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Free Minds & Free Markets

What We Talk About When We Talk About Socialism

From Jim Carrey to the Chapo Trap House to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the "s" word means different things to different people. Here's how libertarians should engage.

HBO, screen capHBO, screen capThese days you can't swing a dead kulak without hitting someone who's really, really into socialism, or at least giving it a longer look. On Real Time with Bill Maher last week, movie star Jim Carrey emphatically said, "We have to say yes to socialism, to the word and everything....We have to stop apologizing."

The current It Girl of American politics, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. The crew behind the popular Chapo Trap House podcast have a widely discussed book out that purports to be a "Guide to Revolution" and "A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason." Corey Robin, a professor at CUNY and author of The Reactionary Mind, explains in The New York Times "why the pitch from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders resonates in 2018." Politico asked a range of mostly left-leaning activists and analysts, "What Would a Socialist America Look Like?" (The answer: pretty much unicorns and rainbows, apparently.) Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a self-described democratic socialist who pushes national single-payer health care, more funding for Social Security, and a tax on Amazon, still makes the progressive crowd swoon.

And the endorsement of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who like Sanders is widely considered a likely candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, is highly sought even after she admitted, "I believe in markets and the benefits they can produce." (More on that later.)

According to Gallup, 51 percent of people between the ages of 18 to 29 have a positive view of socialism while just 45 percent have a positive view of capitalism. A recent Fox News poll (Fox!) found growing support for the statement, "Do you think it would be a good thing or a bad thing for the United States to move away from capitalism and more toward socialism?" Now 36 percent say it would be a good thing; seven years ago, only 20 percent did. More worrying, just 51 percent think it would be a bad thing, down from well over 60 percent over the same time period.

What are libertarians to make of all this? Is this the moment when the curve of history starts bending left, even as (or maybe because) actual socialist countries such as North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela dwindle to zero? I don't think so, but it would be foolish for anyone who believes in "Free Minds and Free Markets" to write off the current moment as merely a symptom of Trump Derangement Syndrome or just a pre-midterm outpouring of limousine liberalism. The financial crisis, the bank and auto-company bailouts (which all good libertarians opposed), the slower-than-molasses recovery, declines in the labor-force participation rate, non-stop war, and more have helped drive confidence in the old ways of doing things through the floor. People are rightly looking for alternatives, and "socialism" is one of them.

That said, a good chunk of socialism chic can be chalked up to semantic or definitional vagueness. To the extent that socialism is equated with being kind or fair, it's easy to see the appeal. This is especially true with younger people, who have no memory of what life was like in the old Warsaw Pact countries. When Reason polled Millennials back in 2014, 42 percent said they thought socialism was a better system than capitalism, a finding consistent with many other subsequent polls. But when we asked a follow-up question, it became pretty clear that most respondents didn't define socialism as a system where the government owns or heavily controls the means of production. Asked whether they would prefer a "government-managed economy" or a "free-market economy," only 32 percent wanted the first option while 64 percent wanted the latter. When even "communist" China is practicing at least a version of capitalism, the horror stories coming out of Venezuela are easy to ignore. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may rail against the gig economy, but just like Bernie and Warren she uses Uber every chance she gets.

We may be arriving at a period Joseph Schumpeter warned about in his 1942 masterpiece, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy. Marx believed that capitalism would "immiserate" proletarians so badly that workers would finally gain true class consciousness, revolt, and commandeer the means of production. Schumpeter thought that was empirically wrong—"the capitalist achievement does not typically consist in providing more silk stockings for queens but in bringing them within reach of factory girls," he wrote—but he was convinced that capitalism would defeat itself by creating a society that took wealth creation and rising living standards for granted. Capitalism would die not because of its failure to deliver the good life but because of its success at mainstreaming general wealth.

Capitalism, Schumpeter famously argued, was built upon "the gale of creative destruction...a process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one." Such nonstop "turmoil" causes all sorts of social, cultural, and economic dislocations, is constantly upending established interests, and wears people out until they vote to straitjacket economic change in the name of social calm. You can hear echoes of that today, and not just from Bernie Sanders and other self-proclaimed socialists. Even Donald Trump spoke for the "forgotten American" left behind by "globalists" who cared more about the poor in foreign countries than the poor in the upper Midwest. There are good reasons to doubt that we're living in a particularly volatile global labor market, but the reigning narrative on both the right and the left is that we're in the thick of a period when whole industries rise and fall on an almost hourly basis. That sort of panic makes socialism, which promises to smooth out, control, and direct things to a greater or smaller degree, attractive. At least someone (other than Rich Uncle Pennybags) will be in charge, right?

The Chapo bros are actual textbook socialists bent "on seizing the billionaires' money, socializing their wealth, and handing the keys of production over to workers," all in the interest of creating a utopian three-hour workday. But most of the new era's socialists are not so old-school. Bernie Sanders has admitted that he doesn't want the government to run everything as much as he wants it to run or regulate more stuff. The details aren't all there, but even his Medicare-for-All pitch doesn't involve making all health-care professionals public employees. He's not really far from Warren, who denies being a socialist and is at pains to say that she really, really likes markets—as long as they are tightly regulated so, in her view, they perform more equitably. As she recently told The Atlantic,

What excites me about markets? I was telling you that gains-from-trade argument, but really what excites me about markets is competition. I want to make sure we've got a set of rules that lets everybody who's got a good, competitive idea get in the game....We need to make capitalism work for your family and we need to make democracy work for your family.

Writing in The New York Times, CUNY's Corey Robin demotes economics to secondary importance for today's socialists, arguing:

The socialist argument against capitalism isn't that it makes us poor. It's that it makes us unfree. When my well-being depends upon your whim, when the basic needs of life compel submission to the market and subjugation at work, we live not in freedom but in domination. Socialists want to end that domination: to establish freedom from rule by the boss, from the need to smile for the sake of a sale, from the obligation to sell for the sake of survival.

Listen to today's socialists, and you'll hear less the language of poverty than of power.

Robin's emphasis is also evident in some of the contributors to Politico's symposium, such as the head of the Democratic Socialists of America, who writes that under socialism "we will have true freedom, not just survival—the choices available to us now that depend on the whims of the few." In significant ways, many recent calls for socialism echo the early issues of the anti-Soviet socialist magazine Dissent, which got started in 1954. Like National Review, which got going a year later from a right-wing perspective, the founders of Dissent were first and foremost promoting individualism in an age of perceived conformity. The differences between Big Government and Big Business were less important perhaps than maintaining one's unique identity in a world of mass commerce, mass culture, mass warfare. The editors even invoked the adjective libertarian in their statement of purpose:

We shall try to reassert the libertarian values of the socialist ideal, and at the same time, to discuss freely and honestly what in the socialist tradition remains alive and what needs to be discarded or modified....We share a belief in the dignity of the individual, we share a refusal to countenance one man's gain at the expense of his brother, and we share an intellectual conviction that man can substantially control his condition if he understands it and wills to.

There is some of that, however submerged, in today's calls for socialism. It's not a bad ideal, to want individuals to be able to flourish however they see fit. In fact, that corresponds almost perfectly with the ways most libertarians talk and think about social organization. What system is most likely to allow individuals to become whomever they want to become? In this sense, socialism and capitalism (to use incredibly oversimplified terms) are both part of the liberal Enlightenment project that begins with autonomous, equal individuals.

What remain vastly different, of course, are attitudes and understandings of economics and of power differentials. Contemporary socialists will insist that regulating more and more of economic life at all levels will improve outcomes, though from a libertarian perspective, all that does is create the sort of hassle factor that drives barbers, tattoo artists, and gig-economy contractors out of business. Sanders and the rest complain endlessly about the high price of education, health care, and housing without noting that these are sectors either monopolized by or heavily regulated by government. How do computers, cars, and cell phones, not to mention food, clothing, and entertainment keep getting relatively cheaper and better over time?

Libertarians rightly point out that market forces have been mostly pushing things in a positive direction, especially for the poorest and least-connected among us. Historian Nancy MacLean can generate a fanciful and error-ridden book arguing that school choice is a diabolical plot designed to resegregate America, but those of us who look seriously at what choice and competition can do for K-12 education have a strong argument that such market-like forces improve outcomes, especially for low-income Americans of color. A smaller, more limited government that ends cronyism in the public and private sectors, replaces traditional welfare with unrestricted cash grants to people in need, ends the drug war and a thousand other petty means of social control, and opens borders to trade and people is a libertarian program that I suspect would interest many people who are looking at socialism as a possible answer to today's problems.

I don't expect to ever change the mind of a committed socialist. But libertarians can't expect to engage, much less persuade, anyone flirting with socialism if we simply invoke Stalin, the Great Leap Forward, or even Hugo Chavez every time socialism gets mentioned.

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  • Sevo||

    "Writing in The New York Times, CUNY's Corey Robin demotes economics to secondary importance for today's socialists, arguing:
    -The socialist argument against capitalism isn't that it makes us poor. It's that it makes us unfree.-"

    While taking your wealth at gunpoint makes us "free", I guess?
    I'm to engage a fucking liar or idiot like that in any sort of meaningful exchange?

  • IceTrey||

    Itxxs the whole positive rights schtick. The government provides everyone with food, clothing, shelter and education so they can go out and pursue their dreams and be their best self!

  • esteve7||

    There are no such thing as positive rights. That is a marxist notion and unsupported in our constitution.

    Whenever the left uses those bundled terms, like 'positive rights', 'social justice', etc, what they are talking about are not rights or justice at all.

    There are only rights. You do not have a right to someone else's labor.

  • IceTrey||

    There is only one human right, to not have force initiated against you.

  • Tony||

    Then you'll understand why so many people adopt philosophies that attempt to maximize rather than minimize the number of individual rights there are.

  • lap83||

    because they're idiots with terrible priorities?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    "Sign here for free money" tends to work as an argument, Tony, especially if you create an out group to take the money from. That's why racism and socialism tend to exist together.

  • arbe59||

    Except that the rights they're wanting, as positive rights, place explicit burdens on all of society to "provide" these things. This is the definition of positive rights, and precisely the reason they were left out of the constitution defining a government of/by/for the people. If the government guarantees you a job, and a house, and whatever else, then as one of it's citizens who's supporting the government via taxes, I'm now on the hook to help pay for all of that. While you may see it as an expansion of YOUR rights, when you see the big picture you also see it's a shackle on all the rest of us, and that doesn't work in a free society. "The government shall make no law..." is what a negative right is. It's a restriction on government control. The constitution wasn't trying to make everyone's lives comfortable, it was trying to ensure their freedom from tyranny.

  • ThomasD||

    There is no right to not have force initiated against you. There is a right to resist any such force.

    All true natural rights are asserted rights. If you fail to defend them, that's your right as well.

    Everything else we call 'rights' are a form of civil rights, which are not true rights, and all require some degree of agreement and cooperation - e.g. copyright, or voting rights.

  • Tony||

    You do not have a right to someone else's labor.

    (Except cops, judges, jailers, and whoever else I might need should my rights be violated.)

  • Just Say'n||

    And why do you think minarchists are OK with leaving these professions socialized? Think for a second. Consider markets and their perceived limitations.

    You'll get there

  • Tony||

    Markets are also limited in their ability to deliver universal healthcare and education. I'm glad we agree.

  • damikesc||

    Yes, markets have difficulty forcing somebody to provide a service. That does require government.

    But slavery is usually viewed as being wrong. Except on the Left.

  • Tony||

    Why isn't it slavery when judges and cops are forced to go to work in order to perform the public-sector task of protecting your property rights?

  • Sevo||

    "Why isn't it slavery when judges and cops are forced to go to work in order to perform the public-sector task of protecting your property rights?"

    You fucking ignoramus, did you ever see a cop or a judge "forced" to work?

  • Tony||

    You ever see a doctor forced to work?

  • IceTrey||

    The British NHS.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Burn!

  • sharmota4zeb||

    A doctor in an emergency room is required by law to treat every patient who needs treatment. Yes, we do force some doctors to work, although they are free to quit their jobs at the end of their shifts.

  • Echospinner||

    They are not free at the end of the shift. The doc is responsible for the patient and liable for anything that happens even years later.

    Doctors, nurses and other personnel in the Emergency Department. You think that they would leave someone bleeding out in the waiting area if they were not "required by law". No. So we have universal health care right?

    Yup everyone is free to quit their jobs. What happens when the ED closes down?

  • R. K. Phillips||

    And the patient is liable to pay for it.

  • Sevo||

    "You ever see a doctor forced to work?"
    Wooosh!
    Fucking idiot...

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT BEING FORCED.

  • damikesc||

    Why isn't it slavery when judges and cops are forced to go to work in order to perform the public-sector task of protecting your property rights?

    Cops aren't required to do anything.

    For your "right" to healthcare to mean anything, a doctor HAS to treat you.

    You're still pretty bad at this.

  • Tony||

    Cops aren't required to do their job? Judges? What? How is it different. They provide a service, doctors provide a service. Both, in my scheme, are paid by tax dollars extracted by the same means. Weaselly nonsense.

  • IceTrey||

    Cops and judges could be paid by the government through non coercive means.

  • Tony||

    Then they'd be called gang thugs and mercenaries.

  • Paradigm||

    > Cops aren't required to do their job? Judges? What? How is it different.

    They're not stuck in that job like they would be in Venezuela. Jesus, Tony.

  • DarrenM||

    I agree. I think it's terrible they are forced to work with no compensation.

  • SezWhom||

    I'm a former teacher who went into business and saw first hand how terrible our public education system is at preparing people to earn a productive living in the real world. I didn't realize I was part of the problem, until I saw it from the other side.

    So, what is "universal healthcare"? My interpretation is that it means I get the healthcare that the state has decided to provide me with, rather than picking and choosing for myself from a multitude of competing sources.

    As people repeatedly point out, and as Pocohantas and BS repeatedly ignore, if universal healthcare is so desirable, why do people have to be FORCED to participate?

  • Tony||

    We can have the quality of healthcare we are willing to pay for. Just don't put antigovernment jackasses in charge looking to prove themselves right about how shitty government is. Why do you think public education struggles so much?

    The fact claim is that sans market mechanism we are incapable of doing things like healthcare well. But that's not the case for property protection and national defense and immigration enforcement, so what gives?

    And I favor a system where there can be a private sector as well for people willing to pay. All I want is a floor on the level of misery we permit civilized people to endure, and that takes a social safety net.

  • eat the gristle||

    Right, you favor slavery, you just refuse to admit it and dance around it impotently.

    And honestly, I don't even believe you favor that, you've lied about other things this wouldn't be a surprise.

  • Sevo||

    "The fact claim is that sans market mechanism we are incapable of doing things like healthcare well. But that's not the case for property protection and national defense and immigration enforcement, so what gives?"

    One of those two things is not like the other.
    Would anyone care to advise this fucking ignoramus as to why? I'm tired of dealing with the retarded.

  • Mark22||

    We can have the quality of healthcare we are willing to pay for.

    If we ran our Medicare/Medicaid system like Europe does their systems, they could cover every American out of the current budget. The problem with public healthcare in the US isn't that it's run by "antigovernment jackasses", it's that it is run for the benefit of special interests and lacks market mechanisms.

