“They Fucking Hate You”

You REALLY might want to read this: Via Balloon Juice, They Fucking Hate You

They fucking hate you. They want you, and everyone who speaks for you, and every institution that represents your values, whether it be Planned Parenthood or food banks or ACORN – you name it. They want it destroyed.

I just do not understand why more people do not recognize this. The Republicans have declared total war on America, and people are responding like this is politics as usual. It isn’t. It really isn’t. It’s really all or nothing at this point. We put the birchers/tea party/conservatives back in their place and destroy the current GOP, or we deal with this shit for the next forty-sixty years.

Click over and read the whole thing. It’s short, but seriously eye-opening.

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  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    Tom Junod talked about something similar in Esquire recently:

    Liberals don’t hate conservatives. They just think they’re stupid. Conservatives hate liberals, because they know that liberals think they’re smarter than them. Liberals know that conservatives hate them and can’t figure out why, because they don’t hate conservatives in return. Conservatives believe that liberals hate them, because it’s easier to feel despised than patronized. And so in addition to hating liberals, they think liberals are liars.

  • F

    Did you catch this in the (rather good) comments on the post?
    http://hotair.com/archives/2012/02/04/are-you-ready-for-president-tebow/

  • Reginald Selkirk

    We put the birchers/tea party/conservatives back in their place and destroy the current GOP

    The birchers/tea party/conservatives are destroying the current GOP.

  • http://www.davehitt.com Hittman

    >>Liberals don’t hate conservatives. <<

    Seriously? Because I see just as much hate from liberals directed toward conservatives as the other way around. Check out any of the social media sites for a plethora of examples.

    Liberals love Big Huge Government and admit it. Conservatives love Big Huge Government and lie about it. Maybe it's time to abandon the false dichotomy of liberal/conservative and replace it with something more meaningful, like liberty/statist.

  • http://paperdove.org/ nigelTheBold, Abbot of the Hoppist Monks

    Hittman:

    Maybe it’s time to abandon the false dichotomy of liberal/conservative and replace it with something more meaningful, like liberty/statist.

    But the choice between liberty and “statism” is not a dichotomy. You can have a “Big Huge” government and still have liberty.

    You need some measure of government to ensure freedom (as opposed to liberty). Libertarians would cede freedom to the rich, even more than happens in the US today, simply by removing what little government control exists now. In effect, all citizens would have equal liberty, but that would include the liberty to fuck other people out of their freedom. The biggest failing of Libertarianism is the inability to distinguish liberty (the rights guaranteed by the state) from freedom (the practical ability to exercise those rights). Libertarianism ensures maximum liberty, but actual freedom is reserved only for the very rich.

    The non-libertarian Republicans would cede both liberty and freedom to a Christian-informed moralistic state. While in many ways worse than Libertopia, it’s the Scylla to the Libertarian Charybdis.

    The liberal ideal, as I understand it, is to maximize both liberty and freedom by equalizing power among citizens. The current Democratic party does not necessarily embody this ideal as fully as I’d like, but it’s a helluva lot better than the Republican and Libertarian alternatives.

  • Sophia Dodds

    Stuff like this reminds me of this article that popped up on my facebook feed a little while ago. It’s in French and google translate is a bit hilarious in some parts (tonsils!) but the idea is interesting and I’d love to see more experimentation done on the topic.
    The basic premise seems to be that liberal/conservative or left/right wing associations tend to correlate with different brain structure. The conservative archetypal brain seems to react much more strongly to negative stimuli, whereas the liberal would react to more positive. If the hypothesis does in fact hold water, it really could explain a lot about the rampant hatred. It’s certainly a thinker.

    Here’s a link to the auto-translated article:
    http://tinyurl.com/7hu6a6x

  • http://www.davehitt.com Hittman

    You can have a “Big Huge” government and still have liberty.

    No, you can’t. Liberty is being able to do what you want, to make your own decisions, as long as they doesn’t harm anyone else. Big Huge Government is about regulating everything, right down to the kind of lightbulbs you can buy and how much salt you can eat.

    Libertarians would cede freedom to the rich, even more than happens in the US today, simply by removing what little government control exists now.

    What little government control exists now? I don’t know where you live, but here in the US there are government rules and regulations that infest our lives at every level. Most of them are unnecessary, expensive, and limit our ability to do just about anything. Ever run a business? A significant amount of your time will be spent complying with most of the laws, rules, regulations and fees, and figuring how to circumvent the others in order to make your business function. Licensing is required for even the most mundane tasks.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tjTheDqQrw

    The reason the wealthy control so much is that our legislators are wholly owned subsidies of big business and special interests. They get the government they pay for and the rest of us have to live with the consequences. With a smaller government they wouldn’t be able to buy as many favors.

    SOPA/PIPA is a perfect example. I’ve yet to see a single citizen support it, yet we had to black out a significant portion of the internet to get them to listen to us. My congress weasel, Kirsten Gillibrand, was a co-sponsor of PIPA. On her facebook page 500 of us lowly citizens told her we wanted her to withdraw her support. She ignored us. The two million dollars she received from the entertainment industry spoke far louder than all of our voices. That’s Big Government in action. They were willing to badly break the internet in order to protect a dying business model. And that’s just the first round in this fight.

    Our current economic mess, which has directly taken freedom from tens of millions of us by drastically reducing our economic status, was created by Big Government meddling. Between the CRA and other mandates, unrealistic interest rates and Fanny and Freddie, Big Government created a perfect storm that generated mountains of worthless debt while artificially driving the price of real estate to record levels. Banks then took this bad debt and went insane with it, making the problem even worse – but that bad debt wouldn’t have existed in the first place without government meddling.

    The government response to the bank’s egregious behavior was to hand out trillions of taxpayer dollars to their wealthy buddies to “fix” the problem. This was done by the republicans, and then again by the democrats.

    Although each “side” provides different theater, once in power they both behave pretty much the same. Bush creates the TSA, Obama lets it get even worse. Bush steps up the War on Some Drugs, Obama says he’s going to stop raiding medical marijuana dispensaries and then continues the raids. Bush gets us into wars, Obama adds another war (well, half a war) to the mix, and is now preparing to start another one with Iran.

    The biggest failing of Libertarianism is the inability to distinguish liberty (the rights guaranteed by the state) from freedom (the practical ability to exercise those rights).

