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 The Science Pundit
    December 29, 2007

    I’ve never understood the appeal of Ron Paul.

    Who supports him?

    Republicans who are against the war! Who else?

  2. #2 Martin
    December 29, 2007

    Pretty much anyone with an extensive collection of tinfoil hats.

  3. #3 Abbie
    December 29, 2007

    I really hope that the Ron Paul mania is driven by his positions on the War On Terror/Drugs. I think people love him because of that, and kind of excuse the crazy libertarian shit. I’m sure those selling points are used by libertarians to dupe otherwise smart people into supporting such a wacky candidate.

    As much as I would love to be out of Iraq and have a sensible drug policy, Ron Paul is not the way. Thankfully he has no shot.

  4. #4 peonista
    December 29, 2007

    Very brave PZ to risk the wrath of the Paulistas by impuning the sanity of their savior. I recently read Naomi Klines’s Shock Doctrine which gives you a taste for what life would be like under Dr. Paul’s libertarian nightmare.
    It is shocking the number of people I know who are normally for pretty progressive politics that have fallen under the Ron Paul spell.
    Brace yourself for an invasion of Paul defenders.

  5. #5 silence
    December 29, 2007

    His actual supporters seem to be John Birch Society types, neo-nazis, neoconfederates, and deluded techies who are somehow blind to whom they’re jumping into bed with.

  6. #6 Abbie
    December 29, 2007

    Who supports him?

    As far as I can tell:

    1. Liberals who are so flabbergasted that he dares to criticize the War on Drugs and that he comes out so strong against the War on Terror bullshit that they are blinded and don’t see the rest of his platform.
    2. Selfish twats.

  7. #7 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.

  8. #8 Orac
    December 29, 2007

    So far my post on Ron Paul’s support for quackery has avoided the Internet Bat Signal. I must not be “worthy” of the Paul-bots’ notice.

  9. #9 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.

  10. #10 Coturnix
    December 29, 2007

    Yes, for a bunch of “each to his own” folks, they are surprisingly organized.

  11. #11 uknesvuinng
    December 29, 2007

    Should we start a pool on what post number the first Paul apologist will appear? I call #14.

  12. #12 Carlie
    December 29, 2007

    From Firedoglake, via Jeff Fecke at Shakesville:
    Vox Day endorses Ron Paul. ‘Nuff said.

  13. #13 Tyler DiPietro
    December 29, 2007

    I would never support Ron Paul if he had an actual chance of winning. That being said, the message his campaign has come to be associated with is an important. So I support him in raising the issues about our runaway militarism, the war on drugs, etc. But I’ll never be able to bring myself to support him for actual public office when he advocates lunacy like a return to the gold-standard and eliminating just about every public sector function adopted since the turn of the century.

  14. #14 Dennis
    December 29, 2007

    Ron Paul is just one festering pustule on the Republican ticket. The whole field is fecund. These are the results of Republican pandering to the lowest denominator for the last 10 years. they have reaped what they sowed (just to be a little biblical about it,they understand this far better than I do;).

    Rove’s legacy is I will never vote republican, and never have, in my life.

  15. #15 No More Mr. Nice Guy!
    December 29, 2007

    Scary as Ron Paul is, his zealots are even scarier. I am deeply suspicious of any candidate that provokes that level of mouth-foaming fanaticism.

  16. #16 Inbok Yea
    December 29, 2007

    Can anyone tell me what does the “war on drugs” consists of? I am ignorant about it, and you know, I want to know more.

  17. #17 Tyler DiPietro
    December 29, 2007

    “Can anyone tell me what does the “war on drugs” consists of?”

    For starters, in consists of no knock warrants, mandatory minimum sentencing laws, drug informants about about a bazillion other violations of civil liberties and invitations to law enforcement corruption. That and the insane policy of locking people up for voluntarily ingesting certain substances.

  18. #18 Ian B Gibson
    December 29, 2007

    I don’t understand what you mean by asking why he’s ‘so popular’ – current opinion polls put him on 2-4% nationally and 1% in Iowa.

    http://www.pollingreport.com/

  19. #19 Dan
    December 29, 2007

    People like Ron Paul because they hate politicians – all of them – and both of our political parties. He’s got so little political savvy going for him it’s actually a positive asset, because it makes him look human and rational.

    Enthusiasm for Ron Paul is, in reality, a direct outgrowth of hating everyone else in our politics.

  20. #20 Monsignor Henry Clay
    December 29, 2007

    Hey,

    My two favorite blogs (Ed and P.Z.) disapprove of the same person! Hurrah! Finally I know what it’s like to be a Rush Limbaugh listener. This “not having to think” thing is kind of nice.

  21. #21 truth machine
    December 29, 2007

    Ron Paul is just one festering pustule on the Republican ticket. The whole field is fecund.

    Uh, fecund?

  22. #22 Cain
    December 29, 2007

    Not to defend libertarianism, but a lot of Paul’s positions don’t seem so, well, libertarian. Most of the libertarians I have ever read are pro-choice and open borders (or more accurately, unlimited cheap labor) types.

  23. #23 G Felis
    December 29, 2007

    And whatever institutions and actions constitute the “war on drugs,” the consequences are abundantly clear: The United States of America, “home of the free,” has a documented per capita prison population than any other country in the world.

    WOO HOO! We’re Number One! We’re Number One!

    (If anyone missed the sarcasm in that cheer, please go have some sort of neurological work-up. You ain’t right in the head.)

  24. #24 G Felis
    December 29, 2007

    Er, somehow I left the word “higher” in that linked sentence. But I’m sure y’all get the point.

  25. #25 shiftlessbum
    December 29, 2007

    Who supports Ron Paul? According to Rack Jite, in addition to the core group of bat-shit crazy libertarians and “racist organizations, right-wing militias, NRA Life Members, and above all, those who hate paying taxes so much it should scare the Hell out of you”, much of his surge is due to the intertubes in a Dean-like webroots campaign. And THAT means his support comes from “stupid ill informed clueless children”. Twenty-somethings who can’t or won’t think for themselves. The DUH Generation. Best description of the current crop of young-uns I’ve seen. More apt than “Me Generation” and not as stupid as “X-Generation”.

  26. #26 J Myers
    December 29, 2007

    … techies who are somehow blind to whom they’re jumping into bed with.

    Beggars, choosers…

  27. #27 Dan McKinley
    December 29, 2007

    If you want to see the kind of wingnuts that support him, go here, I’m sure dozens will show up shortly:

    http://politics.reddit.com/info/644m4/comments

  28. #28 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!

  29. #29 independent
    December 29, 2007

    I can tell you why he’s popular, but you probably still won’t get it.

    Libertarianism ISN’T when a few corporations use government power, tax loopholes, and subsidies to reduce competition and set the national agenda. Libertarianism ISN’T an invitation to unlimited polluting, it respects property rights and allows you to sue someone who trashes your land or air (rather than allowing polluters to hide behind EPA loopholes).

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

    Libertarians have the same goals as many liberals. The only difference is that we trust normal people like you and me to achieve the progressive society. Liberals think some government ruling-elite is the best way to achieve that. I’m waiting for a shred of historical proof that a government created a free, prosperous, and fair society by taking more power and wealth from its people.

  30. #30 RamblinDude
    December 29, 2007

    He’s got so little political savvy going for him it’s actually a positive asset, because it makes him look human and rational.

    That is exactly right. He is popular because he’s the atypical politician, one that doesn’t seem to be bought and sold by corporations and lobbyists. People are so keen for a real person who says what he thinks without regard for the political consequences that they are willing to overlook the kookery.

    Digg.com has been promoting him like the next Jesus, but that may be starting to change. There was actually a negative story dugg on him when he came out saying he didn’t believe in evolution–the diggsters aren’t very sympathetic to creationists. Their still in love with him but they seem to be throwing a lot of support to Obama and Kucinich lately.

  31. #31 Mike
    December 29, 2007

    I thought the same thing, then I actually started looking at his [Paul] voting record and what his campaign promises were. I think he may be the real deal: honest. That makes a lot of difference to me.

    I don’t agree on all the issues he supports (I’m pro-choice for instance) but you have to remember, he won’t try to push his personal agenda through the way GWB has done.

    He really truly is a constitutionalist and will work with the Congress. And I think we all know the Congress will soften or totally dismiss some of his more extreme Libertarian ideas.

    I’m voting for him simply to bring a little truth, honesty and integrity back into politics.

  32. #32 spurge
    December 29, 2007

    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.

  33. #33 Tyler DiPietro
    December 29, 2007

    @ Dan McKinley,

    Viewing that thread as it is, I’m thinking they need to find a way to idiot proof Reddit comments.

  34. #34 Moses
    December 29, 2007

    I’ve never understood the appeal of Ron Paul.

    Who supports him?

    Republicans who are against the war! Who else?

    Posted by: The Science Pundit | December 29, 2007 8:28 PM

    The hardcore supporters are: Neo-Nazis. Natavists. Tax protestors. The K-Ration circuit guys (Posse & Freemen movements). Nut jobs.

    There are fringe supporters who, I suspect, don’t really realize that they’ll be on the outside, not the inside, in Ron Paul’s “ideal universe.”

  35. #35 Abbie
    December 29, 2007

    ibertarians have the same goals as many liberals.

    Yeah, like dismantling the Department of Education. And repealing Roe v Wade. Lots of liberals gunning for that.

  36. #36 tim gueguen
    December 29, 2007

    Full blown libertarianism might work in a country that restarted everything at zero. That is every cent of value in the country would be tabulated and gathered together, and then every citizen would get an equal share of the value, after which minimalist government would come into force and you’d be on your own. But in the real world, where competing groups never have equal resources it really won’t work. It doesn’t matter if I can sue corporation X for polluting my individual plot of land when they have the resources to hire far better legal representation than me, buy off the weaker willed land owners around me to not participate in a lawsuit alongside me and so on.

  37. #37 Tswift
    December 29, 2007

    It seems to me that a lot of the internet support for Ron Paul (basically his entire base) stems from a misunderstanding of him. They see some issues that they agree with, his position on the war, his views on drugs, that they don’t really understand where he’s coming from, and the reasons behind his positions. I have a friend who is an intense Ron Paul zealot, and every time I point out some of the crazy things Paul does, he just says “Well, I don’t agree with that.” I am a proponent of free thinking, but when you basically disagree with the majority of your candidate’s actions/positions, there’s a problem. I mentioned that Ron Paul’s policies would not be feasible in America, it would ruin the country, and my friend claimed that it was alright, because Congress wouldn’t implement too many of his policies anyway. Pretty scary to think that we would elect a President, relying on the fact that he’s going to be ignored.

  38. #38 Troy
    December 29, 2007

    You know why they called it Reason?

    ‘cuz WANK was taken already!

    Anyhoo, this:

    find the money to support those dependent on Social Security and Medicare by shutting down the worldwide empire

    caught my eye. We’re spending $600B this year on the wwe. Divided by $100k, that’s SIX MILLION JOBS in this sector. That’s a lot of unemployed people should we spin down our foreign entanglements biz.

    And how the fuck is one “dependent” on Medicare? I mean, who’s got the ready cash in this country to be able to pay for a heart bypass or hip replacement out of pocket?

  39. #39 independent
    December 29, 2007

    Yeah, like dismantling the Department of Education. And repealing Roe v Wade. Lots of liberals gunning for that.

    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.

    We could completely abolish the federal government, and there would still be state and local governments – the ones who actually fund the vast majority of the schools, hospitals, police, and roads. Federal libertarianism isn’t anarchy, and it doesn’t preclude local liberalism and community-based socialism.

    If anything, the federal government has become the major roadblock to any state or local progressive policy.

  40. #40 Moses
    December 29, 2007

    Libertarianism ISN’T when a few corporations use government power, tax loopholes, and subsidies to reduce competition and set the national agenda. Libertarianism ISN’T an invitation to unlimited polluting, it respects property rights and allows you to sue someone who trashes your land or air (rather than allowing polluters to hide behind EPA loopholes).

    No, it’s about a complete lack of regulation and laissez faire capitalism. Like during the gilded age when people were worked to death in dangerous factories and poisoned by their food and water while the industrialists became obscenely rich.

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

    And they would stop dumping toxins in the river if there were no government? Do you not realize just how incredibly stupid your argument is? Especially in light of the vast improvement in air and water quality we’ve had since the 1960’s?

    Sure, there are still some pretty bad rivers and other waterways, like the poisoned beaches in Prince William Sound, but that’s because the irresponsible Corporations refuse to be accountable and drag it out in court. And you’ll note that, GE (PCBs in Eastern Rivers) and Exxon (PWS) aren’t cleaning up their messes. But fighting the government tooth and nail to avoid their just responsibility.

    And, regardless of your masturbatory fantasy’s of individual actions roping in big corporations, it doesn’t happen in real life without the government to back it up.

    And let’s be clear about criminal – in the old laissez faire days of the wild west, the murder rate was well over double what it is now. Because government came and civilized the frontier.

    Libertarians have the same goals as many liberals. The only difference is that we trust normal people like you and me to achieve the progressive society. Liberals think some government ruling-elite is the best way to achieve that. I’m waiting for a shred of historical proof that a government created a free, prosperous, and fair society by taking more power and wealth from its people.

    Bullshit. You want unfettered capitalism and no social obligation. Liberals understand that there is more to life than putting as much money in your pocket. Such as helping your fellow man who is in need of help.

    In short, you’ve repeated the same tired old bullshit. Comeback when you get a clue instead of trying to ram the stupidity of Libertarianism up our asses.

  41. #41 Mrs Tilton
    December 29, 2007

    Lookit, there’s nothing hard to understand here. Paul is by far the most palatable of the Republican candidates. Which is like saying that anthrax is by far the most desirable of the fatal bacterial diseases.

    On a couple of (fairly big) points, Paul is OK, or at least not actively a madman. But there are lots of other points, and there Paul’s take varies between unsatisfying and abominable. So: mad props, Ron, for the few limited points where you set yourself apart from the rest of the Republican pack by being a human; but still and all, don’t expect our votes.

  42. #42 spurge
    December 29, 2007

    “who’s got the ready cash in this country to be able to pay for a heart bypass or hip replacement out of pocket?”

    Libertarians?

  43. #43 Josh
    December 29, 2007

    I definitely don’t want Paul to be president, but he’s playing a crucial role in the next election. We need him, quackery or not, to take votes from the fascists like Guiliani and Romney. We know he’s not going to get the republican nomination, but you can bet your tentacles he’s not gonna sit out the election. Things will work out even better if Huckabee does the same, since he’ll take some of the fundy vote away from the Republifascists.

  44. #44 jeff
    December 29, 2007

    I work very closely with a woman who underwent, a month or so ago, what I can only say was a quasi-religious conversion to Paul. She is a lesbian, a daughter of Middle-Eastern immigrants, and well-educated (more-or-less…not like many of us, who are philosophers or scientists). She is now browbeating people in the office and has become very disruptive. From what I can tell, the key for her is the notion that all of our problems–war, the uber-rich overclass, racism, etc.–stem from the income tax.

    No, really. Abolish the government, and everything else falls into place. (She concedes that the individual states will have to, severally, impose enormous levies on purchases and implement statewide police-states–but claims that I’d be happy to take home $8,000 more a year in exchange for wholly regressive taxes in support of state violence against the less fortunate.)

    Scary, yes. But not a racist.

  45. #45 Joe Cooper
    December 29, 2007

    Since you asked, I’m one of the people who supports Ron Paul.

    I am an atheist, a software developer, writer, entrepreneur, and a (gasp!) libertarian. I don’t agree with everything Ron Paul stands for, of course, but I believe he is an honest man in a den of thieves (who is now, thankfully, well-armed with plenty of cash to keep the liars and thieves at bay through the rest of the campaign).

    To get specific about where I disagree, I think his position on abortion is distinctly un-libertarian…but I trust him to not overstep the bounds the constitution imposes on the President on this issue or any other (unlike any of the other frontrunner candidates in either party). I also know his position on abortion is an informed one–he has performed abortions in his ob/gyn practice to protect the life of the mother. He is not a knee-jerk jackass making pronouncements from a position of ignorance, and I can respect his views while disagreeing with them. Unlike the Huckster or Romney.

    I also don’t like his immigration stance…but I do think he’s right when he says that Americans will become less afraid of immigrants (legal or otherwise) when the economy improves, and I can’t help but agree that as long as we have a system of entitlements that is broken badly by non-contributing users, like Welfare, public education, the medical system, etc., a lax approach to illegal immigration can’t work. I’d rather fix the problem at its source than blame immigrants for every problem in America, but that discussion has been put off the table by both Republicans and Democrats.

    Now that the negatives are out of the way, let’s talk about the positives:

    Ron Paul voted against the war in Iraq. Every time. From the beginning. He spoke against it, from the beginning, in clear and certain terms. He was a lonely voice of sanity in a nation whipped into an ideological fervor based on lies and misdirection. Hillary Clinton either took an active role in the deception, or was foolish enough to fall for it. All of the other front runners who had the chance to speak against the war failed to do so.

    Ron Paul brings up interesting and useful questions about the economy and the Federal Reserve practices that gave us the current credit crisis. I don’t know enough to know if returning to the gold standard is wise (I lean towards not, but that may be uninformed bias), but I do know that we need to be talking about our monetary policy in a serious way. It is clearly broken and being used to fund an unconstitutional war with the bill made out to our kids and grand kids. If that doesn’t piss you off, we’re unlikely to agree on anything.

    Ron Paul has never voted for an unbalanced budget. Continuing the theme of writing checks the current generation can’t cash…we’ve been running a massive deficit since Clinton left office, and that’s a disaster waiting to happen. No one else is talking about this problem, and no one has a record of voting for only balanced budgets.

    In short, we have a crapheap of candidates to choose from, or Ron Paul. I don’t have to agree with everything he says to know that I’d rather have him in charge than Hillary, Rudy, Mitt, the Huckster, Barack, McCain, or Edwards.

  46. #46 Moses
    December 29, 2007

    He really truly is a constitutionalist and will work with the Congress. And I think we all know the Congress will soften or totally dismiss some of his more extreme Libertarian ideas.

    No, Mike, he’s not. He picks and chooses what he supports and ignores what he doesn’t. He ignores much of Article 1 (regarding the Treasury and money). He ignores the 14th Amendment because it interferes with unlimited “States Rights.” He ignores the 16th Amendment (allows income taxation).

    I’m a Constitutionalist. But not a strict Constructionist. Or a Pick-and-Choose Constructionist like Ron Paul.

    I’m voting for him simply to bring a little truth, honesty and integrity back into politics.

    Posted by: Mike | December 29, 2007 9:46 PM

    Sorry, but he’s anything but honest. He’s done a good job in burying his racist past and lying about it. But those newsletters were his. He’s good at presenting an “aw shucks” demeanor, but he’s neck-deep in crankdom and walks hand in hand with the worst groups in America.

  47. #47 truth machine
    December 29, 2007

    Paul is OK, or at least not actively a madman.

    I quite disagree. I even disagree that he’s the most palatable of the Repubs — I would prefer opportunist flip-flopper Romney over demented fuckwit Ron Paul, Iraq war or no Iraq war.

  48. #48 Abbie
    December 29, 2007

    I am going to be able to hire a lawyer and beat a company with an army of lawyers and billions to spend.

    This would be the point of contention I have with the libertarian worldview. It’s not applicable to real life. We are not all on the same page. It’s throwing everybody to the wolves- fuck you if you weren’t in a privileged position when the anarcho-capitalists took over. Too bad.

    People with extra money to throw around gained the money by living in a society that allowed them to gain it. There’s a shitload of contingency involved. They don’t “deserve” it any more than a hard-working Thai farmer deserves his pittance. They should be glad to pay taxes to live in a country that can afford to give everyone a good standard of living.

  49. #49 jeff
    December 29, 2007

    Let me also remind libertarians of something rather important. I’m older than many here, and am from the deep South. Do you think it would have been “OK” for the Feds to have kept out of the South, as Dr. Paul suggests? If, as you claim, you revere the US Constitution, then you’re not a Pauline Libertarian, because, you would agree with me that Federalizing the National Guard was the only way to enforce the Constitution…or, what, should full-US citizens (blacks) have been more patient with State’s Rights and the invisible hand?

  50. #50 E. Beck
    December 29, 2007

    You guys know what’s really nuts about Ron Paul?

    The guy has a bunch of 9/11 conspiracy nuts supporting him. I noticed this on my facebook and/or myspace account the other day.

    I could not believe it, but apparently even she-devil Michelle Malkin has posted about it:

    http://michellemalkin.com/2007/05/19/trutheriness-and-ron-paul/

    I live in TX, and now that I know these things about the guy, I don’t even like in the senate… hell, not even as a dog catcher.

  51. #51 truth machine
    December 29, 2007

    If anything, the federal government has become the major roadblock to any state or local progressive policy.

    Gee, what is it about the federal government of late — say, the last seven years — that might have caused that?

  52. #52 Colugo
    December 29, 2007

    If economic libertarianism-socialism is viewed as continuous independent variable, there appears to be an inverted U-shaped function of quality of life (economic robustness and stability, socioeconomic inequality, pollution, oppression, healthcare access). At the Gilded Age extreme of libertarianism, people live in servitude in company towns, smokestacks spew toxins, sweatshop labor in awful conditions, women are forced into prostitution and so on. (Late 19th-early 20th C US + UK, contemporary Russia.) At the state socialism extreme of socialism, ecological disaster zones are regularly created, the Nomenclatura live in dachas while the rest live in slave-like drudgery and squalor, ordinary citizens give birth in miserable conditions and rely on abortion for birth control, women are forced into prostitution etc. (USSR, Cuba, North Korea.) Some would argue that the northern European social democracies are near the “sweet spot” of the function, with the proper blend of socialism and market forces, as well as distribution of power.

  53. #53 Moses
    December 29, 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.

    Actually, the answer is “yes.” Actual peer-reviewed, solidly-grounded studies have clearly demonstrated that if you stratify educational performance by income level of the parents, there is no difference between Public and Private Schools.

    So the solution isn’t destroying public education, but raising the wealth of all Americans. So they have the resources (time and money) to invest in their children’s education. Instead of working 12-hours a day and not being able to provide essential tools, like computers, printers, reference materials, etc., because they can barely afford food.

    We could completely abolish the federal government, and there would still be state and local governments – the ones who actually fund the vast majority of the schools, hospitals, police, and roads. Federal libertarianism isn’t anarchy, and it doesn’t preclude local liberalism and community-based socialism.

    If anything, the federal government has become the major roadblock to any state or local progressive policy.

    Posted by: independent | December 29, 2007 10:01 PM

    Bullshit. If the Federal Government didn’t hold many of the “Red States” accountable, they’d not be anywhere near to where they are now. And even then, they’re still suffering from a hundred years of neglect and institutionalized racism.

    Imagine Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, etc., if they were allowed to have their way with curriculum. Already weak states, the kids would come out knowing nothing about important subjects like biology and astronomy. As it is, those schools tend to spend more money on football than science.

  54. #54 independent
    December 29, 2007

    And you’ll note that, GE (PCBs in Eastern Rivers) and Exxon (PWS) aren’t cleaning up their messes. But fighting the government tooth and nail to avoid their just responsibility.

    I’ll look past that and see that GE doesn’t really pay taxes, they receive more tax money FROM the government than any other company, and they donate heavily to politicians in both parties who end up becoming presidents and party “leaders.”

    I’ll notice that its media arm, NBC, only favors Democratic politicians who promise more subsidy for alternative energy and green ideas that may not be so green after all (like GE’s big contract for “environmentally friendly” mercury bulbs.

    You see a government pressing those most evil corporations, I see corporations that could never survive in a “free market” that didn’t come with billions of annual guaranteed sales and powerful political allies passing anti-competitive legislation.

    Like I said, same concerns, different perspectives & solutions.

  55. #55 truth machine
    December 29, 2007

    I can tell you why he’s popular, but you probably still won’t get it.

    Yeah, if we disagree it must mean we don’t understand.

    Libertarians have the same goals as many liberals. The only difference is that we trust normal people like you and me to achieve the progressive society.

    You forgot to mention CEOs.

  56. #56 Norman Doering
    December 29, 2007

    The Science Pundit asked:

    Who supports him?

    Two people who made comments on my blog if you want to argue with them about it.

    I wrote a post called “Are Republicans stupid?” and a Paul supporter showed up. Then I wrote “Christopher Hitchens is stupid” and another one showed up:
    http://normdoering.blogspot.com/2007/12/christopher-hitchens-is-stupid.html

    I haven’t really been following Paul’s campaign, he’s too low in the polls to matter to me.

  57. #57 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.

  58. #58 Abbie
    December 29, 2007

    To get specific about where I disagree, I think his position on abortion is distinctly un-libertarian…but I trust him to not overstep the bounds the constitution imposes on the President on this issue or any other (unlike any of the other frontrunner candidates in either party). I also know his position on abortion is an informed one–he has performed abortions in his ob/gyn practice to protect the life of the mother.

    Do you mean he himself performed them, or that he allowed someone at his practice to?

    I think his stance on abortion is scary.

    In 40 years of medical practice, I never once considered performing an abortion, nor did I ever find abortion necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. In Congress, I have authored legislation that seeks to define life as beginning at conception, H.R. 1094. I am also the prime sponsor of H.R. 300, which would negate the effect of Roe v Wade by removing the ability of federal courts to interfere with state legislation to protect life. This is a practical, direct approach to ending federal court tyranny which threatens our constitutional republic and has caused the deaths of 45 million of the unborn. I have also authored H.R. 1095, which prevents federal funds to be used for so-called “population control.”

    From his “statement of faith”, on his website.

  59. #59 katura
    December 29, 2007

    a friend of mine recently posted a choice Ron Paul rant regarding the LA riots that astounded me:

    http://www.nizkor.org

    “Regardless of what the media tell us, most white Americans are not going to believe that they are at fault for what blacks have done to cities across America. The professional blacks may have cowed the elites, but good sense survives at the grass roots. Many more are going to have difficultly avoiding the belief that our country is being destroyed by a group of actual and potential terrorists — and they can be identified by the color of their skin. This conclusion may not be entirely fair, but it is, for many, entirely unavoidable.

