“Libertarian” Is Not an Insult

This was originally a facebook status.

I wish my progressive friends stopped using “libertarian” as an insult. I also wish they avoided insulting generalizations, like associating libertarians with the worst people who have that ideology. Libertarianism is a political ideology. It has many values in common with progressive thought – especially social values. I many ways libertarians have supported and done great things.

I am not saying there aren’t racist, or sexist, or extremely radical and simple-minded libertarians, there are. I’m not saying libertarianism cannot be criticized in general – I especially don’t understand why some of the people whose main values are liberty and individual responsibility should support GOP and conservatives more than they support progressives, but all of those are that – criticism. You can even reject libertarianism, or call it harmful. All of those are stuff of rational debate.

What I dislike is constant dehumanization, acting as if being a libertarian instantly rejects someone and makes all of their points about everything moot, to treat someone with scorn and disrespect, to automatically assume someone is sexist or racist.

If I didn’t know better, based on the reaction people show to the world “libertarian” one would assume something like KKK was mentioned.

Let’s not do that. Let’s not act as if we have a monopoly on good values, on important priorities, and more importantly, on human goodness. Let us refrain from creating a category and making that category synonymous with evil. Let us give chance to an individual to be seen as an individual.

I’m friend with many great libertarians – and socialists – and Marxists. They challenge me on a daily basis, and I learn and grow from them. I am offended as a friend to see abusive language directed at them because they’ve been lumped into a dehumanizing category.

We’re better than that. Let’s be better than that.

About Kaveh Mousavi

Kaveh Mousavi is the pseudonym of an atheist ex-Muslim living in Iran, subject to one of the world’s remaining theocracies. He is a student of English Literature, an aspiring novelist, and part-time English teacher. He is passionate about politics, video games, heavy metal music, and cinema. He was born at the tenth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. He has ditched the Islamic part, but has kept some of the revolutionary spirit.

  • imthegenieicandoanything

    I’ll stop the urge to snark, and I’m certainly not claiming any monopoly on goodness, or anything else, but what you say is not at all convincing, or very useful. When someone introduces such a self-definition (“Christian” would be another used similarly), I immediately have to start looking and listening for some reason to bother continuing the interaction, because that definition tends to mean they have have encased themselves in an armor of vanity.

    And self-defining isn’t a matter of just saying “I’m a Libertarian,” but offering up what have become the standard tropes of the “philosophy” of self-serving bullshit.

    To me, “Libertarian” is now very much an insult. When I say someone is a “Big-L” libertarian I mean they are at the least a crank and, given the ideas and the most noted Big-Ls, likely to be a racist and Randian – and always a complete and total hypocrite (far, far more so than the average human, like myself, so definitely is.)

    Whatever positive aspects the expression had the chance to define, like “New Age” the term is pretty much permanently tainted – and in a far worse way.

    That you may know a couple of “nice” and “reasonable” Libertarians – who I see as very much human, means very little.

    I see you mean well. I do not accept any of what you’ve written here, though. Keep writing, by all means!

  • Shira

    Ok, but I reserve the right to mock Randians, not just for their absurd ideas but their prose style!

  • njuhgnya

    Haha sorry but libertarians are basically the worst kinds of people, and deserve the least sympathy for their lack of regard for their fellow man. It’s not my fault they willingly follow an anti-humanist ideology!

  • Al Dente

    I don’t know which libertarians you’ve been talking to but the one’s I’ve had contact with are not nice people. They’ve never seen a government policy they’ve liked and never seen a corporate action they didn’t like. Their ideology is based on selfishness and ignorance. They would supplant democracy with an oligarchic corporate feudalism. They would abolish all government programs which aid the poor and disabled. They are the mirror image of Communists, in that they revere private property and despise all collective endeavors (other than those used by capitalist businesses).

    I have known only a few evil people, perhaps eight or ten. Of these people, over half were libertarians. Someone who would have other people starve rather than let them have government assistance is an evil person. I know libertarians who have that attitude.

  • scott

    It’s an ideology that people often flirt with when they’re younger (as I did). So, just as with religion you’ve got a lot of “converts” who don’t think at all well of the old faith.

  • dobby

    From my experience most Libertarians reject human caused climate change, ozone depletion, etc as some sort of hoax/conspiracy. All because it may require government action to solve these problems, As with other groups ideology is more important than reality.

  • John Morales

    Libertarianism is a very broad concept, but its philosophical meaning is the converse of authoritarianism.

    But yes, it’s functional meaning in the USA is apparently unbridled capitalism.

  • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

    An American who self-identifies as a libertarian is simply announcing that he (they’re usually men) has been taken in by corporate propaganda designed to entice ordinary people into supporting policies that benefit the economic elite. Libertarianism doesn’t work and if it were put into practice it would cause needless suffering and unnecessary death. People either consciously support that or, more commonly, haven’t thought it through all the way. In either case, you’re talking about something decent people should be ashamed about. So I have to disagree. “Libertarian” works just fine as an insult.

    • WS Smith

      If we’re the ones taken in by “corporate propaganda” why are we the only ones opposing the corporate bailouts given by BOTH the Republicans AND Democrats?

      • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

        Why would you think that corporate propaganda is exclusive to the Libertarian party? I don’t. But we’re talking about libertarians right now. That the Dems and the Repubs are corrupt doesn’t erase the fundamental flaws in libertarian policy proposals.

        • WS Smith

          Actually, I think Libertarians (and the Green Party) are the only ones who are NOT buying the corporate propaganda. We’re the only ones who are NOT supporting bailouts or corporate involvement with the government on any level. If you want an honest government and an honest marketplace, the two must be kept apart form one another.

          • Nick Gotts

            Typical libertarian delusion. The Koch brothers have spent hundreds of millions lobbying government to promote their financial interests and libertarian ideology. Run-of-the-mill libertarians like you are just the useful idiots for the likes of the Kochs.

          • WS Smith

            I scrolled from the bottom up on this go around and read your other response (if it can be called that) first. I will, however, respond to it after this. Is it possible for you to actually say something without insulting the other person? Based on what you’ve types so far, I’m going to guess “no”.

            Let’s talk about the Koch brothers. While they own Reason magazine, their typical politics are not Libertarian. Sure, they’ve thrown some money at the Cato Institute, but they’ve given more to the Heritage Foundation which is about as libertarian as their TV mouthpiece Sean Hannity (in other words, not at all). They are also major contributors to the Federalist Society which is decidedly conservative. In fact, overall, they have given far more money to conservative foundations, organizations and “think tanks” than libertarian.

            To suggest they are promoting libertarianism or libertarian ideals is about as factual as calling President Obama a socialist. In other words, it’s a complete falsehood. What they are doing, in reality, is trying to get libertarians to vote Republican. They do not contribute to the Libertarian Party. They did not, and presumably will not in 2016, contribute to Gary Johnson’s campaign. Instead they endorsed and contributed to Mitt Romney’s campaign. How is this libertarian? Oh, it’s not.

            The fact is, Libertarians, and the Libertarian Party seek a separation between market and state the same way we support the separation between church and state. The Koch brothers, on the other hand, stand firmly behind candidates who wish to continue the current corporatist system where the candidates are given huge sums of money from multinational corporations. Just like Romney got before, and just like Obama got as well. Tell me, when companies like Goldman Sachs contribute massive amounts of money to BOTH political candidates of the major parties, how much do you think they care about who wins? They don’t. Why? Because, to them, it doesn’t matter. They’re still going to get what they want.

            So, you want to talk about delusions? Which one of us is delusional? The one who sees the practice as it is? Or the one who thinks it makes a damn bit of difference if a Republican or Democrat is elected because they think they’ll do things differently from one another?

          • Al Dente

            You think that the government needs to be kept away from the marketplace? I thought laissez faire markets were discarded even by libertarians after history had shown that unregulated markets are destructive for an economy and a society. Free markets are great for the people at the top (as long as they stay at the top) and disastrous for those at the bottom. The main reason why Marx’s prediction for revolution in the industrialized West wasn’t fulfilled is that in the late 19th Century governments in Germany, Britain, the US and other industrialized countries began restraining corporate greed and unregulated markets.

  • WS Smith

    I am a libertarian. I am also an atheist. I think many people on the left (and this is affirmed by the previous comments from readers here) seem to confuse and conflate libertarians with the tea partiers. This is simply not the case.

    An example: I see the word “Randian” here more than once. Newsflash people!!! Rand Paul is NOT a libertarian. He is a Republican. I don’t care how “libertarian leaning” he is compared to someone like W, he’s still a Republican. I’m going to out on a limb here and try to impress something equally important on you folks. Despite the fact they call themselves Libertarians, Glenn Beck and Alex Jones have about as much in common with a Libertarian as Karl Marx does.

    If you folks would take 5 minutes and read the actual platform of the Libertarian Party, you would find that you agree with more than half of it, most likely. Yet, you continuously and gleefully demonize us more than you do right wing conservatives.

    I would think, given the way the Democratic Party has become more and more in-tune with the GOP in the last several decades (I mean, is Obama really any better -or different- from Bush? I’m not seeing it) that you would be at least willing to look at another view that shares more in common with you than they do today.

    No, we don’t like government programs and attempts at “solutions”. No, we don’t like the welfare state. No, we don’t like nationalized anything. But, to you, this makes us bad people? Really? I think if you folks were to actually talk TO a Libertarian instead of AT them, you might gain a little respect for us or, at the very least, show us the courtesy you’d like to get from us.

    • http://nigelthebold.com/ Avo, also nigelTheBold

      Sorry. You do know that “Randian” doesn’t mean “Rand Paul,” but “Ayn Rand,” right?

      If you folks would take 5 minutes and read the actual platform of the Libertarian Party, you would find that you agree with more than half of it, most likely.

      Absolutely! I definitely agree with a general non-intervention policy. I think that drugs should not be illegal. Anyone should be able to marry the person they chose. And so on.

      Where I differ from Libertarians, and where they go wrong with respect to reality, is their economic philosophy. The idea of non-regulation is absurd. It’s like you went through all major metropolitan areas and removed stop signs and traffic signals, and expected traffic to flow better, simply because you removed regulation. It totally benefits the rich, at the expense of the poor. (Not too different from what we have now, actually.) And the defense of that economic philosophy is weak, at best, and totally ignores human nature, at worst.

      While I agree that Libertarianism has been conflated with the worst of the Tea Party, that’s partly because Libertarian economic philosophy is not far removed from Tea Party economic philosophy: fuck you, I’ve got mine. (Or, more appropriately, Fuck you, I’m going to get mine. Because I don’t have it yet. But I’m going to, really. And in the meantime, I’m voting like I already have it.)

      So while I agree with Libertarians on social issues, their economic platform is in direct conflict with those social issues, in that it prefers the status quo over the dispossessed. And it does so in rather stark and uncaring terms.

      Further, the idea that government engagement is somehow “violence” is really just stupid. It’s no more violent than someone with superior economic power using that power to stomp on a potential competitor (something that is not just allowed but encouraged in Libertarian ideology). What makes the power differential different between a competitor vs. the government is, I can vote for representation in the government. A superiorly-positioned competitor, I just have to roll over, or be crushed.

      No. Libertarian philosophy may arrive at some correct conclusions (equality, non-intervention, etc), but that doesn’t mean that all the conclusions are correct, or that the assumptions are correct. The fact that many conclusions go against observed reality (especially with respect to economics) indicates libertarianism is in fact wrong.

      Just … wrong.

      • WS Smith

        Whereas the liberal economic policy is “fuck you. you stole it from people who didn’t really do anything to earn it in the first place, but we’re going to take it and give it to them.” when that usually isn’t the issue at all. I actually had someone tell me the other day that every rich person either inherited their wealth or stole it. Absurd.

        It seems to me as a kind of “They have it, we want it, let’s get it” mentality.

        I cannot buy into the demonization of wealth or, but default, those that have it. Success must be earned.

        Yes, there are greedy people out there. There are people who would, if given the opportunity, hoard all their wealth and keep it for themselves. I think, though, that you’ll find most people are not actually like that. It is the Libertarian position that the best kind of assistance for the poor is done by private charities and individuals. I think a great example of that is Bill Gates. Sure, he’s rich, but look how much the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation does for the less fortunate. It’s far more efficient than the government. Besides, when the government does it, EVERYONE (even the middle class) pays for it. In the Libertarian model, that wouldn’t be the case.

        Also, in the Libertarian model, anyone and everyone would have the opportunity to achieve wealth. That’s not the case with either the Republican or tea party view.

        • WS Smith

          Meanwhile, you have companies like Wal Mart that are essentially subsidized by the government. The welfare system allows Wal Mart to get away with paying their employees less than a living wage. Now those people (the Waltons) are a bunch of greedy bastards who, without the welfare system, would be forced to pay a living wage to their employees to keep their business open.

        • http://nigelthebold.com/ Avo, also nigelTheBold

          Whereas the liberal economic policy is “fuck you. you stole it from people who didn’t really do anything to earn it in the first place, but we’re going to take it and give it to them.”

          First, you’re not addressing the point.

          Second: bullshit. People who actually prouduce (that is, workers) are the drivers of economy. Not those who leech (that is, the so-called “job creators.”) This is what I mean by Libertarianism being in direct opposition to observed reality.

          I cannot buy into the demonization of wealth or, but default, those that have it.

          That’s a non sequitur of the position I presented, and a Fox-News level strawman of the actual progressive position. Nowhere did I come out against wealth.

          No, the problem is the Libertarian ignorance of the fact that wealth equates to power. Libertarians rail against political power, but glorify the power intrinsic to wealth. Both of those equate to social power — the power to control others. It’s naked hypocrisy of Libertarians to love one, and hate the other. Especially when the one they love is uncontrolled, and the one they hate has a modicum of social control.

          I think a great example of that is Bill Gates.

          Yes. Let’s take Bill Gates, shall we?

          He started off rich, and used his rich connections to leverage his sub-standard software into an empire. (His mom served on the executive committee of United Way with IBM’s CEO John Opel, who gave her son Bill a chance at the big time). With the knowledge he had a contract with IBM that was worth millions, he paid $10,000 for what would become MS-DOS, cutting the person who actually wrote what would become MS-DOS out of the equation. He then parlayed that superior position, using it to crush others in weaker positions with better products (GeoWorks and DR-DOS come to mind), all the while NOT GIVING AWAY A DIME.

          Then, when MS-DOS 3.3 was coming out, his partner (who was actually writing the software) came down with cancer, and Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer discussed how to cut Paul Allen’s widow out of the profits should he die.

          Gates was often critiqued for not giving away any of his accumulating wealth. Even once he became the richest man in the world for a time, he didn’t give away a damned thing. It wasn’t until he married Melinda that he gave away anything, and then it was mostly tied to Microsoft software. Not self-serving in the least, is it?

          All the while, he bought up potential customers, or denied them entry into the industry (like Be, who offered their far superior OS for free, but were denied because Microsoft didn’t allow other OSes to be installed on partners’ computers — and every computer manufacturer was a Microsoft partner).

          (And I won’t even get into the fact that NeXT pretty much proves Microsoft set the computing world back 10 years, at a minimum.)

          This is what Libertarianism looks like: superior wealth equals superior market position, giving superior power, and the ability to control the market. And without government intervention, there’s nothing to control superior power.

          Meanwhile, you suggest we should accept our handouts from those who have proven to be the least likely to hand out anything. (The rich tend to hand out less per dollar in wealth than the poor — and since the rich have the majority of the wealth, that doesn’t leave much, does it?)

          Yes. Libertarians LOVE Bill Gates. I’m not surprised: he’s an asshole who used his wealth to build more wealth while cutting out people with better ideas and better software.

          Fuck you. I’ve got mine.

          Also, in the Libertarian model, anyone and everyone would have the opportunity to achieve wealth. That’s not the case with either the Republican or tea party view.

          Bullshit. Both the Republicans and the Tea Party followers say exactly the same thing: “All we want to do is make sure everyone can get rich.” The Libertarian model doesn’t provide any better route to self-sufficiency than the Republicans or the Tea Partiers. You might claim you have a better model, but reality pretty much goes against you.

          Or, do you have studies of history to back you up? Or just Randian platitudes?

          • WS Smith

            Well, that was certainly a bunch of nonsense.

            You want studies that support a libertarian government when we haven’t had anything close to a libertarian government since 1798. You’re joking, right? Conversely, there’s no evidence that liberal or conservative politics work better than libertarian ones because we have no libertarian politics in action to compare them to.

            What you’re doing is assuming this would never work.

            Now, let’s address your criticism one point at a a time:

            The so-called producers you are talking about are not the producers. They are the laborers. The producers are the creators. Keep in mind, we do not have a capitalist economy and haven’t had for a very long while. In a capitalist economy, there will be people who produce and people who work for those who produce. You can’t have true income equality if there are people who aren’t capable of doing anything but sweeping the factory floor. There is no logical reason, whatsoever, for that person to be paid anywhere near what the person who created the item being made is paid. In a true capitalist (more so, libertarian) society, everyone will have equal opportunity. Equal opportunity starts when these people are children. Some people will take advantage of the education system and will prosper while others goof off, slack around and barely scrape by in school. Some people will go to college and will move forward to success. Others will not even try to do so. By what reason, logic or right should those people be rewarded for their lack of action?

            The problem here is that we do not have true equal opportunity. Some schools are better equipped and funded than others. Change this and you change everything. You cannot, however, force someone to want to be educated. You can, as they say, lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. People who waste their opportunity should not be rewarded by punishing those who took advantage of it.

            Wealth only equates to power with the market and the government intertwine. It equates to power because Republicans and Democrats, who have monopolized the political landscape in this country for a century now, are equally happy to let huge corporations pay for their campaigns and, essentially, buy them their seat in office. When this is allowed to happen, the corporations will basically get whatever they want put in legislation. This is not capitalism. This is cronysim/corporatism. Do away with lobbyists, do away with corporate personhood, do away with super PACs, etc etc and you take the power away from the money.

            If market share/power is achieved through the honest efforts and actions of the company, I don’t see the problem. I don’t have any issue at all with what I would call an “honest” monopoly. If someone can create a better product at a cheaper price, let them do it. If a company has the ability to buy up potential competitors, and the potential competitor sells out, don’t they share and equal part of the blame you’re handing out? They could have, in theory, toppled the mighty MicroSoft empire, but they gave up, right? Come on… Google is loved by a lot of liberals I know but, in reality, is Google any different?

            I firmly believe that the Libertarian system provides opportunity for everyone to potentially achieve wealth. If you take advantage of an equal opportunity from the get-go and have a salable product people will want, go for it. Don’t sell out to the competitor offering money. The Republicans and tea partiers (who are mainly just the extreme religious wing of the GOP) are part of the problem. They are just as guilty of corporatism as the Democrats are.

          • Nick Gotts

            W.S Smith is an excellent example for why we use “libertarian” as an insult. The complete disconnection from reality would be laughable if idiots spouting the same crap were not so powerful and hence dangerous. He used Bill Gates as an example of how wonderful the wealthy are, Nigel the Bold showed with abundant detail what complete crap that is, and Smith then ignores the fact that he’s been completely pwned by someone who actually knows what they’re talkiing about, and goes off on a spiel about how we don’t have a capitalist economy, and:

            there’s no evidence that liberal or conservative politics work better than libertarian ones because we have no libertarian politics in action to compare them to.

            The claim that we don’t have a capitalist economy is fuckwitted nonsense: it’s simply an attempt to redefine the meaning of the word which everyone else, from conservatives to Marxists, fascists to anarchists, uses to mean the system currently operating, in which the drive for profit is central in determining economic activity. The fact that there are “no libertarian politics in action” means that the onus is on their advocates to show that they would actually work – something which they have completely failed to do: just saying you “firmly believe” they wopuld is less than convincing, W.S. Smith: David Icke firmly believes we are being ruled by extra-terrestrial shape-shifting lizards. As for “equality of opportunity”, I wonder if W.S. Smith is in favour of a 100% inheritance tax, together with laws that ensure there’s no getting around it by gifting anything to your children while you’re still alive? Because without that, a libertarian claim to favour equality of opportunity is a barefaced lie.