    This doesn’t make any sense to me. (BTW, rights don’t come from the state. Rights come from our humanity, and most rights boil down to “the right to be left alone.”) Freedom is the ability to do what you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. Want to sell raw milk to someone who wants to buy it? No problem. But instead we’ve got federal agents literally pointing guns at the Amish and hippie food store owners “for our own good.” Want to marry someone of the same gender? No problem, if government isn’t involved in the decision. (How well is that fight going? And why should it even be a fight?) Want to smoke a particular plant in your house? You’re risking heavily armed thugs busting down your door at 4AM, shooting your dog and possibly you with no fear of recourse. This is Big Huge Government in action. This is the opposite of liberty or freedom.

    The non-libertarian Republicans would cede both liberty and freedom to a Christian-informed moralistic state.

    Agreed. And the Democrats would cede both liberty and freedom to create a Harrison Bergeron world where everyone not only starts the race in the exact same place, but crosses the finish line at the exact same moment. Either approach gives us the same end result – tyranny.

    Look how well this has all worked out for us. The middle class is vanishing, slowly but surely. People fall off the unemployment roles, or get jobs that pay 1/3 of what they used to earn (like me) and we’re told that means things are getting better. You can spend more time in jail for pirating a Michael Jackson album than you would for killing Michael Jackson. The police are now a heavily armed occupying force. Big Government continues to hand out favors to all their wealthy friends, insuring they stay rich at the expense of all of us. The democrats are responsible for this. The republicans are responsible for this. And we, just trying to live our lives, trying to earn a decent living and be left alone, are struggling just to stay afloat. That struggle gets more difficult with each passing year.

    We’re told that one side is evil, and the other side is good, so we should hate the other side, and many of us do. We’ve given “research” that “proves” one side is dumb or the other side is ignorant, and some of us buy into it. We’re told “they hate us, but we don’t hate them, so we’re better than they are, and we nod our heads like dollar-store bobblehead toys and say “yep, yep, yep.” It keeps us distracted and unable to focus on the real problem, which is Too Much Government. Far, far too much.

    Isn’t it time we tried something else?

  • http://paperdove.org/ nigelTheBold, Abbot of the Hoppist Monks

    Hittman:

    No, you can’t.

    Yes, you can.

    Here’s how it works: government is (or at least, ideally should be) the societal collective ownership of that which belongs to society. This would include things like infrastructure, such as roads, the police force, utilities, and other services that nominally serve everyone equally. None of this interferes with liberty.

    The reason the wealthy control so much is that our legislators are wholly owned subsidies of big business and special interests. They get the government they pay for and the rest of us have to live with the consequences. With a smaller government they wouldn’t be able to buy as many favors.

    With a smaller government, they wouldn’t have to. They’d own everything already. They’d have all the economic power, with nothing to stop them from wielding that power for their own benefit, to the detriment of those without economic power.

    Getting rid of the government doesn’t get rid of the encroachment of freedom. It simply moves the power of regulation from those that are nominally responsible to their constituents, to those that are beholden to no-one.

    A perfect example is medical insurance. Getting sick can bankrupt a person. Insurance companies mitigate their own costs by regulating which doctors you can see, which medicines you can have, which procedures they will cover. When Sarah Palin says the government will institute death panels, she ignores the fact we already have death panels — the insurance companies. (She also ignores the fact it simply isn’t true.)

    This doesn’t make any sense to me.

    It’s really quite simple: Libertarianism is nothing more than the tragedy of the commons turned into political ideology. It is the politics of the selfish self, rather than the common good, or even something between the two.

    (BTW, rights don’t come from the state. Rights come from our humanity, and most rights boil down to “the right to be left alone.”)

    This is incorrect. “Rights” are strictly a societal convention. A person on a deserted island neither has nor does not have rights. The concept of rights is coherent only within the context of human interaction. As for the “right to be left alone,” that also makes no sense. Either you are part of society, in which case it’s impossible to leave you alone (as interaction in society is by definition not a solitary activity), or you remove yourself from society, in which case it’s simply incoherent.

    Government (or “the state” as you are fond of saying) is an extension of society. In fact, it is the extension that moderates public relationships between people. Therefore, it is precisely the body which grants rights.

    Without a common understanding of what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, in minute detail, society becomes impractical.

    Consider roads. Traffic signs and signals are there to regulate the interactions between vehicles to ensure the efficient movement of vehicles. Without signals and signs, without a common understanding of what is allowed and disallowed, our road systems would be a mess. Accidents would occur with great frequency even on rural roads. Gridlock would be guaranteed in even the smallest cities. Traffic would be unmanageable. Those who could afford tanks would be the only ones able to move, and that only because they were willing to drive over other people.

    This is what Libertarianism would do to society. It would remove the consensus rules of society. It would allow those with economic power to do what they pleased, and those without economic power no recourse.

    But instead we’ve got federal agents literally pointing guns at the Amish and hippie food store owners “for our own good.”

    Citation, please. Bonus points if nobody was found guilty.

    Look, I’m not saying there’s nothing wrong with our current government. There’s a shit-ton of stuff wrong. Ed Brayton blogs almost exclusively on government gone wrong (and, sometimes, right). SOPA and PIPA should never have been considered. Unrestricted political spending should not be allowed. It’s getting harder for small businesses to operate, and easier for big businesses to fuck over the economy. Cops are allowed to shoot civilians and get away with it. There’s plenty wrong.

    But government is necessary if you wish to have, and benefit from, society. It’s essentially the bit that orchestrates the very functioning of society.

    You know all those rules and regulations you complain about? Most of them exist not to benefit the government (though some do). Most of them exist because someone figured out how to exploit the system in their favor, to the detriment of others. Most of them are there because selfish assholes fucked over other people for their own gain. Most of those rules and regulations which you complain about are attempts to keep people from fucking over other people.

    Are some of those attempts complete misfires? Absolutely. That doesn’t mean the attempt isn’t necessary.

    Isn’t it time we tried something else?

    Like what? Anarchy? It’s almost a cliché to bring up Somalia in these cases. It is, however, an excellent example of a country with effectively no government. It is the country that most closely follows the Libertarian template.

    “But,” you might say, “the individuals go against the Libertarian ideals!” And you would be correct. That’s what happens. There will be individuals that go against the ideals of society. They will push the limits, exploit as much as can be exploited.

    So, you need a police force to manage them, and a justice system to try them fairly. (Unless you want vigilante justice. In which case, welcome to Somalia.) Someone has to pay the police. Since they are there to protect all equally, it seems fair that all should pay.

    Now you have taxes. Or an unpaid police force.

    And just like Cartman in the Funland episode of South Park, you are on the slippery slope of paying for government.

  • http://paperdove.org/ nigelTheBold, Abbot of the Hoppist Monks

    Hittman:

    This doesn’t make any sense to me.

