BSAlert Show 4 - Dissecting The Libertarian Government Model

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[BSAlert *exclusive*]
With everyone going nuts over Libertarian-in-Republican-clothing, Ron Paul, we thought it might be worthwhile to take a deeper look into what this notion of "Liberty" is all about and whether the Libertarian-style of government has any basis in reality. The result, a two-part, two-hour interview with an outspoken, activist, fundamentalist libertarian where we don't pull any punches and get to the bottom of things.

Subscribe to the BSAlert podcast here.

"There wasn't a movement in the early days of the industrial revolution. You don't really get libertarian movements until there's a certain amount of peace, democracy and prosperity, where the hard task of creating a state and building a nation has been done." - Christopher Hitchens


LIBERTARIANISM! So you want "LIBERTY?" Do you believe that the government should be severely limited. Do you hate paying taxes and think we shouldn't give any money to the government? Do you wonder if the vision of a Libertarian society is doable? Check out our interview with Scott Horton as we discuss what's wrong with the US Government and his dream of a true Libertarian state.


To discuss the topics of this podcast leave comments here


DOWNLOAD/Play: Part 1: 64k (29MB) | 128k (46MB)














DOWNLOAD/Play: Part 2: 64k (29MB) | 128k (46MB)





















UPDATE: Here's an amusing series of videos by a guy from Youtube on Ron Paul talking about the financial crisis:





 

Type of libertarians...
Posted by Pile on 2007-09-25 14:10:27
In fairness, we debated an anarcho-capitalist/minarchist Libertarian, which is what we call the most fundamental example of Libertarianism. If you want to be even more thoroughly confused you can see other definitions of types of Libertarians:

Anarcho-Capitalism: Anarcho-capitalists believe that governments monopolize services that would be better left to corporations, and should be abolished entirely in favor of a system in which corporations provide services we associate with the government. The popular sci-fi novel Jennifer Government describes a system that is very close to anarcho-capitalist.

Civil Libertarianism: Civil libertarians believe that the government should not pass laws that restrict, oppress, or selectively fail to protect people in their day-to-day lives. Their position can best be summed up by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' statement that "a man's right to swing his fist ends where my nose begins." In the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union represents the interests of civil libertarians. Civil libertarians may or may not also be fiscal libertarians.

Classical Liberalism: Classical liberals agree with the words of the Declaration of Independence: That all people have basic human rights, and that the sole legitimate function of government is to protect those rights. Most of the Founding Fathers, and most of the European philosophers who influenced them, were classical liberals.

Fiscal Libertarianism: Fiscal libertarians (also referred to as laissez-faire capitalists) believe in free trade, low (or nonexistent) taxes, and minimal (or nonexistent) corporate regulation. Most traditional Republicans are moderate fiscal libertarians.

Geolibertarianism: Geolibertarians (also called "one-taxers") are fiscal libertarians who believe that land can never be owned, but may be rented. They generally propose the abolition of all income and sales taxes in favor of a single land rental tax, with the revenue used to support collective interests (such as military defense) as determined through a democratic process.

Libertarian Socialism: Libertarian socialists agree with anarcho-capitalists that government is a monopoly and should be abolished, but they believe that nations should be ruled instead by work-share cooperatives or labor unions instead of corporations. The philosopher Noam Chomsky is the best known American libertarian socialist.

Minarchism: Like anarcho-capitalists and libertarian socialists, minarchists believe that most functions currently served by the government should be served by smaller, non-government groups--but they believe that a government is still needed to serve a few collective needs, such as military defense.

Neolibertarianism: Neolibertarians are fiscal libertarians who support a strong military, and believe that the U.S. government should use that military to overthrow dangerous and oppressive regimes. It is their emphasis on military intervention that distinguishes them from paleolibertarians (see below), and gives them reason to make common cause with neoconservatives.

Objectivism: The Objectivist movement was founded by the Russian-American novelist Ayn Rand (1905-1982), author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, who incorporated fiscal libertarianism into a broader philosophy emphasizing rugged individualism and what she called "the virtue of selfishness."

Paleolibertarianism: Paleolibertarians differ from neolibertarians (see above) in that they are isolationists who do not believe that the United States should become entangled in international affairs. They also tend to be suspicious of international coalitions such as the United Nations, liberal immigration policies, and other potential threats to cultural stability.
bad links
Posted by THUORN (thuorn@yahoo.com) on 2007-09-26 10:24:45
hey guys, you made me work extra hard to download the podcast this week(although still worth it)... looks like you used the wrong links... love the show.

corect links

Part 1: 64k (29MB)
http://podcasts.bsalert.com/BSAlert.com_Show_004.Part1-64k.mp3

Part 1: 128k (46MB)
http://podcasts.bsalert.com/BSAlert.com_Show_004.Part1-128k.mp3

Part 2: 64k (29MB)
http://podcasts.bsalert.com/BSAlert.com_Show_004.Part2-64k.mp3

Part 2: 128k (46MB)
http://podcasts.bsalert.com/BSAlert.com_Show_004.Part2-128k.mp3
Posted by ueberbill on 2007-09-26 12:31:31
Thanks much THUORN, corrected.
Posted by Pile on 2007-09-26 16:51:52
Oh nooo... I double and triple checked stuff... darnit.. please let me know if any other links are bad..

My mistake - I also had the links wrong in the xml for iTunes.. it should work now...
Libertarianism: The Moral and Pragmatic Justifications
Posted by greves on 2007-09-29 19:17:52
Is there any evidence that a sufficiently large society can function under libertarian/anarcho-capitalistic principles?

As I see it, there are two main types of evidence here to consider. One, and from what I gather what you consider to be more important, is historical. The other, which I think is equally as important (and in this particular case, almost more-so because of an admittedly small amount of historical evidence), is philosophical (i.e., thought experiment societies). The short answer is that evidence in favor of libertarianism/anarcho-capitalism exists of both types, and in an adequate amount. Historically, I consider the amount to suffice, and philosophically I consider it to be quite abundant. Onwards through the fog!

Historical: The main body of evidence to support anarcho-capitalism as a functioning societal "structure" (if we can call it a structure at all) is medieval Iceland, from circa 900 to 1300 a.d. You can read an interesting paper about this society from David Friedman, a law professor at the University of Chicago http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Academic/Iceland/Iceland.html) I will write the general gist of the society and comment on Friedman's conclusions. This society was formed by vikings from Norway who settled Iceland around 900 a.d. They set up a system of government that in modern terms was more or less the ideal libertarian system. All crimes were, in modern terminology, civil crimes punishable by fine. Seats of government were market commodities, openly bought and sold for money, which at the time came in multiple forms such as cloth or metal. Some interesting things to note, and you can read more detailed explanations in that paper or in the Icelandic Sagas themselves, are the following:

-During the peak of the medieval Icelandic "Civil War," the murder rates are estimated to have been lower than those of modern day "First World" countries such as the US.
-The heroes of the sagas are noted not for their abilities in war or combat, but for arbitration and dispute-resolution: they are lawyers.
-Law enforcement was a private business/commodity, as with anything else. Under the Icelandic (libertarian) government, the designated victim of a crime had the sole responsibility or collecting the fine due to him/her, and he/she would be able to sell that responsibility (read: opportunity) to someone who could do it for him. In other words, if someone owes you a fine of $10,000, and you sell your fine-collecting-responsibility to a fine-collecting-responsibility-buying-agency for $9,000 who can collect that fine for $500, the company will be up a net of $500 (per case), and you will net $9,000 as opposed to $10,000, but if you were unable to enforce the law yourself then you would net nothing, or more accurately negative (since presumably you lost something due to the crime).

There are plenty more gems in that paper alone, but the Icelandic sagas themselves are also an amazing read/eye-opener.

Comments on Friedman's conclusion: Friedman states that it is difficult to tell whether this private system of enforcement would work in a larger society, which is our question at hand. Firstly, note that the Icelandic population is MUCH LARGER than what you've proposed on your podcast, of a society of 10 (or even 100 or 1000) people. We are already talking about many tens or hundreds of thousands of people, living together on a (relatively) small island. I do realize that the jump to 300 million Americans is a substantial increase in population, but we also have much more technology, many more resources, and a much larger geographical area within which to operate. Some of those aspects may be seen as drawbacks, but the simple fact is that nothing much larger than Iceland has ever been ATTEMPTED to operate with such a society, and not because the general populous doesn't want it: because there has, in almost every society throughout history, been a ruling class of elitists who impose their will regardless of the will of the people. Obviously this was true even in the more "modern, democratic" societies such as Rome.

Friedman also makes a good point about the violence in Icelandic society. Violence was always directed, and came with a purpose and had an effect. It was not the sort of random, nameless and faceless violence and hatred toward humanity that we see today. Also, as he notes, "violence has always been good entertainment, and the saga writers may have selected their material accordingly." Remember, in these stories, the warriors were not the heroes, but rather the peace-makers.

Now, to discuss the philosophical implications of a libertarian/anarcho-capitalist society does indeed require many thousands of pages or hours of research to fully understand every detail. Be that as it may, I do find it fair that one should be able to sum up a few main points, and I will attempt here to write the overarching major problems with a government philosophically, and the overarching major benefits to the lack thereof.

Problem 1. Government is the only (ONLY) form of legitimized violence that currently exists. Consider: governments are allowed to imprison, ridicule (read: embarrass enough to make them "retire," etc), and in some cases put to death so-called "criminals," who may or may not have even committed the crime of which they are alleged. If someone collects a $10,000 fine, that can be repayed. If someone (government) takes 20 years, or your job and qualifications that go along with it, or your life entirely, these are all acts of violence that can not be retributed.

Solution 1. No form of violence should be legitimate, and all violence should be retributed with non-violent action (e.g., fine, unpaid labor to pay off debt, etc.) that is non-irrevokable (e.g., does not involve imprisonment for any substantial length of time, death, or permanent exile). You may agree with some aspects of this point, and those aspects, you may say, could be carried out by a government. The flaw is that government is, by definition, legitimized violence. If government is given the sole responsibility of law enforcement, their only recourse can be aggression and violence against aggressors/criminals, otherwise they would not be able to maintain themselves and/or enforce the law.

Problem 2. Government has no incentive to work for the benefit of all. This is a version of the "Problem of the Commons." Let me digress for a moment to tell a little moral story:

There once was a common green at the center of a small town, and all residents were permitted to leave 2 cows on the green for feeding. One day, one of the residents said to himself "I can easily put a third cow on that green without anyone noticing... there are already so many cows, who can count!" Of course, word went around and his neighbor eventually put another cow on as well. Within a few months, the grass was being eaten much faster than it grew, and all of the cows starved, leaving the town in quite a mess.

The government, in almost all pragmatic scenarios in the modern world, is above the law. By the books, maybe they are not, but realistically consider: police can beat or shoot somebody without suffering major penalties, congressman can steal and launder money to their hearts' content, and what traffic enforcement officer is going to give a judge or court clerk a traffic ticket? Government officials take benefits for themselves, and if it is beneficial for themselves to offer benefits to the people at large (i.e., to prevent an uprising due to loss of confidence), then they "throw some biscuits to the dogs" so to speak.

Solution 2. Getting rid of the government allows for an even playing field, where each person is responsible for himself and thereby indirectly responsible for the society as a whole. Consider: the common green is now a private green, owned by a particular farmer. He allows everyone in the town to place two cows on the green and charges a small fee. If people still place more than two cows, now there is recourse for everyone who lost something: the owner may be owed something due to breach of contract, or may owe something due to not enforcing his contracts responsibly. The owners of the cows which died may be owed something by either the owner of the green, or the person who committed the crime. Enforcement would be carried out by the individuals, or by a group representing one or more of them.

When you consider private enforcement, remember that costs can always be passed on to an economic nullity. If someone is owed $1,000, an enforcement agency can pay the full sum and pass on their costs (and profit margins) to the defendant, resulting in a higher loss for criminals, justice for victims, and profit for the enforcement agency.

Problem 3. Obviously, the current government does not "work," despite how many times people say that, or say that it will shortly improve. We still have rampant crime in the streets in many areas, even here in Europe, and the crime rate here is considerably lower than that in the states. We have all sorts of thieves, murderers, child molesters, rapists, drug dealers, human-traffickers, big-business pollution, and bad drivers. Many times in modern societies, crimes go unpunished. This can be for a number of reasons, but more often than not it is red tape due to the huge bureaucratic nonsense that anything larger than a libertarian government (or better yet, non-existent government) always evolves in to. When crimes are punished, they are often acts of inhumanity such as imprisonment (where rape, solitary confinement, and lack of productivity are encouraged rather than prevented), or even death. Many times, the punished person is innocent and has lost his life either in years or entirely.

Solution 3. Yes, there will be random acts of heinous crime committed in an anarchic or libertarian society. Yes, there will occasionally be a murderer, or a rapist, just as there is today. However, with enforcement available to the average person (think: the average person generally has no recourse other than the courts, which are unavailable to him due to costs), punishment will be found more often, will be more suitable (situational-based), and infinitely more humane. As an added bonus, if enforcement agencies must compete with each other to stay in business (cf. Capitalism 101), some may eventually (although I would imagine sooner rather than later) offer "prevention research," or "prevention enforcement," in their list of benefits. Whether crime prevention is possible and to what extent would be up to the market to prove. At the very least, since all punishment enforcement would be a market commodity, it would certainly be possible to provide insurance services that reward immediate payout (i.e., immediate buying of enforcement-opportunity of the victim by the insurance firm), which is much better for consumers and businesses than 10 year long court battles in a corrupt and essentially unjust legal system.

That's about all I can take the time to write at the moment. Just remember that when a government exists, it is legitimized use of violence and coercion over a specific geographical area. The "social contract" is signed under penalty of exile, imprisonment, or death for non-compliance. The only legitimate and moral societal structure is one that maintains voluntary relationships between individuals, and does not recognize specific groups of people as entities separate from those people themselves.
Medieval Iceland
Posted by Pile on 2007-09-29 19:58:06
The main body of evidence to support anarcho-capitalism as a functioning societal "structure" (if we can call it a structure at all) is medieval Iceland, from circa 900 to 1300 a.d.