    Indeed, it is shocking to consider the uniformity of opinion among blacks in this country. Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty, and the end of welfare and affirmative action…. Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the “criminal justice system,” I think we can safely assume that 95% of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.

    If similar in-depth studies were conducted in other major cities, who doubts that similar results would be produced? We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, but it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings, and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers.

    Perhaps the L.A. experience should not be surprising. The riots, burning, looting, and murders are only a continuation of 30 years of racial politics.The looting in L.A. was the welfare state without the voting booth. The elite have sent one message to black America for 30 years: you are entitled to something for nothing. That’s what blacks got on the streets of L.A. for three days in April. Only they didn’t ask their Congressmen to arrange the transfer.”

  60. #60 independent
    December 29, 2007

    Some would argue that the northern European social democracies are near the “sweet spot” of the function, with the proper blend of socialism and market forces, as well as distribution of power.

    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.

  61. #61 Troy
    December 29, 2007

    I think his position on abortion is distinctly un-libertarian

    The big-L Libertarian party is riven on this issue, since it’s a civil rights issue about the “unborn” with no clear moral answers.

  62. #62 Ichthyic
    December 29, 2007

    anti-competitive legislation.

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

    let’s call the whole thing off.

  63. #63 Torquewrench1969
    December 29, 2007

    In my opinion, the people who support Ron Paul are the ones who refuse to believe that the federal government is here to take care of it’s citizens.

    They seem to believe that people can care for and generally govern themselves. And that the responsibility of the federal government is to provide a safe environment for them to do so.

    If people are scared of actually being fully responsible for themselves and their children, then we need to re-evaluate the whole reason America was formed in the first place..

  64. #64 Jason Gordon
    December 29, 2007

    Anyone doing political theory knows that the fundamental questions of politics boil down to power and money: What the structure of the state ought to be and what the regulatory powers of the state ought to be? Anyone who believes that Ron Paul wants weak government is an idiot. In reality if we had a weak a government, then anyone could take it over. At the very least the structual powers of the state can only be moderate. If he really wants a weak government then he’s essentially an anarchist – and if that’s the case why run for power only to have it taken away from him. it’s all a ruse. What liberterians want is extrodinary strong structural powers {read Hobbes’ Leviathan} Myers, you’re dead on the money with this quote {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.} In Hobbes’ Leviathian, Hobbes states that sovereign can treat anyone as badly as he wishes if they do not comply with the laws and the customs of the particular nation. This means that under a Ron Paul government you will have limited legal rights and a copious amount of legal obligations. In fact, your rights stem from whatever is not black letter law. So beware of Ron Paul.

  65. #65 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.

  66. #66 Saint Gasoline
    December 29, 2007

    Holy crap, a lot of people who dislike Ron Paul! Finally!

    For the people who only support him for his policies on drugs and the war, please look into more reasonable candidates like Kucinich or Gravel, who have the same positions except being less crazy with the libertarianism.

  67. #67 Samuel
    December 29, 2007

    Thank FSM! I should have known you’d know better than to drink the Ron Paul Kool-Aid, PZ.

    If you’re looking for a positive change in government, minus all the crazy, I’m recommend you check out Dennis Kucinich. He’s on the same page as Paul about ending the drug war and that whole chest-thumping nation-destroying thing, while also standing for a woman’s right to choose, repealing the PATRIOT Act, and abolishing the death peanalty, for starters. I’m voting for him, at least.

  68. #68 Samuel
    December 29, 2007

    Haha! Great timing. Disclaimer: I’m not a Kucinich troll, I don’t know Saint Gasoline, we aren’t here to comment spam. Pure coincidence! Promise! 😀

  69. #69 kb9aln
    December 29, 2007

    Ron Paul can probably best be described as a pure, balls-to-the-walls Republican.

    Money is his master and blissful ignorance his mistress.

    Plain and simple.

  70. #70 Mark S.
    December 29, 2007

    >Should we start a pool on what post number the first Paul apologist will appear? I call #14.

    Did anyone pick #29?

  71. #71 coathangrrr
    December 29, 2007

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Libertarianism is philosophically incompatible with atheism, at least the right wing libertarianism tradition Paul comes from. The whole tradition is based around the Lockean arguments about liberty and the state of nature and property, and every single one of these arguments is based on scripture, every one. The liberties of the libertarian have a purely religious basis as does the argument for property. Of course there are other arguments for liberties, like Mill’s argument for free speech in On Liberty, which don’t derive from scripture.

    I’m rather sympathetic to the Anarchist arguments against government, but those are generally based on wholly different principles than libertarianism.

  72. #72 wildlifer
    December 29, 2007

    Why does everyone equate illegal immigration with legal immigration?
    If we don’t agree with the immigration laws we should change them, but until that time they are changed we should enforce the existing laws and take measures to prevent illegal immigration (and bust businesses which support that illegal activity).

  73. #73 coathangrrr
    December 29, 2007

    Why does everyone equate illegal immigration with legal immigration?
    If we don’t agree with the immigration laws we should change them, but until that time they are changed we should enforce the existing laws and take measures to prevent illegal immigration (and bust businesses which support that illegal activity).

    Why should unjust laws be followed? I get extra sick of the hypocritical libertarians who refuse to let others, you know the brown masses, have liberty on the grounds that they will just vote it away.

  74. #74 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.

  75. #75 aletoledo
    December 29, 2007

    I said this on another scienceblog already and it’s disappointing to see this now on a blog I have come to enjoy for it’s reasoned thought.

    The positions listed here are not a real analysis about his political positions and purely a superficial look at a few things before dismissing him outright. I suppose the idea of voting for a Republican was already dismissed by many here and they were just looking for an excuse to to bother themselves too much. People criticize him for things like his view on abiogenesis (evolution) and then put forward Kucinich who believes in UFOs. Please that is not how you pick a leader!

    If anyone wants to consider his ideas and positions seriously, they first need to drop the idea that he’s a libertarian. He himself will tell you that it was a mistake for him to have changed parties for that one year and now people point to that almost exclusively. For people that want to think they are reasoned and fair in their assessments, take a few hours to educate yourself on what traditional liberalism is about (not libertarianism, but liberalism).

    You see, Paul is a traditional liberal and if you compare his position to a liberal/capitalist then you’ll see he is not a libertarian. He’s never ever said that he wants zero government, his positions have always been to have a federal government as outlined by the Constitution. That is not a zero government position. On top of that he advocates for the states to take over governing their local people, that again is not libertarian position because it is the constitutional position.

    I believe that most people reading this blog have no intention to ever vote Republican. You can pretend for a minute that you considered it, but the fact is you never researched the topics at all and based your judgments on fluff. It’s a democracy so pick your leader based upon what hairstyle he has or what tie he wears, but don’t be so hypocritical to pretend that you actually read a book on the subject of constitution law or liberal governance.

  76. #76 alicia-logic
    December 29, 2007

    #61

    it’s [abortion] a civil rights issue about the “unborn” with no clear moral answers.

    Only to those libertards who forget that the pregnant are human beings with civil rights.

  77. #77 Djur
    December 29, 2007

    Huh, I knew a lot of Paul’s more amusingly deranged proposals, but I didn’t know he’s actually in favor of abolishing lex soli. Now that’s amazing.

  78. #78 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    Paul is a traditional liberal

    LMAO!

    well, that’s a new one.

  79. #79 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?

  80. #80 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    People criticize him for things like his view on abiogenesis (evolution) and then put forward Kucinich who believes in UFOs.

    He straight up parroted the creo line about evolution being “only a theory” and didn’t mention abiogenesis at all in the video I saw. Moreover, abiogenesis is not evolution nor does the theory of evolution rely in any way on abiogenesis.

    Although you are right about Kucinich.

  81. #81 Mark S.
    December 30, 2007

    >Should we start a pool on what post number the first Paul apologist will appear? I call #14.

    Did anyone pick #29?

  82. #82 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.

  83. #83 noodlesoup
    December 30, 2007

    Maybe we should leave the false insinuation that Ron Paul is a neo-Nazi to the Fox News staff and neo-Cons who are enraged that Ron Paul isn’t a warmonger like all their other puppies. I’m not a Ron Paul supporter but it is apparent that he is aware that most of his ideology would never pass into legislation. Personally, I would rather live in an America that rejected torture and militarism and if that meant eliminating the Department of Education, so be it. Don’t delude yourself; if you live in a society that tortures and ‘disappears’ people you don’t live in a free society. Of course, it’s unlikely that Ron Paul will be the GOP candidate and thus we need to ask why the vitriolic attacks and false smears. I assume the Republican Party elites hate that Ron Paul has a platform that exposes the other Republican candidates as totally insane thugs.

    In a perfect world both political party candidates would be anti-torture, anti-war, and uninfluenced by supernatural fantasies but the best I can hope for is an anti-torture anti-war candidate who believes in space aliens (Kucinich) and an anti-torture anti-war candidate who has a record of not pandering to the neo-Con and Bushite warmongers but rejects biological science and has a goofy unworkable ideology (Ron Paul). Realistically, we will be probably be offered the choice of a Vichy Democrat and a Republican who is a totally insane dictator wannabe. With only one or two exceptions, I do not expect any of the Democratic candidates if elected President to ever prosecute the crimes of this administration; we will never see a single CIA agent or Blackwater contractor who was involved in sadistically torturing people prosecuted nor will any Bushite be prosecuted for any crime. The Vichy Dems will want to “heal the nation” and leave the door open for the next Republican torturer-in-chief to be enabled by his minions “following orders” without fear of prosecution.

    By the way, is it correct that Bill Clinton authorized rendition during his term in office? What is Hillary’s opinion on Bill’s use of extraordinary rendition and will she also engage in rendition as a clandestine method of torture if she is elected President? We all know that Hilary will continue the Empire-Hegemony use of the military. I’m really getting sick of “Vote for Uday, he’s not as bad as Qusay” and I suppose that is where the Ron Paul supporters are coming from.

  84. #84 speedwell
    December 30, 2007

    OK… I’m an atheist, serious about science, pro-abortion, a Jew, and a Texan. There are many things that make me uneasy about Dr. Paul, but I’m nowhere near as uneasy about him as I am about the other candidates. I trust him to protect individual liberties, even when he has a personal opinion that’s different from mine–but I don’t trust the other candidates to keep their personal prejudices out of law and policy. 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(compare Bush, who does whatever he damn well pleases). I asked about his stance against Roe vs. Wade, and I’m satisfied that it is an attempt to remove abortion decisions from the abstract ivory tower of the federal government and return it to a sphere that is a step closer to the individual. I trust him to follow a frugal fiscal policy; I don’t trust the other candidates to spend taxpayer money wisely. Finally, I find it refreshing that Paul worked for a living at something other than kissing @$$ in politics. You may disagree with me on some or all of these points, but you asked my opinion and this is it.

  85. #85 Bert Chadick
    December 30, 2007

    Libertarian Paradise? Lets see…. There must be a Libertarian Paradise somewhere in the world.
    No national empire………….Somalia
    No taxes……………………….Somalia
    No environmental laws……Somalia
    No public schools…………..Somalia
    Everyone has a gun………..Somalia
    No welfare…………………….Somalia
    No National Health Plan…..Somalia
    Unfettered market economics……Somalia

    It looks like Ron Paul is running for the president of the wrong country.

  86. #86 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

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

    😉

  87. #87 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?

  88. #88 DB
    December 30, 2007

    LMAO!
    well, that’s a new one.

    Or not.

  89. #89 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…

  90. #90 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.

  91. #91 lacrimose
    December 30, 2007

    I find it hard to believe that people would vote for Paul based on the assumptions that he would not force his views upon us and that he would work through Congress. I would like to remind you all that a lot of people thought about GWB in the same way in 2000 and look where that got us.

  92. #92 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.

  93. #93 wildlifer
    December 30, 2007

    Why should unjust laws be followed? I get extra sick of the hypocritical libertarians who refuse to let others, you know the brown masses, have liberty on the grounds that they will just vote it away.

    What’s “unjust?” That are fucking borders aren’t wide open?

  94. #94 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    look where that got us.

    aww, do I have to? I just ate.

  95. #95 wildlifer
    December 30, 2007

    our*

  96. #96 DB
    December 30, 2007

    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?
    What is functional liberalism? Not that this isn’t ridiculous hairsplitting, anyway. All that happened is that a term used to describe one political philosophy was migrated to another in the 20th century. This happens all the time. Just look at how the Republicans and Democrats have changed over their respective political histories.

  97. #97 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.

  98. #98 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?

  99. #99 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.

  100. #100 Eric
    December 30, 2007

    There really is no problem with you disagreeing with Paul on the issues, but to perpetuate outright lies and smears like the already thoroughly debunked claim by Neo-Nazi’s is contemptible. You’re engaging in SMEAR.

    Also, your conclusion that he wants a “police state” is outrageous. You should seriously look into Ron Paul’s history with the border issue. He actually would like for us to have OPEN borders, but the current SYSTEM that we have would lead to us being BANKRUPT if that were the case. I don’t understand how you people can go on thinking that these systems can be maintained – all evidence is to the contrary. These government programs waste unimaginable amounts of money, at the same time they don’t really do anything to HELP poor people out of their situation. And the ones that are meant to get them working only make them more miserable as they have to work absurd hours for NOTHING.

    Please quit with the obfuscation at the very least.

  101. #101 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

  102. #102 Candy
    December 30, 2007

    Discussion of either Paul or Kucinich attaining the presidency is an interesting academic exercise but has little to no chance of becoming an actuality.

    With the Dems, it will come down to Obama, Clinton, or Edwards. Edwards will take Iowa. I sure plan to caucus for him. If you haven’t done so, Kucinich fans, please familiarize yourselves with Edwards. Is he perfect? Hells no. Is he miles better than any other candidate with a chance of winning the nomination? Hells yes. He’s pro-choice, genuinely anti-corporate (that’s why the corp whore media is doing its level best to dismiss his chances, he scares them badly, as he’s made his living kicking their asses), and he’s the only major candidate who is talking about poverty, and what we can do to help those who need a hand. That may suck from a libertarian point of view, but to me, an actual poor person accumulating student loans by the fistful in an attempt to improve my life at the age of 46, and with no health insurance, it’s a breath of fresh air.

    Look, the other candidates are now running for a shot at the vice-presidency, or a cabinet position. They know the game’s up, even if their supporters do not. (All except for Biden, I imagine his enormous ego is telling him he actually does have a shot.) It’s just naive to think a Dodd or Kucinich or Gravel (wtf?) is even in the running.

    Eric, capitalizing words for emphasis does not make your point stronger.

  103. #103 DB
    December 30, 2007

    i said functional liberals, IOW, ones that still exist.
    Classical liberals still exist, they just call themselves “libertarians”, “minarchists” or other terms, so that you’re not confused. Toledo a little mixed up on this point as well, as classical liberalism is not the intellectual precursor of what we call liberalism today.

  104. #104 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.

  105. #105 Gerard Harbison
    December 30, 2007

    I have no particular brief for Ron Paul. But he has a coherent political philosophy, something that PZ and his acolytes lack. 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?

  106. #106 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.

  107. #107 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.

  108. #108 MCullen
    December 30, 2007

    Let me also remind libertarians of something rather important. I’m older than many here, and am from the deep South. Do you think it would have been “OK” for the Feds to have kept out of the South, as Dr. Paul suggests? If, as you claim, you revere the US Constitution, then you’re not a Pauline Libertarian, because, you would agree with me that Federalizing the National Guard was the only way to enforce the Constitution…or, what, should full-US citizens (blacks) have been more patient with State’s Rights and the invisible hand?
    Jeff you bring up a very important piece of history here and it should get people thinking. I was a young girl during the 60’s and it was not pretty. Sometimes I feel like we are going backwards and it is very scary to me.

  109. #109 Gerard Harbison
    December 30, 2007

    He’s pro-choice, genuinely anti-corporate (that’s why the corp whore media is doing its level best to dismiss his chances, he scares them badly, as he’s made his living kicking their asses), and he’s the only major candidate who is talking about poverty, and what we can do to help those who need a hand.

    BWAHAHAHAHA!

    It’s just a shame he worked for that hedge fund.

  110. #110 Gerard Harbison
    December 30, 2007

    Something sure smells fishy here.

  111. #111 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?

  112. #112 Candy
    December 30, 2007

    yeah, he worked for the hedge fund, compare that to everything else he’s worked at. It’s clear where his priorities lie.

  113. #113 Colugo
    December 30, 2007

    There is always a “pissed off at the system” candidate. As symbolic protest candidates, they tend to attract a variety of seemingly disparate political factions. They often act as spoilers; Perot was Bush I’s spoiler and Nader was Gore’s spoiler (and if Buchanan hadn’t run, Bush II would have had enough electoral – electoral, mind you – votes to win even without Florida). If Paul runs in the general as an independent he may be the GOP’s spoiler, but the GOP will probably lose ’08 whatever Paul does.

    Prediction: Clinton or Obama sworn in on January ’09. Edwards? Not a chance. He won’t be veep either.

  114. #114 Gerard Harbison
    December 30, 2007

    Re: Edwards

    It’s clear where his priorities lie.

    Well, yeah, he got rich driving obstetricians out of business using an unscientific and discredited theory of how cerebral palsy originates.

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

  115. #115 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.

  116. #116 Marty Anfinson
    December 30, 2007

    I’ve read through most of the comments here and I’ve seen some reasonable anti-paul comments but i suggest this. Before you smear him with outright and obvious lie’s, due to ignorance of his actually views or blind dis-like of the thought of real change, I urge you to actually look him up and see what he’s all about, and not just stop at the first newsweek article that puts him in a bad light or the first supporters blog that may or may not actually know what he’s talking about either. As far as why he has so many supporters, is a excellent question and everyone should be wondering why you can’t go to any site without comments from his supporters. To add to that, why are his supporters so passionate? It’s not because they agreed with a single view he had, these people are doing their research. They want to know everything about him. Ron Paul is overwhelmingly the most searched on google. Check it out for yourself. He’s won online polls everywhere. Some of you say “I’ll give them credit for being organized” the most impressive part of it is that these people arent organized hardly at all. They’re small groups everywhere. They’re first time voters, democrats, republicans, libertarian, independants, and yes, complete nuts, but if you really think that kind of group of people are able to get together and be organized to rig polls and falsely generate hype around Ron Paul, that sounds like a large conspiracy theroy than Area 51! His support is real and his message is strong. Ron Paul doesnt have to be perfect, and of course your going to find something to disagree with him on but his support comes from people that really wanna see things change. If it ends up being a mistake and Ron Paul is the worst thing to ever happen, then so be it. I don’t care what you’re views are, theres nothing wrong with real people believing that they can make a difference and getting involved.

  117. #117 Candy
    December 30, 2007

    I gather Gerald has been around before. I also gather there is not much point in engaging him. Just as well, the Land of Nod beckons.

    Prediction: Clinton or Obama sworn in on January ’09. Edwards? Not a chance. He won’t be veep either.

    Well, Colugo, only time will tell. I’m predicting Edwards will take Iowa. Hopefully he will come out with enough momentum to really get moving nationally, despite the press insistance that it’s Clinton all the way. Obama is certainly the lesser of those two evils. I don’t have a whole lot against him, as centrist Dems go. He’s certainly got a nice, tight organization here in Iowa, and surrounding oneself with good people is a hopeful sign where presidential material is concerned. (See Bush for an example of not being surrounded by good people.) As a fairly hard core leftist I’m never happy with any of the candidates, and it’s always a question of getting the ones who are least likely to start dumb-ass wars,cut off the social safety net for the poor, and let sick people croak in the street. I’d move to Europe if I could, believe me.

  118. #118 craig
    December 30, 2007

    I think a lot of Ron Paul supporters are people who hate Bush and what he’s done, hate the other crop of repukes, but live in areas where they’ve been brainwashed into thinking “liberal” is a synonym for pervert or NAMBLA member, and also brainwashed into thinking that the Democratic party is a liberal party. And supporting a democrat would be like coming out as gay or something – they would be ostracized at work and in their family, lose friends. Yes, much of this country is exactly like that.
    So Ron Paul is the “safe” way to oppose Bush and the others.

    And then there’s just the huge crowd of disillusioned authoritarians who’s latest elected daddy disappointed them and this new daddy seems like the perfect choice to devote their full measure of loyalty to.

  119. #119 Christianjb
    December 30, 2007

    Ron Paul is in part popular because he’s against American imperialism and also because he’s the only candidate who’s not paid for by corporate America.

    I don’t agree with him on anything except his anti-imperialism, but that alone is enough for me to prefer him over any other Republican candidate and several Democrat candidates.

    I’m not a Ron Paul supporter, but I can see the advantages of electing someone who’s not hell bent in dragging us into a third world war or in favor of spending 20 million dollars an hour to continue our venture in Iraq.

  120. #120 Monado
    December 30, 2007

    You’d think that starting the Great Depression would be enough to give isolationism and restrictive trade practices a bad name.

  121. #121 DSK
    December 30, 2007

    Libertarianism in its pure form is clearly a disastrous philosophy. However, with Democrats and Republicans both intent on increasing government intrusion into the lives of those whom government is supposed to serve rather than control, the US could certainly use a soft shove back in the direction of classical liberalism, IMHO.

    But yeah, Ron Paul fairly blows the mercury out of the Moonbatometer.

    Re government regulation: clearly, government regulation has been vital in quickly reigning in some of the rampant abuse of the environment. However, non-government activism has had a profound impact as well, and that’s where libertarianism does deliver a valid message; business is dependent on the whims of consumers after all. The argument that without government intervention, the environment would be destroyed by the natural progression of free market capitalism assumes that people will simply never care about the environment. If that’s true, then at best, government intervention should be transient; sufficient to stem the problem in the short term until the populace has matured enough to make responsible decisions. Only there’s not much that’s transient about contemporary government intervention, which just seems to increase layer by layer.

    The reason government regulation should never be more than a short term fix is that in the longterm such polices eventually become corrupted by the very interests they were set up to oppose (e.g. in the case of subsidies). This makes sense, given that granting the government power to regulate gives Big Business a smashing incentive to lobby/strong arm government to “regulate” in its favour. In the long term, it’s far better for consumers to dictate business practices by supplying the incentive for industry to behave within a set of ethical and economic criteria than to take the lazy, statist approach of relying wholly on government to deal with the problem, and to do so honestly.

    Classical liberalism is an over-optimistic philosophy rather than a pessimistic one, because it rests on the assumption that individuals are, generally, decent. An assumption that is sadly a little tenuous. Nevertheless, it’s a bit disingenuous to assert that all classical liberals are greedy, self-serving, wannabe moguls. Some are, certainly. But then, some statists would like to see evolution kicked out of the classroom, homosexuals hanging from the gallows, and any form of protest against the government rendered a treasonable offence. The continuum fallacy that cuts all ways. Fortunately, most of us aren’t extremists in any political or economic philosophy.

  122. #122 CalGeorge
    December 30, 2007

    It will likely come down to a Huckabee/Obama showdown in November, with Obama winning in a landslide.

    Good riddance, Ron Paul.

  123. #123 Matt
    December 30, 2007

    I’m still sort of confused about why choosing what I want to do with my money and choosing what I want to do with my body is so repulsive to liberals/conservatives? I mean, can’t I choose to give money to charity on my own (secular charities) instead of having the government force me to give money to religious institutions, like it does now? Can’t I choose which substances I put in my own body, as opposed to its current policy of throwing everyone in jail for their own victimless action? Our current government is a huge fan of that.

    Oh, whats that? You support the legalization of drugs? Well by all means, point me to the Democrat with the stones big enough to support that position! I’d vote for a candidate who I disagreed on every other position if he just legalized drugs.

    Ron Paul is the worst candidate out there, except for every other power-mad psychopath in the running in the democratic and republican parties. I won’t switch to the republican party(blech) to vote for him in the primary, but if he wins their ticket I’ll probably vote for him in the general election.

  124. #124 Greg Newburn
    December 30, 2007

    You hit some of the nails on some of their heads re: the Paul campaign; there’s no question that very scary people have attached themselves to it. Much of that is Paul’s fault (e.g., he hangs around the Lew Rockwell crazies, he supports a ridiculous immigration policy to protect “sovereignty”). Some of it isn’t (he represents opposition to big government which will unite all manner of folks).

    And many of your commenters are right. Most of us (i.e., Paul supporters) support his campaign reluctantly, and only because he is literally the only candidate in the race who actually seems concerned with ending the wars on drugs and Iraq and promoting federalism instead of centralization of power. It isn’t often we get a candidate who gets remotely close to supporting those positions. When one comes along, we hold our noses and pull our levers (this video of Paul seemingly denying evolution might be the last straw for me, alas).

    However, you’ve set up a straw man of libertarianism, which doesn’t fit well with the usually rigorous and honest analysis I’ve come to expect from this blog. One of our main complaints with creationists is their ignorance of fundamental scientific principles, and their dishonesty in debate.

    Well, saying libertarians want to “elevate greed and selfishness as a ruling principle” is either ignorant of the fundamentals of libertarianism, or absolutely dishonest (I guess it could also be “lazy”). Libertarians don’t seek to “elevate greed” as a “ruling principle.” We recognize that greed and self-interest motivate people to action at least as often as selflessness, and advocate on that basis (in part) free markets to channel those private vices into public virtues.

    It’s fairly evident you’ll never shift your politics to libertarianism, and that’s fine. Everything is better when we stick to what we know. But on those rare occasions that you see fit to engage with our political philosophy, at least take the time to properly describe it before offering your jabs.

  125. #125 Troy
    December 30, 2007

    Matt, you’ll get arrested for smoking pot at home for the same reason you’ll get ticketed for driving sans seatbelt . . . our society has collectively decided, via our democratic representatives, that the global cost of limiting freedom in this two areas is outweighed by the collective gains thereby.

    free markets to channel those private vices into public virtues

    meaningless drivel.

    I’m a left-libertarian in that I believe we should pursue individual freedom to the greatest extent possible, but tone back the freedom dial to any extent that is a reasonable mitigation of market failures, tragedies of the unmanaged commons, etc etc.

    libertarianism, as all undilited anarchism, inevitably devolved into the one dollar one vote of the company town and banana republic.

