The Toughest Issues for Libertarians

Libertarians are often individuals who have decided not to pledge allegiance to a political party, to overcome their emotions, to listen to the perspectives they had previously been instructed to avoid, and to question authority in all its forms. We are often former Conservatives and Liberals who have defected from the false political dichotomy to instead partake in objective reasoning and argumentation.

The essential concept that turned me and turns many others into Libertarians is morality. What are morals? Where do morals come from? Do we need morals to survive? How can I be moral? The way you answer these questions is likely to determine where you fall on the spectrum of politics.

Conservatives will likely say: Morals are unquestionable truths that come from God, we need morals to avoid hell and to live for God’s glory, and we can be moral by following God’s word.

Liberals will likely say: Morals depend on your perspective and come from each of our own personal experiences, we do not need morals because they are subjective, and only I can decide if I am moral or not.

Libertarians will likely say: Morals are truths that can be realized by observing the world objectively, they are as old as life itself, we need morals to survive as autonomous beings, and I can be moral by respecting the absolute truths I have discovered as I seek out more.

These are gross generalizations (and there will be more where that comes from), but I think they’re fair.

The reason Libertarians and Conservatives often gang up on Liberals is because both groups have a moral foundation. Liberals are unpredictable when it comes to morality because they follow their feelings. Libertarian morals, such as the immeasurable value of human life and property rights, often coincide with Conservative morals. Despite being derived from different places (objective reality vs. the word of God), this also brings the two groups together. When Liberals and Libertarians agree, it rarely has anything to do with morals.

While Libertarians pride themselves on their ability to come to moral conclusions when asked about the issues, some questions remain unanswered for many of us. The following are some of those issues, the reasons why they perplex Libertarians, and some possible solutions.

Abortion

While Liberals gleefully attempt to make anti-abortion Libertarians seem hypocritical by claiming they are unsupportive of women’s ownership of their bodies, this is not the aspect of the abortion debate Libertarians are puzzled about.

One important factor that separates typical Libertarians from typical Conservatives is that Libertarians want to protect the rights of adults to do what they choose to do with their bodies. This is why Libertarians support the legalization of drugs, prostitution, and gay marriage, but Conservatives generally do not. Considering the principle of body ownership, Libertarians should obviously side with a woman’s right to do what she wants with her body.

But whose body are we talking about here?

For a Libertarian to take a principled stance on abortion legality, the question of when a fertilized egg is undoubtedly a person must be answered. Since we certainly do not allow mothers to terminate their pregnancies after the child is born (though I have heard some Liberals claim otherwise), it is not really a women’s issue for Libertarians; it’s a personhood issue. And unfortunately, there are no easy solutions to speak of.

I would propose two potential approaches to the abortion problem. The first would be to declare personhood at the federal level after the fifth or sixth week of a baby’s development. This is when a fetus’s brain begins to take shape. I’m not an expert on this topic, so I won’t go much further explaining. But it seems to be scientific and a reasonable compromise, and at least it’s a starting point. Following the 10th Amendment, the states would get to set policy after that point.

The second solution would be to ban abortions unless a pregnancy is the result of a rape. This horrific situation does occur somewhat frequently, so it’s not an exaggerated happening like pregnancies that threaten the mother’s life which rarely happen (although I wouldn’t protest those cases being made exceptions either). Once again, the states would handle the details.

It’s a difficult topic. Why should a mother be allowed to terminate a pregnancy that’s six weeks in but not seven? Why is it okay to abort a life that was brought into the world through brutality, but not one that was conceived consensually? Morals are hard…

Vaccines

Again, not a scientist, but it’s tough to find a way to spin herd-immunity into a bad thing. Vaccines seem to eradicate disease and make everyone safer through very little coercion. I have no reason to believe vaccines actually cause mental illness, as many wholeheartedly do, so how could I oppose mandatory vaccinations?

It goes back to that body-ownership principle. From a Libertarian, Objectivist point of view, we are the inherent owners of our bodies. No one should be allowed to force us to alter our physical selves in any way, particularly for the crime of being born into society! Free men should be allowed to smoke, drink, and eat high-fructose corn syrup, and must not be obligated to submit to the demands of the masses.

But polio, right? Polio is so bad, and it’s so cured, and it’s all thanks to vaccines. Forget society, you’d have to be really stupid not to get a vaccination simply for the sake of your own wellbeing, right?

But… I am the boss of my body. And what if I don’t feel comfortable with vaccines?

Here’s my solution: digital vaccination certificates. If you get vaccinated, you get a passcode or something of the sort. By entering your passcode into an online database, you can prove that you’ve had all your shots. If you don’t get vaccinated, you don’t get one. Then, you give businesses, property owners, federal, state, and local governments the right to discriminate against the unvaccinated without interference. If you don’t want to allow someone without mumps immunity to walk into your shop or attend your school, put up a sign that says so (or some other kind of notification). If an unvaccinated individual fails to heed your warning, we charge him with manslaughter.

Problem solved?

