Why I Am Not a Libertarian

Of all the political movements out there, the Libertarians have the coolest rhetoric. No matter what the issue is, they get to talk about Freedom vs. Tyranny and quote all that rousing stuff the Founders said about King George.

It’s also the perfect belief system for a young male (and maybe, by now, young females too). You don’t need knowledge or experience of any specific situations, you just need to understand the One Big Idea That Solves Everything: Other than a small and appropriately humbled military and judicial establishment, government is bad. Protect life, protect property, enforce contracts — and leave everything else to the market.

I should know. Thirty-five years ago, I was a 19-year-old libertarian, and I learned all the arguments. Now I’m a progressive — a liberal, whatever — and these days even I have to shake my head at how often I’m tempted to quote Marx.

What happened? Well, I suppose I could stroke my white beard and pontificate vaguely about the benefits of 35 years of experience. But I’m thinking that a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires me to be a little more specific.

When you escape a sweeping worldview like Libertarianism, you usually don’t find an equally sweeping critique right away. A broad reframing may come later, but the transformation starts with a few things that stick in your craw and refuse to let themselves be swallowed.

For example, when I was leaving fundamentalist Christianity, one of the first things that bothered me was the genealogy of Jesus. The Bible contains two irreconcilable ones (in Matthew and Luke); they can’t both be the “gospel Truth”. Now, decades later, that issue is nowhere near the top of my why-I’m-not-a-fundamentalist list.

So let me start with some specific, simple things before I launch into more abstract philosophy.

Plague. I recommend that anyone thinking about becoming a Libertarian read The Great Influenza by John Barry. It doesn’t say a word about political philosophy, but it does compare how various American cities handled the Spanish Flu of 1918, which globally killed more people than World War I. The cities that did best were the ones that aggressively quarantined, shut down public meeting places, imposed hygiene standards, and in general behaved like tyrants.

As you read, try to imagine a Libertarian approach to a serious plague. I don’t think there is one. Maybe most people would respond to sensible leadership, but public health is one of those areas where a few people with the freedom to pursue screwy ideas can mess up everybody.

Global warming. There’s a reason why small-government candidates deny global warming: Denial is the only answer they have. Global warming is a collective problem, and there is no individualistic solution to it. Even market-based approaches like cap-and-trade require a massive government intervention to create the market that attacks the problem.

Property. Now let’s get to that more serious reframing.

I had to live outside the Libertarian worldview for many years before I began to grasp the deeper problem with it: property. Every property system in history (and all the ones I’ve been able to imagine) are unjust. So a government that establishes a property system, defends it, and then stops is an agent of injustice.

Libertarians tend to take property as a given, as if it were natural or existed prior to any government. But defining what can be owned, what owning it means, and keeping track of who owns what — that’s a government intervention in the economy that dwarfs all other government interventions. You see, ownership is a social thing, not an individual thing. I can claim I own something, but what makes my ownership real is that the rest of you don’t own it. My ownership isn’t something I do, it’s something we do.

[Aside: This is why it's completely false to say that government programs primarily benefit the poor. Property is a creation of government, so the primary beneficiaries of government are the people who own things -- the rich.]

Property and Labor. It’s worthwhile to go back and read the justifications of property that were given in the early days of capitalism. The most famous and influential such justification was in John Locke’s 1690 classic The Second Treatise of Civil Government. Locke admits that both reason and Christian revelation say that God gave the world to all people in common.

But I shall endeavour to shew, how men might come to have a property in several parts of that which God gave to mankind in common, and that without any express compact of all the commoners.

Locke argues that we individually own our bodies, and so we own our labor. So when our labor gets mingled with physical objects, we develop a special claim on those objects. The person who gathers apples in a wild forest, Locke says, owns those apples.

The labour that was mine, removing them out of that common state they were in, hath fixed my property in them. … Though the water running in the fountain be every one’s, yet who can doubt, but that in the pitcher is his only who drew it out? His labour hath taken it out of the hands of nature, where it was common, and belonged equally to all her children, and hath thereby appropriated it to himself.

But Locke attaches a condition to this justification: It only works if your appropriation doesn’t prevent the next person from doing the same.

No body could think himself injured by the drinking of another man, though he took a good draught, who had a whole river of the same water left him to quench his thirst

And that’s where the whole thing breaks down. Today, a baby abandoned in a dumpster has as valid a moral claim to the Earth as anybody else. But as that child grows it will find that in fact everything of value has already been claimed. Locke’s metaphorical water is all in private pitchers now, and the common river is dry.

When that individual tries to mingle labor with physical objects, he or she will be rebuffed at every turn. Gather apples? The orchard belongs to someone else. Hunt or fish? The forest and the lake are private property.

The industrial economy is in the same condition. You can’t go down to the Ford plant and start working on your new car. You have to be hired first. You need an owner’s permission before your labor can start to create property for you. If no owner will give you that permission, then you could starve.

Access to the means of production. In Locke’s hunter-gatherer state of Nature, only laziness could keep an able-bodied person poor, because the means of production — Nature — was just sitting there waiting for human labor to turn it into property.

Today’s economic environment is very different, but our intuitions haven’t kept up. Our anxiety today isn’t that there won’t be enough goods in the world, and it isn’t fear that our own laziness will prevent us from working to produce those goods. Our fear is that the owners of the means of production won’t grant us access, so we will never have the opportunity to apply our labor.

I meet very few able-bodied adults whose first choice is to sit around demanding a handout. But I meet a lot who want a job and can’t find one. I also meet young people who would be happy to study whatever subject and train in whatever skill would get them a decent job. I am frustrated that I can’t tell them what subject or what skill that is.

Justice. A Libertarian government that simply maintained this property system would be enforcing a great injustice. Access to the means of production should be a human birthright. Everyone ought to have the chance to turn his or her labor into products that he or she could own.

What’s more, everyone should get the benefit of the increased productivity of society. No individual created that productivity single-handedly. No individual has a right to siphon it off.

But instead, our society has a class of owners, and everyone else participates in the bounty of the Earth and the wealth of human progress only by their permission. Increasingly, they maneuver into a position that allows them to drive a hard bargain for that permission. And so higher productivity means higher unemployment, and the average person’s standard of living decreases even as total wealth increases.

The role of government. I anticipate this objection: “You want to go back to being hunter-gatherers. We’ll all starve.”

Not at all. I want a modern economy. But a lassez-faire economy that takes the property system as given is unjust. It is the proper role of government to balance that injustice, to provide many paths of access to the means of production, and to compensate those who are still shut out.

To prevent government from doing so, in today’s world, is no way to champion freedom. Quite the opposite, it’s tyrannical.

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Comments

  • nagoonberry  On August 22, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Love this post…with the exception of one sentence: “I meet very few able-bodied adults whose first choice is to sit around demanding a handout.”

    The word able-bodied clanged in my ear. I think I know what you were trying to say, but this reads as if the first choice of people with disabilities is to sit around demanding a handout.

    The truth of the matter is that unemployment and underemployment are huge problems for people with disabilities–for the most part because employers don’t have the imagination to hire someone who’s blind, or uses a wheelchair, for example. This actually supports the point you are making about access to employment.

    • weeklysift  On August 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm

      I hear what you say. I trust you know that’s not what I meant.

      I meant that people who can do something productive usually want to; if they live off hand-outs, it’s usually because they have little choice. There are, of course, some exceptions, but the popular idea that the unemployed are lazy is false in my experience.

      • nagoonberry  On August 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm

        I do know that’s not what you meant. And I agree with your broader point. Unfortunately, those who believe that the unemployed are lazy have usually met one or two people who reinforce their beliefs.

      • Anonymous  On August 28, 2011 at 10:49 pm

        Your experience with human nature is limited and affects your conclusions. In general people respond to financial incentives and will live off the system if the rules make that existance easier or more profitable. The disabled are a special and minority subset, the majority will take the free hand out and and run with it. You are unfortunately another liberal idealist who is unfamiliar with true human nature. I can only hope that you will live enough additional years to gain true wisdom…

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 11:09 pm

        Anonymous — that is not correct. The vast majority of Americans have a pretty good work ethic and would far rather work to support themselves and their families than get handouts when they could work. There are a few exceptions to that, but it’s a small percentage.
        As I have mentioned before, all the liberals I know have never personally met anyone who would rather laze around and get welfare checks than work, while every conservative I know claims to know at least one of them: From this I tentatively conclude that it is mostly true of conservatives, not liberals, even though it is conservatives who claim to have that strong work ethic.

      • Anonymous  On August 28, 2011 at 11:26 pm

        Kim – you are trying to go down the path of politics while ignoring basic human nature. Your response assumes that I am a conservative and all conservatives have a biased view of the unemployed. Having had the fortune to deal with people across the entire spectrum, I can safely state that your suppostition is incorrect and that a fair percentage of people on public assistance are there by choice and will stay there as long as the rules allow it. There are many studies that will support this position – quite simply the rules encourage it. Just the facts, not politics…

      • Arlo J. Pignotti  On October 10, 2011 at 10:25 am

        I know several people who will never work until the welfare is taken away. I was able to convince two people to get off welfare to work for me, but it took great effort, and as the “employer” (they’re really contractors) there’s no way I would have put that much into convincing them if I hadn’t known them personally. I even know a couple of people who go so far as to move state to state to qualify for one program while another program runs out. Sometimes I think when people say they don’t know anyone who would choose welfare over work, they’re just not being honest with themselves and looking the other way when they see it. This is very common and will get more common as we increase these so-called benefits.

      • Kim Cooper  On October 10, 2011 at 9:27 pm

        Arlo — You know, unless those people you describe are teenagers, I just flat out don’t believe you.

    • MissTee  On August 23, 2011 at 11:34 pm

      “Able bodied” just means someone with some ability to do something. It does not exclude physically or mentally disabled people.

  • Rhett  On August 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    This is exactly the route I took out of Libertarianism. I still hold a number of libertarian ideals as a libertarian socialist, but I also am the first to admit these are ideals that must be tempered with practical observation of current economic and political conditions rather than a philosophical derivation from first principles.

    • Isaac  On August 24, 2011 at 9:49 pm

      “Libertarian socialist” = a contradictory position. There is no such thing. Either you want a small government that does not interfere with the lives of its people, or you want a big government that forces its actions upon you. There is no alternative.

      • Fra  On August 24, 2011 at 11:41 pm

        A small government can be just as intrusive into the lives of it’s citizens, especially if military and police concerns are the only areas it is focused on. And conversely a big government doesn’t necessarily have to “force its actions upon you”, unless you consider making food and drugs safe, ensuring a clean environment, maintaining a highway system, coming to the aid of national disaster victims and thousands of other benign and noble efforts to be some despotic force.

        The small government model currently being pushed is simply a model whereby the wealthy are protected from you and I and the rest of us can go rot. Unless you’re in the top 10% of economic elites this small government model will make you poorer, less safe and far less free.

        In the real world, the choice is between a small government that benefits the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us, or a big government worthy of a world power that addresses many concerns of its diverse citizenry. I’ll vote for the 2nd model.

      • Tom Swiss  On August 24, 2011 at 11:58 pm

        Isacc: you do not know what socialism is. It does *not* mean “a big government that forces its actions upon you”. It means a system based on labor rather than on state-backed capital. Anarchists — the true libertarians — are socialists.

      • Tom Woody  On August 25, 2011 at 5:00 am

        Not true. There is a strong libertarian socialist tradition, including such figures as Pierre Proudhon, Peter Kropotkin and Emma Goldman. Read Ursula LeGuin’s The Dispossessed for a vivid fictional portrayal of what such a society might be like.

      • Isaac  On August 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm

        @Fra

        It’s not the government’s job to make food “safe”. In reality, the regulations do not make food “safer”. People who produce food products do not have an incentive to kill their customers, because they lose money if they get bad word of mouth. We can regulate ourselves by reading privately funded consumer reports. We do not need the government as our nanny.

        @Tom Swiss

        You do not know what socialism, libertarianism or anarchism is. It’s a lack of freedom. Anarchism and libertarianism are not the same thing, and anarchists are not socialists or libertarians. What you describe as “a system based on labor” is slavery. Try harder.

      • Aaron  On August 27, 2011 at 12:05 pm

        Isaac, you have failed at this station:
        It’s not the governments job to make food safe until thousands of people die due to a milk producer, who all of a sudden, began utilizing an experimental hormone on his livestock (that privately funded consumer reports wouldn’t learn about in time to warn consumers). Sure the producer goes out of business, but thousands die first.
        When your children are crippled or dead due to the usage of untested, unknown, or improper quantities of chemicals or contents I’m sure you would be the first on the bandwagon demanding there be some type of institution to oversee the quality and safety of mass consumption goods.

        As for anarchism and libertarianism not being the same thing and “libertarian socialist” being a contradiction: Read the wiki “Libertarian socialism”

        In your words, “Try harder.” Please.

      • Isaac  On August 27, 2011 at 2:36 pm

        Aaron, really, you’re out of your mind. Your paranoid, insane worldview is not the construct of a rational mind. You are wrong, I am correct. You cannot change a view when there is no view to change. Your statements have never had any basis in reality and never will. You clearly don’t have a clue about anything you’re trying to shove down the throats of rational-minded, sane human individuals. No one would operate in the behavior you suggest.

        Businesses are NOT TRYING TO KILL THEIR CUSTOMERS. The reason why this doesn’t work is that YOU LOSE MONEY if you kill your customers. Businesses are not out to LOSE MONEY. They’re trying to MAKE MONEY. There is no justification for the claims you make when, in reality, to anyone who’s been paying attention, producers of food products eat food themselves.

        I would not produce any kind of food product that would kill other people, because I eat food myself and I don’t want to be killed by my own food. Do you see a problem with your estimation?

      • Damien RS  On August 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm

        “Businesses are not trying to kill their customers”

        So I guess tobacco companies aren’t selling a deadly substance and haven’t been caught covering up evidence of dangers; Chinese companies didn’t put toxic melamine in milk; meat processors never cut corners in making sure their products don’t have E. coli or salmonella contamination; drug dealers never cut their drugs with neutral or even toxic substances so they can sell more…

        Just as sea levels aren’t rising, oceans aren’t warming up, glaciers aren’t retreating, species aren’t moving further north…

      • Aaron  On August 27, 2011 at 4:01 pm

        Isaac,
        I should save my energy for conversations with grown-ups, but if you conduct google searches for “infected beef”, “infected milk”, “milk deaths”, and “china food safety” you will be able to see that unsafe food practices DO happen.
        And just because they DO happen in the real world doesn’t mean that those responsible did it to PURPOSEFULLY harm anyone.
        Do you see a problem with your estimation that food safety hazards do not exist because it is illogical for them to happen (when in fact, safety hazards DO occur)?
        Your argument is akin to saying that unsafe food will never be produced, nor has it ever been produced, because the producer needs to to turn a profit.

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 1:39 am

        Problem is, China isn’t libertarian. It’s mostly communist, with the exception of Hong Kong, which has a free market. What you describe is a rare occurrence, likely CAUSED by regulations, and not a generalized issue with these products. Quite frankly, implying that I’m not a grown up because I understand how the world works, unlike you, is stupid.

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 2:19 am

        Damien RS,

        Scientific evidence is against global warming, and the problems in food products were creative by excessive regulation and badly-written laws. Think before you try to make a point. When you don’t think, you will never have a point.

      • Aaron  On August 28, 2011 at 12:14 pm

        Isaac,
        You attacked ONE aspect of my argument, which really was quite relevant to your assertion that food producers will do no harm (my point: what happens when you don’t regulate food quality, such as China – but China was only one of my suggested google searches for you).
        Your response was to use an unverified generalization with no basis (“what you describe is a rare occurrence LIKELY caused by regulations”)… thanks for the factual statement there based only in your personal opinion.
        You understand how the world works? That’s frightful.
        I’ve lived in 7 different countries and traveled to every continent on the globe except Antarctica.
        On top of this experience, I have two masters degrees. One in International Relations.
        What is your background that would contribute to your understanding of how the world works?

      • Aaron  On August 28, 2011 at 12:40 pm

        On scientific evidence against global warming:

        The overwhelming majority of the scientific community agrees that global warming IS happening.

        The finding that the climate has warmed in recent decades and that human activities are already contributing adversely to global climate change has been endorsed by every national science academy that has issued a statement on climate change, including the science academies of all of the major industrialized countries.

        A 2010 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analysed “1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers”.

        The evidence that the planet is warming is irrefutable.
        The only debatable aspect is: How much are humans responsible and how much of the warming is a natural planetary process.
        I tend to be a bit skeptical on how much warming is caused by humans, but while there may be SOME scientific evidence AGAINST global warming, there is an OVERABUNDANCE of scientific evidence FOR global warming.
        So, is there scientific evidence against global warming? I’m sure there is. Is it sound research? That is very debatable by the vast majority of researchers of climatology.

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 2:10 pm

        The overwhelming majority of the scientific community agrees that global warming is NOT happening. Please do not argue with this. It is like trying to argue that the sky, is in fact, purple, and not blue.

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm

        Aaron, if you have even ONE master’s degree, you justify my argument that publicly funded education is wrong and that schools should be privatized so that less advantage is given to dummies in the name of “fairness”.

      • Aaron  On August 28, 2011 at 8:32 pm

        Thanks for the evidence from the “overwhelming majority of the scientific community” that global warming is NOT happening.
        I’m sure the National Academy of Sciences and science academies from every industrialized nation are just making things up about global warming.

        And thanks for the affirmation that you are neither educated, nor do you have any real world experience that would help to quantify your viewpoints.
        You have also made it clear that you do not understand how higher education works. Particularly the competitive nature of being accepted into a master’s program at a top 5 school.

        You should save yourself some embarrassment. Stay in your league, and don’t play above it.

      • Bob  On August 30, 2011 at 3:26 pm

        @Aaron ( and Fra and Damian and Woody ): Thanks for your sane rational arguments against the neoliberal spin posted here by Issac. Clearly this man lives in a world of spin and spin alone. He has been indoctrinated with his talking points and that is all he chooses to know. Even more frightening is that the well funded neoliberal oligarchs are now paying people to post this sort of ideological fact free spin on blogs like this. Astroturfing is real and present. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing

      • Kim Cooper  On August 30, 2011 at 11:56 pm

        Bob — does that mean you don’t think my arguments were sane or rational? :-)

      • hahaney  On January 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm

        Issac – The first clause of Article I, Section 8, reads, “The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.”

        Alexander Hamilton maintained that the clause granted Congress the power to spend without limitation for the general welfare of the nation.

