brief insights into the libertarian mind

It’s a little moment, so I don’t want to fixate on it too much, but I think that this line from Nick Gillespie’s post on the DC Taxicab Commission arrests is deeply telling. Describing a Reason reporter who was (indefensibly) arrested for videotaping the cops at the meeting, Gillespie writes “Reason enlisted noted First Amendent lawyer (and Reason contributorRobert Corn-Revere to represent Epstein, and his swift action helped to defuse a situation in which the powerful were more than ready to take advantage of the powerless. ”

Ah, yes. The powerless. When I think of people who are powerless in Washington DC– a city with a child poverty rate near 30%— I think of employees of one of the most influential and powerful think tanks in the country. (Koch money goes a long way.) In a poor, majority-black city with a long history of drugs, crime, and endemic lack of opportunity, Gillespie looks out and sees that the truly powerless are… libertarians. (That Mr. Epstein had the social and material resources to immediately gain the aid of a noted First Amendment lawyer seems not to have factored into Gillespie’s determination of Epstein’s power or lack thereof.)

I find this entirely in keeping with the central analytical failure of libertarianism as a worldview: a total and disqualifying inability to measure or account for power as it exists in the real world. When libertarians argue endlessly about the tyranny of paying taxes and the poor, oppressed state of enormous, multinational corporations, while remaining consistently silent on the plight of the urban poor (on the material dimensions of their freedom), they reveal an ideological framework that is stunningly incapable of reflecting the world as it is rather than as ideal theory would prefer it. They have no vocabulary of power as experienced, so even if they were inclined to help those on the bottom, they would lack the understanding capable of doing such a thing. They have nothing to say on the issue.

I would compare this issue to the DC handgun ban. I’m agnostic on gun control, in many instances; I don’t know if I can support banning the legitimate use of something because of its misuse by others. But I also recognize that DC is a community that has been absolutely ravaged by gun violence for decades, and that desperate residents and city officials were attempting to solve an intractable and debilitating problem. But during the Supreme Court case that overturned that ban, I saw essentially no commentary from institutional libertarianism that acknowledged the ugly aesthetics of a bunch of white, privileged libertarians working to undermine efforts to reduce gun crime in an impoverished black city. It was as if those people and that problem simply didn’t exist.

It is absurd that Epstein and the other reporter were arrested at this meeting. Reason is to be commended for calling attention to that injustice. The medallion issue is a complicated one, and Reason’s ethos generally leaves little room for complexity. Surely, the unwarranted arrest of two upwardly mobile, financially secure reporters is an exceedingly minor example of injustice in a town where the daily injustice of permanent and major poverty persists on a broad scale. Unfortunately, libertarianism has no mechanism whatsoever to address that injustice, and taken as a whole, the ideology has consistently demonstrated little interest in finding one.






170 replies
  1. 1
    DonkeyKong says:

    “Yes, it works in real life, but does it work in theory?”

  2. 2
  3. 3
    Shinobi says:

    It is abhorrent to disallow journalists or private citizens from recording the actions of police. Police are public employees, and their actions should be subject to scrutiny, as are the actions of any individual in a public place. (There are cameras everywhere man.)

    Why don’t police want to be on video? What do they have to hide?

    Recording police is one of the few times I personally would advocate for surveillance. It IS our business what they are doing, they are working for US, and just as my boss has a right to read whatever I write on the internet using his computer, I should have a right to record and track what cops do on duty.

    However, Reason, QQ.

  4. 4
    EconWatcher says:

    This is very well said (I must admit that I flirted heavily with libertarianism when I was in my 20s, but I grew up and got over it).

  5. 5
    Han's Solo says:

    It seems to me that the libertarian credo can be boiled down to, “You are what you earn.”

    So those poor people, they aren’t really people, they don’t earn enough to be classified as such. Poor people aren’t worthy of support, if they were they would earn enough to not need it.

  6. 6
    MBunge says:

    This is what frustrated me about the whole Rand Paul kerfluffle over the Civil Rights Act. The problem wasn’t that Paul didn’t support the Act. It’s that he had no alternative approach to dealing with institutional racial discrimination and didn’t even appear to think there needed to be anything done about the problem outside of his own personal behavior.

    Mike

  7. 7
    Warren Terra says:

    If you want a discussion of this topic that’s not overly poisoned by the narcissism of the libertarians, Crooked Timber had a thread on recording the police over the weekend.

  8. 8
    Felinious Wench says:

    Annnnnd, we have a Matoko_Chan_Doe screed about EDKain in 3,2,1…….

  9. 9
    Linnaeus says:

    It seems to me that the libertarian credo can be boiled down to, “You are what you earn.”

    I usually modify this to say, “You are what you own”, because what one has isn’t always earned.

  10. 10
    c u n d gulag says:

    Anyone ever meet a poor Libertarian?

    I didn’t think so.

    It’s all about the benjamins.

    ‘Nuff said…

  11. 11
    Martin says:

    Why don’t police you want to be on video? What do they you have to hide?

    Not defending the overall argument, because I agree with you, but the ‘what do you have to hide’ argument is bullshit. I’m a state employee, and I don’t think it serves the public interest to stick a video camera in my office and record my every action.

    Justification for each new intrusion needs to be justified by the benefits gained by the intrusion. This is the crux of the voter ID issue: there’s no documented voter fraud problem anywhere that the voter ID issue would solve, so there’s no justification for the intrusion. So, why and when should citizens be able to video the police? Do citizens have the right to do it 24/7? Can I record my neighbor, the chief of police, when he leaves for work? When he’s taking out the trash? When he’s conducting surveillance? When he comes to the door trick-or-treating with his kids? There’s a reasonable line to draw here. Make that argument.

  12. 12
    taylormattd says:

    But during the Supreme Court case that overturned that ban, I saw essentially no commentary from institutional libertarianism that acknowledged the ugly aesthetics of a bunch of white, privileged libertarians working to undermine efforts to reduce gun crime in an impoverished black city. It was as if those people and that problem simply didn’t exist.

    Surely this problem can be solved by voting for Ron / Rand Paul, Ralph Nader, or some stupid fucking third party candidate.

    As long as we all forswear voting for Obama.

  13. 13
    Freddie deBoer says:

    Grow up, kid. This post is not about you.

  14. 14
    pragmatism says:

    nice one freddie. really enjoy reading your stuff here.

  15. 15
    Stillwater says:

    They have no vocabulary of power as experienced, so even if they were inclined to help those on the bottom, they would lack the understanding capable of doing such a thing.

    Good post. Gawd I hate a libertarian. But I would say that the above is close but not quite right (or maybe this amounts to the same thing): they have no experience of power other than what they personally experience, which they then take to be power-neutral, a baseline which is neither exceptional nor noteworthy. So, yes, other people’s power or lack of it never enters their consciousness, but only because they take for granted the power – to whatever extent – they already possess.

  16. 16
    Batocchio says:

    I find this entirely in keeping with the central analytical failure of libertarianism as a worldview: a total and disqualifying inability to measure or account for power as it exists in the real world.