Medieval Iceland.... where have we heard that before?

Before we get into more specifics... seriously, how can you realistically use Iceland 700+ years ago as a comparable example of a functioning libertarian model that could be applied to any society today, much less America?

Seriously, we addressed this very issue in the podcast. What are you people smoking?

The current population of Iceland is ~311,000 people. That's smaller than a typical medium-to-large-sized American city. And we're talking about a society 700+ years in the past that would undoubtedly have been even smaller, more rural, more isolated and less affected by global issues and activity from neighbors.

This is analogous to me suggesting to you, since I can find a quarter I drop between the cushions of my sofa, there's no reason to suggest dropping a quarter in the ocean won't yield similar results.

If the Libertarian model was superior in any way as a society, we would have more examples of it in practice than this ridiculous, obscure, archaic, lousy example of some Nordic ice-island fantasy you all are citing.

Whatever philosophical dribble-drabble you subsequently cite doesn't add anything more to the argument. People have been speculating goofball premises for years and years. Linus sits in the pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin to return. You can apply the same philosophical arguments to that premise with an equal amount of relativistic certainty.
Government has no incentive to work for the benefit of people
Posted by Pile on 2007-09-29 20:22:54
The problem with much of your arguments are that they're based on faulty premises....

Most specifically is this notion that the government has no incentive to work for the benefit of the people.

Given Libertarians unbridled, unrestrained contempt for government in general, I understand why you all are unable to examine this issue objectively and thus base your house of cards on such a weak and irrational foundation. But it doesn't change the reality that the same forces which would shape a government, would also shape the evolution of an un-regulated society: "market forces" as you guys like to call them.

Whether the monopoly is the goverment or private industry, large institutions will inevitably seek a means by which they can control a market. At least with government, from the moment it is created, in an ideal scenario, it's designed in such a way to allow these "market forces" (citizens with voting power) to keep the institution in some sort of state of checks and balance. If the checks and balances fail, that doesn't mean it's because of the government. It's ultimately the fault of the populace, and there's virtually no scenario of corruption in government that couldn't just as easily (if not more easily) be perpetrated in a Libertarian scenario.

In fact, in a privatized society, these non-governmental institutions would not have to answer to any higher regulatory power and would have an even easier time perpetrating inappropriate transgressions upon society. You know why history isn't around to talk more about how these private institutions ran rampant over peoples' liberties? Because nobody was around to document them. History is written by the victors.

It is for this precise reason that we don't see historical examples of the fundamentalist libertarian model in any large society: IT DOESN'T WORK because there's no evil a government can't perpetrate that likely cannot also be perpetrated by a private institution. Corporations don't answer to people -- they answer to shareholders. Government more often than private institutions has to inevitably and more routinely answer to the populace. Even if you could create a Libertarian society, from the moment it was incepted, one or both of two things would happen: a) The people would demand a government to provide necessary services and protect them against private interests, b) Private interests, in order to be competitive would slowly begin to morph into government/regulatory bodies.

Look at what is happening with the largest corporations these days? They are creating their own communities for their employees, offering day care and educational services, running their own police forces, providing healthcare, and holding tremendous power over their employees, keeping them in line or else they might lose much more than just a job. I see very little difference between government and large corporations, except government is mandated to answer to the people: corporations are not. "Market forces" notwithstanding. A corporation's mandate is to make money, not provide "liberty". A government, ideally a well-designed one, does have a responsibility to protect and secure "liberty." This is the fundamental difference that you Libertarians, ironically, don't seem to understand.
Your response did not address ANY of my points.
Posted by greves on 2007-09-30 03:43:57
Wow, what a great job! You've used exactly the same tactic you used on the podcast. You've completely sidestepped ALL of my issues. I already addressed all of the issues you attempted to bring up in my initial post, but since you apparently didn't read them you just spouted the same stuff you have already said.

Sorry, but in a rational debate, you can't go around calling people potheads and insane just because you're on the losing side of the argument.

Just for the record, I don't smoke pot, and I am able to form a decent logical argument (I am working on my thesis in Theoretical Physics in Amsterdam).
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-09-30 11:12:11
Thanks for your responses, we really did hope the podcast would lead to some discussion on the site. I haven't read Pile's responses (or your response) just 'cause I want to keep some points fresh in my mind.

Firstly, in Medieval Iceland where the murder rates were so low- who was tracking this data? The government that didn't exist? How were the estimates formulated? Peace keepers the saga heroes may have been, but statisticians I doubt. I say this not to sidestep any issue, but because I doubt one can say that Iceland 1,000 years ago was the promised land of Libertarianism and peace when there's very limited evidence to suggest this- in fact if lawyers were held in such high regard in the sagas, I seriously doubt it was.

Your Problem/Solution 1: Right now in Iraq our government has seen fit to hand over the responsibility for "legitimate violence" to several private firms (e.g. Blackwater et al). These are not government entities and appear to have unlimited rights to kill and maim. "Ah ha" you say, because it is the government that has given them this right and thus further proves your point. But not so fast. If everything were privatized tomorrow (as a thought experiment), you better bet your ass that Blackwater would still be around- hell, they'd probably be even larger since we would have just disbanded our armed forces. Then Blackwater would have unlimited authority to do what you accuse the government of doing- who is going to stop them? If they shoot my son accidentally I'm going to hire, what- an arbitrator? And they'll pay me a fine? Is the person who actually pulled the trigger on the hook for anything? How do I prove it- go to DetectiveMart and spend more of my money to buy me a gumshoe and hope to God I win so I can be reimbursed? And nobody goes to jail (and separation of violent criminals from society, though not ideal, is a necessary evil- A rich lunatic like Hannibal Lector could murder at will and just keep paying fines in your proposed Wunderland). And who would enforce the decision of the arbitrators? Do I know have to go down to Enforcement R Us and get a small army to march up to Blackwater's HQ and hand them a bill?

Ah yes, the problem of the commons, that old chestnut. Riddle me this- what happens if the farmer closes the commons to all cows but his own, forms a large cheese, milk, and beef company, and then charges his fellow farmers not for grazing but for meat, milk, and mozarella? What's their recourse? Sue him? On what grounds? It's his land and not his fault that his fellow farmer's cows starved to death- they should've gone to the pasture that's way over the river and through the woods, this is his land by God and he'll do with it what he pleases? On the other, evil government hand- you could pay a village constable a small stipend to occasionally monitor the cow count at the public green and eject offending bovines. "Ah ha" you say- "but he's a government official, he WILL be corrupt because he HAS to be corrupt because he works for the government." Fine, then make it a one year, term limited position electable by the people- I'd rather have that then give it all to one guy who could pave the whole thing and turn it into a f*cking water park while I sat around with my dying cow wishing I could do something about it.

Your Problem 3. I just got off the phone with every civilized country in the world- it turns out that the court costs for a victim of rape or similar violent crimes is zero. None, nada, null, zilch. You know why that is? Public prosecutors. That's right, public. And if you are accused of committing a crime and have zero money then you can always turn to a public defender, because (in this country at least) the Government (bum bum BUUMMMM) guarantees that you have the right to receive legal defense. "Ah ha," you say "but the rich get better legal defense because they can hire teams of sleezy, sharkskin-wearing slimeballs to generate just enough doubt to get their clients off the hook." And that's different from your private arbitration scenario how, exactly? The people with the most money will ALWAYS get better legal representation- in your system or mine. Does it suck? f*ck yeah it sucks. But there it is. The only difference is that in our current system at least a broke, mentally deficient man accused of murdering somebody at a liquor store gets a lawyer to defend him. In your system he'd be completely f*cked. He'd owe stacks of cash that he doesn't have which would apparently mean he'd become an indentured servant (if I can quote your "(e.g., fine, unpaid labor to pay off debt, etc.)" line). You know what that would result in? I do- the rich folk would hire top-shelf, saga-worthy arbitraters/lawyers/whatever we call them and go after everyone who even sort of slights them and they'd have hords of poor indentured servant (slaves) doing their dishes. Ah, sweet justice. And the idea that fines equal justice is total crap. If my mother was murdered I would want the person to be separated from everything he knows and loves and kept far away in a box for as long as he lives. I don't want him to write me a f*cking check. And if he can't afford it, he's going to come work for me? That'll be great- "hey, guy who stuck a knife in my mother 32 times until she died, would you mind mowing the lawn today? Thanks". Give me a break.

Even as a thought experiment, it just doesn't work. All the good things that would come about require leaps of faith (since there is no data to say it would work in a modern society) and supreme optimism. Optimism didn't work for the communists ("ah ha- Russia wasn't a good example of Marxism because a few elites grabbed the power for themselves and corrupted the ideal, yadda yadda"- and in our new land of liberty and private cow pastures, I think we can rest assured that a few elites would do what they could to make sure they still have all the power they had under government- because in your proposed society money is even more powerful than it is now, and they have a lot of it. I'm going to end this parenthetical statement now) and it wouldn't work for the Liberty crew.

Good luck with your studies- Amsterdam is one of my favorite places and Holland one of my favorite countries, and thanks for commenting.
Interesting notes but still no go - heard them all before.
Posted by greves on 2007-10-01 02:37:33
Thank you for a somewhat more reasonable response than Pile gave. I wasn't accused of being a pothead, an idiot, or a loony, and I do appreciate that.

As for your arguments. In all honesty, it would be quite easy to go through and debate every sentence or two that we disagree on, but it's all already been done. It's freely available, easily searchable (at least by title), and online at http://www.freedomainradio.com/

I'm not trying to sidestep anything, but when I consider my rebuttal to your rebuttal, and your rebuttal to that, and so on, it's ALL already been covered by Stefan Molyneux on FDR, and that is the link I gave to Pile which he refused to look at. These issues are complex, I think we can agree on that. We COULD go back and forth with large volumes of text, but listening to podcasts at your leisure would be much faster and easier to critique. If you can find some problems with Molyneux's rebuttals to your rebuttals (because believe me, he's covered whatever you and Pile just brought up and then some in various ways and at various times), I'd be very interested to hear.
Limited liability:government provided free insurance for investo
Posted by Vinay Gupta on 2007-10-01 12:59:41
http://www.appropedia.org/User:Vinay_Gupta#Thoughts_on_Limited_Liability

Bottom line is that the government has no business using its sovereignty to transfer liability from the investors to the creditors of a bankrupt company.

If people wish that kind of liability protection, let them write it into their contracts.

The limited liability corporation has no place in a Libertarian government.
You can talk about ignorance
Posted by Dave702 on 2007-10-02 14:14:40
You approached a subject you knew nothing about with prejudice and sounded ignorant of the core issues. Corporate interests are being served by the current system - Carlyle Group et all. Libertarian doesn't mean corporations will run amok. It will mean an end to no bid contracts and cronyism.
Too bad I thought this website had promise.
You can't answer even a single simple question!
Posted by Pile on 2007-10-03 22:41:51
You guys accuse ME of side-stepping the issue? All you do is say I'm wrong and point me to bunches of web sites with people rambling on and on about the same issues:

* Government sucks

Let's qualify that: The government you're complaining about sucks. Not all governments suck generally speaking. People hawking the Libertarian agenda paint with a very wide brush. There are many countries with governments that work quite well. I've made mention of them before, including in the podcast. In any system of government, you will have complainers. You will have interests that resent other interests. You will have some interests that are in league with the government and some that WISH they were in league with the government. Ultimately, you rarely have any interests that don't want some support from the government, and those that do, are, how do I say this, f*cking high. They do not fully-conceive how many important functions the government actually does provide that they would be crying like a baby if such services stop.

* Neutering the government is a solution

This is just bone-headed. Everybody wants smaller government, but ultimately, what everybody needs is more efficient government. We are all in agreement on the problems. Some of us are realistic and some of us aren't. The fundamentalist Libertarians DO NOT HAVE A REALISTIC PLAN. Period.

Look at what my critics have said. They attack the tone of my voice and not the substance of my claims. They cannot provide any substantive evidence that their ideas are workable. Medieval Iceland is NOT an acceptable reference! If you take the joint out of your mouth long enough to let your brain cells sober up, maybe you might look outside your window and realize the society you live in is a helluva lot different from Iceland 700+ years ago!

Seriously. I know I could be more diplomatic about this, but damn. Don't accuse me of ignoring your claims when you make baseless, inconsequential claims.

Greaves says: I'm not trying to sidestep anything, but when I consider my rebuttal to your rebuttal, and your rebuttal to that, and so on, it's ALL already been covered by Stefan Molyneux on FDR, and that is the link I gave to Pile which he refused to look at. These issues are complex, I think we can agree on that. We COULD go back and forth with large volumes of text,

Yes, you are sidestepping the issue. But every single Libertarian I've talked to, including Harry Browne himself, does exactly the same thing. If Harry Browne couldn't give me a straight answer, are you? Nope. You're going to direct me to a web site where you hope I'll become numbed by hours of endless ranting about how bad the government is, and conclude all of government is evil and I shouldn't have to pay any taxes and the whole world will be better off.

This is NOT a complicated issue. The fact that you guys can't come up with a simple answer to the most obvious scenarios is a testimonial to the fact that you don't know what the f*ck you're talking about, and you have to confuse people with hours of gobbly-gook talk about arbitration and pseudo-regulatory entities that you've dreamed up in your head that do the job of government with none of the harmful side-effects. The problem is, this stuff is just a fantasy. If ANYTHING... If any of the ideas you've proposed actually were realistic, we would see them in action. They should be common-sense based. We don't.

The only reason why Libertarianism has caught on is because:

1. Big corporations who want to abolish government regulation in their industries have pumped big money into the movement, hoodwinking people into thinking the Libertarian dream is workable, but they're fools, being played by corporate interests who still want government, but want to use the Libertarian fools as lobbyists to abolish agencies like the FCC, EPA and DEQ.

2. Potheads who dream of weed being illegal. The reality is you have a better chance of legalizing pot simply arguing the case outside of the boneheaded Libertarian agenda. It's like showing up in court wearing tye die and beating a djembe to argue your case.