            The welfare system allows Wal Mart to get away with paying their employees less than a living wage.

            Oh, right, before there was a welfare system everyone was paid a a living wage. The slums without running water, the malnourished children, the filthy and often fatal working conditions – those are all statist propaganda.

            *puke*

          • WS Smith

            And you, Nick Gotts, are a perfect example of why the word libtard exists.

            How about you go to Bill Gates and tell him to his face he’s not doing anything to help people. Even better, why don’t you go to the college students who received assistance for their education from the Gates Foundation that he sin’t doing anything useful or that he’s a bad person. Or maybe you’d like to say that to the people who have benefited from the nearly $30million the foundation has spent bringing libraries in poor areas up to date with internet access? Or, the people around the world who normally make less than $2 a day that have been helped by the foundations efforts.

            The thing is, with jackasses like you, it’s never enough. It doesn’t matter what Bill and Melinda Gates do, it will never be enough for you until they’re broke and penniless because you’ve somehow got it worked out in your mind that they “owe” something to everyone else.

            If you think what we have now is a capitalist economy, you don’t understand what capitalism is. In a capitalist economy, who sets the prices? The marketplace does. In our economy, many things are price controlled by the government. In a capitalist economy, there is no such thing as subsidization. Companies succeed or companies fail. With what we have now, our government subsidizes companies left and right. Entire areas of farmland are not farmed because farmers are paid by the government to not grow anything. In a capitalist economy, the driving factor is competition but the way things are now, competition is negated. The corporations that exist now are not naturally successful. They are successful via means of lobbying government and buying government seats to arrange things in their favor. Your above definition of capitalism is merely one part of the system, not its totality. Even reading Wikipedia, of all things, will give you a better understanding than you seem to currently have.

            If all schools are given the same quality of educational materials and teachers, do you really think it matters who is rich and who is poor? You don’t seem to approve of equal opportunity. You seem to want forced equality. THAT is more of a fantasy than anything I’ve said. Many times over. Equal opportunity isn’t about money. It’s about having the ability to get an education that is equal to that of everyone else. The way the system has been under Republicans and Democrats, you’re right. It is all about money because the poor districts stay underequipped and understaffed while the rich areas get whatever they need. They’ve both been doing such a great job that I don’t know why I would have a problem with it. Seriously… Your line of thought on this subject is, frankly, juvenile.

            You want me to prove that Libertarian policies and practices will work? Then vote libertarian. Get some libertarians in office because, honestly, it can’t be any worse than the Republicans and Democrats have done for the last century. If it doesn’t work, you’re more than welcome to come back and spoon feed me shit. Until then, you’re damning something without any reason to do so because, let’s be honest, you don’t know that it won’t work. You assume it won’t because you don’t like it.

            Lastly, you seem to think that without a welfare system things would suddenly go back to like they were in the late 19th century. Do you really think, with the changes made in the last 120 years, that this would happen? If so, you’re the one being naive. Do you really think people would allow themselves to be dragged back down to that point? Do you really think consumers would support a business that operated that way? Do you really think that all those business owners have that small a conscience or none at all? The world has changed, pal but you seem insisting on presenting us like we’re stuck in the past when the one stuck in the past is you.

            Democrats and Republicans have had a century, more or less, at the helm and in that time, government has continually grown in size, scope and reach. I’m not suggesting anarchy. I’m suggesting getting things back to a manageable size. We are currently over $17.5trillion (TRILLION, with a T) in debt. And while we’re that far in debt, our government (both of the major parties) continue to spend more and more and more. Our military is larger than the 4 next largest militaries combined. We continue to spend billions of dollars on foreign aid. We continue to borrow money from foreign nations while constantly printing more of (and devaluing) our own currency. THIS is what the Republicans and Democrats have led us into the 21st century with. How much longer can that continue? Where will the money come from? You could tax the riches 5% of Americans a 70% income tax and it would still take decades to pay off.

            You seem to think this is sustainable and you have the audacity to call me naive and delusional? Fuck you, bub.

          • http://nigelthebold.com/ Avo, also nigelTheBold

            Meanwhile, you have companies like Wal Mart that are essentially subsidized by the government. The welfare system allows Wal Mart to get away with paying their employees less than a living wage. Now those people (the Waltons) are a bunch of greedy bastards who, without the welfare system, would be forced to pay a living wage to their employees to keep their business open.

            Question time: do you really think Wal*Mart would pay their employees any better if they didn’t have to? In a Libertarian society, Wal*Mart would be doing exactly the same. Their employees, you know, the ones doing the actual work, would still get fuck-all, and they would be told by people like you they should be happy to get even that

            Thing is, economic power differentials are intrinsic to economic society. They are used for economic advantage over others who have less money. This is a observed and documented fact, not an assumption.

            And it is a fact that Libertarianism has no mechanism to prevent this, or even mitigate it. Hell, it’s even considered a feature, not a bug.

            So tell me again how Wal*Mart wouldn’t do exactly what it’s doing in a Libertarian society?

            What you’re doing is assuming this would never work.

            This isn’t an assumption. I know it wouldn’t work, and just the smallest analysis of how power structures work show the weakness in Libertarianism. That’s what my posts have been about, and you have completely ignored that. Instead, you argue against some strawman version of my posts, ignoring how Bill Gates used an economic advantage given him by current wealth to consistently fuck over other people for his own gain. Instead, you want to focus on how much money he’s given away (often with strings requiring or assuming the use of Microsoft products, feeding back into his wealth and blocking competitors from entry) only once he successfully fucked over everyone to be the richest man in the world for a time. The entire point seems to have gone so far over your head, the sonic boom took almost twenty seconds to reach you.

            The so-called producers you are talking about are not the producers. They are the laborers.

            See, and this is exactly what’s wrong with Libertarianism. Well, one of many. The idea that actual production is done by the one who came up with the idea. That’s demonstrably false. Come up with an idea, and what do you have? An idea. Get people to implement that idea, and what do you have? A product.

            What you overlook is that idea by itself is worthless. A company that produces things requires everyone who works at the company to actually create the product. Yet executives like to pretend like you pretend: that they are the actual producers. And that’s just ludicrous on the face of it.

            This disdain for laborers is precisely why Libertarianism is a corrupt economic philosophy — it purposefully puts the economic power in the hands of a few. This is in direct conflict with one of the core claims of Libertarianism: that everyone has equal opportunity.

            Equal opportunity is only possible with equal power. As Libertarianism has a built-in power differential (those with more money have more power), it leads to increased power concentrating into the hands of the wealthy as they exercise their power to their advantage (just as Bill Gates did).

            The truth is, not everyone can be an entrepreneur. That’s not even an ideal economic system. You need people to build stuff, those you disdainfully call “laborers.” You don’t need “idea” people, because usually those ideas aren’t anything special — these “idea” people just have the money to make sure they are the ones who get it. (Look back at my history lesson on Gates and actually read it for an example. Gates had the connections due to wealth, but he bought what became MS-DOS from someone else for a pittance of what the contract was worth. The point is that he already had the wealth and connections to get the contract in the first place. The secondary point is that he fucked over someone in the process, someone with a product necessary for success. That is, the “idea” man.) You need far more people actually doing things for an economy to thrive. Yet you would have those in power disenfranchise those very people most necessary for economy.

            Right there, Libertarianism is self-contradictory between assumptions and goals.

            Equal opportunity starts when these people are children. Some people will take advantage of the education system and will prosper while others goof off, slack around and barely scrape by in school.

            Again, go back to my history lesson Gates. What was one of the lessons? Bill Gates had an economic advantage, which is economic power, due to an accident of birth. His opportunity to supply IBM with an OS for their new PC line of computers came because of the connection between his mom and the CEO of IBM.

            The person who actually wrote the OS, Tim Paterson, didn’t have a chance at getting that contract. So, no, you again make assertions that are demonstrably false.

            In fact, there is much research that completely disproves this assertion. It is a well-established fact that those born wealthy have many advantages over those born poor.

            And in a Libertarian society, that differential would be even greater. Right now, everyone is guaranteed a chance at an education, however poor either the person or the education. In the Libertarian world, where people must pay for their children’s education, the poor won’t even have an opportunity.

            Also, your assumption that successful people work hard, and unsuccessful people are slackers, is just laughable. This is also demonstrably false. Do you think people who work at Wal*Mart aren’t rich because they are slackers?

            That is another Fox News-worthy stereotype that is just completely false.

            Wealth only equates to power with the market and the government intertwine.

            Again, this is demonstrably false. Hell, you yourself have proven it false with your Wal*Mart example. It’s not the government that forces Wal*Mart to pay their employees like shit. The Waltons didn’t wake up one day and say, “Y’know, I’d like to pay our employees more, but welfare requires I don’t.”

            Libertarianism does not do away with cronyism. It will still exist. It will do away with lobbyists, but does so because it makes lobbyists irrelevant. At that point, corporations can do what they want with impunity.

            I could argue for hours about why wealth is power, and people will always use their economic superiority to coerce others, but honestly, if you don’t see that wealth is intrinsically power, I don’t see the purpose of arguing with you any further. Like arguing with a creationist, I like to be able to point to reality and say, “See? Reality contradicts you,” without worrying about bind denial and bare assertions. You promised to address my criticisms, but instead provided a series of bare assertions, many of which contradict observable and documented reality.

            If you’d like to try to explain how money is not power, and the rich don’t intrinsically have a better opportunity from birth than the poor (especially in a system that requires payment for the things required for equal opportunity, like an education), then please, feel free. I’ll see if I can respond to that. But I’m not going to do the Gish Gallop like you are trying to do here.

          • WS Smith

            Apologies, Avo, but I’m relatively new to FTB and am not familiar with how to get the quotes in my response as you have done, so, I will just quote you and respond in regular text. I hope it’s not too distracting.

            “Question time: do you really think Wal*Mart would pay their employees any better if they didn’t have to? In a Libertarian society, Wal*Mart would be doing exactly the same.”

            Yes, I firmly believe that and will turn to the example of the Wal Mart in Williston, North Dakota. Quite recently, they were hiring several positions. That area is seeing a real boom right now in oil and gas and the unemployment rate is less than 1%. To get people to even consider working at Wal Mart, they were offering 2.4x the minimum wage. At a Wal Mart! Completely unbelievable, right? But it’s true. The starting pay for these jobs was between $17-19 per hour. I have no doubt that it burns the Waltons to have to do that, but it’s not the government that stepped in and forced them to pay wages higher than the minimum wage in Seattle. It’s the booming economy.

            “And it is a fact that Libertarianism has no mechanism to prevent this, or even mitigate it. Hell, it’s even considered a feature, not a bug.”

            And, as the Williston example shows, the free market will, essentially, regulate itself. We don’t need a government/political solution. The free market is its own solution.

            “See, and this is exactly what’s wrong with Libertarianism. Well, one of many. The idea that actual production is done by the one who came up with the idea. That’s demonstrably false. Come up with an idea, and what do you have? An idea. Get people to implement that idea, and what do you have? A product.”

            And how is that achieved? Oh, that’s right… Those who do the work are PAID to do it. They’re not slaves. They are compensated for their time. If they think their time is worth more than what they’re getting paid, then they need to do something about that. Maybe change jobs. Maybe get a better education to move into a better paying position. Maybe have a salable idea of their own. There will always be those who can create and those who cannot. Those who cannot create, work for those who can. This is just the way things work.

            “And in a Libertarian society, that differential would be even greater. Right now, everyone is guaranteed a chance at an education, however poor either the person or the education. In the Libertarian world, where people must pay for their children’s education, the poor won’t even have an opportunity.”

            Actually, I think you’ll find that most Libertarians today acknowledge the necessity of government participation in education. It’s one of those “necessary evils”, I suppose (for lack of a better term). To guarantee an equal opportunity, the government must be involved just as it’s involved with protecting everyone’s liberties and rights (or supposed to be).

            “Also, your assumption that successful people work hard, and unsuccessful people are slackers, is just laughable. This is also demonstrably false. Do you think people who work at Wal*Mart aren’t rich because they are slackers?”

            Did I use the word “slackers”? No. Maybe they’re disinterested. Maybe they’re incapable. Here’s the thing, though. Minimum wage-type jobs are not meant to be careers. Those are the jobs that teenagers and such are supposed to be doing. If someone chose not to educate themselves better so they could move on to a better job, whose fault is that but their own? Personal responsibility is a big deal.

            “It’s not the government that forces Wal*Mart to pay their employees like shit. The Waltons didn’t wake up one day and say, “Y’know, I’d like to pay our employees more, but welfare requires I don’t.””

            No, the government doesn’t FORCE them to do this. What it does is ENABLE them to do this. It’s far more likely that the Waltons woke up one day and said “Y’know, if we pay our employees like shit, the government is just going to step in and take care of them”.

            I mean, look… We’ve had a welfare state for how long now? And have we come even close to eradicating poverty? Nope.

            “At that point, corporations can do what they want with impunity.”

            Only if people let them. That’s what you’re not seeing or ignoring. In a pure capitalist/libertarian society, the power to control the actions of companies belongs to those who work for the companies and those who do business with the companies. If you don’t like the way a company does things, you simply stop using them and do your best to convince others to do the same.

            As far as the last bit of your comment goes, I’ve already explained the necessity of government participation in education to guarantee true equal opportunity. What you have to keep in mind, though, is that equal opportunity and equality are NOT the same thing. If someone refuses to take advantage of the opportunity and falls on their face, it’s not the responsibility (by force) for those who did to pick them up and dust them off.

            Lastly, I will add a little anecdote that I think is relevant. I’m a chef. I worked in restaurants for years but have been lucky enough to be working as a private chef for the last 3+ years. I work for an individual who owns a small, independent oil and gas company that has made them very wealthy. This person pays all of his employees exceptionally well (I make quite a bit more than I would in a restaurant and work far less – not to mention have far less stress). They provide all their employees with full health, dental and optical insurance for the employee and their family at no cost whatsoever to them. They even extended the insurance to a couple of gay partners of employees IN TEXAS!!! They offer a 401K program that automatically puts in the equivalent of 8% of your salary and, if you put in the maximum amount of 8% of your actual salary, it is further matched to another 8%, giving you a grand total of 24% of your salary going into your 401K at only 8% cost to you. They have donated millions of dollars to local hospitals, colleges for scholarships, etc. A child of one of their employees was born with a medical disorder and every single cent of the treatment above and beyond what the insurance covered, was paid for by them. In fact, the only bad things I can say about my employer are that they are a Christian (but not a crazy die-hard fundamentalist) and they vote Republican despite my best efforts to convince them to vote Libertarian. When I found this job, I had been unemployed for almost a year and was flat-broke, living with my mother and step-father at 35 years of age. They actually flew up in their private jet to interview me and brought me to the location where I work now (in the private jet) for a 2 week trial and, when it was over, offered me the job and paid me $3000 for those 2 weeks in cash so I could afford to move there. I don’t see how anyone can do anything but admire this person, despite their religious beliefs and their political choices. A far better example than Bill Gates, although not as wealthy, especially considering they grew up in a 3 room shack in Louisiana bayou country. I doubt you’ll believe this, but it’s absolutely true and, if I believed in things like a soul, I would swear it’s veracity on my soul.

          • http://nigelthebold.com/ Avo, also nigelTheBold

            For quoting: <blockquote>Quoted text goes here</blockquote>

            Hope that helps.

            Yes, I firmly believe that and will turn to the example of the Wal Mart in Williston, North Dakota.

            You are familiar with boomtown cycles, right? You know what is going to happen, right? The same thing that happens in every boomtown: this will continue until everyone attracted to the boomtown hoping for prosperity increases the hiring pool until Wal*Mart can fire those it originally hired and replace them with wage-slaves.

            This is exactly what happened to Alaskan and Californian gold-rush boomtowns. If you want to talk Libertarianism, look no further. Those places were almost the closest we’ve come to an ideal of Libertarianism.

            Didn’t work out well for most folks.

            Again, this is basic economics. Real economics, not the magic invisible hand of the market economics.

            Here’s how it breaks down: there’s not enough work for everyone. There’s simply not. Constant growth in an economy is unsustainable, but that’s what high employment requires: constant growth. The vast majority of positions in the economy are those that pay very poorly. Couple that with an oversupply of laborers (SEE constant growth as a bad idea), and you have an economy in which those in power dictate the wages of those at the bottom (the ones who are the real producers, as they actually labor to produce).

            The Wal*Mart in Willston, ND will not be paying those kinds of wages long. And it has nothing to do with government intervention.

            Actually, I think you’ll find that most Libertarians today acknowledge the necessity of government participation in education.

            No. That’s not what I’ve found. Most libertarians I’ve engaged use the magic invisible hand of the market to argue for privatized education. I’m glad to hear you at least do not; and I hope that’s a sign of a modicum of rational thought entering into Libertarian mindset.

            Did I use the word “slackers”? No.

            *Ahem*

            Equal opportunity starts when these people are children. Some people will take advantage of the education system and will prosper while others goof off, slack around and barely scrape by in school.

            (Emphasis mine.)

            Yes. You called them slackers.

            And then you continue to say exactly the same thing in your defense. I think you really have a very poor grasp of what it means to be, well, poor.

            Minimum wage-type jobs are not meant to be careers.

            Then perhaps you can explain why the median age for minimum wage jobs have gone up?

            It’s not regulations. Hint: it has to do with movement to a service economy and the lack of jobs that pay a living wage.

            If someone refuses to take advantage of the opportunity and falls on their face, it’s not the responsibility (by force) for those who did to pick them up and dust them off.

            The fact that you think this is the reason people are unsuccessful, and the fact that you think people actually have an equal opportunity, goes a long way to explaining why you are a Libertarian.

            Studies show the poor (those you would deem unsuccessful) work far harder than the rich. And the reason they are poor is because the vast majority of necessary jobs are for laborers, that class of work you deem unworthy of decent pay. If those are the jobs that are available to them (and yes, that’s what they’re restricted to not because of education, but because of social power differentials), that’s what they take. And those jobs require far more work and effort to do.

            It is my experience that those who work the hardest, with the most stressful jobs, are those that get paid the least. Numerous studies back that up.

          • WS Smith

            Very helpful, thanks. I will be back in a while to respond to this but right now I need a break. I can’t take any more of the insults, ad hominem attacks, and childish arrogance from most of these people. Thank you for being at least somewhat respectful and courteous. I don’t think I’ll be responding to anyone else on here, but I will be back for this.

            Seriously, if this is how most of you guys “debate” (please note quotation marks denoting sarcasm) with religious folks, it’s no wonder atheists are the most hated group in America. I can totally understand why Chris Rodda (a friend of mine) left FTB.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            Oh teh noes! How dare we meanieheads actually expect you to defend your position! And how dare we treat you with the same respect you treat us! For shame! How dare we respond to you in kind!

          • WS Smith

            You are familiar with boomtown cycles, right? You know what is going to happen, right? The same thing that happens in every boomtown: this will continue until everyone attracted to the boomtown hoping for prosperity increases the hiring pool until Wal*Mart can fire those it originally hired and replace them with wage-slaves.

            Yes, I’m familiar with boomtown cycles. And what happens in a boomtown cycle? The town booms and then it dries up, meaning the vast majority of people move away. When this happens, the customer base of stores drops dramatically as do their sales. Isn’t it only logical, then for any business to transition into “save mode” in which they would lower their expenses? For a small store, this might mean laying off an employee or two. For a larger store, it would mean laying off many. But, in those situations, it’s not only the people who moved there for what created the boom that leave. It’s the service industry and retail people as well. That’s why, in my part of the country, there are dozens of ghost towns scattered all over the place that date from as early as the 1890s to as recent as the 1980s.