    Why do you think public education struggles so much?

    Because, again, it is run for the benefit of special interests and lacks market mechanisms.

    But that's not the case for property protection and national defense and immigration enforcement, so what gives?

    Who says it isn't?

  • Paradigm||

    > Why do you think public education struggles so much?

    Let me guess, they're "underfunded.' That tired argument collapses when you note that European countries spend about a third of what the US does and their public education is much higher quality.

    US public education fails because they fight having to compete. At least the head of the biggest teacher's union admitted recently that it's about union employment and not "the children." I appreciated the rare honesty.

  • MoreFreedom||

    [b] We can have the quality of healthcare we are willing to pay for. Just don't put antigovernment jackasses in charge [/b]
    In free markets, the customer is in charge. Your default seems to be government in charge.

    It's worth distinguishing between where government should be involved, and where it shouldn't. It should be involved when people initiate force against others or their property thus harming them. Thus providing a national defense, a court system and arguably police protection. For everything else we need (food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, transportation, etc.) that where government shouldn't be involved because free markets provide a far better alternative.

    As for "a floor on the level of misery we permit" that's a moving target. For some sirloin steak is misery when tenderloin exists. Life is full of misery unless you never get sick, are never turned down on a date, are independently wealthy, aren't infertile, have no disability, and have no challenges in life (even then lack of challenges can be miserable). I'd much rather be free and responsible for myself and my mistakes. Putting a floor on misery also includes using government to "do something" about perceived discrimination (because you're fat and ugly if nothing else). That means using government force against you to put a floor on your misery - and there's no end to that. Your desire, also impinges on my freedom, and that is misery to me.

  • arbe59||

    "it means I get the healthcare that the state has decided to provide me with, rather than picking and choosing for myself from a multitude of competing sources."

    This is the part so poisonous to taking such a crucial sector of the economy and socializing it. What you're describing is the loss of market-based feedback that improves services, gets rid of unnecessary ones, and incentives the creation of newer, better ones.

    If socialized medicine were implemented as ideally as possible (a nearly impossible IF), then at best the end result would be that we all have "free" and fair access to the best of 2018's medical knowledge/innovations. Within 10 years, free-market based healthcare systems in other places would be providing better care to their poorest people who cannot afford their best care. But of course, THOSE poor people may be upset that the richest in their society have access to EVEN BETTER care.

  • Mark22||

    Markets are also limited in their ability to deliver universal healthcare and education.

    History and reality says otherwise. The reason healthcare and education (and utilities) have increasing government involvement is rent seeking, not market failure.

  • John C. Randolph||

    "Universal healthcare" is a cynical lie. It refers to socialized medicine, which is more accurately defined as rationing by congestion.

    -jcr

  • IceTrey||

    So only government officials should pay taxes? The first thing I've ever agreed with you about!

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Tony, plenty of my neighbors believe in skipping the entire process of calling cops and waiting for a conviction. Can I give them your address so they can explain to you over coffee how they defend their rights?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    To be fair, we would expect cops to defend us from human sized aliens if they landed on our country. The arguments made for government involvement in healthcare a century ago basically said that germs are like an invading army that we need to stop. This can be a libertarian rational for bringing the government into the healthcare sector.

  • DavidTaylor||

    "There are no such thing as positive rights. That is a marxist notion and unsupported in our constitution."

    I'm not sure what you mean by "positive rights," but I have never found any such notion in Marx. Instead, I find that Thomas Jefferson enumerated 'natural rights' -- "those rights that are indispensably necessary for man to fulfill his potential on this earth".

  • Mark22||

    I'm not sure what you mean by "positive rights,"

    Wikipedia is your friend

    but I have never found any such notion in Marx

    If you don't know what they are, how can you say that you haven't found them?

    Instead, I find that Thomas Jefferson enumerated 'natural rights'

    Yes: all negative rights, the kind that are actually work without violence or enslavement.

  • BYODB||


    There are no such thing as positive rights. That is a marxist notion and unsupported in our constitution.

    If people can't understand positive rights, maybe recalling that negative rights are built on the assumption of a creator god might help you figure out why our increasingly secular society might conclude that rights are positive after all.

    It's really not that hard, but it's surprising how many people misunderstand that basic tenant.

    A lot 'libertarians' these days pull the Gaia card on that one, and it's hilarious to watch. They fundamentally do not understand the underpinning of virtually all libertarian thought, even while they quote a rephrasing of Christ's golden rule every five minutes.

  • Oli||

    I could deduct basic libertarian principles from Epicurus, if I felt so inclined. No need for a creator god at all.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Yeah, you go, Sevo. Doesn't Gillespie understand that the very word "socialism" is evil? Just saying the word "socialism" can cause entire economies to fall! No good can come from this word. It does not matter what associations someone make for this word. No, sir. Anyone that chooses to use this word has forever forsaken salvation and chosen their role as a minion of Satan.

  • Just Say'n||

    "Yeah, you go, Chipper. Doesn't Gillespie understand that the very word "fascism" is evil? Just saying the word "socialism" can cause entire economies to fall! No good can come from this word. It does not matter what associations someone make for this word. No, sir. Anyone that chooses to use this word has forever forsaken salvation and chosen their role as a minion of Satan."

    Now you explain to me what is the material difference between the horrors committed in the name of socialism and versus the horrors committed in the name of fascism, besides the societal taboo

  • Just Say'n||

    Somehow I doubt that anyone would get push back here for criticizing fascism and yet there are people here who are very defensive of socialism. I can only ascribe this to their conservative disposition of defending and maintaining the status quo.

    But, I would like to hear an honest argument of why they find one collectivist ideology to be acceptable but not another?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    "Fascism" is the Italian name for socialism. The Italians lost World War II. The victors write the history. Therefore, English speaking socialist and their intellectual descendants in non-English speaking communities are still respectable.

  • Longtobefree||

    Well, the material difference is simply who holds the title to the means of production.
    Under Socialism, the state owns the means of production, and runs the economy.(for the benefit of the workers)
    Under Fascism, individuals/corporations own the means of production, but the economy is still run by the state. (for the benefit the workers)

  • Sevo||

    Chipper Morning Baculum|9.12.18 @ 5:23PM|#
    "Yeah, you go, Sevo. Doesn't Gillespie understand that the very word "socialism" is evil?"'

    Yeah, chipper. Prove how you are incapable of reading one more time. Your stupidity is always amusing.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Yeah, you go, Sevo. Doesn't Gillespie understand that the very word "socialism" "racism" is evil? Just saying the word "socialism" "racism" can cause entire economies to fall! No good can come from this word. It does not matter what associations someone make for this word. No, sir. Anyone that chooses to use this word has forever forsaken salvation and chosen their role as a minion of Satan.

    Can I interest you in a newsletter by Satan about the virtues of racism?

  • commentator||

    I'm to engage a fucking liar or idiot like that in any sort of meaningful exchange?

    Because refusing to engage with your contemptible enemies has been such a winning strategy for the Democrats. But I'm sure this time it'll be the way to win against the mainstreaming of socialism.

  • John||

    Capitalism is about freedom and socialism is about security. Capitalism is not a system. It is just the result of freedom. Let people do what they want and you will have a capitalist economy. It is that simple.

    Freedom gives you opportunity at the price of risk. Sometimes Libertarians oversell freedom in that they pretend there is never a downside. Freedom is unpredictable. Life is unfair and bad things do happen to good people. If you for whatever reason value security over opportunity, you are not going to value freedom.

    Socialism is about security. It is just a modern sophisticated form of tribalism. Like all forms of tribalism, it deprives you of the opportunity to fully enjoy the benefits of your labor in return for the collective guaranteeing your security.

    If you want to make socialism less appealing, then you need to make opportunity more appealing and security provided by the government less appealing. There is a reason why leftists have always worked so hard to destroy the nuclear family. If people don't have nuclear families to help them if things go wrong, they will value the security provided by the government more and the opportunity that comes with freedom less and be more inclined to support socialism.

  • Tony||

    Capitalism is not a system. It is just the result of freedom.

    That's the dumbest thing I've read in at least half an hour. You're descending to almost libertarian levels of romanticizing pure barter and equating it with modern capitalism.

  • Just Say'n||

    Shit, you really don't understand economics

  • Tony||

    John's not wrong that the spectrum is about more vs. less individual risk defined by how much of the economy is collectivized. But he's abusing both the words capitalism and freedom.

  • Brian||

    I think he's using freedom rather well.

  • Just Say'n||

    An unfettered free market is the only way to attain absolute freedom. If you have a regulated market, then by definition there are limits to liberty.

  • Tony||

    Freedom and liberty defined so narrowly as to render your statement almost tautological. If I get guaranteed education and healthcare from the collective purse when otherwise I would have been too poor to afford either, I am without question more free.

  • Brian||

    So, how do you define freedom?

  • Tony||

    Usually with reference to some specific action. Free to cross a road or not? Free to eat dog meat or not? Free from Mexican rapists or Mexican raped?

    In the abstract, you could do worse than life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nowhere is it automatically given that these are maximized by a laissez-faire economy.

  • Brian||

    I would suggest that John's idea of "freedom" alone translates to "freedom to choose to do or not do a relatively large number of things."

    And I think most humans understand that. That freedom in this context is mainly about freedom from government regulation.

  • Tony||

    Yes, freedom from government regulation. But that's obviously not a good unto itself. Not if my freedom from government regulation means I get to drink poisoned water.

  • Brian||

    That's fine, as long as we're not having a "What's freedom anyway? I don't know!" That's stupid.

    If you value some government security over freedom, that's fine. It just doesn't make freedom whatever you want it to be.

  • Tony||

    Not being poisoned is, unequivocally, more freedom than being poisoned.

  • Brian||

    You're just substituting "freedom" for "good".

    Here, let me help you find a dictionary:

    1. the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
    2. absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government.
    3. the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.

    There's a nuance here, but I think you'll get it eventually.

  • DesigNate||

    He will never get it because to Tony, slavery is freedom.

  • Kirk Solo||

    If you are not free to make bad choice are you truly free?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Free from Mexican rapists or Mexican raped?

    Yeah, we've got to stop those stereotypes about Mexicans. The left thinks they do jobs Americans won't do, and the right thinks they do daughters Americans won't do.

  • IceTrey||

    But everyone who it forced to fill the purse, including you, is less free.

  • Tony||

    That is true, but they are less free by a trivial amount compared to the freedom they gain from the collective enterprise the taxes pay for. That's the whole premise behind not only civilization but any collective action, perhaps best modeled by insurance. Nobody would buy insurance if your inability to distinguish between levels of freedom were a normal approach.

  • Just Say'n||

    Again, "goods" do not make you "free". This is the fallacy of materialistic philosophies

  • DenverJ||

    "That is true, but they are less free by a trivial amount compared to the freedom they gain from the collective enterprise the taxes pay for."
    Of course. That's why the Massachusetts Bay colony did so well and why the Soviet Union won the Cold War.
    Fucking hell man

  • eat the gristle||

    " but they are less free by a trivial amount"

    Not really, you take away their freedom to decide whether this is a trivial amount too.

  • Paradigm||

    > Nobody would buy insurance if your inability to distinguish between levels of freedom were a normal approach

    Precisely. But insurance companies carefully control who gets into the risk pool. That's not the case with government. We have politicians who are Santa Claus with Medicaid, welfare, food, and in-state tuition because it gets them votes.

  • Just Say'n||

    You may define your situation as "more free" (although you haven't really been freed from anything, you've just been granted a material good), but the person who funds those things has had their possession forcibly taken from them and is most certainly far less free.

    "Freedom" has been misconstrued and that's why you're talking past people. "Freedom" does not equate with "materially better". "Freedom" means being unfettered by outside aggression.

  • Tony||

    Well I think a more broadly defined freedom is more useful to me than what you have when you're alone on a deserted island. That's not a very free life, and only nutjobs who live in shacks in the woods want that kind of limited freedom.

  • Just Say'n||

    What does that even mean? Stealing from others to give to another is not "freedom" no matter how you slice it. It will always just be theft

  • Tony||

    Stealing is always theft. Yes. Isn't the English language wonderful, with so many different words that mean the same thing.

    The question is whether taxation and redistribution is theft, right? And only anarchists are permitted to think that, and they are, it goes without saying, nuts.

  • Brian||

    The question is whether taxation and redistribution is theft, right? And only anarchists are permitted to think that, and they are, it goes without saying, nuts.

    Anarchists have about as much success in getting their way with society as you do effecting an election.

  • Tony||

    Well thank god for that.

  • Brian||

    Exactly.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Well I think a more broadly defined freedom is more useful to me than what you have when you're alone on a deserted island. That's not a very free life, and only nutjobs who live in shacks in the woods want that kind of limited freedom.

    Hey, my animal behavior professor at GW spoke fondly of the time he spent living alone with the chimpanzees in Africa. They taught him how to collect food and avoid getting bitten by ants. He eventually became a tenured professor in the Anthropology Department. Are you telling me that prestigious colleges give tenure to nutjobs? ... oh Wait .. umm

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    You make massive assumptions that in such systems choice abounds. There have been plenty of examples from Britain where health choice is negated by force. You also assume that in higher education there wouldn't be conditions where your degree or field are forced upon you as regulators deem fit.

  • sparkstable||

    You are not more free. You simply have more (of other people's) wealth giving you a context by which to pursue more options easier.

    Free is a state of being, regardless of situational context relating to wealth.

    Rich and poor are equally free. One simply has the resources at their disposal to trade for things that others have to offer. But his amount of freedom is the same.

  • bvandyke||

    "If I get guaranteed education and healthcare from the collective purse when otherwise I would have been too poor to afford either, I am without question more free."

    But at what cost? Who is paying for your education and healthcare? What are you taking from those who pay? One thing you are definitely taking is their freedom of choice.

    Forcing someone to pay for your stuff is the opposite of freedom.

  • albo||

    The free market is a LIE! Prices should be set by our betters, not by billions of transactions every day.

  • damikesc||

    JS, that can be said about a litany of subjects as well.

  • John||

    No Tony it is not. It is so self evidently true, it is hard to even begin to explain it to you. How could capitalism not be freedom? You really are, in addition to being morally depraved, the most intellectually stunted person I have ever seen. Even old school Marxists understand capitalism is freedom. They just think it is the freedom to exploit. It is truly remarkable not just how ignorant you are (ignorance is to know nothing) but how misinformed you are. You know lots of things. It is just that all of it is completely wrong and counter to rality.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Tony has been here for how long and he is not going to change his mind.

    Gillespie might have a flaw in his argument that Socialists will listen to non-Socialist points of view.

  • damikesc||

    Hell, it's cute that he thinks Socialists won't outlaw non-Socialist points of view.

  • Tony||

    How can capitalism not equal freedom? The same way Mormonism doesn't equal to freedom. Freedom actually means something to normal people. Only the butt monkeys of plutocrats want to equate "give plutocrats everything they ask for" with freedom--no other definition permitted.

    Freedom the abstract concept is next to useless in this discussion anyway. Freedom to do what? From what? People in shithole countries have evolved impressive ways of dealing with street intersections with no road signs, but on balance I think those of us who are "restricted" by paying taxes for the purpose of creating and regulating road signage are freer, what with the dying less.

