Pharyngula

Yeah, there’s little I like better than some sweet snarky skewered Libertarianism.

Of course, if you don’t like it, you could always go complain in the comments over there.

Comments

  1. #1 Zeno
    April 8, 2009

    It looks like PZ craves just a bit of peace and quiet for a change.

  2. #2 Rev. BigDUmbChimp
    April 8, 2009

    oh boy.

    i see where this is going.

  3. #3 Kel
    April 8, 2009

    *awaits the inevitable libertarian invasion of this thread*

  4. #4 Sven DiMilo
    April 8, 2009

    …but until then, we can talk about the link. Footnote 2 is pretty funny.

  5. #5 i<3AynRand
    April 8, 2009

    I’M A LIBERATION AND YOU AND OBAMA ARE WRECKING AMERICA YOU IDIOT SOCIALIST LEFTISTS. AYN RAND WAS RIGHT, ALL THE INDUSTRIALISTS, WHO ARE WAYYYYYYYY SMARTER THAN YOU PZ, SHOULD GO ON STRIKE AGAINST OBAMA. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED, US LIBERTARIANS ARE GOING TO HELP THE BILLIONARS TAKE OVER!

  6. #6 llewelly
    April 8, 2009

    Actually, the best defamation of libertarianism was done in a book called Atlas Shrugged. I forget who wrote it.

  7. #7 i<3AynRand
    April 8, 2009

    OH AND ONE MORE THING, WHEN THE BILLIONARES TAKE OVER, US LIBERTARIANS WILL REAP THE BENIFITS, (EVER HEARD OF TRICKLE DOWN? REAGAN WAS THE BOMB BITCHES)

  8. #8 Tim
    April 8, 2009

    One of the annoying things about right-wing nuts is the refusal to apply libertarian principals across the board. If it involves working people or anything that annoys a bluenose, bleeding heart nanny state is just fine. And what’s up with the trickle-down?, wear a depends!

  9. #9 rs
    April 9, 2009

    I don’t see what this has to do with libertarianism.

    A libertarian might just as well argue that one person deserves one vote, or that only gun-owners should be allowed to vote, or for any other system of democratic elections.

    Libertarians are mostly concerned with securing certain rights that cannot be taken away no matter what is the result of an election.

  10. #10 Gzalzi
    April 9, 2009

    Kinda @ AynRand

    I’m a Civil Libertarian…what’s going on here?

    I skimmed that article and the writer is an idiot. I also like Obama, mostly. I voted for him and even have a magnet of him on my van. I don’t really condone all this bailing out, but what can I do? Also, I dislike all the big corporations and all.

    Last bit: PZ is amazing.

    I don’t know if PZ was making fun of us or what…but I sure hope he’s not. :(

  11. #11 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    I’m a Civil Libertarian…what’s going on here

    Civil libertarians, as in the American Civil Liberties Union, are not what’s being mocked here.

    This is about right-wing libertarianism, the idea that absolute unregulated capitalism is the only true freedom.

  12. #12 mike
    April 9, 2009

    Keep attacking that caricature of libertarianism. It definitely strengthens your arguments and makes you look real good.

  13. #13 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Ah yes, the Libertarian Courtier’s Reply.

  14. #14 Gzalzi
    April 9, 2009

    @11
    I generally identify my political standpoint as Libertarian, but I definitely do not like Right-Wing anything. I don’t even like centrists, most of the time.

    Maybe I should find something else to identify myself as…

  15. #15 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    I like the way you think, mike.

    Glenn Reynolds is a real live libertarian. To quote Glenn Reynolds is to attack a caricature of libertarianism. Therefore libertarianism is a caricature of itself.

  16. #16 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Gzalzi, just a guess, but perhaps the term you’re looking for it “gun-loving leftie.”

    People generally understand “civil libertarian” though. It’s a shame the right-wingers have decided to define themselves as the only people who like freedom, but their bastardization of the word has not yet poisoned all derivations.

  17. #17 EricLR
    April 9, 2009

    Maybe I’m too tired, or not in on the jokes, but that article may as well have been written in Hungarian for all the sense it made to me. And I thought I knew a decent amount about Libertarians.

  18. #18 Patricia, OM
    April 9, 2009

    Here we go.

    Blah, blah, fucking blah.

    500 comments by the usual libertards. *yawn*

  19. #19 kyoseki
    April 9, 2009

    At it’s core, libertarianism is about minimal governmental interference.

    It’s about allowing people to live their lives how they see fit.

    I fail to see how that is a bad thing.

    The Libertarian Party is in favor of legalizing both drugs and gay marriage, they, quite rightly, don’t see that the government has any place dictating morality.

    As opposed to the ridiculously named “Constitution Party” who believe precisely the opposite.

    Libertarianism in it’s purest form is completely secular, honestly, I’m surprised more centrists from both the right and left don’t embrace it wholeheartedly.

  20. #20 Jason
    April 9, 2009

    Libertarianism in it’s purest form is completely secular, honestly, I’m surprised more centrists from both the right and left don’t embrace it wholeheartedly.

    My guess would be because they like things like public schools, medicare/medicaid, and social security, and aren’t really big on the whole callous indifference to the well-being of the poor.

  21. #21 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    At it’s core, libertarianism is about minimal governmental interference.

    I hate it when those damned guvmint firefighters interfere with my house burning down.

  22. #22 Chris Tucker
    April 9, 2009

    Everything you NEED to know about Libertarianism is Right Here!!!!

    Critiques of Libertarianism

    My favorite from the site:

    The Scourge of Public Libraries

    Did you know that being on a library waiting list for a movie is just like a “Soviet breadline”?

  23. #23 rs
    April 9, 2009

    And of course, this piece does not even begin to address the underlying problem, which is:

    In an organization, formed by people to protect their mutual interests-

    -Should the membership fee depend on the income of the member or should it be the same for everyone?

    -Should the weight of a member’s vote be proportional to his or her contribution to the organization, or should it be the same for everyone?

    And why when the organization under consideration is called “the state” we choose the first option for the first question, but the second option for the second question?

  24. #24 kyoseki
    April 9, 2009

    No political ideology works in it’s purest form because it always requires people to behave the way you believe they should.

    eg. For everyone who accepts that society needs to take care of it’s poor, there will be someone who abuses that care and has society subsidize their unwillingness to work.

    At it’s core, libertarianism emphasizes personal responsibility, requiring people to take responsibility for their own lives and actions, explain to me why that’s a bad thing?

    Sure it requires education and the understanding of consequences, but if you know you’re doing something stupid and still do it, why should society bail your ass out when it goes wrong?

  25. #25 kyoseki
    April 9, 2009

    “I hate it when those damned guvmint firefighters interfere with my house burning down.”

    Apparently you are having trouble differentiating between the words “minimal” and “zero”.

  26. #26 Feynmaniac
    April 9, 2009

    kyoseki,

    At it’s core, libertarianism is about minimal governmental interference [in the business sector].
    It’s about allowing people to live their lives how corporations (unaccountable to the public) to do as they see fit.

    Fixed it for you. No need to thank me.

  27. #27 Muzz
    April 9, 2009

    By that logic nearly every small business is ‘doing something stupid’, what with their failure rate (in good times) n’ all.
    But y’knw, free enterprise and social mobility is great of course.

  28. #28 kyoseki
    April 9, 2009

    And so society should subsidize every small business that goes under?

    Entrepreneurship carries the risk of failure, obviously the ones that go under were doing something wrong, whereas the ones that succeed aren’t.

    I’m honestly curious as to how you can say that the ones that fail weren’t doing something stupid?

  29. #29 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to:kyoseki #25

    Apparently, he also thinks that The Fire Department is located in Washington.

  30. #30 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    eg. For everyone who accepts that society needs to take care of it’s poor, there will be someone who abuses that care and has society subsidize their unwillingness to work.

    So we have a phone number you can call if you suspect your neighbor of cheating on welfare. Grown-ups are mentally capable of dealing with imperfect systems.

    Someone somewhere is buying cocaine with their welfare check. Grown-ups do not need to hyperventilate about this. Better than the alternative of letting the poor starve to death all around us.

    At it’s core, libertarianism emphasizes personal responsibility, requiring people to take responsibility for their own lives and actions, explain to me why that’s a bad thing?

    At it’s core, libertarianism emphasizes pretending that you lifted yourself up by your own bootstraps, no one ever gave you a hand, not a public school, not a public highway infrastructure, not a public Internet, nope, you’re a self-made man!

    Sure it requires education and the understanding of consequences, but if you know you’re doing something stupid and still do it, why should society bail your ass out when it goes wrong?

    In other words, if you lose your job because the economy is tanking and your employer had to cut your position, you and your children should starve to death. Join the Libertarian Party today! What a humane and grown-up ideology you have there.

  31. #31 kyoseki
    April 9, 2009

    Well if we’re going to start making straw man arguments then clearly I don’t need to bother working for a living because liberalism will ensure that I get paid a six figure salary for sitting on my ass and popping out kids.

    Seriously people, there is a middle ground here.

  32. #32 Muzz
    April 9, 2009

    They don’t have to subsidise every small business that goes under, instead they can provide a safety net so that people might be more inclined to take these risks.
    If this goes on I’ll come off like some small business maven, which I thought libertarians were supposed to be.

  33. #33 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    “I hate it when those damned guvmint firefighters interfere with my house burning down.”

    Apparently you are having trouble differentiating between the words “minimal” and “zero”.

    Watch out, kyoseki. If you admit that I can vote to use my neighbor’s tax money to provide a public fire brigade, then you open the door to socialisms! Oh noes!

    If I can do that much, then I can vote to provide health care to poor children. It’s a slippery slope to relieving hunger and subsidizing vaccines!

  34. #34 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Seriously people, there is a middle ground here.

    Yes, there is a middle ground. And right-wing libertarianism is not it.

  35. #35 kyoseki
    April 9, 2009

    I’m not stupid or naive enough to think that society can live without any governmental support,nor am I naive enough to think that people always do what is right from a social standpoint.

    You can have communal constructs like public schools, a military and a basic welfare system without having to subscribe to the viewpoint that government need play any greater role than that.

    Why is everyone so keen on mandating how corporations behave whilst dictating that individuals be allowed to do what they want? Similarly on the right, you have people saying that corporations should be free but individual liberties be restrained.

    Personally speaking, I don’t see the logic of either position.

  36. #36 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    -Should the membership fee depend on the income of the member or should it be the same for everyone?

    Quick quiz, rs.

    Which socialist gave the following justification for taxing the rich?

    The proportion of the expense of house-rent to the whole expense of living, is different in the different degrees of fortune. … The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich; and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be any thing very unreasonable. It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.

  37. #37 kyoseki
    April 9, 2009

    Why should there be a safety net for risk?

    If you don’t want risk, get a job working for someone else.

    If I want to start a company that provides gym clothes for hamsters, why should society subsidize a fundamentally stupid idea?

    Supporting those who are unfortunate is a perfectly acceptable position, but supporting those who are stupid is not.

  38. #38 Jason Q, Squrroxmobile
    April 9, 2009

    I’ve always thought that Libertarians are just like Republicans, but without the charm, honesty and compassion.

  39. #39 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Why is everyone so keen on mandating how corporations behave

    Do you know what a corporate charter is? Do you know anything about the history of law and the corporation?

    A corporation is a group of individuals who are granted a corporate charter from the public, and this charter allows them to protect their own personal assets from bankruptcy if the corporation should fail.

    This is a very big privilege, called limited liability.

    Before this concept, a business owner whose debt exceeded his business assets could also lose his family’s house when the creditors came calling. Limited liability, and extensions of it like the corporate charter, allow businesspeople to take risks without worrying that they will lose their homes.

    There is no particular reason why the public has to allow limited liability to exist. It’s a privilege that we grant. But in exchange for offering this privilege, we have the right to demand certain things in return. Like certain regulations on mortgage backed securities, or not polluting our rivers.

    That is why a corporation has restrictions that an individual does not have. Because a corporation also has privileges that an individual does not have.

    Fairness: it’s not a concept libertarians are familiar with.

  40. #40 kyoseki
    April 9, 2009

    Woohoo! Let’s take a quote out of context and then argue against it.

    That does, after all, make it a much easier argument.

  41. #41 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Why should there be a safety net for risk?

    If you don’t want risk, get a job working for someone else.

    Why “should” there be? It depends on the kind of economy you want to have.

    Economists have learned that if you want a vibrant, growing economy, the kind of nation where people want to live, a certain amount of economic safety netting encourages innovation. It’s the same reason the writers of the Constitution included time-limited patents. Not because they had to, but because it made sense to do so.

    Libertarians: asking questions that a basic history or economics course could answer.

  42. #42 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Woohoo! Let’s take a quote out of context and then argue against it.

    That does, after all, make it a much easier argument.

    You asked why corporations get regulated. I answered. You don’t like the answer, let’s talk about it.

    Offering the standard Libertarian Courtier’s Reply is not enough.

  43. #43 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to:strange gods before me

    My guess was Adam Smith, it turned to be correct, but I fail to see how this quote answers my question.

    Saying that something is not unreasonable is not a very strong argument.

    And even if we choose to tax the rich more than the poor, why would we not give them a greater share in the process of making decisions on how their money should be spent? And why would we try to limit their opportunity to increase that share by buying more voting power? That’s how the companies are run anyway: the more you own, the more your vote counts.

  44. #44 Muzz
    April 9, 2009

    @ #37

    Yeah, nothing that was ever deemed stupid in the past and got squelched turned out to be accepted in the end (he says on the evolutionary biology blog)

    Before wwander too far down that comparison, what are we talking about here?
    You say you approve of welfare of some sort but instead of it being means tested is should be …stupidity tested, is that it?

  45. #45 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    My guess was Adam Smith, it turned to be correct, but I fail to see how this quote answers my question.

    Oh, it wasn’t supposed to answer your question.

    The point of that exercise was to show other readers how you modern libertarians are so far to the right of even Adam Smith. You’re extremists. Hardly the “middle ground” you like to claim.

    And even if we choose to tax the rich more than the poor, why would we not give them a greater share in the process of making decisions on how their money should be spent? And why would we try to limit their opportunity to increase that share by buying more voting power?

    Because I don’t want to be ruled by the rich. I do not want an American aristocracy. This nation was founded to get away from aristocracy.

    Because I like the Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment secures the principle of “one person, one vote.” And I like the Fourteenth Amendment. (Unlike libertarians, apparently. This is a new one for me. I’ve rarely seen libertarians so openly declaring that the rich deserve to rule us.)

  46. #46 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “Sure it requires education and the understanding of consequences, but if you know you’re doing something stupid and still do it, why should society bail your ass out when it goes wrong?”

    YES, because society has an obligation to look after the welfare of all of it’s citizens.

  47. #47 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to:strange gods before me #45

    I am not saying that you should want to be ruled by the rich. (BTW is it OK to ask whether the rich want to be ruled by the poor, like Glenn Reynolds sort of did, or would I be immediately called a libertard?)

    I am only asking for consistency or at least for the explanation of the inconsistency.

    If the rich don’t deserve to rule us, why do we deserve their money?

  48. #48 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “If the rich don’t deserve to rule us, why do we deserve their money?”

    Because your contribution to society should reflect the amount you gain from it.

  49. #49 BlueIndependent
    April 9, 2009

    “…Sure it requires education and the understanding of consequences, but if you know you’re doing something stupid and still do it, why should society bail your ass out when it goes wrong?”

    Man you guys just don’t get reality do you? And what if those risks, no matter how well researched and ruminated on before taking action, blow up in your face because of someone else’s actions? Madoff anyone? The libertarian view of the world is as hopelessly naive and trite as the communist’s. We’re communal animals people; get over it. We have a streak for individualism, but there hasn’t, isn’t, and never will be a single human alive that wasn’t helped by someone else. Empowered individuals also need others to “live off of”; there’s no entrepreneurship without customers. There’s no economy without others. Why you guys find that so hard to cope with intellectually is your problem, not ours. All you guys whine about is that anyone asks you to do anything. Do you have to do what is asked? No. But don’t cry your freaking brains out when the society that raised you gives you the middle finger for being a colossal ass that expects everything and returns nothing.

    Oh, and while you’re at it, explain to me how a libertarian society will promote the greatest overall good when those with the most are given the greatest power and those with the least – even those born into poverty – a left to fight for what’s left? Take your “evil guvmint” arguments and shove them until you can answer this simple question. The answer you should arrive at is that the existing system, with all the crap about “tyranny of the majority, is still the best in the world. I’m not confident you WILL arrive there, since you reject so much pertinent human behavior in order to achieve your conclusions. But there you have it.

  50. #50 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    You can have communal constructs like public schools, a military and a basic welfare system without having to subscribe to the viewpoint that government need play any greater role than that.

    You can. Why you would then vote for the Libertarian Party, I don’t know.

    Perhaps because you never actually read their party platform:

    “We call for the repeal of the income tax … Education, like any other service, is best provided by the free market … We favor restoring and reviving a free market health care system. … The proper source of help for the poor is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.”

    Did you know the Libertarian Party is opposed to what you say you believe in?

    If you’re not an extremist, then libertarianism really isn’t for you.

  51. #51 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to:Justin

    Because your contribution to society should reflect the amount you gain from it.

    Well, you’ll have to elaborate on that.

    Do the children of the wealthy receive more attention from the public school teachers?

    Do the get a higher level of protection from the terrorists or natural disasters?

    Do they get to ride a more comfortable seat on a bus?

  52. #52 megan
    April 9, 2009

    I’m leaning more as a civil/liberal libertarian as to drugs and other issues. But ‘strange gods before me’ you forgot the most perverting law passed allowing corporations owned by individuals got the 14th amendment as they legally are recognized as A ‘personhood’ for a multi-owner economic behemoth under the various corporation charters.

    I liken it to the Japanese transformer robots with groups of people sitting in the head controlling it while it runs roughshod over the bitty populace. It’s vote and effect on the environment is huge compared to individuals with itty bitty tanks and guns shooting back, crying for ‘mothra’ or corporate run government to save us. IMHO, That’s why NPOs were created so now social-issues groups can create their monsters too to fightback. The bailouts are like props to keep the behemoth from falling smack on the city and smashing it flat. Let ‘em down slowly and let the crazy evil controllers in the heads escape (CEO-boards).

  53. #53 BlueIndependent
    April 9, 2009

    “If the rich don’t deserve to rule us, why do we deserve their money?”

    When will you guys tire of applying this false argument? It’s not “their” money. The money is minted by the country’s citizenry. It is NOT minted by random privateers all with different weights, standards, etc. You have the right to what you earn because of what you produce; it does not mean that because one man works more than another (and btw, amount of work can be perceived as well as real) that the harder worker gets to have a run on the whole place. For every hard worker, one can find someone else that works harder. For every lazy person, well, you get the idea.

    Life is not that cut and dry. Libertarians deny far too much of innate humanity for any true conception of reality and how humans act within it and with others to take reasonable shape. All of this and more has already been explained to you, yet you still beg the question.

  54. #54 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    If the rich don’t deserve to rule us, why do we deserve their money?

    Alluding to what Justin said, the rich benefit disproportionately more from the public infrastructure than the rest of us do.

    To give just one example, I drive one or two cars on the public roads, and I cause a consequent amount of damage to the infrastructure, which will eventually have to be repaired.

    A business owner runs or contracts a fleet of dozens or hundreds of vehicles, including heavy semi trailers, causes much more damage, and gains considerable profit in doing so.

    The rich person uses more of, and gains more from, the public infrastructure. So the rich person pays more. That’s fair. That’s consistent.

  55. #55 Gordon S
    April 9, 2009

    You can see from rs’ response that rs has absolutely no idea what Justin was saying.

    The idea flew completely over the libertarians head. Not under the radar. Not sideways.

    Over.

  56. #56 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to:strange gods before me #54

    But those people also pay proportionally more in gas taxes, car registration fees and toll road fees.

    On the other hand, under the current system, if a person runs a business that is not very profitable, than he effectively pays less for using the infrastructure than an average guy.

  57. #57 Kyoseki
    April 9, 2009

    As I said before, no single political ideology works in the extreme. There is a middle ground between zero government intervention (extreme libertarianism/fiscal conservatism) and total government intervention (communism).

    Extreme fiscal conservatism is as bad as extreme fiscal liberalism, the idea that everyone should be supported by society regardless of their stupidity removes any incentive for them to behave in a responsible manner.

    Actions NEED to have consequences.

    Madoff? Sure, he was a douchebag, but who the hell invests all they own with a single individual or company? If something looks too good to be true, it probably is, they were suckered in with an return on investment way above the norm and they got carried away.

    Has society stepped forward to reimburse those who lost money through Madoff? Do we all subsidize those who made poor investments?

    High return only comes about with high risk, why should you get a high return on a low risk investment?

    Why should society step in to reimburse people who make poor choices? Particularly those who really ought to know better.

    People learn from their mistakes, smart people learn from other people’s mistakes, but if you remove any consequences from screwing up, what incentive to people have to avoid doing it?

    I mean seriously, if you’re faced with a high risk proposition secure in the knowledge that society will reimburse you if it all goes pear shaped, why would you think twice?

  58. #58 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Do the children of the wealthy receive more attention from the public school teachers?

    Sigh. I guess if I still had the shallow, facile understanding of the world that I had as a child, I might be a libertarian.

    Scratch a little deeper, rs. The rich benefit disproportionately from the public school system, because for us it’s just training to get a job and an income, but for the rich it’s a vast source of educated labor to choose from for hire.

    The public provides the rich with educated people who can be easily trained to do complex tasks, and the presence of this workforce allows the rich of America to compete with the rich of Japan, Europe, etc.

    Without the public school system, the rich could not even stay rich; they would quickly lose their edge to rich people of other nations that still had public schools. So yes, they benefit more from the public school system than we do, so they should pay more for it.

    Do the get a higher level of protection from the terrorists or natural disasters?

    Yes. Actually they should not, but they do. The truth of a police force in a capitalist nation is that they exist primarily to protect the rich and their property.

  59. #59 BlueIndependent
    April 9, 2009

    “Well, you’ll have to elaborate on that.

    Do the children of the wealthy receive more attention from the public school teachers?

    Do the get a higher level of protection from the terrorists or natural disasters?

    Do they get to ride a more comfortable seat on a bus?”

    In theory, no. In reality, most if not all of those children get private education less well-off families do not have access to, or at least cannot afford (funny how, if the free market produces the best education, why are the poorest not able to access it?) it consistently.

    But you’re making our point for us. The wealthy child and the poor child should not have disparate means to get to the same place intellectually and developmentally. The child of a wealthy family does not inherently deserve more than the child of a poor family. If you believe otherwise, then I suggest another country, as the USA is obviously not quite your speed. American civilization has been brought up to think of each person as free and capable, rather than defaulting to people who already have things. To take things down the road a bit, libertarianism is most emphatically not capable of producing the kind of middle class growth this country has seen, let alone that of the upper class, and even on some level the lower class. Libertarianism is the modern definition of feudalism. It is people with amassed stuff enlisting the weaker majority to fight its battles and protect its land. Libertarianism produces exactly what Reynolds analogized it as: The Dark Ages…or feudal Japan, whichever you prefer. It is an ideology that cannot get past the people-with-more-stuff-should-rule-all point of view, and because of this intransigence, relegates itself to the folly of quaint discussions on the viability of individuals to own nuclear weapons. Sure it’s a good and healthy discussion…if you just take the craziness for granted to start.

  60. #60 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to:Gordon S #55

    Your comment implies your superior ability to answer my questions, and I would greatly appreciate if you could demonstrate it.

    For which of the services (education, national security and public transportation) should the rich pay more, on the grounds that they gain more from using them?

  61. #61 BlueIndependent
    April 9, 2009

    I might also point out that all that bad publicly funded education in this country has in the past protected all our asses and those of our forebears through the military, especially. The publicly funded military is also responsible for a large number of scientific advances. And it should also be noted that quite a large number of scientific advances have and continue to happen at publicly funded universities, not in the halls of private corporations. The patents that private corporations get are many times modifications of existing patents on technologies developed at universities and colleges. Private money has certainly helped in the past and present, but current economic ‘history’ would have us believe only the private sector has created vast wealth, when the more truthful view is that while private industry has created wealth, much of that wealth is borne from private application of publicly funded successes.

  62. #62 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    But those people also pay proportionally more in gas taxes, car registration fees and toll road fees.

    No, they don’t. They should, in my opinion, but they don’t. Those things you mentioned are all effectively flat taxes. For example, if I have 1 car, I pay 1X dollars for car registration. If I have a fleet of 1000 cars, I pay 1000X for registrations. That’s a flat tax.

    These kinds of taxes actually impact poorer people disproportionately more. Sales taxes are effectively regressive taxes, for the reason Adam Smith gave, above: “The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor.”

    On the other hand, under the current system, if a person runs a business that is not very profitable, than he effectively pays less for using the infrastructure than an average guy.

    Oh well. If he’s having a hard time making a profit and feeding his family, I see no reason to tax him further. The really profitable business owners can afford to pay more.

  63. #63 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to: BlueIndependent #59

    The wealthy child and the poor child should not have disparate means to get to the same place intellectually and developmentally.The child of a wealthy family does not inherently deserve more than the child of a poor family.

    At least you seem to admit, that the rich shouldn’t pay more “because they gain more from society”.

    But that still leaves unresolved the original problem: why do we not allow the rich to have more say, at least in the matters of public education, if we need their money so much?

  64. #64 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to: strange gods before me #62

    I am getting confused here, so let me ask just to settle the matter:

    Should people pay taxes in proportion to how much they use public infrastructure, or should the rich pay more, regardless of how much infrastructure they use, just because it’s easier for them to pay taxes than for poor people?

    You seem to be trying to have it both ways here.

  65. #65 Gordon S
    April 9, 2009

    The rich pay more to live in a society that allows them to be opulent while maintaining social order.

    Every single public service in the US, with the possible (in my view, surely) exception of the military, contributes to that order.

    The police protect property.

    The hospitals cure and vaccinate for diseases.

    The schools (attempt to, sometimes) reduce the number of voters who would work to destroy social order.

    And countless others. They all influence each other, and they all work to provide the bedrock that any riches, be they $30k a year or $10m in stock options, are built upon.

    You libertarians fetish-like obsession with fairness at the expense or detriment to every other factor is shortsighted, ignorant, and greedy.

    It’s especially ridiculous among commentators on a science-based blog network.

    Perhaps you would like to tell me how, exactly, your model of fairness is supposed to work when children born into and raised in impoverished households are imbued with a myriad of developmental disorders.

    Perhaps you’d like to explain how your libertarian ideals contrast with the statistical data showing that the US, with it’s low taxes, low min wage, and generally shitty safety net, has significantly lower class mobility than every single Scandinavian nation.

    And no, I won’t provide you with links, google it.

  66. #66 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to: strange gods before me #58

    Without the public school system, the rich could not even stay rich;

    Wouldn’t they run their own schools to which they would admit the best and the brightest – under the condition that these kids would work for them after they graduate? Sort of like the Soviet higher education system with the state being the super-rich guy?

  67. #67 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    As I said before, no single political ideology works in the extreme.

    This is called the golden mean fallacy.

    But even if it weren’t a fallacy, and given that you do believe it, why are you advocating for the extremist Libertarian Party which doesn’t even represent your stated views?

    Extreme fiscal conservatism is as bad as extreme fiscal liberalism, the idea that everyone should be supported by society regardless of their stupidity removes any incentive for them to behave in a responsible manner.

    And yet here we are with a welfare state providing life-essential income for people who fail to support themselves, and a huge GDP, technological innovation, and all the amenities that make America such a comfortable place to live. Western Europe has a much larger welfare state, and yet people still get out of bed, go to jobs, and make responsible, productive use of their time.

    The evidence plainly does not support your assumptions.

    Actions NEED to have consequences.

    Have you ever lived on welfare? Ever known someone who did? It’s not easy, and it’s not comfortable. It’s not like having a $100,000 job. The fact of the matter is that there are differences, or as you like to portray them with your punishment obsession, “consequences.” You can address reality like a grownup, or you can stomp your feet and whine that it’s not fair for poor kids to have toys too! You get to decide how seriously other people here will treat you.

    High return only comes about with high risk, why should you get a high return on a low risk investment?

    Be specific. All you’re doing is throwing around words without context, decoupled from any examples. It’s pure propaganda. Put up or shut up.

    What precisely are you going on about?

  68. #68 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Should people pay taxes in proportion to how much they use public infrastructure, or should the rich pay more, regardless of how much infrastructure they use, just because it’s easier for them to pay taxes than for poor people?

    You seem to be trying to have it both ways here.

    Both are good reasons. There is no reason why I should have to pick only one.

  69. #69 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    But that still leaves unresolved the original problem: why do we not allow the rich to have more say, at least in the matters of public education, if we need their money so much?

    Because we have one person, one vote.

    I don’t see why that’s hard to understand.

    If the rich are able to convince everyone to stop taxing them at higher rates, that is, if they are able to convince everyone to elect Republicans, then they are allowed to do so.

    They have to convince us, though. That’s democracy.

  70. #70 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Wouldn’t they run their own schools to which they would admit the best and the brightest – under the condition that these kids would work for them after they graduate?

    Look what you’re doing. You’re coming at the question of public education from the perspective of “what is best for the rich?”

    We have public education because the public wants it. We want the safety of it, and the likelihood that our kids will have at least decent prospects for employment.

    It’s not as though “the rich would prefer entirely private education” is an argument for entirely private education. Frankly I don’t much care what they would prefer.

    If they don’t like America, they can move. And in their case, this is not hyperbole. They can afford to move. If they stay, they can live with what the public decides.

  71. #71 Kyoseki
    April 9, 2009

    But even if it weren’t a fallacy, and given that you do believe it, why are you advocating for the extremist Libertarian Party which doesn’t even represent your stated views?

    Maybe it’s because I don’t particularly agree with the extreme liberal or conservative standpoints either.

    The Democrats and Republican parties are both complete jokes, both parties have moved to the extreme, they each pick and choose which parts of the Constitution to ignore (usually the 2nd and 1st amendments respectively), and if you’re going to take an extremist position, you may as well take the position of extreme non-interference, no?

    And yet here we are with a welfare state providing life-essential income for people who fail to support themselves, and a huge GDP, technological innovation, and all the amenities that make America such a comfortable place to live. Western Europe has a much larger welfare state, and yet people still get out of bed, go to jobs, and make responsible, productive use of their time.

    Ah, but America has a higher GDP and a higher standard of living than Western Europe (which I’m more than familiar with considering that I’m English), with a smaller welfare state and lower taxes, is that pure coincidence or are Americans simply more industrious than Europeans? (given the number of both I know, I’m doubting this).

    Have you ever lived on welfare? Ever known someone who did? It’s not easy, and it’s not comfortable. It’s not like having a $100,000 job. The fact of the matter is that there are differences, or as you like to portray them with your punishment obsession

    Yes, I’ve lived on the dole and have no wish to do so again, but I’ve also known too many people who sponge off welfare as a matter of course to think that it’s enough of a deterrent by itself.

    You can address reality like a grownup, or you can stomp your feet and whine that it’s not fair for poor kids to have toys too! You get to decide how seriously other people here will treat you.

    So the reality is what? Let’s encourage people to abuse the welfare state secure in the knowledge that society will reward them for failing to contribute anything useful?

    Why encourage people to have kids when they can’t afford them? You can say that’s propaganda if you like, but there are far too many examples of people abusing the system.

    Be specific. All you’re doing is throwing around words without context, decoupled from any examples. It’s pure propaganda. Put up or shut up.

    What precisely are you going on about?

    Well let’s take Madoff as an example. Should people who place all their trust in a single investment source be bailed out when that trust turns out to be mistaken?

    If yes, what’s to stop everyone from being more careful next time?

    I mean shit, I saw the same thing in the UK with people investing in Railtrack after the privatization of the rail network. It kept posting positive return after positive return, right up until the point it went bankrupt because it wasn’t actually investing any money in it’s network, it was just giving it’s profits straight to it’s shareholders.

    Suddenly the shareholders found themselves out in the cold because they weren’t doing their homework, why should this kind of behavior be rewarded?

  72. #72 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to:Gordon S #65

    Thank you for your reply.

    For starters, and correct me if I am wrong, you don’t seem to like the current social order, it seem a little unfair to you, but at least you find it useful.

    You are saying that the rich are interested in maintaining the current social order to keep their riches. It’s not quite clear then for me, why do we need the government, if the rich are so interested in paying for all those social services that you mentioned.

    So from the point of view of utility, it seems perfectly reasonable to let them pay for what they want to pay for, and we would still have the same nice social order, maybe even better, since the rich would provide the better oversight on how their money would be spent than the government.

    But then you use completely the opposite argument. You say, let’s forget that the disabled children have no utility, that social mobility is of no interest to those already on top, and start talking about fairness. And, perhaps, the rich should pay more to help those in need, but have you noticed that they quite often do so voluntarily? And when a rich guy runs a private charity nobody seems to object that he still has the full control of his money, so why do we abhor so much the idea of letting people get a larger share of the vote in exchange for a higher tax contribution if that would really help the poor?

  73. #73 Arren
    April 9, 2009
    @ strange gods before me

    You’re doing yeoman’s work here, my good man: your dissection of libertarianism has been deftly articulate.

    Just wanted to voice my appreciation ? carry on!

  74. #74 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to: strange gods before me

    I’m just wondering, have you considered the possibility that those rich greedy bastards one day would actually start leaving the country? First investors, then lawyers, then doctors, then engineers perhaps? It happened before, in other countries, you know?

    Would there be a point at which you would say, “Wait a second, guys, all that stuff that I said before about taking your money when I need it whether you liked it or not – I didn’t really mean it”?

    Or was it just a figure of speech?

  75. #75 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Maybe it’s because I don’t particularly agree with the extreme liberal or conservative standpoints either.

    Sure, but from what you say you believe, you’re a moderate liberal. (With a fetish for punishment. Try the BDSM scene instead of politics, please.)

    The Democrats and Republican parties are both complete jokes, both parties have moved to the extreme, they each pick and choose which parts of the Constitution to ignore (usually the 2nd and 1st amendments respectively),

    Thanks for admitting that you aren’t a serious person.

    and if you’re going to take an extremist position, you may as well take the position of extreme non-interference, no?

    No. Not when “extreme non-interference” means abolishing the income tax and letting the rich establish their own private fiefdoms while the poor starve to death.

    Ah, but America has a higher GDP

    Per capita? Be careful how you compare “gross” domestic product. Norway beats the USA.

    and a higher standard of living than Western Europe

    Arguable. Not true in my estimation.

    is that pure coincidence or are Americans simply more industrious than Europeans?

    Our habit of robbing other nations at gunpoint might have something to do with it.

    Yes, I’ve lived on the dole and have no wish to do so again, but I’ve also known too many people who sponge off welfare as a matter of course to think that it’s enough of a deterrent by itself.

    Yet it obviously is a deterrent, or else everyone would be on the dole.

    So the reality is what? Let’s encourage people to abuse the welfare state secure in the knowledge that society will reward them for failing to contribute anything useful?

    The reality is that even with a welfare state, most people get up and go to their jobs. Sorry. You apparently wish no one would work, so that your complaints would correspond to reality.

    Well let’s take Madoff as an example. Should people who place all their trust in a single investment source be bailed out when that trust turns out to be mistaken?

    Since they aren’t being bailed out, and I don’t see a bunch of progressives saying that they should be, your question makes no sense. Talk about a straw man.

    I’ll say that there should be a guarantee of food and shelter for anyone and everyone who loses all their money, but that’s not a “bailout.”

    You really aren’t talking about anything. Nothing corresponding to reality.

  76. #76 Matt Heath
    April 9, 2009

    If strange gods before me were to start his and/or her own blog I would read it regularly and frequently.

  77. #77 Jafafa Hots
    April 9, 2009

    The Democratic Party has moved to the extreme?

    I MIGHT take you seriously if you mean that both the GOP and the Dems are extreme right-wing parties, with the GOP way out in front… but if you’re asserting that the two parties have moved to extreme opposites of the political spectrum, then there’s no need to take anything you say seriously – you’re an idiot.

    The GOP is an extreme right wing party, the Dems are a moderate right wing party.

  78. #78 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Thanks, Arren!

    Later there will be more of them than I can keep up with. I’m sure Walton will be here. (Bread or death, Walton?)

  79. #79 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    You are saying that the rich are interested in maintaining the current social order to keep their riches. It’s not quite clear then for me, why do we need the government, if the rich are so interested in paying for all those social services that you mentioned.

    They aren’t interested in paying for them. In the absence of progressive taxation, they try to get the rest of us to pay for everything they use. They socialize the losses and privatize the profits. See Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine for example.

    Democratic government is the only counterweight, the only defense against this trend.

    maybe even better, since the rich would provide the better oversight on how their money would be spent than the government.

    What naivety. Of course they will try to rig the system to their own benefit at the expense of everyone else. Even shortsighted as that is, it’s human nature. You talk like human nature applies to everyone else, except the rich who are holy and can do no wrong.

    And, perhaps, the rich should pay more to help those in need, but have you noticed that they quite often do so voluntarily?

    Charity doesn’t even begin to compare to tax income. A drop in the bucket. We had to invent the welfare state precisely because charity was not sufficient.

    And when a rich guy runs a private charity nobody seems to object that he still has the full control of his money, so why do we abhor so much the idea of letting people get a larger share of the vote in exchange for a higher tax contribution if that would really help the poor?

    Because one person running a charity and one person having 1000 votes are two completely different things.

    I’m actually really glad that you keep talking about giving the rich more votes per person than the rest of us. It’s an affront to the Constitution, and an affront to decent citizens’ sense of right and wrong. It’s a great example of libertarian bugfuckery. You can be sure that I’ll be linking back to you later when I need to make a point about how libertarians are far-right extremists who worship the rich and despise the poor.

  80. #80 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    I’m just wondering, have you considered the possibility that those rich greedy bastards one day would actually start leaving the country? First investors, then lawyers, then doctors, then engineers perhaps? It happened before, in other countries, you know?

    And go where, Mexico, where they can barely operate an infrastructure? Western Europe, where they’ll be taxed even more?

    It’s happened before in other countries when infrastructure goes to shit. It won’t happen just because Obama raises the rich’s taxes back to Clinton-era levels. It didn’t happen back in the 1950s when the top tax margin was over90eisenhowerwasacommie%.

    Climb off your Ayn Rand blow-up doll, put on some pants, go outside and get some fresh air. Clear your head of these phantoms and irrational fears.

  81. #81 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Thanks, Matt Heath. I don’t have a blog, but here’s one I’ve found interesting lately: http://directionlessbones.wordpress.com/

  82. #82 Matt Heath
    April 9, 2009

    And go where, Mexico, where they can barely operate an infrastructure? Western Europe, where they’ll be taxed even more?

    Well (assuming, from context, you are in the United States) highly-skilled, professional Americans coming here to western Europe to be taxed more is hardly unknown, which only weakens rs’s point more.

    If the tax burden on professionals gets very high there will be a brain-drain effect worth paying attention to any reasonable Rawlsian liberal or social democrat will pay attention to that when setting tax-rates. Equally if society is too fucked up by a lack of infrastructure investment and the effects of inequality on social cohesion, those that can afford will be looking to get out. And if unfettered capitalism has chucked itself off a cliff and there is mass unemployment of skilled workers and a government somewhere else is pumping money into job creation, that country is where skilled professionals will go.

    A possible brain drain is fail as an argument for right-libertarianism, especially in the United States, as strange gods points out.

  83. #83 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to: strange gods before me #79

    Look, as your reply at #68 indicates, you are not really concerned with contradictions and inconsistencies of your statements. That makes it almost impossible to have a meaningful argument with you.

    It’s also noteworthy that you prefer to put words into other people’s mouth rather than answering their questions. I asked to explain a simple discrepancy between amount of taxes a person pays and the share of control over the tax money the person gets (a situations that does not occur in any other human enterprise except running a state) – you tell me that I worship the rich and despise the poor.

    Please, show this to as many people as you please. Maybe, some of the things you said – give us your money or leave the country – would serve as a warning sign to some of those leaning in the same political direction as you do.

  84. #84 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Look, as your reply at #68 indicates, you are not really concerned with contradictions and inconsistencies of your statements. That makes it almost impossible to have a meaningful argument with you.

    Wow. You’re dumber than you look.

    There’s no contradiction whatsoever at #68. It’s like “you say speed limits are good because they protect pedestrians and other drivers. But then you say speed limits are good because they lower insurance rates! Well which is it, sir? I have caught you in a contradiction!”

    It’s also noteworthy that you prefer to put words into other people’s mouth rather than answering their questions.

    Not true! I do both. I actually answered your questions and showed that the progressive reasoning is consistent. I then also pointed out that arguing for extra votes for the rich is tantamount to contempt for the poor. Both, see? I’ll understand if that’s too much for you to digest.

    I’m actually not putting words in your mouth. Just showing what the effects of your policies are. How unfair of me, not to take everything you say at face value. How unjust that I don’t accept your framing.

    Maybe, some of the things you said – give us your money or leave the country

    Zomg! Pay your taxes, or go somewhere where you don’t get as many public benefits! I’m quite the demagogue.

  85. #85 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to: Matt Heath #82

    Actually, the opposite situation – when the government’s investments fail to increase productivity and when “social cohesion” leads to the lack of opportunity for promotion or enrichment – is somewhat more common, than a massive failure of individual capitalists to find jobs for highly skilled workers. Of course, in a democracy such thing is less likely to happen than in socialist autocracy, but that’s because most of the people prefer to keep most of their money, so for awhile, the structure of the income distribution would prevent the average tax rate of going too high.

    At any rate, economic prosperity seems to be much core closely correlated with economic freedom, than with democracy – China being an obvious example of such decoupling.

  86. #86 Klank Kiki
    April 9, 2009
  87. #87 Azkyroth
    April 9, 2009

    Gzalzi:

    What is being mocked here is the formulation of “Libertarianism” that is also mocked here.

    Briefly, it can be defined as a form of (often bigoted) quasi-religious narcissism, whose core tenets are that “freedom” begins and ends with never being told “no” and that the use and functions of government should be restricted to solely those functions the adherent does not have their head too far up their ass to recognize as beneficial to themselves (a list that excludes any kind of social welfare services, nondiscrimination policies, or enforcement of fair, socially responsible business practices, but includes paving roads, national defense, and police protection from those who would otherwise look to historical example in responding to the adherent’s “let them eat cake!” attitude toward the rest of society).

    It’s also called “Big-L Libertarianism,” and I’ve taken to calling its adherents “Biggels.” “Deregulation cultist” wouldn’t be bad either.

  88. #88 Troy Britain
    April 9, 2009

    Gave up reading the silliness.

    Seems to me the problem here is largely due to two things.