            The original point I was trying to make is that when the economy is doing well and fewer people are unemployed, then companies will pay more to entice employees. In the real world (not a boom town situation) this probably would never get to the point that Wal Mart was paying employees an $18/hr starting wage, but they would be forced to pay much more than the minimum wage.

            This is exactly what happened to Alaskan and Californian gold-rush boomtowns. If you want to talk Libertarianism, look no further. Those places were almost the closest we’ve come to an ideal of Libertarianism.

            Didn’t work out well for most folks.

            First off, I don’t think that’s accurate. I think the closest we’ve ever come to a Libertarian system was the first 50-60 years of the country prior to the civil war. The most notable problems with that example are, of course, slavery and the subjugation of women, yes? Well, I’m not saying it was perfect, by any means, particularly not when we look back on it through the filters of our modern morality. But what the Libertarian Party seeks to do is bring us back to that general concept, but broadened to everyone.

            Here’s how it breaks down: there’s not enough work for everyone. There’s simply not. Constant growth in an economy is unsustainable, but that’s what high employment requires: constant growth. The vast majority of positions in the economy are those that pay very poorly. Couple that with an oversupply of laborers (SEE constant growth as a bad idea), and you have an economy in which those in power dictate the wages of those at the bottom (the ones who are the real producers, as they actually labor to produce).

            You are correct in your assertion that there aren’t enough jobs for everyone. What this means, then, is the companies can use the concept of Comparable Worth to determine who they hire and how much they pay them. For example, If person X applies for a job but has a lot of issues or obligations that demand a specialized work schedule or has a less than stellar work history and, simultaneously, person Y applies for the same job and has a solid work history and will work whatever hours they can, it only makes logical sense for the company to hire them. This is also true of wages. If person Y is applying for the job and person Z shows up whose employment record and ability is the same, but person Z will work for less money, it is only logical that the company hire them. This, too, is real economics. I understand you might disagree with Austrian economics, but it’s perfectly logical and, despite what you may believe, not morally questionable because the entire system is based on voluntary interaction.

            No. That’s not what I’ve found. Most libertarians I’ve engaged use the magic invisible hand of the market to argue for privatized education. I’m glad to hear you at least do not; and I hope that’s a sign of a modicum of rational thought entering into Libertarian mindset.

            Libertarians, myself included, have a tendency to discuss things as we think they should be rather than how they are. However, many of us understand that compromise is a necessity in the political world.

            Yes. You called them slackers.

            And then you continue to say exactly the same thing in your defense. I think you really have a very poor grasp of what it means to be, well, poor.

            But in this instance we’re talking about two separate issues. You’re talking about workers in the real world and I’m talking about students in the potential world where they have true equal opportunity in education. These aren’t even close to the same thing.

            Then perhaps you can explain why the median age for minimum wage jobs have gone up?

            It’s not regulations. Hint: it has to do with movement to a service economy and the lack of jobs that pay a living wage.

            No, it’s not regulations. It’s the result of the population explosion during the baby boom and the larger number of people who either chose not to further their education OR were unable to do so for one reason or another. Combine that with the fact that, yes, we have moved to a service economy bolstered by our transition to a nation of consumers rather than producers, etc etc. You can also, however, blame the exportation of jobs to countries in which the wages are even lower and the taxes are almost nonexistent.

            Studies show the poor (those you would deem unsuccessful) work far harder than the rich. And the reason they are poor is because the vast majority of necessary jobs are for laborers, that class of work you deem unworthy of decent pay. If those are the jobs that are available to them (and yes, that’s what they’re restricted to not because of education, but because of social power differentials), that’s what they take. And those jobs require far more work and effort to do.

            Yes, I will agree that the studies show this. These people tend to work harder, physically. Why is that the case? Because they often do not have the education or training to work any other kinds of jobs. It’s not solely the differences in social status/power. I think that’s far too simplistic. In many cases what these people have done is form trade unions to improve their pay and lives, yes? Well, we can see how well that’s worked out in Detroit. If a person makes the effort, early in life, to improve their situation they present themselves with better opportunities for the future regardless of where they come from or how wealthy their family was. They may have to work harder to get to that point, no doubt. Is that fair? Maybe, maybe not, but that’s the real world.

          • http://teethofthebuzzsaw.blogspot.com Leo Buzalsky

            In the real world (not a boom town situation)…

            Yes, let’s please stick to the “real world” (by which I guess we mean “average”). If you have to resort to statistical outliers to make your point, then that should tell you that your point may not apply to the “real world.” So, please, go ahead and demonstrate that your point works in the “real world.”

            …this probably would never get to the point that Wal Mart was paying employees an $18/hr starting wage, but they would be forced to pay much more than the minimum wage.

            Yeah…you can’t actually demonstrate that your point works in the “real world,” can you? Best you can do is guess. Sorry, I don’t find your guessing at all impressive nor persuasive.

            but it’s perfectly logical

            Don’t care. I’m not Mr. Spock. I don’t make decisions based on logic alone. Empathy is an important element, too. I’d have thought you would agree since you didn’t seem to appreciate the “fuck you, I’ve got mine” sentiment. There’s nothing clearly illogical about that, is there? So, if we’re only worried about logic, why object?

            …not morally questionable because the entire system is based on voluntary interaction

            And suddenly you went from defending your arguments as being “perfectly logical” to throwing out this piece of illogical garbage.

            P1: ???

            P2: It’s voluntary.

            C1: Therefore, it’s not morally questionable.

            You seem to be missing at least one step there. Would you care to fill it in? Though, I’m going to guess I’m going to reject whatever premise you would put in. For example, would you say that, if a person voluntarily entered slavery, that being held as a slave would not be morally questionable? Based on your “logic,” it would seem your answer would have to be “Yes.” I find that to be an unacceptable answer, so I have to reject your logic.

        • WS Smith

          Oh teh noes! How dare we meanieheads actually expect you to defend your position! And how dare we treat you with the same respect you treat us! For shame! How dare we respond to you in kind!

          Wasn’t going to do this, but for you, WithinThisMind, I’ll make a one-time exception.

          I have defended my position which, every time, has been met with personal insults, ad hominem attacks, and childish derision. I’ve given you Libertarian theory which is, frankly, all I’ve got because Libertarianism has never been tried so there’s no empirical evidence to support, or opposition to it. I’ve tried to explain to you the positions of the Libertarian Party which have gotten responses telling me that I’m wrong about my own politics because of douchebags like Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, the Koch brothers and the tea partiers (who have hijacked the term libertarian) say they are actually libertarians. It’s not an issue of “no true Scotsman”. It’s an issue of, “hey, that’s a French guy in a kilt”. I mean, if I call myself a squid, am I a squid just because I say I am, or do I actually need to have the characteristics of a squid to be one? But, because you guys can’t tell the difference between a Scotsman and a French guy in a kilt, I’m wrong. Your logic (or lack thereof) is mind-boggling.

          I’ve not been the one name-calling here. I’m not the one calling people fuckwit, a racist, a homophobe, a misogynist, a child, or a hater of the sick and poor. All of which, by the way, is patently wrong. It’s not you who’s responded “in kind” to me, it’s been me, on a couple of rare occasions, responding “in kind” to you guys when I, admittedly (and foolishly) allowed you to get under my skin.

          I have no doubt whatsoever that anyone who reads this entire thread, regardless of which one of us they agree with, will find that to be the case.

          It saddens me that a group of atheists, people who pride themselves on their adherence to logic and reason, and rational debate would so quickly devolve into insults and the like simply because someone disagrees with them. As I said before, if this is how you guys debate religious people, it’s no wonder atheists are the most hated group in the country. I’ve always considered myself an agnosto-atheist (following Bart Ehrman’s logic) and am seriously considering simply calling myself an agnostic from this point forward to distance myself from the hostility and childishness I have experienced here in the last couple of days. If you guys are what the so-called atheist “movement” is all about, I weep for our future.

          Free Thought Blogs, eh? LMAO. Free thought, my ass.

          • lochaber

            I think the reason there is so much animosity towards libertarians, is that a lot of the people that hang out on this blog network believe implementation of libertarian policies will lead to incredible amounts of poverty, oppression, and abuse.

            I don’t think I’ve read any articulate defense of libertarianism in this thread aside from “that’s not really libertarian”, and “We don’t know it wouldn’t work because we haven’t tried it”

            I don’t think we have to actually pull out all the stops and go full bore libertarianism to see that stripping regulations will be very bad for everyone except the one guy who owns the company. Lessening environmental protections doesn’t lead to cleaner water and air – those things only happen when industries are required to be more responsible, usually by being hit with fines that are more expensive then the cleaner equipment/practices. When those fines are reduced, or ignored, then industries don’t stop polluting. Just this year, we’ve had at least two major chemical spills into watersheds. Those happened in part due to weakened regulation and enforcement. How would even less enforcement do anything about it?

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            At no point have you actually ‘defended’ any of your positions. You’ve barely stated what your positions actually are. Your entire defense is the ad hominen of ‘democrats and republicans are worse’ without ever actually, at any point, demonstrating how they are worse. You engage in childish insults, then whine and cry when they are thrown back at you.

            You aren’t here to engage in a debate. You have not made a single substantial argument, nor at any point supported your claims. You have not engaged honestly. You haven’t even bothered to stand by several of the arguments you’ve made.

            Are we supposed to pretend you have said something worthwhile? Are we supposed to pretend your arguments are valid or even consistent when they clearly aren’t?

            You are fast to pull out the no-true-libertarian card, but when we have the likes of Penn Jillette, the Slymepit, and well, you, representing the libertarian movement, on what, exactly, are we supposed to be judging you? Like I said before, libertarians and MRAs have a lot in common (and isn’t it amazing how many MRAs are libertarian?). In theory, they have a couple good points, but in reality, they just spew a lot of nonsensical shit.

    • Al Dente

      No, we don’t like government programs and attempts at “solutions”. No, we don’t like the welfare state. No, we don’t like nationalized anything. But, to you, this makes us bad people? Really? I think if you folks were to actually talk TO a Libertarian instead of AT them, you might gain a little respect for us or, at the very least, show us the courtesy you’d like to get from us.

      Sorry, I’m not going to be courteous to a group whose motto is “I’ve got mine, fuck you!” We know you don’t like the welfare state, you’d rather see the poor starve in the streets than pay taxes to keep starvation from happening too often. That does make you bad people. Selfishness is not an admirable characteristic, at least not for people who give a damn about anyone else.

      I have talked to libertarians. I’ve heard their utopian fantasies about how whatever the government does is bad and that when business does exactly the same thing it is good. I’ve heard them pretend that everyone has the same opportunities when a good look at how society and the economy function would show that idea is absolute bullshit. I’ve heard libertarians claim how the social contract is both fictitious and bad for society. My disdain for libertarians comes from listening to libertarians spout their ideological idiocies.

  • Die Anyway

    Kaveh, I appreciate your attempt to reduce the animosity but as the first few posters have shown, it’s a losing proposition on FTB.

    I hate to get close to a “no true Scottsman” fallacy but Tea Partiers and most Ron/Rand Paul followers are not “true” libertarians. Libertarian philosophy would be ok with SSM, would allow individuals to make their own abortion choices, and would support integrating “illegal” aliens into American society. AFAICT, these are all things that the Tea Party opposes, ipso facto TPers are not libertarians despite their claim to the mantle. I’m not sure what can be done about it but it is annoying to have your philosophy abducted by a group of assholes and turned into something it’s not.

    Sigh… eat well, stay fit, Die Anyway

    • WS Smith

      Well said.

    • http://nigelthebold.com/ Avo, also nigelTheBold

      I would agree that the Pauls (and that would include Ryan) and their starry-eyed followers ignore the one good aspect of Libertarianism — the basic idea of liberty for all. Instead, they concentrate on the Evil Repressive Government, and instead want to implement their own non-Evil Repressive Government.

      Strangely, they do this by trying to dismantle the very things a government is good for: implementation, management, and maintenance of shared common infrastructure; and social safety nets.

      • doublereed

        The Pauls are more Anti-Federalists. They hate the big federal government, but they’re okay with state governments being oppressive and theocratic. They’re basically old-school neo-confederates.

        • http://nigelthebold.com/ Avo, also nigelTheBold

          They hate the big federal government, but they’re okay with state governments being oppressive and theocratic.

          I don’t think they hate the Federal Government, and they show no indication they do. What they do show is that they hate the Federal Government when it isn’t implementing policies they like. That’s when they get all states-rights.

          • doublereed

            They’ve shown plenty of indication that they do. They favor things like secession, and make speeches called “The South Was Right.” As I said, they are not like the usual conservatives and libertarians. Even most libertarians don’t recognize that they only favor limited federal power. They are Neo-Confederates through and through.

            For instance, he pushed for a constitutional amendment that would allow states to ban flag burning. It wasn’t an amendment to ban flag-burning. It was just because he thought that should be a state power. He also thinks that states should be able to have state religions, just not the federal government.

            Ron Paul is pretty consistently against federal power generally, not just federal power he doesn’t like.

          • doublereed

            For instance, this was his opinion of Lawrence v Texas:

            Consider the Lawrence case decided by the Supreme Court in June. The Court determined that Texas had no right to establish its own standards for private sexual conduct, because gay sodomy is somehow protected under the 14th amendment “right to privacy”. Ridiculous as sodomy laws may be, there clearly is no right to privacy nor sodomy found anywhere in the Constitution. There are, however, states’ rights – rights plainly affirmed in the Ninth and Tenth amendments. Under those amendments, the State of Texas has the right to decide for itself how to regulate social matters like sex, using its own local standards.

            He calls sodomy laws ridiculous, but still doesn’t like that the federal government has the right to stop them. He doesn’t believe people should have a right to privacy as far as the state is concerned, he simply doesn’t like federal government power.

  • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

    Here’s the platform: https://www.lp.org/platform

    This jumped out at me:

    Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.

    Chickenshit hypocritical sexist assholes. Libertarians.

    • WS Smith

      Actually, all this means is that the government shouldn’t be involved with telling people what they CAN or CAN’T do with their own bodies. The choice is for each individual to make on their own.

      How is this chickenshit or hypocritical?

      I think you’re intentionally misreading the platform to fit into your preconceived ideas of what Libertarians are.

      • WS Smith

        Our position is essentially the same with gay marriage. We don’t think the government should be involved in the issue at all.

        Laws are designed to prevent people from doing certain things, not allowing them to do things. If there isn’t a law against something, you don’t need one to be for something.

        • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

          Laws are designed to prevent people from doing certain things, not allowing them to do things.

          This is why libertarianism fails.

          • WS Smith

            LOL. I don’t think so. That’s what makes Libertarianism superior to other political philosophies. It grants freedom to every individual to live their life as they see fit without imposing restrictions on them, one way or the other.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            A philosophy that makes a distinction between negative freedom and positive freedom and sets about creating a society and a government that protects only the former is inevitably going to fail at its stated goal of maximizing freedom.

          • WS Smith

            There is no such thing as “negative” freedom or “positive” freedom. There is only freedom or slavery/dependency. You are playing with words to create a false dichotomy.

            There is nothing negative about giving people you disagree with the freedom to speak their minds as openly as you do. Where the line must be drawn is giving them the opportunity to enforce their views upon you (and, for what it’s worth, vice versa).

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            There is no such thing as “negative” freedom or “positive” freedom. There is only freedom or slavery/dependency. You are playing with words to create a false dichotomy.

            I am merely restating the dichotomy you yourself first stated when you ludicrously claimed that “laws are designed to prevent people from doing certain things, not allowing them to do things.” I mean, clearly you meant that you think laws ought to be designed that way; the fact that you couched it in the present tense is what makes it extra silly.

      • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

        If they REALLY meant that “people”, that is, female-bodied adult human beings, deserve to make reproductive choices without the interference of the government, then they would simply say something like,

        We oppose any government restriction on reproductive choices.

        There aren’t good-faith views on both sides, especially not from a libertarian perspective. Either you recognize that pregnant people are still people and are completely pro-choice, or you’re not a libertarian.

        That’s the chickenshit part, trying to act like libertarianism could be compatible with anti-choice positions. It’s not.

        • WS Smith

          Again, the point is to leave government out of the equation altogether. If the government is left out of the equation, how are they going to create or enforce restrictions? I honestly don’t think you’re really looking at this objectively.

          • WS Smith

            And that doesn’t even come close to implying that it’s compatible with anti-choice perspectives. It’s saying that if an individual has an objection to the issue, they shouldn’t be forced to support it. But, again, if government is left out of the equation, those people cannot reject it in any way that will affect those that do support it.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            Again, the point is to leave government out of the equation altogether. If the government is left out of the equation, how are they going to create or enforce restrictions?

            MY point is that if the government is going to be left out of it entirely, how can they possibly say that there are people who “in good faith” can advocate for the government stepping in to prevent anyone from getting an abortion when an abortion is what they want? That’s where the hypocrisy comes in.

            I honestly don’t think you’re really looking at this objectively.

            Of course I’m not. I’m looking at it as a subject, i.e. a conscious being who exists in a social context. The fetishization of objectivity is another flaw of the libertarian philosophy.

          • WS Smith

            They aren’t saying that people can advocate for the government to do anything. Where does it say that? Oh, it doesn’t. As I said, you’re not reading it for what it actually says, you’re reading it for what you want it to say.

            If a person believes that their god opposes abortion and they don’t want to endorse abortions, they shouldn’t have to. After all, we live in a land of religious freedom, right? We live in a land where people are allowed to believe whatever they want no matter how absurd or ridiculous it might be. That doesn’t mean they can use government to impose their beliefs on others.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            If a person believes that their god opposes abortion and they don’t want to endorse abortions, they shouldn’t have to.

            People who idly refuse to “endorse” abortion are not anti-choicers. I’m talking about the people who want to pass laws impinging on decisions that should be between pregnant people and their doctors.

          • WS Smith

            If government is intentionally kept out of the equation altogether, how can these people ever hope to pass such laws? They cannot. Your point is moot.

          • Al Dente

            So WS Smith would prefer to deny women the freedom to chose abortion because that would conflict with other peoples’ freedom to prohibit abortions. And Smith wonders why normal people think libertarianism is unworkable.

          • WS Smith

            And Al Dente really needs to learn how to read. I didn’t say anything even remotely resembling what you’re accusing me of saying.

            No wonder you dislike Libertarians so much. You don’t understand what we say and make up stuff to fill in the blanks in your understanding.

            You people are as bad as Christian fundies.

          • Al Dente

            Okay, WS Smith, you wrote:

            If a person believes that their god opposes abortion and they don’t want to endorse abortions, they shouldn’t have to.

            That says you’re fine with abortions being made unavailable because FREEDOM! You would deny women the freedom to have an abortion because some doctor has religious qualms about providing them. The doctor’s freedom supersedes the woman’s freedom to have a medical procedure.

            In eastern Washington state every single hospital is owned by the Catholic Church. Does the name Savita Halappanavar mean anything to you?

    • Die Anyway

      Sally, I don’t understand your complaint (unless you’re trying to be ironic). What part of that policy is a problem?

      • WS Smith

        Exactly. It seems. from my perspective, at least, that Sally has fallen under the spell of the idea that government is the solution to every problem.

        • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

          And this is another reason why people don’t take libertarians seriously. I at least can understand your philosophy before I reject it.

          Government is useful in some contexts, essential in others, and harmful in others. Government is not the universal evil, nor is it the universal cure-all. Pretty simple idea.

          • WS Smith

            If you acknowledge that government is not the universal cure-all, why are you so eager to bring it into situations where it doesn’t belong?