  • Bob Hurst  On August 22, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    I, like you, subscribed to Libertarianism when I was young and knew everything. I even waded through Ayn Rand’s turgid prose. Where it began to break down for me was the mythic concept of “Enlightened Self-Interest.” Even in my youth I was unable to discover any examples. The lack of any examples began to convince me that short-term greed wins out every time. In the ensuing 35-40 years, I have seen that truth proven many times. The other big flaw with Libertarianism is that for it to work buyers of services and goods require accurate information, and not only is there no incentive whatsoever for sellers to tell the truth, there are incentives for them to lie. Consequently, in a Libertarian world, the shoddy will drive out the good and ethical without the government maintaining a level playing field. We can see in the current, continuing financial crisis that failure to maintain that level fairness has been disastrous.

    • weeklysift  On August 23, 2011 at 8:16 am

      Bob: The argument you’re making in general is similar to the one I make in the specific case of health care. The reason the market will never give us cheap, good health insurance (the way it gives us cheap, good computers) is the accurate-information problem.

      Most people have no idea whether their health insurance is any good until they have a major medical problem. And once that happens, the health insurance company doesn’t want their business any more.

      So informed consumer feedback is never going to shape the health insurance market.

      • TWITTER  On August 23, 2011 at 11:37 am

        Hmmm.
        Information sharing via the Internet recently has brought down governments…
        Perhaps now that we have the Internet, the accurate-information problem with health care can be dealt with. Seems like an opportunity to me.

      • Ele  On August 23, 2011 at 12:31 pm

        It’s worse than that — even if you have the tools to evaluate whether your health insurance is good or not, there’s rarely anything you can do about it. Most people get their health insurance through their employer, and have no real choice about coverage.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm

        Not only do we have no real choice about which company we get our health care from, once we sign on we have no choice at all about what benefits they offer: we cannot make our own individual agreements based on what health problems we are likely to deal with or what we consider important. For example, I have Kaiser individual coverage. I pay over $625 a month for it, but, while it will diagnose sleep apnea, it won’t treat it. I don’t get a choice about that. All the advantages are on their side. It’s an unequal relationship. My “choice” in the market is illusory.

    • Isaac  On August 24, 2011 at 9:46 pm

      There is NO INCENTIVE for sellers to lie.

      Fact: If you sell bad product, you receive bad feedback, and your sales go down.

      Sellers who lie do not receive repeat business.

      The free market works because you can read consumer reports and avoid doing business with lying businessmen. That is why sellers have no incentive to lie.

      Your statement is entirely untrue. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. In a free market, the good and ethical drive out the shoddy.

      What you promote is a system where everything is forced upon us and there is no free will or choice. That is not ethical.

      • Johnnykaje  On August 25, 2011 at 12:16 am

        “Sellers who lie do not receive repeat business.”

        Cool theory. I’ll keep that in mind the next time I see a chiropractor, a creationist theme park tycoon, somebody selling magnetic bracelets, diet hawkers, magazine editors, snake oil salesmen, pretty much every advertiser ever…

        Do you even live in this reality?

      • Sam  On August 25, 2011 at 5:36 pm

        Uh… politicians generally… corporate news outlets (e.g. Faux News), energy companies, agribusiness (Monsanto), military industry, Wall Street (selling sub-prime mortgages as AAA-rated investments, then avoid prosecution by buying the government)… a few examples of major sectors selling lies.

      • Sam  On August 25, 2011 at 5:38 pm

        “What you promote is a system where everything is forced upon us and there is no free will or choice. That is not ethical.” This manner of thinking in abstract absolutes is precisely what one needs to mature beyond somewhere between 20-and-30.

      • Isaac  On August 25, 2011 at 7:50 pm

        @Johnnykaje

        Those are quacks. The reason that these businesses die out is because of bad word of mouth. I am afraid that YOU are the one who does not live in reality.

        @Sam

        These situations you describe were created by regulations. Without regulations, we wouldn’t have any problem because there would be a wider range of businesses that you would have a choice in what you pay for.

        Media outlets like Fox News do not have any part in free market. They make their money via advertising. It doesn’t matter what any news organization says. You can seek information from something other than Fox News and Michael Moore who you are readily willing to omit from this equation since his opinions fit your bias, and the opinions on Fox News don’t.

        Also, my manner of thinking IS a matured train of thought process. You would know this if you had matured, which you haven’t, as wisdom and knowledge clearly have not hit you yet.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 26, 2011 at 4:06 am

        You are wrong. there is plenty of incentive for sellers to lie. They lie because it works. Maybe it wouldn’t work in a village where everyone knows each other and “news” is spread by word of mouth, but we no longer live in that world.
        The people who bought their products and died because of it are in no position to warn others.
        Theories often don’t work in a real world, and libertarianism is one of them. Libertarianism supposes that people are ethical and thorough and rational, none of which is true.

      • Isaac  On August 27, 2011 at 1:47 am

        Kim, once again you are wrong. The incentive for sellers not to lie is because THEY LOSE CUSTOMERS AND MONEY IF THEY LIE.

        There is a thing called reality. You are supposed to be living in it. Get the facts through your thick fucking skull.

      • Aaron  On August 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm

        Isaac, you devalue your own arguments by being incredibly rude.
        Not that your arguments were holding much water on their own though…
        Your ideals might work in small sample vacuums, but in the world of reality I see them simply being an interesting, but unfeasible idea.
        Out of curiosity, is there a functioning libertarian style government currently in existence? or an example in modern history that has been successful?
        Surely, over the thousands of years that modern man has been on this earth, a libertarian style of government would have flourished by now?
        Maybe it has. I’m just asking.

      • Isaac  On August 27, 2011 at 2:40 pm

        I have no incentive to be polite to those with no inclination to making a serious argument, instead of intentionally trying to incite others.

        Hong Kong has the world’s freest economy, and is also simultaneously the world’s best economy.

      • Aaron  On August 27, 2011 at 4:52 pm

        Hong Kong?
        You might want to define what you mean by “freest” and “world’s best economy”. Those are broad terms and could imply quite a bit.

        Hong Kong might seem libertarian prima facie, but scratch the surface and you’ll see the dead hand of Government far more than you’d suspect. The government’s share of GDP has doubled since the 60s.
        There’s not alot on the internet about Hong Kong and libertarianism. But here’s a link for ya:

        http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2005/07/hong_kong_stati.html

      • Kim Cooper  On August 27, 2011 at 6:05 pm

        “Fact: If you sell bad product, you receive bad feedback, and your sales go down.”

        In today’s modern, complex world, it takes too long for this process to work effectively. It simply isn’t efficient. Many people can be harmed, poisoned, injured, cheated or otherwise badly treated before the company sees any effective feedback. Plus, because of the untoward power of large corporations in the modern world, the punishment, when they eventually receive it, it nowhere near proportionate to the crime. Corporations routinely getting fined millions of dollars for cheating people out of billions of dollars. It doesn’t stop them from doing it again — they just figure it in as a cost of doing business. Meanwhile, many people have been harmed with no real recourse. That’s how the real world works.
        Isaac, your increasingly vitriolic replies just show that you are afraid that we are right and you are wrong and the prospect of your constructed fantasy crashing down around your ears frightens you. I sympathize with your fear, but your world view is really hopelessly naive.

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 1:33 am

        Kim,

        A highly regulated nation of poorly-written laws is responsible for what you describe.

        You are the one who is afraid, because you KNOW that I am right. Your fear is associated with your irrationality. Your fear results from knowing that I have no fear. The reason that I have no fear is that there is no reason to fear the stupid and irrational. There is no reason to fear ignorance.

        I cannot change the fact that you are stupid, irrational and ignorant. I cannot change the fact that you do not understand how the world works. I cannot change that you insist on continuing to troll despite the fact that you make no arguments worth responding to, because they are easily proven wrong.

        What I can change, via my vote, is getting the idiots you voted for out of office, so they can stop destroying the lives of Americans, including, yes, you, the people who voted for them.

      • Anonymous  On November 10, 2011 at 2:26 am

        There is only one fact that needs to be given to refute this statement that “There is NO INCENTIVE for sellers to lie.” Graft. Graft exists. It’s a real thing that people do. It’s profitable.

        Bernie Madoff really did swindle people out of billions of dollars by lying.

      • Anonymous  On November 10, 2011 at 2:30 am

        Example: My parents were tiling their home and they paid a man thousands of dollars to do the work. He disappeared with the money. How were my parents supposed to learn that this man was a fraud? He doesn’t need repeat business, because he moves on to the next sucker.

    • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 1:38 am

      In another example of Kim Cooper stupidity, Kim Cooper complains about not having a choice in insurance providers, something that was made a reality by regulations, while simultaneously slagging the idea of getting rid of the regulations that caused her claimed issue that “she” does not actually have because this is not a person but a cartoon caricature of a stupid liberal used to troll this site – and possibly operated by a conservative or a libertarian having a laugh at the expense of people who think like her. I suggest this as a possibility, because I refuse to believe that someone this stupid actually exists.

      Yes, blame the people who want to get rid of regulations because you want to have a choice in insurance providers (which, by the way, is a rip-off to begin with) since the regulations created a problem in which you have no choice. Oh, the irony. Give a big round of applause for the Internet’s stupidest person.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 3:21 am

        Isaac — You lose credibility by calling me names. Your anger betrays you. However, I will continue to endeavor to answer what points you try to make. At least for a while.
        In this post, are you claiming that my example about my insurance problems is not true? This seems to me like another case of conservative “aggressive projection” — it makes me think that you are the one who is not being candid.
        You will note that the liberals in this thread are remaining calm and addressing the issues for the most part while you and your cohorts are resorting to insults. This is another reason we are reacting by assuming you need maturing.
        The truth is, when you get rid of all regulations, what you get is pirates, thieves and bandits. People are often dishonest when they feel they can get away with it, and when one business adopts dishonest methods, others must do so also to compete. This is why competition has a corrupting side also. The reason governments arose in the first place was to deal with the problem of stealing. Businesses will generally do whatever they can get away with. Perhaps our point of contention is that you think the market won’t let them get away with much, and I think it will let them get away with a lot of dishonesty. (Businesses have no conscience. That is why they are not people.)

      • Aaron  On August 28, 2011 at 12:04 pm

        Kim Cooper is spot on here.
        And Isaac, this is at least the 2nd time you’ve called her a ‘troll’, but you fail to realize that you are commenting just as much, if not more than Kim Cooper is.

        And yes, people who are really stupid do exist. You should believe it. These people are incapable of critical thought, rational conversation, and level-headed intelligent debate or discourse. I’d like to introduce to someone who fits that description…
        *hands isaac a mirror*

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 2:19 pm

        Aaron and Kim,

        In spite of your belief to the contrary, all evidence points to the overwhelmingly obvious fact that you to are not intelligent, have no idea what you’re talking about, and are, in fact, irrational, ignorant and stupid.

        I don’t care how many times I post. I could post once in my lifetime, or post three times as much material as anyone on this site, and I would still be more intelligent than you two. You are stupid people. Not merely stupid, you are astoundingly stupid. You believe that the sky is falling. The only correct thing that you two believe in may be that you two are unable to take care of yourselves. While that may be true (though it is likely not), that is not my fault.

        I do not care about the well-being of stupid people. If you two are completely unable to care for yourselves, I take no responsibility for that. That is your own doing, not mine.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 5:36 pm

        I actually didn’t complain about not having a choice of insurance providers — someone else did that. I was complaining about not having a choice in the specific coverage they offer, even though I have an “individual” policy.
        Please read more carefully.

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 5:59 pm

        ” I was complaining about not having a choice in the specific coverage they offer”

        SAME THING. If you want a choice, you need privatized insurance, not being forced by your government to pay a federal institution to gamble with your life.

        Due to regulations, you are forced to buy car insurance, for example, even if you don’t actually require it. Not only that, if another member of your household gets a driver’s license, the car insurance increases. Sometimes exponentially, depending on how young the driver is.

        Insurance companies, no matter what you’re insuring, are comparable to mobsters. You should not be forced into something that should be an individual choice.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 8:22 pm

        I HAVE privatized insurance. It doesn’t help. I still have no choice.

    • Lance Brown  On August 31, 2011 at 2:39 pm

      @Bob Hurst, You ol’ UUS-Ler. How ya doing?

    • Lester Anderson  On September 16, 2012 at 10:25 am

      Health Insurance = Acturarial Calculation + Underwriter.
      Need for “competition” to get a “better product” – None At All.

      One pool for all and one annual-fee cost / person that is the same throughout life (inflation neutral).

      Paying the fee for poor people is separate legislation. End of Story – Problem Solved.

  • Shane L Harris  On August 22, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Genius. This is one of the best things I have read in a long time.

    • Fluffy Singler  On August 24, 2011 at 11:24 pm

      All evidence to the contrary. There are 6 billion people in the world. Over 300 million of them Americans. You can sell shoddy products for a very long time and get very rich on them before anyone catches up to you. There is a ton of evidence to suggest this.

      And even if someone sues you for your shoddy products, all you have to do is pay them off, for a sum that is a fraction of what you made but seems like a lot of money to the people being paid off, and then start a marketing campaign talking about your new improved product. Those lawsuits are just the cost of doing business. Just ask Toyota for example, or any number of other companies that have made shoddy products.

      If you screw your customers but employ a lot of people that could potentially lose their jobs, you’ve got the government by the balls and you are too big to fail, lest the economy crash, so you just take a big handout from the government and promise to do better. Then you renege.

      There is, in our world, endless reasons to do bad business or deliver a shoddy product, and the main reason is that your marketing and PR will cover for you. The market is just not the policing body that libertarians and republics think it is.

      • Nathan  On August 25, 2011 at 12:30 am

        indeed! And it drove me crazy during the bailout debate why no one asked the following pertinent question (in fact, IMO, the *only* pertinent question):

        “Just WHY did we LET these companies GET ‘too big to fail’?”

        After all, the Corporation is entirely a social construct. We willed it into existence and then pruned it to its present shape in the belief that it would serve our ends efficiently. At one point, we decided (having been convinced by a certain political party I won’t name here) to allow further conglomeration and monopolization by corporations, and that the added efficiency of this would outweigh the potential risks.

        Well, here we are several bubbles later and there is a staggering lack of intellectual curiosity about the nature of this “too big to fail” concept or how companies got to be so big. It’s not like corporations exist on their own out on the Serengeti. Sure, a parallel could be drawn between the way they grow, consume, and die to that of an organism or a species – except that WE are the selector, and can set whatever limits we choose to, via regulation.

        We chose not to, and we got a result that no one is paying attention to the lesson of. :\

      • Lester Anderson  On September 16, 2012 at 10:28 am

        In other words – regulation does NOT work. Shoddy products come about via giant corporate power. Giant corporate power benefits from a powerful government it can “buy” to absolve it from its liabilities and even “bail it out.”

  • Soli  On August 22, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    This is an extremely well-written critique of libertarian ideology. The way you frame private property specifically is very responsive to the way libertarians think about economic freedom. The idea that all inequalities in the capitalist playing field are really government’s fault misses the point; even if that were true, abolishing all government ‘interference’ beyond courts to defend the property system and militaries to defend the nation-state system would simply take all the current injustices, whatever their cause, and lock them in place indefinitely. Even if the rules of the game they propose are fair, if you start the game with some players several orders of magnitude ahead of others, the vast majority of us still never get a ‘fair’ shot at economic success. It’s easy to get lost in big ethical debates of whether it’s okay to let the poor starve if they ‘deserve’ their poverty, but once you acknowledge that we have extreme wealth inequality now for mostly unfair reasons, redistribution becomes a prerequisite to any credible claim of economic justice.

    • Isaac  On August 24, 2011 at 9:56 pm

      You are gravely mistaken. There is no such thing as ‘equality’. That is not a ‘free market’. There is no such thing as ‘equality’ or ‘fairness’. There is no credible justification for socialism and ‘redistribution’. It’s not okay or a good idea for the tax payers to spend money on people they do not know, do not care about, have no interest in, and have no requirement to deal with.

      There is no such thing as “extreme wealth inequality”, much less “wealth inequality” in the first place. You have to earn your own and operate within your own means. True capitalism can only operate under a free market. Businesses have to survive on their own merits, not what is ‘fair’.

      • insideout  On August 25, 2011 at 1:51 am

        The main problem with this belief of yours other than it is just plain selfish and uncaring is that it simply will not work! When you get rid of social welfare and take on the attitude that it is not my responsibility to help others then the entire system comes crashing down. Go ahead, take away Social Security and Medicare and see what happens next. What happens when you triple or quadruple the amount of homeless and indigent… sooner or later they are just going to come and start taking! You can argue all you want about personal responsibility and rugged individualism but in the end there has to be some kind of redistribution of wealth. You either pay higher taxes and have social programs or pay higher wages. It will not work with both of these absent.

      • Isaac  On August 25, 2011 at 7:36 pm

        insideout:

        Really? You think that a system that gives people more than enough chance to produce income will “quadruple the amount of homeless”…you’re a moron.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 26, 2011 at 4:25 am

        “It’s not okay or a good idea for the tax payers to spend money on people they do not know, do not care about, have no interest in, and have no requirement to deal with.”

        In a society where we actually come within visual distance of each other, we are constantly in danger from each other. If we don’t regulate the behaviors that spread disease, we are drastically effected by each other whether we will or no. If we live in a society that doesn’t offer free public education, fewer and fewer will be educated, and when that mythical libertarian businessman goes to hire people, the offerings will be inferior and of limited numbers. There are many other examples of how we affect each other whether we want to or not.

        “There is no such thing as “extreme wealth inequality”, much less “wealth inequality” in the first place. You have to earn your own and operate within your own means. ”

        How can you say there is no inequality? Where have you been? When education and health care isn’t free, those who were raised in wealthy families start out with a vast advantage in education and health, as well as connections and social training, over those who were raised in poor homes. This inequality is usually insurmountable. Even a really good, intelligent, able, ambitious genius raised in poverty usually doesn’t get to be wealthy. Sure, there’s a few exceptions, but not many, and not recently.

      • Isaac  On August 27, 2011 at 1:45 am

        There is no inequality because if you’ve earned your money, you do not deserve to be punished for earning it. Not everyone is supposed to have the same amount of money.

        Kim, read a book. You clearly have no clue. Please buy one.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 27, 2011 at 6:15 pm

        “There is no inequality because if you’ve earned your money, you do not deserve to be punished for earning it. Not everyone is supposed to have the same amount of money.”

        Who’s to say who has earned their money and who hasn’t? I am aware of at least two specific instances where the boss’s secretary actually did all the work while the boss drank and/or played golf. Why didn’t the secretary earn more money than the boss?
        No one is suggesting that rich people should be punished for earning lots of money. We are suggesting that they pay their dues, their fair share, of what it means to be a citizen of a modern country. They use all of the benefits of a modern society, why shouldn’t they help pay for it? Do you honestly think they are “better” than the people who do their work for them and that being “better” means they shouldn’t pay their part of the common costs of running a country?
        And, just on a philosophical level, what is your justification for saying that not everyone is supposed to have the same amount of money?

