Pharyngula

Why is Ron Paul so popular?

OK, ‘fess up — some of you know that I thoroughly detest libertarianism, that reactionary political movement that seeks to elevate greed and selfishness as a ruling principle, and I suspect one of you got me a subscription to Reason magazine a few months ago, just to taunt me. If your goal was to persuade me to come over to the side of unbridled anti-social self-centeredness, you failed. The issue comes, I glance through it, find a few little bits and pieces I can agree with, but because they’re all imbedded in this thick tarry fecal sludge of libertarianism, I end up throwing the whole thing away in disgust.

The issue I got today was no exception. The cover story: Ron Paul. Bleh.

I disliked Ron Paul before I learned he was a quack, before I heard him deny evolution, before I learned he was an enabler for neo-nazis. I rejected him when I first read about his proposed policies, the ones he isn’t embarrassed to make public, and saw that he was promoting the same garbage my relatives in the John Birch Society were peddling when I was a young man: isolationism, anti-government, anti-immigrant, generalized hatred of the other and a blind refusal to recognize that culture matters.

The mostly laudatory article in Reason confirms my opinion.

…it’s all classic Ron Paul: Get rid of the income tax and replace it with nothing; find the money to support those dependent on Social Security and Medicare by shutting down the worldwide empire, while giving the young a path out of those programs; don’t pass a draft; have a foreign policy of friendship and trade, not wars and subsidies. He attacks the drug war … one of his biggest applause lines, to my astonishment, involves getting rid of the Federal Reserve.

I actually approve of some of that, like ending the drive to empire and the drug war. The John Birchers of my youth pushed the same agenda, but then you dig a little deeper, and you find the rotting core of their reasoning.

He wants tougher border enforcement, including a border wall; he wants to eliminate birthright citizenship; and he wants to end the public subsidies that might attract illegal immigrants.

Ron Paul isn’t just a small-government obsessive: he’s a no-government radical. And at the same time he wants every positive function of government to vanish, he wants what amounts to a police state in place to keep the rest of the world out, all out of fear of those strangers with different customs and ideas.

So, please, whoever you are: don’t renew my subscription to that awful magazine, and please, please don’t make me live in a Ron Paul America.

Comments

  1. #1 MAJeff
    December 29, 2007

    Brace yourself for an invasion of Paul defenders.

    There must be something like an internet bat signal that tells them all where to gather. They are organized, I’ll give ‘em that.

  2. #2 Sastra, OM
    December 29, 2007

    Ron Paul is popular because he is against waterboarding, personally suffered from second-hand smoke, was circumcised, and can prove the existence of God in 89 ways by denying global warming and having sex with squid. Oh yeah — and abortion.

    The comment count has to make it to at least #200 or PZ feels unloved. Just doing my part.

  3. #3 Blake Stacey
    December 29, 2007

    I actually approve of some of that, like ending the drive to empire and the drug war.

    Of course you want to end the drug war: you’re one o’ them no-good, slinking Red Atheists, and

    religion and the Bible stand in the way of everything they value most in life — primarily unlimited sex, of course, but also the power to reshape society into a kind of secular utopia free from traditional ethical restraint.

    Don’t tell me that The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible is lying to me!

  4. #4 MAJeff
    December 29, 2007

    A group that collectively sees the state as either useless or a profit center should not be put in charge of it.

  5. #5 Ichthyic
    December 29, 2007

    anti-competitive legislation.

    you say anti-competitive, I say anti-trust.

    let’s call the whole thing off.

  6. #6 Ichthyic
    December 29, 2007

    btw when Paul says this:

    This conclusion may not be entirely fair, but it is, for many, entirely unavoidable.

    he’s absolutely right that many morons in this country will indeed come to an unfair, but entirely unavoidable (in their warped minds) conclusion about what caused the riots in LA.

    that he puts this up as something to be lauded is sick.

  7. #7 Ichthyic
    December 29, 2007

    Why does everyone equate illegal immigration with legal immigration?

    obviously not EVERYONE does, but by and large the “they tuk ‘r jobs!” clique seems to view it that way.

    perhaps it has something to do with not wanting to take responsibility for one’s own job performance or adaptability?

    I have run into quite a few people in Riverside County who firmly believe they or their friends have lost or not gotten jobs because they were unable to speak Spanish.

    of course, their conclusion, rather than thinking they just might want to expand their horizons a bit and learn a new language, is that “foreign speakin’ mexicans took our jobs from us!”

    that’s the best I can figure, based on speaking with the kind of people you seem to be describing.

  8. #8 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    Paul is a traditional liberal

    LMAO!

    well, that’s a new one.

  9. #9 MAJeff
    December 30, 2007

    I believe that most people reading this blog have no intention to ever vote Republican.

    You say that as though it’s a problem. Why would we vote for a party whose positions are antithetical to our own? I’m not speaking for everyone, but a lot of us consider the positions of that party to be fairly repulsive. Why would we vote for the standard bearer of those positions?

  10. #10 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    I believe that most people reading this blog have no intention to ever vote Republican.

    I’m not a creationist supporter, either.

    doesn’t mean I don’t know and perfectly understand their “arguements”, such as they are.

  11. #11 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    Isn’t Somalia bad enough off without you giving Paul ideas?

    ;)

  12. #12 aletoledo
    December 30, 2007

    @ Ichthyic

    Educate yourself on the difference between the US version of liberalism and what traditional liberalism is all about.

    @ MAJeff

    “I’m not speaking for everyone, but a lot of us consider the positions of that party to be fairly repulsive. Why would we vote for the standard bearer of those positions?”

    Because there is an older form of the Republican party that is summed up by Goldwater. The neocons are scum and that I believe is how you hate. The Goldwater style republican you might actually like. With Paul the Republican party might actually kick the neocons out. Look at the recent Fox News controversy and see that the neocons truly few that they will lose power.

    Read the book “The Big Con” by Jonathan Chait, if you want to learn more about the neocon menace.

    @ coathangrrr

    You’re right, Paul is a fool when it comes to evolutionary theory. What about his economic and political theory? Do you really want a president that puts the nation further into debt and war, but admits that we descended from apes?

  13. #13 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    I do trust Paul to be fair and honest, which means that if he is wrong, he is that much likelier to listen to reason and to be accountable to the people

    well, here’s a check for you:

    find any time where Paul has openly admitted he was wrong about something, corrected himself, and then advocated the corrected position.

    then you have hard evidence to support your faith in his ability to listen and adjust his position based on reason.

    if you can’t find any examples, or, even find counterexamples…

  14. #14 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    @88

    I stand corrected.

    pardon me for not going back to before the Great Depression for my definition of what a functional liberal is.

    speaking of FUNCTIONAL liberals, would you care to explain to the class why it is that the version of “classical liberal” linked to in the wiki article, and used to label Paul no longer exists?

    and yes, I still laugh, because it is indeed the first time I have heard a SUPPORTER of Paul think that labeling him a “classic liberal” is a GOOD thing.

  15. #15 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    Educate yourself on the difference between the US version of liberalism and what traditional liberalism is all about.

    see above, and apply the same to yourself, moron.

  16. #16 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    look where that got us.

    aww, do I have to? I just ate.

  17. #17 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    Do you really want a president that puts the nation further into debt and war, but admits that we descended from apes?

    false dichotomy, and you know it.

  18. #18 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    What is functional liberalism

    i never used that term.

    i said functional liberals, IOW, ones that still exist.

    All that happened is that a term used to describe one political philosophy was migrated to another in the 20th century.

    not quite, even by basic wiki standards, but as you say, now we’re splitting hairs.

    However, that was not the point of aletoledo in calling Paul a classical liberal.

    I’m sure you realize that, though, right?

    are we done with the lesson, professor?

  19. #19 MAJeff
    December 30, 2007

    Because there is an older form of the Republican party that is summed up by Goldwater.

    I’m a registered Democrat whose political leanings are toward a social democratic model (and who thinks the Civil Rights Act was a pretty good thing). There are pretty much zero Republicans with whom I’m going to agree on such issues, particularly those from the Goldwater branch.

    You’re not going to convince me. It’s really not worth your effort.

  20. #20 aletoledo
    December 30, 2007

    @ Ichthyic

    So you want to vote now for the guy with the best label applied to his name? Just pull the Democratic lever and forget learning the positions then. Do they even use a lever anymore, maybe it’s just a touch screen that says “whatever the Democrats want”.

    As for your question about why Paul had an entry removed from the wikipedia page on Classical Liberalism, well wikipedia is editable by everyone. If you want the reference to him there to prove a point, just give me a minute and I’ll edit it back on there.

    As for the idea of finding a reference to him working with others to formulate a compromise, do you want the opinion of a Democrat like Kucinich to show you his faith in Paul’s ethics?
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/12/02/kucinich-wants-to-hook-up_n_75000.html

  21. #21 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    So you want to vote now for the guy with the best label applied to his name?

    seems to me YOU are the one preoccupied with advertising your favorite candidate via labels.

    otherwise, why drag up a label that hasn’t applied to a candidate for 75 years?

    could it be because it contains the word: liberal, and you are trying to (or were fooled yourself) into thinking that would make him appeal to modern democrats?

    As for the idea of finding a reference to him working with others to formulate a compromise,

    I never asked anybody to look for him making a compromise, so look again at what i said.

    nice try, but no cigar.

  22. #22 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    Classical liberals still exist, they just call themselves “libertarians”

    again, this isn’t entirely accurate. more like libertarians subsumed the role previously played by classical liberals, but they are not, nor ever were, exactly the same thing.

    I thought we were done with the lesson, professor?

    stop trying to teach me things I already know.

  23. #23 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    What’s the message here? Support Hillary because she’s a woman? Support Barack because he’s 50% African? Support John Edwards because…OK, you got me there. Channeling fetuses?

    *looks at previous posts in this thread….*

    nope, nothing like that in this thread.

    *looks at previous threads for the last 3 months….*

    nope, not there either.

    you’re imagining things again, Gerald.

    did you take your meds this morning?

    you know how cranky you get when you don’t take your meds.

  24. #24 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    something sure smells like “old fart” here.

    trying to drum up visits to your pathetic blog again, Gerald?

    or just feeling like you want to play masochist again tonight?

  25. #25 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    I grew up with a principled Left. I miss them. I doubt I’d agree with them, much, but I could respect them.

    right, so that’s why you sided with the “principled” right?

    phht.

    enough with your moronic judgements. look in a mirror, fool.

    that said, have fun making a martyr of yourself.

    for those that don’t already know, or haven’t guessed the obvious, Gerard is a hard-core rethuglican who happens to NOT be a creationist, and does indeed support good science, (when it suits him to do so and doesn’t appear to violate his particular rethuglican ideology).

    ask him what he thinks of the field of Sociology for some laughs.

    with that, I leave the floor to you, Gerard.

  26. #26 Blake Stacey
    December 30, 2007

    Looking at this comment thread, I have to ask one question:

    Is Scott Adams a Ron Paul supporter?

    That would just be. . . so perfect. You’ve got the whole “the purpose of the Universe is to make me rich” Oprah-Chopra-woo which Scott Adams has going on, which synergizes so well with the “I have the liberty to get rich, and you have the liberty to starve” complex (Asimov’s definition of libertarianism). And then you have all those cubicled technocrats, reading Dilbert and puffing about how far they’ve pulled up their own bootstraps. Perfect, I tell you!

    164 comments so far here, and 614 when PZ lambasted Adams (hey, there’s some interesting numerology going on there). Come on, let’s go rarin’ for the thousand-comment thread!

  27. #27 Dídac
    December 30, 2007

    Liberarianism is only justified if social classes and political states are superseded.

  28. #28 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    In a free society, no one forces anyone to be poor.

    Did you really just say that?

    heh, that WAS pretty damn humorous alrighty.

    for those watching, now you know why there is automatic knee-jerk rejection of libertarians. because they often say things exactly like that.

    you hear it enough times, you automatically begin to reject libertarians as a group out of hand.

    those who feel that there are rational and sane libertarian arguments should really put their foot down hard on the ignorant who claim to be libertarians, but say REALLY stupid things like the above.

  29. #29 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    Now we could easily feed the whole world of six billion people.

    and yet we don’t.

    that should have given you pause, but doubtless you will construe it as somehow being the fault of not everybody being “free to do as they wish”.

    so, where does this ignorant claptrap come from?

    i rather think it comes from a rationalization over guilt at not really being able to individually do much of anything about the problems the world faces, so instead one abdicates responsibility to “if the world were just so, everybody would be happy”.

    it’s a lazy excuse to ignore the world as it actually is, in favor of some imaginary utopia that has never, nor will ever, exist.

    there were lots of people that thought, once upon a time, that a pure democracy was a great idea too.

    unfortunately history has shown it doesn’t work for long, and the people like Mikko who claim to be libertarians have never bothered to actually find out why that is.

    I’d suggest some basic lessons in game theory, to start, but I know it to be hopeless, based on having seen the exact kind of statements Mikko is making many times before.

  30. #30 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    How can I be perfectly free if I am “under” someone else? With the “right” master, I will be free? Huh?

    heh, sounds like the old “benign dictatorship” ideology.

    someone’s been sung too many songs of Solomon.

  31. #31 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    I think it’s pretty funny that people are lambasting Libertarianism with made-up stories that the “corporations will take over!”

    somebody needs a history lesson.

    suggest you see re:

    United States, pre depression era.

    your laughing is more like the braying of a jack-ass.

  32. #32 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    All hail Lord Shoulder Monkey!

    does he live in your closet at night?

  33. #33 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    The poor in Great Britain today are substantially better off than even the richest of 500 years ago in almost every metric.

    LOL

    you’ve never actually BEEN poor, have you.

  34. #34 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    All of this sans Libertarianism.

    oh? please do define the ideals of Libertarianism for us again, and then show us the evidence of how this arose out of the opposite of those ideals, please.

    you rather seem to be missing the point.

    crime happens even with laws in place, btw. would you suggest that because crime still happens, we should therefore simply remove the laws?

    like i said, if there are REAL libertarians out there, they should be stomping on your neck right about now…

    but strangely, just like with moderate religious adherents failing to vigorously attack creationist nutters, we see no “real” libertarians coming here to knock down the utter inaninities spouted by those claiming common cause with libertarians.

    why is that, I wonder?

    only one of two reasons i can figure:

    -there are no “real” libertarians, just a bunch of historically ignorant morons.

    -they somehow feel more kinship with nutters than with folks conversant in history, sociology, and economics, and so refuse to speak up when nutters choose to speak as libertarians.

    so, if there are any libertarians who aren’t complete nutters…

    what is the answer?

    why aren’t you stomping on these idiots that make you look so bad?

    hell, even many moderate religious folk have finally started to stand up and knock the creationists.

    where are the “rational” libertarians?

  35. #35 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    1) Poor farming methods,

    nope. if anything, agricultural practices are more efficient now than they ever have been. otherwise, why did you think we could feed 6 billion to begin with, eh? I never asked why we CAN’T feed that many, I asked why we DON’T.

    Warfare and political instability.

    and how would libertarianism and free market economies solve that exactly, eh?

    you haven’t really thought this through much, have you?

    you wanna know why PZ rejects libertarians out of hand?

    look in a mirror.

  36. #36 ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    Do they think that it adds anything, even humor to the discussion?

    do you think concern trolling adds anything to the discussion?

  37. #37 mikmik
    December 30, 2007

    Posted by: Mikko Sandt | December 30, 2007 5:17 PM
    You what express is not just ironic, but pathetic?
    You have failed. How about some examples. But first, I want to acknowledge a thinker:
    Posted by: Ichthyic | December 30, 2007 6:01 PM
    and
    Posted by: coathangrrr | December 30, 2007 5:29 PM

    Now, and I mean it, stupid.
    When a fuck like you EXACTLY says what I predicted you would…

    Past that, I predicted you would first, and then you still said it, when I gave you the out.
    Not sad. Something worse.

    I said you are fucking stupid, but you are more fucking stupid than I gave you credit for. I already covered this shit, in detail, then you aks the same insipid questions again.

    I give you the height of stupidity, a man who asks the same questions within moments of them already being answered:
    LET”S START HERE:
    Posted by: Mikko Sandt | December 30, 2007 5:17 PM
    (mikmik is in quoutes:)

    “free to choose what they want to do?”
    In a free society, who’s stopping you?
    the ones that want what you have, that is who
    “And free from inequality”
    Hah hah hah hah! You’re twisting words and their meanings like an Orwellian. You may as well argue that a man who cannot stand ice cream cannot truly be free until he’s free from seeing people eat ice cream.
    Free from wanting to kill you and rape your daughter, that is what I was thinking. You may call it ice cream if you want
    “poor health”
    Poor health is usually a result of choice.
    You choose to get MSRA or TB from a sick fuck that coughs on you on the street. I see.
    “poor finances”
    In a free society, no one forces anyone to be poor.
    This is now parody, correct? I never forced you to be stupider than me. i have my weschler percentile at >99%. I never forced you to be less than that.
    That is your choice, comprehend, idiot? (I am only trying to induce you to have an IQ above 140. It is your choice, so I gather)

    My verbal scale is much higher.
    I did not choose that.

    Did you choose your dick size?

    Yeah, tell me about choices, motherfucker.

    No, Mikko Salo, you responded, and i really respect that.

    Thanks.

  38. #38 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    There is really only one poverty – poverty of the belly, poverty of the freezing cold.

    if you believe that, then how on earth do you reconcile it with your earlier statement, which was quite silly considering.

  39. #39 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    One will get that a lot around here for not agreeing with the group consensus.

    show me where it is used in that fashion, and I will show you it being used incorrectly.

    Because everytime I exude the slightest whiff of even a small L libertarian idea, the only direct responses are attacks that I am personally greedy, self-centered, ignorant, poor-hating, have my own wealth and don’t want to share, have never been poor and lack compassion.

    BS.

    I asked you, if you consider yourself to be a well-educated libertarian, who is rational and actually knowledgeable of history, why you aren’t attacking the idiocies displayed in this very thread.

    your response was that YOU were attacked for things you thought were rational.

    so then, you will let the morons speak for you because you felt hurt by not being able to express yourself more clearly?

    congratulations, that makes you no better than the “moderates” who fail to stand up to creationists and defacto let creationists define terms and arguments for them, because they fear criticism of their own ideas.

    so, which is it then? is your defense bullshit, or just a pathetic cry for victimhood?

    care to retract and try again?

  40. #40 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    It’s just an economic policy.

    that if you decide to pick and choose how to apply it, still means you are a libertarian?

    hmm.

    not by any definition I’ve ever seen. but I’m game. please do define what a REAL libertarian is, and then we can review the wiki on libertarianism for accuracy, so you can correct it to be a more precise representation.

    after that, perhaps you can explain to me why you aren’t jumping on some of the more ridiculous things said by those claiming to be libertarians in this thread?

    ….

    The response… an ad hom.

    you not only don’t understand what a concern troll is, you don’t understand what an ad-hominem argument is, either.

    quit while you are behind.

  41. #41 Andrew
    December 30, 2007

    To Ichthyic

    “so then, you will let the morons speak for you because you felt hurt by not being able to express yourself more clearly?”

    Am I the moron? where in my comments would you get the impression that I am moron? I was reading trough the comments and noticed a practice where by some posters were telling Libertarians that, not only were their political opinions moronic but that they weren’t true libertarians for not being evil enough.