3. Selfish people who resent paying taxes. The ultimate radical reaction. I don't like taxes, so let's abolish taxes. Totally short-sighted. These people will be the first ones to whine when they realize it'll cost them $50,000 to have electricity hooked up to their new house because that stuff is no longer subsidized.

4. Racist people who blame minorities for their own unhappiness. Rich people who think all poor people are that way because they're lazy. These groups are enamored with the wild-west notion of a Libertarian dream world where their improved resources gives them an edge and they can shit on other people. Like their brethren, they haven't thought ahead enough to figure out how they can make their society safe if they shit on everyone lower on the ladder than them. That's when they dream if private security agencies and a wild-west mentality where they can just "disappear" anyone they don't like. A fundamentalist libertarianism society is the ultimate sociopathic playground.

Again, notice they accuse me of not responding to things. I'm responding to everything. I'm not going to respond to 100 hours of rambling posted on someone else's web site about how sucky the government is. We agree on that. We disagree on the solutions, and these guys can't pull one simple, realistic solution out. Every solution they have can be argued by a 10-year-old and raise more questions as to the legitimacy of their solution. Then they whine, "Well you don't understand." No, I do understand. You're f*cking high.

Libertarian doesn't mean corporations will run amok. It will mean an end to no bid contracts and cronyism.

See.. that's a classic example. Some dude says, "You don't understand.. this way will be better" and if I say HOW? They dance around.

How does a minimalist government keep corporations in check?

Simple goddam question.

None of the Libertarians can answer it.

Not one.

But they can point me to 1000 hours of podcasts.

Because this is a "complicated" issue.

No, it's not. You guys can't answer even a simple, basic question.

The closest I've seen in all the pages of rambling involves abolishing limited-liability corporations. But this is moot, because if the government is no longer regulating anything, whether the corporation exists or not is irrelevant. Even if individuals are responsible for the actions perpetrated by their companies, if they have more money and power, they can avoid retribution & responsibility. All throughout history, there are examples too numerous to ignore of unregulated private interests trampling over individuals' property and personal rights. With or without government collusion, this is a fact of history. So Libertarians have absolutely no basis in reality when they claim unregulated private interests would behave themselves. The sum total of human history (*cough* oh excuse me, minus MEDIEVAL ICELAND) indicates otherwise.

Let me say, I appreciate each and every user and all feedback. But I'm not going to pretend I respect an answer when it is evasive. You can say the web site sucks, but that's sour grapes. We raised very good questions in the podcast. You guys can't answer the questions. Don't blame me. I didn't make Libertarianism seem stupid. It never really made sense from the beginning. But it could be because I'm not high. Maybe that's my problem?

By the way, the "high" reference is metaphorical. Do I really need to say that? Do I need to explain that being "high" is analogous to having ones head in the clouds and having a distorted view of reality? The interesting thing here is that people disagree with me and say I'm wrong, but they can't say why I'm wrong. Instead they have to point me to someone else's explanations. If you understand the issue, explain it -- don't pawn it off via URL. I looked at the URLs anyway, and they don't prove anything. Nobody has addressed the core critical issues.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-10-05 11:28:14
How does a minimalist government keep corporations in check?

Easy. Revoke and dissolve all forms of corporate personhood. All 'persons' under the law must be real, living, actual human beings.

Without the ability to create a fictitious 'person' entity in the form of a corporation that can own property, participate in the court system, etc - the entire corporate problem will collapse overnight.

Corporations will no longer be able to own copyrights, land, property, participate in politics or even have an opinion on any matters. It will all boil down to the PEOPLE in the company and the people running the company and the individual people signing business deals and contracts again - a method that I would remind you worked quite well for centuries before corporate personhood came along. Those people who ARE the corporation (not just representing it any longer) will put themselves at risk every time they break the law or carry out immoral activities, and if guilty they will go to jail rather than being able to dodge responsibility by letting the corporate person die or cleverly moving assets around to avoid punishment.

It will be far easier to use civil and criminal prosecution to keep wealthy businessmen in check without that shield, because corporations just turn into normal people again and lose all of their special status.

This reduces the problem of keeping corporations in check to the problem of keeping normal citizens in check, which for the most part hasn't been a problem. A corporation that kills someone via negligence becomes a man who has committed murder or manslaughter, etc - whatever his trial decides. It all falls neatly into existing case law. It also puts a truly terrible amount of pressure on business in general to become law abiding again since the risk is no longer abstracted away.

More information can be found here, said better than I could.

http://reclaimdemocracy.org/personhood/

I'll have to watch your podcast now. If that's the best you can do for a 'tough question' you probably haven't done your homework as well as you think.

Libertarians have no contempt at all for government. They love government. They just want a lot less of it because there are almost always better ways to do everything than to let a slow, lumbering, inefficient-by-design government handle it. I should also point out that we NEED the inefficiency, it is one of the best parts of government. It makes it very hard to abuse power, and it also makes it harder for things to get done when there is not a clear public consensus and mandate to do so. Do not attempt to make government efficient - there are better ways to accomplish the task if you need it done efficiently.

What libertarians truly have contempt for is very simple. A libertarian has contempt for a man who, through government, reaches into the pockets of other men to take their wealth, and then uses that wealth to enforce his own agenda against the general will of the people.

If that man wishes to pursue his agenda, he is free to do so, but only as himself and with his own assets. That man is free, for example, to go to Iraq and fight in a war himself, but he should not be able to compel the government to make other people go there and fight that war on his behalf while he sits safely at home.

Now, if the will of the people, through a majority vote in congress, should decide that war is necessary, overcoming the built in inefficiencies of government by a clear public mandate and majority consensus, then that is a totally different matter.

There's one other, small, change that needs to be made to make government more effective. When one votes on one's new elected official, one should also be able to vote in some way on the performance of the prior official, and the outcome of that vote should carry great rewards for good service to the people, and great penalties should the people voice dissatisfaction with the former official.

That would make the electees directly accountable to the people, and solve the voter turnout problem instantly.
It's power in general, not regulation or lack of liability
Posted by Pile on 2007-10-05 13:21:32
It will be far easier to use civil and criminal prosecution to keep wealthy businessmen in check without that shield, because corporations just turn into normal people again and lose all of their special status.

You really think so?

Do you honestly think so?

And you're not high right? I just want to check.

Because do you honestly think that rich people are treated as fairly as poor people?

Do you think that the government existing or not existing ultimately has any bearing on whether or not people with exponentially more resources won't have the upper hand in any kind of conflict, whether it's civil or otherwise?

How can any civil action be fair without oversight? It all ultimately boils down to whoever has the money and power, makes the rules. That's always been the one thing Government has been good at: negating to some extent, the ability for someone with superior resources to unfairly oppress others. And you want to take that away, and you honestly think people will play fair? This is why I think you people are stoned. There's no evidence anywhere that your vision would work.

You can take away corporate power, but you can't take away power in general. Whether evil is perpetrated by a corporation or just some super rich guy with his own army of mercenaries, it's still evil.

The reason why government gets in the business of regulating people and companies is because the sum total of human history clearly demonstrates that left unregulated, people (regardless of whether they're hiding behind corporate entities or not) become more corruptive and oppressive, either singly or in groups.

You guys still have not proven anything. You have NO EVIDENCE! None whatsoever to suggest this pipe dream of a self-regulatory society will work. Every society we've seen where things started off like this, either imploded under the weight of its own corruption or evolved into the standard types of government we see today.

You guys should just admit it: You want to act like cowboys and indians again as long as you're the ones with the superior firepower. That's what Libertarianism is all about. Climbing up on the mountain where all the resources are, using a ladder, then announcing that all ladders will be destroyed for the good of the community.

The bottom line is I can point to all of HUMAN HISTORY to show how societies function in a non-Libertarian way. You Libertarians have a THEORY which even common sense doesn't jive with.

What libertarians truly have contempt for is very simple. A libertarian has contempt for a man who, through government, reaches into the pockets of other men to take their wealth, and then uses that wealth to enforce his own agenda against the general will of the people.


We all have that sort of contempt. But the solution is not eliminating the governments' ability to do things for the people. That's what government does. That's why people demand government. This is what keeps the rich guy from oppressing the poor people. Without government, the rich guy would still "enforce his agenda against the general will of the people" -- this is the big caveat you guys ignore, and you dismiss this by suggesting that civil courts or arbitration will settle things -- that insults my intelligence. With or without corporations, in the absence of government oversight, there will always be powerful people who will take from the poor. It's better to fix what's wrong with government than suggest the whole nature of government needs to be turned upside down. That is unrealistic and counterproductive.

I agree with you on many things. I do not think corporations should have the less liability than individuals. But I do fully support many areas of socialized services such as police, fire, health, utilities, transportation, environmental regulation, etc. Most Libertarians are against these programs and I think they have no idea how much worse it would be if more of these critical services were privatized.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-10-09 10:53:54
Yes, I really think so. Right now the fictional entity can be sacrificed in an instant to protect anyone who is hiding behind it. Removing that shield doesn't solve the problem of corrupt, powerful people (and nothing ever will), but it sure as hell makes them a lot easier to target - especially in a court system designed with people in mind rather than corporate entities. Those entities are an exploit in the system and it should be closed. It is easier to bring corrupt men to justice when they are not able to hide behind the first line of defense they have so cleverly created for themselves.

No evidence? Your grasp of the language proves you're not stupid so you must just be misinformed. The US Constitution is the most libertarian system of government that has ever been attempted in human history and it worked out very well. The USA pioneered a standard of living better than any the world has ever known and was without competition in that arena until very recently. Jefferson, Madison, and Washington are trumpeted as champions of libertarianism by the entire movement all the time. How can you possibly look at the birth of the USA and not see the libertarianism that infuses the core of that governmental philosophy, the constitution, and the declaration of independence? It makes me think you're not taking any of this seriously.

A discussion of libertarianism is a discussion of returning the USA to its political roots and undoing decades of corruption. It is not a discussion of trying some new, radical system of government. The corporate controlled mess we are sitting in right now is the new, radical system of government. If the state of the dollar and economic markets today are any indication, it is one destined to lead to the destruction of the middle class - a class created and grown by libertarianism in the first place.

Rich will always be treated better than poor. That will never change. I'd love to see you cite any libertarian philosophy that tries to say otherwise. It's a straw man argument. It has no business in a rational discussion of libertarianism because it brings nothing to the table. It's as if you think it somehow means we can never change the ratio between how much better the rich are treated than the poor are, and that's bullshit. What point were you trying to make or refute with that? That we should just pack up our toys and go home because some kind of perfect, idealistic goal is impossible to attain? That since we can't solve the problem once and for all, there's no better system or better way to do these things? I'm confused. Perhaps you'd care to elucidate.

Attempting to compare libertarians to cowboys and indians again belies a misunderstanding of libertarianism. I see far more cowboy in today's system of government than in the original constitutional one. I wonder what kind of eyes you are using when you say you see the opposite.

Libertarians abhor the use of force in all situations, which I think is one of their chief failings. They would never maintain a military capable of a reasonable level of defense and response, preferring to create it when the need arises. Given how much time it took in those days to start and finish a war, that's an understandable position, but untenable in the modern world of weapons of mass destruction. Not that we should be advocating crap like what has gone down in the middle east lately - that's too far in the other direction. There are times when you need to use force and you will not have the luxury of a leisurely preparation. Thomas Barnett's theory of a dual military looks to me to be the proper solution to this problem (and again, it returns to the constitution for its inspiration). Google for his TED talk if you want to know more.

I'm also puzzled by your other statements like "without government ..." - again as if libertarians were advocating zero government. I've never seen any libertarian philosophy advocate any such thing. That's anarchy, not libertarianism. The federal government is the one which is supposed to be extremely limited, however the state governments are given the power to do all of the things the federal government is denied - they can do anything their citizens ask them to do. The key to libertarianism is that everything comes from the citizens.

All of your mandated social services are supposed to be handled at the state and local level, never at the federal level. The reason for this is a simple one - fifty different places means there will be fifty different ways of doing it. What works for one region will not necessarily work for another. Some will be better than others, and over time the better ways will win out and spread around. States that do well will steal population from states that do poorly and give them incentive to change. It's basic evolutionary theory and capitalism applied to state governments. When the fed takes over everything, the states have nothing left to differentiate themselves and this fails to happen.

Keeping social services at the state level makes it easier to manage, and makes people more directly responsible for their own social services, whatever people in that state decide they should be. It also prevents the kind of wholesale rape the federal government has been committing by taking huge amounts of tax money from the wealthy states and redistributing it to the poor ones who are contributing very little in return (and now have no incentive to do so). The federal government also has a habit of attaching strings to that money, using it to coerce the states into doing things their way to get the money. This is also not what was planned in the constitution.

I'll agree with you that the court system is a major source of pain right now. It's nothing that some simple reforms couldn't fix. There are a few I am aware of that have been floating around for years. I'm not sure how libertarian they are but they do sound like good ideas.

1. The loser of the lawsuit pays for all court costs. This is standard in Europe. It's no magic bullet but it does cut down on frivolous lawsuits, since by definition they are used to harass and have no chance of winning anyway.

2. Copyright and patent reform - copyright returned to the constitutional 14-year limit, patent standards for obviousness and prior art improved to prevent obvious patents, software patents, and patent sniping. The supreme court has made several decisions in the last few months putting this patent reform well on its way already.

3. Notifying jurors of their rights. A jury still has the right to find someone guilty of breaking the law and nullify the law rather than turning it over to a judge to sentence the defendant. Who do we blame, the court system for keeping them in the dark about this, or the citizens for failing to understand and exercise their rights? I'm not sure I know the answer to that one.

4. We could also save a lot of energy by striking all victimless crime laws from the books. That alone would give the courts more time to hear real cases. It is also a very libertarian philosophy. Only crimes that cause harm to other people or their property are actually crimes. Everything else is ignored - not because we don't care, but because we only have enough time to do so much, and these kind of crimes do the least harm and are the most common.

