Why Be Libertarian?

Yellow_Number_Five
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Why Be Libertarian?

This is an excellent read, even if you don't agree with the philosophy it will at least help you understand the perspective a bit better.

 

"Why Be Libertarian" by By Murray Rothbard.

Rothbard, if you did not know, is a notable natural philosopher, economist and the originator of the term "anachro-capitalism".

 

Enjoy, and please do discuss!

 

http://mises.org/story/2993

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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EXC
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It amazes me how many so

It amazes me how many so called "rational" atheists have a socialist political philosophy.

They don't want to live under the thumb of a celestial dictatorship or controlling religion, yet they have no problems having government control their lives and limit their liberties. They don't believe their is a sugar daddy god in the heavens that will take care of all their problems, yet they want government to wave some kind of magic wand and take care of every individual's problem.

They claim to be rational thinkers, yet they believe the government can just pass out welfare without expecting anything in return from the citizens receiving it and somehow the government/society will not go broke. They don't want people to be self-reliant instead live in fear, so people will be slaves to political dogma and government just as they are slaves to religious dogma and churches.

"Rational" socialists, can you explain yourselves?

The only difference between a pastor and a politician is that one promise things he can't deliver on in the next world instead of this world. We need an end of politics just like and end of religion.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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EXC wrote:We need an end of

EXC wrote:

We need an end of politics just like and end of religion.

I agree with you, and my dislike of politics (or more accurately, my dislike of the bullshit laws that sometimes come out of politics) is one of the reasons why the idea of a technocracy is so attractive to me.  However, I'm not convinced that humanity is yet "mature" enough for an socioeconomic model which places no limits on personal freedom, such as an anarchy or a classical technocracy, to be viable... I would worry that some people would organize large groups of armed followers and use them to force people to coerce people to follow their instructions.  So, of the currently popular political philosophies, libertarian is my preference because it keeps the sensible and arguably necessary laws while not providing any room for runaway government to muck things up.

 

Good article btw, #5... thanks for sharing.


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Quote:However, I'm not

Quote:
However, I'm not convinced that humanity is yet "mature" enough for an socioeconomic model which places no limits on personal freedom, such as an anarchy or a classical technocracy, to be viable... I would worry that some people would organize large groups of armed followers and use them to force people to coerce people to follow their instructions.

To think that humanity would "mature" to such a state is to ignore the most basic principles of natural selection.  Evolution does not do anything predictive, and the kind of individual sacrifice necessary for such a society requires prediction.  Game theory explains and predicts that society is a competitive compromise between immediate self interest for the individual and long term interest for the individual -- NOT, as some believe, a compromise between individual and group interests.

If I defer instant gratification out of "respect" for my neighbor, what I am really doing, in a Game Theory sense, is acting in my own self interest.  Living in a society where everyone respects their neighbors is one of the best ways to get things done for everybody, and the most important person involved in everybody is me, evolutionarily speaking.  "Respect" and other noble virtues are programmed into us, but that doesn't mean that they are telling us the truth.  We like to believe that our sense of virtue is a result of enlightened altruism, but the truth is that our societal strategy makes the most sense for the species, which in turn, on average, is better for the individual.

Put simply, for the survival of the genes, a tenuous balance between defection and cooperation is the most effective strategy.  Universal cooperation fails abysmally against it.  Not only does universal cooperation fail against other strategies, it has a disturbing tendency to fail all on its own.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out.  It just takes the existence of one defector.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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EXC wrote:It amazes me how

EXC wrote:

It amazes me how many so called "rational" atheists have a socialist political philosophy.

They don't want to live under the thumb of a celestial dictatorship or controlling religion, yet they have no problems having government control their lives and limit their liberties. They don't believe their is a sugar daddy god in the heavens that will take care of all their problems, yet they want government to wave some kind of magic wand and take care of every individual's problem.

They claim to be rational thinkers, yet they believe the government can just pass out welfare without expecting anything in return from the citizens receiving it and somehow the government/society will not go broke. They don't want people to be self-reliant instead live in fear, so people will be slaves to political dogma and government just as they are slaves to religious dogma and churches.

"Rational" socialists, can you explain yourselves?

The only difference between a pastor and a politician is that one promise things he can't deliver on in the next world instead of this world. We need an end of politics just like and end of religion.

Wow.  What an ignorant mess.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
However, I'm not convinced that humanity is yet "mature" enough for an socioeconomic model which places no limits on personal freedom, such as an anarchy or a classical technocracy, to be viable... I would worry that some people would organize large groups of armed followers and use them to force people to coerce people to follow their instructions.

To think that humanity would "mature" to such a state is to ignore the most basic principles of natural selection.  Evolution does not do anything predictive, and the kind of individual sacrifice necessary for such a society requires prediction.  Game theory explains and predicts that society is a competitive compromise between immediate self interest for the individual and long term interest for the individual -- NOT, as some believe, a compromise between individual and group interests.

If I defer instant gratification out of "respect" for my neighbor, what I am really doing, in a Game Theory sense, is acting in my own self interest.  Living in a society where everyone respects their neighbors is one of the best ways to get things done for everybody, and the most important person involved in everybody is me, evolutionarily speaking.  "Respect" and other noble virtues are programmed into us, but that doesn't mean that they are telling us the truth.  We like to believe that our sense of virtue is a result of enlightened altruism, but the truth is that our societal strategy makes the most sense for the species, which in turn, on average, is better for the individual.

Put simply, for the survival of the genes, a tenuous balance between defection and cooperation is the most effective strategy.  Universal cooperation fails abysmally against it.  Not only does universal cooperation fail against other strategies, it has a disturbing tendency to fail all on its own.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out.  It just takes the existence of one defector.

Well, I don't think that it would... but I do like to consider the idea that it could.  In a Game Theory sense, the most successful strategy is derived from the rules of the game, so the most successful strategy can be changed by changing the rules of the game.  For example, would breeding like rabbits regardless of ability to financially support the children be more successful in a libertarian capitalist society or a democratic socialist society?  The other thing that I consider is that human nature, as far as I'm aware, appears to depend on equal parts nature and nurture... in other words, genetics is only one factor to consider... the other being how a society "relates" to its citizens in terms of education and providing infrastructure.  In other words, I would expect that changes to a society would influence both the development of its culture and, over long enough periods of time, the evolution of the species.  So, I ask myself 2 questions: what kind of society do I want to exist in the future, and is there anything I can do today to give us a gentle nudge in that direction?

Also, it sounds like we have different ideas of what would be required to make a society without restrictions on personal freedom viable.  I don't consider universal cooperation to be a requisite, or even desirable, quality.  On an average day I meet at least five people on the street who want me to give them money for food, and I never do.  It's not because I'm being greedy... I couldn't care less about the money.  It's because I consider giving them money to be bad for society as a whole, because they'll just buy food, metabolize it, and then end up in exactly the same situation again without contributing anything.  I'm less concerned with nobility than practicality.


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Thomathy wrote:Wow.  What

Thomathy wrote:

Wow.  What an ignorant mess.

Wow. What a meaningless response.


Yellow_Number_Five
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EXC wrote:I agree with you,

Quasar wrote:

I agree with you, and my dislike of politics (or more accurately, my dislike of the bullshit laws that sometimes come out of politics) is one of the reasons why the idea of a technocracy is so attractive to me.  However, I'm not convinced that humanity is yet "mature" enough for an socioeconomic model which places no limits on personal freedom, such as an anarchy or a classical technocracy, to be viable... I would worry that some people would organize large groups of armed followers and use them to force people to coerce people to follow their instructions.  So, of the currently popular political philosophies, libertarian is my preference because it keeps the sensible and arguably necessary laws while not providing any room for runaway government to muck things up.

 

Good article btw, #5... thanks for sharing.

I'm glad you enjoyed the article. I've been defending the libertine POV for years under the guise of "fairness" - i.e. that it is unfair to forcably take from one and give to another in any case, and that utilitarianism certainly cannot justify such a sacrirfice of individual liberty. After reading this, I realize what I've really been defending is my idea of justice.

But notice the words I've bolded in your statement above.