          • Al Dente

            If government isn’t completely evil then why do you want to cut it out of all situations? Your hatred of government just shows how little you care about other people.

            You libertarian know-nothings (and yes, you guys are ignorant about history and economics) don’t have a clue about how governments were instituted. Sociologists estimate that the largest group where everyone can know everyone else is about 250 to 300 people, i.e. the size of a village. Any group larger than that needs regulators to ensure that some individuals aren’t preying on other members of the group and when predators are found to punish them. So once family clans moved away from the hunter-gatherer economy and began agriculture about 12,000 years ago, the so-called Neolithic Revolution, governments became inevitable. So doing away with governments would mean societies would devolve back to hunter-gatherers and fire-stick cultivation. Any other economic groups require governments of some sort.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            If you acknowledge that government is not the universal cure-all, why are you so eager to bring it into situations where it doesn’t belong?

            You need to demonstrate, with evidence, that things would be better off with private entities performing whatever service you want the government to not be providing. Or demonstrate, with evidence, that that service is unnecessary. I named several areas where I think the government is more efficient at providing the necessary level of services: health care, ensuring clean air, soil, and water, and education. Add to that transportation infrastructure. There are a couple other things I can think of, but those are the biggies. If you think that private corporations and/or non-profits would be more efficient and more egalitarian in providing those services, then bust out your evidence and explain why.

          • WS Smith

            @Al Dente:

            I don’t want to cut it out of all situations. I just want to cut it out of situations in which is does not belong. Libertarians are not anarchists; we’re minarchists. Government is necessary for several reasons. National defense, hard infrastructure, protecting civil liberties, and, in this day and age (unfortunately), education. There are other areas of lesser importance, but those are the big ones.

            Your leap from “wanting minimal government” to “not caring about people” is not only incredibly large, it’s also absurd. There’s a distinct difference between “let people starve” and “replace welfare with charity”. It’s like you have these preconceived ideas about, not only libertarianism, but me as well, and you skim over (at best) my words and rearrange and embellish them in your head to make it like I’m saying something I’m not.

            @SallyStrange:

            So, you put forth your argument by naming “several areas where you think the government is more efficient” etc etc with NO evidence, yet you want evidence for my argument in return? That’s incredibly biased of you. Shocking, I know.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            Well, yes, WS, I do expect you to provide evidence that your proposal will be an improvement on what has been done or what is currently being done. That’s biased of me? Shocking.

      • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

        Keeping government out of reproductive decisions is a good idea.

        Identifying those who advocate for government interference in reproductive decisions as people who “disagree in good faith” is indicative of hypocrisy.

        And in the larger picture, WS’s misconception that laws can only prevent action, not facilitate it, is a recipe for precisely the sort of attack on reproductive rights that is happening right now in the USA: a whittling away of the actual, on-the-ground ability of pregnant people to find health care professionals who are willing to perform abortions.

        • WS Smith

          If you think keeping government out of those kinds of decisions is a good idea, why are you advocating that the government should take a position at all? Isn’t that EXACTLY the opposite of keeping them out of it?

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            I advocate that the government should protect my ability to exercise my rights.

          • WS Smith

            And for that you need nothing but the original Constitution and the Bill of Rights applied equally and fairly to all individuals regardless of their sex, race, creed, color or sexual orientation. Surprise, surprise, that’s what we Libertarians support.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            Uh huh. They don’t actually support that, though. By disallowing government from regulating health care delivery, libertarians allow for situations where people who live in areas where all the doctors decide, independently, not to provide abortions or vasectomies, they guarantee that eventually some people’s rights are going to be violated. They allow for some recourse, after the fact, but the violation has to occur first before any recourse can be taken. And by ruling out government regulation of health care delivery, they ensure that similar violations can happen again and again, anyplace where the local community is sufficiently dominated by people who think that since they don’t “endorse” vasectomies or abortions, that means they get to decide not to give them to any of their patients.

            I think health care is like clean air, clean water, healthy soil, and universal education: best administered on behalf of all citizens by an organization that (ideally at least) represents the interests of all citizens. Not just the citizens who can afford to pay fees to a profit-making enterprise.

            Profit-making enterprises are very useful structures for a variety of things that society needs, but not those. My flexibility in considering what types of services are best suited to what types of societal structures puts me light-years ahead of libertarians in actually creating policy proposals that will make life better and freer for all people.

          • WS Smith

            What you fail to understand, or perhaps you’re just ignoring it, is that government regulated healthcare isn’t nearly as effective as it should be. Take a look at what’s happened with the government run and regulated VA. Or, take a look at the nationalized healthcare systems in other countries. A few of them work well, but the vast majority do not. People in Canada often cross the border into the US for medical treatment.

            Here’s the thing. To make healthcare more efficient and affordable, you need to remove the pharmaceutical companies from the situation altogether. And you need to create a true free market of healthcare. This creates competition and competition creates lower prices.

          • WS Smith

            And, for what it’s worth, Sally, a doctor who personally disagrees with abortions shouldn’t be forced to give one.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            A doctor who personally doesn’t agree with abortions should not be allowed to get a license to practice OB-GYN medicine. If the doctor is the only doctor in town, then the doctor should find another profession, where their personal beliefs don’t conflict with their duty to practice medicine without infringing on their patients’ rights.

          • khms

            @WS Smith

            What you fail to understand, or perhaps you’re just

            ignoring it, is that government regulated healthcare isn’t nearly as effective

            as it should be.

            Sure.

            Too bad that healthcare not regulated by government is even worse.

            Or, take a look at the nationalized healthcare

            systems in other countries.

            My understanding is that those generally cost less and have better outcomes.

            A few of them work well, but the vast majority do

            not.

            That certainly doesn’t match what I’ve heard. At all.

            People in Canada often cross the border into the US for medical treatment.

            And I hear lots of people in the US cross the border into Canada for medical treatment. Just for one prominent example, I hear that happened in Palin’s family.

            Here’s the thing. To make healthcare more efficient and affordable, you need to remove the pharmaceutical companies from the situation altogether. And you need to create a true free market of healthcare. This creates competition and competition creates lower prices.

            Actually, free market creates monopolies and cartels and stifles competition. It creates situations like the pharmaceutical companies. To avoid that, you need government regulation.

          • Jordan Genso

            WS Smith

            And, for what it’s worth, Sally, a doctor who personally disagrees with abortions shouldn’t be forced to give one.

            And a wedding photographer who personally disagrees with interracial marriage… should they not be forced to provide their services to an interracial couple?

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            And don’t forget, a store that doesn’t agree with homosexuality doesn’t have to sell food to fags, right? It’s a ‘deeply held sincere belief’ donchaknow?

          • tigzy

            WS Smith said:

            ‘What you fail to understand, or perhaps you’re just ignoring it, is that government regulated healthcare isn’t nearly as effective as it should be. Take a look at what’s happened with the government run and regulated VA. Or, take a look at the nationalized healthcare systems in other countries. A few of them work well, but the vast majority do not. People in Canada often cross the border into the US for medical treatment.’

            LOL – absolute horseshit. You clearly haven’t seen the recent Commonwealth Fund report which puts the UKs state-funded National Health Service at number one in the developed world, with the US private system creeping in last. Canada, by the way, scored higher in the CFs appraisal too.

            The major fault as regards the US system? It’s this (source: Metro):

            ‘The USA is ranked last, as it consistently underachieves in ‘most dimensions of performance,’ largely due to the ‘absence of universal health insurance coverage.’

            I don’t know if this site permits links, so I won’t bother. But you can find the details by googling ‘commonwealth fund NHS’.

          • WS Smith

            So, uh, wow. You guys really don’t like people who disagree with you having freedom to live their own lives as they see fit, do you?

            If a woman wishes to have an abortion and a doctor who disagrees with the procedure refuses to do it, the woman should go to a different doctor. Problem solved. For the love of all that’s good in the universe, people… What you’re suggesting is like forcing someone who doesn’t approve of guns to own one and, if they will not, punishing them. Freedom works both ways. The woman should be free to do with her own body as she wishes, no question, but you cannot expect someone to violate their own ethics, whether or not you agree with them.

            And yes… A wedding photographer who doesn’t agree with interracial marriage should not be forced to take photos for an interracial couple. And yes… A store that doesn’t accept homosexuality should not be forced to do business with gay people. But what does that mean? That means, then, that WE, as consumers, need to stand up and refuse to do business with those people. We don’t need the government to step in and shut them down. The power to do that lies with us. We can do that on our own.

            Now, I’ll just sit back and wait for you folks to call me racist and homophobic despite what I’ve just said.

            Seriously… You guys are every bit as fanatical as Christian fundies.

          • http://nigelthebold.com/ Avo, also nigelTheBold

            Or, take a look at the nationalized healthcare systems in other countries.

            Yes, let’s, shall we?

            Almost every developed country with nationalized health care ranks better than the US. In 2000 we ranked #37 in the world, while we rank #1 at per-capita spending. (Canada ranks #30, while ranking #10 at per-capita spending.)

            The 2014 survey still has us ranked dead last in care, while still being #1 in per-capita expenditures.

            Again, observed reality doesn’t support your assertions.

            (This is also another example of how rich people have an advantage over poor people, without any kind of government intervention. If you can’t afford healthcare, you are at a disadvantage. So another example of the power money gives.)

          • doublereed

            People providing services have no obligation to advertise their bigotry. So they can refuse to serve a gay customer and then move on with their lives. I’m not exactly sure how you think that’s supposed to work.

            Not to mention that the society could easily approve of such discrimination, essentially locking that minority out of basic needs and services. Giving the majoritarian public the ability to run roughshod over a person’s right to public accommodations.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            If a woman wishes to have an abortion and a doctor who disagrees with the procedure refuses to do it, the woman should go to a different doctor. Problem solved.

            A doctor who is incapable of meeting ALL of their patients’ needs should not be a doctor. They should have their license yanked if they start arbitrarily denying services to the public on the basis of their privately held religious beliefs. You are essentially endorsing the ability of people with social power due to wealth and education to enforce their religious beliefs on other members of their community.

          • WS Smith

            Once again, Sally, that’s like forcing someone who doesn’t approve of guns to own a gun and, if they refuse, doling out some punishment for that refusal.

          • WS Smith

            No, doublereed, they’re not obligated to do so, but in a free society, they’re allowed to do so. People are allowed to be dicks. And more correct-minded, reasonable people are allowed to call them out on their nonsense and bring attention to it so their business suffers and fails.

            Private businesses are just that, private businesses and they are allowed to operate as they see fit and people are allowed (although I would say morally obligated, but not legally obligated) to refuse to do business with them.

          • WS Smith

            As I said in another post, Avo, I’ve lived in several countries that had nationalized healthcare and I’ve seen it in action personally. Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, Belize… None of them got to patients as quickly as my experiences here have shown me, nor were the accommodations anywhere near as pleasant. And I’ve had family members hospitalized at Bayshore Hospital in Pasadena, TX, so that says something. When we were in New Zealand, my father had a mild heart attack and he was forced to wait for six hours before a doctor saw him. Several years later when he had a stroke in Houston, he was taken to the hospital and immediately had doctors treating him. Personal experiences are just anecdotal evidence, though, right? When you see it first hand, it’s more than that. Especially when it’s a loved one. That’s MY observed reality. Now, who knows? Maybe those places have gotten better with time. I cannot say.

          • http://nigelthebold.com/ Avo, also nigelTheBold

            That’s MY observed reality.

            See? I present you with data on observed reality and you counter with, “That’s MY observed reality.”

            Are you ever going to address actual arguments, actual facts? Or are you going to conflate anecdotes (no matter how personal) for an actual rational argument?

            The US has an adequate health-care system for those who can afford it. (I’m assuming you are relatively wealthy.) By all objective measurements, the US ranks dead last when compared to other comparable countries. And we’re the most expensive. These are measured facts.

            Near as I can tell, you have three options: 1) find legitimate fault with the data, 2) change your rhetoric from “nationalized health care sucks!” or 3) Ignore the facts for idealogical reasons that have nothing to do with observed reality.

            So far, you’re trying really hard for option 3.

          • WS Smith

            I don’t consider myself wealthy. I get by comfortably, but don’t set much aside other than what is in my 401K. I come from a decidedly middle class background.

            Your debating style, while more polite than many on here, is still woefully flawed. You present statements as facts without any actual evidence and then expect me to respond with evidence for my position. That’s a pretty horrible double standard you have there.

            You also misrepresent my position. While I do have a problem with nationalized healthcare, I have actually provided an alternative which was shot down by folks here. Remove the pharmaceutical companies from their involvement with the healthcare industry and create a free market of healthcare. Free markets create competition and competition lowers prices. A real world example would be two gas stations across the street from one another. Granted gas prices are largely regulated by the government (for some reason) but one of those stations is always a couple of cents cheaper.

            I really love how you make your assertions and when I make my own in response, you accuse me of ignoring reality and not giving you evidence when, in fact, your comments really aren’t any more evidence based than mine, at least not in the sense that you’ve provided any evidence.

          • http://nigelthebold.com/ Avo, also nigelTheBold

            Your debating style, while more polite than many on here, is still woefully flawed. You present statements as facts without any actual evidence and then expect me to respond with evidence for my position. That’s a pretty horrible double standard you have there.

            What? In this thread, I presented actual studies to support my position. You have presented nothing in any post even vaguely approaching actual data (the sole exception was the Wal*Mart in ND with their very good boomtown wages). I have presented a detailed history of how Bill Gates used his privileged position to his advantage, a privilege very few others would’ve had, to demonstrate that money == opportunity and power, and you went on a rant about his charity (which he didn’t start until after he was the richest man on earth).

            You make it very hard to be polite when you ignore the actual arguments.

            I really love how you make your assertions and when I make my own in response, you accuse me of ignoring reality and not giving you evidence when, in fact, your comments really aren’t any more evidence based than mine, at least not in the sense that you’ve provided any evidence.

            Did you even follow my link upstream? Or did you just ignore it, like you’e ignored everything else? I presented evidence that the US has the worst health-care system among similar countries, and you present anecdotes. And now you have the fucking gall to say i haven’t backed it up?

            I’ve presented examples of wealth has been used in lieu of government control to regulate a market, one that has been very well documented (the case of Microsoft using its superior market position to further their dominance and exclude competitors from the same market — a market that was essentially unregulated), and you have the gall to say I don’t back up what I say? And that’s your only defense? I used the well-documented case of Starbucks buying up the buildings of mom-and-pop competittors to drive out competition, and you say I haven’t presented evidence? I give you cases in which companies flagrantly fuck over the environment for short-term profit, and ask how Libertarianism proposes to deal with this, and you have the gall to say I don’t back up my claims?

            Dude, your entire philosophy rests on bald-faced assertions that fly in the face of reality. When presented with actual examples, you ignore them. You argue something else entirely. You don’t address the actual argument.

            I’m done with you. You are as oblivious to reality as the most devout creationist.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            Once again, Sally, that’s like forcing someone who doesn’t approve of guns to own a gun and, if they refuse, doling out some punishment for that refusal.

            Haha, no. It’s like forcing someone who gets paid to do a particular job to do THAT job.

          • http://teethofthebuzzsaw.blogspot.com Leo Buzalsky

            If a woman wishes to have an abortion and a doctor who disagrees with the procedure refuses to do it, the woman should go to a different doctor. Problem solved.

            And what if there are no other doctors? This is one of the biggest flaws of the libertarian viewpoint. Oh, gay people can just go to another cake shop! Blacks can just go to another restaurant!

            Bullshit! You were speaking of Williston, ND earlier. I grew up in North Dakota (near Amidon, right below White Butte, to be exact). It’s a sparsely populated state. There may very well be no other such businesses or doctors or whatnot that will provide such services. I know; I’ve lived there. But, let me guess…your solution then will be to move out of North Dakota? And, if so, this is precisely why the “Fuck you, I’ve got mine!” slogan fits libertarians so well.

          • http://teethofthebuzzsaw.blogspot.com Leo Buzalsky

            I should add a disclaimer. I did actually move out of that backwards state of North Dakota, but that was my personal choice. What about someone who would want to live there? Too damn bad? Because the people are horrible, you have to leave?

  • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

    And then there’s this:

    2.1 Property and Contract

    Property rights are entitled to the same protection as all other human rights. The owners of property have the full right to control, use, dispose of, or in any manner enjoy, their property without interference, until and unless the exercise of their control infringes the valid rights of others. We oppose all controls on wages, prices, rents, profits, production, and interest rates. We advocate the repeal of all laws banning or restricting the advertising of prices, products, or services. We oppose all violations of the right to private property, liberty of contract, and freedom of trade. The right to trade includes the right not to trade — for any reasons whatsoever. Where property, including land, has been taken from its rightful owners by the government or private action in violation of individual rights, we favor restitution to the rightful owners.

    2.2 Environment

    We support a clean and healthy environment and sensible use of our natural resources. Private landowners and conservation groups have a vested interest in maintaining natural resources. Pollution and misuse of resources cause damage to our ecosystem. Governments, unlike private businesses, are unaccountable for such damage done to our environment and have a terrible track record when it comes to environmental protection. Protecting the environment requires a clear definition and enforcement of individual rights in resources like land, water, air, and wildlife. Free markets and property rights stimulate the technological innovations and behavioral changes required to protect our environment and ecosystems. We realize that our planet’s climate is constantly changing, but environmental advocates and social pressure are the most effective means of changing public behavior.

    Which is it? No limits on the use of public property? Or a clean and healthy environment? History has shown that we do have to choose. And the government has not done a terrible job protecting the environment. When given the legal authority and the funding, agencies like the EPA have actually done a very good job reducing air, water, and ground pollution while still allowing for robust economic activity. And note the refusal to admit that climate change is human-caused. If they were being honest, they’d admit that they value lack of regulation more than the lives of future generations.

    So, WS Smith, you can stop assuming that any given person’s dislike of libertarianism is based in ignorance.

    • WS Smith

      I still think you’re intentionally misreading the platform to give yourself confirmation bias on your preconceived ideas of what Libertarians are.

      Tell me, have you even looked at that platform before today? I’m guessing “no”.

      • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

        How many times must one read the libertarian platform before one is qualified to have an opinion on it?

        If you think my reading is inaccurate then go ahead and explain what I’ve misunderstood. Otherwise, shut up, stop whining, and accept that your ideology is so much drivel.

        • WS Smith

          I think in order for one to have an opinion that is worth regarding, one must read the platform at least once objectively and not through pre-colored lenses.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            I see that you are unable to explain how my reading is inaccurate. You unable to explain what I would see if I were reading it in a manner you term “objective.”

            If you ever figure out how to explain those things, I’ll start taking you seriously. If I am misreading it, it should be pretty simple for you.

          • WS Smith

            What that says, is that it is in the best interest of both environmental groups AND corporations to protect the environment that provides them with the materials they use for their business. Allowing a free market (which we haven’t had since before the turn of the 20th century, by the way – we do NOT have a capitalist economy, we have a corporatist economy) to thrive, unabated by government will encourage and foster advancements in environmental protection. It’s not the industrial age anymore. To do this, however, we must take huge steps in removing government from the pocket of corporations. The reason oil companies (as an example) are allowed to continue to do what they do is because they have essentially bought the government.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            Why did they buy the government?

          • WS Smith

            To guarantee legislation they would approve. To have the government work with them in THEIR interests. This is cronyism or corporatism, NOT capitalism. In capitalism, companies must succeed or fail on their own actions. Not succeed with help from the government and be “too big to fail” and get money from the government to keep them afloat when they should fail.

          • WS Smith

            Libertarians also oppose lobbying and lobbyists, by the way.

