party perspective

                    The U.S. Libertarian Party political platform (2012) states: “Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.”[17]

                4. Of course there is a position … it is basically the same as trespassing which is determined by the woman in this case.

                  Of course if the trespasser is leaving/being born, that right is cut way down !

                  This is why partial birth abortions are probably murder.

                  1. This argument is about as tired as the ones used by the anti ghey crowd when they argue that the ghey can marry anyone they want of the opposite sex.

                  2. hpearce

                    Only in cases of rape or where the woman (female) was mentally incapable of understanding her situation. Otherwise, the woman is engaging in behavior (unprotected sex) with known consequences. Either accept those consequences or take one of the several availble and effective forms of birth control; the alternative of abortion th violates the NAP.

                    1. unprotected sex … does that include rape.

                      Facing the consequences for one’s action, like getting pregnant, do not necessarily extent to what to do then.

                    2. I wonder if he addressed your point already

                      “Only in cases of rape…..”

                    3. hpearce

                      Please read my post again.

                      Private FUQ

                      Thanks for reading the entire post.

              2. Oh right, I forgot, the people you don’t consider right wingers are ‘psychopathic gamergaters’ or the ‘Offended White Guy Brigade’.

                My, what a complex worldview you have there, one where everyone who disagrees with you is a horrible human being while you are morally righteous. It’s almost like it’s a narcissistic delusion or something.

              3. Are you acknowledging that most people hate you ?

                I don’t. I just find you tedious and repititious.

                And not nearly as smart as you think you are.

          2. Well, I don’t like to call someone a troll because I think the term is overused and too often used to dismiss valid arguments. With that said, in one comment Bo can hijack a thread and make it about whatever ad hom or deliberately insulting or condescending or just typically “bad faith” remark he’s made, and that seems to be a pretty good definition of trolling. He’s actually the worst, if you ask me, because he seems to make a real effort at subtlety. Doesn’t always succeed, mind you, but it’s obvious he’s doing it to get a rise out of people and not because he’s just not very good at phrasing things.

        2. You my good sir win the internet this AM.

      2. Suthenboy, most of the people I’m talking about actually flat out admit they don’t consider themselves libertarians because of some libertarian deviation from current right wing dogma (usually immigration).

        1. Most here, not all, but most are pretty solid advocates for liberty whether they subscribe to the label ‘libertarian’ or not. In fact, I think most here don’t subscribe to any label at all. I don’t think you can find any two people here who agree on everything.

          That confuses most people and I have found that trying to explain it is a waste of time.

          Just stop with the ‘right winger’ crap. It makes it difficult to take you seriously.

    3. “I like Richman for his ability to get the right wingers here into a tizzy”

      See, he basically admits he’s a troll and you guys still argue with him.
      “Let’s fight!” “Them’s fighting words”

  7. The reason I reject Libertarians is because they’re all Republicans. They’re Republican Paul Rand, not Libertarian Gary Johnson. It’s like the DemocratsandRepublicans have been so successful pretending to be two parties, that they have expanded and are now pretending to be three parties.

    Once you are a machine that can absorb all competition, you are a DemocratandRepublican… and you guys suck.

    1. +1 Authentic Frontier Gibberish

      1. Yeah, how could anyone who calls themselves Libertarian have not voted for Bob Barr?

      2. I’m particularly glad these lovely children were here today to hear that speech.

    2. And we’re off

    3. I hate dishwashers cuz they’re all coffee makers.

    4. There’s a few odd libertarian places that seem to have an odd number of vocal conservatives hanging about (like the comments section here), but most libertarian organization would be hard to paint as that way. Are you going to tell me you find Cato, for example, to be Republican? The writers here at Reason? Bleeding Hearts Libertarians? Please.

      1. BOOOOOO !!!!! CARRRAAAA !!!!!

      2. The Cato Institute is no more Republican than the Heritage Foundation.

      3. Bo,

        You don’t think CATO or The writers at have links to right-wing organizations or to the Republican Party?

        1. Cato is more “center right” while Reason tilts more to arch-conservatives who like Mexican ass-sex after smoking pot.

          1. And I like my pot AFTER Mexican ass-sex. So where does that put me?

            1. It puts you in the loser column. You obviously don’t have enough pot to have before and after Mexican ass sex. I also have ghey deep dish pizza after Mexican ass sex.

              1. Oh, and I’m the loser? You only have ghey deep dish pizza, while I have flash-frozen, over-nighted, deep dish pizza.

          2. It’s funny because it used to be the other way around between Reason & Cato.

        2. The comments and writers lean more right because they are being true to the philosophy and not just trying to be edgy party contrarians who don’t share an opinion with anyone from either party. There will be overlap in the Venn diagram of political positions. There is a significant faction on the right who believe in Lockean rights in the Constitution and small government, and there is not as much overlap on the left. Some areas Libertarians share nothing like total legalization of drugs.

          1. “There is a significant faction on the right who believe in Lockean rights in the Constitution and small government”

            Yes, which is why the last time the Right was in power we got such Lockean-rights friendly and small government type projects such as: the invasion of two foreign countries and extensive efforts to occupy/nation build liberal Western type democracies half away around the world; massive expansion in Medicare; the creation of the Department of Homeland Security; the Patriot Act; steady increase in federal expenditures; and the advent of expanded NSA spying.

            The Right seems more friendly right now because they’re the opposition party and the Left has taken up all the projects I just mentioned above. Barring a Paul administration when the Right comes back to power we’ll see it’s devotion to Lockean rights and small government, sure.

            1. Yes, which is why the last time the Right was in power we got such Lockean-rights friendly and small government type projects such as:…

              Which presupposes that ‘republican’ = ‘right’, when in reality many, maybe a majority, of republican politicians associate with that label out of electoral necessity rather than ideological fidelity.

              Besides which, the tea party was largely a reaction of republican voters who felt betrayed by the party establishment.

              1. Fair enough point, I think overall the Tea Party is a good thing with potential for even more good.

    5. yeahr and fuck china also

    6. Well, as an outside observer they may fall into the Republican camp by default or that the party is more open to its ideas as opposed to the wackos in the other party.

      1. Why do we tend to post links from conservative sources so much?

        1. Maybe because conservatives at least pay lip service to Reagan’s notion of smaller govt. Not that they actually do it when they have the chance mind you – but at least they talk about it. That does make them somewhat more akin to libertarians than just about any progressive (who tend to worship the collective and denigrate the individual). Who are you more likely to find amenable to your own views Bo?

          1. In all honesty I tend to see the areas of common agreement from both places. For example, I read ThinkProgress and I read National Review Online. I’m much more likely to find articles critical of police use of force on the former, and I’m much more likely to find articles critical of government spending on the latter.

            I’m really pleasantly surprised how much the articles on ThinkProgress are anti-cop in line with the attitude here.

            1. I prefer MotherJones to ThinkProgress. But lefties are never anti-cop as in seeing a problem with authoritarianism per se – just in the application of it against their client castes.

              1. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Just like the GOP can criticize this or that regulation while having their nominee say ‘regulation is a good thing’ leftists can criticize cops for reasons different than we may focus on. It’s still good that they are agreeing with us that cops can be very, very bad.

                1. Bollocks to that nonsense. Looking to amend the behavior of cops by addressing concerns about racial impact plays well to their base, but it’s worse than useless when it comes to implementing authentic reforms to how police are monitored and punished. Cops may well be racist, or rather, there are certainly very racist cops, but there’s legitimate friction in urban places where crime is endemic. Addressing the institutional problems with overpolicing, especially with reference to the failed drug war, will do much more to rectify that problem than will rooting out racial biases.

                2. That’s the catch Bo – there is no agreement below the surface level you are describing. Start in on why policing is problematic beyond “racism” and you will quickly find out how little agreement there is – and you’ll get denounced for not agreeing with their version of the truth.

                  I’d be happy if we could build better coalitions – left, right, whomever – but the left doesn’t want coalitions they want adherents. I’m just not in the market for that kind of conversion.

            2. 40 yrs. ago I had more to agree w on the “left” than the “right”. By 1980 I was equidistant between them, & by now the “left” has pushed me away completely, while the “right” is at least as attractive as it always was.

              ~20 yrs. ago Don Ernsberger, who’d co-founded the Society for Individual Liberty ~25 yrs. earlier & had expected Democrats & Republicans to be about equally good & bad for liberty, surveyed politicians, & found out that by then Republicans had become incomparably better for liberty than Democrats were. Contrary to his expect’n, Democrats were no better for personal freedoms than Republicans were. Meanwhile Republicans were so much better than Democrats on economic freedom that even the worst Republicans were still slightly better than the best Democrats.

              Since then I sense that the “left-right” sorting of Democrats & Republicans has increased a little, & that the choice for libertarians between them is even more obvious.

              In the USA at this time, political activists of all kinds (not counting the single-issue interests who don’t care much generally) are overwhelmingly opposed to freedom in the “social” realm, although they differ as to what direction the unfreedom should take. However, activists are split between those who’d like much more freedom when it comes to business & those who’d like much less.

      2. ^^This^^

        The democrats have become a collection of not job socialists and nanny state fascists. There is no room to work with them on expanding liberty at all. Even where they claim to be doing so – like SSM their real agenda is grievance mongering and collectivism.

        1. You have to take it issue by issue, and not demand perfection. Democrats, at least rank and file ones, are going to help us make marijuana legal moreso than Republicans are. Of course then they’re going to turn around and push for byzantine regulatory and tax regimes for the legal pot, but then you have to fight them on that aspect and realize that these things advance in steps. Likewise, we can work with the GOP to get rid of this or that onerous regulation, but they’re still going to fall back on some Romney-esque ‘regulation is a good thing’ line. We just need to work with them where we can and when we reach that line where we can’t fight that battle then.

          During the Bush administration I thought ‘this is the worst administration for liberty in my lifetime.’ Then came the Obama administration and I think the same thing about it.

          1. Democrats, at least rank and file ones, are going to help us make marijuana legal moreso than Republicans are.

            In CA it was the democrat establishment, including Sen Diane Frankenstein, Gov Jerry Brown and all around hope for the future Gavin Newsome, that led the fight against legalization.

            Meanwhile, they’re using government money to propagandize against vaping – despite clear evidence that it is safe and in fact moving people away from cigarette smoking (which they really really hate).