    If we all started from equal positions in life, or were all able to choose our parents before birth, this would not be a problem, but from what I’ve gathered only the geolibertarians have any idea among the libertarians of how to actually organize a socio-economic system with any potential of achieving sustainable and trans-generationally just functionings.

  126. #126 Steve Husted
    December 30, 2007

    Wow. I usually visit Pharyngula as a bastion of fact-based science and truth-seeking people. And I like to snigger at the creationists like the rest of you.

    But this post struck a nerve. I’m a 30-something, atheist, white male, hardcore computer geek (CompTIA just released survey results showing this group as overwhelmingly Libertarian, or “political independents”), well-compensated (though still very middle class) and well-educated (doing Master’s work).
    http://www.comptia.org/issues/docs/ITforweb.pdf

    And I’m a Ron Paul fan. No, I don’t wear tin-foil hats, I’m not a 9/11 conspiracy nut, I’m not a neo-nazi, I’m not any of your generalizations.

    Sure, sure, he has shortcomings. Which candidate doesn’t? None of the candidates is perfect for me. Hillary is a nightmare, Kucinich sees UFOs, and the other GOP candidates… yikes. Since I can’t pick a candidate that DOESN’T have problems, I pick the one that’s at least got a rock-solid voting record and sticks to his guns in backing the Constitution. I’m not looking PAST his problems, I’m picking the best match to my personal ideologies.

    And Bush scares the daylights out of me. His abuses of power are grossly negligent, the world thinks Americans adore him (barf), and I’m saddened that the Democrats have done nothing with their 2006 power grab except give Bush more and more money.

    13 months in, and the Dems have done NOTHING to convince me to vote for them. I loved Bill but now I’m a registered, voting Libertarian.

    Please do some research before you spout off about isolationism, as following the Constitution, as it was carefully worded, does not mean that you’re an isolationist. I disagree with his Mexican border fence, but I strongly agree that we should open up trade (with Cuba, for example) and what he heck is OUR military doing in Germany, the Middle East, etc.? I spent 8 years in the military so I know the answer is “forward deployed presence.” And I think that’s crap. Hooray for Putin correctly (and obviously) pointing out that the US putting missile silos in Germany is just like the Cuban missile crisis. Of course, Bush’s press secretary didn’t know what the Cuban missile crisis WAS, but that’s a different rant. The point is that we don’t want our enemies forward-deployed off our coasts and entangled with our neighbors, but we think that’s just fine for us to do? Ummm…

    And why do we give $5B to Pakistan when there are starving children in the US? My local high school could certainly use the money to get a decent art program back in the budget. (here’s a good definition of what an isolationist really is, stripping away negative connotations:
    http://www.antiwarleague.com/_mgxroot/page_10668.html)

    And it’s not greedy to suggest that I should be able to decide what I want to do with my money. It’s mine, not yours. If YOU want to save the world with YOUR money, that’s just great. But please keep your mitts off mine. I have no sense of obligation to support people on welfare or the old guy next door that needs a hip replacement. I’m not some sort of sociopath – I know that some people that really need welfare do get off of it eventually, a la Bill Clinton’s plan. The others are just milking the system. Hey! that’s MY milk money, man. Hands off!

    That said, I have a regular deduction from my paycheck to non-profits of my choice. **MY** CHOICE. And I do the office “help the needy” thing during the holidays and my wife’s mom’s club donates time/money/takes collections/etc. all year long.

    Your characterization was unwarranted and oversimplified. Just because I want to choose who and how to help doesn’t make me greedy.

    Sadly, seeing Paul’s disbelief in evolution, and I hate to say this, I think that may sway me to Obama. We just can’t have another mentally challenged POTUS, and disbelief in evolution ranks you as “mentally challenged” in my book.
    [/rant]

  127. #127 bernarda
    December 30, 2007

    dsk 121 – “with Democrats and Republicans both intent on increasing government intrusion into the lives of those whom government is supposed to serve rather than control”

    As if the “free” market and honorable private companies would not do such a thing. Just ask Microsoft, Google, insurance companies, telecom companies, and so on.

    “with Microsoft and Google both intent on increasing company intrusion into the lives of those whom company is supposed to serve rather than control”

  128. #128 Logician
    December 30, 2007

    To Joe, aletoledo, Greg and others of that ilk:

    If Ron Paul is the most researched person on the net, how come you haven’t seen his YouTubed response to Russert about how Paul sucks like a vampire at the “big guvmint” teet?

    Like all fascists, Ron Paul will tell the poor men, the down-trodden men, the little men anything they want to hear while he does what he damn well pleases. This is the mark of the fascist: taking the opportunity to use big government to take control while hypocritically telling everyone he’s for “reducing big government.”

    Ron Paul is the worst of humanity, let alone this country. And it’s just plain sad that so many people are so stupid as to think that he’s the “least evil” of the sick and twisted bunch of presidential hopefulls we’ve been cursed with. This is what we get with the dumbing down of our country: idiotic mouth breathers following yet another Hitler wanna-be.

    And people wonder why we’re so cranky.

  129. #129 Krystalline Apostate
    December 30, 2007

    Colugo:

    They often act as spoilers; Perot was Bush I’s spoiler and Nader was Gore’s spoiler

    That’d be true if this were a 2 party system. But that’s the propaganda machine rolling.
    A vote for Nader is a vote for Nader. Those votes belong to the voter – & whoever they vote for.
    If 75% of the US voted 3rd party, what would happen then?
    For the record:
    Ron Paul also thinks there’s a ‘War on Religion‘ – along w/his other views, this makes him a poor candidate for any office.

  130. #130 bernarda
    December 30, 2007

    A blogger has applied Adam Smith to Saddam Hussein and exposed the bleeding-heart liberal conspiracy against unfettered capitalism. Adam Smith,

    “By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.”

    http://www.darrelplant.com/blog_item.php?ItemRef=600

  131. #131 Troy
    December 30, 2007

    Steve, I match your profile:

    “well-compensated (though still very middle class)”

    too. The internets are filled with little-L libertarian technocrats who are pleased with their rise in the world and wonder why everyone beneath them are such lazy handout-grubbing slackers.

    The problem, Steve, is that we all cannot be overpaid technocrats in this society. Somebody’s gotta do the fungible drudge jobs like teaching our kids, cleaning our workplace, rotating our tires, fronting the shelves at the supermarket, etc etc.

    These jobs, by their low barriers to entry and competition, will never yield a “living wage” in a free market economy.

    Private charity to maintain a functioning and just society, where everyone has a relatively equal shot at becoming and remaining a productive member of society, is a pipedream, and an inefficient one at that.

    The present system in this country blows, but there is a lot — both good and bad — we can learn from other big-government systems in Old Europe.

    Laissez Faire free marketeerism will end in abject poverty of progress as hereditary Rentiers living off the productive enterprise of labor in the natural state of company-town plutocracy. We saw this movie already in the 19th century.

    Like you, I’d, personally, probably do well in this dystopian libertarian paradise. However, I have no great expectation that this system would prove superior to eg. European social democracy in the long term. The issue of transgenerational concentration of wealth –power — is the achilles’ heel of libertopia.

  132. #132 natural cynic
    December 30, 2007

    There was a fairly recent TV series that depicted something close to the libertarian ideal, or what soon becomes that libertarian ideal:

    Deadwood

    Anyone want to go there?

  133. #133 LiberalForPaul
    December 30, 2007

    Because he’s against the war, exposes the other Republican candidates’ warmongering, and will widen the split in the Republican Party between neo-cons and paleo-cons.

    When the Establishment Republicans throw Ron Paul under the bus, they’ll also for a generation lose the votes of all the apathetic and independent voters Paul has energized.

    By splitting the Republican Party, Paul will also loosen the grip of the “centrist” (i.e, conservative, corporatist, DLC, DINO) Democrats, who use fear of election of neo-con and theocrat Republicans to get the progressive wing of the Democratic Party to reluctantly contribute to and vote for right-wing Democrats like Hillary and DiFi and Lieberman, rather than supporting true progressives.

    As a liberal atheist Darwinist, I see all of these things as good, and so I’ve contributed to and support Ron Paul’s candidacy. I don’t want him as president, but I love him as a candidate.

  134. #134 Gregory Richards
    December 30, 2007

    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.

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

    This coming from an American politician? How outrageous!

    Ron Paul is now the Rock Star celebrity of American politics, due in part to the obvious bias against im in main stream media.

    An authentically humble and honest man, he stands out as an intellectual giant amongst his status-quo peers.

    We American’s love underdogs, and this will be weighing heavily in Dr. Paul’s favor come election day.

    Expect the unexpected from this fine Patriot, I certainly do!

  135. #135 mikmik
    December 30, 2007

    No man has reason to raise his hand against another if he is happy. (anonymous?)

    I protect my individual rights by protecting the rights of others. I have the most freedom to choose when everyone also has the same freedom of choices.

    I worship the mind and individuality, but I cannot exercise my desires freely if by doing so someone else is suffering or lacking, for they will try to take from me, or hate me.

    Isn’t the path to my ultimate freedom only accomplished through equality?

    Isn’t the path to ultimate expression of my being only accomplished, not as an individual, but, with all individuals as our society?

    My person is paramount above all else. How do I realize my full potential and freedom of expressing who and what I am? How do I ensure I am bestowed with my full rights to act as I please?

    Not alone. I am fine with libertarianism if everyone realizes that everyone has to be full individuals. But I highly doubt that will happen in the Utopian fantasy that people will freely choose to help others, if they have the choice. That is putting the cart in front of the horse.

    Reminds me of trickle down economics, hey? LMAO, that is exactly the idea of libertarianism; give individuals free rights and no responsibilities and they will somehow take care of the less fortunate by choosing to be responsible for them.

    Yeah, right.

    (It is too early, I don’t make much sense, need coffee)

  136. #136 mikmik
    December 30, 2007

    LMFAO! Troy(131), much better term, “libertopia”!

  137. #137 Arnaud
    December 30, 2007

    I’d love to comment but being in the process of re-reading Ken Macleod’s Fall Revolution series, I cannot possibly be fair and balanced on libertarianism…

  138. #138 Allienne Goddard
    December 30, 2007

    Y’know, I saw a UFO one time. Weird light in the sky that seemed to be moving like a helicopter, kinda slow. Suddenly it moved very rapidly, spun in a tight arc, and appeared to shoot out into space. I don’t know what it was, which is why I called it a UFO (Unidentified Flying Object). Was it an alien spacecraft? I doubt it. Point is, seeing a UFO doesn’t imply the belief that we are being visited by aliens. Thought I’d mention that.

  139. #139 Russell
    December 30, 2007

    Heavens to Orwell, this is reading scarily like a Rush Limbaugh call in : >90% Two Minute Hates.

  140. #140 Nick Sullivan
    December 30, 2007

    Re #137
    “Here’s to the international communist-capitalist conspiracy, to which I’ve always wanted to belong”
    It really is a rather excellent series of sci-fi…

    Libertarians, ah anarchists in suits, lovely idea, shame it’s just as flawed in terms of the real world as Marxism and Objectivism.

    As for Ron Paul, moonbat central judging from material from Orac and Ed, plus other sources. Then politics has never really been about making rational choices, which is perhaps why so many vocal supporters abound. Speaking of which, there’s a lack of Paul-bots in here, so far.

  141. #141 LeeLeeOne
    December 30, 2007

    FROM PZ: “So, please, whoever you are: don’t renew my subscription to that awful magazine …”

    To PZ: Allowing ourselves to read something that makes us uncomfortable brings self-education. REASON causes me actual physical discomfort; more often, it angers me enough to lose sleep.

    I agree with you, this subscription should not be renewed for you, personally.

    However, I propose that this subscription should be made available or donated to your local PUBLIC library.

    This serves a multitude of interests. First, the PUBLIC library is supported by taxes (something Libertarians abhor). Second, individual subscriptions, which financially support REASON, would be unnecessary. If you wish to stay on top of the information, without actually purchasing a subscription, then visit your local PUBLIC library (I do this, and often). Thirdly, if you attend to the information available at your local PUBLIC library, you are taking responsibility for your own self-education. Yes, it’s a pain to go to a library only to find the specific reference unavailable because it is being utilized by another reader. I look at this as a positive though. It means perhaps someone, somewhere is becoming self-educated. I then go look for other points of potential interest while at the library, and more often than not, I find other sources of information readily available.

    Information is the key. If we have personal ideals firmly embedded and information is readily available to either reinforce those ideals or challenge them, we are being responsible. If we are “fence-sitters” and this information causes us to attend more seriously to one side or the other. Again, we are being responsible.

    As an educator yourself, I am sure this is what you ultimately desire; for everyone to take control of their own
    “self-education” above and beyond what you teach and demand in your classroom.

    I personally am wholly grateful for PUBLIC libraries. I have chosen to access my local PUBLIC library for my self-education; and as such, I try to ensure that I do my part to support this educational endeavor. Citizens of many countries, counties, states, cities, etc., are not so fortunate.

    Education is the key, but self-education is the more important key.

    So back to the initial point, I beg whomever deems PZ worthy of receiving a personal subscription to REASON perhaps should rethink their point and instead donate this subscription to their local PUBLIC library, or actually take the physical copies received and donate them to their local clinic, hospital, nursing homes (yes, a lot of minds are sharp in nursing homes and they can be “vocal”), colleges, etc., (find your own worthy donation point).

    As I have tried to instill into my children for many a decade, education (most importantly, self-education) is never lost. But it can be wasted when we choose to not self-educate.

  142. #142 kcanadensis
    December 30, 2007
  143. #143 LeeLeeOne
    December 30, 2007

    I beg forgiveness for any typo’s or omissions which may appear in my previous post. I’m on-call, the client who beeped with “urgency” has not yet shown up in the ER, and I am just plain tired.

  144. #144 rmuser
    December 30, 2007

    I agree strongly with this post, and when I made a lengthy writeup about Ron Paul’s true positions, I experienced a similar deluge of Paul supporters. The fact is, he has a record of opposing abortion and equal marriage rights, to the extent that he supported a bill (Marriage Protection Act) that would prevent federal courts from ruling on a federal law (Defense of Marriage Act). He opposes ENDA, supports don’t-ask-don’t-tell, and supports the failed abstinence-based sex ed programs. He opposes embryonic stem cell research, and considers network neutrality to be government regulation of the internet, which must be a bad thing even if it enforces fairness. He has a solid anti-environment record.

    Most distressing is his belief that the United States is a Christian nation, and that separation of church and state is invalid. He buys into the whole “secular war on Christmas” thing. He claims the Constitution is “replete with references to God”, when in fact it contains the word “God” zero times. He thinks the Bill of Rights applies only to Congress, and the incorporation doctrine is “phony”. I guess it’s alright for state governments to infringe on your rights (and prevent the federal courts from adjudicating on such cases), as long as the federal government is kept small.

    Paul’s support for both individual liberties and states’ rights is incongruent, because he pays no heed to the consequences of allowing state governments free reign over our lives, unchecked by federal courts. If that were the case throughout history, we’d still be living in an age of sodomy laws, anti-miscegenation laws and institutionalized segregation.

    This is all fully referenced here: http://emptv.com/view/ron-paul-doesnt-deserve-your-support

  145. #145 Sebastian
    December 30, 2007

    I think Ron Paul isn’t the best option, but he beats the rest of the republicans by a mile. Would you rather have Huckabee or Guliani? I don’t think so.
    I mean, there is no way the income tax will be dismantled completely, nor will the federal reserve be abolished. He will be tempered by the republicans and democrats (checks and balances and all that).

    My point is this: If we’re going to have a republican in office, I’d rather have one who’s “hands off” than someone who’s “hands on”. Ron Paul won’t grab people from their homes and put them in secret interrogation rooms in Egypt, or Guantano Bay, while the rest of the Jack Bauer wannabes can’t wait to show us how tough they are.

    Of course, at the end of the day we would be better off with the democratic candidate.

  146. #146 Kerlyssa
    December 30, 2007

    These Ron Paul fanboys going on and on about how he’s the honest, no bullshit candidate actually reminds me of how Dubya was marketed.

  147. #147 tz
    December 30, 2007

    Why are atheists afraid of liberty? And for that matter democracy.

    You have the totalitarian dictatorship of the supreme court impose your school curriculum. This is neither local freedom, nor even democracy to vote on it.Much less simply provide obviously better arguments. Our planet is obviously not on the back of a giant turtle, but we must make sure the kiddies never hear this view.

    Abortion, equality of the races (what was the subtitle of Darwin’s work again?), Some but not other behavior (sodomy v.s. smoking), no freedom, no vote, just imposed dogma. And that is the way you want it.

    Lysenko must have his Stalin. He too wouldn’t like to live in Ron Paul’s America. Part of the party elite. Privileged. Feared more than respected. Well paid out of the state’s coffers.

    (oh yes, and it isn’t stealing when you do it via a proxy with a badge?).

    In the latest encyclical, BXVI points out that freedom is the freedom to do evil. But that freedom is a good in itself.

    Under Ron Paul, you would be perfectly free – even more free than you are now, except you could not deny that freedomto others. Your petty dictatorship and tyranny would be gone. People would be free to say “non servium” to your system. You would have your throne, but your “ex cathedra” pronouncements would be judged on their merits, not because you had a constabulary ready to taser those who disgreed.

  148. #148 Ed Darrell
    December 30, 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.

    ED’s biggest functions are the administration of Pell Grants and Stafford Grants, programs that opened higher education to tens of millions of Americans. Those were the biggest functions before the department was created, and they remain the biggest. Over the course of Reagan-Bush-Bush, many of those opportunities have gone by the wayside. It’s still the biggest set of functions of ED.

    ED plays a very small role in public education. Federal funding has been dropping for 40 years now, and is down to an average of about 7% of any district’s funds (last time I looked, the highest percentage was 14, and there were only a couple among our 15,000 local districts up that high).

    The need for education quality was made in a publication that would not have occurred but for the Department of Education, the 1983 “Report of the Excellence in Education Commission.” That was the report that noted the rising tide of mediocrity. The danger of Ron Paul is that he wishes to institutionalize that tide, mediocrity being a choice libertarians are allowed to make, and one they rationalize they can inflict on others and still claim to be libertarian.

  149. #149 Scott
    December 30, 2007

    Aside from the fact that he’s a Republican and the country really couldn’t survive another Republican presidency, the thing that really makes me dislike Ron Paul is a a pretty poisonous racist and gets a huge chunk of support from neo-nazis, the Klan, and the pro-terrorism Patriot movement.

  150. #150 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    What’s “unjust?” That are fucking borders aren’t wide open?

    There are more possible options than our current laws and open borders. And what is unjust is a great many aspects of our immigration law.

  151. #151 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    And libertarians are not anarchists. Anarchist abolition of the state takes the form of creating other institutions whereas libertarians have a purely negative view of liberty. Also, anarchists oppose the state because it is the method of oppression of the poor, women and people of color. Libertarians need government because without it there is no one to enforce property rights.

  152. #152 Orac
    December 30, 2007

    If you’re looking for a positive change in government, minus all the crazy, I’m recommend you check out Dennis Kucinich.

    Yeah, because he did such a great job as Mayor of Cleveland…not!

  153. #153 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    You have the totalitarian dictatorship of the supreme court impose your school curriculum.

    Do you know what totalitarian means?

  154. #154 independent
    December 30, 2007

    ED’s biggest functions are the administration of Pell Grants and Stafford Grants, programs that opened higher education to tens of millions of Americans. Those were the biggest functions before the department was created, and they remain the biggest.

    Not if you include the loans and the subsidies to the few politically connected banks. Profit guarantees and above-market interest rates are funded from tax dollars to the tune of tens of billions of dollars (in today’s dollars). Now, the Democrat’s Ed. Dept. budget is going to cut those loan benefits a good bit, but the nation’s tuition costs are still going up and the banks are soon going to be unwilling to loan to risky students in the face of a global credit crunch. But, I’m sure the government will get us out of this mess it got us into in the first place…

    ED plays a very small role in public education. Federal funding has been dropping for 40 years now, and is down to an average of about 7% of any district’s funds

    I know all about it, I work in financial aid and I just started a blog about financial aid… Funny story I got my degree in political science because I wanted to help people. Now I work on a free online database of scholarships and financial aid because this corporation seems like a better way to help people than any government job I could possibly apply for.

    Anyway, the Dept. of Education isn’t 40 years old so it isn’t possible that its budgets have been declining for that long. You imply that it was corrupted by “Reagan-Bush-Bush” but it was only created in 1980 and witnessed its biggest rises in those administrations.

    The primary function of the Department of Education is subsidizing private banks to charge students above-market rates on student loans. That’s not capitalism at all, its something much worse that requires a rich central government to maintain artificially high profits at tax-payer AND student expense.

  155. #155 mikmik
    December 30, 2007

    tz said:

    Why are atheists afraid of liberty? And for that matter democracy.
    – and
    Under Ron Paul, you would be perfectly free – even more free than you are now,
    – and
    except you could not deny that freedomto others

    1. WTF? Atheists worship mind and fight(figuratively) for our individual rights to think and be what we want. Do you have a clue what you’re talking about here?

    2. Under RP? Abortion, religion, etc????? Free????? How about if you are poor or mentally or emotionally or physically handicapped?? What are you free to do then? Beg? Free to listen to you tell them they should get off their asses and get a job? It is fucking fine and dandy to justify selfishness when you think everyone is just a victim of their choices and could do better if they wanted to, but that sure the f*** isn’t reality, is it??

    3. See answer number two. Also, what exactly is freedom? Freedom to do certain things, freedom from certain things, WHAT???
    You blabber about freedom, but do you insist that everyone gets to be free; free to choose what they want to do? And free from inequality, poor health, poor finances, lack of opportunities, deranged parents, natural disaster, etc??

    I live in Canada, and I sent money to Katrina relief. Did you? Did enough people? Almost everyone could afford a little bit, many could afford a lot, but how many even bothered?
    Do you think people would change from greedy self centered animals to altruistic and understanding saints just because taxes and laws were stricken, and that they would suddenly decide to contribute to everything that was needed to make society function cohesively?
    Equally? Because if it wasn’t ‘equally’ that they all contribute, then someone is paying more than their share and I’ll insist that almost everyone will want to pay less than their share if not nothing at all.

  156. #156 SLC
    December 30, 2007

    Actually, the pro-Paul comments here appear to be fairly sane. For a look at some whackjobs, I am posting a link to a thread on Prof. Myers favorite spaceman where they are out in force.

    http://www.badastronomy.com/bablog/2007/12/26/just-in-case-you-thought-ron-paul-wasnt-so-bad/

    However, I am rather taken aback by the lack of comment on the Orac thread posted in Prof. Myers opening comment. I find most distressing the association of Representative Paul with medical cranks and quacks, particularly since he is a physician himself.

  157. #157 Jim
    December 30, 2007

    It’s a big collection of people patting each other on the back about how the government knows better than we do how to spend our money, or is more virtuous in doing so.

    Liberal models of government do not seem to me to be sustainable–they require an ever-increasing amount of taxes that sink as much money into bureaucracy (or more) as goes to the actual problems they are intended to address.

    The Soviet Union collapsed under its own economic ruin, caused both by the unsustainability of its economic model as well as its insistence and pursuing empire. I find it impossible to believe that people cannot see that the U.S. is going down the same road.

    Paul isn’t perfect–he sure as hell isn’t as he has been portrayed in this thread, but he’s far from perfect–but what he does bring is a consistent voting record that would help right the ship now that the major candidates all endorse more and bigger government.

    This white supremacist stuff is pretty ridiculous. There was one flap with a newsletter some time ago, and denied rumors that he attends white supremacist meetings. I think people want to make mountains out of these because it makes it easier to write him off (he’s not polling that great anyway) rather than have to analyze the reality of the consequences of current major-candidate policies.

    But go ahead, keep patting each other on the back for mischaracterizing Paul and libertarianism and how right you are for what a terrible person he is.

  158. #158 T_U_T
    December 30, 2007

    I thing paul would be the ideal candidate –
    He is isolationist, so he won’t drag the rest of the world into the maelstrom.
    He wants to reduce central government and he does not seem to know where its breaking point is, so he is not very likely to prevent the disintegration of the US of America.
    He is also libertarian, so he will aid the collapse by untangling the very fabric of society.
    He is christian fundamentalist, so he will escalate all religious strifes up to religious persecution.
    He is from conspiration/paranoid background, so he is likely to react to any unrest with massive persecution
    And he is anti science, so he will not be able to understand why all things suddenly fall apart, and will likely not take any reasonable measure to stop it.
    Ideal candidate to bring down the last remaining superpower( without nuclear war with the rest of the world ) and show that fanatic capitalism is just as a failure as fanatic socialism.

  159. #159 bernarda
    December 30, 2007

    There are always some clowns who criticize Kucinich as Mayor. But Kucinich was fired by the banks because he wouldn’t sell them municipal electrical system. So they canceled the city’s credit.

    Kucinich had guts. He was even the object of assassination attempts because of his resistance to the banks and the industrialists. Who do you like better? The banks or Kucinich.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20sRFPAbDQw

    Kucinich’s critics don’t have near the cojones he has.

  160. #160 bernarda
    December 30, 2007

    More on Kucinich as mayor and why you should vote for him.

    First, the mayor story,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3z0rk5RoP2U&mode=related&search=

    Why vote for him?

    http://www.theleftcoaster.com/archives/011320.php

  161. #161 Kristjan Wager
    December 30, 2007

    Liberal models of government do not seem to me to be sustainable–they require an ever-increasing amount of taxes that sink as much money into bureaucracy (or more) as goes to the actual problems they are intended to address.

    The Soviet Union collapsed under its own economic ruin, caused both by the unsustainability of its economic model as well as its insistence and pursuing empire. I find it impossible to believe that people cannot see that the U.S. is going down the same road.

    If you think that the Soviet Union ran a liberal model of government, you are more ignorant than you appeared at first.