    Sorry — I realize my answer above really doesn’t address this directly. Let me try this again.

    Liberty is the sum of all rights granted by society. In a fair society, those liberties are the same for everyone. For this discussion, you can even assume your rights come from your basic existence (which is still incoherent, but makes no difference here).

    Freedom, on the other hand, is the ability to exercise those rights. This is restricted partly by societal pressure, but mostly it’s restricted by relative wealth.

    As an example, while we have the same liberties, Warren Buffett has far greater freedom. I am perfectly at liberty to charter a Leer Jet to take me to Paris for the weekend. But, as I can’t afford it, I am not free to do so.

    Now consider your average working person. The median income in the US is around $26,000/year. This gives families just enough to live on. Want better work? You can’t really move, because that’s expensive. You can’t really go to school, because that’s expensive as well. And in any case, there’s only so many good-paying jobs. The simple economic fact is, most people can barely afford the job they have, let alone one that pays better.

    The Libertarian answer is, “They should start their own business.” But economic reality simply doesn’t support that answer, either. Not everyone can simply work for themselves. There are only so many butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers an area can support. Instead, the need is for gas station attendants, grocery store stockers, and people who say, “You want fries with that?” And that won’t change in a Libertarian economy.

    Most people simply don’t have the freedom to get a better paying job. Those better paying jobs simply don’t exist. Employment is not an unlimited resource. While it’s not a zero-sum game, there are upper limits on employment, especially in areas that pay well.

    Consider how that plays out. I wish to exercise my liberty to color my hair blue. (I have done this in the past. It’s really cool.) My boss decides he doesn’t like it, and demands I shave my head, color it back, or quit. His economic power over me, as someone who can’t afford to lose my job, is absolute. His right to demand his employees adhere to a standard of appearance trumps my right to blue hair, simply because he has economic power over me.

    This same principle plays out over and over again in society. In a Libertarian society, it’s even worse, because it removes the very protections that keep employers from fucking over anyone for any reason. These same regulations you hate are the ones that help restore the power distorted by economic power differentials.

    I hope that helps explain what I was getting at.

  • http://paperdove.org/ nigelTheBold, Abbot of the Hoppist Monks

    And just because I can’t seem to stay off this topic:

    Without a government, you’d have no internet. Period.

    Remember what was developing before the internet became the new hot thing? Sure you do. A bunch of isolated islands controlled by corporations. From Compuserve to Genie to AOL to Microsoft’s first attempt at MSN, all of the ways to communicate that were vaguely like the internet were corporate-controlled islands.

    In all likelihood, this would mirror what would’ve happened in a Libertarian society. Rich folks would start various things like Compuserve and AOL, and they would’ve battled it out until only one stood standing. They would’ve used every sneaky trick available to ensure only one remained.

    So all access to the “internet” would be through a single corporate-controlled gateway. And if you think they wouldn’t control what you could and could not do, you are very much wrong.

    And to participate, you’d have to agree to effectively give up all rights.

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    Our current economic mess, which has directly taken freedom from tens of millions of us by drastically reducing our economic status, was created by Big Government meddling. Between the CRA and other mandates, unrealistic interest rates and Fanny and Freddie, Big Government created a perfect storm that generated mountains of worthless debt while artificially driving the price of real estate to record levels. Banks then took this bad debt and went insane with it, making the problem even worse – but that bad debt wouldn’t have existed in the first place without government meddling.

    You can always tell when a libertarian is talking about economics, the ignorance comes shining through.

    Starting in the late 1990s, there was a broad credit bubble in the US and Europe and a sustained housing bubble in the US. Excess liquidity, combined with rising house prices and an ineffectively regulated primary mortgage market, led to an increase in nontraditional mortgages that were in some cases deceptive, in many cases confusing, and often beyond borrowers’ ability to pay.

    However, the credit bubble, housing bubble, and the explosion of nontraditional mortgage products are not by themselves responsible for the crisis. Our country has experienced larger bubbles–the dot-com bubble of the 1990s, for example–that were not nearly as devastating as the housing bubble. Losses from the housing downturn were concentrated in highly leveraged financial institutions. Which raises the essential question: Why were these firms so exposed?

    Failures in credit-rating and securitization transformed bad mortgages into toxic financial assets. Securitizers lowered the credit quality of the mortgages they securitized, credit-rating agencies erroneously rated these securities as safe investments, and buyers failed to look behind the ratings and do their own due diligence. Managers of many large and midsize financial institutions amassed enormous concentrations of highly correlated housing risk, and they amplified this risk by holding too little capital relative to the risks and funded these exposures with short-term debt. They assumed such funds would always be available. Both turned out to be bad bets.

    These risks within highly leveraged, short-funded financial firms with concentrated exposure to a collapsing asset class led to a cascade of firm failures. The losses spread in two ways. Some firms had large counterparty credit risk exposures, and the sudden and disorderly failure of one firm risked triggering losses elsewhere. This is called risk of contagion. In other cases, the problem was a common shock. A number of firms had made similar bad bets on housing, and thus unconnected firms failed for the same reason and at roughly the same time.

    There were massive corporate restructurings. Lehman Brothers was liquidated, Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch were sold at bargain-basement prices, and Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley became commercial banks, subjecting themselves to more stringent regulation. Confidence and trust in the financial system evaporated, as the health of almost every large and midsize financial institution in the US and Europe was questioned. The financial shock and panic caused a severe contraction in the real economy.

  • http://paperdove.org/ nigelTheBold, Abbot of the Hoppist Monks

    ‘Tis, I love you.

    There. I said it.

  • http://www.davehitt.com Hittman

    Getting rid of the government…

    Here’s your first mistake. I never advocated getting rid of government. I’m advocating for a much smaller government. Big difference.

    Libertarianism is nothing more than the tragedy of the commons turned into political ideology.

    Second mistake. Libertarianism is so far away from the tragedy of the commons, so completely opposite from it, that you completely misunderstand libertarianism, the tragedy of the commons, or both.

    As for the “right to be left alone,” that also makes no sense.

    Third mistake. All of the rights in the first eight amendments of the BOR boil down to the right to be left alone by the government, the few times they can interfere with it, and what they have to do when they do interfere with it (like, get a warrant.) Having the right to be left alone doesn’t mean you’re a hermit (fourth mistake) it means you’re free to go about your business, including interacting with other people, without government interference.

    In fact, it is the extension that moderates public relationships between people. Therefore, it is precisely the body which grants rights.

    The mistakes are coming too thick and fast to handle.

    Unless there is force or fraud involved, there is no need to moderate pubic relationships between people. None.