            The idea that those nannies are going to enact recreational use of anything that is now illegal is a bad joke.

            1. That’s why I differentiated between the rank and file and the leaders (of course, GOP leaders in California were right there with the Dem leaders in fighting this). In this area referendum are leading the way.

              1. Democrat activists – self styled progressives – are easily led morons that fall in line with whatever their political masters demand.

                Tangentially, the above factor is demonstrated by the progressive belief that calling Obmacare a republican plan is the way to win over republican opponents. Because the fall in line to whatever their team comes up with they assume that the right will to.

            2. When libertarians say they are for legalizing drugs, that means ALL drugs including current ones which require a prescription for the dr.

              Like alcohol, there is an exception for children in this, of course …. at least to require parental consent.

          2. Please point to the national progressive/liberal (Dem) figure that has changed his mind on the Drug War as have multiple notable conservatives (Repubs).

            Just look at how the dupes have been strung along by Obama. Every time he is asked (not CHALLENGED mind you) about his stance on marijuana he laughs it off and lies about his inability to do anything about it.

            1. Actually, I think the Obama administration has done more than any administration to further the cause of legalization. Now, this is definitely a tallest midget situation, but think about it. Unlike the Bush administration Obama’s put up much less resistance to state efforts at legalization, he even gave these efforts rhetorical legitimacy with his (admittedly flouted at times) DOJ memo and other statements promising the feds would let states do their experiments. This allowed the legalization movement to get its nose under the tent so to speak, and when the sky did not fall it has not gained what I predict is an irreversible momentum.

              1. This Bo is why people speak of you as Bo-tard. This is where whatever fig-leaf of cleverness is dropped for naked troll-dom.

                You are either a fool or a liar.

                1. Ipse dixit is your best response? I’ve clearly laid out my conclusion and the reasons for it, if you disagree perhaps you’d care to point to where I’m wrong. Was the DOJ policy memorandum not a very different stance than that taken by the previous administration on the topic? Did legalization movements not gain much momentum during this administration?

                  1. So using the DoJ to prosecute drug offenders while spouting about not prosecuting drug offenders is better? So, like a progressive, words are more important than actions. And legalization has been gaining more ground despite this or any administration. As was pointed out above there are more Repubs than Dems shifting their stance on the drug war. Both parties are horrid on civil liberties but the endless dance you go thru to justify the left is hilarious.

                    1. Words can be important in lending legitimacy to something, yes.

                      “As was pointed out above there are more Repubs than Dems shifting their stance on the drug war.”


                      “Chiefly, in contrast to high levels of support among liberals and solid support among moderates, less than a third of conservative Americans think marijuana should be legal…. Currently, 64% of Americans who identify as or lean Democratic side with legalization, compared with 39% of Republicans.”


                    2. Words betrayed by action do indeed have a very clear message. Progressives tend to not be bothered by that – once they have heard the pretty words, any pretense of critical thought ceases.

                  2. The problem you have here Bo is that there is no way I could possibly accept/interpret your response as being in good faith.

                    I gave you two conditions: 1) name any major lib/prog/Dem figure who has recanted (at least partially) on the Drug War a la a number of conserv/Rep figures; 2) I cited Obama’s atrocious responses and record.

                    If Obama meant what he said about medical marijuana why did he not fire Leonhart after she refuted his policy in Congressional testimony? Words or actions – the actions have spoken more clearly than any bullshit pouring out of Obama’s mouth.

                    On top of that Obama has lied, repeatedly, about rescheduling marijuana – that is entirely within the scope of Administrative action. For a guy who always wants to push his executive power suddenly he’s a runt on the CSA (except for that prosecutorial discretion – that none of his underlings same to take all that seriously).

        2. “not job socialists”

          That typo (typun?) was John-caliber. Very nice.

  8. “They grew up believing that the Great Depression?mass long-term unemployment, poverty, hopelessness?was a natural market event that required government intervention to reverse.”

    So we’re stuck being enslaved by “voters” who ignore history, and that the very gov’t by interfering with the market, left disaster in it’s wake. Look at what happened to a media of exchange such as the dollar with the gov’t and central banks in control of it.

    Take the pre 1965 silver quarters (90% silver). Each quarter based upon silver content would have a purchasing power of approximately 3 dollars per quarter. Four quarters that equal a dollar, would have been equivalent to $12.00 of purchasing power.

    Take a salary of $11,700 and $45,000. The purchasing power one would have based upon silver being the media of exchange would be $140,400 and $540,000! ($3 per quarter in silver x4 = $12 of purchasing power per dollar).

    Folks can’t see the theft that has taken place right in front of their eyes. They believe monetary inflation is a good thing, and that cheaper prices and stable money is bad. They believe Monopoly money backed by the “full faith and credit” of these politicians is great. Their gov’t can never rob them, and the central bank can never do no wrong. You’re crazy if you think gold or silver should be money that you should be freely able to exchange with other consenting individuals. You should be locked away if you dare violate the legal tender laws in place!

  9. Another didactic piece by Sheldon Richman….Are you capable of writing any other kind?

  10. OT: I would like to affirm that Daredevil is awesome.

    1. Really? I watched a couple of episodes because it had been mentioned here but thought it sucked.

      Why do you like it? Maybe I missed something.

      1. Did you not like the fight scene at the end of Episode 2?

        1. No, I didn’t and I don’t mind cheesy fight scenes, either. I thought it wasn’t particularly well choreographed and I thought that his many injuries which caused him to pass out in the nurses apartment were miraculously ignored. Tough is one thing, taking on a dozen guys with two or three broken ribs is more than just tough. The bullet dodging blind guy part stretches believability a bit too much, also. Perhaps I just need to pull up my suspenders of disbelief.

  11. Good grief. I won’t even read Richman articles anymore. Kyle was just like Lanza. Israel is the real threat and Iran is really a misunderstood peace loving paradise. Uh huh.

    Someone take Richman’s keyboard and whack Bo over the head with it.

    1. Lanza was to Iran as Kyle was to Israel. Th’equivalencies are obvious.

    2. Don’t forget that the Ukraine had it coming for daring to try to be outside of the Russian geopolitical sphere.

    3. If ever an article and comments called out for AgileCyborg at double his usual dosage.

    4. And nationalism is always evil. Except when it palestinian or russian nationalism in service of slaughtering neighbors.

  12. If somebody can’t recognise freedom, justice, and truth as ultimate goods, what in tarnation else can you say to him? The only argument for anything for such a person would be, “You, personally, will win more treasure at no cost to you,” which is an argument the libertarian can’t make. He can say, “Things will be better for you,” but if the other person doesn’t place any value on most of what constitutes those better things, then it won’t hold up.

    1. They believe in the Hobbesian believe that humans are monstrous by nature, thus they need Leviathan to keep us in check. They have no faith in human nature.

      1. I have no faith in human nature either which is why I fiercly object to handing them a bunch of money and giving them massive power over my life and freedom.

      2. Human nature – is that a product of thousands of years of evolution, or divine creation? Because if it is the former it stands to reason that it may take some time for a subset of humanity to reach a point where we can shed govt as a necessary evil. If the latter then there is no reason to believe it will ever change and all human institutions are bound to be weighed down by it for as long as the species persists.

        1. Genetically we’re 98% chimpanzees so what do we expect our elections to look like?

          1. There is a lot of shit throwing so I think you may be on to something here.

  13. “Patience and empathy”

    Sheldon, I hate military spending, the war on drugs, and think the government should keep out of decisions involving abortion. Yet, I still believe we should pay taxes and make sure that we provide for old people, children and the sick. Can I get my shiny libertarian gold badge yet or am I just a lost cause?

    1. Yet, I still believe we should pay taxes and make sure that we provide for old people, children and the sick.

      You believe that people who work hard to be successful should be robbed at gunpoint to provide for people who don’t.

      We can care for the elderly, children, and the ill without the government and without progressive income taxes. It’s your dim view of human nature- or rather, the projection of your own ill nature upon the rest of us- that has you convinced that society at large must be forced to do those things.

      How do you volunteer your free time? What monies do you provide to charities? What have you done for the indigent? I’d wager not much, though I’d be glad to be wrong.

      1. Well, I do have some sympathy for anarchism so I volunteer for my local Food Not Bombs group. Otherwise, I don’t do much since I am busy with work and a young family. How is my lack of time to do volunteer activities inconsistent with the belief that we should have progressive taxes that provide a rigorous social safety net?

        1. Have you paid your mortgage yet?

          1. *crickets*

    2. You can’t have liberty without property rights. You also can’t pick and choose which decisions people can make about their own lives.

      I hear there is a socialist paradise down in Venezuela. Why don’t you pack your bags and move down there?

    3. Why not follow your beliefs and rob your neighbor yourself? Your socialist wants require force and theft to implement. The reason you don’t rob your neighbors is because you might face the consequenses of having the shit kicked out of you, or worse. Yet you rally politicians to commit violence on your behalf.

      If you’re concerned for sick individuals, and old folks, then go solicit donations from individuals, and volunteer your time caring for them. Instead, you’d rather inefficient gov’t rob folks and force charity on them through the most inneficient means, and then complain more money needs to be robbed to feed gov’t charities and the bureaucracies that surround them.

      When you advocate a program, put up your home and other assets. This way if it fails, you are responsible. You have the incentive to succeed and operate efficiently. Instead, you wish for everyone to be robbed, and when the program fails, advocate continual robbery to keep the funding going, and call others heartless, or other names when they don’t wish to reward failure with more money. Even worse you have them locked away when they can’t afford it.

      You complain about the poor, yet your policies only help to make and keep individuals poor. You try to save face and say if only the right people were there would it work, or more force is required than is being applied, or even more money is required.

      1. He has already robbed his neighbors by walking away from his mortgage. You know the one the evil financiers forced him to sign.

    4. Didn’t someone just propose that anybody who earned over (I forget the amount but I think it was 200k) they would not be eligible for SS.

      In other words, you must pay into it but fuck you. How is this not pure evil? Even if you’re a politician that proposes it make you an immoral son of a bitch.

      That happened to my father. As an immigrant he worked his ass off to build himself a small fortune dutifully paying all his taxes. The Canadian government decided to ‘claw back’ his Old Age Security because they deemed he made too much money. In other words, they punished success.

