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This Is the Number of Innocent People Murdered by Governments. Are You Anti-State Yet?

Being antigovernment is the logical result of taking a close look at the state and its bloody works.

Death by governmentR.J. RummelPeople suspicious of coercive power have been on the defensive recently—or, more accurately, their opponents want them to be on the defensive. The latest argument spouted by fans of a government potent enough to give you all you could want and give it to you good and hard is that any eyebrows raised at the prospect of such an expansive state are evidence of racism.

Don't try to follow the logic; you might trip over the twists and turns it takes.

But here's the honest truth: Not just skepticism toward state power, but a strong antigovernment sentiment, are natural and logical results of taking a close look at the state and its works—its bloody, heavy-handed works.

Let's start with a number: 262 million. That's the number of unarmed people the late Prof. R. J. Rummel estimated governments murdered in mass killings he termed "democide" during the 20th century. "This democide murdered 6 times more people than died in combat in all the foreign and internal wars of the century," he wrote.

Unsurprisingly, the bloodiest body count was run up by totalitarian regimes, though authoritarians were busy stacking up the corpses, too, if in smaller piles. Democracies were also responsible for unjustifiable deaths, especially in subduing resistance in their colonial possessions (think: Belgian Congo) and in indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets during wars (think: Hiroshima), but to a far lesser degree than Communists, Nazis, and overdecorated generalissimos.

Rummel's 1997 book, Power Kills, stated his case most strongly, but he nicely summarized the argument on his website:

It is true that democratic freedom is an engine of national and individual wealth and prosperity. Hardly known, however, is that freedom also saves millions of lives from famine, disease, war, collective violence, and democide (genocide and mass murder). That is, the more freedom, the greater the human security and the less the violence. Conversely, the more power governments have, the more human insecurity and violence. In short: to our realization that power impoverishes we must also add that power kills.

So, opposing accumulation of power by government—being antigovernment—may be inconvenient for some people's political plans, but it's also, literally, a life-saver. Liberal democracies seem to be the least murderous type of regime, but there's no obvious magic cutoff in terms of authority below which governments stop slaughtering people. So keeping any sort of government on a short leash is just good sense.

But ending up in a ditch with a few thousand other innocents to keep you company isn't the only way to experience an over-powerful state. Fans of active government want the state to flex its muscles in ways that they think will benefit society, but they ignore that such activism can easily overwhelm the ability to comply.

Prison populationClick for larger image/Prison Policy InitiativeWhen Georgetown University bioethicist Lawrence O. Gostin cheers on former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's nanny-state meddling and writes, "the public health approach rejects the idea that there is such a thing as unfettered free will," he forgets (or doesn't care) that using the law to clamp fetters on us unhealthy saps creates more rules and regulations that we could ever possibly obey.

The conservative Heritage Foundation warns that "the number of criminal offenses in the U.S. Code increased from 3,000 in the early 1980s to 4,000 by 2000 to over 4,450 by 2008." Those laws, originally limited to obvious crimes, now touch on areas of life that most people would never guess to be of interest to prosecutors and law enforcement officers.

Civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate made a similar point in his 2009 book, Three Felonies a Day. He says that laws have not only proliferated, but they're applied in unpredictable and arbitrary ways, so that it's virtually impossible for Americans to avoid subjecting themselves to potential arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment. That's to say, you can break a law by accident, and end up behind bars.

And a lot of people do end up behind bars.

When Time magazine's Michael Grunwald huffs, "I guess you could call me a statist...we do need Big Government to attack the big collective-action problems of the modern world," he overlooks the ranks of those on the receiving end of that Big Government attack. Those who now fill the nation's jails, prisons, and detention centers, says the Prison Policy Initiative, number about 2.4 million people.

The International Centre for Prison Studies says that number ties the United States with Seychelles (which has been dictatorship-free for 22 years!) for the highest incarceration rate in the world, at 707 per 100,000 people. Pretty much everybody else throws a smaller percentage of their population in the clink.

But we have a lot of laws to enforce.

And those laws are enforced roughly.

Militarized policeU.S. Department of JusticeFormer Reasoner Radley Balko wrote 2013's Rise of the Warrior Cop to document the increasingly military-style weapons, attitudes, and tactics of the nation's police forces as they enforce those myriad laws and keep the prisons stuffed to the brim. Last year he wrote in the Huffington Post, "too many cops today have been conditioned to see the people they serve not as citizens with rights, but as an enemy."

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  • Pro Libertate||

    History shows again and again,
    How oppressors point out the folly of man.
    Statezilla!

  • Paul.||

    Ooo-ooh oooh!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Needs more liberty bell.

  • John Galt||

    NEEDZ MOAR LIBERTY BALLZ!!

  • Pro Libertate||

    Don't Fear the Founder.

  • Khasisatra||

    Govzilla is my name for them.

  • Mr.Krinkle||

    Yeah, but if we could only get the right people in power...

  • Free Society||

    Agreed. Every alternative to your proposal= Mad Max and the Thunderdome and/or a hippie commune. Fact.

  • straffinrun||

    And could you get me that benevolent power off the shelf over there? It's next to the perpetual motion machine.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Nice piece, 2chilly. I'll pass it on.

  • From the Tundra||

    Yep. Dude should really write a book.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's inherent to our political system to distrust government. The whole Constitution is basically a wall between the individual and the state. The federal government was allowed a few, specifically listed powers, all of which were checked, usually in more than one way. And everything written about this system when it was formed (and for a long time thereafter) was about not trusting government and being vigilant in the defense of liberty.

    The radicals are the ones who oppose that viewpoint, not us.

  • Tony||

    Nope, it's you. The purpose of the constitution was to institute a more powerful and unitary government than what came before and totally failed.

    Yes you're supposed to distrust your government. But not government as a concept. Everyone's always being governed. It's just a question of how just and sophisticated the form of government.

  • Pro Libertate||

    To you, Baldrick, the Renaissance was just something that happened to other people, wasn't it?

  • ||

    You really shouldn't waste Blackadder quotes on a sockpuppet, ProL.

  • Pro Libertate||

    True. "Give the likes of Baldrick the vote and we'll be back to cavorting druids, death by stoning, and dung for dinner. . . ."

  • Libertymike||

    Ah, but our Sir Tony has a cunning plan!

  • Paul.||

    To you, Baldrick, the Renaissance was just something that happened to other people, wasn't it?

    I use that line at work, ALL THE TIME. May you have one internet today, sir.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I use that, Godfather quotes, and demands for the Cones of Silence.

  • From the Tundra||

    Tony, you are gold! Unitary, huh?

    Hmmmm, don't see the US on this list:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.....ary_states

    So, it just hasn't taken, yet? Or maybe a constitutional republic is, oh I don't know, the OPPOSITE of a unitary state?

    For fuck's sake, man.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Unfortunately, for the past 230 sem-odd years, American federalism has been dying the death of a 1,000 cuts. I fully expect the end of federalism de facto, if not de jure within my lifetime.

  • Loki||

  • pagingdoctorloggins||

    well, this isn't strictly right or wrong, and could be much more carefully stated.

    powerful - the constitution created a federal government more powerful than that which was created under the articles of confederation. this is definitely true. congress under the articles could only request taxes; congress under the constitution can mandate them. congress couldn't raise an army direction under the articles - under the constitution they can.

    unitary - this seems completely untrue. under the articles, there was no executive nor national court, and a unicameral house. the constitution creates three distinct branches with enumerated powers.