  • John||

    Freedom actually means something to normal people. Only the butt monkeys of plutocrats want to equate "give plutocrats everything they ask for" with freedom--no other definition permitted.

    Freedom the abstract concept is next to useless in this discussion anyway.

    Freedom has meaning to normal people. But it is useless as a concept.

    It is terrifying people as silly and irrational as you exist Tony. You are just so fucking stupid that there is no way to even engage you anymore.

  • Tony||

    Way to demonstrate your famous reading comprehension skills John.

    Specific freedoms are important to people. The abstract freedom you have on a deserted island, not so much. I want freedom to better my life, and things like education and healthcare help me do that. Freedom from education and healthcare only make life suck for most people.

    (I'm not using freedom-from vs. freedom-to in this context, because in most or all instances a freedom-from is also a freedom-to.)

  • John||

    I want freedom to better my life, and things like education and healthcare help me do that. Freedom from education and healthcare only make life suck for most people.

    That sentence is complete nonsense. You really think "freedom" means your ability to get shit, even if it comes at someone else's expense. You are not "free from education". You are free to get an education provided you assume the responsibility of paying for it. This is why freedom is necessarily associated with responsibility. If you stick the responsibility of paying for something on someone else, you are not free. They are free. You are just like a child whose parents promised them a toy. You are not free to have the toy because your parents can always change their minds. You are only free to do something if you also are willing to accept the responsibility of paying for it.

  • Tony||

    You really think "freedom" means your ability to get shit, even if it comes at someone else's expense.

    It certainly can, can't it?

    You're not an anarchist, John, so stop trying to pretend to be one. You think taxing and redistribution is OK to pay for the things you want, so stop blowing smoke up everyone's asses by barely grunting out basic vulgar libertarian platitudes in this thread.

    What you mean, as you are a Republican goosestepper, is that you think taxing billionaires to pay for poor people to get food stamps is stealing, but paying for 20 aircraft carriers is a legitimate function of government because reasons.

  • John||

    It certainly can, can't it?

    No you can't because that is not what freedom is. If it were, then a child whose parents promised them they would buy them any toy in the toy store would be free. He is not. His parents are the ones who are free. He is just a well taken care of slave.

    You have to assume the responsibility because without doing that you don't have any autonomy. You are at the mercy of the autonomy of the person who is assuming the responsibility. By your definition of freedom, spoiled rich children are the freest people on earth or someone in a gilded prison is freer than any free man who isn't wealthy.

    You are such a fucking government and status-obsessed moron, you can't even begin to think about these issues in a logical manner.

  • Tony||

    But it is freedom to kick gay people out of your shop.

  • eat the gristle||

    It isn't? They have no right to be there, on your property, no matter how you choose to redefine rights.

    Your position destroys the freedom of the property owner, so you have no leg to stand on

  • Tony||

    I don't have to accept your premise that owning property grants you infinite rights. You don't have a right to commit a crime on your property.

  • Paradigm||

    > I don't have to accept your premise that owning property grants you infinite rights. You don't have a right to commit a crime on your property.

    Weak argument, Tony. A crime necessarily comes at the expense of someone else.

    The Colorado baker didn't kick the gay couple out of his shop. Stop pushing that media lie. He made every attempt to sell them other items. He just asked that he not have to participate in the wedding. It wasn't anything like that asswipe gay coffee house owner in California who angrily kicked the Christians out because their conversation offended him. Guys like you had no problem with that, nor would you say a word if a Muslim business owner refused to serve a gay person.

  • eat the gristle||

    "It certainly can, can't it?"

    No.

    But you would remove my ability to decide that so...

  • sharmota4zeb||

    The day private non-profits, like your local Catholic Church, buy aircraft carriers with the voluntary donations they collect is the day people stop asking the Pope to resign.

  • perlchpr||

    Only the butt monkeys of plutocrats want to equate "give plutocrats everything they ask for" with freedom--no other definition permitted.

    So... why is it that you're such a fan of neo-feudalism, anyway?

  • sharmota4zeb||

    People in shithole countries have evolved impressive ways of dealing with street intersections with no road signs, but on balance I think those of us who are "restricted" by paying taxes for the purpose of creating and regulating road signage are freer, what with the dying less.

    I assume you mean Holland, when you say "shithole countries". From the Guardian article:

    Behind this demarking lies the concept of "shared space" and "naked streets", developed in the 1990s by the late Dutch engineer, Hans Monderman. He held that traffic was safest when road users were "self-policing" and streets were cleared of controlling clutter. His innovations, now adopted in some 400 towns across Europe, have led to dramatic falls in accidents. Yet for some reason Monderman's ideas remain starkly uninfluential in the world of "big" health and safety, especially in Britain.

    Monderman's principle is that freedom to assess risk for ourselves is what makes us safer. Rules, controls, signs, traffic lights all reduce our awareness of our surroundings and thus our sense of danger. On roads, he said: "When you don't exactly know who has right of way, you tend to seek eye contact with other road users. You automatically reduce your speed … and take greater care."
  • sharmota4zeb||

    Tony, what does the average socialist think of someone who gets more than average financial help from his parents or other members of his nuclear family to weather difficult times? I'm talking about the new guy on the block who stays in town no matter how many times the established welfare collecting locals damage his car.

  • John C. Randolph||

    socialism is about security.

    Nope. Socialism is about plunder. Don't be fooled by the sales pitch.

    -jcr

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    A recent Fox News poll (Fox!) found growing support for the statement, "Do you think it would be a good thing or a bad thing for the United States to move away from capitalism and more toward socialism?"

    Unfortunately, despite the niggling differences between current pop-culture figures, most of them simply want a more European style welfare state. So... y... yes socialism of a sort, but with a market-based economy chugging at its core to at least hold it up before we have to turn to the more drastic measures which always cause the bodies to pile up.

    I don't have the silver-bullet answer on how to debate this, but we should at least be prepared to engage with honest people who want "socialism", but try to get them to understand that we don't want children to die in the street, we honestly believe that if you nationalize healthcare, that the pain and suffering caused will be worse if we don't do it.

    If we can start the debate from that point, we'd be better off. But unfortunately, as Douglas Murray said, the left/right spectrum has been defined with a very sharp cliff on the right. You start in the center and you say "Well, I think maybe taxation could be reduced a little" and then *wham* you're Auchwitz. Where the left end of the spectrum seems to allow for a very gentle slope that's kind of fuzzy at the end and there's mysteriously never any firing squads at the end of it.

  • perlchpr||

    I don't have the silver-bullet answer on how to debate this, but we should at least be prepared to engage with honest people who want "socialism", but try to get them to understand that we don't want children to die in the street, we honestly believe that if you nationalize healthcare, that the pain and suffering caused will be worse if we don't do it.

    How consequentialist of you. ;)

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I'm just asking questions.

  • Juice||

    I don't have the silver-bullet answer on how to debate this, but we should at least be prepared to engage with honest people who want "socialism", but try to get them to understand that we don't want children to die in the street, we honestly believe that if you nationalize healthcare, that the pain and suffering caused will be worse if we don't do it.

    Nope. I've tried it and it only leads to intense smugness. They have the notion in their brain that everyone will actually be cared for under the system they imagine. People will actually have all the healthcare, education, and other services they can consume.

    When you come along and say that you don't want people to die in the street, but there may be a few people here or there that might fall through the cracks because c'est la vie and freedom, you've lost them. They know for a fact that under their system, no one whatsoever will go without healthcare or education. You will have eliminated poverty entirely. All it takes is the right amount of force in the right places done by the right people in charge. Nothing will sway them from that notion, and in their eyes, they have won the debate and you've lost. And the smugness flies off the charts.

  • DenverJ||

    "Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon: it just knocks over all the pieces, shits all over the board, then struts around like it won."

  • perlchpr||

    *gestures upthread at Tony*

  • sharmota4zeb||

    When debating that type of socialist, start by quoting a few of Hitler's economic policies without citing the source to see how many they agree with. If they agree with most of Hitler's social positions, send them links to the original quotes and ask them what they think of Storm Front.

  • Just Say'n||

    Props to Gillespie for quoting Schumpeter.

    However, why do we have these conversations about parsing who is and isn't an actual socialist among those who self-identify as such? How come this is never extended to people who self-identify as "nationalists" or the "alt-right"?

    This is a strained effort to try and placate the Left, even when they are embracing one of the most failed and destructive ideologies in human history.

  • Just Say'n||

    This is why, at the end of the day, Reason is more "conservative" than anything. It's more interested in justifying the status quo than actually challenging it.

  • 68W58||

    This is one of the things Jordan Peterson has been talking about lately. He says that there is a pretty good definition about how you can go "too far" on the right-when you start talking about racial supremacy. But on the left there is no good idea about what constitutes "too far".

  • Just Say'n||

    Jordan Peterson is a good example.

    How come this strain of thinking: "But libertarians can't expect to engage, much less persuade, anyone flirting with socialism if we simply invoke Stalin, the Great Leap Forward, or even Hugo Chavez every time socialism gets mentioned." doesn't apply to Peterson? Welch accuses Peterson of being a cult leader, while ENB just hates him, mainly because of who likes him.

    How come charity to socialists is important, but no charity should be afforded toward a milquetoast academic who challenges the progressive narrative?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Welch accuses Peterson of being a cult leader

    LOL

  • Just Say'n||

    Wasn't that the crux of his big article talking about the danger of Peterson or am I confusing things? Honestly, I may be misremembering

  • Just Say'n||

    The article was even titled "Peterson Is Not the Second Coming"

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Well that's good because Peterson doesn't bill himself as anything of the sort. Peterson became famous on negative publicity.

    I was thinking about this phenomenon this morning. Gillespie was skeptical of Peterson et. al (I'm being charitable to Gillespie's tone).

    To a degree, I understand why people might hold Peterson in a skeptical light. When something rockets to dizzying popularity in a very short time, it's natural that thinking people become suspicious of that thing. I too do the same thing. One recent example would be Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos. She shot to massive fame through Journalistic "girrrrrl power" treatise in the media, and I immediately felt something was "off" about her.

    However, she shot to fame on positive energy.

    Peterson is the opposite. He shot to fame on negative energy. The press and the chattering classes immediately dubbed him a nazi, and alt-right hero, a misogynist, a hate-monger, and the more the accusations flew, the bigger he got. As a result, I was skeptical of the narrative, so I started listening to him-- listening to what he actually had to say-- in long form.

    The guys is 10,000 miles from anything 'alt-right' or misogynistic, let alone any of the other epithets that have been applied to him.

  • Just Say'n||

    Agreed. That's what I'm saying- it's strange that Reason wants to be very charitable to socialists, but is real quick to smear a milquetoast academic like Peterson.

    At the end of the day, that is really because Reason is more "conservative" than anything. They are more about justifying the status quo than challenging it.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Here's an interesting view that is similar to yours.

    I don't see Jeffrey Tucker mentioned much around here. I quite like him, but I almost wonder if there's some side to him I don't know since I see him referenced so little.

  • Just Say'n||

    I saw that. Did you also see that Tucker's follow-up article where he had to defend this article after he was attacked by beltway libertarians?

  • Just Say'n||

    www.steemit.com/peterson/@jeff.....ortant-now

    This was Tucker's follow-up where he had to defend even writing the article about Peterson without just lazily labeling him a racist or some other made up accusation

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Why Jordan Peterson Is So Important Now

    What's funny is Jordan Peterson personally says he doesn't know why he's "so important now". People of asked him why someone talking about the dry, philosophical stuff he discusses can fill fucking stadiums when for years people have said there's no market for that (*cough*PBS*cough*).

    His response is "I have no idea". He speculates, and essentially he says that his best guess is that his audience of largely "young men" have simply never before HEARD the stuff he's saying and there's a hunger for it.

    I think the phenomenon is kind of amazing. Peterson, Murray and Harris talking about the nature of man's sense of reason for 90 minutes, and they're selling out large venues.

    And during the Dublin talk, there was a Q&A segment, and the audience loudly voted to continue to the discussion and quit the Q&A. I found that very informative of how they're engaging their audience.

  • damikesc||

    I've always said that, in a rational time, Jordan Peterson would be a fairly dull guy. Nothing he says is revolutionary...except in a world like what we have now.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    BTW there's a fantastic debate I saw last night between Peterson, Harris and Murray in Dublin. The video has already been taken down due to copyright claim. Hopefully it'll crop up again legitimately. It's a fascinating discussion on the origin and meaning of reason. Everyone comes away with great points, room to disagree and the discourse was elevated to the highest order.

    If this is what "cult leadership" looks like in this day and age, then we clearly have no idea what a cult is.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Sounds interesting, but having to listen to Harris for more than three minutes at a time is a challenge.

  • Mickey Rat||

    I suspect ENB does not like Peterson because he believes, and says so, that there are statistically significant innate differences between men and women that explain the differences between career choice and pay rates better than gender being a social construct and sexism.

  • Just Say'n||

    I don't know. I'll take her at her word and if I remember her article correctly, her main complaint was that Peterson was somehow providing an intellectual veneer to the alt-right. The argument was piss poor and required the reader to believe that Peterson was somehow associated with a group that seemingly doesn't even exist beyond some chat rooms, but that was her piss poor argument.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    It's not Peterson who's saying that, it's science, and Peterson is merely referencing the science.

    This fucking country has descended into Lysenkoism and it's shameful.

  • damikesc||

    Indeed. That people get pissed --- legit pissed (if you believe them, which I have doubts of personally) --- if you simply opine that men cannot just become women.

  • Mickey Rat||

    That is, of course, correct. We had an article earlier this week on social liberals working to suppress science that does not reinforce their ideology. If someone is a blank slater, they are not going ti like someone who goes around saying there is proof that people have preloaded software that may be different depending on sex. It does not matter if evidence supports that conclusion.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    How come this is never extended to people who self-identify as "nationalists" or the "alt-right"?

    I thought it was extended for them... on their behalf. "You are a member of the alt right!" "Uh, no I merely pointed out the boys have pee-pees and girl's have vaginas."

  • Tony||

    Thank Christ Liz Warren has taken the correct approach to this entirely avoidable problem of branding in the Democratic party. These labels are all, at this point, next to meaningless. Everyone who's not a freakin' loon supports a mixed economy, with only the proportions of the mix up for debate. No need to affix any "ism" to it at all really. No one in mainstream American politics supports anything but a market-based economy. Not even the Bernies, whose primary political goal seems to be making unelectability cool.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Yes, but you have to admit that's the point of the "Bernies", they argued (and continue to argue) that Hillary's brand of "mixed economy" isn't within a 1000 miles of the right mix.

  • Tony||

    More like 7 minute abs to her 8 minute abs. Get the units right.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Well, I would say Hillary is 7 minute abs, and the Bernies are a little more New Soviet Man... but sure.

  • Just Say'n||

    Elizabeth Warren talked about essentially nationalizing large industries. Totally not a socialist

  • Tony||

    But we already have large nationalized industries that Republicans spend half their time funneling more and more tax money to and endlessly leg-humping. The point is that neither side, and nobody in particular, wants any more or less "socialism" than the other. I prefer if we define socialism correctly, meaning no private sector, and thus rendering it out of discussion, since it's not on the table in this country.