      This is the government’s sense of fairness.

    5. You can’t get a shiny libertarian gold badge, but you can certainly get the Order of Lenin for your constant whitewashing of Soviet atrocities.

    6. You don’t believe we should pay taxes. You believe others do and if they don’t armed thugs wearing shiny gold “Agent of the Collective” badges take things away until the capricious amount has been met. Plus penalty fee.

      QED – your taxes are not covering the costs of the goods and services provided to your family.

    7. Any true libertarian knows that taxation is theft, and there is no way got around it other than to say you believe in state theft.

      And state mandated services by the state …. like taking care of those that need it…. is still state-mandated service …. a form of slavery.

      Only voluntary socialists could be accepted !

  14. Richman actually hit upon something I’ve been dealing with lately, in my life. I’m just tired of explaining myself to people. I’m so weary of explaining why freedom begets freedom, why liberty is the true foundation of a just society.

    I think most of the people who comment here are way, way smarter than average (not including myself in that group- I’m pretty average), and we tend to forget that people who naturally gravitate to libertarian ideas, in whatever form, are a very, very tiny chunk of the population. Most people want order imposed upon them. Most people want to be ruled. They cannot impose order on themselves; they cannot imagine a world without kings.

    Hence depictions of libertarians in common media paint them as weird loners, cruel masters, depraved libertines, etc. I see and hear nothing but fields of blazing straw men, and face no one but those who mistake my silence for a non-answer.

    Also, I can’t get my lawnmower to start (the lawn orphan is down with dysentery). Fuck this day already.

    1. What kind of mower? Has it been sitting up for a while?

      1. I just bought a Lawn Boy.


      2. It’s a Briggs & Stratton. Yeah, I was a bad owner and I let it sit in the garage for too long without doing anything with it. I recently fired my landscapers because I wasn’t satisfied with their work, and I decided to maintain my own lawn for a while. It’s got new gas and I had a go with the starter fluid- no luck. It might need a new spark plug. Added to the list of things to do.

        1. 1. Replace spark plug.
          2. Make sure no water in the gas tank. After sitting up a while condensation can accumulate in the tank.
          3. Install carburator kit.

          If that won’t get it to start, buy a new one.

          1. Thanks, Suthen. I’ll give it a shot.

            1. Try cleaning the air filter. It may be clogged with grass and debris.

              I left my mower (Toro w/ B&S engine) sitting this winter too. It took a lot of pulling (to the point where I was going to give up) but eventually it started up.

          2. If that won’t get it to start, find a new landscaper.

          3. If there is a chance that you have water in the system, there is a small “cup” on mine next to the spark plug which has a 3/8″ nut on the bottom. I think it holds a filter or a float. I have had water collect in this and fixed it by simply loosening the bolt and letting some of the gas run through.

            1. I’ll look at that. Thanks!

          4. Empty the gas out completely and replace it. It’s not just that water can get in it, the gas can go bad.

        2. It’s always something:)

        3. I would loan you my orphans that are trained to hand cut my 5 acre lawn but they are busy cutting the lawn (its a 7 day a week job) and my monocle polishers keep cutting themselves with the sheers.

        4. Ha. I did the same thing with my last one (which I inherited) and vowed to never let that happen again.

          I also have an electric Sunbeam lawn mower that belonged to my wife’s grand father.

          Yes, Sunbeam.

        5. +1 carb cleaner, fresh fuel, clean yhe air filter, change the spark plug, and fill the tank. I have one or two B&S motors that don’t start unless the tank is at least half full. And next time, buy the mower with a Honda motor.

    2. Go get some starter fluid and soray a little in the carb. Thats always worth a try.

      1. Spray don’t soray:)

        1. I always soray starter fluid in my carburetor, just like I always have coffee when I watch radar.

    3. Drain the float bowls, inspect and possibly replace the spark plug, check the air filter. The carbs might be varnished from sitting too long with old gas, in which case you can try to use fuel system cleaner, or you can just take apart the carbs and properly clean them.

      1. Thanks, Warty. I knocked a ton of dirt out of the air filter, so I’m thinking moisture and old gas. Now I have an afternoon project that goes well with beer.

        1. Ah not too much beer or you’re going to lose fingers in that lawnmower.

    4. That’s why I take the opposite tack of Richman (always a good bet) and explain my positions in a fairly condescending way. Treat plebs like plebs and they’ll learn their place.

  15. From a political standpoint there obviously does need to be some level of incrementalism. Not necessarily on every issue. I think if a candidate comes out and truely advocates a libertarian wish lists he or she just isn’t going to get elected. It’s unfortunate but true. For example, we all know that cutting federal spending by half is probably not even going far enough but see how far in the election process you get with that proposition.

    1. We actually do have some momentum, however slight, on some issues. Even some ex-cops are seeing the WOD for the failure it is. Support for body cams on cops is growing. There has been public pushback on domestic spying. This are things that can and should be pushed by libertarian minded politicians. I quite frankly don’t give a damn what party gets these things done as long as they get done. There are certainly other issues that a think their time has come or at least are trending the right direction. Take what you can when you can until you can gain support for the rest.

      1. I’m not really sure what the alternative is to that anyhow. Even when the gop and dnc have majority control they don’y get everything they want, and we’re a long, long ways from that.

        1. Even when the gop and dnc have majority control they don’t get everything they want

          They get everything they want with the exception of permanent majority control

          1. DNC barely got Obamacare through, they had to get a bunch of freshman pawns to fall on their swords to get it pushed through and it still wasn’t the single-payer model they really wanted. What other liberal accomplishment does this president have?

            1. That’s why they always win though. They’ll take half a loaf and we won’t. Statists are more than happy to expand government a little and wait for the next chance to expand it further. Libertarians OTOH will piss and moan about any candidate who fails the purity test in any way.

              1. Libertarians OTOH will piss and moan about any candidate who fails the purity test in any way.

                This. See ‘Why it’s so Hard to Love Rand’ by Chapman

            2. Did the DNC really want “single payer”? That is more the dream of the progressive left. Better to have a public-private partnership with insurance compamnies, hospitals and other private sector stake-holdres who can supply money and lobbyists to keep the golden eggs coming yet take the fall as greedy when prices rise and services fall.

              The Democrats got exactly what they wanted.

              1. “American Letter Mail Company|2015/04/19 10:49:25|#5239784

                Did the DNC really want “single payer”? ‘

                The “DNC” wants whatever they can get* that will result in their crony unions (SEIU, et al) getting their claws deeper into the private sector sources of cash and allow them to bleed the system for moar and moar and moar

                (*aka the, “why does a dog lick its balls?= Because It Can”-rule)

                they aim to do this until the system is no longer “sustainable”, at which point the Government takes everything over.

                Whether that happens now, or 50 years from now, is irrelevant. The plan is to ensure that no matter what the legislation, the legislation must increase the power of the middle-tier of unions and regulators over the power of consumers and providers. as long as that occurs, nothing else matters.

  16. I have been intrigued by the minor success of crowd-funding of civic projects, which leads me to ask: What if next year we each were allowed to pay our taxes by crowdfunding proposed government budgets? What would get funded and what would not? What would that difference tell us about the representative fidelity of our government? Would such a method be deemed more representative of individual liberty or would it be considered tyranny of the majority?

  17. Yay, Richman thread! My Sunday is complete.

    Honestly, this is just getting bizarre. This is actually a pretty good article on the basic importance of patience in regards to political argumentation (especially for a minority view). The problem is that it’s written by Richman, Reason’s king of overreaction, absurd strawmen and at times blatant paranoia.

    You know what really shows people your patience and empathy? Lazily comparing people to serial killers and/or Nazis and thinking that’s a substantial argument. It’s just this profoundly weird Jekyll and Hyde scenario, where Richman’s articles about libertarianism is general seems to be a direct criticism of his own foreign policy writings. Is it self-gratification? Does he just fundamentally lack self-awareness?

    1. I try not think about it too much. I’ll comment on reasoned arguments like this one. I think I left one comment on the Lanza tripe to register my disgust but regretted doing even that.

    2. Come on John, while I made the same point about Richman above the real reason why you and your fellow travelers hate him so much is not his over the top hyperbole but that he employs it from a left leaning position and ya’ll are right leaning. I mean, in this very thread you didn’t mind comparing someone to being a Stalinist. You’re fine with Richman type rhetoric as long as it’s directed toward leftists, it’s when Richman dared employ it to attack conservative heart throb Chris Kyle or the US military in general that the right leaning here got all frothy at the mouth.

      1. Given someone starts from a bleeding heart perspective, hell yes I’m going to reject their premises. Govt does not exist to assuage your fucking conscience. Since that is where left-leaners start from that is a great point of departure in argument.

        Not that Richman brought up Lanza or Kyle in this article so I’ll be damned if I know what everyone else – yourself generously included – is reading [into this]. Did you all get into AgileCyborg‘s stash?

        1. Richman committed an unforgivable sin in the eyes of the right leaning: he criticized a war hero and the US military using the same over the top hyperbole the right leaners use to criticize their favorite targets of opprobrium. He can’t be forgiven, neither can it ever be forgotten.

          1. Ah, in other words we aren’t discussing what is actually in this article but stances from others. Got it. Have fun.

          2. Richman committed an unforgivable sin in the eyes of the truthful when he repeatedly and reflexively criticized the US and Israel, regardless of context, at every opportunity, and never learned from his mistakes.

      2. he real reason why you and your fellow travelers

        Are they SoKonz or Joooooos

        Bo’s tirelessly sniffing out the defilement of both.

        1. See, this is how you Reverend Al Suthenboy.

        2. VG Zaytsev|4.19.15 @ 10:40AM|#
          “Bo’s tirelessly sniffing out the defilement of both.”

          Plus, both he and Hihn have STALKERS here!!!
          It’s been pointed out to both of them that when most of the world says you’re an insufferable piece of shit, you’re not being insulted, you’re being told the truth.
          And, since the cause is ego-mania, neither of them listens: It’s the WORLD’S fault for not granting their wonderfulness!

          1. Like everything with Sevo, his projection is more fevered than most.

            1. You enjoy your interactions with Sevo altogether too much to be protesting them.

              1. No one enjoys their interactions with Sevo, not even Sevo, but some, including Sevo himself I’d bet, aren’t just going to take crap from him without giving a little back.