The entire War on Drugs is a perfect example of this. Drug use is not a crime. Drunken driving is not a crime - the crime is improper conduct, crashing into something and causing loss of life or property damage, and the court should reflect that for what it is rather than concentrating on drugs. It doesn't matter why the crash occurred - only that it did and now there are consequences. Ending the war on drugs also does not mean we don't allow insurance companies to discriminate against drug users and refuse to insure them. If a specific drug is truly no big deal, then some companies won't discriminate. Freedom of choice. Social pressures exist with or without the laws based on them.

I'm sure there are plenty of other improvements, but that's best answered by someone who has worked in the justice system for a long time and understands the good and bad about it. It's far too complex an area to meddle in without more understanding. Courts change very slowly by design, and this is also a good thing. I'd love to see some system for challenging a law or precedent directly without a lawsuit - it would make it easier to target specific problems in the system.

Most libertarians will tell you they just want the social services removed from the federal government, not abolished. You're being dishonest if you claim that the majority feel that way (or you are reading far too many forums where 'ur' is a common phrase). Fifty states with fifty social service programs is the same kind of competition and improvement the anarchist libertarians think they will get with fifty corporations providing it nationally, only better - it's guaranteed differentiation and we get exactly the social services we vote for. The differentiation and competition is what's important. Some states may be able to privatize them, for others it may not work. Both options should be on the table. The states decide and their decision stands until their citizens change their minds.

You seem to be looking for some kind of 'final solution' to all of these problems. Even if there is one, we aren't going to find it that easily. The impossibility of a final solution should not prevent us from finding and using better ones, especially when a fundamentally better one has already proven itself as part of our own history. A fix does not have to be universal to be useful, either. Problems as big as this one must be tackled in chunks. One does not abolish all existing services overnight, either - this is another common straw man I see against libertarianism. New systems are created to run alongside old ones until the time to transition is right, even if it means keeping old services around for years before they are finally phased out.
Posted by Pile on 2007-10-09 11:38:35
Scott Horton suggested that we have a kind of secret Libertarian society going on in the country underneath the existing layer. While as a any practical example of Libertarianism, that's ridiculous, I can cite a scenario like this to demonstrate how Libertarian principals don't work by looking at Libertarian-style solutions in modern society and how they fail.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in today's court system. And Libertarians don't have any significant improvements to the system of dispute resolution. Either government or regional courts or arbitration. In either case, we have this going on right now.

While there is some degree of politicization in the court system, it's always been designed to favor those with more resources. I do not see how any sort of dispute resolution system that doesn't involve a detached regulatory body such as a government, could be better.

Right now we have people who have been wronged that cannot afford to seek justice using the existing system. And under Libertarianism, there's no improvement. Without taxes and government subsidized justice, people with limited resources would have absolutely no way to seek justice beyond turning into roving bands of vigilantes. The existing court system is used like a weapon against those who don't understand it or don't have resources to use it properly. In a Libertarian vision, this system would be a thousand times worse.
Posted by Pile on 2007-10-09 11:47:52
Right now the fictional entity can be sacrificed in an instant to protect anyone who is hiding behind it. Removing that shield doesn't solve the problem of corrupt, powerful people (and nothing ever will), but it sure as hell makes them a lot easier to target - especially in a court system designed with people in mind rather than corporate entities.

It makes them easier to target? Maybe so, but it doesn't in any way suggest whether or not there will be justice. And that's the key point. It's obvious those with money and power in virtually any society, receive special treatment, with or without the government. So your claim has no basis in reality, because you do not have any plan to address the most obvious example of coruption by those with superior resources. This is the very thing that Government is uniquely better at addressing, and the very thing that you want to eliminate. This is why the Libertarian agenda is incapable of promising a more fair society.

Rich will always be treated better than poor. That will never change. I'd love to see you cite any libertarian philosophy that tries to say otherwise. It's a straw man argument. It has no business in a rational discussion of libertarianism because it brings nothing to the table.

What a crock! It's not a strawman, not by any stretch of the imagination. It's a legitimate issue. Entire systems of government, such as communism and socialism have been designed to address this so-called "strawman" and some do it more or less effectively. I'm not suggesting any of these systems are superior, but there are issues involving CORRUPTION and some systems make it more or less difficult to perpetrate corruption.

You're right. You can't get rid of it completely. But you can institute structure that will protect the rights of people. That's governments primary responsibility. The Libertarian agenda is a radical shift back in time employing ridiculous, extremist standards of minimalization that can not possibly work in a large-sized, modern society.

There are problems in every society. The Libertarian model just dumps a huge amount of complicated issues on the backs of the general populace, who anyone with half a brain recognizes individually, these people do not have the resources to protect themselves. And this is why a Libertarian society inevitably evolves into a more substantive form of government. You can't go back.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-10-09 13:26:13
It looks to me like you've just contradicted yourself.

"You're right. You can't get rid of it completely. But you can institute structure that will *protect the rights of people*."

Now, take a look at what libertarianism means.

"Libertarianism is a political philosophy that upholds the principle of individual liberty. Libertarians maintain that all persons are the absolute owners of their own lives, and should be free to do whatever they wish with their persons or property, provided they allow others the same liberty."

From
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian

Libertarian philosophy does nothing except protect the rights of people as the most important thing. If you believe in the rights of the people above all else then you are a libertarian by definition. It's that simple.

You are arguing about HOW it does that when the HOW does not matter at all in that context. The HOW is where the fifty camps of libertarians come from because they've all got their own ideas on how to do it. You're tarring the entire movement with the brush the anarchists use, and that's grossly unfair. When you say 'libertarian' you are including all of them in that distinction, so you can only talk about their similarities, not their differences, without being more specific in your use of that label. There are enough fringe movements in libertarianism (or any philosophy, really) that one could say anything one wants about them if one cherry-picks traits that aren't a part of the mainstream. It's best to stick to the center in a discussion or you lose meaning.

Most of your arguments make perfect sense to me when I substitute 'anarchist libertarian' instead of just 'libertarian' in your text. I have found that most seem to be of the constitutional variety - that is, they believe the best HOW is a return in the USA to the constitutional principles that this country was founded upon as the best way *that we know of* to preserve individual liberty. That's the platform of the official Libertarian Party. That's also the official platform of the Liberty Caucus within the Republican Party (the anti-Neocons, if you will). That's how I found them in the first place - I've always advocated the constitution as the solution ever since taking American and world history in college. To me it's just bloody obvious. Since most libertarians feel the same way I'm happy to sign on with them, but I get frustrated with misinformed people (or those with an agenda) calling them anarchists and anti-government when that's a blatant contradiction.

There are certainly better ways. I don't know of any that have been found yet. You keep asking me to come up with one and I'll keep pointing to the proven, best track record in history, tried and true US constitution until someone proves a better way. Your assertion that the constitution is somehow not the answer is the one that ought to bear the burden of proof (after all, you're saying the same thing the anarchist libertarians are, but they at least have a proposal for government, no matter how foolish). The constitution has proven itself for over two hundred years with incredible results. The principles of liberty and government haven't changed in that time. Our definition of what a 'person' is (including blacks, women, corporations) is all that has changed. Two out of three isn't bad.

If you want to eradicate corruption, there I cannot help you. No system of government will ever be able to do it. Corruption is a natural human condition that afflicts all human institutions and endeavors and grows with the passage of time, until it consumes the institution and destroys it. No government or movement or organization has ever solved the problem of corruption. Asking for a way to solve the problem strikes me as naive. It is a problem you mitigate, not solve. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance and all that...

I don't buy the idea that the general populace can't fight the corruption, though. I don't think they've been given the proper tools to do so. I would be willing to bet that a society based on a form of open government, where all governmental transactions and behavior is openly visible to anyone and accountable to the people could do a lot to hold corruption in check. Most people won't notice, but there are always civil rights groups and their kin watching for trouble. Once it is found they can bring it to attention and act on it (something we cannot do now because it is too easy to hide the truth or obscure it with bullshit, and politicians are not accountable to voters directly).

Putting a video camera in every cellphone and a personal publishing house on every computer may someday solve this problem. Some of these technology corporations have done us all a favor, as much as they did not mean to. The recent public awareness of police abuse stemming from the uploading of videos (and indexing and collection of them) on youtube is a good example of this trend in its infancy. It becomes difficult to commit crimes or abuse authority if everywhere you go, citizens are pointing a video recording device at you the instant something happens. When people can see the corruption, they are more likely to get motivated.

Orwell proposed this solution himself - he said the cameras are coming, and who controlled them would be the deciding factor on 1984's nightmare becoming reality. The internet will do for video and for photos what it has already done for text - up to and including the searchability and hyperlinking - it's just a matter of time. Those kinds of tools and technology could make it very hard for any corruption to hide for long. Strapping that kind of technology to the constitution sounds like something I'd vote for.

The people have all of the power and always have and always will. They have the numbers. Your corrupt few rich and powerful haven't got a prayer the instant the people pick up their firearms. That's how every single corrupt government has met its end in human history - death and dissolution at the hands of people who have had enough of the crap. That could happen in America more easily than anywhere else because Americans have guns - millions and millions of weapons ready to use if the need arises.

It's always the people's job, not the governments, to deal with corruption. Sometimes that involved overthrowing the government. The governments didn't overthrow themselves, so corruption is ultimately the responsibility of the people.

No, we're nowhere near the need for brute force and the penning of a fresh constitution yet. The system is stretching under its weight, most of that weight being modern, unnecessary bullshit, and there's a massive house cleaning in order. Maybe we get to do it peacefully, maybe not. Time will tell. It's already too late for a lot of people in the middle east.

By the way, it's a little insulting to make a statement like, "the general populace, who anyone with half a brain recognizes individually, these people do not have the resources to protect themselves."

There are plenty of people out there who do have money, power, social status, and do use it every day protecting themselves, and people less fortunate than themselves. I'd go so far as to say that the majority behave this way, even the majority of businesses and men of power. Furthermore, they don't act individually, they form groups like the ACLU, the Libertarian Party, etc to pool their money and power. Take a look at Ron Paul's campaign sometime if you want an example of how much of a difference average people can make by pooling their resources. That kind of cooperation only gets easier the more we communicate.

News is biased to report the bad news, or meaningless drama. Why no good-news-only channel has surfaced yet baffles me - it would surely be popular. My outlook going forward is not so pessimistic as to think people cannot take care of themselves and they need some omnipresent nanny state (again run by people who can become corrupt, only now with authority and secrecy) to look after their every whim. I find that idea intensely insulting and repugnant. It represents a government made to control the people, not a government of the people enforcing the people's will.

The more people we have in the mix, and the more open the process is, the harder it is for corrupting forces to make progress. I'd rather have government that involves everyone than just the rich elite. Right now with the current system the rich elite (mainly in the form of corporate interests) are the only ones the federal government caters to because they are the only ones that can afford to buy the law. Government has become nothing but a tool they use to control average people when it should be exactly the other way around. If you want to change that, you have to start by taking away that tool, especially all of the unnecessary junk they have added to make it easier for them to keep exploiting the people. Returning to basic constitutional government will throw out most of the anti-human paid-for corporate crap while preserving the most important parts of government that we do need, all within a context that has proven itself safe and reliable for hundreds of years. That's the safest, least disruptive plan we have.

Judging by Ron Paul's support (most of the same people who supported Perot, only more of them now) it looks like a lot of people (especially the younger folks) feel that way. Putting an executive branch in that respects the constitution is the first step towards cleaning up the mess. After that we can move on to the legislative and judicial branches.
You're right
Posted by Chairman Mao on 2007-10-10 21:56:21
I took a shit that made more sense than this podcast.
Posted by Pile on 2007-10-18 00:30:04
"I took a shit that made more sense than this podcast."

That explains why your response is so thoughtful... f*cking moron.

Hey, Dr. Paul.. these are YOUR FOLLOWERS! Bask in the f*cking brilliant intellect of your following. They have the ability to comment about the nature of their fecal material and cut-and-paste from Wikipedia. YOU SHOULD BE PROUD.

Meanwhile, nobody has been able to refute the arguments we make in our podcast. NOBODY. You f*cking stoner idiots can paraphrase more intelligent, less-stoned corporate shills in your responses, but it doesn't detract from the fact that you don't have a f*cking clue.

Just once, I want some thoughtful response. But can I get it?

I don't mean to make fun of you Libs, but seriously, all you can do is complain about the status quo and offer an IRRATIONAL, UNREALISTIC SOLUTION THAT HAS NO REAL-WORLD EXAMPLE OF BEING PRACTICAL. Don't accuse me of being unfair. I'm not the one hawking the unworkable theories. It's you guys.

Let me offer some advice to you guys.

If you want to legalize pot and other drugs, why not save yourself some time and merely endorse the current crop of Republican candidates? They surely are in favor of more of the populace being preoccupied with Halo III and the latest flavor of Doritos. Why do you think Ron Paul would have more success? I think not!
Civil Libertarianism...
Posted by Pile on 2007-10-18 01:04:46
let me say that I am a civil libertarian.. which means I respect the Constitution... which talks about not infringing the rights of people...

This is in STARK CONTRAST to the current Libertarian agenda which goes way beyond civil libertarianism and into the realm of free-market capitalism.. which means, "let's abolish the government agencies that give corporations a hard time - and we'll manage to do this by suggesting that people won't have to pay taxes"... I am too smart to fall for that bullshit, but apparently many others online aren't.

As a result, I abandon any association with "libertarian" because it has been corrupted by special interests and what now appears to be a small army of internet-enabled potheads who think the Libertarians are their best chance of getting better quality weed at cheaper prices.

As I've said before, I wish there was more to it than this, but investigate and you'll find that most libertarians fall into one of three categories:

1. Selfish f*cks who resent paying taxes and have a knee-jerk reaction in the form of embracing the ridiculous libertarian agenda, not having any clue how many essential services their taxes pay that they use every single day. (i.e. disenfranchised republicans)

2. Corporations who want regulatory agencies off their backs and are willing to pump money into the other groups to promote the minimalist government agenda. Along with the whores who take the corporate money.

3. Gullible stoner dudes who are basically "single-issue voters" who want to see drugs legalized and have jumped on the anti-government bandwagon because they resent not being able to freely blow their f*cking brain cells to bits at the lowest possible price.