  • straffinrun||

    If they wanted "a more powerful and unitary govt than came before" then I'm guessing they wouldn't have gone to war. "We hereby declare independence cuz we ain't been manhandled enough".

  • Khasisatra||

    Yes, you are supposed to question government as a concept. you are supposed to question everything as a concept. It's called thinking for yourself. To not question government is to accept slavery. To believe that the constitution failed in its intended purpose is to believe that Patrick Henry's anti federalist arguments were wrong. He called it, and he knew the people who wrote the constitution.

    Here's a link about the constitution: http://www.thetruthaboutthelaw.....ventionon/

  • sasob||

    Distrust of government is as American as apple pie.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Bravo!

  • Tony||

    Governments are not alien spaceships possessing a heretofore undiscovered form of power and a special will of their own to subjugate people. People will always try to assert power over others and steal from, murder, and commit genocide against them if left unchecked, uneducated, and with their needs unmet. Take all the various circumstances people have found themselves since the species came into being, and your safest bet is a modern liberal democracy. Any prior form of society is inferior, and any novel form you should at least attempt to describe. If it lacks widespread access to education, sanitation, etc., then don't be surprised when a generalissimo of some form or another comes along and decides he doesn't think you need to be so free. The best check on violence, hence the best guarantors of individual liberty, that we've been able to come up with are sophisticated democratic governments. Not perfect by a long shot, but you're not really offering a serious alternative. You seem to assume that when governments go away so does violence and violations of liberty. But that's self-evidently absurd.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|5.15.14 @ 5:03PM|#
    "Governments are not alien spaceships possessing a heretofore undiscovered form of power and a special will of their own to subjugate people."

    No they are slimeballs like you who think you know what's best for humanity and, unfortunately, control the guns.
    Slimeballs like you who would willingly kill anyone who didn't 'pay their fair share'.

  • Khasisatra||

    You mean pay tribute, perhaps?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Take all the various circumstances people have found themselves since the species came into being, and your safest bet is a modern liberal democracy. Any prior form of society is inferior, and any novel form you should at least attempt to describe.

    Francis Fukuyama is a laughing stock. Get out of here with that bullshit.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    The best check on violence, hence the best guarantors of individual liberty, that we've been able to come up with are sophisticated democratic governments. Not perfect by a long shot, but you're not really offering a serious alternative. You seem to assume that when governments go away so does violence and violations of liberty. But that's self-evidently absurd.

    J.D. Tuccille:

    Liberal democracies seem to be the least murderous type of regime, but there's no obvious magic cutoff in terms of authority below which governments stop slaughtering people. So keeping any sort of government on a short leash is just good sense.

    It sounds like he more or less agrees with you.

    Is this another case where you're arguing with the libertarian inside your head, instead of the one in front of you, again?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    C'mon. One of you Peanuts has to have the sense to note that Tony is correct in concept.

    The Constitution pointed the US to a more central federal Govt than the Articles of Confederation did.

    Throw him a bone this time - because he was right.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|5.15.14 @ 6:14PM|#
    ..."The Constitution pointed the US to a more central federal Govt than the Articles of Confederation did."

    Yep, those cherries don't fall into the basket on their own!

  • Vulgar Madman||

    Are you over Obama getting butt-fucked by Putin yet?

  • Brian||

    Palin's Buttplug:

    C'mon. One of you Peanuts has to have the sense to note that Tony is correct in concept.

    The Constitution pointed the US to a more central federal Govt than the Articles of Confederation did.

    Throw him a bone this time - because he was right.

    Please show me the exact point in which I challenged this statement, instead of saying what I actually said.

    Tony is not right, however, in insinuating that, while the constitution created a stronger federal government, it was still heavily motivated by a desire to limit that federal government. Pretending that it wasn't just because it gave the feds more power than the Articles of Confederation is just revisionist history. The Bill of Rights exists for a reason.

  • JPyrate||

  • R C Dean||

    People will always try to assert power over others and steal from, murder, and commit genocide against them if left unchecked, uneducated, and with their needs unmet.

    Tell me how the people running totalitarian governments are uneducated and have their needs unmet, Tony.

  • Otis B. Driftwood||

    You seem to assume that when governments go away so does violence and violations of liberty.

    Anything to back that up you mendacious twat?

  • R C Dean||

    You seem to assume that when governments go away so does violence and violations of liberty.

    I'm a monarchist, not an anarchist. Go molest your strawman somewhere else.

  • R C Dean||

    Oopsie. Should be minarchist. Stupid spell check.

    Although, to be fair, monarchies didn't run up nearly the body count as our more enlightened and progressive modern states.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    "Monarchist" suited you!

  • PM||

    Pretty sure vesting unlimited power in a single person and then devoting your undying loyalty to them is more up your alley.

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    Says the guy that would achieve instant orgasm if he could see his chocolate savior in a crown.

  • Black&Yellow||

    "I'm a monarchist, not an anarchist."
    Even if you were an anarchist, it's still a strawman. We never assumed violence will go away without the existence of monopolies on violence.

  • Khasisatra||

    The serious alternative is self responsibility. Do you need someone to tell you wrong from right? Do you need someone to tell you what to do? To 'grant' you permission? If so, you are not an adult. Government is just the latest guise of the old 'divine right to rule' hoax perpetrated on the populace from those who clained to be 'offspring of the gods'. the only legitimzation of government comes at the end of the barrel of a gun. The only true capital that any government possesses is the cooperation of the populace. The only legitimate function of government is the protection of individual rights.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • From the Tundra||

    Your repertoire is truly breathtaking.

  • Brett L||

    Why is Swamp Thing interrupting their self-discovery of hydrodynamic principles?

  • Paul Spomer||

    Great article. The numbers don't lie.

  • Winston||

    The government is us so we are the government so we have nothing to fear, right? Also tax and spending cuts are evil and we need to be saved from the corporations who control the government so we need TOP. MEN. to keep them in line, right?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Basically proving that more government is collective suicide. But that's only because we have guns, right?

  • ||

    Tax cuts are evil.

    http://goo.gl/SsSYAh

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The purpose of the constitution was to institute a more powerful and unitary government than what came before and totally failed.

    You slay me.

    The Little Red Hen, Tony. Read it, and write us a book report.
    I cannot wait to hear your sophisticated analysis.

  • R C Dean||

    The purpose of the constitution was to institute a more powerful and unitary government

    I like how taking the power delegated by the people to the government from around 1.5 on a scale of one to ten all the way to 2.5 or 3 now means that the federal government can and should control all aspects of your life. Except abortion.

  • Number 2||

    Come now. Millions upon millions of deaths are simply the price we pay for living in civilized society.

  • Otis B. Driftwood||

    Come now. Millions upon millions of deaths murders are simply the price we pay for living in civilized society.

  • Otis B. Driftwood||

    When the fuck did cops start wearing the MARPAT (picture accompanying article)? I guess it'll match their MRAPs, M203s, and Abrams tanks.

  • Drake||

    They dress like the fucking Gestapo, then act surprised when they receive all the love of an occupying army. Why the fuck are they wearing face masks?

