do you consider yourself a libertarian?

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if yes -- how did you arrive at this conclusion, and how does that self-definition manifest itself in your beliefs/leanings/life?

(i'm curious to know how/why people define themselves as such -- my curiosity got piqued because a) i got really annoyed at a bunch of 'yeah, and cut government funding for the libraries -- i never use 'em because i can just buy books!' types on another board -- although the board in question is way too dumb to ask this sort of question without it turning into a 'me too!'-fest -- and b) it reminded me of that 'choose or lose' bit during the '96 election when libertarianism was exposed as THE HOT POLITICAL LEANING among the YPOT.)

maura (maura), Monday, 26 August 2002 01:56 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

yeah, and cut government funding for the libraries -- i never use 'em because i can just buy books

!!!!!!!!

rosemary (rosemary), Monday, 26 August 2002 02:26 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Almost every libertarian I've ever known has been a short, smelly, nervous-looking man-boy with his eyebrows grown together.

Dan I. (Dan I.), Monday, 26 August 2002 02:31 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I actually don't mind doses of libertarian dogma, but I really don't understand the "we don't need regulation" line of thinking. Given basic principles of darwinism, abolishing regulation will only help create a state that has zero liberties.

donut bitch, Monday, 26 August 2002 03:30 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

whassa ypot?

Josh (Josh), Monday, 26 August 2002 04:03 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Almost every libertarian I've ever known has been a short, smelly, nervous-looking man-boy with his eyebrows grown together.

Dan, you didn't go to Auckland University by any chance? I was there in '99 [an election year] and it was Attack of the slightly-retarded-looking-and-grossly-retarded-thinking Libertarianz KLONEZ! *shudder*

petra jane (petra jane), Monday, 26 August 2002 05:18 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I'm kind of libertarian, in that I think people are the best judge of what's good for them. However, I am also a social democrat. And a left-liberal.

DV (dirtyvicar), Monday, 26 August 2002 08:14 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

yes, but not in the economic sphere

gareth (gareth), Monday, 26 August 2002 08:48 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I'm the complete opposite - I think trade should be regulated to buggery. I've never understood why people look at 'Free Trade' as some sort of sacred ideal, unless they want to make a shitload of money out of it, of course.

Matt DC (Matt DC), Monday, 26 August 2002 08:53 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

yea exactly, thats what i mean, socially libertarian, economically equalitative ('free trade' is the biggest misnomer anyway - the restrictions the us puts on imports and the subsidies it hands out to farmers are hardly conducive to 'free trade' anyway)

gareth (gareth), Monday, 26 August 2002 09:32 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I've never seen the difference between wanting absolute freedom in the social sense and the economic sense.
which is why i think traditional leftists and rightists always come off as absolute retards, because they're constantly contradicting themselves and agreeing with each other at the same time.

"well, we should be allowed to buy whatever good is demanded... except weed, those filthy hippies don't need that drug of satan."

and vice-versa, where the oppposite argument comes off as equally retarded.
carry on.

webber (webber), Monday, 26 August 2002 09:42 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

which proves that real life is contradictory and pragmatic, ideological fundamentalism is a dud anyway. for my own position, economic equalitivity should smooth out inequality to try and allow as many people as possible to enjoy the social freedoms which inequalities would exclude people from

gareth (gareth), Monday, 26 August 2002 09:49 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I was a mono browbrow cheeerleader and a paid up member of Libertarianz, now Im a Catholic of all things.

Libertarianism can be very attractive its so damn sensible.It is easy to be attracted by the coherent, logical and rational approach to life, but life isnt quite so sterile or predictable. Ultimately its greed, its selfishness, its shallowness became to much for me.

If you were to question a Ayn Rand devotee, we would find they accepts all sorts of things they cannot rationally explain, regarding emotions, concepts, etc. What is time? What is location? Why should a father give his life for his family? What is reason itself? Why follow it? They cannot explain all sorts of things. Catholicism (or any religion) is simply more honest about the presence of mysteries than they are.

Rather, it is to say that we, as Catholics, have a rational basis for believing certain things which are unexplainable! Ha I can see myself coming in for a bit of abuse I better be careful.

Anyway a libertarian will still try and explain such mysteries- "time is just a CONCEPT"...

You can see what my next argument will be....

Whatever definitions he gives me, we can easily just break down again into constituent concepts and aske him to define them, too, and then keep going through this process until his definitions are either (a) circular, or (b) non-existent. At that point we again show that he accepts things that he cannot rationally explain.

Anyway all I wanted to say was libertarianism=rub, very rub.

God fearing Kiwi, Monday, 26 August 2002 09:50 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

excuse the sp and grammar,shocking I gotta go to bed

Kiwi, Monday, 26 August 2002 09:58 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

"I've never seen the difference between wanting absolute freedom in the social sense and the economic sense."