          • xavierninnis4191

            You’ve gotta be fucking kidding. With the possible exception of a very few playgrounds reserved for the ultra ultra wealthy, had things continued as they had throughout the 19th century and government hadn’t acted by the early 20th (better tragically late than never) , there’d not be a lick of wetland or old growth forest left in the lower 48, and the number of species extirpated would greater by an order of magnitude.

          • WS Smith

            Like I said before, it’s not the industrial age anymore. People are aware of the damage caused by our actions. At that time, most were not. That is an example of something that might have been needed at one time but, thanks to education on the subject, isn’t really needed anymore.

            Granted, there are certain people, like that conservatard (who’s name I cannot recall at the moment) who said that Christians don’t need to worry about protecting the earth because the judgment day is imminent, but that’s where consumers come into play. If you want to support companies that are environmentally conscious, you should but that will never exact change as long as the government can be bought and sold by these corporations. Remove government from the equation, let true free markets take over and, enough people are environmentally conscious today that these companies would have no choice but to become more environmentally minded to stay relevant.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            To guarantee legislation they would approve. To have the government work with them in THEIR interests. This is cronyism or corporatism, NOT capitalism.

            So, the oil companies recognized that the government had power enough to prevent them from exercising their ability to exploit maximum resources for maximum profit without regard for human health and safety.

            As a result, they decided to buy the government so that they could exploit resources without regard for human health and safety. They saw that the government had power to act in the interests of the people, which was contradictory with their interests, so they captured the government and subverted it to work in their interests.

            Your response to this? To remove the power of the government altogether.

            What mechanisms are going to prevent those big companies from endangering public health and safety, then, without a properly functioning government to hold them in check? Provide evidence that these mechanisms can and will work in your answer, please. And remember, endangering public health and safety is usually more profitable than not doing so, at least in the short term.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            conservatard

            The “tard” suffix as an insult causes splash damage to people with developmental disabilities, who are nowhere near as evil as science-denying conservatives. Stop that.

          • doublereed

            So you’re essentially saying that government is corrupt. But you’re not asking the question of who corrupted government.

            Government, when it’s not corrupt, represents the people. But eliminating the power of the government, you are asking for anti-democratic principles to rule. Neo-Feudalism, where the people are serfs to their Corporate Lords. If you want to get rid of corruption in government, that doesn’t involve destroying the government. That means attacking problems like campaign finance reform like over at Wolf-PAC.

            A great example is Net Neutrality. Tom Wheeler is a Lobbyist for the Cable Companies and was put on the board of the FCC to destroy Net Neutrality and essentially make the FCC toothless. Libertarians, however, would vote for anything that destroys the FCC, which would completely eliminate Net Neutrality and play directly into the hands of the corporatism of the Cable Companies. Government is only thing that has any power over such corporations in such situations.

          • WS Smith

            @SallyStrange:

            So your solution, then, is that a corrupt government with a lot of power is better than an uncorrupted one with a little power? Sure, makes perfect sense.

            And, um… No. I will say what I want. If you don’t like it, so what?

            @doublereed:

            The government isn’t the only one with power over these companies. The clients/customers of these companies have that power too. We just have to re-train ourselves to exercise that power for ourselves and not rely on a nanny to do it for us.

          • http://nigelthebold.com/ Avo, also nigelTheBold

            People are aware of the damage caused by our actions.

            And yet they still cause grave environmental harm in the name of “profit.” We’ve seen that happen even with regulations that were supposed to stop it. Just this year, we’ve had several massively-damaging waste spills (not to mention the BP spill from a few years back).

            So, why would these companies behave any better when they have no regulations, and no enforcers of those regulations? (Part of the current problem is a lack of inspections and enforcement.) Why wouldn’t they just reap massive short-term profits, and fuck the environment?

          • doublereed

            Customers and consumers have power through the power of government, moron. What are you supposed to do if Verizon and Comcast both throttle and have a duopoly? Tell me, oh grand one, what power consumers have in that respect? Let’s hear the solution. I’m all ears.

            Government isn’t a “nanny.” This is a democracy. Government’s nanny is us.

            You only have a press libertarians just a bit to reveal how much they despise the notion of democracy.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            So your solution, then, is that a corrupt government with a lot of power is better than an uncorrupted one with a little power? Sure, makes perfect sense.

            No, dear. You’re describing a situation in which the government remains uncorrupted because it has been stripped of any power to make meaningful changes in the world in the interests of the people it’s supposed to represent. The solution is to remove the corruption while retaining enough power to ensure that public health and safety is protected. If you can explain some mechanism by which similar corruption won’t occur among the economic elite who will seize the reins of power once the government’s power is defanged as you describe, then perhaps libertarianism might be somewhat credible. But libertarians never can do that.

            And, um… No. I will say what I want. If you don’t like it, so what?

            So what? Nothing that would concern you in your current anti-human mindset. So, we can conclude that you view people with developmental disabilities as worthless, and their susceptibility to abuse, economic, physical and sexual, which is in part provoked by the dehumanization endemic in the language you used, is not a concern to you. In short, you are an empathy-deficient jerk, just like most libertarians end up showing themselves to be.

          • WS Smith

            @Avo:

            As education advances, things get better. Educating people about the threats to the environment and showing them the evidence directly is the answer to the problem, not regulations forced upon them. It’s all about how what you do is received. I’ve actually changed the minds of a few people on the issues of climate change AND evolution by presenting them with evidence calmly, directly and without condescension. Presentation is everything in those situations. And, of course, it’s doubly important to educate the next generation.

            @doublereed:

            The power is to refuse to use them. If enough people could be convinced to stop using those companies, those companies would suffer and be left with 2 choices: either change their ways or go out of business. Now, I know we’ve become a nation of consumers who simply “can’t live” without our “smart” phones, constant internet access and cable TV, but the power still lies with us to control those companies by hurting their income. It’s very simple.

            And one other thing: NO, we are NOT a democracy. We are a Constitutional republic with democratically elected representatives. It’s the Constitutional republic part that’s important because it’s what grants us our rights and liberties and what protects them. In a pure democracy, the majority can have what it wants and, (as an example) in the case of religious people, they could drastically change the landscape of our education system in a very bad way in a pure democracy. Pure democracy is dangerous.

            @Sally:

            If that’s how you want to look at me, that’s fine. Your opinion of me is already so biased and bogus that it doesn’t really change a thing. You sure do like to blow things up out of proportion, though. You take one word and turn it into an entire stream of hatred directed at a group of people I wasn’t even thinking of when I wrote the word. Go figure.

          • http://nigelthebold.com/ Avo, also nigelTheBold

            Educating people about the threats to the environment and showing them the evidence directly is the answer to the problem, not regulations forced upon them.

            So, would you actually address what I wrote for once? Do you think BP doesn’t perfectly understand the environmental effects of their drilling? Do you think Freedom Industries doesn’t understand the potential effects of toxic waste spills? Do you think the oil industry pays scientists to come up with arguments against global warming because they actually care? Have you ever once had to convince someone that dumping Crude MCHM into a water supply might be a bad idea?

            This isn’t a matter of individual education. It’s a matter of profit-taking at the expense of others. These things don’t happen because the very people in the industry that know the most about the toxicity of their product or the waste of the product are ignorant.

            So once again: since these people are already doing this at the expense of others, and are not ignorant of the ramifications of their actions, why would they behave differently under a Libertarian society?

          • doublereed

            Constitutional Republic is a form of Democracy.

            We have a process for removing people’s rights in this country: the amendment process. If a large majority want to remove, say, the right to free speech, that perfectly possible within the scope of American law.

            Of course my point was that in a Democracy is that the laws are determined by the will of the people. If the will of the people is to tax wealthy people more, then that is what the laws should reflect. And by the way, the people DO want to tax the wealthy more (and more minimum wage, etc), but a corrupt congress has been adamantly obstructed at this point.

            You described Government as a nanny. It is not. The Government is the will of the people, because this is a Democracy. Saying it’s a Constitutional Republic is an idiotic non-sequitur because the Government is still the will of the people. We’re the nannies.

            You know this, but you hate the idea of democracy. You despise the notion that laws come from the will of the people rather the will of elites and magical supermen like Rand’s heroes.

          • doublereed

            Also, lolololol at you saying that people are just going to refuse having internet service, which is important for a lot of people’s income and work. Boycotts don’t always work. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. You’re being silly, and so naive that I’m not sure how to respond.

            Yep, go on and stage your boycotts. See how it works out. I’ll be here, actually trying to do something in the real world.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            You take one word and turn it into an entire stream of hatred directed at a group of people I wasn’t even thinking of when I wrote the word.

            Your refusal to consider the meaning of the words you write is not my problem. By using that word, you are indeed tapping into an entire stream of hatred directed at a group of people you weren’t even thinking of when you wrote that word. Not thinking about them means you don’t care about them, as I noted. Which speaks poorly of your character.

    • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

      Let the record show that WS Smith is consistently unable to demonstrate or explain how my reading of the libertarian platform is inaccurate, other than whining that I am not being “objective.”

      I can only conclude that “objective” is a synonym for “agrees with the libertarian platform.”

      • doublereed

        Maybe he means ‘objective’ like ‘objectivist’?

        • WS Smith

          No, I’m not an objectivist. I like a lot of what Ayn Rand wrote, but she had many flaws in her work.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            Let the record show that WS Smith still cannot explain how my reading of the libertarian party platform is flawed, nor can he explain how an “objective” reading would differ from an “entirely credulous, uncritically accepting” reading of the libertarian platform.

          • WS Smith

            Actually, I’ve done that twice, now Sally. Once with the abortion issue and once with the land ownership issue. You oversimplify them to the black and white, good and evil dichotomy to make your case and, just because you reject my explanations doesn’t mean they weren’t given.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            Actually, I’ve done that twice, now Sally. Once with the abortion issue and once with the land ownership issue. You oversimplify them to the black and white, good and evil dichotomy to make your case and, just because you reject my explanations doesn’t mean they weren’t given.

            How have I oversimplified? What is the complex, nuanced version that I should have understood?

  • http://streetsatnight.blogspot.com Travis

    WS Smith #9

    I am a libertarian. I am also an atheist. I think many people on the left (and this is affirmed by the previous comments from readers here) seem to confuse and conflate libertarians with the tea partiers. This is simply not the case.

    Do they confuse them with Tea Party members? Maybe some do, I suppose, but that is not what I have seen here at FtB. Over at Pharyngula people that call themselves libertarians often make appearances and show themselves to be rather ignorant, having poorly thought out positions having very little idea of their consequences, and often display very odious viewpoints without ever being accused of being a Tea Party member or supporting typical Tea Party causes.

    An example: I see the word “Randian” here more than once. Newsflash people!!! Rand Paul is NOT a libertarian.

    I am pretty sure “Randian” is referring to Ayn Rand, not Rand Paul.

    If you folks would take 5 minutes and read the actual platform of the Libertarian Party, you would find that you agree with more than half of it, most likely. Yet, you continuously and gleefully demonize us more than you do right wing conservatives.

    What makes you think people have not read it? Platforms often claim to support various wonderful things, freedom, supporting SSM, all sorts of nice liberal policies plenty of people agree with. But when it comes to the nitty gritty of actual policy decisions people can see how much they hurt people, and in the end do not actually help them in any way.

    • http://streetsatnight.blogspot.com Travis

      Arg, I do not comment here very often and did not notice it used threaded comments. Sorry for misplacing this.

      • WS Smith

        If “Randian” is about Ayn Rand and not Rand Paul, which I can see that it absolutely could, my only conclusion is that people simply do not understand Ayn Rand or her philosophy.

        You do realize, don’t you, that Ayn Rand basically created her own definitions for words, right? That when she said the word “selfishness” she did not mean the standard definition of the word?

        • http://streetsatnight.blogspot.com Travis

          Please feel free to cut the condescension from your posts. You have, in multiple posts, assumed that people have not read various things, such as the Libertarian Party platform, or Ayn Rand. Yes, I realize one cannot simply latch onto a single word and trudge the dictionary definition out and pretend that is what is meant in the context of someone’s body of work.

          If “Randian” is about Ayn Rand and not Rand Paul, which I can see that it absolutely could, my only conclusion is that people simply do not understand Ayn Rand or her philosophy.

          How can this possibly be your only conclusion? Is it inevitable in your mind, that if someone reads Rand properly and understands it, it is only natural they would agree? How about the option that they have read Rand, understood it, read what libertarians have said, and simply disagree with it and think it is harmful?

          • WS Smith

            If questioning whether or not you’ve read something you criticize is condescension, I don’t see the point in debating at all. If someone wishes to criticize something, they must be familiar with what they’re criticizing, not just what other people have said about that something.

            In fairness, I have found that the vast majority of people I have debated face to face about Rand have never read a word of what she wrote outside of a snippet here or there (usually taken out of context). Is it unreasonable of me to make that assumption about people I’m not debating face to face given my history? I don’t think so. I am merely attempting to find out if you’ve read what you’re criticizing, nothing more and no insult was intended.

            If you think something about Rand or Libertarianism is “harmful” please elaborate. I find nothing harmful whatsoever in either philosophy. I’d like the opportunity to disagree and debate you about it or, maybe even correct you. ;)

            I have to point out, though, that no one is on here throwing around insults like “Marxist”. That’s what Republicans and neocons do, not Libertarians. Hell, I haven’t even called anyone on here a statist.

  • tonyinbatavia

    Newsflash, W.S., “Randian” does not refer to who you think it refers to. Just know, when you figure it out you’ll figure out why we find it to be even less appealing than Rand Paul. (Though he was named after her.)

    • WS Smith

      Actually, he wasn’t. His name isn’t actually “Rand”. It’s Randal.

    • WS Smith

      Question: Have you actually read Ayn Rand? If so, have you read her “lexicon” that defines all her terms as she meant them and not how the standard dictionaries define them?

      • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

        Have YOU ever actually taken a history or social studies class?

        • WS Smith

          Yes, but I went to school overseas in Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand. So… who knows?

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            Please don’t insult Ireland, South Africa, and New Zealand by suggesting that their education system produced you. Your willful ignorance produced you.

          • WS Smith

            Wow… You guys just can’t debate without insulting people, can you? Do you debate religious people like this? No wonder we atheists are the most hated group in America.

      • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

        It’s also interesting to note that when push came to shove, Ayn Rand refused to live by her own ideals.

        • WS Smith

          I assume you’re talking about the Social Security thing. You do realize, right, that by taking social security, Rand was essentially getting back her own money that she paid into the system, right? What you may not know is that she actually had arguments FOR social security (long before she was on it) for that very reason.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            No, I’m not just talking about the Social Security thing. Perhaps you should actually read Ayn Rand’s work and a history of her life. You are wholly uneducated on both.

          • WS Smith

            Actually, despite your beliefs, I am not. I’ve read all her novels, much of her nonfiction philosophy and even biographies about her. So… um… Perhaps, rather than just leaving a little quip with no substance, you should elaborate on what you’re talking about.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            I have elaborated. Repeatedly. Throughout this thread. Try reading. For a ‘selfish’ woman who ‘needed no one’, she sure threw impressive tantrums when people failed to worship her. She was a liar who distorted her history to build up her own mythology, in spite of her claims that one must never fake reality in any manner. When the guy she pressured into an affair dared to have an affair of his own, she abused him and falsely accused him of embezzlement. She thought women should submit themselves to men, but not her because she was special. In spite of her claims that no one helped her rise to fame, she mooched off her family and caught a lucky break when Cecil DeMille took pity on her and gave her a job she quite frankly didn’t have the skills for.

            As for the books themselves – I suppose you also think those in the train crash deserved what happened to them. Ayn Rand was, at heart, a terrorist.

      • Al Dente

        WSSmith @14.2

        Have you actually read Ayn Rand? If so, have you read her “lexicon” that defines all her terms as she meant them and not how the standard dictionaries define them?

        Let’s look at one of Rand’s definitions” She defines “altruism” thusly:

        What is the moral code of altruism? The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.

        Do not confuse altruism with kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others. These are not primaries, but consequences, which, in fact, altruism makes impossible. The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice—which [sic] means; self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction—which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good. “Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World,” Philosophy: Who Needs It, 61 [emphasis in original]

        I consider myself to be reasonably altruistic and I know other altruistic people. I volunteer for a charity, I donate to several others, I perform other actions for the welfare of others. I don’t recognize myself or any other altruistic people in Rand’s definition of altruism. She contrasts this so-called altruism to selfishness and argues in favor of the latter. Anyone can support an argument when the opposite argument is a strawman.

        • WS Smith

          Meanwhile, I consider myself to be selfish (in the Ayn Rand sense) and I also donate to some charities and regularly help out friends and family that are struggling. The key is to not do such things to your own detriment. That’s the Ayn Rand definition of selfishness: to live for ones own RATIONAL self interest; to live for the benefit of one’s self without bringing harm to others. There is absolutely nothing in anything she wrote that forbids or criticizes helping others unless doing so damages your own existence.

          • Al Dente

            As I said before, Rand gives a strawman definition of altruism to support her argument that selfishness is good. Not even Gandhi met Rand’s altruistic fantasy. Her altruistic person is totally imaginary. Maybe that’s why reality-hating libertarians love Rand’s writing, like them she was disconnected from the real world.

      • GregB

        Okay, let’s read some Ayn Rand:

        They didn’t have any rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using… What was it that they were fighting for, when they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their “right” to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, but just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or a few caves above it. Any white person who brings the element of civilization has the right to take over this continent.

        –Address to West Point [heirs of Gen. Custer], 1974

        • WS Smith

          As I’ve already said, I like a lot of what Rand wrote, but I am not an objectivist because there are many flaws within that philosophy. That’s why I’m a Libertarian and not an objectivist.

  • tonyinbatavia

    Yes. Yes. Yes. A deeper reading merely shows her philosophy to be even more dreck than the first reading. Meanwhile, libertarianism is also dreck with the added bonus that it’s completely nonviable, too.

    • WS Smith

      Actually, I find that just the opposite is the case. When I was in my early 20s I was a die hard socialist. I used to wear Che Guevarra shirts and sing the praises of collectivism. Then, in my early 30s, I re-read Rand and her work and took some time to actually try to understand it.

      When I read, say “The Virtue of Selfishness” or “Atlas Shrugged”, I carried a copy of the lexicon around with me for those instances when I found myself really disagreeing with what she said or, even, offended by it. Once I read what she actually meant by the words she used, my views on her (and her philosophy) changed dramatically. I think she could have saved us all a heap of time and trouble if she’d just invented new words.

      • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

        So you think blowing up a housing district because they altered your design is a good and moral thing to do?

        Seriously?

        • WS Smith

          Well, I didn’t actually mention “The Fountainhead”, LOL… But, in principle, I can fully understand Roark’s motivations, sure. It’s not like he blew up a housing district full of people or anything.

          • WS Smith

            And it wasn’t because they altered the design. It was because they altered the design without any consultation with the guy who created the design in the first place. They cut him out of his own project.

          • WS Smith

            Think of it as the auteur film director who burns the prints of his film rather than let the studio take over. It’s essentially the same concept.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            Think of it as the auteur film director who burns the prints of his film rather than let the studio take over. It’s essentially the same concept.

            Essentially the same concept, only one destroys lives and kills people.

          • doublereed

            Daylight Atheism has a great deconstruction of Atlas Shrugged complete with various real-world consequences of people behaving in the manner of Rand’s ‘heroes.’ Funnily enough, there’s a reason why we have safety and health regulations.

            For instance, Ellis Wyatt sets fire to his own oil wells rather than obey government regulation. Rand ignores the horrible environmental disaster that such an action would take on other people.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            You can understand his motivations… I think that pretty much says all it needs to about you, right?

            Homelessness isn’t exactly a problem for you, is it? And an entire housing development had nobody working in it? No contractors? No security? Completely and conveniently emptied just for him? Doubt it, have you ever been to a large construction site?