  • sasob||

    'Cuz they're cowards?

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    It's a way of getting around Posse Comitatus Act. Train and equip like the military, only call them police. See how easy that was?

  • Winston||

    Posse Comitatus Act

    that was passed in response to Reconstruction. Which means opposing military cops is racist.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    Train and equip like the military, only call them police. See how easy that was?

    FTFY

  • gaoxiaen||

    If the police trained like the military there would be some sort of ROE and accountability instead of paid vacations for fuckups.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    I remember seeing a show about a Marine Force Recon unit. They captured a ship that had been captured by pirates. The Marines purposely planned their approach to avoid an armed conflict, placing themselves in greater jeopardy by doing so. They were successful, and proud of the fact they were able to accomplish their mission without anyone being hurt, including the "bad guys".

    Compare and contrast that attitude with our civilian (yes, cops are civilians) law enforcement.

  • VicRattlehead||

    This is exactly it, I was a member of a naval Visit Board Search and Seizure team for Maritime Interdiction Operations, basically find pirates, detain disarm and arrest them, dangerous people who do not speak English.... 47 boardings without one shot ever fired, ARE YOU LISTENING YOU FUCKING PIGS! Not a single shot fired and not a single pirate killed by my team and not a single man lost on my team.

  • ||

    The ROEs in Iraq were much more softer on civilians than your local police force's are.

    They feel that their getting home safely ever night is paramount to your civil liberties.

    If they weren't sticking their nose into everyone's life on a daily basis they wouldn't have to worry about their safety so much.

    Barney Fife didn't even keep his one bullet in his gun.

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    I can't imagine how to design such a study but I would love to see a ratio of cops that slapped leather to servicemembers that have done the same. I'll bet it would be appalling.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    Exactly.

  • Horatio||

    Any people who can look at the current size, scope, finances, and standard operating procedure of the national government of the US and think that it is too small or even just right simply will never agree with the rest of us. Regardless of political stripe, the Tony types seem to think that if govt were to shrink anywhere between 0 and 99% of it's current size that violence will ensue, ignoring the very point of this article: when gov't grows, the number of people it kills, maims, or otherwise harms grows.

    The data above, even if wrong by half, is a shreeky counterpoint to Tony's brave but fuckfacian arguments that our government not only IS smart, but is so smart that it should be expanded - unless it's expanded by people with R's in their title of course - with no regard to its resume. If you support growing gov't, you support mass murder.

  • Libertymike||

    If you support the continuation of government, you support mass murder.

  • Free Society||

    Nah see with a state you get separate moral categories for those crimes. My favorite murder euphemism is probably "strategic bombing".

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Direct Kinetic Actions. No Pressure.

  • Free Society||

    Sounds futury

  • VicRattlehead||

    My personal favorite "law enforcement"

  • ||

    It's shocking beyond belief that they actually think this is a good thing.

    It exposes the heart of the statists fucks and they don't even realize it.

  • Paul.||

    People suspicious of coercive power have been on the defensive recently—or, more accurately, their opponents want them to be on the defensive.

    Gillespie's on the defensive lately. Me? Not so much. I don't have to apologize and deny my racism when I suggest that maybe the amount of cinnamon placed atop a pastry is something the government shouldn't be regulating.

  • Libertymike||

    Paul, HOLY PARAPROSDOKIAN!

    The fourth sentence is some damn nice prose. Well done.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Defensive is entirely the wrong word. Vindicated is the right one.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Being anti-government is a futile exercise.

    Government is made up of representatives of all of its citizens.

    We should hold those responsible for corruption.

    Other than that, our democracy pretty much shapes what we have.

  • Free Society||

    Being anti-government is a futile exercise.

    Anne Frank hiding in an attic from Nazis turned out to be a futile exercise but it does not ameliorate the crimes of the state. Nor does it dampen the right and moral obligation to resist the state insofar as we are able.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I don't know if we have an alternative to government.

  • Free Society||

    That would depend on your definition of 'government'. Does it necessarily need to be funded and operated through violent coercion?

  • Alice Bowie||

    As oppose to voluntary?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    The article clearly points out that the more government you have --that is what you lefties want-- the more people it kills. It's really not a hard concept to understand.

  • Free Society||

    Well Alice, I think there is a correlation between the political aggression you regularly advocate and the global supply of insurmountable human suffering. One increases proportionally to the other unsurprisingly.

  • Brian||

    I don't know if arguments from ignorance are valid.

  • Sevo||

    Alice Bowie|5.15.14 @ 7:25PM|#
    ..."Government is made up of representatives of all of its citizens."...

    I thought maybe sarc, but then looked at the handle; abysmal stupidity.

  • paranoid android||

    Being anti-government is a futile exercise.

    ...said O'Brien, lowering the rat cage towards Winston's face...

  • Alice Bowie||

    :

  • Erasmus vs. Luther||

    (Singing) Come one, come all, into 1984....

  • Erasmus vs. Luther||

    A futile enterprise you say? So by your line of reasoning, every revolution in the history of the world not only failed, but also made the lives of the people who participated in said revolution even worse. What sort of statist fantasy world do you currently reside in?
    Alice, I'd accuse you of being a cunt, but it's clear you lack the depth and warmth.

  • Alice Bowie||

    That's funny : lack the depth and warmth.

    Look. From your mouth to god's ear.

    I just see that as technology moves forward and the police state gets stronger and stronger, revolution becomes almost impossible.

  • Erasmus vs. Luther||

    Um....no, it's not. As a whole, U.S. citizens are still the most well armed public in the civilized world. That's a huge factor against state force.

    What's truly disturbing is your response to state force. Acquiescence, ambivalence, and muted submission. Is that the sort of world you wish to reside in? If so, my mind can't help but recoil in horror.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I think that the well armed public has been a big motivating factor in the militarization of the police.

  • Erasmus vs. Luther||

    On this point, I can agree with you. However, I believe the police have also used that as an excuse to militarize their forces to the point of absurdity. Consider the huge amount of pointless SWAT raids being used on non violent "law breaking" citizens. The current mindset of our police is to treat the general public as the ENEMY. From what I can gather from your post is that you view this with a lackadaisical attitude because it doesn't affect you personally. Please explain how such a stance improves the life of your everyday citizen.

  • GamerFromJump||

    Consider the huge amount of pointless SWAT raids being used on non violent "law breaking" citizens who were on the business end of a police fuckup.

    FTFY

  • Christophe||

    Absolutely false. FFS, did you not read Balko's stuff, ever?

    One of the big motivators for SWAT teams and dynamic entry is to get in quickly enough that the people inside can't flush drugs down the toilet. That's the kind of stuff they're worried about.

  • Christophe||

    That was a reply to Alice, in case the non-threading makes this ambiguous.

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    Nope. All they care about is going home at night. Enforcing the law and protecting the public have nothing to do with running around looking like a bunch of Foodcourt 6 SuperSEALDeltaRangers.

  • Harvard||

    [I think that the well armed public has been a big motivating factor in the militarization of the police.]

    All the more reason to believe the 2nd Amendment suggests that if government has M1 Abrams, citizens should have them too.

