Also, Your Record Sucks

This piece by Digby does a good job explaining to Conor the difference between civil and economic libertarians, but leaves out one salient point. The reason no one takes most libertarians seriously is because they keep voting for people who do a great job securing economic “liberty,” which basically just means they do a great job stripping necessary regulations and cutting taxes for the Koch brothers, but they do a horrible job reversing any of the negative civil liberties trends. And on many social issues, they just punt and roll with the wingnuts anyway- ask Ron and Rand Paul how they feel about abortion and the freedom to choose. Also, they like that you are free to be shot by some lunatic as you stand talking to your congressmen. So yeah, Ronald Bailey writes a piece every now and then about global warming, and someone at Reason can wax eloquent about prison rape, but so what?

On the other hand, so-called economic libertarians with their Republican and corporate masters have just been having a great time of things. Just the other day, the Supreme Court gave us the freedom from worrying about suing our employers if they wrong us. With the inevitable Medicare and Medicaid cuts because the Koch brothers don’t want to pay taxes, old and poor people will soon be free to die in the streets. Once we completely gut the EPA, you will be free to drink all the hydro-fracking residue you want! If we privatize social security, you will be free to have your savings wiped out when the unregulated Galtian super-geniuses rob you, me, and everyone else, and you are free from the ability to sue them. If the libertarians get their way and ACA is overturned, you will be once again free to get kicked out of your health insurance because you have a pre-existing condition and you will be free to try to find a plan on your own that costs twice what you make a year. If they have their way, tort reform will give you the freedom from ever worry about a civil court remedy. You’re free from job security, you’re free from a pension, you’re free from medical care, you’re free of clean water, and you’re free from good roads and solid infrastructure. Freedom, it’s on the rise everywhere!

You want glibertarians to respect your rights? Declare yourself a corporation. Until then, suck it up, whiners. Producers are tired of your shit.






96 replies
  1. 1
    Stooleo says:

    Wow, epic rant. Bravo.

  2. 2
    Yutsano says:

    BUT THEY’RE NOT REPUBLICANS!! It’s true, just ask them.

  3. 3
    BGinCHI says:

    What about free parking?

  4. 4
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Wonderful, John! One of your best posts.

    And happy birthday.

  5. 5
    tdd says:

    This is righteous.

  6. 6
    Martin says:

    Ideologues are assholes. All of them.

  7. 7
    Bludger says:

    Wow, epic rant. Bravo.

    Amen

  8. 8
    Head Bulshytt Talker in Chief of the Temple of Libertarianism(superluminar) says:

    Excellent post Cole. But no mention of EDK on LoOG? Where he laughed at our obsession with Teh Kochs? (Not Weiner’s).

  9. 9
    Han's Solo says:

    Nicely done!

  10. 10
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Give me liberty and give me death! as one of our founding fathers said.

  11. 11
    Citizen_X says:

    Awesome, Cole. You make the split in the rhetoric and the win-fail record crystal clear.

    And yes, “Libertarian” just means you’re a Republican who still wants to be accepted by the cool kids.

  12. 12
    Morbo says:

    Ask Ron and Rand whether they think state sodomy laws should be illegal while you’re at it.

  13. 13
    kdaug says:

    Ain’t sure who pissed in your cornflakes, Cole [sly wink at Tunch], but it’s done you some good. Keep it up – you’re getting there.

    [Good kitty.]

  14. 14
    Own-ry says:

    Thank you garden deer, it’s good to have Cole back.

  15. 15
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    One of the fraudulent things about Economic Libertarianism is their pretence that this is some sort of argument from first principles as if we don’t have any experience with an actual society run along the lines they seek. That’s bullshit. We already tried this experiment, from the Gilded Age thru the Great Depression. It sucked, and the overwhelming majority of Americans rejected it. Next utopia please?

  16. 16
    trixie larue says:

    What I don’t get is why the wealthiest persist in trying to destroy life for everyone else? I know, how dumb am I. But it almost seems like an illness that they are so consumed with tearing down social programs that made it possible to become a global partner. They are richer now than they were before the collapse in 2008. Yet they are obsessed. They are sick and seriously twisted.

  17. 17
    Chris says:

    This piece by Digby does a good job explaining to Conor the difference between civil and economic libertarians,

    That sentence at the beginning of a front-pager’s article has got to be the biggest Atreides-bait since Arrakis itself.

    Not that I’m complaining. Now, where’d I put that popcorn…

  18. 18
    cleek says:

    i kinda feel sorry for the libertarians – the same way i feel sorry for the ideologically-pure lefties who think the public option was two or three rousing speeches away from becoming reality. they either don’t understand the US political system, or they understand it but don’t care because acknowledging it would force them to admit their own irrelevance.

  19. 19
    jfxgillis says:

    John:

    As I put it on one of E.D.’s LoOG threads, when libertarians matter they suck, and when they don’t suck they don’t matter.

  20. 20
    kdaug says:

    That sentence at the beginning of a front-pager’s article has got to be the biggest Atreides-bait since Arrakis itself.