    I would call myself a Libertarian, I think Ron Paul is a joke of a man, and in all honesty I would never vote for a Libertarian candidate as they all seem crazy to me. If that makes me a moron then fuck it I accept that.

  42. #42 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    Agricultural practices are more efficient than they have ever been in the first world [oh, have you even looked to verify that? (that’s rhetorical, btw – i know you haven’t)], but we don’t have starvation issues in the first world, we have an obesity problem.

    AND a starvation problem. or don’t you think there are people going hungry in the US, or europe, or australia, etc. as we speak?

    have you ever considered that I was hoping you might grasp the problem is one of distribution and not efficiency?

    of course not.

    *sigh*

    the more I see, the more I tend to get to the same knee-jerk rejection of self-proclaimed libertarians as PZ.

    haven’t heard a single good, well supported argument from someone claiming a libertarian position, that indicated even basic knowledge of history, in this country, let alone others; or even a freshman college level understanding of economics, sociology, or even politics.

    Libertarianism, like pure democracy and communism, HAS been tried before, many times, and has failed miserably every time.

    it’s like those professing it to be a grand idea have never even bothered to examine whether it’s been tried before, or tried to comprehend why they failed.

  43. #43 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    Just because I rarely post doesn’t make me a troll. You might want to look up what a concern troll is first and then point out where in my comment I acted like one.

    was your comment a meta comment, or did it add substance to the subjects at hand?

    the answer is no, your comment did not add anything substantive, did not try to address any issue other than decrying the behavior of those posting in the thread.

    suggest you look up the definition of concern troll yourself sometime, as you obviously haven’t the slightest clue what it means.

  44. #44 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    There’s certainly an absolute poverty, when you need something – food, shelter, clothing – and you can’t get it, or get enough of it

    and you somehow think that doesn’t exist in the “first world”?

    you have some mightily conflicted ideas.

    *sigh*

    this really is a waste of time.

    Expressing sympathy for any libertarianish ideal here will draw a majority response of ad hominens and strawmen caricatures.

    libertarianish???

    LOL

    and so, instead you choose to answer a question i did not pose (why do you feel reticent to share your own views – which you apparently actually do not) instead of answering the question I posited which was:

    why do you let idiots speak for your “movement”?

    which, when I see you use the term “libertarianish”, is a pointless question for you to answer.

    good luck figuring out what it is exactly, that you stand for.

  45. #45 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    I bet Caledonian is just ripping his hair out right now, watching “libertarianishians” unintentionally demolish his favorite political and social platform.

    it is times just like this that I do miss Cale.

  46. #46 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    I bet ‘ol Cale is just ripping his hair out right now, watching “libertarianishians” unintentionally demolish his favorite political and social platform.

    it is times just like this that I do miss him.

  47. #47 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    from Wikipedia:
    “A concern troll is a pseudonym created by a user whose point of view is opposed to the one that the user’s sockpuppet claims to hold. The concern troll posts in web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group’s actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed “concerns”. The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group.”

    That definition is totally screwed up, and the first sentence doesn’t belong there at all. The definition was derived from a Time magazine article (follow the citation) which also discussed sockpuppets, and apparently someone screwed up the cut and paste. The Time magazine article gives “A more subtle beast than your standard troll, this species posts comments that appear to be sympathetic to the topic being discussed but who, in reality, wishes to sow doubt in the minds of readers.” But I don’t think that’s right either. I would say that a concern troll is someone who expresses concern with the actions of others while actually promoting his own interests — e.g., a Republican telling Democrats that they need to move to the center or else they stand no chance of ever getting elected, or a Christian telling atheists that they would be better received if they weren’t so vocal about their atheism.

    I don’t think Ichthyic used the term quite correctly, but it doesn’t really matter because, when he did use it, he quoted the very text he was applying it to, something you’re apparently too thick to have realized — your deep concern for the quality of the contributions of “liberals” to the discussion.

  48. #48 Sean
    December 30, 2007

    Come on Truth, you came so close to making a full post without tossing in an insult.

    At least I finally understand what your definition of the word is. My first, and continuing nonPharyngula exposure to the term is consistent with the Time magazine article. Do you have any basis for your redefinition beyond personal preference?

    For the record, I do not concern troll under either definition. If I offer advice to an apparent friend or foe it is because I genuinely feel my advice will prove beneficial. You can certainly disagree with my words, but there are offered with good intent.

    And now, can you explain how using the term incorrectly, even by your anomalous definition which Ichthyic may or may not agree with, leaves us the thick ones when confused how it applies?

  49. #49 Sean
    December 30, 2007

    Perhaps you don’t understand the nature of the medium. Ask once and wait an indefinite time for a response.

    Four posts with those requests were responded to by Ichthyic without a relevant response. My understanding of the medium is such that Ichthyic was deliberating evading the issue. It is consistent with my requests for a definition in at least three other threads which never drew a single response.

  50. #50 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    Four posts with those requests were responded to by Ichthyic without a relevant response. My understanding of the medium is such that Ichthyic was deliberating evading the issue.

    Ichthyic is obviously a bad bad man.

    Feel better now?

  51. #51 Sean
    December 30, 2007

    Sorry for not making myself clear that I was expecting references to data, perhaps a study or two, or even an amusing personal anecdote. I did not expect your help to consist solely of the same unbacked assertions which I were originally objecting to.

    Perhaps you have some alternative theory as to why your ideas get the reception you say they do, but you seemed at a loss to explain it.

    My alternative theory is that you behave in the same manner as creationists and evangelicals. When confronted with a differing idea, you present a strawman representation of your opponent which paints them in a highly negative light. Thus you can dismiss them without stressing a brain cell and feel morally smug about yourself.

    Ichthyic is obviously a bad bad man. Feel better now?

    Wow. Were you improperly socialized as a child? You make an unsubstantiated snark, and when called on it, your sole response is more snark.

    I actually am rather fond of Ichthyic’s body of writing as a whole. He just happened to be the latest to toss out the concern troll dismissal and then evade backing the statement up.

  52. #52 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    Do you have any basis for your redefinition beyond personal preference?

    A lot of experience in a lot of forums where I’ve seen it used. I didn’t “redefine” it; Time magazine is not a dictionary. I’m at least as good an authority on the meaning of the term as the author of that article.

    For the record, I do not concern troll under either definition.

    Did anyone say you did? Ichthyic applied it to a specific comment from Andrew.

    And now, can you explain how using the term incorrectly, even by your anomalous definition which Ichthyic may or may not agree with, leaves us the thick ones when confused how it applies?

    Well, you’re being quite thick now, since I was quite explicit when I used the word why I was using it, just as it was rather stupid of Andrew to ask Ichthyic what part of his statement it applied to when Ichthyic quoted that part of his statement when he used it. It was clear to me what Ichthyic meant, despite any inaccuracy of usage; why wasn’t it clear to you? Because you’re dimwitted maybe? That’s my diagnosis.

  53. #53 Sean
    December 30, 2007

    A lot of experience in a lot of forums where I’ve seen it used. I didn’t “redefine” it; Time magazine is not a dictionary. I’m at least as good an authority on the meaning of the term as the author of that article.

    Let me google about and sum up.

    So besides Wikipedia, Time Magazine, Wiktionary, Dailykos and the entire first page of Google results, I have nothing to back me up. You, on the other hand, have personal experience in unspecified forums. I stand by my claim you have redefined the term for your own usage or at the very least are utilising an anomalous minority definition.

    It was clear to me what Ichthyic meant, despite any inaccuracy of usage; why wasn’t it clear to you? Because you’re dimwitted maybe? That’s my diagnosis.

    *laugh* I do hope you have money. If you ever need to rely on your winning personality, God help you.

    Do you act like this in real life?

  54. #54 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 31, 2007

    You may see the government and imagine its holding us back from anarchy.

    I see Somalia: no government, and anarchy.

    I see a government that protects the ones who are dumping toxins in our rivers and even rewards them with contracts and tax cuts.

    Then you need better government, not weaker government.

    Maybe you see the income tax and think its progressive, because that’s what they call it in school. I look at the actual effective rates and I realize its the poor and middle class who are paying the most while the investors walk away with a stack of cash from their tax lawyer’s office.

    So make the income tax more progressive, then, instead of taking it all away.

    “It doesn’t work as well as it could work if we actually cared about its implementation! So it must be destroyed!!!111eleventyone11!!”

    I thought only Austria’s extreme right was stupid enough to make such arguments.

  55. #55 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 31, 2007

    You may see the government and imagine its holding us back from anarchy.

    I see Somalia: no government, and anarchy.

    I see a government that protects the ones who are dumping toxins in our rivers and even rewards them with contracts and tax cuts.

    Then you need better government, not weaker government.

    Maybe you see the income tax and think its progressive, because that’s what they call it in school. I look at the actual effective rates and I realize its the poor and middle class who are paying the most while the investors walk away with a stack of cash from their tax lawyer’s office.

    So make the income tax more progressive, then, instead of taking it all away.

    “It doesn’t work as well as it could work if we actually cared about its implementation! So it must be destroyed!!!111eleventyone11!!”

    I thought only Austria’s extreme right was stupid enough to make such arguments.

  56. #56 coathangrrr
    December 31, 2007

    I do not agree with posters who have attacked the assumption of ownership of money, that seems to me to be a thinly-veiled path towards an outright communist political and social model. The Founding Fathers started with the clear assumption of rights of ownership, and if those things I have worked for are not mine but are merely borrowed from society, and government purports to speak on behalf of society, then I only have that which the government in their good graces allows me to keep. That is in my opinion the path to tyranny.

    It is not an issue of things being merely borrowed from society, it is a matter of the things which you have worked for existing in and being created in a social framework. More than that, it is not an issue of the things that you have such as food, it is an issue of things such as the possession of the means of food production. Under a libertarian system there is nothing stopping someone from getting a monopoly on food then with holding the food from anyone they don’t like. This could be for whatever reasons, be they racist, sexist or religious. A libertarian government would be obliged to protect the person with the food even if it means that millions would die and food would rot.

  57. #57 Jim
    December 31, 2007

    “Or do you think THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA can’t do what other, smaller countries have done? Well? Do you? Do you understand what a burden would be lifted off our Randian Supermen of Production to have it?”

    Often problems of SCALE arise, where something that works in a more limited settings turns out not to work when applied to a significantly larger system. This is particularly true of economics, but I can hardly imagine such a phenomena does not exist in science . . .

    “Under a libertarian system there is nothing stopping someone from getting a monopoly on food then with holding the food from anyone they don’t like. This could be for whatever reasons, be they racist, sexist or religious. A libertarian government would be obliged to protect the person with the food even if it means that millions would die and food would rot.”

    Monopolies are creations of the state, not of markets. Food is a particularly terrible example, as small-scale food production isn’t like building a dam–the market entry costs for small food growing cooperatives are reasonable. A libertarian government would be obliged to protect the person who has the food now, but would also protect the rights of those seeking market entry. As a real world example, the research I have done regarding farm subsidies is that they benefit the larger growers and help put small farmers out of business–they sell their land to the larger companies that run the scaled farms. It is a classic example of a government program having likely the opposite of its intended effect (as were the uncounted number of small farmers whose heirs had to sell their land to said same larger farm corporation before the government granted an estate tax loophole). A free-er food market (less government intervention) would operate to the benefit of small farms, not to their detriment.

  58. #58 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 31, 2007

    Well, the Dept. of Education – does it help? Have our students become better informed over the last 20 some years of its existence? We both want better education, but we disagree on how to achieve it. I think it has to be local, and you can’t expect a great result from any top-down system homogenized for 300,000,000 people.

    Has it ever occurred to you that there’s a world outside the USA?

    Why does it work there? Why are the local schoolboards of the USA so unique? It is, after all, normal that the curriculum is fixed on a countrywide level by the ministry of education, and in all rich countries it seems to work.

    Exactly. And IMO, the major lesson to be learned from this is the power & innovation of relatively independent states acting in cooperative competition.

    Is France’s health system better than Germany’s? Is there a *best* system in Europe that all the other states should be forced to adopt? No, its the competition and flexibility of independent states that creates the boom of progress. This is what put America to the top, and its the increasingly totalitarian top-down system that will take us down like the Soviet Union fell.

    Your way of thinking is bizarre. The health care systems of the European countries don’t compete with each other. And yes, if any of them turns out to be best (which, as you note, hasn’t happened so far), the EU should be lobbied to make all its members adopt it.

    And what top exactly?

    Hooray for Putin correctly (and obviously) pointing out that the US putting missile silos in Germany is just like the Cuban missile crisis.

    I’m not saying those silos are necessarily good for anything… but you know as well as Putin that Putin is making an incredible ass of himself by saying that. (Except in the eyes of the voters of his party, in whom he instills fear, just the way Fearless Flightsuit does.)

    I have no sense of obligation to support people on welfare or the old guy next door that needs a hip replacement.

    It’s an investment for you.

    Although I also differ with Ron Paul on most key issues, I felt compelled to support him because of his obviously apparent integrity.

    Most telling to me is that he let himself be drafted into military service, when he could have easily applied for, and received a student deferment.

    Killing and dying for the domino theory speculation is not integrity. It is ignorance, stupidity, or both.

    He also has a record of voting against congressional pay-raises, and even declined his own congressional pension.

    That’s more like it.

    The primary function of the Department of Education is subsidizing private banks to charge students above-market rates on student loans.

    Student loans shouldn’t need to exist at all, if you know what I mean.

    When it comes to fiat currency, we have had two previous examples of paper money that were abolished in favor of a return sound money.

    And you really don’t think there’s a reason why the whole world has “fiat currency”?

    I don’t think it’s just the capitalistic logic behind the “fiat” part (money is worth whatever you’re willing to pay for it). I think comment 221 is right.

    Socialism tries to handicap the gifted rather than level out the playing field.

    You’re talking about communism, not about socialism. China abolished the bourgeoisie; Sweden has abolished the proletariat.

    Inflation is an insidious and deceptive means of taxation, and we shouldn’t allow it.

    Given the choice between a little deflation and two or three times that much inflation, I’ll take the latter every day of the week and twice on sundays. After all, Chile under Pinochet was not a nice place to live, even if you kept your mouth shut.

    I never argued for “fixing” nations, mainly because it rarely works

    The Marshall Plan worked.

    In hindsight, it is something that libertarians should have welcomed, because it has resulted in the USA having more and richer trading partners, which has made the USA richer, too. It was an investment. But it required foresight, and, like evolution, the free market lacks foresight…

    I think it’s pretty funny that people are lambasting Libertarianism with made-up stories that the “corporations will take over!” And we’ll have stuff like Enron happen. Oops, Enron (and all the other corporate scandals) already happened without Libertarianism. And so did Valdez. And so did Microsoft crushing competitors and keeping antitrust cases in court without settlement for years and years. Et al.

    Hey, let’s all blame the Libertarians for Wal-Mart’s and Martha Stewart’s Asian sweatshops! Because we know sweatshops are only byproducts of Libertarianism!

    All of this sans Libertarianism.

    In fact, most of the things you dread happening under Libertarianism are actually happening today. Not all, but lots of them.

    Oh man.

    All these things happen where there’s already too much libertarianism and too little government protection of capitalism. Yes, you’ve read that right: capitalism must be protected from itself. Competition must be protected, because it is selected against. Leave the market to itself, and monopolies will form (whether by competition or by megamergers). A very important function of governments, including supranational organizations like the EU, is to keep competition and thus capitalism alive.

    Another function is to make sure no entrepreneur is dumber than Henry Ford, who justified the higher wages he paid by pointing out who was going to buy his products. In other words, to protect capitalism from human stupidity — again.

    OF COURSE you will have greedy people with sweatshops. OF COURSE you will have corruption. Etc., etc. People are people and you’ll have that under any system.

    Then why don’t we have any over here?

    Libertarians believe the market will correct for that

    And this religious belief is justified because?

    just like it does today

    It doesn’t.

    I’d like to add that giving to the needy is not compassion if it’s mandatory. Who is more compassionate: the person who gives to charity causes because it’s right, or the person who gives because the government forces them to?

    Why should I care? Why shouldn’t I rather care about the results?

    Also, I think people should have the right not to be dependent on others’ compassion.

  59. #59 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 31, 2007

    Well, the Dept. of Education – does it help? Have our students become better informed over the last 20 some years of its existence? We both want better education, but we disagree on how to achieve it. I think it has to be local, and you can’t expect a great result from any top-down system homogenized for 300,000,000 people.

    Has it ever occurred to you that there’s a world outside the USA?

    Why does it work there? Why are the local schoolboards of the USA so unique? It is, after all, normal that the curriculum is fixed on a countrywide level by the ministry of education, and in all rich countries it seems to work.

    Exactly. And IMO, the major lesson to be learned from this is the power & innovation of relatively independent states acting in cooperative competition.

    Is France’s health system better than Germany’s? Is there a *best* system in Europe that all the other states should be forced to adopt? No, its the competition and flexibility of independent states that creates the boom of progress. This is what put America to the top, and its the increasingly totalitarian top-down system that will take us down like the Soviet Union fell.

    Your way of thinking is bizarre. The health care systems of the European countries don’t compete with each other. And yes, if any of them turns out to be best (which, as you note, hasn’t happened so far), the EU should be lobbied to make all its members adopt it.

    And what top exactly?

    Hooray for Putin correctly (and obviously) pointing out that the US putting missile silos in Germany is just like the Cuban missile crisis.

    I’m not saying those silos are necessarily good for anything… but you know as well as Putin that Putin is making an incredible ass of himself by saying that. (Except in the eyes of the voters of his party, in whom he instills fear, just the way Fearless Flightsuit does.)

    I have no sense of obligation to support people on welfare or the old guy next door that needs a hip replacement.

    It’s an investment for you.

    Although I also differ with Ron Paul on most key issues, I felt compelled to support him because of his obviously apparent integrity.

    Most telling to me is that he let himself be drafted into military service, when he could have easily applied for, and received a student deferment.

    Killing and dying for the domino theory speculation is not integrity. It is ignorance, stupidity, or both.

    He also has a record of voting against congressional pay-raises, and even declined his own congressional pension.

    That’s more like it.

    The primary function of the Department of Education is subsidizing private banks to charge students above-market rates on student loans.

    Student loans shouldn’t need to exist at all, if you know what I mean.

    When it comes to fiat currency, we have had two previous examples of paper money that were abolished in favor of a return sound money.

    And you really don’t think there’s a reason why the whole world has “fiat currency”?

    I don’t think it’s just the capitalistic logic behind the “fiat” part (money is worth whatever you’re willing to pay for it). I think comment 221 is right.

    Socialism tries to handicap the gifted rather than level out the playing field.

    You’re talking about communism, not about socialism. China abolished the bourgeoisie; Sweden has abolished the proletariat.

    Inflation is an insidious and deceptive means of taxation, and we shouldn’t allow it.

    Given the choice between a little deflation and two or three times that much inflation, I’ll take the latter every day of the week and twice on sundays. After all, Chile under Pinochet was not a nice place to live, even if you kept your mouth shut.

    I never argued for “fixing” nations, mainly because it rarely works

    The Marshall Plan worked.