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    The militarization of police is a futile effort. I served in Afghanistan in a vain attempt, under President Obama, to "control" the local populace and "build" Democracy or some shit. Even with 120,000 soldiers backed up with the latest gadgets, missile, planes, helicopters, and other nasties we failed to subdue the locals.

    If a significant chunk of the 300,000,000 people in the US ever decide they don't want their present gov, short of nuking millions the militarized police state won't be able to stop them.

    The cops have gone military because they are wannabe SEAL Team 6 fuck-ups. They want to look the part of Ranger-Ninja-Commandos, without the sacrifice of joining the military, going through selection, and actually facing an enemy who can fight back. They prefer killing kittens to fighting lions...or something.

  • buybuydandavis||

    So as the cop's bullet penetrates your skull, remember that it's all your fault.

  • ||

    It is not a fucking democracy Alice.

  • WDATPDIM?!||

    "we do need Big Government to attack the big collective-action problems of the modern world"

    Such as?

  • Alice Bowie||

    Healthcare and Pensions.

    One should be able to open up a lemonade stand without being concerned with your employee's healthcare and pensions.

    Have medicare and public pensions for those who need it and a free market for those who want it.

  • WDATPDIM?!||

    How are those collective-action problems?

  • poloniusium||

    They're doing such a great job!

  • Sevo||

    Alice Bowie|5.15.14 @ 8:50PM|#
    "Healthcare and Pensions."

    Strange. Those are among the things the government does worst than practically any other effort and natch, Alice thinks that's a reason the government should do so.

  • Edwin||

    If the speed of light is constant to all observers (special relativity), then how can there be a doppler effect? What gives?

  • Free Society||

    Not sure why this is in the thread. Maybe this is sarcasm but physics are cool so I'll give it a crack. Soooo the speed of light is constant to all observers relative to themselves. But over long distances, as in astronomy, the observer and the source of light are moving at different velocities in addition to space itself moving apart in all directions.

  • Edwin||

    What, are you kidding me, if there's any place to ask any sort of science-y question it's here; libertarians by a wide margin are smarter and have more knowledge in specific things than most other people. I remember once a machinist was posting here. Haven't you noticed how much actual specific information we use, like for example the laws, in our positions?

    So yeah I figured I'd ask here among other places.

    //oooo the speed of light is constant to all observers relative to themselves

    Wow, no, that's not correct. Special relativity says the speed of light is constant to all observers. That is, you could be moving towards an emitter and you'd still clock the speed of light of the rays coming out at c.

    // But over long distances, as in astronomy, the observer and the source of light are moving at different velocities

    uhhh... what?

    // in addition to space itself moving apart in all directions.

    That's a conclusion based on the red shift observation, a conclusion based on the doppler affect, which is the very thing I'm questioning.
    Let's not assume there is a doppler effect, tell me in the first place how it can happen with light/ER when special relativity says that the speed of light is constant

  • Free Society||

    Wow, no, that's not correct. Special relativity says the speed of light is constant to all observers. That is, you could be moving towards an emitter and you'd still clock the speed of light of the rays coming out at c.

    I guess I just disproved your knowledgeable libertarian theory ;) My understanding was that the speed of light remained constant and would seem as such even if you were traveling that fast because time actually slows down for observers moving at such velocity.

    uhhh... what?

    Our solar system moves through spacetime in one way and a distant supernova, moves in another direction and speed. The faster-than-light observation of distant objects points to the metric expansion of space, methinks.

  • Free Society||

    That's a conclusion based on the red shift observation, a conclusion based on the doppler affect, which is the very thing I'm questioning.

    Honestly I didn't think that conclusion was based solely on red shift. Are the various theoretical models also attributing the metric expansion of space solely to red shift? So you're disavowing Hubble's Law? Hoping for a closed universe? The observation of distant galaxies moving away faster than the speed of is explained how, if not the metric expansion of space?

    Let's not assume there is a doppler effect, tell me in the first place how it can happen with light/ER when special relativity says that the speed of light is constant

    I'm no physicist so don't bite my head off, but... it's my understanding that the speed of light remains constant 'relative to the observer'. Which means when you're in a spaceship traveling at, or as close to the speed of light as possible, the speed of the light around you remains constant but time itself actually slows down.

    How do you like your gravity, loopy or stringy?

  • Edwin||

    I dunno what you mean by what you're saying with the speed of light.
    The bottom line is, the speed of light remains constant for every oberver. Even if you are approoaching an emitter, you will clock that light as going c, rather than the otherwise normal c + your speed. It's just c all the time for everyone, which is crewy and flat out doesn't make sense according to our normal understanding, which is why time and length dilation are needed. But those two things what you'd say is happening to THAT guy you perceive as going very fast. That is, you'd say that based on the relativity calculations, it's been x amount of more time for him, and he's x longer.

  • Edwin||

    So,
    a constant speed of light would mean no doppler effect. They're interconnected, one and the same. For medium based waves, if the observer is approaching the emitter, he perceives a higher frquency, smaller wavelength, AND a higher speed of the wave.

    The only "solution" I can come up with light is that it's all relative, so any situation where the observer is the one moving is the same as one where the emitter is moving, and when the emitter is moving in medium-based-wave situations there's no issue, so altogether there's no issue with light

    still, I don't find it super convincing

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    No. NO. NO. NO!

    The speed of light is constant, but that does not preclude the Doppler effect at all since that is a shift in frequency and not propagation speed (really read that as group velocity).

    Turn the question around. If I simultaneously shine a blue light at you and a red light at you and we're both in the same reference frame, does one arrive before the other?

  • Edwin||

    it kinda does preclude it. Read what I wrote about medium waves and the observer being the one moving. The observer MUST see the wave as going faster than it otherwise would, to go along with his perception that the wavelength is shorter

    The only workaround I see for light is that it's all relative, and so any situation where the observer is the one who;s approaching is the same as one's where the emitter is approaching, and the latter doesn't have the aforementioned issue, and so everything's copasetic. But like I said, I don't find it convincing.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    You're confusing the speed of propagation with the frequency. The frequency & wavelength just tell you the period between corresponding points of the wave (peak-peak, trough-trough, etc.). They do NOT tell you what the actual propagation speed is.

    Let's take another look at that light, but this time we'll look at it in terms of wavefronts from an emitter. I emit a single pulse of light at a fixed frequency. If we're both stationary, then you will perceive the light to be the same as my measured emitted frequency, f0. Now say I start to move towards you. I've launched the first pulse already, but the second pulse is launched a little closer to you than my origin. The third pulse closer still, and so on. Even though each pulse is still propagating at the same fixed speed in either of our reference frames, the pulses start to overlap for you. You perceive this as a frequency shift up because they're coming arriving on top of each other. This is where you will claim that I'm making the wave arrive faster, but I'm not. I am emitting the pulses from different points in space.

    All is indeed relative. For inertial reference frames you cannot tell the difference between your motion or the emitter's motion (both are valid). Now, instead of me emitting from different points in space, you are sampling for different points in space. It is symmetric.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    last for=from

  • Edwin||

    look at your example. Notice that the EMITTER is the one who's moving.