    The government does not grant rights. The government is, according to our (almost completely ignored) constitution prohibited from infringing on rights we already have. Note the careful wording of the BOR. Nothing says anything about granting rights. It says the people HAVE those rights and the government can’t infringe on them. “The right of the people to…” “The right of the people to…” ” without the consent of the owner…” “the right of the people to…” It’s not until the fifth amendment the government is put under any obligation to provide anything – just compensation for property taken (how’s that working out for ya?).

    You need to bone up on natural rights, the core principle of the bill of rights, before you discuss this any further, becase you couldn’t be more wrong, more misinformed, which makes discussion close to impossible.

    Citation, please. Bonus points if nobody was found guilty.

    http://reason.com/blog/2011/06/10/obama-food-safety-czar-defends

    Check the video at the end for some footage of armed thugs pointing guns at farmers. Armed thugs working for big government, of course.

    http://www.anh-usa.org/public-outraged-over-armed-raid-of-food-co-op/

    Like what? Anarchy? It’s almost a cliché to bring up Somalia in these cases.

    Worse then cliché. Ignorant. Also dishonest: I never advocated anarchy. In fact, when someone spews the Somalia nonsense, I usually just say, “have a good day”: http://www.davehitt.com/blog2/welcome-to-stupidville/

    So, have a good day. If you ever learn some basic things, like the definition of libertarianism and the tragedy of the commons and the source of our rights, perhaps we can talk again. Until then, we’re wasting each other’s time.

    ‘Tis Himself, you are correct, but left out some very important things. The things you mentioned happened because banks went batshit with the bad debt, making things horribly worse. But they wouldn’t have had that bad debt if it weren’t for government interference in the free market, including (but not limited to) forcing banks to loan money to anyone who could fog a mirror, regardless of their ability to pay.

    But at least Big Huge Government bailed them out with our money, not even restricting multi-million dollar salaries and bonuses. At HBG didn’t hold anyone accountable for bilking investors out of trillions. Yey big government, protecting us all!

    We are, of course, getting completely off the subject of Hank’s post, which implies that only the right wingers hate the left. This is nonsense. Spend some time on Facebook or Twitter or G+ and see the bile that’s spewed by the left toward the right. There is an enormous amount of it. (Although I’m not a lefty, I’ve done it myself.) In fact, I see far more lefty hate than righty hate, but that’s probably because I have more lefty friends than righty friends.

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    ‘Tis Himself, you are correct, but left out some very important things. The things you mentioned happened because banks went batshit with the bad debt, making things horribly worse. But they wouldn’t have had that bad debt if it weren’t for government interference in the free market, including (but not limited to) forcing banks to loan money to anyone who could fog a mirror, regardless of their ability to pay.

    The removal of controls on financial activity imposed after the Great Depression is what enabled the multi-trillion dollar tower of CDOs, CDSs and other financial instruments to be constructed. That’s what turned a housing price crash in the US into a global financial crisis. The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 (Gramm-Leach-Bliley)*, and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 , were pushed by free marketeers to remove “government interference” in the financial markets.

    Most of the sub-prime loans were not to poor people at all, but to rich ones buying bigger houses, or second/third/etc. properties, often as investments, reckoning that if they got into problems, they could always sell (http://gbr.pepperdine.edu/2010/08/will-the-sub-prime-meltdown-burst-the-housing-bubble/). Federally insured financial institutions made less than 20% of sub-prime loans. Most loans were provided by independent mortgage companies who borrowed from investors, lent the money to sub-prime borrowers, then sold on the mortgages to other financial institutions, to be packaged up as mortgage-backed securities and sold again. That, possible because of the deregulation of financial institutions in the US and around the world, allowed the towering Ponzi scheme of CDOs and CDSs to build. It is because of these opaque financial instruments that the downturn in US house prices–inevitable eventually–has triggered the financial crisis.

    *I left the Treasury Department in 1999 because I had an argument with the Secretary of the Treasury, Larry Summers, about Gramm-Leach-Bliley and lost. About 18 months ago I was at a meeting where Summers talked about the current global financial situation. During the question period I said to Summers: “I fucking told you so.”

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    If libertarians ever do acquire power, we may expect a farrago of bizarre policies. Many support abolition of government-issued money in favor of that minted by private banks. But this has already been tried in various times and places. It doesn’t lead to any wonderful utopia of freedom but only to an explosion of fraud and currency debasement followed by the concentration of financial power in those few banks which survive the inevitable shaking-out. Many other libertarian schemes similarly founder on the empirical record.

    A major reason for this is most libertarians have a naïve view of economics which seems to have stopped paying attention to the actual history of capitalism since 1880. I’m not going to refute simplistic laissez faire economics. However I note the second- and third-richest nations in the world, Japan and China, have highly regulated economies, while nations in which government has essentially lost control over the economy, like Russia, are hardly economic paradises.

  • http://paperdove.org/ nigelTheBold, Abbot of the Hoppist Monks

    Hittman:

    Second mistake. Libertarianism is so far away from the tragedy of the commons, so completely opposite from it, that you completely misunderstand libertarianism, the tragedy of the commons, or both.

    No, you are right — while I understand both, I had (still have, actually) a half-formed analogy in which all natural resources are the commons, and individual ownership with no responsibility to the commons as an equivalent scenario, specifically in the cases of global warming and pollution. I apologize for my rash (and half-baked) assertion.

    Libertarianism is worse than the tragedy of the commons.

    The solution of privatizing the commons is worse than the problem itself — in that case, you’ve given a resource necessary for everyone into the hands of an individual, giving that individual economic power over the commons, with no responsibility to the commons.

    And in some cases, Libertarianism does not avoid the problem of the commons. Take air pollution, for example. Libertarianism does not address the problem of air pollution. Further, it’s fundamentally incapable of addressing that problem without some form of government regulation (which is, as I understand it, an anathema to Libertarians).

    Global warming is another example in which Libertarianism fails completely, for the same reason.

    Both of these are examples of the tragedy of the commons. Neither one is addressed coherently or logically or practically by pure Libertarianism.

    All of the rights in the first eight amendments of the BOR boil down to the right to be left alone by the government, the few times they can interfere with it, and what they have to do when they do interfere with it (like, get a warrant.)

    Hardly. They explicitly outline the most important rights, rights that are essential for a well-functioning democracy. They also outline the powers of the government, including (but not limited to) restrictions on government action.

    But whether you state we start with the rights, and the government is able to regulate the exercise of specific rights (say, the right to own an atomic bomb or nuclear reactor, for instance), or that society agrees on the rights we have, it all amounts to the same thing.