                1. It’s been pointed out to both of them that when most of the world says you’re an insufferable piece of shit, you’re not being insulted, you’re being told the truth.
                  And, since the cause is ego-mania, neither of them listens: It’s the WORLD’S fault for not granting their wonderfulness!

                  1. Sevo: the click of angry commenters here is not the ‘world.’ It may be your world for all intents and purposes, but there’s a bigger one outside of it and you’re mother’s basement, I assure you.

                    1. The world is not your mommy Bo. I’m sure she loves you and thinks your the smartest, bravest, most handsomest man in the world.

                    2. In the context of this discussion that’s even more nonsensical than usual from you FUQ

                    3. Private FUQ|4.19.15 @ 11:20AM|#
                      “The world is not your mommy Bo. I’m sure she loves you and thinks your the smartest, bravest, most handsomest man in the world.”

                      Bo really is such an amazingly obnoxious piece of shit that I’m beginning to doubt his mommy says so without crossed fingers.
                      Hihn’s a deluded piece of work, but he’s old enough it may be senility. Bo doesn’t begin to have that excuse; he simply is one of the most obnoxious twits I’ve ever encountered.
                      I’m sure he posts here and elsewhere on the web, since if he acted like this in any sort of face-to-face encounter, he’d soon run into those who do not subscribe to the NAP.
                      I’d have a hard time working up sympathy…

                    4. It’s been pointed out to both of them that when most of the world says you’re an insufferable piece of shit, you’re not being insulted, you’re being told the truth.
                      And, since the cause is ego-mania, neither of them listens: It’s the WORLD’S fault for not granting their wonderfulness!
                      BTW, ignoramus “click” /= clique.

                    5. Again with the conflation of commenters here with ‘the world.’ Sevo, get out more!

            2. Bo Cara Esq.|4.19.15 @ 10:51AM|#
              “Like everything with Sevo, his projection is more fevered than most.”

              Particularly amusing in that I’ve never claimed ‘stalkers’, that I’ve been ‘insulted’, nor that most of those who comment here are ‘against me’.
              Bo, that was even worse than the low bar you’ve established.

      3. I really enjoy when someone who is completely unwilling to recognize his own blatant psychological issues tries to reason out the psychology of others. It couldn’t possibly be that I expect better, it has to be that I’m some scary right-winger boogeyman you can easily demonize. The projection of your own issues is obvious.

        Occasionally Richman starts with decent position, and then proceeds to do an extremely poor job arguing it. Kyle’s a good example. Guess what, it’s actually really easy to argue Kyle is not a hero without a shitty Godwin, and Richman’s inability to do so speaks of his lack of ability. But given your political complexity consists of viewing yourself as some morally superior crusader fighting against the horrors of ‘right wingers’ I don’t expect you to understand the concept of nuance.

        Also Stalinist? You mean American socialist? I’m deliberately referring to his comments a couple months ago on an article on Soviet atrocities where he blatantly whitewashed millions of dead people while trumpeting things like the Soviet space program. I’m not suggesting that AM would cover up Soviet atrocities, he’s actively on the record for doing so.

        1. And Richman has an entire article arguing why his Kyle allegations are totally appropriate too, John.

          1. And according to you if we don’t accept his arguments as the truth then we must be right wingers because we don’t fall in line with a Reason writer. Nevermind the fact that comparing Chris Kyle (who is no hero in my mind BTW) to Adam Lanza is completely fucking insane.

            1. You’re hilarious, I made the first comment here poking fun at Richman’s over the top arguments on that. Not accepting his arguments doesn’t make you a right winger, it was the frothing at the mouth over the top military worshipping response of some here that tips off that conclusion. Did you read that initial thread? To paraphrase what someone said here about my read of those opposing Richman, you can make a pretty good argument Richman can be foolish without the war hero/military genuflecting that was all over that thread.

              1. Rephrased: If the straw man Bo is furiously burning isn’t directly obvious from the comments, that’s only because the truth as No knows it is housing away in thread civility and total comments posted.

                Good luck with that

          2. …which utterly fails to make a substantial or decent argument for it being ‘totally appropriate’. Oh no, I have an opinion different than you on a Reason article! I must be an evil right winger.

        2. I really enjoy when someone who is completely unwilling to recognize his own blatant psychological issues tries to reason out the psychology of others

          Dead give-away for someone who is a progressive. The utterly predictable follow-on is a long trip down that river in Egypt.

          1. “I really enjoy when someone who is completely unwilling to recognize his own blatant psychological issues tries to reason out the psychology of others”

            Again, hilarious. About half the posts I’ve seen from Episarch for example are long diatribes about the psychological warpedness of ‘progs.’ It’s like a cottage industry here, which, of course gets nary a notice because it’s aimed at the ‘right’ target.

            1. Epi is warped differently – he actually thinks some kind of anarchic existence is attainable; which is believing in something much like progressives believe in “progress”.

              If you Bo haven’t encountered a raft of people from the left that do exactly what was described it indicates you are part of that tide and that might be why you don’t see it. Oh, and conservatives do have a fashion of doing something similar but they use an entirely different language. It isn’t hard to distinguish the two.

              1. I’m not denying people from the Big Two do that sort of thing, just that people here do it all the time too. Most people have difficulty just seeing that some people believe an ideology different from them and are wrong, they’d like to further think those who disagree with them are sick or evil. It seems to be a human thing.

      4. “I mean, in this very thread you didn’t mind comparing someone to being a Stalinist.”

        American Socialist is an unabashed apologist for Stalin. Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Chavez, Mussolini, etc are all leftists. Leaning left is leaning towards Stalin.

        1. It’s ridiculous to count Hitler or Mussolini as leftists. Both were very clear that they were out to purge their nations of the scourge of communism. That they made all kinds of concessions to socialism in the name of undercutting that scourge doesn’t make them leftists anymore than Stalin’s long homages to traditional families and nationalistic patriotism made him a right winger.

          1. I hardly ever respond directly to you, given that you’re an insufferable asshole, but you’ve now just proven you haven’t read a word about either Hitler or Il Duce.
            So we can easily add “ignoramus” to insufferable asshole.

            1. Ipse dixit is the order of the day I see.

              1. It’s been pointed out to both of them that when most of the world says you’re an insufferable piece of shit, you’re not being insulted, you’re being told the truth.
                And, since the cause is ego-mania, neither of them listens: It’s the WORLD’S fault for not granting their wonderfulness!

                1. Sevo: we are the world, we are the world!

                  1. Bo Cara Esq.|4.19.15 @ 11:39AM|#
                    “Sevo: we are the world, we are the world!”

                    Bo: I am right and the world is wrong! Mommy told me so!
                    Fuck off, asshole.

          2. If you accept the dichotomy: Communism left-wing ergo Hitler/Mussolini/Franco no because they fought them, then I guess there may be a point.

            On the other hand, one could say they’re all degenerates cut from the same leftist cloth fighting amongst each other. A kind of ideological civil war if you will.

            1. Except neither side understood it that way, nor did the voting public. The Junkers that supported Hitler did so because they understood he was out to get the commies and that they’d be in a better position under him.

              The things that Hitler and Mussolini get tagged on for being ‘leftists’ were areas where they were quite consciously trying to undercut what, at the time, was seen as important stools of popular appeal for the communists. So, for example, in response to the communists saying that there was a fundamental antagonism between the workers and the owners Hitler and Mussolini offered a ‘corporatism’ which was supposed to be a government coordinated ‘understanding’ between workers and owners to show the divisions were not fundamental, that they were all Germans and Italian brothers first and foremost rather than proletariat and capitalists. That’s exactly how Hitler and Mussolini understood these programs.

            2. You can argue that both are a product of ‘Romantic’ thinking about human development, that humanity could be improved through societal influence. The New Soviet Man, the Nazis’ distortion of Nietzsche’s Ubermensch, etc. are both pretty deeply rooted in Romantic ideals about an ‘improved humanity’.

              However, if you actually read the NSDAP’s or the PNF’s policy platforms during their election campaigns, there’s plenty of positions and social programs that would be classified as ‘leftist’. Fascists tended to point to themselves as the ‘third way’, an alternative to free market capitalism and socialism, but based on their own political and economic arguments I think its fair to present them as a socialist-leaning ideology more fundamentally rooted in nationalism than the ‘class struggle’.

              Ultimately it really depends on what your definition of ‘right’ and ‘left’ is.

              1. Considering that free market ideology was largely being abandoned all over Europe at the time it’s not surprising the Nazis didn’t wrap themselves in it. But their ‘third way’ was meant to torpedo the growing appeal of the communists, free market parties were dying out in their eyes.

              2. It is more useful to distinguish using collectivist vs individualist. In doing so there isn’t much difference in the goals of all the people I listed above, just a bit of variation in their methods. When I use the term leftist I am referring to collectivists which are necessarily authoritarian.

            3. Rufus,
              If you want information instead of regurgitated H/S bullshit, try “Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime” (Pipes); his chapter 5 is titled “Communism, Fascism and National Socialism” wherein he points out that Hitler gave lip service to some sort of private property and useful idiots bought that propaganda, but the curve of gov’t takeover was closely matched to what the commies did in Russia; Hitler just ran out of time.
              Similarly, Tooze in “The Wages of Destruction” lays out the process whereby the ‘means of production’ were to be left in private hands until the war was won; thereafter there would be no need of capitalism or private ownership of most anything.
              And it was either Pipes or Figes (“A Peoples Tragedy”) who pointed out the one real difference: Russian commies intended to spread the disease, while Hitler and Mussolini were perfectly content to keep it within the borders.

              1. Yes, by all means dive deeper into the bubble and read Daniel Pipes. Sheesh.

              2. Even the last part is not quite accurate.

                The ideological split between Stalin and Trotsky was over the immediate extent of revolution. With Stalin win the argument for socialism in one country over Trotsky’s call to push world wide revolution.

                So at in the end, the Soviet were national socialist too.

              3. H/S?

                1. H/S?
                  High School.

                2. Not sure what you took issue with though. I pretty much agree with the notion they weren’t ‘right-wingers’.

                  I actually tend to agree with John’s assessment which is it’s rooted in romanticism. And with the collapse of liberalism in the early 20th century all sorts of left-wing ideas and their derivatives (to me fascism is just a reaction to the fall of liberalism) filled the vacuum.