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 1:21 am

        My moral justification for saying that not everyone is supposed to have the same amount of money is that some people actually worked for their money and a lot of people who complain about “the rich” on the Internet are just lazy bums who don’t want to earn their living. It’s wrong to live off of the money of an entire country through tax-funded welfare (and, as a note, some of the people getting bogus benefits from tax dollars are rich, if you want something to complain about).

        You are under the false impression that every rich person is a layabout. This is not true. Until you understand that you are responsible for your own earnings, and you are the only reason that you do not have as much money as some of the people you condemn for their success, you will never be as successful as they are.

        If you want to talk about paying dues, how about if people are only taxed when they spend money? That way, some of the people that escape taxation (like drug dealers and the churches) can pay their dues, and people in general are taxed a lot less and get to afford living. High taxes make the poor poorer. You lower the taxes, you increase the amount of money people have, increase job opportunities, increase revenue, improve the budget, and get us out of the financial slump and big government off your back.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm

        Isaac — The number of people on welfare is very small, and the vast majority of people on welfare are on it no longer than two years. Why are you so upset that someone might be helped along when they are in need? What is this burning need to be selfish that you have?

  • selven  On August 23, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Let me whack at some of these:

    > Where it began to break down for me was the mythic concept of “Enlightened Self-Interest.” Even in my youth I was unable to discover any examples.

    1. Wealthy people donating money to medical research for diseases that they or their family members have
    2. Google giving us Android, Chrome, etc for free – no, not all of them have advertisements. It just turns out that they benefit from making the whole internet stronger, so they voluntarily support it. There are many, many other examples of free software and media that can be found quite easily.
    3. Corporate charity donations, Starbucks’ support of “fair trade”, etc. The desire to conform to consumer peer pressure is still a selfish motive turned toward the common good.

    > What’s more, everyone should get the benefit of the increased productivity of society. No individual created that productivity single-handedly.

    If you build a factory that allows workers who could otherwise make 5 shoes a day to make 50 shoes a day, you have single-handedly added that extra productivity. You can’t just abstract that away as a “social process”. And don’t use the argument that the employer hired employees to make the factory for him so it’s really those employees’ property – there must necessarily have been once a smaller factory (or other form of capital) that allowed him to buy that labor, and a smaller one for that, until you get back to the original source of wealth: underconsumption, saving and the initial capital accumulation.

    > not only is there no incentive whatsoever for sellers to tell the truth

    Reputations? Restaurants, for example, live and die by repeat customers, which is why I’ve even once been given a 100% discount for delayed service. Reputation is formalized into brands – you don’t see Apple products dying three days after the legally mandated warranty expires. Why? Because that would destroy the reputation, and thanks to the stock market the long-term loss would be converted into an immediate penalty to Apple’s stock valuation.

    > As you read, try to imagine a Libertarian approach to a serious plague. I don’t think there is one.

    Private property owners have the right to refuse admission to people with diseases, and if, as some libertarians advocate, streets are privatized, street owners could also do this, so you could survive a plague by going to only places and locations that have such restrictions. The success of such a solution depends on the diligence of the property owners, much like the success of a government solution depends on the quality of the government. Also, if there was a widespread plague in this day and age everyone would be very quickly notified via the internet, and if you value the enjoyment of going to a public meeting more than that of not getting sick that’s your own choice the consequences of which you are responsible for. Libertarian ethics does not consider people getting what they want undesirable even if it disagrees with our own preferences, and however illogical their preferences seem to us.

    > But defining what can be owned, what owning it means, and keeping track of who owns what — that’s a government intervention in the economy

    Private property arose at the same time as the agricultural era, and predated the nation-state. This is historical fact. The basic idea is that a system which allows everyone to easily figure out which objects they are and are not allowed to touch creates minimal conflict so it’s in everyone’s enlightened self-interest to support it.

    > simply take all the current injustices, whatever their cause, and lock them in place indefinitely

    Not even the most hardcore private property advocates support this. Rothbard, at least, definitely supports land reform in places like India where current titles are descended from feudalism.

    • weeklysift  On August 23, 2011 at 8:31 am

      Let me just take on the two most fundamental of these, and let other comments defend their own comments.

      1. The builder of a factory example. This is covered in an excellent book “Unjust Desserts” by by Gar Alperovitz and Lew Daly. I reviewed it here: http://weeklysift.com/2010/04/19/taking-sides/#04192010books

      The point is that the general progress of technology creates an opportunity which this factory owner is the first one to exploit. Good for him, he deserves to make some money off of it. But it’s a mistake to think that he is responsible for the whole productivity increase.

      Bill Gates is an excellent case in point. If Gates had never gone into business, would we just not have personal-computer operating systems or office software packages? I kind of doubt it. I think the ultimate economy would look pretty much the same way it does now. So Gates didn’t create $75 billion of value so much as he captured $75 billion of value.

      2. Property predates the nation-state, but government predates the nation-state too. I stand by my point that all property is a creation of government. When a new government takes over, it has to do something with the property-system it inherits from its predecessors. Usually the simplest thing to do is to ratify the old system.

      At its root, property is a social agreement — a decision that is collective without being unanimous. Pretty much by definition, anything that can make those decisions is a government.

    • Anonymous  On August 23, 2011 at 8:51 am

      > What’s more, everyone should get the benefit of the increased productivity of society. No individual created that productivity single-handedly.
      If you build a factory that allows workers who could otherwise make 5 shoes a day to make 50 shoes a day, you have single-handedly added that extra productivity. You can’t just abstract that away as a “social process”. And don’t use the argument that the employer hired employees to make the factory for him so it’s really those employees’ property – there must necessarily have been once a smaller factory (or other form of capital) that allowed him to buy that labor, and a smaller one for that, until you get back to the original source of wealth: underconsumption, saving and the initial capital accumulation.

      Why not use that argument? Beyond that, truckers brought the materials, cows were slaughtered for the leather, who had to be raised by farmers, cotton was picked for the strings. And these are only the material things. No individual has ever “built a factory [that] make[s] 50 shoes a day.” Instead, they’ve only ever utilized capital to enter into a series of social relationships that allowed them to have a factory built in which laborers are able to produce 50 shoes a day. That isn’t abstract, it’s far more material and real than saying “you build a factory.”

      > As you read, try to imagine a Libertarian approach to a serious plague. I don’t think there is one.
      Private property owners have the right to refuse admission to people with diseases, and if, as some libertarians advocate, streets are privatized, street owners could also do this, so you could survive a plague by going to only places and locations that have such restrictions. The success of such a solution depends on the diligence of the property owners, much like the success of a government solution depends on the quality of the government. Also, if there was a widespread plague in this day and age everyone would be very quickly notified via the internet, and if you value the enjoyment of going to a public meeting more than that of not getting sick that’s your own choice the consequences of which you are responsible for. Libertarian ethics does not consider people getting what they want undesirable even if it disagrees with our own preferences, and however illogical their preferences seem to us.

      Where did your assumption start? Hint: “…so you could survive a plague by going to only places and locations that have such restrictions.” Tell me, are you a private street owner? Or do you just really believe you would be allowed on the private street? By what means are you going to secure your safe spot on the private street? And if the issue is plague, aren’t you at least a little worried that you and the other private owners, and your friends and neighbors able to buy their way onto the private street, are going to get a little crowded? Of course, you assume a world in which every person is a property owner of some sort, because they are all working and earning capital. Where are the mentally handicapped, or quadriplegics? What happens when you break an ankle and can’t work for a series of months?
      You’re comparing an idealized best cast scenario (you’re allowed on the st, the owners know what the early stages of the plague look like, so never permits an individual who is a carrier to buy HIS way onto the street, etc) against a material worse case scenario (actual responses to the Spanish flu), and boldly making the claim that we could do better without actually familiarizing yourself with that history.

      > But defining what can be owned, what owning it means, and keeping track of who owns what — that’s a government intervention in the economy
      Private property arose at the same time as the agricultural era, and predated the nation-state. This is historical fact. The basic idea is that a system which allows everyone to easily figure out which objects they are and are not allowed to touch creates minimal conflict so it’s in everyone’s enlightened self-interest to support it.

      It predated the nation state, sure, but not governance. You’re playing semantics. You know as well as anyone else that there were tribal allegiances and chieftains able to compel social action. That is governing. Imagining some edenic property-based paradise is silly and disingenuous. Your logical problem is that you continue to ignore the social. Maybe, in that small slice of the community you’re having us imagine (some agrarian village) property ownership boundaries were clear (though I’m sure many things were held in common), but they probably only remained so until the first food shortage. The next village over was probably not willing to starve to death in the name of enlightened self interest — so the minimization of conflict you’re imagining, again, only exists in an idealized space that doesn’t have the complicated, nuanced social problems we have today. You might now want to retort, “Hence a small, Ron Paulian army to defend our borders, etc.” What is it compelling the soldiers? How can you imagine the collective destiny of a nation being defended by self-interested individuals? A sense of the social is what gives any nation identity, and any nation is only every a socially constructed collective, so at the heart of it, libertarianism can acknowledge only one of two things: 1) It’s logically fallacious, or 2) It’s the mask anarchism wears to hold a polite conversation.

  • CBT91  On August 23, 2011 at 4:51 am

    So liberty is tyranny and the shackles of government is freedom. Got it. That’s doubleplusgood!

  • Jimmy TheFish  On August 23, 2011 at 5:27 am

    I wonder what happens to old fucks maybe there brain starts to die and they want to help the sick and poor because they are sick and in poor health. FUCK THEM

    • weeklysift  On August 23, 2011 at 8:32 am

      Thank you for your insight.

    • Isaac  On August 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm

      That’s their individual right. Individuals are allowed to live their lives however they choose, whenever they choose. It should not be forced upon anyone to “help” or not help anyone.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 26, 2011 at 4:43 am

        What about when some individual decides that what he “chooses” to do is to rape or murder someone else? Is he free to do that in your libertarian paradise?

      • Isaac  On August 27, 2011 at 1:43 am

        Kim, YOU ARE THE WORST TROLL IN EXISTENCE. What the fuck has anything anyone has said got to do with any of your insane, illogical responses?

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 3:38 am

        What makes you say that response was illogical? You said someone could do anything he wants. I asked you to tell me how your philosophy would react to someone who wants to intrude on someone else’s freedom. That’s a perfectly logical question in response to your statement. Again, your anger just makes it sound like you don’t have an answer to the question.
        By the way, when I was in my twenties, a friend of mine recommended to me that I read Ayn Rand’s books, which I did. In subsequent discussion he was amazed to find himself defending self-sacrifice to me.
        Have you read Rand? Did you notice that her heroes were all supremely competent? Almost inhumanly so. While the villains were similarly shallow but on the other end of the spectrum. She did occasionally have a normal character in her novels: they invariably committed suicide. I took her books as a recommendation to suicide for most normal people.

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm

        If your wild misunderstanding of Rand’s work is correct, it should actually be taken that it’s a good idea for STUPID people to commit suicide. I’m not suggesting this. If you choose to do that, this is your choice. I’m not stopping you.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 5:47 pm

        No, Isaac, not STUPID people, normal people. Rand wanted to get rid of normal people, since they disrupted her fantasy.
        What have you done in your life that shows you are more than normal? Or do you picture yourself as another John Galt?
        Have you started from nothing and made millions of dollars or millions of jobs? Just what have you done?
        Or are you one of those billions of ordinary people Rand would have counciled to suicide?

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 5:55 pm

        Your insane, irrational response method causes you to make up your own reality, rather than looking at things subjectively. YOU believe that Ayn Rand suggested suicide for “normal” people. YOU believe that the people you cite as “normal” are actually “normal”. YOU believe that they committed suicide because they were normal and the writer deemed them as useless to the story because of their normalcy. That is just not the case. People commit suicide because of deep-rooted personal problems. You have the choice to act or not act upon your urges. If you take that choice, it has nothing to do with anyone other than yourself. Once you take responsibility for your own actions, views, feelings, intelligence and stability, you will realize why you are wrong.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 7:57 pm

        Isaac — don’t get so upset — we are talking about fictional characters here. Fictional characters don’t have deep-rooted personal problems, they react to what the author wants to say.

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 8:02 pm

        The only person who is upset is you. I’d be upset, too, if I didn’t understand things. Don’t worry, you may still have a chance at figuring things out.

  • Joe Wahler  On August 23, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I don’t quite understand, you are against a system that would allow you the liberty to live the lifestyle you choose, even this one, but you are for a system which would not allow me the same options. I think you never did truly understand the libertarian ideal but just think you did.

  • musicbydayadmin@gmail.com  On August 23, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Brilliant. Libertarianism is a kind of religion in my view. It demands no real answers of itself. The “free market God” solves all problems.

    • Isaac  On August 24, 2011 at 10:10 pm

      I think this is reflective of the average person who thinks that this woefully inaccurate, misinformed and poorly written piece is in any way intelligent, or “brilliant”. Libertarianism is allowing people options, not forcing a system upon people.

      Force and coercion are not answers. What you claim as being “a kind of religion” is actually ideas that work. Religion is manipulation for profit. The free market is earning wealth based on the merits of your abilities and product, not a free answer for anything.

      It’s clear that you are even less informed than the writer of this article.

      • andrewclunn  On August 25, 2011 at 10:13 am

        Hey, some people (who claim to believe in evolution) just don’t understand emergence. There are people with ideological blinders on who just appeal to what feels good and assume that others are idiots. unlike the author’s BS claim that he was once a libertarian (he clearly thinks being a religious conservative is the same as a libertarian) I was a liberal. I changed my view because I learned about how evolution actually works and how complexity can arise without design or central planning. We’re fighting a war against ignorance, but liberals do a wonderful job of convincing themselves that they’re already the enlightened few.

      • Anonymous  On November 10, 2011 at 2:50 am

        Libertarianism leads to monopolies and collusion. Centralized wealth and power. How does that provide “options?” How does it not force or coerce people into wage slavery?

  • Stephen  On August 23, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I am an architect. I liked Atlas Shrugged, but The Fountainhead was the stupidest book I ever read. The reason I liked AS was that it preached that we all should understand how our world works. Oddly, this is in a way a non-libertarian concept. Understanding how the world works pushes one toward behaving responsibly. Raw libertarianism, as espoused for instance by gold miners who pollute the water of everyone downstream (a common occurance, by the way) is a disaster.

    I like your early sentence where you state that government should allow anyone their freedom as long as their behavior doesn’t deny others their choices.

    Even if the forces of rational behavior are to win out, it takes many many generations of horror to arrive at a government that works. We need to protect ours.

    • Isaac  On August 24, 2011 at 10:18 pm

      It’s not a ‘common occurrence’. If gold miners polluted the water, who would they sell it to, areas where the water is not polluted? Do you really think so little people understand how the world works that anyone would damage their own source of income? This has nothing to do with libertarianism.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 26, 2011 at 4:50 am

        Are you for real? Or are you just a sock puppet? What do you mean it’s not a common occurrence? Of course it’s a common occurrence — even where it’s illegal they still do it. The sell the gold away from the people they have poisoned so no one notices much except the locals, who have no power to stop them.
        Now you are not just spouting ridiculous theory, but denying reality too.

      • Isaac  On August 27, 2011 at 1:41 am

        Kim, you have the intellect of a bag of hammers. You can’t just make shit up and insist it as justification for being utterly and completely WRONG. Get a grip on reality! You know NOTHING.

      • Aaron  On August 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm

        Isaac,
        Your inability to hold any type of rational, intelligent conversation is almost as shocking as your inability to back your viewpoints.
        However, your ability to resort to name calling and personal attacks as your best retort to a question or opposing view is your strong suit.

      • Isaac  On August 27, 2011 at 2:42 pm

        Your ability to talk loud and say nothing is fascinating, but not very useful.

      • Aaron  On August 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm

        oh, was i talking loud?
        Or are you imagining more things that aren’t reality?

      • Anonymous  On November 10, 2011 at 2:54 am

        Issac, I find you combat ideas you ideologically oppose by simply opposing reality itself. Of course old mines pollute water. It really does happen. They’re selling gold, they don’t have to sell it to the villagers on the river down the way, but to the banker in Switzerland who wants that new gold watch.

        http://www.nodirtygold.org/

  • Dave Rust (@sylvan_wolf)  On August 23, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I would be fascinated to read your thoughts on the use of the term “should” in your above argument.

    While I agree with every point in your dialogue I found myself at the ages-old philosopher’s conundrum: from where does the “should” (as in “how things should be”) derive its authority? You and I agree that “Access to the means of production should be a human birthright” but why is that the case?

    I’m not sure I know and wonder if perhaps either “should” is the wrong term to use (it implies that this is the natural state of things and that it took actual human endeavor to undermine and change it into the system we see, now) or if the fundamental premise has a few flaws. I can’t see any flaws so perhaps my concern is merely semantic.

    What do you think?

    Yours,
    David J Rust

    • bluemonday  On August 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      This is a fundamental premise of Objectivism, which is Rand’s philosophy. It’s the same as saying something like “common good” or “general welfare”. No one can define what those things actually are, but they all accept them as a given. Libertarian philosophy sets its core in not assuming any arbitrary authority over humanity.

  • Punk Options  On August 23, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I don’t think we are bailing out enough banks, we need to support Goldman Sach and Bank of America!

  • Bill_Baar@hotmail.com  On August 23, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Glad you weren’t setting Health Care Policy in the 80s when folks were calling for aggressives measures like those of 1919 for a then poorly understood disease called AIDs. I was working with US Public Health Servcie in Chicago then and recall nurses running to the bank to exchange money handed to them by our travel clerk who was racked with the disease and allowed to work because then Prez Reagan said people with AIDs shouldn’t be fired from employment just because they had the disease.

  • Joe  On August 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    nobody25864 (Via Reddit)

    So basically this guy’s arguments are that people need to be forced to be healthy (at least to some degree), global warming, that most things are already owned and people need to work to earn things now as they cannot collect it from the wild (the horror), and that the proper goal of government is to pay for the lives of those who “never had a fair chance” (and by the government paying for it, we of course mean the taxpayer).

    • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 3:56 am

      In a democracy, the government IS the People. It isn’t the government paying for it, it is we the people paying for what we value. (While I could argue that we no longer have any influence over the government, that it has been taken over by the corporations in a fascist coup, that would be another argument for another place. ) There are things we do better by pooling our money and doing it together than by doing it all as individuals. That is one of the things government is for. It’s not evil, but it can be corrupted. But, yes, the taxpayer pays for the government through taxes. How else would you do it? If the government owns profitable businesses and pays for itself that way, that is Socialism or Communism, which you probably claim you don’t like.

