Recent comments

  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 38 weeks 1 day ago Page Steve
    I hear where you're coming from, and since it seems we're similarly caring people, I sympathize and agree that the result of not violating people is much more "caring" than the pretense of care statists hide their abominable behavior behind. But I think we need to be careful not to equivocate. When people refer to compassion and caring, they have in mind "positive moral values" like sharing, love, mercy, charity. I.e., the refusal to initiate violence, while fundamental, is not the entire range of human interaction. For example: A libertarian could absolutely walk past a drowning man and do nothing to help at all. He would not be violating the man's person or property and thus be fully in accord with the NAP. It still makes him a cold-hearted bastard in the eyes of most people. The thing that makes a libertarian a libertarian is that he would never push an innocent man into the water, which would be a violation of the NAP. Actually attempting to save a man already in a predicament requires something additional to the commitment to not violate the man's rightful property (which is strictly all libertarianism really amounts to). The thing I take away from the Smith quote (which is great) is that it's not necessary for people to be kind and caring to make "society" work. As long as we're not violating each other's consent, we could be selfish jerks and yet our self-interest would still benefit others, not by our design, but by the nature of the market (voluntary interactions). The caring and love and all that good stuff is not necessary, rather it's "icing on the cake". This distinction is important for two reasons. One, it keeps libertarianism "lean". "Positive moral values" (like sharing, helping those in need, being friendly, etc.) are great, but they're also highly subjective. We can live in peace without agreeing 100% on all those values (e.g., voluntary communists can live in a libertarian society, as long as they don't commit aggression); we only need general acceptance of the NAP for justice to be served. By tacking on additional baggage to libertarianism, we necessarily reduce its appeal since we're now adding on our own subjective preferences, which are not necessarily going to appeal to others. Let's not add bathwater and then get the baby thrown out with it. Two, it shows that even in the "worst case" scenario our statist opponents want to smear us with, human society will flourish. We're all a bunch of selfish, profit-seeking jerks you [the critics] say ? Even if that were true, a libertarian society would still be a better place to live compared to one where people use the state to force their wills onto others. Of course, that's an absurd extreme case (whoever heard of a statist using hyperbole?! ;) ), since clearly many libertarians do have strong "moral convictions" to be loving, giving people, and also, aggressive violence creates resentment whereas "good fences make good neighbors" (i.e., people get along better when they aren't being victimized by each other), so a libertarian society is almost certain to be kind and caring (bonus) in addition to being just and prosperous (by definition). Cheers, Brian
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 38 weeks 1 day ago Page Steve
    Then alas we'll have to differ on this. I'll stick with the reasoning I showed in Human Nature. If there should happen to be some freak libertarian whose self-respect is enhanced by doing cruel things, the justice industry in the coming free society will swiftly deal with the problem.   I'll add this, though (on 1/31): even if a libertarian seems callous and uncaring personally, the fact that he opposes government schooling and "justice" and nondefensive war causes him to care; libertarianism is in that way a caring world-view, qua libertarianism. Isn't it a bit like Adam Smith's famous "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."?   In other words: if you're a real libertarian, you're a caring person whether you plan to be or not.  
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 38 weeks 1 day ago Page Steve
    I stopped reading after the author approvingly quoted this: "They are an oxymoron in action (complete with a lot of morons)—individuals who want to group together." I'm sorry to stoop, but only a moron thinks there exists anything other than individuals. That among these individuals, there is a propensity to act in concert with others (which doesn't magically transform them into a new entity, but still just individuals acting in concert) by no means qualifies as an oxymoron. Methodological individualism isn't wishful thinking; it's disciplined conformance with reality. This is also tied to common statist nonsense. That somehow, acting in cooperation with other with people creates a magical new entity that actually exists and is different than the sum of its parts and has different "rights" than the actual human beings involved. In the case of businesses, when people "incorporate", the resulting entity is sub-human with less rights than the actual human beings involved (the "corporations aren't people" argument where it is argued the Bill of Rights shouldn't apply to corporations [not that I give a damn about the Bill of Rights]). In the case of people living together in communities, the resulting entity is "society" and this meta-entity has rights that supersede any of the actual human beings involved. The "needs of society" (which amazingly always seem to coincide with the wants of those individuals invoking the phrase) outweigh the rights of the petty individual. And of course, in the case of "government", the imagined entity has the amazing right to operate under completely different moral guidelines than the actual human beings involved. Murder, robbery, rape, kidnaping, torture, extortion, fraud.... not wrong when "government" does it, even though last time I checked, the constituent members were still genetically identifiable as human beings.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 38 weeks 1 day ago Page Steve
    A more succinct way off restating what I just stated would be to say: what about it?