    1) The domination of the Libertarian Party by anarcho-capitalists (which is why I would never join that party).

    2) Some of the denizens of this blog are rather left of center in their outlooks (which is natural given that PZ’s outlook seems to lean that way), who tend to be a tad intolerant of anyone who does not share their outlook.

    Yes people, anarcho-capitalists are extremist fools (just like communists and other utopian philosophies) but not all people with (small ‘l’) libertarian outlooks are anarcho-capitalists fools who want to privatize the national parks and the police dept. etc.

    Vomiting knee-jerk vitriol at anyone who doesn’t march lock-step with whatever left of center ideology is your preferred flavor, is not the same thing as a reasoned argument against non-anarcho-capitalist varieties of libertarianism (basically variations of classical liberalism).

    It seems to me that a lot of you are acting like mirror images of the people you claim to despise on the right.

    Here’s a clue: not everyone is a Republican or a Democrat. Not everyone is a leftist, socialist, tree hugging, pinko, hippie, moon-bat OR a right-wing, fascist, earth hating, science denying fundamentalist wacko wing-nut.

    Ye (non-existent) gods!

    [Now I will no doubt be denounced as a right-wing extremist Jebus freak, who wants to privatize the military and to only allow millionaires the right to vote. That is once we have converted the country from a constitutional democratic republic to a baby seal clubbing, coal burning, mega corp.]

  89. #89 SC, OM
    April 9, 2009

    Yes! Draw them all to one thread!

    Just as every anarchist is in a way a failed dictator,

    WTF?

  90. #90 Sitakali
    April 9, 2009

    I hate it when those damned guvmint firefighters interfere with my house burning down.

    I also hate those libraries lending out free books. One step away from socialism!

  91. #91 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to:strange gods before me #84

    OK, let me explain the contradiction:

    You get on a bus and ask a driver, how much is the bus ticket. He says: it all depends on how many stops you need to go, it’s $0.20 per stop, but if you are rich, you pay $10 on top of that, and if you are poor, you get to ride for free. You ask him why the difference, and you get an answer, that the rich usually ride for longer, and the poor often get off the next stop, that’s why the rich have to pay more.

    See the problem now?

  92. #92 Azkyroth
    April 9, 2009

    And even if we choose to tax the rich more than the poor, why would we not give them a greater share in the process of making decisions on how their money should be spent? And why would we try to limit their opportunity to increase that share by buying more voting power? That’s how the companies are run anyway: the more you own, the more your vote counts.

    Because the goal of a company is to make money, whereas the goal of our government is

    to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

    Different priorities engender different strategies for accomplishing them.

  93. #93 Matt Heath
    April 9, 2009

    Actually, the opposite situation – when the government’s investments fail to increase productivity and when “social cohesion” leads to the lack of opportunity for promotion or enrichment – is somewhat more common, than a massive failure of individual capitalists to find jobs for highly skilled workers.

    OK first I suspect you mean that policies designed to create social cohesion lead to a lack of opportunity. If you really mean that social cohesion (Y’know people seeing each other as people and caring about one another) causes a lack of opportunity for enrichment, well you might be right since we don’t to enslave those we see as fully human. If this is what you meant you are an unusually honest libertarian.

    Also, *citation needed*. You’ve boldly asserted quite specific and quantitative claims without any support.

    At any rate, economic prosperity seems to be much core closely correlated with economic freedom, than with democracy – China being an obvious example of such decoupling.

    Yeah..errr what? Chinese capitalists have a lot of freedom and are get rich off the workers who have basically no protection. That much is true. I’m pretty sure China has quite large net outward emigration of skilled professionals. And I don’t think many people would honestly rather live there than Sweden. How does this support anything you are saying?

  94. #94 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    OK, let me explain the contradiction:

    Explanations should make things clearer. Crappy analogies do not do that.

    There is no contradiction.

    The rich get more from government, so it’s right that they should pay more.

    The rich can also afford to pay more, so it’s no big deal to require that they do so.

    There can be more than one good reason to do something. You’re not doing your side any favors by pretending not to understand something so very simple.

  95. #95 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Vomiting knee-jerk vitriol at anyone who doesn’t march lock-step with whatever left of center ideology is your preferred flavor, is not the same thing as a reasoned argument against non-anarcho-capitalist varieties of libertarianism (basically variations of classical liberalism).

    Actually, the thread was going along quite nicely, and I saw no vomit, sprained knees, or goose-stepping until you showed up just now.

    Everybody’s been having a fine discussion, and plenty of reasoned argument.

    So I’ll say this to you, and you only, Troy Britain: pick your whiny ass up and fuck right off. You aren’t qualified to speak at the adult’s table.

  96. #96 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    * adults’

  97. #97 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to: Matt Heath #93

    Matt, if you really need me to look up the statistics, I will – I just thought I would point out the obvious fact that a lot of Asian countries, China being the latest example, achieved high levels of economic growth despite lack of democracy. Of course, China is not like Sweden yet, but it is much better than it was 30 years ago. On the other hand – North Korea has not changed since the 50′s despite the fact that the government puts a lot of money into education and infrastructure.

    By “social cohesion” I meant the small gap between the rich and the poor, not the lack of compassion. (BTW, the idea that when the government mandates sharing and assumes the role of the main provider for the social services it makes society more compassionate and caring seems to me to be quite false. It’s rather the other way around – rich and compassionate societies start to demand a greater role by the government in providing care to those in need.)

  98. #98 Fernando Magyar
    April 9, 2009

    EricLR @ 17,

    Maybe I’m too tired, or not in on the jokes, but that article may as well have been written in Hungarian for all the sense it made to me.

    If you’d like I could translate it for you, into Hungarian that is ;-)

  99. #99 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    China being the latest example, achieved high levels of economic growth despite lack of democracy

    No coincidence, so did the Confederate States of America.

  100. #100 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to: strange gods before me #94

    The rich ride for longer, so it’s right that they should pay more.

    The rich can also afford to pay more, so it’s no big deal to require that they do so.

    The problem is with the rich who get off on the next stop – it’s not a big deal that they should pay more, but it’s not right.

  101. #101 speedwell
    April 9, 2009

    Just posting so nobody wonders why I’m not contributing, being one of the libertarians on the board… the answer is that I’m busy and I’m tired and that’s not really why I come here, and I don’t have the impression that the party would be incomplete without my particular lampshade-on-head act. :)

  102. #102 dkew
    April 9, 2009

    PZ – Bad boy! You deliberately stepped into this pile of shit, and now the libertarian stench is wafting out of the intertubes here, too. “Gavin started it” is no excuse; you know full well the libertarians aren’t playing with a full deck, and their kennel is off-limits.

  103. #103 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    rs, there are no rich people who use fewer state resources than the non-rich. Having more capital means gaining more from the state/police’s defense of that capital.

  104. #104 pgpwnit
    April 9, 2009

    The problem is with the rich who get off on the next stop – it’s not a big deal that they should pay more, but it’s not right.

    I’m a libertarian. I voted for Babar in 2008. But I do see the problem with 100% Libertarianism. Same as there is a problem with 100% liberalness and 100% conservativeness. (I like making up words).

    We live in a society and we all benefit if that society is healthy, so whether it’s ‘right’ or not is irrelevant. This is not a moral play. What matters is will society benefit from these actions (Schooling, public services, welfare, bailouts). You can debate those specifically, but a mindless chop does not help society or Libertarianism.

  105. #105 pgpwnit
    April 9, 2009

    rs, there are no rich people who use fewer state resources than the non-rich. Having more capital means gaining more from the state/police’s defense of that capital.

    I’ve never liked that argument. It’s a phony cost. In actual money, the state doesn’t spend more policing rich neighborhoods than poor neighborhoods. I would wager it’s the opposite.

    That being said, if there were a way to make poor neighborhoods less poor, there would probably be less need to police said neighborhoods…saving tax dollars.

  106. #106 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to: strange gods before me #103

    “Defense of capital” is such a vague term that it could mean almost anything.

    The rich rely much more on private security than the poor, they protect their assets with all kinds of insurance, they don’t depend on Social Security for their retirement, they are not qualified for Medicaid, and even their bank deposits are not entirely insured by FDIC. No, you don’t get to score a point here.

  107. #107 NewEnglandBob
    April 9, 2009

    What is all this talk of Liberace-ism?. He died in 1987.

  108. #108 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to: pgpwnit #105

    Every month I spend ~$10 feeding some hungry person somewhere in the country. Fine. Maybe I should spend more. There is a good chance that this person either supports the war in Iraq, or thinks that investing in green energy is a good idea. Why does he or she get to decide not just how much money I give to them, but how much money should be spend on other things, things that this person is interested in but I am not? Where is morality or utility in that?

  109. #109 mwb
    April 9, 2009

    The benefit that the wealthy obtain disproportionately from others in an orderly society is the continued claim to those resources. This is not a matter of a core utopian principle for devising a society from a program of Rationalist masturbation, so I can see how it would be unsatisfying to some. Whatever rules govern the concept of ‘property’ in your head are not immutable laws of the physical world, but rather social conventions that are adhered to by others in accordance with the expectation of a better outcome then from defecting. Ownership is less about you than it is a claim that others will come to assert the correctness of some allocation of resources over another, in accordance to whatever is agreeable to them. The larger the concentration of resources the greater the ‘expense’ to others for recognizing it, and the stronger a coalition of agreement is necessary to preserve the allocation. That coalition persists so long as the allocation of resources is sufficient to meet the requirements of its existence and dynamic enough to adapt to changing requirements. When it fails to meet those requirements the coalition will fall apart and the allocation of resources will shift, quite probably not in the favor of some faction of the wealthy, who will be some kind of dead.

  110. #110 pgpwnit
    April 9, 2009

    RS,
    I guess this is the fundamental difference. I understand that a ton of my tax money is going toward things that I do not support. But that’s the cost of a republic, no? I accept that ‘unfairness’ because the benefits of living in the US far outweighs it.

    I’m not saying that the US is perfect, far from it. I imagine we could get by just as well without spending the obscene amounts of money we’re spending. I’m all for some serious budget reform and tax reform. All I’m saying is that I, personally, benefit from a healthy society. If that costs me more than my fair share, so be it.

  111. #111 Fake Al Gore
    April 9, 2009

    @strange gods before me: I love the word “bugfuckery.” I will be sure to use it at least once today.

    @rs: You said, “The problem is with the rich who get off on the next stop – it’s not a big deal that they should pay more, but it’s not right.” What do you mean by “right” in this sentence?

    I would like to deal with the larger issue of public transit in regards to our discussion. If the “rich” have more say than the “poor” in what is funded and what is not (a stance that you seem to take, correct me if I am wrong), what incentive would the rich have for funding public transportation? The rich do not use it, so any of their funds spent toward it would be wasted money. Human nature and greed could (not would, could) cause the collapse of public transit infrastructure throughout the developed world in the system you espouse.

    Public transportation is generally seen as a necessary cost for having a modern, civilized nation where humans are treated respectfully and given opportunities to work. I have heard, though not from you specifically, an argument that opportunities to work should not be given but “earned.” This has the simple problem that without a public transit infrastructure a less wealthy individual who could not afford a means of trasportation could not effectively “earn” that opportunity. Again, I have not seen you take this viewpoint, but it is a common one that I have seen in Libertarian ideology.

  112. #112 ffrancis
    April 9, 2009

    Since when do the rich take the bus? I thought they all had limos. Have things got that bad in the US?

  113. #113 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Defense of capital = suppression of revolution. They’re paying to keep away the guillotines. You might not realize this, but defense of capital is the reason why the state was created, and the reason why the state continues to exist. State force and capital are synonymous. You can argue for less such power to the state, but the rich will not allow that.

    Defense of capital = enforcement of arbitrary property laws. In the absence of the state’s force, squatters claim property as their own. There’s no particular reason why rich people should be allowed more property than they need to live. So they set up courts that will recognize their extra property claims and direct police to evict anyone who tries to farm or otherwise make a living there.

    I’m sure these things sound odd, because you take them for granted. But they are the very essence of the capitalist state. And the rich always benefit more from these systems; that’s why they designed the systems.

    Anyway, the less unsettling part of the argument for progressive taxation. Drawing on what pgpwnit said, similar to what BlueIndependent and others said,

    We live in a society and we all benefit if that society is healthy

    Say that takes — for a round number that’s easy to work with — an average of $10,000 from every citizen. If you take that from a person who makes $20,000 a year, you’re cutting directly and significantly into the money she needs for food, rent and heat. As Smith says, “They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it.” Whereas when you take $10,000 from a rich person who makes $1,000,000 you’re barely touching his luxury car payments. So it’s more wrong to take the same amount of money from a poor person than a rich person. This is why a flat tax is immoral.

    It’s true that the rich can afford to pay more of their income in taxes. It’s also morally right that they should, because this just deprives them of a few luxuries, while the alternative is to deprive poor people of basic necessities.

    I know you will come up with some standard libertarian bullshit in reply. But it just further emphasizes that you’re a far-right extremist, who even Adam “Capitalism-is-my-middle-name” Smith would recognize as fanatical and unreasonable, not to mention contemptuous of poor people.

  114. #114 Marcus B.
    April 9, 2009

    Many have made my points before in this thread, but I feel I need to mention something about fairness.

    In discussions like this it?s always discussed whether or not it is fair for rich people to pay more taxes than poor people. If I remember the original article correctly it was specifically about the taxes of the richest 1% versus the poorest 1%.

    In most countries, the richest 1% pays a much higher percentage of their income in taxes. I personally feel that this isn?t totally fair. It does have some fairness to it, a lot of which has been explored in this thread, because they can take higher utility from the things that taxes pay for, but it?s not totally fair.

    But guess what? The world isn?t fair. We can?t have it 100% fair all the time; it doesn?t really work that way.

    First of all, it must be again pointed out that taxes aren?t as big a deal for the richest as it is for the poorest. If the poorest people pay a high percentage of their money in taxes, they won?t be able to feed themselves. If the richest 1% pays high taxes they will still afford mansions and yachts. So there is a very big difference in how much the taxes actually affect their lives.

    It?s still not really fair that the richest pay more than the poorest, but it?s what allows the poorest to survive. And I think that regardless of our political affiliation, we at least want their survival.

    And we also want the survival of things like public transport. Well, at least I do, and I feel that I have good reason.

    The richest, and the moderately wealthy for that matter, can very well afford to travel to their jobs and to their doctor?s appointments, to their education and what have you, without a public transportation system. And they can pay for the services of a private physician and a private school. But much of the poorer masses can?t.

    And we, as a society, need the masses, no matter how much or little money we have individually. We need them to be able to take a cheap bus to work to keep the society running. We need to keep their health and get an education so that they can actually do their work.

    All of society benefits from this, both the rich and the poor. But the richest are more able to give up a piece of their cake to make it happen.

    A minimum wage waitress can?t pay a large part of her salary to let her children go to school. And many libertarians and general right-wingers I?ve talked with have told me that this is her fault for having a low paying job, when she could be more ambitious and earn more money. But we NEED waitresses and custodians and so on. Society can?t function if every single person goes only for jobs that pay enough to let them pay for their education, health care and so on.

    Yes, the rich may unfairly give up a larger part of their fortune. But it is a price I feel we must pay for a functioning society.

  115. #115 pgpwnit
    April 9, 2009

    #111
    What some libertarians would say is that if there were a market for a ‘public’ transportation system, then some private company would build it and make it something that ‘rich’ people would buy.

    I think that’s pie in the sky Randian thinking though.

  116. #116 Marcus B.
    April 9, 2009

    Haha, and of course even more of my points were covered while I was writing :) Isn’t that always the way?

  117. #117 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    And this, rs.

    There is a good chance that this person … thinks that investing in green energy is a good idea.

    Are you another anthropogenic global warming denialist?

    I’ve noticed it’s very common for right-wingers to deny the results of science.

  118. #118 Ray Ingles
    April 9, 2009

    I’m Libertarian-leaning, and vote Libertarian in elections when possible.

    It’s not that I agree with everything the Libertarian Party stands for. It’s not that I think a purely Libertarian government would be a perfect setup – not even close.

    It’s that things would have to go a long way from where they are now in the direction of Libertarianism before I thought they’d gone too far.

  119. #119 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Well said, Marcus B., although I would disagree about the fairness of it all. I feel it is perfectly fair for the rich to pay a larger share. But you’re quite right that regardless of anyone’s feelings, the economic facts require progressive taxation.

    It?s still not really fair that the richest pay more than the poorest, but it?s what allows the poorest to survive. And I think that regardless of our political affiliation, we at least want their survival.

    I do hope Walton shows up. He’s not convinced that the survival of the poor is at all desirable, when compared with the spare property of the rich. He’s not sure that a starving person should steal a little food to feed themselves or their children, even if that’s the last resort before death.

    And it’s painfully obvious that he wants to be a nice guy. He’s a tragic example of how libertarian ideology can break a person.

  120. #120 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    It’s that things would have to go a long way from where they are now in the direction of Libertarianism before I thought they’d gone too far.

    If you really can’t stand the Democrats, then whatever few decent things that the Libertarian Party stands for, the Green Party does also. But without that fuck-the-poor icing on top.

  121. #121 Barklikeadog
    April 9, 2009

    I Like Bacon!

  122. #122 Marcus B.
    April 9, 2009

    Strange gods before me: Thanks. And I do understand your argument for saying that it is fair; I’m mostly saying that it is fair in some ways but not in others.

    In my definition of “fair”, a truly fair system would mean that everyone pay an equal percentage of their income/wealth. A “if you earn X you pay X*Y in taxes”-type system, where Y is equal for everyone. That is what I would define as fair here.

    But fair like that doesn’t work for the society as a whole. And I’d like to believe that most of us (people like the Walton you mention being the exceptions) have enough humanitarianism in us to want to protect those who have less than we do, at least to some degree.

    Oh, and I must also echo what some have said about the incentive to work when there is a social welfare system in place.

    I live in Sweden, which is kind of an extreme welfare state. In general, it could be said that people around here don’t have to work if they don’t want to. But people still do. Sure, some abuse the system, but isn’t there always a way to abuse any system?

    And from what I’ve seen of America, our living standards are pretty similar, despite us paying extremely high taxes. Except of course that we seem to have better Internet connections in most areas, and what else matters? ;) Oh, except for lesbians and bacon, of course.

  123. #123 Matt Penfold
    April 9, 2009

    Libertarians seem to forget that their political ideology was tried once. The laissez faire politics of Victorian Britian were pretty close to what Libertarians advocate today. I am less familiar with US politics of the time but what I have read suggests the dominent ideology of the time was similar.

    Those of us who have read about life in Victorian Britian are unlikely to want to see that kind of society return.

  124. #124 Matt Penfold
    April 9, 2009

    What some libertarians would say is that if there were a market for a ‘public’ transportation system, then some private company would build it and make it something that ‘rich’ people would buy.

    I think that’s pie in the sky Randian thinking though.

    You mean like how the market paid for the road infrastructure in the US ?

  125. #125 pgpwnit
    April 9, 2009

    You mean like how the market paid for the road infrastructure in the US ?

    When did the market pay for these things? I assume it was before WWII.

  126. #126 Matt Heath
    April 9, 2009

    Those of us who have read about life in Victorian Britian are unlikely to want to see that kind of society return.

    Life in Victorian Ireland even less so. During the great famine the British Whig government stopped all food aid and did place restrictions on exports from Ireland on the grounds that the market would feed people better than government action. It didn’t work well.

  127. #127 Matt Penfold
    April 9, 2009

    When did the market pay for these things? I assume it was before WWII.

    Sorry, I was being sarcastic. As far as the US goes, I do not know if there was ever a significant contribution from the private sector in building roads. I do know that as far as the UK goes, there was none to speak of.

  128. #128 David
    April 9, 2009

    I would just like to point out that condemning libertarianism (note the capitalization) for the Libertarian Party is like condemning liberalism for the Communist Party.

    Just cause the Libertarian party uses the word libertarian in their name doesn’t mean they represent the viewpoints of every libertarian.

  129. #129 Walton
    April 9, 2009

    I do hope Walton shows up. He’s not convinced that the survival of the poor is at all desirable, when compared with the spare property of the rich. He’s not sure that a starving person should steal a little food to feed themselves or their children, even if that’s the last resort before death.

    And it’s painfully obvious that he wants to be a nice guy. He’s a tragic example of how libertarian ideology can break a person.

    Look. I didn’t answer that question because it was a painfully transparent attempt to make me look stupid by backing me into a corner.

    I do believe that it is legitimate for the state to provide people with a basic level of welfare assistance so that their lives can be sustained. Do I need to make that any clearer?

    I do know that as far as the UK goes, there was none to speak of.

    Bollocks. Have you ever heard of the eighteenth-century turnpike roads? Until the advent of railways (which, incidentally, were also built by the private sector), these were the number one method of long distance transport in Britain.

  130. #130 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “Wouldn’t they run their own schools to which they would admit the best and the brightest – under the condition that these kids would work for them after they graduate? Sort of like the Soviet higher education system with the state being the super-rich guy?”

    Why would they do that? That would cost more money! You’re attributing a behaviour to people in order to make your philosophy work.

    That’s a major fail for any theory.

    As a few examples, corporations have continually refused to build infrastructure (hydro for california, internet for ontario, roads for other areas), until forced to.

    As for how the rich benefit. If you gain more (make more money through use of the system) then it’s only fair you should pay more for it, if only to compensate for those who cannot pay anything at all.

    Because we’re a society, and we try and care for each other.

  131. #131 Walton
    April 9, 2009

    Say that takes — for a round number that’s easy to work with — an average of $10,000 from every citizen. If you take that from a person who makes $20,000 a year, you’re cutting directly and significantly into the money she needs for food, rent and heat. As Smith says, “They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it.” Whereas when you take $10,000 from a rich person who makes $1,000,000 you’re barely touching his luxury car payments. So it’s more wrong to take the same amount of money from a poor person than a rich person. This is why a flat tax is immoral.

    Non sequitur. That’s not what a flat tax is. Most advocates of a flat tax call for a fixed percentage of each person’s income to be taxed. What you are describing is a capitation tax. If we had, for instance, a 10% flat tax, your person earning $10,000 a year would pay $1,000, while your person earning $1,000,000 would pay $100,000.

    Of course, I’m pretty sure you know this perfectly well. You’re being wilfully dishonest and building a strawman version of your opponents’ views.

  132. #132 Ben
    April 9, 2009

    I am a libertarian.

    Do I think we should have fire departments? Sure but I would prefer them to be like the volunteer fire departments I have in my area where if you don’t pay annual dues they show up just to ensure that no other structures catch fire. Basically you pay for fire insurance directly to the company. They still render aid to individuals but your property is your responsibility.

    Do I think the government should give food stamps/WIC/welfare? I am inclined to think not. I would prefer for the community to help the poor. I am in several civic organizations and we raise money within the community to help the people that need it in the community. We keep the lights and heat on the for elderly and we visit the sick and bring them food. Now would it be appropriate for a central government to declare an “economic disaster zone” in Detroit and take money from Arkansas to help those people? I don’t think so. I think that if there is a need that the people will go and help. If you doubt that look at what Americans have done during natural disasters such as hurricanes. I for one would be more comfortable with knowing that my fellow citizen truly cared.

    The best thing government does is to take care of things that no one else would. For instance, only a government could have electrified rural areas. There was no profit motive to dam a river and run power to the Appalachian homes given the costs and distance and limited return. When I grew up we had a well on our farm. Our few friends and neighbors also had wells and we all wanted “city water” so we took up money, until everyone paid for a line to be run across the river to our homes. People can do it on their own in some cases.

    As far as taxes goes, all taxes are regressive so none will be “fair” as that is hard to define. I would prefer for the US to have 4 taxes that must be paid.

    1)I would have tarriffs to capture the taxes that would have been paid in the US had production been done in the US.
    2)I would have an EFT (electronic funds transfer) tax so that every time money moves there is a tax of about one half of one percent. As far as black market goods go, you can have a tax of 6% for all cash deposits or withdrawals as normally black market funds are laundered by the 8th transaction.
    3)I would have a land tax where land is taxed based on its value regardless of any improvements so that the value of the lot under the Trump Tower is taxed at the same rate as the parking lot across the street. That encourages development since your taxed the same.
    4)I would have a tax on externalities. That is a surcharge at the time of production to ensure that costs of disposal and waste are incorporated. So if you can buy any widget and one is $1, one is $4, and one is $15. Normally the $1 flies off the shelf but that is because they are crap and go straight into a landfill. If that cost is incorporated as a tax then when you make your purchase decision you take that in consideration. It also allows for people to make the choice to enter waste reclamation businesses to get a rebate of that tax.

    Maybe I am just pie in the sky but I would prefer to have the government do far less but do the things that it needs to do well with laser like focus.

  133. #133 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    I’m having trouble understanding the reason for a flat tax other than to get rich people to pay less. Why should that happen?

    Enlighten me. Why should the rich pay less proportionally than a poor person even though they’re using the system to their advantage?

  134. #134 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    April 9, 2009

    If we had, for instance, a 10% flat tax, your person earning $10,000 a year would pay $1,000, while your person earning $1,000,000 would pay $100,000.

    And places an heavier realized burden on the poor because the basic costs of living do not change with your income percentage.

  135. #135 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “Now would it be appropriate for a central government to declare an “economic disaster zone” in Detroit and take money from Arkansas to help those people? I don’t think so. I think that if there is a need that the people will go and help. If you doubt that look at what Americans have done during natural disasters such as hurricanes. I for one would be more comfortable with knowing that my fellow citizen truly cared.”

    Really? Looking at the state of poverty today I have a hard time believing you. People really don’t care, they have enough to deal with with their own lives. Does that sound cruel? Maybe, but not as cruel as telling the poor to go suck it up if there’s not enough help around.

    I’d rather a devoted and concerted effort by the collective to solve our problems rather than an inefficient mishmash of charities which could NEVER offer adequate help to solve the problem.

  136. #136 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 9, 2009

    Ah, the libertardians. They make the case of them having a morally bankrupt philosophy every time they try to defend it. The delicious irony (and a good thing my irony meter is off line).

  137. #137 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Look. I didn’t answer that question because it was a painfully transparent attempt to make me look stupid by backing me into a corner.

    I think you’ve made yourself look stupid by comparing stealing a loaf of bread to forced surgery. Just answering the question would have been more artful.

    I do believe that it is legitimate for the state to provide people with a basic level of welfare assistance so that their lives can be sustained. Do I need to make that any clearer?

    Yes. Why is it legitimate? You say of taxation, “A person does not deserve to be punished for being successful. … everyone has the right to keep and dispose of his or her own property however he or she sees fit.” So explain yourself. By what right can the community vote to tax people and use that tax money to provide even basic welfare? Isn’t this just “legalized theft” as you like to put it?

    See, believe it or not, I actually did not ask the question to make you look stupid. I asked because you seem to be lacking consistency on this matter, and your answer on a basic value of human life could be illuminating.

  138. #138 Ben
    April 9, 2009

    @Justin,

    I am seeing it everyday. Charities work. They worked before and they work now. If you want a super duper charity that is fine but I disagree with forced giving to a charity.

    Maybe I have a different view because I grew up poor.

  139. #139 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Of course, I’m pretty sure you know this perfectly well. You’re being wilfully dishonest and building a strawman version of your opponents’ views.

    Slow down, Walton. I don’t think you’re being fair.

    First, whether it’s a flat tax or a capitation tax, it cuts into poor people’s necessities sooner than it does rich people’s. So the moral objection is the same either way.

    To be perfectly honest, my line of thinking was that governments first decide what level of revenue they need, then work backward from there to arrive at tax rates. I was trying to show the benefit of shifting most of the poor’s tax burden onto the rich, and for me this was easiest to show with equal numbers.

    Strictly you’re right, I misspoke. That wasn’t a flat tax. I conflated the two in my head because the effect of both is to disproportionately burden the poor. I sincerely apologize for my mistake, it was not deliberate, and I see no benefit in spreading confusion. The flat tax is a pile of shit for different reasons than I gave.

  140. #140 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “I am seeing it everyday. Charities work. They worked before and they work now. If you want a super duper charity that is fine but I disagree with forced giving to a charity.”

    They work, but they don’t work for everyone. Charities only have a limited amount of resources which are governed by the amount of donations they receive. If there are less donations then there are less resources. And even then, those resources are finite.

    If you grew up poor then I implore you to have more empathy for people who are in your former situation and NOT leave it up to chance, but have an entity that doesn’t need to worry about where the next round of fund raising is going to come from.

  141. #141 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    For a European to say the standard of living between Europe and the US is comparable, I have two words.

    Fuck you.

    You obviously do not know what it feels like to leave your house in the morning (for example, to cash your final weekly $300 unemployment check that you will have to pay federal income taxes on) without health insurance AND without the option of true bankruptcy, meaning that if anything happens to you, you will be A) getting the minimum amount of healthcare available, if you do make it B) bankrupt and probably C) homeless. Or even worse, watching your loved ones leave the house knowing they ain’t covered either.

    Fuck you, fuck the horse you rode in on. Being on the dole in the UK is not even on the same planet.

  142. #142 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    Oh and I forgot to add;

    Charities are also in no position to combat the roots of poverty, namely building infrastructure for education and affordable housing (on a large scale).

    They’re good at helping relieve the immediate misery but fail miserably at the long term aspect of it.

  143. #143 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    We keep the lights and heat on the for elderly and we visit the sick and bring them food.

    Bullshit you do, you filthy liar. Some, sure. But all? Like hell you are. And how well do you think you’ll keep up without Social Security and Medicaid? In my town, Loaves & Fishes has to turn thousands away DAILY right now. How well do you think your precious, precious charities would keep up without food stamps? You DO know that about 10 fucking percent of the US population is on some kind of governmental food assistance program, right?

  144. #144 Walton
    April 9, 2009

    Strictly you’re right, I misspoke. That wasn’t a flat tax. I conflated the two in my head because the effect of both is to disproportionately burden the poor. I sincerely apologize for my mistake, it was not deliberate, and I see no benefit in spreading confusion. The flat tax is a pile of shit for different reasons than I gave.

    That’s OK. I apologise for accusing you of dishonesty; I will take your word that it was an honest mistake.

  145. #145 Teh Sadly
    April 9, 2009

    A person does not deserve to be punished for being successful.

    If there were a demand for not punishing the success of the producer class, there would be a market for it.

  146. #146 Walton
    April 9, 2009

    Yes. Why is it legitimate? You say of taxation, “A person does not deserve to be punished for being successful. … everyone has the right to keep and dispose of his or her own property however he or she sees fit.” So explain yourself. By what right can the community vote to tax people and use that tax money to provide even basic welfare? Isn’t this just “legalized theft” as you like to put it?

    It’s all a matter of degree. I was speaking from first principles when I said that. Ideally, there should be no taxes; but we all know that wouldn’t be realistic. A society in which there was a large mob of starving people, desperate for food, would not be a stable one.

    In a sense, private welfare has a public good dimension; that is, I benefit, indirectly, if the country I live in is not full of starving, uneducated, violent poor people who want to rob me and steal my food. But because this benefit (of living in a country with a welfare infrastructure) is non-rivalrous and non-excludable, I have no reason to pay for it myself if I don’t have to. Thus, there is a rationale for providing basic welfare services at taxpayer expense; because they don’t just benefit the person who receives them.

    Obviously, this rationale gets weaker and weaker as welfare becomes more and more generous. Hence why I am in favour of welfare retrenchment. Although welfare is inherently redistributive, redistribution should never be its primary aim. This is why I disagree strongly with socialists. For me, taking money coercively from the more successful, and distributing it to the less successful, is inherently immoral; the reason for doing it is merely that it avoids the even greater moral evil of leaving people to starve to death. Once we get beyond this level, however, redistribution becomes an evil without a justification.

  147. #147 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “Obviously, this rationale gets weaker and weaker as welfare becomes more and more generous. Hence why I am in favour of welfare retrenchment. Although welfare is inherently redistributive, redistribution should never be its primary aim. This is why I disagree strongly with socialists.”

    What are you smoking? And where can I get some? I have yet to meet ANYONE who says that we should give people welfare just for the heck of it. For you to say that this is the case is beyond idiocy.

    “In a sense, private welfare has a public good dimension; that is, I benefit, indirectly, if the country I live in is not full of starving, uneducated, violent poor people who want to rob me and steal my food.”

    Because YOU would NEVER fall on hard times! EVER!

    The self delusion here is staggering!

  148. #148 Endor
    April 9, 2009

    “A person does not deserve to be punished for being successful.”

    Given the utter lack of humanity and compassion Walton displayed the last time the subject of the poor came up, it does not surprise me that he doesn’t see the obvious and rather revolting implication in this sentence.

  149. #149 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Do I think we should have fire departments? Sure but I would prefer them to be like the volunteer fire departments I have in my area where if you don’t pay annual dues they show up just to ensure that no other structures catch fire. Basically you pay for fire insurance directly to the company.

    Ah yes. Because if a family is too poor to afford fire insurance, then they deserve to have their house burn down. Libertarian morality once again reduces to “I’ve got mine, so fuck you.”

    If you doubt that look at what Americans have done during natural disasters such as hurricanes. I for one would be more comfortable with knowing that my fellow citizen truly cared.

    Actually you can be comfortable knowing that your fellow citizens truly care precisely because we do not vote to get rid of welfare. We do care enough to provide a support system, but most of us want that support system to be transparent and accountable to our vote through our elected representatives. Charities do not offer that.

    Charities did not provide trailers for the victims of Katrina. Charities cannot muster that level of funding. The government can.

    As far as taxes goes, all taxes are regressive so none will be “fair” as that is hard to define.

    All taxes are regressive, except for the ones that are progressive. Of course. And it always rains in Seattle, except when it doesn’t.

    1)I would have tarriffs to capture the taxes that would have been paid in the US had production been done in the US.

    Well that’s interesting, but it certainly sets you apart from most laissez-faire capitalists.

    I am seeing it everyday. Charities work. They worked before and they work now. If you want a super duper charity that is fine but I disagree with forced giving to a charity.

    Maybe I have a different view because I grew up poor.

    Your experience was of receiving charity in a nation that also provided a baseline welfare from the government. Your experience therefore does not extrapolate to a nation without such welfare; even if you never received welfare, the entire economy would be different, and it’s just not comparable.

    Anyway, charities do not work. In shrinking economies, people give fewer and smaller donations to charity. And bad economies are exactly when people are losing their jobs or taking pay cuts and needing support. From the first article, “Like most groups that help the needy, the food pantry says demand is growing at a time when donations are dropping. ‘Anytime our economy goes down, even slightly, it puts us in that perfect storm’”

    Government does not experience that kind of death spiral that charities do in a bad economy. Government can keep up a more consistent level of support precisely when charities cannot, precisely when support is needed. This is just one reason why charity can never replace government.

  150. #150 davidst
    April 9, 2009

    I’m a centrist with libertarian leanings. If you think democrats/liberals have all the answers, then you’re as blind as the religious folks we all bash constantly.

  151. #151 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    Once we get beyond this level, however, redistribution becomes an evil without a justification.

    Okay Walton, first then, what’s the level? Keep people from starving? What about education?

  152. #152 Endor
    April 9, 2009

    #150 – thanks so much for that “it’s true because I say it is” wrapped in a strawman.

  153. #153 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    If you think democrats/liberals have all the answers, then you’re as blind as the religious folks we all bash constantly.

    And that statement would mean something if anyone here said anything of the kind. But nobody did, so it does not. This transparent “everybody’s wrong except me” crap is old, arrogant and annoying.

  154. #154 Edward Lark
    April 9, 2009

    The rich get more from government, so it’s right that they should pay more.

    The rich can also afford to pay more, so it’s no big deal to require that they do so.

    These are both valid, but there is another reason for progressive taxation that I rarely see brought up or defended – prevention of overly large accumulations of wealth.

    Libertarian arguments are often underpinned by the idea of meritocracy. Whether stated outright or not, they appear to ascribe to the belief that those who succeed do so because they are somehow more deserving: better, smarter, harder working, more motivated, etc. This is meritocratic thinking – people who succeed deserve their success and those who truly wish to succeed will do so.

    My beef with libertarian thinking is that even if you set aside all the problems with this type of thinking a true meritocratic society is unsustainable under libertarian principles.

    (The degree to which the U.S. specifically is a meritocracy is highly debatable and the ideal of “rugged individualism” is generally a fantasy that ignores all aspects of societal or governmental support that enable and allow the successful to be so. For example it fails to acknowledge the large role played by simple luck – being born in a particular place to particular parents at a particular time (e.g., middle-class americans vs. subsistence farmer chinese); being in the right place at the right time (e.g., Bill Gates); having a particular wrinkle in your genetic code that makes you a freak of nature in some fashionable or profitable way (e.g., professional athletes, supermodels, Nobel mathematicians, etc.); etc.)

    Let’s say you want to start a completely libertarian, completely meritocratic society. Everyone in your hypothetical society is given a full education and a $1000 (or from whatever hypothetical societal zero point you wish to devise) and then set loose to do succeed or fail as their individual talents, ambition, and cleverness allows. What will the inclination be of those whose traits provide them with success? Human nature tells us that they will seek to solidify their gains, and pass along advantages they obtain to their offspring. So, outside of radical departures from the mean, the children of those who succeed will find it that much easier to succeed relative to their inherited traits than did their parents. The children of those who did not succeed will find it that much harder to succeed – again, relative to their inherited traits – than did their parents. Left unchecked this of course solidifies itself rather quickly into an inherited aristocracy – which is exactly what our founding fathers were fleeing and trying to avoid when they drafted the Constitution and set up the Republic.

    One might – perhaps even correctly – characterize measures to prevent such accumulations of wealth and power as “unfair” to the particularly wealthy individuals most directly affected. However, prevention of such factions results in increased societal fairness for others who are not prevented from “rising” by roadblocks set up by wealthy factions to prevent competition to their class or in-group. Whether one decides that this balancing of ideals – unobstructed individual liberty versus social and economic fairness – has been struck correctly is a value judgment. (And apparently a judgement largely dependent upon the “value” of one’s asset portfolio.)

    If you believe in the libertarian ideal of a meritocracy, then you should support the idea of a social democratic state – at least so far as that state is used to curb the advantages and excesses of the already successful and to alleviate the inherent disadvantages faced by the underprivileged. (Also note the capitalization in “libertarian ideal.” Small “l” libertarianism is an entirely different animal from the large “L” Libertarian Party – the actions of which draw the unavoidable conclusion that it is simply an advocacy agency for societal freeridership by an already established wealthy class.

  155. #155 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    That’s OK. I apologise for accusing you of dishonesty; I will take your word that it was an honest mistake.

    Thanks, Walton. We can get to the dishonesty and straw-manning in another 300 comments or so.

    It’s all a matter of degree. I was speaking from first principles when I said that.

    Well, that’s interesting. What does it feel like to know that your first principles are worth fuck all, and do not even begin to apply in the real world? As a progressive, this is not a conundrum I experience.

    I have no problem at all with saying “steal a little food if it’s life or death, because life is more important than property.”

    Well in any case, you’ve admitted the value of taxing people against their will in order to help others. We’ve already established what you are, comrade, now we’re just haggling over the price.

    the reason for doing it is merely that it avoids the even greater moral evil of leaving people to starve to death. Once we get beyond this level, however, redistribution becomes an evil without a justification.

    Ah, but food is not the only thing people need to live, and mere scratching life is not the only thing worth securing.

    Children need much more to grow up physically and mentally healthy, and prepared for competition in the job market. They need lots of good food and an enriching environment, for a start.

    Disabled people who cannot work should not be forced to suffer a life of constant indignity, with nothing but cheap old clothes and an empty apartment.

  156. #156 Bobber
    April 9, 2009

    We’ve already established what you are, comrade, now we’re just haggling over the price.

    A thing of beauty is a joy forever.

  157. #157 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    I would just like to point out that condemning libertarianism (note the capitalization) for the Libertarian Party is like condemning liberalism for the Communist Party.

    Good thing we’re condemning the libertarians here in this thread for their own stated views. Otherwise you might have a point.

    (Actually your analogy should have been “… is like condemning communism for the Communist Party.” Conflating liberalism with communism is a sign of deranged extremism. One suspects you own a tinfoil hat.)

  158. #158 Dan L.
    April 9, 2009

    Bollocks. Have you ever heard of the eighteenth-century turnpike roads? Until the advent of railways (which, incidentally, were also built by the private sector), these were the number one method of long distance transport in Britain.

    You have to go back to the 19th century (and earlier) for an example. So are you proposing that we should be working to make the world look more like 19th century England? Sounds horrific.

    I don’t know how it worked in Britain, but in the U.S. the “private” railroad companies could only do what they did through somewhat liberal and what I would call immoral application of eminent domain along with a few other deal-sweeteners (AKA subsidies). I had imagined that the railroads in GB were a similar public/private partnership, which would quite invalidate Walton’s point. Can anyone shed some light here?

  159. #159 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    Guess what, Dan…

    UK railways:

    http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/history0-1833.php

    “In 1789, an English engineer, William Jessop, designed the first iron rails for use with flanged wheels on a coal-hauling railway in Loughborough. The iron system spread quickly; some built privately, but increasingly being built by public canal companies under canal Acts, to feed into their waterways. This was followed by stand-alone public railways, built under powers created by railway Acts.”

  160. #160 guthrie
    April 9, 2009

    Hang on a sec, didn’t the railways in Britain require parliament to pass various legal things so they could buy land for their railways, and part of the problem at the time was that this cut across notions of private property?

    Not to mention the huge public subsidy many American railways got.

  161. #161 Bobber
    April 9, 2009

    Oh, the “public” government and the private railroads in the U.S. were very cozy. Consider the Pullman Strike. You know – good old private enterprise, entering into “voluntary contracts” with workers who have “choice”.

  162. #162 drj
    April 9, 2009

    The portion that always seems to be missing from the calculations by the libertarian detractors is the awareness that successful and wealthy contribute much more back to the system than most people. The best metric for measuring what value one provides to the maintenance of the system isnt necessarily taxes.

    It reminds me of the whole net neutrality debate. Network providers had a bug up their ass about the fact that companies like Google get to make billions off their networks, and all they have to pay for is bandwidth like everyone else. For some reason they felt entitled to extra monies because they “enabled” companies like Google to have have the wealth that they do. Never mind the fact that its companies like Google who provide the services that make the infrastructure so immensely valuable…

    The relationship between the wealthy and “the system that enables and protects their gains” is much more symbiotic than all the simplistic claims that have been thrown around in this thread.

  163. #163 Matt Heath
    April 9, 2009

    Walton, “I was speaking from first principles when I said that. ”

    I’m not going to take as harsh a tone as strange gods did, but I suggest you do this less. In matters concerning the real world (i.e. not maths or theology) a bit of observation is worth a lot of abstract reasoning.