  • Brian||

    "The point is that neither side, and nobody in particular, wants any more or less "socialism" than the other."

    False equivalency.

  • Just Say'n||

    "But we already have large nationalized industries that Republicans spend half their time funneling more and more tax money to and endlessly leg-humping."

    Such as?

    "I prefer if we define socialism correctly, meaning no private sector"

    OK, well then no one was socialist then. Lenin said that the private sector should be allowed to exist in small scale industries, but that the state should own "the commanding heights of industry" (exactly what Warren was proposing). And Cuba also allowed capitalism on a small scale.

    The proper definition of socialism is "a bankrupt ideology promoted by the wealthy". That's the most accurate definition available and it's still true today.

  • Tony||

    I'm talking about the defense industry.

    All I'm saying is the most honest way to talk about this is to refer to a spectrum of how much public vs. private sector we want in the economy. Libertarians want a small public sector, mainstream people want a bigger one. But you still want some public sector, just as Lenin wanted some private sector.

    That unfortunately for you means you don't get to constantly accuse people who disagree with your preferred composition as moral monsters, but tough titties because that's not honest debate.

  • Brian||

    Oh, calm down, Susan. We can have a healthcare thread and you can accuse everyone of being a monster very soon.

  • Just Say'n||

    "I'm talking about the defense industry."

    OK, agreed. That's really more bipartisan than anything, but I agree that there are far more defense industry lobbyists masquerading as politicians in the Republican Party than the Democratic Party.

    "But you still want some public sector, just as Lenin wanted some private sector."

    I don't know. I see your point, but I think you're failing to understand what traditionally has been considered "libertarian". Minarchists are traditionally the only ones who argue that a public sector should exist, but they limit it to market failures and national defense.

    I think what your point shows is that libertarianism has become more muddled than socialism, really. That partly has to do with the fact that conservative institutions like Reason and CATO have purposely muddled the definition in order to defend the status quo.

  • Tony||

    From my perspective libertarians enjoy few things more than arguing about how much public sector they want. Isn't it sort of a nerd joke among you people? We're so into individualism we will never figure out what we actually want!

    In my opinion not wanting any public sector is as nonsensical as trying to snuff out all private trade, but at least we're talking about two kinds of systems then and not the same spectrum almost everyone believes in.

  • Just Say'n||

    I completely disagree on this point. The amount of public sector that should be allowed has typically been restricted, at most, to market failures. Traditionally this has been the case.

    If you are getting all your info about libertarians from Reason than you're not learning anything. Reason is more conservative than libertarian.

  • Tony||

    And that doesn't contradict what I say below. Vulgar libertarians, let's call them, explicitly don't want government to intervene in market failures, because they don't believe the market can fail.

    And this is also my point about us all believing in the same spectrum of public and private. The reason nonvulgar libertarians want to protect against market failures (inefficiencies) is because they result in a net social welfare loss. That's all progressives are trying to do as well by collectivizing certain sectors.

  • Tony||

    That is, progressives, like nonvulgar libertarians, both want to maximize social welfare, only with different methods they think work best. Vulgar libertarians think that whatever outcomes a hypothetical free market produce are by definition the best social welfare outcomes.

    Of course that doesn't take any of us off of the same philosophical plain of utilitarianism. It's just painfully obvious that the latter are being stupid.

  • Tony||

    *plane

  • Brian||

    "because they don't believe the market can fail."

    You misunderstand their point. The concept of market failure is that markets can sometimes provide suboptimal outcomes. Similar to the freedom question, that's a very vague statement about a big subject. The market failed? Where? How? What is optimal, how do we measure it, and who gets to decide what it is?

    In short, market failure alone has a bunch of assumptions built in ("Clearly suboptimal, this is known!"), assumptions that may be highly debatable in any given circumstance.

    For example, I heard a professor (at a university, no doubt!) say an example of market failure was the lack of incentives for private companies to provide street lights on public roads.

    Really? So a market failure is the lack of incentive for private companies to take responsibility for government property for free? That's not exactly free people exchanging goods and services.

    So, yes, market failure is frequently presented in a question begging way, usually to end an argument before it even begins.

  • IceTrey||

    But we want a public sector that does not initiate force while Lenin wanted one that does. Guess which one is immoral.

  • Tony||

    If you want me to explain why the nonaggression principle is nonsense, we can go down that road.

  • Just Say'n||

    Considering that you don't even know nor understand the NAP, I'd rather you not butcher everything to suit your preconceived beliefs

  • Tony||

    Interesting question: can one actually understand something that is inherently bullshit?

  • Brian||

    It's somewhat telling how much disdain you have for the idea of minimizing societal violence.

  • Tony||

    It's utterly confounding how you think that such an outcome can be achieved by maximizing the amount of time government spends on actual violence.

  • Brian||

    I think you mean:
    "It's utterly confounding how you think that such an outcome can be achieved by maximizing the amount percent of time government spends on actual preventing violence."

    And that's not really that confounding. Believe it or not, some people think violence as a final solution is somewhat bad.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Interesting question: can one actually understand something that is inherently bullshit?

    Seems like most ppl here don't have any trouble understanding you.

  • Juice||

    That unfortunately for you means you don't get to constantly accuse people who disagree with your preferred composition as moral monsters, but tough titties because that's not honest debate.

    Coercive force is immoral. It is more moral to have less of it than to have more of it. People arguing for much much more of it are moral monsters, whether they realize it or not.

  • Tony||

    Ejecting someone from your lawn for tress-passing is coercive force. It's almost the most basic definition of that imaginable. Those are the words you used.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Someone intruding on your lawn is coercive force. It's the most basic definition of that imaginable.

  • Tony||

    Is it? Really? What if the person doesn't agree with you about the property line? I'd say the person being dragged away or shot is the at the receiving end of force, not the lawn.

    But this is precisely why NAP is junk. We all have to agree who started it, and we can't all agree without government forcing us to!

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    This from the guy who thinks that it isn't coercive force to take money from someone if you really, really want it.

    No, we don't have to agree who started it. We could allow everyone to solve their disputes themselves, but we've decided that too many people are as enlightened as you and so we need a neutral (or as neutral as we can get) third party to resolve those disputes. We call that the police and courts, which are an accepted role of government even under libertarian principles. Your "principles" consist entirely of believing that slavery is a "right."

  • Juice||

    We call that the police and courts, which are an accepted role of government even under libertarian principles.

    Well...

    Maybe a "necessary" evil that could even be done away with in time.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Maybe a "necessary" evil that could even be done away with in time.

    And then you get to the endless debate between the minarchists and the anarchists. Unfrountely for the latter, anarchy only exists long enough for some strongman or band to come along and wipe it out. You're gonna need a lot more sci-fi to come true before anarchy could ever be a reality with a shelf life.

  • Juice||

    You're gonna need a lot more sci-fi to come true before anarchy could ever be a reality with a shelf life.

    I don't think it'll take any science fiction, per se. Government and laws are all just ideas in people's heads and how they act upon those ideas. Convince enough people that a coercive monopoly is wrong and you may be able to do away with the state altogether. I don't know how it might come about, but until it does minarchy is still a coercive monopoly. I'll take it any day over what we have now, of course.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Convince enough ppl (as in virtually all of them) that socialism works and it will too. We call this the unicorn fallacy.

  • eat the gristle||

    "Is it? Really? "

    "What if the person doesn't agree with you about the property line?"

    Then you get a survey, until then it is trespassing

  • Juice||

    Ejecting someone from your lawn for tress-passing is coercive force.

    No. It's defensive force.

    You might argue that this hypothetical person has no concept of private property and therefore doesn't subscribe to my concept of "my lawn" so it's aggression to physically remove him from my property, but if he honestly doesn't have a concept of private property then what I do with his body must not matter to him.

  • perlchpr||

    Such as?

    Lockheed-Martin comes to mind. I'm sure there are others.

  • Just Say'n||

    Yeah, that's what he meant. I should have picked up on that.

    He's right on that point

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    No, he's not. You'd have to make a case that there's a private market alternative to the national government providing for military defense. I have yet to see a Tony-grade argument, let alone a convincing one otherwise.

    BUT, BUT, the MIC!!! OK, so we're going to have a military. How do we get that equipment? The only choices are that the government literally owns the means of production (Springfield Armory), or it contracts with the private sector to buy it. How is the latter any different than buying post-it notes from 3M? Sure, you can whine about the level of spending, but that doesn't mean that the defense contractors are nationalized. Now, limiting their foreign sales WOULD go a long way to calling them nationalized, but that's something that Tony (and probably you), are OK with.

  • DenverJ||

    Stopped clock and all that. I've been saying for years that Tony isn't the usual troll and is actually open to argument and changing his mind. I begin to suspect that I was wrong on the latter point; he's merely refining his argument as we poke holes in it, while at the same time forcing us to refine our argument.
    This is a Good Thing.

  • Paradigm||

    i don't agree with Tony usually, but he does refrain from the boilerplate leftist horseshit peddled by Rev Arthur Kirkland that everyone who disagrees with him is a bigot, and that people who share his beliefs are "our betters." It's pointless to interact with an irrational person like that.

  • IceTrey||

    You know this isn't a Republican site?

  • Tony||

    I guess that depends on whether you define the site as the articles or the commenters, and whether you define Donald Trump as a Republican.

  • eat the gristle||

    No it doesn't it's not a republican site.

  • NashTiger||

    COULD YOU STAY OUT OF EVEN A PORTION OF THE COMMENTS?
    Its getting harder to avoid your syphyllitic trust fund red diaper moronic ramblings

  • Tony||

    Nope. Welcome to freedom, cunt.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    I always have trouble taking seriously the argument that "we only want a little socialism, you know a 'mixed' system". The problem is that I can never get any of these people to define a stopping point. When they're compromised with or given outright what they want, they always come back for more. It's always "just one more law/regulation/government program" which, in a year or two, isn't enough anymore.

  • 68W58||

    Someone said it on these threads a few months ago and it struck home with me:

    "They want Denmark, they'll settle for France, but they'll get Venezuela."

  • John||

    Third-way socialism has failed and will always fail. The entire premise of socialism rests on the assumption that people will work as hard for the collective as they will for themselves and that people will not game the system to take more from it than they need. Even the old Marxists understood that was absurd. Human beings won't do that. Now Marxist' solution to that was for the state to purge society of the undesirable classes and create a society composed entirely of a new Soviet man who would work for the collective and not game the system. It was, of course, an insane solution that led to nothing but mass murder and slavery but the Marxists at least understood the problem. Western leftists don't even do that. Instead, they claim if we just do a little socialism we can solve our problems. That of course never works and leads to calls for more socialism until finally you either give up on it or end up with communism.

  • Just Say'n||

    "Third-way socialism"

    Is literally fascism. That is exactly how Third Positionists frame their beliefs.

  • Tony||

    Absolutely no difference for libertarians, and they risk more easily finding things to socialize since they start with a smaller public sector. "Well of course the government should regulate the market in dog meat. I like dogs." To take a recent example.

  • Just Say'n||

    "and they risk more easily finding things to socialize since they start with a smaller public sector"

    I don't follow this point. What do you mean exactly?

  • Tony||

    In a way, being a libertarian is an exercising in finding exceptions to your first principles. I for one find it highly amusing.

    They seem to want to collectivize something as soon as they figure out that they personally would benefit.

  • IceTrey||

    Now you're just making shit up.

  • Just Say'n||

    I don't know, Tony. I think in order for you to critique the philosophy you should read something outside of Reason. You're not going to learn much about libertarianism from Reason (not anymore at least).

    Read Scott Horton at antiwar.com or Jeffrey Tucker with FEE or Mises Institute. And if you're really ambitious read some Rothbard or even Freidman.

    I think you're being a little unfair here, because I think your only exposure to libertarianism is through Reason and every kind of libertarian kicks Reason in the shins, because they're not real faithful to the whole "less government" way of thinking.

  • Tony||

    On the contrary, most internet libertarians are way more hardcore than the actual philosophical forefathers of libertarianism, most of whom endorsed large-scale social safety nets (in the face of the total obviousness that society would collapse into shit without one). They tended to understand that markets always work within a governed framework, but simply preferred the market mechanism to directed outcomes when compared to other philosophies. Most internet libertarians I encounter are of the Ayn Rand camp minus the charm.

  • Just Say'n||

    "On the contrary, most internet libertarians are way more hardcore than the actual philosophical forefathers of libertarianism"

    See this is how I know that you just get all your ideas about libertarianism from Reason. You've probably glanced at Hayek's "Road to Serfdom" or a little bit of Freidman, but I highly doubt you've ever read anything by Lysander Spooner, Rothbard, Mises, or SEKIII.

    I don't think it's fair for you to make these broad pronouncements without reading any of the arguments behind them. I have actually read socialist literature from Prodouhn to Bakunin (technically, you could call them both anarchists) to Marx to Owen.

    I don't think you have room to criticize that which you don't understand

  • Tony||

    Well I am only responding to arguments people are making here in reality, not the ones they wish they were capable of making.

  • Just Say'n||

    I think you're more dismissive of me than I you

  • Tony||

    And by internet libertarian I mean the Republican party as well, who support a safety net only out of political expedience. They too are more hardcore antigovernment than the original big-name libertarians ever were.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    The rise from global abject poverty came about well before the so called safety net. Your war on poverty has cost $22TT and resulted in NO reduction in poverty in this country. Reality doesn't care about your feelz.

  • NashTiger||

    The party of Richard Nixon, the Bush Family, and Donald Trump is hardcore anti-government, moreso than the LVMI types.
    Why don't you come wih an off switch? Why do you spew retardation like it is your job?

  • NashTiger||

    The party of Richard Nixon, the Bush Family, and Donald Trump is hardcore anti-government, moreso than the LVMI types.
    Why don't you come with an off switch? Why do you spew retardation like it is your job?

  • jay||

    well the way to stop that is to provide a standard and give a reason for it. The job of government is to extract force from society, not impose force. Disagreeing is one thing, but don't pretend it is arbitrary, or that since libertarians support a military that they support every military spending bill.

  • eat the gristle||

    "Absolutely no difference for libertarians"

    Please don't speak for me as though I have given you permission to do so.

    Speak for yourself, the admitted not-libertarian.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Tony thinks non-Libertarians ARE Libertarians.

    Banning people from eating dogs is NOT a Libertarian position.

  • Tony||

    I should hope not.

    But what if you happen to believe that dogs have some limited form of rights? That's not inconsistent with libertarianism that I'm aware of.

  • IceTrey||

    If someone believes non sapient species have rights they aren't a libertarian.

  • Tony||

    Who gets rights is an arbitrary decision. Humans enjoy having rights. We invented the concept of rights. And we have rights! What a happy turn of events.

    And we have the entire history of rights that would give us pause in declaring that some species doesn't ever deserve them. Women used to have very few rights. Slaves by definition had no rights. Migrant workers today have very few rights and getting fewer. In the established future history of Star Trek, animals gain the right not to be slaughtered for food. It's not a libertarian thing at all.

  • Brian||

    Who gets rights is an arbitrary decision.
    arbitrary: based on random choice or personal whim, rather than any reason or system.