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 38 weeks 2 days ago Page Steve
    Steve, why the hostility? Your first article was at least well written even if we disagree. This dyspeptic article was unfocused and a waste of time. After sifting through the various inconsequential and vain rememberances, I found myself straining for a gnat of substance on which to comment and to link to our discussion. So first, it would be helpful if you would identify the specific arguments and sum them up if there really are any in this article that are pertinent to our discussion. There was so much invective in this and so much disinformation, and so much fluff, and so many silly assumptions, that I found it a bit of a waste of my time--thus my claim that it was a hostile move on your part. I resent people saying to me "read this" in some unfocused way without saying what's essential and pertinent. Whatever you found valuable in it passed me by because it was so airy and full of hamburger helper and invective that I found it a waste. So what's the point? There are assholes in the libertarian movement as there are in all movemements? You ought to try going to so some conservative and liberal meetings sometime. I have. They have an abundance of nonsense--for which I have no patience. Our time is our only truly finite resource, and I resent your giving us such an unfocused article to "guess" at in terms of finding something in it that you think was valuable--perhaps only to find we chose the wrong point. Over generalizations don't lead to much, so please outline the specific points in a succinct way without the geographic references included by the meandering writer instead of just saying what do you think of thisd to anything, which is like throwing linguine in someone's face and leaving the room and saying "lick it up and tell me how it tastes." Sifting through this did not yield much in my strainer. Worse yet, what was the point other than that this person either hates libertarians or has an ax to grind with some of them? Personally I find it annoying when someone throws a bunch of a very poorly designed text to your face and says what to think without any instruction. Communication is important, and it shows respect for your readers. Be specific or be silent. I don't have time to waste reading hamburger helper when there is so much to do and so much to learn from people who actually make an attempt to communicate. You may as well ask, "What did you think of Thursday?" I liked your first approach so much more--clean, specific, pointed. Try that again please--if it's really worth it.  
  • Steve's picture
    Steve 38 weeks 2 days ago Page Steve
    Before I address the criticism so far, what do you think of this other article critical of libertarians that appeared just a few days before mine? http://www.caseyresearch.com/articles/whats-wrong-with-modern-libertarians  
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 38 weeks 2 days ago Page Steve
    Good points Lawrence. Again, none of this is necessarily inherent to libertarianism (the caring and empathy), but is in my experience of most libertarians I've met. "We don't pick "favorites" in our caring; we don't de-humanize unpopular targets of hate." This is an excellent sentence. Really like the wording and point it makes. I suppose the "we don't de-humanize" part is true about libertarians qua libertarians. A "selfish" libertarian could actually have no emotions towards an unpopular minority, but due to his/her principles, he/she would still not go along with any plans to violate those people. Justice precludes such treatment of other human beings and whether a libertarian actually empathizes or not, he/she will not go along with injustice. So on one level, the effect of libertarianism is "caring" in action, if not necessarily in emotion. We may not care about giving things to the poor (most of us do, but that's in addition to libertarianism), but we do effectively "care" by refusing to allow anything to be taken from them.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 38 weeks 2 days ago Page Steve
    Great points Lawrence. The world is statist. If you live in this world, you are BARRAGED with statist arguments all day long. At school, from your parents, at church or hanging out with atheists, at work, on TV, in movies, in universities, from economists, from....everyone. I don't know enough about Freud to fully agree with you, but what you wrote seems plausible. Cheers, Brian
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 38 weeks 2 days ago Page Steve
    I don't know Jim. I'm a bit skeptical about claims of "human nature" beyond what we can deduce from praxeology. Sadistic people exist and are still human, and they derive pleasure from hurting people, not helping them. Oskar Schindler was a good example of compassion still rising to the surface, but the "government [that had] obliterated nearly all trace of human compassion" was also made of humans. Why is Schindler an example of "human nature", but the Nazis not? Actually, in that case, HE was the outlier. So it would seem odd to observe a population and draw conclusions based on the behavior of the minority. It seems the only supported conclusion is that....value is subjective. Different things make different people "feel better". Hitler felt good (or at least anticipated feeling good pre ante) by ordering the killing of Jews/other victims and Oskar Schindler felt good saving them. I don't think we're justified in arbitrarily declaring Hitler not human because his values don't match ours (that's pretty much what Lawrence was pointing out that statists of all stripes do). But I will amend my statement and say that while libertarianism qua libertarianism is not about caring and empathy, the effect of libertarianism is "caring" in that no one is victimized. A strictly logical libertarian may have no compassion at all towards people, but commitment to justice prevents them from violating anyone. Since all non-libertarians are in favor of victimizing people, effectively they don't care and the libertarian's actions are "caring" from the point of view of the potential victim. But not hurting people and actively helping them are two different things, and libertarianism does not address the actively helping part. That's where compassion and empathy come in, and libertarians by and large demonstrate those "virtues" and do so genuinely (unlike statists, who are willing to help one person, while harming another, and thus aren't coherently caring at all). The reason I'm a stickler for keeping the definition of "libertarianism" pure (i.e., limited to addressing the just use of force) is because that really is the only necessary common denominator necessary for just and peaceful human coexistence. Without any additional baggage, libertarianism has the widest appeal. Adding our personal preferences as "baggage" tacked on to the philosophy (as I think "left-libertarians", for example, do) only restricts the appeal of the philosophy and is unnecessary. We first need a just society. After that, the principles of the market will do the rest in letting people act out their preferences and since those are subjective, the result will most definitely be heterogeneous on the whole, and homogeneous in parts.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 38 weeks 2 days ago Page Steve
    Fascinating point, Brian. Is it true that Libertarianism per se is not compassionate? So for example do we care about justice because we're libertarians, or because we're nice guys?   Some of both, I suggest. The basis of rational ethics is self-interest, and the human "self" - our nature - includes, as I see it, a propensity to care. We feel better about ourselves when we can help someone in need. That's so widely true that the exceptions are rare and noteworthy. In my 2009 STRticle Human Nature I mentioned the case of Oskar Schindler and noted: "... even after government has obliterated nearly all trace of human compassion, it can still rise to the surface."   Hence, libertarianism fits human nature. Government does not.