So you wouldn't say that, for a sizable chunk of the world, unregulated capitalism is responsible for restricting the freedoms of millions of individuals?

Matt DC (Matt DC), Monday, 26 August 2002 11:19 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Libertarians smell like wee.

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Monday, 26 August 2002 11:24 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

matt that only follows if "absolute freedom in the economic sense" is taken by definition to mean "ok actually only absolute freedom for certain people", which is not what was said

mark s (mark s), Monday, 26 August 2002 11:28 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

(also, actually existing "unregulated capitalism" is of course nothing of the kind — cf endless restrictions on economic migrancy for those attempting to sell their labour at the best price — but that's a different argument)

mark s (mark s), Monday, 26 August 2002 11:31 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

(also, actually existing "unregulated capitalism" is of course nothing of the kind — cf endless restrictions on economic migrancy for those attempting to sell their labour at the best price — but that's a different argument)

yeah, but many libertarians advocate free movement of labour as well as of goods and capital.

while I don't agree with a lot of libertarianism, I do think i) their views are a lot better thought out than most non-libertarians and ii) libertarianism is overly criticised.

DV (dirtyvicar), Monday, 26 August 2002 12:18 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Mark S - But surely absolute economic liberty for everyone is pretty much impossible? Or at least so unlikely that I doubt its what most people are interpreting as 'libertarianism'.

Matt DC (Matt DC), Monday, 26 August 2002 12:31 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

sort of, but then i start thinking "but just not in THIS case."

Maria (Maria), Monday, 26 August 2002 12:35 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

well, i suspect "absolute freedom" of *any* kind is paradoxical to the point of meaninglessness, but that's sort of what webber/mrs shipley was saying, isn't it? that the phrase is being bandied around as a rallying cry in itself by various foax, w/o any actual thought going into what it might mean, semantically let alone practically

after all, why did you only pick him/her up on the economic issue? you could just as well have said, "well absolute social liberty means that mass child rape is OK, and isn't that a restriction on the liberty of many?" (only if you raise both spectres simultaneously, then webber/mrs shipley's point is confirmed, that there's no concrete difference, eg that they're both similarly meaningless rhetorical constructs, not actual political positions/programmes)

mark s (mark s), Monday, 26 August 2002 12:46 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

anyway that's what i tht he/she meant

mark s (mark s), Monday, 26 August 2002 12:53 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I always feel as if there's just some very childish fear of organized state power at its root, the same impulse that annoys me in much of the far left. It also falls back on the same "clean thinking" trick that haunts its pride and joy, the free market: both adopt a dogma of "absolute freedom" that relieves the need for nuanced thought or careful consideration of any issue, and the sort of rhetorical thought experiment strikes them as an argument for actual policy. People who really think a nation can be organized on some clever one-paragraph principle tend to be people sitting in middle-class suburban homes who won't be affected either way (apart from paying lower taxes) -- people who view policy as a tool for dealing with the rest of the nation, and "dealing with the rest of the nation" as something they don't feel in any sense obligated to do.

The best arguments against it, though, aren't arguments against the principle, but rather arguments that it wouldn't even achieve its own ends. I am unconvinced that a libertarian nation would really benefit even those who support it and think they'd profit from it, because the end situation it sort of points at is a world in which a portion of the nation trudges successfull, capitalistically along, but an entire remaining underclass is left to fester and rot. I'm simply not convinced that the libertarian ethic of not being obligated to serve or improve that underclass would sit so comfortably in action, if it really meant constant deaths and human misery and horrifying crimes or in an exaggerated case food riots. And I don't think those libertarians whose goal is partly a monetary one -- "why does the government take my money to give it to other people" -- realize how likely it is that pulling that net of services out would contribute to either (a) brutal near-anarchy, or (b) the erection of a massive police state designed to subdue and imprison the no-longer-served. Those really are the options, in a sense: a bureaucratic state of "palliative" services, or an honest-to-God discipline-and-punish police state. It's a sort of childish feat of imagination for libertarians to imagine we have neither, and it's one that proceeds from head-in-sand childish thinking: "it's not my responsibility."

nabisco (nabisco), Monday, 26 August 2002 13:48 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

(Which is obviously to say that my main problems with libertarianism are [a] its hostility to the idea that the state should organize improvements to the nation's condition and [b] the Darwinist/competitive principle behind that.)

nabisco (nabisco), Monday, 26 August 2002 13:50 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I am inclined to see what's usually called libertarianism as an extreme position on two axes - the usual political left-right dimension and a vertical freedom/repression one. Libertarianism seems to be right-wing freedom, offering no regulation and letting the strong (whether physically, economically or whatever) thrive and fuck the rest. I am in favour of greater freedom, but this only increases the freedom for the elite. I'm for decreasing regulation, but along with increasing cooperation. I'm not interested in positing some utopian construction for everyone to knock down, but I'm generally in favour of changes towards both equality and freedom.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Monday, 26 August 2002 15:43 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

But what the (sensible) libertarians propose isn't a sudden and complete shutdown of government; it's a gradual withdrawl of state influence in society. Since people are generally much more willing to help if they're not being forced to, then if the community really wants to provide services for the disadvantaged, and there's no reason to suspect they wouldn't, private organisations should be perfectly capable of doing so. It's less Darwinist than utopian.