    It's like you pick words that sound good to you, even though they make your argument suck.

  • Tony||

    You're right. And the "reason or system" has tended to be "I want rights. I don't want you to have rights, woman. I get what I want because God said so."

  • Brian||

    And that's because you're not speaking the same language.

    You are translating "rights" to mean "stuff government does". That's not exactly what people are talking about when they talk about "human rights", for obvious reasons: governments are responsible for the worst human rights atrocities known to man.

  • Tony||

    Yes, I prefer to talk about rights as if the word actually means something. A right to free speech may be hard-won, but it's not exactly in limited supply so it's easy in that way. Do I have a right to food and shelter or not? Is the answer no because it costs something? Why is another person's $10 in taxes more important to society than my not starving to death? Both are material. Both are rights claims.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|9.12.18 @ 6:00PM|#
    "Yes, I prefer to talk about rights as if the word actually means something."

    When you grow up, perhaps you'll be able to do so.
    Until then, leave the discussion to adults who have some knowledge of the issue.

  • Brian||

    If you want to assume "rights are whatever government does", then you don't have a right to food because the government says so.

    That's not really an interesting discussion.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Why is another person's $10 in taxes more important to society than my not starving to death? Both are material. Both are rights claims.

    There you go advocating slavery again.

  • perlchpr||

    Why is another person's $10 in taxes more important to society than my not starving to death?

    Because you're a worthless idiot.

    Come to think of it, "worthless" merely implies that you have no value. You're actually a net negative.

  • jay||

    so laying out standards automatically deny rights because some past standards are wrong. Solution- just let everyone argue that they have whatever rights they want and who cares if they conflict.

  • DenverJ||

    Women, slaves, etc. can understand the concept of rights and demand them for themselves. As soon as an animal demands rights then I will recognize their rights.

  • lap83||

    They just want a little socialism so they can blame all of the problems on all of the remaining capitalism and use that to get more socialism

  • Brian||

    Preparing to Define 'Democratic Socialism,' Bernie Sanders Points to Libraries and the Police

    Well, I guess one thing is for certain, then: The Nazis were socialist.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Police

    Now you know why Black Lives Matter didn't think much of Bernie.

  • albo||

    Socialism is in vogue because the current generation is the most privileged and had to work the least of all the proceeding generations. They think this prosperity and their lack of sweat is normal, the baseline, instead of being something we have to actively protect from collapsing all the time.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I think you're half right. The current generation is the most privileged regarding their opportunities, but their expectations are also the highest of any generation. The idea that you graduate, start slow, get a job at a salary that lets you start building a life, then over years build your wealth and your experience at a steady pace is considered the failure of the American Dream. You're supposed to graduate, get the 6 figure job and the swank, high design condo out of the gate. Because hey man, I've got college loans and shit broheim.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    They also are very ignorant of history (partly due to public schools) and were not alive or super young when the USSR was around.

    If you are old enough to do nuke drills, it makes an impression on you about Socialism. Of course, the Boomers had those drills and a bunch of them are Socialists.

  • Mickey Rat||

    How about invoking the spoiled brat?

    What the modern socialist seems to be asking for is for society to take care of their needs without having to contribute anything themselves or even have to be pleasant or grateful for the largesse. Of course, the elephant in the room is, if everybody is thinking that way, who is producing the plenty required to satisfy that goal?

  • albo||

    See my post above. Socialism is the fave among the folks who are still on their parents' cell phone plan.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Yes, and because someone must be producing something, socialists either cannot get rid of capitalism, completely break down society, or go completely jackboot stomping on human faces.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Haha. Funny you mention parents cell phone plans. My 30 year old millennial sister is still no my Dad's cell plan and she just got married.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    so·cial·ism
    ˈsōSHəˌlizəm/
    noun
    1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
    2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
    b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
    3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

  • John||

    A lot of the reason why socialists are so hard to argue with is that they went insane after the second world war. Before the war, Marxists and socialists at least shared the assumption with classical liberals that prosperity and wealth were good things and essential to a just society. Back then socialists and communists really believed that socialism would deliver greater wealth for more people than capitalism. After the war was over and the capitalist countries recovered so quickly and the true horrors of Stalin were revealed, it became so obvious that socialist countries would never produce the kind of wealth capitalist countries did that even the true believers couldn't deny it anymore. Instead of renouncing the ideology, they renounced prosperity. As Ayn Rand put it, "if the party couldn't give everyone shoes, then no one would have shoes and going barefoot would be a virtue". So leftists ended up embracing things like multiculturalism and radical equality at any price and as the single end to a society that were totally counter to original Marxism. With the rise of postmodernism, they rejected science and objective truth altogether. Remember Marxism claimed to be a "science". So you end up with just a hodgepodge of lunacy. The old leftists were evil but as the movie says at least they had an ethos. Not so now.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I look at socialists like George Orwell and Christopher Hitchens, and I see smart, well intentioned people who were wrong about certain things. Their good intentions were attested to by the fact that they excoriated their socialist comrades for the horrible things they did. Did anyone excoriate the USSR more thoroughly than Orwell? Did anyone excoriate the Clintons more thoroughly than Christopher Hitchens?

    A good libertarian can disagree with a socialist about what free people should choose to do and still agree on basic principles like autonomy, I guess--but who on the left respects personal autonomy these days? Progressive socialism is about using the coercive power of the government to force individuals to make sacrifices for the greater good--as they see it. Who on the left is excoriating the progressives for their authoritarianism?

    Today's progressivism is based on contempt for individual autonomy, and that's more than just contempt for rednecks being free to make choices for themselves. Their twist on the old liberal trope that we should be free to do anything that doesn't harm anyone else is to make it so that no one can do anything if it might harm anyone. They'll sacrifice more than capitalism in the name of polar bears on that alter, too. They'd kill free speech, among other things.

    I don't suppose there was ever a time when the Orwells and Hitchens of the world ran the left. Nowadays, there's no one even like that left.

  • John||

    The old hard left was just as bad as any of the Progressives now. They have always been totalitarian and evil. How people like Orwell could believe that you could have a society run by top men that would redistribute wealth to the poor without it degenerating into a leftist totalitarian hell is beyond me. They were just fools in that regard.

    Progressivism today is, however, worse than it used to be in its pure insanity. Old Marxism was nothing if not systematic and internally rational. It was crazy and evil but it did have a rationality to it. Not so with today's progressivism. It renounces logic and truth altogether.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "How people like Orwell could believe that you could have a society run by top men that would redistribute wealth to the poor without it degenerating into a leftist totalitarian hell is beyond me."

    I suspect he saw it as the reasonable opposition to fascism, and when he enlisted to go fight that in Spain, he saw the Soviet Union wipe out the anarcho-socialists--because they hated them for their beliefs in personal autonomy.

    He was wrong about some fundamental things.

    He was honest enough not to get sucked into apologizing for the USSR.

    Hitchens was the same way. He was a Marxist, and he was a Trotskyist. He was wrong about certain things.

    He was also honest enough to go after the Clintons when the feminists and the "honest liberals" were apologizing for Clinton executing retards and excusing him for his horrible treatment of women.

  • CapitalistRoader||

    The first thing that must strike any outside observer is that Socialism, in its developed form is a theory confined entirely to the middle classes. The typical Socialist is not, as tremulous old ladies imagine, a ferocious-looking working man with greasy overalls and a raucous voice. He is either a youthful snob-Bolshevik who in five years time will quite probably have made a wealthy marriage and been converted to Roman Catholicism; or, still more typically, a prim little man with a white-collar job, usually a secret teetotaller and often with vegetarian leanings, with a history of Nonconformity behind him, and, above all, with a social position which he has no intention of forfeiting. This last type is surprisingly common in Socialist parties of every shade; it has perhaps been taken over en bloc from the old Liberal Party. In addition to this there is the horrible —- the really disquieting —- prevalence of cranks wherever Socialists are gathered together. One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words 'Socialism' and 'Communism' draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, 'Nature Cure' quack, pacifist, and feminist in England.
    George Orwell, The Road to Wian Pier (1937)

  • Mickey Rat||

    Did Orwell know Gillespie?

  • Juice||

    Damn those pacifist cranks, especially the ones who drink fruit juice! Don't get me started on the sandal wearers!

  • perlchpr||

    I mean, he did a pretty good job of describing the Hippies, long before they actually existed...

  • Ken Shultz||

    To some extent, Marxism can become like a religion. If we can just get people to be honest enough to criticize the people who are running their church, that might be enough. They don't necessarily need to convert to Presbyterianism from whatever they believe now. Like I always say, once libertarians agree that we should all be free to make choices for ourselves, there isn't much more we need to agree on. If free people want to go off and form a socialist commune of their own free will, that's find with me--so long as I'm not forced to participate in any way. I'm looking for prominent people on the left who don't believe in forced participation these days, and I don't see anybody.

  • jay||

    it has to renounce logic, otherwise it would have to renounce itself. Can't have that.

  • perlchpr||

    I agree with your position that they'd rather have everyone be equally poor, than have some be "richer" than others.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Anthropologists talk about that as like a less complicated, less evolved society.

    They call it "social stratification", and while some of them may see having less of it as a good thing, it is also associated with primitive societies.

    There's a chief in a society with little social stratification, and there may be some warriors around him, but everyone else is pretty much on the same level of society. Human sacrifice and cannibalism are seen as one way to work out the social tension created when some members of the tribe are able to make slaves of people from other tribes. Suddenly, someone has something that not everyone else has. To preserve the social equality, they sacrifice the slave, eventually.

    When societies are able to get past that stage, where the fear of social stratification keeps everyone down, they start to flourish.

  • John||

    Socialism in its tribalist form flourishes at that stage because in pre-modern societies security is at such a premium you have to be tribalist to survive. The most socialistic organization in the world is an army. There everyone has to work and sacrifice for the whole or everyone dies. The benefits that come with freedom and opportunity are only appealing if you have enough security to make enjoying those benefits possible. Rarely is such security available in pre-modern societies.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "It's not a bad ideal, to want individuals to be able to flourish however they see fit. In fact, that corresponds almost perfectly with the ways most libertarians talk and think about social organization. What system is most likely to allow individuals to become whomever they want to become? In this sense, socialism and capitalism (to use incredibly oversimplified terms) are both part of the liberal Enlightenment project that begins with autonomous, equal individuals."

    Socialism has two major components.

    1) Government ownership of the means of production

    2) Wealth redistribution: "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need"

    Everything else is horseshit.

    That any libertarian would associate either government ownership or forced redistribution with individual autonomy is shocking.

    Libertarians rightly point out that market forces have been mostly pushing things in a positive direction, especially for the poorest and least-connected among us.

    Libertarians should rightly point out that "market forces" are people making choices.

    Feel it. Know it. Live it.

    We cannot use the government to work against market forces without violating individual autonomy in reality--because, in reality, market forces are individuals making choices.

    A "right" is the obligation to respect an individual's ability to make a choice for himself, and any system predicated on ignoring that obligation is therefore incompatible with individual autonomy.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Yeah, it looks like the definition of Socialism has changed from state control of the means of production to state ownership of the means of production.

    I assume that is to allow countries to side-step the Socialist label of the state only massively controls the means of production.

  • John||

    What system is most likely to allow individuals to become whomever they want to become? In this sense, socialism and capitalism (to use incredibly oversimplified terms) are both part of the liberal Enlightenment project that begins with autonomous, equal individuals."

    That might be the dumbest fucking thing I have ever read on here.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Maybe he made a mistake!

    Maybe he wishes he could rewrite it.

    That's happened to me.

  • Quintus Slide||

    "Capitalism would die not because of its failure to deliver the good life but because of its success at mainstreaming general wealth."

    It's odd to me that you'd open the article with a quote regarding the favorable view the young take of socialism without even inquiring as to whether young people might have a legitimate grievance. For example, the subjects of wage stagnation and staggering student loan debt seem like legitimate grievances to me. But since they -- and particularly the former -- are not problems to which libertarians have an answer, the problem is just airbrushed out of existence.

  • Just Say'n||

    "the subjects of wage stagnation and staggering student loan debt seem like legitimate grievances to me. But since they -- and particularly the former -- are not problems to which libertarians have an answer, the problem is just airbrushed out of existence."

    I don't know about that. Pretty sure the counter argument use to be college wouldn't be so expensive if the government didn't subsidize it, which is true. And the argument for wage stagnation seems to be that that point isn't really true. It depends on what industry you are observing.

    Macroeconomics is voodoo science.

  • John||

    LIbertarians absolutely have an answer for those problems. And those problems are entirely the result of government action taken in the name of equality and achieving socialistic goals. Why is there a student loan debt problem? Because the government got into the business of trying to pay for everyone's education and the universities just gamed the system and raised their prices, which in turn lead for calls for more aid, which allowed the universities to raise their prices more and so forth. Why are wages stagnating? Because the government insists on imposing higher and higher fixed costs associated with hiring people and taxing and regulating against innovation, which in turn kills productivity which is what determines wages.

    Yes there are legitimate grievances. Our problem is that we have raised a generation that is too stupid and irrational to understand why these grievances occurred. And that is a very dangerous thing.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    +1

  • perlchpr||

    +1

  • Sevo||

    "For example, the subjects of wage stagnation"
    Lie.

    "and staggering student loan debt seem like legitimate grievances to me."
    Self-inflicted.
    Get lost, slaver.

  • Mickey Rat||

    While there is pressure on wages from increased productivity from mechanization, how much of wage stagnation is due to the government mandating larger non wage job benefits? Family leave, heath care coverage mandates and the like. There is a lot of costs for an employer that are opaque to the employee, and kept deliberately so on the part of government.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Wage stagnation - get feds the fuck out of healthcare. Healthcare is so massively over-regulated the costs go through the roof. Make employer health insurance taxable as a benefit. People need to shop for this stuff themselves. Wages stagnate when employers provide health insurance and the costs go through the roof - less money for wage increases. Oh, and measure wages vs. purchasing power because the cost of a lot of things produced by some of the less regulated industries has fallen over the last 40 years.

    Student loan debt - discharge in bankruptcy and cut off all federal aid and meddling. Many colleges will go under, and the number of unqualified/unprepared students will go down as only the smart, ambitious kids majoring in useful subjects and the super rich art history majors will attend. Solved.

    Got any more? Oh, you meant not top man big government program "solutions." Yeah, I got nothin' there.

  • newshutz||

    Libertarians have an answer to both wage stagnation and student loan debt. Both are problems caused by government distortion of markets.

    Wage Stagnation in the USA: Total compensation has been increasing, the difference is the cost of health insurance benefits. This results from a lack of a market in health care. Third party payer systems have destroyed the price mechanism resulting in out of control prices. Government run health insurance would not change this price dynamic, only reinstating market discipline will fix it. Government run health care would not change it either, the only difference is the money would come out of your wages as taxes after you got it, rather than reducing your wages.

  • Uncle Jay||

    If Carrey is so in love in socialism, then why is he living in the USA instead of Canada?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Jim Carrey, the Canadian useful idiot who made millions from free-ish market in the USA.

  • perlchpr||

    How do computers, cars, and cell phones, not to mention food, clothing, and entertainment keep getting relatively cheaper and better over time?