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 38 weeks 3 days ago Page Steve
    Brian, like you, I too disagree--not only about the "caring" aspect but the "empathy" as well. It would be interesting to examine all of the questions that defined "caring" in this study. Were they facile? Were they the institutionally "acceptable" targets of care, or did they include broad-ranging, accross-the-spectrum examples (and thus fair) and caring about everyone. This is the virtune of being comprehensive and systematic, but the people who evaluated this study didn't seem to realize the important link between consistency and system with caring (or empathy).  We don't pick "favorites" in our caring; we don't de-humanize unpopular targets of hate. We think it's important to care for everyone--even those who are "unattractive" to some people. This is precisely what enraged the Pharasees about Jesus. It is also why conservatives and liberals are always fighting the "last" example of holocaust behavior while the present-day ones go unrecognized by them on a daily basis. They are fighting the last "war." Regariding empathy, my suggestion is similar. We exhibit much more empathy than the others because we don't apply "blinders" to our empathy. We don't choose to target for empathy only approved targets. We take in the entire range of humanity and empathize with people who use illegal drugs and with wealthy, successful people who have devoted their lives to build a successful business--not to mention everyone in between. We eschew prejudice while liberals and conservatives embrace it. We take the "long view" on our empathy--as Henry Hazlitt recommended with long-term, widespread consequences of economic intervention. We are not "selective." We look "long term" and we look to the "widespread" consequences with our empathy. We don't plunk down some symbol of pathos in front of people and ignore the context of that pathetic product. We are willing to acknowledge the silent, unseen efforts of successful people instead of fastening ourselves upon them to harm them. We empathize with minorities--the smallest of which is the individual. We particularly can empathize with minorities that have been demonized by propaganda machines--as the Branch Davidians were de-humanized and thus set up for their gassing and burning. Where were those who decried the gassing and burning of Jews in the holocaust as this event took place? Crickets! Liberals and conservatives only empathize with state-approved minorities. The wide-ranging empathy of libertarian always mystifies both progressives and statist because we do not de-humanize anyone--whether it is Bill Gates or a victim of an Obama-drone in Afghanistan.  
  • Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture
    Lawrence M. Ludlow 38 weeks 3 days ago Page Steve
    I agree that this "research" is flawed and will address yet another area cited in the article that is clearly false--the need of libertarians to be "more willing" to understand and read the arguments of their opponents. This strikes me as completely absurd. Ninty percent of us literally "came from" the left and the right and were forcibly inculcated in these ideologies from birth. I have never failed to be surprised by the abject ignorance of non-libertarians about the libertarian ideology despite the powerful opposition on both left and right. Whereas I understand and can anticipate virtually every conservative and progressive argument, I have never yet met a single non-libertarian who has read a singe work of Rothbard, of Von Mises, or of any other mainstream anarcho-libertarian. All of them, of course, have absorbed like silly-putty the idiotic, dyspeptic, dishonest, and distorted judgements about libertarianism and its meaning. I have never met a person who understands it from the inside-out as we have. Even those whom we have explained it to conservatives and progressives have heard our notions spit back at us in distorted fashions with meaning-changes to the vocabulary. No. It is libertarians who are the ones who, like Thomas Aquinas, have followed the dictum to know their opponents' arguments better than they do. If only we would be reciprocated. As a trip down memory lane:   1. Remember the smirks of John McCain and Mitt Romney as they tittered like morons while Ron Paul spoke during the debates.   2. Look at the accusations of racism and intentional misrepresentation of liberals in response to our attempts to use decentralized (state's rights) arguments in favor of drug legalization and NSA defunding; they invariably spit back the propaganda about Lincoln (yawn) and slavery and Jim Crow--repeating nonsense like parrots (apologies to those sweet birds)--despite any explanations of Lysander Spooner and other abolitionists. They simply are "in denial" and must dismiss a threatening argument (see more later on how they thus de-humanize their opponents, which is really a Nazi tactic and ironically used by defenders of slavery, who likewisde claimed that blacks were incapable of human self-governance).   I think that one can make a much more useful comparison of libertarians, conservatives, and progressives with the tripartite psychological division of Freud into ego (healthy), superego (exterior rule-dominated), and id (impulse-directed). Both conservatives and liberals are dominated by superego concerns that hinder their ability to think outside the box--trading it in for approval-seeking behavior from external sources. Progressives add in their childlike acquiescence to id-dominated thinking. They always excuse irresponsibility and demand that others constantly enable and excuse and overlook such behavior as irrelevant. Conservatives, too, are dominated by id-predominant  behavior. They project their unacceptable impulses of aggression onto others, and then, in their obsessive paranoia, seek to wage war on those whom they have filled up with their own hatred. Progressvies do likewisde. I worked with a woman who hated (rightly) John Cheney--not for his views, but because she claimed he was "not human." This tendency to dismiss as "not human" or to "medicalize" opponents of their views is the stuff of Nazism--defining away the humanity of opponents by pretending they are untermenschen. No, they are not empathic at all. They only empathize with childish behaviors, not adult behaviors--just as conservatives only empathize with those who, like them, project their dangerous impulses into others through projection.  