    Society exists only because we agree to behave in certain ways. Society couldn’t exist if everyone did whatever the fuck they wanted. My example of roads without rules pretty much sums up why rules are important in society, yet I notice you didn’t address that.

    Unless there is force or fraud involved…

    No shit. What do you think most of the rules and regulations are for? To help prevent fraud (such as the regulations dismantled by Gramm-Leach). To equalize economic power disparity (which translates to economic force).

    That’s a fucking huge “unless” you have there, which is at the center of our discussion — yet one that you have avoided so far. The closest you came was when you admitted freedom was tied to wealth. You still haven’t addressed how the wealthy are free to infringe the rights of the less-wealthy with impunity, and how that affects society.

    That’s something I’ve noticed every single Libertarian I’ve ever argued with avoids — the problem of the use of economic force. They seem to think “force” only comes with guns and fists. They avoid the fact that, even in our “big huge government” society, the rich use economic force all the fucking time, without need for the government. Without government, there wouldn’t’ve been a need to propose SOPA or PIPA, because corporations would’ve already controlled the entire infrastructure.

    But that’s another problem you’ve neatly avoided by not addressing my point — the fact that, without government regulation, the rich wouldn’t need to try to influence the government. They’d be able to wield influence directly.

    The government does not grant rights.

    So, tell me again what rights — rights that actually mean anything — a person on a deserted island has?

    Let’s say a person on a deserted island has perfect, full, natural rights. It’s the best society ever, because everyone in it has full rights, and the ability to exercise those rights. Hurray!

    Now let’s say there are two people. They both have full rights to do whatever they want. Hurray!

    Only, not so much. There’s only barely enough resources to support two people. Now they have to negotiate behavior. They don’t have the right to eat as much as they want. So they can’t do whatever they want. Awwww.

    A third person washes up on the beach, but luckily this time they wash up in a dinghy, and they have a fishing pole. One person can catch enough fish during the day for a little over two full meals. Combined with the food on the island, there’s more than enough for three people. The original two, tired of coconuts and mangos and hankering for some fish, agree to split the food. The third, being a devoted nudist, demands that, in return, they walk around naked all the time. The two capitulate, because in the long run, it will make their lives better.

    See how this works?

    Now, a Libertarian should at this point say, “Those were perfectly fine contracts entered into willingly.” Excellent!

    Suppose a fourth person then washes up on the beach. She is told she too must wear no clothes, or effectively starve. She has a choice: abide by the rules, or leave. This is true even in a Libertarian society.

    So a person born into a society, any society, is like that fourth person washing up on the beach. They are entering into the social contract. They are expected to behave in a certain way, based on the contracts that bind the society together in the first place.

    Even taking a natural rights approach, the end result is the same. There is a social contract to which you must agree to be a part of society — this situation unavoidably develops even in a Libertarian society, such as our deserted island. The fact you were born into it doesn’t matter. Really, the question really isn’t “where do rights come from?” The question is, “What constitutes a good society, and how do we best achieve that? What is the best possible social contract?”

    So whether or not you take a natural rights approach, or a “government grants rights” approach — or more precisely, government as an extension of society grants rights — it all ends up the same.

    This is how it is in every fucking government on earth that has ever existed. In some societies, it’s been the rich and powerful that define the social contract, and the contract isn’t the same for all. But it’s all effectively the same thing.

    If you ever learn some basic things, like the definition of libertarianism and the tragedy of the commons and the source of our rights, perhaps we can talk again. Until then, we’re wasting each other’s time.

    I think I fully understand both Libertarianism and the tragedy of the commons. I also seem to understand the fundamental nature of rights.

    Also, thanks for the links to the FDA raids. While one was a case of interstate trade in which the product was illegal in one area (well, really the District), the use of force seemed excessive, and, assuming no other factors, deplorable. This is the sort of thing that does require fixing.

    As I said, I agree there’s much that is wrong with our government. Its size is not necessarily one of them. Its disposition, on the other hand, is.

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    Quite often government regulations are set in place because the cosmeticians or undertakers or dieticians want their profession protected from unqualified people scamming the public and bringing the profession into disrepute.

    The federal laws and regulations set in place during the 1930s were to protect the public against not just unscrupulous financiers but also financiers unable to see past the end of their noses. Then many of these regulations went away. In 2008 the commercial credit people at AIG were looking at short term profits. AIG sold CDSs (credit default swaps) on CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) which had by the time of receipt declined in value by as much as 33% and which there was a reasonable expectation they would decline.

    About three weeks ago Goldman Sachs was sued for fraud by Dutch pension fund ABP over CDSs that the Wall Street firm sold to the fund. Goldman facilitated the “systematic abandonment” of underwriting guidelines and appraisal standards to package and sell securities to investors like ABP that were far riskier than represented. Essentially Goldman placed bets against their own customers. And economic illiterates like Hittman want this sort of thing to continue.

  • http://www.davehitt.com Hittman

    Tis, You keep ignoring the primary causes and pointing to other things that are peripheral to the real issue. It’s like a fat person blaming advertising, fast food, and culture for his obesity while ignoring the fact that he eats too much and exercises too little. Yes, those other things are all contributing factors, but ignoring the primary factors dooms him to failure.

    Ignoring the fact that the government forced lending institutions to create sub-prime loans and created unrealistically low interest rates, or pretending it was a trivial part of the picture, means you can’t understand what happened, or why. The credit default swaps, for instance, only existed because there were massive amounts of bad loans to swap. Without them there would have been no CDS to sell.

    For the record, I do agree that the repeal of provisions of the Glass–Steagall Act by the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act in 1999 was a big mistake. But again, it wasn’t the primary cause of our current problems – just made them worse.

    However I note the second- and third-richest nations in the world, Japan and China, have highly regulated economies,

    Japan’s economy has been stagnant for the past decade, and most economists agree it’s largely because of government interference in the economy.

    China’s growth is due to them lifting regulations and restrictions. The more they remove, the more powerful their economy becomes. There is more to it, of course – a billion people are willing to do repetitive factory work because, as bad as it is, it’s an improvement over the poverty of previous generations – is a powerful resource. But the most important factor in their growth is removing restrictions to capitalism, and then actually encouraging it (at least somewhat). If they ever become fully capitalistic they will rule the world, economically.

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    You are obviously not reading what I’m writing. Maybe that’s why libertarians tend to be historical and economic illiterates, they only listen to themselves and their political masters and pay no attention to anyone contradicting their internal illusions.

    Ignoring the fact that the government forced lending institutions to create sub-prime loans and created unrealistically low interest rates, or pretending it was a trivial part of the picture, means you can’t understand what happened, or why.