I challenge anybody to research this issue and not find out that the people hawking the Ron Paul agenda don't fit squarely into one of these three groups.. They most certainly do. And if you deny it, you're just rationalizing that the 8 joints you smoke a day don't make you a pothead.

And before more of you stoner dudes cut-and-paste a bunch of bullshit that you didn't even read let me just say this... I know what you're going through... I used to smoke a lot of weed when I was younger, and I thought "The Love Boat" was a great f*cking tv show (when I was stoned).. Let me tell you, bros... your judgement is f*cked up. Let the THC drain out of your brain and start thinking about things and you'll realize, Tool is NOT the greatest band on the planet, and Libertarianism is stupid.

News is biased to report the bad news, or meaningless drama. Why no good-news-only channel has surfaced yet baffles me - it would surely be popular. My outlook going forward is not so pessimistic as to think people cannot take care of themselves and they need some omnipresent nanny state (again run by people who can become corrupt, only now with authority and secrecy) to look after their every whim. I find that idea intensely insulting and repugnant. It represents a government made to control the people, not a government of the people enforcing the people's will.

There are good news channels... check out LinkTV and Democracy Now. Democracy Now is probably one of the best, most informative American news shows on the planet. The reason you haven't heard about it is because corporate interests don't want you to know about it. And less government regulation isn't going to change that. And that's what you f*cking idiots don't get.

But again, you, like most Ron Paul/Libertarians regurgitate what's wrong with the state without any realistic solution beyond a feeble claim that President Ron Paul will make everything better. Some of us aren't so stoned or stupid to fall for that, and at some point in the future when you come to your senses, you'll agree as well.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-10-19 09:43:16
This is the current libertarian agenda.

http://www.lp.org/issues/issues.shtml

That's it. Everything else is bullshit or fringe politics. Get it through your head - libertarians do not infringe on the rights of people. Stop trying to redefine the term or claim otherwise. No libertarian would *EVER* say that people do not have to pay taxes. They just don't like the income tax, and favor a somewhat more flat tax structure. Again and again, you post blatant lies and embarrassing misconceptions about libertarian ideas.

There are no "special interests" or corporate parties involved in libertarian politics - they already own two other, larger political parties and have no interest in a third, at least until the LP ever makes it big. I have no illusions that the LP could corrupt just as fast as the others unless some serious political reforms are made.

Your characterization of the founding fathers as pot smoking hippy drug freaks won't go over well. You won't be winning any arguments with that one.

You asked for answers, and they were given. Stop whining like a child about it and refute them (and the constitution) directly, with solid arguments. You're the one claiming that:

1) Libertarians are not constitutionalists
or
2) Government under the constitution doesn't work.

There's no copypasta in my posts, it's all my own writing. You're either a troll or a complete idiot for claiming it was cut/paste material that I didn't even read. Your website is the only place that exists, and I'm beginning to wonder why I should bother typing anything in here that may generate web traffic for an ignorant troll's website. Your posts run more towards stirring up 'drama' and 'hits' and evangelizing your own ignorant opinion than any real interest in discussion. Every time someone posts a link to this podcast on reddit, it gets downmodded into oblivion instantly, so I'm hardly the only one who disagrees with your take on things. Wait, that's right, reddit is for drug using hippy paranoia freaks. Anyone who disagrees with you must be a pothead. I think I'm beginning to see a pattern.

You use so many personal attacks and silly assertions that I begin to doubt you actually have any interest in correcting your misunderstandings about this topic. It looks to me like you're more interested in maligning the reputation of the libertarians and raging on about drug users - you've clearly got some issues there.

You say "investigate them and you'll agree with me!" when it's pretty clear the extent of your investigation has been youtube videos and reading online gossip columns. The party is a lot bigger than that, especially over the last eight years. I've investigated them quite thoroughly, and I couldn't disagree with you more.

I've been to a handful of libertarian rallies and the people there make an utter mockery of your trite, uninformed views of libertarianism. Young people, old people, business owners, lawyers, military reserve members, war veterans, an astonishing number of Christian churchgoers and atheists, consistently one of the most diverse crowds I've ever seen. The conversational quality of that kind of crowd is fantastic. The folks I've talked to at these rallies are usually quite intelligent and very aware of politics. They don't fit your narrow generalizations at all. The only generalization I can think of that fits them is that unfailingly they all want constitutional government.

Your claim that restricting the government to its constitutional roles won't work is the feeble one. That was my answer to all of your questions, so stop ignoring it and get busy refuting it, or concede the point. Otherwise you leave me no choice but to conclude you're a troll filibustering to get a few more hits.

Since Ron Paul is the only one who has a voting record that is consistent with a constitutional view of government, it's no surprise that libertarians and everyone else who is fed up with the big government bullshit lately are rallying to his cause. He has constitutional positions on nearly every issue. He's no angel, but you haven't even dug into Ron enough to know what the problems in his positions are yet or you'd be splattering them all over this page. He's only a saint when compared to his contemporaries in both parties.

Ron did not campaign to win. He entered the race to try and get the anti-war idea some air time. He was more surprised than anyone at his stunning levels of popularity and soaring financial donations. He said the right things at the right time (and has a record spanning decades proving that he has always said and stood behind these things) and now stands to tap into the largest anti-establishment political movement in decades. He is the one thing the libertarians couldn't find for themselves - a solid, serious, charismatic political candidate with a proven track record.

All of your griping sounds like sour grapes. You should be happy - you stand a chance to get some of your liberties back. Even if the libertarian movement were a group of hippy drug users, the political movements uniting behind Ron right now are anything but. Ron is liable to end up with every disenfranchised voter this time around. Or do you honestly think that the vast majority of US Military political donations are being made by drug using, hippy libertarians? After all, Ron is getting more military money than anyone else. How do you explain that one?
Examination of the Libertarian agenda
Posted by Pile on 2007-10-20 20:59:44
Ok, let's look at what the "Libertarian Party" web site says...

First up: Crime and Punishment.

* Libertarians say criminals should pay restitution to victims

That sounds good, but how are you going to do that without creating another regulatory state to enforce such restitution? This again, flies in the face of "less government" that Libertarians promote. This aspect of the Libertarian agenda epitomizes the idealistic yet impractical nature. It's nice to suggest criminals pay restitution, and this has always been an option civilly, so exactly what are they suggesting that isn't just some kind of ambiguous feel-good concept with no details on how such a program would be implemented?

* Libertarians want to end prohibition

The big draw to the party is legalization of drugs.

This is a very controversial issue. For every person that is in favor of it, there's another that isn't. And then there is the issue of WHICH drugs? All of them? Even heroin?

Libertarians tie a lot of solutions to drug legalization. They claim that prison overcrowding is the result of drug convictions and if drugs were legalized this problem would mysteriously disappear. That's very hopeful, optimistic daydreaming.

This is just the first page I visited on the site. I could likely go over every claim in virtually every category and there would be the same naked assertions and false dilemmas, and claims that there is no middle ground. Nothing works so let's get rid of it -- that's the Libertarian mantra, but it's totally not true. There are people who have availed themselves of government support and then gone on to become productive members of society. But Libertarians deny this exists. They deny that anyone has ever accepted unemployment or welfare and not turned into an unmotivated, slacker criminal. It's insulting to anyone who is paying attention.

Prohibition was reversed on alcohol. It may have curtailed some alcohol-related crime in one respect, but the widespread availability of alcohol also created other safety, health and crime issues. The Libertarians oversimply the issue and merely state that if drugs were legalized, many of our problems would magically disappear. There's no great evidence of this, and of course, the Libertarians don't produce any objective statistics to back up their claims anyway.

Then there's the whole issue of whether or not the widespread legalization of drugs wouldn't create other massive problems. Libertarians will often cite statistics from countries like the Netherlands who have many more drugs legally available, but they also conveniently leave out the fact that in these same countries there is socialized medicine or publicly-sponsored and government regulated healthcare and rehab programs. Again, the Libertarians have no plan to deal with the potential repercussions of some of their other "solutions."

The Libertarian party site is chock full of claims and statistics without any references. They claim the murder rate in Florida has decreased since allowing concealed weapon permits, while the rest of the nation's rate has increased. There is absolutely no evidence indicating there's a direct causal relationship there. The site is loaded with logical fallacies.

Here's a good one:

Address the Root Causes of Crime

Any society that lets kids grow up dependent on government welfare, attending government schools that fail to teach, and entering an economy where government policy has crushed opportunity, will be a society that breeds criminals.


The Libertarians claim that public schools and welfare are the reason we have criminals.

That's quite a presumptuous claim to make, and like almost everything Libertarians say, completely without any documentation whatsoever.

The Libertarian Party would increase employment opportunities by slashing taxes and government red tape. We would also end the welfare system with its culture of dependence and hopelessness. Most important of all, we would promote low-cost private alternatives to the failed government school system.

Do these Libertarians really know anything about the welfare system? Anyone who has first-hand experience with it will certainly attest that the goal of the program is anything but a promotion of "dependence and hopelessness" - the system is designed to get people on their feet. It is not without limitations and restrictions. But again, the Libertarian view is completely black and white, and their "solution" is "get rid of it."

The Libertarians also believe in "Voodoo Economics" - the same crap Reagan and George W. Bush have been doing: cut taxes and claim this will create jobs. The problem is in reality this doesn't work. Again, in Libertarian bizzaro-land, they can make a claim like this, but when you look at this technique implemented in real life you don't see job creation. What you see is a wider gap between the rich and the poor.

Ending welfare? And what do you do after that? What happens to the people on welfare? Never mind, the Libertarians don't follow any idea all the way through. They just say "get rid of it" and change the subject before anyone notices they don't really have a plan.

we would promote low-cost private alternatives to the failed government school system

First off, who says the government school system is a failure? The Libertarian agenda is a non-stop array of Red Herrings and strawman arguments. There are millions of people who have availed themselves of public education who might not normally have been able to go to private shools, who have made great contributions to society. But the Libertarians merely say "get rid of public schools - and there will be private alternatives..." Again, it's just a goofball claim... they haven't really looked into the nature of this complicated issue and figured out how it would work.

So exactly what am I missing here? The LP web site is nothing but propaganda promoting a false dilemma, filled with red herrings, strawmen arguments and other logical fallacies. The site makes all sorts of claims, from public education being a failure to the naked assertion that the reduction in the murder rate (which may not even be true) since 1987 is the result of CCWs.

I can go on and on. Not once did I use an ad hominem here. Nor did I suggest Libertarians were high, but I again made my point, that if anyone thinks this group has a legitimate "plan", they need to look again.
... who's the real troll?
Posted by Pile on 2007-10-20 21:17:19
There are no "special interests" or corporate parties involved in libertarian politics - they already own two other, larger political parties and have no interest in a third, at least until the LP ever makes it big. I have no illusions that the LP could corrupt just as fast as the others unless some serious political reforms are made.

There are special interests in libertarian politics. Look at who's funding the CATO Institute for example. The fact that you start off your diatribe with such an erroneous and easily-refutable claim gives us an indication of how far off-base you are.

Your characterization of the founding fathers as pot smoking hippy drug freaks won't go over well. You won't be winning any arguments with that one.

I said no such thing. I said you Libertarians are f*cking high if you think free-market capitalism is practical in today's society. If you don't want me to characterize you all as a bunch of pot smoking stoners, demonstrate that you don't have short term memory loss and pay attention to what I'm saying!


You asked for answers, and they were given. Stop whining like a child about it and refute them (and the constitution) directly, with solid arguments. You're the one claiming that:

1) Libertarians are not constitutionalists
or
2) Government under the constitution doesn't work.


Dude you are high aren't you? Seriously, you're not making sense. I made no such claims.

There's no copypasta in my posts, it's all my own writing. You're either a troll or a complete idiot for claiming it was cut/paste material that I didn't even read. Your website is the only place that exists, and I'm beginning to wonder why I should bother typing anything in here that may generate web traffic for an ignorant troll's website. Your posts run more towards stirring up 'drama' and 'hits' and evangelizing your own ignorant opinion than any real interest in discussion. Every time someone posts a link to this podcast on reddit, it gets downmodded into oblivion instantly, so I'm hardly the only one who disagrees with your take on things.

Reddit is crawling with Ron Paul sycophants. That's pretty obvious. If Ron Paul popped a pimple, it would make the front page of Reddit. However, there are some people who do want to know more than one side of the story and our podcast endeavors to do that.

All your babbling makes no sense. You call me an idiot. You make goofy claims that have nothing to do with me. Like my other critics, you probably didn't even listen to the whole interview. You just recognize me as someone who is critical of Ron Paul's agenda so you attack me, claim I don't know about Libertarianism, and call me a troll. Meanwhile you dance all around ignoring the legitimate points I keep making.

Your claim that restricting the government to its constitutional roles won't work is the feeble one.

Why is it feeble? Where's your evidence that your claim is legitimate? My evidence is the SUM TOTAL OF ALL HUMAN HISTORY. I think that's pretty substantive. I keep saying, there is no real world, practical example of free market capitalism, aka fundamentalist libertarianism functioning properly in any decent-sized society.

So I make a claim. I cite references. You call me a troll? Where's your evidence? Oh wait, you went to a Libertarian rally and met some cool people. So what? What the f*ck does that prove?

You wonder why I'm caustic and short with you weenies? It's because you all dance around the issues. If you really cared about making government better, you'd be open to any criticism instead of being instantaneously defensive if anyone suggests there are holes in your glorious leader's plan.
I'd still consider voting for Ron Paul
Posted by Pile on 2007-10-23 15:55:50
Let me preface all this rambling with one important note...

If it came down to Ron Paul verses someone like Hillary Clinton, I'd have a hard time not seriously considering voting for Ron Paul.

I still think he's mostly nuts, but nobody really knows where Hillary stands. Her husband was a great president. Nobody really knows how well she'd govern and she twists in the wind like Paris Hilton's thong.