    Feature, not a bug. Most glibertarians are arguing for their own privilege, not any loftier principles. (Read the recent eviscerations of Nozick on the web.) The Koch-funded Cato Institute is all for abuse of power, as long as it’s by private entities. In line with MBunge’s comment upthread, the most polite thing one can say about “libertarian” opposition to the Civil Rights Act is that they did/do not have a workable solution to the problem of discrimination. That pattern is sadly typical…

  17. 17
    taylormattd says:

    @ Felinious – 8

    Annnnnd, we have a Matoko_Chan_Doe screed about EDKain in 3,2,1…….

    Why would she screech about Kain when she could justifiably screech about this sham post that is nothing more than an attempt by Freddie to pretend he isn’t the libertariantard who wrote this:

    I’m sure I’ll articulate why I can’t support Barack Obama for the presidency in 2012 at great length in the future. In the meantime, at this particular moment, I’ll just express one argument that by itself is sufficient for me to walk away from Hope and Change. I went to see Glenn Greenwald speak this past week, which was excellent. And in his discussion I had a moment of simple awe, as I remembered, and then finally really wrapped my head around, the fact that the Obama administration has asserted its right to murder American citizens with absolutely no due process or review of law at all. . . . For that reason alone—not even just civil liberties, but that one issue, the assertion of a universal and unchecked right to assassination—I would never support the Obama candidacy.

  18. 18
    DonkeyKong says:

    We need to rewire the 911 system for libertarians. Instead of responding to an emergency with parasitic unionized EMT’s. Send out a group of hedgefund managers.

    They could short the libertarian in distress using the free market if he could not pay a “market rate price”.

    In other words……

    1. Short
    2. ???WTF????
    3. Profit!

  19. 19
    taylormattd says:

    @Freddie deBoer – 13

    Grow up, kid. This post is not about you.

    So, since you are refusing to vote for Obama in the general, which great civil libertarian will you vote for? Bachmann? Romney? Palin? Gingrich?

  20. 20
    srv says:

    Did the Fonz ever hang out with poor people?

  21. 21

    […] to underscore. I was reminded of Ellison’s words today when I ready Freddie de Boer’s potent critique of the libertarian […]

  22. 22
    Pococurante says:

    Well, Freddie, I look forward to nothing but stories by you covering third world poverty.

  23. 23
    Freddie deBoer says:

    Taylor (or whatever your name is), I am a socialist, as much as I am willing to pin myself down to anything, up to and including the part about nationalizing the means of production. I get it– you find my opinion on Barack Obama disqualifying. That’s a principled stand and I reject it. However, I am not a libertarian, and I am frankly entirely confused at how I could be considered one. More to the point, I have noted your objection. Either criticize the content of my posts, or avoid them. Constantly saying “don’t listen to this guy, he won’t vote for Obama” isn’t contributing to the topics at hand, and it demonstrates a lack of respect for the issues at hand.

    If you’d really like to let me have it, just email me at freddie7 at gmail.

  24. 24
    Freddie deBoer says:

    *respect, that is, not reject

  25. 25
    Chris says:

    @ Stillwater,

    But I would say that the above is close but not quite right (or maybe this amounts to the same thing): they have no experience of power other than what they personally experience, which they then take to be power-neutral, a baseline which is neither exceptional nor noteworthy. So, yes, other people’s power or lack of it never enters their consciousness, but only because they take for granted the power – to whatever extent – they already possess.

    This.

    Libertarianism thrives in middle-class suburbia, among people one or more generations removed from the Great Depression, who’ve grown up in the shadow of the post New Deal state and take all of its benefits for granted – as a result, the worst experience they’ve ever had when it comes to interacting with the government is paying their taxes. Which explains their righteous fury at the issue and their belief that it’s “oppression” – that’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to them.

    (Agree with Felinious Wench, also. This post = cudlip trollbait like nobody’s business).

  26. 26
    karen marie says:

    Arresting people at public meetings is becoming quite the trend.

  27. 27
    Pococurante says:

    @11 Martin

    I’m a state employee, and I don’t think it serves the public interest to stick a video camera in my office and record my every action.

    Do you carry a gun, are you an officer of the court, whose testimony is automatically given more weight than the average city?

  28. 28
    elmo says:

    Well, waidaminnit. Maybe I shouldn’t put my oar into this one, because I’ve had a deep personal attraction to the libertarian ethos for a long time, and it’s only the last several years that have taught me how utterly unworkable it is in Real Life ™. But here I think you’re being just a wee bit unfair.

    Yes, it’s ridiculous for Fonzie to talk about a middle-class, presumably white journalist with obvious connections as “powerless” in an impoverished black city. I get that. Silly talk. But your larger point — that libertarian thought has nothing to say about inner-city poverty — rather misses the point of what libertarians are trying to accomplish.

    You’re right that contemporary libertarians don’t have a solution for the problem of urban poverty. You claim that’s because they don’t see it, that they’re blinded to it by their own privilege. Maybe so. But it is also true that contemporary libertarian thought isn’t about finding a solution to urban poverty. It’s about pointing out — accurately — that the power of the State has grown crushingly, dangerously large and intrusive, not only against connected white journalists but against the urban poor.

    You can certainly criticize libertarians for not having solutions to problems they’re not trying to address, but it’s a bit like criticizing my refrigerator because it doesn’t make good toast. Not every political movement has to be about urban poverty in order to be worthwhile. The Sierra Club, last I heard, wasn’t running inner-city food kitchens either. But I still give them money, because they’re addressing a real problem. So are (some) (occasional) libertarians.

  29. 29
    themann1086 says:

    Or, as Seth Finkelstein put almost 15 years ago, Libertarianism Makes You Stupid.

  30. 30
    Citizen_X says:

    the daily injustice of permanent and major poverty persists on a broad scale

    Oh, Freddie. You don’t understand: the Libertarian idea of “justice” is the one Alan Greenspan celebrated finding in Atlas Shrugged:

    Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.

    Seriously, though: great post.

  31. 31
    Paris says:

    libertarianism, like communism, is incompatible with the real world.

  32. 32
    taylormattd says:

    @ Freddie – 22

    Earlier John wrote this about republicans clinging to their party:

    If you’re still sticking around because the “Democrats are worse” or you think the party can turn it around or because you fancy yourself a small “c” conservative or you are a glibertarian or because you hate taxes or you think Dennis Kucinich is weird (he is), you’re just an asshole. And incredibly stupid.

    The only thing worse than an allegedly principled former republican pretending the party isn’t crazy is a so-called “progressive” or “socialist” pulling a Nader and effectively voting for a crazy wingnut because s/he believes the democrat is too conservative.

    You have zero right whatsoever to bitch about conservative, libertarian, or republican policy given you are part of the group of absolute morons who help elect them.

  33. 33
    The Other Chuck says:

    You can certainly criticize libertarians for not having solutions to problems they’re not trying to address, but it’s a bit like criticizing my refrigerator because it doesn’t make good toast.

    No it’s more like your refrigerator claiming to make toast, and doing so by burning down everyone else’s refrigerator, because the owners of those refrigerators should have known better. Or something like that.