    Now read again what I wrote. I DID NOT say that the emitter makes the wave go faster. I said that when the OBSERVER is moving, he MUST view the wave as going faster as he approaches, to go hand in hand with his viewing a shorter wavelength/higher frequency

    Like I said, yeah, the rekativity deal making it so that it's all the same thing as the emitter moving is a workaround, but I'm not totally convinced

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    The wave does not go any faster. The system is entirely symmetric. The observer is sampling at points in space closer and closer to the emitter and so sees the wavefronts overlapping. None of the emitted pulses is going any faster. Each successive pulse just has a shorter distance to travel.

    Relativity isn't a "workaround." That is the whole point of special relativity.

    BTW, the Twin Paradox is usually taught very poorly. It really demonstrates the limits of Special Relativity and is not a case of it.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    And if you really want a headscratcher (that I still don't understand), then consider Kip Thorne's Twin Paradox Wormhole Time Machine. One of these days I'm going to read that paper and try to understand how that can function as a time machine when both ends of the wormhole are back in the same reference frame.

  • ChrisS||

    NotAnotherSKippy is totally right.

    The doppler effect does not change the speed of propogation, just the frequency.

    Your problem is that you do not realize that although the speed of light is constant, spacetime is not. This is the essential difference between special relativity and newtonian physics. In Newtons view, space and time are constant and the speed of light should change due to the movement of the observer. This was tested and proven false, before Einstein.

    In relativity the motion of the observer alters spacetime. Although the light may classically have been observed to move more quickly due to the relative motion of the emitter. In relativity the observer and emitter experience different amounts of time, so the observer experiences more time than the emitter which is travelling away from him, giving the light more time to travel the greater distance. This change of the speed of time has also been tested and shown to be true.

    You really only need to worry about this when you are travelling at a significant portion of the speed of light, if both are moving at a relatively low speed then all of these effects make almost no difference.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    What you're missing is that redshift isn't a measure of a change of speed, but rather wavelength.

    Light fundamentally acts like both a wave and a particle. The wavelength of light gives it its color. Shorter, more energetic wavelengths go towards blue/ultraviolet; longer, less energetic wavelengths go towards blue.

    As space expands between two points in space, the light traveling that distance is stretched into a longer, redder wavelength. The speed of light remains constant, but there is an observable shift of light towards the red spectrum. An objecting moving closer to us would appear to be more blue.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    *that should read longer, less energetic wavelengths go towards red/infrared.

  • Edwin||

    all you did was just describe the doppler effect, like most people in the discussions I googled.

    You're missing the key here, THE SPEED OF LIGHT IS CONSTANT, which negates the possibility of a doppler effect

    WHile the speed of a wave doesn't have to change for a doppler effect, it's perceived speed has to be able to change relative to an observer. Think about the situation where an observer is approaching the emitter and we're talking about medium-based waves (like sound). Note that in this situation, the observer perceives a shorter wavelength AND he perceives the speed of the wave as being faster, because to him it is, he's speeding past it, so he clocks it at wave speed + his velocity (his velocity relative to the medium). But this situation is negated by the basic rule of relativity that everyone see the speed of light as c only.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    There is no difference in speed between light in the high ultraviolet and in the low infrared. The difference is the perception of the frequency of the waveform.

    Here's an analogy, plagiarized from Wikipedia: Consider two people playing catch. Imagine that a stationary pitcher tosses one ball each second (1 Hz) at one meter per second to a catcher who is standing still. The stationary catcher will receive one ball per second (1 Hz). Then the catcher walks away from the pitcher at 0.5 meters per second and catches a ball every 2 seconds (0.5 Hz). Finally, the catcher walks towards the pitcher at 0.5 meters per second and catches three balls every two seconds (1.5 Hz). The same would be true if the pitcher moved toward or away from the catcher. By analogy, the relativistic Doppler effect shifts the frequency of light as the emitter or observer moves toward or away from the other. The speed of the ball remains the same, but the perception of the frequency at which the balls are being thrown changes.

    So it is with light; c remains constant, but the perception of the frequency changes. Hence the redshift when objects move away, and the blueshift when objects move closer.

  • Edwin||

    AGAIN, THAT'S JUST DESCRIBING THE DOPPLER EFFECT

    everybody keeps doing that. No one can seem to get past that.

    What about the thing I said? How the hell can it happen when the observer is the one who's moving, and yet he perceives the speed of light as being the same? If the observer is approaching, he HAS to see the speed of the wave as higher in order for the wavelength to shorten

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    It occurs to me that I probably shouldn't have added the last sentence in the second paragraph, as it distracts from the frequency comparison. The frequency of the balls/light are independent of their velocity. While it is true that to the catcher of the ball, the speed of the ball appears to change depending on their movement, this is unconnected to the perception of the frequency at which the balls are thrown.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||


    What about the thing I said? How the hell can it happen when the observer is the one who's moving, and yet he perceives the speed of light as being the same?

    Because perception of frequency and perception of velocity are not the same. Otherwise, an ultraviolet light would be perceived to be moving faster than an infrared light.

  • Edwin||

    no,
    that the balls appear faster to the observer is directly tied in with the fact that he perceives a higher freuency. These two effects are one in the same

    and yet relativity tells us that the perceived speed cannot change. So how can light be subject to dopppler weffects?

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    Well, you seem to wish to remain ignorant, so I shall allow you to do so.

  • Edwin||

    no, you just haven't even remotely addressed the thing I'm talking about

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    I have, repeatedly, and so has NotAnotherSkippy. However, you've decided that your little pet theory is right and won't hear how it is wrong, and I can see no way to change your mind. Might as well try and explain what's wrong about the labor theory of value to an avowed communist.

  • Edwin||

    nope. You didn't once adress what I was talking about. Try actually reading thoroughly what I wrote

  • Sevo||

    "and yet relativity tells us that the perceived speed cannot change."
    Pretty sure there's your problem.

  • ||

    Way to hijack a fucking thread Einstein.

    I started reading and then scrolled to the bottom.

    You've got half the poster's minds off the subject at hand.

    Why don't you take your shit elsewhere and leave us on topic ?

  • american socialist||

    Nice. 262 million people died in the 20th century largely in Communist and Nazi prison camps... Awkward segue... You know how else you can experience totalitarianism-- Michael Bloomberg. I have to admit I haven't come across this sort of comparison, but given this is Reason what can you expect? I learn stuff here everyday.

  • Erasmus vs. Luther||

    Bloomberg never had the power to impose totalitarianism, despite his best efforts. The federal circuit courts made that abundantly clear. Your comparison is blatantly disingenuous. Then again, I have tomorrow off work, so the 3rd screwdriver I just drank may be effecting my cognitive reasoning skills. As of now, I can't make sense of your comment. Please enlighten me.

  • ||

    Bloomberg's actions epitomises the direction and wishes of the totalitarian.

    As their numbers grow by academic propaganda and by people jumping on the statist bandwagon in hopes of catching crumbs of the enlighten ones, one day the judge who shot him down will think just like Bloomberg does.

  • craiginmass||

    Right - because clean air, a healthy diet and public health are only available under totalitarian leadership......

    I'd say your own Puppet Masters (the Kochs) and their friends...in establishing the "Tea Bagger" stuff have went a LOT further toward trampling rights nationwide. ALEC, their pet legislative project, actually gets hundreds of their own hand-crafter laws passed...and enforced.

    That's quite different from an elected Mayor....