    In hindsight, it is something that libertarians should have welcomed, because it has resulted in the USA having more and richer trading partners, which has made the USA richer, too. It was an investment. But it required foresight, and, like evolution, the free market lacks foresight…

    I think it’s pretty funny that people are lambasting Libertarianism with made-up stories that the “corporations will take over!” And we’ll have stuff like Enron happen. Oops, Enron (and all the other corporate scandals) already happened without Libertarianism. And so did Valdez. And so did Microsoft crushing competitors and keeping antitrust cases in court without settlement for years and years. Et al.

    Hey, let’s all blame the Libertarians for Wal-Mart’s and Martha Stewart’s Asian sweatshops! Because we know sweatshops are only byproducts of Libertarianism!

    All of this sans Libertarianism.

    In fact, most of the things you dread happening under Libertarianism are actually happening today. Not all, but lots of them.

    Oh man.

    All these things happen where there’s already too much libertarianism and too little government protection of capitalism. Yes, you’ve read that right: capitalism must be protected from itself. Competition must be protected, because it is selected against. Leave the market to itself, and monopolies will form (whether by competition or by megamergers). A very important function of governments, including supranational organizations like the EU, is to keep competition and thus capitalism alive.

    Another function is to make sure no entrepreneur is dumber than Henry Ford, who justified the higher wages he paid by pointing out who was going to buy his products. In other words, to protect capitalism from human stupidity — again.

    OF COURSE you will have greedy people with sweatshops. OF COURSE you will have corruption. Etc., etc. People are people and you’ll have that under any system.

    Then why don’t we have any over here?

    Libertarians believe the market will correct for that

    And this religious belief is justified because?

    just like it does today

    It doesn’t.

    I’d like to add that giving to the needy is not compassion if it’s mandatory. Who is more compassionate: the person who gives to charity causes because it’s right, or the person who gives because the government forces them to?

    Why should I care? Why shouldn’t I rather care about the results?

    Also, I think people should have the right not to be dependent on others’ compassion.

  60. #60 coathangrrr
    December 31, 2007

    Monopolies are creations of the state, not of markets. Food is a particularly terrible example, as small-scale food production isn’t like building a dam–the market entry costs for small food growing cooperatives are reasonable.

    Monopolies are not necessarily creations of the state, they can also be creations of the market. Microsoft could certainly have attained and maintained a monopoly without state intervention. It is also entirely possible that one individual or group could own all or the majority of land in an area and thus have de facto control of food and transport of food.

    As a real world example, the research I have done regarding farm subsidies is that they benefit the larger growers and help put small farmers out of business–they sell their land to the larger companies that run the scaled farms.

    I would agree that subsidies as they exist right now do benefit large farms, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some type of subsidies that would benefit small farmers. In fact, it could be the case that without any government oversight the large farms would have an even easier time running the small farms out of business as they could use all sorts of tactics that are outlawed currently such as dumping and the like. Large companies don’t need the government to exercise power.

    It is a classic example of a government program having likely the opposite of its intended effect

    Perhaps I am more cynical than you, but I think it has had exactly the intended effect. The U.S. has the corner on the intl food market and the large agro-conglomerates get crap tons of money. Don’t mistake my critique of libertarianism with a belief that government is somehow a great thing.
    A free-er food market (less government intervention) would operate to the benefit of small farms, not to their detriment.

    So farms are magically exempt from economies of scale?

  61. #61 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 31, 2007

    Monopolies are creations of the state, not of markets.

    You know plenty of counterexamples. Either that, or you have Alzheimer’s.

  62. #62 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 31, 2007

    Monopolies are creations of the state, not of markets.

    You know plenty of counterexamples. Either that, or you have Alzheimer’s.

  63. #63 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 31, 2007

    It is also entirely possible that one individual or group could own all or the majority of land in an area and thus have de facto control of food and transport of food.

    There have been, and AFAIK still are, plenty of small 3rd-world countries of which, say, 80 % is owned by the richest, say, four families. Add a hundred years and a few dynastic marriages…

  64. #64 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 31, 2007

    It is also entirely possible that one individual or group could own all or the majority of land in an area and thus have de facto control of food and transport of food.

    There have been, and AFAIK still are, plenty of small 3rd-world countries of which, say, 80 % is owned by the richest, say, four families. Add a hundred years and a few dynastic marriages…

  65. #65 coathangrrr
    December 31, 2007

    The Marshall Plan worked.

    In hindsight, it is something that libertarians should have welcomed, because it has resulted in the USA having more and richer trading partners, which has made the USA richer, too. It was an investment. But it required foresight, and, like evolution, the free market lacks foresight…

    I said “rarely.” And I am not a libertarian.

  66. #66 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 31, 2007

    I said “rarely.” And I am not a libertarian.

    As far as I remember at this time of the night, I wasn’t directly talking to you. I often take a quote and use it to illustrate a point to the whole community…

  67. #67 David Marjanovi?, OM
    December 31, 2007

    I said “rarely.” And I am not a libertarian.

    As far as I remember at this time of the night, I wasn’t directly talking to you. I often take a quote and use it to illustrate a point to the whole community…

  68. #68 Troylus
    January 1, 2008

    I’m a left-leaning secular libertarian. Ron Paul’s positions on abortion, immigration, and religion deeply disturb me. At the same time, I am pleased that he has been consistent in his voting record against the Iraq war, his defense of (some) civil rights, and his resistance to increased taxation.

    Like Thomas Jefferson, I think that the primary role of the government should be to ensure the individual rights and liberties of its citizens.

    My primary problem with the Right (e.g. most Republicans) is that they look to erode my individual civil rights in the name of “upholding moral values” – with the best of intentions, of course. My primary problem with the Left (e.g. most Democrats) is that they look to erode my property rights via taxation and increased government spending and oversight in the name of “promoting the general welfare” – again with the best of intentions.

    I would be happiest if there was a candidate who upheld both individual civil rights AND was interested in reducing taxes by eliminating government spending and waste.

    Alas, I can see no such candidate.

  69. #69 truth machine
    January 1, 2008

    truth machine, it is expropriation and apartheid. Imagine in the U.S. if there were a law that said only a certain group of people, say Jews, could buy or lease some land, or that said that they couldn’t buy or lease it. There would be widespread outrage. But 80% of Israelis support this type of racism.

    Sigh. While apartheid is outrageous racism, not all outrageous racism is apartheid.

  70. #70 truth machine
    January 1, 2008

    I have no sense of obligation to support people on welfare or the old guy next door that needs a hip replacement.

    That’s why taxes are extracted by force — because people are self centered and short sighted.

  71. #71 truth machine
    January 1, 2008

    I would agree that subsidies as they exist right now do benefit large farms, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some type of subsidies that would benefit small farmers. In fact, it could be the case that without any government oversight the large farms would have an even easier time running the small farms out of business as they could use all sorts of tactics that are outlawed currently such as dumping and the like. Large companies don’t need the government to exercise power.

    But the current shape of government helps a lot. Farm subsidies were originally a temporary measure to prevent widespread farm bankruptcy and resulting starvation. They have never been ended, despite the shift from small to large farms, because of the power of the farm lobby, and are now a boondoggle. The solution is not libertarianism, but the control of money-driven corruption in government. Unfortunately, that’s difficult in the U.S. because of the absurd Supreme Court declaration that spending is speech. But we the people could change things by only voting for Congresspeople who are committed to eliminating the influence of lobbies.

    Libertarians, rather than providing evidence that their program would work, make a negative argument against the current government. But its a false dichotomy — that there is some problem in government doesn’t mean that libertarianism is the solution. One can see parallels with the approach taken by proponents of intelligent design (except that many of the problems with the current government are real, unlike the purported problems with evolution).

  72. #72 deang
    January 1, 2008

    Bravo! Great article. Really boils it down to the core of the issue. And for those who wonder why people love Ron Paul and think maybe it’s just his antiwar comments making him popular, that’s likely partly true. But I can tell you that, here in the backward state of Texas, he is loved for his anti-dark-skinned-immigrant positions and for being against the service function of government. When you’ve got the notorious Texas electorate supporting the man, you know he’s bad news.

  73. #73 Ichthyic
    January 1, 2008

    Monopolies are creations of the state, not of markets.

    LOL

    and antitrust legislation is a creation of markets, not the state, right? go tell that one to Micro$oft.

    this thread is just as bad as the thread about ann coulter – attracts the same level of moron, just from a different perspective.

    like i said earlier….

    is it any surprise the knee-jerk reaction to libertarianism is that it is the political position favored by morons?

  74. #74 truth machine
    January 1, 2008

    is it any surprise the knee-jerk reaction to libertarianism is that it is the political position favored by morons?

    Not just any sort of moron. As I noted,

    libertarian ideas appeal to and serve the interests of those who are greedy, self-centered, poor-hating, stingy, and lack compassion. If you’re none of those and yet are libertarian, perhaps you are simply confused and naive.

  75. #75 truth machine
    January 1, 2008

    Monopolies are creations of the state, not of markets.

    This is so pathetically ignorant of market economics that I have to wonder if the person who wrote it isn’t just pretending to be a libertarian to make them look bad. Would the moron who wrote this claim that even natural monopolies don’t arise in free markets?

  76. #76 bernarda
    January 1, 2008

    Besides the Marshall Plan, another plan libertarians forget is the GI Bill which sent tens of thousands to college and played a major part in U.S. economic success in the 50’s and onward.

  77. #77 Jim
    January 1, 2008

    “Your way of thinking is bizarre. The health care systems of the European countries don’t compete with each other. And yes, if any of them turns out to be best (which, as you note, hasn’t happened so far), the EU should be lobbied to make all its members adopt it.”

    Your way of thinking is equally bizarre, and exactly why we need markets and federalism. There never is one, static “best” way–the best way is always evolving, but your way is one sure path to stagnation. Let’s make everyone adopt the current “best” model (which will be judged by . . . whom? A referendum in all countries as to which one has the best health care system?)

    As for those slinging around the term “moron”, way to go ad hominem. If you want to discuss the issues of Microsoft and natural monopolies, or why someone who is not “greedy, self-centered, poor-hating, stingy, and lack[ing] compassion” would be a libertarian, bring it back up without the personal insults and I would be happy to discuss. I don’t have any intent to engage in the level of discussion from earlier in this thread that degenerated into people throwing around curse words like they were going out of style.

    “The solution is not libertarianism, but the control of money-driven corruption in government.”

    Libertarians believe that the way to get rid of money-driver corruption in government–the only way–is to keep government out of authority except in a few necessary areas. With a massive, all-reaching government (what doesn’t government touch these days?) (a) it attracts those who are more likely to abuse power, (b) you can never have enough internal policing to effectively combat money-driven corruption, (c) with the bureaucracy firmly entrenched, it will become ever-more resistant to those attempts at stamping out money-driver corruption. If the People kept a tight leash on what the government had power over, it would attract fewer special interests (because there is no influence to be bought), there would be a much smaller government to police internally for corruption, and then maybe you get somewhere. But a government this size? You can never plug the special interest holes and corruption, and the people who abuse that system know it.

  78. #78 bernarda
    January 1, 2008

    Jim, “(a) it attracts those who are more likely to abuse power, (b) you can never have enough internal policing to effectively combat money-driven corruption, (c) with the bureaucracy firmly entrenched, it will become ever-more resistant to those attempts at stamping out money-driver corruption.”

    Thank you Jim for a nearly perfect description of corporate culture.

  79. #79 coathangrrr
    January 1, 2008

    Libertarians believe that the way to get rid of money-driver corruption in government–the only way–is to keep government out of authority except in a few necessary areas.

    Which is great except to do so requires first that government is rid of money-driven corruption. I mean, a government is either corrupt or not corrupt. If it is corrupt then clearly it will not be possible to implement ideas that limit its power, first the corruption must be dealt with. However, if it is not corrupt, a requirement to implement a libertarian platform, then there would be no reason to implement the libertarian platform because the corruption is a prime aspect of what the platform is suppose to prevent, but it is already not there.

    One could argue that the purpose is not just extended to the immediate case of government, but that the libertarian platform should be implemented because it will prevent future abuses. This runs into similar problems. If the point of libertarianism is to restrain the government then not only the ideology must have power, there must be a specific group of people must implement and continue the ideology, a non-corrupt group of people or it would have the same problems that current governance has. But this means that libertarianism would require something that it says is impossible, an uncorrupt government.

    A big part of the problem is the fact that government is able to do many, many things, good or bad, and the job of the people is, generally, to restrain the government. Libertarianism assumes that government can somehow intentionally restrain itself while simultaneously not being able to restrain itself.

  80. #80 independent
    January 1, 2008

    Your way of thinking is bizarre. The health care systems of the European countries don’t compete with each other. And yes, if any of them turns out to be best (which, as you note, hasn’t happened so far), the EU should be lobbied to make all its members adopt it.

    They don’t directly compete, but if the people in England hear about some advantage in the French system they will be encouraged to raise the issue with their representatives. If it gets bad enough, people can vote with their feet and move to another state.

    The idea that the E.U. should force its member states to adopt a single medical system is completely contrary to the political forces that have driven such success in European social policy.

    Republican Federation creates empires through success, but Empire rely on expanding credit, expanding borders & influence, and increasing control over the subjects. Is your end-goal to conquer the world, or make your local school better? D.C. is good for one, and next to useless for the other.

  81. #81 Brian Macker
    January 1, 2008

    Well based on this article by P.Z.Myers I would say when it comes to politics he’s a dishonest and ignorant person.

    The article he links to and characterizes as showing Ron Paul to be an enabler of neo-nazis does nothing of the sort. There is absolutely no credible evidence anywhere that Paul has done anything to enable any neo-nazis.

    Myers comments are ignorant because he is totally unaware of the history of libertarian works. It’s like he never heard of the great libertarian Lysander Spooner or of the efforts of Milton Freedman to help third world countries. None of the political efforts of libertarians are of the kind where the individual libertarian could possibly reap individual rewards that exceed the costs of their political activities.

    If anyone is selfish it’s Myers for not bothering to make the kind of intellectual investment it would take to understand what motivates libertarians before making hateful statements about them. The kind of gross over generalization in Myers thinking is shameful.

    Heck it’s like he discovered that some Jews were for capitalism and then wrote:

    “OK, ‘fess up — some of you know that I thoroughly detest Jews, that reactionary political movement that seeks to elevate greed and selfishness as a ruling principle, and I suspect one of you got me a subscription to Jewish World Review magazine a few months ago, just to taunt me. If your goal was to persuade me to come over to the side of unbridled anti-social self-centeredness, you failed. The issue comes, I glance through it, find a few little bits and pieces I can agree with, but because they’re all imbedded in this thick tarry fecal sludge of Jewishness, I end up throwing the whole thing away in disgust.”

    Where did he learn such hateful thinking and rhetorical methods?

    Reading these articles by Myers you can see the hatred boiling up inside him. He doesn’t actually tackle any intellectual arguments made by the libertarians. Instead he takes the low road and makes ad-hominem attacks on the motivations.

    What exactly does the libertarian have to gain from arguing against our harmful anti-drug war? I see plenty of downside and no personal upside for this. The non-drug using libertarian has no gain other than living in a more peaceful society from which all could benefit.

    Even that minority that does use drugs is actually exposing themselves to more danger than benefit by their advocacy. It’s like criticizing vocal Christian martyrs for subjecting themselves to persecution because they we after all advocating for their own religion. No, they are helping others at personal danger.

    Myers couldn’t have researched the subject of libertarianism much because he ignorantly believes libertarian political theory is against open borders immigration. Talk about opening your mouth and sticking your foot in it.

    Myers is also suffering from some form of self delusion if he criticizes libertarianism because some are isolationists. Has he noticed the large numbers of democrats who are anti-War pacifists, who blame American interventionism for our problems. I’ve heard of plenty of libertarians who see no problem with the US getting involved in foreign wars of defense.

    I could go on but I have better things to do today. All in all Myers reasoning skills, actual research, and level of knowledge are embarrassing in the area of politics. I expect more ignorant bigotry in the future from him.

  82. #82 Steve_C
    January 1, 2008

    RON PAUL IS AN ASS.

    Didn’t take PZ analysis for me to figure that out. Knew it a long time ago.

  83. #83 Jim
    January 1, 2008

    “Thank you Jim for a nearly perfect description of corporate culture.”

    Corporations do not have the power to put you in jail, or to start wars (at least, they didn’t used to until the accumulation of power in the government attracted enough special interest money and influence to make it happen). A corporation can ruin the lives of its employees, but they do not have the national guard behind them. They do not have the police at their disposal. In practical terms you might argue that to be false, but that is a symptom of the mixing of expanded authority and government, not of libertarian principles.

    I am actually a libertarian who thinks the corporate entity should be abolished entirely. It is a creation of the state, and helps shield people from personal responsibility . . . I just don’t see how corporate and limited liability entities are consistent with libertarian philosophy, which emphasizes personal responsibility.

  84. #84 coathangrrr
    January 1, 2008

    I am actually a libertarian who thinks the corporate entity should be abolished entirely. It is a creation of the state, and helps shield people from personal responsibility . . . I just don’t see how corporate and limited liability entities are consistent with libertarian philosophy, which emphasizes personal responsibility.

    I definitely agree with you here. Get rid of corporations, they are an outdated and dangerous legal fiction.

  85. #85 mpkomara
    January 1, 2008

    I am a young rich anarchist, and I support Ron Paul.

  86. #86 Brian Macker
    January 1, 2008

    Bernarda,

    “Thank you Jim for a nearly perfect description of corporate culture.”

    Nonsense. You have to actually work to make it in business unless you can use the very government power Jim talks about limiting to get your way.

    You are free to start your own business if you don’t like the culture at any particular company. You are free to patronize whatever business you want on whatever criteria you wish. You don’t like a way a particular company is run then use someone else, switch to a substitute product, or just stop using that kind of product altogether. Most of the stuff corporations produce you don’t need anyway. Transportation – walk. Food – grow your own vegetables. Housing – buy your own from a small contractor.

    You can’t say the same to Jim. When the government abrogates to itself the power to decide who can sell what and at what price to Jim then he can’t avoid the problem. You can avoid any issues you have with corporations.

  87. #87 Steve_C
    January 1, 2008

    He’s some anarchy for you…

    give all your money away.

    Otherwise you’re just a git or just being funny.

  88. #88 Ichthyic
    January 1, 2008

    Transportation – walk. Food – grow your own vegetables. Housing – buy your own from a small contractor.

    LOL

    transportation:

    you don’t need to travel far to your workplace, I gather.

    food:

    you don’t live in an apartment, either.

    housing:

    where I live, you need to be making over 100k per year to be able to afford a new home.

    You didn’t mean these arguments seriously, i gather, so what was the point of making them exactly?

  89. #89 c
    January 1, 2008

    When the government abrogates to itself the power to decide who can sell what and at what price to Jim then he can’t avoid the problem.

    Even under libertarianism the government decides who can sell what and at what price. It decides that people can sell what they own for the price they want. And it will use force to make sure that this remains the case, even if someone wants to deny the necessities of life to someone else.

    What isn’t clear at all is why people without any significant property, you know, the majority of the world, would want libertarian government. You can talk all you want about rights and liberties, but people want to have something to eat and somewhere to live and unless you do something to make those things happen then you have a bad political ideology.