    He who controls the spice…

  21. 21
    RSA says:

    Conor:

    [Metcalf] writes, as an aside, that libertarianism is the same thing as caring for nothing beyond one’s own “naked self-interest.”

    A slightly different interpretation of Metcalf is possible. He writes, “to the extent she cares for anything beyond her own naked self-interest—oh, wait, that is libertarianism—Sarah Palin.” I think it would be fair to say that libertarianism is an exaltation of the “naked self-interest” of individuals. Of course, that makes it hard to say anything about systemic problems (the poor, for example, or the victims of prejudice), because libertarians tend to either say that the problems will go away by themselves or that life is unfair.

  22. 22
    slag says:

    We already tried this experiment, from the Gilded Age thru the Great Depression.

    Tobias: “You know, Lindsay, as a therapist, I have advised a number of couples to explore an open relationship where-where the couple remains emotionally committed but free to explore extramarital… encounters.”
    Lindsay: “Did it work for those people?”
    Tobias: “No. It never does. These people somehow delude themselves into thinking it might, but– but it might work for us…”

  23. 23
    Roger Moore says:

    @TLTIABQ:

    One of the fraudulent things about Economic Libertarianism is their pretence that this is some sort of argument from first principles as if we don’t have any experience with an actual society run along the lines they seek.

    I don’t think they’re pretending we don’t have experience with the system they’re proposing. I think they profess not to care. They claim that theoretical arguments about abstract freedom are more important than real world consequences. Whether this theoretical outlook can be distinguished from desiring the outcome that real world experience teaches us to expect is left as an exercise for those looking at the bankrollers of the modern “Libertarian” movement.

  24. 24
    BO_Bill says:

    Reviewing history, humans having held positions of political power can be thus classed:

    1. Those who lead (Alpha).
    2. Those who seek to govern (Beta or Omega.)

    Thinking Libertarians accept leaders and reject those who seek to govern their lives. The ability for Men to self-govern correlates closely with intelligence. Leaders embrace the intelligent, viewing them as national assets. Those who seek to govern embrace the dim, viewing them as controllable.

  25. 25
    RosiesDad says:

    Great job, Cole, of explaining why we are totally and completely fucked.

    The Koch brothers and those like them own the process and in the end, they are gonna load you and me into the machine that turns us into Soylent Green.

  26. 26
    Redshift says:

    What I don’t get is why the wealthiest persist in trying to destroy life for everyone else?

    Because they’re absolutely convinced that they got theirs with no help from anyone, with no dependence on the government that maintains the roads and enforces the laws and provides the entire environment that is necessary for capitalism to function, so why should any of their sweet, sweet moolah go to pay for such things for people who weren’t as enterprising and hard-working?

    I had the pleasure of spending a week with a friend of my father’s earlier this year who had inherited money and made more, and would pose questions like “I’m not going to use Medicare; I go to the Mayo Clinic and pay for everything out of pocket. Why shouldn’t I get a refund of what I paid into Medicare?”

  27. 27
    BGinCHI says:

    Leaders embrace the intelligent, viewing them as national assets.

    So, was George W. Bush a leader?

  28. 28
    Martin says:

    Thank you garden deer, it’s good to have Cole back

    Ok, that’s just mean.

    Cole, get that fence built!

  29. 29
    BGinCHI says:

    Are we ever getting the Reply button back?

    I want my Reply freedom!!

  30. 30
    Cat Lady says:

    Just wish that we might all live in a state of perfect liberty, free of taxation and intrusive government, and that we should all be wealthier as well as freer. Now wish that people should, despite that lack of any restraint on their actions such as might be formed by policemen, functioning law courts, the SEC, and so on, not spend all their time screwing each other in predictable ways ranging from ordinary rape, through the selling of fraudulent stocks in non-existent ventures, up to the wholesale dumping of mercury in the public water supplies. (I mean, the general stock of water from which people privately draw.) Awesome huh? But it gets better. Now wish that everyone had a pony.

    Digby’s a national treasure, but Belle Waring pWn3d Conor and his ilk years ago.

  31. 31
    Brachiator says:

    Great Rant. One of Digby’s points:

    Although I think they have a utopian view of how humans organize and behave I have a grudging admiration for their consistency, however much I disagree with it.

    This reminded me of an item I ran across on the Internets recently, from Merlin Mann

    Being consistent is WAY less interesting than being yourself. And if you’re not interesting? Good luck with your Big Consistency Project.

    The universe is not consistent, or rather, it is consistently surprising. I can never understand why some people are so big on imposing or admiring order for it’s own sake.

  32. 32
    Roger Moore says:

    @trixie larue:

    What I don’t get is why the wealthiest persist in trying to destroy life for everyone else

    Because they’re sociopaths. Their money hasn’t bought them happiness, so they’re trying to see if ruling over the lives of others will fill the void where their soul ought to be.

  33. 33
    BO_Bill says:

    Bush 41 sought to govern. Bush 43 had the capacity to neither lead nor govern. He was, in fact, led.