  • Black&Yellow||

    "Bloomberg never had the power to impose totalitarianism'

    His army of NYPD was enough to impose totalitarianism

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|5.15.14 @ 9:00PM|#
    "Nice. 262 million people died in the 20th century largely in Communist and Nazi prison camps... Awkward segue..."

    You call your straw-grasping an "awkward segue"?
    Aren't you pleased that your heroes are the leaders of the world's mass murderers? Doesn't it fill you with pride? Your "socialist" system is a wonderful tool to make sure innocent people die the worst deaths imaginable. I'm sure you are thrilled, as any slimeball should be.

  • Tony||

    If liberals have to take credit for Mao and Stalin then libertarians have to take credit for every death by natural causes. Let's do the tally!

  • buybuydandavis||

    Because no one would ever die, if it weren't for those damn libertarians limiting the loving protection of the government.

  • Erasmus vs. Luther||

    Comparing the concrete numbers of people who died under the policies of socialist regimes to your completely fantastical comparison of people who died as a direct result of Libertarian principles is an incredibly weak argument. Your operating under the false assumption that the majority of premature deaths of the general public is an indictment of the lack of centralized force, despite the the glaring fact that the vast majority of said deaths are a direct result of policies imposed by the powerful elite. Surely you can't be that stupid(Shit, I responded to a Tony post, of course he believes so). Your lack of critical thinking skills never ceases to amaze me.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|5.15.14 @ 10:22PM|#
    "If liberals have to take credit for Mao and Stalin then libertarians have to take credit for every death by natural causes. Let's do the tally!"

    Yes, let's! See below; you got 24 hours. Get to it!

  • ||

    Tony|5.15.14 @ 10:22PM|#

    If liberals have to take credit for Mao and Stalin then libertarians have to take credit for every death by natural causes. Let's do the tally!"

    That wins the internet for the stupidest and most disingenuous comparison EVA.

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    When it seems that Tony couldn't possibly say anything stupider...

  • american socialist||

    Yes, I already know that you guys can't distinguish 21st century Scandanavia and the 1930s in the Soviet Union. Thus, you are left making comparisons between people looking to regulate your diabetes-insuring Big Gulp and people committing mass murder. What else can you expect from people who think the government is holding a gun to your head when you fill out your 1040s. You must live a pretty stressful life.

  • Vulgar Madman||

    Sweden is abandoning socialism you twit.
    Taxes are voluntary? Ok.

  • craiginmass||

    I love the way you dudes dramatize stuff. They are "abandoning" it, eh?

    Let's qualify that.

    A good metric is the % of GDP paid in taxes. Sweden is 45% plus.
    The USA is about 27%

    So, since most libertarians here declare we are WAY over the "socialist" border, let's assume that anything north of 20% is "socialist".

    Please tell us when you expect Sweden to stop dabbling in Socialism by lowering taxes to the level of Ghana!

    In fact, show us a single advanced European nation or any nation of reasonable size which fits your mold of "throwing off socialism" by having a taxation rate of 20% or lower.

  • Free Society||

    What else can you expect from people who think the government is holding a gun to your head when you fill out your 1040s.

    I would expect their recognition of reality. Do you literally think there isn't a violent consequence to not paying taxes?

  • politicsbyothermeans||

    Implying anyone as profoundly stupid as AS could hold down a job that pays well enough to include a tax burden.

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|5.15.14 @ 10:41PM|#
    "Yes, I already know that you guys can't distinguish 21st century Scandanavia and the 1930s in the Soviet Union."

    Fail, slimeball. See chart above. You, OTOH, have never claimed other than promotion of the murderous policies of Stalin, Mao, etc.
    NOW you want to claim you really didn't mean it?
    Fuck you with a running chainsaw, asshole.

  • Brian||

    american socialist:

    What else can you expect from people who think the government is holding a gun to your head when you fill out your 1040s. You must live a pretty stressful life

    Go ahead and stop paying your taxes, and let us know how stress free your life becomes.

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    That is the jump Proggies can't make without revealing themselves to be advocates of violence, which they all claim to disdain.

    All these wonderful laws they pass are backed by the gun. Raw violence and coercion is the only force behind them. Without that, proggies have nothing.

  • Sevo||

    But *their* hands are clean! It's their hired thugs who do the dirty work.

  • Tony||

    How else do you enforce laws? Do you think you should be able to steal public services without paying your part?

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    Your mind can't even fathom other means, simple, naked violence is all if can conceive.

  • Tony||

    Maybe I could fathom them if any of you would bother describing them.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    Maybe I could fathom them if any of you would bother describing them.

    Earlier, you said that we don't need to worry about preventing people from voting illegally. The benefit isn't worth the cost, apparently.

    So, how thuggish does our solution to avoiding the theft of services have to be to satisfy you?

    For example, if it's hard to get people to pay for a massive military industrial complex, perhaps the answer is not having one, rather than going jackboot.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    How else do you enforce laws? Do you think you should be able to steal public services without paying your part?

    It does give one pause when one realizes that all laws are enforced by violence. Clearly, this implies that certain laws have no business existing.

    For example, "How else are you going to rape someone?" isn't really a great justification for threatening people for not sleeping with you.

  • Tony||

    This is absurd... If you're an anarchist then you accept violence as a part of everyday life--much more than exists under an ordered governed system. If you're a minarchist then you most support those functions of government that involve actual violence.

    You're arguing against something nobody disagrees with.

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    You're arguing against something nobody disagrees with.

    In other words, you agree. And, you're arguing.

    If you're a minarchist then you most support those functions of government that involve actual violence.

    This is incorrect. A minarchist is not someone who supports those functions of government that involve violence, because that would imply that any government function that involved violence was supported.

    I think you mean to say that minarchists support the use of violence for some functions of government. Which, is a completely different thing. I'm sure they would agree with my original point, however.

  • craiginmass||

    Actually they do!
    That's why many here, as well as the Kochs, support that rancher in NV.

    Always remember - privatize the gains and socailize the losses!

    According to these folks, the gubment exists to enrich them and then to protect their stuff. As far as paying for that gubment, they'd prefer the working man do so - which is why taxes for working folks can end up eating 1/2 your income while the billionaires max out at 15 or 20%.

  • craiginmass||

    Right. Obviously having to buy 2 16 oz. sodas instead of one Big Gulp is one of the largest crimes against humanity ever!
    :-)

  • buybuydandavis||

    These days, laws are more about creating criminals than preventing crime.

  • Sevo||

    "These days, laws are more about creating criminals than preventing crime."

    "Criminals" create jobs for Pub Sec Unions. Pub Sec Unions provide the votes that keep Dems in power; Dems are owned by Pub Sec Unions.
    Dems are not going to reduce the "criminal" population; the SEIU would scream bloody murder (pun intended).

  • Sevo||

    Tony|5.15.14 @ 10:22PM|#
    "If liberals have to take credit for Mao and Stalin then libertarians have to take credit for every death by natural causes. Let's do the tally!"

    I'm sure your stupidity is such that you actually bleeve that's true, much as bleevers bleeve in the skydaddy.
    Now, let's give you a chance to prove it: Exactly how many lives have government saved?
    Two restrictions:
    1) No fair 'saving' lives threatened by governments; that's a zero-sum game.
    2) You have to show the lives were saved, not like 'oh, well, if we didn't have cops a lot of people would die!'
    OK, Tony, you got 24 hours; let's see it. Show how many lives have been saved by the same agency that has caused 267 million deaths in one century.
    GO!