    Also, going way back to the claim that Ron Paul is a classic liberal, I think it’s worth to point out that one of the major things classic liberals opposed, were capitalism, since they believed that it went against free trade. Hardly sounds like Ron Paul, does it? They also opposed state religion (and monarchy).

    Speaking as a liberal in the European sense, which has some similarities with libertarianism, though with the added benefit of being rooted in the real world, I see little of my stances represented in Paul’s nationalistic, xenophobic world view. Wanting to shut down free trade, movement across borders, and the womens’ right to choose, flies against everything that European liberalism stands for, and what most Libertarians claims to represent.

    Of course, he is also a grade A moron when it comes to economics, but there he at least represents himself correctly.

  162. #162 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    It’s a big collection of people patting each other on the back about how the government knows better than we do how to spend our money, or is more virtuous in doing so.

    And you made it all without any help from other people. Another example of the “mine, mine, mine” mentality of the generic libertarian. Society is a whole bunch of people working together, government is the organization of society by means of force. If you abject to the use of force as a means of organization then do so, and don’t spout this whiny crap about how everyone wants your money.

  163. #163 DSKS
    December 30, 2007

    bernarda #127

    “As if the “free” market and honorable private companies would not do such a thing. Just ask Microsoft, Google, insurance companies, telecom companies, and so on.”

    I admit my post was lengthy, but if you had read it you would know that this comment wasn’t necessary. Classical liberalism is a direction on the political compass, and like any direction, the extremes tend to be unpalatable. However, my argument was only that the current state of politics lies a little too far towards statism to be healthy (in both the US and my home country, the UK). A Democrat watching the chaos unleashed by the current Republican administration over the last 8 years should be well aware of the fact that empowered government might sound like a peachy idea when one’s own team is in power, but it can be very uncomfortable when the Other Guy has the reins.

  164. #164 CalGeorge
    December 30, 2007

    Tax rich people up the wazoo.

    The right to “pursue individual freedom”?

    Bullshit.

    Freedom = making tons of money and destroying the planet in the process.

    Freedom = stomping on others on the way to the top.

    Screw that.

    Give me more government regulation.

    Give me the E.P.A. and the F.D.A. and the Mine Safety and Health Administration and OSHA and a working, viable social safety net whose cost is shouldered by the rich bastards who rape the country for their own benefit.

  165. #165 John C. Randolph
    December 30, 2007

    PZ,

    It’s interesting to note that you’re in 100% agreement with Charles Johnson from Little Green Footballs in your opposition to Ron Paul. Perhaps you would like to reconsider.

    Now, as for some of the charges you’ve made against him:

    1) He is a non-interventionist, not an isolationist. A non-interventionist wants to bring American troops home rather than keep them stationed in 700 bases around the world. An isolationist would also want to erect high tariff barriers to foreign trade, which is something he has consistently opposed.

    2) The nazis may *wish* that he was one of them, but wishing doesn’t make it so. See here:

    http://www.ronpaul2008.com/issues/racism/

    Show me any nazi who ever agreed with “Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism”.

    3) As for the federal reserve and sound money, we have twice before in our history abolished central banks, and Jefferson and Jackson both had very good reasons for doing so. The central banks then, like the federal reserve today, were transferring wealth from the general population to the financial cartel through manipulation of the credit and currency markets. There’s no more reason to sanction a monopoly on banking services than on any other industry.

    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. The first was the continental dollar, the failure of which is the very reason that we have the gold and silver clause in the constitution, and the second were the civil-war era greenbacks, which were phased out over several years following the war. It’s far from impossible to restore our money to a sound basis, we have done it twice.

    Now, as it happens, there are two issues where I disagree with him, but he’s got my vote for one main reason: he understands economics, and will work to defuse the time bomb we’re living with today. The mortgage crisis is nothing compared to the problems we’ll have if the dollar drops 40% and corporations start defaulting on their debts. That would trigger a world-wide depression, as all the foreign currencies that are pegged to the dollar crash right along with us.

    -jcr

  166. #166 John C. Randolph
    December 30, 2007

    “I am going to be able to hire a lawyer and beat a company with an army of lawyers and billions to spend.”

    Ever hear of “contingency fees”, or “class actions”?

    If you’ve got a case, it’s not hard to find lawyers to jump on it.

    -jcr

  167. #167 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!

  168. #168 cureholder
    December 30, 2007

    For Mike (#46)

    I neither support nor oppose Ron Paul, but it’s not accurate to say that Ron Paul “ignores” the 16th Amendment, which allows the income tax. He pairs “getting rid of the income tax” with repealing the 16th Amendment, and seems to grasp that such a repeal is a necessary part of getting rid of the income tax.

  169. #169 John C. Randolph
    December 30, 2007

    ” pleased with their rise in the world and wonder why everyone beneath them are such lazy handout-grubbing slackers.”

    Project much?

    Something I keep seeing in liberals who rail against us libertarians is a baseless assumption that we hold others in contempt. Truth to tell, I see a hell of a lot of disparagement of poor people from liberals, who presume that poor people will never succeed without government interfering in their lives.

    -jcr

  170. #170 John C. Randolph
    December 30, 2007

    “Tax rich people up the wazoo.”

    You know, every “soak the rich” scheme that’s been sold to us since the founding of this republic has turned into a “soak the middle class” reality within a few years. Remember how the “alternative minimum tax”, and how it was only going to get those rich bastards who were clever enough to hire professionals to navigate the byzantine rules of the tax code?

    -jcr

  171. #171 J
    December 30, 2007

    Read this article from a Cleveland free weekly paper for a Cleveland-centric view of Kucinich. The people who know him best aren’t very enthusiastic about him, and I think it’s likely he won’t be reelected next time.

    For those who don’t know much about Kucinich’s past, your biggest surprise will be that Dennis was a master of racial politics.

    http://www.clevescene.com/2007-12-05/news/the-king-of-spin/

  172. #172 John C. Randolph
    December 30, 2007

    Kristjan,

    Where did you get the bizarre idea that Ron Paul wants to shut down free trade? Are you under the false impression that NAFTA is a free-trade agreement?

    -jcr

  173. #173 speedwell
    December 30, 2007

    Frankly, I can hardly bring myself to vote at all. I’m disappointed in every candidate. We can choose any of them, and then we can pick holes in them for two hundred comments. Which of you is voting for a flawless candidate who perfectly exemplifies your ideals and your hopes for a better country? Who is PZ voting for?

    I’m also disappointed in anyone who has substituted faith in the saving power of the government for faith in God. It’s even worse. Governments exist, and the evidence is against their ability to bring about the just society.

  174. #174 Nerull
    December 30, 2007

    It’s interesting to note that you’re in 100% agreement with Charles Johnson from Little Green Footballs in your opposition to Ron Paul. Perhaps you would like to reconsider.

    John C. Randolph: Its interesting to note that, you would probobly consider it a bad thing if I went next door and shot my neighbor because he played his stereo too loud. You are in perfect agreement with Charles Johnson from LIttle green Footballs in your opposition to this act. Perhaps you would like to reconsider.

  175. #175 wildlifer
    December 30, 2007

    There are more possible options than our current laws and open borders. And what is unjust is a great many aspects of our immigration law.

    Hardly. If we didn’t allow any immigration at all, one might be able to argue that was “unjust.” But there’s no moral imperative that demands we allow it.

  176. #176 Dan
    December 30, 2007

    I agree with Somalia except that is anarcho-capitalist, for a true libertarian society see the Ivory Coast. Unfettered trade, all with non-libertarian societies, because they are the only ones with money… Coco farmers using slave and child labour, with no government bureaucrat in sight. Constant paying of bribes and “fees” to get bandits to remove nail spiked planks from public roads so your crop can reach the market. The wholesaler watches a real time computer screen, with cocoa prices set in London, while talking with buyers… no inspection of the goods and then trying to get the highest price out of the buyer, no it is set by a speculator in London… No freedom or capitalism in sight, lot of “libertarianism” though…

  177. #177 cureholder
    December 30, 2007

    #122: It will likely come down to a Huckabee/Obama showdown in November, with Obama winning in a landslide.

    Okay, but in addition to whatever Huckabee/Obama activity you’re describing here (debate? chess? big-time wrestling?), there also will be a presidential election in November 2008. While these two are off having a “showdown” of some kind, the actual Republican and Democrat nominees will be vying for the presidency.

  178. #178 Heterocronie
    December 30, 2007

    I’m a libertarian who doesn’t support Paul because of his immigration and abortion positions. Many libertarians don’t support Paul because of these two issues. I’m sure most of you don’t care about details like that – you’ve already pigeonholed us.

    It’s always nice to read through the emotional and largely irrational tirades directed against libertarianism here. Clearly most of you have already made up your minds about libertarians and your hatred is obvious. I find it sad that Pharyngula is supposed to be a science blog, and yet comments on peer-reviewed research usually number less than a dozen, while any chance to bash libertarians easily draws >100 comments.

  179. #179 WJZ
    December 30, 2007

    Ah, yes. PZ posting on politics is like Clinton lecturing on biology. PZ, painfully uninformed bloviation is for the cable news channels and politically-focused blogs.

  180. #180 negentropyeater
    December 30, 2007

    WJZ,
    everyone is allowed to blog on politics. Politicians do not have a monopoly on ideas about how to organise society better. Opinions of scientists and freethinkers do matter to many and it is most welcome that there are some politically engaged scientists like PZ.
    History shows that intellectuals, philosophers, scientists, historians usually have more foresight on these matters than traditional politicians.

  181. #181 jeffk
    December 30, 2007

    And it’s not greedy to suggest that I should be able to decide what I want to do with my money. It’s mine, not yours.

    This, here, is the crux of libertarianism. It sounds so simple, so appealing, but it presupposes that the system is within a light-year of fair, which it is not. Your money is only “yours” in the most naive sense. It comes at a fantastic cost to our environment, and a hard-working and poor underclass. To imagine yourself in a vacuum where you truly “earned” every dollar you have is just silly and ignorant. With or without government involvement, it’s still all tied together – our lifestyles are supported by people who are systematically exploited.

    Every time I start thinking about the outcomes of a libertarian government, I get chills down my spine. I’m picturing going up to the BWCAW go to canoeing and having to pay a $100 entrance fee to a logging company, only to find that there’s a McDonald’s on Angleworm Lake now. Leaving every decision up to individual profit is a sick recipe for a miserable world fifty years from now.

  182. #182 Mark Call
    December 30, 2007

    If your goal was to persuade me to come over to the side of unbridled anti-social self-centeredness, you failed.

    Pearls before swine.

  183. #183 Kevin Klein
    December 30, 2007

    I see PZ has learned a few things from the creationists he so detests, namely how to construct a fine straw man argument. He opens with his definition of libertarianism as:

    …that reactionary political movement that seeks to elevate greed and selfishness as a ruling principle

    Which is a fine way to dismiss out of hand anything valuable that libertarians might have to say. Of course if he bothered to do some research (another failure he shares with creationists), he might have found a better definition of libertarianism, such as this one from Wikipedia:

    The central tenet of libertarianism is the principle of liberty, namely individual liberty. To libertarians, an individual human being is sovereign over his/her body, extending to life, liberty and property. As such, libertarians define liberty as being completely free in action, whilst not initiating force or fraud against the life, liberty or property of another human being.

    Call me crazy, but that seems like a rather fine principle by which a society of people can agree to live with one another. PZ and many of his sycophants seem to pretend that libertarianism is only defined by the first prong (“completely free in action”) and ignore the second (“not initiating force or fraud against the life, liberty, or property of another human being”).

    My suspicion is that they ignore the second part because they don’t agree with it. Just look how many times you see recurrences in the comments of ideas like “greed is bad”, “tax the rich”, and “stop the evil corporations”. Clearly it is OK to initiate force against the liberty and property of another as long as the other is someone you don’t like.

    In the libertarian view, neither greed, wealth, nor economic power are inherently “good” or “evil”. In fact it affirms our right to be greedy, amass wealth, or accumulate power (or conversely to be lazy, go broke, or just subsist). It is only when the actions expressed by those motives detract from others’ life, liberty or property that the force of government should be used to prevent or limit them.

    But enough of Libertarianism 101. The point is, the double standard to which PZ holds himself (did I mention the oh-so-clever “fecal sludge” argument?) compared to the creationsts he despises is rather unflattering. And the blind parroting of his perspective by the commenters here is scarily reminiscent of an ID blog.

    Oh, and I’m not a Ron Paul supporter either. I find him just as nutty as you do.

  184. #184 qedpro
    December 30, 2007

    I think its a good thing that he’s popular. If his base is ignorant repulicans against the war, this is kinda good for the democrats. The republican votes will be split.

  185. #185 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    In my opinion, the people who support Ron Paul are the ones who refuse to believe that the federal government is here to take care of it’s citizens.

    People who favor their opinions over evidence are stupid.

  186. #186 Dídac
    December 30, 2007

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

  187. #187 Dídac
    December 30, 2007

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

  188. #188 WJZ
    December 30, 2007

    WJZ,
    everyone is allowed to blog on politics. Politicians do not have a monopoly on ideas about how to organise society better. Opinions of scientists and freethinkers do matter to many and it is most welcome that there are some politically engaged scientists like PZ.
    History shows that intellectuals, philosophers, scientists, historians usually have more foresight on these matters than traditional politicians.

    Posted by: negentropyeater | December 30, 2007 12:53 PM

    I agree. The best adjustments to a zeitgeist usually come from outsiders. But, in reference to PZ, I disagree. It’s hypocritical for him to accuse libertarians of being politically uninformed and self-indulgent when he is politically uninformed and self-indulgent. If he wants a certain standard of responsibility, it must be applicable across the board and to himself.

  189. #189 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    The positions listed here are not a real analysis about his political positions and purely a superficial look at a few things before dismissing him outright. I suppose the idea of voting for a Republican was already dismissed by many here and they were just looking for an excuse to to bother themselves too much.

    Nice ad hominem argument, asshole, but you’re wrong on all counts.

  190. #190 CalGeorge
    December 30, 2007

    It’s mine, not yours.

    Perfect.

  191. #191 Logician
    December 30, 2007

    To EVERY ronpaul supporter who wrote:

    You have been directly challenged to respond to the VERBATIM quotes from the MOUTH of ronpaul that delineate him a: homophobe, a racist, a misogynist, etc, etc, etc.
    (Ref #144, 149, etc, etc, etc.) Truly, the rope that has slithered from the mouth of this slimy, filthy, HATEFUL piece of the worst of humanity is more than long enough to hang not only himself but EVERY one of his supporters. The examples are almost limitless to anyone who simply opens his eyes.

    Yet NOT ONE of you has responded to these DIRECT QUOTES. You dodge, you twist, you outright lie in defense of a man who is so disgusting it is shameful to think this scum is actually a human. The words that come OUT of ronpaul’s MOUTH, not what you THINK he said, are why any sane person DESPISES this filthy ativism.

    The only other time I have seen/heard/read such defense of obvious lies is from religidiots about their particular version of ‘the truth’. Considering the flat-out neurotic denial of reality religion REQUIRES, I’m finally begining to understand why trying to reason with a ronpaul supporter is useless: they, like religidiots, are incapable of judgement based on FACTS, because they are insane.

    Since NOT ONE of the ronpaul supporters can or will respond to what ronpaul has ACTUALLY said, they can all be dismissed as sad, sick sycophants unworthy of attention, very much like their sick and slimy savior.

    But we do thank you for exposing your idiocy on this blog. It’s always good to read the feces defecated from the ‘minds’ of the stupid. It helps us to understand why Jerry Springer is so popular: his audience just keeps inbreeding…

  192. #192 Doug S.
    December 30, 2007

    I support Ron Paul for the Republican nomination, but in the general election, I’ll pick any Democratic candidate over him.

    Yes, Ron Paul is a nut, but I’d vote for the ghost of Barry Goldwater before I’d vote for any of the “mainstream” Republican candidates, all of whom seem to be determined to continue the failed and disturbing policies of a morally bankrupt administration.

  193. #193 Tim
    December 30, 2007

    I’m participating in the republican primary and am supporting Ron Paul the fiscally conservative anti-war candidate. Which of the Republican fascist war mongers would you PZ suggest is a better alternative in the Republican primary?

    Freethinkers like ourselves don’t want to the religious to use government to impose religious morality on us, but isn’t taxing us to death for an enlarged government a way of imposing your morality on me?

  194. #194 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    I have no particular brief for Ron Paul. But he has a coherent political philosophy, something that PZ and his acolytes lack. 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?

    Moron.

  195. #195 Chuck le Duck
    December 30, 2007

    This article is now featured on reddit, the church of Ron Paul:

    http://reddit.com/info/645uh/comments/

  196. #196 Colugo
    December 30, 2007

    negentropyeater: “History shows that intellectuals, philosophers, scientists, historians usually have more foresight on these matters than traditional politicians.”

    Professional intellectuals – including scientists – have a terrible track record of flocking to the extremist fads of their eras even more readily than politicians – whether Social Darwinism, Spiritualism, eugenics, Fabianism, Bolshevism, Third World revolutionary romanticism, and so on. Intellectuals tend to be on the leading edge of political, artistic, and social movements, including noxious and fanciful ones. Politicians, on the other hand, are beholden to establishment elites and constituents and so are more reluctant to take edgy positions. They may adopt such views, but history shows that intellectuals typically arrive there first. I am certainly not saying that politicians are a group to accorded special trust either.

    This has nothing to do with PZ Myers, who is a fairly typical Wellstonian progressive and not an extremist. My point is that, collectively, academics and other intellectuals are not a group whose political judgments ought to be given more credence nor trust by virtue of their professional status alone. Scientific judgments regarding their specific area of expertise, sure. So biologists should be broadly heeded on evolution, climatologists on climate change, etc. But that’s all that their professional status ought to get them.

  197. #197 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    Well, yeah, he got rich driving obstetricians out of business using an unscientific and discredited theory of how cerebral palsy originates.

    Perhaps asshole Harbison can explain why the defense didn’t simply present the clear and unambiguous evidence that it was an unscientific and uncredited theory.

    http://radio.weblogs.com/0110436/2004/02/01.html#a533

    The report of the ACOG Task Force on Neonatal Encephalopathy and Cerebral Palsy was released almost exactly one year ago today, on January 30, 2003. That is the first release of what can be characterized as a “consensus” view within the obstetrics profession on this vital issue. For 25 or more years prior to that report, the issue of whether and to what extent depriving the neonate of oxygen can result in neurological deficits was an open question, one which was widely debated and highly controversial during that time. Indeed, a review of most of the medical literature and authorities published during the 1980s and 1990s shows a preponderance of belief in favor of the association. Although some studies questioning this long-held belief began to emerge, it is accurate to say that many level-headed and disciplined scientific minds were persuaded that such an association existed during the last quarter of the 20th century, including the entire time that John Edwards was practicing law.

  198. #198 Tyler DiPietro
    December 30, 2007

    As for the federal reserve and sound money…

    James, I hardly think that a currency system which is almost universally recognized by economists as immensely deflationary deserves to be called “sound money”. Gold-bugs keep forcasting an economic collapse due to fiat currency, but 60 years without a depression or bank panic still compares favorably to the times when such things were ubiquitous.

  199. #199 Keith
    December 30, 2007

    No person is ever born free. He is always dependent on a shared social environment.

    Capitalism says everything in this social environment is all up for sale and can be ‘owned’ (i.e the rest of society can be excluded from it).

    This a systemic theft from society. But it does motivate competition among people which leads to massive value creation. When people can aquire wealth through property, they will work really hard to create it. Capitalist governments use violence to defend these thefts of property from the wider society. But the system does create massive wealth.

    Socialist governments use violence to defend the social environment from those who try to claim or hoard property. They try to share out social goods at the same time as trying to promote their production. They have an instinct to regiment everyone to make them the same, so everything is more equal.

    Capitalists and libertarians want everything up for sale and each of us in competition with each other. The trouble is that prior generations get first takings. Then the gifted, the beautiful and the inherited will always win the race. And so get all the goodies from the social environment.

    The good side is that the competition creates massive extra value that never existed before.

    The downside is the growing numbers left behind. Those who have no chance in competition with others. Not just the cripples and the idiots. But even the hard working and competent. They cannot compete and win against the truly gifted, the inherited, the lucky or the beautiful. Just as a cripple cannot win against an athlete even in a ‘fair’ race. Socialism tries to handicap the gifted rather than level out the playing field.

    The violence of capitalism is in the enforcement of property rules and in creating the level playing field of competition.

    The violence of socialism is in the confiscation of personal wealth and the destruction of personal freedoms. People become dependent upon state wealth confiscations, and the regulation of any freedom of action, enforced at the point of a gun. Any dependency on the bounties of state violence can morally corrupt us.

    Capitalism creates mass wealth generation. Socialism destroys wealth but creates mass equality.

    Statism (organized violence) can defend either system

    A mixed economy tries to mix the best from each ideology. Voters want the benefits of both systems.

    The problem is that government cannot be trusted, because state power is too seductive and dangerous for people to be trusted with. Especially when democratically empowered.

    That’s why Ron Paul is so appealing. He sees the inherent danger of state power.

  200. #200 Heterocronie
    December 30, 2007

    Despite my disagreements with my liberal/left friends, I generally feel like we all want to live in the same kind of prosperous, free, secular, benevolent world – even if we disagree on the best way to get there.

    With Ron Paul, I get the sense that although we might agree on the importance of limited government..the worlds we would want to live in are very different.

    Secular libertarians who support Paul should give some serious thought to the Ron Paul quotes that Logician referred to.

  201. #201 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    He claims the Constitution is “replete with references to God”,

    I was curious about that so I googled the phrase; I didn’t even include “Ron Paul” and http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul148.html popped right up. Those here justifying voting for Ron Paul are thoroughly deluded.

  202. #202 TomK
    December 30, 2007

    Ron paul is right about drugs, terror and that switching from gold was a bad idea.

    However, he is very dangerous.

  203. #203 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    Why are atheists afraid of liberty?

    Why are you a moron?

    Under Ron Paul, you would be perfectly free

    You’re insane.

  204. #204 DLB
    December 30, 2007

    Like you, I’d, personally, probably do well in this dystopian libertarian paradise. However, I have no great expectation that this system would prove superior to eg. European social democracy in the long term. The issue of transgenerational concentration of wealth –power — is the achilles’ heel of libertopia.
    Transgenerational transfer of wealth was the entire point of primogeniture, but that isn’t a common practice in the modern world. With a more even distribution among descendents, fortunes get diluted as the number of heirs accumulates.
    In any case, libertarians aren’t concerned with economic equality, which is as much a fantasy any dream of perfect individual freedom. The goal of free market economics is not to divide the pie more evenly, but to enlarge the pie. It matters little to me if someone’s slice is bigger than mine, so long as the absolute quantity of pie I get improves over time.

  205. #205 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    Constant paying of bribes and “fees” to get bandits to remove nail spiked planks from public roads so your crop can reach the market.

    Aha, I see their problem, “public roads.” Once you privatize those roads everything will be fine!

  206. #206 Steve LaBonne
    December 30, 2007

    I’m participating in the republican primary and am supporting Ron Paul the fiscally conservative anti-war candidate. Which of the Republican fascist war mongers would you PZ suggest is a better alternative in the Republican primary?

    Freethinkers like ourselves don’t want to the religious to use government to impose religious morality on us, but isn’t taxing us to death for an enlarged government a way of imposing your morality on me?

    What I would suggest is that you take a careful look at the actual fiscal record of your party from at least the time of Nixon on, as opposed to its rhetoric.

  207. #207 Heterocronie
    December 30, 2007

    truth machine,

    Thanks for posting that – after reading it, there’s no way in hell I’d consider waffling into a “well, he’s the lesser of the evils” position.

  208. #208 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    It’s interesting to note that you’re in 100% agreement with Charles Johnson from Little Green Footballs in your opposition to Ron Paul.

    They are also in 100% agreement in their opposition to space invaders from Mars.

    Perhaps you would like to reconsider.

    Perhaps you would like to become intelligent.

  209. #209 Moses
    December 30, 2007

    Freethinkers like ourselves don’t want to the religious to use government to impose religious morality on us, but isn’t taxing us to death for an enlarged government a way of imposing your morality on me?

    Posted by: Tim | December 30, 2007 1:23 PM

    You should change that to “non-thinkers like ourselves.” Because, as a group, you really aren’t demonstrating any rational, informed thought processes behind your arguments.

    For example, the ridiculous argument you just made has a correlated opposition to your side of “imposition of morality.” When you fully extend the argument, you’re really making a classic children’s argument which boils down to “my morality over yours,” just like the theocrats. Which is not surprising, libertarianism is not a hybrid between the left and the right. It’s actually further right than the Republican right and vehmently opposes any sort of control.

    As a group, you Libertarian-Ron-Bots have been just throwing shit up against the wall as fast and furious as you can in the hopes that you win some points. As most of this blog’s participants are supporters of evolution, we’re very familiar with the technique: rapid-fire, bullet-point bullshit that takes more effort to rebut than to spew.

    Well, that doesn’t fly around here. We understand Libertarianism and it’s advocates pretty well. And most of us think you’re just a bunch of selfish wankers who can’t exist well with others and have some delusional beliefs about altruism, the free-rider problem and what makes civilization work, among other delusions.

  210. #210 freelunch
    December 30, 2007

    Ron paul is right about drugs, terror and that switching from gold was a bad idea.

    Gold is just a talisman that some worship.

    Money is the same whether it be cowrie shells, gold or paper.

    The best recent critique of gold bugs is Terry Pratchett’s Making Money.

  211. #211 BlueIndependent
    December 30, 2007

    178: “…Pharyngula is supposed to be a science blog, and yet comments on peer-reviewed research usually number less than a dozen, while any chance to bash libertarians easily draws >100 comments.”

    After peer-reviewing your post, I find it lacking. Are you seriously saying, then, that this blog should be comprised primarily of posters with extensive biology experience in both classroom and profession? Have you ever posted to one of the peer-review or science threads, instead of just looking at their comment tallies?