Military Spending

Libertarians believe that taxes are violent and evil. And they are! Stealing is wrong, and taking property without permission is stealing, so how are taxes not evil? And think about what happens when you don’t pay your taxes. Some IRS agent calls you and demands you pay up. You refuse, so they charge you with some form of contempt and demand you appear in court. You refuse, so they come to your house and ask you to go for a ride. You refuse, so they throw you to the ground. You resist, so they shoot you, all because you didn’t pay your taxes.

While the fact that taxes are a form of physical violence is irrefutably true, even the most fervent anti-taxation warriors would likely compromise and voluntarily fork over a little bit of dough in exchange for the preservation of freedom. I side with Milton Friedman in saying that the only two responsibilities of the government should be to protect us from foreign threats and from our fellow citizens. As opposed to taxation as we are, it is difficult for Libertarians to imagine our freedoms being preserved without a military.

An inherent problem of Libertarianism is that it cannot be pure without universality. In essence, it might be unreasonably dangerous to be completely tax free while there are Communist and Theocratic nations in the world that might want to hurt us. Removing the military would be naïve or even suicidal considering the nuclear capabilities of North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, and Iran (pending).

The question for a rational Libertarian (and being rational is what we pride ourselves on) is how much should we be forced to pay for our security. While Libertarians may feel uneasy about Obama’s reduction in military spending, we also despise the excessive budget Republicans tend to demand.

A reasonable solution would be to keep the military at home unless it’s absolutely necessary for our troops to be deployed. No more occupations in the Middle East, no more military presence in Germany and South Korea, and no more bases in nations all across the globe unless they pay us for our services. We could still provide a large budget for the military in case of war, but the surplus would be returned to taxpayers annually in times of peace.

Civil Rights

Though it’s inconceivable to race-baiting Liberals, Libertarians strive to be colorblind. Libertarians believe that man is not defined by his race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation, but instead by the choices he makes in life. We believe that the best man for the job should get the job regardless of his appearance or creed, and that no group deserves special treatment. This is because it is the individual that must be judged, not the crowd we perceive him to belong to.

But what about racism? You remember, that thing that was evaporating until Obama’s presidency, but is now rearing its ugly head again?

Two Libertarian principles contradict when racism surfaces, the first being the aforementioned colorblind judgement of individuals. The second is the belief that business owners should be allowed to deny service to any person for any reason. Businesses are run by individuals, and individuals have the freedom to associate with whomever they please, or to choose not to. If we force businesses to serve people whom they do not want to serve, we are acting as a totalitarian dictatorship, a Libertarian nightmare.

Although it’s not as bad as your sociology professor says it is, racism does exist. So do homophobia, Islamophobia, and other forms of prejudice. But are these ugly realities so bad that we need the government to step in?

Hopefully not. Since freedom of association goes hand-in-hand with freedom of speech and freedom of the press, it’s nice to think that society would pipe up effectively enough to prevent an irrationally discriminatory business from succeeding. If we got wind of a shop-owner denying service to Portuguese people exclusively, we would report the news, and try to convince people to spend their dollars elsewhere. While we might not be able to completely demolish every racist business, they would have a difficult time expanding which is what every business desires to do.

Sadly, racism does have the potential to prevail. And while much of the history of racism in America is overblown and distorted thanks to the left, Hollywood, and the mainstream media, racial discrimination does pose a threat to our liberties.

My solution would be to give it a shot. Take the training wheels off, and let us prove that we can be sensible, reasonable people. It’s time to break free from the restraints of race.

Immigration

Economics and Libertarianism are excellent bedfellows. The freest markets have always proven to be the most successful, so Libertarians are happy to discuss economics until the cash cows come home. If Libertarian morals don’t get you, our understanding of dollars will.

If you think about economics long and hard enough, you will come to the conclusion that a large population is financially beneficial to everyone. The more people there are, the more producers there are. If five mechanics can make five widgets in five minutes, how many can 100 produce? And with each widget produced, their affordability becomes friendlier to everyone. Economics is a positive sum game, so the more the merrier!

There are also more brains, more experiences, and more knowledge available when the population grows. Two brains are better than one (unless they are Liberal brains, but those are easily cured when people are held accountable for their actions), so innovation runs rampant when more people have the opportunity to engage in manufacturing and commerce.

The problem with all of this is that it requires freedom in order to come to fruition. When Socialist policies are implemented, all of those wonderful benefits of immigration and population growth are washed away. As government obtains power over our resources and currency, it becomes responsible for rationing them out equally. And since the government does not produce resources, economics becomes a negative sum game. Instead of wondering how much more we can produce, we have to ask how many people have their hands in the pot, and when it will all run dry.

While this argument is a strong one, it does not address the fundamental issue that troubles Libertarians. This main problem is the lack of affinity for blind Patriotism among Libertarians. Since Libertarians are colorblind, we do not care where you are from. We only care about your value to us. If you’re a good friend, it doesn’t matter where you were born. We’ll be your friend. If you’re a bad worker, it doesn’t matter what your nationality is. We won’t hire you.