  34. 34
    Freddie deBoer says:

    You’re right that contemporary libertarians don’t have a solution for the problem of urban poverty. You claim that’s because they don’t see it, that they’re blinded to it by their own privilege. Maybe so. But it is also true that contemporary libertarian thought isn’t about finding a solution to urban poverty. It’s about pointing out—accurately—that the power of the State has grown crushingly, dangerously large and intrusive, not only against connected white journalists but against the urban poor.

    I would argue that, unlike the Sierra Club, libertarianism is taken as a comprehensive worldview that is largely determinative of its adherents’ political positions. And I would further say that for a broad-based political ideology, failure to account for endemic poverty, and failure to attempt to address the problem, is disqualifying even if it is due to a lack of interest. You might very well be right that libertarianism fails to help the poor because it is not within the libertarian project. I think I’m entitled to find this a major failing anyway.

  35. 35
    Roger Moore says:

    @Martin:

    So, why and when should citizens be able to video the police?

    Ordinary citizens should be able to video the police at any place or time when they would be able to video an ordinary citizen who’s not a member of the police. The law currently says that I’m free to photograph or video record people in any situation where they do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. If the police want to demand more restrictions than that, they should have to justify the added restrictions. If a watchdog wants fewer restrictions than that, they should have to justify the reduced restrictions.

  36. 36
    David in NY says:

    Ah, Belle Waring nailed this one, too, not 15 years ago, but a little while back in her famous “and a pony” blog post. Describing a meeting of libertarians, she said:

    Reason recently published a debate held at its 35th anniversary banquet. The flavor of this discussion is indescribable. In its total estrangement from our political and social life today, its wilfull disregard of all known facts about human nature, it resembles nothing so much as a debate over some fine procedural point of end-stage communism, after the state has withered away. Child-care arrangements, let’s say. Position A: there will be well run communal creches! Position B: nonsense! the amount of work required from each individual to maintain a perfectly functioning society will be so small that people can care for their own children and those of others on a spontaneous basis, as the need arises!

    And, if satire had any power at all, her summary of the actual reason discussion would have banished libertarianism to the darkness forever.

    Here, see for yourself:
    http://examinedlife.typepad.co.....were_.html

  37. 37
    David in NY says:

    Oh, don’t see for yourself, read the summary of the libertarians right here:

    Allow me to summarize.

    Richard A. Epstein: even in the libertarian utopia, some forms of state coercion will be required. If we must assemble 100 plots of land to build a railway which will benefit all, and only 99 owners will sell, then we may need to force a lone holdout to accept a fair price for his land. Similarly, the public enforcement of private rights and the creation of infrastructure will require money, so there will have to be some taxes. [Note to self: no shit, Sherlock.]

    Randy Barnett: Not so fast! Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it rather than restricting liberty in advance. We’ll know a lot more about human liberty in the libertarian utopia, and private entrepreneurs will solve these problems somehow without our needing to grant to governments the dangerous ability to confiscate our property in the name of some nebulous “public good.” And as for rights enforcement — look it’s Halley’s Comet!

    David Friedman: Epstein places too much confidence in his proposed restrictions on government power. Rights could be enforced privately, and imperfect but workable solutions to the holdouts in the railway case could also be found. “To justify taxation we need the additional assumption that rights enforcement cannot be done by the state at a profit, despite historical examples of societies where the right to enforce the law and collect the resulting fines was a marketable asset.”

    Now, everyone close your eyes and try to imagine a private, profit-making rights-enforcement organization which does not resemble the mafia, a street gang, those pesky fire-fighters/arsonists/looters who used to provide such “services” in old New York and Tokyo, medieval tax-farmers, or a Lendu militia. (In general, if thoughts of the Eastern Congo intrude, I suggest waving them away with the invisible hand and repeating “that’s anarcho-capitalism” several times.) Nothing’s happening but a buzzing noise, right?

    Now try it the wishful thinking way. 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.

  38. 38
    elmo says:

    Freddie,

    You are certainly entitled to think that’s a major failing. (Reply button, why have you deserted me?) But then it’s also a major failing of the environmental movement. I understand the distinction you’re trying to make, but I think it’s a distinction without a difference: whether libertarians think they have a “comprehensive worldview” or not, what difference does it make if they’re on the side of the angels AND doing the heavy lifting when it comes to reducing State power?

    I think of reducing and restricting the power of men with guns as a good thing all by itself, no context necessary. I also think it does a lot to improve the lives of the urban poor, whether or not libertarians “care” about those people. So in that respect, I still think of libertarians as potentially hugely useful allies, even though I no longer believe that they know ferk-all about actually making a society work.

  39. 39
    John Cole says:

    Snotty Radley Balko piece yelling at me in 5, 4, 3, 2…

    But yes. The entire notion of Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie screaming power to the people makes you want to vomit.

  40. 40
    David in NY says:

    Yeah, what did happen to the Reply button??

    Come back, please?!!

  41. 41
    Roger Moore says:

    @elmo:

    It’s about pointing out—accurately—that the power of the State has grown crushingly, dangerously large and intrusive, not only against connected white journalists but against the urban poor.

    In practice, though, it mostly seems to be about how the power of the state has grown dangerously large and intrusive in ways that keep big companies from doing WTFTW. A political philosophy that sees the EPA as a bigger problem than companies dumping toxic waste in the water supply is morally bankrupt.

  42. 42
    Continental Op says:

    [T]hey [Libertarians]reveal an ideological framework that is stunningly incapable of reflecting the world as it is rather than as ideal theory would prefer it.

    They can’t see the forest for their theoretical model of what forests are supposed to look like.

  43. 43
    lou says:

    Just to clarify, the recording was of the taxicab meeting, and then of the cops arresting the other reporter recording the meeting. If that makes sense.

    Ironically, the taxicab system in DC argues against libertarianism. It’s a pretty libertarian system and that’s what really sucks about it. We’re talking 3rd world conditions in some of these cabs: no a/c in DC’s summer humidity, lousy drivers who will cheat tourists whenever they can, often missing seatbelts. You have no recourse if a cab driver refuses to take you to certain neighborhoods because our wonderful new mayor just fired the only effective taxi commissioner who would pursue drivers who did that.

    And guess what? the free market doesn’t work in cases like this because who is going to turn down a cab and “shop” for a better one? right-o. just like “shopping” for a dr to take out your appendix.

    I’m not arguing that a taxi medallion system would be better. But tighter regulation of the cabs would be an improvement.

  44. 44
    elmo says:

    @Roger:

    I think you perceive it that way because those are the points that massively piss you off. With good reason, I don’t deny that — but when Radley Balko is out there all by himself getting Corey Maye off death row and out of prison, I’m not going to dismiss that accomplishment because some of the people he works with are douchebags.

    There is systemic economic injustice, as well as political and judicial injustice, in this country. I don’t deny that. Most self-described libertarians either don’t think there is or don’t particularly care — I don’t deny that either. But that doesn’t in any way reduce the importance or the value of the work that they do in restricting the power of the State. They don’t have to have a solution to the problem of urban poverty in order to be valuable allies. That’s all.