  • Sevo||

    BTW, Tony, the first post I see from you tomorrow, I'm going to copy and paste this. And I encourage others who see your first post to do the same.
    You've made the claim; let's see the evidence, since you're such a 'fact-based' guy.

  • Tony||

    Impossible to quantify since we don't have a control anarchist planet to compare. I'd say billions either saved or created. Remember, in libertopia, you have to figure out what to do with your own shit. Obviously you'll not dump it in your neighbor's yard because libertopia makes people magically not the assholes they naturally are.

  • ImanAzol||

    "Impossible to quantify."

    Ergo, bullshit.

    BTW, my septic system dumps shit on my own property.

    What are you going to do with that mouthful of Marx's jizz?

  • RishJoMo||

    Pretty scary stuff man, for sure.

    www.YourAnon.tk

  • Sevo||

    AND, the number is too small by at least 20%; it doesn't include the 'watermellon deaths', caused by governments imposing restrictions for 'environmental' reasons:
    "MALARIA VICTIMS: HOW ENVIRONMENTALIST BAN ON DDT CAUSED 50 MILLION DEATHS"
    Make that 312,000,000, Tony.
    Now, let's see your claims.

  • Sevo||

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    Sevo,

    I just posted a question/comment. Aren't you going to attack me as you always do? Surely, you don't want to miss another opportunity insult me with one of your bowel movements in print.

  • Sevo||

    On The Road To Mandalay|5.16.14 @ 4:05PM|#
    "Sevo,
    I just posted a question/comment. Aren't you going to attack me as you always do?"

    We know you're an attention whore, but you have it backwards:
    You were going to 'insult' me every time I posted. Did you forget? Were you drunk? Are you just stupid?

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    And the alternative to government is?

  • Harvard||

    Relative happiness?

  • On The Road To Mandalay||

    That's a good start. Relative to what?

  • Brian||

    And the alternative to government is?

    And, an argument from incredulity is?

  • Tony||

    So why don't you enlighten us.

  • Brian||

    That's what the link is for.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|5.16.14 @ 7:03PM|#
    "So why don't you enlighten us."

    Hey, Tony, enlighten us! You were going to tell us how many lives have been saved by the thugs in government!
    Let's see it, 'fact-boy'.

  • craiginmass||

    Well, I'd say the US Gubment has saved tens - maybe hundreds of millions - with the CDC and it's forerunners, let alone other public health efforts.

    Ain't worth doing the math. It's evident.

  • Brian||

    How many people die waiting for the FDA to approve their drugs? The drugs for the conditions that will kill them without treatment?

    Do those factor in?

  • craiginmass||

    Uh, and how many have died taking stuff which they approved too quickly?

    You can't use such metrics since you don't have numbers on the other sides of the equation. Even most approved drugs have very little efficacy compared to placebo (maybe 34% to 29% for SSRIs, for example)..

    That seems to be the way or "reason" here. Find something wrong - which there will be plenty of examples of among hundreds of millions of people - and then shout "this is because the sun came up this morning - now the sky is falling".

    I can assure you that it isn't. The USA may dissolve someday, but it's not imminent.

  • Sevo||

    Ooops. There it is:
    Tony|5.16.14 @ 6:47PM|#
    "Impossible to quantify since we don't have a control anarchist planet to compare"

    So you were lying when you made the claim?

  • Sevo||

    Tony|5.16.14 @ 4:18PM|#
    ..."Do you think you should be able to steal public services without paying your part?"

    Notice that our resident thug-apologist has no interest in anything that isn't 'public'.
    I'm sure that you turn over your entire income to the IRS and ask them for an allowance? I mean, that's public money your employer hands you, right?

  • american socialist||

    When are you giving up your Medicare and Social Security check?

  • Erasmus vs. Luther||

    I know this question isn't directed towards me, but I'll play along. I will go out on a limb here and say that the vast majority of people on this board not only don't receive Medicare and Social Security checks, but also assume that said inevitably bankrupt programs will not be there to exploit when they reach retirement age, much less structure/plan there retirement around them.

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|5.16.14 @ 8:12PM|#
    "When are you giving up your Medicare and Social Security check?"

    That's your response? Why is purple?
    When are you going to grow a brain cell?

  • american socialist||

    If you libertarian turds like Somalia so much why don't you move there? Just say the word and I'll hook you up with airfare to mogadishu

  • Erasmus vs. Luther||

    Yes!!! The the classic response of liberals to the argument against state force. Nevermind the fact that Somolia is ruled by local chieftains who rule by imposing violence and death against those who don't follow their rules(a trait shared by progs). The very antithesis of the Libertarian train of thought. Weak sauce, try again.

  • craiginmass||

    Because their puppet masters (owners of this site, the Cato, etc. - the Koch Brothers) would find it kind of hard to suck all the common resources there without the backlash of the war lords.

    That's an easy answer. What these people enjoy is to privatize gains and socialize losses. Somolia would not have the taxes to help prop up corps like the Kochs. They'd rather have the full protections of the taxpayers (the US Government) and take their billions in profits and start up web sites, think tanks and other efforts to drive us further into chaos or debt. FUD (fear, uncertainly and doubt) always benefits the resource extractors and polluters.

    The folks on here who consider themselves intelligent may want to look at the strings they are being controlled by. Why did it take billions from the Kochs to "create" the right wing press?

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    Fuck, you are stupid.

  • Brian||

    caraiginmass:

    They'd rather have the full protections of the taxpayers (the US Government) and take their billions in profits and start up web sites, think tanks and other efforts to drive us further into chaos or debt. FUD (fear, uncertainly and doubt) always benefits the resource extractors and polluters.

    Please explain this to me, because I never understand it: the idea that we should all denounce libertarians because the Kochs are apparently pretending to advocate limited government for their own self-interest, to the detriment of all others.

    First of all, how does advocating limited government drive us further into debt? We didn't get to a national debt of +$17 trillion listening to advocates of limited government. And, would not the embracement of libertarian policies curtail the ability of corporations to be propped up?

    In terms of pollution: is that really the Koch's big victory? People consistently say they understand that global warming is a threat, yet, when asked to rank their policy priorities, it comes almost dead last. Apparently, democracy and public policy need little help from the Koch's to ignore climate change in any serious way, since people seem more concerned with the dismal labor participation rate than they are with making sure the US contributes less than other nations to the 0.2 degree C rise in temperature that we'll have this decade, regardless of what we do.

  • Brian||

    Finally, take the financial industry. If you really want to get rich with the government, the best way is to jump right in bed with them, not setting up limited government think tanks.

    We had a financial crisis, and everyone was all up and ready for more financial regulations. What did we get? Apparently, the "Too Big To Fail" bug was more firmly ensconced as a feature in financial regulatory policy. All of this to the advantage of the Goldman Sachs out there, who contribute heavily to political candidates.

    Do you think they'd have come better forgetting all of that, and setting up limited government think tanks?

    I highly suspect that if the Kochs wanted to maximize their own profit, they would simply embrace a regulatory state and focus on backing political candidates exclusively, skipping the whole limited government think tank angle. I don't see the pragmatic advantage in that.