  • mhstahl's picture
    mhstahl 38 weeks 3 days ago Page Steve
    I truly hope that the comparison to Asperger's and psychopathy was made in jest-there is nothing in the data, or presentation, that even remotely suggests such a correlation. There are some differences, but they are really quite mild, and as Haidt says at the beginning-"this is not a representative sample..."....in other words, it is NOT a valid study and the numbers are therefore meaningless from a "scientific"(social sciences are not true science...but they at least do have some rules) standpoint. They may be useful as a comparison-but only if it is remembered that the data only reflect the views of a skewed group(those who visited a liberal website.)   What I find most interesting is that, after the man said that the data was fundamentally-and fatally from a "research" standpoint- flawed, everyone kept listening. Speaks more to the Catoite's need for attention than anything else to my mind. It also speaks to the awesome power of "numbers"-even when they are admitted jibberish- and why they can be so fucking dangerous. No wonder Karl Marx birthed the "social sciences."   To the author, frankly, I would recommend "reading some of the other camps’ books (I can’t say that I’ve done this[I have]), actively listening to the other camps' arguments", perhaps then you will not need to feel as though you are acting in order to have a conversation. Honestly, if you have not familiarized yourself with opposing views, you really can't be secure in your own- if you want to win an arguement and be compelling to your opponent, the best way to do so is to know the opposition's position better than they.   Best,   Mike
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 38 weeks 3 days ago Page Steve
    Thank you Jim. Hate to be a stickler (must be my propensity for "reactance"), but while I agree with your conclusions, I feel it's necessary to point out that there's nothing in libertarianism qua libertarianism that has anything to do with caring. It is completely possible to arrive at libertarian conclusions without caring about anyone but yourself. The logic and justice of liberty will be accepted by any honest, logical mind without need for that person to have any motivation other than truth and/or any concern other than their own well-being. However, the reason I agree with your conclusions is that in my experience, the vast majority of libertarians I've encountered do actually give a damn about other people in a way that is more than just a self-indulgent pretense of morality. We don't just hate the state because it oppresses us, but because it oppresses others. In fact, while I hate the state on principle, my oppression as a white male pales in comparison to the oppression of others. So my righteous anger is often more due to the treatment of others rather than just my own (since it's comparatively not as bad). But this is still anecdotal and I can't justly conclude all libertarians are similar (maybe I've just been lucky in running with a good crowd). So yes, libertarians qua libertarians absolutely do have the moral high ground. As to the compassionate high ground, non-libertarians have got no ground (since they show by advocating the use of violence against the innocent that they really don't care), but it isn't inherent to libertarianism per se. I'd only have anecdotal personal experience to inform my conclusions there, and it seems like you and I have similar experience in that we've found many (if not most) libertarians to be very empathetic and caring, in an actually genuine way. This of course goes against the statist narrative. I remember the look of abject shock a liberal female friend of mine had on her face as I literally had tears streaming from my eyes describing the horror of an Afghani wedding party blown to chunks of meat by US drones (my knowledge gained through reading first-hand reports; I've never been in the military or to Afghanistan). "Wow, I had no idea you were such a humanitarian" was all she could say. Clearly, she expected anyone advocating liberty to be a greedy bastard on the dole from the Koch brothers or something just as sinister. Ah the power of controlling the narrative... Cheers, Brian
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 38 weeks 3 days ago Page Steve
    Steve did a valuable job of research and presentation here, but Brian's response is excellent.   Evdently and by some criterion, Libertarians have been found wanting when it comes to "caring". Hog wash. In my view Libertarians are the most passionately caring kind of people in the world. We care earnestly about the massive child abuse, social and mental distortion euphemized as "public schooling" but nobody else does, and that lies at the root of a thousand evils. We care earnestly about nondefensive wars on principle, not just because they are wasteful or counter productive; nobody else does. We care earnestly about justice; we deplore its almost total absence, and get down to the roots of what real justice is all about - or should be; nobody else does.   And so on. I'll yield the moral and compassionate high ground to nobody.