                  1. Rufus J. Firefly|4.19.15 @ 11:53AM|#
                    “Not sure what you took issue with though.”

                    I had no issue with your point, just offering some researched info rather than Bo’s H/S gloss.
                    I tend to agree that romanticism is either a cause or a similar symptom of an earlier root cause; the flee from evidence and the ‘feelz’ is strong in both.

                    1. Ah.

                      Got confused.

                      High school. Got it.

              4. As long as their borders kept expanding to include Poland, France, North Africa, etc…

            4. Kind of like Fred Newman vs. Lyndon LaRouche.

          3. It is ridiculous to count Hitler as leftist? Holy crap Bo, it is nearly impossible to be further left than Hitler. It is right there in the name of his party. National Socialist. Get it? They were socialists, what we refer to generally as leftists. They hated the communists because they were their biggest competition. There are lots of flavors on the left, the National Socialists are just one.

            “We are socialists because we see in socialism, that is the union of all citizens, the only chance to maintain our racial inheritance and to regain our political freedom and renew our German state.” -Joseph Goebbels, Nazi propaganda minister

            1. Your selected quote proves exactly my point above. Hitler faced a rising popularity of communists. The communists did not stress the ‘union of all citizens’ especially not in service to ‘our racial inheritance’ and to ‘renew our German state.’ They preached the fundamental place of class divisions and the international solidarity of the proletariat around the world. What better way, thought Hitler, to turn this on its head and refute it by claiming a ‘socialism’ that would stress the fundamental unity of the German people to further the German race and state? In other words, they would smash the idea of class division and proletariat unity and promote racial nationalism, which in Germany had been the focus of the Right there for a long time.

              1. Bo, here’s a couple of quotes.
                Tell me, without googling them if they are from Commies, Fascists of modern progressives:

                “the money pigs of capitalist democracy”: “Money has made slaves of us.” “Money is the curse of mankind. It smothers the seed of everything great and good. Every penny is sticky with sweat and blood.”


                “The worker in a capitalist state?and that is his deepest misfortune?is no longer a living human being, a creator, a maker. He has become a machine. A number, a cog in the machine without sense or understanding. He is alienated from what he produces.”

                1. Selective quotes out of context to describe even one thinker can be pretty faulty (see the thread about Hebert Spencer from earlier this week), that’s going to be potentially much worse when you have quotes from members of a political organization that ran for power and then ruled for a fairly long period. The Nazis themselves said it was fine and dandy to lie to the masses if it won them over and as I said this was time when free market parties were not a threat but communism was seen as the major challenger. So you can find all kinds of quotes by this or that Nazi official that seem to be socialist sounding. But if you read them in the context of their more general philosophical statements and programs they seem to be parts of trying to undercut the appeal of the communists to further the more consistent goals of promoting uniting the German people behind nationalism and aggressive war.

                  1. Those quotes aren’t remotely out of context you disingenuous long-winded fuck.

          4. Both were very clear that they were out to purge their nations of the scourge of communism.

            Stalin killed millions of people to purge the Soviet Union of (the wrong kind of) communists too. So I guess by Bo’s ‘reasoning’ he wasn’t a true leftist either.

            1. When your sources are Cliff’s Notes, you can’t expect a lot.

            2. Hitler wasn’t arguing about communists being the wrong kind, he fundamentally thought communism was evil. It divided the German people up into antagonistic classes with an international focus, what he wanted was for the German people to be united into a hyper-nationalism. His ‘corporatism’ was similar to when corporations create a company union to bring everyone together.

              This isn’t to deny the Nazis didn’t engage in the kind of government intervention in the economy that is common of nations mobilizing for ‘total war.’ War is the health of the state after all.

              1. When you use Cliff Notes as a source, you end up sorta like Bo; an ignoramus.

                1. Obviously I gotta read more Pipes! Or just Jonah Goldberg, amirite?

                  1. Bo Cara Esq.|4.19.15 @ 11:57AM|#
                    “Obviously I gotta read more Pipes!”

                    OK, asshole, you seem to dislike Pipes. Please tell us *specifically* what he wrote with which you disagree.
                    Oh, and I’m sure you find Figes more to your liking, how about some comparisons?

                  2. Bo Cara Esq.|4.19.15 @ 11:57AM|#
                    “Obviously I gotta read more Pipes!”
                    Second try:
                    You’ve had time to google some quote you don’t like and it might even give you a book title, but so far, asshole, you’ve yet to come up with a single (one, that’s in {1}) piece of writing to which you object.
                    Can we presume you simply accept the lefty view that since Pipes doesn’t like commies, he must somehow be a poopy-head?
                    C’mon, asshole; you’ve been watching this thread…..

          5. “It’s ridiculous to count Hitler or Mussolini as leftists”

            Mussolini always proudly considered himself a socialist, the Nazis were a socialist workers party. Making THE defining distinction between left and right be “internationalist” or not and ignoring the economic program and the relationship of the individual to the state demanded by the ideology is absurdity.

            Communism can certainly be opposed from the Left.

          6. I don’t think it’s ridiculous to count national socialists or fascists as leftists at all. Merely limited in their leftism to being a right-wing socialist versus a left-wing socialist.

            Perhaps historians out preserve the good name of socialism decided it was best to simply refer to them as right-wing.

            You should read the Fascist Manifesto in wikipedia and come back and say they were right wing. . As for the Nazis, no one should forget that they called themselves socialists …. national ones.

            1. OK, but then what is the “right”? It’s a slippery concept, usually conceived in relationship to an also somewhat mercurial “left”. Is the “right” conservative, resisting change, while the “left” seeks some type of socio-political change? Is the “right” reactionary, wanting either to go back to the way things were in a usually recent past, or to achieve whatever the opposite of what the “left” wants?

              In this one I agree with Lyndon LaRouche in saying that the seating order in revolutionary France did not freeze analysis forever. Sheesh, I got to bring up LaRouche twice in 1 thread!

              1. I think your garden variety Prog uses ‘right’ as a substitute for militaristic. This was cast in stone by the Vietnam war protests etc. most progs haven’t a clue about the economic basis of historical political organizations.

                1. No the new left used it for the neoconservative ( who are neoTrotskyist). Here’s a interview with Irvin Kristol.neoconservatives now call themselves conservative when they took over the republican now everyone who is conservative is from the right.

    3. Richman wants to be a libertarian, but his raging anti-semitism just won’t let him be one.

      1. You sound like Reverend Al Sharpton flinging out your ‘racism!!!’ charge. Richman is Jewish himself.

        1. I know he is jewish, that is irrelevant. He displays naked anti-semitism on a regular basis. It distorts his view on everything leading him to conclusions that are wildly in opposition to liberty. It is embarrassing.


          1. Yes, he’s a Jewish man who hates his very self, his parents, his siblings, his children…Give it up and stop conflating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. You’re like the NAACPers who say that people who criticize the civil rights establishment must be racists (including blacks who do that!).

            1. I dont pretend to understand it, but it is what it is.

              1. How about a more sensible explanation for what you think you see then? Occam’s razor and all.

                The woman I’m currently dating is Jewish. At her family gatherings Israel gets a disproportionate amount of focus in their discussions. Most of the people in her family tend to defend the actions of Israeli governments historically and contemporarily, but some, including her and an uncle of hers, tend to criticize the same. Either way, there’s a feeling that as the ‘Jewish state’ Israel is something that her and her family quite appropriately have a focus on. They care about what goes on there and feel a personal stake, and hence right to comment, on the subject.

                Now, when a Jewish person does that in a way that is favorable to current and historical Jewish administrations people don’t question their focus (it would be, in my opinion, anti-Semitic to say that they’re focused on Israel because they are ‘really’ ‘Israel-firsters’), so why when a Jewish person feels strongly in criticizing Israel’s current and historical administrations do they do so? In other words, Richman’s focus on Israel can be explained by the very same dynamic that finds most American Jews more interested in Israel than other nations. The fact that his focus is critical of the government there makes him no more anti-Semitic than that other Jews’ focus is laudatory makes them ‘Israel-firsters’ or whatever.

                1. And yet I’m sure you’d game no problem considering Mia Love racist against her own kind, now would you Botard?

                  1. *have

            2. Don’t all Jewish men hate their parents, siblings, & children, at least, if not themselves?

              1. Judaism and Christianity are very guilt-focused. Self hate flows from that. Hence the left’s obsession with race, since slavery is a sin for which we have collective guilt and must forever atone.

      2. Richman and other libertarians can be left when it comes to foreign policy.
        I myself have always been slightly right.

        I believe they conflate their views between individuals with those between states and impose it on foreign policy producing a left-wing position based upon “innocent until proven guilty” when the fact is that all states are coercive monopolies and could never be considered that way… they are inherently coercive requiring a more rightward position in my opinion.

  18. I just wanted to share this amusing story with everyone.

    Prosecutors in Missouri have dropped all charges against a Kansas City police officer who was charged in the nonfatal shooting of an unarmed man, arguing the case was not strong enough to secure a conviction.

    In a letter to Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte, Baker said that Contreras, the main witness for the state, made inaccurate statements to the grand jury and would not have been a credible witness at trial. She added that a witness told police three days before the shooting and immediately afterward that Contreras had said he would “rather shoot it out with police or make them think he had a weapon and be shot than return to jail.”

    They should add addtional charges to Contreras for making the cop shoot him.

    1. Also, I could not find a picture of the officer, Jacob Ramsey, anywhere. The press doesn’t post one picture of the guy? I don’t understand.

    2. Send Contreras a bill for the bullet…

  19. ‘It requires patience, and patience requires respect and empathy.’

    Might I suggest a door to door campaign spreading the word of liberty?

    ‘Hi! I’m Matt. I’d like a minute to talk about lib…”


    1. At least offer subscriptions to your newsletter.

    2. How about:
      “Have you been saved?!”

  20. To understand self ordering systems, specialization, and voluntary (often unknown) cooperation, all you have to do is read “I, Pencil”. Its rather short and easy to understand.