So why should some people be allowed to live in and prosper in a free society automatically, while others must go through strenuous processes to be naturalized?

If Libertarians had the liberty we advocate for, we could answer this question easily: of course your place of birth means nothing. You didn’t choose to be born, so you’re not responsible for where your mother happened to be when you came into the world.

Unfortunately, we are not even close to free. Most of the world is infected with Socialism, so we have to micromanage for the sake of our safety and prosperity.

Sorry, migrants. In a Socialist aircraft, you are not free to move about the cabin.

The Death Penalty

Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness are the highest moral values in America, and Libertarians agree. Neither the government nor our peers should be allowed to prevent us from attempting to manifest our dreams, to control our bodies or decisions, or to take away our lives. The potential to lose these rights is what drives Libertarians to fight to secure them. But what should be done with people who show no respect for our inherent rights?

When considering the death penalty, a grave moral concern arises for Libertarians: does a man who disregards the life of another retain his right to his own?

If so, the death penalty is out of the question. If a man’s life inherently belongs to him, and no other conditions apply, the death penalty is completely unreasonable.

Some on both the left and on the right may claim that the death penalty is appropriate for certain crimes because it will prevent future crimes (some leftists would probably favor capital punishment for rapists, while some Conservatives would invoke its usage for all sorts of misconduct). The problem for Libertarians is that we are not compelled by expediency. Ayn Rand would often remark that her philosophy has no intention of doing what is right for all of mankind, it just so happens to work out that way! If free markets and free individuals were not as beneficial to all of humanity as they are, she would still support Objectivism for its superior morality. Libertarians want the truth, not the easy way out.

As for a solution, this one is tough. To enact the death penalty, the crime must be heinous, done with intent, committed without a smidge of reason, and proven to be true WAY beyond a reasonable doubt (like videotaped, testified to by multiple reliable eye-witnesses, or confessed to).

Along with many other Libertarians, I believe that the aforementioned issues would exist much less often in a free society. If the importance of Life, Liberty, and The Pursuit of Happiness were properly glorified throughout society, abortions would be shunned, anti-vaxxers would be ostracized, war would be less necessary, immigration would be welcomed, and crimes worthy of the death penalty would be rarer than they are today. Ayn Rand once told Johnny Carson that her Objectivist philosophy, which is seen as the predecessor of Libertarianism, could not be popular at the time, but would gain traction in the future. She was right. Libertarianism is growing as more people come to understand it. As long as its principles are recognized, the promotion of Libertarianism and other similar worldviews should be easy. But like Any Rand, we might not see it go mainstream in our time either.

The Toughest Issues for Libertarians

10 thoughts on “The Toughest Issues for Libertarians

  1. MookMonster's Ghost says:

    There is too much stupid here to really bother arguing with, but I’ll just point out the most obvious intellectually vacuous propositions you have proposed.

    1. You write: “But what about racism? You remember, that thing that was evaporating until Obama’s presidency, but is now rearing its ugly head again?” Can you honestly argue that racism was disappearing , or not relevant, or lacking a major impact in American society/politics prior to Obama? A two minute google search provides some interesting evidence showing that racism in the United States, measuring over several decades, has a significant and real deleterious effect on health: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Peter_Muennig/publication/51056666_Does_racism_affect_health_Evidence_from_the_United_States_and_the_United_Kingdom/links/0fcfd50ac2ed1bc08b000000.pdf. This came out in 2011, which partially includes the Obama era, but really any real correlation between racism in the USA and Obama is mostly all in your imagination.

    2. I was going to write about the intellectual dishonesty of arguing that Objectivism is the intellectual precursor to libertarianism, but frankly, its not worth my time. The intellectual ancestor to all these thoughts is anarchism, of whichever flavor you like, take your pick, but the more important idea is that modern libertarianism is a mix of numerous ideas that ultimately will rarely if ever have an influence on policy due to so many internal contradictions that render it powerless.

    3. Please don’t speak on abortion, writing based purely on theory without empiricism makes you sound stupid. You didn’t even bother to research common law and abortion, where abortions were historically always accepted as long as they occurred before the quickening, IE: prior to the end of first trimester.

    4. The rest of your arguments are mostly childish individualism phrased to look as some form of greater good. Your particular dismissiveness of liberalism, of which you appear to know very little about except empty talking points, will perhaps provide you an audience of similarly intellectually disabled morons. However, beyond that audience, you will find little reception to your thoughts, and for good reason.,

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    1. 1. If you don’t want to see how bad race-relations have gotten since Obama took office, you can keep your eyes closed. Liberal arts programs are propagating the myth of inherent racism, and Obama is on their side. The country has become obsessed with race. This had been getting better before Obama. Now we’re back in the 1960s.

      By the way, “there was a study, so you’re wrong” is my favorite liberal argument.

      2. I didn’t mention stoner Libertarians in this article, but perhaps that’s who you are referring to? There is a group of people who want to smoke pot, allow gay marriage, and own guns. They have no reason for any of this, it’s just what they want.