    Libertarians generally claim that markets will make it happen, but markets have problems, lots of them. Generally, markets are kinda like communism, in that they look great on paper but don’t work so great in real life.

  90. #90 Mikko Sandt
    January 1, 2008

    coathangrrr:
    “If you have capitalism you will have poor people, that’s not just a historical fact, it is how the system is suppose to work.”

    Capitalism has got nothing to do with poverty per se. Capitalism is about owning yourself and your property. No one tells you what to do with your labor or your property for as long as you don’t violate the freedom of others. Living in poverty is a choice.

    Capitalism is also the only system that is able to generate massive amounts of wealth that can then be redistributed by greedy poor people and envious left-wingies. All kinds of welfare benefits are made possible by the wealth-creating mechanisms of capitalism. Without capitalism only some privileged elites can live in prosperity.

    “Of course individualist ideologies fail to understand or even account for group dynamics beyond simple individual interactions.”

    Crappy excuses for failing in life.

  91. #91 Mikko Sandt
    January 1, 2008

    coathangrrr:
    The problem is that markets cannot see into the future

    No, but markets have ways that deal with uncertainties more efficiently than government bureaucrats do.

    We have a drought and there is a lack of food because of this. The market manages to distribute this food to the people who most deserve it, the rich.

    Yet thanks to global markets such a situation would hardly be a problem to anyone living under a system of free markets. You’re providing examples of cases where human suffering is a consequence of government intervention.

    Do you know what ‘sustainable’ means? Just because we can do something now does not mean we can do it indefinitely.

    I was merely pointing out the fact that scarcity is less of a problem now than it was still a century ago.

  92. #92 Ichthyic
    January 1, 2008

    Crappy excuses for failing in life.

    and your lack of education is a sorry excuse for those things you call “arguments”.

  93. #93 spurge
    January 1, 2008

    “Living in poverty is a choice.”

    Moron.

  94. #94 Mikko Sandt
    January 1, 2008

    Ichthyic:
    that should have given you pause, but doubtless you will construe it as somehow being the fault of not everybody being “free to do as they wish”.

    Yes. All poor countries score poorly on economic freedom. If people are not allowed to do what they do best they’re going to do something else which means that efficiency is lost and resources are wasted. A good example of this are some of the fine socialist land reforms under Robert Mugabe. People are not going to get food if a “land reform” means taking people back to the Middle Ages.

    there were lots of people that thought, once upon a time, that a pure democracy was a great idea too.

    Democracy in itself cannot work without free markets. Even somewhat democratic attempts in countries like Kenya, Iraq and Pakistan fail because these countries haven’t got market economies. I’m a fan of democracy because of its ability to fix its own mistakes (a market economy is capable of the same) but I consider capitalism to be the more important element in transforming society for the better. After all, many see democracy as a way to put more limits on others.

    I’d suggest some basic lessons in game theory, to start

    Done that.

  95. #95 coathangrrr
    January 1, 2008

    No, but markets have ways that deal with uncertainties more efficiently than government bureaucrats do.

    Yes, in theory, but it does not translate into reality. Governments consistently need to intervene to prop up markets when there are problems.

    Yet thanks to global markets such a situation would hardly be a problem to anyone living under a system of free markets. You’re providing examples of cases where human suffering is a consequence of government intervention.

    Assuming that global markets are sustainable long term, which is probably not the case without government intervention. And I wasn’t providing cases that involve government intervention except insofar as a libertarian government is required to intervene; that is, the government has to intervene to stop people from getting the food they need because they don’t own it. Libertarians are not against government intervention, they are against government intervention for certain things. Well, the majority of them.

    I was merely pointing out the fact that scarcity is less of a problem now than it was still a century ago.

    For some, not for all. What you really mean is that transportation is easier and our population has not yet caught up with our resource supply. And my point was that the way that we currently consume resources cannot continue on an indefinite basis, it is impossible. Of course you will probably counter that The Market will correct for these problems, but I don’t see any support for that except for the assertions of free market folks.

    My primary point is that we need a method of organization that does not revolve around the sanctity of property above the sanctity of human life. Libertarianism doesn’t fit this bill.

  96. #96 coathangrrr
    January 1, 2008

    Yes. All poor countries score poorly on economic freedom.

    And that means that economic freedom makes rich countries rich? I think not. Correlation is not causality.

  97. #97 Tulse
    January 1, 2008

    Living in poverty is a choice.

    Wow. Just…..wow…

  98. #98 Mikko Sandt
    January 1, 2008

    Ichthyic
    and how would libertarianism and free market economies solve that exactly, eh?

    Happening all the time. The world has changed dramatically after the Cold War. The number of armed conflicts is declining and hundreds of millions of people are being lifted out of poverty every decade in countries like India and China where politicians have witnessed the effectiveness of market reforms.

  99. #99 Ichthyic
    January 1, 2008

    Yes.

    shocker.

    do yourself a favor and don’t try to write any books espousing your vast knowledge of the issues involved in this subject.

    …unless you mean it as comedy.

    Democracy in itself cannot work without free markets.

    i assume you also think that “free markets” cannot work outside of democracies?

    btw, do show me an extant democracy. anywhere. “free market” or otherwise.

    Done that.

    then you must have gotten a failing grade even on something as basic as the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

    that you evidently believe the crap you are spouting perhaps shouldn’t surprise me, given the overall level of education in the US, but still, it does attract notice.

    I think it’s pretty clear at this point exactly why PZ wrote the OP as he did.

    that you choose to continue onwards only reinforces it.

  100. #100 Mikko Sandt
    January 1, 2008

    coathangrrr:
    And that means that economic freedom makes rich countries rich? I think not. Correlation is not causality.

    Economic freedom makes an efficient allocation of scarce resources possible. Prices that reflect relative scarcity guide production and consumption by sending signals about profits and losses. This cannot happen without competition and competition doesn’t exist without freedom. Economic freedom is what gives every man the opportunity to do what he does best. If I get more out of calculating than cutting trees then I choose to calculate – under a system of economic liberty no government tells me how to spend my labor. A socialist government might ban me from doing what I do best. If people are not allowed to take the most out of their abilities the society as a whole is going to suffer.

    Economic growth follows market reforms. Not a single country has turned rich simply by providing state-funded education or health care. A welfare state without free markets doesn’t exist. There isn’t a single state that is prosperous and not economically free. There isn’t a single state that is economically free and not prosperous.

  101. #101 Mikko Sandt
    January 1, 2008

    Ichthyic:
    I assume you also think that “free markets” cannot work outside of democracies?

    They can. Countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait are prosperous but not democratic. However, democracy, which is a luxury good, is something that has a chance once the society is prosperous. Emirs in the oil rich Gulf region cannot screw their people like Mullahs in Iran can.
    Sometimes, of course, democracy can lead to market reforms as well.

    then you must have gotten a failing grade even on something as basic as the Prisoner’s Dilemma.

    I’m well familiar with the Dilemma.

    that you evidently believe the crap you are spouting perhaps shouldn’t surprise me, given the overall level of education in the US, but still, it does attract notice.

    I don’t live in the US.

  102. #102 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 1, 2008

    What, only from 380 to 427 in about 24 hours? Someone’s slacking here. Good, that means I can keep up with reading :-)

    ————-

    The solution is not libertarianism, but the control of money-driven corruption in government. Unfortunately, that’s difficult in the U.S. because of the absurd Supreme Court declaration that spending is speech.

    Yet another case where the USA are almost unique: in places with code law instead of case law — and no place, not even Louisiana, has ever introduced case law when given the choice –, such decisions are made in parliament (or by referendum if a large change to the constitution is required), not by a court. Such places have a constitution court which does nothing but decide if laws are constitutional.

    —————-

    “Your way of thinking is bizarre. The health care systems of the European countries don’t compete with each other. And yes, if any of them turns out to be best (which, as you note, hasn’t happened so far), the EU should be lobbied to make all its members adopt it.”

    Your way of thinking is equally bizarre, and exactly why we need markets and federalism. There never is one, static “best” way–the best way is always evolving, but your way is one sure path to stagnation. Let’s make everyone adopt the current “best” model (which will be judged by . . . whom? A referendum in all countries as to which one has the best health care system?)

    As I wrote and you quoted: so far, none of the ways has been shown to be the best. IMHO it is entirely possible that no way is best, or that, as you suggest, which way is the best depends on ever-changing circumstances.

    However, if “best” is defined as “best price-performance ratio at an acceptable price”, then it is entirely imaginable (not proven — just imaginable) that one of the ways is objectively the best.

    As for those slinging around the term “moron”, way to go ad hominem.

    “Ad hominem argument” is not synonymous with “insult”. “X is a genius, so s/he must be right” is an ad hominem argument. “X is wrong and therefore shown to be a moron” is not one. “X is a moron and therefore wrong” is one.

    Libertarians believe

    I love it when libertarians start their “explanations” with “Libertarians believe”. Is it a testable and tested hypothesis, or is it a dogma that needs no justification? If the former, why introduce it as if it were the latter? I know what you believe. I want to know how you reached your conclusions.

    They don’t directly compete, but if the people in England hear about some advantage in the French system they will be encouraged to raise the issue with their representatives. If it gets bad enough, people can vote with their feet and move to another state.

    And how many are ever going to do that?

    With your other point, you are of course right that if any of the healthcare systems ever turns out to be the best in all respects, the voters will do the lobbying I mentioned, either at the national level or at the EU level (I should have mentioned the former possibility, which of course makes the latter unnecessary).

    ————-

    Myers comments are ignorant because he is totally unaware of the history of libertarian works. It’s like he never heard of the great libertarian Lysander Spooner or of the efforts of Milton Freedman to help third world countries.

    What the fuck. Milton “deflation in Pinochet’s Chile” Friedman!?! Some “help”!

    Heck it’s like he discovered that some Jews were for capitalism and then wrote:

    You choose to be a Libertarian. You don’t choose to be a Jew.

    —————-

    Crappy excuses for failing in life.

    And people who fail in life must be punished additionally, or what?

  103. #103 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 1, 2008

    What, only from 380 to 427 in about 24 hours? Someone’s slacking here. Good, that means I can keep up with reading :-)

    ————-

    The solution is not libertarianism, but the control of money-driven corruption in government. Unfortunately, that’s difficult in the U.S. because of the absurd Supreme Court declaration that spending is speech.

    Yet another case where the USA are almost unique: in places with code law instead of case law — and no place, not even Louisiana, has ever introduced case law when given the choice –, such decisions are made in parliament (or by referendum if a large change to the constitution is required), not by a court. Such places have a constitution court which does nothing but decide if laws are constitutional.

    —————-

    “Your way of thinking is bizarre. The health care systems of the European countries don’t compete with each other. And yes, if any of them turns out to be best (which, as you note, hasn’t happened so far), the EU should be lobbied to make all its members adopt it.”

    Your way of thinking is equally bizarre, and exactly why we need markets and federalism. There never is one, static “best” way–the best way is always evolving, but your way is one sure path to stagnation. Let’s make everyone adopt the current “best” model (which will be judged by . . . whom? A referendum in all countries as to which one has the best health care system?)

    As I wrote and you quoted: so far, none of the ways has been shown to be the best. IMHO it is entirely possible that no way is best, or that, as you suggest, which way is the best depends on ever-changing circumstances.

    However, if “best” is defined as “best price-performance ratio at an acceptable price”, then it is entirely imaginable (not proven — just imaginable) that one of the ways is objectively the best.

    As for those slinging around the term “moron”, way to go ad hominem.

    “Ad hominem argument” is not synonymous with “insult”. “X is a genius, so s/he must be right” is an ad hominem argument. “X is wrong and therefore shown to be a moron” is not one. “X is a moron and therefore wrong” is one.

    Libertarians believe

    I love it when libertarians start their “explanations” with “Libertarians believe”. Is it a testable and tested hypothesis, or is it a dogma that needs no justification? If the former, why introduce it as if it were the latter? I know what you believe. I want to know how you reached your conclusions.

    They don’t directly compete, but if the people in England hear about some advantage in the French system they will be encouraged to raise the issue with their representatives. If it gets bad enough, people can vote with their feet and move to another state.

    And how many are ever going to do that?

    With your other point, you are of course right that if any of the healthcare systems ever turns out to be the best in all respects, the voters will do the lobbying I mentioned, either at the national level or at the EU level (I should have mentioned the former possibility, which of course makes the latter unnecessary).

    ————-

    Myers comments are ignorant because he is totally unaware of the history of libertarian works. It’s like he never heard of the great libertarian Lysander Spooner or of the efforts of Milton Freedman to help third world countries.

    What the fuck. Milton “deflation in Pinochet’s Chile” Friedman!?! Some “help”!

    Heck it’s like he discovered that some Jews were for capitalism and then wrote:

    You choose to be a Libertarian. You don’t choose to be a Jew.

    —————-

    Crappy excuses for failing in life.

    And people who fail in life must be punished additionally, or what?

  104. #104 Mikko Sandt
    January 1, 2008

    Governments consistently need to intervene to prop up markets when there are problems.

    These interventions usually cause more harm than good. Also, most of economic crises have been caused by the government. Take a look at practically any economic disaster from the past twenty years. You’ll see governments setting artificial exchange rates, setting trade barriers, overspending, causing hyperinflation by printing money etc. Even the current subprime crisis was in part caused by the FED that kept pumping money into the American economy when it should have done the reverse.

    Libertarians are not against government intervention, they are against government intervention for certain things.

    Many libertarians don’t even allow a government of any kind to exist. The minarchist side of libertarianism only allows the government to intervene when a person uses or threatens to use force on someone else.

    What you really mean is that transportation is easier

    Transportation (assuming it happens under free market conditions) is only a part of the process that sends vital market information about the relative scarcity of resources.

    And my point was that the way that we currently consume resources cannot continue on an indefinite basis, it is impossible.

    How do you know?

    My primary point is that we need a method of organization that does not revolve around the sanctity of property above the sanctity of human life.

    What for? Practically all cases of resources being wasted like there’s no tomorrow are fine examples of a situation known as Tragedy of the Commons, a result of resources not being owned by anyone, or being owned by everyone. Any organization that is concerned with our resource use should take the enforcement of private property as its number one policy.

  105. #105 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 1, 2008

    I’m a fan of democracy because of its ability to fix its own mistakes (a market economy is capable of the same)

    I agree, with one little detail added: Democracies must have a constitution to prevent the majority from installing a dictator who destroys democracy — from, as you put it, “putting limits on others”. Free markets must have a government to prevent a superior competitor from gaining a monopoly who destroys competition and thus the free market.

    —————–

    Economic growth follows market reforms. Not a single country has turned rich simply by providing state-funded education or health care. A welfare state without free markets doesn’t exist. There isn’t a single state that is prosperous and not economically free. There isn’t a single state that is economically free and not prosperous.

    I haven’t bothered looking at any data, but so far, I agree.

    There isn’t a single state that is economically free and not prosperous.

    Somalia.

    ————-

    btw, do show me an extant democracy. anywhere.

    I guess you mean a direct democracy, where all voters vote directly on every law. After all, representative democracies abound; according to the “goddamn piece of paper”, even the USA is one…

    Switzerland is mostly, though not purely, a direct democracy: most laws have to pass a referendum.

    Something even more basic, however, exists: the whole village — all “voters” — sits down at one table and discusses and discusses and discusses till everyone is convinced of what to do. This is found, for example, among the pygmies in the Congo rainforest and among the farmers in the highlands of New Guinea. Of course, in communities larger than a few hundred people this is simply not feasible (at least not without the Internet); this is why representative democracies exist.

  106. #106 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 1, 2008

    I’m a fan of democracy because of its ability to fix its own mistakes (a market economy is capable of the same)

    I agree, with one little detail added: Democracies must have a constitution to prevent the majority from installing a dictator who destroys democracy — from, as you put it, “putting limits on others”. Free markets must have a government to prevent a superior competitor from gaining a monopoly who destroys competition and thus the free market.

    —————–

    Economic growth follows market reforms. Not a single country has turned rich simply by providing state-funded education or health care. A welfare state without free markets doesn’t exist. There isn’t a single state that is prosperous and not economically free. There isn’t a single state that is economically free and not prosperous.

    I haven’t bothered looking at any data, but so far, I agree.

    There isn’t a single state that is economically free and not prosperous.

    Somalia.

    ————-

    btw, do show me an extant democracy. anywhere.

    I guess you mean a direct democracy, where all voters vote directly on every law. After all, representative democracies abound; according to the “goddamn piece of paper”, even the USA is one…

    Switzerland is mostly, though not purely, a direct democracy: most laws have to pass a referendum.

    Something even more basic, however, exists: the whole village — all “voters” — sits down at one table and discusses and discusses and discusses till everyone is convinced of what to do. This is found, for example, among the pygmies in the Congo rainforest and among the farmers in the highlands of New Guinea. Of course, in communities larger than a few hundred people this is simply not feasible (at least not without the Internet); this is why representative democracies exist.

  107. #107 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 1, 2008

    Even the current subprime crisis was in part caused by the FED that kept pumping money into the American economy when it should have done the reverse.

    Unlike other national banks, the US Federal Reserve is a private corporation…

    Practically all cases of resources being wasted like there’s no tomorrow are fine examples of a situation known as Tragedy of the Commons, a result of resources not being owned by anyone, or being owned by everyone. Any organization that is concerned with our resource use should take the enforcement of private property as its number one policy.

    Interesting point, but whose private property shall all the fish in the sea become?

    (This is one example of a renewable resource that we are exploiting faster, much faster, than it can renew itself.)

  108. #108 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 1, 2008

    Even the current subprime crisis was in part caused by the FED that kept pumping money into the American economy when it should have done the reverse.

    Unlike other national banks, the US Federal Reserve is a private corporation…

    Practically all cases of resources being wasted like there’s no tomorrow are fine examples of a situation known as Tragedy of the Commons, a result of resources not being owned by anyone, or being owned by everyone. Any organization that is concerned with our resource use should take the enforcement of private property as its number one policy.

    Interesting point, but whose private property shall all the fish in the sea become?

    (This is one example of a renewable resource that we are exploiting faster, much faster, than it can renew itself.)

  109. #109 Ichthyic
    January 1, 2008

    I guess you mean a direct democracy

    of course.

    After all, representative democracies abound

    that’s why i didn’t use the term representative democracy. Surely you know that, especially given the context?

    and many of the same reasons as to why democracies (or pure communist states, for that matter) don’t exist apply to why libertarianism has been shown to be a failure.

    but you’ll never get someone like Mikko to recognize that.

    nor any self-proclaimed “libertarian”.

    they just won’t recognize that their precious damn ideology has been tried before, many times, and has failed for the same reasons every time.

    it’s trite to say, but the addage: “those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it” applies equally well to libertarians as to communists, etc.

    Mikko might not be from the US, but he sure is just as ignorant as many of the american “libertarians” I’ve spoken with.

    reminds me of the people who think that supply side economics, instead of being a fix that worked at a precise time and place, should be a general fix for all economic woes.

    and these are people who “claim” to have studied economic theory.

    it makes one’s head spin.

  110. #110 Kseniya
    January 1, 2008

    That’s right, Jeff (#393) – taxes are collected “at gunpoint” – so it’s “wrong” to use public money for anything. In fact, the whole concept of “public money” is completely wrong and reeks of atheist socialist dogma, which as we all know, leads to genocide.