  34. 34
    kdaug says:

    They claim that theoretical arguments about abstract freedom are more important than real world consequences.

    “Create their own reality”, indeed.

    We’re just soaking in it.

  35. 35
    Citizen_X says:

    cleek@18: I don’t feel sorry for them. They’re the vanguard for the total rule of the plutocrats. As Cole pointed out, they’re getting their way on the economic issues, and it’s been a good-paying gig. Plenty of wingnut welfare out there for those looking for a gig at Cato/AEI/Heritage Foundation/blah blah blah.

    Sort of on-topic: Somebody yesterday posted a link to this discussion by Stephen Metcalf of Robert Nozick and the rise of Libertarianism, and I think it’s worth reading. One ironic point Metcalf makes is that Nozick partly succeeded in the mid-70s by appealing to academics’ vanity; pointing out that they were being highly valued (at the time) by virtue of their hard-won talents. But this high valuation–crushed by the Reagan Revolution that Nozick and others helped usher in–was a product of the massive expansion of education and research, subsidized by the strong (military-industrial) State the Libertarians were criticizing! Oh, mine own petard! Why do you hoist me so?

  36. 36
    Martin says:

    Well, how do you do.

    Controller John Chiang has blocked pay for lawmakers, putting state budget negotiations into uncharted territory and upping the pressure on legislative leaders to strike a deal.
    __
    Chiang rejected his own party’s spending plan as insufficient to satisfy a voter-approved law requiring timely budgets.

    CA, due to some voter initiative (you guys have no clue how fucking many of these things – good or bad – we have tying the state up in knots) says that legislators stop getting paid if we don’t get a budget offered up by June 15. Well, the (Democratic) legislators did pass a budget on the 15th, but it was a bit hinky and a bit shitty and so the (Democratic) governor vetoed it. I guess Brown wasn’t the only one who thought it was too hinky and shitty, so the (Democratic) controller froze pay today.

    You’d expect some handwringing over Democrats in disarray or some shit like that, and I suppose there’s a bit, but I think CA has finally gotten to a point with the budget that the voters just don’t put up with the medias middle school drama bullshit any longer when it comes to the budget.

    The governor is supposed to unveil a budget counterproposal today or tomorrow.

  37. 37
    cleek says:

    I can never understand why some people are so big on imposing or admiring order for it’s own sake.

    order makes life easy to understand, predict and diagnose. if everybody else is behaving predictably, and your place in the scheme of things is clearly defined, everything will be efficient, with little conflict, and few failures.

    in other words: it’s the engineering impulse.

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    I don’t think they’re pretending we don’t have experience with the system they’re proposing. I think they profess not to care. They claim that theoretical arguments about abstract freedom are more important than real world consequences.

    That’s because the argument they’re making is theological, not rational. They’re arguing that we need to put this regime into place because it’s morally right, not because it would actually work. The problems that arise from libertarianism are just proof that our faith is weak and we need to be even more strict in our observance.

    Asking a libertarian why we should end all regulation is like asking a Christian why Jesus rose from the dead. Ayn Rand said it, I believe it, end of story.

  39. 39
  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:

    @ Martin:

    I’ve been following Kevin Drum’s practice of voting “no” on all propositions, but I could barely get my Inkavote in the hole fast enough to pass that one. It really pissed me off that DMV workers and other state employees were getting laid off while the legislature was dicking around with the budget for 9 months.

  41. 41
    jl says:

    The Reason type and other “public intellecutal” libertarians seem to be a mixed lot.

    Some of them have a strong civil libertarian streak, and are concerned about misuse of government power to control physical, intellectual liberty and property (but which goes into hibernation if it bothers anyone with too much money or power). But so what, many people from many ideological perspectives can be strong civil libertarians.

    Some of them believe in mainstream neoclassical economic (Chicago school) theory enough to go with that. Among these people, libertarianism is a way for society to maximize human welfare through the action of an unregulated free market. I’m not sure these people are real libertarians, because neoclassical economic theory, even the extreme Chicago School, Milton Friedman type, is built on the the idea that free markets can achieve maximum social welfare. They just have a bunch of assumptions that end up with the conclusion that maximum social welfare can only be achieved through decentralized individual decision making in voluntary associations and exchanges. But these folks use a theory that ultimately assumes that social welfare means something. In that sense, these people are commies. By the standards of other libertarians, Miltion Friedman is a commie, especially his macroeconomics, where its collectivist conceptual underpinning are revealed to the horror of all right thinking people.

    Another branch of libertarianism is the Nozick crowd. They do not believe in any society, do not believe that ‘social welfare’ means anything, and they do not give a hoot what the market does or does not do for people on average. They want a free market because voluntary exchange is the only way free people can maintain control over their ‘stuff’, their rightful endowment, and use it as they see fit.

    DeLong has a post about the Nozickian libertarians today.

    http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/.....ozick.html

    Back in the day when I would try to read a good chunk of Reason magazine, what was frustrating for me is that I saw all three of these kinds of libertarianism jumbled together in a perfect mishmash.