    Show me where you got the stupid idea that “the government forced lending institutions to create sub-prime loans”. And I will not accept propaganda from the Von Mises or Cato Institutes.

    The credit default swaps, for instance, only existed because there were massive amounts of bad loans to swap. Without them there would have been no CDS to sell.

    Do you even know what a CDS is? Basically it’s a form of insurance. To quote Wikipedia:

    A credit default swap (CDS) is an agreement that the seller of the CDS will compensate the buyer in the event of a loan default. The buyer of the CDS makes a series of payments (the CDS “fee” or “spread”) to the seller and, in exchange, receives a payoff if the loan defaults.

    Do you see anything there about the government? It’s true most CDSs are documented using standard forms issued by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), but the ISDA is a trade organization for the derivatives market, not an arm of the government.

    For the record, I do agree that the repeal of provisions of the Glass–Steagall Act by the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act in 1999 was a big mistake. But again, it wasn’t the primary cause of our current problems – just made them worse.

    Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLB) reduced government regulations and was a primary cause of the current problems. It allowed commercial banks, investment banks, securities firms, and insurance companies to consolidate. AIG was originally an insurance company. GLB let them enter the investment banking market. Otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to trade in CDOs.

    There’s something you need to know about me. I’m a professional economist with a graduate degree and years of experience in the field. When I worked at the Treasury Department my specialty was financial market regulation. I say this not as an appeal to authority but rather to let you know I actually know what I’m talking about.

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    Japan’s economy has been stagnant for the past decade, and most economists agree it’s largely partially because of government interference in the economy.

    Fixed it for you.

    Japan still has the second largest economy in the world and it is highly regulated. The problems with the Japanese economy is having to rebuild Tokyo every few years after Godzilla comes to visit.

    Seriously, what actually happened was a bubble of high land prices and high stock market prices collapsed. Many banks and businesses had much of their assets in either land or in cross-shareholdings with companies to which they were allied. Suddenly, these assets, and therefore the debts on which they were secured, were wiped out. As a result, banks became burdened with bad debts and commercial lending dried up. A large number of companies with productivity in Japan have shifted some of their factories abroad where commercial credit was available, increasing unemployment. As unemployment rose to record levels, people and other companies stopped spending freely, causing prices to drop.

    In addition, Japan suffered from a large debt overhang from its excessive corporate borrowing, which had to be reduced to lower long-term interest rates. The combination of these factors, with rising unemployment and falling prices, brought about a deep, long recession in Japan.

    The complex structure of Japan’s political economy, particularly the symbiotic ties between the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the corporations under its regulatory jurisdiction contributed to Japan’s problems. The interests of the Banking Bureau of MOF and the banking industry were interdependent. There was little transparency or public accountability. Information is hoarded about the actual scope of bad loans. Old methods of crisis management (specifically, administrative guidance) prevailed. These elements help explain why it took the government so long to deal with the massive hemorrhaging of Japan’s financial system. Although Japan made progress toward developing a more transparent, rules-based system, the problems of nontransparency and weak accountability have not disappeared.

    Another underlying cause of the Japanese economic stagnation was sustained asset deflation, causing a liquidity trap. Another cause was the steep, long-term appreciation of the yen relative to the dollar. For Japan, yen appreciation has been a chronic problem. Exchange-rate factors limited the effectiveness of certain policy tools which might have cleaned up Japan’s financial mess. Caught in a classic liquidity trap, for example, the option of designing monetary policy to hit specific inflation targets was difficult, in part because a sudden, sharp devaluation of the yen would put enormous pressure on China, South Korea and Taiwan to devalue their currencies. In an era of global capital flows, the constant national need to make adjustments in the value of key currencies, and the costs of overshooting, misalignment, and potential speculative attack enormously complicated domestic macroeconomic management.

    Suffice to say that Japan’s economic problems were exacerbated by poor market regulation. Frequent rampages by Godzilla didn’t help.

    • ‘Tis Himself, OM

      I’m out of date. Since about 2010, China’s economy, based on GDP, is larger than Japan’s. So China is #2 and Japan is #3. Many economists believe China will economically overtake the US around 2020.

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    China’s growth is due to them lifting regulations and restrictions. The more they remove, the more powerful their economy becomes.

    China still has one of the most heavily regulated and government controlled economies in the world. Most of China’s financial institutions are state owned and governed and 98% of banking assets are state owned. Two of the three Chinese stock exchanges, Shanghai and Shenzhen, are still not entirely open to foreign investors due to tight capital account controls exercised by the Chinese government. The Hong Kong exchange is much more open.

  • http://paperdove.org/ nigelTheBold, Abbot of the Hoppist Monks

    /me gets popcorn, and thinks this is better than the upcoming Spiderman movie.

    Of course, it’s a lot more one-sided.

  • http://www.davehitt.com Hittman

    Show me where you got the stupid idea that “the government forced lending institutions to create sub-prime loans”.

    The CRA. Then Clinton pumping up the CRA, forcing banks to expand it under threat of now allowing mergers and acquisitions if they didn’t, and making it easier to bring charges against them. Then Bush expanding it a bit more. Something that someone claiming to be an economist would know about.

    And I will not accept propaganda from the Von Mises or Cato Institutes.

    So you despise the Austrian school of economics? That leads me to believe you are a Keynesian, which leads me to conclude you’re an idiot and explains your refusal to accept the culpability of the Big Brother you worship in the current mess. Got it.

    I’m a professional economist with a graduate degree and years of experience in the field. When I worked at the Treasury Department my specialty was financial market regulation.

    No wonder you’re fighting reality so ferociously. You were part of the problem. Again, Got it.

    Have a good day.

    /me gets popcorn, and thinks this is better than the upcoming Spiderman movie.

    Better make it a small bowl. I’m done – this is like arguing evolution with creationists. It wastes my time and annoys the pig.

    I would still be interested in debating the original premise of the article, but no one seems to be interested in that subject.

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    The CRA? The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977? You’re blaming the economic meltdown on a 30 year old law? Perhaps you didn’t read my post #14, where I said: “Most of the sub-prime loans were not to poor people at all, but to rich ones buying bigger houses, or second/third/etc. properties, often as investments, reckoning that if they got into problems, they could always sell.” Plus I gave a link to evidence to support this statement. I knew you libertarians like to pretend subprime mortgages all went to the undeserving poor, so I preemptively refuted that argument.

    So you despise the Austrian school of economics? That leads me to believe you are a Keynesian, which leads me to conclude you’re an idiot and explains your refusal to accept the culpability of the Big Brother you worship in the current mess. Got it.