    1. Yeah but the pencil wouldn’t exist without the roads others built.

      1. Proving that there are no pencils in Somalia.

      2. I know you are being sarcastic but it seems to me that the obvious retort to that is that roads are ubiquitous. Criminals, bums, lawyers, engineers, doctors,…everybody uses infrastructure so why isn’t the reaction to Warren’s evil bullshit the following.

        Infrastructure is ubiquitous, used by every element of society, hence they divide out of the equation and should no longer be considered as a modifier to any type of behavior especially entrepreneurship.

    2. I read it and thought to meself, hey, imagine how much better we could make it if we just added a dash of central planning here and there. Just enough to smooth out the rough edges.

      1. “Just enough to smooth out the rough edges.”

        And some people find those edges go all the way to the middle…

        1. You know who else goes all the way to the middle?

          1. Rock ’em Sock ’em robots?

          2. That owl in the old tootsie pop commercial?

  21. This is the worse dating site ever!

    1. This is the worse dating site ever!

      Sloopy and Banjos would like to disagree.

  22. Hihfected by teh Botox. Is there no thread they can’t shit upon? There is not.

    Happy Sunday, everyone!

    1. Almanian!|4.19.15 @ 11:27AM|#
      “Hihfected by teh Botox”


    2. This delicate flower syndrome of ‘someone sh*t on the thread’ is pretty remarkable. There are comments on a public thread that I think are stupid, it’s been ruined, ruined I tells ya!!!

      1. Watching you and Hihn sputter and spit is actually quite hilarious. You shitting all over a thread just makes the morning go by.

        Insert key
        Turn key
        Remove key
        Release the Botard!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3. That was almost a haiku, Al.

      Hihnfected: Botox!
      Is there no thread they can’t shit?
      Why no, there is not.

      1. It requires a reference to nature to be a haiku.

        Hihnfected: Botox!
        Is there no thread they can’t shit?
        Trolls waste away spring days.

        1. Shit isn’t natural?

  23. You can’t appeal to the empathy of people who have none.

  24. Nothing like a Richman sermon on libertarian philosophy to draw out reason’s Torquemada. Lotta blank spaces in the comments today.

    1. Oddly almost all of the shit-flinging has no connection to the actual article.

      1. Oddly?

  25. As important as empathy is keep it local and make it personal. The more abstract an issue and the more removed an issue is from everyday life, the more likely it is that a rational person is going to let someone else think about it. If that means pols manipulate you every two years for your vote because pol X needs your vote; well that is no different than being manipulated every day to buy thisorthat because corp Y needs your money. Forget foreign policy or, roughly, all of the issues that the media/Reason talk about. Those are irrelevant to the 80% of people who allocate a couple of hours max to deciding who to vote for.

    How is some local problem unsolvable because the freedom to actually solve that problem has been taken away from you and moved up the ladder to the feds? How is the local playing field distorted because some crony in DC has gotten special treatment that kills off alternatives? That is what matters and it isn’t rocket science or deep philosophy. If you can’t be specific about that level, then you are completely irrelevant to the remaining 20% and should probably just surf the Internet.

  26. Following Richman’s advice only leads to:

    *Concluding that the US is always wrong;

    *Israel is the biggest threat to world peace and stability;

    *Pointing to imaginary fatwas as evidence for one’s positions.

    1. Warning: Do not take Richman while operating heavy machinery. Side effects of Richman may include: Godwins, blatant inconsistency, irrational screeds against Israel, and a willingness to take anyone’s word at face value as long as they’re not American.

      1. Shut up you right winger. Your disagreement with a Reason writer is automatic grounds to declare you a RWNJ and your opinion to be null and void.

        1. That’s it, I’m sending a UCMJ complaint up the Offended White Guys Brigade hierarchy! Charles Koch will hear about this, dammit!

          1. This is why I can’t get advancement in this damn Brigade. A private forever I’m afraid.

            1. Well, we can transfer you to GamerGate Division to avoid the charges, but lemme warn ya, those guys are complete psychopaths.

              1. Very nicely played

                / applause

  27. Oh my. Well, I hope everyone is enjoying themselves. Except for Bo and Hihn. I hope they have strokes.

    1. I’m pretty sure Hihn has already had several. But that’s probably mean to stroke victims.

      1. But it would explain a lot.

  28. “Michael Hihn|4.19.15 @ 11:21AM|#

    Vampire, is ll that bullshit the “specifics” you were babbling about up the page?

    Do us all a favor. When you talk like that to your friends, or in your community, never call yourself a libertarian.”

    First off, that reply you jumped on was to American socialist.

    You seem mad because I called you out on the nonsense you were posting. You infered there are no specifics, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Your inference is illogical.

    You had my ear until you posted nonsense about Austrian economics saying it doesn’t promote liberty, while at the same time promoting a tax plan that requires violence in order to implement. How hypocritical of you to say liberty out of one side of your mouth, then support taxation which is theft, and violates freedom, liberty and the NAP.

    At least some liberals come right out and say they want politicians to force others to do things by violence if necessary showing how weak they really are. You hide behind the word liberty while promoting your own form of theft and what government ought to force others to do through violence.

    Don’t tell me how I should speak, if you want to try and force me to speak a certain way, come and do it yourself. While your at it, come and get your flat taxes too.

  29. “We should think back to when we first encountered the philosophy. None of us started out understanding it.”

    I had libertarian tendencies long before I knew what it was, and I bet that is the case for most of the people on here. We didn’t need convincing.
    You’re not going to persuade someone with prog/statist tendencies to be pro-liberty/freedom no matter how nice you are. It’s too ingrained in their heads that we need top people in positions of power to prevent bad things from happening, and if you disagree, you’re a racist and have no feelings.

    1. It is also ingrained in many of their heads that they are “liberal” …… libertarians need to do more political cross-dressing and less economic arguing and these fake “liberals” may be susceptible to claims they are in fact less liberal than libertarians.

      I consider my primary definition of libertarian to be one who supports freedom of association as their primary political principle.

      This stance has worked wonders for me against so-called left-wing “liberals”. It does require not supporting the state as that association is not free.

    2. But it’s long been said that it’s easier to turn an activist into a libertarian than to turn a libertarian into an activist. That is, there’s an essential drive shared by all radicals that can be steered in different directions.

      But how much do we need more activists, compared to how much we need more people to be slightly more libertarian than they already are, or for more libertarians to be slightly more concerned & involved than they are (which is usually hardly at all)?

      1. Murray Rothbard & his disciples paid a lot of att’n to a need for “cadre”, but it’s not clear to me we advance a lot that way. It may be better if people in gen’l?anywhere in the world?became even slightly more favorable to freedom, and cadre may not be all that effective in making them so. In fact cadre may turn more people off & engender more rxn against, which may be what Sheldon’s saying in this case, whether he meant to or not. Maybe libertarian activists just need to get better at not turning people away from liberty, than for the activists to become more effective at turning others on.

  30. Who else remembers when DONDERRRROOOOOOOO would shit up threads like this? I mean, Hihn is great fun, but Dondero used to post his phone number and say that we were a bunch of pussies unless we called him. I don’t think Hihn is capable of that kind of comedy. Sigh. I miss those days of 2008.Time’s arrow is a cruel thing.

    1. Dondero used to post his phone number and say that we were a bunch of pussies unless we called him.

      That is premium, organic, shade-grown, cruelty-free trolling right there. Did anyone actually call him?

    2. Warty, you simply need to ask those in power the right questions and then post the answers on youtube!

    3. There’s a hotheaded football coach in some online discussion forums on that subject who really knows his shit very well, but who’s tended to do a lot of writing where he goes out of his way to call others dumb for disagreeing w him, to the point where he stopped paying enough att’n to see if they actually disagreed w him! He tended to frequently cite other revered authorities, whether what he was quoting or citing from them was a propos or not. He also used to invite people to phone him for him to lay the real dope on them. It didn’t surprise me when he had a stroke. During & after his rehab, he calmed down for a while, but later resumed his trollishness.

      Bill Mountjoy, if you want to look him up. For more info, concatenate these lines into a URL:

      1. I bet if I talked to him, he could be helpful, but discussion online seems to have brought out the worst in him. It does that to some people. Actually a lot of people, I’m afraid.

  31. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link,
    Go to tech tab for work detail ?????????????

  32. I’m not a libertarian but I respect the philosophy and really liked this article. I have an honest question though: isn’t empathy kind of a negative from the libertarian standpoint? Empathy is at the root of altruism which is (again, in my understanding) antithetical to libertarianism.

    1. You are mistaken. Libertarianism stems from the non-aggression principle (NAP) which says that one may not INITIATE aggression. IOW, one may do as they choose, provided in doing so they don’t harm/infringe upon the rights of others.

      Libertarians have empathy and are just as altruistic as the next person. They simply don’t believe in FORCING people to be altruistic.

      See the difference?

      1. This is why I should refresh more.

      2. Thanks, that’s the kind of response I was looking for. I honestly came here to ask people for their opinions on my understanding. Not to convince anyone else that my understanding is the correct one.

        1. Welcome. You’ll find most here will gladly explain the philosophy if they believe you are legitimately here to learn.

          We, as you might imagine, get a lot of trolls here that are here to argue and disrupt. They don’t fare so well. 😉

          Most value honest debate, but keep a thick skin.

          Nice to meet you.

      3. “one may do as they choose, provided in doing so they don’t harm/infringe upon the rights of others.”

        Since I’m replying to something you posted a day ago, you or Andyjunction will probably not read this, but I’ll post it just in case.

        It might be important to point out that Libertarians are a lot more specific than some, when it comes to what they consider “rights”. Specifically they mostly believe in only those rights that oblige others to not act (negative rights), and that so-called rights that oblige others to act (positive rights) clash with the former kind of rights often enough to need their validity constantly checked.

        I don’t think there is a specific lack or surplus of altruism or empathy in Libertarians compared to the rest of the population. Libertarians may be more voluntarily altruistic though (regardless of motive; empathy or selfish gratification) because they don’t attribute a lot of power to any giving they are already forced to engage in.

    2. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

      What is more empathetic than knowing that the price of your own freedom is ensuring that it is shared by everyone?

      and what is less empathetic than the false-altruism of progressivism, which seeks to ‘rectify’ the inequity that results from liberty by “stealing from Peter to Pay Paul”, and in the Process (beloved bureaucracy), wield power over everyone by ensuring that there are really only 2 classes = the Ruled, and the Rulers? There is nothing ’empathetic’ about forcing things on people “for their own good”.