    As far as I could tell, the type of libertarianism that was rolled out depended on what was needed to win the argument, or win the sympathy of the reader, in the current issue of Reason, or the particular article, or point, or sometimes even paragraph, and sometimes even sentence.

    For me, this is the big problem with people in the professional libertarian biz in the US. Their various arguments reveal that their self proclaimed very logical and consistent set of beliefs is a really mishmash of different things.

    I think it would be difficult for libertarians to be consistent in all their arguments. First, it would splinter the group into an even more marginal movement than it is now, since some of them would have to part ways. Second, even fewer people outside the movement would take them seriously.

    Read DeLong’s descrption of Nozick style libertarianism and think about how many people would not catch on to the problems at least intuitively and vaguely. Most people would not like it because it would seem unfair, ugly, and would, even if only subconsciously, be concerned about all the special pleading and arbitrariness of it all. Let alone the ugliness of a world that ran on those principles.

  42. 42
    geg6 says:

    Brachiator @31:

    As my mother always told me, consistency isn’t a virtue. Her two favorite quotes about it:

    Ralph Waldo Emerson:

    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

    Bernard Berenson:

    “Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.”

  43. 43
    Elliecat says:

    Citizen_X@35:

    Somebody yesterday posted a link to this discussion by Stephen Metcalf of Robert Nozick and the rise of Libertarianism, and I think it’s worth reading. One ironic point Metcalf makes is that Nozick partly succeeded in the mid-70s by appealing to academics’ vanity; pointing out that they were being highly valued (at the time) by virtue of their hard-won talents.

    I followed that link and yes, definitely worth reading.
    [quote from someone else]:

    What I don’t get is why the wealthiest persist in trying to destroy life for everyone else?

    Some of them aren’t actively doing this, they are just so completely sheltered and out of touch, they have no idea how everyone else lives.

    Hell, people don’t even have to be super-rich or rich to be like this. I’ve spent time among (vocally liberal) people who are moderately “comfortable” who don’t have a clue how people poorer than they are live or how what they do or support impacts on those people’s lives and survival.
    ETA: [quote from someone else]:

  44. 44
    Derf says:

    Bahahaha….John Galt Cole letting his Libertarian freak flag fly!

    At least you aren’t trying to hide your reasoning mutation anymore. You are embracing it and that’s good. Like an overweight teenage girl accepting her weight problem and celebrating her full figure! But, sadly at the end of the day she is still just an unpopular fat kid

  45. 45
    Martin says:

    I’ve been following Kevin Drum’s practice of voting “no” on all propositions, but I could barely get my Inkavote in the hole fast enough to pass that one. It really pissed me off that DMV workers and other state employees were getting laid off while the legislature was dicking around with the budget for 9 months.

    Mine is similar but a bit more complex. I vote ‘no’ on all initiatives other than ‘meta’ ones. Basically, anything that the legislature would have a conflict of interest in – like redistricting or legislator pay for not passing a budget. Those are exactly the kind of thing voters should have a say on rather than legislators.

  46. 46
    TheF79 says:

    I’d make a further distinction amongst “economic libertarians” – A) there are those who think government intervention in the market (regulation and taxes) creates economic inefficiencies and distortions, and B) there are those who think government intervention in the market is immoral.

    I can talk rationally to the former but not the latter. The former treats non-intervention in the market as a means to an end, while the latter treats non-intervention as an end in and of itself. The former is grounded (to a certain extent) in modern economic theory, while the latter is little more than the adolescent yelping of Randroids. And unfortunately the former appears to be waning while the latter appears to be waxing…

  47. 47
    Trinity says:

    I came for the Tunch pics.
    I stayed for the rants.

    Most excellent Cole. Most excellent.

  48. 48
    jl says:

    Intellectual consistency is a virtue, but not the only virtue.

    Loudly claiming that your movement has more consistency than anyone else, that you are the only really logical and consistent movement, when simply reading the plain English of what people in your movement write proves otherwise, that repeated claim becomes a vice.

  49. 49
    jl says:

    I agree with Trinity. Thinking about libertarianism, the idea of a nice TunchPic comes to mind.

    This is a very good post, but a pic of Tunch to illustrate some of the libertarian virtues would make it perfect.

  50. 50
    jl says:

    Or Rosie pic of Tunch is in his secret undisclosed location plotting something.

  51. 51
    Redshift says:

    in other words: it’s the engineering impulse.

    Hey! Just because there are engineers who go to the dark side doesn’t mean it’s “the engineering impulse.” It’s just as twisted in engineering terms as it is in political terms. Engineering is about making things and systems that work well, and that means dealing with the messiness of whatever environment it’s operating in. People (and I’ve met them) who would rather declare any outside factors to be irrelevant and ignore them rather than mess up their beautiful perfect system are bad engineers, just like they are bad politicians.

  52. 52
    Thoughtcrime says:

    Fiefdom isn’t free!

  53. 53
    danimal says:

    I just need to admire art when I see it. That was an epic rant, and I hope it rattles some libertarian skulls.