    So you’re a toady whose political masters told you to follow the Austrian School Economists? That tells me you know jackshit about how economics really work. But then you’re a libertarian, so you don’t care about the real world, just your ideology.

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    Hittman,

    I’d be a lot more receptive to your arguments if I thought you actually have a clue about economics. All I’m seeing from you is libertarian propaganda, weak on facts and strong in opinion and “da gummint are bad”.

  • http://paperdove.org/ nigelTheBold, Abbot of the Hoppist Monks

    Hittman:

    Better make it a small bowl. I’m done – this is like arguing evolution with creationists. It wastes my time and annoys the pig.

    So, let me get this straight. People bring actual arguments against you, with evidence, logic, and analysis, and you present assertions with no evidence, logic, or analysis, and claim it’s us arguing like creationists?

    That’s rich. You amuse the fuck out of me, Sweet Pea.

    You’ve shown you don’t know jack shit about economics, the nature of rights, nor how society actually operates. You’ve presented assertions, but nothing to back them up. Both ‘Tis and I (but especially ‘Tis) have presented evidence and actual knowledge.

    Who’s the one arguing like a fundamentalist?

    Oh yeah. That’d be you. “But my book of magic thinking says the Invisible Hand of the Market will fix it all magically!” and, “My sacred document claims rights come from nature!”

    Also, I recalled the passing thought I had when I wrote that Libertarianism is the tragedy of the commons turned into politics. It’s simply this: the tragedy results from exploitation of commonly-required resources by people who have no responsibility to the commons itself. In the canonical example, sheepherders use common pastures to the point the pastures become useless.

    Libertarianism is just like that, except now the pastures are owned by someone who doesn’t necessarily use the pastures. He merely charges the sheepherders to use the pastures. He can charge them lightly, and manage the pastures forever, but never get rich. Or he can charge them heavily, let them use the pastures as before to the point where they are useless, but he becomes wealthy in the process.

    Guess which one he’ll choose?

    So Libertarianism does nothing to solve the tragedy. It just makes one person wealthy, and increases the price of mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches.

    The fundamental nature of the tragedy of the commons, the fact that commonly required resources are exploited by people with no responsibility to the commons itself — still exists with Libertarianism, only now it’s entrenched in the social structure as ideology.

    That was my insight. I doubt it’s an original insight, but it holds up to scrutiny.

    And I’ve seen it play out in our very own society.

    I grew up in Southeast Alaska. There, logging companies were granted rights on the land. Ketchikan Pulp Company would come in to an area, clear-cut it, and move on to the next area, all without regulation. This would lead to the disruption of wildlife, excessive erosion in the very rainy climate of Southeast Alaska, and thousands of acres of very ugly land. The Forest Service scientists did some studies, measured the effects of clear-cutting on the local ecology, and came up with a plan — leaving strips of land untouched around limited-size clear cut areas would reduce the effect of logging in a given area. It would reduce erosion considerably, and leave habitat for deer and bear. In fact, limited clear-cutting contributed to the local ecology to a certain extent, as berries and ferns and other delectables grew in the logged areas.

    Now, if these private companies were interested in maintaining the commons, as you insist they would in a Libertarian society, they would have welcomed the reports and abided by the suggestions. Instead, they fought against the regulations. They fought with lies, they fought with vast monetary resources, and they fought with political clout. They spent tens of millions of dollars trying to stop these regulations, regulations designed to protect the commons.

    So tell me again how Libertarianism addresses the problem of the commons? Oh! Right! The commons are still fucked, but at least someone owns the commons, and can get rich off of it.

    I have other stories like this, where industry ignores the commons in favor of profits, while fighting regulation designed only to protect the commons — to require them to protect the commons, this very thing you claim people will do on their own.

    Shall I mention the Cuyahoga river? While Burning River is an excellent name for an ale, and also for a regional roller derby collective, it sucks as a description of an actual river. How about pig farmers and their lakes of pig feces? Monsanto? Oil companies?

    There is no evidence Libertarianism is a viable political model. None. In fact, all evidence indicates Libertarianism would be fucking disastrous.

    But I notice instead of actually addressing any of these critiques, you ad hominem them and run away with your tail between your legs. It’s almost as if even you know your ideology is indefensible.

    Really, though, I expect you’re more like those fundamentalists who do the same thing: you’ll just get angry at us for pointing out the flaws in your dogma and whine about how close-minded we are.

  • http://paperdove.org/ nigelTheBold, Abbot of the Hoppist Monks

    Hittman:

    I would still be interested in debating the original premise of the article, but no one seems to be interested in that subject.

    That’s partly because you came in swinging with your Libertarian bullshit from the very first message. Because of their distorted view of how things actually work, it’s hard to discuss anything political logically with Libertarians. (Strangely, most Libertarians I know are fairly logical in other areas. But then, I know fundamentalist Christians with whom I talk physics and computers.)

    But I’ll bite.

    Seriously? Because I see just as much hate from liberals directed toward conservatives as the other way around. Check out any of the social media sites for a plethora of examples.

    I agree. Mostly.

    I think a lot of what you’re seeing isn’t really hate, but anger. There is a difference, though folks often express anger and hate in the same way. But there’s certainly a lot of vitriol from both sides.

    I think there’s a difference in the quality of the vitriol, though. For instance, many on the right, especially those expressing the most rage, attack liberalism without really getting specific. They scream, “Socialism!” but really don’t seem to know what that means. Hell, they need folks like Glenn Beck making up bizarre conspiracy theories just to have something on which to focus their rage.

    Liberals, on the other hand, tend to express their anger against specific policies, like Proposition 8, the recent Komen media frenzy, the opposition to abortion (and women’s rights in general), their coded racist statements, and so on. Specific individuals are often derided and loathed in general, like Bachmann and Santorum and Gingrich, but that’s generally because of their loathsome behavior and speech.

    At least, that’s how I see it.

    I think you can legitimately correlate hate with the willingness to lie. Though I certainly won’t defend the liberal side by trying to claim they never lie, it does seem like they lie less. That’s been held up by studies of the various broadcast news media, at least. Places like Fox News distort the truth far more often than their liberal counterparts, like MSNBC. (Not to say that MSNBC hasn’t had their own doozies.)

    But that’s about as far as my defense goes, because a lot of it (especially my own observations above) is subject to selection bias, just as your statement above is based on nothing but selection bias. What you see isn’t necessarily what really is.

    That goes for me, too.

  • http://www.davehitt.com Hittman

    So you’re a toady whose political masters told you to follow the Austrian School Economists?