            But thank you for also illustrating how fundamentally hypocritical libertarian positions are. Funny how that ‘it’s my property I bought it’ thing only goes one way with you, isn’t it?

            A libertarian whining about how democrats and republicans are so much worse just supported terrorism. Whose side are you on, anyway?

          • WS Smith

            Oh, for fuck’s sake. IT’S FICTION.

          • Al Dente

            Your last comment is evidence that you’re admitting you don’t have an argument.

            If The Fountainhead had happened in real life then even if Roark did beat the criminal case, he’d spend years in court being sued for every dollar he’d ever earn.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            Well, yeah, it’s fiction… but still, no, I can’t understand getting so upset about DESIGNS that I would go ahead and KILL a bunch of people. That’s sociopathic, which isn’t surprising considering that Ayn Rand was inspired in part by what she viewed as the heroic qualities of confirmed sociopath and child murderer William Hickman.

          • WS Smith

            Okay… my point with the “itls fiction” comment was that it’s not meant to be reality. It’s a story of characters that are archetypes. The building, when dynamited was EMPTY. Roark killed NO ONE. Sure, in the real world there would have been a cleaning crew or a night watchman or something along those lines, but in the book there wasn’t. Roark was NOT a murderer.

            @Sally:

            Actually, Rand’s philosophy was a direct result of her having grown up in the communist USSR. Even the most cursory research would show you that you are wrong about Hickman. In her personal notes (published after her death) for the novel she was planning to write (but never finished) with a “Hickmanesque” character, she called Hickman “a purposeless monster”. So, maybe try really looking for the facts and not just the propaganda? Maybe?

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            Yes. It’s fiction. So is the concept that the libertarian faction would work.

            Actually read Ayn Rand’s books, sometime. Libertarianism didn’t even work in those. The mother of the concept couldn’t make it work without pulling a lot of deux ex machina’s out of her ass (like the power source). Actually reading her work should have been your first clue that her ideals are so much bullshit.

            Look at how unbelievable the idea is she had to pull out of her ass to justify Roark – a completely empty large scale construction site. Completely unbelievable. Actually, flat out impossible. She had to invent a lie in order to make him seem at all sympathetic, and even so, he is still a rather pathetic, narcissistic terrorist. And this is your hero. Says a lot about libertarian ideals, doesn’t it?

            Reading up on Ayn Rand’s history and life, it becomes clear she is a sufferer of NPD and viewed the world through that lens. She had no empathy, no compassion, no idea that anyone beyond herself mattered. She went out of her way to try to destroy people who disagreed with her even mildly.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            LOL, sure. The clear vein of sociopathy in her characters was a complete coincidence. The fact that you just got done defending the sociopathic actions of one of those characters should indicate that something is wrong here to you, but…

  • Ed

    For me it’s a matter of why the person is a libertarian and what they think of as the goals of the movement. Libertarian publications often take strong stances against censorship, tend to be very accepting of ethnic and sexual diversity, and are often pro-immigration and make good points about the mass imprisonment of people with non-violent drug offenses.

    People who are active in libertarian organizations are not the same as conservatives who throw the word around. I consider it`s economic policy naive but we’ll intentioned dogma. A mirror image of Marxism. History must unfold according to a “rational” formula and then bounty for all.

    Often there is an egalitarian aspect to it in the sense that some of them believe that governments cause the massive gap between rich and poor by having taxes and regulations so harsh that only the already rich can thrive. The libertarian society is imagined as one of massive upward mobility, not a rigid class structure.

    I think it’s a utopian dream like a lot of other big idea politics. If implemented, it would produce the opposite of its intended goals–a stagnant monopoly dominated plutocracy, not a big decentralized world of exciting creativity where everyone is an entrepreneur.

    But just because they have a utopian dream I think is unrealistic doesn’t mean I categorically judge them as outside the community of respectable human beings. I wouldn’t automatically shut out someone for being a Marxist, anarchist or pacifist either, even though I have serious problems with those ideas, too.

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      That is exactly my point.

      • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

        “Naive utopian” is milder than “callous greedy bastard,” but it’s still an insult.

        • Ed

          I intend it as a criticism of their politics, not condemnation of their character or overall competence. Utopian dreams are understandably seductive.

    • doublereed

      Wait, you have a problem with pacifism?

      • Ed

        To clarify on pacifism:

        I meant pacifism as an absolute. Non-violent resistance in the mode of Gandhi and King is a beautiful thing, but does it work against a thoroughly brutal opponent who can get away with anything? I wouldn’t have wanted to try it against the SS for example.

        The British and American enforcers of oppression were part of societies that had strong humanistic cultural influences(hypocritically and selectively applied, but still there), a relatively free press and voters to please. There were sympathizers within the dominant white groups who became more sympathetic as the non-violent rebels showed courage and their own leaders were revealed as cruel. They were also pragmatic enough to care about the economic losses they would face if the struggle continued.

        There are some cases where these criteria don’t apply. The military and police can do what without public criticism or even knowledge. The state may be run by hardcore fanatics who don’t care what crushing the resistance costs in money, time, reputation and other reasonable concerns like that. Victory at all costs!

        In these cases I think armed resistance is not only permissible but virtuous. I’ve talked to extreme pacifists who don’t believe that any human ever has the right to use force in self defense. So yes, I see that as another nice in theory idea held by good natured idealists that would however be terrible in practice when facing destruction or slavery.

        • doublereed

          Yea, it’s just weird to hear people rail against pacifism. It makes it sound like you’re a war hawk. But even war hawks pretend to want peace.

          • Ed

            I hear what you’re saying. I wish there was a convenient word to express my views on violence, especially war. Like you say, almost everyone says they want peace and would only advocate war as a last resort, but then they manage to find an emergency situation around every corner.

            Ideally, I’d prefer (assuming that the potential for war is going to be with us for a while) something similar to armed neutrality where a military’s almost exclusive purpose is protecting the territorial integrity of its nation.

            Genuine coalitions (not George W style “you’re only in the club if you agree in advance to everything the dominant member wants”) could intervene in major international disasters after exhausting other possibilities– but with limited goals and commitments.

    • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

      —-tend to be very accepting of ethnic and sexual diversity—

      We must be talking about entirely different groups. This conversation is regarding ‘libertarians’. You know, a group of people prone to hyberbole-filled shit fits every time a woman suggests she be treated as a person?

      • Ed

        I’ve hardly read any libertarian literature in a few years because to be honest, I’m not a potential convert, had heard the same arguments many times and so I lost interest.

        But for a long time the stereotype of a libertarian was someone who was more like a liberal on “culture war” issues but more like a conservative when it comes to taxes and regulations. The justification was (as they saw it)anti-authoritarianism in all things.

        • WS Smith

          Very true. Libertarians tend to accept all people of different races, sexuality, whatever. We simply don’t care what people are; they’re people and should be treated equally. We tend to be VERY liberal on social issues and VERY conservative on fiscal ones.

          WithinTheMind is, as is typical, confusing us with the tea party morons. I can understand their mistake, though, since the tea partiers have hijacked the name libertarian. But, for the umteenth time: we are NOT the same.

          • Al Dente

            Sure libertarians “accept all people of different races”? In a pig’s eye. The libertarian ideal, Ron Paul, has been exposed as a racist of the first order. Yeah, I know that supposedly he didn’t write the racist crap in his newsletters and the even more implausible claim is made that he didn’t read the newsletters which came out with his name on the banner. Here’s some choice quotes:

            “The Criminals who terrorize our cities – in riots and on every non-riot day – are not exclusively young black males, but they largely are.”

            “Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”

            “We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational.”

            After the Los Angeles riots, one article in a newsletter claimed, “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.”

            “Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty and the end of welfare and affirmative action.”

            The reason why libertarians get confused with the Tea Party is there’s so little difference between them. The Tea Party might not want drugs legalized and is strongly against same sex marriage (something the Libertarian Party is kinda-sorta maybe almost in favor of) but other than a few social issues like those, a difference which makes no difference is no difference.

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            Oh, but Al Dente, Paul isn’t a Troo Libertarian™! You can tell because he says embarrassing things for libertarians who are slightly less racist and sexist than he is.

            The fact is that while libertarians may espouse an ideal of racial tolerance and gender equality, libertarianism doesn’t appeal to anybody who isn’t already in a position to benefit from existing societal inequalities, due to the fact that it provides no workable mechanism to correct those inequalities. Thus, libertarians are overwhelmingly white and male. And empathy-deficient.

          • doublereed

            No, the reason why libertarians get confused with the Tea Party is because the Tea Party is an anti-government group that uses a lot of libertarian rhetoric. Most anti-government groups (like the conspiracy-leaden Alex Jones and the Patriot Movement) use libertarian rhetoric.

            And libertarians are not actually that liberal on social issues. I’ve seen more libertarians rail against the ACLU than even conservatives and theocrats. Libertarians are blatantly against all forms of anti-discrimination and pay equity laws. They are against all forms of unions, and most forms of public service in general. This is not “liberal on social issues.”

          • http://nigelthebold.com/ Avo, also nigelTheBold

            Very true. Libertarians tend to accept all people of different races, sexuality, whatever.

            The problem as I see it isn’t what the ideal libertarian accepts, but what people accept in reality. Libertarianism essentially gives people free license to be as discriminatory as they wish. In places where racism is endemic, that leads to social power differentials in which the racists have the power, and the discriminated group has little or none. In practice, this is another contradiction between ideals and goals.

            Libertarianism has one thing in common with communism: they are idealized political and economic philosophies that rely on the best, ideal behavior of the citizens, and so are doomed to failure — an inevitability that is obvious upon even the most cursory examination of their assumptions. The fact that they are dependent on ideal behavior is indicative of their deep fatal flaws. Another thing they have in common: they defend the obvious flaws by claiming, “But it’s never been tried in reality! It’ll work! Believe me!”

            From a philosophical standpoint, they can’t work as long as they rely on idealized behavior for their assumptions. (Assumptions like, “Everyone has equal opportunity at birth,” which has been shown to wildly false even by your own admission — the admission that discrimination exists, and would be perfectly acceptable in a Libertarian society. In fact, the very fundamental assumptions of Libertarianism provide cover for racism.)

          • WS Smith

            You do realize that Ron Paul is not a Libertarian, right? He’s a libertarian-leaning Republican. A lot like his son. Maybe leaning slightly further, but he’s still a Republican. He ran as a libertarian once but spent the vast majority of his political life as a Republican.

            He’s one of those people who believes state law can supersede the Constitution in many cases which is a wholly un-Libertarian postion. It’s not an issue of him not being a “true” Libertarian, Sally. It’s an issue of him not being a Libertarian at all.

            Besides, one man does NOT represent an entire party. You trying to represent all Libertarians by the words of one man, namely Ron Paul, would be like me trying to represent all liberals by the words of one lying, worthless sack of shit like Michael Moore who has admitted that is “documentaries” are falsehoods or, rather, they are his “version” of the truth. It’s a fallacious argument/comparison.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            —- Libertarians tend to accept all people of different races, sexuality, whatever. —

            Unless, of course, those people are actually looking to not be victims of harassment and discrimination. I mean, you totally support gays, right up until they try to shop at a store or get a job at a company owned by bigots and then it’s ‘well, tough shit, it’s their business’. And you are totally supportive of women right up until they try to get jobs or health care and then it’s all ‘well, they don’t have to give you that necessary medical care to save your life because it conflicts with their beliefs and you wouldn’t want to infringe on their liberty, right?’

            And don’t forget – no anti-harassment clauses! Because censorship! And infringing on white guys opportunities to pressure someone into giving them teh sex, right?

          • WS Smith

            Where do you get this shit? Are you reading an Alex Jones blog or are you just pulling it out of your ass?

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            No, child, I’m actually paying attention to how those who identify as libertarians behave, what they support, how they vote, and what they say. Including you, who in this very thread supported letting bigoted owners ban homosexuals from working or shopping at their businesses – http://www.patheos.com/blogs/marginoferr/2014/06/22/libertarian-is-not-an-insult/#comment-22663 And in this very thread, said women can be denied life-saving medical care if the doctor has a problem with it – http://www.patheos.com/blogs/marginoferr/2014/06/22/libertarian-is-not-an-insult/#comment-22384

            So your answer to ‘where did I get this shit’ is quite clear – from your own words.

            But please, feel free to flail about in denial and try backtracking. I’m sure it will be amusing.

  • http://florilegia.wordpress.com Ibis3, Let’s burn some bridges

    Aside from a few exceptions, when libertarianism isn’t being naïve, it’s being evil.

  • John Morales

    Wow, that link to the American Libertarian party that SallyStrange adduced above is a gem.

    Under “Issues / Poverty and Welfare” it has:

    It is time to recognize that welfare cannot be reformed: it should be ended.

    [...]

    We should not pretend that reforming our welfare system will be easy or painless.

    (Doublethink at its finest!)

    The notable omission for me is the total silence about personal recreational drug use.

    (I suppose it would be politically problematic)

    • WS Smith

      Your heavily redacted post wholly misrepresents the nearly 10 paragraphs of text on that subject.

      And, they do mention recreational drug use:

      From section 1.2 (Personal Privacy)

      “Only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes. We favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes.”

      • John Morales

        Thanks for the correction on the drug issue; it is good to know that party advocates total repeal of all laws prohibiting or restricting personal recreational drug use.

        On the aspect of welfare, care to clarify in what sense* ending welfare is reforming welfare rather than … um, ending it?

        * other than the trivial sense in which a point is a circle of radius zero.

        • WS Smith

          Isn’t ending one kind of welfare and replacing it with another, essentially, a reformation? The idea is to end government provided welfare and free up the ability of private charities and individuals to do the job instead. I mean, we’re living in a time where the government has made it illegal for restaurants and bakeries to donate their leftovers at the end of the day to private charities. Come on…

          • John Morales

            Isn’t ending one kind of welfare and replacing it with another, essentially, a reformation?

            Indeed it is; what it’s not is ending welfare.

          • WS Smith

            It’s ending government control and administration of welfare. Nothing more.

          • John Morales

            Well then, if the party doesn’t think welfare should be ended but rather that it should be reformed, why do they assert that “It is time to recognize that welfare cannot be reformed: it should be ended.”?

          • WS Smith

            Within the context of that full page, I think it’s pretty obvious that what they’re saying is that government controlled and administered welfare should be ended. They clearly state that the best system is one of privately run charities and individuals and that the goal is to end the government welfare and switch to a private system.

          • John Morales

            A “private system” where the government would reimburse those who give charity by giving them a tax credit on a dollar-for-dollar basis is a very odd view of what constitutes private welfare, since it would be 100% government funded (outside of donations by those who don’t earn enough to actually pay tax).

          • WS Smith

            Um… Taking in less tax revenue is not the same as spending tax revenue.

          • John Morales

            You might care to acquaint yourself with the concept of ‘tax expenditure’.

          • WS Smith

            Quite aware, thanks. I actually pay my taxes every year. I also know that as a single person, I am penalized by the current tax system for choosing to neither marry or have children.

            But, I digress… Since Libertarians seek to completely overhaul the tax system, especially income tax, that would even be an issue, now, would it?

          • doublereed

            Yes, libertarians love the idea of a regressive tax system that rewards the rich at the expense of the wealthy. Seriously, Federal Income Tax is one of the most progressive taxes in our country. You take that away, and you’ll literally be taxing poor people more than rich people.

            Oh right, I forgot that rich people are idyllic supermen while poor people are disgusting filth, getting whatever scraps the wealthy leaves behind.

          • WS Smith

            While in an ideal situation we could do away with the income tax, that’s simply not practical. What is practical, though, is to set up a system of taxation that is far simpler and more equitable than what we have now. If someone makes $1million a year and pays, say, 15% income tax and someone else makes $20thousand a year and pays the same rate, isn’t the rich person already paying far more in taxes than the poor person?

            Why would you penalize or punish success? That makes no sense to me whatsoever.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            So, if I order a pizza, cut it into 8 pieces, and then I eat 6 pieces, doublereed eats 2, and we leave you with a part of a crust and a bit of pepperoni, you are okay with splitting the check evenly between the three of us?

            Yes, the rich person is paying more. The rich person has a much larger share and has more. Why do you think this is the slightest bit unfair?

            I successfully took the largest share of the pizza. How dare you try to penalize me by suggesting you don’t have to pay a third of the pizza’s cost when you only got to consume 1% of the pizza!

          • doublereed

            People only make money because of society and infrastructure. Without society, you have no demand for anything that you do.

            If a person makes $8 million, then he is relying on the roads and infrastructure that society built far more than someone making only $80k. It’s nonsense that they should pay the same rate.

            It’s also better for the economy that way (you get greater demand by spreading the wealth out more), which makes it better for everyone and spurs the economy.

          • Al Dente

            If someone makes $1million a year and pays, say, 15% income tax and someone else makes $20thousand a year and pays the same rate, isn’t the rich person already paying far more in taxes than the poor person?

            I give you a quote from the libertarian economic authority, Adam Smith:

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

            See, WS Smith, your namesake Adam was in favor of progressive taxation.

      • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

        So you are okay with children and the disabled being left to starve to death?

        • WS Smith

          You must think people are inherently evil. I don’t believe that would ever happen. I think people are, generally speaking, good at heart and would take care of people given the opportunity. I, personally, donate to private charities (and I’m not rich). I know for a fact that if the government was cut back to a reasonable size and I was allowed to keep more of my own money rather than paying taxes for things I don’t want (including a massive military, foreign aid, etc etc) that I would have even more money to donate.

          • Snoof

            Are you aware of why the welfare state came into existence?

            (Evil? No. Really really bad at long-term or large-scale planning? Absolutely.)

          • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

            I don’t believe that would ever happen.

            It would be inconvenient for your ideology to believe that it could happen.

            Yet it has happened, in this country. And continues to happen in places where there is no welfare state.

            Whoops. Reality vs. libertarianism! Reality wins.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            I don’t think people are inherently ‘evil’. I think they are inherently selfish bastards. I think libertarians must, as a whole, have failed history entirely, as it has ALREADY HAPPENED and is CURRENTLY HAPPENING everywhere that there is no welfare or people are dependent only upon ‘charity’.

            Let’s look at what happens when a ‘charitable’ organization is put in charge of caring for children. How many little corpses were pulled out of a septic tank again?

          • WS Smith

            And, once again, despite all the social advancements we’ve made as a species; despite the evolution of our consciousness and morality, the liberals insist that everything would go back to like it was before these advancements… SMH

          • GregB

            Okay, let’s read some Ayn Rand:

            They didn’t have any rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using… What was it that they were fighting for, when they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their “right” to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, but just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or a few caves above it. Any white person who brings the element of civilization has the right to take over this continent.

            –Address to West Point [heirs of Gen. Custer], 1974

          • GregB

            Are you familiar with the history of the US Deep South? Is it really that hard to imagine certain members of that society actively working to deny certain other members of that society basic good like food and shelter? Or letting a kid starve, if not simply squashing the kid underfoot? Some of that was due to “laws”, yes, but not all of it or even most of those attitudes–lynching was generally against the law, but round practiced.

          • Al Dente

            Do you know why governments got involved in welfare in the first place? Of course you don’t, you’re an ignorant libertarian. The reason governments do welfare is because private charities couldn’t handle the load. During the Great Depression (google it) there were people literally starving. Normal people, i.e., non-libertarians, thought this was a bad idea and so the government started doing welfare.

            While few people actually starved during the Great Depression, during World War II thousands of men were rejected for military service in the US, Britain, Canada and Australia because of the effects of years of malnutrition. Learn some fucking history, you ignorant fuckwit libertarian.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            —-And, once again, despite all the social advancements we’ve made as a species; despite the evolution of our consciousness and morality, the liberals insist that everything would go back to like it was before these advancements… SMH—

            What reason do you have to think it wouldn’t, when all the evidence shows that as soon as the regulations are removed things do go back?