You seem to say that complete freedom is impractical and hard to achieve, because things may not work out the way we'd like. Now there is part of me that agrees with that; however, the author of the article would take serious issue with such a statement. He says that we must be idealistic and push for change regardless of percieved practicallity, because in compromising our ideals for what is currently possible, we undermine the very things we really want to achieve. I think the same mode of thinking applies to what the RRS is trying to achieve.

If we believe something is right and just, should we not push for it fully and to be fully implemented? There will be a period of adjustment, sure, but isn't it better to push for the full implementation of the ideal now and deal with the consequences and adjustments down the road?

Your thoughts?

 

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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EXC wrote:It amazes me how

EXC wrote:

It amazes me how many so called "rational" atheists have a socialist political philosophy.

They don't want to live under the thumb of a celestial dictatorship or controlling religion, yet they have no problems having government control their lives and limit their liberties. They don't believe their is a sugar daddy god in the heavens that will take care of all their problems, yet they want government to wave some kind of magic wand and take care of every individual's problem.

They claim to be rational thinkers, yet they believe the government can just pass out welfare without expecting anything in return from the citizens receiving it and somehow the government/society will not go broke. They don't want people to be self-reliant instead live in fear, so people will be slaves to political dogma and government just as they are slaves to religious dogma and churches.

"Rational" socialists, can you explain yourselves?

The only difference between a pastor and a politician is that one promise things he can't deliver on in the next world instead of this world. We need an end of politics just like and end of religion.

This is actually the point I make when people say that Stalin was an atheist, and did what he did because of atheism.

Bullshit.

Stalin was an atheist, but more importantly, he was a STATIST. He replaced religion with the State, and named himself as that State's god.

Now rather than looking for god's in the socialist scheme, we look for devils: corporations, capitalism, etc.

In the end, it doesn't change the fundamental aspect of socialism - recinding control of your property to the State, whom you trust to do the right thing yet seldom does.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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EXC wrote:Thomathy

EXC wrote:

Thomathy wrote:

Wow.  What an ignorant mess.

Wow. What a meaningless response.

Fine.  Allow me to clarify.  Just because someone is socialist does not mean that she believes in big government or big taxes.  What I believe in is the social equality of all people in Canada based on their relative incomes.  The government of Canada might be one of the biggest bureaucracies on the planet, but it is largely effective.  You'll notice that in Ontario, which follows the same format as the federal government (even after a referendum), voted to keep it's current voting system, which is really defunct, because it's almost the only way that a minority government might be elected (unlikely in Ontario because of the massive Liberal support though in question because of the polls that indicate the Green Party is a contender for a serious plurality vote in some ridings, meaning a four party minority parliament in Ontario, though likely a Liberal government) and practically guarantees a Liberal government unless they really fuck up, despite Mulroney, which really means a socially responsible government that is committed to both the environment (though not as much as it should be) and to the social welfare of Ontarians (which is necessarily debated in parliament).  I anxiously await the post-summer session as it is one of the most productive sessions of parliament.  Ontario has so far been bogged down by appparently uselesss legislatory acts that are meaningless to the general population.


 

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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Yellow_Number_Five wrote:If

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

If we believe something is right and just, should we not push for it fully and to be fully implemented? There will be a period of adjustment, sure, but isn't it better to push for the full implementation of the ideal now and deal with the consequences and adjustments down the road?

Your thoughts?

Good point.  On the one hand, if there is a problem, not taking action to solve the problem is pretty much guaranteed to not solve it.  On the other hand, taking the wrong action could be counterproductive and actually make things worse.  The ideal, of course, is to take the right action (or at least a right action) as early as possible.  This is easier in a case of removing a single problem element from a system as in the author's example of removing price fixing, because it's pretty obvious what the goal is and how it can be most quickly achieved.  However, in the case of entirely reworking a system, or creating one from scratch, it's much less clear how to go about it.  In a case like that, I would first want to discuss the goal with as many intelligent people as possible before making any attempt to implement it, so that as many potential problems as possible would be identified and handled up front.  Once the plan had reached a point where no unhandled objections were being raised, however, I would certainly want to implement it immediately, if possible.


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QuasarX

QuasarX wrote:

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

If we believe something is right and just, should we not push for it fully and to be fully implemented? There will be a period of adjustment, sure, but isn't it better to push for the full implementation of the ideal now and deal with the consequences and adjustments down the road?

Your thoughts?

Good point.  On the one hand, if there is a problem, not taking action to solve the problem is pretty much guaranteed to not solve it.  On the other hand, taking the wrong action could be counterproductive and actually make things worse.  The ideal, of course, is to take the right action (or at least a right action) as early as possible.  This is easier in a case of removing a single problem element from a system as in the author's example of removing price fixing, because it's pretty obvious what the goal is and how it can be most quickly achieved.  However, in the case of entirely reworking a system, or creating one from scratch, it's much less clear how to go about it.  In a case like that, I would first want to discuss the goal with as many intelligent people as possible before making any attempt to implement it, so that as many potential problems as possible would be identified and handled up front.  Once the plan had reached a point where no unhandled objections were being raised, however, I would certainly want to implement it immediately, if possible.

A very reasoned response, and I agree up to a point.

Things are seldom as black and white as the examples given in Rothbard's essay. Or, rather, they are seldom so black and white until we look at them in hindsight. Certainly, he picked the examples he did because they were easily dissected in order to make his point.

I'm simply concerned that while we contemplate things in debate and what not, nothing actually gets done, and compromises are made before action is ever even taken.

Take for example the RRS. When we first started, atheists came out of the woodwork telling us that what we were attempting to do (taking an offensive approach to the subject and using terms like delusion) would divide the atheist commity (how that would have been possible at the time is beyond me, organising atheists is like herding gerbils) and ultimately do more harm than good. We went forward anyway. We did the Blasphemy Challenge, debated Comfort and Cameron, waged a war on Christmas - and where are we? I think we've done a lot of good, I genuinely do, even if it was only to create this community. That wouldn't have happened if we listened to or kept arguing with those in the atheist community who at the time represented the status quo.

Now, the status quo has adjusted to include us and our agenda - but only because we forced our way in. Had we recieved no support, we'd have been gone by now - so clearly others do feel as the core RRS did when we started this whole thing, and we are providing an outlet and service nobody knew they wanted until we created it.

So, I am in agreement with you that debate and discussion of how to proceed never hurts, so long as that debate and discussion is not allowed to fall into stagnation.

At some point an idealist, any idealist, has to actually take action - and to hell with the consequences, the chips will fall where they fall. Otherwise, what the hell is the point other than intellectual masturbation?

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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Thomathy wrote:  What I

Thomathy wrote:

  What I believe in is the social equality of all people in Canada based on their relative incomes.  The government of Canada might be one of the biggest bureaucracies on the planet, but it is largely effective.   

So you believe in wealth redistribution from those who have legitimately earned it to those that haven't? So what is the incentive to work hard, invest or get an education? Everyone is equal not matter how much they work or try to get ahead?

Canada is a large country with many natural resources relative to its population. This is the only reason socialism has not yet bankrupted the country. To pay for socialism, the country mines it's natural resources(land, minerals, forests, etc..) to pay for "free" welfare programs. When the country eventually runs out of resources and does too much environmental damage, there will be no more wealth to give away and the socialist party will be over.

Sorry but there is no free lunch forever.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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Hambydammit wrote:Put

Hambydammit wrote:

Put simply, for the survival of the genes, a tenuous balance between defection and cooperation is the most effective strategy.  Universal cooperation fails abysmally against it.  Not only does universal cooperation fail against other strategies, it has a disturbing tendency to fail all on its own.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out.  It just takes the existence of one defector.

I've believed for years that anarchic communism is a perfect form of government, in the ideal. However, human nature fucks it up, every time, and so anarchic communism isn't a viable form of overall government. (Though it might work small-scale for certain groups.)

Same with democratic capitalism -- it's an excellent ideal, but it too is broken by those who would game the system, who use it to gain even more economic (and therefore political) power. I believe it's just less-broken than anarchic communism.

A question, then, Hamby: how would we go about forming a government (or non-goverenment, as the case may be) around the principles you describe? How would a society protect itself from the defectors? Is there a rational solution, or do we just keep going with the least-broken? (And if that is the case, which is the least broken?)