  45. 45
    b-psycho says:

    Freddie:

    I am a soshulist, as much as I am willing to pin myself down to anything, up to and including the part about nationalizing the means of production.

    Say hypothetically you had two choices: government (that is, the modern nation-state as we know it) without soshulism, and soshulism without government. Which would you pick?

  46. 46
    The Other Chuck says:

    Even the most hardcore capitalists will tell you that what keeps perfect markets from forming is “disparity of information”.

    This isn’t “Shareholder Sally has a superior analysis that she withholds in order to execute a winning trade” information disparity, this “they’re not sharing little tidbits of information like lead in the fucking toys” information disparity.

    It’s a lovely little euphemism for “they’re lying, cheating sacks of shit and you can’t trust them as a rule”. Who am I paraphrasing there? Adam Smith.

  47. 47
    Badtux says:

    I beg to differ. Libertarians *do* have a solution to the problem of the poor… to shrug and say “they’ve always been poor, they always will be, there’s nothing to be done.” I.e., Libertarian philosophy at its base is a defeatist philosophy that insists that there are no solutions to large social problems, so we shouldn’t even try to solve them as a society.

    As such, Libertarianism is a foreign import to the America that once was, a can-do America where it was simply presumed that America and Americans could do anything they put their mind to. Dig a canal across Panama despite the fact that two other nations had attempted to do so and failed. Can do! But that America is, apparently, dead, leaving us with this defeatist Libertarian philosophy that is fundamentally a can’t-do philosophy. So it goes.

    – Badtux the Can-do Penguin

  48. 48
    eemom says:

    where is she??

    Don’t tell me you got to 45 comments and she hasn’t fastened herself to this post like a tick yet. NFW.

  49. 49
    themann1086 says:

    @ elmo: The notion that the power of the state to oppress the urban poor has grown in recent decades is laughable to long-time residents of urban areas like, say, Philadelphia. Arresting journalists? How quaint! We firebombed city blocks, and that was after Frank Rizzo (who claimed he wanted to “make Atilla the Hun look like a p*ssy”).

  50. 50
    Marc says:

    The blind attitude of libertarians to climate change is reason enough for me to reject them as serious. A movement that wishes away science whose results are a problem for their ideology is rotten to the core.

    They pretend to care about civil liberties, but expanding the wealth of the rich and looting the commons is what actually appears to matter to them. This isn’t surprising, since an immoral philosophy based on selfishness has no value attached to the commons.

  51. 51
    MonkeyBoy says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    Anyone ever meet a poor Libertarian?

    I have once when I had to wait at the DMV for an hour to fix a license renewal problem.

    Sitting next to me was a young guy who was extolling his buddy about how great libertarianism was. I think he particularly liked the drug approval part. He also was telling his buddy that once he got a job as a roadie for a rock-band he would be able to move out of his mother’s house.

  52. 52
    geisha gurl says:

    the only thing oppressed around the Reason office is Nick Gillespie’s skull under that Helmet of Hair

  53. 53
    Martin says:

    Ordinary citizens should be able to video the police at any place or time when they would be able to video an ordinary citizen who’s not a member of the police. The law currently says that I’m free to photograph or video record people in any situation where they do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. If the police want to demand more restrictions than that, they should have to justify the added restrictions. If a watchdog wants fewer restrictions than that, they should have to justify the reduced restrictions.

    I’d say that’s a pretty reasonable general framework to start from. What if the video was infringing on their ability to do their work? Put another way – does the state have a right to conduct business with reasonable efficiency on behalf of taxpayers, or do citizens with video cameras have precedence? For instance, warranted police surveillance?

    I mean, why wouldn’t the same citizen rights extend to the courtroom? Why shouldn’t anyone attending a trial be able to record or photograph the proceedings? That’s also a public setting where abuses of power are equally capable of being carried out.

  54. 54
    elmo says:

    @themann: It’s an interesting point. The firebombing was a massive news story for days, and I remember it well. I think a decent argument can be made that the SWAT-ification of police departments, the now-routine use of no-knock raids, and the War on Drugs in general have had a greater impact on inner city neighborhoods nationwide than a one-off firebombing that killed eleven people.

  55. 55
    Ash Can says:

    @ Badtux: That’s a fascinating analysis.

  56. 56
    Citizen_X says:

    I think of reducing and restricting the power of men with guns as a good thing all by itself, no context necessary.

    All Libertarians ever accomplish is a) increasing and unleashing the power of men with gobs of cash, and b) feeding the Republican Party marketable rhetoric about “small government” that they can garner votes with.

    I, for one, want the “men with guns” to be able to check the men with gobs of cash. And all the “small government/gubbmint off our backs” crap has only unleashed more pollution and lousy working conditions. Given that it’s gotten more Republicans elected, it hasn’t done squat for getting the government out of women’s uteruses, or out of peoples’ bedrooms, or ending the war on (some) drugs.

  57. 57
    Chris says:

    It’s about pointing out—accurately—that the power of the State has grown crushingly, dangerously large and intrusive, not only against connected white journalists but against the urban poor.

    That’s true, but I very rarely see self-proclaimed libertarians complaining about the way the power of the state is used against the poor and downtrodden. When libertarians start complaining about the prison system in the U.S, abuses of police power, abuses of military/intelligence powers and the like, I’ll start believing that they have an all-around philosophical problem with the power of the state. But in most cases, all I see is spoiled brats whining about the taxes that sustain their lifestyle.

    That’s “rarely” and “in most cases;” it doesn’t mean I haven’t met principled libertarians (though I still think theirs is an impractical philosophy), just that most don’t seem to be that way.

  58. 58
    DonkeyKong says:

    Has Nick Gillespie jumped the shark this time?

    Someone had to ask.

  59. 59
    Chris says:

    Furthermore,

    I think of reducing and restricting the power of men with guns as a good thing all by itself, no context necessary.

    That’s fine, but most American libertarians don’t want that. American libertarianism as it’s been explained to me by people who believe in it means that the government should limit itself to “the proper issues” – which is the military, police, and courts, period.

    In other words, libertarians want to cut everything out of the government EXCEPT the guns. None of them have ever explained to me why eliminating all the non-violent parts of the government is supposed to make the government less hostile and abusive, but they’re very sincere in their beliefs.

  60. 60
    elmo says:

    Chris, are you unfamiliar with the work of Radley Balko, or is he one of the “principled libertarians” you mention in the next sentence?

  61. 61
    AAA Bonds says:

    QQ

  62. 62
    Xboxershorts says:

    The unchecked power of the police state has been abusing poor and minority communities for decades. And only NOW that Gillespie’s conservative partners in crime have enabled that state to grow to the point where it abuses privileged middle class journalists with some regularity does the great Mr Gillespie get religion.

    So they don’t quite like the world they helped create? Oh, boo-fucking-hoo.

  63. 63
    AAA Bonds says:

    And I have met poor libertarians, all of whom believe they are a step away from wealth, and at least a couple of whom were pathological liars, wanna-be confidence men, most likely psychopaths. Those ones lied about BEING rich.