  54. 54
    Pliny says:

    My favorite part about many rich “anti-government” libertarians is when their business models are based around lucrative government contracts, granted in return for campaign contributions.

    But then that’s the worldwide neoliberal model, right? Sell off any public resources (at pennies on the dollar) and convert government to a service that collects taxes and uses the money to pay private contractors (because as we all know, if it doesn’t produce a quick profit, it’s not worth doing)

  55. 55
    Redshift says:

    jl @ 41

    But so what, many people from many ideological perspectives can be strong civil libertarians.

    Yes. I posted this over at Digby’s as well, but it puzzles me to see civil libertarians considered as a type of libertarian. I’ve never thought of it that way. It seems to me it’s just an unfortunate coincidence of language, which might be remedied by using “civil liberties advocate” instead.

    The root of both is the same, but if I were to diagram them, it seems like the split would be “civil liberties” splitting off from “liberty,” not “civil libertarian” splitting off from “libertarian.” Anyone agree/disagree?

  56. 56
    liberal says:

    @41 jl wrote,

    They want a free market because voluntary exchange is the only way free people can maintain control over their ‘stuff’, their rightful endowment, and use it as they see fit.

    This is the real flaw of libertarianism. The strange thing is that most critics of libertarianism don’t dwell on it.

    The usual critical response to libertarianism makes appeals to “the social contract,” “the way humans organize societies/cultures/etc.” This is a failing.

    The problem is the definition of “my stuff.” What’s a reasonable definition of “my stuff”? It should clearly include:
    (1) The products of my labor
    (2) “Stuff” I exchange for the product of my labor
    (3) Any “stuff” gifted to me (e.g., from my parents)

    Note that in classical economics, there are three factors of production: labor, capital, and land. Modern neoclassical economics conflates land and capital, but we’re not obligated to agree with that bastardization. Land is the product of no one’s labor (when we’re not including its improvements, which are correctly classified as capital), and hence private ownership of land and capture of its income (“rent”) is not justified—at least not in absence of compensation of those deprived of access (via land value taxation).

    Thus, so-called libertarians include amongst “their stuff” assets which are not the product of their labor, or anyone elses—rather, they’re products of a government-granted privilege.

    Similarly, if we look at other economic rents, we can dismiss the claim that Bill Gates “earned” his wealth—rather, he minted it via a government-granted privilege (“intellectual property”). And if you look at the roster of America’s (or the world’s) richest, you’ll see that most (but not all) became wealthy on the back of such government-granted privileges.

    With this analysis in hand—one we owe largely to Henry George, and to which Marx (for whatever peculiar reasons of his own) was opposed to—we can see that far from being advocates of pure liberty, most so-called libertarians (“geolibertarians” excepted) are freedom-despising crypto-feudalist scum.

    Oh—and if anyone replies, “well, I _paid_ for this government-granted license!”, one can merely observe that slave owners paying for their slaves did nothing to mitigate the charge that they were stealing their slaves labor.

    And we can conclude that yes, government does indeed redistribute wealth—but not downwards, as most people assume (“is”, in the case of most, and “ought” in the case of our ilk).

  57. 57
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    Excellent post Cole. But no mention of EDK on LoOG? Where he laughed at our obsession with Teh Kochs? (Not Weiner’s).

    yeah Cole, like the Head Bulshytt Talker said, why isnt the LoOG in the mock column?
    hypocrite much?

    And you and Digby are both wrong. There is no inconsistancy in AMERICAN libertarianism– its just that libertarians only want liberty for their tribe– and their tribe is the business class elite and Distributed Jesusland…

    If i can paraphrase a famous libertarian military man, the only good libertarian is a dead libertarian. Nits breed free market lice.

  58. 58
    Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E) says:

    @redshift 55

    That’s pretty much how I’ve seen it. I’ve always considered myself a liberal, and I’ve been a member of ACLU.

    I’ve never, ever thought AYn Rand wasn’t insane. Or a shitty writer.

  59. 59
    Consumer Unit 5012 says:

    “A Libertarian is just a Republican who takes drugs.” – Bob Black

  60. 60
    Yevgraf says:

    Dick Cheney had a great solution – shoot a rich guy in the face.

  61. 61
    jl says:

    @56 liberal – June 22, 2011

    I agree. The libertarian arguments about what is ‘my stuff’ is arbitrary.

    If it suits their argument, any government action to define a property right, and make benefits and costs of that property appropriable by a set of individuals, is interference with the market, or government tyranny, or confiscation of some other person’s rightful stuff.

    For example, product labeling is bad because it interferes with amount of information provided spontaneously produced in the free market. Or, it is tyrannical government brainwashing people that they are too stupid to figure things out for themselves. Or, it interferes with my right to sell ‘my stuff’ any way I please to people.

    But unlimited patents are fine.

  62. 62
    Jeff Darcy says:

    “You want glibertarians to respect your rights? Declare yourself a corporation.”