  • andrewclunn  On August 23, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Read it. Was not impressed. Is the author still a Christian? It certainly seems that way. (A little bit of research later), ah yeah, he defines himself as a, “Religious Humanism” and is a Unitarian Universalist. Man I’m good. I can see a progressive who is implicitly appealing to faith from a mile away. Have him write another essay when when his next, “35 years of experience,” are enough to show him that faith is a bunch of BS.

    • Graham  On August 23, 2011 at 5:06 pm

      I found this comment both keenly insightful and extremely relevant to the arguments made in the post. You’ve really nailed him.

      • andrewclunn  On August 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm

        blah blah, congrats on the sarcastic wit, blah blah. He’s arguing against anarchists not libertarians, and clearly has no idea what libertarianism is, blah, blah, he made a passing jab at religious views he disagrees with and referenced “life experience” as providing him authority on libertarianism, yadda yadda, and sky man God is a pile of crap.

      • Graham  On August 23, 2011 at 9:25 pm

        And here I thought I was Oscar Wilde. You’re entitled to your opinion; I simply thought your crticism was a bit off-point. I’m a strident atheist and I didn’t notice his religious views coloring his points at all. Also, I wouldn’t discount life experience as a credible source of wisdom; clearly there are beliefs we can hold more comfortably when our knowledge of the world is limited rather than broad.

      • andrewclunn  On August 26, 2011 at 10:00 am

        I would discredit “life experience” either. But only for the individual having the experience. There are older people who agree with libertarianism. I’m not just going to take the word of the oldest person in the room. I also fail to see how his personal life experience is in any way related to libertarianism, especially since it’s clear from this article that he doesn’t actually know what it is.

      • andrewclunn  On August 26, 2011 at 10:05 am

        That should be “I wouldn’t” Stupid typo.

    • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 4:02 am

      Andrew — for your information, Unitarian Universalists generally don’t believe in that “sky man god” you mentioned. Their beliefs vary a great deal, but are generally much more sophisticated than that. There are lots of other ways to be spiritual or to believe in God that don’t include that “sky man god” you are so contemptuous of.
      As Isaac would say, “Read a book.” :-)

  • Damien RS  On August 23, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I took a similar path out of libertarianism. For me the first pebble was “you know, for all theory about how they shouldn’t work, Scandinavian countries and their socialist healthcare seem like nice places to live.” Something had cracked, I started valuing evidence over theory, and soon my long-held worries about national defense (I went out to anarcho-capitalism), the environment, and how stuff came to be owned, became seen as fundamental flaws, not problems to be hopefully solved later. My one word answer now is “externalities”, though that doesn’t capture the property and social justice aspects. Well, externalities are why you need government at all; the other concerns push you to a particular type of government.

    • Isaac  On August 24, 2011 at 10:24 pm

      It’s not a ‘nice place to live’ when you’re forced to pay for the responsibilities that should be held by people you have nothing to do with.

      If you valued evidence over theory, you would not take the view you have, which is not based on any evidence at all.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 26, 2011 at 5:05 am

        Have you ever lived there? How can you say it isn’t a nice place to live if you haven’t?
        Also, why are you so obsessed with the idea that you might help someone else with your tax money? Why is that such a horror to you?
        And you are wrong: the actual evidence shows that semi-socialist democracies are actually the most pleasant places to live of all the various types of government/economies. It turns out that helping your fellow citizens when they also help you and everyone lives a decent life, and the people around you aren’t dragged down by poverty and insecurity and vicious competition, makes for a pretty pleasant life. It’s worth it to pay high taxes when you are paid highly enough to afford it, and in return you and your neighbors get a measure of security. One of life’s dirty little secrets is that most people value security above freedom — or we would never have been able to pass The Patriot Act.

      • Isaac  On August 27, 2011 at 1:38 am

        YOU’RE NOT “HELPING” ANYONE IF YOU EXPECT ME TO BE SERVITUDE TO OTHER PEOPLE, AND ANYONE TO BE SUBSERVIENT TO ANYONE. “Helping”?

        Also, the fucking Patriot Act? You seriously think that the Patriot Act was a good idea? Kim, darling, you are a fucking moron.

      • Aaron  On August 27, 2011 at 4:16 pm

        She didn’t say anything about the Patriot Act being a good idea.
        You gotta stop reading into things man.

        Are you also against social security, Isaac?

        When social security was enacted, ~50% of the nation’s seniors were living in poverty. Now, it’s less than 10%. When you have a large number of citizens living in poverty it is a snowball effect that creates problems for those who are NOT in poverty. Based on this snowball effect, it would best serve your (those who have means) interests to make sure that those who do not have means are relatively taken care of.

        To head off some kind of attack from you that I want handouts: no, I’m very upper middle class (top 10% of income earners). I say that for no other reason than to simply state that I’m not making a point for certain social programs for the purpose that they would benefit me… because I wont need social security in 30 years. But others will, and it is in my best interest to make sure those people aren’t rotting in the streets and increasing the homeless population.

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 2:14 am

        Yes, I am against social security, and once again, you are incorrect and making up your own realty. You know where social security has gotten us? Our current economic failure.

        If you want to figure out a way to pay people for not working, do it yourself. Don’t take it out of the tax payer’s wallet.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 4:06 am

        Isaac — Please don’t call me “darling” — not even in a snarl.

      • Aaron  On August 28, 2011 at 11:57 am

        Isaac — If you dont like social security and other programs … move to Hong Kong.
        If you prize Hong Kong’s libertarian methodologies, why don’t you simply move there? Wouldn’t that be a pure libertarian tenant? To go where you are best able to produce and profit?
        And once again, you offer no concrete rationality, evidence, or reasoning beyond your own cognitive dissonance and egocentric arguments.
        I’m sorry that you are unable to grasp reality when it is firmly placed in front of you Isaac.
        I’m not making up figures about senior poverty.

        For help on your critical thinking skills:

        http://learntoprepare.com/2011/06/barriers-to-critical-thinking/

        http://www.problem-solving-techniques.com/Egocentric-Thinking.html

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 6:10 pm

        Aaron – you sound like those idiot Bush supporters. I don’t want to LEAVE the country, I want to make it better. You may have a tenacity toward cowardice, but I don’t. Your arguments have no barring in reality. On the contrary, you’ve dismissed critical thinking and evidence, because it doesn’t back up your insane leftist ideology. You just end up sounding more and more like the insane pseudo-fascists in the Republican party that you despise. “If you don’t like Uhmerica, get the fuck out”? If you thought that I was black, would you tell me to “go back to Africa”?

      • Aaron  On August 28, 2011 at 8:15 pm

        you meant BEARING on reality, right?
        What evidence is it that you are referring to that I am dismissing?
        What cowardice am I exhibiting again?
        And my idealogy is leftist? I thought i sound like a Bush supporter and a pseudo-fascist Republican?
        Which am I? I’m either an insane leftist or a fascist republican.
        Can I be both? Either you don’t understand the terms or you’ve become terribly confused.
        I’m actually unaffiliated with political party, and I view any affiliation with political party as an intellectual weakness, as one cannot meaningfully argue a topic from a combative position of left vs right.

        I would tell you to go to Africa if you thought Americans should live in huts made out of dung and hunt wild animals (and yes, the Masai live this way). But not because you were black. But because a way of life that you want exists somewhere already. Go… and thrive in it.

        The best part of Libertarianism is that it will never see the light of day in America. It’s a pipe dream. And you’ve bought into it.
        Does America need improving? Absolutely.
        Could it borrow a few things from Libertarianism? Arguably, yes. There are several tenants of libertarianism that are attractive, it’s the entire system (like any pure political viewpoint) itself that is flawed. That is why we have a democracy of mixed representation. It is an attempt to take the best of all viewpoints and do the best we can with them.

        But the whole Libertarian framework could only operate as you think it would inside a vacuum (not reality). And almost every one of your arguments has been intelligently discounted and addressed by several people. To most of which your responses have been: “you’re just a fucking moron”.
        Intelligent debate and discourse at its finest.

        As for global warming. Yes, your one Dr. Spencer study is hysterical propaganda by a joke scientist (check my sources) who is paid big bucks by major corporations (check my sources). And when have I brought up a god or hybrids having anything to do with this? How delusional are you? The only thing god has to do with this conversation is that your beloved Roy Spencer is a big time bible thumper.
        97% of scientists in the field of climatology say global warming is happening. You can quote the other 3% all you want. But they’re still just 3%. That’s math. And the 3% loses. 97% of researchers in the field of climatology say that you’re wrong. Swim against the flow of a massive amount of scientific research (much more massive than your 3%). It’s fine with me.
        But you’ve got some serious anger issues man. If you’re going to get ahead in this life, and thrive in your future libertarian environment you’re going to have to learn to deal with people better. Your future libertarian environment will hinge on interpersonal relationships and business dealings. You may want to sharpen those skills.

        Thanks for the entertainment. It was almost as amusing as the ridiculous statements that get posted on yahoo news stories. But the weekend is over, and I’ve got to get back to making money.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 8:40 pm

        Thanks Aaron. Yeah, it’s back to work soon. It’s been fun.

    • Mickey T. Hobart  On September 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm

      The state is the ultimate negative externality.

  • Matt Mattmatician (@MrMeepers)  On August 23, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Hi Doug Muder,
    I am Matt the Mattmatician and I wrote an article recently about why I am not a libertarian.

    http://rable.mathcomicsnstuff.com/2011/08/why-im-not-libertarian.html

    I still have a ways to go before I can give a just as well educated/informed critique as this article did (I’m in my early to mid 20’s, so I’m one of those inexperienced young people, plus I’m not great at remembering the specifics), but by sweeping critique on Libertarianism (which I believe your article would support) is that Libertarians seem to focus on the individual and seem to forget about the roles and responsibilities of a society (or assume the free market will just magically take care of it as if no entities have no overly large influence over it). I find that the neglect on society, and the operations of a society, is my biggest criticism (and why I do not want to put libertarian idealism into practice, although, from a more academic stand point, I want to learn more about there axioms that they impose on human nature and see how it influences there ideas).
    Anyway I thought this way a great read and a good article for me to learn from (Thank You).

    • Isaac  On August 24, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      “Society” has no responsibilities. We operate as individuals. Individuals are responsible for their own actions. No mass public should be responsible for the individual’s right to existence, choice and freedom. Deriding libertarianism as the belief that “the free market will magically take care of everything” is ignorance. That is not how it works. The free market works because it increases business freedom and freedom of capitalism. If you give individuals the freedom to run businesses as they’re able to, if you give people the ability to freely create businesses, if human beings are not legally bound to regulations, we would have a balanced budget, more job opportunities, higher earning for those that deserve it.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 26, 2011 at 5:10 am

        It just occurred to me that libertarianism and capitalism are at odds: because if you borrow capital (capitalism), you are no longer free, because the person or corporation that you borrowed from is now your ruler. While you may have entered into the relationship voluntarily, you have very little say over the terms, so you aren’t really free in the relationship: it is voluntary servitude.

      • Isaac  On August 27, 2011 at 1:36 am

        Kim, that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. You clearly do not understand capitalism or “servitude”. How does borrowing money make the person or people you borrowed from a “ruler”? If you borrow money, you’re obliged to pay it back, and if what you’re investing in is thought out and solid, you’re making more than what you borrowed, so you make profit for yourself. That doesn’t make anyone a ruler over you. This insane anti-capitalism rhetoric is devoid of anything having to do with reality. The universe actually halted to a stop as a result of this bit of stupidity.

      • Kim Cooper  On September 11, 2011 at 6:00 am

        Isaac — Your answer makes it clear that you have never accepted money from a Venture Capitalist.

      • Matt Mattmatician (@MrMeepers)  On May 26, 2013 at 5:37 pm

        Sorry Isaac, I had no idea anyone replied to me. That being said, you are still saying a “free” market will take care of things. You have a reason, but it still feels like magic to me. I should be asking is where do your claims come from? You don’t want regulation, but where do you think the regulations came from? That doesn’t mean that there are not bad regulations (there are bad ones), but we have regulations because there were problems since no system is perfect (it is all a give and take … it is about balance and what we, as a society, value). If we look at the past, giving businesses too much freedoms (laissez-faire capitalism) seems to have led to poor work environments and low wages. Most businesses have a common goal to make money; For many, that may be their number one goal. The goal of government is to protect and support the people however, and that includes protecting them from corporations; such as from questionable truthfulness of a corporation (which hurts the whole idea of a free market, imo), health and environmental damage caused by the corporation, making sure the work environments are fair and humane, preventing corporations from using their financial power to talk about the wants and desires in political elections (whoops, forget that. Corporations are now people), ….

        Companies are run by people, but they are not people. They are comprised of a bunch of different people all with different ideas and values, but they all share a common value, which is to do what is in the best interest of the company. And, since this may be the only common value among hundreds, or even thousands, of employees, larger companies may not have that same “humanity” that smaller companies have because of one value being amplified (the value being doing what is best for the company) while all the other values are being diluted. Not to mention, that a larger corporation probably has a lot of financial power, which means that we may need to keep large corporations in check (or groups of corporations) because they have so much power. You could say that we “elect” them with money, but once they have money, there is no easy way to impeach them. And yes, companies have used there power in the past at the expense of American Citizens.

        So, I’m sorry, but the the free market idea does look like a magic cure to me. And you said that there are no societal responsibilities, but responsibilities are a human construct. And when humans created a societies and had some sort of agreed upon values by the vast majority, it created responsibilities for the society itself. Now, government doesn’t have to be the ones to actually carry out the responsibilities (which includes things like plumbing and farming and other things that help the society run … and things that help the people (i.e. our values), such as habitat for humanity, …), but it is a entity to hold accountable to make sure things that need and “should” get done, actually get done … And if we are going to hold it accountable, then it needs to power to lead/influence groups on behalf of the American People (society). That includes regulations.

        https://plus.google.com/110518931076810252540/posts/L99CNceobg9

      • Humans_And_Resources  On May 27, 2013 at 12:58 am

        @Matt Mattmatician
        I agree with your analysis of corporations, but government is not the solution – or any part of a solution – because it will never be operated in the interest of “good” – because that is not the effect which power has on human beings – regardless of whether that power is termed ‘public’ or ‘private’.

        The solution is to de-concentrate power by returning the building blocks of life and civilization – our land and resources – equally, to Individuals – so that no ‘power’ – public or private – has the ability to threaten them.

        What people want to do, they have the means to do, proportionate to their numbers, but never intruding on the rights of even the smallest minority, who always retain and can direct their shares to their own desired ends. In this way, everyone can ‘get rich’ to the extent to which they make the pie bigger through innovation or exertion, but never by stealing other’s shares of the natural world to create slaves for their servitude.

  • Anonymous  On August 23, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    This is a great article.
    But, there is always a butt in the crowd, can’t there be a kinder, gentler Libertarianism? Is it always to be the absolutist that dominate?
    A balanced approach between individual freedoms and the common good?
    I often find myself doing battle with libertarians over my belief that we need a 100% Death Tax to recycle property.

    • andrewclunn  On August 23, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      Hahahaha. Really? So no private company should be able to exist past the death of it’s founder? So no parent should save money in their old age, instead of spend it all, because they don’t have any rights to provide their offspring with better opportunities? And you claim to be on the side of moderation?

      • Damien RS  On August 23, 2011 at 5:30 pm

        Hey, if you want to provide for your kids you could give stuff to them while you’re alive. Radical thought, I know.

        But I wouldn’t go for 100% estate tax as such; you need that progressive element, just as we have today. X% of estates above $Y. Of course, one could go further and have a wealth tax, or even cap — does any one individual need to own more than 100 times the lifetime earnings of an average worker? I’d say no.

      • Anonymous  On August 23, 2011 at 7:30 pm

        Private companies can be sold. When I worked on the shop floor, it was common parlance that the man built the company, the son ran it, and the grandson ran it to the ground :^)

        When it comes to helping your kids, figuring out the right amount is the problem. Too little just makes them mean, to much cripples them. So teach your children that they have a right to enjoy the fruits of their labour but not to yours. Plain and simple, inherited property is theft.

        As to a progressive element, let a person keep more of their earnings while they are alive, lower income tax rates. That is what everyone wants, right? Why should anyone care how the government redistributes their wealth after their dead. Seems obvious to me they can’t care, they’re dead.

        So when some libertarian claims they want to give THEIR children more opportunity though inheritance, what I gather is that they want to establish and continue their dynasty. If they get their way, soon there will be kings and queens again. In sort, they are just closet royalists.

      • andrewclunn  On August 26, 2011 at 10:03 am

        If I couldn’t pass on wealth, I’d just spend it all. That you think people wouldn’t do this if you hiked up the inheritance tax is short sighted. And my wanting to be able to pass along things I’ve earned to my children means I want to re-establish royalty? hahahaha.

      • Anonymous  On November 10, 2011 at 3:07 am

        Why not a 100% death tax? Your libertarian/objectivist philosophy opposes altruism, an inheritance is pure altruism. You view also promotes individual productivity, where inheritance lets some people break free of that system entirely and live off the labors of their ancestors.

    • Damien RS  On August 23, 2011 at 5:21 pm

      If you look at the history, the kinder gentler libertarianism is modern US liberalism. ‘liberal’ used to mean libertarian, and still does in most of the world (though usually not so extreme), also see the invocation of *classical* liberals by some libertarians. Elsewhere, liberals continue, sharing space with more leftist or socialist parties; in the US, liberals evolved into what we know today.

      There’s a blog, http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com , but so far I haven’t seen them produce anything useful or novel. IMO what you actually get if you try to start over with this is something like http://www.holisticpolitics.org/
      Trying to replace welfare and income tax with basic income funded by land and resources tax. Of course that’s anathema to the “I own it it’s MINE” crowd. Has excellent intellectual pedigree, though; several of the supposedly proto-libertarian Founding Fathers were into land tax, citizen grants, rights to full employment, social control of property, etc.

  • Angie~Lah  On August 23, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Very interesting read. I am a Libertarian-Socialist, and one of the problems I have with it is that there is really no common ground. Everyone has their own idea on how a society should be handled, and that causes a lot of confusion.

  • Edward Miller  On August 23, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    two words, Henry George.