  64. 64
    Stillwater says:

    @Elmo:

    But that doesn’t in any way reduce the importance or the value of the work that they do in restricting the power of the State.

    Yes it does, in fact. By tipping their lances at the anti-free-market regulations experienced by our oppressed corporate citizens they effectively sanction that behavior. Short of legal remedies what’s left? The will of the people expressed by the market?

  65. 65
    b-psycho says:

    As for the camera stuff: Anyone who claims to have the authority to threaten my life and/or put me in a cage because of a shiny piece of metal on their person complaining about people observing their exercise of said authority is humbly invited to either quit or shut the fuck up.

  66. 66
    Xboxershorts says:

    I think the progressive movement is more libertaran than the Libertarian movement.

    At least in regards to civil liberties and the wariness of accumulations of power in either corporate or government hands

  67. 67
    Chris says:

    Chris, are you unfamiliar with the work of Radley Balko, or is he one of the “principled libertarians” you mention in the next sentence?

    I am, and actually, I’m speaking from personal experience with people who self-describe as “libertarian” rather than people on the national scene. I’ll look up Radley and if he’s in the “principled” camp, more power to him. Most libertarians I’ve met do not seem to fall into that category, however.

  68. 68
    b-psycho says:

    I, for one, want the “men with guns” to be able to check the men with gobs of cash.

    The men with gobs of cash own the men with guns. Further, the key reason the men with guns came about in the first place was to protect the men with gobs of cash — from us.

    Good luck with that.

  69. 69
    stickler says:

    Didn’t some Libertarian hack-tank publish a study last month about which states scored best for “freedom”? I think South Dakota came out on top, while socialist dystopias like California and New York came out on the bottom.

    As someone mentioned at the time, this weird definition of “freedom” must not include the concept of “reproductive freedom,” since unwillingly-pregnant South Dakota women sure don’t have a lot of “freedom” to excercise their Constitutional right to end their pregnancies.

  70. 70
    elmo says:

    As a general response to people who have responded to me, because DAMN this is hard without a Reply button:

    Who else out there is working as hard as libertarians to oppose the War on Drugs, and all of the police-state excesses that it spawns? Because I don’t see it.

  71. 71
    AAA Bonds says:

    On libertarianism: I will point out, in context of the sensational success of Jon Ronson’s “The Psychopath Test”, that a philosophy of brutal social Darwinism that redefines naked self-interest as the only healthy way for a mind to operate will naturally attract psychopaths/ASPD (not exactly the same thing, but one will be diagnosed as the other in different systems).

    Psychopaths see their relationship with other people as between predator and prey, and only extend respect (and shallow respect at that) to other predators. They dwell overly on the perceived weakness of social bonds and greater society if humored.

    Certainly Rand Paul seems a little suspicious, as he considered kidnapping to be all fun and games in college and seems genuinely, blissfully unaware that it’s not a normal thing to do (outside of pledge week, anyway).

    Honestly, I’ve always considered Ayn Rand a psychopath, at least since I read one of her books in high school during the same semester I had a psych class.

    Ronson writes that he could easily get psychopaths he interviewed to ‘fess up to their inability to imagine a conscience, by intoning the word “weakness” to refer to their feigned interest in the well-being of other people.

    I suggest trying similar tactics with libertarians and see what it gets you.

  72. 72
    elmo says:

    @b-psycho — exactly right. Since when do the men with the guns ever do anything but the bidding of the men with gobs of cash?

  73. 73
    Roger Moore says:

    @elmo:

    but when Radley Balko is out there all by himself getting Corey Maye off death row and out of prison, I’m not going to dismiss that accomplishment because some of the people he works with are douchebags.

    But Randy Balko was not out there all by himself getting Corey Maye off death row. He was making a stink about it, but the heavy lifting was done by the ACLU, a liberal group that also supports economic and political justice. And the problem isn’t just that some of the people that Balko works with are douchebags. It’s that he takes a bunch of douchey positions on pretty much everything except criminal justice.

  74. 74
    Mark says:

    @Elmo: “it’s also a major failing of the environmental movement.”

    Horseshit, Elmo. The environmental movement opposes the commodification of water in the developing world; the poor, who must pay significantly more for their water when the system is privatized, suffer and the environmental movement has an answer for that.

    Same story for coal-fired power plants in poor neighborhoods; multinational corporations taking natural resources or polluting poor communities. The environmental movement may not spell it out in class terms, but it’s all about protecting the powerless from the powerful.

  75. 75
    AAA Bonds says:

    It’s kind of cute that people are having conversations here about “alliances” with libertarians.

    We don’t have a multiparty system. You want to “ally” with libertarians on certain issues? Then give money and time to politically active organizations that promote those issues.

    If the libertarians are really interested in anything but themselves (and usually, they aren’t) they’ll do the same, and then you’re working together.

    If you’re looking to align with the “libertarians” in Congress, well, good fucking luck with that.

  76. 76
    Felinious Wench says:

    eemom: where is she??

    Don’t tell me you got to 45 comments and she hasn’t fastened herself to this post like a tick yet. NFW.

    When her arrival is predicted, she either doesn’t arrive or deliberately refuses to post because we’ve predicted her behavior. Note: this could be a future win/win strategy!

  77. 77
    elmo says:

    Mark, those are side benefits of the actual mission. The environmental movement isn’t about reducing inner-city poverty, any more than the libertarian movement is. Both movements have side benefits of occasionally reducing urban oppression, but that’s not what they set out to do when they get up in the morning.

  78. 78
    Corner Stone says:

    @elmo:

    because DAMN this is hard without a Reply button:

    The Free Market has provided an affordable Reply Button Solution to this issue for some of us.
    Where is your Libertarian God now?

  79. 79
    elmo says:

    @Corner Stone: I am justly accused. Well played, sir!

  80. 80
    pragmatism says:

    in lieu of m_c’s appearance, i denounce you all as cudlips. also too i refudiate stalin.

  81. 81
    AAA Bonds says:

    Yeah, you make a shitty fucking m_c, so how about no

  82. 82
    Georgia Pig says:

    I find this entirely in keeping with the central analytical failure of libertarianism as a worldview: a total and disqualifying inability to measure or account for power as it exists in the real world. When libertarians argue endlessly about the tyranny of paying taxes and the poor, oppressed state of enormous, multinational corporations, while remaining consistently silent on the plight of the urban poor (on the material dimensions of their freedom), they reveal an ideological framework that is stunningly incapable of reflecting the world as it is rather than as ideal theory would prefer it. They have no vocabulary of power as experienced, so even if they were inclined to help those on the bottom, they would lack the understanding capable of doing such a thing. They have nothing to say on the issue.

    Quite true. Hence their ridiculous fixation on the size of government instead of worrying about the structure of the government. This incident is a classic example of how whacked their thinking is. Back in the good old days, had these guys been union members photographing abusive working conditions, Pinkerton goons working with local cops would have treated them the same, or worse. A weak government is one that gets rolled by corrupt groups, with DC being a poster child.

  83. 83
    pragmatism says:

    cudlip is as cudlip does, bonds.

