i-c2389d448fdaa3a787a1059c5a46809d-6c.jpg A denialist does not soft pedal competition. It is a religious term. It is frequently employed, because any market can be described as competitive, regardless of the facts or the myriad factors that practically limit choice.

Competition solves all problems. Period. If competition doesn’t solve the problem at issue, then it isn’t a problem, or people really like the problem (4 of Spades, 5 of Hearts).

Because competition is magic, there are no problems to solve. And those that may exist will be solved, eventually. The denialist will say: “give competition a chance” or “sometimes a competitive market takes time to reform” (3 of Spades, 5 of Spades).

Comments

  1. #1 decrepitoldfool
    May 9, 2007

    Adam Smith developed an incredibly important truth, one which provides transformative insight into many economic dynamics. But his “invisible hand” is not the only truth in play, and that’s where libertarians go wrong. It would be analogous to discovering that vitamin C prevents rickets, and then ignoring the rest of nutrition.

    I love your “deck of cards” presentation frame.

  2. #2 valhar2000
    May 9, 2007

    It is interesting that Libertarians so often ignore or explain away one of the greatest forms of governmental intervention that exist: research funding.

    On the other hand, given that it is also the most clearly succesful form of governmental intervention, they probably want to keep it quiet.

    So, indeed, some problems hcan be solved faster and more effectively by just solving them, instead of relying on “the market”. And some can’t, but that is life.

  3. #3 natural cynic
    May 9, 2007

    I deny that vitamin C prevents rickets. I don’t deny that vitamin C prevents scurvy. It’s vit. D that prevents rickets. Or were you just funnin’.

  4. #4 paul
    May 9, 2007

    If competition worked for everything, there would be no companies. Everyone would be independent contractors competing from scratch every morning.

  5. #5 Kapitano
    May 9, 2007

    Adam Smith did not develop the “invisible hand” notion. He mentions it twice in Wealth of Nations, attributing it to Malthus, and not giving it much credence. In fact, Smith advocated a mixed economy – basic services provided by the state, others by competing companies.

    It seems no one at the Adam Smith Institute has read Wealth of Nations.

  6. #6 Tyler DiPietro
    May 9, 2007

    “It seems no one at the Adam Smith Institute has read Wealth of Nations.”

    It is interesting that The Wealth of Nations has been retroactively associated with right-wing economics, especially since 1.) Adam Smith was hardly the only figure in the development of economic theory and 2.) there were many other major figures who were genuine laissez-faire advocates (e.g., Ricard, Marshall, Bentham, etc.).

    Although I guess calling your organization The Alfred Marshall institute is unlikely to appeal to anyone but hardcore economics nerds. ;)

  7. #7 Lab Lemming
    May 10, 2007

    You often mention libertarians as dealers in denial cards, but aren’t these techniques often used by big government against libertarians to deny problems with domestic surveillance, arbitrary detention, profiling, and other big government schemes?

  8. #8 valhar2000
    May 10, 2007

    You often mention libertarians as dealers in denial cards, but aren’t these techniques often used by big government against libertarians to deny problems with domestic surveillance, arbitrary detention, profiling, and other big government schemes?

    Given that they are standard (and generally effective) denialist arguments, they will be used all the time, like when you need to convince a group of people that something you are NOT doing for their benefit is in fact being FOR their benefit.

  9. #9 MarkH
    May 10, 2007

    Lemming,
    Be careful not to conflate civil libertarians, who oppose big government, with the big “L” libertarians, who oppose any regulation of corporations. They are two different beasts. When Chris talks about libertarians he is referring to the big “L” ones that believe in no regulation of corporations.

    These days, even Kos describes himself as a “libertarian” and the term generally has come to mean that people should be protected from abuse by the government and corporations (who if anything have more unrestrained power over individual citizens lives than the government does). But the actual members of libertarian parties and libertarian think tanks are not interested in the preventing corporate power over citizens. Instead they usually are arguing to protect and expand it.

  10. #10 bob koepp
    May 10, 2007

    Would somebody explain just what is the connection between denialism and libertarianism (regardless of capitalization…)? Many of the posts here seem to be rants against libertarian ideas rather than against denialism.