  • A Georgist  On August 23, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    ARWEP, The Alliance to Raise Wages and End Poverty, is an ad hoc alliance of concerned individuals who seek to transform the politico-economic structure of modern society by the abolition of all taxation save that upon land values. As demonstrated by Henry George, this reform — the appropriation of economic rent by taxation — “will raise wages, increase the earnings of capital, extirpate pauperism, abolish poverty, give remunerative employment to whoever wishes it, afford free scope to human powers, lessen crime, elevate morals, and taste, and intelligence, purify government and carry civilization to yet nobler heights.”
    ARWEP simultaneously advocates the untaxing of labor, capital, commerce and industry and the full collection by the community of those values that the community, by virtue of its very existence, creates — namely, the annual rental value of land and natural resources, including the value of petroleum and minerals in the ground or seabed; urban and suburban site or location values; the value of the broadcast spectrum, be it used for TV, radio or cell phone transmission; and the value of monopoly rights-of-way across land, such as cable TV and public utility franchises. Businesses that cannot operate competitively because they are in their nature monopolies should be taken over and operated by the public.

    These reforms would put an end to land monopoly and land speculation — the systemic non-use or suboptimal use of valuable land in expectation of higher future rents and land prices — a phenomenon which constantly drives down wages and causes unemployment by denying labor access to potentially productive natural opportunities.

    Boom-and-bust business cycles and financial upheavals would also be remedied by these reforms, which were fully set forth and explained by the American economist and social philosopher Henry George in his 1879 classic *Progress and Poverty — An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth…the Remedy* and in his other works.

    *Progress and Poverty* focuses on and answers this question, which appears in italics in the original: “Why, in spite of increase in productive power, do wages tend to a minimum which will give but a bare living?”

    The great English naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace called *Progress and Poverty* “undoubtedly the most remarkable and important book of the present [19th] century.”

  • tarotworldtour  On August 23, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    I have often said that the greatest compromise between these two ideologies would be socialism for the cities, and libertarianism for the countryside and small villages… and the latter is because they are small enough that they often develop their own social services and contracts based on the needs of their communities. Large cities have far too many people acting on their own agency to be libertarian – it would be complete dangerous anarchy and there is so much common space that taxes have to keep a structure upon society’s movements. However, if people really want to get out of the system and also do not want to reap the benefits, they should be able to leave it and still be in the same country.

    • Damien RS  On August 23, 2011 at 11:41 pm

      There’s something to that. And certainly I’ve said urbanites tend to be liberal because externalities tend to obviously unavoidable, plus it’s hard to say “government doesn’t work” when government clears snow off your streets multiple times a winter. And spread out rural areas can get away with more. OTOH, it’s worth noting they won’t be able to completely get away — still share the same air and often water, endangered migratory species move around, national defense and law enforcement protect us all, diseases get around, basic research helps everyone… fact is, you *can’t* get away from all the benefits, not without leaving the country, or for some things, planet. And non-shared social services can ultimately mean less freedom to move around, doable but problematic.

      • James  On August 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm

        Very interesting, I see some interesting conflict taking place due to that kind of system (not necessarily violent conflict).

        The larger point is that programs that are executed locally, such as snow removal and road construction do not need to be managed at a federal level. That is about the equivalent of swatting for flies with a sledge hammer. It is over kill and unnecessary for the functionality of the programs.

        School systems do not need to be told by the federal government how and what they need to be teaching to students. That job needs to be done by the school board and Parent-Teachers-Associations. Any gains made by the implementation of programs such as Homeland Security or No Child Left Behind are negated by the cumbersome costs it takes to keep these systems in place. They add the illusion of value, not actual value.

        Each state has a department that monitors and protects the natural resources of the state, do we really need a federal one to do the same thing through the EPA. The state agencies actually do a much better job of it than their federal counterparts anyway.

      • Damien RS  On August 25, 2011 at 2:53 pm

        James, state agencies cannot be trusted to regulate environmental issues that affect other states. National air and water and migratory species call for a national EPA.

        Urban snow removal is certainly urban-level and no one’s suggested otherwise. My point was that it’s hard to cling to the “government doesn’t work” myth when you depend on government annually to let you leave your house.

        As for corruption… you have heard of Tammany Hall and political machines, yes? Local corruption can be quite easy and robust. In addition, local corruption is far more likely to be *personal* — federal corruption means some money sloshes around, but local leaders are more likely to have it in for someone specific, and at the police level can mean innocent people going to jail or even being killed.

  • MissTee  On August 23, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Most people I meet these days who claim to be Libertarian barely even know what that means. They are just embarrassed Republicans.

    But this is a great article. It’s hard for anyone with any depth of though to just right out dismiss any of your points.

  • Brett Ruiz (@BrooklynBrett)  On August 24, 2011 at 10:28 am

    Thank you for contributing to the growing pool of libertarian criticism from people who have clearly never read any libertarian theory!

  • Isaac  On August 24, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Only an insane, irrational and utterly misinformed and ignorant mind would believe that a libertarian government would do things that would cause harm to itself, such as ignoring the plague. This is based on no rational examination or factual evidence. Utterly simplistic and ridiculous nonsensical lies, a typical example of ignorance on behalf of the left and right-wing.

    Rational human beings SHOULD deny global warming, because there is no scientific evidence that it exists. Never mind what a ‘big government’ or a ‘small government’ may think (some libertarians, do, in fact, believe in global warming, in spite of the lack of evidence). Global warming is the belief that there is a invisible man in the sky that wants to punish you for not owning a Prius. It’s bullshit.

    Property right IS a given, not something that is ‘shared’. If you can afford to pay for your own living, you are allowed to live within your means, as you should. You should not be forced to pay for the property and living of an entire country. This is amazingly ignorant on your part.

    You cannot possibly be serious in citing a leftist Christian fundamentalist as your reasoning for why the libertarian view on property and labor is wrong. It is insulting to anyone who possesses reason. A fact mostly ignored by left and right wing extremists is, there is no evidence of a ‘higher power’. The liberals and Republican fascists tend to ignore the fact that no matter how they may justify stomping on human rights as a ‘God-given right’, there is no rational evidence for the existence of God, as there is no rational evidence for the existence of ‘global warming’. So please do not use the name of a fictional deity to justify socialism.

    • Johnnykaje  On August 25, 2011 at 12:30 am

      Look out climate scientists. A guy on the Internet with no credentials to speak of says global warming is crap.

      It says right in the description of himself. “Rational”. Pack it up and go home, folks.

      • Joe Wahler  On August 25, 2011 at 10:08 am

        Are you referring to those “climate scientists” who altered, massaged, and when needed just made up the data? You know, like a thermometer placed 10 feet above a barbecue restaurant’s pit? Or maybe just taking out of service the rural ones? Or maybe just ignoring those which give cooler readings as irrelevant?

        Just come to the realization that society needs a boogeyman and manmade global warming is yours.

        I’m not saying there may not actually be global warming, I’m just saying that fraud and consensus is not science. That is all you have been given so far by your vaunted “climate scientists”.

      • Isaac  On August 25, 2011 at 7:54 pm

        http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-data-blow-gaping-hold-global-warming-alarmism-192334971.html

        NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.

        Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA’s Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.

        “The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”
        In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.
        The new findings are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate.
        Scientists on all sides of the global warming debate are in general agreement about how much heat is being directly trapped by human emissions of carbon dioxide (the answer is “not much”). However, the single most important issue in the global warming debate is whether carbon dioxide emissions will indirectly trap far more heat by causing large increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds. Alarmist computer models assume human carbon dioxide emissions indirectly cause substantial increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds (each of which are very effective at trapping heat), but real-world data have long shown that carbon dioxide emissions are not causing as much atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds as the alarmist computer models have predicted.
        The new NASA Terra satellite data are consistent with long-term NOAA and NASA data indicating atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds are not increasing in the manner predicted by alarmist computer models. The Terra satellite data also support data collected by NASA’s ERBS satellite showing far more longwave radiation (and thus, heat) escaped into space between 1985 and 1999 than alarmist computer models had predicted. Together, the NASA ERBS and Terra satellite data show that for 25 years and counting, carbon dioxide emissions have directly and indirectly trapped far less heat than alarmist computer models have predicted.
        In short, the central premise of alarmist global warming theory is that carbon dioxide emissions should be directly and indirectly trapping a certain amount of heat in the earth’s atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into space. Real-world measurements, however, show far less heat is being trapped in the earth’s atmosphere than the alarmist computer models predict, and far more heat is escaping into space than the alarmist computer models predict.
        When objective NASA satellite data, reported in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, show a “huge discrepancy” between alarmist climate models and real-world facts, climate scientists, the media and our elected officials would be wise to take notice. Whether or not they do so will tell us a great deal about how honest the purveyors of global warming alarmism truly are.

      • hahaney  On January 13, 2012 at 1:02 pm

        Hey Issac. Great reference. Nothing like believing in results paid for by the Oil industry. Keep drinking the Koolaid. By all means, don’t believe what the other 99.9% of environmental scientists world wide are saying.

        “James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute…” The Heartland Institute is a conservative and self-described libertarian public policy think tank based in Chicago, Illinois which advocates free market policies. The Institute is designated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit by the Internal Revenue Service and advised by a 15 member board of directors, which meets quarterly. As of 2011, it has a full-time staff of 40, including editors and senior fellows. The Institute was founded in 1984 and conducts research and advocacy work on issues including government spending, taxation, healthcare, tobacco policy, global warming, information technology and free-market environmentalism.
        In the 1990s, the group worked with the tobacco company Philip Morris to question the science linking secondhand smoke to health risks, and to lobby against government public health reforms. More recently, the Institute has focused on questioning the scientific consensus on climate change, and has sponsored meetings of climate change skeptics.

    • Damien RS  On August 25, 2011 at 6:50 pm

      How droll!
      “There is no evidence of a higher power”
      “Property right IS a given”

      Given by whom? By what? You reject God, so you can’t appeal there. Written indetectably into the laws of physics in the Big Bang, perhaps? You claim to be rational yet invoke supernatural and mystical rights for which there is no evidence.

      “Global warming is the belief that there is a invisible man in the sky that wants to punish you for not owning a Prius. It’s bullshit.”

      No, it’s the observation that temperatures are rising, sea levels are rising, glaciers are shrinking, and species are moving north. Fact, no matter how much you hysterically deny reality. Anthropogenic global warming is based on the above, plus the fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas (known in the 19th century, explainable today with quantum mechanics) and that we’ve been dumping it furiously into the atmosphere.

      “You should not be forced to pay for the property and living of an entire country.”

      Why not? No higher power, remember?

      “This is amazingly ignorant on your part. ”

      Says the man who thinks there’s no evidence for global warming, and that he can deny higher powers while invoking rights without justification, and that businesses never lie about their products, and pollution doesn’t happen

      “There is no such thing as wealth inequality.”

      What if my father stole all the land from your father, so now I own it, and you get to work for me and pay me taxes or rent while I watch?

    • Anonymous  On November 10, 2011 at 3:14 am

      Property is only “owned” in two ways:

      1) Through the ability to defend it personally.
      2) Through the ability of the society to declare it is owned and defend it corporately.

      Ownership is not inherent.

  • Saje Williams  On August 24, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Another thing they always seem to ignore is the fact that the smaller and more local a political unit, the more vulnerable it is to corruption. Libertarianism would replace the tyranny of government with the tyranny of robber barons, and call it good. Money is power.

    • Joe Wahler  On August 25, 2011 at 10:12 am

      Have you not been paying any attention to your federal government? Please do enlighten us as to what aspect of it is not riddled with corruption up to and including the very highest levels?

      By the way, I reject your scenario and premise as one of a very uninformed person. Robber Barons indeed, do you know nothing whatsoever of American history?

      • James  On August 25, 2011 at 12:14 pm

        I don’t know if you all were paying attention after Obama was elected, but I seem to remember watching him assemble a cabinet and start drawing up plans to fulfill all those lofty campaign promises that were going to equal hope and change. As the inauguration got closer he was whisked away abruptly for those high level security briefs on the war, state of the economy, foreign policy, monetary policy and other high priority topics.

        With in the week he was singing a different tune.

        There had to be some very high powered leverage being used to have a man who just became the elected leader of the free world to change his tune overnight.

        As for the “Robber Barons”, exactly how you think they will be able to suddenly corrupt the local political units? Local ‘political units’ have a harder time hiding corruption that larger ‘political units’ can get away with. When a corrupt individual is placed in office it is easier to remove them from public service. Even at a state level it is easier to replace elected officials, look at what just happened in Wisconsin with their Recall Elections.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 4:17 am

        James — You answered your own question: What happened to Obama was Robber Barons.

      • Anonymous  On November 10, 2011 at 3:17 am

        Have you not been paying attention to Bell, CA?

  • bdole  On August 24, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    this is very good. So thinks a guy in his mid-twenties who has always never been a Libertarian, and has always been a liberal

  • Johnnykaje  On August 25, 2011 at 12:11 am

    Libertarians are bootstrappy, earn your money, entrepreneurial types, right?

    Then why the FUCK do they support inheritances? It flies in the face of the whole ethos. This is money that you get not by earning it or working hard for it, but for merely being born to the right people. You’re a parasite. You want money? Get a job.

    The fact that they fight tooth and nail against inheritance laws pretty much proves how bullshit their philosophy is. Aside from everything else in it, but I digress.

    Libertarians are Republicans that were bad at school sports.

    • Joe Wahler  On August 25, 2011 at 10:15 am

      Because I choose to leave MY property to my children. You seem to deny that such a thing as MY property exists, to do with as I so choose. That is the difference between us.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 8:44 pm

        No, he’s not denying that your property exists, he’s asking why you have to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, but your children don’t. They get the head start you are contemptuous of in others. Your children don’t have to be good at what they do in order to get ahead, they just need to inherit it.

  • Johnnykaje  On August 25, 2011 at 12:26 am

    Another thing to point out: the libertarian society of individual freedom applies only to guys. The unpaid labor of women would be required to keep things running while the guys are fragging n00bs on their online gam– I mean, er, being “productive”.

    http://pandagon.net/index.php/site/island_of_the_mail_order_brides

    • Shit On You  On August 28, 2011 at 1:46 am

      Lay off the crystal meth. The only systems that force people to work are communism and socialism. In a free society, you can choose to only do enough to get by. What kind of ludicrous crap drugs do you have to inject into your system to think that a libertarian society involves “upaid labor of women”? Are you fucking brain dead?

      Smoke some marijuana and increase the amount of cells in your brain. Oh, wait, no, you can’t, because it’s illegal!!! Who call on for that, the socialist president who claimed that the DEA would lay off of medical marijuana clubs, and then proceeded to increase DEA raiding of marijuana clubs – on YOUR TAX DOLLARS? And then you bash the idea of freedom, because it’s been working out so well for you without freedom?

      Stop being a fucking idiot, making up bullshit, and read up on the issues that you don’t understand, and if the words don’t get through your thick skull, ask someone to explain them to you, you fucking imbecile.

      • Damien RS  On August 28, 2011 at 1:55 am

        “The only systems that force people to work are communism and socialism”

        You heard it here first, folks! Antebellum slaveowning US South: socialist. Serfs of feudal Europe: socialist. Slave-owning Greeks and Romans and Aztecs: socialist. Thrall-owning Icelandic landlords: socialist… wait, weren’t they the great (only) anarcho-capitalist exempalr?

      • Big Black Dick  On August 28, 2011 at 2:09 am

        Damien RS,

        That’s not anarcho-capitalist. And anarchism is not libertarianism.

        Authoritarianism is at fault in parts, socialism in other parts, and communism in other parts. You are simply wrong to blame authoritarianist, socialist and communist-created lack of freedom on anything other than authoritarianism, socialism and communism.

        And don’t assert correctness on your ignorant and grossly misinformed mindset. It only makes you look stupider.

      • Big Black Dick  On August 28, 2011 at 2:22 am

        Damien RS is hilariously stupid.

        Ignore the problems created by authoritarianism, socialism and communism and make up your own reality where the only right thing to do is be a slave for your state, comradsky!

      • Joe Hick  On August 28, 2011 at 2:24 am

        Damien RS is hilariously misinformed.

        Ignore all the problems created by authoritarianism, socialism and communism because the only right thing to do is be a slave to the state, comradesky, ha ha ha, drink some vodka!

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 8:47 pm

        Are you saying there is no such thing as unpaid labor? Then who is paying me to clean my house? To raise my children?

  • Anonymous  On August 25, 2011 at 12:28 am

    I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t read any Libertarian theory. My only real contact with it is my office mate who is an avid Libertarian. He’s also an avid conspiracy theorist. And a “preparer” (his term). Maybe he’s not a good example of Libertarianism and I just don’t know. There are some areas where we seem to be willing to listen to one another and other areas where we just look at one another as if the other was loony tunes.

    In reading through Isaac’s many comments I still come to some of my most basic questions. I read that he said there might be private street owners. Must admit, I’d never thought of that. But will there be enough private street owners who are willing to grant or lease access that one will be able to actually traverse a city? Or county, if we’re thinking rural and agrarian? Because if not, who the hell’s going to build roads that make possible basic transportation? And who’s going to maintain them? I suppose it might be nice to have everything one needs or wants right on one’s own property but, frankly, I’d like to be able to go other places just to see them.

    Also, what if your residence catches on fire? What if, with your great productivity and ability to create all you want, you’ve built a mansion-because that’s still within your means- and you can’t put out that fire all on your own? If your neighbors subscribe to the belief that they shouldn’t be forced to do anything and they live some distance away, would they help? And if so, why? Remember I’m talking about someone who most likely wouldn’t be affected by your fire. Because in all you’ve said I don’t see anything about caring about anyone but yourself and. presumably, your family. And that’s fine but then why should I give a damn if your place goes up in smoke or your child is trapped inside?

    This has been my issue. Given the size of the population we have, there seems little real possibility that we could all own a space big enough that would accommodate that scenario for everyone. For the most part, people will live in close proximity ~ and here, I guess, is your argument that it’s within my interest, then, to help put out your fire but soon enough I’ll just be wanting to put out the fire at my place ~ and it seems to me that there will be need for some basic ground rules. All I ever seem to hear from Libertarians is that government is only to provide defense ~ but small enough that they don’t get the big head. I just don’t understand how that’s even possible without chaos. I can’t imagine anyone going through life without needing the help of someone else and if everybody subscribes to the idea of “I only look out for me and mine” then nobody is going to get that help.

    I guess I’ve just felt that all I’ve ever heard about the philosophy seems cold and calculating. That may be doing it a disservice and I’m happy to hear if that’s not true. I basically believe there is an innate desire to be of service in times of emergency and perhaps Libertarianism is banking on that, too. But it doesn’t seem to fit with what I’ve heard.

    • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 2:04 am

      Here’s an article on a privatized fire-fighting business: http://www.thefreemanonline.org/columns/fire-fighting-for-profit/

      Privatized organizations have more incentive to do the job better than those paid by the state. When you’re paid by the state, you take a long time to build roads, etc. because you’re being paid poorly and if you do the work quickly, you won’t get paid enough for your labor, your time, your effort, the materials, etc.