  84. 84
    Stillwater says:

    @Elmo: When is the state too powerful? Here’s a couple of ways to answer that. 1) When it is has become more extortionist and obtrusive than the private sector for comparable services. 2) When democratic institutions have been entirely corrupted to the point where only a handful of market players gain entrance to the game. 2a) If 2 were were to obtain, refer to 1).

    Are there any others? Liberals believe – strenuously! – that the power of the state in democratic societies constitutes a remedy to the excesses of private power. Libertarians want to return to a utopia where might prevails. And I won’t deny that eliminating governmental competition in the game of power would be a utopia for the (privately) powerful. But how many of us fall in that category (setting aside delusions, of course)?

  85. 85
    Roger Moore says:

    @elmo:

    Who else out there is working as hard as libertarians to oppose the War on Drugs, and all of the police-state excesses that it spawns? Because I don’t see it.

    The ACLU. SATSQ. The ACLU is actually doing stuff about it too, like filing lawsuits and paying for defense attorneys, rather than just talking.

  86. 86
    AAA Bonds says:

    @elmo
    @Roger Moore

    Exactly. You’re concerned about civil liberties? THERE’S A FUCKING APP FOR THAT, JESUS H CHRIST, GIVE THEM A BUNCH OF MONEY ALREADY

    If libertarians don’t support the ACLU, they’re unlikely to support anything you could propose, elmo.

    Consider this post to also answer your question about who’s out there fighting to end the War on Drugs other than a bunch of dipshits at Reason.

  87. 87
    themann1086 says:

    elmo [seriously, no reply button makes this annoying],

    Oh they definitely have better tools now, and a longer list of justifications to arrest non-violent “offenders”, but I don’t know if they’re actually any worse in terms of their political power; that is, their ability to get away with it.

    As to “who else is helping?”, well the ACLU for one, a fine organization that I support with my money. Locally (Philadelphia) the DFHs and our alt weeklies (particularly City Paper) have pushed hard against police abuses; CP has run several features in the past few months on unjustified police killings and how the PPD has covered them up with “he had a weapon!” and “he lunged at me!” excuses. I’m sure other cities have similar organizations and journalists working hard on it. Radley’s doing good work in this area, but he’s far from the only one.

  88. 88
    AAA Bonds says:

    @elmo:

    The environmental movement isn’t about reducing inner-city poverty, any more than the libertarian movement is. Both movements have side benefits of occasionally reducing urban oppression

    The libertarian movement definitely does not have the side benefit of reducing urban oppression, at any point. It has never had that benefit.

    The environmental movement manifestly does have that benefit, with measurable and concrete examples.

    Don’t do the propaganda slide over here, you’re likely to break your toes.

  89. 89
    AAA Bonds says:

    Cattle call for the Koch whores here. Who’s getting paid to post? Come on, sound off, we know you want to brag about what great predators you are, like all psychopaths.

  90. 90
    elmo says:

    @Stillwater: I understand what you’re saying, but I think your points are mainly focused on economics. When you speak of “excesses of private power,” and “comparable services,” you aren’t talking about the State monopoly on the use of force, which it is deploying with increasing frequency and intensity as part of the War on Drugs.

  91. 91
    Felinious Wench says:

    cudlip is as cudlip does, bonds.

    League of Ordinary Gentlemen is still on the blogroll. EDKain reacharound still bearing libtard results. Muslims are not immune to proselytization. Fox hunting is not culling destructive predators from the ecosystem in a humane manner.

    There. Either that will flush her out, or she’ll choke trying not to comment.

    Fun times, fun times.

  92. 92
    pragmatism says:

    the kochwhores are busy giving radley an attaboy and helping megan contend that the GA immigration bill had the “unintended consequence” of getting rid of all of the “pickers” this year and that its not the market’s fault.

  93. 93
    elmo says:

    @Roger
    @AAA Bonds

    The ACLU does great work, no question about it, and yes, give them a bunch of fucking money every year — but they’re an organization, not a political movement. I was more contrasting libertarians with liberals (increased the War on Drugs under Clinton) and conservatives (started the fucking thing and cheer every time a poor black kid goes to jail).

    Listen, don’t misunderstand me — I’m not a libertarian any more, for all of the reasons that have been so ably thrown in my teeth discussed here. But my point was that for all the douchebaggery of the Fonzie of Freedom, you also have the guys like Radley Balko who deserve respect.

  94. 94
    AAA Bonds says:

    @Deregulate Me Elmo:

    I agree that the state’s monopoly on force should be taken off the backs of ordinary citizens and used instead to demolish the special privileges of corporations and their fat-cat bosses. We could do with some Wall Streeters getting frog-marched into cells where they belong to replace some kid who flipped weed to his cousin downtown.

    Who’s with me, libertarians?

  95. 95
    MonkeyBoy says:

    ummm, REPLY BUTTON FIX for Firefox and Chrome.

  96. 96
    Stillwater says:

    @Elmo:

    The war on drugs is an interesting choice given that it is perpetuated via bi-partisan support from the political establishment. The reason that’s noteworthy is because libertarians use this as an example of how they’ve broken free from the two party duopoly that Runs Our Country! Dems = Repubs!

    But that’s bullshit. Thinking people from both parties disagree with the government’s handling of the WOD. Furthermore, the ‘libertarian solution’ to the problem isn’t in any way novel: many (most?) liberals have expressed the exact same view as Libertarians on ending the war on drugs, but to no avail. Is it because the Democrats are secretly all about state power? Maybe, I dunno what happens in the closed chambers. But the better explanation is that running on liberalizing drugs is political suicide for an incumbent.

    The WOD isn’t a goal of the state. It’s an unfortunate consequence of the democratic process.

  97. 97
    elmo says:

    Monkey, I’ll be sure and use that when I’m not stealing time from my employer taking a break and posting from my work computer. It’s all Microsuck here, though.

  98. 98
    elmo says:

    @Stillwater: Disagree. I think the WOD is, absolutely, a useful tool of the State and a valuable asset to the powerful in both parties. Hence the bi-partisan support.

  99. 99
    AAA Bonds says:

    @elmo:

    Sorry, I don’t extend respect to authoritarians. I don’t think Pol Pot or Rand Paul are swell guys, and I really believe Rand Paul would become Pol Pot in a second given a “market-friendly” opportunity. Radley Balko would be right there to jack him off in our faces.

    As to your silly distinction about liberals and conservatives and “libertarians” as the solution, really? I mean, really? I thought I was back in 2000 for a second interviewing Harry Browne again.

    You give money to the ACLU. They’re the people actually doing anything about these problems on a national scale. I do the same.

    No one needs to feel guilty about not also sending money to people whose sadistic and doctrinal beliefs fly in the face of both reason and national stability.

    There is nothing a libertarian organization can do or has ever done better than a dedicated left-leaning organization on issues of civil liberties.

  100. 100
    elmo says:

    @AAA: Cute use of my handle, but did you close your eyes during the parts of my posts where I said I’m not by any stretch of the imagination a libertarian any more? Did you need that spelled out in a different font? Different colors? Interpretive dance? Mime?