    I think you meant that to be snarky, but things have gotten so bad that I almost wonder whether it’s actually good real-world advice. If gibbertarians believe that corporations are infallible and morally superior to humans, which is the only belief consistent with their actions, and if the government is increasingly inclined to go along with them, then maybe I should incorporate. Lower taxes, limited financial liability, infinite anonymous campaign contributions, no possibility of jail no matter what I do . . . where do I sign up?

  63. 63
    Brachiator says:

    geg6 @ 42. I really like the Berenson quote. Thanks for that.

    liberal @56:

    This is the real flaw of libertarianism. The strange thing is that most critics of libertarianism don’t dwell on it.

    I always thought that the biggest flaw of libertarianism is that, like Marxism, it is a purely idealistic theory that ignores facts, history and reality. Oddly, libertarians are very consistent in this regard.

  64. 64
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @Redshift

    but it puzzles me to see civil libertarians considered as a type of libertarian.

    Oh but they are. I thrashed this out with Jim Manzi.
    civil libertarians are actually advocates of localized mob rule.
    granted, it can be confusing.
    Here is a simple rule, from my Unified Field Theory of Libertarianism.
    If it is a national, or a global civil right, american libertarians are against it. if it is a local civil right, like the LOCAL majority voting to restrict collective bargaining, or establish Klan voucher schools, then american libertarians are for it.

    What Conor and Digby are fumbling around trying to access is called The Paradox of Libertarianism.
    aka Distributed Jesusland™

    That is what redistricting is– building Distributed Jesusland™ one district at a time.

  65. 65
    Turgidson says:

    Wow, that was some top-notch rant. Superb.

  66. 66
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @jl
    its pretty easy to understand American libertarians if you read this.

  67. 67
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    Wow, that was some top-notch rant. Superb.

    meh, Cole is a big fat hypocrite.
    Sure, Sully is in the mock column– but the League of Ordinary Gentlemen is still on the blogroll.

  68. 68
    Yevgraf says:

    If it is a national, or a global civil right, american libertarians are against it. if it is a local civil right, like the LOCAL majority voting to restrict collective bargaining, or establish Klan voucher schools, then american libertarians are for it.

    Distributed Jesusland is the Ron/Rand Paul model.

    Basically, the premise is that you have a really pretty sounding, but completely unenforceable Bill of Rights. In the feudal places, the little libertarian baronies of the South, the exurbs, some ruralities and parts of the midwest, your local libertarians can run off them ni99ers, sp*cs, kikes, god-haters and homersekshuls. Thems that ain’t runned offt, their kids can be treated bad until they toe the line. If you keep repeating and conditioning, you can swamp the cities with state-generated nasty legislation that can make ‘Murka the sort of paradise where a ni99er knows his place agin’, even in the city.

  69. 69
    jl says:

    ” You want glibertarians to respect your rights? Declare yourself a BIG corporation WITH LOTS OF MONEY. Until then, suck it up, whiners. Producers are tired of your shit. ”

    I clarified Cole’s last sentence.

  70. 70
    Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E) says:

    @Ghanima Atreides
    No they’re not. You might really wish that were the case, but you are still fucking wrong about this. But since the dead horse is well and truly beaten we’ll say “civl liberties advocate.”

    It comes down to this: adults can consent to do what they want with their person or property, so long as it doesn’t affect a non-consenting other. In this light I have no problem with things like prostitution or drug use, but I am still in favor of things like air quality standards and workplace safety laws because those actions affect others who have not consented (e.g. smog doesn’t stay near the smoke stack it came out of.)

    I think you are nuttier than the contents of a squirrel’s lunch box, but for some reason I find your comments interesting and somewhat erudite, but your OCD fixation on the suffix “arian” off of the root “liberty” is really holding you back.

    Why don’t you polish up your theory and take this into account?

  71. 71
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    Bookmarking now for future stealing reference.

  72. 72

    You want glibertarians to respect your rights? Declare yourself a corporation. Until then, suck it up, whiners. Producers are tired of your shit.

    Yes, they love to talk about their rights their RIGHTS but no one every talks about their responsibilities, do they? You can’t have one without the other. They go hand in hand.

    And by responsibilities I don’t mean “personal responsibility,” the only responsibility that Rush Limbaugh and the rest seem to talk about, though they display precious little of it themselves. I’m talking about your responsibility to your family, your neighbor, your community and your planet. Somehow Glibertarians think these things just magically appear, as if a major corporation roaming free and unfettered across the land will somehow choose not to rape pillage and plunder the land in the interest of its profits.

    Which makes zero sense, especially when you take away all of the other stuff — the power of the courts and our elections, for example — which are the sole check on rampant corporate greed. I guess we’re all supposed to go Galt o something.

  73. 73
    Pliny says:

    @61 Brachiator:

    Ignoring the glaring fallacy of false equivalence you have going, I’m curious what part of Marxism ignore facts, history, and reality? The part about the inevitable exploitation of labor by capital?

  74. 74

    f it is a national, or a global civil right, american libertarians are against it. if it is a local civil right, like the LOCAL majority voting to restrict collective bargaining, or establish Klan voucher schools, then american libertarians are for it.