  164. #164 Walton
    April 9, 2009

    Edward Lark @154: As I understand it, you’re arguing that inherited privilege, passed on from generation to generation, negates the real idea of a “meritocratic” society. I have a few points to make.

    Firstly, not all libertarians use an argument based on “meritocracy”, though some certainly do. In general, the strongest argument for libertarianism is that it maximises self-ownership, autonomy and freedom from coercion; we consider forced redistribution of wealth to be immoral not because it distributes wealth from the “less worthy” to the “more worthy” (which is not always true, as you point out), but merely because it involves the coercive extraction of property from a person who has received that property via non-coercive means. Generally speaking, a person receives his property either through (a) inheritance, (b) mutually agreed contracts or (c) gifts; by definition, none of these means are based on coercive force. By contrast, to remove property from a person against his or her will, you must use coercive force or the threat thereof. Since non-coercion is clearly preferable to coercion, we contend that, generally speaking, allowing people to keep their property is more moral than coercively taking it from them.

    But let’s ignore all of that and run with your argument. If your argument is accepted and taken to its logical conclusion, then we should radically restructure our tax systems. We should have a high rate of inheritance tax, and (to avoid loopholes) a similarly high rate of tax on income from gifts and family trusts. Conversely, income and payroll taxes on one’s earned income would have to be cut to zero. This would create a genuinely “meritocratic” society (insofar as such a thing is possible), as the wealthy would be those who had earned a lot of money during their lifetime, whereas heredity would no longer confer any pecuniary advantages.

    I’m not saying any of this should necessarily be done, because I don’t agree with your basic premise that meritocracy is the ultimate aim. But the above, not social democracy, would be the logical response to your criticisms.

  165. #165 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    The portion that always seems to be missing from the calculations by the libertarian detractors is the awareness that successful[*1] and wealthy[*2] contribute much more back to the system than most people.

    That’s a mighty fine assertion you got there buddy. Got anything to back it up with?

    *1 cf. Sean Hannity
    *2 cf. Paris Hilton

  166. #166 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    The portion that always seems to be missing from the calculations by the libertarian detractors is the awareness that successful and wealthy contribute much more back to the system than most people.

    If they were providing more than they’re taking, then they would not be making a profit.

  167. #167 stogoe
    April 9, 2009

    This reminds me of a thought I’ve had bouncing around in my head since December: the existence of charity is evidence that society has failed its citizens. Food banks only exist because our government has failed to keep its citizens from starving.

  168. #168 SteveG
    April 9, 2009

    I have no idea who Glenn Reynolds is, never having read him. I did check out the Gavin comments, and they were pretty stupid, based on a whole lot of straw manning. Enough said.

  169. #169 Dan L.
    April 9, 2009

    The portion that always seems to be missing from the calculations by the libertarian detractors is the awareness that successful and wealthy contribute much more back to the system than most people. The best metric for measuring what value one provides to the maintenance of the system isnt necessarily taxes.

    But could the CEO of Google provide those services without the thousands of people he employs (including janitors, cafeteria workers, etc.)? Clearly not. So why are you giving the CEO of Google full credit for all the benefits provided by Google’s existence? Certainly the fairer thing to do would be to give the credit to each and every Google employee commensurate to his or her contribution.

    Oh, they do that. It’s called “salary.” No one is failing to take this into account. It’s how rich people get rich and how poor people don’t die. Money is the reward for being successful, not tax credits.

    And if you really believe that one’s success should mirror the value one adds to society, you should be an advocate for six-figure salaries for teachers. Innovators create a lot of value, but teachers create the innovators in the first place besides generally improving the quality of the work force (when things work right, anyway).

  170. #170 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    Walton: how is your proposed tax system (which I agree with to a large extent) incompatible with a social democracy? Where the government gets its money and what it does with it are two different things.

  171. #171 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    the existence of charity is evidence that society has failed its citizens. Food banks only exist because our government has failed to keep its citizens from starving.

    For an understanding of why this has happened, see Thomas Frank, The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule.

    The right-wingers’ plan “to get [government] down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub” has the effect of weakening government welfare programs so that private enterprise can come in and make a profit off of people’s suffering instead. To them, this is a feature, not a bug.

  172. #172 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    I have no idea who Glenn Reynolds is, never having read him. I did check out the Gavin comments, and they were pretty stupid, based on a whole lot of straw manning. Enough said.

    What a substantive comment! You’ve convinced me.

  173. #173 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    SteveG: Sadly, No! is a parody site.

  174. #174 Matt Heath
    April 9, 2009

    If they were providing more than they’re taking, then they would not be making a profit.

    I’ve been mostly agreeing with you, strange gods, but I don’t this is too simplistic. It relies on a pre-capitalist, Spanish-empire, zero-sum theory of value, in which all wealth exists and is to found and collected. It’s possible to create value through work, take a profit and still leave other better off.

  175. #175 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    And if you really believe that one’s success should mirror the value one adds to society, you should be an advocate for six-figure salaries for teachers.

    Not to mention minimum wage for stock brokers.

  176. #176 drj
    April 9, 2009

    And if you really believe that one’s success should mirror the value one adds to society, you should be an advocate for six-figure salaries for teachers.

    I have no problem with that at all.

    It relies on a pre-capitalist, Spanish-empire, zero-sum theory of value, in which all wealth exists and is to found and collected. It’s possible to create value through work, take a profit and still leave other better off.

    Excellent point.

  177. #177 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    It’s possible to create value through work, take a profit and still leave other better off.

    It may be possible, but in general the rich don’t do much work. Their primary sources of income now are capital gains from securities trading. (This is how Warren Buffett can pay a lower tax rate than his secretary.) And then there’s currency exchange, which is entirely parasitic.

  178. #178 Dan L.
    April 9, 2009

    @174

    Agree. I think the real argument is something more like my post at 169, but with less snark. Entrepreneurs don’t create value in a vacuum, the create it in a market. And since they typically can’t do everything themselves, they pay others to help them.

    This is not altruism. This is self-interested behavior. This is not sacrificing one’s own prosperity for the sake of the system. This is the system working as designed.

    The notion behind taxation is that there are certain goods and services for which no market exists, but which are desirable anyway. Basic scientific research is one possible example (because it is not immediately profitable; private companies wait until the basic research is done and then capitalize on it). Infrastructure is another (few private firms are willing to pay for goods and services which could then be used freely by anyone else). The upshot is that private entities can be trusted to things that are good for themselves, but can’t be trusted to do things that are good for everybody else. So the government pays for the things that are good for everybody. The rich pay a higher proportion of those costs because they are, by virtue of being rich, greater beneficiaries of the many goods and services made possible by both public and private efforts.

  179. #179 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Generally speaking, a person receives his property either through (a) inheritance, (b) mutually agreed contracts or (c) gifts; by definition, none of these means are based on coercive force.

    A person who has to take a job at the offered pay rate or starve to death is being coerced. Most of those “mutually agreed contracts” you bloviate about were signed under duress.

  180. #180 Dan L.
    April 9, 2009

    Instead of “the notion behind taxation” try “my notion of why taxation, and in particular progressive taxes, are fair”

  181. #181 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    I’m not saying any of this should necessarily be done, because I don’t agree with your basic premise that meritocracy is the ultimate aim.

    I believe you misread Edward Lark. He is not, himself, advocating strict meritocracy. He is just saying that if one were to take that as a goal, it would have to be done differently than libertarians actually advocate. Their policies instead favor entrenchment of wealth.

  182. #182 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    The upshot is that private entities can be trusted to things that are good for themselves, but can’t be trusted to do things that are good for everybody else.

    Well-put. It is beyond me how anyone can think fully privatized healthcare, defense or education is a good idea precisely because of this.

  183. #183 Edward Lark
    April 9, 2009

    But let’s ignore all of that and run with your argument. If your argument is accepted and taken to its logical conclusion, then we should radically restructure our tax systems. We should have a high rate of inheritance tax, and (to avoid loopholes) a similarly high rate of tax on income from gifts and family trusts.

    Yes, this would be a direct result of embracing my analysis and I would fully support such an approach. I see no reason to preference inherited wealth in a democratic society.

    Conversely, income and payroll taxes on one’s earned income would have to be cut to zero. This would create a genuinely “meritocratic” society (insofar as such a thing is possible), as the wealthy would be those who had earned a lot of money during their lifetime, whereas heredity would no longer confer any pecuniary advantages.

    This does not follow, because, as my post above acknowledged, there are other reasons for taxation beyond curbing the societal problem of accumulated wealth.

    Further, your assertion that taxation is coercive while the receipt/maintenance of property is non-coercive is incorrect. Taxation is certainly supported by the threat of force/coercion, but so are property rights. This coercion is both civil – contract, etc. – and criminal – theft laws, etc. Just because the threat of force/coercion is more obvious in regard to taxation does not mean that coercion is not present in the other.

    Also, if the idea of meritocracy does not underpin your arguments, what justification do you put forward for leaving accumulations of wealth alone? As above, the coercion argument is not a true distinction.

  184. #184 Edward Lark
    April 9, 2009

    And, yes – thank you #181 – I am not advocating a strict meritocracy. A very succinct summary of my post above.

  185. #185 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to: all

    Ok, guys, here is what I think.

    When it comes to matters of Law each person should get one vote. Why? Because everyone has to obey the Law to the same extent, and everyone deserves the same amount of Justice.

    But in the matters of economy, there is simply no fair way to decide who and how much should contribute. That’s part of the reason why the government should stay out of economy.

    Most of the current government expenditures should either be delegetated to the local level, that includes schools and roads, or abolished altogether. When that happens the remaining expenditures – on border defence, environment, emergency assistance to the poor – would be so small that either we would need no income tax anymore, or it could be replaced by a flat fee or small flat rate income tax.

    An the non-essential government projects – like launching space probes – can be funded voluntarily, and there I don’t see a problem with a person who contributes more having a larger share in deciding where the money should go.

  186. #186 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    Okay rs, in this brave new system of yours, is there a place for:

    - Minimum wage
    - Unions
    - OSHA
    - Social Security
    - FDA
    - USDA
    - EPA

  187. #187 Dino
    April 9, 2009

    Could the issue may not be libertarianism but rather libertarians? Then again it may be both. If we put libertarian ideas to reality-based tests like this blog does to creationism, would libertarianism survive? Or is it just another Just-So story

  188. #188 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to Stu

    - Minimum wage – No
    - Unions – Yes
    - OSHA – Yes
    - Social Security – Yes, sort of, like voluntary investment in government bonds.
    - FDA – Yes, sort of, like privately run BBB
    - USDA – No
    - EPA – Yes

  189. #189 Marcus B.
    April 9, 2009

    rs, #185:

    As I mentioned earlier, I live in Sweden, a country that embodies “big government” in almost every sense. I’m very happy with that arrangement, but I can still (believe it or not) see something of value in your arguments.

    I still don’t believe that it would be good though.

    Take for instance your example about space probes. I think that most people on a science blog like this can appreciate the value things like that bring us. I for one can certainly see a huge value in the great investments the US and Soviet made in their space programs. But that is mostly scientific value, not monetary, and I doubt if we would have gotten the same scientific value out of private investors.

    If individual persons had funded the American space program from the start, and had direct control over what direction the research was taking, I don’t think they would have lofty ideals about doing a contribution for the good of the nation or the good of the world. I think they would want to see a personal return for their investments. And space programs just don’t give profit like that.

    I really can’t see that you would find people who would fund research like that without getting their money’s worth in actual money, instead of some fleeting “scientific knowledge and understanding.” Maybe I’m just a cynic, but I’m happy when governments have enough money to fund things like that, because collectively we can be a lot less greedy and see more to the good of the whole.

    And I had a lot more to write about some other areas (other than science that is) where I think less government involvement just doesn’t work, but oh well. I’m getting really sleepy (to the point that I’m constantly misreading “libertarian” as “librarian” – which I’ll tell you is really confusing :)), so I’ll stop here and not bore you further :)

  190. #190 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    Wow. No minimum wages? No way that corporations would take advantage of that. Nope.

  191. #191 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “Wow. No minimum wages? No way that corporations would take advantage of that. Nope.”

    *cough* SWEATSHOP *cough*

    Oh excuse, must have something in my throat (I think it’s bile…)

  192. #192 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    Oh, I missed the “FDA, like a privately run BBB” part.

    Yikes. You want a private entity to approve medication? Seriously? Am I the only one fucking petrified of the idea?

  193. #193 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    Replying to “strange gods before me” #80

    And go where, Mexico, where they can barely operate an infrastructure? Western Europe, where they’ll be taxed even more?

    Many many places. The Caribbean sounds pretty good. Switzerland and Luxembourg are also pretty great destinations. In fact if you are not a UK a citizen, the UK is a great place to live.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_haven#Examples

  194. #194 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 9, 2009

    Yikes. You want a private entity to approve medication? Seriously? Am I the only one fucking petrified of the idea?

    No sir. If one ever reads the history of the FDA, they would soon come to the conclusion that private industry cannot be trusted to do what they need to do to ensure safety and efficacy of drugs. The profit motive and egos get in the way.
    As I said upthread, the more the libertardians defend their philosophy, the more they show it is morally bankrupt. This is but one example.

  195. #195 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to Stu
    You want a private entity to approve medication?

    Testing can be done by a private company. Final approval, when it becomes a matter of law enfocement, can be done by the government.

    No minimum wages? No way that corporations would take advantage of that.

    A lot of unemployed people will take advantage of that too. And a lot of low-income people would take advantage of resulting low prices.

  196. #196 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to “strange gods before me” @21:

    I hate it when those damned guvmint firefighters interfere with my house burning down.

    http://www.magicvalley.com/articles/2007/08/23/news/top_story/119026.txt

  197. #197 Bobber
    April 9, 2009

    Testing can be done by a private company. Final approval, when it becomes a matter of law enfocement, can be done by the government.

    Most testing IS done by private companies, at least as far as medical devices are concerned. I know – one of my jobs was to write and submit the data to the FDA in the form of 510ks for a medical device manufacturing company in Massachusetts. We set up, ran, and paid for all of our own clinical trials. We then took that data and submitted it to the FDA for approval (or not). Not once in the three years I worked there did the FDA itself repeat a single one of our clinical trials. The potential for abuse is obvious. Yes, if we fudged data, and we were caught, we could face incredibly stiff penalties – but what happens when the FDA is run by industry insiders, who share “knowing winks” with CEOs of pharmaceutical and device companies?

    Again – there is a REASON for government, and a reason for government transparency. If you want a better government, push for that transparency – not for elimination.

  198. #198 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    Replying to “strange gods before me” #75:

    Per capita? Be careful how you compare “gross” domestic product. Norway beats the USA.

    According to the link you provided the top 6 are:

    1. Qatar — No Income Tax, Oil rich
    2. Luxembourg — Tax haven according to US National Bureau of Economic Research http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_haven
    3. Norway — Oil rich, 3rd largest oil exporter in the world, after Saudi Arabia and Russia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway#Resources
    Used tax cuts to stimulate economy, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norway#Post_war_history
    4. Singapore — Tax haven according to USNBER http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_haven
    5. Brunei — Oil and gas rich, no income tax or capital gains tax
    6. USA

    Do you see a pattern above?

    and a higher standard of living than Western Europe

    Arguable. Not true in my estimation.

    – “strange gods before me”

    Condoms do not prevent AIDS

    Arguable. Not true in my estimation.

    – Pope Benedict XVI http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/17/pope-africa-condoms-aids

    I thought this was a science blog.

    Our habit of robbing other nations at gunpoint might have something to do with it.

    Interesting. The US came to the colonialism game pretty late (Phillipines and Panama). However your favoured Western Europe has some of the biggest erstwhile colonial powers. I would like to know which nations the US has robbed at gunpoint.

    The reality is that even with a welfare state, most people get up and go to their jobs. Sorry. You apparently wish no one would work, so that your complaints would correspond to reality.

    Sweden is typically claimed to be the healthiest country inthe world, however it had more people of working age claiming sickness and disability benefit than any other OECD country in 2005

    http://www.oecd.org/document/15/0,3343,en_2649_34487_42277391_1_1_1_1,00.html

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123145414405365887.html

  199. #199 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to “strange gods before me” @149:

    Charities did not provide trailers for the victims of Katrina. Charities cannot muster that level of funding. The government can.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/05/AR2005090501598.html

    As for government what did the Democratic govts at the state and city level do regarding evacuation of people from New Orleans? They did nothing. School buses under govt control sat in their parking lots and were inundated when they could have been used to evacuate people.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_government_response_to_Hurricane_Katrina#Evacuation_process_criticism

    Not mentioning the Bush administration because then people would just say it was a conspiracy by the Republicans to denigrate government. The truth is government whather R or D screws up.

  200. #200 'Tis Himself
    April 9, 2009

    An the non-essential government projects – like launching space probes – can be funded voluntarily, and there I don’t see a problem with a person who contributes more having a larger share in deciding where the money should go.

    The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has taken some beautiful photographs (Nebula NGC 3603) but there isn’t much market for them. And astronomy doesn’t give much monetary return on the money paid for it. It’s hand-waving and ivory tower fantasy (two things libertarians have a lot of practice at) to claim that private enterprise would launch and maintain a HST.

  201. #201 MInarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to “strange gods before me” @177:

    It may be possible, but in general the rich don’t do much work. Their primary sources of income now are capital gains from securities trading. (This is how Warren Buffett can pay a lower tax rate than his secretary.)

    A point I totally agree with. Capital gains should be treated as ordinary income and treated as such.

    And then there’s currency exchange, which is entirely parasitic.

    Your liberal progressive pay master George Soros made his money in the above fashion.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Soros#Currency_speculation

    Norman Lamont and Mahathir Mohammed should get back their nations’ money from this parasite.

  202. #202 Flex
    April 9, 2009

    Rs opined, “A lot of unemployed people will take advantage of that too. And a lot of low-income people would take advantage of resulting low prices.”

    Ah yes. That’s working well in China right now. All those low-income families who are making the goods sold in the U.S. are able to purchase the new televisions, camcorders, clothing, shoes, etc., for their own use.

    Wait? They’re not? Well color me purple and call me a libertarian! I thought that was what you just claimed.

    What you have really done, rs, is suggest that the race to the bottom is a good idea. Maybe your freshman economics course didn’t cover this, but there is a delay between changes in wages and changes in prices. That delay can be useful, by raising a minimum wage before prices rise to compensate you can get a boost in consumer activity.

    By dropping wages, you get a reduction in spending until prices drop, if they ever do.

    Companies have already paid a certain amount for the goods they have in inventory, they will try to sell those goods for more than they paid for them. Even with just-in-time manufacturing there may be 14 weeks or more product as work-in-process.

    If you consider the toy industry, you have just killed it. They spend 11 months getting ready for Christmas, and if their goods cost them more than people are willing to pay (because their wages were cut) they will go out of business.

    Regardless of what you may think about how supply and demand operate, we are a demand-driven society, and demand requires liquidity to continue. What you are proposing is to eliminate all consumer liquidity.

    What happens when no one buys anything? Companies go bankrupt, people are out of work, and even less purchasing goes on. That’s what is going on in the world-wide automobile market right now, it’s not solely a U.S. automaker problem, the slump in the automotive market is world-wide because the uncertainly in the economy (world-wide) is suggesting to people that they can wait a little longer before buying a new car. Automotive replacement part sales are way up.

    Unless you have an answer as to how to move away from a demand-driven economy, you have to ensure consumers have money to spend. Which means you need some sort of minimum wage which is high enough to enable consumer to purchase goods.

    Whether this minimum wage is established through government action, or some other sort of societal understanding of the need for it is immaterial. But I wouldn’t trust companies to enforce such a requirement, they are in business for profit, not philanthropy. Which leaves exactly which part of society to enforce this requirement?

  203. #203 Ben
    April 9, 2009

    Sorry all I was working.

    I never said that I think that because I am no longer poor that the poor should suffer. I was pointing out that the poor have resources that better handle issues within their communities. One may disagree with the Black Panther movement but they wanted to focus on having local people shop in local stores and help their neighbor. While I am no solcialist I am very much in agreement with the ideal being to help those closest to you.

    As to only FEMA being able to give trailers, perhaps. Only FEMA would bother to show up with trailers. That was not the smart move but that was the government move. That is why I said it makes more sense to have government focus on less and be better at it.

    If a person can’t afford to pay for fire service then how do they pay for the house? I don’t follow your logic. Perhaps you just don’t understand the scenario. It is not the poor that don’t pay, it is the middle class that think it won’t happen to them but that is a different topic.

    I agree that there are things that the government should do. I stated as much in my first post. I even gave examples where the government created markets where none existed and I can give examples of where government can use legislation to ensure the optimal outcome (overcome the Prisoner’s Delima for instance).

    I also would reject a minimum wage for a living wage. They are very different. Paying a higher minimum wage does not equal a living wage.

  204. #204 rs
    April 9, 2009

    to: Flex #210

    The people who are already employed will mostly keep their wages, but more people will get employed if the minimal wage requirement is removed. More goods will be produced and consumed, and the standards of living will go up.

    There is no minimum wage requirement for illigal immigrant workers, nevertheless they are quite happy to work for what they can get. Enforcing minimum wage laws will put them out of work and make their life worse, not better.

  205. #205 'Tis Himself
    April 9, 2009

    The truth is government whather R or D screws up.

    Gosh, did you figure that out all by yourself? Wowzers, government isn’t infallible? Who’d a-thunk it?

    Sure, governments make mistakes. I worked for the federal government for years and I know, first hand, about governmental mistakes. I made several myself as a civil servant. The reason I left government was that I believed my boss had made a serious mistake and I said so quite publicly. (Yes, I knew beforehand that denouncing the Secretary of the Treasury would require my resignation.)

    However, everyone makes mistakes. The Big Three automakers made a series of mistakes over a long period of time to end up in the situation they’re in now. A mortgage company cost me several hundred dollars in interest and penalties because they made a mistake by not paying my property tax on time. Governments are no different from anyone else in this respect.

  206. #206 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to justin @191:

    “Wow. No minimum wages? No way that corporations would take advantage of that. Nope.”

    *cough* SWEATSHOP *cough*

    Oh excuse, must have something in my throat (I think it’s bile…)

    Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize Winner in Economics:

    In Praise of Cheap Labor
    Bad jobs at bad wages are better than no jobs at all.

    http://web.mit.edu/krugman/www/smokey.html

    More Krugman on minimum wage:

    So what are the effects of increasing minimum wages? Any Econ 101 student can tell you the answer: The higher wage reduces the quantity of labor demanded, and hence leads to unemployment. This theoretical prediction has, however, been hard to confirm with actual data. Indeed, much-cited studies by two well-regarded labor economists, David Card and Alan Krueger, find that where there have been more or less controlled experiments, for example when New Jersey raised minimum wages but Pennsylvania did not, the effects of the increase on employment have been negligible or even positive. Exactly what to make of this result is a source of great dispute. Card and Krueger offered some complex theoretical rationales, but most of their colleagues are unconvinced; the centrist view is probably that minimum wages “do,” in fact, reduce employment, but that the effects are small and swamped by other forces.

    What is remarkable, however, is how this rather iffy result has been seized upon by some liberals as a rationale for making large minimum wage increases a core component of the liberal agenda–for arguing that living wages “can play an important role in reversing the 25-year decline in wages experienced by most working people in America” (as this book’s back cover has it). Clearly these advocates very much want to believe that the price of labor–unlike that of gasoline, or Manhattan apartments–can be set based on considerations of justice, not supply and demand, without unpleasant side effects. This will to believe is obvious in this book: The authors not only take the Card-Krueger results as gospel, but advance a number of other arguments that just do not hold up under examination.

    http://www.pkarchive.org/cranks/LivingWage.html

    Minimum wage was a means to prevent women from joining the workplace and therefore cause a depression in wages:

    http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2005/10/the_secret_hist.html

    More on minimum wage:

    http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/MinimumWages.html

  207. #207 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to ‘Tis Himself @204:

    However, everyone makes mistakes. The Big Three automakers made a series of mistakes over a long period of time to end up in the situation they’re in now. A mortgage company cost me several hundred dollars in interest and penalties because they made a mistake by not paying my property tax on time. Governments are no different from anyone else in this respect.

    And therein lies a lesson. When companies screw up, they go out of business (cf current situation of GM and Chrysler, Lehman Brothers etc). When government screws up it just becomes bigger! Of course if government is big enough and companies are well connected enough government will bail out the companies and nobody will have learned anything. Check out rent-seeking: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rent_seeking
    http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/RentSeeking.html

  208. #208 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 9, 2009

    Testing can be done by a private company. Final approval, when it becomes a matter of law enforcement, can be done by the government.

    The Pharma companies pay for the clinical trials of their drugs. They must submit all the raw data so the FDA can review them for contraindications. The clinical protocols must follow certain guidelines, and the criteria for showing efficacy is usually spelled out in the protocol. The FDA also uses review committees, often composed primarily of academics, to aid in the review. The FDA does not run clinical trials, only reviews them. NIH/NCI will run clinical trials.

  209. #209 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    Bad jobs at bad wages are better than no jobs at all.”

    Yeah! How dare those peons claim that they’re working backbreaking hours for pennies a day! At least they have a job! Ungrateful slimes!

    Seriously, are you that deluded to think that people deserve to be treated like crap so long as they’re working?

  210. #210 'Tis Himself
    April 9, 2009

    If a person can’t afford to pay for fire service then how do they pay for the house?

    In most places fire service is paid for by taxes, even in towns like mine that have volunteer fire departments. Having to pay dues to the fire department is found in very few places, mainly in the South where property taxes are kept as low as possible and so “fees” for things like fire protection are levied instead.

    The least known member of the Roman First Triumvirate was Marcus Licinius Crassus (the other two were Julius Caesar and Gnaeus Pompey). Crassus made money by operating a fire brigade in Rome that would rush to the scene of a fire and buy the property at a bargain price before agreeing to put the fire out. It was only three years after the establishment of this brigade that the Senate agreed to fund a public fire brigade to stop Crassus from getting rich at the expense of misfortune.

  211. #211 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to Justin @208:

    Seriously, are you that deluded to think that people deserve to be treated like crap so long as they’re working?

    So you are calling Paul Krugman deluded?

  212. #212 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “So you are calling Paul Krugman deluded?”

    Hell yes.

  213. #213 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    From wiki:

    Krugman was one of many economists to serve as a consultant for an advisory board for Enron; he did this in 1999, being paid $37,500[59] before New York Times rules required him to resign when he accepted an offer to be an op-ed columnist in the fall of 1999. He stated later the consulting was to offer “Enron executives briefings on economic and political issues,” and that it had required him to “spend four days in Houston.”[59]

    Huh imagine that. Forgive me if I think that his moral character is blow standard.

  214. #214 Flex
    April 9, 2009

    rs wrote, “The people who are already employed will mostly keep their wages, but more people will get employed if the minimal wage requirement is removed.”

    How wrong you are. This may be true if we had strong unions and good collective-bargaining agreements, but those people who are already working at minimum wage will certainly see a wage drop under our current at-will employment laws.

    I’d agree that many of those people who are already paid a higher than minimum wage will likely be unaffected, but there are quite a few people who work for minimum wage, or close to it. That includes quite a few people who you claim would be unaffected because they are ‘employed’.

    Your second point is a bit of miss-direction and moving the goalposts. I absolutely agree with cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants and avoid paying their social security and income taxes. The employers and immigrants are using services provided by the state and so should pay the same share for those services as other people working those same jobs. I don’t blame the immigrants at all for this situation developing, I blame employers and the lack of enforcement of our current laws. However, the fact that the immigrants have benefited under the current practice doesn’t mean that the practice should continue because they will lose that benefit.

    Want to make things fair and avoid hurting the immigrants? Simple. Give all immigrants who can show proof of employment in the country a green-card. Require all businesses who have employed immigrant labor to comply with the law, including giving a lump sum to the employees to make up for any wages paid which were less than minimum wage, and require all employers to collect from that lump payment all back income and social security taxes. As well as having the employers pay their portion of the social security taxes which they haven’t paid.

    Mind you, I’m not promoting this idea. It would never be enforceable, and it would certainly kill businesses. But it would eliminate your pretended concern for the illegal immigrant labor.

  215. #215 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to ‘Tis Himself @209:

    The least known member of the Roman First Triumvirate was Marcus Licinius Crassus (the other two were Julius Caesar and Gnaeus Pompey). Crassus made money by operating a fire brigade in Rome that would rush to the scene of a fire and buy the property at a bargain price before agreeing to put the fire out. It was only three years after the establishment of this brigade that the Senate agreed to fund a public fire brigade to stop Crassus from getting rich at the expense of misfortune.

    A very clever way of making money. Now some questions:

    1. What is the probability that he was an arsonist? :)
    2. Why no competing fire brigade? Did he use threats to keep the market for himself? In that case one can justify government action to rein him in, allow other people to set up private fire brigades, and allow them to contract with home owners to prevent fires. Libertarianism allows for government as an agency to prevent coercion (though it uses its coercive power to levy taxes and now all this has become a recursive black hole….) :)

  216. #216 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to Justin @212:

    Huh imagine that. Forgive me if I think that his moral character is blow standard.

    So Krugman is tainted just by an association with Enron? So I guess you don’t support any of his positions right?

    What about President Obama? Do you support him, like him? If yes did you know that he was the tip recipient of campaign contribtutions from AIG, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs?

    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/toprecips.php?id=D000000123
    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/toprecips.php?id=D000000085
    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/toprecips.php?id=D000000071

    Do you still support and like him?

  217. #217 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    Your liberal progressive pay master George Soros

    …and we’re done. You actually expect to be taken seriously?

  218. #218 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    Please read top for tip in post #215

  219. #219 'Tis Himself
    April 9, 2009

    Minarchist #205

    First, “living wage” is not “minimum wage.” Conflating the two, which Krugman did not, is a red herring.

    Second, Marginal Revolution and The Library of Economics and Liberty are anarcho-capitalist websites. They’re not going to take an unbiased view towards minimum wage.

    Low-wage labor markets are characterized as monopsonistic* competition wherein buyers (employers) have significantly more market power than do sellers (workers). This monopsony could be a result of intentional collusion between employers, or naturalistic factors such as segmented markets, information costs, imperfect mobility and the “personal” element of labor markets. While the upward aggregate labor supply would remain unchanged, monopsonistic employers would use a marginal expenditures to yield a wage rate lower than would be the case under competition. Also, the amount of labor sold would also be lower than the competitive optimal allocation.

    Such a case is a type of market failure and results in workers being paid less than their marginal value. Under the monopsonistic assumption, an appropriately set minimum wage could increase both wages and employment, with the optimal level being equal to the marginal productivity of labor.[13] This view emphasizes the role of minimum wages as a market regulation policy akin to antitrust policies, as opposed to an illusory “free lunch” for low-wage workers.

    Another reason minimum wage may not affect employment in certain industries is that the demand for the product the employees produce is highly inelastic; For example, if management is forced to increase wages, management can pass on the increase in wage to consumers in the form of higher prices. Since demand for the product is highly inelastic, consumers continue to buy the product at the higher price and so the manager is not forced to lay off workers.

    Three other possible reasons minimum wages do not affect employment are: higher wages may reduce turnover, and hence training costs; raising the minimum wage may render moot the potential problem of recruiting workers at a higher wage than current workers; and minimum wage workers might represent such a small proportion of a business’s cost that the increase is too small to matter.

    *A monopsony is a market form in which only one buyer faces many sellers. It is an example of imperfect competition, similar to a monopoly, in which only one seller faces many buyers. As the only purchaser of a good or service, the “monopsonist” may dictate terms to its suppliers in the same manner that a monopolist controls the market for its buyers.

  220. #220 Flex
    April 9, 2009

    Tis Himself wrote, “The Big Three automakers made a series of mistakes over a long period of time to end up in the situation they’re in now”

    I beg to differ. The big three automakers are not hurting because they made a series of mistakes over a period of time. In fact they were quite good at following consumer demand.

    All automakers are hurting, world-wide, these days. The only company in North America which didn’t see a drop in sales in 2008 was Honda and they deliberately limit the number of cars they sell in the states. I don’t know how they are doing this year.

    Automotive sales in 2007 in North America were about 14 million new vehicles. Projected automotive sales in 2009 is running at a rate of 7 million. When the demand is cut in half, businesses suffer. Big.

    Demand wasn’t cut because the big three made lemons like in the 1980′s, demand dropped because of the uncertainly in the economy and the lack of credit offered by the banks. The automakers are being hit hard because they are a capital intensive industry but also a large expenditure for consumers. The biggest expenditures are the ones consumers delay first when times are tough, so housing and automotive are hit pretty bad.

    This isn’t to say that the big three didn’t make mistakes, but to assume that the drop in demand is because of their mistakes is inaccurate. Demand is low for all makes and models of cars this year, everyone is expecting to have a bad year. You just are not going to hear the transplants complain about it to our government.

    Remember, the big three didn’t ask for a bail-out. They asked for a bridge loan so that they could afford to operate until demand increased again. They do intend to pay these loans back, unlike the financial industry.

  221. #221 MInarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to Stu @216:

    …and we’re done. You actually expect to be taken seriously?

    Did that hit a tender spot?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Soros#Political_donations_and_activism

  222. #222 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “What about President Obama? Do you support him, like him? If yes did you know that he was the tip recipient of campaign contribtutions from AIG, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs?”

    English definition check: “Advising” does not have the same meaning as “received contributions from”.

    Try again.

  223. #223 Bobber
    April 9, 2009

    Minarchist (#210):

    (a) The Krugman article is from 1997. That’s 12 years ago. A bit outdated; wonder if there’s anything more recent.
    (b) The article was focused on industrial jobs and wages in the developing world, and was not meant to be applied to the United States or other mature economies.
    (c) Krugman is approaching the topic from the standpoint of an economist – granted, a liberal economist, but an economist all the same. The alternatives he lists are short-sighted and narrowed only to those which can be imposed by foreign entities – corporations or development agencies – that seek to copy their own economic model upon the locals. As Krugman says:

    You may say that the wretched of the earth should not be forced to serve as hewers of wood, drawers of water, and sewers of sneakers for the affluent. But what is the alternative?* Should they be helped with foreign aid? Maybe–although the historical record of regions like southern Italy suggests that such aid has a tendency to promote perpetual dependence. Anyway, there isn’t the slightest prospect of significant aid materializing. Should their own governments provide more social justice? Of course–but they won’t, or at least not because we tell them to. And as long as you have no realistic alternative* to industrialization based on low wages, to oppose it means that you are willing to deny desperately poor people the best chance they have of progress for the sake of what amounts to an aesthetic standard–that is, the fact that you don’t like the idea of workers being paid a pittance to supply rich Westerners with fashion items.

    *There are other alternatives, that don’t require the exploitation of workers. It’s just that Krugman, for all his progressive feelings, is limited by sticking to what he believes are the rules of the game. He can’t think outside of that little box. He got a Nobel – as a master of the game of economics. They don’t give Nobels for helping people take control of their own political and economic lives.

  224. #224 'Tis Himself
    April 9, 2009

    1. What is the probability that he was an arsonist? :)

    Actually it was pretty good. One reason why Crassus went to Syria to fight the Parthians was to escape criminal and civil trials for arson. Law suits against Romans performing military duties outside Italy were held in abeyance. Crassus was killed (the Parthians forced him to drink a cup of molten gold, symbolizing his greed) so the trials became moot.

    2. Why no competing fire brigade? Did he use threats to keep the market for himself? In that case one can justify government action to rein him in, allow other people to set up private fire brigades, and allow them to contract with home owners to prevent fires. Libertarianism allows for government as an agency to prevent coercion (though it uses its coercive power to levy taxes and now all this has become a recursive black hole….) :)

    Crassus dealt with any competing fire brigades by the same method used by the 1920s Chicago Mob (“nice fire house you have here, it’d be too bad if something happened to it”).

    Tell me, Minarchist, if you love libertarianism so much, why don’t you move to the libertarian utopia, Somalia? No government getting uppity to the citizenry, plenty of guns for everyone, all the liberty you can grab from anyone else, zero tax rate, the libertarian ideal.

  225. #225 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    Minarchist: “liberal paymaster”? You just Foxed yourself, child.

  226. #226 'Tis Himself
    April 9, 2009

    Stu,

    Minarchist: “liberal paymaster”? You just Foxed yourself, child.

    “Liberal paymaster” is libertarian-speak for “rich guy who isn’t a conservative or libertarian.” It’s a meaningless noise, like so much of what libertarians say.

  227. #227 MInarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to ‘Tis Himself @218:

    My reading about Living and minimum wage leads to:

    Living Wage > Minimum wage in which case its effects would be worse than minimum wage.

    MR and Econlib are hardly anarcho-capitalist. MR is pretty moderate while Econlib is slightly to the right of it. Now Mises is anarcho-capitalist.

    There is ambiguity over the phenomenon of monopsony in labour markets: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopsony#The_sources_of_labour_monopsony_power

    I have been reading some more on minimum wage and its effect on employment and it seems that the relationship may not be very clear cut:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2103486/

    Krugman and Landsburg instead make the argument that an increase in the EITC may be a better way of helping loaw wage workers than just blanket increases in minimum wage.

  228. #228 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to Justin @221:

    English definition check: “Advising” does not have the same meaning as “received contributions from”.

    Try again.

    Try to read my post again. You claimed Krugman is tainted by his ASSOCIATION with Enron (association in this case being a paid advisor). I ask you if similarly President Obama is tainted by his ASSOCIATION with Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and AIG some of the largest receiver of government largesse in the past few months.

    Sure Krugman advised Enron. He may have given them completely legitimate and legal advice for which he was correctly paid. If Enron did not follow his advice or did something illegal it is not his fault. It is as if every Enron employee ever is untrustowrthy and below moral standard. Is that something you believe correct?

    Persident Obama was the top recipient of campaign contributions from corporations which have directly benefited under his administration. What do you think is more corrupt?

  229. #229 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “Try to read my post again. You claimed Krugman is tainted by his ASSOCIATION with Enron”

    I did no such thing!

    Fail.

  230. #230 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “Sure Krugman advised Enron. He may have given them completely legitimate and legal advice for which he was correctly paid. If Enron did not follow his advice or did something illegal it is not his fault. It is as if every Enron employee ever is untrustowrthy and below moral standard. Is that something you believe correct?”

    If they knew what was going on and didn’t try to stop it, then yes they share some guilt.

    Anyhow I accept the premise that Krugman may have given legitimate advice, but it seems that from the duration he was employed, that premise seems less than circumspect.

  231. #231 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to ‘Tis Himself @223

    Crassus dealt with any competing fire brigades by the same method used by the 1920s Chicago Mob (“nice fire house you have here, it’d be too bad if something happened to it”).

    And as I said in my post which you quoted, protection from extortion is a legitimate function of government. Now you can say that the Chicago Mob is also providing protection, where it is similar to the government, except that the Chicago Mob runs on the whim of the mob boss while democratic government is atleast more malleable to public opinion. After all as Churchill said

    Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

    You continue:

    Tell me, Minarchist, if you love libertarianism so much, why don’t you move to the libertarian utopia, Somalia? No government getting uppity to the citizenry, plenty of guns for everyone, all the liberty you can grab from anyone else, zero tax rate, the libertarian ideal.

    The libertarian utopia is where:

    1. Everybody lets everybody else mind their own business
    2. All interactions are completely voluntary with NO element of coercion.

    Do you think Somalia comes close this ideal?

    BTW if you are progressive in your outlook why not leave for your progressive utopia in Cuba? High taxes, no rich people, cradle to grave health care and welfare net. What is preventing you?

  232. #232 Flex
    April 9, 2009

    Minarchist sputtered, “Persident Obama was the top recipient of campaign contributions from corporations which have directly benefited under his administration.”

    Let me see, the financial sector bailout legislation was passed last year, September 17th if wikipedia is to be believed. Then AIG got more money on Oct. 9. All in 2008.

    Obama took office when? January 2009?

    Why, it’s simply amazing that Obama’s administration was directly responsible for events which happened a month before the election! That’s some power Obama has!

  233. #233 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to Justin @228, @229:

    I did no such thing!

    Fail.

    Let us go back to your post @212:

    Huh imagine that. Forgive me if I think that his moral character is blow standard.

    A moral character below standard is not a taint?

    Is this a double fail on your part Justin?

    If they knew what was going on and didn’t try to stop it, then yes they share some guilt.

    Anyhow I accept the premise that Krugman may have given legitimate advice, but it seems that from the duration he was employed, that premise seems less than circumspect.

    So based in your previous posts @212 and @229, can it be reasonably inferred that you are implying that Krugman knew about some hanky-panky at Enron and chose to keep his mouth shut about it? You are lucky you are not in the UK. This is grounds for libel there. Do you have any proof for your assertion why the premise of Krugman being a legitimate advisor is circumspect?

  234. #234 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to Stu @224:

    Minarchist: “liberal paymaster”? You just Foxed yourself, child.

    You are sure not OutFoxed, senile oldie?

    replying to ‘Tis Himself @225:

    “Liberal paymaster” is libertarian-speak for “rich guy who isn’t a conservative or libertarian.” It’s a meaningless noise, like so much of what libertarians say.

    Are you denying that Soros funds liberal organizations and aims? If he does so why is it innacurate to call him a liberal paymaster?

  235. #235 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “A moral character below standard is not a taint?”

    Yes but I said nothing about it being from his mere association with enron.

    For someone from the UK you sure suck at english comprehension.

    This is grounds for libel there. Do you have any proof for your assertion why the premise of Krugman being a legitimate advisor is circumspect?

    First of all, “circumspect” means “well thought out” or “prudent”.

    Second, I made no assertion. I simply said that his tenure with enron could cast doubts on that claim.

    If that’s libel, sue me. ;)

    Damn you suck, it’s no wonder you’re a libertarian.

  236. #236 Flex
    April 9, 2009

    Minarchist also stuttered out two conditions for a libertarian utopia (Big-L I assume). The second one was: “2. All interactions are completely voluntary with NO element of coercion”

    Hah!

    Apparently he doesn’t realize that it is in the nature of humanity (and other beasts) to use coercion. Why? Because it works. Enforcing a completely voluntary contract is a form of coercion. A guilt trip is a form of coercion.

    And making coercion illegal is itself a form of coercion.

    Hey twinkie! When your utopia requires changing people to meet your ideals you have left reality far, far behind.

  237. #237 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to Flex @231:

    Let me see, the financial sector bailout legislation was passed last year, September 17th if wikipedia is to be believed. Then AIG got more money on Oct. 9. All in 2008.

    Obama took office when? January 2009?

    Why, it’s simply amazing that Obama’s administration was directly responsible for events which happened a month before the election! That’s some power Obama has!