    Computers, especially, jesus.

    1988, hard drive space is $10 / MB.

    2018, hard drive space is $25 / TB. ($0.0025 / MB)

    And in general, the prices of everything else went up.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Government is fairly hands off computer equipment, so lots of competition and relatively low costs of regulation compared to other industries. IMHO.

  • perlchpr||

    Oh no, totally agree.

    I've just been pricing out a new PC today, and boggling over essentially "how cheap" everything is.

    I bought all the components for a machine that's probably more powerful than anything that existed in 1988, (supercomputers included) and all for under $1000.

    Gods above I love capitalism.

  • Tony||

    Aren't you being a tad unfair to the public sector contributions that eventually made their way to Best Buy for cheap?

  • Sevo||

    "Aren't you being a tad unfair to the public sector contributions that eventually made their way to Best Buy for cheap?"
    No.

  • Tony||

    The first microprocessor was made for the US Navy. That was a secret until 1998 so you can hardly say it came about via market mechanisms.

  • Sevo||

    "The first microprocessor was made for the US Navy. That was a secret until 1998 so you can hardly say it came about via market mechanisms."

    So before it was a marketable product, the military overspent to get an early version.
    Goody.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    What the fuck are you talking about? The first microprocessor, the Intel 4004, was by made for a Japanese calculator company. The first transistors were created in Bell Labs.

    But even if the government were "responsible" for the microprocessor, or the transistor, or the laser, or fiberoptics, the portion of government responsible for doing that is exactly the portion of government that you do NOT want: defense. Notably, none, not ONE, of your welfare programs has resulted in any lasting achievement beyond a wall of debt.

  • Tony||

    Um, as she has explained many times, there would be no Elizabeth Warren without a social safety net. You're welcome.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    OK, debt and fuaxcahontus. Still waiting for an achievement.

  • perlchpr||

    Um, as she has explained many times, there would be no Elizabeth Warren without a social safety net.

    You aren't seriously using that as an argument for the social safety net, are you?

  • Rorschach||

    You say that as if it's a bad thing.

  • perlchpr||

    Shut up, idiot.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I remember green screens.

    I see homeless people with smart phones.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Why limit yourself to 1988? RAMAC came out in 1956.

    The 350 stores 5 million 6-bit characters (3.75 MB). ...The IBM RAMAC 305 system with 350 disk storage leased for $3,200 per month.

    Let's say storage is 1/3 of the cost ($1100/mo) and you could ease to own in 3 years. So 36 x 1100=$39600/3.75MB. Call it $10k/MB. So from 1956 to 2018 the cost has dropped by a factor of 400 million.

    Have you thanked an engineer today?

  • perlchpr||

    Why limit yourself to 1988? RAMAC came out in 1956.

    Because I'm only 42, and I was actually using and building PCs in '88, and it makes for a nice round number of years ago from today.

    Other than that, yes, it was a completely arbitrary choice of dates.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    when the basic needs of life compel submission to the market and subjugation at work

    Bub, you may like airplanes because they seem to defy the law of gravity, but gravity it still there or you would need a seatbelt to stay in your seat.
    Similarly, you may think that socialism defies markets, but markets always exist. The difference between free enterprise and socialism is who has the most say: all individuals in the most democratic way possible, or a few self-selected elitists who have deluded themselves into thinking they are smarter than King Canute.

  • John||

    +1. The market is not some kind of magic machine that grants you wishes. Market forces are just a description of human behavior that tells you what the result of given policies will be. Whether those results are good or bad is a value judgment.

  • damikesc||

    What should Libertarians make of it?

    That allowing progressives to take over education has fucked this country royally.

    They also think there REALLY isn't a need to fix anything, either.

  • Bradley Williams||

    Socialism is pessimism politicized that promotes coveting as a virtue. Capitalism is the essence of optimism striving to make the pie bigger for everyone. Both have crony corruption.

  • DenverJ||

    +1

  • ImanAzol||

    To change their minds, they'd have to have one.

  • jimw||

    " is a libertarian program that opens borders to trade and people".
    It is no part of the libertarian ideal to open borders to people who want to kill us.

  • jimw||

    I guess as a sop to sentiment we could limit the exclusion to those who have declared the intention of killing us unless we submit, or who have declared fealty to some person or system who has so declared.

  • beyond.reasons||

    What you are calling "definitional vagueness" is simply code for either "uneducated" (which is quite the case these days) or simple stupidity. The dictionary provides definitions to words. Knowing these definitiona allows us to communicate. The left, however, takes these words and provides "new meaning" and gets radically upset when someone corrects them. When being corrected children and adults say "everyone does it so that must be what it means". No. "Everyone" does not call things by the wrong name. For instance, the simple lectern is usually called a podium. If you ask what's the difference? They don't know. The same is true for differences between socialism, communism and capitalism. Not only can the left not articulate the differences, they simply do not know. Again the same is true for the American system of government. WaPo wrote a longwinded article about how there is nothing wrong calling our form of government "democracy" when, clearly, we do not have a democracy we have a republic. It is "like" democracy they said and interchangeable. It is not. There is a reason why we do not have a democracy or even an American democracy. It is the hope that by understanding American government the ideas of socialism would be put to rest. Socialism is what is it is -- even versions of it. The first plan is to have the socialist explain what socialism is. I don't even think the esteemed Jim Carrey could do that in any logical or educated way.

  • Juice||

    all in the interest of creating a utopian three-hour workday

    If it works for the Jetsons, it's ok by me.

  • Desmond Ravenstone||

    Got a surprise for you. Many forms of socialism do not involve " a system where the government owns or heavily controls the means of production" -- and many socialists were and are highly critical of Soviet-style top-down command economies. From David Ricardo to the Steiner-Vallentyne school, there has long been a tradition seeking equitable access to resources without relying on the dictates of government bureaucracy. Perhaps it's time that "free-market" libertarians engage in dialogue with their left-libertarian cousins to find solutions rooted in both freedom and fairness.

  • Sevo||

    "Perhaps it's time that "free-market" libertarians engage in dialogue with their left-libertarian cousins to find solutions rooted in both freedom and fairness."

    Perhaps it's time slavers quit trying to re-define failed systems in order to force their "fairness'' on those who don't want it.

  • Just Say'n||

    Yeah, we've all heard that before and yet every time socialist policies are practiced, at best you get higher unemployment and at worst you get breadlines and death camps.

    If we've gotten to the point where libertarians in America have gone soft on socialism than conservatives are actually the only free market alternative and with the rise of woketarianism it would appear this is becoming the reality of the matter

  • Qsl||

    Mostly what I gather is the mainstay of libertarianism is so thoroughly entrenched, you could replace it with a script that yells "taxation is theft" and "fuck off slaver" at odd intervals with no loss in fidelity. You could have the same script yell "racism" and "patriarchy" and get two for one. Essentially neither side would demean themselves to craft policy, so short of howling from the periphery, have nothing to add.

    So that leaves centrist staring down Cerberuses to either side, trying to make the best compromise possible that doesn't end in deathcamps or Jennifer Government.

    The unfortunate bit is as even mild concessions to either side are seen as an affront, it's likely to get the worst of all possible worlds, with the newest designs from Boston Dynamics tazing anyone who uses any word from the whitelist ("it's verbal aggression!") while carting them off to the nearest state hospital to have their citizen status checked.

    Win-win.

  • Sevo||

    Qsl|9.12.18 @ 8:28PM|#
    "Mostly what I gather is the mainstay of libertarianism is so thoroughly entrenched, you could replace it with a script that yells "taxation is theft" and "fuck off slaver" at odd intervals with no loss in fidelity."

    And yet here you are posting. Must be so you can prove your perspicacity and original hypotheses.

  • Qsl||

    The mainstay of libertarianism isn't the whole of libertarianism, and occasionally even you can come up with a coherent idea worth investigating.

    It is just hard to decipher through the spittle and angst.

    Just reading the tea leaves of how much screaming "taxation is theft" has actually accomplished.

    But I'm certain if you shout it a thousand more times (and with real gusto), the world will finally awake from their slumber and we can all bow down to your wonderful acumen.

    Keep trying!

  • Sevo||

    "It is just hard to decipher through the spittle and angst."
    Yours is hard to decipher through the thoroughly unearned claim of intelligence.

    "Keep trying!"
    Fuck off.

  • Qsl||

    Your script seems to be malfunctioning.

    QED.

  • Sevo||

    Qsl|9.12.18 @ 10:00PM|#
    "Your script seems to be malfunctioning.
    QED."

    You're an imbecile. Fuck off.
    Do you get it now, asshole?

  • Rockabilly||

    Comrade Carrey, celebrity net worth say you're worth $150 million.

    Man, that's a lot of income for one person!

    Have you heard Dear Leader speak of 'income inequality' and how that's bad?

    Since I have much less than you, you should give me some of your income so our income could be equal.

    That's only fair; I take all forms of payment and await your reply.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    You don't understand. Socialism is for you, not the socialist who supports it.

  • DenverJ||

    But libertarians can't expect to engage, much less persuade, anyone flirting with socialism if we simply invoke Stalin, the Great Leap Forward, or even Hugo Chavez.

    Bullshit. If someone is calling for Socialism, then I have every right to preach about the evils of Socialism. If they are too damn ignorant to know the meaning of the words they are using, then that's their fault, not mine. Some ignorant people don't know what Socialism means, and other ignorant people don't realize what Socialism means. I am happy to inform them, either way.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    When socialists subtitle their own book "A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts, and Reason", there's no point in engaging them.

  • perlchpr||

    They are sort of signalling that they will only respond to violence.

  • ipatrol||

    I wanted to respond to this properly, but the reply ended up becoming an essay significantly longer than the character limit. I have thus posted it at https://pastebin.com/WYDvABhC for anyone who would like to read it.

    You may reply to this post as usual.

  • Heero2001||

    Thank you for writing this. It's great to hear from a classical Marxist on the current socialist movement. I am quite interested in other people's political philosophy, so it's frustrating to read the writings of post-modernist because they seemed to be detached from reality. They don't answer the question of how are they going to restructure society. All the details are vague and everything just sort of works in their world.

    I am curious. How many classical Marxist like you are there? Are you guys well organized? In your opinion, are a lot of the professors (who actually read Marx and understand economics) real post-modernist? Or are they cynically using it as a recruiting tool? Who are some of the current public intellectuals of non-post-modernist socialist?

  • ipatrol||

    First, I realize I made a mistake in the essay. I meant Robinson Crusoe where I said John Robinson.

    And classical marxists are indeed not very well organized, at least in my estimation. They tend to associate with more hardline communist parties, and they read publications like the WSWS and Jacobin, as well as converse on various fora. As for leading intellectual figures, the only one that comes to mind is Noam Chomsky.

    As for college professors, I have only ever had one that I think or knew had socialist sympathies, so I can't say I understand the whole "lefty professors" meme. Perhaps they congregate in the liberal arts department, which I as an engineering student do not have much contact with.

  • Genia Simkin||

    "But libertarians can't expect to engage, much less persuade, anyone flirting with socialism if we simply invoke Stalin, the Great Leap Forward, or even Hugo Chavez every time socialism gets mentioned."

    -this!

    This is like talking about "god" - You can't take for granted what your audience means when you utter the term and two people from similar backgrounds might have wholly different assumptions about the connotations involved.

    I strongly suspect that when Americans (and westerners in general) speak of Socialism, what they're talking about is a slightly more Socialized variation on what we already have.

    Education and medicine are always touted as the first examples of what "socialists" get "right" - even as the examples cited are (usually) Scandinavian, where both health care and education are delivered as for-profit services (we can quibble about the details but Swedish doctors have private practices and earn a lot of money in a market based competitive industry). So - what these so-called "socialists" really want is (seemingly) more transparency and a more even market playing field, and it may indeed mean the government stepping in to force this equality into the individual domains given how entrenched they are, but that's still got nothing to do with "Socialism" proper.

    So - before all you die-hard Libertarians go running around with your hair on fire - please consider how close to what you yourselves are striving for the "Socialists" are trying to realize.

  • Sevo||

    "So - before all you die-hard Libertarians go running around with your hair on fire - please consider how close to what you yourselves are striving for the "Socialists" are trying to realize."

    One more redefinition. Fail.

  • Genia Simkin||

    A) What am I redefining?

    B) I'd like to request that you interact with me (and everyone else online) with at least as much common courtesy as you would with strangers in the real world. If you and I met at a party and you responded to my opinion with "One more redefinition. Fail.", I would not engage further.
    I get that the Internet has destroyed all notions of basic decorum but I'm going to plant a flag in the dirt and say that even if you think I'm wrong, unless you think I'm making a statement in bad faith, and as long as you're actually taking the time to reply, why not do so in such a way as to not come off as either someone deeply on the spectrum or just a jerk?

  • Sevo||

    "A) What am I redefining?"
    "So - what these so-called "socialists" really want is (seemingly) more transparency and a more even market playing field, and it may indeed mean the government stepping in to force this equality into the individual domains given how entrenched they are, but that's still got nothing to do with "Socialism" proper."
    No, it's not "transparency" they want, even if you put scare quotes on it; they desire nothing less than the awsome power of the government to *force* their desires on those who disagree.
    You have attempted to redefine systematic thuggery as a desire for more "transparency".

    "B) I'd like to request that you interact with me (and everyone else online) with at least as much common courtesy as you would with strangers in the real world. If you and I met at a party and you responded to my opinion with "One more redefinition. Fail.", I would not engage further."
    If you handed me that pile of crap at a party, I'd simply turn around and ignore you.
    Here, you have entered a space where I no longer have to listen to lefty bullshit in silence.

  • ||

    In a free society, any group of individuals should be free to pool their resources and live communally, whether they call it a commune, a collective, a monastery, or a family, and libertarians should have no complaint against it, provided together enter into the arrangement freely and are free to leave.

    It isn't the collectivism that libertarians should object to, but the force.

  • The Last American Hero||

    ^This. Libertarians aren't aghast at the idea of Burning Man, or even the Amish or people that choose (operative word) to live in a Kibbutz.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "It's not a bad ideal, to want individuals to be able to flourish however they see fit. In fact, that corresponds almost perfectly with the ways most libertarians talk and think about social organization. What system is most likely to allow individuals to become whomever they want to become? In this sense, socialism and capitalism (to use incredibly oversimplified terms) are both part of the liberal Enlightenment project that begins with autonomous, equal individuals."

    Capitalism says that to earn your living you must produce a service that other people will want to pay for. Individualist socialism deeply resents any obligation or responsibility to other people, while saying society is responsible for their upkeep. To say freedom from responsibility is similar to libertarianism is to confuse it with libertinism. It is an inherently self contradictory philosophy. It is unreal ideal. It is impossible.