    Well, except in the case of Nashville. Our metro city council voted and passed a non-discrimination ordinance, preventing the city from entering into contracts with entities which discriminate against GLBT people. Our Republican state legislature overturned the city’s ordinance, saying no city could have a non-discrimination ordinance more strict than the state’s.

    But you know, they’re all about small government and local control when it suits them.

  75. 75
    burnspbesq says:

    @ John Cole:

    Just the other day, the Supreme Court gave us the freedom from worrying about suing our employers if they wrong us.

    Wait a sec.

    I thought you said the deer ate your tomatoes.

    It appears that they also ate your ability to accurately describe the holdings of Supreme Court cases.

  76. 76
    chopper says:

    i’m going to add ‘great rant’, if only to make retardo_chan even more frustrated.

  77. 77
    slag says:

    Thus, so-called libertarians include amongst “their stuff” assets which are not the product of their labor, or anyone elses—-rather, they’re products of a government-granted privilege.
    __
    Similarly, if we look at other economic rents, we can dismiss the claim that Bill Gates “earned” his wealth—-rather, he minted it via a government-granted privilege (“intellectual property”). And if you look at the roster of America’s (or the world’s) richest, you’ll see that most (but not all) became wealthy on the back of such government-granted privileges.

    Excellent summary all around! It serves as a [useful] counterbalance to one of my biggest pet peeves with our political discourse in this country–we speak in the broadest terms possible, and no one gets called on their bullshit (obvs). Free Market Fundamentalism (or Economic Libertarianism, if you prefer) benefits from this failure in our discourse like no other ideology out there.

  78. 78
    Chris says:

    I agree. The libertarian arguments about what is ‘my stuff’ is arbitrary.

    That’s putting it mildly.

    I’ve always been semi-stunned to watch the people who believe property rights are the be-all and end-all of human civilization and that any encroachment on them is socialism, casually say “oh, well, you don’t really NEED (or DESERVE) that property, just hand it over to the Israelis” when speaking to Palestinians. Or else say the Israelis could use the land better, therefore they get to keep it.

    In their own theory, it’s not supposed to matter how well you do or don’t handle your property, it’s your property. But as Ghanima correctly points out, those rights only apply if you’re part of the in-group.

  79. 79
    Chris says:

    @ jl –

    I agree. The libertarian arguments about what is ‘my stuff’ is arbitrary.

    That’s putting it mildly.

    I’ve always been semi-stunned to watch the people who believe property rights are the be-all and end-all of human civilization and that any encroachment on them is Soshulism, casually say “oh, well, you don’t really NEED (or DESERVE) that property, just hand it over to the Israelis” when speaking to Palestinians. Or else say the Israelis could use the land better, therefore they get to keep it.

    In their own theory, it’s not supposed to matter how well you do or don’t handle your property, it’s your property. But as Ghanima correctly points out, those rights only apply if you’re part of the in-group.

  80. 80
    Judas Escargot says:

    Thus, so-called libertarians include amongst “their stuff” assets which are not the product of their labor, or anyone elses—-rather, they’re products of a government-granted privilege.

    Most remember Thatcher’s “There is no such thing as ‘society'”. But she was only half right: There’s really no such thing as “the individual”, either, not in the atomic sense. Since each must be defined in terms of the other, it’s impossible to consider either concept in isolation.

    Libertarianism (and its more bookish cousin, Objectivism) will always fail in its attempts to form a consistent philosophy because of this.

    A very loose/crude analogy: imagine a branch of physics so focused on the primacy of quarks, that they had to force themselves to ignore the overwhelming physical/mathematical evidence for gluons. That imaginary physics wouldn’t have much success either explaining experimental results, or making any valid predictions.

  81. 81
    Brachiator says:

    @73 Pliny:

    Ignoring the glaring fallacy of false equivalence you have going, I’m curious what part of Marxism ignore facts, history, and reality? The part about the inevitable exploitation of labor by capital?

    Marxism is clearly irrelevant. You can get a description of the evils of the rich exploiting the poor from any religion. And Marx’s prophecy of a proletariat paradise ranks up there with the recent, and equally faulty, prediction of the arrival of the Rapture.

    Enough of Marx. It is far more fun to kick the libertarians who equally pretend that they know the way to paradise.

  82. 82
    flounder says:

    I think you meant “federally mandated tort reform.”

  83. 83
    Rita R. says:

    Wow, John. I think I need a cigarette.

  84. 84
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @yevgraf

    Distributed Jesusland is the Ron/Rand Paul model.

    nah, its the Manzi/Freidersdorf model. It is the HAYEKIAN model.
    the only difference between civil and economic libertarians is cosmetic.

  85. 85
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite
    nice nic.
    Sadly, my theory is based on convos with actual real, live libertarians.
    Dr. Manzi explains it here as the Paradox of Libertarianism.
    if you want to read that we can discuss it.

  86. 86
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    @Judas

    Libertarianism (and its more bookish cousin, Objectivism) will always fail in its attempts to form a consistent philosophy because of this.