  111. #111 Ichthyic
    January 1, 2008

    This is found, for example, among the pygmies in the Congo rainforest and among the farmers in the highlands of New Guinea. Of course, in communities larger than a few hundred people this is simply not feasible

    through several paragraphs, you manage to elucidate what I thought was the obvious implied point I was making.

    *shrug*

    I guess I should be more specific next time, so as not to have the obvious explained to myself.

    Indeed, what i was hoping for was NOT an answer to the obvious from yourself, but rather seeing whether mikko had any comprehension of what I meant by that.

    this thread has already made it’s point, and has become a total waste of time from every angle I can think of.

  112. #112 truth machine
    January 1, 2008

    As for those slinging around the term “moron”, way to go ad hominem. If you want to discuss the issues of Microsoft and natural monopolies, or why someone who is not “greedy, self-centered, poor-hating, stingy, and lack[ing] compassion” would be a libertarian, bring it back up without the personal insults and I would be happy to discuss. I don’t have any intent to engage in the level of discussion from earlier in this thread that degenerated into people throwing around curse words like they were going out of style.

    This is a chickenshit dodge. You say monopolies are creations of the state, not of markets. There’s no reason for anyone to engage with anyone who makes such a ridiculous claim — you’ve ruled yourself out as a good faith contributor.

  113. #113 truth machine
    January 1, 2008

    Which is great except to do so requires first that government is rid of money-driven corruption. I mean, a government is either corrupt or not corrupt. If it is corrupt then clearly it will not be possible to implement ideas that limit its power, first the corruption must be dealt with. However, if it is not corrupt, a requirement to implement a libertarian platform, then there would be no reason to implement the libertarian platform because the corruption is a prime aspect of what the platform is suppose to prevent, but it is already not there.

    One could argue that the purpose is not just extended to the immediate case of government, but that the libertarian platform should be implemented because it will prevent future abuses. This runs into similar problems. If the point of libertarianism is to restrain the government then not only the ideology must have power, there must be a specific group of people must implement and continue the ideology, a non-corrupt group of people or it would have the same problems that current governance has. But this means that libertarianism would require something that it says is impossible, an uncorrupt government.

    A big part of the problem is the fact that government is able to do many, many things, good or bad, and the job of the people is, generally, to restrain the government. Libertarianism assumes that government can somehow intentionally restrain itself while simultaneously not being able to restrain itself.

    Very well put. The whole libertarian enterprise is based on false dichotomies and is intellectually dishonest. Libertarians like to talk all about theory, but they actually advocate policy in today’s world, right now, and rail against all sorts of public policy, right now. But as long as the preconditions for their theories are not in place, they have no right to complain about those of us who seek to deal with problems in the world as it actually is. And of course since this thread is about a Presidential candidate, their theories, which do not apply to the world as it is, are irrelevant.

  114. #114 truth machine
    January 1, 2008

    That’s right, Jeff (#393) – taxes are collected “at gunpoint” – so it’s “wrong” to use public money for anything.

    Um, Jeff was advocating for taxes and the use of public money. The “at gunpoint” was from Jim in #390, and presumably is a euphemism for government coercion (e.g., garnishing your wages).

  115. #115 truth machine
    January 1, 2008

    Interesting point, but whose private property shall all the fish in the sea become?

    Or the sea itself, or the air.

    The notion that enforcement of private property is a solution to the Tragedy of the Commons is as ridiculous (what else, from that source?) as saying that the way to end dictatorships is by enforcing voting rights; enforcement is secondary to putting in the system to be enforced. With commons, you must first privatize — but as you imply, many commons cannot be privatized equitably. But equity isn’t part of the conceptual framework of those who worship free markets. This is seen further where Mikko refers to “waste” — efficiency uber alles, distribution take the hindmost. But a maxim from computer scientist Donald Knuth is relevant: “premature optimization is the root of all evil”. The point is that efficiency is irrelevant if you haven’t even solved the problem.

  116. #116 coathangrrr
    January 1, 2008

    How do you know?

    I don’t know for sure, but as I noted before, to say that the world can continue to develop as it does now and not suffer any ill effects is absurd. There are however studies about the ability of the earth to sustain the current level of agriculture over a long period, and the conclusions are not pretty. Capitalism is predicated on the idea of grawth as necessary and good, until economics realizes that this isn’t necessarily the case it is a useless endeavor. Of course the market true believer will say that the market will fix everything when the time comes, but mere assertion does not a fact make. Look at the problem with global warming for one. The market can’t fix that, it requires legislation and government regulation. However, the libertarian ideal does not allow for this sort of government intervention as it gives no standing to future generations as they haven’t earned any money yet.

  117. #117 Jim
    January 1, 2008

    “This is a chickenshit dodge. You say monopolies are creations of the state, not of markets. There’s no reason for anyone to engage with anyone who makes such a ridiculous claim — you’ve ruled yourself out as a good faith contributor.”

    I’ll give you one more chance to engage without vulgarity–because it’s not necessary at all. After that, knock yourself out here just posting post after post to yourself.

    So, if you can muster the self-restraint for that, throw out an example of a market-created monopoly worth discussing, and we’ll discuss it. Libertarians do not deny the existence of monopolies, and, if I may be permitted a slight backtrack, a monopoly can be created within a market–within a snapshot in time (see the link below). If you want to use Microsoft as an example, try this page first:

    http://anarchy.wordpress.com/category/monopoly/

    A libertarian perspective is that if there is a monopoly that has achieved and maintains its success without illegally infringing upon others in the market space, such as being so innovative that no one can compete with them in the market they are in (a new market, or a revolution-like innovation in an existing market), is not an inherently evil entity. It is, however, a temporary entity. Markets catch up in innovation, new markets get new participants.

    In a libertarian model, market-created monopolies are extremely rare and always temporary, i.e. situations that only involve government involvement if the monopoly entity acts illegally, which is not a conclusion one can draw merely from the existence of a monopoly.

    Governments have a legitimate purpose, and libertarians are not anarchists. My statement that markets do not create monopolies is a simplification of a more complex topic since a blog post hardly seems an appropriate place to post a dissertation. The market corrects itself, government intervenes only when and to the extent necessary. Government-created monopolies are worse than market-created monopolies, because government is complicit in the creation, and more lax in enforcement since it becomes an institutionalized iron triangle.

    “What isn’t clear at all is why people without any significant property, you know, the majority of the world, would want libertarian government. You can talk all you want about rights and liberties, but people want to have something to eat and somewhere to live and unless you do something to make those things happen then you have a bad political ideology.”

    Because you stand a better chance having the freedom to make your own economic choices, rather than having the government make them on your behalf.

  118. #118 coathangrrr
    January 1, 2008

    Because you stand a better chance having the freedom to make your own economic choices, rather than having the government make them on your behalf.

    You need to have some sort of property before you get economic choices to make. A vast number of people in the world don’t actually care about making their own economic choices, they care about having enough money to live on. And I have seen nothing here to show that markets can guarantee food for a starving person, only that they are efficient.

    Also, I don’t think efficiency is really the best goal we can strive for. It seems we can look to other things, perhaps people having enough to eat, before we look to efficiency.

  119. #119 Kseniya
    January 2, 2008

    Um, Jeff was advocating for taxes and the use of public money.

    Yes, I realize that.

  120. #120 Brian Macker
    January 2, 2008

    Ichtyhic,

    Oh, are all apartments, and houses, and even caves get build and rented by evil corporations? The price of those things isn’t controlled in some mystical way by corporations. Corporations help bring prices down if you knew any economics.

    Same goes for all the other things. Are you so ill informed that you don’t think you can avoid corporations if you wish to pay the price of living without their efficiencies? Go move in with the Amish. Form your own religion and move into a cave.

  121. #121 Brian Macker
    January 2, 2008

    “It seems we can look to other things, perhaps people having enough to eat, before we look to efficiency.”

    What a flaky statement. Did you really mean it. I wonder how you apply that to biology. Let’s evolve a less efficient jaw so that we get enough to eat before we look to the luxury of efficiency. WTF.

  122. #122 Brian Macker
    January 2, 2008

    David Marjanovi?,

    The Reagan/Thatcher revolution based in part on the ideas of Milton Friedman has done more for the poor of the world than all the socialist whiners here. You see, you have to understand a problem before you can solve it. The problem in most of these third world countries were their socialist policies.

    Yes, Milton’s economic ideas were used in Chile and it did wonders for improving the lives of Chileans. I happen to know one. Does it surprise you that good economic policy can be instituted by a dictator? Silly you.

    Yes Mugabe and Chavez are driving their economies into the ground and it doesn’t matter that they are thugs and aspiring thugs. Even if a saint followed their policies you’d get the same. So if Milton Friedman were able to change their minds and make it so people weren’t eating rats in Zimbabwe then that would be a good thing. Right?

  123. #123 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    I’ll give you one more chance to engage without vulgarity

    I don’t need any “chance to engage” from you. You said monopolies aren’t created by markets — that blatantly wrong and moronic. No amount of talk about “libertarian perspective” or “libertarian model” makes a stupidly wrong statement right. Natural monopolies aren’t temporary, moron — that’s why they’re called “natural”.

  124. #124 brian
    January 2, 2008

    I support ron paul, but could live with kucinich or gravel. That being said I think ron paul is the only one of those 3 with a real chance. All of the other candidates are more of the same. Yeah I’m really gonna support Hillary clinton the bitch is dumb enough to still trust bush and vote the islamic guard terrorists. even if they are dont you know how stupid that is? meanwhile she will later try to back peddle out of it. and didnt she vote for the patriot act? didnt obama vote to reauthorize it? But she sure can ruin health care again. I dont think we need government run health care to have it cheap and affordable.

    Also ron paul talks about ending the war on drugs, none of the front runners do that. He talks about getting out of iraq and ending our imperialistic goals, none of the front runners do that. He wants to atleast curb the power of the cia. I dont think rich people should be forced to give to poor, because they worked hard to legally get rich, the democrats dont agree with that. He voted against the patriot act, most voted for it. He knows runaway government spending can ruin the economy and the dollar.

    As for you people who think it’s racist to want to close the borders, is there ever a time you say enough is enough? let’s see 20 million or so illegals, sucking up government handouts, think if that was used on americans. Do we let all of mexico come to america illegally? Hey follow the rules and as many hard working mexicans can come here and pay taxes, just dont expect to get to the front of the line, because your country is geographically easy to come in illegally. It’s not fair to immigrants of other countries. In a perfect world we would let as many people come here as needed but we just cant. How much of a brainwashed liberal can you be where closing the border is something we dont have the right to do? Isnt this our fucking country? And face it whether or not you agree with it the majority of americans are not for amnesty. And i really believe they are taking jobs away from americans to an extent, maybe not at extremely cheap wages. But how did those jobs ever get done? are there no blue collar working white guys? bullshit.

    Look I’m an atheist who doesnt agree with paul on evolution, and abortion i could go either way on, but I’m not scared to say I support him more than any of the other bought and paid for clowns. Also atleast his voting record is somewhat consistent, and basically that is all i ask for. I dont have to agree with you 100%, but have some principles. Our government has been a failure and the democratic congress hasnt done shit either.

  125. #125 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    Yes, I realize that.

    Got it (finally).

  126. #126 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    What a flaky statement. Did you really mean it. I wonder how you apply that to biology. Let’s evolve a less efficient jaw so that we get enough to eat before we look to the luxury of efficiency. WTF.

    Indeed evolution produces mechanisms before it optimizes them, moron.

  127. #127 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    Yes, Milton’s economic ideas were used in Chile and it did wonders for improving the lives of Chileans.

    For anyone tempted to believe this garbage, read Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism .

  128. #128 Kevin Carson
    January 2, 2008

    “You say monopolies are creations of the state, not of markets. There’s no reason for anyone to engage with anyone who makes such a ridiculous claim — you’ve ruled yourself out as a good faith contributor.”

    Well, let’s see–ignoring your ad hominems for the moment. The most profitable sectors in the corporate global economy today are those that depend on state-enforced monopolies (so-called “intellectual property” [sic]): software and entertainment, biotech, pharma, etc. Cartelization of particular industries is frequently achieved either by the exchange of patents or patent control (Westinghouse and GE established a consumer electronics oligopoly in the 1920s through patent exchange–see David Noble’s America by Design). The main function of these state granted privileges is to impede market entry–the sine qua non of monopoly.

    And as counterintuitive as it may seem, it was TR’s “Progressive” regulatory agenda, and the Clayton Act, that first made the American market safe for oligopoly. The purely private trust movement at the turn of the century actually failed (see the New Leftist–no rightwinger, he–Gabriel Kolko, in The Triumph of Conservatism): the trusts were overleveraged with debt from mergers and acquisitions, and overcapitalized with watered stock, and as soon as they were formed immediately began losing market share to smaller, more efficient, and less debt-laden competitors. It was then that they turned to state regulation to limit competition and impede market entry, in the name of the public good. Stable oligopoly markets did not appear until the “unfair competition” provisions of the Clayton Act finally enabled private cartels to form based on administered pricing, by preventing the kind of price wars and other defection that had destabilized previous cartels.

    And if you want to see a real government-enforced cartel, you need go no further than FDR’s NIRA, which enabled cartels in each industry to set output levels and prices (on a cost-plus basis), so as to guarantee profits at any level of output they chose. It enabled, in other words, big business to follow a classic monopolist pricing strategy under the aegis of the state. And guess what? Its chief architects were Gerard Swope (CEO of General Electric) and the Business Advisory Council, along with an army of corporation lawyers and investment bankers.

    You denounced Jim’s claim as self-evidently “ridiculous,” while presenting no evidence yourself beyond some “every schoolboy knows” preconceptions that probably can be traced back to Art Schlesinger’s version of history, whether you’ve heard of him or not. So unless you have some concrete evidence to back up your counter-assertion, you owe Jim an apology.

    By the way, I am no right-winger. I am a free market libertarian who is no friend of big business or plutocracy. In fact I see the main function of government, historically, as enforcing special privilege for the propertied classes, and–in the 20th century–propping up corporate power. To me, there’s a big difference between the free market and capitalism. Capitalism is a system of privilege in which the state is controlled by capitalists and landlords, and intervenes in the market on their behalf. By enforcing artificial property titles to vacant and unimproved land, and by enforcing market entry barriers against the supply of credit, it renders land and capital artificially scarce and enables the propertied classes to charge usurious prices for land and capital. As a result, labor’s independent access to the means of production and subsistence is artificially constrained, and workers are forced to sell their labor in a rigged market, on the buyer’s terms. If it weren’t for such privilege, and workers had independent access to cheap land and capital, the scarcity of suppliers of wage labor would force jobs to compete for workers instead of the reverse.

    I see a debate polarized between, on the one hand, vulgar libertarians who instinctively defend corporate and plutocratic interests in the name of free market principles, and on the other, liberal goo-goos with almost no knowledge of history or of the essential role of the state as bulwark of corporate power and privilege. I’m kind of caught between a rock and a hard place.

    But there are many genuine free market libertarians who defend free market principles as such, rather than using free market rhetoric as a smokescreen for pro-corporate agitprop.

    You should familiarize yourself with the real diversity in the libertarian movement before you resort to facile “pot-smoking Republicans” and “greed and anti-social self-interest” canards. Many–perhaps even a majority–of self-described libertarians fit this description, but many do not.

  129. #129 Kevin Carson
    January 2, 2008

    Incidentally, I can’t let pass without comment the assertion that libertarianism has repeatedly “been tried” with bad results. I assume that refers to the allegedly “laissez-faire” nineteenth century, one of the biggest myths imaginable.

    In fact, historical capitalism and the Industrial Revolution developed on a massively statist foundation. If the Industrial Revolution had occurred in an environment of *real* free market libertarianism, first of all, there would have been no legacy of the primitive accumulation process, by which the peasantry of England were robbed of their rightful property in the land, by Enclosures and by nullification of copyhold and other traditional forms of tenure. Second, workers would have been free to associate and organize without such draconian social controls as the Riot Act, Combination Laws, and Laws of Settlement (the latter amounting to an internal passport system for the British working class). Had industrialization taken place in a real market, where most property was in the hands of the producing classes, and they were free to amass capital by cooperative organization, rather than–as in actual history–developing on the basis of plutocratic absentee ownership and wage labor, I suspect things would have looked a lot different. The economy today would look a lot more like something envisioned by Lewis Mumford or Pyotr Kropotkin, rather than Joseph Schumpeter.

  130. #130 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    The most profitable sectors in the corporate global economy today are those that depend on state-enforced monopolies

    No one denies that there are state-enforced monopolies. The idiocy is in claiming that there are no market-created monopolies. You’re indulging in a fallacy of affirmation of the consequent.

    I see a debate polarized between, on the one hand, vulgar libertarians who instinctively defend corporate and plutocratic interests in the name of free market principles, and on the other, liberal goo-goos with almost no knowledge of history or of the essential role of the state as bulwark of corporate power and privilege. I’m kind of caught between a rock and a hard place.

    Ah, but you’ve identified 3 categories. Maybe if you try really really hard you can fill out the matrix.

  131. #131 bernarda
    January 2, 2008

    - Brian in 455, “I dont think rich people should be forced to give to poor, because they worked hard to legally get rich, the democrats dont agree with that.”

    That is another libertarian myth. The best way to get rich in America is to come from a rich family. Then you have an inside track with a lot of help from the old-boys network.

    – Labor unions have scarcely been mentioned. Back in the industrial revolution, in all countries, harsh anti-organizing laws were passed. More recently, back in the 50′, about 25% of the workforce was unionized. Now it is about 7 or 8%. That is the result of anti-union laws beginning with Taft-Hartley.

    Workers are not allowed to organize to sell their labor to their advantage in a “free” market. Basically, a large part of corporate profits is the effective theft of labor contributions. Corporations are allowed to organize oligarchies or simply make massive mergers while labor organization is effectively prohibited.

    Corporations are organized on a multi-national basis while unions are largely restricted to their national origin, or even regional or local origin.

  132. #132 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    That is another libertarian myth. The best way to get rich in America is to come from a rich family.

    And even if they didn’t, they didn’t work hard to get rich — not compared to how hard poor people generally work. I know a lot of rich people — by reasonable standards I’m one — and not a one of them worked all that hard.

  133. #133 Jim
    January 2, 2008

    “Natural monopolies aren’t temporary, moron — that’s why they’re called “natural”.”

    And I asked for an example for discussion–Wikipedia’s primary example is private water distribution in England in the 19th century, but you have to get beyond libertarians and into Randians before you get to the point where you find any significant number of people (not that there are many Randians to begin with) advocating a return to private water networks. Not a real relevant example, and of course you failed to engage in the substance of my last message at all.

    Apparently actual discussion is beyond you–maybe calling people names is all you are capable of. You certainly were incapable of making any substantive response to Kevin.

    Moron.

  134. #134 Jim
    January 2, 2008

    “Workers are not allowed to organize to sell their labor to their advantage in a “free” market.””

    Of course they are! What law would a libertarian pass that would *prevent* workers from organizing?

    A libertarian-leaning government would not prevent companies from finding alternative sources of labor, or moving those jobs to another location, but it certainly wouldn’t prevent collections of people from aggregating their interests as a tool of negotiation.