    PZ’s point for this blog is beyond obvious, and science was never intended to be 100% the focus. This should be obvious anyhow…

    126: “…And it’s not greedy to suggest that I should be able to decide what I want to do with my money. It’s mine, not yours. If YOU want to save the world with YOUR money, that’s just great. But please keep your mitts off mine. I have no sense of obligation to support people on welfare or the old guy next door that needs a hip replacement. I’m not some sort of sociopath – I know that some people that really need welfare do get off of it eventually, a la Bill Clinton’s plan. The others are just milking the system. Hey! that’s MY milk money, man. Hands off!…”

    No, no it’s not your “milk money, man”. It never has been. You earn the right to use the amount you make. The money is not owned by you. Nobody owns their money. What country do you think this is? And who are all these system milkers? Where are they? I always hear conservatives and libertarians rail against social spending but they never provide any hard numbers to back their claim up, and it ends up being nothing but whining about the minority of abusers to take away from the majority of non-abusers.

    15: “Scary as Ron Paul is, his zealots are even scarier. I am deeply suspicious of any candidate that provokes that level of mouth-foaming fanaticism.”

    Um, do you know who’s sitting in the White House and who supports him?

    105: “…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?”

    Maybe that’s what you would like to think it’s about, but it’s typical conservative distract-from-the-issues rhetoric. Who said anything about voting for Hillary because she’s a woman? Name a single prominent Democrat or liberal that has said as much. Who said vote for Barack because he’s African? Again, name a source. John Edwards channeling fetuses? WTF do you drink?

    This is why conservatism, republicans, right-libertarians, etc…all you guys can just shove it. I’m sick of your bullshit whining and crying about the sky falling. Bunch of head-cut-off chickens squawking about things that don’t exist. Everything not yours is bad and evil and ugly. I’m just done with you guys. You had your chance to convince me, and you blew it with all your finger-pointing and not-my-faultism. Your worldview sucks, period.

    What made this country great, what made it the land it was between 1933 and 1974 was generally liberal policies that benefitted and worked for the middle class majority and brought people up, not trickled it down. The greatest economic times we’ve ever seen? Democrats. Civil rights legislation? Democrats. Throwing off the cuffs of racism and hate? Democrats. Getting us to the moon and fighting communism smartly? Democrats. Suffrage and abortion rights for women? Democrats. Great American jobs? Democrats. Go down the list and almost everything good that happened for this society in the 20th century was a result of liberal policy. The most popular Republican presidents? They happen to be the progressive ones like Lincoln, Teddy and Ike, who these days would be tarred and feathered by their own party as communists.

    This independent voter knows the score.

  212. #212 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    It’s always nice to read through the emotional and largely irrational tirades directed against libertarianism here. Clearly most of you have already made up your minds about libertarians and your hatred is obvious. I find it sad that Pharyngula is supposed to be a science blog, and yet comments on peer-reviewed research usually number less than a dozen, while any chance to bash libertarians easily draws >100 comments.

    Poor narcissist baby.

  213. #213 Mark Borok
    December 30, 2007

    Paul’s opinions on immigration are where he parts company with most libertarians. I’ve been reading the Reason online blog for quite a while, and they are not in agreement with him on the immigration question (or evolution). They’re just willing, in many cases, to overlook those differences. Plus, on the subject of evolution, they can remind themselves that a president has little to no impact on what gets taught in science classes.

    I like libertarians in general. They take things to the extreme, but at least they are philosophically consistent and in many cases they are good at pointing out the real flaws in some government programs that liberals support. As long as they are liberal on social issues, I consider them to be on the side of the angels, so to speak.

  214. #214 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    I see PZ has learned a few things from the creationists he so detests, namely how to construct a fine straw man argument. He opens with his definition of libertarianism

    It’s not a definition, moron, it’s a characterization.

    How you libertarians do go on about how misunderstood you are. But we understand you better than you understand your intellectually dishonest narcissistic selves.

  215. #215 Heterocronie
    December 30, 2007

    Poor narcissist baby.

    Yeah, you’re right. I’m going to go do something productive with my day and leave you here to bask in the glory of calling me a baby.

  216. #216 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    Hardly. If we didn’t allow any immigration at all, one might be able to argue that was “unjust.” But there’s no moral imperative that demands we allow it.

    If the immigration policy existed in a vacuum then you might be right, but it does not. There are a lot of arguments in favor of the view that we do have a moral imperative to allow immigration

    Shelly Wilcox, Immigrant Admissions and Global Relations of Harm

    Joseph H. Carens, Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders

    I could cite more, but your assertion that we have no moral imperative is probably based on a incomplete understanding of the issue.

  217. #217 DLB
    December 30, 2007

    Gold is just a talisman that some worship.

    But gold is rare. This allows individuals using gold as a trading proxy to use small, portable quantities. You could work with shells, if you like, but because they’re relatively common, inflation would force you to carry them around by the ton to buy a hamburger.
    Paper money works as well, again, along as there’s a finite supply and it’s made artificially rare by anti-counterfeiting measures. The issue with paper is that it allows the institution running the mint to inflate the supply at will, and this is Paul’s issue with fiat currency. This can and has happened with metals, but its more difficult.

  218. #218 negentropyeater
    December 30, 2007

    First, the key problem of trustworthiness of government doesn’t get solved by reducing its ambit.

    Second, in a world where more and more resources will be limited and consumtion will have to be controlled one way or another, I sincerely don’t see how libertarianism will reduce the disparities in capital distribution between the richest and the poorest (which has been increasing again over the last generation) and improve global welfare. It will just increase global tensions.

    We are not living an epoch where there are huge untapped territories to discover, populate and conquer, like in the past 300 years of American history… The age of the “American dream” is gone.

  219. #219 nate
    December 30, 2007

    the anti-government thing is so childish. we need better government, not less government. ron paul wants to roll back the new deal and turn us into a banana republic. no thanks!

  220. #220 Stephen Wells
    December 30, 2007

    Those weren’t huge untapped territories anyway. There were, after all, people living there.

  221. #221 WJZ
    December 30, 2007

    nates,

    When was the last time the government has become “better” by increasing its size? The taking of our water bottles has not made us safer.

  222. #222 Tyler DiPietro
    December 30, 2007

    “The issue with paper is that it allows the institution running the mint to inflate the supply at will, and this is Paul’s issue with fiat currency.”

    This “issue” is necessary for anti-recessionary action. A gold standard is difficult to inflate, but is insanely deflationary, leading among other things to liquidity traps. We’ve been able to avoid bank panics and depressions for the last several decades primarily because we have adopted a fiat currency system.

  223. #223 Moses
    December 30, 2007

    The goal of free market economics is not to divide the pie more evenly, but to enlarge the pie. It matters little to me if someone’s slice is bigger than mine, so long as the absolute quantity of pie I get improves over time.

    Posted by: DLB | December 30, 2007 1:58 PM

    There is no pie. There are goals of individuals who participate in market economies that have greater or lesser freedom from government regulation. There is a great correlation to both high freedom and low freedom in economic injustice. Empirical studies seem to show us that the social-democracies of Europe do a much better job in reducing economic injustice than Lassie Faire or Totalitarian-Socialist.

    In long term economic growth profiles, you have a mixed bag. The past few years the US GDP has out-performed Europe by a few tenths of a percent, but it’s become clear that GDP boost was at the expense of what looks to be a Trillion dollars of deficit spending through a real-estate bubble.

    At this point in time, it appears we could very well end up with the same stagflation we had in the 1970’s when, like the 1970’s, the money supply was mismanaged. This mismanagement, by all rights, on the heads of the Straussians (via Greenspan) who are favored by the Libertarians. But that’s what happens when nutcases who wish to construct their free-market utopia in the real world. Not understanding Utopia’s don’t exist, don’t work when they’re tried and we’ve already had their brand of “utopia” in the past – it was called the Gilded Age – the blindly stumble along trying to re-invent something that didn’t work.

    And, for the record, the past few years has seen the middle class “pie” shrink and shrink and shrink. For the first time in modern American history, the majority of the middle class believe their children will not have the same or better economic prospects.

  224. #224 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    leave you here to bask in the glory of calling me a baby.

    Typical whiny libertarian takes no responsibility.

  225. #225 dk
    December 30, 2007

    Ron paul is a fraud that endangers americans, not to mention being completely anti semitic. He wants to cut off all aid to Israel? My place of birth and our only ally in the middle East, again no other candidate is against this insane policy.

    He denies that Iran is a threat? Every other candidate sees the threat Iran Poses, they threatened to wipe Israel off the map, and he like the Nazi appeasers in the 30’s seem primed to let a new hitler in Iran kill millions of my people again. He is a despicable denier and his isolationist foregn policy is dangerous to americans and Isrealis. Iran is a very grave threat, and a first strike to prevent them from attaining a weapon which they will surely use to wipe Israel off the map must be stopped. Paul’s denial and anti semitism disgusts me.

    Oh and did you know many of ron pauls supporters beleive the Mossad carried out 9/11?, the same Mossad that bravely got vengeance on the despicable mad arabs that kidnapped the Israeli olympians? I have not seen such a more hateful and antisemitic group of people who deny our need to stop Iran with a first strike/prememptive invasion, embrace anti semitic 9/11 conspiracy theories, openly take support from neo nazi members, this man is Pat buchanun on steroids, and his radicalist agenda reminds me of another radical 70 years ago, hitler.

    Dont tell me im going to far, it was this kind of appeasment and embracment of radical conpiracies that murdered 6 million of my people, so I have zero tolerance for this racist madman.

  226. #226 jfatz
    December 30, 2007
  227. #227 DLB
    December 30, 2007

    This “issue” is necessary for anti-recessionary action. A gold standard is difficult to inflate, but is insanely deflationary, leading among other things to liquidity traps. We’ve been able to avoid bank panics and depressions for the last several decades primarily because we have adopted a fiat currency system.

    I’m not arguing that Paul is right (nor am I convinced you’re right). I’m simply responding to #209, who implied that all money systems are arbitrary.

  228. #228 Mikko Sandt
    December 30, 2007

    Wow – this blog really is going downhill with its comment section. Clueless left-wing idiotarians praising PZ’s misguided views on matters such as the economy as if he were the Pope. How do you guys think you differ from your Redstate/LGF counterparts? You don’t. Your morality is no better and your science is just as lacking as theirs.

  229. #229 negentropyeater
    December 30, 2007

    Does anyone here believe that the kind of growth (demographic and economic) observed in the 20th century is at all sustainable in the 21st century ?
    One of the main problem with libertarianism is that it needs growth more than any other system. And growth there will not be much left. Whether we like it or not.

  230. #230 cooler
    December 30, 2007

    Mikko you are a despicable denier for lending any sort of support for Paul, you are a hateful anti semite for not openly condemning Paul. anyone that in anyway appeases or mitigates the actions of this madman is a anti semitic denier, read my post above to see why. There is no excuse for this and we should all band together to condemn this nazi madmans supporters.

  231. #231 Tyler DiPietro
    December 30, 2007

    Shorter Mikko Sandt: “I know you are, but what am I?”

  232. #232 Tyler DiPietro
    December 30, 2007

    Oh goody, I knew it was only a matter of time before loony tunes cooler showed up.

  233. #233 Mikko Sandt
    December 30, 2007

    Dan:
    “I agree with Somalia except that is anarcho-capitalist, for a true libertarian society see the Ivory Coast.”

    Either you’re a complete jackass or just dishonest.

    Countries like Sweden, Finland and Canada are far more libertarian than the Ivory Coast.

  234. #234 freelunch
    December 30, 2007

    216/226.

    Yes, gold is relatively rare, but that is not what made it into money. Gold is money because people say so. Remember that even if the country doesn’t debase the coinage, you can still introduce inflation and deflation into an economy with gold as money if you allow banks to lend. As the ratio of lent money to the base supply increases, you have inflationary pressure, as it decreases, you have deflationary pressure and the aforementioned liquidity trap.

  235. #235 Lyle G
    December 30, 2007

    ‘Kucinich believes in UFOs’ ‘Kucinich sees UFOs,’ Is that the whole story? Did he say anything beyond that he saw something in the sky that couldn’t be identified? If that is all that was said, It does not in any way make him a crackpot or delusional. Slightly off topic, but it WAS brought up.

  236. #236 wildlifer
    December 30, 2007

    If the immigration policy existed in a vacuum then you might be right, but it does not. There are a lot of arguments in favor of the view that we do have a moral imperative to allow immigration

    Shelly Wilcox, Immigrant Admissions and Global Relations of Harm

    Joseph H. Carens, Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders

    I could cite more, but your assertion that we have no moral imperative is probably based on a incomplete understanding of the issue.

    I could only access the abstract of the second article. It seems to be some one-world government utopian screed which holds us responsible for the crimes/behavior of other nation states.

  237. #237 Mikko Sandt
    December 30, 2007

    negentropyeater:
    “Does anyone here believe that the kind of growth (demographic and economic) observed in the 20th century is at all sustainable in the 21st century ?”

    Yes.

    “One of the main problem with libertarianism is that it needs growth more than any other system. And growth there will not be much left. Whether we like it or not.”

    These misguided and naive Malthusian prophecies are no different from Armageddon prophecies.
    A system of free markets is the only system that is capable of allocating scarce resources efficiently. The problem with the world and growth is that there are societies and economic systems that waste scarce resources.

  238. #238 negentropyeater
    December 30, 2007

    People like Mikko Sandt believe in the sanctity of free-markets and have stopped thinking about economics and politics 30 years ago. And they claim anybody who doesn’t understand it is misguided… and a communist.
    Wonder who is indoctrinated ?

  239. #239 Mikko Sandt
    December 30, 2007

    negentropyeater:
    “People like Mikko Sandt believe in the sanctity of free-markets and have stopped thinking about economics and politics 30 years ago.”

    Economics is exactly what I’m thinking about and it seems that you and the rest of the Malthusian bandwagon are completely clueless when it comes to that.

  240. #240 bernarda
    December 30, 2007

    dk 224, apartheid israel is not a part of the U.S. It is not a state, even though israelis seem to think it is. The U.S. has no obligations to israel and Americans have no interest at all in supporting israel.

    I think that Paul is useless reactionary, but his opposition to the Iraq war is exactly right and, if as you say, he opposes aid to apartheid israel, he is exactly right on that too. No aid and no trade with apartheid israel.

    dk, when you talk about imaginary “anti-semitism” that is an application of Godwin’s law. Anyone who talks about “anti-semitism” is the same as someone who talks about nazism. Frankly, who cares what israelis like you think, especially someone like you who knows nothing,

    “the same Mossad that bravely got vengeance on the despicable mad arabs that kidnapped the Israeli olympians? ”

    The Mossad is the Gestapo. I thought that israelis thought that they were western democrats, but no. They seem to engage in illegal assassinations and they even murdered innocent people. Anyway, who were those athletes but israeli military terrorists. You israelis really have a double standard.

  241. #241 Matt
    December 30, 2007

    Troy : Matt, you’ll get arrested for smoking pot at home for the same reason you’ll get ticketed for driving sans seatbelt . . . our society has collectively decided, via our democratic representatives, that the global cost of limiting freedom in this two areas is outweighed by the collective gains thereby.

    You forgot to state by what right you have taken away my freedom. If we all got together and decided that the Christian religion was going to be the state religion, would that be just fine with you? No, and it wouldn’t be fine with the constitution either. We live in a constitutionally limited republic, and those powers not delegated to the Federal government in the constitution are given to the states. Why do you hate the constitution?

  242. #242 Stanton
    December 30, 2007

    Anyway, who were those athletes but israeli military terrorists.

    So did that make it right for Palestinian terrorists to kidnap them, hold them for ransom, and then summarily murder/execute without trial/kill them when it was inconvenient to hold them captive anymore?

  243. #243 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    I could only access the abstract of the second article. It seems to be some one-world government utopian screed which holds us responsible for the crimes/behavior of other nation states.

    I’m going to assume you mean the first article as the second had none of the features you are talking about. More importantly, to say that we have no responsibility in regards to what happens in other countries is either naive or dishonest. We affect events in other countries whether we like it or not. The U.S. government has committed gross injustices against the peoples of a number of other countries. One example in the paper is the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam and the negative effects that are still felt by people in that country.

    Of course, you probably aren’t interested in hearing this as you don’t want your happy little insular world-view challenged.

  244. #244 mikmik
    December 30, 2007

    I said in #155: You blabber about freedom, but do you insist that everyone gets to be free; free to choose what they want to do? And free from inequality, poor health, poor finances, lack of opportunities, deranged parents, natural disaster, etc??

    I live in Canada, and I sent money to Katrina relief. Did you? Did enough people? Almost everyone could afford a little bit, many could afford a lot, but how many even bothered?

    Not one fucking libertarian has answered.
    – – –
    Quote “But go ahead, keep patting each other on the back for mischaracterizing Paul and libertarianism and how right you are for what a terrible person he is.
    Posted by: Jim
    Done, except the mischaracterizing part. It is his character, thats why it is so easy to do a good job.
    – – –
    Posted by: Kristjan Wager | December 30, 2007 10:48 AM
    You hit the nail on the head. :-)
    – – –

    Okay, I see something here. You fucks that support either RP as the best alternative and a damn fine example at that, to the pure libertarians….
    You argue against every other thought the way you stereotypically represent fantasy of what libertarianism would be. You use definitions of liberal, or social, or worse, but made of straw. How pathetically boring.

    Can we get some realistic shit here?
    – – –
    Truth to tell, I see a hell of a lot of disparagement of poor people from liberals, who presume that poor people will never succeed without government interfering in their lives.
    Posted by: John C. Randolph

    Did you read my goddamn posts? I said you would say that, HA FUCKING HA! Poor, disabled, etcetera.
    Oh yeah. If you hear these things so much, you could easily give quotes, I imagine.
    So, you see? I doubt that do hear these things with all my heart, because I have never seen that generalization from anyone but you scarecrows.
    – – –
    Okay, i won’t do this anymore, there is far to much bullshit from the simpletons=pure libertarians.
    Why do I say it – because you still do not talk about anything besides money, and what you should be able to do with yours.

    Do any of you tightwads have a meaning for individuality, and, not just your rights, but the freedom to express them?

    I will say it again: Ron Paul is not a libertarian, in fact he is very far from what one is.
    Very far.

    He is a religious freak. He is a pro lifer (good as pacifist, bad as anti-abortionist)
    He is a walking contradiction.

    Yet you imbeciles say he is consistent.

    Been there, done that, give it the fuck up. There is not one idiot from the rebugnats that is close to being sane, let alone admirable.
    Prolly no dems, either. That is another debate.

  245. #245 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    Mikko Sandt:These misguided and naive Malthusian prophecies are no different from Armageddon prophecies.

    That is the stupidest thing I have heard in a long time. Saying that we cannot continuously grow at the rate that we currently are is not a “Malthusian prophecy” it is a reasonably supported argument. Unlike the opposite position, that we can magically increase both population size and the per capita resource consumption of said population indefinitely and suffer no negative effects. This is patently unreasonable.

    Anyone who talks about “anti-semitism” is the same as someone who talks about nazism.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. Anti-semetism is a real problem in the world. I can understand why you might say this given that defenders of the horrendous actions of Israel often claim that anyone who criticizes Israel is anti-semetic, or even that criticizing Israel is itself anti-semetic; but, anti-semetism is still a problem in the world and there have been a rising number of attacks in Europe and even in the U.S. in the past few years. It is most certainly not the same as nazism, nor is it some sort of invocation of Godwin’s Law.

  246. #246 John C. Randolph
    December 30, 2007

    “The issue with paper is that it allows the institution running the mint to inflate the supply at will, and this is Paul’s issue with fiat currency. ”

    There’s a bit more to it than that. There’s also the fact that every fiat currency in history has been used to finance the expansion of government. If we were getting taxed in an open and aboveboard fashion for the cost of the Iraq war, would we put up with it?

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

    -jcr

  247. #247 wildlifer
    December 30, 2007

    I’m going to assume you mean the first article as the second had none of the features you are talking about. More importantly, to say that we have no responsibility in regards to what happens in other countries is either naive or dishonest. We affect events in other countries whether we like it or not. The U.S. government has committed gross injustices against the peoples of a number of other countries. One example in the paper is the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam and the negative effects that are still felt by people in that country.

    Of course, you probably aren’t interested in hearing this as you don’t want your happy little insular world-view challenged.

    No, I couldn’t even get an abstract for the first article.
    So, you’re of the school every problem in the world is the United State’s fault and your solution is to let them all move here through unchecked immigration (conclusion based on you referencing an article advocating globally open borders). Fucking brilliant.
    I’m sure you’ll also want to take more of my wages so as to pay on the interest charged us on the money we would have to borrow from the group of international bankers who own the Fed, so we could support such an altruistic [sic] enterprise.

  248. #248 Troy
    December 30, 2007

    You forgot to state by what right you have taken away my freedom

    Lawrence vs. Texas case examines the constitutional threshholds the “Statists” must pass in order to tell you and me what we can and cannot do.

    I tend to disagree with the pot prohibition because I think the damage risk — costs — to society is overblown. I do not disagree with seatbelt laws since these are a very reasonable and minimal mitigation to the societal costs we incur collectively operating motor vehicles and every State dollar spent cleaning up after dumbasses who didn’t buckle up is a dollar lost to more productive purposes.

    I’ll note all of the dissenters in the Raich case (with whom I agree with) were Republican appointees and are gone now.

    In my personal philosophy, the role of the Feds should be to guarantee liberties not restrict them, subject to their commerce-clause powers, which is significant because our country is more effective when it is one, from 50 rather than 50 states in conflct with each other.

    Anyhoo, I agree to some extent with the Paulistas that the Feds have to much centralized power but think the Paulists / Federal Society / States Rights people ignore the backstop powers that the Feds should have to protect individual liberty from local encroachment.

  249. #249 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    Wow – this blog really is going downhill with its comment section.

    Certainly with your contribution.

  250. #250 John C. Randolph
    December 30, 2007

    “He wants to cut off all aid to Israel? ”

    Yes, and to the Arab dictatorships that threaten them, too.

    The upshot is that Israel would lose 1/3 as much money as the Arabs. Without the US taxpayer to prop them up, the Arabs would have to reconsider their relationship to the strongest economy in the region, wouldn’t they?

    Peace with Israel has been very good for Jordan, and that’s a lesson that other Arab countries can ignore as long as we subsidize them.

    -jcr

  251. #251 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    Oh goody, I knew it was only a matter of time before loony tunes cooler showed up.

    cooler = dk, apparently.

  252. #252 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    So, you’re of the school every problem in the world is the United State’s fault and your solution is to let them all move here through unchecked immigration (conclusion based on you referencing an article advocating globally open borders). Fucking brilliant.

    Yes, when I said that we affect events outside our border I obviously meant that everything is the fault of America. In addition I assume that you think we are not responsible for things that we have clearly done, like the case of agent orange in Vietnam. It doesn’t need to be that the U.S. has cause every problem or no problems, we can have caused some problems.

    The article referenced, the Carens article, since you said you read that abstract, in fact does not argue for what you claim it does. Its arguments doesn’t even mention the actions of the U.S. in regards to immigration. The reason I assumed you had read the abstract for the Wilcox is that her article does make that claim and the abstract of the Carens article has nothing to do with what you say it does. Ultimately, the point is that you clearly don’t know what you are talking about and prefer to make claims that I’ve said things I haven’t. Like,

    I’m sure you’ll also want to take more of my wages so as to pay on the interest charged us on the money we would have to borrow from the group of international bankers who own the Fed, so we could support such an altruistic [sic] enterprise.

    Not sure how this is at all derived from what I said earlier, but obviously if I support one position you disagree with I must support every position you disagree with.

  253. #253 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    ‘Kucinich believes in UFOs’ ‘Kucinich sees UFOs,’ Is that the whole story? Did he say anything beyond that he saw something in the sky that couldn’t be identified? If that is all that was said, It does not in any way make him a crackpot or delusional. Slightly off topic, but it WAS brought up.

    It’s a stupid smear — expectable from aletoledo, but surprising that coathangrrr accepted it.

    See http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,307117,00.html, which confirms every bad thing about FOX News and John Gibson, but as for Kucinich: “it was unidentified flying object, ok, it’s like, it’s unidentified; I saw something”

  254. #254 speedwell
    December 30, 2007

    I live in Canada, and I sent money to Katrina relief. Did you? Did enough people? Almost everyone could afford a little bit, many could afford a lot, but how many even bothered?

    Not one fucking libertarian has answered.

    Was I suppose to answer? I live in Houston. The whole city was involved in taking in, housing, and feeding refugees. The apartment complex I live in, as well as others around here, bore the strain of accepting displaced people into our communities. The company I work for has a number of branches in the affected area, and we all pulled together to help the people working at those branches and their communities. I myself am the daughter of a political immigrant who escaped Hungary during the revolution, and our family has sponsored political refugees from time to time–this experience helped me understand the plight of the Katrina refugees and to help them as I could. My extended family has fallen on hard times and I am short on cash, but when the opportunity has presented itself, I have helped locate private charity assistance and donated food and time. This is not the sort of thing I go around congratulating myself about, jerkwad, but since you asked point blank and made an unseemly row about it, I’m telling you. Happy now?

  255. #255 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    if as you say, he opposes aid to apartheid israel

    I’m highly critical of Israel, but in no way is it apartheid. Perhaps you are thinking of the Palestinian territories, which Jimmy Carter has characterized as apartheid.

  256. #256 speedwell
    December 30, 2007

    “…supposed….” And the crack about “Not one fucking…” was supposed to be part of the quote. Goddammit, I hate typos.

  257. #257 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    So did that make it right for Palestinian terrorists to kidnap them, hold them for ransom, and then summarily murder/execute without trial/kill them when it was inconvenient to hold them captive anymore?

    Indeed. It looks like dk/cooler and bernarda were made for each other.

  258. #258 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    It’s a stupid smear — expectable from aletoledo, but surprising that coathangrrr accepted it.

    Yeah, it was a bit dense of me. I should have thought about it as I’ve seen UFOs as well; but I’m not a huge Kucinich fan anyway, I think he is wasting time and resources trying to win elections when they could better be spent organizing for real change.

  259. #259 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    It is most certainly not the same as nazism, nor is it some sort of invocation of Godwin’s Law.