    Libertarianism is Hayekian. The lie of Hayek is that small local systems will trump large federal systems.

  87. 87
    Jesse says:

    Oh, look, Ghanima’s being an asshole again.

    “civil libertarians are actually advocates of localized mob rule.”

    And you’re an idiot theocrat. This is fun!

    A proposition is not actually made true by your assertion of it, despite what you seem to believe.

    Most of the discussion around “civil liberties” is about placing certain rights “beyond the reach of majorities”- we’re actually discussing the antithesis of localized mob rule.

    You need to learn to read.

  88. 88
    TenguPhule says:

    The Freedom to whack Scalia, Alito, Thomas and Roberts shall not be curtailed.

    And not soon enough.

  89. 89
    Ghanima Atreides says:

    Jesse, well I have actual experience of libertarians.
    Do you?
    Manzi’s position condenses to this– libertarians believe in the FREEDOM™ of their in-group tribe to be illiberal to other out-group humans.
    You can read what Dr. Manzi said too. I linked it several times.

  90. 90
    DKF says:

    libertarians believe in the FREEDOM™ of their in-group tribe to be illiberal to other out-group humans.

    Some self-defined libertarians may object to the general applicability of this characterization, but this is a good encapsulation of the Paul family’s conception of “liberty.” A free society must accept the right of entrenched private interests to crush the liberty of the less powerful and favorably situated rather than suffer the pitiful remedial efforts of democratic governance. Such a small price to pay, don’t you think?

  91. 91
    Mark S. says:

    Wow, that’s the best takedown of libertarianism I’ve ever read!

    And Happy Birthday, John!

    Every sentence gets an exclamation point today!

  92. 92
    DPirate says:

    The reason no one takes most libertarians seriously is because they keep voting for people who do a great job securing economic “liberty,” which basically just means they do a great job stripping necessary regulations and cutting taxes for the Koch brothers, but they do a horrible job reversing any of the negative civil liberties trends.

    Is that the reason?

    I’d like to know who this “they” are that you are talking about. As outsiders, all the destruction can be laid at the feet of republicans and democrats.

    Libertarians do not have masters, republican or otherwise. It is pretty much definitionally incompatible. It is a school of thought about as close to anarchism as you can get and still remain inside the modern political spectrum. You are confused about people who are and people who say they are – much like you are confused about people who are different from Bush and people who say they are different from Bush.

    Glib! This is as glib a kneejerk rant as I’ve found on reddit.

  93. 93
    Jack says:

    Wow! Not a single intelligent thing was said in all those words.

  94. 94
    LJM says:

    You want glibertarians to respect your rights? Declare yourself a corporation. Until then, suck it up, whiners.

    This is demonstrably false. I am definitely not a libertarian as I believe in things like a social safety net, universal healthcare, and public education. But it’s really sad to see such childish and dishonest characterizations of libertarian thought.

    Also, they like that you are free to be shot by some lunatic as you stand talking to your congressmen.

    This is the type and quality of ad hominem attack one expects to see at NRO or Red State.

    So yeah, Ronald Bailey writes a piece every now and then about global warming, and someone at Reason can wax eloquent about prison rape, but so what?

    I imagine someone who’s in prison and being raped because of drug laws supported by Democrats might care. I thought liberals were supposed to be compassionate.

    On many important issues, libertarians are more liberal than Democrats.

    Libertarians think we shouldn’t be blowing up innocent men, women, and children overseas. (Weapons corporations prefer Republican and Democratic policies.)

    Libertarians don’t believe in illegally waging war against countries that pose no threat to us. (See the above parenthetical statement.)

    Libertarians think we shouldn’t put people in prison for putting things into their own bodies. (Private prison corporations prefer Republican and Democratic policies.)

    Libertarians believe in due process (for everyone, not just corporations).

    Libertarians believe in freedom of speech (for everyone, not just corporations).

    Libertarians think that members of the Bush administration should be investigated for criminal behavior and that whistleblowers should not be prosecuted (even whistleblowers who aren’t corporations).

    Libertarians believe that if heterosexuals can get married, homosexuals should be able to get married. (Again, individuals, not corporations.)

    Libertarians believe that people convicted of crimes should be housed and treated humanely. (Not just corporate criminals, but all of them.)

    It’s strange that so many people here support an outright conservative like Obama, but reflexively and childishly attack libertarians on personal levels (based on blatantly false assumptions), while on many incredibly important issues, libertarians support very liberal causes.

  95. 95
    Scott says:

    “If we privatize social security, you will be free to have your savings wiped out when the unregulated Galtian super-geniuses rob you, me, and everyone else, and you are free from the ability to sue them.”

    This sentence shows how ignorant you are of this issue and thus invalidates anything you ever say. There are no “savings” in the social security trust fund. The money that is coming out of your paycheck now is paying for the retirement of someone else now. You will not have social security.

  96. 96
    lykorian says:

    LJM, none of that matters — Cole will carry on attacking his perverted conception of libertarianism while pretending that he genuinely cares about social justice and basic human rights.

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