            Are you paying any attention, at all, to the world around you? The world that isn’t comprised solely of white middle-class cisgender first-world men?

            Right now, in this country, it’s happening. Thanks to legislation pushed through by Republicans and Libertarians, children are going hungry and homeless. Women are unable to get decent medical care. Homosexuals are being discriminated against. People are unable to afford education – the only realistic means to actually better themselves.

            Get your head out of your ass and look around.

          • WS Smith

            Yeah… This is why most atheists who are libertarians tend to stay closeted, politically speaking. You guys are a bunch of raging assholes who can’t carry on a debate without insulting people.

            @GregB:

            Yes, I’m familiar with the history of the deep south. I think you’re making a completely bogus argument that ignores the fact that we have, by and large, moved beyond that kind of nonsense socially.

            (oh, and repeating the same Ayn Rand quote multiple times? very, uh… clever)

            @Al Dente:

            Seriously, man… Fuck you. Fuck you and your mother. When you can behave like an adult who wants to debate the issue and not some arrogant little prick who just wants to insult and berate your opponent, maybe I’ll take you seriously. Until then, you’re just like some 12 year old kid playing an online video game.

            @WithinThisMind:

            Pushed through by whom? Libertarians? Really? Which libertarians did that? Which libertarians are in office? This was done by Republicans. There are no Libertarians in office to push through anything at all. Another false argument.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            —-There are no Libertarians in office to push through anything at all. —-

            Politicians who identify as libertarian –

            Justin Amash, U.S. Representative from Michigan

            Bob Barr, former U.S. Representative from Georgia and 2008 Libertarian Party presidential nominee

            Charlie Earl, former Ohio State Representative, Libertarian Party candidate in the 2014 Ohio gubernatorial election

            Ken Fanning, member of the Alaska House of Representatives

            Don Gorman, member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives

            Rand Paul

            Ronald Reagan[

            U.S. Representative Justin Amash of Michigan

            U.S. Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky

            U.S. Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California

            U.S. Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho

            U.S. Representative Ted Yoho of Florida

            U.S. Representative Mark Sanford of South Carolina

            Former U.S. Representative Bob Barr of Georgia

            Former U.S. Representative Barry Goldwater, Jr. of California

            Former U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas

            Former U.S. Representative Trey Radel of Florida

            If I delve more into state legislatures, mayors, and the like, I’m sure I can find plenty more.

            As I said, the only difference between Republicans and Libertarians is religion, which is why so many self-identified libertarians are republicans. You can keep trying to delude yourself into thinking they are different, but hey, denial ain’t just a river in Egypt. The ‘no true scotsman’ argument doesn’t apply here. These people identify as libertarian and are supported by libertarians.

            To reiterate my esteemed colleague, learn some fucking history, you ignorant fuckwit libertarian.

          • Al Dente

            Hey asshole Smith, I made non-insulting posts refuting your libertarian bullshit and you ignored them. So I got insulting in the hope that maybe you’re fucking read what I wrote. I have no respect for you or any other slimeball libertarian but originally I was nice to you. When that didn’t work I stopped being nice. Now answer my refutations or admit you can’t. Your choice, asswipe.

          • GregB

            @WS Smith Actually, clever had nothing to do with it. It was an accident.

            I notice you had no comment about Ms. Rand’s statement (to a bunch of imperial thugs, some might say).

            It is nice you think societies only go forward and do not regress (further examination, again of the history of African Americans, might disabuse you of that notion).

            Now, that said, I do to a considerable extent agree with you that many in this thread completely misconstrue libertarian ideas, partly because they themselves are deluded ideologues of this or that sort.

            For example, there was no braver speech condemning the recent Iraq war as that given by Ron Paul on the floor of the House of Representatives. To whatever extent he is or isn’t one, that sort of ideal is fundamental to libertarian philosophy, and you didn’t see any of the damn likes of your typical centrist democrats (there are few actual leftists among them) making similar condemnations–because they are cowards (I expect more of the same when I am forced to vote for Hillary Clinton in a few years, to stave off the crazy evolution-deniers in the GOP). She’s as reliable a truncheon-bearer as the rest.

            Or, with the deeply harmful Drug War…no one with sense thinks any of it should continue one second longer, but nobody on the limp center-left that is “progressive” politics seems all that interested in doing much about it on their own. It’s only the libertarians who will fearlessly pipe up.

            And please, let’s not pretend that things like Police or Prison Guard Unions are anything but a cancer on the body politic (but, Greg B, they’re UNIONS! They’re NICE, on OUR SIDE!), or that “regulatory capture” as decried by libertarians is just some kind of lame excuse for their position. Those are very deep problems that get the sort of off-hand dismissals you see in this thread from ideologues who toil under the fantasy that their own pet notions are inviolate truths.

            You see, the premises of this conversation are total crap. Human ideologies are simplistic, baroque, cheap means of rallying people around bad solutions to vastly complex problems. Most of them do in fact have some worthwhile things to say, but none of them are useful or even practical as comprehensive programs. We are doomed, as social beings who experience the world as sentients, to struggle to make rules that hew back and forth between the communists and the libertarians (small cases each), at any one time favoring this or that side as fashion or taste or circumstance dictates.

            You do not see libertarian societies any more than you see communist ones, at least as long-standing, thriving entities. That is because as someone else above said, these ideas are executed by complex, agenda-ridden humans.

          • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

            You must think people are inherently evil. I don’t believe that would ever happen.

            It DOES happen, practically all over the fucking world. Your blind denial of this fact once again shows how clueless and uncaring libertarians are.

  • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

    Libertarians are a lot like MRAs. In theory, they have a good point or two, but in reality, they are often horrible people utterly filled with shit.

    • WS Smith

      Funny. That sounds like both Democrats AND Republicans to me.

      • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

        The only difference between libertarian and republican is religion. Democrats, while flawed and problematic, are are by far the better choice. It’s like choosing between Ebola, Bubonic Plague, and a mild sinus infection.

        Fortunately, I’m neither a democrat nor a republican, so your attempt to play the ‘but the other sides are worse’ game is completely irrelevant to me. Perhaps you should try talking about why libertarians are good instead of trying to throw mud at democrats and republicans in a pathetic attempt to somehow make libertarians look acceptable to those with critical thinking skills and the ability to actually think the positions through logically.

        • WS Smith

          Absolutely and categorically false.

          This shows just how little you understand libertarianism.

          Libertarians are “good” because we take the best positions from both of those parties and throw out their garbage. We are for the liberty and freedom of ALL people to live their own lives as they see fit without interference from anyone (including government) as long as they don’t infringe upon the freedom, liberty and rights of others. We are VERY liberal on social issues such as reproductive rights and gay marriage, VERY conservative on fiscal issues, and strict adherents to the wording of the Constitution and it’s application to ALL people equally.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            —Libertarians are “good” because we take the best positions from both of those parties and throw out their garbage. —

            Bullshit

            —-We are for the liberty and freedom of ALL people to live their own lives as they see fit without interference from anyone (including government) as long as they don’t infringe upon the freedom, liberty and rights of others.—

            Unless they are female, disabled, children, minorities, or poor.

            —We are VERY liberal on social issues such as reproductive rights and gay marriage,—

            Except for reproductive rights for women, right?

            —–strict adherents to the wording of the Constitution and it’s application to ALL people equally.—

            BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA the sad part is you really believe that.

          • WS Smith

            No, the sad part is that you don’t seem to know the difference between Libertarians and Republicans. You hear people like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck call themselves libertarians and you believe it. You hear the tea partiers call themselves Libertarians and you believe it. You hear the Koch brothers call themselves Libertarians and you believe it. This isn’t a “no true Scotsman” thing. This is a “they’re not Scotsmen at all” thing.

            You seem to think that not having permission from the government to do something automatically implies that you can’t do it. That’s ridiculous. Women shouldn’t need permission from the government to do what they will with their own bodies. Gay people shouldn’t need permission from the government to get married.

            Stop misrepresenting what Libertarians are.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            —Women shouldn’t need permission from the government to do what they will with their own bodies. Gay people shouldn’t need permission from the government to get married. —

            See, this is where you bring the classic libertarian stupid to the table.

            No, they don’t need ‘permission’ from the government. But what they do need is the government to step in and support them against those who would deny them this right – such as the entity that owns 12% of US hospitals: the Catholic Church. But wait… per libertarian ideals, the church owns it, they get to decide who gets the lifesaving treatment, right? So fuck women. And the poor. Right?

            You think we are looking for ‘permission’? You really aren’t paying the slightest fucking bit of attention. I don’t need fucking ‘permission’, I need backup. I need our governing bodies to actually step in and protect my rights. And that’s what libertarians are fighting so hard AGAINST. You are fighting AGAINST our right to breath clean air and drink safe water because you think, in spite of all evidence to the contrary, that corporations will magically stop polluting if the government stops telling them they can’t pollute?

            How does that even work in your mind, anyway? They pollute and abuse human rights and engage in all kinds of unethical practices like selling contaminated food in spite of the government telling them to stop, and you think they’ll all just stop the minute the government shuts up?

            Seriously?

            For real?

            In spite of everything going on in the world around you, all the genocides, human rights abuses, rapes, murders, unethical behavior, scams, crime, etc… that occurs whereever a government is too weak to enforce basic human decency or has been taken over by the criminals themselves, you actually think that?

            Grow up.

            Get your head out of your ass.

            Maybe seek professional help.

          • WS Smith

            Yes, you’re seeking permission. You already have the rights and there are places where you can get whatever done that you want, but that’s not enough. You want more than permission. You want ENDORSEMENT. You want to force your position on others when you wouldn’t dream of having them force theirs on you.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            —-You already have the rights and there are places where you can get whatever done that you want, —

            No, child, there aren’t.

            How is wanting my basic civil rights ‘forcing my position on others’? Please, enlighten me. How is wanting life saving medical treatment from a doctor forcing my position on others?

            You libertarians are all hypocrites. You want to force YOUR positions on others by denying them rights and support from the government. You want to force YOUR positions on others by eliminating all social support systems. You want to throw children into the street and condemn them to starvation or child labor. You want to force people to hide their homosexuality in order to get a job. But god forbid a doctor be expected to provide life saving medical treatment to a mere woman!

          • doublereed

            No, in many states the government doesn’t allow gays to get married legally. If you’re arguing for the abolishment for marriage law (which I assume you are because you are a libertarian), then that is massively impractical.

            There are over 1000 rights that are conferred to married couples and many of them are impossible to enforce through a private contract because they involve the government. That’s what marriage is (and always has been throughout history), a government contractual agreement. For instance, the “Pleading the Fifth” thing applies to spouses. You can plead the Fifth to not testify against your wife. How exactly is a private contract supposed to handle that? It doesn’t make sense.

            But again, libertarians don’t seem to care about how things are supposed to work in the real world.

  • Great American Satan

    Let me say up front I only represent myself when I say this, not the community here or anyone else.

    As a person born into poverty and trapped here, as someone who knows disabled people who are physically or neurologically incapable of the kind of work America’s heartless ass expects of them and suffer every day for it, as a human who believes a balance of compassion and reason should underlie all morals, as a person fortunate enough to have a conventionally functioning brain and an awareness of basic history, as someone with common sense and a heart, as this cat right here,

    Libertarians are my enemy. They have directly fucked over me and the people I care for out of money I was earning, forcing me to go on unemployment and eventually re-enter the workforce with a lower wage every job I’ve had since 2008. Libertarians are actively fucking up human lives every day. I’m talking about the CEOs who follow your self-serving subhuman odious trumped-up greed-is-god so-called philosophy.

    Libertarians are the rock-bottom scum of the earth and if class war happened today, I would think of the pain y’all caused my loved ones, I would join the right side, I would show you scumbags the compassion you’ve shown the working poor… Or no, I guess I wouldn’t. Because progressives don’t starve, poison, kill people, as much as shitstains like WS Smith make me wish I had it in me. I’m just too humane for that. Ho-hum.

    So stepping back from my emotional reaction and engaging you like a Vulcan, as your kind love to do, let me ask you something: Why do you think everyone who doesn’t belong to your party is a Dem, GOP, or otherwise belongs to a party? What about independents? As you say, the parties are all fucked up, but why do you assume we love any of them at all?

    I vote for the lesser of two evils, which isn’t by party (though pretty much universally never going to be a Libertarian or GOP as they are presently configured), but by the situation. When I was able to vote for a socialist here, I did – and not because she was a socialist. I did it because she was the only person going for the position who advocated for people like me. I know goddamn well if you vote at all, you have voted for Republicans. Or, you are so principled you like throwing your vote away? In which case, I encourage you to stick to your guns. Huzzah for the party! Vote Libertarian!

    • WS Smith

      I’d be willing to bet that every single one of those people you’re calling Libertarians actually votes Republican. You seem to be confusing the two. We’re quite different.

      Your post is full of common misconceptions, misunderstandings, and blatant falsehoods that people consider libertarian but are not. Please educate yourself on the subject so you will see the difference between Libertarians and Republicans because, based on your own words, it is obvious you do not understand the difference.

      And, yes. I vote Libertarian. Every damn time. A vote for a third party isn’t throwing away a vote. Was voting for your socialist candidate a thrown away vote? Throwing away a vote is not voting at all. Here’s the thing though… In the last presidential election, both the Libertarian Party and the Green Party approximately doubled the amount of votes they’d gotten in the previous election. It will be most interesting to see what happens in 2016. Will a Libertarian or Greenie win? No. But I expect they will continue to get more and more votes as the years go by. Eventually, this corporatist system supported by the duopoly that runs our country will come to an end.

      • WS Smith

        And, also, I don’t think everyone belongs to one party or another, but they sure all seem to vote for one or another, don’t they?

      • Al Dente

        I’ve noticed that while libertarians claim not to be conservatives, when election time comes they usually vote for the most right-wing, extremist conservative candidate possible. It’s not a coincidence that the self-proclaimed libertarian Koch brothers give millions to Tea Party candidates.

        • WS Smith

          A lot of them do. And that’s a problem, to be sure. I, however, would rather vote Libertarian and lose than vote for either a conservative or a liberal. I actually asked a guy I know (a libertarian, but not a friend – more of an acquaintance) why he voted for the conservatives when he had just as much in common with the liberals. His response? (paraphrasing) “Because all the social changes we support are going to happen anyway, but the economic stuff is going downhill, no matter who’s in office so I have to vote for the one that’s going to do the least damage”.

          As I said in another post last night, the Koch brothers are NOT libertarians. They call themselves such, but so do the likes of Glenn Beck and Alex Jones. None of them are libertarians. What they’re trying to do is appeal to libertarians to vote Republican.

      • doublereed

        Republicans that identify with party has been rapidly declining, while Independents have been rising. Most “Independents” are former Republicans (because Republicans have gone off the deep end of qwazy). Republicans tend to use a lot more libertarian/anti-government rhetoric so libertarians tend to vote for Republicans over Democrats.

        Progressives tend to stay affiliated as Democrats, even if they believe the Democrats are corrupt (which everyone recognizes anyway).

        Libertarians love that whole shtick of “Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans” even when this is objectively not true, even while taking corruption into mind. Yes, Democrats are corrupt, but, for instance, it’s the conservative Supreme Court justices that keep destroying campaign finance laws and making corporatist rules like Money = Speech and rules of Corporate Personhood.

        • WS Smith

          And, as I’ve said before in this conversation, those things need to go. Corporate personhood is a joke. But don’t kid yourself that Republicans benefit from this and Democrats don’t. They BOTH get huge sums of donations from the same corporations.

          I think if the Libertarian Party and the Green Party could get even half the money the Republicans and Democrats get, it would drastically change the outcome of elections. I think a lot of people who vote Democrat should actually be voting for the Green Party. Another fair sized chunk of them should probably be voting LIbertarian, though. I have several liberal friends who are big guns rights people and they still continue to vote Democrat. Blows the mind.

          • doublereed

            Why did you just respond to my complaint that Libertarians overuse the “Democrats and Republicans are the same” shtick by making that exact same statement? Jesus, you really are dense.

            I’m a pragmatist, which is why I can never be a libertarian, who seem to not give a shit about actual reality. But here in reality voting for third parties doesn’t do anything unless they have considerable support (which they do in some states and districts). I understand that you don’t particularly care for reality, but I do.

          • WS Smith

            Why are you making it out like I’ve said something I didn’t say? I didn’t say anything close to that in that post and it makes me wonder if you’re actually reading what I’m typing out here or if you’re just reading every fifth word and making up your own sentences. Or… Maybe you’re using the William S. Burroughs “cut-up” method. I don’t know, but you’re misrepresenting what I’ve said. Badly.

            I care about principles and my conscience. I simply cannot vote for someone who is as far adrift from those are Republicans and Democrats are.

          • WS Smith

            Seriously. I’m typing in English here. Stop trying to interpret what I’m saying and just read the words I’m writing.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            The problem is that we are reading the words you are writing. We are just calling those words out on their stupid thoughtlessness.

          • doublereed

            This is what you said WS Smith:

            But don’t kid yourself that Republicans benefit from this and Democrats don’t. They BOTH get huge sums of donations from the same corporations.

            There are real differences between the parties regardless of how corrupt they are. That is fact, and that is what I described. To have you just reiterate this kind of thing back at me makes me think I’m talking to a brick wall.

  • MadHatter

    I know libertarianism well, I was married to one for 10 years. One who loved Ayn Rand and Hayek, and really believed that taxes are wrong, free market would take care of everything etc etc. We discussed it many times over the years as his initial introduction of it to me had made sense. I’m a social progressive and he appealed to that first. I read Rand and Hayek and other books to understand his point of view, but it started to fall apart under scrutiny when I realized that his views were contradictory. Sure we should all pay for things like streets and police, that’s a common good after all, but not schools. I could make the argument that educated children are to the good of future free market enterprise then he’d agree that schools should be funded, but not healthcare. But then healthy people are better workers so maybe healthcare too. Environmental regulation was bad when it messed with business, but clearly it was also a common good because of clean air so….confusion.

    His views, like all libertarians I know, were and still are, self-contradictory and frequently nonsense. He was one of the most privileged people I have ever known and couldn’t recognize it, believing that he’d done it all himself (with his father’s money and my support but those didn’t count) and therefore welfare was bad or should be provided by private groups. While that doesn’t make him a bad person, it does make him very blinkered and short-sighted.

    While he was, and is, a perfectly nice if short-sighted person, most libertarians I’ve met are so far on the individual liberty side that they quickly find ways to “other” people such that their individual liberty does not matter. I have never thought either the democrats or the republicans well represent my views (though due to the anti-abortion rhetoric in the GOP I have to vote democrat even if I disagree), but libertarian ideas would do nothing more than privilege “business” over people by removing all regulation because somehow regulation is always bad and allowing huge stratifications to occur because individual liberty means discrimination is ok. I think this is why so many -ists find a comfortable home in claiming a libertarian political home.

  • m0fa

    Libertarians, generally speaking, are naive, selfish and close minded. On line Libertarians display characteristics of kind yiou would expect to see from members of a cult. And their famous catchcry “taxation is theft”…only a selfish moron would utter these words and believe them true.

  • lochaber

    I think my litmus test for a political group/philosophy/whatever has come down to whether or not they support a minimum wage. If they want to quibble about the specifics, I’m doubtful, but depending on how patient I feel at the moment/how much alcohol I have on hand, I may be willing to listen to their arguments. If they are against minimum wage, then, well, I don’t really see any reason to listen any further. If you don’t think a person should be able to (at the very most basic minimum) survive on the wages of a full-time job, then you are a very horrible person, and I don’t want to have anything to do with you (including discussing economics and/or politics). Furthermore, you are probably the closest thing I can think of that would encourage me to personally go to war.