      Private contractors can work quicker because they’re getting paid more, justifying putting time into what they’re doing. You can also shop around, and find the service that best serves your needs and budget. And the state can lighten up on the tax payers.

      Getting back to the idea of fire fighters “watching houses burn”, the state-funded fire fighters already do that. It’s a sad reflection on our authoritarian reality: http://georgedonnelly.com/libertarian/state-firefighters-watch-house-burn

      A private fire fighting business can also better serve an area’s needs, and if they don’t produce, their customers can release them. You can’t do the same when the service is provided by the federal government.

  • James  On August 25, 2011 at 4:45 am

    I have read through a majority of the comments on this page and there are some interesting trends that I notice. The first of these is the ‘should and ought’ comments. Every comment here that includes a ‘should or ought’ is directed at someone other than the author of the comment. Personal responsibility seems to be another issue, where each is claiming that the people of like minded ideals have a greater sense of personal responsibility than the people of opposing views. How about a demonstration of an alternative:

    I should continue to work as hard as I possibly can to provide for my family and while I am not working or spending quality time with my children or wife, I should continue to better myself both physically, mentally and emotionally through the acquisition of new skills and abilities so that I can ensure that I can continue to do so. In this way my family and I will be able to endure throughout lean times and flourish in times of plenty.

    Assumption of what someone else believes is a fallacy. Let’s face it; no “ism” exists in a vacuum. Socialism as we know it failed not because the idea itself was bad but because of what it was combined with. The Soviet Union, was a mixture of socialism, capitalism (because there was a currency), and a little totalitarianism thrown in just for spice. One of the only successful socialist societies was the Ancient Inca civilization (though it was never really called that). On the flip side of that, pure capitalism cannot survive on its own either. It will consume itself and begin to morph into totalitarianism or feudalism. Democracies can’t support anything larger than a city-state or else nothing would ever get done and Republics are prone to corruption by power. Totalitarianism is the result of an under-developed population and an over-inflated ego. Triumvirates give way to jealousy and empires can’t be sustained because of cultural differences. We sit and wonder who stole my cheese while being told to give peace a chance and watch horrendous depictions of violence on the TV but complain that our children are witnessing disgusting images of a naked people in magazines and on the internet.

    There are people arguing back and forth about the existence of God and whether or not to “classify” him/her/it in the same category as Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Great Pumpkin. Here is a thought: I believe in a higher power because of science, not in spite of it. I acknowledge that I do in fact have awareness, and a conscience. Energy and matter cannot be created or destroyed; they can only change forms (scientific law). I observe that there are, in fact, great collections of mass and energy exist in the forms of stars, black holes, solar systems, galaxies, and at least one universe. Using an if/then rational it isn’t hard to understand that if this animated carcass that I call “me” possesses conscience energy and it can’t be destroyed, and all of you do too, then in theory they can be collected into one space and that space would have more or a “greater” energy than other spaces. So, atheists have at it and tell me that stars and galaxies don’t exist and that I am a naive.

    I also believe in the Bible. You know why? Because, it’s a good book. It has some pretty good stories, they are entertaining, and they teach a moral lesson. Those are some of the things I look for in a good book. Ever think that maybe that is why it was called that? I place it up there with all the other good and even great books that I have read and regard it with about the same reverence (which considering that I love books is considerable).

    I send my children to Sunday school, because I value the lessons that my child learns about how to interact with other children and the eagerness that they absorb the moral lessons found in those stories being taught to them by someone else. This way they can know that others out there are in fact good people despite what other philosophies they may subscribe to in their lives.

    I also place a lot of value on community. I routinely share what meager fruits I have with those who live next to me without the expectation of a reciprocal gift. I invite them to eat at my table, to sleep in my residence if they have harder times then I am experiencing. One day, when they have recovered, I may need that favor returned.

    Shifting gears, I also am working to purchase that little piece of property to call my own, where I don’t have to share it with others. A place that my children can grow safely without the fear of some “Joe the creepy guy” coming in and snatching them while I’m not looking. Furthermore, I want the things that I worked my tail off to achieve to go to the people that I want it to go to. I want my children to be positioned so that in the event of my unfortunate demise, they are better equipped to survive than anybody else. We are after all card carrying members of the Animal kingdom and our primal response is to ensure the survival of our offspring. What is wrong with wanting to make sure that happens.

    This country was built on the backs of hard working people, and mortared with the blood of those who defended that ideal. People that wanted a say in their own future. Not people who wanted a say in everybody else’s future. I could care less what events befall the Kardashians or a bunch of teenage girls that fail to grasp the concept of contraceptives. I abhor the fact that I am taxed into near slavery by a system that is broken by design in order to usher in some new world order, one world currency, organization, United whatever the hell else they can come up with. The last thing I want is yet another level of government saying how I need to live and what I need to do to be a productive member of the “global community”.

    Global Warming is another thing. Does it or doesn’t it exist? Progressives say yes, Conservatives say no. I say, does it even matter? It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to realize that minimizing waste, transitioning to alternative energies and using the fewest resources possible is in my best interest. It is cheaper and more reliable long term. It is also healthier for the environment, and large utilities that act as monopolies are a racket with no competition to drive down costs. That is Win, Win, Win in my book.

    Here is another topic that always seems to get people up in arms. Education. My view is probably best explained from a small business perspective. Small businesses need to have trained competent workers operating in key positions. Training for those positions is a necessary requirement, and if the business owner doesn’t have anyone to perform a task then he/she must ante up the cash to pay for that training to be conducted. Obviously, the business owner has limited resources and isn’t going to keep training people for a sustained and recurring net loss quarter after quarter, year after year. The business would go under. Nor, would anyone expect them to pay for training that does not benefit the goals and objectives of the business. If one of the employee has a desire for training that is outside of the businesses’ requirements then that employee is on their own to figure out how to get to where they want to be. Likewise, if a city, state, or nation is spending more than it can afford and the benefits of doing so are not being realized why is it such a bad thing to cut education costs. Teaching is an indirect expense but it is necessary most of the time because ultimately the students do produce. I am a firm proponent that teachers and instructors of any kind do themselves a disservice if they spend their entire careers in the field of Academia because of what happens when budgets get cut.
    There are other things too that I out right cannot stand paying a national tax on as well. Namely the highway construction, department of education, homeland security, It’s not that these things are not needed they just don’t need to be managed at a federal level. The states and municipalities are ultimately the ones that carry out these projects and programs anyway so why not eliminate the wasteful federal bureaucracy and put it back into the hands of the states and municipalities.
    This is what I believe in. Does it make me a Liberal, Conservative or a Libertarian? I don’t really care to know to be perfectly honest. I do know that I when I vote, I look for who is representing my interests, and not a party ideal. I am sure there is someone here that has never fought for anything or worked their hands till they bled, or built something out of nothing more than a good idea and all the intestinal fortitude they could muster, that will point out the errors in my line of thinking, and that is fine by me. I have spent 16 years fighting for your right to say whatever you want, so make it good.

    • Bob  On August 30, 2011 at 3:52 pm

      James, Thanks for taking the time to express your well thought out opinions. And thanks for your military service ( I hope I got that implied assumption right. ) Your text highlights my belief that the liberal/ conservative dichotomy mindset pushed by the corporate media is not helping us at all. We the people share most of the beliefs you outlined +/- some minor details. I also think understanding terms like neoliberalism & oligarchy help us all to understand what the once truly conservative Republican party is all about. ( and to a slightly lesser extent most Democrats these days)

  • Keith Gardner  On August 25, 2011 at 5:05 am

    locke wasn’t the only great left libertarian. add thomas paine, mill, adam smith, and jefferson to that list. albert jay nock is an old left libertarian the royal libertarian party likes to forget too. the royal libertarians like to promote their rockefeller foundation and william volker fund heros of mises, hayek, and rothbard.

  • Gregg Matson  On August 25, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    I too was a total libertarian at about the age of sixteen–seventeen. Then as time went by, I learned the hard way that it is NOT a level playing field for us “rugged individualists,” that some people do fudge the rules, and some actually disregard the rules completely. In short, I learned that all of us (excepting the true sociopaths) NEED EACH OTHER!

  • andrewclunn  On August 25, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    And did you also come to believe that government reduced the amount of favoritism and cheating? Did you come to think that this cooperation of “NEEDING EACH OTHER” was best facilitated through bureaucracies? I think maybe you didn’t really understand libertarianism as a teenager, and that you were just an immature kid who thought libertarianism meant not giving a damn and then when you couldn’t cut it on your own, you put the blame on society instead of yourself, because you never did grow up, you just believe whatever let’s you think that you’re special.

  • Anonymous  On August 25, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Thank you for this excellent insight. Another good way in which the government lets down the people is should protect is well-examined in that classic of the Irish Potato Famine, called “The Great Hunger” by Cecil Woodham-Smith. The author documents how the English government, who owned by means of production by the small farmers, determined that these gatherers should work on the roads for money, when the Irish spoke no English and whose economy was a system of barter. Needless deaths occurred from this “capitalism is the only way” approach and “the Irish are lazy and need to work for money.”

    • Isaac  On August 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm

      The Irish potato famine had NOTHING to do with capitalism or libertarianism. Take a class.

  • AynRandUsedMedicare  On August 26, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Libertarianism is like communism….sounds great on paper but doesn’t work when practice in the real world. Utopian ideologies lead to failed states.

    • Dog Boy  On August 27, 2011 at 1:50 am

      Typical lack of intellect from someone who believes that communism “sounds great”. Also, Ayn Rand had money taken away from her from years and paid the taxpayers back.

      Why is it that liberals always try to bash what they are too stupid to understand?

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 4:30 am

        What are you referring to in your comment about Ayn Rand? Is this about her being on Welfare? How did she pay it back?

  • Neil B  On August 26, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Libertarianism is based on a *fundamental* fallacy: the notion that private estate property and resource control claims are a “given”, but that public claims (including the government) are not. That’s false. We started in a State of Nature with a commons and no intrinsic property claims (ask, how did any of that “get off the ground” as they say in philosophical discourse about starting principles or conditions.) We had to create property claims and boundaries by agreement (else one person’s claims could overlap someone else’s etc.) including the common powers of governments. I know, not quite a matter of everyone liking any of it per “agree” but that includes property too – it’s *all* a construct. Most importantly, those agreements set up limitations, obligations, and other quids pro quo of both properties and goverments.

    If taxation is theft then so is rent. (You can Google for my giant UseNet jeremiad “The foundational problem of libertarian theory.”) Once a person realizes that, they can’t pretend that it’s “voluntary” to accept property owner claims and not government claims. For example, if someone charges me $1000 to use “their” island, the real freedom question is why do I have to pay them instead of it being “public holding”, not the phony libertarian pretension “you’re free to decide whether to pay or not use the island.”

    PS: Corporations have little right to do as they please in any case, being artificial legal constructs given special privilege by governments via the people, which can impose whatever conditions on that granting of privilege they feel serves *their* interests.

    • Sanchez Sambo  On August 28, 2011 at 2:28 am

      That’s right, blame the problems created by authoritarianism, high regulations and crony capitalism on libertarianism, instead of looking up what you’re writing about and making an informed decision based on facts. That’s the ticket! Now if we can only find a way to blame the Jews for the Holocaust!

  • Anonymous  On August 26, 2011 at 10:36 am

    http://www.equip.org/perspectives/the-genealogy-of-jesus

  • Neil B  On August 26, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    BTW, the climategate thing was mostly hot air, so to speak:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2011/08/24/case-closed-climategate-was-manufactured/

    • John Doe  On August 27, 2011 at 1:53 am

      Reality check: Discover Magazine is not reputable. Global warming DOES NOT FUCKING EXIST.

  • smash  On August 26, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I’ll add a side point. One of the problems with libertarianism, and economic policies derived from such, that I have been noting is that of the assumption that people are rational. Free market economics are based on the assumption that all people make rational decisions, and when these policies fail, the failure is blamed not on the theory, but on the irrationality of the people. But this is the rub: economics and political science are after all branches of “social science” and making assumptions about rationality is simply bad psychology. You cannot prescribe rationality in the marketplace. A truly scientific political system would recognize the inherent irrationality of human behavior, especially group behavior. Libertarianism, seemingly ironically, is the epitome of ivory tower theory with no connection to reality. We can no longer afford to continue blaming the masses for being irrational while pushing the same failing principles over and over.

  • Aaron  On August 27, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Isaac,
    I should save my energy for conversations with grown-ups, but if you conduct google searches for “infected beef”, “infected milk”, “milk deaths”, and “china food safety” you will be able to see that unsafe food practices DO happen.
    And just because they DO happen in the real world doesn’t mean that those responsible did it to PURPOSEFULLY harm anyone.
    Do you see a problem with your estimation that food safety hazards do not exist because it is illogical for them to happen (when in fact, safety hazards DO occur)?
    Your argument is akin to saying that unsafe food will never be produced, nor has it ever been produced, because the producer needs to to turn a profit.

    • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 1:25 am

      Problem is, China isn’t libertarian. It’s mostly communist, with the exception of Hong Kong, which has a free market. What you describe is a rare occurrence, likely CAUSED by regulations, and not a generalized issue with these products. Quite frankly, implying that I’m not a grown up because I understand how the world works, unlike you, is stupid.

  • Anonymous  On August 27, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    Right-wing libertarianism= the Neoliberal fantasy where people are all rational actor,always perfectly informed and there are not gross unbalances of power/wealth or massive externalities and not monopoly/Oligopoly/cartels etc

    something that only a nerdish 20 years- old straight middle-upper class white male or an Economist can really believe

    • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 1:27 am

      I’m not sure what contradiction I should start with. How do you believe that libertarianism is simultaneously “right-wing” and “neoliberal”? Shouldn’t something that is “neoliberal” be left-wing? If you had common sense, you would not have written something this ludicrously nonsensical.

      • Anonymous  On August 28, 2011 at 7:55 am

        Neoliberalism is a label for the market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that stresses the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the political and economic priorities of the state

        American Libertarians are NEOLIBERAL

        I use the the “right-wing” libertarians to distinguish them from the left-wing libertarians(anarcho-socialism,ancom,syndacalism,mutualism,sans adjectives,green)

      • Damien RS  On August 28, 2011 at 8:04 am

        *Surely* a libertarian who is so rudely contemptuous of other people’s ignorance is not himself ignorant of “classical liberalism”, which was basically moderate libertarianism before US “libertarianism”, or of the fact that liberal parties in non US countries are still individualistic, free-market, libertarianish, and considered right-wing, or that neoliberalism is, to quote wikipedia, “a contemporary free-market political-economic philosophy”.

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 2:23 pm

        Damien RS and Anonymous,

        I have no sympathy for anyone who doesn’t understand things. You will not make things better by asking me to tell you how things work. I will not educate you for yourselves. That is your own job. I have no requirement to take part in correcting a problem you have created for yourself. I merely suggest that if you don’t want to take things seriously and understand how they work, please do not involve me in your conversation. Thank you.

  • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 2:47 am

    While it seems like that should be true, it turns out it is not true that when taxes go down the workers have more money. What actually happens is that employers know what people are willing to work for (and it’s the take-home pay people count, not the gross), so if taxes go up, wages go up and if taxes go down, wages go down — making it come out even — the take-home pay remains the same.
    To paraphrase you, “You are under the false impression that every person is a layabout.” People who work for wages tend to work quite hard. The person who “owns” the workplace where workers work does not work harder. What makes you think they do?
    “…you are the only reason that you do not have as much money as some of the people you condemn for their success, you will never be as successful as they are.” This is not true. There are many reasons for not being as financially successful as the banksters and other corporate pirates. First, you are defining success in a purely financial way, a poverty-stricken attitude if ever there was one. People who achieve great wealth sacrifice many other parts of life to do so, and many of us do not feel the bargain is a good one. You may note that people who are on top of business hierarchies tend to have more heart attacks and other stress based problems than people who are less driven. You may feel this sacrifice is a good one, but not all of us do. Many of us feel having a pleasant daily life is more valuable, or having a job that makes us feel like we are doing good in the world is more important than a higher salary. However, the vast majority of people in America do feel that having that good, pleasant life includes working and supporting ourselves and our families. Very few people actually prefer to sit around and be supported by their fellow humans or government. (As a matter of fact, all the liberals I know say they don’t personally know anyone that lazy, while all the conservatives I know say they do indeed know someone personally who is that lazy, leading me to believe that what is really happening is that only conservatives are that lazy.)

    • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 2:25 pm

      False, again 100% false. When taxes go down, more jobs are created, and wage opportunities that did not previously exist are available. That does not equal wages “going down”. You still don’t understand how economics work. Please remove yourself from this conversation.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 5:24 pm

        “When taxes go down, more jobs are created” in third world countries. While we are well on our way to becoming a third-world country, I want to forestall it, while you want to accelerate it. Lowering taxes on rich people does not create more jobs here in the US, except for the occasional maid or butler.

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 6:04 pm

        I know you’re convinced trolling is a good idea, but NONE OF THE THINGS YOU SAY MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE TO ANYONE WHO ACTUALLY PAYS ATTENTION TO ANYTHING THAT IS GOING ON.

        You think I want to “accelerate” the United States into a third world country? While promoting the very politics that caused our economic problems? HIGH TAXES AND BIG GOVERNMENT are responsible for our economy, you ignorant, misanthropic, spoiled middle-class socialist brat.

  • Unpretentious Diva  On August 28, 2011 at 6:12 am

    Our fear is that the owners of the means of production won’t grant us access
    So you want to snatch some other one’s property just because you are lazy enough to not to have your own? What will it bring?

    It will discourage those who can produce. Why should they produce when you are conspiring to rob their products?

    Immorality seems to be winning at every stage against honesty and a prime example is you and why you are not a libertarian.

    • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 5:29 pm

      What evidence have you that taxing rich people discourages them from producing? As long as the tax is less than 100%, they still make a profit. They are in it for the game anyway.
      Actually, all our eras of highest productivity and wealth have coincided with high taxes on the rich.

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 6:01 pm

        WRONG again. Watch this video. It explains things perfectly:

    • Anonymous  On November 10, 2011 at 3:30 am

      They don’t have to produce. The one who has gained the property now has the ability to produce, instead of laboring for the one who previously owned the property.

  • Anonymous  On August 28, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Isaac,
    It’s not polite to post pretending to be a stupid ignorant pompous libertarian. I know libertarians can be frustrating and make one want to make fun of them, but they have enough problems without some liberal framing them for dumber stuff than they say already. Please stop and let them speak for themselves.

    Also, even by trolling standards you’ve lost whatever interest you’ve had. If you don’t stop, please be more creative.

    • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 6:14 pm

      Hi, “Kim Cooper”.