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Hmm... more good points,

Hmm... more good points, particularly:

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

Take for example the RRS. When we first started, atheists came out of the woodwork telling us that what we were attempting to do (taking an offensive approach to the subject and using terms like delusion) would divide the atheist commity (how that would have been possible at the time is beyond me, organising atheists is like herding gerbils) and ultimately do more harm than good. We went forward anyway. We did the Blasphemy Challenge, debated Comfort and Cameron, waged a war on Christmas - and where are we? I think we've done a lot of good, I genuinely do, even if it was only to create this community. That wouldn't have happened if we listened to or kept arguing with those in the atheist community who at the time represented the status quo.

which illustrates that the point at which an idea is "ready" to be implemented is not the point at which everyone agrees that it's a good idea, and:

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

So, I am in agreement with you that debate and discussion of how to proceed never hurts, so long as that debate and discussion is not allowed to fall into stagnation.

which calls to attention the point that if some kind of progress isn't being made, something needs to change in order for the idea to have a chance.


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Good article #5

I completely agree with the Rothbard the author if you don't press as hard as you can the injustice will only continue. Over 30 years ago I encountered Ayn Rand's writing and philosophy when a friend gave me 'We the Living' to read. After I read this book I eventually read everything she ever wrote. Ever since I have been a Libertarian. She wrote that any compromise with evil only evil wins. Any erosion of our liberties is a compromise with evil. In one of her articles she said it was unjust to force someone to buy shoes for ever last person in Patagonia. As America developed we also created an unfair market as well. There is no such thing as a Free Market in this world except perhaps in the Amazon jungle where the natives have no contact with civilization.

The US is violating your civil liberties by allowing religion to be legitimized, by regulating your pursuit of happiness, by denying you the right to make your own choices. All of us pay for this every single day. If you want to smoke pot, you have a right to do so. I personally don't but that doesn't mean I have a right to force my values on you. If it took a constitutional amendment to ban alcohol please explain why it did not take one to ban pot and all of the other drugs. The only power the US Constitution really gives the government and hence the FDA is to ensure the quality of products in interstate commerce. I'd really like to see someone challenge this. Consider Nevada allows prostitution but no other state does. Why the fuck is it a crime to charge for something you can give away free?

These examples are areas where the government has decided to ignore the Constitution in favor of forcing other people's values on all. Fuck that. It is just as easy to force other bullshit down our throats. Consider the Patriot Act.

Since Bush got his Patriot Act even more liberties have been taken. The goal was to prevent terror acts but the price is loss of freedom. Our government can probably stop 99.9999% of attacks if we give up more and more freedom and liberty. You can probably protect your children this way from illness too, of course they'd be living in a plastic bubble they never could leave. Freedom involves risk and many of us have lost sight of that in our pursuit of leisure. Everything has a price and the price we pay for feeling safe is 80 year old grandmothers are frisked at the airport, a log of your book purchases and use of library materials is available, you can be held for years in protective custody, or held with no trial. Wake up, this is what fascism is about.

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nigelTheBold wrote:Same with

nigelTheBold wrote:

Same with democratic capitalism -- it's an excellent ideal, but it too is broken by those who would game the system, who use it to gain even more economic (and therefore political) power. I believe it's just less-broken than anarchic communism.

Capitalism is only good a meeting short term needs. Investors don't want to wait more than about 5 years to get a return on their investment. Pay as you go is the best way to meet short term needs.

The role of government should be to meet long term needs and goals such as education, new energy resources, environmental protection, medical research and space exploration. To get money for these projects, they need to tax pollution, use of natural resources and consumption not from income tax.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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I don't have time to read

I don't have time to read the Rothbard piece, but I do have to say that he's one of the best economic thinkers of this century.  The Austrian school is the only school of economics that studies monetary theory to the fullest extent.   What has Government Done to our Money is essential reading at least for the first few chapters.

I recently took the Nolan Survey at: http://www.nolanchart.com/survey.php

I'm 100% libertarian.  Here are the answers I picked:



1. Speech, Assembly, Press, Internet, and Property Rights


Government should not restrict speech, press, media or Internet. The rights of free citizens who don't violate other people's rights must be respected and protected at all times. Exercise of eminent domain should be extremely limited and its use avoided whenever possible. Private property and privacy rights should be protected at all times.

2. Guns

The Second Amendment to the Constitution clearly protects the right of all individuals to bear arms. Government regulation of guns is a violation of the Second Amendment. Having the right to self-defense is meaningless without also having the means to defend yourself. An armed society is a peaceful society, is the best defense against criminals, and serves as a deterrent against government tyranny. Gun control has encouraged society to become lax and negligent in teaching and training on the safe handling and maintenance of weapons by individuals.

3. Homosexual Marriage


There should be no laws regarding homosexual relationships among consenting adults. It is a private, contractual matter between free, private individuals that should not be regulated.

4. Foreign Policy

"Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none," said President Thomas Jefferson in his first inaugural address. America's interventionist policies over the past 100+ years have done little or nothing to reduce international instability, have led us into an endless series of wars, and have cost us dearly in American lives and money. The best defense of our borders is to defend our rights and liberty, not to sacrifice them while constantly growing our gigantic military, led by a parade of Presidents who repeatedly stick our nose into other countries' affairs.

5. National ID Card

There should be no national ID card. Period. The issuance of required National IDs controlled via interconnected databases will effectively end all privacy in this country.

6. Corporate Welfare

End "corporate welfare." No government handouts to business.

7. Trade and Money

End government barriers to international free trade. The regulation of trade tends enrich selected interest groups and industry captains at the expense of everyone else. We must move away from the inflationary approach of the Federal Reserve by re-adopting a hard money approach and dissolving the Federal Reserve system. Ever wonder why prices of everything (including real estate) keep going up over time? The Federal Reserve system is the culprit. President Woodrow Wilson, who signed the Federal Reserve Act into law regretted his decision three years later saying, "I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country."

8. Social Security


Let people control their own retirement and they'll retire richer and better off. The Social Security system is already bankrupt, despite what the politicians and bureaucrats keep telling us. Allow individuals to choose for themselves whether to opt out of the Social Security system. If we force everyone to remain in its pyramid scheme, the end result will be disastrous. We must act now before Social Security becomes completely insolvent.

9. Health Care

Government regulation of health care is the main cause of the health care industry's upward spiraling costs. The FDA, EPA, Medicare, and a host of other bureaucracies have created mountains of regulations that have led to the deaths of thousands and even millions of people who were denied needed treatments and resources. The cost of creating new treatments is also out of control because of this regulation. The only way to make health care affordable again is to get government out of the health care business.

10. Taxes, Spending, and the National Debt


Cut taxes and government spending by 50% or more. This will have an incredibly positive impact on the economy starting at its very lowest and smallest levels. The national debt must be paid down rather than endlessly increased, or we'll soon face national bankruptcy.

 

Edit: this survey isn't perfect but it's the quickest way to find out how much of a libertarian you are.

 

-RR

 


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Quote:A question, then,

Quote:
A question, then, Hamby: how would we go about forming a government (or non-goverenment, as the case may be) around the principles you describe?

It's a bigger question than this.  First, is it possible for humans to go about forming a government based on the principles of natural selection and game theory?

No.  At least not in any meaningful sense.  First, NS and GT only tell us how things are.  They are not prescriptive.  It falls to humans to decide what their hierarchy of values is, since our biology only gives us broad guidelines.

Having that answer, we are left in limbo.  If there's no way to form a government that maximizes human happiness through game theory and natural selection, what do we do?

I'm afraid the answer is that we do what we've always done.  We submit to those in power when we have no viable alternative.  When we get into positions of power ourselves, we do what we think works best based on our own hierarchy of values.  If we're smart, we verse ourselves in GT and NS and make sure we're not setting up a system that contradicts them so blatantly that it is unworkable.

Communism, for example, is so counter to GT that it cannot work.  Anything that ends in "anarchy" is also unworkable.  In the end, governments that work will always be based on the principle that people need competition and cooperation, and that in competition, there are winners and losers.

Quote:
How would a society protect itself from the defectors?

The same way it always has.  By setting up a system of rewards, punishments, and subsidies.  Here's where a smart government admits GT.  Punishment does not deter poverty, and many governments have tried unsuccessfully to prove this principle wrong.  Poverty breeds crime.  Therefore, a government that doesn't address poverty will have crime problems, regardless of the punishments.  Rewards don't deter competition, so just giving people everything they need doesn't work either.  People need to compete.