    If you oppose a minimum wage, you sir (or possibly madam) are in favor of slavery.

    I have a lot of other criticisms of the libertarian mindset, but right now, I’m going to stick by minimum wage as their greatest failure. (issues with externalities and tragedy of the commons and such are a very close second, but I think minimum wage is a bit more relatable.)

  • Ed

    Sorry if this is too repetitive of my original post, but there is a difference between having a big problem with libertarianism and blanket rejection of anyone who is a libertarian whatever their other virtues. Some people on these Freethought Blog discussions talk like being a libertarian disqualifies a person from any respect. I can sympathize since I think it’s clear that their policies are dangerous.

    But look at the people you may admire in intellectual and cultural history. If all of them are perfect left leaning liberals or social democrats, I’d accept your no libertarians allowed in the Humanist community policy as consistent.

    But look at the large numbers of Cold War era Western intellectuals and artists who had naive pro-Soviet or pro-Maoist views. It is reasonable to distinguish a dreamer who buys into inspiring rhetoric from the type of Marxist who really wanted Soviet tanks rolling through Paris and Amsterdam.

    Frieda Kahlo was an inspiring and accomplished artist and lovely human being, but when wearing a cast (which she often had to because of severe bone damage in an accident when she was very young) would deorate it with Soviet symbols and the names of Lenin and Stalin.

    She dropped the Stalin heroism when she became Trotsky`s lover. But despite attempts by admirers to turn him into a nice democratic socialist figure, he was probably more or less a failed version of Stalin(though smarter and more cultured). The powerless tyrant can play nice guy.

    The film maker Godard admired Mao, but his films are beautiful and show deep sensitivity to the human condition. Through much of Bertrand Russell’s career he was a doctrinaire pacifist with seemingly little understanding of the dangers of unilateral disarmament to a democracy in the face of aggressive dictatorships. But he was also a an eloquent promoter of scientific thinking and human rights.

    I oppose rhetoric which has the potential to incite McCarthyesque blacklisting of worthwhile people taken in by bad ideas with good publicity. If a person is a libertarian, I know not to let myself be taken in by those views but am open to the positives they may have to offer. If they are a right wing authoritarian hiding behind the name, that’s a different matter.

    Again, it’s been my experience that a lot of them are nice people who are socially open-minded, cosmopolitan, critical of interventionist militarism and the secret police tactics becoming so commonplace these days and dream of a future society based on voluntary cooperation by autonomous, rational beings.

  • doublereed

    The fact is that the word “libertarian” has been warped and distorted over the years. It now can mean pretty much anything.

    The ACLU is technically a “civil libertarian” organization. As far as I can see, “civil libertarian” just means liberal, because most of the criticism of the ACLU either comes from theocrats or libertarians.

    Alex Jones and many far-right extremist groups are libertarians. Libertarian ideology is extremely popular with anti-government nutcases and Anti-Semites.

    The Koch Brothers are libertarians, and are hugely responsible for the corruption of American politics. Most of the defenses of Citizen’s United and Corruption is either from libertarians or uses libertarian rhetoric. The fact is that American libertarianism tends to essentially be a Neo-Feudal ideology, with the wonderful job creators bestowing jobs to the gross disgusting masses below out of the kindness of their heart, because the rich are so much better than you. When I point out to libertarians that many of their ideas are anti-democratic, usually what I hear back are “Democracy is two wolves and sheep deciding what to eat” and similar statements. Neo-Feudalists all the way.

    Anarcho-capitalists are always libertarians. They want to do extreme harm to public education and worker’s rights, and want to waive all economic progress that we made past WWII. They believe in the economic doom cult of the Austrian School. They can’t stop talking about cranks like Peter Schiff and Ron Paul. Although Ron Paul is less of an actual Libertarian and more of a Anti-Federalist (he just doesn’t like the Federal Government getting involved).

    The word libertarian used to mean something more reasonable, but nowadays it’s been co-opted by far-right extremists of various sorts.

  • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

    Look, if you want real evidence that the libertarian position sucks and should be tossed aside by all individuals with a modicum of compassion, humanity, and/or intelligence, you need only look to the currently existing country that embraces and lives by Libertarian ideals.

    Somalia.

    I rest my case.

    • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

      Y’know it s easy to say that Somalia is libertarian nation but I’m pretty sure its actually a Muslim theocracy and failed state.

      I could be wrong but which Somali president or PM or other leader actually said Libertarianism was that benighted land’s philosophy exactly?

      • doublereed

        It’s pretty much a Libertarian nation as it has no central government. It’s certainly not a Muslim theocracy. That doesn’t make any sense.

        Actually, the economics of Somalia is quite interesting. Google it. It has a thriving telecommunications sector precisely because there’s so little taxes and such. It makes it quite easy to set up towers and cell service. The cell service also enables a decentralized banking system. The main trick companies have to deal with is dealing with the different clans in a hospitable fashion so that tribal rivalries don’t get in the way of business.

        Of course, all that economics is of course hiding the flagrant and vicious human rights violations that are happening at the same time. Women are practically not allowed to exchange in business. It has sudden outbursts of violence that descend into clan wars. Those telecommunications companies have suddenly boosted a very small minority to having a huge amount of money and power.

        Somalia is a fantastic example of Libertarian ideals in action. And the consequences are exactly the kinds of the things you would expect. No care about humans. Only caring about property.

        • WS Smith

          Again, the idea of “no central government” is NOT Libertarian.

          • doublereed

            They do have a rudimentary central bank, and law is dealt with using “customary law.” It’s not a “lawless” society.

            Customary law is pretty good at handling property law in that respect, which is all that libertarians care about. Civil rights, violence, etc. kind of falls by the wayside. Pretty much exactly what libertarians aim for.

            The libertarian economist Peter T. Leeson has studied how the economy works much further in-depth. Look up “Better Off Stateless.” I think you’ll find that Somalia is a much better example of a libertarian society than you think.

          • WS Smith

            You continue to show your ignorance of Libertarianism. I’m actually quite embarrassed for you. Civil rights go by the wayside? Seriously?

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            Yes. Civil rights go by the wayside. Every time. Because libertarians aren’t about civil rights and equality, they are about might makes right.

            Who, exactly, in your no-government regulation paradise is going to ENFORCE civil rights?

            You should try looking at the history of the US during the time of the railroad barons and tycoons. A libertarian paradise. A fucking hellhole for anyone who wasn’t an upper-class white cisgender male.

            Put down Ayn Rand. Pick up a copy of the Grapes of Wrath. Read it. It’s a book about life in a libertarian world.

          • WS Smith

            Again, where do you get this shit? You’re so far off base it’s sad.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            I see you still can’t actually defend your position.

          • doublereed

            Libertarianism does not allow for pay equity law, worker’s rights of any kind, and anti-discrimination laws. That’s all civil rights. I’m starting to think you simply don’t understand your own position.

          • MadHatter

            When the central gov’t has been so completely stripped of any possible power over citizens then there is, essentially, no gov’t. Libertarians would strip anti-discrimination, worker protections, environmental regulations, and even safety regulations from the books leaving only private property protection. But since in the absence of any sort of regulation that protects consumers few people would actually have much private property anyhow.

            As I said earlier, it’s an inherently contradictory set of views.

    • http://strangesally.wordpress.com/ SallyStrange

      I think Somalia provides some useful object lessons, but looking at failed states as an example of libertarianism doesn’t strike me as completely fair. Of course, if libertarians weren’t so bad at explaining the differences between the circumstances for a poor person in a failed state and a poor person in a libertarian state, it wouldn’t be such a tempting comparison.

      • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

        Find me a successful state that serves as an example of libertarianism, and I’ll happily point to it. But since no such thing exists, I’m afraid I’m going to have to keep pointing at the failures. If libertarianism didn’t fail utterly every time it was actually tried, I wouldn’t have to. But, there you go.

        • WS Smith

          Show me one instance where Libertarianism has been tried and failed on its own? You cannot because it has never happened. The closest thing to a libertarian state that ever existed was the first 50 years of the United States and it didn’t fail on its own. It failed because of the Civil War. Because some jackasses couldn’t deal with the idea of actually having to pay for labor to support their own businesses and refused to accept Constitutional rule over their states rights. Since that happened, the federal government has done nothing but grow.

          • http://withinthismind.com/ WithinThisMind

            Um, I already did.

            Somalia.

            You should also try reading the Grapes of Wrath.

            Or learn something about why unions had to start.

            Please, though, if Libertarianism is such a wonderful ideal, why is it no country has actually tried it and made a success of it?

          • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

            The closest thing to a libertarian state that ever existed was the first 50 years of the United States and it didn’t fail on its own. It failed because of the Civil War.

            Yeah, the Civil War was what happened when our experiment in libertarianism failed.

            Also, you forgot to mention the Articles of Confederation, which gave us a government too weak — excuse me, limited — to even keep order within its own turf. Our Founders had to give the national government MORE powers, not less, just to get our republic to work at all.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    We’re better than that. Let’s be better than that.

    Yes.

    We should be.

    Are’nt we?

    We’re all human.

    Libertarianism is an idea and ideology. Like communism, socialism, democracy, the divine right of kings and oligarchy and so many other systems of governance – realistically practical and otherwise.

    Make your cases. Argue fairly. Respect each others humanity.

    PS. I’m not libertarian. I’m .. well, not certain of anything much really. Well except the longest star name being Arkushangarushashutu for the Babylonian proper name of Delta Cancris an orange giant star I could point out to y’all if it wasn’t cloudy or daytime and quite a few other bits of trivia.

    But I do think we’re better than this and can think and argue better than many here do.

    • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

      Typo : That’s Arkushanangarushashutu meaning ‘the southeast star in the Crab’ in that ancient tongue.

      Source : Allen, Richard Hinckley, ‘Star Names; Their Lore and Meaning’, Dover, 1963.

  • GregB

    Noam Chomsky (personally he is that rare thing, a hero of mine) identifies himself as an “anarcho-libertarian”.

  • doublereed

    Chomsky has talked about how the right wing has co-opted and butchered the libertarian term. Foe what I’ve seen, he’s libertarian the same way that the ACLU and Ed Brayton are civil libertarians: he’s a liberal.

  • RM

    I think there is a distinction to be made between the right-leaning Randian Libertarians (big L) and the more left-leaning “left-libertarians”/”socialist libertarians”/”an (who go by various names). The leftish libertarians are usually very critical of the government subsidies and favoritism that go toward large corporations, and don’t necessarily like the Big L libertarians.

    • Iamcuriousblue

      Re: 29 & 30

      Speaking as a more or less left-libertarian, you’re correct to make that distinction. Where I take issue with #29, is conflating that with “liberal”. That may or may not be correct, depending on how you define “liberal”. I think all libertarians are “liberals” in a sense – right-libertarians are classic Adam Smith liberals (which at this point in history is actually a form of conservatism), and many left-libertarians are basically strong Millean social liberals. (Not always, though – the more radical left-libertarians are closer to anarchism.) However, “liberal” in the American sense can mean anything from Millean classic social liberalism (about what’s espoused by the ACLU) to something more in the direction of strong statist leftism.

      While there are commonalities between left-libertarianism and the social justice left (eg, seeing the power of large corporations as not a good thing), I think there are wide gaps, and the differences explain why I don’t identify with the latter. Left-libertarianisms strong emphasis on civil liberties and individual rights, in particular free speech being a big point of disagreement. The kind of speech codes pushed on college campuses, and mimicked in SJ/feminist-dominated spaces are pretty much anathema from a civil libertarian point of view. Unfortunately, many SJ folks feel that if there’s a conflict between liberty/individual rights and equality, the latter pretty much always trumps the former, or that state guarantees of positive liberty somehow make up for denials of negative liberty. I can’t get with that POV, which is why I find myself in agreement with the Reason crowd on a lot of issues, even if I don’t buy their economic ideas, or worse, in the case of die-hard ideological/big-L libertarians, buying into nonsense like climate change denialism. That said, I find that I can agree to disagree with those people about the latter, whereas I can rarely agree to disagree with SJ folks about anything, really.

  • Drolfe

    There’s a distinct difference between “let people starve” and “replace welfare with charity”.

    And here’s the real problem, in practice there is no difference. Private charity has never in the history of the world been equivalent to public charity (I.e., welfare). Promoting the former to the detriment of the latter produces more starving people; it lets people starve.

    • funknjunk

      yes, noblesse oblige does not work as a societal structure. I would think that is self-evident. But Libertarians never cease to amaze me. The wealthy would never want any kind of a remotely level playing field. Because deep inside under the layers of psychological denial, they don’t believe what they spout. They don’t believe in their own exceptionalism. They KNOW that if others had the same opportunities, they might not be in the position they’re in. It’s that simple. The privilege reeks from these people.

  • angle

    WS Smith and Others-

    I wish to discuss ideals with WS Smith. I would like to do so without shouting over other people, so if you could be so generous, please don’t reply to this post unless you are WS Smith. If you wish to discuss something from it or one of it’s replies, please quote it further down the thread. Thank you very much.

    Now, some ground rules: Let’s avoid insults, ad hominem attacks, and even “Loaded Words”, or words that have lots of emotional baggage. If a word seems loaded, we should find a similar one that is less used and has less meaing attached. Fortunately, english is well equipped to indulge us. I know this might seem like a lot, but then I imagine you’re rather tired of shouting at people, and I don’t really feel like it either. This serves to keep the conversation clear, communicative, and makes things much less stressful on us. ;) Sound Good?

    Then for the first post, let us establish our beliefs. I will post mine below, and then you should post yours in response. Then, after we’ve posted our positions, we can discuss their relative merits.

    I believe that all human beings have a fundamental right to their own selves and their freedom. We should not be required to take part in anything we do not wish to. That said, we human beings are social creatures. None of us could survive to each adulthood without tremendous amounts of help from others. Thus, we create societies, and we make rules to attempt to ensure that those societies are more of a benefit than a hindrance. I beleive that this is a worthwhile endeavor. I believe that through careful consideration, we can make our societies more benfiial and less hindering. For this end, I believe government should be thoroughly restricted in it’s power. Most notably, I believe that government should not be allowed to keep secrets. Furthermore, I believe that the power of Wealth sould be similarly restricted. Whether this means restricting how much wealth people can acumulate or restrictng how they can spend it, I am uncertain. Regardless, there should be restrictions. Having my neighbor accumulate too much wealth is as detrimental to my freedom as having them accumulate too much political power. I also beleive that we should implement systems to provide greater opportunites to people – public education, public trasportation, public healthcare, etc. Whether we do these through the government or another means, I do not know. But we should create them and see to their maintenance. I’m also rather leery of the capitalistic process. I believe that people should have an alterative. I would suggest a system of coops, beholden to their workers instead of their shareholders, but there are other possibilities.

    Anyway, I look forward to your position statement. If you beleive that I forgot something, just tell me, and I’ll see to adding it.

    • http://tonythompsonjr%40facebook.com Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

      I wish to discuss ideals with WS Smith. I would like to do so without shouting over other people, so if you could be so generous, please don’t reply to this post unless you are WS Smith. If you wish to discuss something from it or one of it’s replies, please quote it further down the thread. Thank you very much.

      A public blog is not the place for a private discussion. You don’t get to dictate who can and can’t respond to you. Sure you can request it, but no one has to adhere to it (unless Kaveh decides he wants this as a rule).

  • culuriel

    I have tried talking with libertarians. I, inevitable, get told that “government is your god”, because of the numerous places where the “market” doesn’t solve a problem, and hence government steps in. In the end, I’ve always been turned off by the “I’m above the fray because I disagree with both large political parties” attitude they almost always seem to have. Suffice to say, we don’t have to try libertarian ideas- we have history to tell us what happens when we don’t protect wages, public safety, civil rights, and the environment by law, courts, and government agencies. The only way one can realistically be a libertarian, is to think that somehow, people, especially business owners, are so much magically better that we don’t need these laws anymore.

  • EnlightenmentLiberal

    @Kaveh Mousavi

    Simple example:

    I say that if we could device a plan for a country (think of your own country) which required a 1% income tax increase, and this plan would use that money to ensure that no one in your country would go hungry again, I say we should do this plan. Furthermore, I say not only is this plan a good idea, but it’s morally obliged that you support it.

    In practice, the 1% income tax is a gross overestimate of the amount of money required.

    In the US, this program has a name, food stamps, and the Republican party of my country is hard at work trying to destroy it. It is hard for me offhand to think of a more vile position than not supporting food stamps.

    This plan is socialism. This plan is the exact opposite of libertarian economic policies. If you support this plan, then you are not a libertarian. You may call yourself a libertarian and support this plan, but then you are just confused as to what libertarian means.

    I have no plans to back off from this position in the future. Libertarians who knowingly embrace the economic policies of libertarianism are vile, disgusting, miserable excuses for human beings. So, the choices are some combination of staggeringly ignorant, self absorbed and sheltered, or evil.

    • Kaveh Mousavi

      But I don’t call myself a libertarian?

      • EnlightenmentLiberal

        I was using “you” in the proverbial form / hypothetical form. Replace “you” with the word “one”.

        I am making a point that people who call themselves libertarians do deserve ridicule and scorn because their position is manifestly immoral.

  • jesse

    Gad, this thread.

    Kaveh– I think the issue might be one of differing political histories that you grew up with.

    In the US, the term “Republican” for instance, has a rather different meaning than, say, Spain. Or England. One is a right-wing party, the second was a center-left-wing movement, the third means you want to abolish the monarchy.

    In the US, Libertarians are now almost exclusively creatures of the right. As WS Smith has demonstrated they aren’t too good with history either, or economics. (It’s usually Libertarians who want to return to the gold standard).

    So yeah, for many progressive people the term isn’t a good one.

    Where you are, I don’t know what connotations the word has. So I suspect that’s why it might seem a gratuitous insult when used as such to you. I would be similarly perplexed by the use of certain terms as insults in Iran, even if I spoke Farsi (I don’t) because I wouldn’t have enough context. I have no idea if there’s any equivalent there, I am just throwing that out as an example.

  • Drolfe

    Kaveh Mousavi,

    A couple libertarians have had their say.

    in any discussion about libertarians, the comments by libertarians will invariably make the stupidity of libertarianism clear

    (In the comments at the link even more have their say.)

    If the bulk of interaction with libertarians shows them out as liars and indifferent-to-suffering assholes (among other unseemly qualities) how is Libertarian not an insult?

    I’ll go one further though: I want people who aren’t Libertarians to not fall for it, and I want people who are Libertarians to at least be ashamed enough to inspect their beliefs.

    (I’m not into accommodating harmful beliefs.)

  • http://exhomebirthers.wordpress.com skeptifem

    Libertarians need to deal with the bigots in their ranks before I will respect them. That’s all there is to it. I can’t very well do it because I am not a part of the group.

    • Iamcuriousblue

      As should radical feminists. Unless we’re just talking gross double standards here.

      • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

        I’ve seen far less bigotry from “radical feminists” (whatever you might mean by that vague and overused phrase) than I have from libertarians.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    …libertarians have supported and done great things.

    Such as…? Your failure to cite even ONE example shows how hollow your argument is.

    If I didn’t know better, based on the reaction people show to the world “libertarian” one would assume something like KKK was mentioned.

    There’s a good reason for that: libertarians have consistently opposed all meaningful legislation aimed at combating racial, sexual, religious and other discrimination. They claim to be against racism, while relentlessly attacking just about everyone who actually tries to fight it.

    I’ve been listening to libertarian bullshit since 1978. It’s both an extremely manipulative con-game and an ideology consciously crafted to justify government of, by and for the rich. The scorn and contempt we reserve for libertarians is well-earned, and I, for one, see no need to apologize for any of it.


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