B:Rad (Brad), Monday, 26 August 2002 20:01 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Well, and structurally unrealistic: I simply don't buy arguments that individual charitable actions can somehow voluntarily fill in for state services. The whole point of state services is that they aren't simply charitable outpourings to the less fortunate -- they're systems of legislated nationwide programs that work, in large part, because they're universal. I'm mystified by what sort of voluntary private-sector organization could replace, let's say, Social Security, Medicaid, or unemployment benefits. None of these are things that libertarians spend much time attacking, because they're all massively popular programs that seem to work quite effectively. But the rhetoric of your average libertarian -- and it's not like there's much actual policy apart from the rhetoric -- points inevitably to the idea that those effective, popular services somehow represent an intrusion into people's lives.

nabisco (nabisco), Monday, 26 August 2002 20:15 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

if the community really wants to provide services for the disadvantaged, and there's no reason to suspect they wouldn't, private organisations should be perfectly capable of doing so

haha oh dearie me no. Do you really believe this, even a bit?

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Monday, 26 August 2002 20:20 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

i don't think it's any less likely that a community could want to police or nurture itself than that a message board could, though I think it's probably a lot more complicated to find the space to do it

we don't agree on grammar and vocabulary within a linguistic community because it's mandated from on high, we do it because we more or less agree the benefits when it comes to communication: we're all free, actually, to use any sound to mean anything we want, but we don't

mark s (mark s), Monday, 26 August 2002 20:45 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Actually the more I think about it here is my problem. In a democracy the state is ideally an organ of the people: anything the people collectively want to accomplish is accomplished via that organ, whether it's providing particular services, instituting laws to protect ourselves from perceived harms, or even enshrining certain rights to protect dissenters from having state power used against them. Libertarianism in many senses gives up on this idea and adopts a purely adversarial relationship with government: it views the exercise of state power as inherently negative, even when that state power is ostensibly exercising the collective, democratically-expressed will of the citizens. Most US libertarian message-boards actually have this specifically anti-democratic slant to them, a favorite joke being something like "Democracy means you have a dollar and everyone else takes 75 cents: you say 'but that's my dollar' and they say 'not anymore, we voted.'" I'd say this is on some level symptomatic of a general feeling of disconnection and alientation from the political process, and thus a free-floating anxiety about its having any agency whatsoever.

Anyway so "if the community really wants to provide services to the disadvantages" -- hasn't the community already decided that they do want to, and thus repeatedly elected officials who preserve those programs? What metaphysical distinction is made by reducing government -- organ of the people -- to a simple policing force, and then shunting everything else it was meant to do to some other, unelected, less accountable entity? Just decentralization, which doesn't requite libertarianism to argue for it? Or is it that there's a small minority who don't want to provide those services, and resent that the government doesn't allow them to opt out of putting taxes toward them? Doesn't that sort of come down to a semi-childish complaint that they pay taxes to government but boo-hoo don't always get their own way in how its run, and thus fear it and want to dismantle it so it can't, in their opinion, "mismanage" itself anymore?

Mainly I find it ironic that in the US, at least, the bulk of visible libertarians are those on whom the power of the state is exercised the absolute least. (Apart from paying taxes, which is their real complaint.) Those who have steady contact with the state and those who have steady contact with problems the state's in a position to solve tend to want the state to get to it.

NB I realize arguments can be made about representative democracy as an exact expression of the public's desires BUT it's no less exact as an expression than the market capitalism libertarians prefer; the primary difference is that it's weighted by person and not by wealth, which is exactly where the Darwinism comes in. Allowing the state's previous role to become private and optional is really the exact same principle as saying we should have an interventionist state, except people's votes should be weighted to correspond to their assets.

nabisco (nabisco), Monday, 26 August 2002 20:46 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Collectivism is falling to pieces - in NZ, anyway, it happened when compulsory unionism got thrown out, and the current leftish govt is doing much for it. So maybe it's better if we all take responsibility for ourselves, and those close to us. Again, the idea is a gradual withdrawl of govt, which could be accompanied by, for example, a privitisation of govt social agencies, as has already happened to some extent with health. This has the standard economic advantage of efficiency. If it's you're responsibility to give money to charity, you're going to make sure it's well-spent. And with probably a lot more money to go around, everyone could live comfortably.