  • BrianDrake's picture
    BrianDrake 38 weeks 4 days ago Page Steve
    I watched the video and found it unconvincing. A good example of why people don't respect the "soft sciences", because clearly the methodology doesn't just leave a lot to be desired, it's fundamentally sloppy. Watch an interview with Frank Lutz to see a bit of what I mean. How you ask questions completely determines how people will answer them. For example, in this study: "When something is prohibited, I usually think 'That's exactly what I'm going to do". Answering in the affirmative supposedly provides evidence of "reactance". But the very wording of the question creates a strawman of someone acting petulantly rather than from principle. Sure, there are some "iconoclast just for the sake of being iconoclastic" libertarians, but I don't think there's any reason to think that's an accurate representation of us as a philosophical movement. And yet, we are "herded" down this path by that question, since a libertarian doesn't view prohibitions by illegitimate authority to have any moral weight and thus is likely to still answer in the affirmative, whether they are "reactant" or not. What if you asked this instead: "If I want to do something consensual with another person, the only reason I consider the prohibitions against that activity by a group of men I never consented to have authority over me is not because of moral duty, but because they threaten to steal from me, kidnap me, beat me, and/or kill me if I disobey them. Absent those very real threats, my behavior would be impacted by those prohibitions not at all." Does answering in the affirmative to that re-wording still support a conclusion of "reactance"? Or rather does it support moral clarity and confidence? Another example: how does one quantify "caring"? Liberals often get credit for being "caring", but when more closely scrutinized, they only get credit if caring is defined as "any symbolic action, requiring little from me, that indulges my sanctimonious paternalism", then sure, liberals are as caring as it gets. But if caring actually means empathizing with your fellow human beings and respecting them as actual humans, not as puppets, then libertarians are by and large the most caring people I've met, and very few liberals qualify. I'm all for learning to be more persuasive, but I think the claim that the failure of libertarianism to take hold is due to our general lack of emotional IQ isn't well substantiated (if at all). Though you do recognize the power of public schooling and don't totally dismiss it (though you do call it an "excuse"), I don't think you consider the full weight of the advantage it bestows. Give any ideology a 18+ year head start with compulsory indoctrination of the vast majority of a population (generation after generation), and then tell me the success of that ideology is due to the competition's poor social skills. Sorry, that's not very credible reasoning. Nor can you truly fault an honest man for being outpaced by a demagogue in winning supporters. The disutility of labor is a very real phenomenon and anyone willing to lie by offering something for nothing is certainly at an advantage compared to the man advocating a moral and practical philosophy that actually conforms to reality. When these "advantages" are combined (an 18-year head-start shaping the minds of the populace, plus the willingness to lie to sell your scheme), as statism has going for it, it's a wonder there are any libertarians at all. I see value in becoming better at communicating our ideas, but as long as we're constrained by honesty and unwilling to forcibly indoctrinate children, we're at a significant disadvantage that's worth keeping in mind before resorting to the accusation that we only fail because we're all socially retarded and thus need to take lessons from fictional psychopaths.
  • ReverendDraco's picture
    ReverendDraco 38 weeks 4 days ago
    A Foul Smell
    Page Mark Davis
    "The best academic research finds that 20 percent of inmates in men’s prisons are assaulted while rates in women’s institutions vary, with one in four inmates raped in the worst facilities." (This is an almost 4 year old article, unfortunately) Although I recently came across an article (I hate when I can't remember where! I read so much that keeping track of this stuff is exceedingly difficult) about the absolute worst female prison in the country that ran about 17%. Stats aren't easy to find, by any means - Duh Gutterment is loathe to track them. Prison rape (the CO-on-inmate kind in particular) reminds me a bit of "First Night," or "droit du seigneur." As a general rule, I deplore summary execution. . . but in cases of crimes under color of authority, it's nearly impossible for me to hold fast to that ideal - especially when those crimes are committed against a literal "captive audience."
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 38 weeks 4 days ago
    A Foul Smell
    Page Mark Davis
    Well written, Mark. You put your finger on a great puzzle of this period: more and more people are protesting against government - abroad, as well as here - and confidence in it is sinking very low, and yet still there is not yet a full-throated call to be rid of the lot of it.   We can put the question in their minds: "Government: who needs it?"   I offered some answers to that in 2004. Our job is to show it's a lousy bargain and that there is a way out - that an alternative can be crafted.