    1. The financial bailout legistlation HR 1424 was supported by then Senator Obama (after all he was getting a lot of money from the beneficiaries).

    2. AIG received $30 billion as a second round of TARP funding on March 2, 2009 http://www.propublica.org/special/show-me-the-tarp-money I believe President Obama had taken his oath of office by then.

    Connection between AIG bailout and Goldman Sachs:

    http://www.businessinsider.com/henry-blodget-goldman-sachs-wins-big-in-secret-bailout-via-aig-2009-3

    More interesting is this:

    Can you guess who was the top recipient of campaign contribtuions from GM? It is an easy guess:

    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/toprecips.php?id=D000000155

    Can you guess the campaign contribtutions from Chrylser to then Senator Obama?

    http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgot.php?cycle=2008&cmte=C00043687

    Any wonder why the present administration is showering love on GM and meting out step motherly treatment to Chrysler?

  238. #238 'Tis Himself
    April 9, 2009

    The libertarian utopia is where:
    1. Everybody lets everybody else mind their own business

    You can mind your own business all you like in Somalia. All you need is the guns to keep everyone away.

    You see, here in the real world, we have “police” and “judicial systems” to keep people from minding your business. But as a looneytarian, you’re against these things because they’re “men with guns” and “coercive.” In the looneytarian utopia of Somalia, you have to perform that function yourself. But that’s what “rugged individualism” is all about. You don’t want to be protected by “government men with guns” when you can do that yourself. It’s the looneytarian way.

    2. All interactions are completely voluntary with NO element of coercion.

    Let’s say you’re a landlord and I’m renting an apartment from you. If I don’t pay my rent, then you’ll try to force me to do so. That’s coercion, right? If I eat a meal in a restaurant and walk out without paying, the restaurant management will bring coercion against me to pay them. If you walk onto my front lawn and take a piss against my lilac bush, I’ll bring coercion to get you to stop. Seems like you have an unrealistic idea about what coercion entails.

  239. #239 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to Justin @234:

    Yes but I said nothing about it being from his mere association with enron.

    Lets rewind to post #212 where you write:

    From wiki:

    Krugman was one of many economists to serve as a consultant for an advisory board for Enron; he did this in 1999, being paid $37,500[59] before New York Times rules required him to resign when he accepted an offer to be an op-ed columnist in the fall of 1999. He stated later the consulting was to offer “Enron executives briefings on economic and political issues,” and that it had required him to “spend four days in Houston.”[59]

    Huh imagine that. Forgive me if I think that his moral character is blow standard.

    And now you say in post #234

    Yes but I said nothing about it being from his mere association with enron.

    If his moral character being below standard has nothing to do with Enron why did you bring it up in post #212?

    For someone from the UK you sure suck at english comprehension.

    I am not from the UK. Sorry to give you that impression.

    This is grounds for libel there. Do you have any proof for your assertion why the premise of Krugman being a legitimate advisor is circumspect?

    First of all, “circumspect” means “well thought out” or “prudent”.

    Sorry I missed a “not” before the circumspect. My bad.

    Second, I made no assertion. I simply said that his tenure with enron could cast doubts on that claim.

    So you are asserting a doubt regarding his legitimate and presumably above-board advising of Enron?

    Damn you suck, it’s no wonder you’re a libertarian.

    Would my descent into name-calling make you happier?

  240. #240 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to Flex @235:

    Hey twinkie! When your utopia requires changing people to meet your ideals you have left reality far, far behind.

    Twinkie? Aah, progressivism and racism, closet bedfellows :)

    Apparently he doesn’t realize that it is in the nature of humanity (and other beasts) to use coercion. Why? Because it works.

    As for humanity’s nature, it is in the nature of a human male to mate with as many human females as possible. So given your insight into human nature, is it reasonable to assume that you also advocate polygyny?

    Enforcing a completely voluntary contract is a form of coercion.

    Remind me not to take your word. Honour is a concept alien to you.

    A guilt trip is a form of coercion.

    Can coercion be said to exist without a credible threat of force?

    And making coercion illegal is itself a form of coercion.

    It is similar to being intolerant of intolerance. I hope you can understand that.

    I hope you realise now what utopia actually means. Of course that does not mean we should not work towards it and tend towards it over time.

  241. #241 bonze
    April 9, 2009

    ‘Tis Himself:

    if you love libertarianism so much, why don’t you move to the libertarian utopia, Somalia? No government getting uppity to the citizenry, plenty of guns for everyone, all the liberty you can grab from anyone else, zero tax rate, the libertarian ideal.

    Well, let’s see what preceded this so-called “libertarian ideal”: Siad Barre seized power in 1969 in order to institute “Scientific Socialism” and forever overcome clan-based allegiances:

    “Somalis began to ask in true ‘musuq masuuq’ fashion, ‘What is your ex-clan?’.
    Siad outlawed this question with a vengeance. Informers reported those who asked the clan identification question, and they were jailed for Prejudice or Discrimination to maximize the benefits of diversity in all levels of society.”

    — Widipedia entry on Siad Barre.

    Whoops! Somehow police-enforced Diversity Training and invading Ethiopia did not work out for either Siad Barre or Somalia!

    Actually in Somalia there are numerous governments based on clans and the Islamic Courts Union. Lots of little governments, plenty of taxes, Sharia law in the south, very little individual liberty overall. Libertarian? Hardly.

  242. #242 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “If his moral character being below standard has nothing to do with Enron why did you bring it up in post.”

    If you actually took the time to read the quoted passage, it says that he advised Enron for quite sometime. THAT is what raised my personal suspicions.

    “So you are asserting a doubt regarding his legitimate and presumably above-board advising of Enron?”

    No, I’m asserting that one interpretation of the facts could cast doubt, and that my personal opinion is that it does.

    So are you going to drop this tired excuse for an argument or do I have to smack you around some more?

    “Would my descent into name-calling make you happier?”

    No, you actually succeeding at reading comprehension would though.

  243. #243 Flex
    April 9, 2009

    Minarchist ejected, “present administration is showering love on GM and meting out step motherly treatment to Chrysler?”

    Is that what you call it? Let’s see, the present administration has set up a cabinet-level task force to help restructure GM and Chrysler, and, in fact has repeatedly refused to authorize funds until they present a workable plan. This over about a total of $25 billion. FWIW, I don’t disagree with the oversight Obama is asking for.

    However, I find it hard to call a loan being handed over reluctantly and with a huge amount of oversight “step motherly treatment”. Maybe you have difficulties with your step-mother? But I shouldn’t pry.

  244. #244 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to ‘Tis Himself @237:

    You can mind your own business all you like in Somalia. All you need is the guns to keep everyone away.

    Kind of too hot out there.

    You see, here in the real world, we have “police” and “judicial systems” to keep people from minding your business. But as a looneytarian, you’re against these things because they’re “men with guns” and “coercive.”

    And where have I said that the police and judicial system should be done away with? As I have said before the minimum function of govt is to protect you from me and vice versa. Of course we can do that with guns but what about someone who say, doesn’t have any limbs? That is why I am a minarchist and not an anarchist. And as I have said above I support democratic government.

    Let’s say you’re a landlord and I’m renting an apartment from you. If I don’t pay my rent, then you’ll try to force me to do so. That’s coercion, right?

    If you are not paying me the rent which was agreed upon in the rental contract with you were NOT coerced into signing then what you are committing is theft.

    If I eat a meal in a restaurant and walk out without paying, the restaurant management will bring coercion against me to pay them.

    And he is justified. See above.

    If you walk onto my front lawn and take a piss against my lilac bush, I’ll bring coercion to get you to stop.

    And you are justified seeing that as I am violating your property rights.

    Seems like you have an unrealistic idea about what coercion entails.

    Seems like you have no idea or are unable to comprehend what I am saying.

  245. #245 Flex
    April 9, 2009

    Minarchist wrote, “Twinkie? Aah, progressivism and racism, closet bedfellows :)”

    Ah, well, you learn something new every day. I had no idea that “twinkie” is a racist term, so I apologize to anyone who may have been offended by my use of it. A quick google search suggests its a fairly rare racist term, but it exists. What I meant, of course, is that you appear to have left reality behind and are looking for a soft, cream-filled utopia.

    Minarchiist also projected, “Remind me not to take your word. Honour is a concept alien to you.”

    Keep in mind that I don’t claim to espouse the statements I’ve made. Only that coercion appears in pretty much every transaction I can think of. In one form or another.

    Further, honor doesn’t have to have anything to do with backing out of a voluntary agreed upon transaction. I may want to back out of an agreement we made simply because I can no longer afford to meet my obligations to you. What recourse do you have? The only one is a threat of coercion.

    Or, as another example, you may have left out some information about the transaction which I consider important. Say you sold me a car which needed more work than I thought. Do I have the right to back out? If I don’t have that right, I am being coerced into a transaction I no longer agree with. If I do have that right, then you are being coerced into giving me my money back and taking back the car.

    Your utopia is only possible if no transactions occur. Or you have to add some level of coercion.

    I’m well aware that it’s absurd to make the statement that making coercion illegal is a form of coercion. But you haven’t found the solution yet. All you have suggested is that making coercion illegal would be a valid form of coercion, something you did not make clear in your initial statement about utopia.

  246. #246 Ben
    April 9, 2009

    @Tis Himself,

    So you can pay more in property taxes and have it covered or you can pay less and then elect to pay a bit more to be covered. The VFD way gives choice for those that are willing to take the risk. The poor still have to pay their property taxes. If one is so inclined though he could choose to contact the FD and offer to pay more to help cover the poor that cannot pay.

    I would prefer for the minimum wage to be about $3 per hour with a living wage paid by the employer that is on a sliding scale. For instance if you earn $3 you get a LW of $9 per hour and if you earn $4 you get a LW of $8.50 per hour. That still gives an incentive to earn more as the LW phases out slowly but the direct labor cost can be closer to the actual value given to the employer. Some jobs truly do not give over $200 value to the employer. I would have that be a tax credit for the employer so that those LW payments would be defacto estimated tax payments.

  247. #247 Flex
    April 9, 2009

    One more point:

    Minarchist wrote, “Can coercion be said to exist without a credible threat of force?”

    Yes. Guilt works by the threat of withholding love (or losing respect). No force involved. Coercion galore.

    BTW, I apologize for mis-typing your name above. That was not intentional.

  248. #248 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    If you are not paying me the rent which was agreed upon in the rental contract with you were NOT coerced into signing then what you are committing is theft.

    And you will get retribution for that theft through…

    Dude, the loud whooshing sound is the point flying way, way over your head.

  249. #249 nothing's sacred
    April 9, 2009

    At it’s core, libertarianism is about minimal governmental interference.

    It’s about allowing people to live their lives how they see fit.

    I fail to see how that is a bad thing.

    Sorry, but intellectual blindness is not a virtue.

  250. #250 nothing's sacred
    April 9, 2009

    Can coercion be said to exist without a credible threat of force?

    Only by intelligent people. But dictionaries are of use even to fools:

    “coerce: to bring about through the use of force or other forms of compulsion

    Here’s a statement from a witness regarding a famous historical example: “and finally, compelled by necessity of the body, she put on the male clothing”.

  251. #251 'Tis Himself
    April 9, 2009

    If you are not paying me the rent which was agreed upon in the rental contract with you were NOT coerced into signing then what you are committing is theft.

    You trying to get me to pay my rent when I refuse to pay it is coercion. Nowhere did I say it wasn’t appropriate for you to be coercive, nowhere did I say that your coercion wasn’t justified. However, don’t try to pretend that your appropriate, justified coercion isn’t coercion.

    Incidentally, it’s the same coercion the government uses to get you to pay taxes. Me not paying you rent is violation of a rental contract. You not paying taxes is violation of the social contract.

    Many libertarians make a big deal of “men with guns” enforcing laws, yet try to overlook the fact that “men with guns” are the basis of enforcement of any complete social system. Even if libertarians reduced all law to “don’t commit fraud or initiate force”, they would still enforce the law with guns.

  252. #252 Stu
    April 9, 2009

    I would prefer for the minimum wage to be about $3 per hour with a living wage paid by the employer that is on a sliding scale. For instance if you earn $3 you get a LW of $9 per hour and if you earn $4 you get a LW of $8.50 per hour.

    If you think $9 is a living wage, you really, really, really, really need to stop talking.

  253. #253 'Tis Himself
    April 9, 2009

    Ben #245

    So you can pay more in property taxes and have it covered or you can pay less and then elect to pay a bit more to be covered. The VFD way gives choice for those that are willing to take the risk. The poor still have to pay their property taxes. If one is so inclined though he could choose to contact the FD and offer to pay more to help cover the poor that cannot pay.

    As I said, in places where the voters want to keep property taxes as low as possible, certain things that would be covered by property taxes elsewhere are paid for with “fees.” The only difference between taxes and fees is that one can opt out of fees and take a risk.

    As for your fictitious benefactor, that’s just another case of looneytarians refusing to live in the real world. Looneytarianism is built on three things: (1) When I’m all grown up I’m going to go to bed whenever I want to AND I’m going to eat candy bars with every meal, so there, nyah; (2) I live in my own little world and nobody can join me unless I want them to; and (3) I’ve got mine, fuck you. You expecting the poor to be helped by some itinerant philanthropist is a good example of (3).

  254. #254 MInarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to Justin @241:

    No, I’m asserting that one interpretation of the facts could cast doubt, and that my personal opinion is that it does.

    And further said that his moral character is below standard. Do you deny saying that?

    No, I’m asserting that one interpretation of the facts could cast doubt, and that my personal opinion is that it does.

    So your personal opinion is that one interpretation of the facts could cast doubt? Does that mean that you DO NOT personally cast doubt on Paul Krugman’s moral character? Just that somebody else could? Or no, you personally cast doubt on Paul Krugman’s moral character?

    Are you weaseling out of your earlier position that

    Forgive me if I think that his moral character is blow standard.

    ?

    So are you going to drop this tired excuse for an argument or do I have to smack you around some more?

    Are you tiring of the argument because you have no where left to hide? You initiated an ad hominem attack on Paul Krugman based on him having a completely legitimate and above-board relationship with a company which was brought down by criminal ements within it who had nothing to do with Paul Krugman. It is as if the child of a murderer is also under suspicion and is culpable (a disgusting notion of collective punishment). And now you are claiming that you never meant it.

    If you are tired you can leave with your tail between your legs. Nobody is coercing you to keep replying :)

  255. #255 nothing's sacred
    April 9, 2009

    Remind me not to take your word. Honour is a concept alien to you.

    What, the invisible hand is not enough, the participants have to be honorable too?

    There you have it, folks, Greenspan’s “flaw in the system”. Guess what happens when some of the participants are honorable and some aren’t? Of course there’s no need to guess; we have examples galore, a consequence of “allowing people to live their lives how they see fit” – at least, those with access to the means to do so. (But, but, everyone’s created equal, aren’t they?)

  256. #256 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Your liberal progressive pay master George Soros made his money in the above fashion.

    Did that hit a tender spot?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Soros#Political_donations_and_activism

    Not a tender spot. Hah! You must be the dumbest fuck on this blog. Nobody likes George Soros. Nobody wants to defend George Soros. He’s an anti-socialist drag on the left. Everything his money touches turns right-wing.

    When I say currency speculators are parasites, I really mean it. Every one of them, him included.

    But you, you fucking hypocrite, as a minarchist you have no room to talk. In your ideology there is absolutely nothing that should stop currency speculation. And “Norman Lamont and Mahathir Mohammed” whoever they are would still have no recourse.

    So you’re a despicable hypocrite, and hilariously stupid for imagining that anyone here is a fan of that capitalist pig.

    Take your ridiculous tut-tutting about behavior you approve of and get the fuck out of here. There’s no room for reasonable discussion with hypocrites like you.

  257. #257 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to Flex @242:

    Is that what you call it? Let’s see, the present administration has set up a cabinet-level task force to help restructure GM and Chrysler, and, in fact has repeatedly refused to authorize funds until they present a workable plan. This over about a total of $25 billion. FWIW, I don’t disagree with the oversight Obama is asking for.
    However, I find it hard to call a loan being handed over reluctantly and with a huge amount of oversight “step motherly treatment”.

    The love for GM is the fact that the President wants GM to survive and is prepared to throw good money after bad. The step motherly treatment to Chrysler is that it is not getting what GM is getting but instead is forced into a marriage (lovesless?) with Fiat because other doesn’t want to care for her anymore :)

    Maybe you have difficulties with your step-mother? But I shouldn’t pry.

    Then why bring it up? Hypocrite.

  258. #258 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “And further said that his moral character is below standard. Do you deny saying that?”

    I said forgive me if I think that his moral character is below standard.

    What part of PERSONAL OPINION is so hard to understand?

    “Are you tiring of the argument because you have no where left to hide? You initiated an ad hominem attack on Paul Krugman based on him having a completely legitimate and above-board relationship with a company which was brought down by criminal ements within it who had nothing to do with Paul Krugman. It is as if the child of a murderer is also under suspicion and is culpable (a disgusting notion of collective punishment). And now you are claiming that you never meant it.”

    Reading comprehension FAIL.

    You don’t know that’s the case and neither do I, in a reasonable court of law yes one must assume that all advice was above the board, but this is the realm of personal opinion. In any case I have already states my reasons to justify my personal opinion, but I will gladly state that I disagree with his opinions for completely different reasons than my suspicions of him (by the way, look up the definition of “ad hominem”, two mistakes with language usage is also shaping my personal opinion of you).

    “If you are tired you can leave with your tail between your legs. Nobody is coercing you to keep replying :)”

    Wow. I guess high levels of self delusion go hand in hand with libertarianism.

  259. #259 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    When it comes to matters of Law each person should get one vote. Why? Because everyone has to obey the Law to the same extent, and everyone deserves the same amount of Justice.

    But in the matters of economy, there is simply no fair way to decide who and how much should contribute.

    Actually, rs, you just answered your own question. The fair way to decide who and how much they should contribute to tax revenue is to vote on it.

    See the Sixteenth Amendment. It is the law that the people can levy income taxes. Voting is fair. Voting on the details of the income tax law is fair.

    Most of the current government expenditures should either be delegetated to the local level, that includes schools and roads, or abolished altogether.

    Did you forget that you’re talking to people who don’t accept your premises? You might as well be saying “Darwin was a meanie, and evolution is wrong, so there!” Very clever argument by assertion.

  260. #260 nothing's sacred
    April 9, 2009

    Then why bring it up?

    I was going to ask if Minarchist is really that stupid, but then I read his other posts. Wow.

  261. #261 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to Flex @244:

    Only that coercion appears in pretty much every transaction I can think of. In one form or another.

    So someone put a gun to your head and made you buy the clothes on your back (example) when you didn’t want to buy them? Or did you go to the shop, ask for the price, maybe haggled over the price, and then when you and the seller settled on a mutually agreeable price point, voluntarily finished the transaction and you walked out with your clothes and the seller got his/her money?

    Just because you think coercion is involved does not make it so.

    I may want to back out of an agreement we made simply because I can no longer afford to meet my obligations to you. What recourse do you have? The only one is a threat of coercion.

    By backing out the agreement you are violating my property right (for example lets say you were supposed to give me some money) and as I have pointed out above it is a legitimate function of government to prevent you from harming my property rights and mine yours. What I don’t have a right to, is to put a gun to your child’s head and demand your compliance.

    Say you sold me a car which needed more work than I thought. Do I have the right to back out? If I don’t have that right, I am being coerced into a transaction I no longer agree with. If I do have that right, then you are being coerced into giving me my money back and taking back the car.

    If the agreement between us spelled out the condition of the car being sold, and the car meets those conditions then you don’t have a leg on despite what you thought how much work the car needed. But if the car sold does not match the conditions in the agreement (say the agreement says the car comes with 4 tires but you get it only with 3) then you have the right to get your money back from me. And the coercion is justified because I violated your property rights by taking your money and not giving you the goods promised.

    Your utopia is only possible if no transactions occur. Or you have to add some level of coercion.

    And I have not denied that. As I said that is why my handle is MINarchist and not ANarchist. I will repeat again, I have no problems with giving govt monopoly over force and coercion to protect you and me from coercion and violation from each other

  262. #262 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    Guys I think Minarchist is having trouble with words and their meanings.

    Should we buy him/her/it a dictionary?

  263. #263 'Tis Himself
    April 9, 2009

    I was going to ask if Minarchist is really that stupid, but then I read his other posts.

    He’s not actually stupid. He’s just blind to reality, like most libertarians.

    That’s not quite fair. Bumper sticker analogies are as poor a method of understanding libertarianism (let alone anything else) as science fiction. Too bad so many libertarians make such heavy use of those methods.

  264. #264 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to Flex @247

    Yes. Guilt works by the threat of withholding love (or losing respect). No force involved. Coercion galore.

    Grow a thick skin so that losing love and respect does not matter to you. There is hardly any force involved.

    Apology accepted for an offence not noticed :)

  265. #265 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    Replying to Stu @248:

    And you will get retribution for that theft through…
    Dude, the loud whooshing sound is the point flying way, way over your head.

    As I have mentioned before it is a legitimate function of govt to protect your property rights from being violated by me and vice versa. So now do you understand how the theft is going to be dealt with?

  266. #266 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    I hate it when those damned guvmint firefighters interfere with my house burning down.

    http://www.magicvalley.com/articles/2007/08/23/news/top_story/119026.txt

    Oh wow, Minarchist. You’re a troll. I thought you were an actual libertarian, but you’re actually a parody troll. From the article:

    Saving million-dollar homes
    Insurance company sends in private fire crew to protect expensive homes

    Yes, the rich are different than the rest of us.

    Thank you for making my point for me, libertrollian. The rich are better than us, blah blah blah. Despicable.

    If a person can’t afford to pay for fire service then how do they pay for the house? I don’t follow your logic. Perhaps you just don’t understand the scenario.

    Ben, did you know that sometimes people have enough money to pay one bill but not another? It sounds unbelievable, I know! But it’s true.

    Even without addressing the fact that there’s no clear line between poor and middle class: Sometimes poor people have a cheap house with a cheap mortgage. Sometimes they’re poor because they had a good job but they lost it. Sometimes they rent from landlords who don’t bother to insure that property because it’s a shithole. Sometimes they rent from landlords who’d prefer that the house burn down so they can build there. Sometimes bills go up but income doesn’t follow. Sometimes someone gets injured and can’t work anymore. Sometimes there are a thousand other mitigating circumstances that you can’t foresee, in these scenarios you clearly do not understand.

    In all those cases, you say, they deserve to have their house burn down. As ever, libertarians despise the poor.

  267. #267 nothing's sacred
    April 9, 2009

    He’s not actually stupid.

    Sorry, naysayer, but for some odd reason I have higher regard for my own judgment than I do of yours, especially since it is based on numerous specific failures of logic on his part, including the one I commented on, so your statement is prima facie false.

  268. #268 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    Replying to Nothing’s sacred @250

    Only by intelligent people. But dictionaries are of use even to fools:
    “coerce: to bring about through the use of force or other forms of compulsion”

    Libertarianism dealing with the relationship between govt and citizen deals with coercion based on force. Government making you feel wretched and guilty? Now that is novel.

  269. #269 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Grow a thick skin so that losing love and respect does not matter to you.

    Went to my libertarian psychologist, told him I thought I might be suffering from depression. He advised, “that’s easy. Don’t feel feelings anymore.”

    Libertarians: some of them don’t just hate the poor; some of them hate you, themselves, and everyone else on Earth.

  270. #270 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    He’s not actually stupid. He’s just blind to reality, like most libertarians.

    If you were talking about Walton, that statement would go largely unchallenged.

    Minarchist is dumb.

  271. #271 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    As to only FEMA being able to give trailers, perhaps. Only FEMA would bother to show up with trailers. That was not the smart move but that was the government move. That is why I said it makes more sense to have government focus on less and be better at it.

    Uh, thousands of people needed those trailers and were very happy for them.

    I’m sure they’d be glad to know you believe they didn’t deserve even a trailer.

    When did you start hating the poor? Was it when you were poor, you hated your situation, and your anger bled over? Or did you start hating the poor after you got out of poverty, as a coping mechanism to deal with your past?

  272. #272 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to ‘Tis Himself @251:

    You trying to get me to pay my rent when I refuse to pay it is coercion. Nowhere did I say it wasn’t appropriate for you to be coercive, nowhere did I say that your coercion wasn’t justified. However, don’t try to pretend that your appropriate, justified coercion isn’t coercion.

    At the risk of repeating myself again it is appropriate for the government to coerce me into not violating your property rights and vice versa. I have never argued the opposite.

    Incidentally, it’s the same coercion the government uses to get you to pay taxes. Me not paying you rent is violation of a rental contract. You not paying taxes is violation of the social contract.

    Aaah the social contract. Lets do a thought experiment:

    Scarlett Johansson (or a woman of your choice) and 100 progressive men (I am assuming the following are straight men): ‘Tis Himself, nothing’s sacred, Flex, “strange gods before me” and others are stranded on a deserted island. After some time the guys get horny and they want to make sweet love to Scarlett. As big believers in progressive democracy they of course put to vote whether Scarlett should spread her legs to them as part of the social contract of the island. Ayes: 100 Noes: 1 (poor Scarlett is all alone).

    Now the question is: Is it OK for the 100 dudes to have sex with Scarlett without her consent? After all by the mores of democracy she lost.

  273. #273 MInarchist
    April 9, 2009

    Replying to Nothing’s sacred @:

    Remind me not to take your word. Honour is a concept alien to you.
    What, the invisible hand is not enough, the participants have to be honorable too?

    Trust and honour are important part of capitalism and free societies. The counter example of Stasi and East Germany comes to mind. Of course punishment is there to weed out the bad apples.

  274. #274 nothing's sacred
    April 9, 2009

    Yes. Guilt works by the threat of withholding love (or losing respect). No force involved. Coercion galore.

    Grow a thick skin so that losing love and respect does not matter to you.

    Here’s a fine example of the above-mentioned stupidity. Repeatedly, minarchist fails to grasp the point being made in context of the thread of debate, here about the existence of forceless coercion. Rather than either concede or refute the point, he simply ignores it and changes the subject. And what does he say instead? That one should grow a thick skin so that … one feels no guilt! This implicitly concedes two points: 1) that his fantasies depend on changing people’s nature and 2) that the idealized personality of the libertarian is amoral, emotionally alienated asshole.

  275. #275 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “Now the question is: Is it OK for the 100 dudes to have sex with Scarlett without her consent? After all by the mores of democracy she lost.”

    You realise that we live in a social democracy right? Where abuses by the will of the majority are curbed through checks and balances?

    No? Carry on in lala land then.

  276. #276 nothing's sacred
    April 9, 2009

    Minarchist@273

    Yet another example of stupidly ignoring the point, this time by snipping it away.

  277. #277 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    There is no minimum wage requirement for illigal immigrant workers, nevertheless they are quite happy to work for what they can get. Enforcing minimum wage laws will put them out of work and make their life worse, not better.

    Notice how the libertarian solution to everything is to race to the bottom. We could improve economic conditions in Central America, or we could demolish workers’ rights in the United States. The libertarian reflex is always the same: race to the bottom, the sooner we get there the sooner we can stop thinking about improving things.

  278. #278 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    Replying to “strange gods before me” @256:

    But you, you fucking hypocrite, as a minarchist you have no room to talk. In your ideology there is absolutely nothing that should stop currency speculation. And “Norman Lamont and Mahathir Mohammed” whoever they are would still have no recourse.

    Thanks for making me laugh. Money backed with a gold standard and non-fiat would not be subject to the currency speculations of the variety run by your paymaster. I know it hurts that your cherished goals can be achieved only by selling them out to one who never lived them. I would also be in a bad mood if I were in your place.

  279. #279 Flex
    April 9, 2009

    Minarchist wrote, “The love for GM is the fact that the President wants GM to survive and is prepared to throw good money after bad. The step motherly treatment to Chrysler is that it is not getting what GM is getting but instead is forced into a marriage (lovesless?) with Fiat because other doesn’t want to care for her anymore :)”

    Hmm, Chrysler made the arrangements with Fiat on their own as part of their recovery plan. Not because of government intervention. I don’t know where you get your information from. Fiat gets access to the American market with limited investment, Chrysler gets to survive.

    I don’t know if you have any idea of the repercussions to the economy world-wide should GM go under. If Chrysler went under it would hurt GM and Ford to some degree because a number of their sub-suppliers would also under. If GM went out of business, it would disrupt the economy of pretty much every industrialized nation and many developing ones. It also would greatly hurt the defense industry.

    Maybe it really is a bad idea that GM has such a global presence, maybe it shouldn’t have been allowed to grow so large that a corporate failure would affect so much of the world. However, that’s not the argument libertarians generally support so I won’t dwell on it.

    As for why GM is failing? The answer isn’t because of poor management. The primary reason that GM and all other automakers, worldwide, are hurting is because people are not buying cars. The collapse of the financial sector has spread, as expected, into the housing and automotive sector first as they are the areas requiring the highest level of investment for a consumer. When consumer purchasing power (or even consumer confidence) drops the housing and automotive markets feel it first. I haven’t looked at the travel sector recently, but I suspect it’s pretty bad too.

    Secondarily, the automotive market is not like the speculative building market. The capital required for entry into the speculative building market is relatively low, it’s primarily the cost of land. The result is a lot of speculative builders. The capital investment in the automotive market is very, very high. This is why there are relatively few automakers. This is also why many countries subsidize their automotive companies, sometimes directly sometimes indirectly with tax credits or other incentives.

    The American automotive market really has too much competition to be healthy. This is bearable in an expansionist period, but as soon as economic contraction occurs, every automaker feels the pinch. Should the American automobile market be more strictly protectionist? I don’t have a good answer to that question, although I believe that protectionism is ultimately a bad idea. We’ve seen it fail historically.

    However, it is clear that some automotive companies in America are either going to pull out, merge, fail, or get support from their government in order to survive. My own analysis is that we need at least one, and maybe two mergers to bring the number of automotive companies in America to a level where the competition doesn’t force them out of business. I’m still hoping for a Toyota-Chrysler merger because I believe both would benefit greatly, as would their offerings to the American consumer.

    From what I see of the strategy of the Auto Czar, it looks like the plan for GM is to slowly shrink GM until a business failure isn’t going to create an economic disaster. Letting it die in a controlled fashion is possible.

    For what it’s worth, I work in the automotive industry. I’m currently unemployed, but I don’t blame the company I worked at for laying me off. I’d rather they hadn’t, it’s going to get rough in a few months if I can’t find a job, but personal isn’t the same as important.

  280. #280 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to nothing’s sacred @276:

    Learning from the master hinself/mistress herself. Any substantive criticism?

  281. #281 nothing's sacred
    April 9, 2009

    As big believers in progressive democracy they of course put to vote whether Scarlett should spread her legs to them as part of the social contract of the island. Ayes: 100 Noes: 1 (poor Scarlett is all alone).

    Hey, you stupid fuck, I do not accept the validity of the vote on Proposition 8, so I obviously do not ascribe to the beliefs you claim I do, so leave me out of your cretinously conceived scenarios.

  282. #282 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Now the question is: Is it OK for the 100 dudes to have sex with Scarlett without her consent? After all by the mores of democracy she lost.

    Oh look, Minarchist is a misogynist too.

    Yes, let’s minimize the atrocity of rape by comparing it to taxation.

  283. #283 nothing's sacred
    April 9, 2009

    Any substantive criticism?

    I GAVE substantive criticism, but you’re too retarded to comprehend it. And because you’re so abysmally stupid, it is pointless for me to try to explain anything to you, which is why I was using the third person previously, which I will return to, except for direct commands that you not portray me as a rapist, you slime.

  284. #284 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to Justin @258:

    You don’t know that’s the case and neither do I, in a reasonable court of law yes one must assume that all advice was above the board, but this is the realm of personal opinion. In any case I have already states my reasons to justify my personal opinion, but I will gladly state that I disagree with his opinions for completely different reasons than my suspicions of him (by the way, look up the definition of “ad hominem”, two mistakes with language usage is also shaping my personal opinion of you).

    I don’t know nor does a random person know if it is the case that you are a serial rapist and murderer of little girls. Does that justify our treatment of you as if you were one?

    You dislike Paul Krugman’s arguments on economics but since you have been unable to refute them you seize upon the fact that he was once paid for legitimate work (any proof it wasnt? Do you understand the concept of presumption of innocence?) for a company which was brought down by swindlers as a reason for besmirching his moral character. What is not ad hominem about it?

  285. #285 strange gods before me
    April 9, 2009

    Money backed with a gold standard and non-fiat

    How about tin, for making hats?

    would not be subject to the currency speculations of the variety run by your paymaster.

    Ah yes, my paymaster. I’ll be cashing the check from George Soros tomorrow.

    Anybody: Why does this moron think he’s clever? Would he be offended if I attacked Rupert Murdoch? I doubt it, so why does he think that every leftist has some secret love for Soros? I know Minarchist has a hardon from reading The International Jew, but doesn’t he realize it’s fiction?

  286. #286 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to nothing’s sacred @260:

    I was going to ask if Minarchist is really that stupid, but then I read his other posts. Wow.

    Seems like the only thing progressives are good at on this blog atleast are name-calling.

  287. #287 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to Justin @262:

    Guys I think Minarchist is having trouble with words and their meanings.
    Should we buy him/her/it a dictionary?

    Maybe you should collect the money and buy yourself a book on rhetoric. Your twisting and turning to avoid being called out on your ad hominem attacks have been inadequate.

  288. #288 John Morales
    April 9, 2009

    Minarchist, “replying to Justin @258″:

    I don’t know nor does a random person know if it is the case that you are a serial rapist and murderer of little girls. Does that justify our treatment of you as if you were one?

    That’s the second creepy hypothetical in a row. Ew.

  289. #289 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    Replying to “strange gods before me” @266:

    Thank you for making my point for me, libertrollian. The rich are better than us, blah blah blah. Despicable.

    Who said that and where?

  290. #290 nothing's sacred
    April 9, 2009

    Oh look, Minarchist is a misogynist too.

    I think he’s just stupid. It seems beyond his comprehension that, in the absence of laws against rape, some people will rape and some won’t. Thus, even if the majority of the population is honorable, laws are still necessary. Not only laws against rape and other sorts of violence, but laws against cheating, which includes unfair use of the commons. Thus laws against pollution, laws for workplace safety, laws against bribery and other nonviolent crimes that undermine the legal system itself … all sorts of laws that go way beyond what minarchist with his minanalysis and mincomprehension and minlogic accepts.

  291. #291 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to nothing’s sacred @:

    especially since it is based on numerous specific failures of logic on his part

    Go ahead and enumerate some?

  292. #292 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “I don’t know nor does a random person know if it is the case that you are a serial rapist and murderer of little girls. Does that justify our treatment of you as if you were one?”

    I never “treated” him like anything since I HAD NO CONTACT WITH THE MAN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Once again, you fail at basic concepts. Maybe this isn’t the best forum to display your ignorance?

    “…(any proof it wasnt? Do you understand the concept of presumption of innocence?)…”

    Once again, my personal opinion does not need to apply to the standards of a court of law. I’ve already explained this to you. Another failure on your part.

    You dislike Paul Krugman’s arguments on economics but since you have been unable to refute them you seize upon the fact that he was once paid for legitimate work… /…for a company which was brought down by swindlers as a reason for besmirching his moral character. What is not ad hominem about it?”

    Because the definition of ad hominem is this:

    An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: “argument to the man”, “argument against the man”) consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the source making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim.

    And, as I told you in my last reply to your idiocy;

    …I will gladly state that I disagree with his opinions for completely different reasons than my suspicions of him.

    Did you even ask me WHY I didn’t agree with his arguments? No what you did was jump on me for stating my personal opinion of his character.

    I never said that we should throw out his arguments because he was seedy.

    EPIC FAIL!

  293. #293 nothing's sacred
    April 9, 2009

    … the only thing … atleast …

    I rest my case.

  294. #294 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    Replying to “strange gods before me” @269:

    Went to my libertarian psychologist, told him I thought I might be suffering from depression. He advised, “that’s easy. Don’t feel feelings anymore.”

    Cool. Your problems solved in one session. He did save you a bunch of money (on health insurance, sorry couldn’t resist :))

  295. #295 Flex
    April 9, 2009

    Let’s update for a moment.

    Minarchist wrote the following above about requirements for his utopia:

    The libertarian utopia is where:
    1. Everybody lets everybody else mind their own business
    2. All interactions are completely voluntary with NO element of coercion.

    Based on his later comments we need to re-write #2 as:

    2. All interactions are voluntary with perfect knowledge between all the stakeholders involved in the interaction and these agreements are protected by the government who may use physical force to ensure all contracts entered into this manner are binding.

    Strange, it sounds pretty close to what we have today. Aside from the perfect knowledge bit. Even taxes fall into it. You have knowledge of the amount of taxes which will be collected from you. You even can find out what goods and services they will get you. And by living in an area which collects those taxes to provide those services you agree to the interaction. Don’t like the city tax, move out of the city. Don’t like the state tax, move to Alaska. Don’t like the federal tax, well, leave the country.

    Seems like a very voluntary interaction which you have agreed to by living here, and enforced, as you admitted, by the government.

    Or are you still mad that your parents didn’t ask you if you wanted to be born? Maybe you aren’t, but that appears to be the same form of argument most anti-tax people finally boil down to. It’s a shout of, ‘They never asked me if I wanted to be taxed!’

  296. #296 nothing's sacred
    April 9, 2009

    That’s the second creepy hypothetical in a row. Ew.

    Maybe sgbm is right. Minarchist does seem to be fixated on violence toward women.

  297. #297 Minarchist
    April 9, 2009

    replying to “strange gods before me” @271:

    Uh, thousands of people needed those trailers and were very happy for them.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FEMA_trailer#Health_problems

    There have been accusations of health problems caused by high formaldehyde levels in the trailers,[9] produced by formaldehyde emissions from manufactured materials used in construction of the trailers. Residents have reported breathing difficulties, persistent flu-like symptoms, eye irritation, and nosebleeds

    Great job government. If only we can get rid of the poor people faster :)

  298. #298 Justin
    April 9, 2009

    “Maybe you should collect the money and buy yourself a book on rhetoric. Your twisting and turning to avoid being called out on your ad hominem attacks have been inadequate.”

    The fact that you can’t understand what I’m talking about doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m the one with the problem, especially if everyone else can understand me.

    Hopefully that’s the case…

  299. #299 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Again, because of right-wing interference with FEMA. See Thomas Frank.

    Still having a shitty trailer is better than being homeless, which was the alternative. Proof? Anyone who wants to be homeless can abandon their FEMA trailer at any time.

  300. #300 MInarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to nothing’s sacred @274:

    Repeatedly, minarchist fails to grasp the point being made in context of the thread of debate, here about the existence of forceless coercion. Rather than either concede or refute the point, he simply ignores it and changes the subject. And what does he say instead? That one should grow a thick skin so that … one feels no guilt! This implicitly concedes two points: 1) that his fantasies depend on changing people’s nature and 2) that the idealized personality of the libertarian is amoral, emotionally alienated asshole.

    What you fail to grasp is that the coercive relationship between government and citizen is based only on force and not on some other emotion like guilt. And as a libertarian I have kept myself concerned only with that since only govt has the legal monopoly on force. Now if you have personal issues with guilt that is outside the scope of the discussion.

  301. #301 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    It’s a shout of, ‘They never asked me if I wanted to be taxed!’

    The poor dears. Unlike those emaciated African children with the flies all over them, who picked that from a long list of choices.

  302. #302 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to Justin @275:

    You realise that we live in a social democracy right? Where abuses by the will of the majority are curbed through checks and balances?

    Finally somebody has got the point. The tyranny of the majority is no different from the tyranny of a dictator. That is why the building point of democracy is respect for inviolable individual rights.

  303. #303 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “Finally somebody has got the point. The tyranny of the majority is no different from the tyranny of a dictator. That is why the building point of democracy is respect for inviolable individual rights.”

    So wouldn’t the solution be MORE checks and balances to protect individual freedoms instead of LESS?

  304. #304 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    minarchist @ 300 yet again demonstrates the very thing I criticized him for, and on top of that expresses his minimal understanding of the actual functioning of government and society.

  305. #305 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to “strange gods before me” @277:

    We could improve economic conditions in Central America, or we could demolish workers’ rights in the United States.

    Is the life of a Central American worth less than that of a worker in the US? Your progressivism implies so. As I said above “racism and progressivism are closet bedfellows”.

  306. #306 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Finally somebody has got the point. The tyranny of the majority is no different from the tyranny of a dictator. That is why the building point of democracy is respect for inviolable individual rights.

    Zomg, Sixteenth Amendment is unconstitutional!!!

    Go back to your cave.

  307. #307 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “Zomg, Sixteenth Amendment is unconstitutional!!!’

    I live in Canada, what’s the Sixteenth Amendment eh?

  308. #308 Ben
    April 10, 2009

    They needed housing and not those trailers. You obviously did not experience those trailers. They were not fit for people to live in due to the chemical storage and they were placed in bad locations. The government responded by throwing stuff in the area and not ensure that people had what they needed. I never said that the people didn’t deserve a trailer or anything else. You keep attacking what you think it means to be a libertarian.

    I don’t hate the poor. I volunteer my time building biodigesters so that poor farmers will have methane gas available for cooking and heating. I love the poor and work to actually help the poor. I just don’t the government to take away from me and waste the money on programs that don’t actually help the poor. We have a fundamental disagreement on the role of government but that doesn’t mean I hate anyone.

    It is possible to not be able to pay a bill but if you choose to not pay for fire protection then why then expect it. If you had not paid your tax there would have been a lien and you would have then lost the house. I have lost jobs. I have had to make great changes in my lifestyle. That happens. I went from being an active duty military member to being some unemployed bum with a with and newborn just because of some bad moves in Afghanistan. I had no income for a year but we figured it out. I am not saying that everyone else would be so lucky but don’t presume that I don’t know what it is like to lose in the game of life.

    I never said that they deserve to have their house burn. In some scenarios that you gave they were renters which is very different. If I choose to stop paying my life insurance that doesn’t mean I would expect to have it pay anyway if I died. You make choices. Sometimes the situation will change but you still have a choice on how you react.

    I know in my community we have banded together and ensured that our neighbors don’t go under. That is how society should be. People should give freely and take care of each other and not use the tyranny of the mob to force it. That turn what would be a gift into simply stolen goods to use the analogy that some posters seem to use above.

    Sadly it seems that people are not trying to explain why they hold the view or find it lacking and instead a posting on strawmen and what they think the other side is saying. Perhaps it is just the blog format that prevents a debate without attacks.

    Good night all.

  309. #309 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009
    We could improve economic conditions in Central America, or we could demolish workers’ rights in the United States.