      Empathy requires understanding people; sympathy is simply pity from afar for perceived misfortune.

      Liberals are ‘sympathetic’ towards the poor and minorities but completely despise and are repelled by their actual desires, which are fundamentally materialist and aspirational.

      No one is so ‘greedy and materialistic’ and desirous of freedom as the poor… and no one so ostensibly desiring of ‘equality and shared basic prosperity’, and willing to enslave people by bureaucracy, as those who are already well-to-do.

      Libertarians are more empathetic of people’s natural desire to be most-free, and to have the greatest opportunity for self-actualization.

      Liberals/Progressives despise this sort of aspiration and impose a false vision of “nobility via an equality of poverty”, and yearn for an all-powerful Parent-State to enforce this condition on everyone.

      1. This is again why I should refresh more.

        1. You ruined it you non refreshing FUQ!!!!


          1. This is why I stay a private in the Brigade.

      2. What if I replaced your and Fransisco’s blood with any choice of beer or liquor? I like the 2 above posts. Well said.

        1. Replaced?

          There is no blood in my alcohol system.

      3. I would add to this by clarifying = there is very little real connection between the ideas of “Empathy” (the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes, and see the world from their perspective) and “Altruism” – (the ‘virtue’ of ‘self-sacrifice’ for the benefit of others)

        The classic case-example is the “Teach a man to fish vs. Give him your fish”

        the former is the product of empathy = it requires knowing that the greatest solution for “hunger” is to increase the self-reliance of individuals;

        the latter is “altruistic”= you choose to go hungry so that another may eat. but it is not necessarily empathetic at all (anyone who has been the excessive recipient of ‘charity’ knows that ‘dependency’ is a bitter pill) – IOW, its not a condition you would yourself otherwise *choose*, were you able.

        Regardless = the reality of progressive-liberal “altruism” isn’t even captured in this dichotomy; because in their view of “Social Justice”, the most ‘moral’ thing to do is not ‘altruistic’ at all (i.e. give up their own property) – but rather, find *someone else* who has “too many” fish, and take their stuff by force. then they make shitty fish mush out of it and insist that it be distributed by unionized cadres of constituents. in the end the cost of their system vastly outstrips the inputs and they start attacking the fish-recipients for not “contributing their fair share”. Soon there are no fish and they declare “the market has failed”.

    3. Not to be an ass but I’m going to 🙂

      Altruism: feelings and behavior that show a desire to help other people and a lack of selfishness.

      Please show how libertarians don’t want to help other people. If you are about to show examples of the state forcing people to help other people then that isn’t altruism.

      Empathy: the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else’s feelings

      Please show how libertarians don’t understand a persons experiences and emotions. Again, if you are about to use examples of using the state to force people to understand then that isn’t empathy.

      Libertarians can be empathetic to another person without trying to use the state to force others to be empathetic. We can also be altruistic and donate our time and money volunterrily. That is altruistic. Using the threat of death or a rape cage to “help” others is not altruism.

      1. My understanding of the libertarian view on altruism is based on many years of conversations with self-described libertarians in various forums as well as my admittedly less than full reading of Ayn Rand’s works. Many times I would find myself arguing with a libertarian and would remark that they were showing a lack of empathy in my view. The response was never that I was misunderstanding what empathy is but that empathy itself was an evil that worked against individualism which was all important. It should be noted that these conversations could rarely be called civil or rational so that may have had some impact on the reactions I received.

        1. That was my guess. You’ve been hanging out with Objectivists, not libertarians, per se.

          Ayn Rand was an Objectivist. Objectivism and libertarianism are close in many respects, but Rand’s distaste for altruism is one of the places the two part company. In fact, Rand HATED libertarians, primarily because libertarians accept many offshoots under the big tent that Rand disapproves of, the worst of which was anarchists.

          Objectivists are generally tolerated by libertarians, despite the differences.

          1. Thanks again! Your replies are much more helpful than the ones accusing me of trolling or saying I want to commit violence with guns pointed, etc.

            1. What Francisco said. Don’t conflate Objectivism with libertarianism which really is classical liberalism.

              You’ll get the gist of it.

              1. (long time lurker, first time poster! Sry for length)
                Andyjunction, Ayn Rand certainly made several polemics many libertarians, mostly for the anarchism Francisco mentioned. I guess I’d just like to clarify further what he said, not for any lack on his part, but for anyone interested in the specifics.
                1. Her rejection of libertarian-anarchists was a derivation of her wider philosophy. Her insistence on an integrated philosophical system that spanned from metaphysics & epistemology to norms in ethics & politics was one important aspect in her sparing nobody in the contemporary political climate; she detested the idea of the NAP out of context of such an argument or on a(n) amoral/economic/praxeological justification, which several libertarian thinkers did. For Rand’s ethical-politcal foundation of capitalism, the NAP is a piece which entails government, opposite of the anarchist conclusion; this rationalistic structure, which shouldn’t be new to libertarians, is strong (more than Mises imo)
                2. Rand insisted on cultural change (persuasion) coming prior to political action. An often ignored point she made but still relevant, she saw the popular political ideologies as reflections of the majority of Americans’ (or any free peoples’) philosophies, for better or worse. This was her secondary rejection of libertarians: their insistence on political action without a ‘clear’ philosophy to keep it from harmful compromise, and the popular social support / zeitgeist to actually do it.

                1. ‘their insistence on political action without a ‘clear’ philosophy to keep it from harmful compromise, and the popular social support / zeitgeist to actually do it.’

                  Nor do I see one on the horizon. I wonder if it’s possible.

                  1. Agreed. Probably when humanity settles space there will be some libertarian colonies that grow into full-fledged societies of their own. I’m more than a bit skeptical of it happening in the US, let alone the rest of the world, but there’s nothing to my knowledge that necessarily proves it couldn’t – say, over a long, long stretch of time.

        2. Ayn Rand is NOT a libertarian. And if someone was arguing that empathy was an evil that worked against indiviulism then they weren’t a libertarian. Francisco and Gilmore did a much better job than I on this subject. Typically a libertarian will be told they aren’t empathetic because they respect the individual over the collective. By this they are accused of being unsympathetic to others (or having empathy) because the libertarian doesn’t think you should take possessions from one set of people and give it to others under the threat of force. I suspect that you will find most libertarians to practice altruism is it’s real form more often than those who claim to be altruistic.

          And I bet I should have refreshed before posting.

          1. (posts link to reason post showing I’m right)

            I WIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


            We reject the libertarian label 91% of the time.


            EXTREME SOCONS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


          2. Not true, Rand was is a libertarian whether she wants to admit it or not. Back in her time the libertarian movement was dominated by degenerates like Rothbard but that has changed with time. Objectivism is copacetic with libertarianism whether Pope Peikoff has me excommunicated for saying it or no.

            1. “Objectivism is copacetic with libertarianism”

              Lutherans might be ‘copacetic’ with Mennonites but it doesn’t mean they like to be confused with one another.

            2. No it’s not Cyto.

              1. Yes it is, although it may be more accurate to say that libertarianism is copacetic with Objectivism. Objectivism is a complete philosophy while libertarianism is only a political program.

            3. Objectivism is a hodge-podge of pre-existing philosophical ideas, value judgments, and preferences, many of which are unrelated to one another. It isn’t wildly inconsistent for an objectivist to also be a libertarian. But it isn’t wildly inconsistent for a Buddhist to be a libertarian either. But that’s a far cry from saying that objectivistm or Buddhism have anything to say about libertarianism. Rand was an objectivist; she may also have been a libertarian, that’s all.

        3. re: Ayn Rand

          other people have already said it, but Ayn Rand isn’t even nominally “libertarian”. The connection is completely fabricated by the illiterate left-wing to help give them some straw-man to routinely execute.

          While there are a million flavors of “libertarian”, i don’t think any of them make any sense unless you already have a decent grounding in “classical liberalism” = namely, Locke, Hume, Adam Smith, Voltaire, J.S. Mill, etc. if you don’t have a strong grasp of “spontaneous order” and “self regulating systems”, then more-modern appeals to ‘liberty’ as a key benefit don’t really make much sense on their own.

          I’d also recommend Hayek, Von Mises, to get some 20th century economic principles on top of the basic philosophical stuff.

          1. Rand was libertarian. At least now a days she is.

            1. Objectivism is a philosophy created by Russian-American novelist Ayn Rand, who condemned libertarianism as being a greater threat to freedom and capitalism than both modern liberalism and conservatism…Rand rejected any affiliation with the libertarian movement and many other Objectivists have done so as well.[108]”

              1. Nice. Never knew that.

              2. “Objectivism is a philosophy created by Russian-American novelist Ayn Rand, who condemned libertarianism as being a greater threat to freedom and capitalism than both modern liberalism and conservatism

                It has been a long time since I read Rand, how so?

                1. Rand’s view of libertarians

                  Rand condemned libertarianism as being a greater threat to freedom and capitalism than both modern liberalism and conservatism.[15] Rand regarded Objectivism as an integrated philosophical system. Libertarianism, in contrast, is a political philosophy which confines its attention to matters of public policy. For example, Objectivism argues positions in metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics, whereas libertarianism does not address such questions. Rand believed that political advocacy could not succeed without addressing what she saw as its methodological prerequisites. Rand rejected any affiliation with the libertarian movement and many other Objectivists have done so as well.[16]

                  Rand said of libertarians that:

                  They’re not defenders of capitalism. They’re a group of publicity seekers…. Most of them are my enemies… I’ve read nothing by Libertarians (when I read them, in the early years) that wasn’t my ideas badly mishandled?i.e., the teeth pulled out of them?with no credit given.”[15]

                  1. In a 1981 interview, Rand described libertarians as “a monstrous, disgusting bunch of people” who “plagiarize my ideas when that fits their purpose.”[15]

                    Responding to a question about the Libertarian Party in 1976, Rand said:

                    The trouble with the world today is philosophical: only the right philosophy can save us. But this party plagiarizes some of my ideas, mixes them with the exact opposite?with religionists, anarchists and every intellectual misfit and scum they can find?and call themselves libertarians and run for office.”[17]

                    1. and every intellectual misfit and scum they can find

                      You have to admit, she pretty much nailed this chat room.