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 38 weeks 4 days ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Who needs it? The government of course. Personally the government has no qualifying justificaion to perform in th way they do.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 38 weeks 4 days ago Web link Sharon Secor
    According to the report, the motivation here is to avoid having to authorize same-sex marriages. No matter the motive, it would have the good effect of getting the State out of the marriage business, where it should certainly never have been, so is a plus. Oklahoma, OK!   The flip side was identified by one of the commenters: "if no one is married, how would they qualify to file joint tax returns, inherit tax-free when one spouse dies, etc., etc."   So government creates a problem (the death tax) and creates another problem (marriage licensure) to solve it. It's what they do, all day long. Who needs it?  
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 38 weeks 4 days ago
    A Foul Smell
    Page Mark Davis
    Rape is still used, particularly by the American ruling class. Prison rape is widespread and permitted if not encouraged, which produces additional deterrence to opposing the current regime. I think I heard Molyneux say that more men were raped in the US than women. The democratic state is just a repeat version of the "royal" state, with an added innovation that brings constant new blood into the ruling class. That's about the only difference.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 38 weeks 4 days ago
    The Meat of the Matter
    Page Alex R. Knight III
    "Is this what the leftie (and other) government apologists want to defend?" That I doubt. They likely recognize there is a problem, but believe the agencies in question can be reformed. Just need to wait some more, heh. I yearn for the day when meat will have a sticker on it that says, "NOT USDA inspected!" and when this will increase its value to vendor and customer alike.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 38 weeks 4 days ago Page Paul Hein
    'But it doesn’t matter: the term “representative,” even if meaningless, sounds much better than “ruler.” ' Well put. It's hard to believe so many people for so long have been hoodwinked by this patently obvious scam, but I guess most people don't ask embarrassing questions. The state could not exist without euphemism, or as in this case, outright lies. I love the Internet, because one *can* ask embarrassing questions, and get at least some people to think about them.
  • newjerusalemtimes's picture
    newjerusalemtimes 38 weeks 5 days ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Yes, of course, idiots who register with a State organization for a license to marry are Statist Idolators! And Statist Idolators who object to Homos getting a State license to marry are still Statist Idolators AND Fascist HYPOCRITES! Peace be with you all, C. Livingstone
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 38 weeks 5 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Take it out now, Reverend, while you can; no bank is to be trusted.   Or as much of it as you cannot afford to lose.
  • ReverendDraco's picture
    ReverendDraco 38 weeks 6 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Dear HSBC; I want to withdraw large amounts of cash because IT'S MINE! You wanted evidence - there is it. Fork it over.
  • ReverendDraco's picture
    ReverendDraco 39 weeks 12 hours ago Web link Bradley Keyes
    I was thinking much the same thing. . . Nice to see that I'm not alone.
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 39 weeks 1 day ago Web link Bradley Keyes
    Another piece anecdotal evidence to show that government cannot be changed from the inside out. Voting has also demonstrated that making change possible is impossible. I think this article illustrates police violence has a long history to it--using water cannons on kids! Would you be willing to subject your child to such trauma for an ideal?
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 39 weeks 1 day ago Web link Bradley Keyes
    Seems like a piece of propaganda to me, but who am I anyway?
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 39 weeks 1 day ago Web link Bradley Keyes
    This is a lovely study, one that has been in much need of. At least it clearly and 100% ly validates the fact that guns are not violent as so many anti-gun proponents . At least now there is a study to prove the opposite of what anti-gun owners have been claiming for so many years "guns are violent". At least now we know that it takes an animate object to operate the inanimate object "firearm". Great study.
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 39 weeks 1 day ago Page Paul Hein
    Nicely summarized. My legislators know my name at least because I am constantly writing them complaining about some rule, regulation or law, well, maybe my legislator dosen't know my name because he has an army of minions whom answer his mail and respond to his philosophy. What do I expect to achieve by doing this. If, by chance, my writings gets through to one and causes him to depart from the government employment then I have achieved success, however, I will never know I have had success because they are not going to write to me and tell me they see my point and left the service.
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 39 weeks 1 day ago Web link Westernerd
    Seemed like he was slow to get to the point . More like he was interested in his own narrative. Is there any value in providing assistance to the poor and homeless. Part of me asks "How much money does one man need?", then I think a man should be able to make whatever he is capable of making and he gets to decide how he will use his money." Then I wonder about the phrase "The poor will always be with us. What does that really mean and imply? We will always have the poor and shouldn't expect to do anything about it because it is a fact you cannot change. I have had the experience of being around people who have no interest in working, but rather manipulating a deriving a source of income from others (cheating others). They find places to sleep, manage to get food in some fashion, manage to achieve a destination. Another question which comes to mind which is more important and animal or a human being. I see commercials advertising for donations to help poor, abused animals, but I see nothing about poor, abused humans, or even human slave trade. Do Libertarians have solutions for this? I have no idea. Happy to see you are still around Sam.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 39 weeks 1 day ago Page Paul Hein
    A massive myth, magnificently busted!