    Is the life of a Central American worth less than that of a worker in the US? Your progressivism implies so. As I said above “racism and progressivism are closet bedfellows”.

    Since in the quote you just provided, I’m advocating for raising Central American standards to our own, your objection makes no sense. There’s clearly no racism there.

    You aren’t even thinking. You just see “progressive” and start vomiting, “George Soros! Rape! Maobama! Racist!”

    I would not be surprised to find that you are a racist, though. Your weird obsession with Soros probably correlates with anti-Semitism.

  310. #310 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    So wouldn’t the solution be MORE checks and balances to protect individual freedoms instead of LESS?

    First, it might be useful to be able to distinguish between freedoms and rights, and among different freedoms. For instance, it will not do to lump the right not to be raped with the freedom to rape, or the right not to breath polluted air with the freedom to pollute air. But libertarians seem not only incapable of making such distinctions, but they embed the conflation into their “principles”.

  311. #311 Flex
    April 10, 2009

    Minarchist wrote: “only govt has the legal monopoly on force”

    Hahahahaah

    Who else would you give it to?

    Mafia boses?
    The Unabomber?
    Anyone with a gun?

    There is a reason the government has a monopoly on force.

    We, as a society have granted our government a monopoly on the legal use of force for general purposes because we, as a society, prefer stability over the certainty of warring gangs. If it becomes necessary to wrest force from the government, we can do so. In other words; we have loaned the government, not one man, the legal use of force for as long as we, as a society agree with the policies of the government. Since the government, and the armed forces, are comprised of citizens who should also be aware of the nature of this loan, should it become necessary for the citizens to recall the loan it will be possible to do so. I feel the contingency is remote.

    If you feel that this granting of the government the sole legal use of force impacts on your activities, you are welcome to take the case to the courts. As mentioned above, courts are in place to prevent the majority to impose their will on the minority in a social democracy.

    Better come up with some better arguments than you have used here though before you plead your case of discrimination over the right to use force to a judge.

  312. #312 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    your objection makes no sense

    Not surprising given that he’s so … you know.

  313. #313 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “First, it might be useful to be able to distinguish between freedoms and rights, and among different freedoms. For instance, it will not do to lump the right not to be raped with the freedom to rape, or the right not to breath polluted air with the freedom to pollute air. But libertarians seem not only incapable of making such distinctions, but they embed the conflation into their “principles”.”

    One of the major tenets that define law is the adage “the right to swing your fist stops at my nose”. This applies to a lot of other areas, like pollution, or rape, or second hand smoke.

    But it seems libertarians never got that. Why is that?

  314. #314 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    Replying to Flex @:

    I don’t know if you have any idea of the repercussions to the economy world-wide should GM go under. If Chrysler went under it would hurt GM and Ford to some degree because a number of their sub-suppliers would also under. If GM went out of business, it would disrupt the economy of pretty much every industrialized nation and many developing ones. It also would greatly hurt the defense industry.

    As for why GM is failing? The answer isn’t because of poor management. The primary reason that GM and all other automakers, worldwide, are hurting is because people are not buying cars

    About the repercussions to the world wide economy of GM going down if GM is allowed to go bust the next day, sure the situation can be bad, but a controlled demolition like Chapter 11 bankruptcy can help in salvaging a part of GM which can continue competitively. The current situation of the company continuing as it is without the pain of bankruptcy to make it leaner and stronger would lead to more systemic risks in the future.

    GM is failing because of poor management. Agreed all automobile companies are suffering now because of the credit crunch, but why is it that GM and Chrysler suffering worse than others? Poor management, which did not keep cash reserves, failure to see changes in customer taste, cutting costs by reducing the quality of vehicles thus indelibly staining the marque name and many other sins.

    I am sorry you have lost your job and I wish you the best of luck.

  315. #315 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “I am sorry you have lost your job and I wish you the best of luck.”

    But don’t expect him to lift one finger or spend one penny to help you out you hear?

  316. #316 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to nothing’s sacred @281:

    Hey, you stupid fuck, I do not accept the validity of the vote on Proposition 8, so I obviously do not ascribe to the beliefs you claim I do, so leave me out of your cretinously conceived scenarios.

    I knew I was forgetting something. Thanks for reminding me about Prop 8, a far safer example to use. But isn’t that an inconsistency in your position? You don’t have a problem stripping people of the property rights in the form of taxes when done by a majority but you do have a problem with stripping the property rights of people (property of their body and what they want to do with it) when it comes to marriage.

  317. #317 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    The government responded by throwing stuff in the area and not ensure that people had what they needed. I never said that the people didn’t deserve a trailer or anything else. You keep attacking what you think it means to be a libertarian.

    Ah, so the government would have ensured that the people has what they needed under libertarianism?

    I love the poor and work to actually help the poor. I just don’t the government to take away from me and waste the money on programs that don’t actually help the poor.

    Sure, there are libertarians who don’t despise the poor. But intelligent, intellectually honest ones who have a realistic view of taxation and its consequences and don’t childishly whine about how the government is so darn mean to them? Not so much.

  318. #318 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to “strange gods before me” @282:

    Yes, let’s minimize the atrocity of rape by comparing it to taxation.

    High levels of taxation are of the same kind atrocity. The difference is in degree.

  319. #319 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “You don’t have a problem stripping people of the property rights in the form of taxes…”

    Taxes pay for civilization, banning gay marriage is just bigotry.

  320. #320 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    They needed housing and not those trailers.

    Sure, I don’t disagree. But that means a larger FEMA mandate, not a smaller one.

    I don’t hate the poor.

    From all that you’re saying, it’s impossible to tell the difference between you and someone who hates the poor. You sure act like you hate them. Right now they have mandated protection from the public fire department, and you want to take that away.

    I just don’t the government to take away from me and waste the money on programs that don’t actually help the poor.

    Oh, right, fire departments don’t work. Food assistance doesn’t help feed anyone. Children’s health care doesn’t save lives. Asshole.

    You’re an ideological moron, and your weird obsession with taxation is more important to you than other people’s lives.

    It is possible to not be able to pay a bill but if you choose to not pay for fire protection then why then expect it.

    All this comes from your assumption that we should take away fire department protection from people who do not pay. I am happy to pay my part toward fire protection for my whole neighborhood. No one deserves to have their house burn down.

    I never said that they deserve to have their house burn.

    Yes you did. You said if you can’t afford to pay fees to the fire department then you don’t deserve any expectation of assistance. People who do not hate the poor disagree with you.

    People should give freely and take care of each other and not use the tyranny of the mob to force it.

    People who do not pay their fair share toward the community’s funds for assistance are leaving their burden to others. We do have the right to make them pay their fair share.

    That turn what would be a gift into simply stolen goods to use the analogy that some posters seem to use above.

    Wrong. Like I said, “you can be comfortable knowing that your fellow citizens truly care precisely because we do not vote to get rid of welfare. We do care enough to provide a support system, but most of us want that support system to be transparent and accountable to our vote through our elected representatives. Charities do not offer that.”

    Perhaps you think people should feel guilty for needing public assistance. You are wrong.

  321. #321 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “High levels of taxation are of the same kind atrocity.”

    That sound? The remaining (very little) credibility you just had being blown away like the atmosphere of a planet when it’s sun has gone nova.

    Good job!

  322. #322 MInarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to nothing’s sacred @283:

    I GAVE substantive criticism, but you’re too retarded to comprehend it. And because you’re so abysmally stupid, it is pointless for me to try to explain anything to you, which is why I was using the third person previously, which I will return to, except for direct commands that you not portray me as a rapist, you slime.

    Oh please. You have no substantive criticism regarding my position and are reduced to ranting and name calling. And you may not be a rapist but you definitely are of the class of a rape-enabler. Sorry if the truth hurts.

  323. #323 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Yes, definitely a misogynist:

    High levels of taxation are of the same kind atrocity [as rape]. The difference is in degree.

    Thanks for this brilliant quote. I suspected that you despise women, and this proves it.

    It’s still a good bet that you despise Jews and probably people of color.

    Let’s see if you despise gay people too. Should government be able to mandate anti-discrimination in hiring practices, or should homophobic bosses be allowed to fire people for being gay?

  324. #324 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to “strange god before me” @285:

    I know Minarchist has a hardon from reading The International Jew, but doesn’t he realize it’s fiction?

    285 posts until Godwin!!

  325. #325 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    But it seems libertarians never got that. Why is that?

    Because that have minimally functioning brains that can’t conceive of coercion that isn’t physical force. And because your adage is too specific and is insufficient: peoples’ freedoms conflict in all sorts of ways. Thus, as I said, it’s necessary to discriminate, and sometimes on a case-by-case basis. That’s why there are legislatures — something way beyond the simplistic thinking of the libertarian model.

    And then there’s the fixation on material accumulation and the elevation of “property rights” to the highest good; see the nonsense of #316, a severe case of failure to discriminate (not in the sense of bigotry).

  326. #326 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to John Morales @288:

    That’s the second creepy hypothetical in a row. Ew.

    Well shock has some value. It can jar people out of their cosy way of thinking. But I agree with you. A less inflammable route would have been prop 8 and california. I can only plead forgetfulness.

  327. #327 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “And then there’s the fixation on material accumulation and the elevation of “property rights” to the highest good; see the nonsense of #316, a severe case of failure to discriminate (not in the sense of bigotry).”

    That’s sad. Don’t they realise that “property rights” are just things and don’t have any real meaning other than the ones we assign them?

    Can they not differentiate between a thing and a person? People are the ones that should matter most, isn’t that why we build societies?

  328. #328 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    Let’s see if you despise gay people too. Should government be able to mandate anti-discrimination in hiring practices, or should homophobic bosses be allowed to fire people for being gay?

    I think he despises answering questions that pose a challenge to his position most of all.

  329. #329 MInarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to Nothing’s sacred @290:

    It seems beyond his comprehension that, in the absence of laws against rape, some people will rape and some won’t. Thus, even if the majority of the population is honorable, laws are still necessary.

    And I agree with it. That is why as I have repeated time and time again, Minarchy and Anarchy. As for the tragedy of the commons there is a far better way of solving that than making arbitrary laws with no respect to property rights, a process which is corrupted by lobbying and bribery.

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

  330. #330 John Morales
    April 10, 2009

    Minarchist @326, OK.

  331. #331 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    People are the ones that should matter most

    Libertarians seem deeply concerned about the well-being of the rich, and of course about themselves.

  332. #332 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    Haha I’m sorry I meant ALL people (not just the ones with money and or delusions of grandeur)!

  333. #333 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    285 posts until Godwin!!

    Henry Ford is not Adolf Hitler.

    Your particular single-minded focus on George Soros is unusual to say the least.

    Pointing out that you sound like an anti-Semite is quite reasonable. It’s the most parsimonious explanation for your obsession.

  334. #334 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Given the topic of The International Jew, it’s notable that when I say “currency speculators,” the first person who pops into your head is a liberal Hungarian Jew.

    Sorry if I’m not persuaded that it’s mere coincidence.

  335. #335 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to Justin @292:

    I never “treated” him like anything since I HAD NO CONTACT WITH THE MAN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.

    Justin @209:

    Yeah! How dare those peons claim that they’re working backbreaking hours for pennies a day! At least they have a job! Ungrateful slimes!
    Seriously, are you that deluded to think that people deserve to be treated like crap so long as they’re working?

    This comment makes sense if you go back to #206

    Justin @212:

    “So you are calling Paul Krugman deluded?”

    Hell yes.

    And now you say

    I never said that we should throw out his arguments because he was seedy.

    Then why did you write post #213:

    From wiki:

    Krugman was one of many economists to serve as a consultant for an advisory board for Enron; he did this in 1999, being paid $37,500[59] before New York Times rules required him to resign when he accepted an offer to be an op-ed columnist in the fall of 1999. He stated later the consulting was to offer “Enron executives briefings on economic and political issues,” and that it had required him to “spend four days in Houston.”[59]

    Huh imagine that. Forgive me if I think that his moral character is blow standard.

    Why did you bring up his moral character?

    As you so helpfully provided the definition of Ad hominem:

    An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: “argument to the man”, “argument against the man”) consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the source making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim.

    Your twisting and turning is hilarious :)

  336. #336 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

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

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coase_theorem#Criticism

    Ronald Coase himself asserts that it would be unrealistic to assume there were no costs in the conduction of market transactions, and that these costs are “often extremely costly, sufficiently costly at any rate to prevent many transactions that would be carried out in a world in which the pricing system worked without cost.” (Coase, 1960 – first paragraph of section VI.) On the other hand this isn’t really a criticism of the theorem itself, since the theorem considers only those situations in which there are no transaction costs. (At least, this is how Coase described the theorem during a 1997 interview [1]). Instead, it is a criticism of applications of the theorem that neglect this crucial assumption.

    Another strain of criticism often points out other problems often associated with public goods which manifest in coasean bargainings. In many cases of externalities, the bargaining doesn’t happen between two economic factors, but instead the parties might be a single large factory versus a thousand landowners nearby. In such situations, say the critics, not only do transaction costs rise extraordinarily high, but bargaining is hindered by basic prisoner’s dilemma problems. For instance property rights might say the landowners must pay the factory to stop polluting, certain landowners might downplay the harm of pollution on them, trying to free ride on the other landowners’ wallets.

  337. #337 abelian jeff
    April 10, 2009

    Minarchist asked a question a few posts up whose answers I would be interested in seeing. He said:

    “Thanks for reminding me about Prop 8, a far safer example to use. But isn’t that an inconsistency in your position? You don’t have a problem stripping people of the property rights in the form of taxes when done by a majority but you do have a problem with stripping the property rights of people (property of their body and what they want to do with it) when it comes to marriage.”

    I’m not crazy about the wording of this question (e.g. calling marriage a property right of one’s body), but the essence is clear. Like I said before, I’m very interested in how some of you would answer this.

  338. #338 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    Haha I’m sorry I meant ALL people (not just the ones with money and or delusions of grandeur)!

    I know you did. :-)

  339. #339 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to nothing’s sacred @293:

    … the only thing … atleast …
    I rest my case.

    Your desperation is palpable :) Do the commas help you to comprehend?

    Seems like the only thing progressives are good at, on this blog atleast, are name-calling.

  340. #340 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    This:

    Yeah! How dare those peons claim that they’re working backbreaking hours for pennies a day! At least they have a job! Ungrateful slimes! Seriously, are you that deluded to think that people deserve to be treated like crap so long as they’re working?

    …Was sarcasm mocking YOUR position. Dumbass.

    “So you are calling Paul Krugman deluded?”

    Hell yes.

    And now you say

    I never said that we should throw out his arguments because he was seedy.

    Are you sure English is your main language? Because me calling him deluded is again a personal opinion,in no way implies seediness, or implies that we should discard his arguments because of said seediness. Seriously man, comprehension please!

    “Why did you bring up his moral character?”

    Again, and you seem to be having trouble with this;

    My personal opinion of the man has no bearing on the arguments pertaining to him, I brought it up because I wanted everyone to know what my opinion was. Was it relevant? That’s debatable. Are you a moron? That’s a certainty.

    “Your twisting and turning is hilarious :)”

    Keep stretching sweetheart, those straws are almost in your grasp!

  341. #341 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    285 posts until Godwin!!

    Henry Ford is not Adolf Hitler.

    Godwin’s Law is a tautology that simply says that, the longer a thread, the more likely it is that Hitler is mentioned. There’s a similar law for Henry Ford, but the convergence speed is generally much lower (this thread being an outlier).

  342. #342 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    No problem, abelian jeff. Minarchist is a hypocrite, past the point of deserving honest discussion. But you’re entitled to an answer.

    I’ll quote other libertarians here to start, pgpwnit and Walton, who are not so stupid as the troll:

    We live in a society and we all benefit if that society is healthy, so whether it’s ‘right’ or not is irrelevant. This is not a moral play. What matters is will society benefit from these actions (Schooling, public services, welfare, bailouts).

    Ideally, there should be no taxes; but we all know that wouldn’t be realistic. A society in which there was a large mob of starving people, desperate for food, would not be a stable one.

    In a sense, private welfare has a public good dimension; that is, I benefit, indirectly, if the country I live in is not full of starving, uneducated, violent poor people who want to rob me and steal my food. But because this benefit (of living in a country with a welfare infrastructure) is non-rivalrous and non-excludable, I have no reason to pay for it myself if I don’t have to. Thus, there is a rationale for providing basic welfare services at taxpayer expense; because they don’t just benefit the person who receives them.

    Now, what if the things the fundamentalists said about gay people were true? What if we were all rapists? What if we were an epidemic waiting to happen? What if we could not raise healthy children? What if there really were a god who would destroy America for legalizing gay marriage? These consequences might give hetero people a legitimate right to protect themselves from gay people. Of course, there are no such consequences in reality, so there is no justification for such laws.

    On the other hand there are genuine dangerous consequences of not having a basic welfare system supported by taxation, well documented by comparing nations with differing levels of welfare. If there were no such consequences, then taxation would lose that justification (though there may be others, see Edward Lark’s comments for instance). But since the consequences are real, and a danger to all of us, we have a legitimate right to collect taxes to mitigate the danger.

  343. #343 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    Like I said before, I’m very interested in how some of you would answer this.

    The taking by society of a portion of monetary wealth, which has relative worth and is accumulated via one’s interactions with that society, which includes disparities of … inheritance, access to means, luck, one’s willingness to act honorably … is nothing at all like discrimination based on sexual preference. No one who would equate these has a shred of honor/integrity/intellectual honesty, and anyone who seriously wonders how they are different is just plain stupid.

  344. #344 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    I think I answered the question already. Taxes pay for civilization. Restricting the actions of an individual based on sexual preference is bigotry.

  345. #345 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    Seems like the only thing progressives are good at, on this blog atleast, are name-calling.

    The min* troll is good at a little bit more than hyperbole, hypocrisy, and demonstrating immense intellectual dishonesty, but not much.

  346. #346 abelian jeff
    April 10, 2009

    Thanks, strange gods, for answering the question. And sacred, thanks for answering the question, though I can’t tell if that “just plain stupid” part was directed at me or at Minarchist (or both).

  347. #347 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to Flex @295:

    2. All interactions are voluntary with perfect knowledge between all the stakeholders involved in the interaction and these agreements are protected by the government who may use physical force to ensure all contracts entered into this manner are binding.

    I more or less agree with you though “perfect” knowledge maybe too strong. Less than “perfect” knowledge can be just as useful

    Strange, it sounds pretty close to what we have today. Aside from the perfect knowledge bit. Even taxes fall into it. You have knowledge of the amount of taxes which will be collected from you. You even can find out what goods and services they will get you. And by living in an area which collects those taxes to provide those services you agree to the interaction.

    As I have said before I have no problems with a minimal government and to pay the taxes to maintain it. But what about paying taxes for wasteful spending e.g. Ag subsidies, Bridges to Nowhere, Useless wars such as the one in Iraq, bailouts?

    Don’t like the city tax, move out of the city. Don’t like the state tax, move to Alaska. Don’t like the federal tax, well, leave the country.

    Hmm, very interesting. Some hypothetical scenarios:

    Flex to Gays and Lesbians in California: Don’t like Prop 8? Go to another state
    Flex to suffragettes: Don’t like the fact that you cannot vote? Leave the country, go to New Zealand!
    Flex to African-Americans: Don’t like white supremacy? Go back to Africa.

    Two can play at this game.

  348. #348 John Morales
    April 10, 2009

    Taxes.

    Well, the way I see it, taxes being necessary, what’s my quality of life like after tax?
    Because quality of life is what I want to maximise, regardless of the required tax rate.

    After the neccesities of life are accounted for, liberty, equality, leisure time, amenities and opportunity for me weigh at least as much as disposable income.

  349. #349 MInarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to Justin @303:

    So wouldn’t the solution be MORE checks and balances to protect individual freedoms instead of LESS?

    The solution is a smaller government dedicated to protecting individual rights and freedoms and the enforcement of contracts voluntarily entered into. Confiscatory taxes do not come into the picture.

  350. #350 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “The solution is a smaller government dedicated to protecting individual rights and freedoms and the enforcement of contracts voluntarily entered into. Confiscatory taxes do not come into the picture.”

    Uh how exactly is the government going to afford to enforce anything if they can’t collect taxes?

  351. #351 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    the essence is clear

    The immense stupidity is clear. Prop 8 has nothing to do with what people want to do with their bodies — marriage is not sex. Prop 8 is about a limitation on state action in regard to certain persons.

    And bodies are not property. And society puts all sorts of varying restrictions on both property and the use of one’s body; to point out that I approve of one thing and disapprove of another thing does not indicate an inconsistency just because minbrain tries to equate everything by labeling it “property right”. I mean really, is anyone really that dense as to not understand something so obvious?

  352. #352 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    But what about paying taxes for wasteful spending e.g. Ag subsidies, Bridges to Nowhere, Useless wars such as the one in Iraq, bailouts?

    me over 200 comments ago:

    If you really can’t stand the Democrats, then whatever few decent things that the Libertarian Party stands for, the Green Party does also. But without that fuck-the-poor icing on top.

    Boring troll is booooooooooring. How do I set this browser on autopilot?

  353. #353 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to “strange gods before me” @306:

    Zomg, Sixteenth Amendment is unconstitutional!!!
    Go back to your cave.

    Zomg, Eighteenth Amendment is unconstitutional!!!. Oh wait it WAS repealed by the Twenty-first :) Individual liberty rules!!

    Go back to your cave.

  354. #354 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Zomg, Eighteenth Amendment is unconstitutional!!!

    Still the dumbest fucker on this thread.

    The Eighteenth Amendment was constitutional. All constitutional amendments are by definition constitutional. Its repeal was also constitutional.

    Just fuck off now. You are making everyone hate libertarians even more than we did before.

  355. #355 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to “strange gods are before me” @352:

    If you really can’t stand the Democrats, then whatever few decent things that the Libertarian Party stands for, the Green Party does also. But without that fuck-the-poor icing on top.

    My conjecture was right. You are a Greenie. You are one of those who would rather that Africans, Indians, Chinese are other poor people of the world are trapped forever in poverty and starvation.

    Are you by any chance in this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSEaHyzbqTA
    :)

  356. #356 abelian jeff
    April 10, 2009

    @351 (nothing’s sacred)

    The question wasn’t really about Proposition 8. It was about where one draws the line on the majority’s and the government’s right to impose their will on individuals. Approving of one thing and disapproving of another thing is fine, and may very well be consistent, and again, I don’t agree with Minarchist’s labeling of marriage as some sort of property right. Maybe the essence wasn’t so clear; perhaps the question in my head was very different from the one Minarchist posed. Oh well.

    And yes, there are dense people who do not understand obvious things. Half of PZ’s posts are on just such people…

    Anyway, it’s much too late here on the east coast for me to participate anymore in this thread, so thanks to everyone who answered my question. I was just curious. Good night.

  357. #357 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “My conjecture was right. You are a Greenie. You are one of those who would rather that Africans, Indians, Chinese are other poor people of the world are trapped forever in poverty and starvation.”

    ZOMG!! Kyoto is a S0cialiest plotz@!!11!

    I agree with everyone else. Back to your cave.

  358. #358 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    My conjecture was right. You are a Greenie. You are one of those who would rather that Africans, Indians, Chinese are other poor people of the world are trapped forever in poverty and starvation.

    You are of course out of your mind. The Green Party exists in all those countries, and everywhere favors decentralized rule: Africans decide for Africa, Indians decide for India, Chinese decide for China.

  359. #359 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    I can’t tell if that “just plain stupid” part was directed at me or at Minarchist (or both).

    Saying “anyone who X is just plain stupid” is directed at people who X.

  360. #360 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Why does the boring, anti-Semitic, hypocritical, misogynistic, plutocrat apologist think his time is well spent here?

    And is he another anthropogenic global warming denialist? Another right-winger who hates science?

    I guess there’s one benefit of having Minarchist here. He demonstrates that libertarianism is primarily about siding with the rich, against the rest of us, in class warfare. The more articulate ones have carefully developed memes to obscure this fact. Minarchist can’t help but revel in it.

    I’m going to take a break until more intelligent libertarians come around.

  361. #361 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    I’m going to bed, nice debating against idiocy with y’all!

  362. #362 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to “strange gods before me” @309:

    Since in the quote you just provided, I’m advocating for raising Central American standards to our own, your objection makes no sense. There’s clearly no racism there.

    And how do you propose doing that? Taxing Americans more and helidropping the proceeds on the grateful Central Americans like the successful aid program in Africa? You should read some more about Dambisa Moyo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dambisa_Moyo

    The best way to help poorer nations is to trade with them. And what has your party (I am assuming Green but you could be a far left Dem) done?

    1. Stopped the Mexican trucks from travelling into the US to save jobs of Teamster Union members while taking away the livelihood of Mexican truckers?
    2. DR-CAFTA was passed by a party line vote in Congress with most of Democrats opposing it.
    3. Colombia FTA in limbo
    4. Vilification of the outsourcing of service jobs to India

    You claim to safeguard jobs in the US but only at the cost of poorer folk in Central America and India. And you say you care more about the poor and are not racist? Ha.

    Maobama

    Thats funny :)

    Your weird obsession with Soros probably correlates with anti-Semitism.

    I confess I did not understand the reference, so I had to look at his wikipedia biography more closely to find out that he is Jewish. Unfortunately for you my opposition to him is based more on his politics than his heritage.

  363. #363 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    The question wasn’t really about Proposition 8.

    No one said it was.

    It was about where one draws the line on the majority’s and the government’s right to impose their will on individuals.

    No, it was a question about whether I was being inconsistent, based on an incredibly boneheaded and intellectually dishonest characterization that conflated Prop 8 and taxation in a ludicrous way.

    As for a “line”, see the conversation above about fists and noses, and my comments about conflicting rights and legislatures. You can’t draw a single line when the issues are as deeply different as taxation and gay marriage.

    perhaps the question in my head was very different from the one Minarchist posed.

    Gee, ya think? I suggest next time asking what it is you really want to know, rather than repeating an absurd question whose framing you yourself don’t accept, offered by someone incredibly dishonorable and muddleheaded.

    And yes, there are dense people who do not understand obvious things. Half of PZ’s posts are on just such people…

    That’s not the universe I was addressing, and my question was somewhat rhetorical.

    Good night.

    Sleep tight.

  364. #364 MInarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to “nothing’s sacred” @310:

    First, it might be useful to be able to distinguish between freedoms and rights, and among different freedoms. For instance, it will not do to lump the right not to be raped with the freedom to rape, or the right not to breath polluted air with the freedom to pollute air. But libertarians seem not only incapable of making such distinctions, but they embed the conflation into their “principles”.

    I agree with you

    1. Freedom from rape !=> Freedom to rape (!=> means does not imply)
    A person’s body is their property with them having sovereign right of what they want to do with it. Rape violates that.

    As Justin puts quite correctly in post #313:

    One of the major tenets that define law is the adage “the right to swing your fist stops at my nose”. This applies to a lot of other areas, like pollution, or rape, or second hand smoke.

    2. Right not to breath polluted air !=> freedom to pollute air

    And thats why I support taxes to internalize such an externality (Cap and Trade has too much scope for corruption)

    See I am not against all taxes. Just the stupid ones :)

  365. #365 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to Flex @311:

    Better come up with some better arguments than you have used here though before you plead your case of discrimination over the right to use force to a judge.

    And where have I said that the government should not have a monopoly on force? I have said from the very beginning that government should have a monopoly on force and I have also said that I have no problems paying taxes for such a government limited to protecting individual rights and enforcing contracts. There is a reason I chose the name Minarchist and not Anarchist.

    I guess you haven’t understood my position.

  366. #366 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to Justin @315:

    But don’t expect him to lift one finger or spend one penny to help you out you hear?

    If I was an entrepreneur and if Flex was a good candidate for my company I would hire him
    If Flex was a friend, I would help him.

    But none of these are true. So why should money forcibly taken from me be used to help him when I could use the same amount of money to help people in worse conditions than Flex? He has been working for quite some time and has presumably saved some money. He is in a far better condition than starving people from where I come.

    I have sympathy for Flex. But he is far luckier than a lot more people.

  367. #367 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    8 hours here => time for minlife to get one.

    Bye.

  368. #368 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to Justin @319:

    Taxes pay for civilization, banning gay marriage is just bigotry.

    Nice bumper sticker!

    Ag subsidies, unnecessary defence expenditures, Bridges to nowhere are necessary for civilization. Right!!

    100 years ago people would have said that homosexuality was a threat to civilization (hell Christianists and Islamists still do). They were and are wrong.
    Once more, repeat after me: All taxes are not bad. Lower taxes are usually better than higher taxes.

  369. #369 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to nothing’s sacred @367:

    8 hours here => time for minlife to get one.

    So says one who has been here for 4.5 hrs themselves.

    Anyways your opinion shows that you secretly wish to run other people’s lives. Who are you to judge what life someone else has? Have I said anything about you lacking a life? You lead your life they way you want to and I will lead mine they way I want to.

    And you want to respect other people’s choices. Hypocrite! Just like your ilk.

  370. #370 John Morales
    April 10, 2009

    “If I was an entrepreneur”

    If I were a rich man

  371. #371 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to “strange gods before me” @320:

    People who do not pay their fair share toward the community’s funds for assistance are leaving their burden to others.

    One problem: Who determines what is fair? Is it like the early white US citizens who thought Blacks were inferior and by the power of the ballot kept them either as slaves or segregated?

    We do have the right to make them pay their fair share.

    You are just a thug. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”

  372. #372 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to Justin @321:

    “High levels of taxation are of the same kind atrocity.”
    That sound? The remaining (very little) credibility you just had being blown away like the atmosphere of a planet when it’s sun has gone nova.

    Let me say that again slowly for you:

    Both. involve. violation. of. private. property. As I said before “difference in degree not kind”.

    As for your credibility, it was shot the minute you tried to criminalize a man by association.

  373. #373 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to “strange gods before me” @323:

    Thanks for this brilliant quote. I suspected that you despise women, and this proves it.

    So you think men cannot be raped? Do you think prison rape does not exist? I suspect you condone male rape and this proves it.

    It’s still a good bet that you despise Jews and probably people of color.

    So says the racist who has proved that he doesn’t care about poor in other nations.

    Let’s see if you despise gay people too. Should government be able to mandate anti-discrimination in hiring practices, or should homophobic bosses be allowed to fire people for being gay?

    I yearn for the world when in a completely non-government entity with no government involvement a heterophobic homosexual boss can fire people for being straight.

    Does that answer your question?

    P.S. As for gay marriage: Gay and Lesbian couples should enjoy the identical spousal rights and benefits as enjoyed by straight couples under law. And as for wording, I say throw out the word marriage and call them all civil unions.

  374. #374 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to nothing’s sacred @325

    Because that have minimally functioning brains that can’t conceive of coercion that isn’t physical force. And because your adage is too specific and is insufficient: peoples’ freedoms conflict in all sorts of ways. Thus, as I said, it’s necessary to discriminate, and sometimes on a case-by-case basis.

    Libertarianism concerns itself only with the interaction of govt with citizen. In which case coercion comes only with force and no other emotion. I would still like to see an example where government emotionally blackmailed someone or uses that as an instrument of policy.

    In fact you hit the nail right on the head with “case-by-case basis”. Government has to treat all citizens equally. After all that is democracy. Which means that one size fits all. But sometimes that one size doesn’t fit one too well. Which is where you need a functioning private sphere to handle that. What you want to do is atrophy this private sphere and have everything controlled and apportioned by government.

  375. #375 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to Justin @327:

    “And then there’s the fixation on material accumulation and the elevation of “property rights” to the highest good; see the nonsense of #316, a severe case of failure to discriminate (not in the sense of bigotry).”

    That’s sad. Don’t they realise that “property rights” are just things and don’t have any real meaning other than the ones we assign them?

    Property is something you own. Do you own youself? Do you own your body and mind? If you say yes that means you believe that you have an exclusive and inalienable right to your body and mind, to use as you see fit. From this right of self-ownership all other rights to flow. And to make anything of this right we have to respect other people’s right to self-ownership too. That is why property rights are the highest good.

  376. #376 MInarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to nothing’s sacred @328:

    I think he despises answering questions that pose a challenge to his position most of all.

    Please dear Sir, if you can direct me to the questions I have not answered I will do my best promptly to rectify this omission.

  377. #377 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to nothing’s sacred @331:

    Libertarians seem deeply concerned about the well-being of the rich, and of course about themselves.

    Libertarians are deeply concerned about themselved. They let others lead their lives without interference.

    Of course progressives like you are deeply concerned about the well-being of those richer than you and of course are busy plotting on how to pull them down.

  378. #378 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to “strange gods before me” @333:

    Your particular single-minded focus on George Soros is unusual to say the least.
    Pointing out that you sound like an anti-Semite is quite reasonable. It’s the most parsimonious explanation for your obsession.

    Is George Soros the last surviving Jew? That is news to me.

  379. #379 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to “strange gods before me” @334:

    Given the topic of The International Jew, it’s notable that when I say “currency speculators,” the first person who pops into your head is a liberal Hungarian Jew.
    Sorry if I’m not persuaded that it’s mere coincidence.

    Because George Soros is an immensely successful currency speculator? After all he was the one who brought the Sterling to its knees in 1992. Do you know any other such famous currency speculator, for I have no idea.

    As a racist I guess you have a better handle on how such bigoted people think.

    Damn, you got the good number!!!

  380. #380 MInarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to nothing’s sacred @336:

    And that is why externalities should be taken care of by taxes rather than a confiscatory income tax.

  381. #381 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to abelian Jeff @337:

    I’m not crazy about the wording of this question (e.g. calling marriage a property right of one’s body) but the essence is clear.

    Hi Jeff,

    I appreciate where you are coming from and I guess maybe it is a matter of taste why you find calling marriage a property right of one’s body distasteful (?)

    I come from the position detailed in post #375.

    When you marry someone you enter into a sort of agreement that you will look after each other (each other’s body and mind as property, i.e. health and happiness), and if something happened to incapacitate one owner then the other partner (with subordinate rights) can take care of the property by proxy (spousal rights) and equal rights to all property (children) which flowed from this spousal partnership (again subordinate to self-ownership rights of the child

    So you can define marriage by means of the self-ownership property rights of the individuals in the marriage.

    I don’t think I was very clear, thought I hope you can understand my position.

  382. #382 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to Justin @340:

    This:

    Yeah! How dare those peons claim that they’re working backbreaking hours for pennies a day! At least they have a job! Ungrateful slimes! Seriously, are you that deluded to think that people deserve to be treated like crap so long as they’re working?

    …Was sarcasm mocking YOUR position. Dumbass.

    Actually if you refer back to your post #209:

    Bad jobs at bad wages are better than no jobs at all.”

    Yeah! How dare those peons claim that they’re working backbreaking hours for pennies a day! At least they have a job! Ungrateful slimes!
    Seriously, are you that deluded to think that people deserve to be treated like crap so long as they’re working?

    “Bad jobs at bad wages are better than no jobs at all” was written by Paul Krugman himself — http://www.slate.com/id/1918 and is therefore HIS position. You may have thought I wrote it (because of my then bad quoting skills).

    Are you sure English is your main language? Because me calling him deluded is again a personal opinion,in no way implies seediness, or implies that we should discard his arguments because of said seediness. Seriously man, comprehension please!

    Considering you go by the name Justin, do you think only a native speaker of English knows how to use it properly? Considering the racist company you keep (I am looking at “strange gods before me” now) I am not surprised that you think your English skillz are mad. You implied Krugman is seedy and thus his arguments should be discarded when you brought up his advising of Enron and followed that up with a gratuitous swipe at his moral character.

    My personal opinion of the man has no bearing on the arguments pertaining to him,

    Then why bring it up when just his position on the minimum wage was being debated?

    Are you a moron? That’s a certainty.

    It has been apparent that you have lost the argument for quite some time. Hence the name calling.

  383. #383 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to “strange gods before me” @323:

    Let’s see if you despise gay people too. Should government be able to mandate anti-discrimination in hiring practices, or should homophobic bosses be allowed to fire people for being gay?

    To give you a serious answer if the contract of the gay employee specifies that he cannot be fired for being gay and then he is fired by his homophobic boss for being gay then the government can and should step in to enforce the contract and/or any such penalties there may be. Anyway discrimination not on the basis of merit does not make any economic sense. To fire someone with higher productivity to keep someone with lower productivity will soon drive the firm out of business.

  384. #384 MInarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to nothing’s sacred @343:

    The taking by society of a portion of monetary wealth, which has relative worth and is accumulated via one’s interactions with that society, which includes disparities of … inheritance, access to means, luck, one’s willingness to act honorably … is nothing at all like discrimination based on sexual preference.

    How very convenient of you to completely discount ability in your enumeration of why disparity exists. It is not surprising. Progressives cannot stomach the fact that there is a disparity in ability amongst humans. If inheritance is so important why is it that among the top billionaires in the Forbes List most are self made?

  385. #385 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to John Morales @348:

    Taxes.
    Well, the way I see it, taxes being necessary, what’s my quality of life like after tax?
    Because quality of life is what I want to maximise, regardless of the required tax rate.
    After the neccesities of life are accounted for, liberty, equality, leisure time, amenities and opportunity for me weigh at least as much as disposable income.

    I agree with you there. But who gets to decide to what extent you can maximise your quality if life? Progressives want to arrogate this privilege of deciding for other people to themselves. What gets me about the progressives is their ability to be generous with other people’s money.

  386. #386 John Morales
    April 10, 2009

    Minarchist shows stamina :)

  387. #387 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to Justin @350:

    Uh how exactly is the government going to afford to enforce anything if they can’t collect taxes?

    And where did I mention that the government cannot collect taxes?

  388. #388 John Morales
    April 10, 2009

    Minarchist:

    Progressives want to arrogate this privilege of deciding for other people to themselves.

    Really? I thought they wanted to advocate progress.

    But if you think there’s such a privilege amenable to arrogation, with whom does it currently abide?

  389. #389 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to nothing’s sacred @351:

    marriage is not sex

    I would agree marriage is not ONLY about sex. But how important do you think is sex to marriage?

    And bodies are not property. And society puts all sorts of varying restrictions on both property and the use of one’s body;to point out that I approve of one thing and disapprove of another thing does not indicate an inconsistency just because minbrain tries to equate everything by labeling it “property right”.

    So what is a body? Do you own your body? Am I correct in assuming that you support restrictions on non-bodily property but not on the use of one’s body? Or do you support some restrictions on the use of one’s body?

  390. #390 MInarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to Justin @357:

    ZOMG!! Kyoto is a S0cialiest plotz@!!11!
    I agree with everyone else. Back to your cave.

    Hello no Kyoto is not a socialist plot. It is a plot by the erstwhile colonial powers such as Spain, France and Japan to keep down emerging economies in the 3rd world. It is a neo-colonialist plot :)

    Considering you are the citizen of a nation that increased its GHG emissions by 27% over 1990-2004 maybe you should shut off all electricity and gas to your house and move to a cave. Hopefully that will reduce your carbon footprint :) Send pictures.

  391. #391 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to “strange gods before me” @358:

    You are of course out of your mind. The Green Party exists in all those countries, and everywhere favors decentralized rule: Africans decide for Africa, Indians decide for India, Chinese decide for China.

    Yeah and each of them has a vested interest in maintaining poverty. Otherwise why else interfere in mutually beneficial trade with other countries? Why advocate against biotechnology which has prevented mass starvation?

    As Norman Borlaug memorably put it

    ?Some of the environmental lobbyists of the Western nations are the salt of the earth, but many of them are elitists. They?ve never experienced the physical sensation of hunger. They do their lobbying from comfortable office suites in Washington or Brussels. If they lived just one month amid the misery of the developing world, as I have for fifty years, they?d be crying out for tractors and fertilizer and irrigation canals and be outraged that fashionable elitists back home were trying to deny them these things.?

    This post is superb: http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/19/greens-and-hunger/?pagemode=print

  392. #392 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to “strange gods before me” @:

    And is he another anthropogenic global warming denialist? Another right-winger who hates science?

    Oh no. I do believe in global warming. What I am wrestling with is the immense sacrifice demanded by you people of the poor people in the 3rd world who are on the verge of being deprived of an energy rich life by hypocrites like you who enjoy an energy-dense life in your comfortable western nations.

    He demonstrates that libertarianism is primarily about siding with the rich, against the rest of us, in class warfare.

    Unfortunately and inconveniently for you libertarianism is primarily about siding with the individual against the Borg (whether conservative or progressive). It is you who have honed class warfare to an art.

    I’m going to take a break until more intelligent libertarians come around.

    Translation: “I am running away. Cover my behind.”

    Hates Science? I guess thats why decided to go in for a graduate degree in science.

  393. #393 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    Meant “strange gods before me” @360 in post #392

  394. #394 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to nothing’s sacred @363:

    No, it was a question about whether I was being inconsistent, based on an incredibly boneheaded and intellectually dishonest characterization that conflated Prop 8 and taxation in a ludicrous way.

    Gay Marriage is a good ideal. It maximizes the freedom of gay and lesbian couples to live their life as they choose too.

    Confiscatory taxation as supported by you: minimizes freedom and liberty and increases dependence on the state and the concomitant lobbying.

    Translation of your psoition: I’m the decider, and I decide what is best.

    Did you know that George W Bush also believed the same thing?

    For somebody with “nothing’s sacred” as a handle you sure have many sacred cows. As I said before — Hypocrite.

  395. #395 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to John Morales @388:

    Really? I thought they wanted to advocate progress.

    Thats what they think :) In fact they want to take us back to the hunter-gatherer economy, everybody will be equal, and we will avert climate change :)

    Hold on though, didn’t the last ice age (Last Glacial Maximum) take place around that time. Oh well equality will have to do. Equality will protect us from the cold :)

    But if you think there’s such a privilege amenable to arrogation, with whom does it currently abide?

    As I have said before I am a supporter of representative democracy (it is the least worst system) and therefore legislature is the primary force with the judiciary and executive keeping a brake on legislative excess. Government is a necessary evil, and it is in our interest to keep the evil as small as possible. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

  396. #396 Minarchist
    April 10, 2009

    replying to “strange gods before me” @354:

    Still the dumbest fucker on this thread.
    The Eighteenth Amendment was constitutional. All constitutional amendments are by definition constitutional. Its repeal was also constitutional.
    Just fuck off now. You are making everyone hate libertarians even more than we did before.

    So according to you Dredd Scott vs Sandford was also constitutional . All Supreme Court decisions are constitutional by definiton (until it adjudged superseded by the XIII and XIV amendment which was also constitutional).

    You truly are a racist

  397. #397 John Morales
    April 10, 2009

    So, “Progressives want to arrogate this privilege of deciding for other people to themselves” and “Government is a necessary evil, and it is in our interest to keep the evil as small as possible”, but Government has the privilege the Progressives wish to arrogate.