Pretty much every political party hates this, but it's true:  Subsidies work.  After the competition has worked itself out and you have winners and losers, subsidizing the losers helps to placate them and keep them out of crime.  The trick, if you ask me, is to allow enough competition to accommodate humans' instinct to stratify, but to limit the success they can achieve through subsidies derived from their success.  In other words, a modified form of capitalism that acknowledges and embraces the notion that certain socialist modifications to pure competition are necessary to prevent runaway stratification.

If it sounds like I'm advocating a system that the U.S. could have become, I am.  The best societies in the world today are those that encourage individual success, but have legal limits on the power the wealthy have over the poor.  The best form of government is one that makes individual achievement a goal for everyone, but acknowledges the futility of trying to achieve equality.

Quote:
Is there a rational solution, or do we just keep going with the least-broken? (And if that is the case, which is the least broken?)

"Least broken" is not my favorite term.  Human society is not broken.  It works great, in nearly every case.  Since we invented society, our population has grown from a few hundred thousand to 6 billion.  The number of deaths from predators has dropped to statistical insignificance.  Society does its job really well, no matter what form of government we have. 

If the question is, "How do we form a society to maximize individual happiness while minimizing societal dysfunction," then I've given my best guess.  Government should focus on preventing crime by preventing poverty.  They can do this by giving as many citizens as possible the opportunity to succeed.  Those that don't succeed should be subsidized enough that they don't have to resort to crime.  These subsidies should be taken from the highest levels of success, so as not to discourage the largest part of the bell curve from trying to achieve.

Bureaucracy multiplies inefficiency, and I believe that there is a range of optimal balance between small business and corporations.  This can be encouraged through the tax structure.  Likewise, there is a range at which employee salaries and owner salaries balance, such that companies succeed while encouraging their employees to make the company better.  Again, a very smart government could encourage this.

In short, I believe that regulated capitalism can work, but that expecting any system to work at 100% efficiency is missing a huge point -- humans are not 100% , and will never form a society that makes everybody happy.  I think by saying "least broken," you are assuming a perfect end goal that doesn't exist.  I don't know that there is a perfect efficiency because there isn't such a thing as a society where everyone has the same goal.  The best you can hope for is a society that gives everyone a reasonable chance of getting a reasonable approximation of their individual goal.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Rev. Real wrote:I don't have

Rev. Real wrote:

I don't have time to read the Rothbard piece, but I do have to say that he's one of the best economic thinkers of this century.  The Austrian school is the only school of economics that studies monetary theory to the fullest extent.   What has Government Done to our Money is essential reading at least for the first few chapters.

I recently took the Nolan Survey at: http://www.nolanchart.com/survey.php

I'm 100% libertarian. 

Same score here.

Generally, I score as a right-libertarian. IOW, extremely socially liberally (smoke and fuck whatever or whomever you'd like) and advocating that the government simply stay the fuck out of trade, welfare, and the economy in general whenever possible. Rather, that government, other than self and local government, is unnecessary, oppressive and full of fail.

This is a good quiz too:

http://www.politicalcompass.org/test

I'm:

Economic Left/Right: +6.75
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.96

 

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Hambydammit wrote:Quote:A

Dear Rev. Real

 

What about the Libertarian stance on illegal immigration ?  That is certainly a contentious topic of late and is also mentioned in their platform.  Care to elucidate ?

 

[ edited because I quoted the wrong frikin' post. ]

"Most people are ass holes." Jesus of Nazareth


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hambydammit wrote:The trick,

hambydammit wrote:
The trick, if you ask me, is to allow enough competition to accommodate humans' instinct to stratify, but to limit the success they can achieve through subsidies derived from their success.  In other words, a modified form of capitalism that acknowledges and embraces the notion that certain socialist modifications to pure competition are necessary to prevent runaway stratification.

Yes..... even a couple of ancient civilizations knew, as is well-documented and as Carl Sagan put it, "that the uncontrolled pursuit of profit posed a serious threat to the 'soul' of the nation."

Carl was most often prosaic, but he sure knew how to be wonderfully poetic when he saw the need. Miss that guy.


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YN5,What is your response to

YN5,

What is your response to the fact that this article originates from the Mises Institute, an organization and philosophy (Austrian economics) that is criticized for its apparent rejection of the scientific method and falsifiable theories?

I'm generally suspicious of libertarianism myself (actually I'm suspicious of most -isms as ready-made solutions). Things like the quadrant test (designed by libertarians by the way) seem designed to appeal to everyone the way that religions do.

Instead of a Blog

Think this can't work? - Think again.

"...what we always meant by socialism wasn't something you forced on people, it was people organizing themselves as they pleased...And if socialism really is better...then it can bloody well compete with capitalism. So we decided, forget all the statist shit and the violence: the best place for socialism is the closest to a free market you can get!" - Ken MacLeod's The Star Fraction


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Neverfox wrote:YN5,What is

Neverfox wrote:

YN5,

What is your response to the fact that this article originates from the Mises Institute, an organization and philosophy (Austrian economics) that is criticized for its apparent rejection of the scientific method and falsifiable theories?

I fail to see how it is relevant at all. This piece is taken from one of Rothbard's books. It wasn't written for Mises, it's simply Murray Rothbard's take on why people are libertarian, and I have to say, I agree with him. I've made many of the same points in the past, before I even knew who Rothbard was or that Mises existed. Rothbard does get the points across much more eloquently than I ever have, and as I mentioned above, this piece actually helped me better understand what I've been trying to get other people to understand for years. Like I said, I've always approached and defended the philosophy of libertarianism from the POV of what I considered fair - I now realize what I've been defending is my concept of justice.

Quote:
I'm generally suspicious of libertarianism myself (actually I'm suspicious of most -isms as ready-made solutions). Things like the quadrant test (designed by libertarians by the way) seem designed to appeal to everyone the way that religions do.

Again, I fail to see how this is relevant. I'm generally suspicious of socialists and folks who watch American Idol.

Personally, I'm not aware of the complaints you make against Mises or who actually makes them. Feel free to cite your sources.

I am well aware that Mises has an agenda, but I hardly think you can hold that against them. RRS has an agenda as well. There is nothing wrong with having an agenda, especially when you are honest about having one.

I've read a few articles on Mises that I felt were misguided, poorly argued, and just plain wrong. So what? I don't get my political philosophy from a website, I simply like what they post on occasion.

This article is on the money, and it hit home personally, and that is why I shared it with you all. It's posted in plenty of other places than Mises as well, I simply found it there, so I linked to it there.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that just because I post an article I like from a particular site that I necessarily agree with or support that site. I may or may not - and it really matters fuck all in the end. For fucks sake, I've posted things I've found on Alex Jones' site, and I think that guy is a tatal nutbag - doesn't mean his site doesn't churn out the occasional provocative and insightful article.

So, yeah, I fail to see your point and find little value in your comment.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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Neverfox wrote:What is your

Neverfox wrote:

What is your response to the fact that this article originates from the Mises Institute, an organization and philosophy (Austrian economics) that is criticized for its apparent rejection of the scientific method and falsifiable theories?

I know this wasn't directed at me, but I think you've been misinformed. Austrian economics IS criticized for its rejection of the scientific method IN ECONOMICS. That's because, like in many other arts, it's extremely difficult to use the scientific method with any degree of success. As an illustration, the last time Nobel Prize winning economists took on the actual economy, the result was Long Term Capital Management, the hedge fund that was able to break everyone in the 90s.

Mises (at least in Human Behaviour) only claimed that it was premature to consider Economics a science (even a social science) because it failed to meet the strict requirements of rigorous study in a scientific context. There's no rejection of the scientific method there, only a deep appreciation for its quantitative stringency. 

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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Hambydammit wrote:The same

Hambydammit wrote:
The same way it always has.  By setting up a system of rewards, punishments, and subsidies.  Here's where a smart government admits GT.  Punishment does not deter poverty, and many governments have tried unsuccessfully to prove this principle wrong.  Poverty breeds crime.  Therefore, a government that doesn't address poverty will have crime problems, regardless of the punishments.  Rewards don't deter competition, so just giving people everything they need doesn't work either.  People need to compete.