There's no way, even if Ron Paul were elected president, that even 20% of his anarcho-capitalist libertarian ideas would ever become reality because they're not practical, but I can appreciate the value of getting back to respecting the Constitution. Sometimes you have to be realistic and vote for a direction and not a specific agenda. Ron Paul would be a step back towards personal liberty and less nationalism and world policing, which is good. But that still doesn't take away from the fact that like most Texan politicians, he's more nuts than he his capable. Let's be honest though... Christian Glover would be a better choice than what we have now.

Plus, whoever becomes president in 2008 is going to get blamed for all the shit coming down the pipeline that Bush started, not the least of which is raising taxes to pay for the huge deficit that W blew out of control invading Iraq.
Cool it with the "stoner" crap
Posted by Harvard Irving on 2007-10-28 02:03:54
For the record, I mostly dislike libertarianism, and agree with you that it is largely impractical and unworkable.

However, you seem to contradict yourself - you claim you say that libertarians are "high" only in the sense that they have their head in the clouds. But then you go on about "stoners" and "potheads" and talk about "putting down the joint." These epithets are obviously not about using the term"high" in an abstract sense - you are using them as literal insults about drug use. That doesn't lend your argument any credibility.

You seem to subscribe to overly aggressive stereotypes about drug use. I think you're actually not seeing the reality because of these biases, if all you think about when you think about drug issues are "stoners" or "dirty hippes." That's amazing outdated - drug users cross the entire spectrum of society.

But more importantly, legalization and drug use IS a critical issue. I support legalization of all drugs - ESPECIALLY heroin and other highly addictive substances. Those are the ones where legalization is most ciritically needed, because of the health problems of adulterated drugs, and the effects of the black market on crime and violence.

Legalization will have a lot more positive effects than you give it credit for. It would be the dingle most effective policy in improving the world. It would prevent disease, and protect lives. It would mean more effective law enforcement, less crowded prisons.

Most importantly, legalization would mostly eliminate cartels and massively reduce organized crime. It would reduce police corruption.

Billions of dollars are spent on ridiculosu "drug wars" and the only people who benefit are the corrupt police and blackmarket warlords and criminals. It is no exaggerationj to say that the illegal status of drugs does more damage to society than the actual drugs themselves.

It's a massive disgrace that just causes pain and corruption. Imagine how much more cohesive society would be if we didn't create this arbitrary class of "drug criminals" and people to demonize. Imagine if people with drug habits could get effective medical treatment without being stigmatised or risk being locked up. If kids could talk about drugs with their parents openly and honestly. If people who chose to use could get tested, pharmaceutical grade drugs that won't kill them. If the prices weren't so artificially high that people turn to crime in order to afford them. Imagine if those billions of dollars and millions of person-hours were spent on something worthwhile, rather than a futile and counterproductive "war."

The problem is that the whole drugs issue is very closeted. Nearly everybody uses some sort of drug - whether it's coffee, heroin, alcohol or Prozac. But almost everybody also wants to demonize people who use different drugs than they do. It's a f*cked up situation.

Whether you're libertarian, socialist or capitalist - drugs is a huge issue, and the only worthwhile solution is legalization, harm minimization and medicalization.

It might seem like a small or "fringe" issue - but I don't think you realize how much truly stems from it. Legalization will have far-reaching positive impact, even in areas that don't seem to be directly related.
"Legalize it 'bro"
Posted by Pile on 2007-10-28 13:31:45
I already explained the nature of my references to "high" and "stoners".

Also, in case you haven't noticed, I tend to have an intentionally provocative style. These pseudo ad hominems are part of the technique I use to get people to be more direct and outspoken. I think as a society people are too un-confrontational and dishonest. Some of the others, like Wizegurl and Uberbill are more mellow and diplomatic, I tend to be the person who pokes issues and the people behind those issues with a stick, which tends to bring to the surface, what's hiding beneath.

But more importantly, legalization and drug use IS a critical issue. I support legalization of all drugs - ESPECIALLY heroin and other highly addictive substances. Those are the ones where legalization is most ciritically needed, because of the health problems of adulterated drugs, and the effects of the black market on crime and violence.

It's obvious that a significant part of the driving force behind the current grass roots Libertarian movement relates to this issue: drug legalization.

We could (and probably should) have a separate show dedicated to this issue alone. It's very complicated.

First and foremost, here are some of the issues with drug legalization in my opinion:

* Proponents of legalization have a very shallow, overly simplistic idea of the advantages of legalization. They assume all the negatives associated with drugs would disappear and there would be nothing but positives. This is profoundly naive. Someone would, say, have to be HIGH to adopt such a contention.

You yourself said, *ding* no more "war on drugs" as if legalizing drugs will make everything better. You don't suggest for a moment that widespread legalization wouldn't create additional problems that would put new burdens on society. You merely suggest current burdens would be lifted.

* The majority of people who are in favor of drug legalization, are, on more than an uncommon occasion, HIGH. Let's face it. If you like smoking weed, you resent how you have to sneak around to get it. I can empathize, but at the same time I also recognize most proponents have adopted this agenda, not mainly because they think it would be good for society, but because of their own selfish interests. Let's be honest here. If you don't smoke, you typically don't care whether or not there's a law for/against smoking. Most Americans are self-absorbed and couldn't care less about stuff that doesn't directly affect them. And the Libertarians, are not necessarily any different. They're not highly principled individuals, motivated by the long-term stability of our society. NOT AT ALL. Most of 'em are a bunch of goons who hate paying taxes and want cheaper, more widely available drugs. This is why none of them have thought beyond the notion of how cool it will be if weed is legalized. They haven't really contemplated how different society might be if you could get LSD from a vending machine on a street corner. They don't give a damn because it's all about them. I can't honestly respect the advice of someone who's primarily serving his own agenda and at the same time trying convince people this is best for everyone when he can't answer even basic questions about practicality.

And make no mistake, you are the same way. You even admit a lot of the Libertarian agenda is impractical, but you stop short of saying the same thing when it comes to drugs. This is because your personal self-interest has intruded into the agenda and you don't want to dig deeper to realize your fantasy of legalized heroin might not be as pretty as you imagine.

* The issue relating to drug legalization is the same for all Libertarian issues: If there is no central regulation and control, how do you protect the health and welfare of the people? Drug legalization proponents don't have an answer to this question beyond the goofy claim that everything will magically be great once weed is legalized.

Libertarians will claim it's not the government's role to regulate the "welfare" of the populace so it's not an issue. That sounds neat in theory, but in practice things don't work like that. This is why there is no true Libertarian model of government in existence, because the main thing that stops anarchy and violence is government, and once a society gets to a certain size, people demand government do more than merely defend their "liberty." The first time someone steals the stoner Libertarians "legal" drug stash, he'll think twice about how nice it would be if there was socialized police protection & investigation.

* In the Libertarian fantasy of legalized heroin, what is there to stop corporations from taking the place of drug cartels? Libertarians love to complain about how government enables corporations to abuse power, but they don't have a solution on how to stop corporations from becoming monolithic -- the closest they come is claiming that removing the limited liability from a company will make a difference. This is bullshit. If you own all the stores in town, you own the town. It doesn't matter whether you're a person or a limited-liability corporation, you control things and you almost always get your way. Civil courts don't mean much to entities with lots of resources. We already have a problem with drug companies controlling the marketplace. Does anyone think if more drugs were legally available over the counter, that this price-fixing, monopolistic practice would stop?

* Another big problem with drug legalization is how it would affect society. Libertarians point to countries like the Netherlands as an example where drug legalization works. There are a number of problems with the comparison. The Netherlands is a dramatically different country both economically and sociologically. The median age is upwards of 40, compared with 32 for the US. The population is 1/20th of the United States and its one of the most dense countries, with 477 people per square kilometer. Not much is going on in that country that people aren't on top of. They're more educated, less superstitious and religions and a lot different from Americans.

Most importantly, everyone has healthcare. By law, you must have health insurance in the Netherlands. This is a very, very significant difference. If drug use were legalized in the United States, it's likely that there would be a lot more drug-related medical cases, but in the United States, there is a healthcare crisis. The people most likely to abuse drugs are the ones most likely to not have health insurance. Then what happens? The Libertarians don't want to talk about this. They just want their cheap pot.

As I've said, this is a complicated issue. And anyone who thinks legalizing drugs would not potentially create other issues, must be stoned or stupid. I'm not saying I don't think there are ways it can work, but until we fix issues like the problem with healthcare in the United States, it sure would be stupid to consider adding insult to injury by making the problem worse and allowing people easy access to some of the most destructive and addictive substances possible.
Because all drug users say "bro"
Posted by Harvard Irving on 2007-10-28 17:00:24
** I already explained the nature of my references to "high" and "stoners". **

Yes, but your explanation is not credible. Which was my point.

** Proponents of legalization have a very shallow, overly simplistic idea of the advantages of legalization. They assume all the negatives associated with drugs would disappear and there would be nothing but positives. **

Well, I certainly don't. And I think this is an incorrect characterization of legalization proponents. On average, they tend to have a very good idea of the complexities, and that it wouldn't be simple.

Simplistic thinking is more common on the anti-legalization side, where most people think "Lock the stupid druggies up" and don't understand the far-reaching consequences of the laws.

** You yourself said, *ding* no more "war on drugs" as if legalizing drugs will make everything better. **

No, I didn't. I said there would be vast improvements. I didn't say all the problems would go away. Yes, the drug war would end - that's the whole idea. If drugs are legal, then how can you have a war on them?

** You don't suggest for a moment that widespread legalization wouldn't create additional problems that would put new burdens on society. **

So, what are these additional problems that legalization would cause?

** The majority of people who are in favor of drug legalization, are, on more than an uncommon occasion, HIGH. Let's face it. If you like smoking weed, you resent how you have to sneak around to get it. **

Again, incorrect. There are many people who don't use drugs, but can see the damage that the drug laws cause. People like nurses, for example, or doctors who can see the medicinal benefits. Even police officers who never touch drugs, but have to deal with the stupid drug policies in their daily work.

Again, you're not actually trying to understand the issues, or push the debate, you're merely falling back on stereotypes.

** And make no mistake, you are the same way. You even admit a lot of the Libertarian agenda is impractical, but you stop short of saying the same thing when it comes to drugs **

So? That's because I'm not a Libertarian, and I don't tie the issue of drug legalization to Libertarianism. Why would I? It has very little to do with it.

the reason I support legalization is that it makes practical sense, not because of any political philosophy.

** This is because your personal self-interest has intruded into the agenda and you don't want to dig deeper to realize your fantasy of legalized heroin might not be as pretty as you imagine.
**

Again, totally wrong. I don't use any illegal drugs. But I have seen the damage done by the drug war. It's out of a concern for others that I support legalization, not self-interest.

** The issue relating to drug legalization is the same for all Libertarian issues: If there is no central regulation and control, how do you protect the health and welfare of the people? **

When did I say there should be no central regulation and control? Don't put Libertarians' words in my mouth. I propose strong regulation of the drugs that are currently illegal - just like we have for pharmaceutical drugs.

I think the government should be highly involved in drug education & rehabilitation. Hell, I think in certain cases it makes sense for the government to manufacture and supply the drugs, so they are of known quality, and to reduce the chance of abuse or black markets forming.

Did you even read my post? I don't support legalization because of any Libertarian beliefs.

** The first time someone steals the stoner Libertarians "legal" drug stash, he'll think twice about how nice it would be if there was socialized police protection & investigation. **

But why would there be people stealing something that essentially grows for free? Without the black market, there's no inflated value to the "stash" - it would be like stealing apples from a neighbor's tree.

** In the Libertarian fantasy of legalized heroin, what is there to stop corporations from taking the place of drug cartels? **

The fact that without criminalization, anybody could grow their own opium for free. The high price of these drugs is solely because of the illegality creating a black market.

** If drug use were legalized in the United States, it's likely that there would be a lot more drug-related medical cases, **

Why? You make the assumption that legalization will increse drug use. There's no rational reason to believe that. Plenty of people already have severe drug problems - it being against the law is not stopping it. In fact, drug usage has skyrocketed since they became illegal.

** there is a healthcare crisis. The people most likely to abuse drugs are the ones most likely to not have health insurance. Then what happens? The Libertarians don't want to talk about this. They just want their cheap pot. **

Again, why dpo you keep brining Libertarians into this? How many times do I have to say I'm not a Libertarian? I support government regulation, I support public health care.

Legalization would most likely reduce the health issues of drug users, for several reasons. The quality and consistency of the drugs would be better. Rather than some dodgy stuff made in a bathtub made of who-knows-what, users will have access to pharmaceutical grade recreational drugs.

The other thing is that without the risk of being locked up, people with addiction and health problems will more readily seek treatment.

And then there are the things that cause use in the first place. It would lose a lot of its "rebel" appeal. Rather than drugs being something "cool" because it's disallowed by authority, it would be just another health risk, like smoking or fast food.

** it sure would be stupid to consider adding insult to injury by making the problem worse and allowing people easy access to some of the most destructive and addictive substances possible. **

Wake up!

People already have easy access to them. Do you think them being illegal is stopping anybody? Do you really think there are people who are think "Gee, I'd really like to start using heroin - but I won't because it's illegal."? That's totally implausible.

If anything, criminalization provided an incentive for drug use and peer pressure - becuase it is highly profitable. Without that profit incentive, you wouldn't have "the pusherman" encouraging people to try drugs. You wouldn't have people making desperate journeys with condoms full of drugs in their intestines.

if you want to deal with the health crisis, then legalizaing drugs is going to make that job a lot easier.
Posted by Pile on 2007-10-28 18:42:37
Your response seems more argumentative than substantive.

You bring up legalization in a thread about libertarianism. I'm going to tie the two. If you're not into the Libertarian agenda, fine, but your in-between stance is not typical of proponents of drug legalization.

I agree that the "war on drugs" is bogus. But I disagree that full-on legalization won't create even more problems. And I did mention some of these issues: corporations replacing drug cartels and turning addiction into a business model for profitability, healthcare issues -- our government doesn't put much stock in rehab programs as it stands. Until the government takes a proactive approach towards solving certain social issues, giving people more freedom to engage in destructive activities for which society might ultimately pay the price in one form or another is counterproductive.