      Otherwise, Libertarians agree on most major issues. The bigger the government, the smaller the individual. The Free Market is morally and effectively superior to a Socialized market. Countries should mind their own business. We should be able to do what we want with our bodies. The initiation of force is wrong (violence, theft, taxes, etc.). The only reasonable functions of government are defense from foreign threats and defense from other citizens. You’ll be hard pressed to find a Libertarian who disagrees with any of that.

      3. I think I was very modest in my assertions about abortion. I said that 5 to 6 weeks is a good starting point, but I didn’t speak empirically about it. The first trimester is not light years away from what I suggested, so don’t act like I’m saying something insane.

      4. As a former Liberal, I feel very confident in my understanding of Liberalism.

      My goal is not to make people feel good, but rather to speak the truth. I used to sound just like you. I was miserable, and I had no idea what I wanted in life. I finally started considering the viewpoints of people who were happier and more successful than me, and I’ve become a new and improved man. My mentors didn’t sugarcoat anything, and neither will I.

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  2. MookMonster's Ghost says:

    1. You assert yet again that racism has somehow gotten worse in the United States under Obama (As if it wasnt already bad.) I showed a study demonstrating that racism has been around for awhile, and has had deleterious effects (one of many studies showing the same thing). Where is your evidence? Or are assertions good enough for a libertarian these days?

    2. You argue that most libertarianism believe that “The only reasonable functions of government are defense from foreign threats and defense from other citizens.” This is the height of childish individualism that I was identifying. So you really thing that if government goes away, corporations and powerful elites will just allow a world of equality/individual freedom, or whatever restrictions you think the state takes away from you? Really? So the free market is somehow morally superior to government? As if they both, as currently constructed, don’t reflect the massive moral flaws of all humans that participate within them?

    Taxes as theft is such a boorish argument, and implies that our current structure of government ensures that nobody has an actual voice/ability to participate/influence government. You take away individual agency with your arguments, as much as you seem to believe you are reinforcing it. Sure, government is corrupt, but without some form of government check on self interest, there will be no world left to enjoy. I could show you tons of evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of government welfare programs to reduce poverty and economic inequality, but I am guessing you will argue that your desires for “individual freedom” makes any attempt to redistribute wealth to help the poor and disadvantaged to be some form of “theft.”

    It is up to a society as a whole to decide what should be done with resources. There is no inherent superiority of one particular version of libertarian “freedom” vs more modern state-centric versions of “freedom.”. If, through the functions of social choice (government in the modern world), perhaps some form of mutual aid (in an anarchist world) a society distributes resources as the society sees fit. While you complain about supposed “theft” in taxes, people are starving, homeless and need help. To argue that taxes = theft is to privilege your desire for individualism over rights of poor and minorities facing structural racism/social inequality. .

    3. When I argue your understanding of liberalism is a set of talking points that are ridiculous on their face, I am thinking of quotes like this: “Liberals are unpredictable when it comes to morality because they follow their feelings, ” or this, “Liberals will likely say: Morals depend on your perspective and come from each of our own personal experiences, we do not need morals because they are subjective, and only I can decide if I am moral or not,” or liberals as “race-baiters.” These statements are about as good evidence as anyone would need to demonstrate that you have some straw man mental construction of a liberal, but with very little intimate understanding of liberal theories/constructs/philosophies, etc. If you don’t understand what secular humanism is, and how its the core of modern liberal morality, then do yourself a favor and actually read instead of conjecture.

    4. To summarize, you provide facile selfish libertarian arguments, and you try to dress them up in some grander form of a “philosophy,” without seeing the inherent underlying contradictions that result from your worldview. A world of limited government as you have constructed does not inherently lead to the conclusions you prefer/assume/hope for. Perhaps its a possibility, I won’t preclude that, but you remove government tomorrow, and self interest would ravage this world even more than it already has. I am not saying government is perfect, or even that it is the only way to solve social problems; rather, it is one important tool in a grand toolset to with the potential for humans to create a better world..

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    1. Racism is a very ambiguous concept, and we could sit here and argue about it all day. I see the things being taught at universities, I see shows on MTV called “White People”, I see Buzzfeed articles telling people what they can and can’t do or say based on race, I see movements like “Black Lives Matter” which are based in fallacy (Mike Brown did not have his hands up; he was the agressor) going mainstream, I see Farrakhan calling for 10,000 people to mobilize, I see black people becoming more and more dependent on the government and more isolated from society, and I see MSNBC (never intentionally though). All of this is going on under Obama. And all of this is racist. It’s an obsession, and it was not the prevalent before Obama. Race relations were on the up and up. It hasn’t been this bad since the Civil Rights movement.