Here's one of the problems in discussing political systems: the notion that one or another will result in more crime. I've never seen anyone be able to correlate crime with a political system and I doubt it's even possible. Especially since the state decides what "criminal" means. To be honest, I think any political system has exactly the same amount of crime as another. My reasoning is thus: any organization can only outlaw and police a certain number of things, as the organization's time and energy is limited. It must pick its battles. Thus, activities considered criminal by a state are decided based on the ability of the state to pursue action against offenders. Some decisions of that nature can be irrational (the war on drugs) and some rational (outlawing murder) but ultimately the functioning of the system is limited to the group's energy to operate it.

Hambydammit wrote:
Pretty much every political party hates this, but it's true:  Subsidies work.

... at temporarily stabilizing prices and placating a petulant public filled with entitlement.

Hambydammit wrote:
If it sounds like I'm advocating a system that the U.S. could have become, I am.  The best societies in the world today are those that encourage individual success, but have legal limits on the power the wealthy have over the poor.  The best form of government is one that makes individual achievement a goal for everyone, but acknowledges the futility of trying to achieve equality.

You're actually describing any modern mixed economy, which has been thrown the loop of the modern corporation. The modern corporation is the only organization other than the state that has taken it upon itself to be excessively wasteful. And no wonder! It's a monster from the get-go; a parasite on states, without which it could not exist and thrive. Now it's the corporation that can be excessively wealthy, as opposed to a monarchy or fiefdom. It's the corporation that now has power not only over the poor, but over the middle class.

Hambydammit wrote:
If the question is, "How do we form a society to maximize individual happiness while minimizing societal dysfunction," then I've given my best guess.  Government should focus on preventing crime by preventing poverty.  They can do this by giving as many citizens as possible the opportunity to succeed.  Those that don't succeed should be subsidized enough that they don't have to resort to crime.  These subsidies should be taken from the highest levels of success, so as not to discourage the largest part of the bell curve from trying to achieve.

Now you're describing Canada. That's exactly what we have going here. Of course, we're bolstered by the fact that we're among the top exporters to the US ...

Hambydammit wrote:
Bureaucracy multiplies inefficiency, and I believe that there is a range of optimal balance between small business and corporations.  This can be encouraged through the tax structure.  Likewise, there is a range at which employee salaries and owner salaries balance, such that companies succeed while encouraging their employees to make the company better.  Again, a very smart government could encourage this.

Re-read this whole paragraph. To me, there seem to be many contradictions. You acknowledge that bureaucracy is inefficient, but the controls you mention would require a huge bureaucracy to manage and enforce. Also, show me a "very smart government" and I'll find you a unicorn.

Hambydammit wrote:
The best you can hope for is a society that gives everyone a reasonable chance of getting a reasonable approximation of their individual goal.

You mean like ... libertarianism? That last bit sounded pretty libertarian to me. I saw "individual goal" in there ... 

 

 

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HisWillness wrote: Thus,

HisWillness wrote:
Thus, activities considered criminal by a state are decided based on the ability of the state to pursue action against offenders.

I am understanding you for the most part Will but can you clarify just a bit. Does your intended meaning of the phrase, "pursue action", describe police activity or prosecutorial avenue? Or both ???

 


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Wonko wrote:HisWillness

Wonko wrote:

HisWillness wrote:
Thus, activities considered criminal by a state are decided based on the ability of the state to pursue action against offenders.

I am understanding you for the most part Will but can you clarify just a bit. Does your intended meaning of the phrase, "pursue action", describe police activity or prosecutorial avenue? Or both ???

I see why you make the distinction, but I was framing it in very broad terms, so I mean the entire legislative process: legislation, arbitration, prosecution, police activity, etc. That is, a group of individuals regardless of the size is limited in its capacity to first decide on what constitutes criminal (or dysfunctional) activity, and then deal with it. The limitation is the group's collective energy.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
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Thanks Will,I wasn't trying

Thanks Will,

I wasn't trying to refine my pedantry, just curious. In virtually every thread I have read in the RRS forums, I find myself in great agreement with the consensus. There doesn't seem to be a clear one thus far from the rank and file on this topic.

You made many excellent points.

 


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Wow, man, I didn't mean to

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

So, yeah, I fail to see your point and find little value in your comment.

Damn, brother, I didn't mean to offend you but I obviously touched a nerve. I'm sorry. I was honestly just trying to get your perspective. I thought you might know something on that topic. I never said that I thought you were an Austrianist or anything of that nature because you posted an article from that site.

As for the idea of suspicion, I was just introducing where I was coming from and not saying that I wasn't open to listening and reading what you are sharing. I was merely saying that I'm a political skeptic (and a libertarian skeptic in particular) and I assumed (wrongly?) that RRS was very welcoming of skepticism. It wasn't intended as a criticism of you. I consider you posting this topic as an opportunity to revisit my study of libertarianism.

As for citations, it is simply a thread that one hears often. Here is one. The comment are extensive and interesting. There are lots of good points on both sides and it makes for interesting reading. It also like to more citations so it is a good launching point.

Instead of a Blog

Think this can't work? - Think again.

"...what we always meant by socialism wasn't something you forced on people, it was people organizing themselves as they pleased...And if socialism really is better...then it can bloody well compete with capitalism. So we decided, forget all the statist shit and the violence: the best place for socialism is the closest to a free market you can get!" - Ken MacLeod's The Star Fraction


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HisWillness wrote:Neverfox

HisWillness wrote:

Neverfox wrote:

What is your response to the fact that this article originates from the Mises Institute, an organization and philosophy (Austrian economics) that is criticized for its apparent rejection of the scientific method and falsifiable theories?

I know this wasn't directed at me, but I think you've been misinformed. Austrian economics IS criticized for its rejection of the scientific method IN ECONOMICS. That's because, like in many other arts, it's extremely difficult to use the scientific method with any degree of success. As an illustration, the last time Nobel Prize winning economists took on the actual economy, the result was Long Term Capital Management, the hedge fund that was able to break everyone in the 90s.

Mises (at least in Human Behaviour) only claimed that it was premature to consider Economics a science (even a social science) because it failed to meet the strict requirements of rigorous study in a scientific context. There's no rejection of the scientific method there, only a deep appreciation for its quantitative stringency. 

No, I'm aware they don't reject it outright and limit the exclusion to economics. It is my fault for not being precise in my statement. But I fail to find comfort in that. You mention economics as an art as if you dismiss the notion of examining it scientifically; as if it doesn't involve data and theories. I wholeheartedly disagree. Economics can be a science, all be it a complex and difficult one. When you say that the scientific method can't be used with success I think you fail to understand the scientific method or have temporarily allowed yourself to lapse. This is made clear when you mention LTCM as a failure of the scientific method in economics. But the scientific methods goal is to to succeed/fail or make hedge funds work. Rather it's hypothesize, test, replicate, and either falsify or fail to falsify, then go back and recast hypothesis as needed. It's a process not a destination. For a good understanding of why LTCM failed and how little if at all it had to do the scientific method, read When Genius Failed if you haven't already.

It's interesting that you find Mises comment to show a deep appreciation of quantitative stringency when all he or his students would have to do to prove it is act differently from the economists the he thinks fail at it. Rather Austrian economics prefers a priori assumptions and logic alone to data. Hayek, a student of Mises, wrote that economic theories can "never be verified or falsified by reference to facts. All that we can and must verify is the presence of our assumptions in the particular case." It's your classic rationalist vs. empiricist stance. The problem is that rationalism alone is a relic as far as I'm concerned. And using logic alone is what theists are always trying to do with their cosmological and ontological arguments and so forth. Theories without fact and data are trouble. You can believe anything with this approach.

Again, I'm open to other perspectives also. But I'll need more than "it's an art" but I thought it only fair to tell you where I'm coming from now.

Instead of a Blog

Think this can't work? - Think again.

"...what we always meant by socialism wasn't something you forced on people, it was people organizing themselves as they pleased...And if socialism really is better...then it can bloody well compete with capitalism. So we decided, forget all the statist shit and the violence: the best place for socialism is the closest to a free market you can get!" - Ken MacLeod's The Star Fraction


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Neverfox

Neverfox wrote:

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

So, yeah, I fail to see your point and find little value in your comment.