    Unless you mean they plot revolution, I would think if they get voted in, they become the Government and thus are legitimately acquiring (rather than arrogating) this privilege. So excuse me if I say that sounds like hyperbole.

    Me, I consider having a Government a privilege, and I’m glad to live under the rule of law, even if I disagree with some of it. As with taxes, I don’t judge a Government by its magnitude, but by how much it maximises my, um, happiness quotient under its Governing.

    It appears that I have a different perspective on these issues than you, eh? :)

  398. #398 noname
    April 10, 2009

    Wow! Kudos, Minarchist, for your extraordinarily thorough defense of a position.

    Most of the rest of you, shame for your utter lack of effort or intellectual integrity. This could have been a deep, thought-provoking discussion over liberalism – classical vs. modern/social/progressive liberalism (I make the presumption that Minarchist’s libertarian ideology is comfortably close to classic liberalism?) Instead, an endless parade of juvenile snark punctuated with rare attempts at arguments – usually fallacious arguments and ridiculous strawmen. Very disappointing. :(

    I agree with Minarchist: tarring libertarian ideology with the US Libertarian party is about as illogical as saying the republican principle is about the Republican party, and democracy is about the Democratic party. Disagree with Democrats? End democracy, bring on autocracy! Disagree with Republicans? End republicanism, bring back hereditary monarchies!

  399. #399 Walton
    April 10, 2009

    I agree with much (though not all) of what Minarchist has said above.

    Strange gods before me, as per your request, I will now answer your “bread or death” conundrum.

    It’s more complex than you think. Stop and think about it for a minute. Let’s assume that the merchant has invested skill and labour in obtaining his bread. (He may not have done, but there’s no way that you can know that.) By stealing his bread, you are not just taking a material possession; it’s not a matter of whether “bread is more valuable than life”. You are depriving him of the product of his skill and labour – and, therefore, taking a little of his life away from him.

    Think about it. All human beings are mortal. We have a finite amount of time available to us. And so whenever X is forced to expend his time and labour for the benefit of Y, Y is taking a little of X’s life away. He is, essentially, making X a slave for a limited time period.

    Consider this in practical terms. Let’s assume that, factoring in all taxes, a person spends 25% of his annual income on paying tax. (Let’s assume for the sake of argument that he has no hereditary wealth or other unearmed income.) This means that for the first quarter of the year, he is working not for his own benefit as a free man, but as a slave for the State. Yes, the State gives him benefits in return – just as a master feeds and clothes his slaves. But he is not free. He is not free until he has discharged his tax burden.

    The only moral answer, then, is to abolish income and payroll taxes, and instead to have a high rate of tax on inheritances, income from family trusts, and other unearned wealth that a person obtains other than through his own efforts.

    Going back to “bread or death”: it is not really a question of whether your life is worth more than the merchant’s bread. It is a question of whether your life is worth more than the merchant’s life – because for every piece of bread you take, you enslave him to you for a small part of his life. And you do not have the right to decide that your life is worth more than his; that he should be enslaved in order to save you. Thus, I say that you do not have the right to steal his bread in order to save your own life; and if you do so, you should be punished.

    If, by contrast, you steal his bread to save a third party (e.g. for your children) rather than yourself, you still act immorally, but to a lesser degree, as you are behaving altruistically rather than selfishly; and so I would say that you should not be punished severely, if at all. But you would still be acting immorally, because you do not have the right to decide that your children’s lives are worth more than that of the merchant.

  400. #400 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 10, 2009

    Yawn, the libertardians are still showing their philosophy is morally bankrupt every time they open their yaps. Yawn. It’s been that way for months now. That is also why most of us would never adopt that philosophy.

  401. #401 John Morales
    April 10, 2009

    Walton,

    The only moral answer, then, is to abolish income and payroll taxes, and instead to have a high rate of tax on inheritances, income from family trusts, and other unearned wealth that a person obtains other than through his own efforts.

    Um.

    You’re saying this in seriousness?

  402. #402 MartinM
    April 10, 2009

    Let’s assume that the merchant has invested skill and labour in obtaining his bread.

    …and that his ability to do so in no way depends on benefits provided to him by society – for example, education.

  403. #403 bonze
    April 10, 2009

    strange gods before me #360

    Why does the boring, anti-Semitic, hypocritical, misogynistic, plutocrat apologist think his time is well spent here?

    He demonstrates that libertarianism is primarily about siding with the rich, against the rest of us, in class warfare.

    I’m going to take a break until more intelligent libertarians come around.

    To engage in a virtual mudfight? Oooh, that’d be really intelligent!

  404. #404 Flex
    April 10, 2009

    Minarchist wrote, “So why should money forcibly taken from me be used to help him when I could use the same amount of money to help people in worse conditions”

    You are sliding back into your old thought patterns again.

    You have already acknowledged that at least some of the money required of you in taxes is necessary.

    You have also acknowledged that it’s a good thing that we have granted our government the sole legal holder of force.

    So why use rhetoric like “money forcibly taken from me”?

    If your complaint is that too much of the money you pay in taxes goes to unemployment, then say it.

    Then we can ask questions like:

    How much of your taxes go to unemployment? Do you even know? How?

    If we divide the Total Federal Unemployment budget, around $40 billion for 2009, by the working population of the U.S. (call that 200 million) everyone gets about $200/yr taken out of their federal taxes to support unemployment.

    But it’s not that simple. You would need to figure out about how much money was collected from your bracket as a percentage of the whole. Multiply the total amount spent on unemployment by that percentage, and then divide that result by the number people in your tax bracket.

    My HTML-Fu is weak, but let me see if I can create this as an equation for you:

    ($ spent on budget item)*($ collected from your bracket)/($ collected from all taxes)/(# of people in your bracket)

    That will give you a rough idea of how much you pay for any particular budgetary item.

    Let’s do a little calculation. For 2006 the total amount collected as taxes into the general fund appears to be $2,518,680,230,000. (Note: this includes all income taxes, corporate and personal, tariffs, and other revenue sources.) The amount collected from personal income taxes in the 25 percent bracket, without additional capital gains, is $246,911,616,000 and there were 22,314,164 people who filed in that tax bracket.

    So roughly 10% of the total money collected in taxes in 2006 came from the 25% tax bracket. Meaning that of the $40 billion spent on unemployment, only $4 billion came from the 25% bracket. With over 22 million people filing, each person in that bracket contributed, over the course of a year, about $181 of their income to provide unemployment insurance.

    The picking of your pocket to give unemployed people a $300/week check for a limited period of time to allow them to eat probably costs you $181 from your taxes. I give more than that to charity myself every year. Cracky, I spend more on beer every year.

    If you make less money, and file in the 15% tax bracket, than only $0.05 of your 2006 taxes went to unemployment.

    Of course all this is pretty much a moot question because how taxes are collected and what the money is used to fund are separate questions.

    All this data came from various tables on the IRS website.

  405. #405 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    ‘”Bad jobs at bad wages are better than no jobs at all” was written by Paul Krugman himself — http://www.slate.com/id/1918 and is therefore HIS position. You may have thought I wrote it (because of my then bad quoting skills).”

    That doesn’t change the fact that I was mocking your position. Ah the libertarian penchant for skewing reality to fit their worldview. Classic.

    “Considering you go by the name Justin, do you think only a native speaker of English knows how to use it properly?”

    No, but you clearly don’t know how to use English, so if it IS your first language, more’s the shame!

    “Considering the racist company you keep (I am looking at “strange gods before me” now) I am not surprised that you think your English skillz are mad.”

    That’s because I’ve been wiping the floor with you and you fail to grasp simple concepts and get the meanings of words wrong.

    “You implied Krugman is seedy and thus his arguments should be discarded when you brought up his advising of Enron and followed that up with a gratuitous swipe at his moral character.”

    Uh no I didn’t, and I pointed out why. Repeating the same tired arguments doesn’t change reality, no matter how much your libertarian brain wants it to.

    “Then why bring it up when just his position on the minimum wage was being debated?”

    I told you already. Go look it up again!

    “It has been apparent that you have lost the argument for quite some time. Hence the name calling.”

    Shorter Minarchist: WAAAH Justin is being mean! I only called you a moron because you consistently fail to grasp the meanings of basic concepts. It’s not mean if it’s the truth.

  406. #406 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “Property is something you own. Do you own youself? Do you own your body and mind? If you say yes that means you believe that you have an exclusive and inalienable right to your body and mind, to use as you see fit.”

    There is a difference between my body and an inanimate object that has no sentience.

    To conflate the two highlights the moral bankruptcy of libertarianism.

  407. #407 Ben
    April 10, 2009

    Again you fail to see that it is simply a fundamental disagreement on the role of government. I don’t hate anyone and I give freely of my time and money to help the poor. I do not find it appropriate to take money from others so that they will do the right thing in my eyes.

    If someone watches a person drown and does nothing that person is not arrested. That person is not fined. That person has no obligation to so much as notify someone else of the drowning (at least anywhere I have lived). That is excepted in the case of those with a positive duty to act such as a lifeguard but not everyone. If we wish to say that all public service organizations have a duty to assist then that is fine. That is why Volunteer Fire Departments will always save people even if they don’t save property.

    If we don’t force people to save the drowning then why force people to pay for programs run at the whim of elected officials? There is a clear ability to help in the first case and not that in the second.

    If we are going to force people to do what is right then that is simply tyranny under a benevolent guise.

    To be honest, I think that my method makes people more uncomfortable because they have to get involved directly instead of simply sending money to Washington to let someone else handle it. It is just like people that eat meat but can’t stand the thought of going to a farm and seeing the cattle prior to taking them to slaughter. That distance is what keeps you from seeing the reality.

    We do far more in our community by taking care of each other than the government programs do in others.

  408. #408 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    Again you fail to see that it is simply a fundamental disagreement on the role of government.

    No, arrogant naysayer, it is what I said it is, not what you say it is — the evidence backs me up.

  409. #409 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    There is a difference between my body and an inanimate object that has no sentience.

    That’s only one element of the gross stupidity and intellectual dishonesty of his statement. To say that something is your property of course does not mean that you believe that you have an exclusive and inalienable right to its use. He shoots himself in the foot because no rational person or society would want to have property rights if they entailed that. To answer some of his questions directly:

    Do you own your body?

    No, fool, I am my body. It’s an unseverable relationship, unlike property ownership.

    Am I correct in assuming that you support restrictions on non-bodily property but not on the use of one’s body?

    No, you blithering idiot.

    Or do you support some restrictions on the use of one’s body?

    Of course, because I’m not a blithering idiot. For instance, I support restricting one from using one’s body as a battering ram to break down someone’s door. I support restricting one from placing one’s body in the middle of a busy intersection. I support restrictions on placing one’s body at the front of a queue ahead of people who have been waiting for hours. I support restrictions on cutting off parts of one’s body and littering the sidewalk with them. I support restrictions on spilling one’s blood on valuable art objects, or spitting in people’s faces. I suspect that even a libertarian, even one as stupid and intellectually dishonest as minarchist, can think of numerous other examples. And when he opens that door, his arguments based on the inviolability of property rights fall to pieces — which is why he so dishonestly evades the point. Minarchist is an extreme case, but all libertarians suffer to some degree from the same disease of oversimplification and the use of dogmatic slogans and formulaic thinking in place of intelligent analysis of complex realities.

  410. #410 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    nothing’s sacred,

    First, is it possible for you to have a conversation without insults? It makes you come across as very childish.

    Second, you state, “No, fool, I am my body. It’s an unseverable relationship, unlike property ownership.”

    So, since I could take a pint of your blood without harm to you, does that mean you don’t own it? Since there are people out there dying due to lack of blood, can I come take some of yours and give it to them?

  411. #411 Brian X
    April 10, 2009

    The real principles of libertarianism are as follows:

    1. Freedom is good.
    2. Freedom = money.
    3. I can do what I want and you have no right to call me out on the consequences.

  412. #412 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    As a libertarian, I believe in maximized liberty for each individual. As someone else said, my right to swing my arm ends where your nose begins.

    I look at property rights the same way I look at free speech. I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend your right to say it. I may not agree with what you do with your property, but I will defend you right to do so. The only restriction is initiating harm on another’s person or property. I can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater and I can’t pour toxic waste in my backyard.

    Believe it or not, most libertarians feel for the poor just as much as you do. The difference is the lengths that we are each willing to go to. You are willing to take that which is not yours, and liberrtarians think that is line that shouldn’t be crossed.

    A libertarian is someone who sees a homeless man and gives him a $5. A progressive is someone who sees a homeless man and gives him $10, five from his wallet and five from someone else’s. That doesn’t mean that the progressive cares more, only that there are things he is willing to do that a libertarian is not.

    I want to end child abuse, but I’m not willing to place a camera in everyone’s home. Does that mean I’m pro-child abuse?

    I want to end rape, but I’m not willing to give every man chemical castration drugs. Does that mean I’m pro-rape?

    I want to end poverty, but I’m not willing to take the property of my fellow citizens without their permission. Apparently this means that I hate poor people.

    Now, let the name calling begin.

  413. #413 Brian X
    April 10, 2009

    Curiosis:

    You’ve made yourself quite clear — that you consider the shirking of social responsibility to be a virtue, and that you consider strawman reductio ad absurdum to be a legitimate argument. That says, I think, pretty much everything that needs to be said on the matter.

  414. #414 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    Brian X,

    Well, you got number 1 right.

    For number 2, I would reword it to:
    Freedom = the right to use my money as I see fit
    which goes along nicely with:
    Freedom = the right to believe as I see fit, and
    Freedom = the right to speak as I see fit

    Number 3 is also incorrect. If the consequences are harm to you or your property, then I can’t do what I want. I can only swing my arm to the point where it would touch your nose.

  415. #415 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    Brian X,

    You’ve made yourself quite clear — that you consider the shirking of social responsibility to be a virtue, and that you consider strawman reductio ad absurdum to be a legitimate argument.

    I’ve never said that shirking one’s responsibility to others is a virtue. I believe quite the opposite.

    I would think badly of you if you drove by an elderly woman with a flat tire on the side of the road. However, I don’t think that your actions should be illegal.

    I think that we should all help our fellow man, but I don’t think being charitable should be required by law, punishable with a fine and imprisonment.

    As for my strawman, I missed it. Could you point it out for me?

  416. #416 Brian X
    April 10, 2009

    Curiosis:

    You’ve made yourself quite clear — that you consider the shirking of social responsibility to be a virtue, and that you consider strawman reductio ad absurdum to be a legitimate argument. That says, I think, pretty much everything that needs to be said on the matter.

  417. #417 Brian X
    April 10, 2009

    Hm, hit submit too many times.

    I did misstate my point. Libertarians just don’t like the idea that there is responsibility inherent to being part of society. You do not want to deal with the consequences of situations that are too big for private citizens to deal with.

  418. #418 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    I confess I did not understand the reference, so I had to look at his wikipedia biography more closely to find out that he is Jewish. Unfortunately for you my opposition to him is based more on his politics than his heritage.

    Ah, so you’ve merely been hanging out with anti-Semites without questioning their assertions. You learned to yell “George Soros” without realizing you were playing to the Protocols conspiracy where a supernaturally powerful Jew can destroy entire nations’ economies. No surprise, libertarianism is very popular among white supremacists. Tell me what you think of this common stance among libertarians: should white-owned businesses be allowed to refuse service to black people?

    One problem: Who determines what is fair? Is it like the early white US citizens who thought Blacks were inferior and by the power of the ballot kept them either as slaves or segregated?

    The same question applies to libertarianism, who determines what is fair? You have no god-given answer written in stone, the question must be debated. It comes down to this: right-wing libertarians believe that property is more important than life, but decent people disagree.

    We do have the right to make them pay their fair share.

    You are just a thug. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”

    There’s your braindead, knee-jerk hypocrisy again. You yourself say “All taxes are not bad.” All I said there was that whatever the fair share be, we do have the right to make people pay it.

    So you think men cannot be raped? Do you think prison rape does not exist? I suspect you condone male rape and this proves it.

    That won’t fly. I was responding to your own words: “Now the question is: Is it OK for the 100 dudes to have sex with Scarlett without her consent? After all by the mores of democracy she lost.” You compared the rape of women to taxation; you displayed your contempt of women in doing so. Upon reflection you’ve decided to be an apologist for all rape by comparing taxation to the rape of men as well. So you’re reflexively a misogynist, and a general rape apologist after reflection.

    I yearn for the world when in a completely non-government entity with no government involvement a heterophobic homosexual boss can fire people for being straight.

    That is currently the law in most US states where sexual orientation is not protected from firing. However, as you know, most people are straight, there are more homophobes than heterophobes, homophobia is systemically entrenched, and gay people are far more often fired for their sexual orientation than straights. So your preferred policy hurts gay people far more often, and your indifference to this indicates your desise of gay people.

    Anyway discrimination not on the basis of merit does not make any economic sense. To fire someone with higher productivity to keep someone with lower productivity will soon drive the firm out of business.

    And yet the businesses and organization making up the Christian Right remain in business. The facts do not support your absurd abstraction of reality. There is a profitable business in homophobia; homophobes like to support businesses they know discriminate. Once again libertarians cannot deal with reality or facts.

    Yeah and each of them has a vested interest in maintaining poverty. Otherwise why else interfere in mutually beneficial trade with other countries?

    Greens are not opposed to free trade. They are opposed to the WTO and the IMF forcing “free trade agreements” on nations against the will of those nations’ people, through predatory loans. See economichitman.com

    But there’s your narrow-mindedness again. Like I said, “right-wing libertarianism, the idea that absolute unregulated capitalism is the only true freedom.” You just can’t imagine that anyone would ever want to vote to disagree with you.

    Unfortunately and inconveniently for you libertarianism is primarily about siding with the individual against the Borg (whether conservative or progressive). It is you who have honed class warfare to an art.

    When the individual is rich.

    So according to you Dredd Scott vs Sandford was also constitutional . All Supreme Court decisions are constitutional by definiton (until it adjudged superseded by the XIII and XIV amendment which was also constitutional).

    You truly are a racist

    Dredd Scott was probably wrongly decided. But there’s no denying that slavery was constitutional. You seem to be unable to differentiate between “constitutional” and “morally right”. Slavery was constitutional, obviously, it was in the fucking Constitution. (Slavery was Biblical, too.) And slavery was morally wrong. I’m sorry your tiny libertarian brain can’t understand this.

    And sorry if I don’t trust an anti-Semite who hangs out with white supremacists to be a judge of racism. You probably think affirmative action is racist. Racists usually do.

  419. #419 Paul
    April 10, 2009

    A libertarian is someone who sees a homeless man and gives him a $5. A progressive is someone who sees a homeless man and gives him $10, five from his wallet and five from someone else’s. That doesn’t mean that the progressive cares more, only that there are things he is willing to do that a libertarian is not.

    A libertarian is someone who sees a homeless man and gives him $5, who walks home with the feeling that he ended world hunger (obviously, since he’s willing to give a little of his money it follows that everyone else will, and the market will magically excrete out the infrastructure to feed and shelter the homeless). A progressive is someone who understands that taxes are not, in fact, the spawn of the devil, and can be used towards the greater good (for instance to build social safety nets and various infrastructure to provide for those hitting a rough spot. Many libertarians (at least, those not very very rich) become progressives when they have kids and realize DEAR GOD HEALTHCARE IS EXPENSIVE, or spend much of any time among people who have not spent their whole life in comfort. Unemployment tends to do the trick as well.

  420. #420 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    First, is it possible for you to have a conversation without insults? It makes you come across as very childish.

    Better that than to come across very stupid and very intellectually dishonest.

    So, since I could take a pint of your blood without harm to you, does that mean you don’t own it? Since there are people out there dying due to lack of blood, can I come take some of yours and give it to them?

    Do you consider this a refutation of the claim that the relationship between me and my body is inseverable? If so, you’re a cretin. If not, you’re intellectually dishonest. Frankly, I think you’re both.

  421. #421 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Again you fail to see that it is simply a fundamental disagreement on the role of government.

    People’s morals get translated into their political stances, and their views on the role of government. Those who hate gay people advocate for laws that hurt gay people. Those who hate poor people advocate for laws that hurt poor people.

    We do far more in our community by taking care of each other than the government programs do in others.

    False. I gave empirical evidence that “charities do not work. In shrinking economies, people give fewer and smaller donations to charity. And bad economies are exactly when people are losing their jobs or taking pay cuts and needing support.” You cannot argue. You just ignore facts that don’t conform to your ideology. Typical libertarian.

    I do not find it appropriate to take money from others so that they will do the right thing in my eyes.

    It’s not just about “doing the right thing,” as this can be construed to include things like avoiding drugs, a personal choice.

    This is a question of life or death. It is a question of more people dying from poverty or fewer. You have chosen to have more people die. That is the stance of someone who hates poor people. If you don’t hate poor people, then stop trying to hurt them.

  422. #422 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    I want to end poverty, but I’m not willing to take the property of my fellow citizens without their permission. Apparently this means that I hate poor people.

    Since there is no other way to combat poverty as effectively as government, yes, it certainly means you do not care about the lives of poor people.

  423. #423 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    As a libertarian, I believe in maximized liberty for each individual. As someone else said, my right to swing my arm ends where your nose begins.

    How about if we’re all allowed to punch each other in the nose … how does fare relative to banning all such punching as measured by maximizing liberty for each individual? Please show your work.

    There may be intelligent, intellectually honest libertarians somewhere who are actually able and willing to explore the consequences of their dogmatic droppings and formulaic fallacies, but you’re not one.

  424. #424 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    I agree with much (though not all) of what Minarchist has said above.

    How about that rape is different from taxation only in degree, not in kind?

    And that progressivism equals racism, and I’m a racist?

    Considering that the asshole has been saying the most ridiculous things imaginable, you ought to be very careful that you’re not misunderstood in identifying yourself broadly with his rubbish.

    And so whenever X is forced to expend his time and labour for the benefit of Y, Y is taking a little of X’s life away. He is, essentially, making X a slave for a limited time period.

    Basically what I’ve been telling you for a while now. You ought to ruminate on that, along with the undeniable truth that a choice between life-threatening poverty and the wage on offer is not a free choice, factoring in ‘Tis Himself’s explanation that “Low-wage labor markets are characterized as monopsonistic* competition wherein buyers (employers) have significantly more market power than do sellers (workers). … Such a case is a type of market failure and results in workers being paid less than their marginal value.”

    This means that for the first quarter of the year, he is working not for his own benefit as a free man, but as a slave for the State.

    Perhaps, if he does not have a vote in the matter. But he does have a vote in the laws of his nation, and is free to encourage others to vote with him. This does not correspond to any common understanding of the word “slavery,” so you are overstating your case. He cannot vote in his employer’s company in this same way (though he can vote through the nation to change his company). By extension from your reasoning, to whatever degree he is a slave to his nation, he is even more so a slave to his employer, because at least his nation is a democratic structure. See also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPUvQZ3rcQ

    As to the idea that ever being expected to work for the mutual good of one’s community is the same as slavery, this is another ideological assertion without correspondence to reality. It stands in sharp contrast to millions of years of history, from our common ancestry with the other chimpanzees if not earlier, to the beginning of the enclosure of the commons in the 1500s. I do not believe the last 500 years to be exclusively representative of human nature, and I do not agree to your Newspeak terms. Being expected to work to benefit the community that benefited you is not at all like being forced to work for a boss who skims off the fruit of your labor exclusively for himself.

    Going back to “bread or death”: it is not really a question of whether your life is worth more than the merchant’s bread. It is a question of whether your life is worth more than the merchant’s life – because for every piece of bread you take, you enslave him to you for a small part of his life.

    As usual, I will first take your own premises for granted and show your reasoning to be internally inconsistent, and then I will reply from planet Earth.

    The value of future life is greater than the value of past life. This is evidenced by people invariably spending their money to extend their own lives, exchanging the product of time spent working in the past for more time in the future. And when confronted with estimable terminal conditions, they spend asymmetrically, giving up the savings of many years for the just a few more months of life. So a day of my life tomorrow is worth more than a day of the merchant’s life last week, and should he suddenly find himself destitute, the next day of the merchant’s life is worth more than a day of my life last week.

    Back on Earth, people do not accept your equation of life and property. People work so that they can have free time, so they can do other things with their lives than work; time spent working is less valued than time well lived. Also, when someone loses a significant amount of money, people console them by saying “at least you have your health,” because everyone recognizes that life is worth more, and it’s better to lose everything you own than lose your life. That is made explicit when a family’s house burns down and they lose all their possessions, they still say to each other, “at least everyone got out alive.” They counsel one another to hand over a wallet rather than resist if being mugged at gunpoint, because the certainty of losing one’s money is still preferable to the possibility of dying, because life really is more valuable than property. I’m very sorry to hear that libertarian brainwashing has led you to believe otherwise.

    Thus, I say that you do not have the right to steal his bread in order to save your own life … steal his bread to save a third party (e.g. for your children) rather than yourself, you still act immorally

    So it’s better that children should die, rather than a well-to-do merchant should lose a loaf of bread.

    Thanks, Walton. Thanks for discrediting yourself completely, better than I ever could have done alone.

  425. #425 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    As for my strawman, I missed it. Could you point it out for me?

    Pick just about anything you write. Of course, some are more blatant than others:

    I want to end child abuse, but I’m not willing to place a camera in everyone’s home. Does that mean I’m pro-child abuse?

    I want to end rape, but I’m not willing to give every man chemical castration drugs. Does that mean I’m pro-rape?

  426. #426 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    At #418 that should be “So your preferred policy hurts gay people far more often, and your indifference to this indicates your despisal of gay people.”

  427. #427 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    Paul,

    A progressive is someone who understands that taxes are not, in fact, the spawn of the devil, and can be used towards the greater good…

    But who decides the greater good? I don’t want you deciding it any more than you want me doing it. How about we each decide for ourselves. You know, liberty?

    Many libertarians (at least, those not very very rich) become progressives when they have kids and realize DEAR GOD HEALTHCARE IS EXPENSIVE…

    I have a 9-year-old with asthma, ambliopia, and a severe peanut allergy and a wife with polycystic kidnley disease, so I know that healthcare is expensive. But I will only become a progressive when I decide that my neighbors should go to jail if they refuse to help pay for my family’s medical bills. That doesn’t seem likely.

    Unemployment tends to do the trick as well.

    I have been informed that I will lose my job on July 24th. And yet, I’m not ready to demand help from my neighbors with the government as my wiseguy.

    There are jusy some things I won’t do.

  428. #428 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    Since there is no other way to combat poverty as effectively as government, yes, it certainly means you do not care about the lives of poor people.

    That’s a major component of the libertarian mindset, but the other is this meme about inviolable private property, which acts on libertarians a bit like those changes in an ant’s brain that cause it to climb up to the top of a blade of grass waiting to be eaten.

  429. #429 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    nothing’s sacred,

    Better that than to come across very stupid and very intellectually dishonest.

    Perhaps you should try for neither.

    Do you consider this a refutation of the claim that the relationship between me and my body is inseverable?

    Well, it’s either inseverable, and therefore YOU, or it isn’t and therefore something that the state should collect and redistribute for the greater good.

    If so, you’re a cretin.

    I’m a cretin for suggesting that either you blood belongs to you or it doesn’t? That’s weird.

  430. #430 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    But who decides the greater good? I don’t want you deciding it any more than you want me doing it. How about we each decide for ourselves.

    Progressives have decided that the greater good is when fewer people die from poverty.

    You can disagree.

    But that makes you someone who believes the greater good is when more people die.

  431. #431 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    I have been informed that I will lose my job on July 24th. And yet, I’m not ready to demand help from my neighbors with the government as my wiseguy.

    There are jusy some things I won’t do.

    That’s your choice. It’s a good thing you don’t get to make that choice for other people who do need government assistance to feed their children.

  432. #432 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    strange gods before me,

    Since there is no other way to combat poverty as effectively as government, yes, it certainly means you do not care about the lives of poor people.

    Then clearly you are in favor of child molestation. If we put a camera in every room of every home, we could dramatically reduce the number of children who are raped or abused. If you say that these cameras violate privacy and are morally wrong, then you are just enabling the child rapists. Why do you hate children?

  433. #433 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    nothing’s sacred,

    How about if we’re all allowed to punch each other in the nose … how does fare relative to banning all such punching as measured by maximizing liberty for each individual? Please show your work.

    I would say that liberty would be reduced if we are all walking around with bloody noses. Your freedom doesn’t extend to violating someone else’s freedom. Do you think it should?

  434. #434 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    If we put a camera in every room of every home, we could dramatically reduce the number of children who are raped or abused.

    Cameras “break.” Determined rapists can outsmart technology.

    I have given empirical evidence that charity cannot do what government can. You have only your assertion, no evidence.

  435. #435 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    nothing’s sacred,

    Pick just about anything you write. Of course, some are more blatant than others:

    Those are analogies. I’m showing that a person’s unwillingness to do anything doesn’t mean that they don’t want to change things.

  436. #436 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    …which acts on libertarians a bit like those changes in an ant’s brain that cause it to climb up to the top of a blade of grass waiting to be eaten.

    Or to paraphrase, “Anyone who doesn’t agree with me is stoopid!”

  437. #437 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    Perhaps you should try for neither.

    Not only do I try not to be childish, I succeed. The same can’t be said for libertarians and their low Maslow scale development.

    Well, it’s either inseverable, and therefore YOU

    My blood is not my body, moron. I can only be severed from my body if I’m some woo-woo soul thing, which I’m not.

    or it isn’t and therefore something that the state should collect and redistribute for the greater good.

    You libertarian gits are quite loose with your strawmen and false dichotomies. I was only addressing the question of whether I own my body; your “therefore” does not follow from denying it. In fact, identity is a much stronger relationship than ownership, fool.

    I’m a cretin for suggesting that either you blood belongs to you or it doesn’t?

    I gave the basis on which you would be a cretin, and that wasn’t it, cretin. Such substitutions are intellectually dishonest, which was the other (non-exclusive) alternative I mentioned.

  438. #438 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    strange,

    Progressives have decided that the greater good is when fewer people die from poverty.

    You can disagree.

    But that makes you someone who believes the greater good is when more people die.

    Then we should just collect everyone’s food and begin redistributing it based solely on need. Is that what you’re advocating?

  439. #439 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    Cameras “break.” Determined rapists can outsmart technology.

    But if it stopped just 100 children from being abused, shouldn’t we do it?

    If you say no, then you obviously hate those 100 children.

  440. #440 nothing's sacred
    April 10, 2009

    I would say that liberty would be reduced if we are all walking around with bloody noses.

    That wasn’t the question, you moron. Do you have any understanding at all of what a global maximization function is?

    Your freedom doesn’t extend to violating someone else’s freedom. Do you think it should?

    It’s impossible for anyone to have absolute, unviolated freedom — you acknowledged that by referring to maximization. In order to maximize, you must put numeric values on various freedoms, justify them, and then run a global maximization calculation over the whole mess. Libertarians, suffering from all the flaws I’ve mentioned, refuse to do this and instead pretend that freedoms are absolute and anyone who would accept some lessoning of whatever freedom they have an ad hoc preference for at the moment is some evil fascist freedom-robbing “liberal”.

    Sorry, but I don’t have time just now to continue having the same “debate”, pointing out the bleeding obvious, to yet another moronic libertardian. Maybe later.

  441. #441 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    strange,

    I have given empirical evidence that charity cannot do what government can.

    I agree that charity cannot do what government can do. Government can send you to jail for refusing to help others. I’m glad charities can’t do that.

  442. #442 'Tis Himself
    April 10, 2009

    But who decides the greater good? I don’t want you deciding it any more than you want me doing it. How about we each decide for ourselves. You know, liberty?

    There’s this thing called representative democracy. It works differently from the feudal oligarchies that libertarians prefer, so you may not be familiar with the concept of representative democracy. It’s a popular system used in many Western countries like Canada, Britain, France, Germany and even Australia.

  443. #443 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    nothing’s sacred,

    Not only do I try not to be childish, I succeed.

    Really, because I haven’t heard this much name calling since my son was in kindergarten.

    You libertarian gits are quite loose with your strawmen and false dichotomies. I was only addressing the question of whether I own my body; your “therefore” does not follow from denying it. In fact, identity is a much stronger relationship than ownership, fool.

    That’s odd, because I’d vastly prefer to give my blood several times a year that pay my taxes. I can easily make more blood. Money’s a little harder to come by. My point is that there are things that you believe no one should have to give up for the greater good. On that, you and I agree. And yet, somehow, I’m a cretin. Hmm…

  444. #444 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Then we should just collect everyone’s food and begin redistributing it based solely on need. Is that what you’re advocating?

    Food spoils. You wouldn’t want to collect it, that would be wasteful. Hence, taxes.

    But if it stopped just 100 children from being abused, shouldn’t we do it?

    That’s a tremendous outlay of money to put cameras in every room. Trillions of dollars. If the same or less money would be more efficiently used — and it’s uncontroversially true that it would — by reaching out to children who’ve been groomed for abuse and making them safe when they report abuse, then that’s what should be done instead. Focused counseling for children of alcoholics and fundamentalists, children who will need counseling regardless of whether they’re sexually abused, would also be highly effective. Money spent on cameras would be money that can’t be used on these better methods, so your idea would actually result in more children being abused.

    It’s a really shitty analogy and you should give it up before you look any stupider. Why is it libertarians are so eager to look like imbeciles?

  445. #445 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    I agree that charity cannot do what government can do. Government can send you to jail for refusing to help others. I’m glad charities can’t do that.

    Me too, because unlike government, you can’t vote on what charities should do with that money.

    You obviously have the mind of a child. Grownups can disagree about the ideal amount of taxation, but we do not complain that the very idea of taxation is unfair. Go stomp your feet elsewhere.

  446. #446 'Tis Himself
    April 10, 2009

    Believe it or not, most libertarians feel for the poor just as much as you do. The difference is the lengths that we are each willing to go to. You are willing to take that which is not yours, and liberrtarians think that is line that shouldn’t be crossed.

    We hear libertarians make this claim quite a lot. They love the poor, always put a buck in the Salvation Army kettle at Christmas, and don’t spit at beggars. However, given the choice of paying taxes that might go to welfare and letting the poor starve, they’ll let the poor starve. Heaven forfend that libertarians actually contribute to something that’s effective in keeping the poor from starving.

    In short, libertarians don’t care if the poor starve. Provided, of course, that they don’t actually die on the libertarian’s property, that would be littering and deny the libertarian the perfect enjoyment of his property and his self-righteousness.

  447. #447 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    nothing’s,

    That wasn’t the question, you moron.

    Ah, more name-calling. That’s the way to win a debate.

    Do you have any understanding at all of what a global maximization function is?

    Nope.

    In order to maximize, you must put numeric values on various freedoms, justify them, and then run a global maximization calculation over the whole mess.

    If I’d know you were going to assign homework, I’d have listened in class. Maximize here means the most possible. If your world has people taking each other’s money and mine doesn’t, do I really need an abacus to figure our which one is better?

    Libertarians, suffering from all the flaws I’ve mentioned, refuse to do this and instead pretend that freedoms are absolute and anyone who would accept some lessoning of whatever freedom they have an ad hoc preference for at the moment is some evil fascist freedom-robbing “liberal”.

    Freedoms are never absolutes so long as our actions can harm others. The trick is to define those actions, and then we can allow everything else. And I don’t hate liberals, I just think that they are willing to go too far for the “greater good.”

    Sorry, but I don’t have time just now to continue having the same “debate”, pointing out the bleeding obvious, to yet another moronic libertardian. Maybe later.

    I don’t understand why, if we are all morons, you even bother.

    It must be unsettling, though, to live in a world where everyone else is a moron.

  448. #448 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    ‘Tis Himself,

    There’s this thing called representative democracy.

    I’m also familiar with something called a “constitutional republic” where the rights of the minority are protected from the whims of the majority. We’re big fans of it here in the US.

  449. #449 John Morales
    April 10, 2009

    Curiosis @443:

    My point is that there are things that you believe no one should have to give up for the greater good.

    Well, you could attempt to make it with something other than people’s bodies, no?
    Because bodies (and their constituents) are not normally considered property or taxable.

    I haven’t heard this much name calling since my son was in kindergarten

    Wait, when your son was in kindergarten you got called a fool and intellectually dishonest? How precocious was that!

  450. #450 'Tis Himself
    April 10, 2009

    I’m also familiar with something called a “constitutional republic” where the rights of the minority are protected from the whims of the majority. We’re big fans of it here in the US.

    I realize that, as a libertarian, you really dislike representative democracies. But guess what, that’s the form of government we have here in the US. But then, as a libertarian, you also really dislike reality.

  451. #451 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    I’m also familiar with something called a “constitutional republic” where the rights of the minority are protected from the whims of the majority. We’re big fans of it here in the US.

    Really, fucker? Really? Just exactly how familiar with is are you?

    Because I have here this quote. Without googling, tell me what it is:

    The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

  452. #452 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    * familiar with it

  453. #453 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    strange,

    Food spoils. You wouldn’t want to collect it, that would be wasteful. Hence, taxes.

    But if there are still people in need, we must not be collecting enough taxes. If we just took everyone’s money and set up places where food was always free, that would solve the problem, right?

    That’s a tremendous outlay of money to put cameras in every room. Trillions of dollars.

    Did a liberal just say that a government program was too expensive?

    Money spent on cameras would be money that can’t be used on these better methods, so your idea would actually result in more children being abused.

    Unfortunately, your suggestions only cleanup the aftermath, they don’t stop the abuse. But if that’s what we’re focusing on, okay. Then we should make sure that these people never abuse again. Which means we have to catch them. I recommend that we collect everyone’s DNA to put in a government database. Oh, and their fingerprints. And their telephone records and bank statements so that we can tell where they were when. Do it for the children.

    Why is it libertarians are so eager to look like imbeciles?

    Probably because we’re not fantastic enough to be progressives.

  454. #454 'Tis Himself
    April 10, 2009

    I missed this one:

    Money backed with a gold standard and non-fiat would not be subject to the currency speculations

    Libertarians love to show their economic illiteracy. There were good reasons why every country dumped the gold standard before World War II and no good reasons to go back on it now.

    Libertarians will absolutely hate one reason for staying off the gold standard because it’s based on reality. The total amount of gold that has ever been mined has been estimated at around 142,000 tonnes. Assuming a gold price of US$1,000 per ounce, or $32,500 per kilogram, the total value of all the gold ever mined would be around $4.5 trillion. This is less than the value of circulating money in the US alone, where more than $7.6 trillion is in circulation or in deposit.

    Also there would be nothing to stop people from speculating in gold. It’s just like any other commodity in that respect. As I said, libertarians tend to be economic illiterates.

  455. #455 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    But if there are still people in need, we must not be collecting enough taxes. If we just took everyone’s money and set up places where food was always free, that would solve the problem, right?

    I’m sorry to disappoint you, but that’s an empirical question, so it doesn’t have an ideological answer. I doubt it would be necessary to take all money. Directing much of the military budget to welfare would be a good start.

    Did a liberal just say that a government program was too expensive?

    Did your strawman’s head explode from cognitive dissonance?

    Unfortunately, your suggestions only cleanup the aftermath, they don’t stop the abuse.

    No, targeted counseling of at-risk children can identify the grooming that precedes abuse.

    Probably because we’re not fantastic enough to be progressives.

    Not smart enough, perhaps.

  456. #456 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    strange,

    Me too, because unlike government, you can’t vote on what charities should do with that money.

    As much I trust others to vote on how best to use my money, I’d prefer to have a little more say.

    You obviously have the mind of a child.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that everyone who disagrees with you is an idiot.

    Grownups can disagree about the ideal amount of taxation, but we do not complain that the very idea of taxation is unfair.

    So, by definition, grownups want at least some taxation? Hmm. That’s a new one on me.

    And I don’t think that all taxes are unfair, only the ones are designed to redistribute wealth.

    Go stomp your feet elsewhere.

    Sorry, I didn’t realize this was your blog. And I’m not the one with his fingers in his ears yelling, “All your monies are belong to us.”

  457. #457 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    John,

    Well, you could attempt to make it with something other than people’s bodies, no?

    I could, but I’m trying to impress upon those here just how important property rights are to others. Yes, my body is more important to me because I live in it, but my other property means almost as much.

    Because bodies (and their constituents) are not normally considered property or taxable.

    Your body is your property. You own it and can decide what to do with it. From it all other property rights evolve.

    Wait, when your son was in kindergarten you got called a fool and intellectually dishonest? How precocious was that!

    It was actually nothing’s sacred who said it. And he was just cute as a button!

  458. #458 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    As much I trust others to vote on how best to use my money, I’d prefer to have a little more say.

    Run for office.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that everyone who disagrees with you is an idiot.

    See above, pgpwnit and Walton. Libertarians, disagree with me, are profoundly misguided, are not idiots.

    You are not one of the smart ones.

    And I don’t think that all taxes are unfair, only the ones are designed to redistribute wealth.

    “Taxes are always a redistribution of money. Most of the taxes that are redistributed go back to those who paid them, in roads and airports and hospitals and schools. And taxes are necessary for the common good. And there is nothing wrong with examining what our tax structure is or who should be paying more, who should be paying less.” – Colin Powell

    Sorry, I didn’t realize this was your blog.

    Hey, stick around if you like making libertarians look dumb.

  459. #459 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    ‘Tis Himself,

    I realize that, as a libertarian, you really dislike representative democracies. But guess what, that’s the form of government we have here in the US.

    Actually, no, we have a constitutional republic. That is very different from a pure representative democracy because some rights are free from majority decision.

    By the way, I think democracy is great, so long as it doesn’t devolve into mob rule.

  460. #460 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Actually, no, we have a constitutional republic. That is very different from a pure representative democracy because some rights are free from majority decision.

    Quote me from the Constitution where it says “America is a constitutional republic, and not a constitutional democracy.”

    And what’s this, again?

    The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

  461. #461 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    By the way, I think democracy is great, so long as it doesn’t devolve into mob rule.

    This is libertarian-speak for “as long as poor people don’t vote. Fuck ACORN!”

  462. #462 'Tis Himself
    April 10, 2009

    Actually, no, we have a constitutional republic. That is very different from a pure representative democracy because some rights are free from majority decision.

    I see that, like most libertarians, you’re a fucking idiot unaware of certain things. If you had paid attention in 4th grade social studies class, you’d know that we don’t live in a pure representative democracy, but instead we live in a constitutional representative democracy.

    Honestly you fucking idiot sir, how do you expect us to respect your opinions when you keep showing that you’re a fucking idiot poorly educated?

  463. #463 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    strange,

    Really, fucker? Really? Just exactly how familiar with is are you?

    “fucker?” Well, it appears that the name-caling has been taken up a notch. 10 points to the progressives!