No, I don't think this is what would actually happen, at least not in my lifetime - the invisible hand has slapped me in the face a couple of times too many. It'd require a change from a culture of individualism to a culture of personal responibility. But I do get peeved when libertarianism gets no respect in academic circles, whereas Communism (or whatever the euphemism is at the moment) is taken straight, even though it relies on as large a simplification of human nature (OK, message board evangelists do ask for it, but most of the ones I know are reasonable people). I do believe that NZ's taxes are too high, and govt spending is badly misguided. I still voted Labour.

Aside: You don't think people's votes are weighted to correspond to their assets now?

B:Rad (Brad), Tuesday, 27 August 2002 01:50 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Oh, great, thanks a lot, guys, for actually turning this into a discussion and making my early post look really pissy and ignorant (but still TRUE).

Dan I. (Dan I.), Tuesday, 27 August 2002 02:05 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

'Why should a father give his life for his family? ' (Kiwi Catholic) is addressed in 'The Ethics of Emergencies.' Apart from which, does a Communist father act differently from a Libertarian father? Surely the only fathers who would NOT do this are e. g. Catholics - his kids are quite literally better off dead!

Tim Bateman, Tuesday, 27 August 2002 10:30 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

"well absolute social liberty means that mass child rape is OK, and isn't that a restriction on the liberty of many?" posits Mark S as a Libertarian position. This isn't, as Libertarians believe that everyone has the same rights - the child as well as the child molester, in this instance. Mass child rape would only be okay to a Libertarian if the mutual uncoerced consent of all parties was given. Oddly, the same attitude that they take to taxation.

This is a very familiar complaint about Libertarians, and I have a suspicion that it comes from the European lack of understanding of individual rights which exist from the start, rather than 'rights' which are gifts from the state (i. e. the politicians who run the U. K. on behalf of the Queen, who has a lifetime lease from God). As we see in this thread, there are legitimate holes in the Libertarian position without making up exagerated and silly ones.

tim 'I'm begining to get tired of being in the position of defending Libertarian, Tuesday, 27 August 2002 10:36 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

you can't tire quickly enough for me if your reading comprehension is always this poor, tim: i *didn't* "posit" that as a genuine "libertarian position" as you'll perhaps see when you stop flouncing for a minute

mark s (mark s), Tuesday, 27 August 2002 11:18 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

"Aside: You don't think people's votes are weighted to correspond to their assets now?"

NB no offense but this is precisely the sort of stupid, childish, head-in-sand rhetorical posturing that I'm saying annoys me so much. You live in a one-person/one-vote democracy and it's fucking ridiculous to pretend otherwise; if you want to talk about the influence of economic clout and campaign contributions on election results, then talk about it, but it's so fucking pointless to do the 13-year-old's cynical eye-covering "ner-ner-ner the system's fucked anyway so who cares" thing. I mean, look at that statement, it's my exact problem: people make these claims that are provably untrue except as vague metaphors for rhetorical effect, and then they present them as actual supports for arguments about real government?

nabisco (nabisco), Tuesday, 27 August 2002 14:16 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Again, the idea is a gradual withdrawl of govt, which could be accompanied by, for example, a privitisation of govt social agencies, as has already happened to some extent with health. This has the standard economic advantage of efficiency.

But how can you count on the privatizers to provide these services so that all can benefit, including those who most need them?

I realize I'm totally speaking in self-interest here, and from an American perspective -- I'm working without insurance right now, because I simply can't afford to pay the premiums and my rent. And I'm not exactly earning Wal-Mart wages.

I guess it's that Darwinist aspect of libertarianism is, to me, really disconcerting. Many who identify themselves as Libertarians to me are already in an economic position where they can say "Well, I can manage, I'm okay." It seems short-sighted and really damaging to the culture as a whole -- any social contract that might have existed before is absolutely shredded by these philosophies.

maura (maura), Tuesday, 27 August 2002 14:33 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Collectivism is falling to pieces - in NZ, anyway, it happened when compulsory unionism got thrown out, and the current leftish govt is doing much for it.

New Zealand is something of a testbed for bonkers libertarianism, as they've been deregulating everything that moves and cutting away all government intervention in the economy and social welfare provision.

amusingly the process has seen New Zealand slide inexorably down the league tables of national wealth per capita.

DV (dirtyvicar), Tuesday, 27 August 2002 15:04 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

An anarchist friend of mine, when we'd have similar arguments from a different starting point / set of assumptions, used to point to the RNLI as an example of how the state needn't be involved in, er, good stuff. I thought he was being unrealistic in thinking that model could be extended to each area the state currently looks after, but he had an interesting point.