  • J Neil Schulman||

    Nick, you leave out of your analysis that there is a revolutionary libertarian argument against revolutionary socialism: Konkinian Agorism as the alternative to Marxian Socialism. All power elites can do is drive the market underground and what happens next depends on whether the black market traders are "woke" to libertarian principles of protecting private property, free exchange, and establishing arbitration instead of violence for dispute settlement. As a minarchist you've never closely examined the stateless Agorist alternative because you dismiss it as utopian; but you fail to recognize that constitutional limited government was itself a utopian experiment that has after a few centuries shown itself to have failed to contain plutocracy. I don't know why Reason decided never to release its interviews with Kevin Sorbo and myself at the Beverly Hills July 14, 2014 premiere of the only Agorist narrative feature film ever made, Alongside Night, but it was a mistake. Nonetheless the movie streams on Amazon Prrime and it's not too late for a review that encompasses the movie, the movie edition of the novel that includes Konkin's New Libertarian Manifesto as an afterword, the graphic novel, and the Audible audiobook. The protagonist of Alongside Night is a high-school student. Do you really think you'll do better appealing to millennials with academic prose?

  • Juice||

    Ok, you got me. I'll definitely look up that movie and give it a chance, but to be fair, it does start Kevin Sorbo so...

  • jerbigge||

    Problem is envy of what the Europeans (and other developed countries) enjoy in their social welfare states. Similar to Sander's "Medicare for All" that parallels what people in Canada, the UK, the rest of the developed world. Or that those who qualify can have "free" college, etc. The truth is that you do have to "qualify" which pretty much eliminates those who here either drop out before graduation or graduate with degrees in fields where there is little available jobs. These are directed into training for skilled trades or at least a job likely better than they would get without this training. Negatives of course consist of higher taxes to pay for all of these "benefits"...

  • The Last American Hero||

    and longer wait times, higher unemployment, lack of care in spite of insurance, lack of innovation, lack of accountability for malpractice.

    Paradise. Truly.

  • mchughjj||

    "But libertarians can't expect to engage, much less persuade, anyone flirting with socialism if we simply invoke Stalin, the Great Leap Forward, or even Hugo Chavez every time socialism gets mentioned."

    No Nick, but I think the question can be simplified. Is Western European socialism good or bad, and how do we react to the term? France and the Scandinavian nations aren't failed states, but they generally have socialist parties and they pay for a lot of 'stuff' that our government doesn't. I think this represents inefficiency, but it's a far cry from Mao's China (to the extent that it exists now), the former USSR, or Venezuela (hey, we might as well throw Cuba into the mix).

    Coming back to the US, I wouldn't vote for Bernie Sanders to be a local school superintendent, but nor would I vote for Trump for anything at all. 'Kids' have always been susceptible to the nanny state promise, but they also don't decide elections.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    to establish freedom from rule by the boss, from the need to smile for the sake of a sale, from the obligation to sell for the sake of survival.

    Yep, the core of the socialist movement consists of people who think it is tyranny to feel good while interacting with customers. Guess they grew up believing that a cash handout is the proper response to a tantrum.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    They just yearn for fuedalism. Of course they think they will be the nobles and will be shocked to become the serfs.

  • Rock Lobster||

    "That said, a good chunk of socialism chic can be chalked up to semantic or definitional vagueness. To the extent that socialism is equated with being kind or fair, it's easy to see the appeal.

    That "semantic or definitional vagueness" is what the Democratic Party has relied upon for years.

    Here's the deal:

    1. The "semantic or definitional vagueness" is intentional. "By any means necessary" is not just an expression.
    2.The slope really is slippery.
    3. Socialism in full flower is a humanitarian and moral disaster. Always. Invariably.
    4. Cosmotarians are just "useful idiots" putting on airs of sophistication.

    Either you believe in individual liberty and personal responsibility OR you believe in collectivism. Make your choice, Nick.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    He has.

  • Rock Lobster||

    Yeah. The damned fool.

  • PCGUY||

    You nailed it, Nick. Bravo!

  • AlmightyJB||

    "Here's how libertarians should engage"

    Woodchippers?

  • TGGeko||

    Helicopter.

  • vek||

    CORRECT ANSWER.

    Ultimately it often ends up being the only way to deal with "well intended" authoritarians.

  • ||

    The author wants us to believe that young socialists are so naive that they don't know how bad things are in Venezuela, North Korea, or Cuba.

    Actually, young socialists are motivated by the knowledge of how good things are in affluent democracies that have social democratic economies. Social democratic economies exist to varying degrees not only in Scandinavia, but in the British Commonwealth and Germany.

    These countries have less poverty than the United States, lower crime rates, universal health care, and better health. They frequently have government subsidized higher education. They usually have longer vacations, and better funded pensions.

    What's not to like?

    Those who complain that we cannot afford this need to first explain why we can afford to cut taxes for rich people and corporations while raising military spending.

  • Sevo||

    "These countries have less poverty than the United States, lower crime rates, universal health care, and better health. They frequently have government subsidized higher education. They usually have longer vacations, and better funded pensions.
    What's not to like?"
    Many claims, some might be true, others are irrelevant. It would be nice to see how they do when they have to pay for their own defense.

    "Those who complain that we cannot afford this need to first explain why we can afford to cut taxes for rich people and corporations while raising military spending."
    Those who claim we should afford this need to justify taxes in the first place, slaver.

  • Eddy||

    To riff on a comment of sevo's, the U. S. should start by cutting military spending on the countries listed above. Then we can see what American can afford, and what those other countries can afford now that they have to pay for their own defense.

    And since the Russian Menace is so very bad, I'd guess they'd have to do quite a bit of spending.

  • Eddy||

    PS - there seems to be a lot America can't afford, but we're spending it anyway. So what the heck, why not Medicare For All and free college?

  • NashTiger||

    less poverty than the United States - FALSE Our "poor" have a higher standard of living than their "middle class"
    lower crime rates - FALSE, lower "gun deaths", as if that is all that matters. Crime rates in the UK are higher. And when you remove a certain small segment of our population...
    universal health care - PITY THEM
    and better health - not if you get cancer, or have a preemie, or need brain surgery, or an artificial joint, or are injured, or need actual health care, as opposed to the inevitable outcomes of our government and ADM telling us what is "healthy" for 50 years.

  • vek||

    YUP.

    Our crime rates are 100% because we have far more minorities in the USA. Virtually every crime rate in the USA is LOWER than in almost any European country if you only look at white Americans. It need not be argued as a white people are better thing, you can always buy into the idea that it's broken African American culture if ya like. But it still is totally true.

    And, the standard of living thing is real. Middle Class people in Europe frequently CANNOT afford to own even a beater automobile. Their homes are FAR lower square footage. Etc.

    Poorly administered socialized medicine is really the only argument anybody can make with respect to Europe having it better. We DO spend more on health care, but for 90% of the population in the USA we also get far better results. I prefer better results, but at least an idiot commie could argue total coverage is better somehow... But 100% of the other arguments are factually incorrect.

  • mtrueman||

    'anyone flirting with socialism if we simply invoke Stalin, the Great Leap Forward, or even Hugo Chavez every time socialism gets mentioned.'

    The author manages to invoke kulaks in his very first sentence. The kulaks weren't Bolsheviks, but still socialists, nevertheless. Russian National Socialists, Revolutionary Socialists, Mensheviks had strong support among the peasantry. I don't think explicitly anti-socialist parties had any significant support in Russia of revolutionary times, even before the 1917 revolution.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|9.12.18 @ 10:57PM|#
    'anyone flirting with socialism if we simply invoke Stalin, the Great Leap Forward, or even Hugo Chavez every time socialism gets mentioned.'

    STFU, you imbecilic asshole. Using Parade magazine as a source you have no idea what you are posting about.:
    mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
    "He's here spouting nonsense in the hopes that someone makes a mistake and clicks on his handle, which will double the clicks on his blog this week."
    Spouting nonsense is an end in itself.

  • mtrueman||

    Thanks for your input,

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
    "Spouting nonsense is an end in itself."

    Thank you for your honesty in admitting you spout nonsense, you fucking imbecilic asshole.

  • mtrueman||

    I have always loved nonsense and would never deny spouting it. You must have noticed. Thanks again for taking time away from badgering and insulting others to focus on me.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
    "Spouting nonsense is an end in itself."

    Thank you for your honesty in admitting you spout nonsense, you fucking imbecilic asshole.

  • mtrueman||

    You are welcome a second time.

  • scotswhahae||

    I was born a socialist (from the US perspective), having been born and raised in Europe. But I don't (can't) quote Marx and I never got around to reading Das Capital.
    I have had a free education to the graduate level, had free health care, and look forward to a measly state pension. In return I served in the military, thereby repaying some of my debt.
    Is this the same 'socialism' that so scares America? Americans seemingly see any state action in society as the equivalent of communism, regardless of merit. Instead of questioning whether corporations or the uber rich have society's interests in mind, modern Americans have accepted capitalism/corporatism as a religion.
    Capitalism however is not a religion, but a tool, and the result of natural self interest. If common sense dictates that self interest dictates a healthy, well educated populace for a prosperous future, then what in god's name is the problem? If the state can't do its job and provide, do we leave the future of an advanced society in the hands of Amazon or Walmart?

  • Nardz||

    It's hilarious that socialists seem to believe that there is a significant difference between the uber rich/corporations and government.
    There is a difference - legitimate use of force.
    Empowering government only adds the force of arms to those advantages already wielded by the uber rich/corporations.
    Socialism is the institutionalization of all those aspects of capitalism that socialists decry.

  • Sevo||

    "Is this the same 'socialism' that so scares America?"

    Try saying "no" to any state directive and you'll find out why we don't like it.
    I'm glad you're such an obedient serf to the state; I'm not.

  • mtrueman||

    "Is this the same 'socialism' that so scares America? "

    It isn't. You never mentioned black people. That's what scares America, spending perfectly decent white tax dollars on undeserving people of colour.

  • Lester224||

    ^^Very good. That's the motivation of many in the MAGA hats. If welfare only went to poor white people, it wouldn't be a problem. Talk to the MAGA hats and they will tell you that.

  • vek||

    A small percentage perhaps, but mostly it is that white people in America grew up believing in individual freedom. And they realize that welfare for ANY race of slacker is ultimately not in the tax payers interest, OR the interest of the welfare case. Somebody who is never forced to take responsibility for themselves will become an endless drag on everybody else, whereas if they were forced to get their shit together, they would eventually do better themselves, AND not be a drag on others.

  • mtrueman||

    "A small percentage perhaps"

    Under an electoral system like America's, where a president can come in 2nd place in popular vote and still win, a small percentage is all you need.

    "but mostly it is that white people in America grew up believing in individual freedom."

    What you call individual freedom others call white privilege. Call it whatever you want, the belief seems to be fading,

  • mtrueman||

    "A small percentage perhaps"

    A small percentage may be all you need in America where the second place finisher in the popular vote can still get to be president.

    "mostly it is that white people in America grew up believing in individual freedom"

    What you call individual freedom, others call white privilege. Call it what you like, Americans' belief in it seems to be on the decline.

  • vek||

    SERIOUSLY???

    So if a couple percent of people that voted for Trump had "bad" views, the ones who "put him over the edge," that destroys his legitimacy or something???

    What about the far higher numbers of blacks, Hispanics, etc who OPENLY speak about their hostility to whites nowadays? You can dress it up any way you want, but the rhetoric coming from a lot of minorities nowadays IS textbook racism.

    Or what about the ACTUAL outright communists that vote Democrat? They support an ideology that murdered more people than the Nazis have ever dreamed of killing.

    So don't play that horseshit game with me.

    And trying to chock up individual freedom as white privilege... Also a joke! I assume you'd also love to tie this together with economic prosperity, as they always do. So I guess the Japanese must have "white privilege" over there in Tokyo right? It's all nonsense. Freedom is the same for all people. The freedom to succeed or fail, and everybody has access to that in the USA now. A middle class black person is NOT less privileged than a white person growing up in a trailer park. People who don't believe in freedom are morons... Nothing more and nothing less.

  • Sevo||

    Notice that the the imbecile trueman has a link to his name.
    He runs a blog and if he posts here, someone, often enough, clicks on his name, which improves his click rate on his blog for no cost other than blathering here.
    I'm calling that spam.

  • Gracchus||

    but mostly it is that white people in America grew up believing in individual freedom. And they realize that welfare for ANY race of slacker is ultimately not in the tax payers interest, OR the interest of the welfare case.

    Most white people I've met are meh on individual "freedom", depending on how you define that. Plenty of white people backed the surveillance and civil liberties-crushing policies of the Bush administration, and plenty more said nothing when Obama ratcheted up another notch with the fleet of flying killer robots. If the Democrats resurrected the ghost of F.D.R. or Jack Kennedy, plenty of "real Americans" out in flyover country would vote for him.

    The idea that white Americans are inherently pro-freedom is not too different from saying that white Aryans Americans are the sole source of scientific and cultural progress in the world. Which is as close to Nazism as you can get in this country.

  • Sevo||

    "The idea that white Americans are inherently pro-freedom is not too different from saying that white Aryans Americans are the sole source of scientific and cultural progress in the world. Which is as close to Nazism as you can get in this country."

    Oh, goody! A fucking lefty ignoramus here to prove once more that lefty imbeciles fantasize the a brain-dead assertion = an argument.
    Busted one more time, imbecile.

  • vek||

    Here's the problem: I'm not comparing white Americans to some non existent perfect libertarian society somewhere out there in the world... I'm talking about the real world.

    In the real world, native born white Americans are THE most freedom oriented people on planet earth. They're NOT hardcore libertarians to the last man, unfortunately. But culturally we're as good as it gets, sadly.

    That is simply reality according to polling, voting, etc. I think the vast majority of this is cultural remnants because of our history. That's what makes white Americans pro gun as fuck, versus British people idiots about the value of being allowed self defense with firearms.

    I think for non whites it largely comes down to the fact that it's simply practical for them to support big government. They're the beneficiaries of wealth redistribution statistically in the US, and their out group (whites/Jews/Asians) are the ones that pay for it. It's typical group behavior, why expect them to do anything different? Their opinions might change as they absorb more American culture, or become more dominant in numbers and don't perceive it as being as much of an us vs them thing mentally. We'll find out I guess...

    As far as scientific progress, until the last 50-75 years, Europeans were responsible for about 95% of scientific progress in the world... Now, fortunately, we have Asia helping us out on that task so we don't have to bear the entire burden.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    I have had a free education to the graduate level, had free health care, and look forward to a measly state pension. In return I served in the military, thereby repaying some of my debt.

    If all that stuff is free, how could you have debt to repay?

  • Toranth||

    "Free" education? "Free" health care? You never paid taxes?

    Or, rather, you paid taxes... year after year after year, paying first for your own education, and your own healthcare, and then for other peoples, too.

    Nothing the government pays for is "free", and anyone that claims otherwise is either ignorant or a liar.

  • vek||

    You forgot to mention the part where our universities produce more of the best students in the world, where our healthcare system provides better outcomes for serious health issues, where your income in the USA would be higher and you standard of living vastly superior...

    Need I go on? In short, if allowing the market to handle these things produces BETTER results... Why would we want to do it your way? Because it can FALSELY be claimed to be "free" or something? Go to school here for a real degree, borrow to do it if you're not from a rich family, and you STILL end up making more money and coming out better... So how is free school "better" than one you had to pay for here? Likewise with medical care. If you survive cancer here, and die there, but you have to pay for it here... Are you not still better off here?

    You simply fool yourself by claiming it is all "free" when it is not. You pay for it DEARLY. By being poorer overall.