      Let’s get to a much less ambiguous topic which is the government vs. the free market. Here are a few things to think about:
      1. If people are such evil, self-interested bastards, why does it make sense to give some people authority of others? If Bush and Clinton and all of these people are just selfish monsters, how can you possibly justify giving them the power to take whatever they want and shoot whomever they want?
      2. How does a government get money? It can steal money (taxation), print money (inflation), or borrow money on our credit. It never has to earn money. If the government fails, it suffers no consequence; you do. How does a business get money? It creates a product that you want more than your money. Then, you voluntarily trade your money for the product. If a business fails, it fails. The business bears all of the consequences.
      3. The strongest and most centralized governments of the past 100 years have also the most violent and devastating. North Korea, Communist Russia, Communist China, Nazi Germany, Khmer Rouge Cambodia, North Vietnam, Castro’s Cuba and the rest of them were all anti-individual and pro-collectivism. The bigger the government, the small the individual.
      4. Study economics. The freest markets are the most prosperous markets. The nations without economic freedom are the poorest and hungriest. Just ask Bono. He is one of the greatest humanitarian activists of our time. You know what he realized a few years ago? Aide doesn’t help people. Commerce and Capitalism do. He used to raise money for Africa. Now, he promotes Capitalism. Africa is become more Capitalistic, and also growing in prosperity. It’s amazing.

      When I was a liberal, I really, earnestly wanted to help the poor. But I didn’t realize that everything I advocated for only exacerbated the problem. Now I know that there is nothing more compassionate than advocating for free commerce, trade, and innovation with no government involvement. After the earthquake in Haiti, aide flooded into the country. They had more rice than they knew what to do with. But guess what happened? All of the rice farmers, their laborers, the truckers, packagers, merchants, marketers, etc were no longer needed. They lost their businesses and their livelihoods, and now must eat rice 3 times a day because it’s the only thing they can afford.

      The road to perdition is paved with good intentions.

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  3. MookMonster's Ghost says:

    Its not that all people are self interested bastards, but some certainly are, and there must be a check on them lest their self interest lead to problems, such as the “tragedy of the commons.” What efficient form of potentially legitimate check on self interest exists other than government? The free market? Asymmetric information, and all sorts of market failures exist, reducing the likelihood that unregulated markets are dangerous indeed.

    You seem to think that taxation = stealing money. Basic definition of theft = ” the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another.” There is nothing “wrongful” about taxation insofar as taxation is the result of an open debate and discussion within social institutions. While you may disagree with the evolution of the American tax code, illegitimate it is not. The 16th amendment was the result of a significant movement in American politics to check the growing and dangerous threat to liberty that was represented by wealth inequality. (I’ll spare you the lecture on how amendments to the American constitution are really really legitimate due to the numerous democratic aspects of the process). Is there waste/corruption in government, and is that waste facilitated by the tax code. Of course. but that is not an indictment of all of government, or even of the tax code, but rather a call to participation for individuals to shape govenrment itself. And yes, the great thing about Western governments, is that people can participate and actually create change in government, although those of a libertarian persuasion may prefer to whine and cry about the evils of government and how we would be better without it.

    Your discussion of governments, by citing dictatorial unfree governments, in no way provides evidence for your proposition that “The bigger the government, the small[er] the individual.” Ok, so there have been and continue to be terrible governments. So what? There are good and bad people, should we get rid of all the people too? In many ways, the lack of regulation in the United States makes people very unfree, for example, in Wisonsin, wonderful farmers have been letting cattle piss and crap in the water supply, threatening water for everyone. Sadly, government has in this particular instance made it illegal for citizens to actually collect and present this information to government regulators to proove illegal activity, but again, this is a call for more action and reform, not to remove government entirely. Certainly, the farmers who are illegally polluting, well if there was no government you would be sure they would pollute even more. See for ex:http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/investigations/2015/02/06/manure-spills-water-supply/22983669/.

    Your whole paragraph on “study economics” is nonsense. The relationship between state regulation, “free market” (a loaded term that certainly is) and poverty is extremely complex, and simplistic reductions such as you prefer (an end to aid will somehow help the poor even more than actual financial help.) Regardless, anti-poverty programs have been very effective, and generally do not create the dependence effect that people such as you believe doom the whole project. I guess you don’t believe in studies (which really makes me question both the sincerity and the purpose of any of your writing, for how else can we know without empirical testing), but the following analysis of welfare programs is extremely illuminating: http://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/49863/1/657590711.pdf. Your contention that aid doesn’t help people, well, please provide references and evidence, because basically your only way of arguing so far is to make assertion after assertion and hope you are not questioned. If onetake issues of poverty seriously, then A: evidence is important, and B: there is no magic single solution. Anyone with any level of compassion knows that aid is necessary, but how aid is implemented is certainly an important topic of debate. (I have a phd and I was on foodstamps and govt health care this year, and it wasnt because I was lazy and unwilling to work).

    Regarding Africa, much of the prosperity is due to Chinese investment. and if you think that investment is a result of the good-will of the Chinese, or somehow some product of a free market, you are ridiculously naive. The Chinese are investing for a reason, and their geopolitical and resource desires are not exactly hidden.See for example: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/ldr.2011.4.issue-1/1943-3867.1126/1943-3867.1126.xml?format=INT (this has a paywall, but the overall argument is well known and many resources support this contention).