Tim (Tim), Tuesday, 27 August 2002 15:09 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I'd just like to note that I don't think libertarian thinking is necessarily a bad tool when it comes to analyzing specific policy choices: e.g. a "libertarian approach" to thinking about mental health law or tenants' rights or drug policy. But just as with Marxism, a useful theoretical tool does not a coherent policy vision make: it's mostly principle and dogma, and lacks the nuance or consideration of "facts on the ground" to make for good policy or good results, even the results libertarians themselves are looking for.

nabisco (nabisco), Tuesday, 27 August 2002 17:53 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I agree with N. that libertarianism rilly wouldn't benefit the super-rich and powerful (if it did, no doubt it would be going more into effect). It would mainly tend to benefit certain wings of the middle-class and small business types who are pissed off because e.g. guv'ment inspectors make them spend money to live up to stupid safety regulations (who needs those?) &c. Its value is as a rhetorical cudgel based firmly on the founding principles of America (each operating for best interest -- through "inalieable right" -- amounts to the best interest of all) which yields things v. much against the founding impulse of America -- i.e. mass social disruption (the American "Revolution" was the most conservative revolution ever but at least there was one unlike Canada).

Sterling Clover (s_clover), Tuesday, 27 August 2002 18:18 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Typos and dumb ideas dept:

Collectivism is falling to pieces - in NZ, anyway, it happened when compulsory unionism got thrown out, and the current leftish govt is doing much for it.

how about "the current leftish govt isn't helping to stop the slide"

"Aside: You don't think people's votes are weighted to correspond to their assets now?"

NB no offense but this is precisely the sort of stupid, childish, head-in-sand rhetorical posturing that I'm saying annoys me so much.

Point taken - in this context it's a useless statement.

B:Rad (Brad), Tuesday, 27 August 2002 20:49 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

The other thing I regret saying is "I still voted Labour"; it contradicts the motivation behind me trying to justify libertarianism here. Whenever I'm around vaguely artistic/academic people I always feel the need to apologise for not being as far left as them. And the artists/academics always deny they're doing this, even while they're doing it. It's like the episode which stopped me watching The West Wing - when they hire a Republican and their logic is "Democrats don't think they're better than Republicans, therefore they are better than Republicans".

B:Rad (Brad), Tuesday, 27 August 2002 21:36 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

DV are you a New Zealander, Im dubious? Very quickly...

New Zealand is something of a testbed for bonkers libertarianism, as they've been deregulating everything that moves and cutting away all government intervention in the economy and social welfare provision.

Its true that New Zealand economy post 1984 and the Second labour government has been viewed as a test bed for deregulation of the economy. However something had to be done , we were in a real mess in 83 though clearly you dont remember those days?We had "petrol free" days, (you could only purchase fuel on certain days), crippling state debt and inflation and interest rates out of control.

What is in question is the "rate" and "order" of change that occured, not whether such change was necessary. Its true that few other countries have gone such a rapid transformation of their economy, still compare our current welfare, health and education provisions to the USA and Id say we have got the balance about right(except student loans).


amusingly the process has seen New Zealand slide inexorably down the league tables of national wealth per capita.

I dont find it all that funny. Economists of all persuasions agree that the NZ economoy under Muldoon needed drastic attention. To argue that increased govt spending and state asset provsion would have helped us is absurd. The loss of the access to the British market after EEC in 73 and reducded world demand for commodity prices, an aging unskilled poulation, increasing public debt to sustain an out of control welfare state etc etc has been whats crippled us. Our company tax structure, geographic isolation and small skilled labour and capital base are also going to make it difficult for us to compete in the future.

But hey blame de-regulation if you like. ps I voted labour too


Kiwi, Tuesday, 27 August 2002 22:22 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Mark S. - yes, I know you didn't posit that as a genuine Libertarian position, but as an exagerration of a (possible?) one. I think that the principle still applies.

Tim Bateman, Wednesday, 28 August 2002 09:33 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

still completely wrong tim: i mean, like getting my point entirely absolutely utterly upside down

clue: what does the word "absolute" mean to you?

mark s (mark s), Wednesday, 28 August 2002 12:46 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Hmm. I don't think it's a question of exaggeration. The problem is the confusion implicit in the terminology and rhetoric. The rhetoric of some "Libertarians" implies that all reduction in state interference in individual liberty is a good thing. It is valid to point out that this contains implications that are repulsive: freedom to murder, rape or corner the market in essentials or practise extortion on (or starve) your neighbours.

If the principle is conceded that it is legitimate for the state to curtail certain individual freedoms for the public good, then "Libertarianism" must be argued as a relative, not an absolute position.

This may seem so obvious as not to be important; not so, because the continual, often deliberate and manipulative, confusion of abolute and relative is a ongoing part of the modus operandi. As previously said, much Libertarian rhetoric is based on the assumption that abstract principles like "freedom" and "individual liberty" are self-evidently and purely good things, that we can't have too much of them. If the "real" argument is something along the lines of, "well we accept that there has to be a trade-off between individual liberty and public good, but we think the line has been drawn in the wrong place", then that is the argument that libertarians are required to make. Not the simplistic and quasi-mystical invocation to pure principle that some use cynically and others, more worringly, actually seem to believe.