      I’ve given more than enough evidence why you are a troll, “Kim Cooper”. You provide no evidence, you merely attack me on the basis of political ideology, but add nothing further than what you’ve already posted countless times, scuffled with irrational untruths. Why are you so afraid of facts? Once you realize and accept the truth that you are wrong and I am correct, you can stop this outrageous crusade.

      Stupidity has a certain charm, ignorance does not.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 8:52 pm

        Isaac — that was not me, that was “anonymous”. It didn’t even sound like me.

  • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Isaac — when you assert that scientists agree that global warming doesn’t exist, you present no evidence to back up your statement, whereas, Aaron did present evidence to back up his assertion that most scientists do think global warming is genuine.
    Actually, I read a good scientific article a few years ago, that is unfortunately not on line, that was about long-term climate fluctuations and it said that if we were not causing global warming we would be halfway into an ice age by now: that the three big natural cycles are all heading toward ice age, and we are just stalling it. An interesting position.

    • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 6:06 pm

      Wow. You cannot read.

      http://news.yahoo.com/nasa-data-blow-gaping-hold-global-warming-alarmism-192334971.html

      NASA satellite data from the years 2000 through 2011 show the Earth’s atmosphere is allowing far more heat to be released into space than alarmist computer models have predicted, reports a new study in the peer-reviewed science journal Remote Sensing. The study indicates far less future global warming will occur than United Nations computer models have predicted, and supports prior studies indicating increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide trap far less heat than alarmists have claimed.
      Study co-author Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite, reports that real-world data from NASA’s Terra satellite contradict multiple assumptions fed into alarmist computer models.
      “The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said in a July 26 University of Alabama press release. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”
      In addition to finding that far less heat is being trapped than alarmist computer models have predicted, the NASA satellite data show the atmosphere begins shedding heat into space long before United Nations computer models predicted.
      The new findings are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate.
      Scientists on all sides of the global warming debate are in general agreement about how much heat is being directly trapped by human emissions of carbon dioxide (the answer is “not much”). However, the single most important issue in the global warming debate is whether carbon dioxide emissions will indirectly trap far more heat by causing large increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds. Alarmist computer models assume human carbon dioxide emissions indirectly cause substantial increases in atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds (each of which are very effective at trapping heat), but real-world data have long shown that carbon dioxide emissions are not causing as much atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds as the alarmist computer models have predicted.
      The new NASA Terra satellite data are consistent with long-term NOAA and NASA data indicating atmospheric humidity and cirrus clouds are not increasing in the manner predicted by alarmist computer models. The Terra satellite data also support data collected by NASA’s ERBS satellite showing far more longwave radiation (and thus, heat) escaped into space between 1985 and 1999 than alarmist computer models had predicted. Together, the NASA ERBS and Terra satellite data show that for 25 years and counting, carbon dioxide emissions have directly and indirectly trapped far less heat than alarmist computer models have predicted.
      In short, the central premise of alarmist global warming theory is that carbon dioxide emissions should be directly and indirectly trapping a certain amount of heat in the earth’s atmosphere and preventing it from escaping into space. Real-world measurements, however, show far less heat is being trapped in the earth’s atmosphere than the alarmist computer models predict, and far more heat is escaping into space than the alarmist computer models predict.
      When objective NASA satellite data, reported in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, show a “huge discrepancy” between alarmist climate models and real-world facts, climate scientists, the media and our elected officials would be wise to take notice. Whether or not they do so will tell us a great deal about how honest the purveyors of global warming alarmism truly are.

      • Anonymous  On August 28, 2011 at 6:55 pm

        Your url has already been debunked and dismissed. You’re not citing NASA or a scientific consensus, you’re citing a Forbes blogger who’s further misrepresenting the already dubious work of Roy Spencer.

        You’re still boring.

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm

        @ Anonymous

        Wow. You are stupid. Read the above. SCIENCE. Your claim? DELIBERATE BULLSHIT because you’ve been brainwashed by religious nutjobs who don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about and are convinced that there is an invisble hippie in the sky trying to burn us alive for not driving hybrids. You failed, end of story. Roy Spencer knows more about what you’re talking about than you are. “Your url has already been debunked”? NO, IT FUCKING HASN’T. This is the truth. THERE IS NO GLOBAL WARMING. ACCEPT IT.

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 7:36 pm

        If you morons cared about the environment, you would be pushing for electric cars over hybrids. Or alternative fuel methods. You’re not. You’re just LYING and claiming that people are liars or don’t know what they’re talking about because the false theory of global warming has been SCIENTIFICALLY DISPROVEN. If you want to know how it really works, read about climate change over the years. IT’S COLDER TODAY THAN IT WAS IN THE 1200s.

        Why is this your default push button to accuse bias of people who KNOW there is no global warming? If you were merely stupid, you would be hilarious, but ignorant stupidity has NEVER been charming. Read the article I posted AGAIN and weep for being wrong.

        Also watch the following:

      • Aaron  On August 28, 2011 at 7:37 pm

        Isaac,
        That study HAS been debunked. You’ll need a more solid story that doesn’t reek of propaganda and outlines the data better.
        It is simply hysterical propaganda (originally published in that prestigious scientific journal Forbes Magazine) by a pretend scientist [sourcewatch.org] (who uses the term “alarmist” no fewer than 14 times in this 567-word, 9-paragraph pile of nonsense) who quacks on environmental issues for the Heartland Institute (an organization whose “work” has been funded [sourcewatch.org] by an array of right-wing billionaire’s foundations, tobacco companies, and Exxon Mobil), based on junk science [livescience.com] by a well-known climate skeptic and “intelligent design” advocate [wikipedia.org] who has made a fundamental scientific error by confusing correlation with causation.

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 7:40 pm

        @Aaron

        No, the study has not been “debunked”.

        Hysterical propaganda? That would be Al Gore’s campaign video “An Inconvenient Truth”.

        You are wrong. Accept it.

        THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GLOBAL WARMING. The sky is not falling. There is no God to punish you for not driving a Prius. Shut the fuck up.

      • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 7:44 pm

        Typical leftist strategy – if you have no evidence to support your position, slander the opposition and accuse them of being corporately funded to tell people what’s really going on instead of repeating propaganda from insane leftists who believe that the sky is falling, in spite of the scientific evidence AGAINST their claims.

        What financial benefit do we have from the Earth heating up? I don’t have ANY investments in the sunscreen corporations.

        Global warming is a leftist scare tactic to shake the ignorant into voting for their irresponsible and poisonous candidates. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GLOBAL WARMING. It has been scientifically debunked. Accept it.

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 8:58 pm

        “If you morons cared about the environment, you would be pushing for electric cars over hybrids. Or alternative fuel methods. You’re not. ”

        How do you know what I am pushing for? We have not discussed this at all. As a matter of fact, we are working on a great improvement to solar electricity that will help make electric cars feasible. Be careful what you wish for, you might get it…. ;-)

      • Kim Cooper  On August 28, 2011 at 10:47 pm

        “If you morons cared about the environment, you would be pushing for electric cars over hybrids. Or alternative fuel methods. You’re not. ”

        How do you know what we are “pushing” or not? We haven’t discussed that. As a matter of fact, we are working on an invention that will, ultimately, improve solar electricity enough to make electric cars more practical.

  • Isaac  On August 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Here is the text of Newsweek’s 1975 story on the trend toward global cooling. It may look foolish today, but in fact world temperatures had been falling since about 1940. It was around 1979 that they reversed direction and resumed the general rise that had begun in the 1880s, bringing us today back to around 1940 levels.

    There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas – parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia – where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.
    The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually. During the same time, the average temperature around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree – a fraction that in some areas can mean drought and desolation. Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars’ worth of damage in 13 U.S. states.
    To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world’s weather. The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic. “A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale,” warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, “because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century.”
    A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972.
    To the layman, the relatively small changes in temperature and sunshine can be highly misleading. Reid Bryson of the University of Wisconsin points out that the Earth’s average temperature during the great Ice Ages was only about seven degrees lower than during its warmest eras – and that the present decline has taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average. Others regard the cooling as a reversion to the “little ice age” conditions that brought bitter winters to much of Europe and northern America between 1600 and 1900 – years when the Thames used to freeze so solidly that Londoners roasted oxen on the ice and when iceboats sailed the Hudson River almost as far south as New York City.
    Just what causes the onset of major and minor ice ages remains a mystery. “Our knowledge of the mechanisms of climatic change is at least as fragmentary as our data,” concedes the National Academy of Sciences report. “Not only are the basic scientific questions largely unanswered, but in many cases we do not yet know enough to pose the key questions.”
    Meteorologists think that they can forecast the short-term results of the return to the norm of the last century. They begin by noting the slight drop in overall temperature that produces large numbers of pressure centers in the upper atmosphere. These break up the smooth flow of westerly winds over temperate areas. The stagnant air produced in this way causes an increase in extremes of local weather such as droughts, floods, extended dry spells, long freezes, delayed monsoons and even local temperature increases – all of which have a direct impact on food supplies.
    “The world’s food-producing system,” warns Dr. James D. McQuigg of NOAA’s Center for Climatic and Environmental Assessment, “is much more sensitive to the weather variable than it was even five years ago.” Furthermore, the growth of world population and creation of new national boundaries make it impossible for starving peoples to migrate from their devastated fields, as they did during past famines.
    Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.
    ________________________________________

    Mars Is Warming, NASA Scientists Report
    Data coincide with increasing solar output
    Written By: James M. Taylor
    Published In: Environment News
    Publication Date: November 1, 2005
    Publisher: The Heartland Institute

    The planet Mars is undergoing significant global warming, new data from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) show, lending support to many climatologists’ claims that the Earth’s modest warming during the past century is due primarily to a recent upsurge in solar energy.

    Martian Ice Shrinking Dramatically
    According to a September 20 NASA news release, “for three Mars summers in a row, deposits of frozen carbon dioxide near Mars’ south pole have shrunk from the previous year’s size, suggesting a climate change in progress.” Because a Martian year is approximately twice as long as an Earth year, the shrinking of the Martian polar ice cap has been ongoing for at least six Earth years.
    The shrinking is substantial. According to Michael Malin, principal investigator for the Mars Orbiter Camera, the polar ice cap is shrinking at “a prodigious rate.”
    “The images, documenting changes from 1999 to 2005, suggest the climate on Mars is presently warmer, and perhaps getting warmer still, than it was several decades or centuries ago,” reported Yahoo News on September 20.

    Solar Link Possible
    Scientists are not sure whether the Martian warming is entirely due to Mars-specific forces or may be the result of other forces, such as increasing solar output, which would explain much of the recent asserted warming of the Earth as well.
    Sallie Baliunas, chair of the Science Advisory Board at the George C. Marshall Institute, said, “Pluto, like Mars, is also undergoing warming.” However, Baliunas speculated it is “likely not the sun but long-term processes on Mars and Pluto” causing the warming. However, until more information is gathered, Baliunas said, it is difficult to know for sure.
    Pat Michaels, past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and senior fellow at the Cato Institute, similarly expressed a desire for more information about the Martian climate. “What is the internal dynamic that is warming Mars?” asked Michaels. “Given the fact that there are not a lot of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions on Mars, and given the fact that new research indicates that 10 to 30 percent estimated conservatively of Earth’s recent warming is due to increased solar output, the Martian warming may support that new research.”

    Models May Be Wrong
    The new research mentioned by Michaels is the October 2 release of findings by Duke University scientists that “at least 10 to 30 percent of global warming measured during the past two decades may be due to increased solar output rather than factors such as increased heat-absorbing carbon dioxin gas released by various human activities.”
    “The problem is that Earth’s atmosphere is not in thermodynamic equilibrium with the sun,” Duke associate research scientist Nicola Scafetta explained in a Duke University news release. Moreover, “the longer the time period [that the Earth's atmosphere is not in thermodynamic equilibrium] the stronger the effect will be on the atmosphere, because it takes time to adapt.”
    Examining a 22-year interval of reliable solar data going back to 1980, the Duke scientists were able to filter out shorter-range effects that can influence surface temperatures but are not related to global warming. Such effects include volcanic eruptions and ocean current changes such as El Niño.
    Applying their long-term data, the Duke scientists concluded, “the sun may have minimally contributed about 10 to 30 percent of the 1980-2002 global surface warming.”
    “[Greenhouse] gases would still give a contribution, but not so strong as was thought,” Scafetta observed.

    Several Forces Affect Temperature
    “We don’t know what the sun will do in the future,” Scafetta added. “For now, if our analysis is correct, I think it is important to correct the climate models so that they include reliable sensitivity to solar activity.”
    Iain Murray, senior fellow and global warming specialist at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said the Mars warming adds another level of uncertainty to claims that the Earth’s modest recent warming is a result of human activity. “It is probably too much to claim that any one source is the principal driver of the warming trend on Earth,” said Murray.
    “The number of significant temperature forcings on the climate system grows yearly as we get to know more and more about it, but we really are at a very early stage of our exploration of this very complex system,” Murray noted. “If all the estimates are true about the relative effects of forcings like the sun, black carbon, and greenhouse gases, then it is quite possible that we would have been in a sharply cooling phase over recent years were it not for these forcings. In which case, one might say, thank goodness for global warming!”

  • Anonymous  On August 30, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    FYI, there is a great and insightful critique on this article here:

    Its by Stefan Molineux and his main critique is this article’s lack of much of a point.

    • Anonymous  On August 30, 2011 at 5:59 pm

      Stefan OWNS this guy. hehe

      • Rafe  On August 30, 2011 at 7:10 pm

        I agree. I’ve never been able to accept progressive philosophy. The most difficult aspect is the welfare state or transfer payments. Evolutionary biology informs us that altruism works well at small scales but when you increase the size of the social order cooperation breaks down as cognitive limitations and population movement permit entities to free-ride on due to donors inability to exit or assess individual transfers.

        Peltzman’s research indicates that when you reduce the cost of failure you tend to get more of it. While it appears that the response to poverty is to attempt to operate out of compassion, compassion itself is an atavistic methodology for facilitating cooperation in a system with no real accounting mechanism(the welfare state). I truly believe people respond to incentives.

        I won’t even go into Public choice criticisms which don’t just call into question the incentives of the political actors and market actors when they can seize regulatory instruments but sets up a rather uncompromising indictment of democratic decision making itself under a representative system.

        Even Gutman and Thomspon’s deliberative ideals erode back into representative’s necessity making the entire exercise more elitist then it is egalitarian.

    • Anonymous  On August 31, 2011 at 2:22 pm

      and of course.. almost no reply to a libertarian response.. rofl.. what i like about liberals is they like to talk to themselves but rarely win debate against libertarians.. maybe it’s precisely because you couldn’t comprehend their ideologies that you reverted back to your liberal self? why not make a direct response to the maker of this video? duke it out for all of us to see.

    • AJBopp  On September 4, 2011 at 6:31 pm

      This guy is in no position to be criticizing someone for not making a point. He chooses instead to ignore the points that are made while making none of his own

  • Bob Robertson  On August 30, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Another answer to “plague” is that you had to go to 1918 in order to find any govt anywhere that did anything that might statistically be argued as positive.

    In comparison, let’s talk Swine Flu, Avian Flu, the deliberate infecting of people with syphilis, the drugging of govt school children, etc etc etc.

    Not to mention war and the chemical and biological “weapons” we can only hope never, ever, get used.

    It is unfortuante that you have embraced power for the furtherance of your own preferences against those who merely disagree with you.

    • Rafe  On August 30, 2011 at 11:29 pm

      Might there be a psychological explanation for why liberals/progressives talk about compassion in the context of FORCED wealth transfer to those that are allegedly “needy”. The left in embracing the Leviathan, knowing it’s destructive capacity, feel a subconscious urge to offset their advocacy by being outwardly more altruistic to compensate for what they unleash, or at least signaling as altruistic despite considering that need itself has a supply elasticity and indeed may respond as if it’s an output in particular economic sector.

  • Bob Robertson  On August 30, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    I would also suggest that anyone who thinks property is created by government has never raised a child.

    The instinct of posession of property rises very, very early.

  • Anonymous  On August 30, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    “As you read, try to imagine a Libertarian approach to a serious plague. I don’t think there is one.”

    Freedom not = automatic stupidity. I’d guess a sane person would stay away from public places during a plague anyway. Just look at workers in a company: they’d do anything for a sick day.

    “Global warming is a collective problem, and there is no individualistic solution to it.”

    Besides, like, you know, the courts. And not supporting companies which pollute. And carbon dioxide filters. Plus, free doesn’t mean that there won’t be voluntary collective organizations.

    “Property … something else here…”

    Doesn’t do one bit to refute property besides saying that government is needed, which is wrong.

    “The industrial economy is in the same condition. You can’t go down to the Ford plant and start working on your new car. You have to be hired first. You need an owner’s permission before your labor can start to create property for you. If no owner will give you that permission, then you could starve.”

    Zomg, and a government fixes all of that! Because in a free society all factory owners will prevent everyone from getting jobs but in a democracy these same factory owners will make a government to prevent themselves from being evil!

    Seriously, this “compare to democracy” argument is a great thing in favor of libertarianism. Some naysayers says that something would never happen under libertarianism? Well, how does it happen in democracy? People want it. People’s wants ain’t gonna change switching the political system (besides wanting to violate NAP, that gets removed), so the the same wants will build the same social structures. Bam. The one good thing democracy has done is show us that people want good things. Hence, if they truly want them, in libertarianism they can still do them.

    “Our fear is that the owners of the means of production won’t grant us access, so we will never have the opportunity to apply our labor.”

    Again, because factory owners hate workers so much that they don’t even want to see any in their factories…

    “I meet very few able-bodied adults whose first choice is to sit around demanding a handout.”

    Congratulations on staying with the classy people.

    “I also meet young people who would be happy to study whatever subject and train in whatever skill would get them a decent job. I am frustrated that I can’t tell them what subject or what skill that is.”

    Am I missing something or is this not an argument?

    “What’s more, everyone should get the benefit of the increased productivity of society. No individual created that productivity single-handedly. No individual has a right to siphon it off.”

    Flawed logic. So if one individual doesn’t create the wealth, he can’t keep it all. But everyone should suddenly share in it. Because… everyone helped to create it? No. No one siphons off productivity. There are only voluntary activities. Production is anarchistic.

    “But instead, our society has a class of owners, and everyone else participates in the bounty of the Earth and the wealth of human progress only by their permission.”

    Owners, which, of course, by default, hate our guts. Sort of like most dog owners in the US beat their dogs when they get up in the morning, right? Dude, dogs are our slaves and we treat them well. Really?

    “Increasingly, they maneuver into a position that allows them to drive a hard bargain for that permission.”

    Because 5% of the population surely is stronger economically than the other 95%…

    “And so higher productivity means higher unemployment”

    Productivity = unemployment? As in lazy people don’t wanna get jobs because they entail work? I guess so…

    “and the average person’s standard of living decreases even as total wealth increases.”