Damn, brother, I didn't mean to offend you but I obviously touched a nerve. I'm sorry.

You've done no such thing. I was simply being blunt, as is my nature.

I assure you I did not take your question personally and did not intend you to take my response personally either.

I merely expressed my thoughts on what you wrote. I didn't find anything valuable or insightful in them, and I told you why, I didn't.

Quote:
I was honestly just trying to get your perspective.

And I gave it to you.

Quote:
I thought you might know something on that topic.

I do.

Quote:
I never said that I thought you were an Austrianist or anything of that nature because you posted an article from that site.
I didn't say that you did, but it would have been a reasonable inference to draw.

Quote:
As for the idea of suspicion, I was just introducing where I was coming from and not saying that I wasn't open to listening and reading what you are sharing. I was merely saying that I'm a political skeptic (and a libertarian skeptic in particular) and I assumed (wrongly?) that RRS was very welcoming of skepticism.

Well, that's a bit convoluted.

You gave me your opinion, and I gave you mine. Fair, yes?

How we go from that to the topic of the general skepticallity of the RRS is beyond me. I don't speak for the group unless I make it clear that I am, and even then, I'm sure one of them would protest.

Quote:
It wasn't intended as a criticism of you. I consider you posting this topic as an opportunity to revisit my study of libertarianism.

Glad to hear it.

Quote:
As for citations, it is simply a thread that one hears often. Here is one. The comment are extensive and interesting. There are lots of good points on both sides and it makes for interesting reading. It also like to more citations so it is a good launching point.

Thanks, I will peruse it a bit later.

Sorry if you did not care for my tone. I did not intend to be a dick, it simply ends up that way on occasion. I am a rather blunt and harsh individual, and don't value pretense all that much. I did not intend you to take my post in the manner that you did, though I did mean every word I said. I was being honest, not trying to be disrespectful or insulting.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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Yellow_Number_Five

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

Sorry if you did not care for my tone. I did not intend to be a dick, it simply ends up that way on occasion. I am a rather blunt and harsh individual, and don't value pretense all that much. I did not intend you to take my post in the manner that you did, though I did mean every word I said. I was being honest, not trying to be disrespectful or insulting.

Then the fault is all mine. You don't need change your tone and I respect your honesty.

Likewise, I will be studying the article you posted in more depth. I realize I've failed to address it directly yet. I'll try my best to get to it soon.

 

Instead of a Blog

Think this can't work? - Think again.

"...what we always meant by socialism wasn't something you forced on people, it was people organizing themselves as they pleased...And if socialism really is better...then it can bloody well compete with capitalism. So we decided, forget all the statist shit and the violence: the best place for socialism is the closest to a free market you can get!" - Ken MacLeod's The Star Fraction


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Neverfox wrote:You mention

Neverfox wrote:
You mention economics as an art as if you dismiss the notion of examining it scientifically; as if it doesn't involve data and theories. I wholeheartedly disagree. Economics can be a science, all be it a complex and difficult one. When you say that the scientific method can't be used with success I think you fail to understand the scientific method or have temporarily allowed yourself to lapse.

No, I've just studied mathematical economics. It's not different from the rest of the math that I've studied except that its variables are so strange. "Utility"  would be my favourite, but the macroeconomic variables are just as vague. It's only just recently that actual testing is taking place in a market environment. I would LOVE to see more scientifically-minded empirical testing, but what's being taught right now isn't tested empirically (and may be too vague to test), and that's the part I think violates the scientific method.

Neverfox wrote:
This is made clear when you mention LTCM as a failure of the scientific method in economics.

It was a pop culture jab - I admit it. If that stands as a falsification of their theory (or part of it, at least) then you're quite right, it was a good empirical test of a formula.

Neverfox wrote:
It's interesting that you find Mises comment to show a deep appreciation of quantitative stringency when all he or his students would have to do to prove it is act differently from the economists the he thinks fail at it.

Haha - I wasn't saying he wasn't a jackass, I was just saying he had a point! But good call.

Neverfox wrote:
Theories without fact and data are trouble. You can believe anything with this approach.

Absolutely, and I'm the last one to defend pure logic. In my mind, economic theory remains untested.

Neverfox wrote:
I'll need more than "it's an art" but I thought it only fair to tell you where I'm coming from now.

Of course. What fun would an argument be if you didn't at least require that your opponent was somewhat sharp and paying attention to what you say?

My position boils down to what I consider a hypocrisy. Monetarists will deride the Austrians for not applying rigorous mathematics to data, and yet fail to see the arbitrary nature of their variables. "Data" in that context is highly suspect, and smacks of the same kind of logic that the Austrian school is honest about perpetrating. Neither position has been adequately tested for me to consider it scientifically rigorous.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
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HisWillness wrote:My

HisWillness wrote:

My position boils down to what I consider a hypocrisy. Monetarists will deride the Austrians for not applying rigorous mathematics to data, and yet fail to see the arbitrary nature of their variables. "Data" in that context is highly suspect, and smacks of the same kind of logic that the Austrian school is honest about perpetrating. Neither position has been adequately tested for me to consider it scientifically rigorous.

Indeed. Reality and potential are two very different things. Nice exchange.

Instead of a Blog

Think this can't work? - Think again.

"...what we always meant by socialism wasn't something you forced on people, it was people organizing themselves as they pleased...And if socialism really is better...then it can bloody well compete with capitalism. So we decided, forget all the statist shit and the violence: the best place for socialism is the closest to a free market you can get!" - Ken MacLeod's The Star Fraction


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The biggest problem I have

The biggest problem I have with libertarianism is that is gives too much power to corporations. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if they were run by people like Dagny Taggart, instead of people like Ken Lay.

Here is a very thoughtful essay arguing against libertarianism: www.zompist.com/libertos.html

We had a period of unfettered capitalism in this country in the late 19th and early 20th century. As the author of the essay I posted above says, "The result was robber barons, monopolistic gouging, management thugs attacking union organizers, filth in our food, a punishing business cycle, slavery and racial oppression, starvation among the elderly, gunboat diplomacy in support of business interests."


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Atheologian wrote:The

Atheologian wrote:

The biggest problem I have with libertarianism is that is gives too much power to corporations.

How so? And please don't conflate the current system of cronyism and bribe trading with anything a libertarian would be on board with.

Quote:
Here is a very thoughtful essay arguing against libertarianism: www.zompist.com/libertos.html

I started to read it, and stopped here:

CommunismLibertarianism
Property is theftProperty is sacred
TotalitarianismAny government is bad

Anything that starts out that ignorant is not worth my time, and the bullshit only deepens from there.

Quote:
We had a period of unfettered capitalism in this country in the late 19th and early 20th century.

No, we didn't. We had a system in which the government would do things like send federal troops or the national gaurd to break strikes. Libertarians have NO problem with unions or collective bargaining, and rather than send in the troops or Pinkertons, would simply higher scabs. Workers have the right to collectively bargain, as they should. Employers have the right to higher whomever they want for an agreed upon wage. End of story.

That is NOT free trade, NOT capitalism and NOT libertarianism.

Quote:
As the author of the essay I posted above says, "The result was robber barons, monopolistic gouging, management thugs attacking union organizers, filth in our food, a punishing business cycle, slavery and racial oppression, starvation among the elderly, gunboat diplomacy in support of business interests."

All perpetuated and encouraged by our government.

You can find the same thing today in no-bid contracts to Haliburton and FIASA immunity to telecoms, two things libertarians are firmly disgusted by.

None of this is possible without a government entity to facilitate it.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

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 Just to add to Yellow's

 Just to add to Yellow's comments:

The writer of the essay is responding to all sorts of wacky libertarian emails, so I'm not sure what he/she is addressing half the time. If any ideology were to be followed to the letter, it would fail. Writers also often overstate their case to make a point, and it's probable that's what you see when reading some of libertarianism's most visible sources of inspiration.