ArfArf, Wednesday, 28 August 2002 12:58 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

(haha notice the ahem non-manipulative use of "absolutely" (albeit nuanced by the qualifying "entirely"!!) being used IN MY OWN POST!!)

mark s (mark s), Wednesday, 28 August 2002 13:12 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Yes, Mark, obv. didn't see your post 'til after I'd sent mine!

ArfArf, Wednesday, 28 August 2002 13:58 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Being a Britishes, you don't know shit about life among the evangelicals, brother.

milo z, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 19:40 (eleven years ago) Permalink

you wanna bet? these guys are CRAZY, and, worse, they're mostly scientists!

Just got offed, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 19:43 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Yes OK I think you have me there Milo. At the same time, I don't think I've ever met a pure Libertarian in my everyday life. I mean, I know of that blue dude, so I know they're out there, but how many I don't know.

As far as Uni Libertarians, yes, I agree. But in my experience that is often due to taking Econ 101, meeting the linear demand and supply curves, and embracing the simplicity. Doesn't that usually dissipate by the second semester?

humansuit, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 19:50 (eleven years ago) Permalink

no, it doesn't, and i'm not just talking economics students here.

Just got offed, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 19:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

That's mighty strange then. Are you in the US or UK? I encountered some free econ types in Scotland, but the overwhelming majority of things I got dragged to were 'Socialist' rallies, and I have to say that I'd identify myself as Libertarian over that if I was forced to.

humansuit, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 19:56 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i'm in the uk
baitin ur libertarianz

Just got offed, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 19:57 (eleven years ago) Permalink

but the notion that private property is anything less than divinely ordained never arises. it's like the one single thing in the world that doesn't melt into air.

it's funny, isn't it? it's not really about a radically different kind of non-government so much as shrinking the borders of the monopoly-of-force state down to, like, your yard.

libertarianism is eternally fascinating to me, it never stops pissing me off in one way or another, where tradition bible, blood n soil conservatism, while a much bigger electoral threat, just looks so pathetic and wrong on its face i don't give it much mind.

gff, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 20:00 (eleven years ago) Permalink

this is probably still one of the key differences between anarchists and libertarians today. I know few anarchists who wouldn't find the idea of private property and money problematic.

I need to read more of this thread and I can't right now, but I just wanted to note (as a lifelong 40 year old anarchist who has read more theory than is good for me) that I find this to be true for me. And my only really major issue with libertarians (besides their "fuck the common good" privatization bullshit) is what I call the "bootstrap" mentality, a willful disregarding of race/class/gender privilege and advantage.

I do have some common ground w/these folks, especially the Oregon/Pacific NW style... distrust of gov't gun regulation, distrust of newer supposedly "good" laws like hate crime legislation, emphasis on self-sufficiency, quasi-vigilante neighborhood action groups, tolerance for separatists of all stripes, etc.

Plus they are usually fun to party with, like the few Commies I know.

sleeve, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 20:11 (eleven years ago) Permalink

So now is everyone going to rail at Sleeve, or is anarchism somehow less 'kooky' than Libertarianism? Is it because one is 'on the right' and the other 'on the left'?

humansuit, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 20:15 (eleven years ago) Permalink

thanks to your handy "there is no such thing as idiocy" argument, we don't have to -- it will save time

mark s, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 20:17 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Marky Mark and the Snarky bunch!

humansuit, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 20:27 (eleven years ago) Permalink

For libertarian fun, go dig up Roger Adultery/Manalishi's posts

kingfish, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 21:00 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I'm not sure how much fun that would be.

humansuit, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 21:04 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i think my dad is a libertarian. not in a mean way, exactly, more in a "oh i can't be bothered with politics" throwing hands up at the world thing.

That one guy that hit it and quit it, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 21:34 (eleven years ago) Permalink

For a good example of modern libertarians out there in american politics, listen to the first hour of Thom Hartmann's radio show. He has a habit of having libertarians/rightwing conservatives on his show daily, and actually trying to debate them on their points.

kingfish, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 21:40 (eleven years ago) Permalink

<i>Have there ever been any self-proclaimed working-class libertarians?</i>

I knew quite a few who posted at the boards at Reason.com, insofar as they were equally concerned with concentrations of corporate power as they were with state power. The bloggers who write as Mona and thoreau, at High Clearing, are sorta kinda close to that. And they're certainly far from anything you'd consider "right-wing."

Phil D., Tuesday, 14 August 2007 23:17 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I suspect that more than a few conservatives gravitate towards libertarianism given the Republican Party's trend towards imperialism and disregard for anything resembling "limited government." So while there aren't that many card-carrying Libertarians, some of its tenets hold appeal to disillusioned conservatives in America and maybe even a few liberals.