  135. #135 Mikko Sandt
    January 2, 2008

    David Marjanovi?:
    Unlike other national banks, the US Federal Reserve is a private corporation…

    It’s not a private corporation. The Federal Reserve is a government monopoly. In fact, it’s less independent than, say, the ECB.

  136. #136 Mikko Sandt
    January 2, 2008

    Ichthyic:
    and many of the same reasons as to why democracies don’t exist

    Democracies do exist whether they meet your strict definitions or not.

    libertarianism has been shown to be a failure.

    Where and how?

    Libertarianism works in countries like Finland, Denmark, the US, Canada, Hong Kong etc.

  137. #137 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    advocating a return to private water networks

    So the only organizations that arise in free markets are those advocated by somebody or another? Doesn’t sound very free.

    Listen, you stupid fuck, monopolies can be created by markets. Whether or not you can craft some “model” in which they don’t arise is beside the point.

  138. #138 Mikko Sandt
    January 2, 2008

    bernarda:
    The best way to get rich in America is to come from a rich family.

    Less than 20% of Forbes 400 members inherited their entire wealth: http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2007/09/how-rich-got-rich.html

    Workers are not allowed to organize to sell their labor to their advantage in a “free” market.

    Rubbish. Of course they are.

  139. #139 Jim
    January 2, 2008

    Another example of fail, courtesy of “truth” machine.

    Take the time to go back and read #448. I am actually now looking forward to your next broad swipe and name calling, further demonstrating your inability to muster substantive argument and unwillingness to engage in reasoned discussion.

  140. #140 Mikko Sandt
    January 2, 2008

    truth machine:
    For anyone tempted to believe this garbage, read Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

    From what I have heard, Klein (who’s obviously an idiot with absolutely no knowledge of economics) draws parallels between Pinochets “social policies” and economic policies, as if Pinochet’s atrocities somehow undo the fact that Friedmanian economic policies turned Chile into the most prosperous South-American country.

    If you don’t understand that Friedmanian economic policies transformed Chile into a prosperous state, then what did?

  141. #141 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    Take the time to go back and read #448

    I read it fine the first time, moron. It’s irrelevant. You said markets don’t create monopolies — you’re wrong, and all your obfuscations are stupid lies.

  142. #142 Steve_C
    January 2, 2008

    I heard Klein on NPR. She’s clearly not an idiot.

    But I haven’t read her book and neither have you.

    She did have very good points about how corporations swoop in after disasters and get billion dollar contracts and sweet deals without any public input. She looks at Thailand, New Orleans and Iraq after their respective disasters.

  143. #143 Jim
    January 2, 2008

    Steve_C wrote:
    “She did have very good points about how corporations swoop in after disasters and get billion dollar contracts and sweet deals without any public input.”

    Can you expand on this more? My understanding is that the private companies who make out the best in post-disaster contracts are those who land lucrative government contracts and, yes, usually without sufficient transparency. I’m not sure though that is a devastating critique of libertarianism, but perhaps I am misinterpreting your statement.

  144. #144 coathangrrr
    January 2, 2008

    A libertarian-leaning government would not prevent companies from finding alternative sources of labor, or moving those jobs to another location, but it certainly wouldn’t prevent collections of people from aggregating their interests as a tool of negotiation.

    While you seem imminently reasonable, the majority of libertarians argue against unions on principle, saying they are unfair market mechanisms or some such nonsense.

    I must say I agree with you on a lot of your analysis of the development of capitalism in the United States, I think what you left out is that the majority of the legislation passed was in response to prior actions. Even if libertarianism is able to function the switch from the current system to libertarianism would be incredibly damaging to the populace at large. In fact, a huge part of my argument, which hasn’t really been addressed, is that what libertarians mean by efficient is not a humanistic example of efficiency, it simply means that free markets can produce the most stuff for those who are lucky enough to have positioned themselves correctly in the market.

    A further problem I have with libertarianism and free market theory, one that is usually outright dismissed as a problem by theorists, is an account of social impact on economics and liberties. It is entirely possible to have a virulently racist libertarian society. Virtually none of the things that the U.S. government has done and is doing to mitigate the effects of racism would be legal under a libertarian regime and as such racism would still be a problem. Ditto with sexism. Employers, generally white men, would be free to hire and fire people based on their race or sex with no ramifications.

  145. #145 Steve_C
    January 2, 2008

    Did say it was a critique of Libertarianism…

    Unfettered capitalism perhaps.

  146. #146 Kevin Carson
    January 2, 2008

    Mikko,

    I don’t see Pinochet’s policies as very “libertarian.”

    They included, among other things, reversing land reforms and returning land–that rightfully belonged to the peasants–to latifundistas based on quasi-feudal titles. To genuine libertarians, collecting rent from the original homesteaders of the land and their descendants, based on grants of absentee ownership title to a landed oligarchy, is illegitimate. Murray Rothbard, who believed in Lockean rules of land property, argued that when the people cultivating the land and mixing their labor with it, whose ancestors have done so from time out of mind, are paying rent to the descendant of a conquistador or feudal grantee, the peasants are the rightful owner and the landlord is just another form of tax collector. Pinochet took the land from the restored rightful owners and gave it to the feudal tax collectors.

    The kind of “privatization” carried out by Pinochet and his ilk, likewise, has nothing to do with libertarianism. It’s crony capitalist looting of state assets, selling them off in rigged auctions to the same multinational corporate interests they were created to benefit in the first place. The typical “privatization” cycle is this:
    1) use World Bank loans–often in collusion with a dictatorship–to build the road and utility infrastructure needed to make Western capital investments profitable (i.e., corporate welfare);
    2) use the World Bank debt to enslave the country like the company stores enslaved miners, and blackmail it into a “atructural adjustment program” by which it auctions off the roads and utilities to crony capitalists;
    3) put beaucoup tax money into the state assets to make the crony capitalists willing to take them off the state’s hands;
    4) buy the state assets at fire sale prices;
    5) immediately begin asset stripping, by which you make more money up front than the price you paid for the assets;
    6) deliver services in a continuing framework of state subsidies and protections to your “private” enterprise (that’s how “privatized” state services work in the U.S., BTW, in the case of “privatized” prisons and school vouchers.

    What would have been a principled libertarian model of privatization, in contrast? Treat the state assets either as unowned or as social (not state) property, and recognize as homesteaders (rightful owners) those actually mixing their labor with them. That would mean transforming state industry into worker cooperatives, and state services into consumer cooperatives–not selling them to GlobalMegaCorp LLC.

    Finally, there’s nothing very “libertarian” about disappearing and torturing labor organizers, and leaving them in ditches with their faces hacked off. I suspect libertarians would regard any government that similarly treated the owners of any other, non-labor, factors, as pretty unlibertarian. Why is it kinda sorta bad when Pinochet does this sort of thing to the owners of human labor-power (but pigeonholed as only “politically,” not “economically” unlibertarian), but flaming red ruin on wheels when a leftist government does it to the owners of capital?

    On a separate topic, you ought to be careful putting forth the Pacific Rim countries as libertarian utopias. Many of them have pursued Georgist or quasi-Georgist land policies, which is a decidedly left-flavored variant of free market libertarianism. I actually regard this as *more* libertarian than the standard vulgar libertarian approach of shifting taxes entirely off of returns on property and onto returns on labor. But your mileage may vary.

  147. #147 coathangrrr
    January 2, 2008

    Less than 20% of Forbes 400 members inherited their entire wealth:

    Way to dodge the question. No one said that everyone who is rich has never worked. The statement was that the best way to get rich is to come from a rich family, that means more than just inheriting money.

    From what I have heard, Klein (who’s obviously an idiot with absolutely no knowledge of economics) draws parallels between Pinochets “social policies” and economic policies, as if Pinochet’s atrocities somehow undo the fact that Friedmanian economic policies turned Chile into the most prosperous South-American country.

    Policies that would never have been implemented were it not for the social policies of Pinochet. The point is that no one willingly accepts free market economic regimes and therefore they must be imposed by force. Sounds a bit contrary to libertarian theory.

  148. #148 Kevin Carson
    January 2, 2008

    truth machine,

    I believe natural monopolies are very rare, at best. Even in the most capital-intensive industries, with the highest entry costs, on closer examination the state will be found to have subsidized the most capital-intensive forms of production and other inducements to excessive firm size. Transportation subsidies that promote economic centralization, special tax exemptions for interest on corporate debt and for capital gains on merger transactions, accelerated depreciation, the R&D tax credit–these things all promote corporate size, capital-intensiveness, and hierarchy to an extent almost beyond imagination and raise to astronomical levels the capital outlays needed to enter an industry.

    As for true natural monopolies (non-excludable public goods with a free rider problem), I think the proper free market solution is some combination of decentralization and cooperative ownership. For example, in the case of telephone markets, it’s a myth that the state-created AT&T monopoly was necessary to create a unified phone network. Local phone networks (many of them consumer cooperatives) were already exchanging customers and federating, and the process would no doubt have continued. Same goes for local utilities: when they really are natural monopolies, they should be treated as cooperative property of their ratepayers.

  149. #149 Jim
    January 2, 2008

    coathangrrr wrote:
    “Employers, generally white men, would be free to hire and fire people based on their race or sex with no ramifications.”

    Obviously the theory is that economic interaction brought about by free trade and free markets pushes the discrimination you reference out of the mainstream because most people care more about their economic well being than whether the people they hire and/or do business with have some social stigma.

    It is exactly the same theory–that free trade helps prevent wars–applied within a society (inner vs. intra), i.e. free trade helps prevent or ameliorate culture wars as much as actual wars. I freely admit I haven’t done much research into this myself, but you’ll obviously find free-market proponents out there who will argue that government efforts combating racism and segregation have caused or exacerbated racial tensions–that the voluntary participation in markets is always more effective and efficient than the forceful hand of government.

    I don’t know if that is too-rosy a view of the potential benefit of libertarian policies or not, but I don’t think you can say that free trade generally doesn’t have a positive effect on the relations between nations. Look at China–here is a country we could very well be locked in another terrible cold war with, but I think if you look at the political sparring between the two nations that we realize that we each economically have so much to lose that each side’s leadership is pressured into middle ground. Now, that is obviously a good thing if you argue that having relations with them allows them to continue mistreating their population in perpetuity, but obviously a libertarian/free market advocate would say that the exposure to the benefits of free markets will inevitably have a positive impact on their government’s treatment of its population in a way that does not require military action or decimating economic consequences to both countries.

    I think there may be something to that, although my backup is only anecdotal–can we really say that the incorporation of Hong Kong as not had a positive impact on the economic policies of China? Most of the press I have read indicates that things aren’t great over there from an economic freedom standpoint, but that they are better than they used to be. Plus, if they really didn’t care about economic relations with the U.S. and other countries, I’m of the thought that they almost certainly would have made a move against Taiwan by now. Certainly they have the military to accomplish it, and with us being so spread out there is practically really zippo we could do about it militarily.

    Anyway, just throwing some stuff out there.

  150. #150 Jim
    January 2, 2008

    Damn, no edit feature.

    “Now, that is obviously a good thing if you argue that having relations with them allows them to continue mistreating their population in perpetuity”

    obviously *not*, obviously *not*.

    *sigh*

  151. #151 Jim
    January 2, 2008

    “I believe natural monopolies are very rare, at best. Even in the most capital-intensive industries, with the highest entry costs, on closer examination the state will be found to have subsidized the most capital-intensive forms of production and other inducements to excessive firm size.”

    That is why I asked for examples to discuss, but with much better people to engage on this post, see, e.g., coathangrrr, bernarda, I am done with truth machine. I’m actually rather sorry that most of the best discussion is taking place this far down and this far removed from the original blog post–it’s undoubtedly not getting read by many others outside of us few remaining participants.

  152. #152 Nullifidian
    January 2, 2008

    Brian Macker:
    Yes, Milton’s economic ideas were used in Chile and it did wonders for improving the lives of Chileans. I happen to know one. Does it surprise you that good economic policy can be instituted by a dictator? Silly you.

    Oh, so you know one Chilean of an undeclared socioeconomic background. If this is the quality of argument to be expected from Glibertarians, I don’t think the rest of us need worry.

    Now, what really happened in Chile is that wages fell 8% between 1970 and 1989. By 1989 the social safety net was hacked to pieces with family allowances declining 28% from 1970, and 20% declines, on average, in housing, education, and health budgets. The massive military spending and decline in social services was linked with the heretofore mentioned falling wages and increases in unemployment, which hit 26% during the slump of 1982-1985 and peaked at 30%.

    The income distribution became more regressive, with the wealthiest 5% receiving 25% of the total national income in 1972 compared to 50% a mere 3 years later. Wage and salary earners got 64% of the national income in 1972, which declined to 38% five years later. Malnutrition affected one child out of two, and three people out of five, and infant mortality rates skyrocketed. Furthermore, because of monopolies created by the junta, many small and medium-sized businesses went bust or were severely curtailed, adding to the general economic malaise of the working class.

    So hooray for Uncle Milty! He certainly showed the way to run an economy…into the ground.

  153. #153 independent
    January 2, 2008

    I heard Klein on NPR. She’s clearly not an idiot.

    Actually, she’s got nothing. Her entire premise is self-defeating: She cites examples of government intervention in the economy and calls it capitalism gone wild. (This is a common tactic of the left-cite government abuse and call it capitalism, diagnose the cure as more government power)

    If you replaced every instance of the word “capitalism” in her speech with “socialism,” and “Friedman” with “Keynes,” you could make the exact same argument.

    I’m not saying it would be a good argument, just that its an amateur study of authoritarian governments using partisan buzzwords to replace any sort of unique insight. Actually, she reminds me of that right-wing-nut that published the “liberals are all nazis” book recently.

  154. #154 Nullifidian
    January 2, 2008

    Brian Macker:
    What a flaky statement. Did you really mean it. I wonder how you apply that to biology. Let’s evolve a less efficient jaw so that we get enough to eat before we look to the luxury of efficiency. WTF.

    This says more about the intellectual lassitude of the Glibertarian mindset than I ever could. Apparently getting enough to eat in order to survive to reproductive age is now no longer an evolutionary necessity, nor is it the case that evolution tends to throw up suboptimal features which are then refined by natural selection.

    To be quite frank, it sounds like the concept of evolution which exists in Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box, for whom inefficient and suboptimal features to be later refined by natural selection cannot possibly exist.

  155. #155 Jim
    January 2, 2008

    Nullifidian: If you are going to lay Chile’s economic problems in that time period entirely at the feet of Friedman, at least acknowledge those areas of economic policy implemented by Pinochet that Friedman would not have recommended.

    http://www.reason.com/news/show/117278.html

    “”Friedman’s own protégés abandoned laissez-faire economics at certain critical junctures, and these departures, not any maniacal monetarism, produced Chile’s suffering.”

    Marshall particularly fingered Chile’s very un-Friedmanlike insistence on fixing the price of the Chilean peso to U.S. dollars in the early ’80s, creating an overvaluing of the peso that devastated the Chilean export market. He also noted Chile’s continued system of crony capitalism in which those with access got special government credit, and bailouts when free-market risk hurt them.”

    ——————

    I’m not completely fluent in Chile’s experiment with Friedman-style economics except to the extent that I know it is an example used to attack libertarian policies, but it doesn’t take an advanced degree in economics to understand that artificially overvaluing your currency is going to cause exports to take a dump. For a counter-example, look to China, which is keeping their currency value artificially low in part to maintain strong exports.

  156. #156 independent
    January 2, 2008

    because of monopolies created by the junta

    Thank you. This is exactly why Naomi Klein has no argument to stand on. Totalitarian Governments setting up politically connected oligarchies and oppressing dissenters has nothing to do with libertarianism or capitalism. (Unless you mistake the left-right spectrum of economic politics with the top-bottom spectrum of authoritarianism and libertarianism.)

    The libertarian haters should check out http://www.politicalcompass.org/index

    Its quite possible to be a left libertarian,
    Libertarianism isn’t anarchy,
    And Ron Paul is actually more of a federalist than a libertarian to begin with

  157. #157 Steve_C
    January 2, 2008

    What i heard from her made plenty of sense.

    And it wasn’t about government intervention.

  158. #158 Jim
    January 2, 2008

    “And it wasn’t about government intervention.”

    That’s why I asked for clarification. Lucrative government contracts to private corporations are government intervention into free markets, and the exact opposite of the policies a libertarian government would employ (beyond the fact that Iraq wouldn’t even be an example because we wouldn’t be over there). Was she saying that private companies swooped in after natural disasters and got billions of dollars worth of private contracts? If it made sense, I am hoping you can communicate more of it to us to discuss.

  159. #159 Nullifidian
    January 2, 2008

    “”Friedman’s own protégés abandoned laissez-faire economics at certain critical junctures, and these departures, not any maniacal monetarism, produced Chile’s suffering.”

    That’s not an argument, that’s a baseless assertion. Friedman certainly had no problem claiming the Chilean “miracle” as his baby when it allowed him to strut his stuff as the economic saviour of Chile. Then they suddenly turn around and disclaim it whenever one points out the lamentable effects the junta’s neoliberal policies had on the lives of the working class. That’s the kind of sleight of hand that makes me reach for wallet to make sure it’s still there.

    Furthermore, of the declines I cited, only one carried over into the 1980s and started in the 1970s–the decline in the overall wage. Unemployment hit 26% during the worldwide slump in ’82-’85, but it was rising from the very start of the post-Allende era. The figures for the retrogressive income distribution predate any changes to the monetarist policies of Chile’s regime.

  160. #160 Jim
    January 2, 2008

    “And Ron Paul is actually more of a federalist than a libertarian to begin with”

    Still, he’s got more of a libertarian streak in him than any of the other candidates by some distance that, as Joey from Friends would say, is so far away that the line is a dot.

    Besides, it isn’t as if federalism and libertarianism are mutually exclusive–the Founding Fathers incorporated a healthy dose of both in the framework they constructed.

  161. #161 independent
    January 2, 2008

    The problem with politics, as opposed to say science, is that definitions are often disputed. What is an atom, what is a liberal? Which one has a clear definition? :)

    That said, what people call “Crony-capitalism,” or government subsidies to politically connected private corporations, is completely antithetical to what a capitalist would consider capitalism. To the left, its a condemnation of corporate power and to the right its a condemnation of government power.

    The problem is that definitions tend to support the partisan divide because that’s what sells books in a non-academic political market. People agree on the problem, but semantics divides the debate into pre-set talking points.

    What she “adds” to the political discourse would not be rewarded in a university setting, unless that university was particularly biased to begin with.

  162. #162 coathangrrr
    January 2, 2008

    Obviously the theory is that economic interaction brought about by free trade and free markets pushes the discrimination you reference out of the mainstream because most people care more about their economic well being than whether the people they hire and/or do business with have some social stigma.

    It seems that this is imparting a Marxian level of influence to economic factors. I’m rather iffy about that. I mean, Marx definitely had some points, but I think that overstating the affect of the economy on people’s behavior is one of the downfalls of a lot of economic and political theories.

    It is exactly the same theory–that free trade helps prevent wars–applied within a society (inner vs. intra), i.e. free trade helps prevent or ameliorate culture wars as much as actual wars.