    All the real Godwin’s Law says is that, if a thread goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will mention Hitler or Nazis. In this case, the Law was satisfied with PZ’s initial post.

  260. #260 mikmik
    December 30, 2007

    No one wants to take your wages, we want you to give your fair share. You owe 10 trillion dollars. Payment is voluntary?
    You just got the first taste of being bailed out from UK banks, Canadian banks, and THAT WAS ENTIRELY VOLUNTARY ON THEIR.OUR PARTS.

    You think you just get to pay that 50 billion back if you ‘feel like it’?

    We could let the US die. That is our(the rest of the world’s)choice.
    We would suffer somewhat, but you would be fucking broke. You are fucking broke – every single person over the age of one day is in hock for 30,000 – 80,000 dollars.
    Sure, you should push libertarianism. Now is a good time for it. You better be prepared to sink taxes, at least I will give you that, sink taxes into debt repayment instead of military and corporate welfare, and your rich bitches that get 100,000,000 dollar severance packages for being CEO and screwing up the company, they will go along with that.

    I know everyone that makes minimum wage will contribute to paying off your sorry assed debt.

    Yeah, you deserve individual rights, right at this time, don’t you?

    Cut taxes, then we will see if enough of you idiots will contribute enough to buy your way out of desperation and into freedom.

    Oh yeah, you cannot emigrate to Canada, or anywhere else.

    MoFos. RP is the answer, of course.

    You guys better get your shit together VERY fast.

    You have the momentary luxury of waxing eloquent about philosophical ideals.

    Momentary.

    Told you to get real, still no takers. Reconcile libertarianism with reality, reconcile RP with libertarianism.

    Not done, is it.

  261. #261 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    I think he is wasting time and resources trying to win elections when they could better be spent organizing for real change.

    I don’t think he’s trying to win elections, I think he uses that as a vehicle to be heard and for pushing other candidates leftward on the issues. As for organizing, I don’t think he has the right skill set.

  262. #262 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    I don’t think he’s trying to win elections, I think he uses that as a vehicle to be heard and for pushing other candidates leftward on the issues. As for organizing, I don’t think he has the right skill set.

    I really don’t see the candidates being pushed leftwards by Kucinich, he would have to be a real threat to have that sort of effect. You could plausibly argue that if he was threatening to run third party then it might work, but not within the primary because then they only need to tack left during the primary.

    With the organizing, I didn’t really mean he should be organizing, just that the resources of the people supporting him could be better spent on organizing.

  263. #263 Matt
    December 30, 2007

    Troy : Lawrence vs. Texas case examines the constitutional threshholds the “Statists” must pass in order to tell you and me what we can and cannot do.

    I have no problem with Lawrence vs Texas. I really don’t have any problem with the federal courts striking down state laws which violate Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit. My main beef is with federal laws which uphold those violations (such as drug prohibition – and not just pot).

    I tend to disagree with the pot prohibition because I think the damage risk — costs — to society is overblown.

    Of course it is overblown. I think that the risk/cost to society is a non-factor, however, as I think the individual is, and has always been more important then society. Society may worship a certain God, but if I choose as an individual to worship a different one or no God at all I don’t think society should have any say in that matter, as long as I don’t cause harm to another.

    I do not disagree with seatbelt laws since these are a very reasonable and minimal mitigation to the societal costs we incur collectively operating motor vehicles and every State dollar spent cleaning up after dumbasses who didn’t buckle up is a dollar lost to more productive purposes.

    Try as I might I can’t really get worked up about seatbelt laws. The reason is what you mentioned, that under the current system we have to spend state dollars when the idiots get in an accident. I think this is more an argument against spending state dollars then one for seatbelt laws though.

    I think you can also tell what my opinion of the Raich case is, if you look into your crystal ball. The commerce clause, which is the justification used to regulate just about everything, is bullshit. It was initially inserted to make it so states could not charge tariffs on goods coming from other states, which was a problem with the articles of confederation. Now it is used for bullshit nanny-state purposes like this.

    In my personal philosophy, the role of the Feds should be to guarantee liberties not restrict them, subject to their commerce-clause powers, which is significant because our country is more effective when it is one, from 50 rather than 50 states in conflct with each other.

    Totally agree! I think the Fed would be great if it used its power to guarantee civil liberties, instead of its current job of taking them away. I think it can justify this authority with the 14th amendment. I certainly understand the importance of the commerce clause, but I think the loopholes with which it is currently exploited should be closed.

    Anyhoo, I agree to some extent with the Paulistas that the Feds have to much centralized power but think the Paulists / Federal Society / States Rights people ignore the backstop powers that the Feds should have to protect individual liberty from local encroachment.

    Again, I don’t really disagree with this, but I think they have a point when they say that you could just move somewhere else if a local government is encroaching on your freedom (say, if you live in a dry county). This allows states/localities to be “test tubes”, if you will, allowing outside observers to see which policies succeed and which fail.

  264. #264 Mikko Sandt
    December 30, 2007

    Mikmik:
    “free to choose what they want to do?”

    In a free society, who’s stopping you?

    “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.

    “poor health”

    Poor health is usually a result of choice.

    “poor finances”

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

    “lack of opportunities”

    Lack of skill, in other words. Has got nothing to do with freedom.

    “deranged parents”

    A poor excuse to fail in life.

    “natural disaster, etc??”

    Nature is not a person.

  265. #265 Mikko Sandt
    December 30, 2007

    coathangrrr:
    “Saying that we cannot continuously grow at the rate that we currently are is not a “Malthusian prophecy” it is a
    reasonably supported argument.”

    Malthusian arguments have pretty much always been wrong. Malthusian idiots never understood the evolutionary nature of free markets, how they allocate resources and provide information about scarcity. Idiots who preach about some Malthusian end of the world should first familiarize themselves with these market mechanisms.

    If anything, we have now more resources and potential resources at our disposal than ever before in human history. At the moment, these Malthusian arguments are more outdated than ever before. Back in the Middle Ages we needed a plague to ease down population growth that went beyond food production. Now we could easily feed the whole world of six billion people.

  266. #266 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

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

    Did you really just say that? That is quite possibly one of the stupidest things I’ve heard in a long time. 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. Unless you are one of those anti-capitalist libertarians.

    “free to choose what they want to do?”

    In a free society, who’s stopping you?

    This, in a nut shell, illustrates the problem inherent in libertarian views of freedom. It need not be a ‘who’ that is stopping you, nor are all infringements upon people’s rights based on individual action they are often structural. Of course individualist ideologies fail to understand or even account for group dynamics beyond simple individual interactions.

  267. #267 tim gueguen
    December 30, 2007

    I don’t know about anyone else who has commented here but I certainly don’t hate libertarians. I do think their ideas on economics are naive and not workable in the real world.

  268. #268 wildlifer
    December 30, 2007

    Yes, when I said that we affect events outside our border I obviously meant that everything is the fault of America. In addition I assume that you think we are not responsible for things that we have clearly done, like the case of agent orange in Vietnam. It doesn’t need to be that the U.S. has cause every problem or no problems, we can have caused some problems.

    Did I miss something? Wasn’t there a war which involved at least five other entities? Why is it only the U.S., in your opinion, that shoulders all the blame? You appear to support Ron Paul here in non-interventionalism. Or perhaps it’s the Bush Doctrine of the exportation of democracy at gun-point you support? I can’t tell. Surely if we “fixed” these nations, people wouldn’t be fleeing them, but that causes them to flee anyway … Or perhaps you just sit in your arm-chair throne and blather.

    The article referenced, the Carens article, since you said you read that abstract, in fact does not argue for what you claim it does. Its arguments doesn’t even mention the actions of the U.S. in regards to immigration. The reason I assumed you had read the abstract for the Wilcox is that her article does make that claim and the abstract of the Carens article has nothing to do with what you say it does. Ultimately, the point is that you clearly don’t know what you are talking about and prefer to make claims that I’ve said things I haven’t. Like,

    Actually JSTOR allowed me to read the first page of the Carens article as well. And it supports the title: Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders. He challenges the right of nations to “point guns” at illegal invaders, after appealing to the sympathies of the reader with descriptions of Guatemalans crawling through sewers to get here.

    Not sure how this is at all derived from what I said earlier, but obviously if I support one position you disagree with I must support every position you disagree with.

    No, but what is obvious is that you’ve not thought through the implications of your position(s). But it “feels good,” so it must be right. But hey, we can get rid of factory farms and destroy entire ecosystems and species to grow all the soybeans needed to feed six billion and growing. But wait a minute, we can’t torture soybeans by putting them through a combine. Incoherent indeed.

  269. #269 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    Malthusian arguments have pretty much always been wrong. Malthusian idiots never understood the evolutionary nature of free markets, how they allocate resources and provide information about scarcity. Idiots who preach about some Malthusian end of the world should first familiarize themselves with these market mechanisms.

    Yes, clearly people who disagree with you simply don’t understand how markets work. I can assure you that I understand how markets work and how they are suppose to work. The problem is that markets cannot see into the future and they cannot account for the value of human life. Lets take a standard market scenario. 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. Clearly not having money is an immoral thing to do, so the poor deserve to starve.

    And just because Malthusian argument have previous to now been wrong does not mean that they will always be wrong. You yourself note the plague as a population die off that was necessary.

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

    Do you know what ‘sustainable’ means? Just because we can do something now does not mean we can do it indefinitely. You have to make a much stronger argument than “hey, things look okay to me now so they will obviously continue to be okay indefinitely.”

  270. #270 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.

  271. #271 sk3p7ic
    December 30, 2007

    When people work from different value premises (fundamentalist Christian, libertarian, morally fashionable academic, feminist, whatever), logic tends to be a futile means of resolving differences, which is why any semblance of rational discourse rapidly devolves into name calling and fallacies galore.

    Understanding this can save one a lot of breath and/or stave off carpal tunnel syndrome.

  272. #272 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.

  273. #273 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    Did I miss something? Wasn’t there a war which involved at least five other entities? Why is it only the U.S., in your opinion, that shoulders all the blame?

    I never said that the U.S. should shoulder all the blame, I said we were responsible for dropping Agent Orange in Vietnam and under the idea that Wilcox lays out of a global harm principle we have some obligation to accept more immigrants than we do because of this. And yes, this means that other states which inflict harm upon people have the same obligations, but I don’t live in other states so that doesn’t really matter to me.

    Or perhaps it’s the Bush Doctrine of the exportation of democracy at gun-point you support? I can’t tell. Surely if we “fixed” these nations, people wouldn’t be fleeing them, but that causes them to flee anyway … Or perhaps you just sit in your arm-chair throne and blather.

    I support not actively inflicting harm upon people, for sure. I never argued for “fixing” nations, mainly because it rarely works, but I’m not against it per se. And I also ever said we should admit everyone who wants in to the U.S., I said that there are positions somewhere between letting everyone in and letting no one in, and that there are moral arguments to support those positions. I’m terribly sorry that I don’t fit into some stereotype that you have of a bleeding-heart anti-American Liberal that goes around pontificating about the evils of the U.S., but the fact is that I don’t. I think the U.S. has done some incredibly vile things and that if we can make that up to people then we should, as should any country who does vile things.

    Actually JSTOR allowed me to read the first page of the Carens article as well. And it supports the title: Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders. He challenges the right of nations to “point guns” at illegal invaders, after appealing to the sympathies of the reader with descriptions of Guatemalans crawling through sewers to get here.

    Yes, you have made it clear that you disagree with his conclusion, but given that you haven’t actually read the arguments proper it seems you should hold off on criticizing them. If you wanted a copy of the article I could mail it to you.

    No, but what is obvious is that you’ve not thought through the implications of your position(s). But it “feels good,” so it must be right.

    Of course, you haven’t thought through the implications of your positions either, mainly that you don’t think there should be any consequences for wrong doing.

    But hey, we can get rid of factory farms and destroy entire ecosystems and species to grow all the soybeans needed to feed six billion and growing. But wait a minute, we can’t torture soybeans by putting them through a combine. Incoherent indeed.

    I assume you are referring to the latest post on my blog. It is a bit to complicated to get into here, but if we stopped killing animals for meat we would reduce the total amount of soybeans grown. Of course, you don’t really want to have a real discussion, you just want to attack the tentative conclusions of someone with whom you disagree.

  274. #274 Steve Husted
    December 30, 2007

    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.

    If you take the time to learn about them, what Libertarians (and a lot of Objectivists, though they have some key differences) believe is that the market will correct itself. 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. Libertarians believe the market will correct for that just like it does today – but without the government stepping in and changing your diaper for you.

    As for claims that people aren’t inherently good without the government forcing you to be – you live in a sad, sad world. This is the same crap argument that “morals come from God” and only being good when the invisible sky deity (a.k.a. Big Brother) is watching. (anecdotally, the street cameras in London have done nothing to reduce crime or increase capture of criminals – in fact, crime is UP since installing those 150,000 cameras)

    And if you believe that you need increased regulation and more government control, the invisible monkey on my shoulder has been whispering some really evil things to me (that only I can hear, of course) about cramming ITS values down YOUR throats.

    All hail Lord Shoulder Monkey!

  275. #275 cureholder
    December 30, 2007

    #202: Under Ron Paul, you would be perfectly free

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

  276. #276 James Hanley
    December 30, 2007

    Well, I’m so far down the list here, probably no one will see this (hey…thanks for looking!)

    As a political scientist, I’d like to point out something that should be obvious. Being a biologist in no way makes one particularly qualified to comment on most political ideas, anymore than being a political scientist (albeit one who studies evolution of human behavior) makes me qualified to comment on most biological ideas.

    That just to lead-in to this: PZ, while the nutjob libertarians are the most vocal and noticeable, libertarianism is not inherently about greed and selfishness.

    Check out R. J. Rummel’s Death By Government as a starter, perhaps. He more than amply illustrates that governments (particularly, of course, though not–unfortunately–quite exclusively) are by far the worst killers known to man. Excluding wars, governments in the 20th century killed over 150 million people–mostly their own citizens.

    Then move on to a political economic analysis (perhaps href=”http://www.econlib.org/library/Essays/hykKnw1.html”> Hayek’s “The Use of Knowledge in Society”), or Buchanan and Tullock’s Calculus of Consent, as a starting point for understanding why governments–even the well-intentioned and non-evil ones–can rarely avoid wasting resources.

    I could recommend more, but I’m sure I’ve already taxed the patience of anyone who’s read this far. Let me just say that equating libertarianism as a political philosophy with Ron Paul is like equating biochemistry with Michael Behe.

    I personally don’t care how you vote (after all, I am a libertarian :) ), but please stop making the assumption that you understand libertarianism just because you know what Ron Paul stands for.

  277. #277 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    If you take the time to learn about them, what Libertarians (and a lot of Objectivists, though they have some key differences) believe is that the market will correct itself.

    Yes, we know this. This is exactly our problem with it, it makes claims that are wrong and assume an ideal world, i.e. perfect knowledge in perfect markets. You shouldn’t assume that just because people disagree with you they don’t know what you believe, it might in fact be the case that they plainly disagree.

  278. #278 Bryson Brown
    December 30, 2007

    ad 178:

    I don’t think ‘hatred’ is the right word, though there’s certainly some vigorous criticism of libertarianism here. What else would you expect? Libertarians (of whatever stripe) are radical utopians; they show little regard for the limits of market mechanisms and the actual record (in terms of opportunity and well-being) of various actually implemented forms of government.

    The notion that something like Nozick’s ‘minimal state’ (which limits its interference to protection of private property and contract rights) could provide reasonable opportunities for children and sufficient guarantees against abuse of power that we would all be better off under its aegis is a bizarre fantasy– and even Nozick retreated from the minimal state in his discussion of ‘communities’, which are free to do all the restrictive, collectivist things that ‘states’ can’t.

    The evidence is clear that levels of happiness, median welfare, education, and successful social action against large-scale problems (like public health and global warming) are highest in the democratic socialist states of Northern Europe– Sweden’s growth matches the U.K.’s, while achieving much lower rates of child poverty, teenage pregnancy and other social ills (and accepting refugees from Iraq in large numbers). The U.S. spends a greater proportion of GDP on health care than any other developed nation, yet it achieves overall health care outcomes that are about on a par with Cuba’s.

    Despite this, it’s far more popular in the U.S. to fantasize about eliminating any role for the state in welfare, education and health care: a model that leads, wherever we see it in practice, to conditions familiar in failed states– gated communities, armed private guards, high levels of crime, violence and corruption, immense privilege for the wealthy, oppression of political voices seeking change…

    Utopian fantasies are a common thread in American politics, including various forms of theocracy, libertarianism and neo-conservative statism. The evidence of history suggests you’d do better to pay attention to what’s succeeded elsewhere. But for the light of the world, the city on the hill, the only true democracy (all conceits that seem widely popular in the U.S.) learning from others’ successes is, it seems, inconceivable.

  279. #279 DLB
    December 30, 2007

    There is no pie. There are goals of individuals who participate in market economies that have greater or lesser freedom from government regulation. There is a great correlation to both high freedom and low freedom in economic injustice. Empirical studies seem to show us that the social-democracies of Europe do a much better job in reducing economic injustice than Lassie Faire or Totalitarian-Socialist.

    Of course there is a “pie.” Just compare the standard of living for, say, the average Briton in 1508 and today. You can clearly see improvements in quality of life from lifespan to education to material possessions. The poor in Great Britain today are substantially better off than even the richest of 500 years ago in almost every metric. You can say the same for the past 200, and even 100 years. In 1900, the average life expectancy of a man in the Unite States was 35. Now it’s nearing 80.

    Economic injustice doesn’t bother me. I can’t afford an Aston Martin, but I don’t lose sleep at night because someone else can. I don’t care that some people are richer than others, as long as the boat keeps rising for all of us, the poor and middle class included.

    At this point in time, it appears we could very well end up with the same stagflation we had in the 1970’s when, like the 1970’s, the money supply was mismanaged. This mismanagement, by all rights, on the heads of the Straussians (via Greenspan) who are favored by the Libertarians.

    Libertarians are not united in their support of Greenspan. Ron Paul, to pick a particularly relevant example, is not a big fan of Greenspan economics.

    But that’s what happens when nutcases who wish to construct their free-market utopia in the real world. Not understanding Utopia’s don’t exist, don’t work when they’re tried and we’ve already had their brand of “utopia” in the past – it was called the Gilded Age – the blindly stumble along trying to re-invent something that didn’t work.

    I think that’s the issue that a lot of people have with free markets. They think that in a free market, we will all revert to industrial-revolution lifestyles, with children working in giant, coal-powered factories for 14 hours a day. During the industrial revolution, much of the population was transferrring from working 14 hours a day (children included), six days a week on a farm, to working the same hours in a factory. It’s mainly from a modern perspective, with a forty hour work-week, plenty of food, entertainment, and twice the lifespan, that the life of the industrial worker seems hellish. In the future, our descendants who work ten hours a week and live 140 years may bemoan our own hellish existence, but it will be the technology that we produce and knowledge that we earn that allows them to do so.

    And, for the record, the past few years has seen the middle class “pie” shrink and shrink and shrink. For the first time in modern American history, the majority of the middle class believe their children will not have the same or better economic prospects.

    I can’t argue with that, however, don’t expect me to agree with your sunny optimism regarding Europe, either.

  280. #280 Ken Cope
    December 30, 2007

    If you take the time to learn about them

    We did, thank you. Libertarians and Objectivists are just another pair of cults with some overlap in membership.

  281. #281 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.

  282. #282 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.

  283. #283 Ichthyic
    December 30, 2007

    All hail Lord Shoulder Monkey!

    does he live in your closet at night?

  284. #284 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.

  285. #285 DLB
    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”.

    I would attribute starvation in the modern world to two main factors
    1) Poor farming methods, by which I mean the traditional methods for most of human history, which strip the soil of resources, promote erosion and desertification, and are poorly tolerant of drought.
    2) Warfare and political instability. It’s hard to grow food when you’re in a refugee camp, or your farm gets burned to the ground.

    Both of those factors were the norm for much of human history. It’s only through science and the proliferation of knowledge and technology that we’ve advanced to the point where food is not an issue for most of the world’s population, a miracle so astounding to me that almost the only thing more astounding is our failure to appreciate it.

    The primary good of the market is as an engine of scientific and technological progress and dissemination.

  286. #286 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?

  287. #287 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.

  288. #288 DLB
    December 30, 2007

    you’ve never actually BEEN poor, have you.

    My father grew up in a two room shack, on land his family didn’t own, with no power or running water. There was no doctor attending his birth or the injuries he incurred working on the farm. And work on the farm he did, every single day growing up. My sister once asked him how he could stand it, being so poor. His answer, if I recall, was “I didn’t know I was poor.”

    There is really only one poverty – poverty of the belly, poverty of the freezing cold. If you have what you need to live, what’s left is just a poverty of want, envy and jealousy. I think that our entire concept of poor in the first world has become horribly distorted.

    That is not to say that there are not terrible injustices perpetrated against people in our country with less money and power, but these injustices are less economic than social, coming out of such brutal experiments as the War on Drugs.

  289. #289 Andrew
    December 30, 2007

    Now nearing 300 or so comments I think it’s odd that you see a lot of people hear telling professed Libertarians what they believe.

    Liberal: You believe X, you’re a moron

    Libertarian: Actually I don’t agree with X at all, you might want to do some more research.

    Liberal: I know what Libertarians believe and you’re a moron, so there.

    Also what’s up with some of the liberal posters calling anyone who disagrees with their characterization of Libertarians as “Whiners” or “Childish”? Do they think that it adds anything, even humor to the discussion?

    It could be that Paul supporters are going to vote for him simply because any time they share their political opinions they get treated much the same way most of you, including PZ have treated them. Paul may be a lying douche, but many people would rather cast a “fuck you” vote then have people like you telling them what they believe and calling them morons.

  290. #290 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?

  291. #291 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.

  292. #292 BlueIndependent
    December 30, 2007

    I would take pains to remind the Ron Paulites that even if hell froze over and Dr. Paul found himself at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue late in the third week of 2109, he would likely face an only mildly sympathetic judiciary, and a hostile Congress (which is projected to become increasingly Democratic), both of which have equal powers. His cabinet would surely be quite interesting (would he even bother to form one?), given he’s not big on any form of leadership so long as it’s in government.

    All the pants-creaming about how the good doctor would somehow set everyone free from the supposed shackles they’re in now would hit some serious blockades on the way to the books, and he would end up likely as ineffectual as Bush on many things (social security for one). I truly don’t understand what level of sheer oppression the libertarians here seem to be suffering under, but in spite of Bush this place is one of the freest on the planet (counting down the seconds until I have egg on my face on that one), and it’s also perhaps the most ethnically diverse and integrated. These are all realities that came about through mass public action under a government formulation that allowed for it. They did not occur because Ayn Rand picked up a torch and everyone gazed in awe.

    I also hasten to point out that the US government was founded by some of the most intellectual, entrepreneurial, wealthy and well-read individuals in human history. Yet, for all their flaws they still created the best government humanity has yet been offered. I don’t know the entire back history of libertarian thought, but I would think several rough tenets existed prior to the Continental Congress (I’ll have to look this subject up). If anyone would’ve taken them into account it would have been our forefathers, who borrowed what they felt was best from everybody.

  293. #293 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.

  294. #294 Andrew
    December 30, 2007

    “do you think concern trolling adds anything to the discussion?”

    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.

  295. #295 Sean
    December 30, 2007

    why aren’t you stomping on these idiots that make you look so bad?…where are the “rational” libertarians?

    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.

    Somehow that just burns out the desire to even try.

  296. #296 mikmik
    December 30, 2007

    i will con you out of your most precious possessions. That is your choice.
    Caveat emptor.

  297. #297 Sean
    December 30, 2007

    Re the concern trolling label.

    One will get that a lot around here for not agreeing with the group consensus. I have asked repeatedly for those who use it to please define what they think it means and how it applies, but have never gotten a response.

  298. #298 DLB
    December 30, 2007

    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.
    Agricultural practices are more efficient than they have ever been in the first world, but we don’t have starvation issues in the first world, we have an obesity problem. In the parts of the world where starvation is still an issue, say, east Africa, farming and grazing methods have changed in two thousand years, and in many places are responsible for the spread of the Sahara desert. As to why we don’t – politics, logistics, apathy – you can come up with a million reasons. Why did the United States intervene in the Balkans, but not Rwanda? The question is an interesting investigation into human nature and world politics, but it goes off on a bit of a tangent.

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

    You do realize that even big-L Libertarians do not believe that “free market” is the answer to every question, don’t you? It’s just an economic policy. Like physics, it doesn’t tell you what god to worship, or how to put on your pants. And like physics, it produces great things like the transistor, and horrible things, like the hydrogen bomb. The advantage of the free market, like science, though, is that it PRODUCES, something that the static economic systems that dominated much of human history have failed to do.

  299. #299 Andrew
    December 30, 2007

    I know, it’s actually kind of funny because the aspect of my post that was labeled “concern troll” was a comment about how useless ad homs were. The response… an ad hom.

    I was actually waiting to be called a whining moron.

  300. #300 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?

  301. #301 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.

  302. #302 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.

  303. #303 speedwell
    December 30, 2007

    late in the third week of 2109

    2009, right? Unless I’m missing something?

    he would likely face an only mildly sympathetic judiciary, and a hostile Congress (which is projected to become increasingly Democratic), both of which have equal powers.

    That’s what I thought. Balance of powers and all that. It’s probably better to elect someone who does not agree with the judiciary and with Congress all the time. If all the decisions are made before the citizens get a chance to hear about them or say anything, then what we have is the same as authoritarianism. Some commenters here actually want that, I guess. I’d rather not live in a country where some random lying, cheating asshole gets in power and then assumes I’ve given him (or her) a power of attorney over myself, sorry.

  304. #304 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.

  305. #305 Andrew
    December 30, 2007

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

    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.”

    So I will ask again where in my first comment did I express aspects of a concern troll? If you can provide evidence for your claim I will retract calling your argument an ad-hominem.

  306. #306 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.

  307. #307 Andrew
    December 30, 2007

    My original comment doesn’t fit with he definition of a concern troll at all. The intent was to draw attention to the tone of many posters with regard to libertarians, and then to draw from that tone a reason why some libertarians who although dislike Ron Paul may end up voting for him anyway.