Dandy Don Weiner, Tuesday, 14 August 2007 23:37 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I completely agree with that. Indeed, there was some NPR clip I caught in which a guy was discussing his (?) article / book about being a Liberal Libertarian. I can get with that. I don't know what his point was, exactly, but I think if one were to believe that social equality was important but that limited control by government was an avenue towards that, one might call themselves a Liberal Libertarian. Wow, I'm muddled here, but anyway I've heard someone reference something similar to what you're saying.

humansuit, Wednesday, 15 August 2007 00:52 (eleven years ago) Permalink

The purest form, we all agree, is kind of nuts, but where are these pure Libertarians, and why do people find such joy in railing against them?

I know who they are!

http://img179.imageshack.us/img179/3827/scarecrowvp0.jpg

I don't know if I'd classify myself as libertarian and subscribe to all of their beliefs (this is the old "You can't pigeon-hole MY IDEAS, no, I'm too much of a wild card to be labeled" speech) but I certainly many of them to be wiser than most general right-wing ones, never mind the delusions of the left.

The first book to really make me look at libertarian ideas for the first time and think about them were Sowell's "Knowledge and Decisions." The book doesn't even mention the ideology explicitly but only later did I realize that's what they were. It's hard to still believe in many leftist assumptions after reading that book.

Cunga, Wednesday, 15 August 2007 02:31 (eleven years ago) Permalink

is anarchism somehow less 'kooky' than Libertarianism? Is it because one is 'on the right' and the other 'on the left'?

In its purest form, I think left anarchism is utterly insane. However, I think that ideas (such as fair trade or microcredit or even just things like greater support for community broadcasting) which relate in a mild way to its central tenets of decentralization of power and small-scale co-operative ownership are valuable and possibly essential in terms of moving towards a sustainable and more just society. (I think these things should be supported by bureaucratic state funding, not being much of an anarchist.) AFAICT the self-styled left-anarchists I've known have mostly just been occupied with these sorts of things or with environmental and human rights activism (and in Canada, just voted Liberal or NDP anyway.) I don't think even a mild form of right-libertarianism has anything positive to offer, except maybe re some social issues like legalizing soft drugs, which aren't particular to right-wing libertarianism. (I don't think the problem with most of the world is that it's not capitalist enough.) If, in defiance of logistics and common sense, the world actually were organized into some nightmarish network of little provincial communes, maybe I could see more value in a more pro-capitalist movement. Also, AFAICT, at least in the US, right-libertarianism seems like much more of a prominent political threat. (I sometimes felt surrounded by Communists at York and was similarly reactionary towards them.)

Sundar, Wednesday, 15 August 2007 15:02 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i thought up a devastating take-down of libertarianism while i wz swimming this mornin but i have since forgotten it

all i can remember is it took out nudism also!

mark s, Wednesday, 15 August 2007 15:08 (eleven years ago) Permalink

six years pass...
one month passes...
four months pass...
two months pass...

http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2014/10/rand-paul-education-government-in-the-way

If Kentucky Senator and Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul has his way, classroom sizes will someday rise well beyond their existing ratios of 15-to-1 or 30-to-1.

“I think we should go to a million to one,” Paul said at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit on Wednesday, during a panel conversation with Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, super-investor John Doerr, and reporter and author Bob Woodward.

Expressing disbelief that class sizes impact test scores, Paul urged educators to take advantage of new technologies that allow massive groups to learn from a single teacher. “I think extraordinary things can happen,” Paul said. "I think the government’s gotten in the way.”

how is that libertarian??!

j., Saturday, 11 October 2014 01:34 (three years ago) Permalink

Expressing disbelief that class sizes impact test scores

Any libertarian worth his or her salt must upon principle desire a free and open marketplace for the delivery of education to our children. Something tells me that this free and open marketplace for would always have a certain number of schools that maintained a 15-1 ratio of students to teachers. They will be private schools for the children of the very wealthy, who don't give a flying fuck about their kids' test scores; they just care about their kids' education.

Aimless, Saturday, 11 October 2014 02:03 (three years ago) Permalink

such schools not only already exist, aimless, but the ratio isn't 15-1, it is often 3-1 or even 1-1

Mordy, Saturday, 11 October 2014 02:22 (three years ago) Permalink

obviously, the government hasn't gotten in their way

Aimless, Saturday, 11 October 2014 02:30 (three years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

http://www.freeexistence.org/freedom.shtml

F♯ A♯ (∞), Wednesday, 17 August 2016 19:30 (one year ago) Permalink

Apparently I should live in the Netherlands, Germany, Finland or Sweden.