    I’m a little iffy about this one as well. I’d certainly say that trade helps prevent war, to some extent, but in other cases it can cause problems. I mean, as you point out, there is the possibility that our trade with China might continue their ill treatment of their citizens and if that is the case then, long term, is that better or worse than war? Also, it seems that war is prevented just as much by the fact that China and the U.S. both have nukes and the U.S. regularly has ships around the area of Taiwan. China doesn’t want to risk nuclear war, and neither does the U.S., or most of us here don’t.

    For this to transfer to the intra-national level there would have to be a similar dynamic between individuals as there is between states. I don’t see that as the case. The international arena is one where there are no real rules or laws except for the rule of might and general opinion. I certainly don’t want an internal version of that. Further, in the international case, there are no such things as real courts that have the power to punish like national courts do. There is no where to go to force adherence to contracts. I don’t think this is a good thing per se, but it does make it a different story, one in which long term social forces play a different, more subsidiary role.

    I’m actually rather sorry that most of the best discussion is taking place this far down and this far removed from the original blog post–it’s undoubtedly not getting read by many others outside of us few remaining participants.

    That’s pretty much the norm on threads like this. They get interesting as soon as they get abandoned by the majority of people. Mainly because the remaining people are the ones who are really interested in the conversation.

  163. #163 Nullifidian
    January 2, 2008

    Thank you. This is exactly why Naomi Klein has no argument to stand on. Totalitarian Governments setting up politically connected oligarchies and oppressing dissenters has nothing to do with libertarianism or capitalism.

    Actually, totalitarian governments are perfectly consistent with capitalism. Even ostensibly “communist” ones are actually properly called “state capitalist” governments.

    “The libertarian haters should check out http://www.politicalcompass.org/index

    Its quite possible to be a left libertarian,”

    Which would be anarchism.

    “Libertarianism isn’t anarchy,”

    It is when it comes from the left. “Libertarian” emerged in Europe as a synonym for “anarchist”. It’s only in America where you have neo-feudalists misappropriating the term to refer to their own conception of laissez-faire.

  164. #164 Jim
    January 2, 2008

    Nullifidian: “That’s not an argument, that’s a baseless assertion.” The quote you quoted is an assertion, but it is hardly baseless since the very next paragraph in the articles stated quite clearly what the quote was based on.

    Further, regardless of Friedman’s “strut[ing] his stuff”, why doesn’t it make sense to analyze what actually caused the Chilean economic problems? You cite a lot of depressing economic statistics and lay them at the feet of Milton Friedman, then turn around and say, “Furthermore, because of monopolies created by the junta, many small and medium-sized businesses went bust or were severely curtailed, adding to the general economic malaise of the working class.”

    Wait, what? The juntas creating monopolies sounds a hell of a lot *more* like the article I posted–“Chile’s continued system of crony capitalism” than *anything* Friedman would have *ever* recommended. Does the *creation* of monopolies by the junta *really* sound like a government following free market economic principles? Keep in mind, this is what you said, not what I said or what those dastardly folks at Reason said.

    It seems possible to me that unemployment was high in the 70’s because something as dramatic as something called the Shock Doctrine is going to have some pretty major impacts in the short term (it isn’t as if Friedman had a lot of test cases in which to refine his theory of a full national economic overhaul), and if you couple that with further poor economic policy decisions such as bad currency policy, corruption (i.e. cronyism), and setting up monopolies, then couple that with the unfortunate timing of the plunge in copper pricing . . . that sounds like a rough start to the 80’s with continued high unemployment, and you’re still laying this all at the feet of Friedman?

    I don’t know that I could do that, given the various facts at our disposal now.

  165. #165 independent
    January 2, 2008

    totalitarian governments are perfectly consistent with capitalism

    And I’ll repeat my assertion: Anti-capitalists look at authoritarianism and call it capitalism. Capitalists look at authoritarianism and call it statism. We probably agree that authoritarianism SUCKS, but we keep voting for it because each side has paid shills to re-inforce the definitions that prevent objective study.

    Even ostensibly “communist” ones are actually properly called “state capitalist” governments.

    Are you kidding me? Communism = State-Capitalism? I guess to an anarchist, any private property is capitalist.

  166. #166 coathangrrr
    January 2, 2008

    The problem with politics, as opposed to say science, is that definitions are often disputed. What is an atom, what is a liberal? Which one has a clear definition? :)

    Yeah, this is definitely a problem. I often see people arguing at cross purposes or even outright agreeing, but not realizing what the terminology the other is using really means. Like up thread where someone was claiming there has never been a democracy. Which is either true or false depending on what you define democracy as. There is the further problem that an ideal theory, like capitalism or communism, never matches up with the reality of it. That is why one person can say that capitalisms doesn’t work and that capitalism is the cause of many ills in society and another can say that capitalism has never been really been tried. Same with communism. Except none of them are really going to be tried, because ideal theory doesn’t translate into the real world, it never has and it never will.

  167. #167 Nullifidian
    January 2, 2008

    Then why don’t you go out and find some facts? It’s not as if they’re particularly difficult to find. I’d start with Amartya Sen’s analysis of Pinochet’s regime in Hunger and Public Action and Sznajder, M. (1996) “Dilemmas of economic and political modernisation in Chile: A jaguar that wants to be a puma”, Third World Quarterly, 17: 725-736.

    The neoliberal policies implemented were straight out of the Chicago School playbook until 1982, when the worldwide economic slump required them to stray from the plantation, and by that time the decline in the fortunes of Chile’s poorest was already manifesting itself. Am I laying this at the feet of Friedman? You bet your arse I am, because even if it didn’t cause it (a rather untenable claim given the social indicators under Allende compared to the period of the pure Chicago School style of monetarist policy), adherence to the Chicago School policies did not provide sufficient flexibility for facing down any economic challenges that manifested themselves.

  168. #168 coathangrrr
    January 2, 2008

    Anti-capitalists look at authoritarianism and call it capitalism. Capitalists look at authoritarianism and call it statism.

    I disagree. Authoritarianism need not be capitalist, it just generally is. Anarchists recognize statism as separate from capitalism, though not the other way around. You can’t have capitalism, which requires a body to enforce contracts and private property without a state, it simply isn’t possible. you could have a state without a capitalist economy of any sort, though there is no example of such in the modern world. Capitalism means markets, free or otherwise, from the anarchist perspective.

  169. #169 Brian Macker
    January 2, 2008

    “Authoritarianism need not be capitalist, it just generally is. ”

    Empirically false. In modern times the Nazis, Communists, Mugabes of the world prove this all to clearly. In the past there was no capitalism and it was mostly authoritarianism.

    Socialism is the perfect excuse for an authoritarian takeover as history proves over and over. It’s happening with Chavez as we speak.

  170. #170 Jim
    January 2, 2008

    Obviously for the purposes of participating in this discussion I don’t have time to drop everything to go buy/borrow and read Hunger and Public Action. Not having much access to first-hand research, I can only note from casual browsing that Chile’s continued free market reforms after the crash in the early 80s are credited with the result of a relatively prosperous country (relative to other South American nations).

    The basic statistics in the CIA factbook don’t portray a particularly bleak picture of a relatively free-market country:

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ci.html#Econ

    Somebody copied off somebody here:

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

    It notes Chile has a relatively poor income distribution, although there seems to be some dispute over exactly how much of the population is below the poverty line.

    As I said above, I’m not an expert on Chile and if you have read Hunger and Public Action, you are more researched in this area than I am. But given what I’ve read about the factors leading up to the problems in the early 80’s I don’t think it is unreasonable for people to have differing opinions as to the cause(s). It certainly isn’t a conclusive way of shutting down debate by saying Chile 75-82=free market economy=fail.

  171. #171 Nullifidian
    January 2, 2008

    And I’ll repeat my assertion: Anti-capitalists look at authoritarianism and call it capitalism. Capitalists look at authoritarianism and call it statism. We probably agree that authoritarianism SUCKS, but we keep voting for it because each side has paid shills to re-inforce the definitions that prevent objective study.

    You can repeat your assertion until you’re blue in the face, and it will still be nonsense founded on an inability to distinguish the words “consistent with” from “equivalent to”.

    I look at authoritarianism and call it authoritarianism. It doesn’t have anything to do with the economic policies employed. There can be authoritarian socialists, authoritarian capitalists, and on and on. It just happens that Pinochet’s regime was an example of an authoritarian capitalist government, as opposed to the authoritarian populist one of, for example, Peru’s Manuel Odría.

    “Are you kidding me? Communism = State-Capitalism? I guess to an anarchist, any private property is capitalist.”

    No, but congratulations on maintaining a startling consistency in your careless readings. I didn’t say communism was state capitalism, but that communist governments, where enacted, have been more properly called state capitalist ones. Take, for example, the Soviet Union. After the October Revolution, it was actually a government of soviets, or workers’ councils, with a federated system of delegates for high-level decisions, for all of fifteen minutes. Then the Bolsheviks established a strict state bureaucracy, and killed the workers by the thousands when they dared protest their new powerless in this ‘worker’s paradise’ (see Kronstadt 1921 by Paul Avrich for a look at one specific instance).

    So at this point, the Soviet Union stopped being all about its soviets, and yet it wasn’t individually capitalistic either. It was a hybrid of state power and capitalism that is properly called state capitalism. The same thing is going on in contemporary China.

    By the way, I’d suggest you learn something of anarchism, since there are many anarchists who not only countenance but encourage private property, e.g. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (yes, the same Proudhon who said “property is theft” and no, there is no intrinsic contradiction between that statement in context and his support of private property). No anarchists I know use that as their basis for calling something “capitalist”.

  172. #172 Nullifidian
    January 2, 2008

    It certainly isn’t a conclusive way of shutting down debate by saying Chile 75-82=free market economy=fail.

    Which is not the argument I’m making by a long shot. All I am saying is that the economic indicators for the poor and working class went down significantly after Pinochet’s neoliberal policies were enacted. Whether that is a “fail” depends on many imponderables which I could not begin to try to convince you of, including, significantly, whether one gives a damn about the poor and working class.

    Furthermore, the stats you cited are not relevant, since they do not come from the Pinochet era. This is not just academic, since it has been demonstrated (in Manuel Castells’ Globalización, Desarrollo y Democracia) that the reforms undertaken during the period of post-Pinochet democratization caused economic indicators to rise at every level, and the economy to become more redistributive from where it was under Pinochet.

  173. #173 Brian Macker
    January 2, 2008

    “I’m actually rather sorry that most of the best discussion is taking place this far down and this far removed from the original blog post–it’s undoubtedly not getting read by many others outside of us few remaining participants.”

    Which is why I tend not to get too invested in these arguments. I know a hell of a lot more than most of the posters on these areas but it really would take too much effort to teach them. Especially when their religious socialists.

    The whole issue of capitalism naturally working against both racial discrimination and slavery is an interesting one. Thomas Sowell a black economist analyzed this quite well in several of his books.

    Some interesting and counterintuitive facts are that it was bus companies and theater owners who were against Jim Crow, and the state that was for it. Another interesting fact is that trade unions were a standard instrument of discrimination and impediment to reform. This was true outside the US also. In South Africa for instance trade unions used minimum wage laws to prevent blacks from being hired in the mines.

    None of these facts are mysterious with proper economic understanding. Turns out that racists have interests as individuals and as members of the group. However, one is much stronger than the other. It’s almost Dawkinian the way Sowell shows that in this case group selection is the weaker factor under capitalism. Whereas, he also shows that cost shifting via the State and anti-capitalist laws allows group interests to win out.

    I’m not going to dumb it down or explain further. Pick up a book.

    BTW, he also shows that capitalism works against slavery also, and that only via cost shifting via the State or some state like apparatus can slavery pay off. In the long run manumission makes sense to the slaver in a capitalist society where the state won’t pick up his enforcement bills, whereas, with State supported slavery the slaver can shift costs to others in society.

    Isn’t it selfish how P Z Myers spends his time playing with squids instead of doing the hard work of actually reading about the economics of race in order to understand the true problem and get at actual solutions. Shame on all of you for shifting the costs to libertarians why greedily basking in the light of “holier than thou” false and sanctimonious concern for others. If you were truly concerned you’d get off your ass learn something.

    Now I’m going to go do something I enjoy like plan my garden instead of sacrificing my day to make the world a better place, and yes I give blood, voluteer at the boys and girls club, give to charity and the rest.

    Ignorant bigots.

  174. #174 Mikko Sandt
    January 2, 2008

    Nullifidian:
    Now, what really happened in Chile is that wages fell 8% between 1970 and 1989.

    Only goes to show how little you know what you’re talking about. Even if wages fall by 99% it’s not necessary a bad thing. Thanks to government granted privileges, labor unions may negotiate wages that are 99% above their market equilibrium which leads to misallocation of resources, unemployment and so on. Also, nominal wage increases tell nothing about purchasing power. The purchasing power of an average Chilean has increased so that it’s now almost on par with Western Europe. This is thanks to economic reforms initiated under Pinochet, although his successors carried out further important reforms.

    By 1989 the social safety net was hacked to pieces with family allowances declining 28% from 1970, and 20% declines, on average, in housing, education, and health budgets.

    Without Pinochet’s glorious coup there would have been no welfare services of any kind left. Allende was wrecking an economy that was already wrecked.

    which hit 26% during the slump of 1982-1985 and peaked at 30%.

    So? The country was going through a reform and necessary structural changes were needed. The same thing happened in Eastern Europe. A switch from a centrally planned economy to a market economy is bound to cause short-term problems. Look at the situation now. As said, Chile is the most prosperous South-American country with extensive welfare programs.

    The income distribution became more regressive, with the wealthiest 5% receiving 25% of the total national income in 1972 compared to 50% a mere 3 years later.

    Yes, if the rich are not allowed to get richer no one is going to get richer. After all – the peasants in Europe weren’t exactly enjoying a high standard of living until the bourgeoise was allowed to pursue their selfish interests.

    Malnutrition affected one child out of two, and three people out of five, and infant mortality rates skyrocketed.

    This may have been the case for a few years after the coup. As for today, Chile has the lowest infant mortality rate of all South-American countries.

    Furthermore, because of monopolies created by the junta, many small and medium-sized businesses went bust or were severely curtailed, adding to the general economic malaise of the working class.

    This is true but state monopolies were mostly sold during and after Pinochet.

    So hooray for Uncle Milty! He certainly showed the way to run an economy…into the ground.

    There isn’t a single sane economist on the planet who’d agree with the idiotism you’re spewing out.

  175. #175 Alex
    January 2, 2008

    You know, it’s fine if people don’t agree with Ron Paul’s platform, and if you believe we should disregard parts of the Constitution that clash with personal political agendas. But I’m really getting tired of comments like, “…he wants every positive function of government to vanish, he wants what amounts to a police state in place to keep the rest of the world out, all out of fear of those strangers with different customs and ideas.” It shows a fundamental misunderstanding of Paul’s position, and an attempt to marginalize him with inaccurate, emotionally charged rhetoric.

    The main positive function of government is to protect our rights and liberties. That was its purpose when our Constitution was created. The other claims in this quote are completely unfounded. Ron Paul supports a “police state”? How is that possible, given Paul’s “no government” stance? Paul also simply wants to enforce our nation’s current immigration laws. Is that so horrible? Personally, I want the laws to become more liberal, as I think we should be letting more people in who simply want to work towards a better life for them and their families. Paul has also since decided that the concept of a border wall is unrealistic and a bad idea.

    I understand that a lot of liberal-minded individuals see Paul’s ideology as a threat, but I believe that this arises from a failure to understand where he’s coming from. I’ve yet to understand why so many liberal and so-called conservative individuals feel as though it’s not only palatable to disregard the Constitution, but necessary as well. While it’s true that “selfish individualism” is a trademark of the old libertarian guard (or at least a stereotype), modern libertarianism is born largely out of a belief that true freedom works, is mandated by our Constitution, and that mainstream political parties are recklessly grabbing power in order to forward their particular visions of “good”, while setting the stage for a horrible abuse of said power that will dwarf anything that Nixon or Bush have been accused of doing. When you give a government the power to do good, you give them the power to do evil.

  176. #176 Mikko Sandt
    January 2, 2008

    Kevin Carson:
    I don’t see Pinochet’s policies as very “libertarian.”

    Certainly not all of them were. However, he did reverse the direction of the economy from a centrally planned to a market economy. Also, many of the important reforms were carried out by his successors.

    They included, among other things, reversing land reforms and returning land–that rightfully belonged to the peasants–to latifundistas based on quasi-feudal titles.

    Land reforms that involve “returning” land to peasants may not be a good thing as Mugabe’s Zimbabwe has demonstrated. They may be heavily unskilled which means less food production. Also, as for who really owned these lands in the first place, it’s always hard to determine.

    When you privatise anything, it should be done so that whatever is being privatised eventually ends up in the hands of those who’re able to make the most out of it. In the case of land reform this means that the peasants should have the right to sell their property to private enterprises, including Western multinationals.

    2) use the World Bank debt to enslave the country like the company stores enslaved miners, and blackmail it into a “atructural adjustment program” by which it auctions off the roads and utilities to crony capitalists

    Yes, this is of course the wrong way. The WB has got nothing to do with libertarianism. It’s a government owned institution that provides loans to the kind of countries that would never be supported by private banks.

    Finally, there’s nothing very “libertarian” about disappearing and torturing labor organizers, and leaving them in ditches with their faces hacked off.

    Who said there was?

    Not that I have much sympathy for these activists who think it’s okay for the government to seize people’s property.

    On a separate topic, you ought to be careful putting forth the Pacific Rim countries as libertarian utopias.

    There isn’t a single fully libertarian society on Earth. However, we can distinguish relatively libertarian economies from oppressed economies. These are certainly not some libertarian utopias but still fine examples of libertarianism working in practice.

  177. #177 Nullifidian
    January 2, 2008

    Without Pinochet’s glorious coup there would have been no welfare services of any kind left. Allende was wrecking an economy that was already wrecked.

    Pinochet’s “glorious coup” which killed 3,000 people and imprisoned an order of magnitude more. What a loathsome fuckwit you are for characterizing anything which led to such terror and sorrow as “glorious”. I’m certainly glad that this is in record, because it stands as a giant neon sign proclaiming “This is how contemptible you’d have to be to believe what I do.”

  178. #178 Jim
    January 2, 2008

    Euphemism of “glorious coup” aside, are you saying it necessarily follows that if one does, somehow, believe that Chile’s free market reforms did eventually benefit the country that they must also by necessity fully support and agree with Pinochet’s tactics for repressing opposition?

    Surely not, nor do I suspect that was Mikko’s intent. Given that Mikko has come off otherwise as a rather even-keeled type (despite your political/economic differences of opinion), does it really make sense to pick up your interpretation and run with it rather than clarifying whether it was perhaps intended as some form of sarcasm, or are you just trying to be antagonistic?

  179. #179 Nullifidian
    January 2, 2008

    Euphemism of “glorious coup” aside, are you saying it necessarily follows that if one does, somehow, believe that Chile’s free market reforms did eventually benefit the country that they must also by necessity fully support and agree with Pinochet’s tactics for repressing opposition?