And then you suggest that drug legalization wouldn't increase drug usage? That's just f*cking stupid. Stupid.

There are definitely people out there not doing drugs because it's illegal and inconvenient. If drugs were legalized they would be a lot more accessible, and anyone with half a brain recognizes this will result in increased usage. You can look at what happened when prohibition was overturned. The number of people drinking alcohol increased and continues to increase. And alcohol addiction is a serious problem in our society, and we still don't have effective programs to deal with it. The 12-step crap doesn't cut it. There's no education on the dangers of alcohol consumption because it conflicts with corporate interests who have more influence in the media. You'd have all the same problems with other drugs being more freely available, and these other drugs are even more powerful and more addictive. We cannot control the problems with alcohol in our communities and you want to make it even more complicated?

Now if you want to talk about something that's illegal that should probably be legalized, I'd say make prostitution legal. There's something that makes a lot more sense and really doesn't potentially hurt people the way drug abuse can. There's a much stronger argument for that. I do agree that some drug-related activities should be decriminalized significantly and we shouldn't be waging the kind of "war" we are, but I am not convinced total legalization would make anything any better. And you don't make that strong of an argument.

if you want to deal with the health crisis, then legalizaing drugs is going to make that job a lot easier.

Good grief. I should not be wasting my time arguing with you when you say things like that.
How do you know?
Posted by Harvard Irving on 2007-10-29 16:14:59
** You bring up legalization in a thread about libertarianism. I'm going to tie the two. If you're not into the Libertarian agenda, fine, but your in-between stance is not typical of proponents of drug legalization. **

How would you know? That's pretty much the typical view among the people I know. Libertariasm is just not on their radar of most legalization advocates I know. It's mostly something that liberals talk about, in my experience.

Why can't you discuss the issue for what it is? There's nothing that makes it a purely Libertarian issue. That's like saying that environmentalism is purely a socialist issue.

** And I did mention some of these issues: corporations replacing drug cartels and turning addiction into a business model for profitability, **

"Turning addiction into a model for profitability"? Huh? Don't you realize it already is? That's the biggest problem. Its illegal status makes it much more profitable. That's why you have organized crime surrounding drugs. Legalization would undermine the profitibility, not enhance it.

** And then you suggest that drug legalization wouldn't increase drug usage? That's just f*cking stupid. Stupid. **

Why is that stupid? Do you have anything of substance to offer, or just insults? The historical facts show that drug usage has increased with prohibition.

I'd estimate that usage of the safer drugs might increase, but use of the really dangerous drugs would decline sharply. After all, if you had good quality alternatives, why do the dangerous drugs?

** And alcohol addiction is a serious problem in our society, and we still don't have effective programs to deal with it. **

One of the best things would probably be to have marijuana as a socially acceptable alternative, because it is much less harmful.

** There's no education on the dangers of alcohol consumption **

What the hell? In my country we are constantly bombarded with anti-alcohol messages. There's tons of education about it.

** You'd have all the same problems with other drugs being more freely available, and these other drugs are even more powerful and more addictive. **

Here's where you really need to get back to the facts. Alcohol and tobacco are far more addictive and dangerous than many illegal drugs, such as marijuana, LSD, ecstasy, 2CB, peyote etc. Those drugs are relatively harmless if used properly.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that alcohol is somehow not a dangerous drug right up there with heroin. Tobacco is actually more addictive than heroin, for example, and you're much more likely to get cancer from smoking than heroin.

**There's a much stronger argument for that. I do agree that some drug-related activities should be decriminalized significantly and we shouldn't be waging the kind of "war" we are, but I am not convinced total legalization would make anything any better. **

OK, whether it would make things any better or not, how can the illegal status be justified? What moral right is there to stop people from consuming things that they choose to consume of their own free will?

Murder is illegal, because it is an act that deprives someone else. Drug use is something you do to yourself. What possible moral/ethical justification can there be for it being illegal? It's as stupid as suicide being illegal.

** Good grief. I should not be wasting my time arguing with you when you say things like that. **

Why? It makes perfect sense. And it's been demonstrated. Medical treatment and therapy works a lot better at reducing drug-related health problems than incarceration.

You don't seem to have any argument except "it sounds CRAZY!" but you don;t appear to have thought the actual issues through.
Posted by Pile on 2007-10-29 17:59:28
Why can't you discuss the issue for what it is? There's nothing that makes it a purely Libertarian issue. That's like saying that environmentalism is purely a socialist issue.


This is a thread about Libertarianism. Maybe you're posting in the wrong place if you don't like the inference with Libertarianism. In any case, the points I made are relevant to both scenarios regardless of whether they're synonymous with each other.

"Turning addiction into a model for profitability"? Huh? Don't you realize it already is? That's the biggest problem. Its illegal status makes it much more profitable. That's why you have organized crime surrounding drugs. Legalization would undermine the profitibility, not enhance it.

And here we go, around in circles...

While there might be organized crime surrounding illegal drugs, there's also organized "crime" surrounding legal drugs as well. You sidestepped the issue I raised and ignored it. This is the problem with you guys. I talk about a problem, and you pull the, "B..b..but Clinton" answer, saying well other people are doing the same thing right now so your solution can't be any worse. It's a red herring. One way or another there will be cartels controlling drugs. If private interests do it, I wouldn't be so quick to assume it would be any more convenient. You guys don't have a cohesive vision of how this whole legalization thing would work. You just think there would be no more drug dealers, and that's crap. There's probably more illegal sales of legal drugs than the other way around.

One of the best things would probably be to have marijuana as a socially acceptable alternative, because it is much less harmful.

Some might argue with you there. We already have a problem with the populace being profoundly lazy and apathetic. Pot is kind of notorious for further promoting that behavior. I can't understand why our political leaders wouldn't be in favor of pot legalization myself, because it would ultimately sedate the populace even more. That's what we need. Even more stoned out people standing in line at the quickie martt trying to find change for that frozen burrito. I can hardly wait.

And yea, we will no longer have cops busting at least one form of drug dealer; instead we'll have cops pulling over stoner dudes driving 30 miles per hour in the left lane of the interstate. And our jails will still be filled with drug offenders: people who put their wasted asses out in public endangering others. I think it wouldn't be unusual to find just as many drug-related arrests as before.

Seriously, this is not that big of an issue in my opinion. Maybe I'm older than you and I grew out of the pot phase and recognized it for the colossal waste of time it really was. Maybe you too will understand this soon. In any case, I am not so naive as to think if pot or other drugs were legalized that some magic doorway to a better, nicer society would be opened.

As I said before, you can't make a good argument without simply suggesting that some bad things might go away, and that's not good enough in my book. Maybe hemp as a crop is something that is worthwhile. There's a more substantive argument than this freedom crap about needing to get high any time as often as possible without any hassel. I honestly think there are too many people high too much of the time as it is. That's why we have this boneheaded president in office. I cannot imagine how legalizing drugs would result in a more educated, more proactive group of citizens -- and this in my opinion is an imperative that must be pursued in order to really effect positive change in this country on any level. You may disagree. So be it. Don't jump my case like I'm the one standing between you and your cheap weed.

Don't fool yourself into thinking that alcohol is somehow not a dangerous drug right up there with heroin. Tobacco is actually more addictive than heroin, for example, and you're much more likely to get cancer from smoking than heroin.

All of that is beside the point. It doesn't help your drug legalization argument.

What moral right is there to stop people from consuming things that they choose to consume of their own free will?

And there we go, full circle back to the Libertarian argument.

The problem is, consuming some of these things don't necessarily just hurt the people taking the drugs. Drunk drivers kill tens of thousands of people each year. Legalizing more substances which impair peoples abilities would undoubtedly increase these statistics. As I said before, proponents of legalization do not adequately address these issues. They just insinuate that the good outweighs the bad. They also seem to think they're in the majority of the populace in terms of wanting these substances legalized. I wouldn't be so quick to assume so. So if we could put it up for a vote today, to legalize drugs, and it was voted down, then what? What do you do then?

What if most people don't want people to be able to buy a joint at the gas station and drive around stoned on the road, and it's easier to restrict smoking outright than it is to create a whole 'nother arm of law enforcement to deal with this new wave of drug users who endanger people publicly, and don't say that's not a legitimate concern because it is. The government is ideally, of the people, so if that's what they want, then that's what they get.

In my state, they just banned smoking in restaurants. I applaud this. I used to be a smoker, but the reality is 99% of smokers with they could quit but they're addicted. This "invasion of liberty" does us a favor. I don't think the system is perfect, but sometimes there are legitimate reasons for restricting what people can do. It doesn't always work for everybody and I'm not defending the way these things work. I'm just saying this is not the black/white, good/evil issue you want to pretend it is.
Ok...
Posted by Harvard Irving on 2007-11-01 16:40:56
** This is a thread about Libertarianism. Maybe you're posting in the wrong place if you don't like the inference with Libertarianism **

So, anything that Libertarians support is automatically tainted? I suppose that if Libertarians opposed murder, then you would have to support murder, because being anti-murder is part of a Libertarian agenda?

Some things just make sense, even if people you dislike support it.

** While there might be organized crime surrounding illegal drugs, there's also organized "crime" surrounding legal drugs as well. **

Where is there any significant organized crime in the trafficking of black-market alcohol? You kill your credibility here. Pretty much everybody drinks alcohol that is tested for quality and health standards. people don't turn to criminals to buy moonshine liquor.

** This is the problem with you guys. I talk about a problem, and you pull the, "B..b..but Clinton" answer, saying well other people are doing the same thing right now so your solution can't be any worse. It's a red herring **

Firstly, who are "you guys"?

Secondly, I never made that "Clinton" argument, so I'm not sure why you;re saying that. You don't seem to be even bothering to read what I write, and just make up your own fantasy of what I'm saying. I believe that's called a straw man.

** One way or another there will be cartels controlling drugs. **

Except of course, that there basically aren't when it comes to legal drugs. Anybody can start up a new brewery or distillery - and they won't get murdered by owners of another brewery. I think you might have a pretty broad definition of "cartel" if you think that ordinary private companies are cartels.

Why do you insist that cartels must have control? One of the things about many of the illegal drugs (marijuana, opium) is that without prohibition , they basically grow like weeds. It would be almost impossible to have a monopoly over something that anybody can grow in their back-yard for free.

** Pot is kind of notorious for further promoting that behavior. **

Only in ignorant stereotypes.

As with many things, drugs often reflect the user. If someone is interesting and smart and lively when they are straight, they also tend to be interesting and smart and lively when high. If someone is a dullard when they are straight, they also tend to be a dullard when high.

There's also an issue of cause and effect - is the drug actually making someone lazy, or laziness causing the person to seek that drug?

** And our jails will still be filled with drug offenders: people who put their wasted asses out in public endangering others. I think it wouldn't be unusual to find just as many drug-related arrests as before. **

That doesn't make sense. Prohibition is not stopping people from using drugs, so it's not stopping people from driving on drugs or endangering others.

It would be incredibly bizarre to find "just as many drug-related arrests as before." Because the vast majority of arrests are due to simple possession or trafficking - not to do with people causing damage or driving under the influence.

** Maybe I'm older than you and I grew out of the pot phase and recognized it for the colossal waste of time it really was. **

Did you miss the part where I said I don't smoke pot? Seeing as I'm going on 40, I somehow doubt it is youth and inexperience that is the cause of my views.

Quite the contrary, you seem to be the naive and inexperienced one in this discussion, with your views being based mostly on stereotypes and propaganda rather than reality.

But why would you assume I'm young - and more importantly, why would you make such a logically fallacious argument? You'd have to be pretty simple to not see the "hey I'm older, and you're just a kid" argument for the tripe that it is.

** There's a more substantive argument than this freedom crap about needing to get high any time as often as possible without any hassel. **

Except I never made that argument. Whnat the hell is it with you and strawmen? Please point out where I said ANYTHING about "getting as high as often as possible" or "doing it without hassle"!

My arguments have revolved around harm reduction and the elimination of crime and corruption - I never even brought up the issue of "getting high".

** I cannot imagine how legalizing drugs would result in a more educated, more proactive group of citizens **

Then you must have a very limited imagination.

Perhaps you can tell me how treating people like children who can't make their own decisions results in a more educated and proactive populace? Maybe you can tell me how telling people lies and filling their heads with fear & propaganda produces a more educated citizenry?

** All of that is beside the point. It doesn't help your drug legalization argument. **

Why not? I've shown that there is a double-standard between the drugs that are legal, and those that are not. So, what's your position, that alcohol and tobacco should also be made illegal?

** And there we go, full circle back to the Libertarian argument. **

But it's not just "the Libertarian argument" - people of many different political philosophies believe in freedom and human rights.

** Drunk drivers kill tens of thousands of people each year. **

Which is why drunk driving is illegal. Why should someone who drinks responsibly be punished for the actions of someone who endangers others?

You know that people can also kill others with a hammer. So, should we make hammers illegal, because they can be abused? This is the heart of it - make the harmful act illegal, not some scapegoat.

You are getting dangerously close to the area of rhetoric that allows people to deny responsibility for their actions. "Oh, the drugs made me do it." If you want people to be responsible for their actions, then you have to give them choices.

** Legalizing more substances which impair peoples abilities would undoubtedly increase these statistics. **

But why is this "undoubtable"? You have not given any evidence that more people will consume drugs if they were legalized.

Further, even if consumption of drugs went up, that doesn't mean that impaired driving would increase. Currently, what disincentive is there to drive on illegal drugs? The penalties for simply possessing the illegal drugs are most likely more severe than the penalties for driving while intoxicated.

So, you keep the penalties for endagering others strict, while removing the penalties for responsibly consuming drugs/alcohol in a way that doesn't endanger others. You thus create a culture of responsible use, rather than an arbitrary system of blame and superstition.

Think about it. Today, drunk driving is highly taboo (when it was quite normal a few decades ago). Most people will actively try to prevent people from driving while drunk. And this is true even among alcoholics and heavy drinkers. Because those laws make sense. People see that they are there for public safety.