Kiarostami bag (milo z), Wednesday, 17 August 2016 19:38 (one year ago) Permalink

a) i got really annoyed at a bunch of 'yeah, and cut government funding for the libraries -- i never use 'em because i can just buy books!' types on another board

i use and love libraries and want them to be funded by the government BUT one of my best friends exclusively reads books from the library, never buys, even used from a yardsale--and idk why but it actually bothers me. i think i'm projecting a supercilious intent into his obdurate anti-consumerism that may or may not be there

flopson, Wednesday, 17 August 2016 19:46 (one year ago) Permalink

don't worry, some of us buy too many books to make up for it

mh, Wednesday, 17 August 2016 19:47 (one year ago) Permalink

the freest countries according to freeexistence.org


Rank Nation Overall Property Taxes Speech Ltd Govt Guns Drugs Corruption Inflation Business
1 Switzerland 76 90 71 94 66 60 45 86 88 82
2 Chile 73 85 75 100 83 47 45 70 83 72
3 Estonia 72 90 82 100 55 48 40 70 82 79
4 Australia 71 90 63 100 62 20 55 79 85 89
5 Canada 71 90 80 100 50 30 50 83 77 82

F♯ A♯ (∞), Wednesday, 17 August 2016 19:53 (one year ago) Permalink

From Tim Bateman, far upthread:

as my Head of History at School once put it: 'The only good laws are the ones that create more freedom than they destroy.'

This assertion postulates that "freedom" is the highest possible good. This is not a self-evident proposition. Why should we take this on faith? Why must we promote freedom above "justice" or "happiness" or "community", or a score of other social ideals?

Next, it is entirely unclear to me how any law's amount of created or destroyed freedom would be quantified. If, for example, legally relegating a class of humans to slavery were to allow greatly expanded "freedom" for a somewhat larger class of slave owners, wouldn't that meet this teacher's criteria for a "good law"?

During the Enlightenment this sort of saying used to be scorned as 'cant'.

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Wednesday, 17 August 2016 20:07 (one year ago) Permalink

xp. ah, chile, were abortion is illegal in all cases, so free, just the best freedom.

ælərdaɪs (jim in vancouver), Wednesday, 17 August 2016 20:11 (one year ago) Permalink

Libertarians smell like wee.

― Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Monday, August 26, 2002 7:24 AM Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Neanderthal, Wednesday, 17 August 2016 23:45 (one year ago) Permalink

I wonder if Tim Bateman was related to Jay Bateman?

a little too mature to be cute (Aimless), Thursday, 18 August 2016 03:08 (one year ago) Permalink

as my Head of History at School once put it: 'The only good laws are the ones that create more freedom than they destroy.'

the problem that most libertarians can't get their heads around is that there are many forms of "freedom" (or liberty) and that they often conflict with one another. so "maximizing freedom" is not really an achievable goal because one freedom may get in the way of another.

wizzz! (amateurist), Thursday, 18 August 2016 03:11 (one year ago) Permalink

sorry for that freshman poli-sci stuff but i have a few libertarians in my FB feed and it drives me nuts when they treat 'freedom' like it's this singular transparent thing.

wizzz! (amateurist), Thursday, 18 August 2016 03:12 (one year ago) Permalink

the problem that most <people> can't get their heads around is that there are many forms of <political idea> and that they often conflict with one another. so <political idea> is not really an achievable goal because one <political idea> may get in the way of another.

― wizzz! (amateurist), Thursday, August 18, 2016 4:11 AM (15 hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

ftfy

F♯ A♯ (∞), Thursday, 18 August 2016 18:23 (one year ago) Permalink

one year passes...

how is this not a Tim and Eric skit pic.twitter.com/Pv6knmMdqt

— go birds 🦅 (@LarryWebsite) February 8, 2018

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Friday, 9 February 2018 05:46 (six months ago) Permalink

hahahahahaha

Men's Scarehouse - "You're gonna like the way you're shook." (m bison), Friday, 9 February 2018 06:06 (six months ago) Permalink

i am a little concerned by that guy's indignation about needing a license to make toast and i kinda want him to have to pass a test before he can operate any technology with a heat source

Men's Scarehouse - "You're gonna like the way you're shook." (m bison), Friday, 9 February 2018 06:07 (six months ago) Permalink

No way

flappy bird, Friday, 9 February 2018 06:27 (six months ago) Permalink

they're doing a bit

flappy bird, Friday, 9 February 2018 06:27 (six months ago) Permalink

Toasterman is insane looking though

flappy bird, Friday, 9 February 2018 06:27 (six months ago) Permalink

guys you really need to watch more video clips from the libertarian convention

^^ this is also what I say to anyone who says I don't understand the libertarian party

there was also a moment where a nude fat man bounded across the stage and everyone loved it

mh, Friday, 9 February 2018 15:19 (six months ago) Permalink

omg that twitter thread has more clips

these are all... something

mh, Friday, 9 February 2018 15:21 (six months ago) Permalink

I take it back, it was a underwear-clad near-nude man, and he appears in that twitter thread :)

mh, Friday, 9 February 2018 15:23 (six months ago) Permalink

https://youtu.be/RqZVVvp95nc
best of toasterman

mh, Friday, 9 February 2018 15:27 (six months ago) Permalink


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