    In other words, let’s leave out the relevant characterization which forms the basis for me saying what I did. Nothing in Chile’s free market reforms required a coup, and actually worked better without one, so I can only conclude that anyone who refers to a “glorious coup” in Chile is referring to the actual mechanics of the coup: murdering Allende, disappearing/murdering dissidents, imprisoning people in ad hoc concentration camps, and so on.

    Given that Mikko has come off otherwise as a rather even-keeled type

    As here in message #232, and numerous others: “Either you’re a complete jackass or just dishonest.”

    does it really make sense to pick up your interpretation and run with it rather than clarifying whether it was perhaps intended as some form of sarcasm, or are you just trying to be antagonistic?

    Clarifying things with Mikko is to mud-wrestle with a pig, and I don’t have the patience for it. Why should I treat him as anything other than the rude, contemptible, and arrogant slime he’s already revealed himself to be in his prior responses? I do believe that he was entirely serious, because his arrogance is so broad that it becomes sociopathic–as long as his ideals are being flattered, and even if the evidence doesn’t bear him out (witness his response to me), then it doesn’t matter what is going on to the poor and working-class, whom he probably regards as slightly subhuman anyway.

  180. #180 coathangrrr
    January 2, 2008

    Who said there was?

    Not that I have much sympathy for these activists who think it’s okay for the government to seize people’s property.

    It is saying things like this that causes people to think so lowly of libertarians. Comparing torture and murder with redistribution is absurd and offensive. It seems pretty obvious that you think unions are somehow inherently bad because they allow labor some small amount of power in the market, which “distorts” wages.

  181. #181 Steve_C
    January 2, 2008

    Can we just move on from Ron Paul? He’s a douche. Ross Perot had more supporters.

    Ron Paul is not popular.

  182. #182 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    As for true natural monopolies (non-excludable public goods with a free rider problem), I think

    Whatever you think of them, they occur. Thus Jim’s statement was false, and his bleating protests are intellectually dishonest. But then he’s a libertarian, and you can’t be a libertarian without being intellectually dishonest.

  183. #183 Tulse
    January 2, 2008

    Ron Paul is not popular.

    Exactly. He polls in the single digits. Just because his few supporters are insanely vocal is no reason to give him more credence than candidates with a much larger base of support and a much greater chance of running the country. It would make far more sense to put this kind of analysis into the positions of Guiliani, or Romney, or Clinton, or Obama, rather than spend this kind of effort on a marginal kook with no chance of winning the nomination, much less the presidency.

  184. #184 independent
    January 2, 2008

    Unfortunately, most of the mainstream candidates don’t have solid policy proposals to discuss. We could talk about Hillary’s healthcare proposal, but that’s just basically $120 billion a year to the insurance companies annually. She said oil prices will drop “just because she’s elected” and the oil-producing countries will slash prices to prevent her from enacting Manhattan-project levels of alternative energy research.

    Of course, we could have Obama, backed by Clinton-era staffers and similar corporate sponsors. Edwards? There might be “two Americas” but the guy living in a 30,000 sqft house and riding around in a private train isn’t from the same America as me. His health-care proposal is special: treatment would be mandatory.

  185. #185 Tulse
    January 3, 2008

    the guy living in a 30,000 sqft house and riding around in a private train isn’t from the same America as me

    Name me one national politician polling more than 1% who isn’t wealthy.

  186. #186 independent
    January 3, 2008

    Its his mandatory health-care treatments that creep me out; I find his wealth and hypocritical class-warfare rhetoric simply amusing (well, dangerous to the extent people believe him).

    But go ahead and remind everyone how rich the ‘front-runner’ lawyers are… My original point was that Washington D.C. isn’t suited to serve local interests like schools and medicine and shouldn’t be trusted with such public wealth and power as we have given up in the last 20-30 years.

  187. #187 Greg Newburn
    January 3, 2008

    Despite Paul’s (significant) shortcomings, he nicely sums up why I’ll still vote for him:

    “I don’t want to run your life. We all have different values. I wouldn’t know how to do it, I don’t have the authority under the Constitution, and I don’t have the moral right … I don’t want to run the economy. People run the economy in a free society … I don’t want to run the world … We don’t need to be imposing ourselves around the world.”

    From Brian Doherty’s Reason article: http://www.reason.com/news/show/123905.html

  188. #188 coathangrrr
    January 3, 2008

    No, he wants the state government to run your life, outlaw abortion, etc.

  189. #189 Rey Fox
    January 3, 2008

    So, apparently once you’ve earned a certain amount of money, you are no longer allowed to sympathize with the plight of the lower class. Unless you give up all of said money and live an ascetic life and run an ascetic political campaign. Sounds unworkable to me.

    It reminds me of all those ridiculous attempts to smear Al Gore because he lives in a big (carbon neutral) house or because he ate some Chilean Sea Bass at a party once. We’re not into cults of personality, and we can distinguish between a person’s personal life and their public policy.

  190. #190 Mikko Sandt
    January 3, 2008

    Nullifidian:
    What a loathsome fuckwit you are for characterizing anything which led to such terror and sorrow as “glorious”.

    If you can’t recognize that Pinochet’s coup saved Chile from an economic disaster (which would have made that 3000 look pretty modest) despite the fact that he killed some people (3000 is pretty lame compared to his Stalinist counterparts in Cambodia, China, the USSR and so on) then I really cannot help you.

    Nothing in Chile’s free market reforms required a coup

    Except removing Salvador Allende, a criminal, from power.

  191. #191 Brownian, OM
    January 3, 2008

    I’m going to use all of Mikko’s justifications if I ever need to kill someone.

    “You see Your Honour, if I didn’t kill Mrs. Duncan and appropriate her uncashed Social Assistance cheques, all of Western Civilisation would have been plunged into chaos leading to the inevitable death of millions. Besides, one old broad with a walker is a spit in the bucket compared to the fifty-seven people I shot in that bank heist–oops, can we strike that last comment?”

    Glorious indeed.

  192. #192 Brownian, OM
    January 3, 2008

    At the appeal:

    “Besides, Your Honour, I killed her after watching her continue to cross the street after the light changed.

    Well, don’t you see? She was A CRIMINAL!”

    Thanks for the laugh, Mikko.

    Uh, you were kidding, weren’t you?

  193. #193 truth machine
    January 3, 2008

    Mikko wasn’t telling a joke, he is one.

  194. #194 Mikko Sandt
    January 3, 2008

    Nullifidian:
    “Libertarian” emerged in Europe as a synonym for “anarchist”. It’s only in America where you have neo-feudalists misappropriating the term to refer to their own conception of laissez-faire.

    Anarchism cannot exist without private property. In fact, private property is the foundation of anarchism. Otherwise you’ll have a bunch of greedy communists seizing your property whenever they feel you’re not working for the “common good”. Left libertarianism is a joke.

  195. #195 Mikko Sandt
    January 3, 2008

    Brownian, OM:
    “You see Your Honour, if I didn’t kill Mrs. Duncan and appropriate her uncashed Social Assistance cheques”

    If you cannot see the difference between Mrs. Duncan cashing a welfare check and a man who’s inflating the money supply, seizing property, being friends with militant communists, causing shortages of food etc. then I really can’t help you.

  196. #196 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 3, 2008

    If you cannot see the difference between Mrs. Duncan cashing a welfare check and a man who’s inflating the money supply, seizing property, being friends with militant communists, causing shortages of food etc. then I really can’t help you.

    And waiting for the next election was not an option?

    I’d also like some evidence for the deliberate food shortages. Further, I’d like to see that the inflation was worse than the deflation Milton Friedman later wrought.

    My original point was that Washington D.C. isn’t suited to serve local interests like schools and medicine and shouldn’t be trusted with such public wealth and power as we have given up in the last 20-30 years.

    Was that a point? Or just an assertion (as another libertarian here put it, “Libertarians believe”)?

    Comment 442:

    through several paragraphs, you manage to elucidate what I thought was the obvious implied point I was making.

    *shrug*

    I guess I should be more specific next time, so as not to have the obvious explained to myself.

    Indeed, what i was hoping for was NOT an answer to the obvious from yourself, but rather seeing whether mikko had any comprehension of what I meant by that.

    I wanted to explain it to him, because I thought he had clearly not understood it.

    “Authoritarianism need not be capitalist, it just generally is. ”

    Empirically false. In modern times the Nazis, Communists, Mugabes of the world prove this all to clearly. In the past there was no capitalism and it was mostly authoritarianism.

    If you have a sufficiently purist view of what is and is not capitalism, sure… by analogy, that would mean there has never been a communist country either…

    Socialism is the perfect excuse for an authoritarian takeover as history proves over and over. It’s happening with Chavez as we speak.

    Communism is the perfect excuse for an authoritarian takeover. Socialism by definition wants any takeover to happen by election, not by revolution; that makes it harder. Chávez tried anyway, and, lo & behold, he (narrowly) lost. He’s foaming at the mouth, but he can’t do anything against that, and he won’t do anything against that. That would be majorly bad PR, and he knows that if his PR gets too bad, he’s in serious trouble.

    A few decades ago, the Soviet Union said it wasn’t communist, it was socialist. This was at once a reference to strict Marxist theory (where socialism and communism are stages in the “inevitable” development of a society, and the USSR had only reached the stage of socialism) and a propaganda coup (see above for the difference between the ideologies of communism and socialism). Various US conservatives took this propaganda coup and ran with it, because it allowed them to equate socialists with communists (and everyone to their left with socialists). This seems to be the definition you are using.

  197. #197 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 3, 2008

    If you cannot see the difference between Mrs. Duncan cashing a welfare check and a man who’s inflating the money supply, seizing property, being friends with militant communists, causing shortages of food etc. then I really can’t help you.

    And waiting for the next election was not an option?

    I’d also like some evidence for the deliberate food shortages. Further, I’d like to see that the inflation was worse than the deflation Milton Friedman later wrought.

    My original point was that Washington D.C. isn’t suited to serve local interests like schools and medicine and shouldn’t be trusted with such public wealth and power as we have given up in the last 20-30 years.

    Was that a point? Or just an assertion (as another libertarian here put it, “Libertarians believe”)?

    Comment 442:

    through several paragraphs, you manage to elucidate what I thought was the obvious implied point I was making.

    *shrug*

    I guess I should be more specific next time, so as not to have the obvious explained to myself.

    Indeed, what i was hoping for was NOT an answer to the obvious from yourself, but rather seeing whether mikko had any comprehension of what I meant by that.

    I wanted to explain it to him, because I thought he had clearly not understood it.

    “Authoritarianism need not be capitalist, it just generally is. ”

    Empirically false. In modern times the Nazis, Communists, Mugabes of the world prove this all to clearly. In the past there was no capitalism and it was mostly authoritarianism.

    If you have a sufficiently purist view of what is and is not capitalism, sure… by analogy, that would mean there has never been a communist country either…

    Socialism is the perfect excuse for an authoritarian takeover as history proves over and over. It’s happening with Chavez as we speak.

    Communism is the perfect excuse for an authoritarian takeover. Socialism by definition wants any takeover to happen by election, not by revolution; that makes it harder. Chávez tried anyway, and, lo & behold, he (narrowly) lost. He’s foaming at the mouth, but he can’t do anything against that, and he won’t do anything against that. That would be majorly bad PR, and he knows that if his PR gets too bad, he’s in serious trouble.

    A few decades ago, the Soviet Union said it wasn’t communist, it was socialist. This was at once a reference to strict Marxist theory (where socialism and communism are stages in the “inevitable” development of a society, and the USSR had only reached the stage of socialism) and a propaganda coup (see above for the difference between the ideologies of communism and socialism). Various US conservatives took this propaganda coup and ran with it, because it allowed them to equate socialists with communists (and everyone to their left with socialists). This seems to be the definition you are using.

  198. #198 coathangrrr
    January 3, 2008

    Anarchism cannot exist without private property. In fact, private property is the foundation of anarchism.

    I’m rather amazed at your ability to become more and more wrong the more you say. Anarchism certainly can exist without private property. In fact, without a government, there is no such thing as private property. The first role of the government is to enforce property rights. The foundation of Anarchism is the idea that we need not have a government to run society, not private property.

  199. #199 Jim
    January 4, 2008

    For a truly excellent and recent discussion on Anarchy, I recommend Cato Unbound’s August discussion optic:

    “August 2007: Who Needs Government? Pirates, Collapsed States, and the Possibility of Anarchy”

    http://www.cato-unbound.org/archives/august-2007/

    Here is a teaser that mentions private property within the context of anarchy:

    “On the other hand, most consequentialist defenses of anarchy are purely speculative. In forging responses to how a stateless society could cope with every conceivable contingency it might confront, anarchists often offer imaginative conjecture, in some cases bordering on science fiction.

    Ironically, the case for anarchy derives its strength from empirical evidence, not theory.

    Most of the world, for most of its history, has existed without effective governments. As noted economic historian Joel Mokyr points out, “In England,” for example, “there was not even a professional police force to protect private property” until the 19th century.”

    I didn’t get into the December topic, but Cato Unbuond often has really great topics that are presented in a format that allows for some nice depth of argument. The anarchy discussion was really fascinating.

  200. #200 Tulse
    January 4, 2008

    As noted economic historian Joel Mokyr points out, “In England,” for example, “there was not even a professional police force to protect private property” until the 19th century.”

    Which, of course, is completely different from saying “There was no protection for private property”, unless you believe that property theft wasn’t punished by state officials until the 19th century.

  201. #201 research scientist
    January 8, 2008

    As a skeptic and a science blog, i was happy to stumble across your blog. I checked out a post or two and added it to my RSS feed before heading off for the holiddays.

    When i got back, one of the first posts i noticed was an anti ron paul diatribe. Now, on political tests i score between liberal and libertarian, and i probably won’t vote for ron paul in any case, i think he’s too religious, for one things, but i also noticed you posted and anti-hillary clinton letter you received, and, frankly, the main difference between his political statement and yours was that his was longer and contained some neat colors.

    Just making some random statements about “greed” and “self-centeredness” and describing someone else’s position as “fecal” is as open-minded and fact-based as a creationist stumbling across your blog and using the same sort of language and rhetoric; in other words, you don’t seem appreciably different than the people you’re opposing, in the language, arguments, and personal attacks you’re making.

  202. #202 Mikko Sandt
    January 8, 2008

    David Marjanovi?:
    And waiting for the next election was not an option?

    Allende was relatively popular even when the country was going downhill. Nazis were given power by the people. Chavez was re-elected…

    I simply don’t see how being democratic provides an excuse for nationalizations etc. Democracy is important only for as long as it maintains the freedoms we now have after centuries of nothing but crap. How much would you value a democratic decision that calls for your imprisonment for voicing your opinion?

    I’d also like some evidence for the deliberate food shortages.

    I didn’t say deliberate. Many socialists don’t understand things like cause & effect. But being an idiot is no excuse for ruining a country.

    Further, I’d like to see that the inflation was worse than the deflation Milton Friedman later wrought.

    Deflation was needed. Inflation was not. Allende printed money to pay for all those wage increases and social programs.

    coathangrrr:
    Anarchism certainly can exist without private property. In fact, without a government, there is no such thing as private property. The first role of the government is to enforce property rights.

    You cannot be against private property without having a hierarchical government of some kind.

    For example, in a stateless system companies may be formed spontaneously by free individuals, and you cannot stop that without having a government that uses (or threatens to use) force on individuals. From what I know, the so called “anarchists” don’t allow using force for any other purposes than self defense.

    People will not give up their property for the common good. In the kind of a perverted anarchy you’re advocating you’d have gangs of looters socializing other people’s property by using force. This isn’t the kind of liberation from hierarchies anarchists are advocating. You’d have exactly the kind of a system that now exists in countries like North Korea where others tell you what you’re supposed to do with your life.

    From what I know, some anarchists actually support things like freedom of religion. But such a thing cannot exist if people are not allowed to own bibles, churches etc. Freedom of speech cannot exist if looters are allowed to socialize news stations for the common good.

    Private property can exist without a government. You’d have private security services, for example, protecting your property from aggressors.

  203. #203 Baby Jane
    January 11, 2008

    You people are brainwashed as well as ill-informed. Can I get a BAH…BAH. You’re all a bunch of Communist sheep. I should know, I used to be a Liberal.

  204. #204 Robert
    January 11, 2008

    Spurge said:

    Sure independent.

    I am going to be able to hire a lawyer and beat a company with an army of lawyers and billions to spend.

    If you can find others hurt by this big company, you just might be able to win through class action lawsuit. There’s your army to retaliate against the company’s army.

  205. #205 Robert
    January 11, 2008

    Mikko Sandt, that was a good post. Also, it is a whole lot easier to deter aggressors against your property if you have a personal WMD like microbial weapons and nanite-weapons. Given technological trends in this Century, these weapons will probably be available for home manufacture by the mid to late Twenty-First Century. Hell, even a home-made guided anti-tank/anti-aircraft missile can be helpful in enforcing individual sovereignty. There will never be a World Government.

    Eat that Statists!

  206. #206 Robert
    January 11, 2008

    coathangrrr said:

    No, he wants the state government to run your life, outlaw abortion, etc.

    Then don’t live in that state. After all, I have decided not to live all my life in the People’s Nanny-State of Kalifornia.

  207. #207 Robert
    January 12, 2008

    Huh, no replies yet eh? Apparently you statists want to ignore the fact that this Century doesn’t favor you. The Nanny-State isn’t worth FUCKING SHIT when its enforcers are easy to kill. That’s right, EASY TO KILL!

    Better not pass any more god-damned regulations.

  208. #208 Robert
    January 12, 2008

    Ken Cope:

    We did, thank you. Libertarians and Objectivists are just another pair of cults with some overlap in membership.

    Oh really, I would prefer their “cults” than your cult of “smiley-face” fascist statism. Besides, the technological trends favor mine over yours in the mid to late Twenty-First Century. Your enforcers are DEAD.

  209. #209 Robert
    January 12, 2008

    OOops! I forgot to answer PZ’s question!
    Q: Why is Ron Paul so popular?
    A: Because a lot of people agree with his ideas, that, and “cult of personality”.

  210. #210 Nullifidian
    January 19, 2008

    Anarchism cannot exist without private property. In fact, private property is the foundation of anarchism. Otherwise you’ll have a bunch of greedy communists seizing your property whenever they feel you’re not working for the “common good”. Left libertarianism is a joke.

    No, actually you are a joke; or rather a long-standing work of performance art based around the concept of self-referential irony.

    Namely telling me, an anarchist, what is the foundation of anarchism, on the principle that “greedy communists” can seize the fruit of one’s efforts whenever they unilaterally determine one is doing it wrong, all the while supporting a coup which basically turned the property of the people of Chile–the country itself–into the private fiefdom of Pinochet, his high-ranking supporters, and American corporations.

  211. #211 Nullifidian
    January 19, 2008

    You people are brainwashed as well as ill-informed. Can I get a BAH…BAH. You’re all a bunch of Communist sheep. I should know, I used to be a Liberal.

    So you used to be a liberal, but you were unaware that liberals hate and despise all forms of leftism? And you were further unaware that Communists reciprocated by calling reformism “socialism in words and fascism in deeds” and officially declared social democracy “social fascism”?

    That is, incidentally, the theme of the latest spit-up from Jonah Goldberg, whose adherence to the Stalinist party line from the sinecure of one of the nation’s most conservative and anti-communist magazines is truly vintage irony.

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