    Your discussion of money is vacuous, and frankly, I don’t even understand what you are trying to say. Government creates some money, but not all (see bitcoin and its revolutionary potential). Can government do wrong, and when mistakes, are people often not punished? Why yes, and how about all those firms that crashed the global economy in 2007-2008, they sure did mostly get off scott free in comparison to the damage they caused. Im still waiting for the market solution to all that damage. Your thoughts on “earning” money seem to imply that outside of government, money has some intrinsic value. Government created money doesnt have any value other than the value given to it by government, so this whole idea of “earning” money seems unnecessary. Either government effectively manages the money supply, or it is inneffective in managing the money supply, but neither of these speaks to the moral right of government to produce money. Given the current economy we have, that is the rules of the current game.

    There is much talk of the post-scarcity economy, much of which I am very fond of, and when/if that evolution occurs, then the relationship between government, markets, and individuals will inherently evolve. But until the underlying contradictions and inequalities inherent within the capitalist mode of production change, all this libertarian belief that governments and markets can be somehow separated is pure make-believe. But just as likely as a post-scarcity economy is a global collapse of the financial system, so really, the future is made of putty.

    But seriously, if you don’t actually try to support your lazy assertions, I’m pretty played out with this one. I was hoping perhaps you would have good evidence or support for your contentions, or even some interesting spin on libertarianism, but you appear to be the same lazy libertarian type that thinks they know how the world works, and only if the world followed the inherent principles of libertarianism, then all the really difficult problems that nobody has been able to solve yet would be solved fairly quickly. Government is hard, governing is hard, and pie in the sky theories provide little assistance, especially when in practice, they provide a rhetorical device to ignore the suffering of others and legitimize non-action.

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    1. I graduated college a flaming Liberal, and it took several years for me to recover and realize how immoral and inefficient the entire ideology is (sentimentality is not easy to overcome). It took a few more years for me to understand and appreciate Libertarianism, so excuse me for not being able to explain the entire concept in a few comments.

      It’s amazing how you can brush off the 100s of millions slaughtered by centralized government over the past 100 years, but assume that the free market is “dangerous indeed” because of some concept you heard about. Take a look at a list of the countries with the greatest economic freedom and compare it to a list of countries with the greatest GDP per capita. Talk about illuminating.

      And this whole book you just wrote veers away from the real issue at hand here: morality. You do not have the right to take anything from anyone else without his permission. That is stealing, and stealing is wrong. Once you lose your rights to your property, what is protecting your right to your life? How can it be “yours” if ownership is not recognized and valued?

      Yes, the 16th Amendment is one of the few that Libertarians would like to nullify. But many of the current GOP candidates are promoting a flat tax rate which would be fairer than the discriminatory progressive tax. Since your income in no way reflects how much you are able to pay in taxes, it’s ridiculous to levy unbalanced rates. A flat tax would definitely make Liberals who vote to raise taxes without paying taxes themselves think twice about what they’ve been doing.

      And I don’t want to get personal (you used yourself as an example), but did it ever cross your mind that maybe you were on food stamps because you chose to pay for a PhD program when you were unable to afford it? There are obviously assumptions in there, but judging from a few things you said I think you’re just about done with this conversation, so I avoided the back and forth it would take to get there. Again, I don’t want to get personal (even if you call me childish and stupid [I used to be a Liberal so I speak your language]).

      As for your Wisconsin farmers, the federal government does not have permission to get involved in environmental affairs. No such power is the enumerated by the Constitution (which you invoked), so it falls into the hands of the states and the people (10th Amendment [and best amendment {and most ignored amendment by our Socialist government}]). Also, I’m sure you’ve seen what the EPA recently did to the Colorado River, so the government is not some perfectly clean entity. The only difference is that a business actually loses customers when it messes up (unless the government bails it out, which is sacrilege to Libertarians).

      Anti-poverty programs have been very effective? HA! LBJ’s war on poverty has done as much to curb poverty as the war on drugs for drug use and the war on terror for terrorism. All the war on poverty did was transfer poverty from senior citizens to children. Also, WE ARE $18 BILLION IN DEBT! If the effect that is going to have on our children is not of concern to you, I don’t want to hear about compassion.

      If you can Google search for articles that support your viewpoint, you can do the same for studies that make the case for foreign aide being detrimental to poor countries. The money winds up in the hands of the rich, and it kills the economy at the grassroots. It kills jobs. Aide is well-meaning, corrupt, and kills jobs: a Liberal trifecta.

      You made my point very well when it comes to China investing in Africa. Of course they want to get access to Africa’s resources. They are acting in their economic interests. That’s what people do. This is why business is better than government. We know what businesses want: profits. They will do what they have to do to earn money. Governments do whatever they feel like doing at the moment. One day they want to bring in 65,000 Syrian refugees, the next day they want to exterminate the Jews, the next day they want to go green, the next day the want to attack Pearl Harbor. They’re just the worst.

      And to your closing paragraph, I have never claimed that following Libertarianism principles would create some sort of Utopia. The world is an imperfect place. But it becomes increasingly imperfect when people are coerced into doing things they don’t want to do. And I’m not suggesting we just dump the government tomorrow. Just shrink it so we can get a taste of freedom.