However, one serious criticism of libertarianism that has occurred to me is market volatility. The essay's author does have good points regarding unfettered markets only if the author is addressing price stability, which is definitely a problem for the laissez faire economist. Savvy investors can weather price volatility, but the uneducated masses are often upset at large price fluctuations and trends, and for some reason believe that they are entitled to get things cheaply (here, obviously, I'm referring to people who believe that if they pray hard enough, gasoline will get cheaper). It's a serious criticism of libertarianism if the culture remains that of mindless apathetic consumer drone rather than citizen. That may sound strange coming from an advocate of free enterprise, but ultimately it would take a cultural change to move to a libertarian system. A culture of stronger community ties and more importantly of self-sufficiency (for the individual and the community) would be required to give a libertarian framework a try.

I honestly don't think that the essay's author has considered many of the benefits of a smaller government, and has instead focussed on transition phases and "robber barons" as proof that less government wouldn't work. Honestly, the essay seems to be a reaction to a fringe crackpot's interpretation of what a libertarian system could be, using out-of-context snippets and dire predictions; fear uncertainty and doubt over what aren't really radical ideas.

What I find strange is that in this liberal system, corporate corruption is still extremely profitable and practiced uniformly. Somehow, when the libertarian simply allows for the fact that we all run the risk of getting screwed, that's terrible to the ears of a supporter of a more socialist government. The socialist system works! See? We're sending them to jail. No, you won't get your money back, but we're sending them to jail.

Socialism: totally works because when you're stupid enough to participate in a market you don't understand (retail purchases of Enron stock?!?), we offer you a kleenex and tell you how bad we feel for you. You still get screwed by your own stupidity, and we'll send the principals to jail, but your money is gone.

Libertarianism: watch where you put your money, you could get screwed. Have you tried saving? How about gold?

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fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence


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Yellow_Number_Five wrote:I

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

I started to read it, and stopped here:

CommunismLibertarianism
Property is theftProperty is sacred
TotalitarianismAny government is bad

Anything that starts out that ignorant is not worth my time, and the bullshit only

How does that misrepresent your views? You stated in another thread that "the enemy is always the state". Do libertarians not hold property rights to be sacred?

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:
None of this is possible without a government entity to facilitate it.

The only complicity the government had in most those was a willingness to look the other way.

From the same essay:

"Don't think, by the way, that if governments don't provide gunboats, no one else will. Corporations will build their own military if necessary: the East Indies Company did; Leopold did in the Congo; management did when fighting with labor."

Libertariansim is an absolutist ideology. There is one enemy: the state. There is one solution: the free market.

Liberals don't "worship the state", as another commenter has put it. We realize that the world is a complex place that require complex solutions. Sometimes that solution is the free market. Sometimes it's the government.


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Understing the political landscape

EXC wrote:
It amazes me how many so called "rational" atheists have a socialist political philosophy.

I disagree. I think the vast majority of 'rational' atheists [isn't rational thinking necessary to even be an atheist?] are generally left-leaning Libertarians opposed to authoritarian rule - which includes both communism and fascism. Fascism and Communism are but flip sides of the same authoritarian coin with communism an economic left authoritarian regime and and fascism an economic right authoritarian regime. A Communist government predominantly financially controls and rules over the corporate structure with the situation reversed in a Fascist government financially controlled [bought and paid for] and ruled by corporate interests.

EXC wrote:
They don't want to live under the thumb of a celestial dictatorship or controlling religion, yet they have no problems having government control their lives and limit their liberties.

Again I disagree. I think most atheists inherently loath authoritarian [means same as totalitarian and despotism] rule. Government propaganda in authoritarian regimes suppresses 'free thinking', which is a necessary construct for an atheistic life philosophy.

EXC wrote:
They don't believe their is a sugar daddy god in the heavens that will take care of all their problems, yet they want government to wave some kind of magic wand and take care of every individual's problem.

You seem to be confusing the more genuine altruistic nature of an atheist [compared to a dog eat dog monotheist life philosophy] to be akin to socialism. A social program that benefits the whole of a society doesn't mean it's a socialist program.  A 'social' program doesn't mean it's socialist, much less communist. The word 'Social' in a 'social program' context is used as an adjective meaning 'related to human society and its members'. A 'social' program is meant to benefit society as a whole unlike Bush's 'faith-based initiatives' Obama seeks to expand that are tax paid actions for 'faith based' Americans believing in their Santa Claus Sky God. Universal Health Care is not a 'socialist' program, but a 'social' program that benefits the welfare of all citizens of a nation. All developed countries have universal health care except the US - and NONE of these developed countries are considered socialist or communist, but at most social democracies [capitalist democracies].

The mass psychosis provided by the fascist [NeoCon] propaganda in the US accuses the liberal to be communist [take a look at AIM.org and see for yourself]. A liberal is of course NOT a communist, much less a socialist. Socialism/communism is the antithesis of capitalism. Whilst many on the left claim to be socialists, they are only trying to reform capitalism to make it work better. Thus they are not socialists.  Socialism really has never actually existed anywhere.  In Russia, China, or Cuba wage slavery and commodity production was and is still in practice alongside an exchange system that trades according to the dictates of international capital. "Socialist" states prepared to go to war to defend their economic interests. Stalin, Lenin, Trotsky, Mao, Castro etc were not socialists, but just advocates of state capitalism - there were more reformers of capitalism than of socialism.

Socialism means the establishment of a global system of society in which there is common ownership and democratic control of the world's natural and industrial resources. Socialism means no governments, no states, no borders or frontiers, no social class or leaders. It means an end to a system that produces for profit replacing it with a global system of production based in need where each person has free access to the benefits of civilization. It means a world without money, or buying or selling. A world where people give of their abilities and take according to their needs. Socialism is the opposite of capitalism.

Like capitalism, socialism must have a global system to exist. It cannot truly be established in just one country. Unlike the predatory corporatist form of capitalism, socialism cannot be brought about by force. It can only come about through the will of a global majority aware of what it truly means.

As an anti-fascist campaigner however, this nation under the radical right wing Bush-GOP ideology can easily be identified as placing US in the early stages of fascism....

EXC wrote:
They claim to be rational thinkers, yet they believe the government can just pass out welfare without expecting anything in return from the citizens receiving it and somehow the government/society will not go broke. They don't want people to be self-reliant instead live in fear, so people will be slaves to political dogma and government just as they are slaves to religious dogma and churches.

What a left or right leaning authoritarian ruled society [communist or fascist] will go broke from is war and its necessity in the perpetuation of war as we've already seen in Russia and can easily see in what is happening today in America. "For five billion a year," Vt Senator Sanders insists, "we could provide basic primary health care for every American. That is how much it would cost, five billion." [It's a Class War, Stupid]. Compare that relatively small $5 Billion a year cost for universal health care we don't have in America to the $200 billion a year it's been costing US to wage wars in the mid-east, not to mention the cost in human life...

Survey Says that generally speaking, you are more illiterate, less educated, earn less and will die much sooner if you reside in the Bible Belt republican voting red states compared to the blue liberal voting North Eastern states.

Survey also says the USA is still #1! At least in literally being the least free nation on earth holding 24% of the world’s prisoners from only 5% of the world's populace.  

The U.S. incarceration rate is five-to-nine times greater than that of our peer nations.

Of all the 30 developed countries making up Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [mostly Europe and the Nordic countries plus Australia, Japan and Mexico] USA has more children living in poverty per capita than all the others but Mexico.

USA ranks #24 among these 30 most affluent countries in life expectancy - yet spends more on health care than any other nation.

The US infant mortality rate is on par with that of Croatia, Cuba, Estonia, and Poland.

Americans have shorter lives, more children in poverty & more illiteracy per capita than most all developed nations

The U.S. ranks forty-second in global life expectancy and first among the world’s twenty-five richest countries in the percentage of children living in poverty.

US hits a 3rd world inequality status highlighted by a 30 year gap in life expectancy between Conn and Miss

This entry into a 3rd world status for Americans in regards to 'human development' has occurred during the same time period the radical right Bush-GOP White House deregulated capitalism to allow a predatory economy favoring a few haves over a multitude of have nots.

This is a Class War, Stupid

The regulated capitalist models seen in the Social Democracies of Europe have proven to be far more beneficial to its citizenry as a whole compared to the unfettered and predatory capitalist model put into affect in the US by the republicans and their Bush-GOP leadership where it benefits only a small minority at the expense of the vast majority....