    Nor do I understand how the politicians that socialists advocate for, somehow come out with completely clean hands. Are their motives and financial sources pure as driven snow? Do they not "privatize gains and socialize losses"? Apparently, that's their job. They have all the same properties that you assign to the Kochs: they're rich and powerful, and, somehow, their policies always seem to serve themselves, whether or not they serve any one else.

    I have a lot more respect in someone who wants freedom for their own self-interest, than someone who wants a government with arbitrary power.

  • craiginmass||

    "I have a lot more respect in someone who wants freedom for their own self-interest, than someone who wants a government with arbitrary power."

    That's simply wrong. Not to bring up the old canard, but that's why the Germans snuffed out people with disabilities - that's in the self interest of those who work for a living!

    Individuals are generally dangerous - with power, or money (really the same thing).

    Ideally, government is a different thing. It takes into account, as the founders knew, that people are corrupt. The reason a large federal government won out in the original convention is that it was quite clear that many states (S. Carolina, for example) were in the pockets of perhaps a few dozen business people. "Self Interest" as you state.

    The Kochs have much more in common with Putin and his friends than with enlightened capitalism.

    The Kochs have decided that the ends (their world view, their freedoms in resource extraction) are worth virtually ANY means, including the direct control and ownership of vast amounts of media which - frankly - spews out propaganda and outright lies.

    Add that to general ignorance and you have problems. Their money - individually - can sway elections and therefore law and policy.

    And, no, enlightenment and liberalism are not in the eye of the beholder. Causing excess deaths by pollution which you have fought to be allowed to spew is wrong...under any definition of enlightened policy.

  • Brian||

    craiginmass:

    That's simply wrong. Not to bring up the old canard, but that's why the Germans snuffed out people with disabilities - that's in the self interest of those who work for a living!

    Wow. So wanting freedom out of your own self-interest is equivalent to the Nazis? Since the entire point was pointing out how evil it can be to use the government to promote your own self-interest instead, it sounds like you're making my argument for me.

    And, by the rule of Godwin's law, you've just lost the debate.

  • craiginmass||

    Long story - but I have a family member who litigated clean water and air in the midwest and elsewhere. The simple answer is YES, there is too much liability in the pollutants released by the Kochs and others for them to take responsibility - and, of course, that's as far from true libertarianism (taking responsibility) as it is possible to be!

    Advocating limited government without taking the actual steps to do so - which is what we have done and what the Kochs have championed - caused more debt. Making people angry at the USA and making them feel they are getting screwed=much less paid in taxes. Koch money fuels "anti-IRS" efforts as well as the "give me my free stuff from other taxpayers" like the current debacle in NV.

    This would be a test for the Kochs. Tell them the government is getting out the business of protecting mineral rights both overseas and here. Tell them that to make government smaller, we will no longer lease federal land or public lands to resource extractors. What do you think they will say?

    Nothing wrong with saving money - I'm all for it. But the Kochs are basically, along with others, turning our country into a oligarchy and plutocracy. One dollar=one vote instead of one person.

  • ImanAzol||

    Or we could send you to the socialist paradise of North Korea. Augusto will fly you there in his helicopter.

  • ImanAzol||

    When you give up sucking Karl Marx's shriveled cock.

  • BMFPitt||

    So this is basically the exact same argument that if we ban guns there will be no more violence of any kind?

  • craiginmass||

    So, by giving numbers which have little to do with OUR government, that proves that our government must be bad?

    This would be like me calling the writer of this article a murderer and rapist and not fit to live on this earth - because, after all, chances are someone like him (somewhere) committed those crimes. The only way to stop those crimes is to get rid of ANY institutions (living, in this case) which allows them to happen, right?

    Silly article.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    OUR government is wonderful. It protects us from evil polluting
    corporations. It never ever kills us or jails us. Unless we enjoy ourselves. That is the one unforgivable sin.

    Truly, MA and CA wouldn't exist without a constant importation of fresh brains. They rot so quickly there.

  • craiginmass||

    The Koch Family, owners of this site, come from a family that truly believes in Government - although it may be the wrong type:

    "At the center of the saga is patriarch Fred Koch who drilled his political ideology into his sons from a young age. In 1938, then sympathetic to the fascist regimes ruling Germany, Italy and Japan, Fred wrote that he hoped one day the United States would resemble these nations, which had "overcome" the vices of "idleness, feeding at the public trough, [and] dependence on government."

    Elsewhere, Fred warned of a future "vicious race war" in which communists would pit black Americans against white. "The colored man looms large in the Communist plan to take over America," he wrote.

    In private, Fred Koch "ruled the house with an iron fist” and faith in social Darwinism. Schulman recounts how the former boxer encouraged his sons to fight each other, sometimes with horrifying results.

    Frederick, the oldest, was an outsider in the rough-and-tumble boys club of the Koch house. "Freddie was a sophisticate, a man of the world, in addition to the fact that he was gay, [which] wasn't easily accepted in those days," said a family friend"

    Yep, sounds just like the kind of people we want running this place...

  • Brian||

    What source are you quoting?

  • craiginmass||

    New book coming out next week....

    http://www.danielschulman.com/

  • BMFPitt||

    So if you ever donated money that means you own it?

    Awesome, I'm gonna call The Jacket and have him make me some coffee.

  • craiginmass||

    Ah, now you are going to claim the Kochs didn't start and don't control Cato? ALEC? This site? AFP?

    Don't be silly. It's all documented, although they try very hard to keep it secret - hiding behind all kinds of PAC's, etc.

    But, yes, when you own the majority share or even large minority shares in a corporation, you pretty much control it. Check out what Icahn does with 5% shares in a company.

    http://www.politico.com/news/s.....77809.html

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

    So, yeah, the Scaifes - the most well know far-right wingers in American history - also own(ed) part of it also.

    The more pressing question would be why anyone would think these are something more than efforts of the Kochs to allow for less taxation for themselves and less regulation of their polluting industries??

    I like to think - that if I came across a couple tens of billions, I'd be more like Buffet, Gates and the others as opposed to spending most of my money and time to make sure wages stay low and air stays dirtier. After all, is an extra 5 billion in their net worth really going to help their daily lives?

  • ImanAzol||

    Before we continue this discussion, I'm going to need to see some birth certificates.

  • ||

    Because Veterans are principled, committed, have proven ability and are fearless they are a threat to liberal progressives and fall under the ideological cleansing policy of the Democrat party. Veterans will be eradicated through neglect by the V.A., subdued by discrimination and vilification or executed in the streets. Veterans, the country we fought for and many died for is plotting our demise! We have to take back our future. The enemy is moving fast to secure their stranglehold on our future. What more can we lose but our lives if we don't wake up!!

  • MikeyParks||

    Every time there's a negative action that evokes emotion (think Las Vegas), a new law is born – maybe more than one. Emotion-based laws feel so good to make and look so noble and virtuous. But they're generally hastily written, ill considered and make someone's freedoms disappear in a flurry of feel-good. Of course, once a law is made, we all know that it almost never is unmade. Year by year this happens. That's how totalitarianism works; bit by bit.

  • ImanAzol||

    Hiroshima was a completely legitimate military target, being both an industrial center, and having a significant troop presence--about 20% of the casualties were military. It still would be today.

    Your message is diluted if you allow emotion to cloud reason.

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