      Libertarianism is an anti-system instead of the terrarium-managing mentality of many other political ideologies. And here’s the kicker… if you think that aide works and you want to do things for other people, there is nothing stopping you in a free society. You only lose your right to force other people to obey your will.

      I haven’t taken a look at the two studies you sent me yet, but I will. And thanks for your comments.

      Like

  4. MookMonster's Ghost says:

    Sigh, so much disinformation, so little time.

    1. States are effective killers and have been for quite some time. But the modern revolution in statecraft is this thing called democracy, IE: public participation. Modern states at least have the potential to have their negative behavior affected by populations through political participation. That many dont want to bother participating and affecting change is again, not really the fault of the state concept. Certainly, states have done and continue to do terrible behavior, but unlike the “free market,” there are many ways to for people to participate and affect change. In the free market, if you don’t like what a company is doing…you buy something else…unless that company has a monopoly (which is likely to occur without state regulation), and then you are out of luck.

    Random news stories showing how the free market is nothing of the sort: Your “free market” at work: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/business/a-huge-overnight-increase-in-a-drugs-price-raises-protests.html.

    And the VW story is just absolutely amazing, though Im sure you’re going to say that this whole thing is caused by governments attempting to regulate car emissions: http://www.bbc.com/news/business-34311819.

    2. Again, that whole taxes thing. You write: “. You do not have the right to take anything from anyone else without his permission. That is stealing, and stealing is wrong. Once you lose your rights to your property, what is protecting your right to your life? How can it be “yours” if ownership is not recognized and valued?” While I may not have the right to take from others, (IE: Taxes), government certainly does have the right to do so. The word you seem to not understand/place into your worldview, is the world LEGITIMACY. The only thing separating modern government from a mafia is legitimacy, and that legitimacy has led to a tax code that argues that people need to pay a certain share of their income to benefit overall society, IE: Taxes. That tax code was not created by fiat, or dictatorial power, but through a process of debate and public participation. You may not like it, fine, but it is legitimate regardless.

    3. Social Welfare and food stamps. I am a proud previous user of social welfare programs, because I am a clear case identifying why and how these programs are so useful. You argue: “but did it ever cross your mind that maybe you were on food stamps because you chose to pay for a PhD program when you were unable to afford it?” This logic boggles the mind. Yes, I have debt, but how would that debt keep me from eating/having healthcare, unless that debt made it difficult to find a job? Yes, many places do credit check potential employees and not hire those with bad credit., (which should be illegal, but alas, and in fact is becoming so in many places: https://hrlaws.services.xerox.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/05/hrc_fyi_2015-05-12.pdf). THe obvious reason why I had to use public services is one affecting over 50% of all lecturers in higher education in the United States: I was underemployed, because the market has failed to provide enough work opportunities. One of many failings of the market based system, but luckily this semester I received a significant increase in my class load, so I don’t need assistance. The point being, when I needed help, the social safety net was there, and now that I have found additional employment, I do not need the safety net. The market fails like this all the time, and is why many policies, such as trade agreements, have built in worker training programs or other social assistance, because the functions of the market inevitably creates winners and losers. If you do not take care of the losers from the market, and there are enough of them, you get violence and revolution. You could argue that the market I participate in (higher education), is not a “free market,” but anyone in the industry knows that state funding has collapsed, and colleges are acting more and more like private corporations, with inevitable negative consequences as a result (massive pay increases for presidents, a dangerously growing bureaucracy, etc).

    More on Social Welfare programs. You say we are $18 trillion in debt. You seem to think that social welfare is the cause. You seem to not know that 50% of America’s budget (after paying for the interest on our debt) goes to the military…but please, lets blame all those on social welfare, bc….yea…..or those massive bailouts for corporate profligacy and the whole too big to fail….the mind boggles….

    3. Foreign aid. Its such a small portion of American spending…I’m still not sure what you are trying to say here. Some of it is abused, but not all of it. You speak in generalizations, This article: http://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty/paola.giuliano/BEJ_macro.pdf discusses how the structure of foreign aid matters, and there are ways to improve its impact on growth, etc. IE: You argue that foreign aid “The money winds up in the hands of the rich, and it kills the economy at the grassroots. It kills jobs. Aide is well-meaning, corrupt, and kills jobs,” where I argue the structure of foreign aid programs matters, and they can be done in ways that are on net positive for a society, though there is a learning process here and certainly much room for improvement.

    4. You missed the point of China in Africa. Its not the free market, it geopolitics…and your whole discussion of states “are the worst,” well, so are corporations that increase the price of drugs over 500%. The point is, governments can be good, governments can be bad, just as any economic actor, generalizations do more to obfuscate than to help.