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 39 weeks 1 day ago Web link Westernerd
    I must agree, Sam; Bumper is less than 100% anarchist. But when he is good, he is very good indeed.   This one is superb, for it ridicules the notion that a border has any moral signiicance. Logically that means that nations have no moral significance, and that very nearly (though not quite, on its own) means that government has no moral right to exist. It's a powerful piece.   In contrast stands Ron Paul, who is also a mixed bag and very good on some issues; his stand on borders and immigration is dreadful, as I showed here.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 39 weeks 1 day ago Web link Westernerd
    It is a good article. For Bumper. Hornberger is one of those "libertarians" who has remained ...well, statist. Not real statist, mind you. Ministatist. Bumper clings to the belief that that pack of psychopaths we call "government" could and might serve a socially useful purpose -- if "we" could just elect a tamer and "gooder" bunch of lunatics. But he does come out with good stuff. One does not need to be an anarchist to write good libertarian essays. Sam
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 39 weeks 2 days ago Web link Westernerd
    This is really an excellent article!
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 39 weeks 2 days ago Web link Westernerd
    "No political bad actor could deny a single man his freedom or liberty without the police to enforce his psychopathic designs on humanity." - and without willing victims. Those who submit should not be surprised at what happens to them.
  • Glock27's picture
    Glock27 39 weeks 3 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    Everyday, day by day in every way our values we esteem to be appropriate are being taken away; I guess if I am barefoot and shirtless they still have to serve me despite what their sign says.
  • Alex R. Knight III's picture
    Alex R. Knight III 39 weeks 3 days ago
    Vandals
    Page Alex R. Knight III
    Second Update:  I today received from an area post office, of all places, 4 of the aforementioned May, 2009 Label 33s.  Let's see if any more come sailing in from the bungling bureaucracy.  Seems I'm starting a collection.  :-)
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 39 weeks 3 days ago
    Which Side Are You On?
    Web link mhstahl
    I used the term "non-union competitor" in error. Even in 1950 compulsory unionization was in force on the railroad. You could not, by law, be a railroad worker without becoming a union member. Which ended the labor unions' training of workers such as telegraphers to make them more valuable to management, and thus worthy of a higher wage. Monopoly unionization, as with monopoly government -- monopoly anything for that matter -- produces inefficiency, ineptness, and unjustness. Sam
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 39 weeks 3 days ago
    Which Side Are You On?
    Web link mhstahl
    Mike: As far as the "Labor struggle" goes, I'd encourage you to take a little time and investigate the early days of the labor movement-especially in Appalachia. Government certainly had no hand in the birth of unions-it fought it tooth and nail and far too often with bullets. Not only that, but some of that "struggle" actually had libertarian merit-it was in response to force and coercion. I'd very much agree to this. I'm without doubt the oldest previous union member on this site -- was the youngest member of the Order of Railroad Telegraphers at the age of just barely 16 (to the angst of many an old brass-pounder). The ORT operated telegraph schools along the Southern Pacific for the purpose of bringing new telegraphers up to speed -- to make them better qualified for the "fast telegraph" jobs. The telegraph still ruled railroad and Western Union communication in 1950 -- teletype rapidly catching up. This was a time when leaders of unions worked with their members to make them better assets to management than the non-union competitor -- to whet him or her into a truly better investment. But alas, the temptation to lobby psychopathic aggressors in the form of senators and legislators was too great to ignore. Labor unions quickly became influence peddlers instead of educators. Organized Labor was one gigantic bedfellow among congressmen and other mobsters. As Jimmy Hoffa apparently learned, you sleep with big dogs you get big fleas. Sam
  • golefevre's picture
    golefevre 39 weeks 3 days ago
    The Meat of the Matter
    Page Alex R. Knight III
    What? That evil "bid-ness" man would have sold tainted meat without the sacrosanct approval of that USDA saint! My own experiences with that "agency" is that they actively go out of their way to make buying and selling of consumable commodities difficult. Would we pay for the USDA if given a choice? Loaded question. No, we don't want that damn "agency." More properly stated, would you voluntarily pay more to know that the foods you are eating are safe? Hell yes I would, and it's not like there isn't precedence for such a case: Kosher and Halal foods come to mind.