    No, I’m someone who has studied both, and found I prefer the one that doesn’t rely on the force of a gun for implementation. You, on the other hand, have your nose stuck so far up the ass of Big Brother you can’t remove it without losing faith. ‘Tis even made a living licking BBs butt. So who is the toady?

    The CRA was the start of one of the two core problems. It didn’t create the problem, but it planted the seed. And if you knew even the basics of it, you’d know it had nothing to do with people buying mansions. Not even a little. You’d also know that although the law was implemented in 77, it was revised and amended many times.

    Angry? Hell no, amused by self proclaimed experts who gets quite a few of the facts right but insists that the primary causes of the meltdown had nothing to do with it, because that would call his religion (Keynesian economics) in to question. “Experts” who get all their information on libertarianism from The Huffington Post and Michael Moore. Experts who are a proud of their ignorance as Ray Comfort “proving” creationism with banana hands.

    But I notice instead of actually addressing any of these critiques, you ad hominem them and run away with your tail between your legs. It’s almost as if even you know your ideology is indefensible.

    I did address them, but when it became apparent, very quickly, that you two lack even the most basic understanding of the subject I shrugged you off. You’re a waste of my time, and from what I can see in this thread, a waste of oxygen as well.

    So once again, I bid both of you: “Have a good day.” I’ve spent enough time in Stupidville with you, and am off to continue living in the real world. You might want to try it sometime – it’s fun.

  • http://paperdove.org/ nigelTheBold, Abbot of the Hoppist Monks

    Hittman:

    I did address them, but when it became apparent, very quickly, that you two lack even the most basic understanding of the subject I shrugged you off.

    Heh. You’re cute.

    All you did was present assertions. I’m not sure where you learned to debate, but assertions presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

    What’s weird is, you’ve presented the worst defense of Libertarianism I’ve ever encountered. Most at least attempt to spell out the fundamentals of Libertarianism. (“It’s all based on the concept that one individual has no right to use force against another individual.”) You didn’t even do that. All you did was assert, “Rights come from your very humanity.” Really? By what logic? And when presented with a logical scenario demonstrating that rights, even if they come from some “natural” place (which sounds strangely religious), are constrained by necessary interaction in society. And you did not address that.

    Nor did you address the hypocrisy of your outrage at SOPA and PIPA by demonstrating a corporate-controlled internet-equivalent (such as would arise naturally from a Libertarian society) would not simply enforce similar restrictions on their own, based on nothing more than contracts with other companies.

    And when ‘Tis demonstrated your assertions about the recent economic collapse were naïve at best, how did you respond? Be repeating well-debunked assertions that don’t even fit the facts. I mean, if you’re going to repeat lies, at least make sure the lies fit the known facts!

    How about describing how Libertarianism addresses global warming and pollution? Hmm?

    It seems I understand Libertarianism far better than you, from this conversation. You’ve not presented one decent defense. I expect better of my Libertarian chew-toys.

  • http://paperdove.org/ nigelTheBold, Abbot of the Hoppist Monks

    Hittman:

    “Experts” who get all their information on libertarianism from The Huffington Post and Michael Moore. Experts who are a proud of their ignorance as Ray Comfort “proving” creationism with banana hands.

    No, Kiddo. I get my knowledge of Libertarianism from Libertarians like you. I’m open to debating Libertarianism, honestly and openly and rationally. I once had Libertarian leanings, many years ago. I find I agree with many Libertarian goals — our government is a hot mess, we should not be involved in most of the wars we’ve been in, the regulations that exist should be effective at curbing the gaming of the system, we should maximize individual liberty, and we don’t need a surveillance state. I have debated many Libertarians on these various issues. Most are like you — dogmatic and without any sound defense (though usually, they at least attempt to explain their position). A few put up a good fight, but ultimately have never demonstrated how Libertarianism address pollution and global warming without resorting to regulation — the very thing Libertarians hate. They have never demonstrated how Libertarianism protects the poor from the wealthy. It has never been demonstrated (especially by you) how the economic fact that there simply aren’t enough jobs to go around will be handled by Libertarianism. The only response is a strangely dogmatic, “The market will adjust itself.” It’s as if Libertarians have replaced an all-powerful god with the all-powerful and all-benevolent Invisible Hand of the Market.

    We have a saying in our house: “In theory, communism works. In theory.” (This is a misuse of the proper meaning of “theory,” but it’s fun to say.) Libertarianism is just like that: it might be appealing as an ideal, but human nature fucks it up every single time. Avarice will cause people to game the system, and Libertarianism is very susceptible to gaming. There are, by definition, no rules of engagement. Every business relationship gets to create its own rules by contract. The ones with the power literally get to write their own rules. As long as there’s no overt harm, there’s nothing stopping them from doing whatever they like.

    This is the inevitable and logical result of Libertarianism: oligarchy, plutocracy, oppressive poverty, and entrenched societal selfishness. How this is avoided by Libertarianism has never been explained, even in an inadequate way. The only response I get is, “The market will naturally benefit everyone equal to their input.”

    Which, as we all know, is complete and utter bullshit.

  • ‘Tis Himself, OM

    Do you honestly think you’re the first libertarian I’ve ever debated? You’re not even in the first hundred.

    Sure I’m a Keynesian (actually I’m a New Keynesian, but you wouldn’t understand or appreciate the difference). And I don’t care for Austrian School economics. Bryan Caplan’s essay “Why I Am Not An Austrian School Economist” explains many of my disagreements with the Austrian School. Incidentally, Caplan is not a Keynesian, he’s a neo-classicist.

    Do you know why von Mises couldn’t get a tenured professorship when he came to the US in the 1930s? Quite simply, it’s because he was considered a fringe economist with a very loose grasp on the principles of economics. It wasn’t just liberal economists who weren’t impressed by him. He was rejected by the University of Chicago, then as now a hotbed of conservative economics. When even the Chicago Boys think he’s a nut, then the chances he’s a nut are pretty good.

    Hayek did better in England, but then many Austrian School true-believers think Hayek was a heretic. Incidentally, around 2000 a European economics institute made a survey of economists from Austria. None of the Austrian economists was an Austrian School economist. I find that fact mildly amusing.

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  • http://dailybooth.com/alvinbean819 Suk Sossamon

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  • michaelpowers

    Here I am, the day after the supposed end of all things, and I discover possibly the best debate I’ve ever read. I’m referring to the exchange between “nigelTheBold, Abbot of the Hoppist Monks”, “‘Tis Himself, OM”, and “Hittman” above. I can do little more than give a sincere thank you to all three (yes, even you, Hittman, as an example of what is wrong, if nothing else).


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