    5. You write, ” if you think that aide works and you want to do things for other people, there is nothing stopping you in a free society. You only lose your right to force other people to obey your will.” What you don’t seem to understand is that left unchecked, wealth and financial interests will doom whatever “freedom” you think the free market can potentially provide. That is why the 16th amendment was passed, because the wealthy were becoming too wealthy, and government had to stymie their wealth production lest wealth corrupted society as a whole. Do you think that the rich and elite will just hand over and assist others out of the goodness of their hearts? There is a massive and growing literature that as one acquires more wealth, empathy and compassion decline: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-wealth-reduces-compassion/. Elections can be bought, politicians can be bought, (under the current system anyway), and wealth inequalities guarantee that financial inequality leads to political inequality. But what makes the state so special and important is that the state does not have to stay this way. Reform is possible, change can happen, but the needed change will not happen out of the good will of the powerful and elite, it will happen with elites kicking and screaming till bitter acceptance.

    6. Summation: In a vacuum, and assuming a starting point of equality, certain libertarian principles make sense. You can argue that taxes are theft if everyone is equal and well off and all that. But this is the real world, there are structural power inequalities that constantly recreate themselves, and elites will use whatever tools at their advantage to continue their domination, be it government one day, or corporate entities the next. To willfully ignore the gaping discrepancies in the life of the wealthy vs everyone else, and say this gap has no implication on the functioning of society (if you think that taxes and wealth redistribution are bad, then you must agree with this proposition), then you are a tool for the elite to continue their domination at the expense of everyone else. Elite based domination sure smells like liberty to me.

    Like

    1. 1. States are effective killers? Well, red states are effective killers of blue states because red states are better to live in. People have been voting with their feet for quite some time. Everybody is leaving New York and moving to Texas. It’s beautiful. I currently work outside the US, but if I return, you can bet your ass I’m not going anywhere near stupid California.

      The one problem with state’s rights is that sometimes they violate the basic freedoms of their citizens. Many states have very strict gun laws, which is a direct violation of the INALIENABLE rights of Americans. We have the right to bear arms to defend ourselves from a tyrannical government (like the one you are a proponent of), and it is a massive constitutional overreach by states and municipalities to enact gun bans of any kind.

      It’s also very sad that Democrats don’t realize how much death and destruction they are the cause of. Liberals like to talk about gun violence in America. It’s true. We have the most gun violence of any developed nation. But do you know where we rank in Murder? Currently 111th overall. However, if you remove the top 20 most violent, Democrat-led hellholes like Baltimore, Detroit, DC, Chicago, the US would have the 209th best murder rate in the world. The Dems do a great job of convincing us to give up our power over the government by enacting policies that kill people!

      I also love that the free market has to be perfect, but Liberal La-La Land just has “difficulties”. Like many have said before, being a Liberal means never having to say you’re sorry.

      2. I did not participate in writing the tax code. No one asked for my permission. Several sheepish wolves have conglomerated and decided to eat the people who made better life choices than they did. Pure evil and irresponsibility.

      By the way, how could anyone be Liberal without Conservatives? If Conservatives didn’t create businesses and wealth for the government to tax, how would Liberals be able to study Latin Dance of the 17th Century on the government dole? Liberals should kiss a Conservative’s ass every morning.

      3. Higher education should be as free of a market as any other business. Unless you teach for free, you would be lying to claim anything otherwise. Teachers teach for money. They may enjoy teaching (I teach ESL and I love it), but they do not teach for free (except for in the churches which pretty much founded schooling as we know it today).

      I also love how all of a sudden I’m a proponent of government bailouts and unnecessary wars. Are you kidding me? I oppose all of it! This is what drives so many to Libertarianism! We don’t want to pay for college professors’ food stamps, we don’t want to pay to kill 1 million Iraqis and our troops for no reason, and we don’t want to pay for failing businesses. You Liberals want to spend trillions to force us to have health insurance and to pay for people who refuse to take care of themselves, and the Republicans want to force us to spend trillions to force countries to have democracy (which sucks!). Crony Capitalists and Neo-Liberals are the same enemy in the eyes of free men.

      “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.” -Orwell

      3. To the same point, you think you can manage foreign aide better than somebody else. Somebody else thinks he can manage foreign aide better than you. You’re both the same! You just want to take people’s money and do what you think is best, and then suffer no consequences. This is Liberalism!

      4. I have nothing to say.

      5. Our country is more Socialist than it’s ever been in history, and wealth inequality is at an all time high. We keep growing government, and the rich keep getting richer. I love wealth inequality. It proves that you can earn more money than you’re earning now. But I’m sure you disagree. So why would you keep piling on the Socialist policies when they are clearly correlated with increases in wealth inequality? This is why Liberals get laughed at.

      I also love this logic: The government is corruptible, therefore we need to give it more money and power. You have a PhD, dude! Come on!

      6. I think I have addressed this in many of my previous responses. You think that government will make everyone equal, and equality is a good thing. I think that government ruins everything (though I defer to the Constitution for the sake of my freedom of speech, religion, and right to shoot the government if it gets out of control), and equality is stupid and weird and dishonest and an evil fantasy based in ignorant compassion. Free Markets (while imperfect in an imperfect world) give people an opportunity to better their lives. Socialism, as Winston Churchill brilliantly said, “is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

      Like

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