EXC, you are confusing the authoritarianism of what is considered by most to be a communist regime with what are really left leaning atheistic Libertarians. Think of the political spectrum or landscape as a global quadrant of the strongest authoritarian governments and leaders on the North Pole and the most anarchist of Libertarian governments and leaders [of which there are few to none] sitting on the South Pole. Then you divide them in the middle as more economically left leaning or economically right leaning regardless if authoritarian or libertarian. Leaving a four dimensional quadrant of left to right leaning authoritarians at the north pole and left to right leaning Libertarians at the south pole... 

EXC wrote:
"Rational" socialists, can you explain yourselves? The only difference between a pastor and a politician is that one promise things he can't deliver on in the next world instead of this world. We need an end of politics just like and end of religion.

It is your lack of understanding of the political landscape that needs to be explained and clarified. Your misunderstanding of this political landscape falsely labels 'rational' atheists as 'rational' socialists. Libertarianism, like its opposite in authoritarianism, is a social dimension on the political landscape. Libertarianism can be left [liberal leftist] or right [NeoLibertarian].  The usual understanding of anarchism as a left wing ideology does not take into account the neo-liberal "anarchism" championed by the likes of Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and America's Libertarian Party, which couples social Darwinian right-wing economics with liberal positions on most social issues. Often their libertarian impulses stop short of opposition to strong law and order positions, and are more economic in substance (ie no taxes) so they are not as extremely libertarian as they are extremely right wing. On the other hand, the classical libertarian collectivism of anarcho-syndicalism ( libertarian socialism) belongs in the bottom left hand corner.... 

If there was a God, Man wouldn't have had to invent him [reversing Voltaire's famous quote].


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EXC's socialist generalizations on 'rational atheists'

Didn't think above had posted so eliminating repost


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EXC wrote:It amazes me how

EXC wrote:

It amazes me how many so called "rational" atheists have a socialist political philosophy.

They don't want to live under the thumb of a celestial dictatorship or controlling religion, yet they have no problems having government control their lives and limit their liberties. They don't believe their is a sugar daddy god in the heavens that will take care of all their problems, yet they want government to wave some kind of magic wand and take care of every individual's problem.

They claim to be rational thinkers, yet they believe the government can just pass out welfare without expecting anything in return from the citizens receiving it and somehow the government/society will not go broke. They don't want people to be self-reliant instead live in fear, so people will be slaves to political dogma and government just as they are slaves to religious dogma and churches.

"Rational" socialists, can you explain yourselves?

The only difference between a pastor and a politician is that one promise things he can't deliver on in the next world instead of this world. We need an end of politics just like and end of religion.

 

And what is government? It is leadership chosen by society.

 

Are you saying you want a complete breakdown of society? I for one would rather pay taxes to ensure universal health care, fire departments, roads and public transportation, schools, space exploration, scientific fundings, and on and on.

 


Just because people collectively pitch in for efforts doesn't mean that it is some alien monstrosity out to dominate and control you.

Theism is why we can't have nice things.


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Amen, I finally found other

Amen, I finally found other atheist Libertarians! Bob Barr 2012!!


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Yellow_Number_Five

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

This is an excellent read, even if you don't agree with the philosophy it will at least help you understand the perspective a bit better.

 

"Why Be Libertarian" by By Murray Rothbard.

Rothbard, if you did not know, is a notable natural philosopher, economist and the originator of the term "anachro-capitalism".

 

Enjoy, and please do discuss!

 

http://mises.org/story/2993

No need to read about a philosophy I know lots about.
I offer this response without explanation, as to the title "Why Be Libertarian?":

Ignorance and / or stupidity.


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I say be a Libertarian

I say be a Libertarian because common sense is good. I'm a Lib with a big "L".


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politicalhumanist

politicalhumanist wrote:

Amen, I finally found other atheist Libertarians! Bob Barr 2012!!

Bob Barr is as much of a Libertarian as Joe Lieberman was a Democrat.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Agreed. CIA tool. I also saw

Agreed. CIA tool. I also saw him in a documentary and he didn't even no the legal drinking age. I'm a Ron Paul supporter and if he doesn't run in 2012, which I'm pretty sure he wont, I'd like to see Andrew Napolitano.


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EXC wrote:It amazes me how

EXC wrote:
It amazes me how many so called "rational" atheists have a socialist political philosophy.

I agree with you.  Fortunately, however, there is a large number of libertarian Atheists.  Averaged across all Atheists, we are more libertarian in character than the Theist stereotype of us.


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Conservative.

 

 

 

              Right wing has hell;  ayeah!!!  Central Maine, New England Yankee, you betcha.  I damn well like small government and low taxes;  take care ov yo self and don't be makin no judgements on some one else;  orah else they be makin a judgement on yoos.

 

 

              S.Palin's  a dimwit airhead;  NO conservative.   A true conservative don't go inter firrin with no one else's personal choices.  A-fore makein' a opinion on someone elses lifestyle he firss think of what he think ov what anothah person do think of their lifestyle an decide that it ain't no bodies buisness but he own.

 

 

              A good conseervative mine he own buisness,   now he may not approve ov  some one elses life choice but he don't make no judgements.

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

VEGETARIAN: Ancient Hindu word for "lousy hunter"

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Adnihilo wrote:It is your

Adnihilo wrote:
It is your lack of understanding of the political landscape that needs to be explained and clarified. Your misunderstanding of this political landscape falsely labels 'rational' atheists as 'rational' socialists. Libertarianism, like its opposite in authoritarianism, is a social dimension on the political landscape. Libertarianism can be left [liberal leftist] or right [NeoLibertarian].  The usual understanding of anarchism as a left wing ideology does not take into account the neo-liberal "anarchism" championed by the likes of Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and America's Libertarian Party, which couples social Darwinian right-wing economics with liberal positions on most social issues. Often their libertarian impulses stop short of opposition to strong law and order positions, and are more economic in substance (ie no taxes) so they are not as extremely libertarian as they are extremely right wing. On the other hand, the classical libertarian collectivism of anarcho-syndicalism ( libertarian socialism) belongs in the bottom left hand corner.... 

That was a great post in general.
I think that most people who call themselves "socialist" nowdays mean "left-libertarian".
As with any position, many of the attacks on it are hysterical rather than rational.
My objection to "right-libertarianism" is that I  think it lacks fairness in atleast 3 ways:

1) For a person to have a fighting chance of making it in the world, they need the right start.
This person needs a stable upbringing with education, healthcare, nutrition and a reasonably stress free atmostphere.
People brought up below the poverty line do not have this.

2) Opportunities are limited. Career status is pyramidal and there will always be people at the bottom.
It's not a case of, "anyone who works hard can make it" - there will always be people at the bottom.
These people need atleast a minimal standard of living; a wage that will cover the necessities with a little left over for minimal luxuries.
This is generally called a "living wage" - the minimum wage required to provide a person with the means to live a healthy, rounded life.
This would give them a comfortable base to perhaps try and improve their lot should they decide they want to improve their life further.

3) They seem to assume that if we let business just run then it will manage itself.
Like any activity in life, people can "cheat" in business and play dirty.
Those with money and power can use this to manipulate those with less power into accepting unfair deals.
Fairness requires laws and regulations to prevent such cheating and foul play.

 

These are my objections to libertarianism as it is commonly presented to me.
I get the impression that many right wing libertarians want to promote the freedom of the businessman above the freedoms of other people.
That said, I may just have misunderstood certain points or I may have mistaken more radical views for being mainstream.
If anyone would like to discuss my points I'd be interested to hear.


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EXC wrote:It amazes me how

EXC wrote:

It amazes me how many so called "rational" atheists have a socialist political philosophy.

 

I am a socialist out of the goodness of my heart. And maybe also a little because this is the cheapest and most effective political solution for the ever lasting problem of how to run a society of idiots. I myself am the hard core type of anarchist: I would prefer no law, no organization, no social structures. I want massive and never ending war. That's what *I* would thrive on. But mercy has come upon me and I am concerned with the lives of the little people, the frightened cowards who just want to suck cock. (As long as it is the penis of God!) Or really, whatever they have to do in order to stay alive for one more day. Certainly not anything heroic! I say capture the weaklings and let them eat cake. Then force them to do a sexy dance on stage in women's clothings.

(Old threads suck.)


 

"The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind." (Alphonse Donatien De Sade)

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