But anti-drug laws make no sense. So, that makes the law an ass. And it makes people more likely to flout the law. Seeing that there are so many stupid laws, it encourages people to make excuses about the legitimate laws that are there to protect others.

If you didn't have the excuse of "the man is trying to keep me down," then you would likely see more responsibility among drugs users.

** As I said before, proponents of legalization do not adequately address these issues. **

Which is absolute horseshit. They are thoroughly addressed, you just choose not to listen.

** They also seem to think they're in the majority of the populace in terms of wanting these substances legalized. I wouldn't be so quick to assume so. **

Again, who is "they"? Because I don't believe any such thing, nor did I ever insinuate anything like that. I'm well aware my position is in the minority.

Why do you spend so much time arguing against some imaginary "others" and strawmen, rather than the arguments that I am actually putting to you?

** What if most people don't want people to be able to buy a joint at the gas station and drive around stoned on the road, **

There you go again. I never advocated driving while stoned. Quite the contrary.

** and it's easier to restrict smoking outright than it is to create a whole 'nother arm of law enforcement to deal with this new wave of drug users who endanger people publicly, **

Why would you need a "whole other arm of law enforcement" to do that? In theory, that's actually the entire purpose of law enforcement - to deal with people who endanger the public, by whatever means.

And, if you look around the world, you will see that the police force tends to integrate drug driving tests with the alcohol tests. We are already doing the drunk driving tests - so what's the big problem?

And why would this be a "new wave" of drugs users who endanger the public? That's already happening, and you once again have shown no reason for a statistical increase in that behavior due to legalization.

** The government is ideally, of the people, so if that's what they want, then that's what they get. **

So, if people vote for torture, and the elimination of due process, than that's OK? Our democracies are actually supposed to be protected against tyrannies of the majority - which is why have Bills of Rights.

** In my state, they just banned smoking in restaurants. I applaud this. **

I'm all for that too. But you can't do the same to somebody's private house. It's different when you're out in public and affect others, particularly people who have to work there.

But why would any of that apply to private use?

** I'm just saying this is not the black/white, good/evil issue you want to pretend it is. **

Except I never made it out to be a black/white issue. You certainly seemed to, though - with your idea that only bad things can come from drug use, and that increased abuse after legalization is inevitable, that cartels are inevitable, etc.

If you don't believe it's a simple black & white issue, then why don;t you acknowledge some of the complexities, and stop dealing in such simplistic rhetoric? We've all heard the "drugs are bad" argument a million times. Why not get beyond that and step into the real world?
Posted by nim on 2007-11-09 20:43:40
wow you guys are so insecure in your beliefs that you're not willing to have him speak without your voice-overs... post the unedited version, sure...
a couple of notes:
1) Ron Paul is far less absolute with his private property positions, for example this anarcho-capitalist idea of private security forces and protection insurance is completely at odds with Ron Paul's platform (Ron Paul thinks that one of the few functions that the government should have is to enforce the law and provide security).
2) your idea that the state evolved naturally out of smaller unions is a fairy tale, Scott Horton is totally correct about that... nation-states were forced on people by extreme and very ugly violence... pick up a left-wing book by someone like Chomsky or Zinn where it's discussed (or see e.g. http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=7885)
The problems with your "BS alert"
Posted by Mechael on 2007-11-10 21:35:53
What you fail to realize is that no system of government is absolutely liberal, republican, fascist, or libertarian....There will always be parts of all ideology.

You go into this bullshit rant with an extreme viewpoint of libertarianism. I feel libertarianism that is constrained with the US Constitution is the best way to limit legal abuses to citizens by the elitist class.

...FAIL...
Noam Chomsky on Ron Paul
Posted by Pile on 2007-11-21 15:49:06
I'm assuming you know who Ron Paul is. And I'm also assuming you have a general idea about his positions.

Here is my summary of Mr. Paul's positions - He values property rights, and contracts between people (defended by law enforcement and courts).

Under all circumstances? Suppose someone facing starvation accepts a contract with General Electric that requires him to work 12 hours a day locked into a factory with no health-safety regulations, no security, no benefits, etc. And the person accepts it because the alternative is that his children will starve. Fortunately, that form of savagery was overcome by democratic politics long ago. Should all of those victories for poor and working people be dismantled, as we enter into a period of private tyranny (with contracts defended by law enforcement)? Not my cup of tea.

He wants to take away the unfair advantage corporations have (via the dismantling of big government)

"Dismantling of big government" sounds like a nice phrase. What does it mean? Does it mean that corporations go out of existence, because there will no longer be any guarantee of limited liability? Does it mean that all health, safety, workers rights, etc., go out the window because they were instituted by public pressures implemented through government, the only component of the governing system that is at least to some extent accountable to the public (corporations are unaccountable, apart from generally weak regulatory apparatus)? Does it mean that the economy should collapse, because basic R&D is typically publicly funded -- like what we're now using, computers and the internet? Should we eliminate roads, schools, public transportation, environmental regulation,....? Does it mean that we should be ruled by private tyrannies with no accountability to the general public, while all democratic forms are tossed out the window? Quite a few questions arise.

He defends workers right to organize (so long as owners have the right to argue against it).

Rights that are enforced by state police power, as you've already mentioned.

There are huge differences between workers and owners. Owners can fire and intimidate workers, not conversely. just for starters. Putting them on a par is effectively supporting the rule of owners over workers, with the support of state power -- itself largely under owner control, given concentration of resources.

He proposes staying out of the foreign affairs of other nations (unless his home is directly attacked, and must respond to defend it).

He is proposing a form of ultranationalism, in which we are concerned solely with our preserving our own wealth and extraordinary advantages, getting out of the UN, rejecting any international prosecution of US criminals (for aggressive war, for example), etc. Apart from being next to meaningless, the idea is morally unacceptable, in my view.

I really can't find differences between your positions and his.

There's a lot more. Take Social Security. If he means what he says literally, then widows, orphans, the disabled who didn't themselves pay into Social Security should not benefit (or of course those awful illegal aliens). His claims about SS being "broken" are just false. He also wants to dismantle it, by undermining the social bonds on which it is based -- the real meaning of offering younger workers other options, instead of having them pay for those who are retired, on the basis of a communal decision based on the principle that we should have concern for others in need. He wants people to be able to run around freely with assault rifles, on the basis of a distorted reading of the Second Amendment (and while we're at it, why not abolish the whole raft of constitutional provisions and amendments, since they were all enacted in ways he opposes?).
So I have these questions:

Can you please tell me the differences between your schools of "Libertarianism"?

There are a few similarities here and there, but his form of libertarianism would be a nightmare, in my opinion -- on the dubious assumption that it could even survive for more than a brief period without imploding.

Can you please tell me what role "private property" and "ownership" have in your school of "Libertarianism"?

That would have to be worked out by free communities, and of course it is impossible to respond to what I would prefer in abstraction from circumstances, which make a great deal of difference, obviously.

Would you support Ron Paul, if he was the Republican presidential candidate...and Hilary Clinton was his Democratic opponent?

No.
Growing confusion bubble
Posted by Mick on 2007-12-15 02:08:21
Does anyone actually read all of these comments?

When asked "Doesn't the government kind of balance the power of the corporations." Ron Paul replies "What people don't understand is that they're playing on the same team."
If you believe this then corporate power will go down if the government is made smaller.

Ron Paul won't bring back the middle class, but he will stop corporations from encroaching on it more.

Now for my schpiel....

The difference between a government and a corporation is that you have to pay a government and don't have to pay corporations. Corporations want to change that though, and they're hard at work making attempts to destroy competition so you have to go to them for that service.

Ron Paul's got a long record of not being corrupt and he's smart. He understands the economy better than almost everyone, and seems to be able to relate to ordinary people.

People just seem to want to express themselves on these forums, to anybody. There's no real conversation here, and even if there were, these are complex issues and none of us have any experience with them! We can't all be well-informed, thoughtful people. Who will win in the shouting match?

Anyway, I feel better.
Sophomores?
Posted by Robert on 2007-12-29 16:50:52
The three folks talking on these podcasts sound like insecure sophomore college students who after one year in college believe they are more intelligent than they really are but really have no answers themselves to any of the questions posed of the interviewee: "Look how superior we are to this libertarian guy! Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk."
You're not paying attention!
Posted by Pile on 2007-12-29 17:23:56
I assure you Robert, I'm not a sophomore college student. However, I guess your anonymity gives you some sort of intellectual superiority? Who are you other than another set of pixels with a disparaging opinion and nothing to back it up?

Ron Paul won't bring back the middle class, but he will stop corporations from encroaching on it more.

How will he stop corporations from encroaching on it?

Did you actually listen to the podcast? This is exactly the point we make. The libertarian ideals he espouses have not proven in any way to curtail the problems with big commercial or private interests. That's the whole point of our criticism. Abolishing "corporate personhood" is another reaction that in and of itself wouldn't make much of a difference. In the early days of the industrial revolution, there was no corporate personhood and the privileged raped and pillaged the middle and lower classes. This economic survival-of-the-fittest is what selfish Ronbots get hardons over. But they are too stupid to realize this will come back to bite them on the ass hard.

I said it in the podcast. I keep saying it. If you guys have a PLAN, we want to hear it. But abolishing various government departments is NOT A PLAN. That's a REACTION, which in no way addresses any of the core issues at hand. This is analogous to suggesting if you get rid of all cars, we won't have any more automobile accidents. It's a knee-jerk, shallow, attempt to address a complicated problem with a one-dimensional solution that, as we proved in the podcast, has never, ever proven to work in the history of human civilization.

As for the notion that many Ron Paul followers suggest that yes, he's a bit of an extremist and it's unlikely his radical agenda would ever be imposed, I agree with you. But just because he's proposing something that if half-implemented might be an improvement, is not good enough for me to give him a thumbs up when his ideology and the way he thinks indicates he has some serious mental deficiencies and delusions.

Haven't you people learned anything in the past 7 years? You can't let nutjobs get this much power, even if they have a few good ideas. Their propensity to go totally nuts with power outweighs the benefit. I'd rather support a candidate who has a more realistic approach towards defending the constitution, and also one that doesn't think the earth is 6000 years old and Jesus rode a dinosaur.
neolibertarian
Posted by Tom Holland on 2008-01-06 13:02:59
Haha, I guess I would be a neo-libertarian had the US not proved so incompetent at such an endeavour as regime change. And that all previous attempts at it say by the British empire had not left terrible messes about the world - see Israel/palestine, Northern Ireland, India/Pakistan/Kashmir.
summary
Posted by have to say it on 2008-03-26 17:14:06
pile is a douche who thinks his anecdotal experiences and hunches are superior to the proven record of the constitution. This thread had some good info, none of it coming from pile.
zzzzzz
Posted by Pile on 2008-03-26 17:22:42
ad hominem instead of anything useful.. that's unoriginal.

What "proven record of the constitution?" Where does the Constitution say that corporations should answer to no authority?
hihihi
Posted by hihihi on 2008-06-11 02:14:55
I have a question for you anarchists-sorry i mean libertarians. What happens if we get attacked by Iran or some country with an organized army? How do we fight back?

Yours truly-
hihihihi
market forces
Posted by Pile on 2009-01-31 10:57:48
I think those people expect "the invisible hand of the market" to protect them.
Wow I can't believe I just read all that!
Posted by Tired on 2009-02-28 04:28:50
I just recently became aware of Libertarian principles and thinking, and I must say I'm quite impressed, especially given the very formidable and ominous move towards fascism in the United States.

Quite frankly, I am alarmed at the rapid accelerating erosion of liberties, free markets, and freedoms in America. This encroachment by the Federal govt needs urgently to be balanced.

I admire Ron Paul for his unwavering integrity and principles and for speaking out against even his own party in favor of the constitution that all US politicians swore to uphold, but the vast majority have turned their back on.

I am not even American, rather Canadian, but I can see the ominous trend in the US and have little doubt that Canada and the rest of the world will also suffer if USA falls into fascism.

Libertarian principles are therefore not a matter of pie in the sky idealogies at this point in time, but a matter of urgent need - the pendulum has swung too far toward centralized govt control.

What is happening with the patriot act, the bailouts of the banksters, the enormous so-called stimulus packages, etc. is getting out of control.

As far as I can see we desperately need Libertarian movement to stand up against the folly of ever increasing govt - Ron Paul is a hero for standing firm against the Federal Reserve fiat currency led crime of the century.

It's time for us people to stop our bickering and unite to save our children's liberties.

I'm sorry I can't be more eloquent - I'm Tired!
What's to admire?
Posted by Pile on 2009-02-28 11:47:42
Ron Paul has no "unwavering integrity" - what are you talking about? If you pay attention to what he says, he talks out of both sides of his mouth constantly.

He claims to be for smaller government but he wants to overturn Roe v Wade and make abortion illegal. He talks about less regulation, then he goes on the news networks and says we need more regulation and control of the banking system. He blames the collapse of the economy on the Federal Reserve, which is delusional. He's an evangelical fundy christian who doesn't believe in evolution. He also does not believe in the separation of church and state and would be perfectly happy to turn America into a theocracy with a state-sanctioned religion.

This podcast continues to reiterate what you have apparently missed: Radical libertarians like Ron Paul are nowhere near as respectful of "freedom" as you think once you begin to look deeply into their platform.
Posted by MrZero on 2010-03-26 07:38:21
Hi You mentioned you did have the entire 5H of the debate with your libertarian on mp3 could you give me a link to this ?
You can get it on mega upload or Rapideshere you don
Idiots on both sides
Posted by Ashley on 2010-11-06 15:21:22
I am a libertarian, and I am not impressed by the radio interviewee. I can talk about libertarianism without referring to any other ism's, but rather ideas. The most important of which is 'subsidiarity', is the practical argument for and evolutionary road to anarchy.
Posted by Pile on 2010-11-06 16:59:06
As mentioned, there are a bunch of different types of libertarianism. You have to elaborate on what you're talking about. This podcast is about the minarchist version.
Libertarian International Organization
Posted by ralph on 2011-02-06 08:15:32
I recommend http://www.Libertarian-International.org which has been working on these issues for a very long time and explodes a lot of these assumptions IMO.
 

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