  101. 101
    Felinious Wench says:

    @MonkeyBoy:

    ummm, REPLY BUTTON FIX for Firefox and Chrome.

    Yep. I now love you. :)

    Thanks!!!

  102. 102
    AAA Bonds says:

    @elmo: I just don’t believe you, that’s all.

  103. 103
    AAA Bonds says:

    @Monkey Boy:

    I don’t know if we should discourage people from linking up their own replies. Puts hair on the genitals and makes a watery-eyed boy into a Libyan-killing man.

  104. 104
    Citizen_X says:

    Since when do the men with the guns ever do anything but the bidding of the men with gobs of cash?

    Um, extreme example? It’s called a dictatorship of the proletariat. All-American, non-extreme (unless you’re a libertarian) examples? The New Deal. Trust-busting. Medicare.

    Popular power, via union activity, boycotts, etc, can help reign in the money power. But the power of the state is either going to be helping or hindering, never just lying neutrally aside. I prefer to have it helping the vast majority of citizens.

  105. 105
    murbella says:

    DeBoer, you fucking asshole the WHOLE COUNTRY has a child poverty rate of 25%.

    However, I am not a libertarian, and I am frankly entirely confused at how I could be considered one.

    you SAID you are a “civil” libertarian. You hang wid libertarians. Your last two posts were glibertarian bulshytt about the earning power of 4-year degrees.
    if you are a soshulist im Bristol Palin.

    This is a classic formula post for you.
    Decry some token libertarian to elicit sympathy from the BJ crowd, and then whine about not knowing what to do.
    Go pander somewhere else where i dont read.
    My new mission in life is to make you cry like I like made your homeslice Reihan Salam cry.

  106. 106
    Stillwater says:

    @Elmo:

    I think the WOD is, absolutely, a useful tool of the State and a valuable asset to the powerful in both parties. Hence the bi-partisan support.

    Useful how?

  107. 107
    murbella says:

    pretty funnie how i usta like you before you dived into glibertarianism.
    DIAF asswhipe.

  108. 108
    Three-nineteen says:

    @Monkeyboy #95: Suppose someone wants a reply button. She downloads Stylish, but cannot find where you add the lovely rule to get the Reply button back. Could you explain to her how to do this?

  109. 109
    murbella says:

    and now he runs away.
    you stupid juicers, where is your fucking pattern recognition algorithm?

    In the name of equanimity, here’s some good Conor Friedersdorf. When he’s good, he’s very good. And when he’s bad… ouch
    __
    For all of our disagreements, I’ll continue to say: when Yglesias gets it right, I do think he’s as good as there is.
    __
    Don’t take my word for it; take Tyler Cowen’s. You can disagree with his politics, and I do, but he is impeccably credentialed and widely regarded as a brilliant academic:

  110. 110
    Stillwater says:

    @murbella: you SAID you are a “civil” libertarian.

    Hah! Somebody just made a complete fool of themselves!

    Freddie…Matoko. I Dunno. But there’s some real laughs there, no doubt.

  111. 111
    MonkeyBoy says:

    @Three-nineteen:

    She downloads Stylish, but cannot find where you add the lovely rule to get the Reply button back. Could you explain to her how to do this?

    See this comment.

  112. 112
    Citizen_X says:

    Any Reply-button solutions for Safari? I haven’t seen any mentioned anywhere.

  113. 113
    Three-nineteen says:

    @MonkeyBoy: Aha! For some reason, restarting Firefox wasn’t good enough – I had to reboot the computer.

    You help is much appreciated. You are a gentleboy and monkey-scholar.

  114. 114
    Tonal Crow says:

    Aha! There you are, Eliza murbella! Don’t you know that you’re not ready for the general-domain Turing Test yet? For one thing, I haven’t fixed those quoting errors in your topic recognition module. Now back in the box. No, not today. Maybe in a few months.

  115. 115
    sneezy says:

    @elmo, #38

    I also think it does a lot to improve the lives of the urban poor, whether or not libertarians “care” about those people.

    Okay, I’ll bite. What specific, concrete things would you say that libertarianism in the US has accomplished to “improve the lives of the urban poor”?

    While you’re at it, in what specific, concrete ways have libertarians in the US engaged with the “urban poor” to determine what they think would “improve [their] lives”?

  116. 116
    murbella says:

    “Hah! Somebody just made a complete fool of themselves!”
    it weren’t meh. wanna see the link? its on the thread where Our Token FP Libertarian said private schools were just hotels for dawgs.
    ;)
    well joo know Stil, i continue to think you are a crappy excuse for a fremen.
    always sukkin’ up to the Harkonnens.

    and deBoer can stand and deliver or run away and get Cole to ban me.
    i bet he runs away, but im sharpening my crysknife and my wtsai just in case.

  117. 117
    Sophist(from droid) says:

    One difference between the environmental movement and the libertarian movement is that most environmentalists don’t think the government should be reduced to the fucking EPA and the parks department. It’s all well and good to say that poverty reduction is outside your ambit, but if the policies you advocate for include dismantling everything that could conceivably be used to reduce poverty then I’m sorry, but you have staked out a position on poverty — you are unequivically in favor of it

  118. 118
    Stillwater says:

    @murbella:

    And I continue to think of you as a sorry excuse for a thinking person.

  119. 119
    jnc says:

    I saw essentially no commentary from institutional libertarianism that acknowledged the ugly aesthetics of a bunch of white, privileged libertarians working to undermine efforts to reduce gun crime in an impoverished black city. It was as if those people and that problem simply didn’t exist.

    Well, given the fact that the horrific gun crime happened while private possession of guns was against the law, perhaps some of those libertarians decided that the “efforts to reduce gun crime” were not working in the slightest and that there was nothing at all to counterbalance against citizens lawful right to arm themselves.

  120. 120
    Ruckus says:

    Martin

    I believe that anyone should be allowed to photograph police any time they are on duty. They are armed, they have much increased power over everyone they interact with and being human sometimes they abuse that power or make mistakes. They should be held to a higher standard, not no standard at all. And some/many times the video protects them from false accusations of abuse.

    Does your job affect public safety directly? Do you have the power to instantaneously take a life and or someone’s freedom of liberty? If not (and I suspect not) then there is no reason to video you at work. You probably have some level of supervision even if you supervise others. Police frequently are one or two people making sometimes pretty hard decisions. But being a rough and ready cowboy is no longer part of the job.

    I had a job where I had no expectation of privacy and in fact have appeared on live TV while doing my job. But my biggest worry was not to be caught scratching my butt or some such, not liability. It was a pain to work around sometimes but I’m talking large professional cameras, sound crew and cable handlers not cell phones.

    I wonder how much of the police reluctance to be videoed comes from the city lawyers or upper management trying to nip complaints in the bud. Not ending the complaints, just that there be no proof.

  121. 121
    sneezy says:

    @ elmo, #93:

    you also have the guys like Radley Balko who deserve respect.

    Fair enough. To the extent that Balko’s actions contributed to a wrongly-convicted person being freed, he’s got my utmost respect. However, this is not the same as respecting whatever “libertarian” beliefs he may have.