    So will you apologize for your trolling accusation?

  308. #308 DLB
    December 30, 2007

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

    I think it’s pretty self evident. Just ask the question “How do you know if you are poor?”

    Well?

    There’s certainly an absolute poverty, when you need something – food, shelter, clothing – and you can’t get it, or get enough of it. If you have this kind of poverty, you know it unquestionably. But isn’t there also a relative poverty, the kind that comes from comparing your own circumstances with those of others? If my father grew up surrounded by people who lived in similar houses, all without power and water, why would he have felt particularly poor? Isn’t there a kind of poverty that comes from looking at your tarpaper shack, and the landowner’s big white mansion, and feeling the difference? What about the poverty that comes from sitting at a red light in your Toyota, and having a Ferrari pull up next to you?

    Isn’t this poverty just another name for envy? Doesn’t “economic justice” then simply become taking from people that have simply because you want what they have? If someone who has fewer material possessions than you breaks into your house and steals your entertainment system, is that economic justice?

    It may be that in a thousand years, our descendants look back at the brief, impoverished lives of the richest among us with pity (in the same way that I would never change positions with the richest noble in 1008 A.D.) Or, they make look back with envy at the food and shelter available to the poorest Americans. But either way, much of it is going to be relative.

    Much of the sentiment I have been reading here falls along the lines of “sock it to the bad, greedy rich” and “give it to the good, suffering poor.” But there are good rich people, and bad poor people. An economic system that can look into a man’s soul, and determine whether he deserves to live in the big white mansion or the tarpaper shack is far more of a fantasy than the perfectly free market.

  309. #309 Sean
    December 30, 2007

    No. I have no desire to retract and try again. My statement was based on several years of personal experience and observation on Pharyngula and I stand behind it.

    I make no claim to be either a Libertarian or a libertarian and feel no compulsion to be their designated white knight in a hostile forum. Expressing sympathy for any libertarianish ideal here will draw a majority response of ad hominens and strawmen caricatures.

    I see the analogy to the creowars being stronger in the other direction. Compare and contrast the following common claims: Libertarians come to their views because they are greedy, self-centered and do not want to share their bounty with the poor. Darwinists come to their views because they want to deny God so they can live their immoral lives without judgement.

    Re the concern troll comment: Please, right now, what is a concern troll and how does Andrew qualify?

  310. #310 lylebot
    December 30, 2007

    Liberal: You believe X, you’re a moron

    Libertarian: Actually I don’t agree with X at all, you might want to do some more research.
    Liberal: I know what Libertarians believe and you’re a moron, so there.

    What I see is more like this:
    Liberal: You believe X, you’re a moron.
    Libertarian: If you did some research, you would see that we believe X, not Y.
    Liberal: Uh, yeah, I know. That’s what I said. And I completely disagree with X.
    Libertarian: You just don’t get it!

    It could be that Paul supporters are going to vote for him simply because any time they share their political opinions they get treated much the same way most of you, including PZ have treated them. Paul may be a lying douche, but many people would rather cast a “fuck you” vote then have people like you telling them what they believe and calling them morons.

    Do you not see how petty, vindictive, misdirected behavior like this could sink the whole Libertarian ideal?

  311. #311 mikmik
    December 30, 2007

    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.

    Somehow that just burns out the desire to even try.

    Posted by: Sean | December 30, 2007 7:33 PM
    It is not just neo-con that paints.
    We do also.
    PZ is a hysteric. Then the sheep follow.

    Is this a fair observation?

    I have said it before. Hysterics, scapegoating, fearmongering…
    PZ never does that.

    HAH! You respect a man, then he lets you down.

    He is human. I am human. I am far less consistent that PZ Meyers. So are you.

    I have really shitty days when I say stupid things, and others, even worse shitty days, when what I say does not make sense.

    Don’t tell anyone.

  312. #312 Mike from Ottawa
    December 30, 2007

    “I’m waiting for a shred of historical proof that a government created a free, prosperous, and fair society by taking more power and wealth from its people.”

    I don’t feel like wading through 300 posts to ensure I’m not repeating, but apparently ‘independent’ who wrote the above has never heard of countries like the USA, Canada or pretty much any of the advanced industrialized countries. These countries have done best with major government interventions into all sorts of fields. What ‘independent’ won’t find are prosperous, stable countries that provide a reasonable standard of living for almost all their population and that are run on libertarianism.

    Libertarians, like creationists, just _know_ they’re right, so they have no need to consider actual evidence.

  313. #313 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.

  314. #314 DB
    December 30, 2007

    oh, have you even looked to verify that? (that’s rhetorical, btw – i know you haven’t)
    Don’t be an asshole. We are at close to peak production per unit of land utilized for most crops, of course, with yearly variations due to mother nature.

    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 there are malnourished people in the first world (although for reasons generally much more diverse than in the third world). And the problem is very much one of distribution.

  315. #315 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.

  316. #316 Andrew
    December 30, 2007

    “Do you not see how petty, vindictive, misdirected behavior like this could sink the whole Libertarian ideal?”

    I agree a spite vote is wrong, I don’t support it but it is possible that many of Paul’s supporters could carry that ideal. I would never vote for a libertarian candidate and I consider myself a libertarian. I guess what I mean is that I don’t trust myself with power let alone Ron Paul, or any of the dems or cons.

    I don’t normally get involved with politics, I prefer to stick to science and skepticism forums because politics always end up in ridiculous posts on both sides. I decided to speak up on this blog post because the treatment of libertarians comes across with this real vicious hatred. I would have probably left my comment as it was and I actually appreciate your response because there was an attempt to show me problems with mine. But I carried on because of the trolling accusation.

  317. #317 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    As a political scientist, I’d like to point out something that should be obvious. Being a biologist in no way makes one particularly qualified to comment on most political ideas, anymore than being a political scientist (albeit one who studies evolution of human behavior) makes me qualified to comment on most biological ideas.

    Being a political scientist doesn’t make one particularly qualified to comment on most political ideas either.

    Oh, and biology actually is a science.

  318. #318 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.

  319. #319 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    I think that’s the issue that a lot of people have with free markets. They think that in a free market, we will all revert to industrial-revolution lifestyles, with children working in giant, coal-powered factories for 14 hours a day.

    Uh, no, we don’t think that, but I’m sure you had fun dreaming up that strawman.

    Are there any intellectually honest libertarians?

  320. #320 mikmik
    December 30, 2007

    Let’s pretend. Let’s pretend that everyone agrees with us, or that we can convince them to.

    Let us fucking pretend our ideas are so important and obvious.

    I did that on heroin. What is your excuse to do it now, i wonder.

    Then, a fucker aks you for change at the corner. You are polite because you haven’t any.
    He don’t believe you, motherfucker. He kid is cold, he is sick for moneies.

    Tell him he has a choice, that he chooses to be in that situation. Tell him he has placed his starving family there, they all chose it.

    I fucking dare you to tell it. You will get hurt very bad, you will get robbed, and you will get ridiculed.

    There is free choice downtown. In fact, that is the most free market society in the world.

    Let us travel there, you insipid and naive libertarians.

    Let us do it. I can survive there, I can make friends. I am not like them, but I am smart enough to not get my head kicked in, if I act a certain way.

    Come with me and show them your freedom of individual choice.

    You do not know humiliation, you have no idea.

    You are free from that shit. You get gov’t to free you from that shit.

    You think freedom is just an idea? You fucking tell that to my friend with HIV that was raped by his daddy, and never can get a job.

    Let’s think liberty and it will happen.

    Vote RP. All will be taken care of.

  321. #321 natural cynic
    December 30, 2007

    The wiki definition of liberty in libertarianism:

    The central tenet of libertarianism is the principle of liberty, namely individual liberty. To libertarians, an individual human being is sovereign over his/her body, extending to life, liberty and property. As such, libertarians define liberty as being completely free in action, whilst not initiating force or fraud against the life, liberty or property of another human being.

    How can you determine that you are NOT initiating “force or fraud against the life, liberty or property…” of someone else. We live in a commons as a world, and as such, our use of resources and the resulting consequences of our pollution will necessarily cayse harm to others far away. How can the millions in Bangladesh who are adversely affected by our production of CO2 have any recourse against those who pollute?

    How can a factory worker in China or Indonesia who is without options receive fair treatment in a market-driven society? – when we in the affluent part of the world use the products of their heavily discounted labor. The only way that they can is to organize and use the collective market power of fellow laborers, but this cannot be done without severe risk to life and limb. Yes, labor unions can and should be considered a positive market force.

    The fact that we can reap the benefits of our powerful position without paying for the ***real*** costs of those benefits makes the definition above a total pie-in-the-sky dream. All of this is perpetrated through forces that we really cannot control and is a fraud on someone else. We cannot come even close to the equity that is implied in the definition without collective interventions to at least attempt to mitigate things.

    I have alightly more faith in invisible hands as I have faith in pink unicorns.

  322. #322 DLB
    December 30, 2007

    I don’t feel like wading through 300 posts to ensure I’m not repeating, but apparently ‘independent’ who wrote the above has never heard of countries like the USA, Canada or pretty much any of the advanced industrialized countries. These countries have done best with major government interventions into all sorts of fields.

    The problem is that in the modern world, a country is no more an isolated economy than a city. It may not be that the first world has such great policies. It’s more likely that much of the working class for, say, Norway, simply lives in southeast asia. You might as well be saying “Why can’t Detroit get it together like Ann Arbor.” The first world safety-net is subsidized by the third world poor in a tremendous variety of ways, from agricultural tariffs to money policy.

  323. #323 Sean
    December 30, 2007

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

    I stand for a lot of things. Bits of my worldview would be accepted at the Republican National Convention and other bits form part of the party line at DNC headquarters. Yet more could possibly make even Ron Paul nod his head in agreement. Thus I appended an ‘ish’ to libertarian. It seemed to fit. I fear the day when my worldview has gelled into a monolithic block which can be described by one simple label.

    Specifically, the memory in my head at the moment of appending the ‘ish’ was a comment I once made expressing concerns about about a completely government run health care system. My paragraphs drew only two responses, both of which labeled me as a Libertarian and told me how heartless I was since I obviously had my own health insurance and cared nothing about the poor. It took Stogoe all of two lines to refute my opinion and tell me what a heartless bastard I was. The other fellow at least wrote one full paragraph. What struck me as funny is that an actual big L Libertarian would have loathed my position, and a small L libertarian I know in real life read it and kinda agreed with a few bits. Yet for some of the crowd here, it was Libertarian all the way.

    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)

    *heh* I never feel reticent about sharing my own views, much to the dismay of my predominantly redneck small Idaho town.

    I thought your question was why I do not defend the libertarians?

  324. #324 Some Guy
    December 30, 2007

    Paul is also the unofficial Official Candidate of the white supremacists at stormfront.org and the American Free Press. He also has a lot of support among the 9/11 conspiracy theory idiots.

    I suppose it’s entirely possible that not EVERY Ron Paul supporter is a lunatic, but honestly I can’t think of any lunatics who aren’t also Ron Paul supporters.

  325. #325 Andrew
    December 30, 2007

    “I suppose it’s entirely possible that not EVERY Ron Paul supporter is a lunatic, but honestly I can’t think of any lunatics who aren’t also Ron Paul supporters.”

    Answer: Huckabee Supporters.

  326. #326 BlueIndependent
    December 30, 2007

    302: “2009, right? Unless I’m missing something?…”

    No, you are correct. I used 2109 because that’s the actual year. It was nothing more than a valueless reference on my part. 2009 = 2109

    302: “…That’s what I thought. Balance of powers and all that. It’s probably better to elect someone who does not agree with the judiciary and with Congress all the time. If all the decisions are made before the citizens get a chance to hear about them or say anything, then what we have is the same as authoritarianism. Some commenters here actually want that, I guess. I’d rather not live in a country where some random lying, cheating asshole gets in power and then assumes I’ve given him (or her) a power of attorney over myself, sorry.”

    And I agree. The fact is, whether it’s RP that gets in or a Democrat, the Judiciary will not side with them on some significant level (moreso with Democrats), so the Judiciary is a moot point.

    I’d also rather not live in a country where some lying cheating asshole gets the chance to push the buttons we’re all supposed to be legally bound to. I largely do not see any Democrats fitting this distinction, though if I had to pick one it might be HC. I don’t think RP would be authoritarian in the “classical” sense, but I do think he would throw wrenches into the gears of state as much as he could. Not quite in the same ways that Bushco does, but to the ends that Bushco says it wants to achieve.

    Rest assured though, if an elephant gets the highest office, authoritarianism is about to round the corner, and it’s dark outside…

  327. #327 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    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.

    It would behoove you to understand why so many people associate such ideas with such characteristics.

  328. #328 Andrew
    December 30, 2007

    I mentioned before that I don’t trust anyone enough to vote for them to lead the country. There is one exception, Steven Novella.

  329. #329 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    “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?

    Well, that failure in reading comprehension is pretty moronic.

  330. #330 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    Also what’s up with some of the liberal posters calling anyone who disagrees with their characterization of Libertarians as “Whiners” or “Childish”?

    That’s rather moronic too. I’d call it foolish hyperbole, but I can’t find even one instance of someone calling someone else a whiner or childish because of a disagreement over a characterization of Libertarians. When people were called whiny or childish, it was because they were actually being whiny or childish.

    Have you ever considered that your problems might stem in part from being intellectually dishonest and dimwitted?

  331. #331 Some Dude
    December 30, 2007

    I suppose it’s entirely possible that not EVERY Ron Paul supporter is a lunatic, but honestly I can’t think of any lunatics who aren’t also Ron Paul supporters.

    Posted by: Some Guy

    That’s one heck of a lack of imagination problem you have there.

    Just look in the mirror db.

    Post again when you’re prepared to participate in an intelligent conversation.

  332. #332 Sean
    December 30, 2007

    It would behoove you to understand why so many people associate such ideas with such characteristics.

    I would appreciate some help in that regard. (Ok, Sean needs sleep badly, just spend a minute looking at ‘reguard’ wondering why it did not look right.)

    My real world interactions with Libertarians have shown the full gamut of human behavior. I have no firsthand knowledge nor have seen empirical data which merits the bulk of the vitriol tossed at anyone with even libertarianISH views.

  333. #333 truth machine
    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.

    Uh, he quoted where in your comment you were concern trolling when he referred to your concern trolling.

  334. #334 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    I know, it’s actually kind of funny because the aspect of my post that was labeled “concern troll” was a comment about how useless ad homs were.

    Perhaps you should be more concerned with how useless whining like a baby is.

  335. #335 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    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.

    Care to actually identify these comments?

  336. #336 Sean
    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?

    And between Andrew and myself, I believe this now makes five requests for the definition of ‘concern troll’ and how it applies.

    Could you please do so, since we are unable to figure it out for ourselves?

  337. #337 wildlifer
    December 30, 2007

    I never said that the U.S. should shoulder all the blame, I said we were responsible for dropping Agent Orange in Vietnam and under the idea that Wilcox lays out of a global harm principle we have some obligation to accept more immigrants than we do because of this. And yes, this means that other states which inflict harm upon people have the same obligations, but I don’t live in other states so that doesn’t really matter to me.

    I disagree with Wilcox, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the communists, should shoulder the majority of blame and the burden, but perhaps we should/could send funds for medical care, I’m not convinced of that. But you’ve yet to express how this issue is relevant to immigration.
    But let’s be specific. How have we wronged Mexico and Canada so as to not punish and deport illegal immigrants? I realize Mexico receives much of the focus because its illegals out-numbers Canada’s by a factor of 10, but one also doesn’t hear the anti-American reconquest non-assimilation rhetoric from the Canadian illegals either. We allow almost 200K in legal immigrants from Mexico annually, why is that wrong?

    I support not actively inflicting harm upon people, for sure. I never argued for “fixing” nations, mainly because it rarely works, but I’m not against it per se. And I also ever said we should admit everyone who wants in to the U.S., I said that there are positions somewhere between letting everyone in and letting no one in, and that there are moral arguments to support those positions. I’m terribly sorry that I don’t fit into some stereotype that you have of a bleeding-heart anti-American Liberal that goes around pontificating about the evils of the U.S., but the fact is that I don’t. I think the U.S. has done some incredibly vile things and that if we can make that up to people then we should, as should any country who does vile things.

    I still don’t see how that is really applicable to immigration. If I’m wronged by my neighbor, I sure as hell don’t want to move into his house. Nor would he be too intelligent for letting me if I did want to, as he probably wouldn’t awake the next morning.

    Yes, you have made it clear that you disagree with his conclusion, but given that you haven’t actually read the arguments proper it seems you should hold off on criticizing them. If you wanted a copy of the article I could mail it to you.

    The argument is obvious, that 1+1=3. Someone decided X was bad, and that Y’s ancestors were responsible for X, so there should be open borders not only in Y’s nation, but globally. It doesn’t follow.

    Of course, you haven’t thought through the implications of your positions either, mainly that you don’t think there should be any consequences for wrong doing.

    We would first have to agree on the definition of “wrong doing.” And then the amount of liability which should be assumed for the alleged “wrong doing.” Then if it’s moral to punish people who had no active voice in said “wrong doing.” And I doubt we’ll ever arrive at that.

    But hey, we can get rid of factory farms and destroy entire ecosystems and species to grow all the soybeans needed to feed six billion and growing. But wait a minute, we can’t torture soybeans by putting them through a combine. Incoherent indeed.

    I assume you are referring to the latest post on my blog. It is a bit to complicated to get into here, but if we stopped killing animals for meat we would reduce the total amount of soybeans grown. Of course, you don’t really want to have a real discussion, you just want to attack the tentative conclusions of someone with whom you disagree.

    Hogwash, human growth is exponential as even you agree, so even if it’s true reduction of factory farms would temporarily reduce soybean need (assuming all factory animals and the others on inefficient “free-range” ranches are destroyed prior to implimentation so as not to continue feeding them), the resulting need would require the destruction of even more habitat and species to keep up with human growth and supply the same level of protein. And we’re not even considering the effects of global warming and agriculture yet. Ooops, too late, we already destroyed our capabilities to raise and distribute our other source of protien.

  338. #338 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.

  339. #339 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    My original comment doesn’t fit with he definition of a concern troll at all. The intent was to draw attention to the tone of many posters with regard to libertarians, and then to draw from that tone a reason why some libertarians who although dislike Ron Paul may end up voting for him anyway.

    Ah, well, that’s pretty pure concern trolling. Thanks so much for worrying about that.

  340. #340 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    “It would behoove you to understand why so many people associate such ideas with such characteristics.”

    I would appreciate some help in that regard.

    Perhaps it’s because 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.

  341. #341 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    And between Andrew and myself, I believe this now makes five requests for the definition of ‘concern troll’ and how it applies.

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

  342. #342 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?

  343. #343 Ted
    December 30, 2007

    Many of Ron Paul’s supporters are scary, and Paul does not disassociate himself from them. They are also very noisy; this makes the media give Paul more attention than he deserves. In the primaries, it can be expected that 150% of Ron Paul supporters will vote early and often.

  344. #344 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.

  345. #345 Sean
    December 30, 2007

    Perhaps it’s because 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.

    And you care to back up this assertion how?

    It is as factually grounded as having a creationist replace ‘libertarian’ with ‘darwinist’.

  346. #346 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    I disagree with Wilcox, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the communists, should shoulder the majority of blame and the burden, but perhaps we should/could send funds for medical care, I’m not convinced of that. But you’ve yet to express how this issue is relevant to immigration.

    The Socialist Republic of Vietnam should shoulder the majority of the blame for the United States’ use of agent orange in Vietnam? You must be one of those blame America never folks. This is obviously not going to go anywhere as you won’t even admit that the U.S. could be significantly responsible for any harm that it might do. Moreover, you seem to be, though I could be wrong, one of the many right wingers who ascribe motives to immigrants that generally aren’t there. Like the whole reconquest nonsense. You probably think that the terrorists are all fighting to spread Islam around the world as well.

    If I’m wronged by my neighbor, I sure as hell don’t want to move into his house.

    If he burns down your house and salts your land then you might reconsider that stance. That is the point. When the party which has wronged another can’t simply step in and and fix it with money then immigration becomes an option. Of course, you clearly don’t think that the U.S. has ever done anything wrong so you wouldn’t see why this matters.

    Hogwash, human growth is exponential as even you agree, so even if it’s true reduction of factory farms would temporarily reduce soybean need (assuming all factory animals and the others on inefficient “free-range” ranches are destroyed prior to implimentation so as not to continue feeding them), the resulting need would require the destruction of even more habitat and species to keep up with human growth and supply the same level of protein. And we’re not even considering the effects of global warming and agriculture yet. Ooops, too late, we already destroyed our capabilities to raise and distribute our other source of protien.

    Vegetable protein is less resource intensive to obtain than animal protein, so any increase in necessary protein for a population would require more protein if animal sources were utilized than if vegetable sources were utilized. Also, my point on exponential population growth is that it is not sustainable, not that it is inevitable. If we are to continue having the population levels that we have, we need to start changing our society radically and we need to do it in a way that capitalism won’t allow for without massive numbers of deaths. Libertarians may be OK with allowing people to starve or die from pollution for the sole fact that they cannot afford to do otherwise, but I refuse to let a persons worth be dictated by their bank account.

  347. #347 Andrew
    December 30, 2007

    Ok fine you can call me a concern troll. I guess under your personal definition I fit right in. It’s much the same way that I categorize people like you as intellectually dishonest cunts.

    Under my definition “Truth”machine, you fit like a glove.

  348. #348 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    It’s much the same way that I categorize people like you as intellectually dishonest cunts.

    Ah, spoken like a true libertarian sexist.

  349. #349 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    Perhaps it’s because 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.

    And you care to back up this assertion how?

    You asked for my help and I gave it. My statement is grounded in a great deal of experience and reading, and is hardly a novel idea. 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.

  350. #350 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?

  351. #351 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    Libertarians may be OK with allowing people to starve or die from pollution for the sole fact that they cannot afford to do otherwise, but I refuse to let a persons worth be dictated by their bank account.

    Come now, how could you possibly think such a thing of such generous folk?

  352. #352 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.

  353. #353 FearfulOne
    December 30, 2007

    You can debate Ron Paul all you want. After all the hot air is blown, there is still only one issue. The power of the federal state is growing exponentially as it uses more and more military science and control technology. It will be beyond our power in our lifetimes and then none of the issues any of you have discussed above will have any relevence. If you do not realize that governments are the most dangerous creation of our species you’ve not been paying attention the last 5000 years. And we have created the most dangerous one, ever. Study a few growth curves. How about the number of automated and remote combat systems in the US military. Or the application of network technology to the warfighter’s capacity in the kinetic environment. Paul is the only candidate that truly frightens the people in the corporations that are creating this monster. Why is that? Why does Paul have the most support, of all the candidates, from active military people? Do they know something none of you know?

  354. #354 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.

  355. #355 coathangrrr
    December 30, 2007

    The power of the federal state is growing exponentially as it uses more and more military science and control technology. It will be beyond our power in our lifetimes and then none of the issues any of you have discussed above will have any relevence.

    To claim that somehow only libertarians are able to check the growing power of the government is patently absurd.

  356. #356 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    My alternative theory is that you behave in the same manner as creationists and evangelicals.

    You said “everytime I exude the slightest whiff of even a small L libertarian idea, the only direct responses are …” — so everyone who responds to you behaves in the same manner as creationists and evangelicals? No, that’s not it, sorry, you intellectually dishonest little twit.

  357. #357 FearfulOne
    December 30, 2007

    “To claim that somehow only libertarians are able to check the growing power of the government is patently absurd.”

    I never used the word libertarian, nor do I have any idea what they intend or are capable of. There is only one candidate who has clearly stated he intends to defund the war machine. That Clinton is now a neocon is absurd.

  358. #358 truth machine
    December 30, 2007

    I thought your question was why I do not defend the libertarians?

    Stupid stupid Sean … he asked why the “real” libertarians, the “rational” ones, if there are any, aren’t stomping on the nutters, the idiots who claim to be libertarians but make libertarianism look bad. He asked this again in the very message (#312) that you quoted: why do you let idiots speak for your “movement”?

  359. #359 wildlifer
    December 30, 2007

    The Socialist Republic of Vietnam should shoulder the majority of the blame for the United States’ use of agent orange in Vietnam? You must be one of those blame America never folks. This is obviously not going to go anywhere as you won’t even admit that the U.S. could be significantly responsible for any harm that it might do. Moreover, you seem to be, though I could be wrong, one of the many right wingers who ascribe motives to immigrants that generally aren’t there. Like the whole reconquest nonsense. You probably think that the terrorists are all fighting to spread Islam around the world as well.

    We were at war against an ideology which has a human rights record far more evil than you suggest ours is, so yeah, unless it was wrong to try and allow people to live free, I don’t see we were egregiously wrong in the manner we waged that war (except that we failed to win it). As victors our level of responsibility for the population’s welfare would have increased, of course.
    And I think some our meddling in South America and the Middle East and Israel is wrong. But again, that has no bearing on immigration. And I’m not even a Libertarian, much less a “right-winger.” Just ask the folks at chat.anncoulter.com But I’m also not a believer in any of the failed socialist systems. I’m an atheistic, pro-choice, pro-Constitutional person w/o a party to which to belong.

    So the racists LaRaza (AKA MEChA) don’t exist in your world? Never heard of the movement to liberate Aztlan? Do you need quotes?
    Never heard “Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada” [For the race, everything. For those outside the race, nothing.]

    And not all terrorists are fighting to spread Islam, although the spreading of that religion is a major doctrine – by hook or crook. But it’s a no more useful metaphysic than is Christianity.

    If he burns down your house and salts your land then you might reconsider that stance. That is the point. When the party which has wronged another can’t simply step in and and fix it with money then immigration becomes an option. Of course, you clearly don’t think that the U.S. has ever done anything wrong so you wouldn’t see why this matters.

    So you’re okay with inviting people who would want to kill us for revenge based on real or perceived wrongs into our midst? Bad idea. Like I said, he wouldn’t awake the next morning if my neighbor had done as you suggest.