    Because our standards of living are so much lower now than like 100 years ago.

    “I anticipate this objection: “You want to go back to being hunter-gatherers. We’ll all starve.””

    Hoho. He got me there! Exactly what I had wanted to object with!

    “It is the proper role of government to balance that injustice, to provide many paths of access to the means of production, and to compensate those who are still shut out. To prevent government from doing so, in today’s world, is no way to champion freedom. Quite the opposite, it’s tyrannical.”

    Most certainly. Letting government control our lives is the only path to freedom. Also the key to a long and healthy life is tying yourself to a 100 pound rock about to be flung over the Golden Gate Bridge.

  • Marco Antonio Costa  On August 31, 2011 at 3:43 am

    ‘why I am not a libertarian’

    nobody cares man.

  • economicsjunkie  On September 1, 2011 at 5:11 am

    A video I recorded on the utter failures of free markets and libertarianism over the past centuries.

    But you need to watch it to the end!! :)

  • Andrew  On September 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    If you’re trying to explain why you’re not a libertarian then wouldn’t it help to at least mention the core principle of libertarianism: the non-aggression principle? The fact that you didn’t mention your views on the non-aggression principle and just skipped to arguments from effect against libertarianism suggests that you don’t understand why principled libertarians are what they are. It’s not a matter of how good or bad things would be without a state…..it’s a matter of moral principles.

  • Neil B  On September 1, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    “Non agression” is a phony principle for libertarians to espouse. They believe property owners have control rights over their claimed property (something that wouldn’t exist – just think, which boundaries for who and with what specific usage rights etc?) Those owners couldn’t effectively control that without being able to exert power, force if necessary, over their alleged domains. They even claim the power to demand tribute (in their case, called rent instead of taxation – and no coincidence that “rent” in economics means having some authorized control over resources, being able to demand value by power instead of genuinely free sale of something you made yourself. (Think: difference between making a spear and selling it, versus saying you can charge someone to be inside a pre-existing plot of land.)

    If taxation is theft, then so is rent. The pretense that the government, a competing entity claiming control over land, is “not valid” whereas the alleged private estates are intrinsically valid, is unsupportable. Indeed, governments have the job of defining who owns what (otherwise, how would we know or agree – it isn’t a physically real boundary) and made much of the original assignment of “ownership.” Sure, some people work on land and by Lockean right of addition of labor, should own it – but how much land really got that way, how much can be assigned by authentic voluntary transfer from some primordial establishment of work (this question is not just embarassing for those residing in the USA, if you know about history.) Both governments and properties are artifices arranged between peoples by a combination of agreements and use of force, neither is genuinely “real” in itself and the pretense that use of force by one if wrong and use of force by the other is valid, is a massive intellectual fraud.

  • Neil B  On September 1, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    BTW, I meant to say that the pretense of validity of properties but not governments is a “fallacy” not a “fraud.” I don’t want to imply it’s a deliberate deception, and from most libertarians it is not. I think many are sincere but simply misguided and confused about the philosophical ground work, and think highly e.g. of Mary Ruwart even though I consider the concept flawed in both principle (most critics don’t realize this) and practice. Even so, various specific critiques and proposals made by libertarians have merit which I appreciate on a case by case basis.

  • Anonymous  On September 3, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    As a libertarian I am thoroughly embarrassed by the comments left by Isaac.

    While he seems to have a vague impression of how libertarianism would function he clearly has not educated himself very well. Further the argument style he is using seems mainly to consist of “you are wrong and I am right” while calling his opponents names which is in itself quite embarrassing for him.

    As for the above article I would say that the author does not have a very solid understanding of libertarianism as his arguments against it sound much more like arguments against anarchy. He also demonstrates a deep misunderstanding of economics which is unfortunately very common and he is likely even in the majority of the American public on this issue. So I did not find his argument to be at all compelling and he didn’t bring up anything I had not already considered.

    I will say my journey into libertarianism started with some persistent flaws in our current government but to convince me fully took some years of study. Still to this day I seek out articles like this one to challenge my reasoning but as yet have not found any reason to think our current two parties could ever be better, nor could any other system of government other than an unobtainable utopia. I would submit that most misunderstanding of libertarianism stems from a lack of understanding of the particular issue. Other political parties can put their message in a soundbite and make it sound reasonable while a libertarian message requires quite a long discussion to understand the full reasoning behind it and why the soundbite is misleading or just dead wrong.

  • Pimp my ride games  On September 3, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    I like this post, enjoyed this one thank you for posting. “He removes the greatest ornament of friendship, who takes away from it respect.” by Cicero.

  • Russ Nelson  On September 3, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    If I misunderstood libertarianism as well as you, I wouldn’t be one either.

  • Rocio Sachetti  On September 4, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    This is a fascinating post by the way. I am going to go ahead and save this article for my sister to read later on tonight. Keep up the superior work.

  • Mediaman  On September 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Okay, I can kinda see why one might not want to be a strict libertarian (as if these extreme examples of libertarianism would ever happen, which, of course, they would not…).
    Yet socialism is the preference? I think not. History has not one example of a successful, working, socialist model… lots of brutality and death, but nothing near the much-touted, and unobtainable socialist utopia.

    • Rafe  On September 5, 2011 at 3:43 am

      No, the evidence of socialism’s as a managerial from of distribution failure is pretty obvious. This is about centralizing regulatory institutions and transfer payments from institutions like the welfare state. That’s what i believe the left are going to have to yield eventually, especially due to the unraveling of economic stimulus is not returning dividends. Now transfer payments will have to be payed as they are demanded rather in the future and its’ going to be much harder for a population to stomach the welfare state when you have to pay for it as you simultaneously voice advocacy for it.

    • Kim Cooper  On September 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm

      Rafe — You are just spouting Republican talking points: It is quite inaccurate to say that there is no example of a successful working socialist model. You see, the problem here is there are two kinds of socialism: autocratic or dictatorial socialism, and democratic socialism. Most of the high-functioning, pleasant to live in, working, successful states in Europe are to some extent democratic socialist countries. (Arguably the most successful is also the most socialist –Sweden.) They, of course, were doing better before George W purposefully wrecked the world economy, but that’s another issue. Conservatives love to cite dictatorial socialist examples as if that condemns socialism, but really it just condemns dictators, which, indeed, are generally really bad for a country. Capitalist dictators are just as bad and just as murderous as any dictator, especially a theocrat, which many Tea-partiers want in the US.

      • Kim Cooper  On September 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm

        Sorry, the above should have been addressed to Mediaman.

      • Rafe  On September 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm

        Well i go by Buchanan’s “Afraid to be free: Dependency as desideratum” To derive a socialist taxonomy in the sense most have purged the managerial models of socialism with regards to allocating inputs/outputs.

        The parentalist, paternalist, and especially distributionalist aspects of socialist advocacy/methodology are what i’m hostile too and directing my efforts to fight against if its’ imposed on me that is. Obviously if people want to engage in an Oscar Wildeian anti-charity of transfer model fine, as long as it’s imposed voluntarily.

        Imposing capitalism is certainly possible but stopping a firm from handing out free samples, or structuring economy offa “limited liability” is itself an aspect of socialism if we are to address imbalances in benefits vs contributions/lack of contributions to society, the aspect of spreading costs to unwilling parties and so any clear delineation is difficult as aspects associated with socialism do exist in modern capitalism. I would be much more comfortable calling myself a capitalist then a socialist or an egalitarian or progressive. Whatever the case I’m hardly a Republican

        I see your correction abt Mediaman but still some of your criticisms apply to my original statement to Mediaman

  • robert  On September 30, 2011 at 1:30 am

  • macsnafu  On October 5, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    There’s nothing wrong with being practical and recognizing reality, but that shouldn’t mean giving up on ideals. To really recognize reality means to fully understand the circumstances we live in and how those circumstances could be different. A partial understanding can give rise to misunderstandings of ‘not seeing the forest for the trees’ kind. The 20th century was an incredibly unheralded time of government growth and control, and shows little signs of slowing down in the 21st century. While you’re busy trying to get government to do certain things you think are the “right thing to do”, they’re doing a thousand different things you would not agree with, and/or which have incredibly bad unintended consequences. The status quo of unjustness is maintained by government rule and regulation, not by a lack of it. I also see a lot of problems with people who seem to lack any firm grasp of economics and economic reality who thus believe in naive conceptions of resources and markets and value.

  • Rafe  On October 30, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    Regarding the Spanish influenza “The voters might have chosen quite reasonably to punish the government. Troop trains and camps were crowded because of the war; only well after the epidemic began was unnecessary crowding eased. Large war-bond rallies were held during this period with
    government encouragement; the close proximity of thousands of citizens undoubtedly helped the flu spread. And the disorganized and underfunded condition of the United States Public Health Service and its state-level counterparts was quickly revealed once the epidemic began
    (Crosby 1989, chs. 1, 2, esp. pp. 49-51.)”

    I stumbled upon this and thought of you Mr. Muder. Gov’t initiated this problem. Moleneux addresses this in his video, here is additional citation.

  • B  On February 27, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Pollution isn’t some mysterious collective problem. It’s simply property damage. You dump waste on my land or sea, you’ve damaged my property, and you owe me restitution. You release large amounts of air pollutants, and you’re a valid target for a class-action lawsuit. Global Warming, if it is real, is merely one subset of pollution.

    This was actually the order of the day at one point, at least in England and America. What happened was that the state stepped in and overrode established Common Law restitution with their own arbitrary decree. Some businesses were in Britain and America rendered free to pollute at no cost.

    This was a direct, arbitrary intervention of the government into preexisting law and property rights, which created a strong inventive for pollution. It has doubtlessly had a profound effect on the development of industrial technology since then.

    As a thought experiment, try applying a similar arbitrary, categorical exclusion for some other category of property rights, spin out the logical consequences and try to sell it as an example of market failure. For example: suppose cars are no longer recognized as private property, and large companies are allowed to damage or appropriate them with no legal consequence. Multinational corporations spring up overnight to steal cars off the streets and resell them. Clearly, more regulations are needed.

    Speaking of: property.

    Historically, it just is not an invention of the state. The claim to the contrary seems bizarre to me, given that there were systems of law and property rights before the rise of states in the ancient world. Claiming that a government is necessary for property rights is like claiming that farm subsidies are necessary for agriculture. It’s ignoring thousands of years of history to the contrary.

    In perhaps the only valid point raised by the writer of the article, ownership IS an eminently social phenomenon. That is why we don’t need a government to force it down our throats.

    Justice. I don’t see how that word can in any way be applied to a monocentric system of courts in which arbitrary decree can supercede mutual agreement.

    How can anyone seriously believe that an agency can settle disputes to which it is itself a party? If applied to any agency other than a state, this proposition is revealed as patently absurd. If McDonalds were the only ones who were allowed to operate courts, then we would not expect disputes where McDonalds is a party to be settled equitably. We might expect some disputes to be settled fairly, just because the company needs people to accept their rulings, but there would almost certainly be a lot of graft going on, and sweeping institutional problems to go unsolved because the company doesn’t care to correct them.

    In this way, we can see that a government is in itself an abdication of justice. The entire premise is that it operates by different rules than other organizations and individuals. Add to that any conception of government which includes maintaining a monocentric system of courts, and justice against it becomes a complete theoretical impossibility.

    If you’re going to have one, and you’re going to render yourself and your posterity dependent upon it, and you have any conception of justice or propriety which you hold dear – any act at all which you do not want its agents to commit against yourself or your posterity – then you need to think up some real, concrete way to limit its power. Libertarians are the only ones who have been doing that, and even they have been largely unsuccessful thus far.

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  • Humans_And_Resources  On September 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Hi and thank you for writing this article. The Locke references make an excellent point – we do not have a bunch of “unused arable land” to move onto. The solution to this, however, is not to collectivize the factories. The solution is to acknowledge the right of every person to an equal share of the Earth’s Land and Mineral Resources upon which all life AND production depends.

    No person “made” the planet, so no one can claim to have been robbed by this arrangement; in fact, those who are being denied their share of it, and having to “buy back” a fraction of their share of its fruits, are the ones being robbed – right now. As someone else pointed out, even Rothbard admitted that the current distribution is derived from Imperial titles and must be addressed by reform. The same is applicable to mineral resources ala “royal”-ties.

    The key to “not running out” of land, is that when a person dies, their share is offered to their descendants (or whoever in the will) and that potential recipient can swap with what they have, relinquishing their existing share, or let the offered land-share go back into circulation for the next generation.

    This prevents dynastic holdings in the Life Support System called Earth, yet in no way prevents individuals from “getting rich” if they choose to produce things for which others want to trade. Within this framework, one individual’s wealth does not deprive anyone else the right to live – or require “The ever-corruptible State” to come to the “Rescue” of landless-serfs – because there are no landless-serfs. Everyone has arable (and other) land shares, as well as income from the sale of their share of ongoing resource-extractions.

    I have devoted an entire website to this socio-economic philosophy – a framework which avoids the “tyranny by the state” or “tyranny by capital” false-duality; I have also included a good bit of criticism and analysis of the status-quo to explain why the change is needed.

    Have a look (click on my name) – I welcome feedback and new ideas:

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  • Gad  On February 23, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    One reason why identifying libertarianism with socialism seems like a contradiction in terms is that it seems that what is being advocated is the confiscation of productive property (“eminent domain” as euphemism for mob theft?) from private owners. Confiscation requires force, men with weapons, and “lawful” confiscation requires G-men with guns. Equating this with anarchy or limited government seems like a contradiction in terms. The more socialists describe what they want to do, the more it sounds like the rhetoric of communism and fascism. The government assumes power over individuals to help The People. A covetous mob resentful of wealthy owners grants government enough power to confiscate the wealth of the owners and then is surprised that the anarchist utopia turns into totalitarianism. It seems most people that have read 1984 don’t remember that Orwell describes this scenario explicitly; the fiction was based on history.

    • Humans_And_Resources  On February 24, 2013 at 10:18 am

      We should not leave out Left-Anarchism, betrayed repeatedly by so-called “communist” totalitarians.

      Note their treatment of those actually doing what Marx advocated in Indonesia – liberating the colonists’ stolen wealth. They were suppressed by Suharto, who protected the ‘vested interests’ of foreign capitalists, only to have the CIA and the Ford Foundation (google ‘Berkeley Mafia’ Indonesia) put a knife in his back, and that of (1/2 to a million of his countrymen) anyway.

      Then you have Ukraine, with Lenin playing ‘friendly’ with Nestor Makhno while he fought the White Army, only to turn around and stab him in the back, and then steal the grain-harvest leaving the Ukrainians to starve.

      And of course, Spain, where Orwell fought as a volunteer with the Anarcho-Syndicalists (POUM) against Franco’s Capitalist-Fascists; They were given junk-weapons for their gold by Russia, and undermined from within by the so-called “communists”. I highly recommend reading Orwell’s first-hand account of that time.

      The problem is not taking the Elites out of power and liberating every individual with direct access to life-support – Land and Natural Resources; that is Absolutely Necessary to move forward. The problem is preventing another group of Elites from assuming their role using a lie of fake “communism” just as bold as the lie of fake “democracy” that keeps us in chains today. The solution is to allocate those resources proportionately to Every Individual, rather than to every trust a ‘state’ or ‘elections’ again.

      • Kimc  On February 24, 2013 at 7:29 pm

        How do you propose allocating those resources? Our idea is that democratically run, worker owned businesses is the way to spread resources fairly right at the source.

      • Gad  On February 26, 2013 at 3:48 am

        I don’t see how you could evenly distribute resources in a meaningful way. If you evenly distribute products, the distribution will once again unbalance as individuals trade based on personal value and need. You can’t divide up means of production. Public ownership is just a euphemism for government ownership. Governments hold the “fake” elections and validate them. “Fake democracy” will be simply be joined by fake public ownership and fake fairness. Having government grab all the land and natural resources from private ownership seems like a perfect recipe for totalitarianism–because ambitious politicians end up being the trustees of the public resources, and this ends in the kind of betrayal you mention, where masses are starved out and they don’t even have the weapons to protest for their lives. It’s a far worse tyranny than by private owners to whom the land has not near as much value when it is not producing food for the masses (which makes profit).

      • Humans_And_Resources  On February 26, 2013 at 6:21 am

        @ kimc – By controlling our birthrights, the Natural Resources which no person made, one does not need to ‘control’ man-made enterprises to have Liberty and Freedom from government and corporate forms of Tyranny.

        That which makes the pie bigger is not a threat – contrasted to ‘financial instruments’ and labor forced by threat of homelessness and hunger to accept an ‘owners’ terms for a ‘job’. Existing factories employed coerced / stolen labor. But factories can increase available wealth, as well No one would be coerced to work there in the framework I describe, so could bargain, in a meaningful way, for reasonable terms, or say ‘no thank you’ and walk away without fear.

        Other parts of the pie – Land and Natural Resources which form the inputs to the factory – are ‘fixed’ – not man-made – and therefore our Individual birthright. These are best distributed as Individual Shares – not ‘collective property’.

        Voluntary association and cooperation is always OK, and very different from what a government ‘forces’ on arbitrarily selected ‘territories’ of people – ‘democratic’ or otherwise. Minority rights do not exist in committees.

        @ Gad – I agree that government solutions and ‘committee ownership’ are not solutions. Bad people gravitate to those artificial centers of power. The problem is where competition is impossible – in the areas of Land and Natural Resources. Whoever has those, winds up controlling everything else and we get Tyranny, whether public (government) or private (corporate / plutocracy)

        If all mineral-resource extractions were distributed into private accounts for each individual, no government is required; think “e-trade” and commodity markets where everyone has an equal stake and government-regulations which primarily function to prevent competition (written by the Elite’s lawyers) do not exist. Extraction is a ‘service’, provided by anyone who offers it, from which Individuals or groups, thereof, may select to use in an open, truly-competitive, market.

        For Land, if an online-bidding system is used to acquire and trade our shares of Land, and ‘equal share’ is determined by real-time market transactions; and if no ‘cash-out’ option is available; and if no accumulation beyond one ‘share’ is possible, everyone, for all eternity, can have an ‘equal share’ of the Earth. You can pass your share on at death – to preserve and encourage development of land and protect family investment in it – but the recipient must choose their own share, acquired at 18 from the open pool, or your offer – they cannot ‘keep both’.

        More details are on the website – just click my username.

  • Robert  On November 20, 2013 at 6:16 am

    Unfortunately, I don’t think the author really understands modern Libertarianism. John Locke? Hoo-boy.

    For more on the world Libertarian social and civic movement, please see the non-partisan 8 MM worldwide participant Libertarian International Organization at http://www.libertarianinternational.org

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