  11. #11 MattXIV
    May 10, 2007

    Mark H,

    “Be careful not to conflate civil libertarians, who oppose big government, with the big “L” libertarians, who oppose any regulation of corporations. They are two different beasts. When Chris talks about libertarians he is referring to the big “L” ones that believe in no regulation of corporations”

    This is a bogus distinction. The only consistent usage of capital vs lower case L for libertarians is when you’re refering to the Libertarian Party, as is typically the case with political ideologies and party names. Civil libertarian refers to people who take consistently pro-liberty stances on civil liberties and rights issues; pretty much all L/libertarians are civil libertarians because it’s a pretty core part of libertarian ideology and liberals often are too, which is why both will support grounds like the ACLU and EFF.

    “But the actual members of libertarian parties and libertarian think tanks are not interested in the preventing corporate power over citizens. Instead they usually are arguing to protect and expand it”

    You know damn well this is a strawman Mark. I’m sure you haven’t been able to maintain a sufficiently broad bubble of ignorance to escape noticing that the ethical reasoning underpining libertarian philosophy is typically non-coercion, which includes coercion by private entities. You can argue all you want about how you don’t like the libertarian definition of coercion or disagree with the reasoning that leads to libertarian conclusions from it, but stop misrepresenting it.

  12. #12 decrepitoldfool
    May 10, 2007

    I deny that vitamin C prevents rickets. I don’t deny that vitamin C prevents scurvy. It’s vit. D that prevents rickets. Or were you just funnin’.

    Doh! I meant “scurvy” as in “Arrgh! The whole scurrrvy crew is on the brink of mutiny!” Sorry ’bout that.

  13. #13 MarkH
    May 10, 2007

    You can argue all you want about how you don’t like the libertarian definition of coercion or disagree with the reasoning that leads to libertarian conclusions from it, but stop misrepresenting it.

    Yeah, that nice fuzzy ethical underpinning which they all totally ignore. Give me a break. I’ve read the mission statements, the statements of principles and the platforms of the big L libertarians.

    The libertarian party mission statement reads like “freedom is good!”, “People shouldn’t hurt eachother!”, “Puppies are nice!”. It’s all stuff that nobody disagrees with, its so vague and general and agreeable that it essentially means nothing. There’s nothing in the so-called underpinnings that anyone would disagree with.

    Then you see the actual writings of these cranks and you see that the think tanks are devoted to the protection of nothing more than unenlightened self-interest and protection of the rights of business.

    By their fruits you shall know them.

  14. #14 Chris H
    May 10, 2007

    I’ve had a lot of experience with libertarian public policy groups, and while they pay lip service to some issues, they really fight hard on the corporate regulation issues. They should be going crazy over the size of the federal gov’t, waste, etc., but the most strenuous stuff is on business rights. Cato does a pretty good job balancing this stuff, but many others are all about the $$$.

  15. #15 MattXIV
    May 10, 2007

    Mark H,

    Either you’re still playing dumb or you really bad reading comprehension skills. The non-coercion principle is damn near omnipresent in writings on the moral justifications for libertarian policy positions, and is only non-controversial as far as the treatment of it is superficial and it is crystal clear how it leads libertarians to generally oppose regulations. Of course it is presented in a way that makes it as boardly palatable as possible in libertarian campaign and political recruiting literature, but that format isn’t exactly known for candid self-criticism regardless of the ideology. On the other hand, Rothbard and Rand, two of libertarianisms’ most influential popularizers, wrote primarily about how the practical implications of libertarianism stem from is philosophical underpinings and neither shied away from the controversial implications of it. Philosophy retains is place in libertarian think tanks – Will Wilkinson at Cato, for example, writes primarily about moral philosophy in relation to libertarianism.

  16. #16 bob koepp
    May 10, 2007

    Quite independent of whether “define” libertarianism in terms of its philosophical bases or by the actions of those who call themselves libertarians, I’d still like to know how it’s supposed to connect to denialism. Just what is it that’s being denied?

    p.s. If you define liberalism by the policies championed by self-identifying liberals, you’ll probably find yourself a long, long way from the likes of Locke and Mill. Just saying…

  17. #17 Tyler DiPietro
    May 10, 2007

    “p.s. If you define liberalism by the policies championed by self-identifying liberals, you’ll probably find yourself a long, long way from the likes of Locke and Mill. Just saying…”

    You’ll also find yourself a long, long way from the Code of Hammurabi. When liberalism becomes adherence to past tradition irrespective of societal and economic advancements, it becomes conservatism.

  18. #18 Kevin
    May 18, 2007

    It seems that “denialism” is almost synonymous in many cases with advocacy of doctrinaire laissez-faire, laissez-passe capitalism in your estimation. Why?

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