    Because I have here this quote. Without googling, tell me what it is:

    The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

    What is the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, Alex?

    Now, tell me, where in the enumerated powers of Congress, it says that the government can redistribute wealth?

  464. #464 'Tis Himself
    April 10, 2009

    Now, tell me, where in the enumerated powers of Congress, it says that the government can redistribute wealth?

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

  465. #465 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    “fucker?” Well, it appears that the name-caling has been taken up a notch. 10 points to the progressives!

    What’s the matter, are you one of those prudish pieces of shit who thinks cussing impairs the quality of the message?

    Now, tell me, where in the enumerated powers of Congress, it says that the government can redistribute wealth?

    Article 1, section 8, first paragraph: “The Congress shall have power to … provide for the … general welfare of the United States”

  466. #466 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    strange,

    Run for office.

    I’ll run on a platform telling everyone to get their hands out of their neighbors pockets. Yeah, that’ll work. You probably also recognize the fairness in two wolves and a goat voting on what to eat for diner.

    See above, pgpwnit and Walton. Libertarians, disagree with me, are profoundly misguided, are not idiots.
    You are not one of the smart ones.

    I’m blushing.

    “Taxes are always a redistribution of money. Most of the taxes that are redistributed go back to those who paid them, in roads and airports and hospitals and schools. And taxes are necessary for the common good. And there is nothing wrong with examining what our tax structure is or who should be paying more, who should be paying less.” – Colin Powell

    Well, as much as I hate to disgree with Colin, money taken from you that comes back to you isn’t redistribution. I don’t have a problem with taxes levied to support public works that we can all use equally. Ooh, does that make me a grownup now?

    Hey, stick around if you like making libertarians look dumb.

    Who told you about my secret mission in life?

  467. #467 'Tis Himself
    April 10, 2009

    I don’t have a problem with taxes levied to support public works that we can all use equally. Ooh, does that make me a grownup now?

    We understand that, like many libertarians, you don’t object if a government provided service or product benefits you. However, like the vast majority of libertarians, you whine a whole lot if taxes were to benefit someone who isn’t you. Someone like the poor, for instance.

  468. #468 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    I’ll run on a platform telling everyone to get their hands out of their neighbors pockets. Yeah, that’ll work.

    Well, what then? Is your political activism limited to yelling “damn you liberaaaaals”?

    Well, as much as I hate to disgree with Colin, money taken from you that comes back to you isn’t redistribution.

    If it comes back to you in other forms, and is spread out to everyone else, then yes it’s redistribution.

    I don’t have a problem with taxes levied to support public works that we can all use equally.

    This has already been dealt with earlier in the thread. You have very poor reading comprehension, don’t you?

    “the rich benefit disproportionately more from the public infrastructure than the rest of us do.

    To give just one example, I drive one or two cars on the public roads, and I cause a consequent amount of damage to the infrastructure, which will eventually have to be repaired.

    A business owner runs or contracts a fleet of dozens or hundreds of vehicles, including heavy semi trailers, causes much more damage, and gains considerable profit in doing so.

    The rich person uses more of, and gains more from, the public infrastructure. So the rich person pays more. That’s fair. That’s consistent.”

  469. #469 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    strange,

    Quote me from the Constitution where it says “America is a constitutional republic, and not a constitutional democracy.”

    Since we have representatives who vote on our behalf, we are not a democracy. By the way, I also con’t find anywhere in the Constitution that is says, “This was written on sheepskin.”

    And what’s this, again?

    The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

    I still pretty sure that it’s the 16th Amendment. Do I get bonus points for knowing it twice?

  470. #470 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    strange,

    This is libertarian-speak for “as long as poor people don’t vote. Fuck ACORN!”

    Actually, this is libertarian-speak for “as long as people don’t vote away the rights of others.”

    I’m for everyone voting, but some things shouldn’t be up for a vote. e.g. speech, religion, property rights

  471. #471 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Since we have representatives who vote on our behalf, we are not a democracy.

    I vote you Dumbest Libertarian of the Thread.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/democracy

    “government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.”

    “Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.”

    “Government by popular representation; a form of government in which the supreme power is retained by the people, but is indirectly exercised through a system of representation and delegated authority periodically renewed; a constitutional representative government; a republic.”

    “the political orientation of those who favor government by the people or by their elected representatives”

    “A system of government in which power is vested in the people, who rule either directly or through freely elected representatives.”

    “a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections”

    That’s six dictionaries that disagree with you. Would you like to buy a clue?

  472. #472 John Morales
    April 10, 2009

    Curiosis:

    Your body is your property. You own it and can decide what to do with it. From it all other property rights evolve.

    What a strange conceit.
    So, I can rent my body? Sell it? Put it on the futures market?
    Are the rights “evolving” from it also saleable transferrable? Can I use them as collateral?

    Heh.

    (Self = body) and (Self ? property).

    Your self is not your possession, it is you.

  473. #473 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    I’m for everyone voting, but some things shouldn’t be up for a vote. e.g. speech, religion, property rights

    Then I recommend you find a different nation. Because here in the United States, income is up for vote. Has been for many years. Sorry about your luck. There is no inviolable right to property.

  474. #474 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    ‘Tis Himself,

    I see that, like most libertarians, you’re a fucking idiot unaware of certain things. If you had paid attention in 4th grade social studies class, you’d know that we don’t live in a pure representative democracy, but instead we live in a constitutional representative democracy.

    That’s what I said. You’re the one who kept leaving out “Constitutional,” which I think is a pretty important part.

    Honestly you fucking idiot sir, how do you expect us to respect your opinions when you keep showing that you’re a fucking idiot poorly educated?

    I’ll be sure in the future to already know the very things I’m telling you.

    Also, it was a good idea to hide the “fucking idiot” remarks so that no one would think less of you.

  475. #475 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Say something new, dumbshit libertrollian.

    You’re really fucking boring.

  476. #476 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    ‘Tis Himself,

    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    That’s 10 points for quoting the preamble, but minus 10 for not quoting from Article I where the actual powers of Congress are laid out.

    Please drive thru.

  477. #477 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Also, it was a good idea to hide the “fucking idiot” remarks so that no one would think less of you.

    Hah! You really are a prude aren’t you.

    Trust me, shit for brains. Nobody is going to think less of anyone for telling you what a fuckwit you are. They will think less of you for being a boring, repetitive, ignorant, contemptuous troll.

  478. #478 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    Curiosis seems to be v. 2.0 of minarchist, but manages to be even more obtuse, if that’s possible.

    And I missed the smackdown :(

  479. #479 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    strange,

    What’s the matter, are you one of those prudish pieces of shit who thinks cussing impairs the quality of the message?

    Not at all. I’m quite profane at times, but cussing doesn’t make you look reasonable or well intentioned.

    Article 1, section 8, first paragraph: “The Congress shall have power to … provide for the … general welfare of the United States”

    Funny, I don’t remember ellipses in the Constitution.

  480. #480 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “Funny, I don’t remember ellipses in the Constitution.”

    Well isn’t that just so clever. You know what the constitution says, and you know that sgbm is correct, so hows about you address the point instead of debating semantics.

    Or is your ideology so feeble (it is, trust me) that it can’t stand up to some well brought up points?

  481. #481 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Funny, I don’t remember ellipses in the Constitution.

    Then go read it yourself, fuckwit. I omitted nothing pertinent to your question.

    Not at all. I’m quite profane at times, but cussing doesn’t make you look reasonable or well intentioned.

    I’m not well intentioned. You’re a fucking idiot and there’s no love lost.

    As for reasonable, the reason’s all still there. Use ellipses on the naughty words if you’d like to see it condensed.

  482. #482 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    ‘Tis Himself,

    We understand that, like many libertarians, you don’t object if a government provided service or product benefits you. However, like the vast majority of libertarians, you whine a whole lot if taxes were to benefit someone who isn’t you. Someone like the poor, for instance.

    I’m against robbing Peter to pay Paul. Whether I’m Peter, Paul, or someone else is irrelevant to me.

    I’m all for helping the poor, I just don’t think I should be incarcerated if I decide not to.

  483. #483 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “I’m all for helping the poor, I just don’t think I should be incarcerated if I decide not to.”

    There’s a philosophical school of thought (I forget whom, a little help?) that states:

    When contemplating a course of action, consider what would happen if everyone followed the same course of action.

    If you don’t help the poor, why should anyone else?

  484. #484 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    I’m all for helping the poor, I just don’t think I should be incarcerated if I decide not to.

    Say something new, boring fuckwit troll.

    You’re so boring that I can quote libertarian vs. libertarian.

    Walton: A society in which there was a large mob of starving people, desperate for food, would not be a stable one. In a sense, private welfare has a public good dimension; that is, I benefit, indirectly, if the country I live in is not full of starving, uneducated, violent poor people who want to rob me and steal my food. But because this benefit (of living in a country with a welfare infrastructure) is non-rivalrous and non-excludable, I have no reason to pay for it myself if I don’t have to. Thus, there is a rationale for providing basic welfare services at taxpayer expense; because they don’t just benefit the person who receives them.

  485. #485 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    There’s a philosophical school of thought (I forget whom, a little help?) that states:

    When contemplating a course of action, consider what would happen if everyone followed the same course of action.

    That would be Immanuel Kant, “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”

  486. #486 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “That would be Immanuel Kant, “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”

    I thought it was Kant, but I wasn’t sure so I pled ignorance :)

  487. #487 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    strange,

    Well, what then? Is your political activism limited to yelling “damn you liberaaaaals”?

    Not at all. I agree completely with liberals on social matters. It’s in economics where we part company.

    If it comes back to you in other forms, and is spread out to everyone else, then yes it’s redistribution.

    Not really. If $500 of my taxes go to pay for a road that is worth $500 to me, then we’re even. But if $500 of my taxes go to a government soup kithcen, then my money did nothing for me, personally. Now, that’s not to say that the $500 is wasted or didn’t go to a good cause, but it is my money and I should have the say as to where it goes. And you never know, it might be a soup kitchen.

    To give just one example, I drive one or two cars on the public roads, and I cause a consequent amount of damage to the infrastructure, which will eventually have to be repaired.

    A business owner runs or contracts a fleet of dozens or hundreds of vehicles, including heavy semi trailers, causes much more damage, and gains considerable profit in doing so.

    The rich person uses more of, and gains more from, the public infrastructure. So the rich person pays more. That’s fair. That’s consistent.

    One, why do you assume this owner is rich? Does owning a business automaticaly enroll someone in the elitists club?

    And they already pay more in the form of gas taxes and registration fees. We have several new toll roads in my area. That way you pay for what you use. Does that seem like a fair solution to you?

  488. #488 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “Not really. If $500 of my taxes go to pay for a road that is worth $500 to me, then we’re even. But if $500 of my taxes go to a government soup kithcen, then my money did nothing for me, personally. Now, that’s not to say that the $500 is wasted or didn’t go to a good cause, but it is my money and I should have the say as to where it goes.”

    You do have a say. By living in your country you have made an unspoken contract to abide by the laws of the nation. Therefore you agree to give up some of your money for other projects.

    Don’t like it? You can always decide to spend your money on a plane ticket to somewhere with no taxes…

    Or advocate for less taxes (which is what you’re doing), but this approach is unlikely to help you any.

  489. #489 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    I thought it was Kant, but I wasn’t sure so I pled ignorance :)

    Deepak Chopra says go with your intuition. ;)

  490. #490 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “Deepak Chopra says go with your intuition. ;)”

    LOL

  491. #491 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    strange,

    I vote you Dumbest Libertarian of the Thread.

    Cool. Does it come with a tiara and a sash?

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/democracy

    Yes, by definition, a constiutional republic uses democratic principles, but it is not a pure democracy. I was trying to be precise. Sorry if I wasn’t vague enough for your tastes.

    That’s six dictionaries that disagree with you. Would you like to buy a clue?

    Actually, Pat, I’d like to solve the puzzle.

  492. #492 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Not really. If $500 of my taxes go to pay for a road that is worth $500 to me, then we’re even.

    But your wealth was redistributed to the people who got the contract to build the road.

    But if $500 of my taxes go to a government soup kithcen, then my money did nothing for me, personally.

    Fucking boring troll, say something new. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/04/psss_libertarians_go_pester_ga.php#comment-1555894

    Now, that’s not to say that the $500 is wasted or didn’t go to a good cause, but it is my money and I should have the say as to where it goes. And you never know, it might be a soup kitchen.

    Boring troll. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/04/psss_libertarians_go_pester_ga.php#comment-1550588

    One, why do you assume this owner is rich? Does owning a business automaticaly enroll someone in the elitists club?

    Dumbfuck. Obviously the middle-class business owner is not getting taxed as much, so the issue of progressive taxation does not apply the same way. Can you even follow the conversation?

    And they already pay more in the form of gas taxes and registration fees. We have several new toll roads in my area. That way you pay for what you use. Does that seem like a fair solution to you?

    Boring troll. No, those are flat taxes. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/04/psss_libertarians_go_pester_ga.php#comment-1548945

  493. #493 SC, OM
    April 10, 2009

    Cool. Does it come with a tiara and a sash?

    No, an epic beatdown.

    Oh – sorry! You’ve already had that. A tiara, then.

    See PZ to collect.

  494. #494 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Yes, by definition, a constiutional republic uses democratic principles, but it is not a pure democracy. I was trying to be precise. Sorry if I wasn’t vague enough for your tastes.

    Disingenuous. I clearly said “constitutional democracy.” And you responded as though I said “pure democracy.”

    In any case your response is not appropriate to any general use of the word “democracy.” Almost all of those definitions were the first one in the dictionary. The most common meaning of democracy is that of a representative democracy. You’re trying to make the word mean something it doesn’t mean in the common parlance, and complaining when other people use it like native English speakers. You’re a pedant, which is not a good choice when you’re so fucking stupid.

  495. #495 strange gods before me, paging SC
    April 10, 2009

    SC, OM, while you’re around, can you recommend any reading material or videos on the violence in the origins of capitalism?

  496. #496 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    John,

    What a strange conceit.
    So, I can rent my body? Sell it? Put it on the futures market?

    I suppose prostitution could be considered rental of the body. You can also donate it to science when you die.

    Are the rights “evolving” from it also saleable transferrable? Can I use them as collateral?

    The other rights are the rights you’re already familiar with: free speech, freedom of conscience, property, etc. You have them because you are a human.

    (Self = body) and (Self ? property).

    Your self is not your possession, it is you.

    I’m not talking about my self, but my physical body. It’s like a house I can never completely get rid of. Your body is your first possession and you should have final say in what happens to it so long as you don’t use it harm another.

    That is why the anti-choicers are wrong. They want to have the power to decide what to do with a woman’s body, her property. The right to be secure within your own body is a form of property rights.

  497. #497 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    sgbm,

    Have your read The Shock Doctrine yet? Parts of it outline the violence in setting up capitalistic societies in other countries…

  498. #498 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    The other rights are the rights you’re already familiar with: free speech, freedom of conscience, property, etc. You have them because you are a human.

    Handwaving!

    Demonstrate that property is a human right.

    I’m not talking about my self, but my physical body. It’s like a house I can never completely get rid of.

    Dualism!

    Not a philosophical given among atheists, sorry. Show your work. How is your body not your self?

  499. #499 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    strange,

    Then I recommend you find a different nation. Because here in the United States, income is up for vote. Has been for many years.

    Yes, it is. And I pay my taxes like a good litle boy.

    But that’s doesn’t mean that we tax correctly or that we use that money appropriately.

    Sorry about your luck.

    I gotta be honest here. You don’t really sound that sorry.

    There is no inviolable right to property.

    I never said there was. But we should respect property rights more than we do today.

  500. #500 strange gods before me, paging SC
    April 10, 2009

    Justin, I’m familiar with it, and that is relevant to the issue. At the moment I was more thinking of the historical origins though.

  501. #501 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    strange,

    Say something new, dumbshit libertrollian.

    You’re really fucking boring.

    And yet, you keep responding to my posts.

  502. #502 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    But we should respect property rights more than we do today.

    Argument by assertion.

  503. #503 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    And yet, you keep responding to my posts.

    I’m a bot.

  504. #504 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “I’m a bot.”

    *grin* If that’s the case, I would like a copy of your source code and specs on the computer that’s running you because damn, you pass the Turing test with flying colours! XD

  505. #505 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    strange,

    Hah! You really are a prude aren’t you.

    Fuck ya, I am.

    Trust me, shit for brains. Nobody is going to think less of anyone for telling you what a fuckwit you are. They will think less of you for being a boring, repetitive, ignorant, contemptuous troll.

    Your apoplexy is delicious.

    I hope others will notice that I have tried to stay on topic and civil (if occasionally sarcastic) whereas you have not. That doesn’t mean that you are wrong, just lacking in self-control.

  506. #506 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “I hope others will notice that I have tried to stay on topic and civil (if occasionally sarcastic) whereas you have not. That doesn’t mean that you are wrong, just lacking in self-control.”

    Ok, and?

  507. #507 John Morales
    April 10, 2009

    Curiosis:

    … But we should respect property rights more than we do today.

    Property rights are already protected by legislation under our legal system; do you mean you want more legislation, or you want stronger legislation, or you want stronger enforcement, or you want greater adherence to principle, or something else?

    That’s a touch too vague for me to follow.

  508. #508 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Your apoplexy is delicious.

    What, do you actually imagine that I’m angry? Talking shit makes this more interesting for me, because you, unflavored, are sublimely boring.

    I hope others will notice that I have tried to stay on topic and civil (if occasionally sarcastic) whereas you have not.

    Zomg, I’ve been on topic and uncivil. I’m a terrible, terrible person.

    That doesn’t mean that you are wrong, just lacking in self-control.

    You imagine that people only curse when they can’t control themselves? Show your work. I find most people do it just for fun.

  509. #509 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    Justin,

    Curiosis seems to be v. 2.0 of minarchist, but manages to be even more obtuse, if that’s possible.

    An entire point release? Cool! And if by obtuse, you mean not bowing down to strange’s infinte wisdom, then yeah, I am.

    And I missed the smackdown :(

    Allow me to summarize:

    I disagree with strange.
    strange thinks I’m a boring, repetitive, ignorant, contemptuous troll. I may also be a fuckwit or a fucktard, I’m not sure which. Could be both.
    Hilarity ensues!

  510. #510 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    And if by obtuse, you mean not bowing down to strange’s infinte wisdom, then yeah, I am.

    That, or maybe, not responding to substantive points which are raised against you, and not reading the thread before vomiting standard libertarian talking points that were already addressed.

    strange thinks I’m a boring, repetitive, ignorant, contemptuous troll. I may also be a fuckwit or a fucktard, I’m not sure which. Could be both.

    Fuckwit. I’ve met many mentally retarded people who are much more decent than you.

  511. #511 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “strange thinks I’m a boring, repetitive, ignorant, contemptuous troll. I may also be a fuckwit or a fucktard, I’m not sure which. Could be both.”

    Well, you could have saved yourself a lot of trouble (not to mention making people think you’re a complete idiot) by reading the thread up until you jumped in and therefore NOT MAKE THE EXACT SAME POINTS THAT WERE REFUTED EARLIER!

    I’m just saying…

  512. #512 John Morales
    April 10, 2009

    Curiosis,

    Your apoplexy is delicious.
    I hope others will notice that I have tried to stay on topic and civil (if occasionally sarcastic) whereas you have not. That doesn’t mean that you are wrong, just lacking in self-control.

    We noticed you’re not averse to indulging in what you condemn in others, yeah.

    We don’t care much about that, and we don’t care much about the language or tone; we care about substance and engagement.

    Anyway, carry on, do enjoy the freedom to criticise even as you decry others for so doing, but get on with it.

  513. #513 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    Justin@511, I think you may already have already downloaded my nightly build?

  514. #514 strange gods before me
    April 10, 2009

    already have already

    Please file a bug report.

  515. #515 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    Haha great minds and all that! ;)

  516. #516 Curiosis
    April 10, 2009

    Justin,

    Well isn’t that just so clever.

    Thanks. I thought so too.

    You know what the constitution says, and you know that sgbm is correct, so hows about you address the point instead of debating semantics.

    The Constitution states: “The Congress shall have power
    To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States;”

    He’s pretending that “general welfare” means actual welfare. It doesn’t. If Congress can spend money on whatever it wants, then why have enumerated powers? The results of Congress’ powers is what the clause refers to. Madison said as much in the Federalist Papers.

  517. #517 Justin
    April 10, 2009

    “He’s pretending that “general welfare” means actual welfare. It doesn’t. If Congress can spend money on whatever it wants, then why have enumerated powers? The results of Congress’ powers is what the clause refers to. Madison said as much in the Federalist Papers.”

    I’m not American. I know diddly.

  518. #518 strange gods before me
    April 11, 2009

    The results of Congress’ powers is what the clause refers to. Madison said as much in the Federalist Papers.

    Citation needed.

  519. #519 strange gods before me
    April 11, 2009

    He’s pretending that “general welfare” means actual welfare. It doesn’t.

    It does, but not just in the modern meaning of welfare. It’s more generally well fare. What that should mean is up to us.

  520. #520 Curiosis
    April 11, 2009

    Justin,

    When contemplating a course of action, consider what would happen if everyone followed the same course of action.

    If you don’t help the poor, why should anyone else?

    So anything that a person should do must be required by law?

    If I don’t adopt an orphan, then no one will. Mandatory adoptions!

    If I don’t take in the victim of a natural disaster, then no one will. Everyone gets a hurrican victim! Get’em while they last!

    Just because something is the right thing to do doesn’t mean that it should be enshrined in law. The government should only be stopping us from doing bad things, not forcing us to do good things.

    We all have differring ideas about the right things to do. For some, it is giving time and money to help the homeless. For another it might working for thr preservation of our national parks. Someone else might think cancer reasearch is the most important. I say that they are all right. They have decided for themselves what is important. Isn’t that better than the government deciding for all.

  521. #521 Justin
    April 11, 2009

    “It does, but not just in the modern meaning of welfare. It’s more generally well fare. What that should mean is up to us.”

    Ha I was just going to say that, that welfare IS looking after the well fare of the nation, but welfare is not the exclusive way to do so.

  522. #522 Justin
    April 11, 2009

    “Just because something is the right thing to do doesn’t mean that it should be enshrined in law. The government should only be stopping us from doing bad things, not forcing us to do good things.”

    That is not the point I’m trying to make. The point is that if you don’t want to help people, then it’s likely that other people don’t want to either.

    BUT, the needs of the poor outweigh your personal feelings on the matter, so we’re barred from neglecting the poor.

  523. #523 Curiosis
    April 11, 2009

    strange,

    Say something new, boring fuckwit troll.

    “Fuckwit!” And here I thought it might have been “fucktard.” Boy is my face red.

    You’re so boring that I can quote libertarian vs. libertarian.

    Believe it or not, libertarians are not clones.

    I agree that a roving pack of starving people would be a bad thing. But if I hand over my money so that they won’t steal it from, isn’t that just extortion. I have an interest in people not starving not out of self-defense, but out of simple humanity.

  524. #524 Justin
    April 11, 2009

    “If I don’t adopt an orphan, then no one will. Mandatory adoptions!”

    Try orphanages and foster care centres. Because we’re not allowed to neglect children without families.

    “If I don’t take in the victim of a natural disaster, then no one will. Everyone gets a hurrican victim! Get’em while they last!”

    How about disaster centres and shelters because we’re not allowed to ignore the plight of people who suffer natural disasters.

    I could go on in this vein…

  525. #525 strange gods before me
    April 11, 2009

    Just because something is the right thing to do doesn’t mean that it should be enshrined in law. The government should only be stopping us from doing bad things, not forcing us to do good things.

    Boring. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/04/psss_libertarians_go_pester_ga.php#comment-1555894

    Isn’t that better than the government deciding for all.

    Boring. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/04/psss_libertarians_go_pester_ga.php#comment-1552324

  526. #526 Curiosis
    April 11, 2009

    Justin,

    You do have a say. By living in your country you have made an unspoken contract to abide by the laws of the nation. Therefore you agree to give up some of your money for other projects.

    And I do follow the laws. But please don’t pretend I agreed to have my property taken.

    Don’t like it? You can always decide to spend your money on a plane ticket to somewhere with no taxes…

    Don’t like paying protection to the Don, well you can always git outta town. Right Vinny?

    Or advocate for less taxes (which is what you’re doing), but this approach is unlikely to help you any.

    I agree. Once people can convince their elected officials to take other people’s money and give it them, they’re unlikely to give that up.

  527. #527 strange gods before me
    April 11, 2009

    “Fuckwit!” And here I thought it might have been “fucktard.” Boy is my face red.

    You’re the only one who’s used that word, troll.

    I agree that a roving pack of starving people would be a bad thing. But if I hand over my money so that they won’t steal it from, isn’t that just extortion. I have an interest in people not starving not out of self-defense, but out of simple humanity.

    Let’s say for the sake of argument that it is extortion. Your neighbors don’t want the roving hordes to come into the neighborhood. If you don’t pay, you’re endangering your neighbors too. So they make you pay your fair share. Better that than the horde. Grownups learn that the real world requires compromises. But go ahead, keep stomping.

  528. #528 strange gods before me
    April 11, 2009

    Don’t like paying protection to the Don, well you can always git outta town. Right Vinny?

    Boring. You’ve decided to take advantage of the benefits of living in America. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/04/psss_libertarians_go_pester_ga.php#comment-1548968

    Now you pay your dues. That’s fair. You libertarians all want to be freeloaders.

  529. #529 Curiosis
    April 11, 2009

    strange,

    But your wealth was redistributed to the people who got the contract to build the road.

    Who then built a road that I value. I still got something out of it.

    Fucking boring troll, say something new.

    Onomatopoeia. That new enough for ya?

    Boring troll.

    You’re still replying.

    Boring troll.

    Wow. And here I thought I was the one who kept repeating themselves.

    No, those are flat taxes.

    So it’s not enought that he pay for what he uses, he needs to pay for other people to use it too?

  530. #530 strange gods before me
    April 11, 2009

    I agree. Once people can convince their elected officials to take other people’s money and give it them, they’re unlikely to give that up.

    So, what then? You’re going to just spend the rest of your life complaining? Try gardening, it’s better for your nerves.

  531. #531 strange gods before me
    April 11, 2009

    Who then built a road that I value. I still got something out of it.

    You did benefit. And it was still redistribution. See, now you’re learning.

    You’re still replying.

    I can do this while watching TV. Aisha Tyler was funny.

    So it’s not enought that he pay for what he uses, he needs to pay for other people to use it too?

    He profits disproportionately, so he pays disproportionately. Also http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/04/psss_libertarians_go_pester_ga.php#comment-1549645

  532. #532 Curiosis
    April 11, 2009

    strange,

    Disingenuous. I clearly said “constitutional democracy.” And you responded as though I said “pure democracy.”

    I don’t remember seeing “constitutional democracy,” just “representative democracy.” If I missed it I apologize. I’ve got several of you giving me the smackdown, so I’m sure I’ve missed a few posts.

  533. #533 strange gods before me
    April 11, 2009

    I don’t remember seeing “constitutional democracy,” just “representative democracy.”

    You quoted it while not remembering it. That’s fail. http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/04/psss_libertarians_go_pester_ga.php#comment-1555809

  534. #534 strange gods before me
    April 11, 2009

    I’ve got several of you giving me the smackdown

    Is that tongue in cheek, or are you at self-aware enough to realize that you kind of suck at this?

  535. #535 Curiosis
    April 11, 2009

    strange,

    Demonstrate that property is a human right.

    Imagine a man who is not allowed to own any possesions. Would you consider his rights curtailed? Would you say that he is free?

    Our property is an extension of our selves. They may be ties to the past, like a watch owned by your grandfather. Or, it might be the tangible form of your work and ingenuity, like income.

    Dualism!

    Not a philosophical given among atheists, sorry. Show your work. How is your body not your self?

    I’m not advocating dualism. I was afraid it might come across that way. Your body it an object, a thing. As such, it is a possession of yours that you should have complete ownership of. It is the ultimate property, and no one should be able to dictate how you use it so long as you don’t harm another.

    From this comes the right of choice for women, the right to eat or drink what you want, even take whatever drugs you want (thought I don’t recommend it). It’s the reason that a court must agree that blood or tissue can be taken from you.

  536. #536 SC, OM
    April 11, 2009

    SC, OM, while you’re around, can you recommend any reading material or videos on the violence in the origins of capitalism?

    What a fantastic list that would be! OK, here’s my sleepy start (some of which I’ve recommended here before):

    Polanyi, The Great Transformation
    Rediker and Linebaugh, The Many-Headed Hydra
    Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts
    Said, Culture and Imperialism
    Hochschild, King Leopold’s Ghost
    The Corporation (film)
    Life and Debt (film)

    Authors (aside from Kropotkin, Goldman, and Marx):

    Eduardo Galeano
    Howard Zinn
    Michel Foucault
    Naomi Klein
    Vandana Shiva

    I know I’m forgetting so many. Suggestions?

  537. #537 Curiosis
    April 11, 2009

    John,

    Property rights are already protected by legislation under our legal system; do you mean you want more legislation, or you want stronger legislation, or you want stronger enforcement, or you want greater adherence to principle, or something else?

    Yes, there are many protections for property rights. Quite simply, I would like to see the government stop redistributing wealth. Playing Robin Hood is a noble idea, but only ethical if all the rich have stolen from the poor. If a rich man has earned his wealth by providing products or services that were voluntarily paid for, why does he owe more money to those same people?

    That’s a touch too vague for me to follow.

    Sorry, I got in trouble the last time I was specific.

  538. #538 Curiosis
    April 11, 2009

    strange,

    That, or maybe, not responding to substantive points which are raised against you, and not reading the thread before vomiting standard libertarian talking points that were already addressed.

    I have tried to substantively answer every question I’ve been asked. You just won’t ever accept any of my answers. You decided I was wrong before my first post.

    Fuckwit. I’ve met many mentally retarded people who are much more decent than you.

    Thanks for clarifying. And how exactly have I been indecent?

  539. #539 strange gods before me
    April 11, 2009

    What a fantastic list that would be! OK, here’s my sleepy start (some of which I’ve recommended here before):

    Thank you, SC!

  540. #540 SC, OM
    April 11, 2009

    Imagine a man [*rolls eyes*} who is not allowed to own any possesions.

    This is all hypothetical, of course. Pay no attention to thousands of people throughout thousands of years of human history.

  541. #541 Curiosis
    April 11, 2009

    strange,

    Well, you could have saved yourself a lot of trouble (not to mention making people think you’re a complete idiot) by reading the thread up until you jumped in and therefore NOT MAKE THE EXACT SAME POINTS THAT WERE REFUTED EARLIER!

    I did read the previous posts, except the ones about the guy who worked for Enron. That didn’t seem on topic.

    And they were refuted according to you and those who agree with you. Hardly an unbiased bunch.

  542. #542 Curiosis
    April 11, 2009

    John,

    We noticed you’re not averse to indulging in what you condemn in others, yeah.

    I accused strange of being uncivil. Please point out where I have done likewise.

    We don’t care much about that, and we don’t care much about the language or tone; we care about substance and engagement.

    Any substance I have will be dismissed because I don’t believe as you do. Please don’t pretend otherwise.

  543. #543 SC, OM
    April 11, 2009

    Any substance I have

    Enough with the hypotheticals, already.

  544. #544 Curiosis
    April 11, 2009

    strange,

    The results of Congress’ powers is what the clause refers to. Madison said as much in the Federalist Papers.

    Citation needed.

    Here’s the citation as linked by Wikipedia.

    http://www.foundingfathers.info/federalistpapers/fed41.htm

  545. #545 John Morales
    April 11, 2009

    Curiosis:

    Playing Robin Hood is a noble idea, but only ethical if all the rich have stolen from the poor.

    You equate taxation with “playing Robin Hood”? I suppose it depends on whether you view it purely as providing social welfare or more broadly as sustaining social infrastructure, and on whether you consider yourself one of the rich…

  546. #546 Curiosis
    April 11, 2009

    Justin,

    That is not the point I’m trying to make. The point is that if you don’t want to help people, then it’s likely that other people don’t want to either.

    I do want to help others, but, of course, I recognize that many will not. However, their property is not mine to do with as I choose. I can’t just take something that isn’t mine because I feel like I have a better use for it. That is the antithesis of liberty.

    BUT, the needs of the poor outweigh your personal feelings on the matter, so we’re barred from neglecting the poor.

    Everyone has needs. That doesn’t necessarily imply that there is a legal obligation to fulfill them. If I see someone injured in a car wreck, they need medical help. They may even die without it. Should I be required by law to help? I think we all agree that I’d be a dick if I didn’t, but should I go to jail for just standing there?

    If you think I should then there’s not much more to say. If you don’t, then apply that same reasoning to this topic.

  547. #547 strange gods before me
    April 11, 2009

    Imagine a man who is not allowed to own any possesions. Would you consider his rights curtailed? Would you say that he is free?

    I can just as easily conceptualize property as a privilege that is assumed to stand, unless there are more compelling reasons to tax it. That seems to be the situation now, in fact. I keep most of what I have, but some of it goes to save the lives of some people who would otherwise starve or freeze. And I feel free. If you don’t feel free, you’re free to move to another country, and you’re even free to take your property with you.

    I’m not advocating dualism. I was afraid it might come across that way. Your body it an object, a thing. As such, it is a possession of yours that you should have complete ownership of.

    Still sounds like dualism. My body is my self.

    From this comes the right of choice for women, the right to eat or drink what you want, even take whatever drugs you want (thought I don’t recommend it). It’s the reason that a court must agree that blood or tissue can be taken from you.

    You could call that property. You could also call it autonomy of the self, and/or bodily autonomy. I don’t see any necessity of adding property as an extra layer of abstraction on the self.

    If a rich man has earned his wealth by providing products or services that were voluntarily paid for, why does he owe more money to those same people?

    Because he used the public infrastructure to get to where he is today, so he has dues to pay.

    I have tried to substantively answer every question I’ve been asked. You just won’t ever accept any of my answers.

    What you’ve actually done is repeated shit that other libertarians said earlier, instead of building upon or working from the replies that were already given.

    You decided I was wrong before my first post.

    Because I’ve heard it all before and wasn’t convinced then either. If you want a more receptive hearing, there are libertarian forums where you can all stomp around in rhythm.

    Playing Robin Hood is a noble idea, but only ethical if all the rich have stolen from the poor.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/04/psss_libertarians_go_pester_ga.php#comment-1556232

    Thanks for clarifying. And how exactly have I been indecent?

    Your stance that it’s better for poor people to die of starvation than receive public welfare is thoroughly indecent.

  548. #548 Justin
    April 11, 2009

    “And I do follow the laws. But please don’t pretend I agreed to have my property taken.”

    You agree to the rules that you follow by deciding to continue living here.

    And if you don’t like it, that’s too bad. Reality sucks sometimes. Use government to change it, or stop whining.

    “I did read the previous posts, except the ones about the guy who worked for Enron. That didn’t seem on topic.”

    They weren’t (the posts with the troll trying to put words in my mouth), but that does beg the question why you think that your tired arguments deserve another airing…

    “And they were refuted according to you and those who agree with you. Hardly an unbiased bunch.”

    Using facts and logic. Damn that liberally biased reality!

  549. #549 Justin
    April 11, 2009

    “I think we all agree that I’d be a dick if I didn’t, but should I go to jail for just standing there?”

    No, but you’re paying (in part) for any medical or police assistance (in Canada at least) that they will receive, so you’re off the hook. If you didn’t, then you would have a moral AND a legal obligation.

    “I do want to help others, but, of course, I recognize that many will not. However, their property is not mine to do with as I choose. I can’t just take something that isn’t mine because I feel like I have a better use for it. That is the antithesis of liberty.”

    Good thing it’s not you taking anything but the government that we all agreed to that is doing the taking with our consent.

  550. #550 strange gods before me
    April 11, 2009

    http://www.foundingfathers.info/federalistpapers/fed41.htm

    First, the Federalist Papers were propaganda, and not all of the signers agreed with Madison. This is his opinion of what the general welfare clause should be interpreted to mean, but it would not be any definitive answer in a Supreme Court case.

    Second, I can think of another parsimonious explanation besides the Federalist’s:

    The enumerated powers that follow the general welfare clause are those that will be assumed constitutional, should a particular law be challenged in the courts. The general welfare clause allows other powers as well, but if these laws are challenged on their constitutionality, it would be the burden of the state to demonstrate that they actually do contribute to the general welfare, this being an empirical question.

    (I would be interested in Walton’s opinion of that reading.)

  551. #551 Curiosis
    April 11, 2009

    strange,

    Is that tongue in cheek, or are you at self-aware enough to realize that you kind of suck at this?

    Do I suck at trying to convince you to see any side but your own, yes, absolutely.

    When your position starts out as “libertarians are evil fuckwits” then discussion isn’t really going to amouunt to much.

    That’s okay. I knew that going in and I went in anyway.

    This is where I get off. It was an interesting ride, but ultimately pointless in the end. Mores the pity.

    You may now hurl insults at my receding silhouette to your hearts content. I’m going to bed.

    “Dumbest Libertarian of the Thread” signing off.

  552. #552 John Morales
    April 11, 2009

    “Dumbest Libertarian of the Thread” signing off.

    Just remember, morphing and carrying on is not signing off.

    Bye.

  553. #553 strange gods before me
    April 11, 2009

    If I see someone injured in a car wreck, they need medical help. They may even die without it. Should I be required by law to help?

    I think Justin’s response is better than mine, but I’ll add that there’s a substantive difference between this car wreck and taxation.

    It’s not exactly clear what you should do in the case of the car wreck. Should you call 911? (If you can, but also,) Should you provide first aid? Resuscitation? (What if you’re not trained, or poorly trained?) Should you move them, leave them where they are? If the car is on fire should you risk your own life? There are probably too many factors to address by law. The law can’t know ahead of time what’s going to happen, and you can’t know ahead of time that you’ll find yourself in this situation.

    But in the case of taxation, we’ve worked out ahead of time what the money will be used for and why it’s needed. The law is clear, and your choice is clear: pay your dues for the benefits of America, or find a new country. You aren’t being subjected to the same kind of multiple factor ambiguity, and most importantly, you knew ahead of time what was coming and you decided to stay.

  554. #554 strange gods before me
    April 11, 2009

    Do I suck at trying to convince you to see any side but your own, yes, absolutely.

    An arrogant presumption. Fact is I’ve seen it your way already, and discarded that ideology as useless.

  555. #555 nothing's sacred
    April 11, 2009

    Do I suck at trying to convince you to see any side but your own, yes, absolutely.

    We see your side, just as we see the side of Intelligent Designers and Global Warming deniers. But in all cases the “sides” are based on factual error and illogic. What, you don’t think that’s possible?

    “As a libertarian, I believe in maximized liberty for each individual.”

    Your libertarianism is conceptually incoherent, on a par with “too complex to have evolved”. The liberties of individuals conflict; thus it’s necessary to have a resolution mechanism. For libertardians like you, the resolution is based on a dogma of “inviolable property rights”. But there’s no good reason to make that the basis of resolution and many reasons not to. An important consideration is where property came from — how did anyone come to own property in the first place? You want to talk about ownership of your body. Fine — what gave you the right to steal all those molecules from the commons? Everything that anyone owns is composed of molecules that, at some time in the past, belonged to no one. Most markedly, the goods produced by corporations are mined from materials that don’t belong to them — what gives them the right? If you do away with government and stick to free markets and contracts, how do materials get into the market? Who are they contracted from? The current distribution of property — any distribution of property — can be traced back to a history of theft and coercion, so the distribution is inherently unfair. And even if it weren’t, even if we could start fresh and distribute all property evenly, we would soon see disparities based on luck, on willingness to cheat, on concern for the future, on acquisitional behavior, on concern for others … such a system tends to reward those with moral outlooks least conducive to a humane and civilized society. And luck here includes being able-bodied, being smarter or stronger, etc. Libertardians — liberated-from-morality-ians, think that’s just peachy keen, that’s the way it should be — they are social darwinists. Other folks vary one how much disparity is tolerable, but grasp that an “inviolable” principle that guarantees that the old and infirm suffer immensely is not a good one on which to base a functioning society. People struggle with how to build fair and humane social structures — it’s difficult, but neither “inviolable property rights” nor “maximized liberty” (where liberty is defined in terms of property and the liberty to be healthy and happy are discounted) is a viable option.

  556. #556 Walton
    April 11, 2009

    Tis Himself:

    As I said, libertarians tend to be economic illiterates.

    I’m sure the late Milton Friedman would have been rather amused to hear himself described as an “economic illiterate” by some guy on a blog. Unless you’ve won a Nobel Prize in economics and are keeping rather quiet about it?

  557. #557 Walton
    April 11, 2009

    The enumerated powers that follow the general welfare clause are those that will be assumed constitutional, should a particular law be challenged in the courts. The general welfare clause allows other powers as well, but if these laws are challenged on their constitutionality, it would be the burden of the state to demonstrate that they actually do contribute to the general welfare, this being an empirical question.

    (I would be interested in Walton’s opinion of that reading.)

    It’s tenable, though I don’t like it. The trouble is that all these clauses were a compromise between the followers of Jefferson (who wanted weak federal government and strong state and local government) and Hamilton (who wanted a strong central government); much of the wording was probably deliberately vague, for this reason.

    I would urge everyone to bear in mind, however, that when reading a phrase such as “general welfare of the United States”, the term “the United States” would not have conjured up the same connotations in the minds of people of the eighteenth century as it does today. Until the Civil War, it was standard usage in official documents to say “The United States are…” rather than “The United States is…” My reading would therefore be that this clause was intended to give Congress power to institute programmes for the general welfare of the states, not the people.

    In any case, I would contend that the biggest issue is not whether the Constitution has been read wrongly regarding the powers of Congress; rather, it is the fact that, in many areas where Congress has no ability to legislate, it does so indirectly through the mechanism of conditional grants. For instance, as I understand it, Congress has no power to impose a minimum drinking age of 21; but it is able to do so by the threat of withholding various federal grants from the states unless they comply with the standard drinking age. The cause of this, of course, was the introduction of federal income tax, giving the federal government financial clout and allowing it to strong-arm the states into adherence to its wishes. This is why I do not believe that the Sixteenth Amendment was a good thing.

    Certainly, many of the Founding Fathers wanted Congress to restrict itself to foreign affairs, defence, border control, regulation of interstate trade, and a few other matters which need to be standardised; and arguably, things were better in the days when it did so. But the Constitution can be read so as to permit much more than this – and that’s probably deliberate. Hamilton would probably have been fairly pleased with the way things have turned out in the long run (remember, he wanted the President to hold office for life except in case of impeachment, and was keen to have a much more powerful central government with a quasi-monarchical figure at its head).