    Vegetable protein is less resource intensive to obtain than animal protein, so any increase in necessary protein for a population would require more protein if animal sources were utilized than if vegetable sources were utilized. Also, my point on exponential population growth is that it is not sustainable, not that it is inevitable. If we are to continue having the population levels that we have, we need to start changing our society radically and we need to do it in a way that capitalism won’t allow for without massive numbers of deaths. Libertarians may be OK with allowing people to starve or die from pollution for the sole fact that they cannot afford to do otherwise, but I refuse to let a persons worth be dictated by their bank account.

    Monoculture is ecologically bad no matter how you try to parse it. Conversion to soy would convert that much more habitat which already stressed species can’t afford to lose.
    The only way exponential population growth is not inevitable is for people to die – exponentially. Fortunately for us, global warming may take care of the problem so we don’t have to make the hard choices.

  360. #360 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?

  361. #361 Sean
    December 31, 2007

    No, that’s not it, sorry, you intellectually dishonest little twit.

    And there is that winning personality again! If you have nothing else to work with, play to your strengths I suppose.

  362. #362 truth machine
    December 31, 2007

    If you have nothing else to work with, play to your strengths I suppose.

    That you suppose I have nothing else to work with is another indication of your stupidity. Here is an illuminating comment from a regular here who has practically made a career of berating me for my “tone”.

  363. #363 truth machine
    December 31, 2007

    Wikipedia, Time Magazine, Wiktionary, Dailykos

    Wiktionary and Dailykos agree with me, moron, and Wikipedia got its bogus definition by mangling the Time Magazine article, as we’ve been through, you stupid intellectually dishonest person.

    *laugh*

    No answer to why it wasn’t clear to you, eh moron?

    I do hope you have money.

    Yes, you stupid little fuck, I do.

  364. #364 mikmik
    December 31, 2007

    My extended family has fallen on hard times and I am short on cash, but when the opportunity has presented itself, I have helped locate private charity assistance and donated food and time. This is not the sort of thing I go around congratulating myself about, jerkwad, but since you asked point blank and made an unseemly row about it, I’m telling you. Happy now?

    Posted by: speedwell | December 30, 2007 4:42 PM
    No,, Who gives a a fuck if I am happy? You did what you did, who else helped when they only chose to..

    you got a brain, you are here. That is so fucking nice of you. Did you pay for any funerals of the bloated bodies that got fished out to help the poor family members.
    That is MR Jerkwad to you. You are so very fucking sad. You are so sad, you are sad.
    Where are all the libertarians. There are only socialists like me.
    Fuck off, you are simple.

    I know, NO is rebuilt. By free giving,

    You will be freer if you just decide it.

  365. #365 coathangrrr
    December 31, 2007

    We were at war against an ideology which has a human rights record far more evil than you suggest ours is, so yeah, unless it was wrong to try and allow people to live free, I don’t see we were egregiously wrong in the manner we waged that war (except that we failed to win it). As victors our level of responsibility for the population’s welfare would have increased, of course.

    Ah yes, of course. The Communists were so horrible that we had to drop agent orange on civilians. Just like how the Islamic terrorists force us to torture people. You need to stop blaming others for the wrongs of the U.S.

    And I think some our meddling in South America and the Middle East and Israel is wrong. But again, that has no bearing on immigration. And I’m not even a Libertarian, much less a “right-winger.” Just ask the folks at chat.anncoulter.com But I’m also not a believer in any of the failed socialist systems. I’m an atheistic, pro-choice, pro-Constitutional person w/o a party to which to belong.

    Well, whether it has bearing on immigration is still a bit of an open question, as you haven’t really explained what exactly gives governments the right to kill people for trying to cross borders. As for “failed socialist systems,”
    I assume you mean the USSR and similar eastern bloc communist countries, because there are plenty of functional socialist systems. And while you might not think of yourself as a right winger, you certainly come off as one in your defense of the action of the U.S. in regards to committing atrocities in defense of the corrupt and brutal government of South Vietnam.

    So the racists LaRaza (AKA MEChA) don’t exist in your world? Never heard of the movement to liberate Aztlan? Do you need quotes?
    Never heard “Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada” [For the race, everything. For those outside the race, nothing.]

    And not all terrorists are fighting to spread Islam, although the spreading of that religion is a major doctrine – by hook or crook. But it’s a no more useful metaphysic than is Christianity.

    More right wing fear mongering. For someone who claims not to be a right winger you sure are good at spreading their propaganda.

    So you’re okay with inviting people who would want to kill us for revenge based on real or perceived wrongs into our midst? Bad idea. Like I said, he wouldn’t awake the next morning if my neighbor had done as you suggest.

    Paranoid much? Just because you might want to kill people doesn’t mean that everyone is as vicious. In fact, there are plenty of people in the U.S. right now who have been abused i one way or another by the U.S. Are you saying we should kick them all out for our own safety? That would be the logical conclusion one should draw from your stance.

    Monoculture is ecologically bad no matter how you try to parse it. Conversion to soy would convert that much more habitat which already stressed species can’t afford to lose.

    We already have a massive agricultural monoculture, or duoculture maybe, in the form of soy and corn production. We wouldn’t have to convert any new land to soy because we would need less farmland to grow crops on. Did you even read what I wrote? Plant protein takes less resources than vegetable, which means that no matter how many people we have there will be less land used if we switch to a plant based diet rather than an animal based diet. Its a simple logistical fact.

    The only way exponential population growth is not inevitable is for people to die – exponentially. Fortunately for us, global warming may take care of the problem so we don’t have to make the hard choices.

    Yeah, it’s so great that the global poor will die indirectly because of our actions rather than us having to go over and shoot them like we do now. You do know that the U.S. has been the number one contributer to greenhouse gases. Sure, China has passed us in total output, but we outclass everyone in per capita output. So, yay! We didn’t have to see all the people we killed, we just let them die.

  366. #366 Mondo
    December 31, 2007

    truth machine entertains with his consistent verbal smiting.
    And yes he is making you look stupid.

  367. #367 Mondo
    December 31, 2007

    Of course by verbal I did not mean to imply that I read all the comments out loud to myself in different voices. Only some of them. Some of the time.

  368. #368 melior
    December 31, 2007

    If the entry fee to Libertarian Paradise was to leave your inheritance at the door, it would be entirely empty.

  369. #369 random guy
    December 31, 2007

    truth machine #329 “I can’t find even one instance of someone calling someone else a whiner or childish because of a disagreement over a characterization…”

    truth machine #333 “… whining like a baby.”

    He will most likely respond with some ridiculous snarky one line comment about me posting out of context, using the word moron or some synonym to characterize me. Because of the previous statement he will most likely give a lengthy if not inane response to his own words. He might ignore this comment and hope it gets buried.

    Oh and btw, referencing your “experience on forums” as expertise in any subject is like saying you lost your virginity by fucking a pillow. Exercises in masturbation, mental or otherwise, can’t be used to substitute reason or evidence.

    In any case have fun condemning strangers on obscure corners of the internet, and always remember that an abrasive, insulting demeanor is the best way to present oneself as an intelligent participate in reasoned argument.

  370. #370 Sean
    December 31, 2007

    Truth Machine definition: I would say that a concern troll is someone who expresses concern with the actions of others while actually promoting his own interests

    Time Magazine: 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.

    Wikipedia (current): 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.

    Wikipedia (before its Time reference): The so-called concern troll works to disrupt a forum by claiming to support its common cause (electing a political candidate, praising some brand of automobile, or whatever) but posting messages that promote the interests of the opposing cause (the candidate’s rival, a different brand of automobile, etc.)

    Wiktionary: Someone who posts to an internet forum or newsgroup, claiming to share its goals while deliberately working against those goals.

    DailyKos: Marginally more clever, they pretend at being progressive Democrats, but at every turn seem to suggest the most obviously damaging or boneheaded or offensive thing they can.

    Time, new and old Wikipedia, Wiktionary and DKos all include an element of deception in their definitions. The troll pretends to be a member of the group being trolled. The Truth Machine definition is the sole one which lacks this element.

    Wiktionary and Dailykos agree with me, moron, and Wikipedia got its bogus definition by mangling the Time Magazine article, as we’ve been through, you stupid intellectually dishonest person.

    How do those two agree with you, but the newer Wikipedia and Time definitions are bogus? Why does every web definition include the common thread of deception and pretending to be someone you are not?

    Yes, you stupid little fuck, I do.

    And the winning personality continues and ups his game to include vulgarity. Do you act this way in the meat world?

  371. #371 truth machine
    December 31, 2007

    truth machine #329 “I can’t find even one instance of someone calling someone else a whiner or childish because of a disagreement over a characterization…”

    truth machine #333 “… whining like a baby.”

    I said “because of a disagreement over a characterization…”, you stupid fuck.

  372. #372 truth machine
    December 31, 2007

    an element of deception in their definitions. The troll pretends to be a member of the group being trolled. The Truth Machine definition is the sole one which lacks this element

    I’m sorry that you’re too stupid to understand that “while actually” implies deception.

    And the winning personality continues and ups his game to include vulgarity. Do you act this way in the meat world?

    Ooh ooh, vulgarity! That’s so awful because … [chirp]

    There’s only one world, moron. I’m meat, you’re meat.

  373. #373 truth machine
    December 31, 2007

    P.S. random guy, you cretin, 329 comes before 333 and I don’t have a time machine.

  374. #374 mikmik
    December 31, 2007

    So I am so freindly. I walk to the store like Anyone has to. I see peoples with all belongings in shopping cart.
    Many, every day.

    This better be a post, PZ.

    So what I always do, I say hello to them. Often, almost always to someone that is homeless, I give 2 or 5 bucks, because I can. They love to give me something from their cart. I got airline bottle od rum, I got a VHS movie, I got a rolled smoke, I always, always, all fucking ways, got a smile and a friend, just stopping to say hello. I did not always have anything to give but my time and understanding.

    I always give that. I relate. I been there. I got IQ=>99.9, so fuck you if you see me as less than you, I will fuck with anyone that thinks they know what is up.
    I am not kidding.

    Let’s go into life now. I am so happy to have a “hello” to one. I ask about them. They ask about this one. We share.

    We share.

    We share.
    We are both people. Equal. Know why?

    Fuck you and every libertarian, you missed my special moments, and you miss what it is like to be free that everyone like you on the fucking nastiest ghetto.

    You know this freedom?

    You know this love?

    Tell me about it.

  375. #375 mikmik
    December 31, 2007

    So, i am free.

    You fucks want to not pay taxes.

    You still the fuck do not understand what freedom is, do you you sissy fucks.

    You do not understand what i have been trying to tell you.

    Then tell me. What is freedom to be yourself?

    It has fuck all to do with money.

    It has fuck all to do with what you think.

    Not one fucking libertarian person understands.

    I just gave you beauty.

    What is your definition of individual freedom?

  376. #376 Gregory Richards
    December 31, 2007

    I’ll be really surprised if he hasn’t raise 20 million dollars by midnight of December 31st.

    It’s not that several dozen supporters are donating tens of thousands today, but rather that tens of thousands are donating several dozen.

    It’s like he puts on a Rock Concert, and the tickets sell out fast!

  377. #377 bernarda
    December 31, 2007

    truth machine, as you are still around, I will respond to your post 254. Just one example of how Israel is an apartheid state. The Jewish National Fund which controls land stolen from the Palestinians in 1948 has rules that it can only cede the land to Jews. Non-jews are formally excluded. So Palestinians are officially barred from land that was originally theirs.

    I don’t know how much of the Palestinian land in the West Bank they control, but they have illegally built things in the Occupied Territories. One example of Israeli dishonesty and hypocrisy.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCcuUmwIXPA

  378. #378 Logician
    December 31, 2007

    You know what I find really interesting? NOT ONE of ronpaul’s trolls have responded to my direct challenge in #190.

    Do you know why?

    I’ll tell you why:
    when faced with the filth pouring DIRECTLY from this hideous ativism’s mouth, they CANNOT respond. They KNOW he has DESTROYED his OWN case again and again and again.

    When you let it slip that you’re a racist, homophobic misogynist again and again and again, it’s just pointless to deny it.

    And so they don’t.

    Instead, they obfuscate with pointless arguments they don’t have enough sense to copy correctly from already poorly plagarized sites.

    How sad.

    And they wonder why they’re getting their pointed, hollow heads handed to them. And they’ll never figure it out either.

  379. #379 independent
    December 31, 2007

    Scott, your “challenge” is dispersed through several posts so its hard to find your entire accusation. I see you cited realchange.org which point’s the Ron Paul’s early 1990s newsletter. All I can say is that with a 40 year political career, this is the only thing you could call a racist statement by Ron Paul, so it isn’t a huge logical stretch to believe his story that it was written by a staffer who was immediately fired. Yes, Stormfront likes him too, but have you been there to see why? They trust him to end the war and oppose amnesty/citizenship for illegal immigrants. Wow, Even the neo-nazis want the war over, but that doesn’t make all anti-war people racists.

  380. #380 Kazim
    December 31, 2007

    You know, it’s a very strange thing… I have a subscription to Reason magazine too, and I have no idea where it came from. My experience with it is pretty much as you described.

  381. #381 truth machine
    December 31, 2007

    So Palestinians are officially barred from land that was originally theirs.

    That’s expropriation, not apartheid.

    I don’t know how much of the Palestinian land in the West Bank they control, but they have illegally built things in the Occupied Territories.

    And they’ve riddled it with roads that Palestinians aren’t allowed to use, which is one of the reasons Carter refers to apartheid Palestine.

  382. #382 Mikko Sandt
    December 31, 2007

    Btw, some have complained about libertarians being selfish and greed, but which greed is the worse kind: the kind of greed libertarians advocate, that you are entitled to what you produce, or the kind of left-wingies advocate, that you’re entitled to what others produce?

    How is it that you can consider the “libertarian morality” (such a thing doesn’t even exist – many libertarians are utilitarians) evil because it advocates selfishness and greed but it’s somehow moral to consider the wealth of others as something that you’re entitled to?

  383. #383 speedwell
    December 31, 2007

    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?

  384. #384 bernarda
    December 31, 2007

    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.

    “Eighty-one percent of Israelis support the Jewish National Fund’s long held policy of selling land only to Jews, according to a poll released Thursday. Only 10% oppose the policy while 9% are undecided or refused to answer.

    Mitchell Barak, managing-director of the KEEVOON Research and Strategy company that conducted the survey, said, “This poll shows that when it comes to the actual land of Israel – Israelis are definitely not liberal. It is clear that JNF’s 100-year-old policy of raising money from Diaspora Jewry and selling only to Jews in Israel, is widely supported by all sectors of the Israeli Hebrew-speaking population.””

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3458945,00.html

    So Ron Paul is right about only two things: stopping the war and ending aid to Israel. It is interesting to see this interview by Bill Maher with former CIA agent Michael Sheuer. He supports Paul on these issues;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF4_oaTIH8g

  385. #385 coathangrrr
    December 31, 2007

    the kind of greed libertarians advocate, that you are entitled to what you produce, or the kind of left-wingies advocate, that you’re entitled to what others produce?

    Unless you have some sort of new and improved libertarianism then this is patently untrue. Capitalism, the economic system most libertarians assume would be in place in a libertarian makes the owner of a factory who does absolutely no work entitled to what the workers of said factory produce. The kind of greed that libertarians advocate is that you are entitled to what you own and the products thereof, whether you produce them or not.

    How is it that you can consider the “libertarian morality” (such a thing doesn’t even exist – many libertarians are utilitarians) evil because it advocates selfishness and greed but it’s somehow moral to consider the wealth of others as something that you’re entitled to?

    There is no wealth outside of society, one cannot produce modern goods without large networks of people. Libertarianism says that your wealth is based on three parts accident of birth, three parts who you know and one part how many things you produce.

    I’ll return to my earlier claim, which was as usual ignored. Libertarianism is based on biblical scripture and as such is a corrupt ideology that has no place in the modern world of politics so long as it pretends otherwise.

  386. #386 Jim
    December 31, 2007

    Logician:

    What appeals to me about Ron Paul is that his political view is principled, so I don’t have to worry about what has happened under GWB–that his personal preferences will affect policy. As an example, Paul may support abstinence-only sex education–I do not. But if he were to be elected President, Paul does not believe it would be his place, or the federal government’s place, to fund abstinence-only sex education programs. So he would not be foisting his views upon the states or localities.

    He believes in federalism–not that the federal government cannot preempt states, but that it has to do so in a Constitutionally-authorized way, which it currently does only by interpretations of the Constitution that take extreme liberty with the language, see, e.g., how the Commerce Clause is and has been used. So while he may personally be anti-abortion, he believes in the rights of states and localities to make their own determinations–he is not going to use the power of the federal government to try to make abortion illegal.

    It is on that basis that his individual views on many topics do not concern me. Now, if those were only words, and his voting record did not consistently reflect those principles, I would not support him.

    I think the definition of libertarianism that I first saw in #183 is pretty accurate. Libertarians aren’t particularly greedy folks, we just like to make our own choices when it comes to spending our money. I have given to charitable causes, both in time, money and donations of goods. If I wasn’t taxed as much, I would certainly do more. 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.

  387. #387 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.

  388. #388 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.

  389. #389 independent
    December 31, 2007

    All historical and international comparison would indicate that the founders were correct in letting states set social policy and corporate regulation.

    Or, if you have an idea to make Washington D.C. accountable to us, I’d love to hear it.

    Of course, if you equate federalism with anarchy, please explain to me why the E.U. is doing so well?

  390. #390 Bill Dauphin
    December 31, 2007

    OK, admittedly I’m ~350 comments short of having read the whole thread, but…

    Libertarians have the same goals as many liberals. The only difference is that we trust normal people like you and me to achieve the progressive society. Liberals think some government ruling-elite is the best way to achieve that.

    No, liberals think the government is the voice of “normal people like you and me”; only nutjobs mistake a representative government for a “ruling elite.” And to the inevitable rejoinder that our government isn’t truly representative, I say the proper fix is to reform it (the liberal program), not to burn it down (the libertarian aim).

    Sorry if this has already been said (or even said 350 times) above; in my book, it can’t be repeated often enough.

  391. #391 Kseniya
    December 31, 2007

    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?

    Ok, the answer to that is pretty obvious, but so what? what about the person who believes that support of charitable causes is so very right that they’re willing to formally incorporate that support into the very structure of the society of which they are a member?

    If it’s “right” then why does it matter whether individual compassion is exercised or not? Why rely on accumulated whims of private compassion if addressing the needs of the needy is the primary objective and priority? Seems to me that the most compassionate approach is to ensure those needs are addressed BEFORE worrying about the ideological needs of the, ah, discompassionate.

  392. #392 Jim
    December 31, 2007

    Because forcing people to be compassionate at gunpoint isn’t right, even if some segment of the population believes the cause is just. And if you don’t believe our current government (Democrats for social programs, Republicans for Empire) is for taking taxes at gunpoint, try defying the IRS. You will be separated from your belongings (one of the few things government might be said to be efficient at) and quite likely thrown in jail.

  393. #393 Bill Dauphin
    December 31, 2007

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

    JOOC, why does anybody think this is a good thing? Members of Congress (most of whom are not corrupt, on either side of the aisle, despite the recent high-profile cases) work awfully hard, and they’re paid relatively abysmally compared to private-sector workers of similar accomplishment. I’m quite certain any impartial third-party study would recommend pay increases; actual members of Congress feel compelled to vote against them only because of politics. When people rant about Congress being “elitist,” I always wonder if we wouldn’t get more “regular” (which is to say, middle class) people to run if leaving a white-collar job behind to run for office were a better financial bet.

    As for the pension, Paul’s earned his fair and square, no matter how much harm he’s done from my ideological POV; refusing it is simply foolish, not noble, and doesn’t speak too well for how he might manage the country’s finances.

  394. #394 thalarctos
    December 31, 2007

    If it’s “right” then why does it matter whether individual compassion is exercised or not? Why rely on accumulated whims of private compassion if addressing the needs of the needy is the primary objective and priority?

    Point well-taken, Kseniya, but that’s exactly it–if you look at it from the perspective of the person who needs help, why should addressing that need be arbitrarily dependent on what someone else’s view of compassion is or isn’t?

    In 2002, thanks to a silent blood clot in the abdomen, I ran up a hospital bill of over $100,000, mostly covered by insurance. Within a month, my husband lost his job–we suspect, but cannot prove, that when his boss was making a list of whom to lay off, someone whose wife costs that much in insurance made it to the top of this list just for that reason alone, but whatever. Of course, that was an end to our insurance for a while, because for two years after one nearly dies, for-profit insurance companies don’t exactly beat down your door (imagine!).

    So in the Libertarian ethos, if I have a blood clot before my husband loses his job, I deserve necessary care; if the events occur in reverse order, I do not deserve necessary care, and must hope that someone who has money might actually decide to help me.

    Of course, the necrotic bowel meant that I was so close to death that I wasn’t in any shape to be making pitches to potential donors, but still, that’s how it’s somehow supposed to “work”. Personally, I just don’t get how people can get behind an idea so arbitrary and inconsistent, yet somehow they do.

    Of course, the plural of anecdote is not “data”; yet I’m still having trouble seeing how something so unworkable in this one case could possibly scale up to hundreds of thousands of similar emergency-care cases as a policy.

  395. #395 Jeff
    December 31, 2007

    Because forcing people to be compassionate at gunpoint isn’t right

    Why don’t you just come out and say taxes are wrong, then? What? They’re not wrong? How should the government collect money, then? I suppose we force you to build schools and roads at gunpoint, too, huh?

    ANYWAY… Let’s face it, folks, this “compassion” business is all about one thing, so let’s get to the point:

    Single-payer health insurance.

    The nub of the matter is that it would be CHEAPER–yes, I said CHEAPER–CHEAPER for YOU–than the system we have now. And there’s no reason to believe it would be any worse, either. 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?

    No–I don’t think so. All libertarians hear is HIGHER TAXES and they don’t stop to think that that could mean less money paid out in total. The numbers were run decades ago. What more do you want?

  396. #396 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.

  397. #397 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.

  398. #398 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.

  399. #399 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.

  400. #400 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?

  401. #401 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.

  402. #402 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.

  403. #403 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…

  404. #404 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…

  405. #405 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.

  406. #406 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…

  407. #407 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…

  408. #408 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.

  409. #409 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.

  410. #410 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.

  411. #411 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).

  412. #412 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.

  413. #413 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?

  414. #414 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.

  415. #415 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?

  416. #416 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.

  417. #417 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.

  418. #418 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.

  419. #419 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.

  420. #420 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.

  421. #421 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.

  422. #422 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.

  423. #423 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.

  424. #424 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.

  425. #425 mpkomara
    January 1, 2008

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

  426. #426 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.

  427. #427 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.

  428. #428 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?

  429. #429 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.

  430. #430 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.

  431. #431 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.

  432. #432 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”.

  433. #433 spurge
    January 1, 2008

    “Living in poverty is a choice.”

    Moron.

  434. #434 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.

  435. #435 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.

  436. #436 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.

  437. #437 Tulse
    January 1, 2008

    Living in poverty is a choice.

    Wow. Just…..wow…

  438. #438 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.

  439. #439 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.

  440. #440 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.

  441. #441 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.

  442. #442 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?

  443. #443 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?

  444. #444 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.

  445. #445 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.

  446. #446 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.

  447. #447 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.)

  448. #448 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.)

  449. #449 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.

  450. #450 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.

  451. #451 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.

  452. #452 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.

  453. #453 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.

  454. #454 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).

  455. #455 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.

  456. #456 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.

  457. #457 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.

  458. #458 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.

  459. #459 Kseniya
    January 2, 2008

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

    Yes, I realize that.

  460. #460 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.

  461. #461 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.

  462. #462 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?

  463. #463 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”.

  464. #464 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.

  465. #465 truth machine
    January 2, 2008

    Yes, I realize that.

    Got it (finally).

  466. #466 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.

  467. #467 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 .

  468. #468 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.

  469. #469 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.

  470. #470 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.

  471. #471 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.

  472. #472 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.

  473. #473 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.

  474. #474 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.

  475. #475 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.

  476. #476 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.

  477. #477 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.

  478. #478 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.

  479. #479 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.

  480. #480 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?

  481. #481 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.

  482. #482 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.

  483. #483 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.

  484. #484 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.

  485. #485 Steve_C
    January 2, 2008

    Did say it was a critique of Libertarianism…

    Unfettered capitalism perhaps.

  486. #486 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.

  487. #487 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.

  488. #488 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.

  489. #489 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.

  490. #490 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*

  491. #491 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.

  492. #492 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.

  493. #493 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.

  494. #494 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.

  495. #495 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.

  496. #496 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

  497. #497 Steve_C
    January 2, 2008

    What i heard from her made plenty of sense.

    And it wasn’t about government intervention.

  498. #498 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.

  499. #499 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.

  500. #500 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.

  501. #501 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.

  502. #502 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.

  503. #503 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.

  504. #504 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.

  505. #505 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.

  506. #506 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.

  507. #507 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.

  508. #508 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.

  509. #509 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.

  510. #510 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.

  511. #511 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”.

  512. #512 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.

  513. #513 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.

  514. #514 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.

  515. #515 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.

  516. #516 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.

  517. #517 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.”

  518. #518 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?

  519. #519 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.

  520. #520 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.

  521. #521 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.

  522. #522 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.

  523. #523 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.

  524. #524 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.

  525. #525 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.

  526. #526 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.

  527. #527 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

  528. #528 coathangrrr
    January 3, 2008

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

  529. #529 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.

  530. #530 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.

  531. #531 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.

  532. #532 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?

  533. #533 truth machine
    January 3, 2008

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

  534. #534 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.

  535. #535 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.

  536. #536 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.

  537. #537 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.

  538. #538 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.

  539. #539 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.

  540. #540 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.

  541. #541 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.

  542. #542 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.

  543. #543 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.

  544. #544 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.

  545. #545 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!

  546. #546 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.

  547. #547 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.

  548. #548 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.

  549. #549 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”.

  550. #550 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.

  551. #551 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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