  • Alex R. Knight III's picture
    Alex R. Knight III 39 weeks 3 days ago
    The Meat of the Matter
    Page Alex R. Knight III
    It may well be a combination, though I think the former type are far more prevalent.  Most bureaucrats are either neutral -- just there for the paycheck and benefits -- or it's their identity, and they see themselves as on a self-righteous crusade that satisfies all their most base desires.   The government concept lends itself readily to that kind of person.  It must for that very reason alone be ended.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 39 weeks 3 days ago
    Which Side Are You On?
    Web link mhstahl
    That's an interesting point you make, Mike, about limits on liability. Would the chemical company have been more careful about leakages, had its owners been personally liable? And more generally, will there be limited-liability companies in the coming free society?   I understand Freedom Industries has declared bankruptcy, presumably because the anticipated claims far exceed the company's assets. Would they have, if the owners' houses and cars and savings had been available to claimants? - I don't know. Maybe. Being "more careful" usually translates to extra expense, and there's only one place that can ever come from: profits. If profits are spent on extra safeguards (which may never be called on to function) they cannot be spent on wages, benefits, business expansion or any of the hundreds of other ways a business can usefully spend money. Conceivably, if it's on a very tight budget, such an extra expense might mean shutting up shop, lacking a viable business model; in that case, everyone  employed or served by the company would lose. Business decisions are seldom simple; unlike governments, companies cannot print money but have rather to earn it.   In the coming free society, I predict there will be some market participants who operate without limit on their liability, and some with such a limit. The status chosen will be clearly shown on every contract, for every customer will want to know. No doubt one simple way to clarify it will be to add letters to the name: Jim's Gym, LLC or Mike's Manufacturing, ULC.   Other things being equal, ULCs can be expected to charge higher prices - for the owner(s) will want to buy insurance against the remote possibility of some disaster occurring, and the premium will form a part of their costs. Pay your money, take your choice.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 39 weeks 3 days ago
    The Meat of the Matter
    Page Alex R. Knight III
    Nice one, Alex. I see you're turning your horror-story writing skills from fiction to real life!  This is the kind of utterly frustrating experience that drove some in that other fictional work Unintended Consequences to kill their oppressors and so begin a revolution.   What do you think; do "vicious, cruel, unfeeling, hateful, violent, vengeful, callous, unempathetic, cold, ignorant, arrogant, egotistical, and sadistic host of bitches and bastards" get that way before joining government, or as a result of joining government?
  • mhstahl's picture
    mhstahl 39 weeks 3 days ago
    Which Side Are You On?
    Web link mhstahl
    Jim, I have re-read the article several times, and have yet to see where the author advocated any sort of government intervention, or any sort of force or coercion at all...so I still have no idea what you are complaining about as far as the article being un-libertarian-so long as we define libertarianism as adherence to non-aggression. In fact, you are still largely agreeing with it's main thesis-rhetoric aside.   C4SS bills itself as a "Left Market Anarchist Think Tank and Media Center"...I am not shocked that you were exposed to some leftist sounding rhetoric...it being a leftist site and all. I often post articles from that site because it offers a different perspective, and many times-such as in this case-one that I think gets missed in the right-lib echo-chamber.   As far as who wags who's tail, as I understand it not only do our delightful poli-snakes not read the laws they pass, but in many cases they are in fact written by lobbyists. So there is that. There is also the vast sums of money that wind up in the pockets of said snakes. A "free market" does not exist in the US-I'm really not sure why so many free-market advocates are so eager to defend parts of a system that is fundamentally corrupt.   Not only that, but the modern "corporation" as operating today is an utter government abomination, since they all operate with the subtle but immensely powerful grant of "limited liability." Had I been writing the article, limited liability and the reckless behavior it permits, and frankly promotes, would have been my focus. Without limited liability it is difficult to imagine anyone allowing the conditions for such a huge leak to occur. With it, who cares? Certainly not the executives who oversaw maintenance, etc..they are not going to be on the hook personally for damages.   As far as the "Labor struggle" goes, I'd encourage you to take a little time and investigate the early days of the labor movement-especially in Appalachia. Government certainly had no hand in the birth of unions-it fought it tooth and nail and far too often with bullets. Not only that, but some of that "struggle" actually had libertarian merit-it was in response to force and coercion.   Thanks for the conversation-it's been awhile, and is always interesting.   Mike
  • Thunderbolt's picture
    Thunderbolt 39 weeks 4 days ago
    Downton Fever
    Page Jim Davies
    The site is structured around the familiar metatrader trading program, so I am eager to try my simple manual trading system there on their demo account. My search for an automated system that is consistently profitable has been a failure. It should function as well as the better standard forex brokers, but they have avoided the pairs that include the dollar. A smart move, methinks, for obvious reasons.
  • Emmett Harris's picture
    Emmett Harris 39 weeks 4 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    Good point.
  • Emmett Harris's picture
    Emmett Harris 39 weeks 4 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    They are rather loathsome.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 39 weeks 4 days ago
    Which Side Are You On?
    Web link mhstahl
    Thank you, Sam. Woof!