  558. #558 John Morales
    April 11, 2009

    Walton, the phrase “tend to be” is not normally interpreted as “without exception”.

  559. #559 Walton
    April 11, 2009

    Meh. I guess I’m more of a classical liberal than a hardcore libertarian. Like Adam Smith – and, indeed, to some extent Friedman and Hayek also – I do advocate some government involvement in society beyond the barest minimum. Public roads; public education (albeit with a school voucher system to allow free competition); basic medical and nutritional assistance and other forms of minimal welfare; these are acceptable in a free society. While there should always be a presumption in favour of freedom and against government intervention, this presumption can be rebutted by strong evidence that government intervention in a particular field is essential to the general welfare. So I’m not quite a minarchist.

  560. #560 'Tis Himself
    April 11, 2009

    I’m sure the late Milton Friedman would have been rather amused to hear himself described as an “economic illiterate” by some guy on a blog. Unless you’ve won a Nobel Prize in economics and are keeping rather quiet about it?

    First off, I said “libertarians tend to be economic illiterates.” [Emphasis added] Do I have to explain what the verb “tend” means? I hope you’re not illiterate in English as well as in economics, political science, history, and general knowledge.

    Second, while Friedman deserved his prize (not, strictly speaking, a Nobel Prize, but that’s a quibble), he got it for purely apolitical economics like his “permanent income hypothesis” and his discussions of inflation and unemployment. His later work on monitarism has been discarded by mainstream economics. Conservatives and libertarians are in love with Friedman’s monetary policies, but governments, central banks, and most economists don’t pay any attention to them any more.

    Third, I am an economist with a graduate degree in the field and over thirty years experience. I think that makes me qualified to judge if certain people know something about economics or are just talking out of their rectums. Incidentally, I’m not in the running for a Nobel, but I am known to and well regarded by my peers, both here and abroad.

    Lastly, libertarians do actually tend to be economic illiterates. A fair number of you clamor for a return to the gold standard. In my post #454 I gave a real world reason why that’s a non-starter. If you want, I can give other reasons why a gold standard is silly, dangerous, or both. For instance, economic recessions can be largely mitigated by increasing money supply during economic downturns. Following a gold standard would mean that the amount of money would be determined by the supply of gold, and hence monetary policy could no longer be used to stabilize the economy in times of recession. In spite of real world objections to the gold standard, many libertarians cling to the idea, which tells me that they’re fucking nuts economic illiterates.

  561. #561 MartinM
    April 11, 2009

    But if $500 of my taxes go to a government soup kithcen, then my money did nothing for me, personally.

    In much the same way as the money I spend on my car insurance does nothing for me personally unless I need to make a claim.

  562. #562 'Tis Himself
    April 11, 2009

    I guess I’m more of a classical liberal than a hardcore libertarian.

    It’s interesting how moderate looneytarians grabbed the name of a respectable but defunct political movement in an attempt to give their nuttiness a facade of respectability. In real life, “classical liberalism” died when Gladstone retired as prime minister in 1894.

  563. #563 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 11, 2009

    Yawn, the libertards are still morally bankrupt, and show it every time they post.

  564. #564 Reader5000
    April 11, 2009

    It’s also interesting how “libertarians” grabbed the name of a respectable but opposite political movement in an attempt to give their nuttiness a facade of respectability. In Europe today, the term still describes a leftist anti-hierarchical movement, as it used to in the U.S. many decades ago.

    And now they’re trying to steal the work “anarchist” to entrench a class hierarchy. Huh?! I know what Inigo Montoya would say about that.

    http://www.infoshop.org/faq/secFint.html

  565. #565 Reader5000
    April 11, 2009

    That should be “word”, not “work”.

    Which is not to say that those capitalists don’t steal others’ work, too.

  566. #566 Walton
    April 11, 2009

    ‘Tis Himself: Fair enough, but I have never personally advocated a return to the gold standard. The reason so many libertarians like the idea is because it takes control of the currency away from the capricious whims of central bankers; but I see your point as to the disadvantages.

    In real life, “classical liberalism” died when Gladstone retired as prime minister in 1894.

    Says who? The ideals of classical liberalism live on. While the Liberal Party was largely co-opted by leftists in the early twentieth century (introducing statist measures such as compulsory “National Insurance”), the principles to which Gladstone adhered are still relevant in today’s world. Nineteenth-century classical liberalism was set apart from other political movements primarily by its ardent support for free trade; in a world where Western governments impoverish the Third World by an elaborate system of trade barriers, tariffs and subsidies, this is more important than ever. The legacy of radicals such as Cobden and Bright is something we need to value, IMO; we should not let the heritage of British liberalism be tarnished by its twentieth-century perversions.

  567. #567 Walton
    April 11, 2009

    It’s also interesting how “libertarians” grabbed the name of a respectable but opposite political movement in an attempt to give their nuttiness a facade of respectability. In Europe today, the term still describes a leftist anti-hierarchical movement, as it used to in the U.S. many decades ago.

    That’s only because those European movements which would be described as “libertarian” in the United States are still largely described as “liberal” in Europe, that term not having been co-opted by leftists as it has in the English-speaking world. Parties such as the French Alliance liberale, or the German FDP, are within the Anglo-American definition of “libertarian” but are described in Europe as “liberal”. (This is perhaps because “socialist” never became a dirty word in Europe in the way that it did in the United States.)

    We believe in liberty of the individual, rather than the subjugation of the individual to the collective. Both “liberal” and “libertarian” are terms which, stemming from the Latin libertas – freedom within the law – reflect this core belief.

  568. #568 'Tis Himself
    April 11, 2009

    twentieth-century perversions

    Yeah, those perverted liberals, wanting peace and prosperity for everyone, not just the deserving rich. Insisting that monopolies and other restraints of trade be regulated. Thinking that oligarchies were not the finest forms of government. That’s real perversion.

  569. #569 'Tis Himself
    April 11, 2009

    We believe in liberty of the individual, rather than the subjugation of the individual to the collective. Both “liberal” and “libertarian” are terms which, stemming from the Latin libertas – freedom within the law – reflect this core belief.

    Unfortunately, you don’t live on your little island, separate from the rest of the world. You live with the rest of us. Since the rest of us have determined that we need certain rules to keep from degenerating into chaos, we insist that you abide by these rules. That’s the price of living in a society. If you don’t like it, that’s too bad, unless you want to move to the libertarian utopia of Somalia.

  570. #570 strange gods before me
    April 11, 2009

    We believe in liberty of the individual, rather than the subjugation of the individual to the collective. Both “liberal” and “libertarian” are terms which, stemming from the Latin libertas – freedom within the law – reflect this core belief.

    A recognition of the fact that poverty is the most common restraint upon freedom would be most welcome.

    I would urge everyone to bear in mind, however, that when reading a phrase such as “general welfare of the United States”, the term “the United States” would not have conjured up the same connotations in the minds of people of the eighteenth century as it does today. Until the Civil War, it was standard usage in official documents to say “The United States are…” rather than “The United States is…” My reading would therefore be that this clause was intended to give Congress power to institute programmes for the general welfare of the states, not the people.

    The Constitution itself strongly implies otherwise. See the preamble, the most direct and plain explanation of the purpose of the document, where the phrase “general welfare” appears again. Emphasis mine:

    “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    Right there it’s explained as a document of the people, by the people, and for the people.

    Some of the six goals could be interpreted as either for the states or for the people, or both, depending on one’s bias. But to “secure the blessings of liberty” makes little or no sense as a goal for the sake of the states as states. It’s a goal for the sake of the people, and this is immediately confirmed by the reminder that this is for “ourselves and our posterity.” Whose selves? Again, the subject of the sentence, “we the people of the United States.” To a less obvious extent, the goal to “establish justice” has the same tension. What is justice for a state, as a state? Disputes of interstate commerce, perhaps, but little else. In contrast, what is justice for an individual? A great deal more, necessitating several specific amendments in the Bill of Rights. Even without the glaring obvious “we the people” beginning, the goal of the people’s justice would be the more parsimonious explanation.

    Under your reading, of the Constitution as serving the interests of the states, at least two of the six goals stand out as relatively inexplicable. Under my reading, all six goals make plain sense.

    And getting down to the details, exactly how would the general welfare of the states differ from the general welfare of the people? What is the general welfare of a state, but the general welfare of its people? In this case I think you’ve made a distinction without a difference.

    The cause of this, of course, was the introduction of federal income tax, giving the federal government financial clout and allowing it to strong-arm the states into adherence to its wishes. This is why I do not believe that the Sixteenth Amendment was a good thing.

    You’ll find that income tax precedes the Sixteenth Amendment.

  571. #571 strange gods before me
    April 11, 2009

    Well I screwed up the emphasis tags:

    “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

  572. #572 'Tis Himself
    April 11, 2009

    As Mike Huben put it so well:

    The foremost defenders of our freedoms and rights, which libertarians prefer you overlook, are our governments. National defense, police, courts, registries of deeds, public defenders, the Constitution and the Bill Of Rights, etc. all are government efforts that work towards defending freedoms and rights.

    Libertarians frequently try to present themselves as the group to join to defend your freedom and rights. Lots of other organizations (many of which you would not want to be associated with, such as Scientologists) also fight for freedom and rights. I prefer the ACLU. (Indeed, if you wish to act effectively, the ACLU is the way to go: they advertise that they take on 6,000 cases a year free of charge, and claim involvement in 80% of landmark Supreme Court cases since 1920.)

    It would be foolish to oppose libertarians on such a mom-and-apple-pie issue as freedom and rights: better to point out that there are EFFECTIVE alternatives with a historical track record, something libertarianism lacks.

    Nor might we need or want to accept the versions of “freedom” and “rights” that libertarians propose. To paraphrase Anatole France: “How noble libertarianism, in its majestic equality, that both rich and poor are equally prohibited from peeing in the privately owned streets (without paying), sleeping under the privately owned bridges (without paying), and coercing bread from its rightful owners!”

  573. #573 Walton
    April 12, 2009

    The foremost defenders of our freedoms and rights, which libertarians prefer you overlook, are our governments. National defense, police, courts, registries of deeds, public defenders, the Constitution and the Bill Of Rights, etc. all are government efforts that work towards defending freedoms and rights.

    All of which are institutions I support. I don’t “prefer you overlook” them.

    Lots of other organizations (many of which you would not want to be associated with, such as Scientologists) also fight for freedom and rights. I prefer the ACLU. (Indeed, if you wish to act effectively, the ACLU is the way to go: they advertise that they take on 6,000 cases a year free of charge, and claim involvement in 80% of landmark Supreme Court cases since 1920.)

    The ACLU works to protect a limited subset of freedom and rights. It does good work, and I fully support its activities; but what it doesn’t do, and can’t do, is protect the right of individuals to keep and spend their own money as they choose. That’s where libertarians come in.

    To paraphrase Anatole France: “How noble libertarianism, in its majestic equality, that both rich and poor are equally prohibited from peeing in the privately owned streets (without paying), sleeping under the privately owned bridges (without paying), and coercing bread from its rightful owners!”

    Of course they are. “Freedom” does not mean that society owes you a living, or that, being hungry and homeless, you have a right to feed and clothe yourself at your neighbour’s expense.

  574. #574 John Morales
    April 12, 2009

    Walton:

    Of course they are.

    You so didn’t get it.

  575. #575 'Tis Himself
    April 12, 2009

    but what it doesn’t do, and can’t do, is protect the right of individuals to keep and spend their own money as they choose. That’s where libertarians come in.

    You’re back to the “libertarians would have the poor starve on the streets rather than spend a penny in taxes to help them” argument. Some of us doubt the validity of this proposition.

    “Freedom” does not mean that society owes you a living, or that, being hungry and homeless, you have a right to feed and clothe yourself at your neighbour’s expense.

    The usual form of this statement is “I’ve got mine, fuck you.”

  576. #576 Walton
    April 12, 2009

    The usual form of this statement is “I’ve got mine, fuck you.”

    Look. Let’s try this again.

    Let’s imagine X is dying of kidney failure, and you have two healthy kidneys. The doctors tell you that, if one of your kidneys is removed and implanted in X, you will probably survive and remain healthy, and X’s life will be saved. Should you donate your kidney to X? Yes. And I would do so in a heartbeat, as I hope you would. But the more difficult question is this: should the state force you to donate your kidney to X? For me, the answer has to be no.

    Similarly, if you have worked and earned money, maybe you should share it with your neighbour who is starving. But does the state have a right to force you to? No.

    You may protest that money is different from kidneys. But is it, really? Think about it. Your body is yours from birth for free; you didn’t “earn” it in any sense. By contrast, the money that you earn entails an investment of skill and labour on your part; thus, morally, you have more right to it than you do to the organs of your body.

    We all owe many people moral obligations. I owe a huge moral obligation to my parents. I owe a moral obligation to those people who, in the past, have worked to make my country what it is and to enable the lifestyle and freedom which I enjoy. But do any of those people have the right to force me to surrender my kidney to them? Even if they were dying? No. Nor do they have the right, therefore, to force me to work for their benefit. I certainly should do so; but that isn’t the same thing.

    And in any case, state welfare is generally less discriminating than that. I owe moral obligations to many different individuals. But I do not owe such an obligation to every individual who, by accident of birth, happens to live in my country. Why do I owe anything at all to a person who has done nothing for me?

  577. #577 Ray Ladbury
    April 12, 2009

    Walton asks “Why do I owe anything at all to a person who has done nothing for me?”

    OK, how is this different from “I’ve got mine, fuck you.”

    Governments exist because there are things we can do collectively that we cannot do individually. Presumably, you do not object to government spending on defense. Correct? How about scientific and technological research and development? Physical infrastructure? How about human infrastructure: Education?

    The problem Walton, is that commonwealth is wealth just as much as personal wealth. We need an educated, healthy population, a physical infrastructure, an intellectual infrastructure and a common defense to be a healthy, economically successful system. We all share the benefits of an industrialized society, stick a crow bar into your wallet and pay your frigging share.

  578. #578 'Tis Himself
    April 12, 2009

    Sigh. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the “the gummint can’t force you to give a kidney to some AIDS infested crack whore so why can they take MY money and give it to her?” argument from libertarians.

    Taxation is part of a social contract. Essentially, taxes are payment in exchange for services from government. It has been determined by the vast majority of citizens that government support of the indigent is a “good thing.” So even if you are not a beneficiary of welfare, the dole, etc., part of your taxes (a very small part) goes to welfare.

    If you don’t want your taxes to support crack whores (and what other people besides folks like that would ever dream of accepting welfare?) then you can work to get a candidate running on the “none of Walton’s hard-earned pence for crack whores ticket” elected. That’s how representative democracies work. If you and your fellow libertarians can convince a majority of the populace to elect enough “none of Walton’s hard-earned pence for crack whores ticket” candidates then none of your hard-earned pence will go to crack whores.

    Incidentally, it can work the other way as well. If a majority of MPs pass the “Let’s Make Walton Donate A Kidney To A Crack Whore Act,” then you can expect to be in surgery shortly thereafter. It’s all part of the fun of living in a representative democracy.

  579. #579 Walton
    April 12, 2009

    Taxation is part of a social contract. Essentially, taxes are payment in exchange for services from government. It has been determined by the vast majority of citizens that government support of the indigent is a “good thing.”

    The “social contract” is nonsense. I did not choose which country to be born in; and due to immigration restrictions, I cannot change my national allegiance at will. (Indeed, if there were universal open borders, the world would be a lot more libertarian; countries would have to compete for productive citizens by offering lower taxes and more competitive business regimes.) So I have not entered into any “social contract”; rather, I am coerced into accepting the monopolistic jurisdiction of the British state. If citizens were not so coerced, do you really think anyone would choose to live in the many countries ruled by violent, repressive and corrupt governments? The fact is that, even if a citizen is allowed to leave his country of birth freely (by no means a given in the world’s many dictatorships), he is unlikely to be allowed to enter the country in which he wishes to live.

    If taxes are payment in exchange for government services, then why can I not choose to stop paying for government services and, instead, to buy the same services from a private provider, which may be able to provide them to me more cheaply and efficiently?

    The “majority of citizens” does not have any legitimate claim on my body or on the fruits of my labour. I am not “property of the community”, I am a free human being.

    Incidentally, it can work the other way as well. If a majority of MPs pass the “Let’s Make Walton Donate A Kidney To A Crack Whore Act,” then you can expect to be in surgery shortly thereafter. It’s all part of the fun of living in a representative democracy.

    Unfortunately, in the UK, this is true. The UK has no written constitution, and its government is traditionally defined by the absolute sovereignty of “the Crown in Parliament” to do whatever it wishes.

    However, I don’t think you really want to argue that this is a good thing. Just look at laws against abortion, homosexuality, etc., where your “majority of citizens”, through your “representative democracy” has decided to dictate to individuals what they can do with their own bodies. Are you arguing that Roe v Wade was wrong? Or Griswold v Connecticut? Or Lawrence v Texas? All decisions of which left-wingers, as well as libertarians, tend to approve. Because representative democracy is not good enough; the citizen also has certain basic rights which should never be taken from him without his individual, personal consent, regardless of what the majority of “the community” thinks about it. I would argue merely that these rights should be extended beyond control of one’s own body, to control of one’s own property and earned income.

  580. #580 'Tis Himself
    April 12, 2009

    The “social contract” is nonsense. I did not choose which country to be born in; and due to immigration restrictions, I cannot change my national allegiance at will.

    The constitution (if applicable) and the laws are our written contracts with the government.

    There are several explicit means by which people make the social contract with government. The commonest is when your parents choose your residency and/or citizenship after your birth. In that case, your parents are contracting for you, exercising their power of custody. No further explicit action is required on your part to continue the agreement, and you may end it at any time by departing and renouncing your citizenship.

    Immigrants, residents, and visitors contract through the oath of citizenship (swearing to uphold the laws and constitution), residency permits, and visas. Citizens reaffirm it in whole or part when they take political office, join the armed forces, etc. This contract has a fairly common form: once entered into, it is implicitly continued until explicitly revoked. Many other contracts have this form: some leases, most utility services (such as phone and electricity), etc.

    Some libertarians make a big deal about needing to actually sign a contract. Take them to a restaurant and see if they think it ethical to walk out without paying because they didn’t sign anything. Even if it is a restaurant with a minimum charge and they haven’t ordered anything. The restaurant gets to set the price and the method of contract so that even your presence creates a debt. What is a libertarian going to do about that? Create a regulation?

    One commonly cited argument is that the social contract is like no other, and thus not a contract. That’s a non sequitur. A unique feature or combination of features doesn’t disqualify something from being a contract.

    Some complain that the social contract is fundamentally unjust because it doesn’t treat people equally, that people are taxed unequally or receive services unequally. So? Like insurance, rates can vary from individual to individual, and services received may be more or less than premiums paid.

    Despite your whining and wishful thinking, the social contract is real and you are held to comply with it.

  581. #581 'Tis Himself
    April 12, 2009

    Walton, if I remember correctly you said that you might join the military after you get your degree. You do realize that your liberties and freedoms will be even more constrained in the military. If you don’t like a civilian job you can quit and go elsewhere. Quitting the military before your contract expires is considered doubleplus ungood and may get you a period of substandard housing with some very unpleasant neighbors.

  582. #582 Justin
    April 12, 2009

    “Despite your whining and wishful thinking, the social contract is real and you are held to comply with it.”

    Your entire post at #580 was exquisite, but I have to say, “HELL YA” to this line!

  583. #583 Justin
    April 12, 2009

    “I would argue merely that these rights should be extended beyond control of one’s own body, to control of one’s own property and earned income.”

    Too bad it’s not. Run for office Walton! Change those crappy laws!

    /sarcasm

  584. #584 Guy Incognito
    April 12, 2009

    You do realize that your liberties and freedoms will be even more constrained in the military.

    Or as the drill sergeant told us on the first day of basic training: “You have one freedom! The freedom to shut the hell up and do what I tell you!” It probably wasn’t the wisest move in the world to tell him that was actually two freedoms.

  585. #585 Walton
    April 12, 2009

    Walton, if I remember correctly you said that you might join the military after you get your degree. You do realize that your liberties and freedoms will be even more constrained in the military.

    I considered it, but I don’t intend to do so. And in any case, joining the military, in a country without a draft, is a voluntary act.

    Your entire post at #580 was exquisite, but I have to say, “HELL YA” to this line!

    The gist of that post (#580) seems to be a paraphrase of this page:

    http://world.std.com/~mhuben/faq.html#contract

    to which ‘Tis Himself linked earlier, at #572. I didn’t address it in detail then, but I will do so tomorrow (I don’t have time now).

  586. #586 nothing's sacred
    April 13, 2009

    “Freedom” does not mean that society owes you a living, or that, being hungry and homeless, you have a right to feed and clothe yourself at your neighbour’s expense.

    No, moral decency does, sicko.

    Here’s a thorough refutation of libertarianism:

    http://www.zompist.com/libertos.html

  587. #587 Walton
    April 13, 2009

    nothing’s sacred @586:

    Your “thorough refutation of libertarianism” is, in fact, a lengthy rant which simply concludes with, in essence, “libertarians are nasty and evil and want to throw the poor out on the street”. Let’s look at some of the nonsense on that page.

    One correspondent suggested that the poor shouldn’t “complain” about not getting loans– “I wouldn’t make a loan if I didn’t think I’d get paid back.” This is not only hard-hearted but ignorant. Who says the poor are bad credit risks? It often takes prodding from community organizations, but banks can serve low-income areas well– both making money and fostering home ownership.

    Yes, it was such a great idea to make loans to people with low incomes in order to foster home ownership. Those subprime mortgages were so fantastic for the economy.

    “We believe in laws too.” And they do, rather touchingly; they just don’t believe in enforcing them. Enforcement of the laws passed by democratic legislatures is called “men with guns” or “initiating force” in libertarian ideology. And without enforcement, laws are just pretty words. You can see this today in Latin America, which often has very progressive laws. The business and landowning elite just ignores them.

    Complete misunderstanding. Libertarians believe in laws, and in enforcing those laws: provided that said laws are just and necessary. A just and necessary law is one that prevents a person from interfering with another’s body, property or autonomy, or one which protects communal resources and infrastructure from abuse.

    Contrary to popular belief, I do not advocate giving corporations a free hand to do as they wish. If a corporation violates the bodily autonomy or property rights of an individual – in which I include, for instance, destroying people’s health and property by dumping toxic waste – then it should be fixed with appropriate criminal and civil liability.

    Rather, what I advocate is reducing the restrictions on contracts between free individuals. If, for example, I am willing to work for a rate below the minimum wage, and an employer is willing to hire me for that rate, there is no reason why we should not be able to enter into a contract of employment to that effect. The alternative, very often, is unemployment; if employers are forced to pay their workers more, they’ll simply hire fewer workers, or move their operations to a jurisdiction where they can pay lower wages. If you stop them from doing these things, they’ll go out of business, making even more people unemployed. I oppose minimum wage laws not out of callousness, but because they hurt the very people they’re intended to help.

    Thanks to the libertarian business climate, companies are happily moving jobs abroad, lowering wages, worsening working conditions.

    Creating jobs in China, India and other countries – which, while incredibly poorly paid by Western standards, are better than the job opportunities previously available to the poor of those countries (which generally consisted of subsistence farming, prostitution or begging). But, of course, Western leftists and their union backers don’t care about that; they just want to preserve jobs for union workers, since it’s the unions that provide their base of popular support.

    Here’s an alternative theory for you: original sin. People will mess things up, whether by stupidity or by active malice. There is no magical class of people (e.g. “government”) who can be removed to produce utopia. Any institution is liable to failure, or active criminality. Put anyone in power– whether it’s communists or engineers or businessmen– and they will abuse it.

    I completely agree. Which is why we should never give one group of people – the central government – enough power to mess things up. Government should exercise as little power as possible, and that which it does exercise should be exercised mainly by local governments, not the central government. Yes, corporations can amass a great deal of power; but in a country governed by the rule of law, they cannot use coercive force to impose their will on citizens. Governments can.

    If you were part of the World War II generation, the reality was that you had access to subsidized education and housing, you lived better every year, and you were almost unimaginably better off than your parents.

    True. But that wealth and prosperity wasn’t created out of nowhere by federal government programmes. The wealth was generated by a century of consumer capitalism, entrepreneurship and innovation. The bureaucratic capitalism and high levels of government interference instituted in most countries after WWII stifled this entrepreneurship and innovation; meaning that, by the 1980s, the world was ready for a change. And that change was delivered by Reagan, Thatcher, Mulroney and others.

    Or consider the darling of many an ’80s conservative: Pinochet’s Chile, installed by Nixon, praised by Jeanne Kirkpatrick, George Bush, and Paul Johnson. In twenty years, foreign debt quadrupled, natural resources were wasted, universal health care was abandoned (leading to epidemics of typhoid fever and hepatitis), unions were outlawed, military spending rose (for what? who the hell is going to attack Chile?), social security was “privatized” (with predictable results: ever-increasing government bailouts) and the poverty rate doubled, from 20% to 41%. Chile’s growth rate from 1974 to 1982 was 1.5%; the Latin American average was 4.3%.

    Excellent bit of statistical cherry-picking. The author conveniently forgets to mention that, today, Chile is one of the most stable and prosperous countries in Latin America. Contrast this with the socialist policies being pursued today in Venezuela and Bolivia; are those people better off than the Chileans?

    Or take Russia in the decade after the fall of Communism, as advised by free-market absolutists like Jeffrey Sachs. Russian GDP declined 50% in five years. The elite grabbed the assets they could and shuffled them out of Russia so fast that IMF loans couldn’t compensate. In 1994 alone, 600 businessmen, journalists, and politicians were murdered by gangsters. Russia lacked a working road system, a banking system, anti-monopoly regulation, effective law enforcement, or any sort of safety net for the elderly and the jobless. Inflation reached 2250% in 1992. Central government authority effectively disappeared in many regions.

    Last time I checked, libertarians support effective law enforcement and anti-monopoly regulation. A state without these things is not libertarian. It’s anarchic. There is a crucial difference, but the author of this article keeps (either stupidly or dishonestly) conflating the two.

    The New Deal itself was a response to crisis (though by no means an unprecedented one; it wasn’t much worse than the Gilded Age depressions).

    A crisis created by the policies of government. The Federal Reserve was created in 1913 and promptly screwed everything up.

    I think the diagram is seriously misleading, because visually it gives equal importance to both dimensions. And when the rubber hits the road, libertarians almost always go with the economic dimension.

    Because the economic dimension is significantly more important to the average citizen’s life. If I were gay, for example, I’d be far more concerned about whether I had the right to keep and spend my own money than about whether I had the right to get married. This isn’t to say that marriage equality isn’t important, or isn’t worth fighting for; it absolutely is, and I was as opposed to Prop 8 as any liberal. But when it comes down to a simple, stark choice, I’m going to go with economic freedom over social freedom.

  588. #588 John Morales
    April 13, 2009

    Walton:

    But when it comes down to a simple, stark choice, I’m going to go with economic freedom over social freedom.

    Really? Weird.
    I’d certainly rather be a socially free economic slave than a financially free social slave, and I bet most normal humans would. We are members of a social species, after all.

    PS – I don’t particularly want to weigh in on economic or political matters, but I think that portion about the poor and loans was more general than you imply; i.e. more about microfinance than about subprime mortgages.

  589. #589 Brachychiton
    April 13, 2009

    Walton, who is paying for your university degree? Are you paying for every single bit of it? Out of your own pocket? Or are you benefitting from other people’s contributions?

  590. #590 'Tis Himself
    April 13, 2009
    One correspondent suggested that the poor shouldn’t “complain” about not getting loans– “I wouldn’t make a loan if I didn’t think I’d get paid back.” This is not only hard-hearted but ignorant. Who says the poor are bad credit risks? It often takes prodding from community organizations, but banks can serve low-income areas well– both making money and fostering home ownership.

    Yes, it was such a great idea to make loans to people with low incomes in order to foster home ownership. Those subprime mortgages were so fantastic for the economy.

    Nice bit of quotemining there, Walton. You left off the last sentence of the paragraph: “Institutions like the Grameen Bank have found that micro-loans work very well, and are profitable, in the poorest countries on Earth, such as Bangladesh.” Your object was answered in the essay, but you pretended it wasn’t. Shabby, Walton, very shabby.

    Subprime mortgages were a bad idea. That’s why they were unknown in the US until the 1980s. It was the libertarian-inspired Reagan administration and the Republican controlled Congress that lifted the legal restrictions on subprimes which made them both possible and legal.

    Complete misunderstanding. Libertarians believe in laws, and in enforcing those laws: provided that said laws are just and necessary. A just and necessary law is one that prevents a person from interfering with another’s body, property or autonomy, or one which protects communal resources and infrastructure from abuse.

    Nobody disagrees that laws should protect peoples’ bodies, property or autonomy and protect communal resources and infrastructure. The question is to what extend should that protection be given.

    Many libertarians* claim that The Free Market should be completely unregulated (they make noises about protection from fraud but they don’t really mean it, unless they’re a victim of the fraud). Normal people think that regulated markets are a good idea, especially after seeing Enron, the subprime meltdown, and what’s happening to their retirement accounts.

    Last time I checked, libertarians support effective law enforcement and anti-monopoly regulation. A state without these things is not libertarian. It’s anarchic. There is a crucial difference, but the author of this article keeps (either stupidly or dishonestly) conflating the two.

    The anarcho-capitalist libertarians have no problem with monopolies**. An unregulated market, which these folks are in favor of, means unregulated. Anti-monopoly laws are market regulations. What part of “laissez faire” don’t you understand, Walton?

    A crisis created by the policies of government. The Federal Reserve was created in 1913 and promptly screwed everything up.

    This is a great myth favored by conservatives and libertarians, usually coupled with “and the New Deal just made the Depression worse.” And it’s so much bullshit! As H.L. Mencken put it: “Complex problems have simple, easy to understand, wrong answers.”

    First off, Friedman and Schwartz did not claim the Fed caused the Great Depression, only that it failed to use policies that might have stopped a recession from turning into a depression.

    Secondly, the US was on a gold standard until 1933. So the amount of credit the Federal Reserve could issue was limited by laws which required gold backing of that credit. By the late 1920s the Federal Reserve had almost hit the limit of allowable credit that could be backed by the gold in its possession. This credit was in the form of Federal Reserve demand notes. Since a “promise of gold” is not as good as “gold in the hand”, during the bank panics a portion of those demand notes were redeemed for Federal Reserve gold. Since the Federal Reserve had hit its limit on allowable credit, any reduction in gold in its vaults had to be accompanied by a greater reduction in credit. So legally the Fed could not increase the money supply. This was the main reason why the US (and other Western countries facing similar problems) abandoned the gold standard.***

    *One problem with discussing things with libertarians is there are so many different types of libertarianism. So a critic may refute a commonly held libertarian idea and some particular libertarian claims that his brand, the only pure and righteous libertarianism, doesn’t suffer from the specific defect that’s been refuted.

    **Which is one of the reasons I say that libertarians tend to be economic illiterates.

    ***For some reason I’ve been discussing the gold standard a lot recently. I don’t know why.

  591. #591 Walton
    April 13, 2009

    One problem with discussing things with libertarians is there are so many different types of libertarianism. So a critic may refute a commonly held libertarian idea and some particular libertarian claims that his brand, the only pure and righteous libertarianism, doesn’t suffer from the specific defect that’s been refuted.

    I don’t see this as a problem. Politics is not religion; claiming to subscribe to a political ideology does not mean you have to accept, as a package deal, all the ideas of a given thinker or group. Just as not all of those who label themselves “socialist” share the same set of ideas, neither do self-identified “libertarians”. “Libertarian” does not mean “member of the One Holy Apostolic Church of Ayn Rand”; it’s a blanket term for a disparate group of people who share (for various different reasons) a desire to reduce the size and intrusiveness of government in both the social and economic spheres. I call myself a “libertarian” (or a “classical liberal”) because, on balance, it’s the word that fits best; but this doesn’t mean I’m responsible for defending the views of everyone else in the world who calls themselves a libertarian.

    If, every time someone identified themselves as a socialist, I were to start ranting about the evils of Marxism-Leninism, rather than addressing the ideas actually held by the person to whom I’m speaking, they would be justifiably annoyed. Not all self-described socialists believe the same things, and so, too, not all self-described libertarians believe the same things. I don’t know where you get this idea that ideological heterogeneity within a political movement is a Bad Thing, or why you accuse me of claiming that my views constitute the only “pure and righteous” libertarianism. Naturally, I think my views are more practical in the real world than those of anarchocapitalists – just as I’m sure you believe(rightly) that your views are more practical than those of revolutionary neo-Marxists.

    If you disagree with my actual beliefs, then say so; but don’t start asking me to defend the ideas of Rand or Rothbard, because those are not ideas to which I personally subscribe. To put it beyond any shadow of a doubt, here is what I do believe:

    Things the State should do
    (in no particular order, and this is not an exhaustive list)
    1. Defend the nation
    2. Maintain courts, defend and delineate property rights, arbitrate contracts
    3. Enforce criminal laws against murder, rape, theft etc.
    4. Provide basic emergency services (fire, police, ambulance etc.)
    5. Enforce competition and anti-monopoly laws
    6. Control pollution and preserve natural resources
    7. Fund education (ideally through a universal school voucher system)
    8. Maintain basic infrastructure (roads, bridges etc.)
    9. Protect children from abuse
    10. Impose the following taxes to pay for the above:
    (a) Land value tax
    (b) Inheritance tax
    (c) A flat rate of income tax, if absolutely necessary

    Things the State should not do
    (Again, not an exhaustive list)
    1. Bail out failing industries
    2. Subsidise industries
    3. Nationalise industries
    4. Impose protectionist tariffs and price controls
    5. Force everyone to contribute to
    (a) a state social security or pension plan
    (b) a state health system
    6. Criminalise private activities between consenting adults
    7. Enforce minimum wages, maximum working hours, statutory maternity leave, etc.
    8. Subsidise religious activities
    9. Conscript people into the armed forces
    10. Maintain national parks, national monuments or historic sites
    11. Subsidise artistic or cultural activities
    12. Subsidise broadcasting

  592. #592 'Tis Himself
    April 13, 2009

    I don’t know where you get this idea that ideological heterogeneity within a political movement is a Bad Thing, or why you accuse me of claiming that my views constitute the only “pure and righteous” libertarianism.

    That “whoosh” sound was the point flying over your head.

    If you disagree with my actual beliefs, then say so; but don’t start asking me to defend the ideas of Rand or Rothbard, because those are not ideas to which I personally subscribe.

    You claimed that:

    Last time I checked, libertarians support … anti-monopoly regulation.

    I said that one particular sect of libertarians, the anarcho-capitalist faction, are against anti-monopoly regulation. Your particular clique are in favor of such laws. You and I both admit that certain libertarians disagree with some other libertarians. I fail to see what you’re complaining about.

    I won’t bother to give a point by point refutation of those things governments do that you’re for or against. I will note that you obviously don’t have a clue as to what the real world is like and your dislike of the poor and working people is quite evident.

  593. #593 Walton
    April 13, 2009

    I will note that you obviously don’t have a clue as to what the real world is like and your dislike of the poor and working people is quite evident.

    Not so. I judge people on their individual personalities and conduct, not on their socio-economic class. Hence, as I don’t personally know very many people who could be described as “poor” (though it is, of course, a relative term), on what basis could I harbour any personal dislike towards the “poor” in general?

    And what do you mean by “working people”? If you mean “people who are employed by another for an agreed salary”, then you refer to a large majority of the adult population, including many of my friends and family. So your statement makes absolutely no sense, and is just more class-warrior invective.

  594. #594 'Tis Himself
    April 13, 2009

    First, let’s settle the minor point. In the US the “working people” are what would be considered middle and lower class in England. Essentially these the people who live paycheck to paycheck, have little or no savings, and would need some kind of aid if they lost their jobs or had a major financial catastrophe.

    You show disdain for Social Security (or whatever you want to call government provided old age and disability pensions), a national health program (single payer insurance, NHS, etc.), minimum wage, and such government mandated or provided support for working people (for definition, see above). Since the beneficiaries of these schemes are working people, and you don’t want this schemes to even exist, then you are saying: “I want schemes that benefit working people to be abolished. I don’t care that some people need these schemes to survive, they’re against my ideology. Let people starve. MY ECONOMIC IDEOLOGY ▄BER ALLES!” In other words, your disdain for working people shines through.

    I really, truly hope that you undergo a period of poverty. It might show you that your dislike for government assistance is misplaced.

  595. #595 'Tis Himself
    April 13, 2009

    I see that in my post #594 I dropped a couple of words, used a wrong tense or two, and was somewhat ungrammatical. That’s because I wrote the post in a rage. I dislike people who hate other people. That’s the root cause of my dislike of libertarians. Their selfish, “I got mine, fuck you” attitude is more than annoying.

  596. #596 nothing's sacred
    April 14, 2009

    You’re a blatant liar.

  597. #597 nothing's sacred
    April 14, 2009

    Your “thorough refutation of libertarianism” is, in fact, a lengthy rant which simply concludes with, in essence, “libertarians are nasty and evil and want to throw the poor out on the street”.

    You’re a blatant liar. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of your intellectual dishonesty.

  598. #598 Justin
    April 14, 2009

    “5. Enforce competition and anti-monopoly laws
    6. Control pollution and preserve natural resources”

    These, and this:

    “10. Maintain national parks, national monuments or historic sites”

    Are contradictory. Pray tell, how is the state supposed to “preserve natural resources” without parks and other historic sites? A ban on logging etc in certain areas? Wouldn’t the FREE MARKET not like that?

    Also, I find that it’s hard to learn when I’m sick. Why should the government fund my education, but not my healthcare?

  599. #599 Justin
    April 14, 2009

    On second thought, number 5 has nothing to do with my argument. Discard it.

  600. #600 nothing's sacred
    April 14, 2009

    Justin, it’s just a list of desires of one intellectually dishonest, morally depraved, and not particularly bright person. There’s no reason to pay any attention to it, including pointing out inconsistencies in it.

  601. #601 Walton
    April 21, 2009

    Apologies for the late reply, I’ve been away for a week.

    You show disdain for Social Security (or whatever you want to call government provided old age and disability pensions), a national health program (single payer insurance, NHS, etc.), minimum wage, and such government mandated or provided support for working people (for definition, see above).

    As I made clear, I oppose the minimum wage (to take one example) because it hurts, not helps, poorer people, for the reasons which I very clearly outlined above. Likewise, I oppose a national health programme because it results either in bad healthcare or unsustainably high expenses, or sometimes both. (NHS hospitals here in the UK are notorious for massive financial problems, management clusterfucks, poor hygiene and general incompetence.)

    Since the beneficiaries of these schemes are working people, and you don’t want this schemes to even exist, then you are saying: “I want schemes that benefit working people to be abolished. I don’t care that some people need these schemes to survive, they’re against my ideology. Let people starve. MY ECONOMIC IDEOLOGY ▄BER ALLES!”

    Any radical change will cause some people to suffer; but I am confident that my suggested change will, in the long run, help more people than it hurts. But, to clarify, I wouldn’t instantly scrap all welfare payments with no recompense; that would be grossly unfair to those who’ve spent their whole lives paying taxes to support various benefit schemes in the expectation of receiving the relevant benefits. Rather, we could perhaps convert some welfare schemes into individual private savings accounts; perhaps, for instance, we could scrap National Insurance here in the UK, along with the social benefit schemes which it funds, and give everyone a tax-free cash payout commensurate with the number of years they’ve been paying National Insurance. (This is just an off-the-cuff suggestion, I haven’t researched its feasibility.)

  602. #602 Walton
    April 21, 2009

    Are contradictory. Pray tell, how is the state supposed to “preserve natural resources” without parks and other historic sites? A ban on logging etc in certain areas? Wouldn’t the FREE MARKET not like that?

    There have to be some government-mandated restrictions on the exploitation of certain resources, since, otherwise, the “tragedy of the commons” will cause those resources to be depleted. Fish stocks are a good example (the transferable quota system used in Iceland, where one can essentially purchase a proprietary right to fish, seems to be a good way of dealing with this type of problem).

    But there’s a world of difference between that and protecting an “area of natural beauty” or “wilderness area” at the taxpayer’s expense, not because it provides any useful resource but merely because it’s considered scenic. “Natural beauty” is not an objective attribute; it has significance only in the minds of human beings. Thus, if enough people consider a given wilderness area beautiful enough that they want to go and see it, it should be possible to preserve it commercially at a profit; if they don’t, then there’s no reason why it should be preserved at all.

  603. #603 Walton
    April 21, 2009

    Also, I find that it’s hard to learn when I’m sick. Why should the government fund my education, but not my healthcare?

    Because state funding of education is essential to social mobility. It’s not fair to deny an able child opportunity because of his or her parents’ failings. For the same reason, I support social services for children.

    By contrast, if a competent adult chooses of his or her own volition not to obtain private medical insurance, despite having enough income to afford to do so, s/he should not receive healthcare at the taxpayer’s expense.

  604. #604 'Tis Himself
    April 25, 2009

    Any radical change will cause some people to suffer; but I am confident that my suggested change will, in the long run, help more people than it hurts.

    This is what is known in the rhetorics business as “wishful thinking.”

    One of my biggest complaints about economic looneytarianism is how it ignores history. Laissez faire capitalism was tried in the 19th Century and was rejected for sound reasons. Private charities could not take care of the destitute. As we’re discovering once again, financial markets need to be regulated. My 401K (private investment pension plan) has lost over 20% of its value in the past year and the reason it’s lost so little compared to other peoples’ 401Ks is that my investments are very conservative.

    Rather, we could perhaps convert some welfare schemes into individual private savings accounts; perhaps, for instance, we could scrap National Insurance here in the UK, along with the social benefit schemes which it funds, and give everyone a tax-free cash payout commensurate with the number of years they’ve been paying National Insurance. (This is just an off-the-cuff suggestion, I haven’t researched its feasibility.)

    Do you have a clue about what private health insurance costs? Of course you don’t, you haven’t researched it. When my 30 year old daughter got laid off from her job, she was given the option of staying in the company health insurance plan but paying for it herself. The cost was $1200 (about ú815) per month. A stripped down, catastrophic care, $5000 deductible plan was $600 per month. Please explain to me how an unemployed person (or even one bringing home $300 or $400 per week) is supposed to afford health insurance? I make considerably more than that and I’d be hard put to come up with $1200 per month.

    If you looneytarians spent any time in the real world, you’d know things like this. Instead, you ignore reality, pretend that all will be for the best in this best of all possible worlds, and indulge in wishful thinking.

  605. #605 SC, OM
    April 25, 2009

    Any radical change will cause some people to suffer; but I am confident that my suggested change will, in the long run, help more people than it hurts.

    Diamat has the answers!

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.