              3. And that happened because Rand considered libertarians to really be socialists because their “anarchist” position by many. This explains her “threat to capitalism” stated stance.

                She was obviously wrong on this point which has probably never been admitted which is normal knowing objectivists.

                However, I do consider her very libertarian leaning in her political view.

                1. Re: all the replies above -two things. 1) At the time, libertarianism was very different and had a lot more of the malignant influence of Rothtard. 2) Rand was prone to being…ornery over nothing. She was probably bitchy that people agreed with her on some things but didn’t take her whole philosophy.

                  It should be noted that there is a large number of Objectivists who are on my side, and even the folks who don’t at the ARI have all but admitted they were wrong. Pope Peikoff will soon be all alone as he should be.

                  1. Nothing you say, Cyto, has anything to do with the basic point =

                    Ayn Rand is not, was not in any way “libertarian”… and libertarianism, as a body of thought, would remain entirely complete without a single word of contribution from her.

                    If people want to include her stuff in some sort of ‘libertarian literary canon’ after the fact, that’s fine i suppose… “light reading for libertarian leaning people”, or whatever.

                    but the point here is that many people who are unfamiliar with libertarianism think ‘Ayn Rand’ is the sole leading figurehead of that movement. And that her work is “essential” to libertarian thought.

                    as i pointed out = the reason this is perpetuated is to provide smug lefties a single straw-(wo)man to burn whenever convenient. For the purpose of over-simplifying and dismissing classical liberal arguments.

                    that’s not just “limited and misleading” – its entirely wrong.

                    If a person wants to make a case that Rand’s work is “important” in addition to/as a complement to classical liberal philosophers and Austrian/Chicago economists, that’s fine. But i don’t this idea of Rand as being the seminal 20th century libertarian should be perpetuated any further.

                    1. “”i don’t think this idea””

                    2. @Gilmore: Your point that Rand is not a libertarian is a true one. That said, I think it’s obvious that classifying her works as ‘libertarian’ isn’t completely misguided. Both objectivism and libertarianism have ‘capitalism’ and ‘individualism’ as concrete referents – objectivism is merely exclusive in essence from libertarianism. Plus, I’d wager that when people think of Rand, it isn’t Objectivism the Philosophy they think of – its her fiction (Anthem, Fountainhead and A.S. in particular). Those extoll, amongst other things, individualism and limited government enough to be enjoyed by many libertarians I’ve known, and are popular enough to occasionally be one’s first exposure to freedom philosophy (full disclosure: that applies to me). Regardless of one’s opinion of Rand or her thought and that both systems stand independent one another, there’s too much overlap/similarity to dismiss the desire to have some term refer to the grouping.

                      Besides, it’s only right-libertarianism Rand has any overlap with anyhow. Perhaps a better way to refer to the grouping is that Rand, Hayek, Mises, Rothbard etc. are ‘capitalists’ (‘hard capitalists’?) or ‘laissez-faire’ to replace classifying them all as ‘libertarian’ when you’re referring to the whole bunch.

                      PS: I always thought libertarianism was wide enough a concept to incorporate objectivism, but not the other way around. If you don’t mind, why do you think not?

                  2. No doubt there are many objectivists who consider themselves libertarian. Nothing wrong with that. But that doesn’t mean that objectivism defines, or even relates to, libertarianism.

                    The central points of objectivism, namely existence of objective reality and rational self-interest, are irrelevant for libertarianism; I don’t need to believe in objective reality or rational self-interest in order to believe in non-aggression, freedom of choice, and individual responsibility for one’s actions.

    4. Empathy is the capacity to understand another person’s perspective or experiences. Altruism isn’t really a necessary product of your interpretations of others, all empathy entails is a willingness to try to understand or respect the positions of your opponent/friend/whomever. In libertarian ethics, the actions that empathetic reasoning encourages is to recognize the fact that, even if you morally disagree with the beliefs or nonviolent actions of another individual, they fundamentally own themselves and have the right to act in ways you disapprove of (provided, as Francisco mentions, the NAP is not violated). Forcing one’s views onto others, regardless of whether its well intentioned or not, is a fundamental rejection of empathy.

    5. And further since we gets lots of drive by trolls, I suspect this wasn’t a real concern on your part. Your understanding is so misplaced that I kinda believe that yours wasn’t an honest question.

      If I’m wrong and you address any of the above points then I apologize.

      1. I wish I could convince you I’m being honest but have no idea how I could do that.

        1. Your post above has convinced me and I will again apologize.

          1. Awesome, thank you! I’ve actually learned something from this which was my hope. Now I’m getting out of here.

            1. Hang around and learn some more. I am probably the least “educated” on libertarianism around here. I can’t quote the noted libertarians. But I have learned endless amounts about it just by following links posted by those that are far more educated than me. Honest discussion is encouraged but as FdA stated above have a thick skin. You will be challenged to understand sarcasm in its most basic form however.

              1. Every once in a while…a glimmer of hope. That made my day.

                1. Which would of course truly be the cruelest form of trolling.

                  1. I actually believe the guy. He actually responded several times without the usual troll talking points. I feel bad for being such a dick right away.

    6. “… isn’t empathy kind of a negative from the libertarian standpoint?”


    7. Nothing wrong with empathy. It’s altruism that is the fountainhead of evil. Altruism is the idea that you must always put The Other before yourself; that self-interest is evil.

      1. If your wife believes in altruism, tell her you sacrificed something more important to you than her when you got married. 😛

    8. Andy
      I understand substance abuse. And I understand homelessness. And I am a firm supporter of the NAP and liberty positions. Your view of empathy suggests only the state fixes the ills of man or that they dod it far better. I also donate my earned money to causes that help with both of those issues.
      The purpose of the state is to perpetuate and increase the state.

    9. isn’t empathy kind of a negative from the libertarian standpoint

      Not at all: empathy is great. But most people who claim to experience it in politics are lying. Empathy is something that is experienced one-on-one You can no more feel empathy with a political constituency than you can have sex with a political constituency.

      altruism which is (again, in my understanding) antithetical to libertarianism.

      Not at all: libertarians strongly favor altruism. What we oppose is fake altruism. When an upper middle class intellectual says “Tax ‘the 1%’ to finance programs to help ‘the poor'”, that’s not altruism, is selfishness.

  33. Warty and Machine :…..ou#comment

    You can find the phone number in the comments section.


    1. Oh, man. That is precious. Thanks for the link, Vamp.

      1. No problem :0)

  34. Glad to know I’m not the only one who found Daredevil to require waaay too much suspension of disbelief.

  35. Chaos really has been slandered as fuck.


  36. my best friend’s mom makes $63 hourly on the internet . She has been fired for nine months but last month her income was $16725 just working on the internet for a few hours. look at here……………….

    1. Your best friends mom was fired because she in no way sucked at all. They hired you as her replacement and seen an increase in revenue that trumps her monthly income of $16,725 by a long shot.

      Enjoy your protein diet.

  37. Re: Michael Hindered,

    I know – it’s late. But I am not willing to deprive myself of my fun.

    Talking philosophy is about the stupidest thing we do.

    I’m sure you’re talking about you and your cat.

    One reason the libertarian brand is rejected by 91% of libertarians [sic] (Cato survey)

    Your statement is so illogical, I almost peed myself of laughter.

    If you can’t give specific examples, in simple English, best to keep silent. Show how specific policies would benefit their life and their family’s.

    “People are too stoopid to realize…”

    Argument I’ve heard many times from little red Marxians.

    We have this philosophy that will magically create a free society
    without the faintest clue of how to elect a majority and

    Those two things so contradict each other that I can’t simply conclude it came from a deranged mind. I think you should check yourself in a hospital because you may be having a stroke.

    Rule by majority is antithetical to liberty.

    A political movement with no politics is a cult.

    Libertarian politics is rooted in libertarian ethics. Negating the existence of libertarian political philosophy means you have your head well grounded inside the sand.

  38. Start working from home! Great job for students, stay-at-home moms or anyone needing an extra income… You only need a computer and a reliable internet connection… Make $90 hourly and up to $12000 a month by following link at the bottom and signing up… You can have your first check by the end of this week………….

  39. Let’s put this down at the end so Bo has less excuse to duck it:

    This is Bo’s attempt at poisoning the well:
    Bo Cara Esq.|4.19.15 @ 11:57AM|#
    “Obviously I gotta read more Pipes!”

    This is my response:
    “OK, asshole, you seem to dislike Pipes. Please tell us *specifically* what he wrote with which you disagree.
    Oh, and I’m sure you find Figes more to your liking, how about some comparisons?”

    So let’s give it a second try to allow Bo to make an ass of himself:
    “You’ve had time to google some quotes you don’t like and those might even give you a book title to contribute to your claim of knowledge, but so far, asshole, you’ve yet to come up with a single (one, that’s in {1}) piece of writing to which you object.
    Can we presume you simply accept the lefty view that since Pipes doesn’t like commies, he must somehow be a poopy-head?
    C’mon, asshole; I know you’ve been watching this thread; put up or shut up.”

  40. upto I saw the paycheck that said $7133 , I didnt believe that my neighbour woz like they say truly earning money in there spare time at their laptop. . there best friend has been doing this for only about twelve months and recently paid for the debts on their place and bought Smart ForTwo . more information………. http://www.Jobs-Fashion.Com

  41. i sure hope REASON is not the end result of the movement, if that is the case, well that would blow

    “but if libertarians do a bad job of presenting those ideas, most people will never give them a chance.”

    …best argument ever for shutting down REASON

  42. I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing,


  43. Sheldon Richman likes to pontificate about what libertarians should or shouldn’t do in order to be effective. Does he have empirical support for the strategies he recommends? He himself seems to have been pretty unsuccessful in changing minds. And how have “patience and empathy” worked out for other groups intending to change minds?

  44. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  45. I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing,


  46. The State brought you prohibition and asset forfeiture. Some see it as a bug. Some see it as a feature. I’m going with buggery.

    I’m making headway wit this:

    Every tax, every regulation comes with it an army of bureaucrats and behind that an army (with guns) of enforcers.

  47. If you want to change minds first you must inflame the emotions.

  48. I get paid over $87 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing,


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