  • mtrueman||

    "You forgot to mention the part where our universities produce more of the best students in the world, "

    Definitely the best football playing students in the world. America is perhaps the only nation where a university's sports coaches are the highest paid faculty member and student's can be not quite so generously rewarded for playing sports. But in my experience, Russian university students have been more impressive. Studious and accomplished but not all that sporty, though there are chess scholarships available.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|9.13.18 @ 9:58PM|#

    mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
    "Spouting nonsense is an end in itself."

    Fuck off.

  • mtrueman||

    American college education: really good.

  • vek||

    I fully agree that sports programs are a retarded waste! No disagreement there... But you didn't refute anything I said.

    We happen to blow more money on sports here, while ALSO kicking ass at academics too. Our top universities are amongst the very best in the world, period. Frankly, outside of Cambridge/Oxford, it's pretty hard to name ANY university in the world that holds up to our top 10 universities. I'm sure there are some that don't have the name cachet in the USA, but there's a reason people come from all over the world to go to our top schools.

  • Trainer||

    The Russian universities do a wonderful job of educating people with no practical knowledge. They get lectured to, memorize what they're taught and then can't do anything with it.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Those doctors and teachers worked for free? Maybe you have figured it out.

  • Samshile||

    "Bernie Sanders has admitted that he doesn't want the government to run everything as much as he wants it to run or regulate more stuff."

    So Fascist light?

  • JeremyR||

    You can't have unrestricted cash grants and open borders.

  • woodNfish||

    "Do you think it would be a good thing or a bad thing for the United States to move away from capitalism and more toward socialism?"

    Okay, amerikan socialists are brain-dead morons, but so are the phony "libertarians" at unReason. If the author had a brain, he would have challenged this statement. Capitalism is an economic system - NOT a political system. Just ask the chi-coms if you need proof of this FACT! Also, the democrats, academia and technocrats aren't just socialists, they have gone past that - they are now jack-booted fascists.

    I also notice there is no mention of the fact that socialists are extremely violent and have a long history of genocide and purges. And the third unmentioned fact, is that the USA is already a socialist country.

  • Mark22||

    When people say "socialism" today, what they actually mean is "fascism": strict government regulation of the means of production supposedly for the collective good.

    Sanders', Warren's, and Clinton's political program is far closer to the NSDAP 25 point program than it is to Marx.

  • Spookk||

    So, in other words, "we" are attempting to wrongly equate "democratic socialism" with the political system "socialism" historically discussed in high school civics.

  • wearingit||

    Eh, it's quite clear that young people speak of socialism in the light of Denmark and other Scandinavian countries who have a robust free market but also higher taxes that go towards services for the people (ie. not military escapades half a world away).

    "(The answer: pretty much unicorns and rainbows, apparently.) "

    I think pretty much anybody thinks that of their political viewpoint regardless of what it is.

  • DesigNate||

    No, they'll leave the military escapades to the US. Then bitch about it. Then bitch and moan if we threaten to take our umbrella away, forcing them to defend themselves.

    Oh, and those socialism has an actual fucking meaning and it's not "higher taxes that go towards services", it's the workers* own the means of production.

    *Pay no attention to the fact that every time there's a worker's revolution to seize said means of production, the people seizing everything set themselves up as the new ruling class.

  • Duelles||

    Socialists, liberals, progressives are all the same to me. Always trying to sound "okay"to the hoi poloi, but really are control freaks who want someone else's money to spend. Classic liberalism has gotte lost in the shuffle. Even the 'Economist' loses it now and then.

  • Duelles||

    Socialists, liberals, progressives are all the same to me. Always trying to sound "okay"to the hoi poloi, but really are control freaks who want someone else's money to spend. Classic liberalism has gotte lost in the shuffle. Even the 'Economist' loses it now and then.

  • Duelles||

    Socialists, liberals, progressives are all the same to me. Always trying to sound "okay"to the hoi poloi, but really are control freaks who want someone else's money to spend. Classic liberalism has gotte lost in the shuffle. Even the 'Economist' loses it now and then.

  • Furzeydown||

    The squirrel appears to have lost it as well.

  • MoreFreedom||

    I'll never watch a Jim Carrey show/movie ever again. But I'd reconsider if he donates all his money to the poor.

  • Lester224||

    "I don't expect to ever change the mind of a committed socialist. But libertarians can't expect to engage, much less persuade, anyone flirting with socialism if we simply invoke Stalin, the Great Leap Forward, or even Hugo Chavez every time socialism gets mentioned."

    Exactly. Young people who say they are in favor of "socialism" are not thinking about that kind of socialism. They are thinking about capitalism with high taxes, universal health-care and college subsidies.

  • Longtobefree||

    The best response to go Che on them. Take them out into the fields and shoot them. Bury them in one of his t-shirts.

  • vek||

    Garbage site! It ate my comment. Too lazy to retype. The short version is that calling every bit of socialism the USSR is a bad tactic for libertarians and conservatives. It's better to point out the real world differences between the USA and socialist countries in Europe. Like the fact that we have bigger houses, nicer cars, make more money, and our healthcare provides better results when you really need it. Stupid Reason, I wrote a good post with that last one!

  • wearingit||

    1- Bigger house equals more maintenance which equals more money.
    2- Nicer cars? Really? You do realize cars are exported all over the world right?
    3- Make more money to spend more on healthcare.
    4- Better results IF you can get it. Hope you don't get fired and lose your health insurance... I mean, imagine if the doubled amount we pay for healthcare per capita was actually spent effectively.

    I mean, this is a basic rebuttal but there's a reason that young people are flocking to "socialist democratic" ideas- because this crony capitalism bs has soured them on it all. Your best bet is fixing the broken system that screws them with high taxes, corrupt politicians, and a government that's subservient to business rather than its own citizens.

  • vek||

    Well, as I said I had a lot more elegant post, with more info. I was too lazy to retype after the website ate it :(

    1. So? Rich people like more space. Americans are richer. We gladly pay for having bigger houses. Nowhere in the world do people prefer to live like impoverished people, at least not on average. The whole point is we can AFFORD to live in bigger houses, Europeans CANNOT.
    2. Not what I meant! Americans can afford to have bigger, nicer vehicles. If you own a mid sized sedan in the USA, somebody at your place in the income scale in Europe might be able to afford a sub-compact. If you own a compact in the USA, you'd only be able to ride public transit in Europe. Again, we're wealthier.
    3/4. Yes, and yes. But the point is most people can! Is it better to die from cancer, or pay more money to NOT die? Well, you have a better shot in the US. Same with many other serious conditions. The vast majority of people have healthcare in the USA, and it's better. Many people that don't CHOOSE not to.

  • vek||

    If you're making a retarded bullet point argument, you can talk smack about these things. But any real at length, intelligent debate, with statistics and facts, shows that Americans have it way better on Average. Maybe if you're a total blow it case loser welfare leech you're better off in Europe... But since that doesn't describe most people, it doesn't matter. Even the working poor have it better in the USA in almost every possible way. It's all in the numbers.

    I hate crony capitalism too, but that doesn't mean even our jacked system isn't better than THEIR jacked system.

  • wearingit||

    Have you talked to the people at the bottom?

    I mean, your argument really isn't an argument (I would like to hear the full one and I know it sucks when a webpage just deletes all your stuff. I do a Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C just before submitting just so I have it copied in case.)

    Quite frankly, I think a LOT of young people would prefer the stability of the safety net compared to what we have. Just ask them. And healthcare? I think most would prefer not to have to go bankrupt/spend down to qualify for Medicaid just so they have a shot. My uncle died of it and yeah, they had to spend down and still aren't even close to recovering from that (nor did he make it.)

  • Sevo||

    wearingit|9.16.18 @ 8:45AM|#
    "Quite frankly, I think a LOT of young people would prefer the stability of the safety net compared to what we have. Just ask them. And healthcare? I think most would prefer not to have to go bankrupt/spend down to qualify for Medicaid just so they have a shot. My uncle died of it and yeah, they had to spend down and still aren't even close to recovering from that (nor did he make it.)"

    OK, this is nominated for most imbecilic comment.
    Of course, you ignoramus, most people prefer free shit. The problem, which it seems necessary yo explain to ignoramuses like you, is that it is NOT free.
    It has to be taken by *force* from others. I'd prefer we take your entire wealth by force for starters. It might (maybe, you fucking ignoramus) give you an idea of what you are proposing.

  • vek||

    Uhhh, yeah, I've talked to people at the bottom. I'm not some spoiled brat who was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I personally have had more financial instability in my life than most people ever do. I still to this day have plenty of friends who don't make great money.

    Here's the thing, socialists in the USA have an idealized version of what life is like in Europe... That isn't close to reality. They think they have the same standard of living we do, but all this free shit. They don't. If you take somebody at the same point in income distribution there vs here, we all have a way higher standard of living. If you live in a 2000 SQFT house here, you'd live in 1200 there. If you have a mid sized sedan here, you'd have a sub-compact there. Compact car here, you're riding the bus there!

    Etc. When I have explained this reality to people IRL, a lot of them are shocked! But they also tend to come away with a little more appreciation of the trade offs. Some people may well prefer more "free" shit, the problem is most people prefer what we have now, and that's with the left lying about the pros and cons. If they were honest I'm quite sure the #s would change a LOT more in favor of our system.

    The thing is, you can't compare capitalism to a perfect utopia, you have to compare it to reality. It's not perfect. But our system produces a wealthier citizenry for everybody but the very worst of slackers... And I really don't feel sorry for those types anyway.

  • GaryA||

    An advantage of capitalism is that it allows successful people like me to draw comfortable income from indebted students whose futures are constrained by debt burdens. Were I living in any other first world country, I couldn't do that since no country creates student debt peons like the Land of the Free.

    Another advantage of capitalism is that, as practiced here in the Land of Opportunity, we investors in health care industries - Big Pharma, hospital corporations, etc. - are richly rewarded. While we spend 17% of GDP on health care, compared to other First World socialist countries that spend 8-10%, and while we get worse health oucomes for all that dough, we shouldn't look at the health outcomes. We should instead look at the return on investment. And, damn!, that's pretty good!

    The fact that so many Americans are bankrupted by medical costs is an important aspect of capitalism's "creative destruction." When medical losers go bankrupt and lose their homes, cars, etc., it give us winners the chance to feast on the victims, snapping up the swag on the cheap. That sort of feasting on the victims of medical misfortune happens nowhere else in the First World, which is just another reason to celebrate the freedom we enjoy here in America.

  • Sevo||

    GaryA|9.13.18 @ 8:57PM|#
    "An advantage of capitalism is that it allows successful people like me to draw comfortable income from indebted students whose futures are constrained by debt burdens. Were I living in any other first world country, I couldn't do that since no country creates student debt peons like the Land of the Free."

    Another advantage is that you, as a fucking ignoramus, can post lies like this.

  • mtrueman||

    Didn't Hayek write that bankruptcy makes everyone else's lot just a little bit better?

  • Sevo||

    Not sure, l but I know what you wrote:

    mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
    "Spouting nonsense is an end in itself."

    Fuck off, imbecile.

  • mtrueman||

    A simple yes or no will suffice, though your bluster and insults and any other embellishments you feel necessary are always welcome.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|9.13.18 @ 10:35PM|#
    I know what you wrote:

    mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
    "Spouting nonsense is an end in itself."

    Fuck off, imbecile.

  • mtrueman||

    You got the simple part down pat. Carry on.

  • JShigg||

    That's right, socialism is not Stalin, Mao, Chavez, Pol Pot, Che, or any of the rest of those fuzzy little foreign socialists. American socialism will not have funny little mustaches or baggy pants either, but it will have CONTROL, because that is what it's all about. It ain't about fashion, it's about power.

  • mtrueman||

    "it's about power."

    It's about how to divide the spoils of power. The rest is opera.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|8.30.17 @ 1:42PM|#
    "Spouting nonsense is an end in itself."

    Thank you for your honesty in admitting you spout nonsense, you fucking imbecilic asshole.

  • mtrueman||

    A lot of nipping at the heels of your betters, today. Don't lose heart. Carry on.

  • Furzeydown||

    Mr. Kirkland, it's so good to see you! Why are you posting under a pseudonym?

  • Trainer||

    "Freedom...from the need to smile for the sake of a sale..."

    I'm an ex-business owner now living in a former communist country. I can tell you exactly what the freedom from the need to smile for the sake of a sale looks like. It looks like dirty little stores where the lights are turned off that carry a limited selection of low quality items while the person behind the counter pretends you don't exist until you pull your money out. She adds it up on a calculator making up the price as she goes along- Americans pay more. She mumbles the cost in Russian and won't repeat when you don't understand because Russian is not the language of the country. Then you put your money on a plate, she picks it up and puts your change on the plate without saying thank you. You take your brown toilet paper without perforations and the fish that had been covered with flies and quietly leave.

    There is nothing wrong with smiling. We do't need freedom from it. There is nothing wrong with meeting the needs of the customer. There is nothing wrong with making the sale. We need good customer service because that's what gets us the things we need and want. To not understand that goes beyond common sense and a knowledge of how business works to pure insanity.

  • vek||

    That was something that made me go "HUH???"

    Who in fucks name wants to walk into a store, be treated like shit, and have the person being a grumpy dick? NOBODY. Having to earn business is what makes everybody's experiences all the time better. It's what makes a business bother to improve their products, provide better service, lower costs, etc. It's what makes the world better. Only a MORON wouldn't get that.

  • Rob Misek||

    Socialism is anything other than pure capitalism, isn't it?

    Unless pure greed is encouraged to divide and segregate the rich from the poor, there must be a socialist gumming up the works.

    I'm not a fan of cable bundle binary choices. Some democracy.

    We have the technology to vote from our homes on virtually every political decision. No more politicians, true democracy.

    Instead we are perpetually distracted.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Nick may have met an adversary his equal in Carrey.

  • XM||

    What these young people is more utopia than socialism. Because they feel demeaned and "forced" at having to smile and provide customer service at a burger joint, they would prefer 2 government managed companies making all the soaps and deodorants. Because if you told a customer "take your shit and get out" and they feel outraged, what would they do? Make their own companies, and set their own prices?

    Performance art and doing whatever you want for a living has no default value in a market based economy. But if you could make 50 thousand a year writing poetry or picking up litter on your time, or make a living doing things has value to YOU, then that would certainly "free" you the obligation of having adapt to the economy and other demands.

    At the end of the day, the 1% who runs the democrat party will not fund any of their socialist pipe dreams. The government could mandate big business to take 30% of their profit and invest in the broken parts of America with no growth potential and employ 30 thousand people. If they did that, the money will go somewhere else.

  • Jr12||

    Libertarians will convince no one by agreeing with socialists that the adversity caused by the American socialist welfare state is instead caused by the practice of non-existent capitalism. There are no capitalist welfare states, in which the good intentions of a ruling numerical majority and their political enablers are funded with political exploitation, instead of each individual's own time, efforts and money.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    When people are trapped into an endless and increasingly confusing debate over semantics, the people who advocate "bread and peace" are the ones who are going to take power. If people can opt out of the debate, protect and feed themselves without the assistance of some authority figure, then the fascists and communists don't stand a chance.

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