    Balko may claim that his actions were motivated by his beliefs, but I think this claim is spurious. “Libertarian” beliefs are neither necessary nor sufficient in order for people to work on the behalf of victims of injustice; the world is full of people who do such work without such beliefs, and even more full of people who profess such beliefs without doing any such work.

    So again, to the extent that Balko’s actions contributed to a wrongly-convicted person being freed, he’s got my utmost respect. But I see this as entirely disconnected from any “libertarian” beliefs he may have.

  122. 122
    Evolved Deep Southerner says:

    Roger Moore @ #35 – July 6, 2011 | 4:48 pm

    Ordinary citizens should be able to video the police at any place or time when they would be able to video an ordinary citizen who’s not a member of the police. The law currently says that I’m free to photograph or video record people in any situation where they do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. If the police want to demand more restrictions than that, they should have to justify the added restrictions. If a watchdog wants fewer restrictions than that, they should have to justify the reduced restrictions.

    Mr. Moore for the mullahfucking win. Talk about hitting it dead-nuts on. Thank you.

  123. 123
    Corner Stone says:

    I am video taped left, right and center every second when I leave the house.
    Red light cameras, highway cameras, security cameras, and cameras of the public.
    If I leave my personal space I am on record. Tollbooths, cameras, everything.
    And I can’t arrest you and bring the full weight of the state against you. If we lived in Mexico or Colombia where being a police officer was a death sentence that may be worth discussing.

  124. 124
    Evolved Deep Southerner says:

    Well, welcome back, murbella_chan.

  125. 125
    Stillwater says:

    @Murbella: I just saw the edit you made post posting. Hmmm.

    You’ve proven yourself even more a fool in that addition, MC/HGW/Murbella: a free marketing libertarian, as you imagine Freddie to be, wouldn’t criticize private schools as being unnecessary relative to public schools – they’d do the opposite. Don’t know why these simple concepts are so difficult for you. Is it ideology or drugs?

  126. 126
    murbella says:

    i didn’t say de Bore was a freemarketeer. He said he was a “civil” libertarian.
    This is a useful definition of All Libertarians, civil and uncivil.

    and he refused to answer my question about whether private schools were unamerican now, and ran away.
    hes EDK redux.
    you cannot defend him either, Stil.

    but you are gunna try, right?
    okfine.

    may your knife chip and shatter.
    ;)

  127. 127
    Stillwater says:

    @murbella: and he refused to answer my question about whether private schools were unamerican now, and ran away.

    MCHGWM, you realize that by advocating for private schools you’ve placed yourself to the right of Freddie, right? That on theis issue he’s to the left of you?

    You just don’t get that, do you?

  128. 128
    murbella says:

    why do Our Token Libertarian FrontPagers always need a champion from the juicer ranks?
    can’t they defend their positions all by their bigselves?

  129. 129
    eemom says:

    Look y’all, we gotta say this for little toko-loko: she has teh balls.

    Intensely annoying, insanely persistent, bizarrely obsessed, check check check
    — but thin-skinned she ain’t.

    Most of us, myself included, start leaking at the seams when confronted with one-tenth the level of hostility that she — not undeservedly — evokes on a consistent basis.

    Now, child — perhaps someday you will learn to use this capacity for a nobler purpose than terrorizing fellow denizens of cyberspace.

  130. 130
    phoebesmother says:

    It took me far too long to cotton to whom “murbella” is. But comment #116 revealed her(?) identity. Here, chan, chan, chan. It’s the mispellings.

  131. 131
    Stillwater says:

    @murbella: I’m not defending them. EDK or Freddie. I’m just trying to demonstrate the crazification of the shit you say about libertarians. It makes no sense. Incoherence abounds! Hell, I’m as big a critic of Libertarians as there is out there, but I criticize your criticisms because they’re just plain confused.

  132. 132
    murbella says:

    @Stillwater
    you retard you didnt read the thread.
    i said we should get rid of private schools.

    why doesnt de Bore put on his bigboi pants and defend himself?
    wuss.

  133. 133
    Corner Stone says:

    EDK was pretty fucking obvious. I’m not sure that’s even debatable any longer. If anyone can make a solid defense of EDK I’d be interested to see it.

  134. 134
    murbella says:

    This is what I say about libertarians.
    you should read it sometime.

    this is for you eemom.

    Dr. Scott: You don’t want to hurt anyone.
    Samara Morgan: But I do, and I’m sorry. It won’t stop.

  135. 135
    murbella says:

    EDK was pretty fucking obvious. I’m not sure that’s even debatable any longer. If anyone can make a solid defense of EDK I’d be interested to see it.

    then why isn’t the LoOG in the mock column?
    and de Bore is pretty fucking obvious to me. I’ve known him longer than you juicers have too.
    i thought de Bore was a good choice initially….but right from his first post hes spewing glibertarian bulshytt, like pity-charity-liberalism.
    /spit

  136. 136
    Corner Stone says:

    I like Freddie. Mainly because he stuck the flagpole in the ground when he posted he was unable to vote for Obama any longer.
    Agree or disagree with him, that torqued some jaws.

  137. 137
    Stillwater says:

    @Corner Stone: I certainly won’t. After he left here he posted about being wrong with respect to union-power being the solution to US labor problems, in particular, teachers. Like libertarians, all he can do is criticize the status quo without offering anything like a workable solution. I’m not sure he’s a Libertarian, but he is certainly confused about seeing what’s right in front of his nose.

  138. 138
    Corner Stone says:

    @murbella: And you keep asking about LOOG. It takes Cole a good 2 – 4 years to come to an actual conclusion that makes sense.
    Check back in 2014 or so.

  139. 139
    Corner Stone says:

    @Stillwater: He’s looking for a paycheck. It wasn’t hard to see. IMO.

  140. 140
    murbella says:

    @Stillwater

    Like libertarians, all he can do is criticize the status quo without offering anything like a workable solution.

    which is EXACTLY what de Bore does…every single fucking post.

    @CS
    i usta like de Bore too. when he was a liberal, back in the Culture 11 days.
    now he just concerntrolls Obama like all libertarians.

  141. 141
    Stillwater says:

    @Corner Stone: You may be right. Personally, I dunno. And I say that as someone who had email exchanges with him about liberalism and reality stuff. My view is that insofar as people are a) spouting bullshit but b) receptive to counterarguments, there is some hope they might turn the corner into the fact-based world.

    But Occam would laugh at me here, given you’re suggestion. So…you’re prolly right.

  142. 142
    Corner Stone says:

    @Stillwater: I’m very handsome too. And I have full use of the Reply Button.
    So I’m the ideal blog mate.

  143. 143
    Stillwater says:

    @Corner Stone: Oh, I have no doubt your handsome, the way you work the floor.

    And I paid free-market price for the newly installed reply. So you got nothin on me.

  144. 144
    dogwood says:

    sneezy:

    So again, to the extent that Balko’s actions contributed to a wrongly-convicted person being freed, he’s got my utmost respect. But I see this as entirely disconnected from any “libertarian” beliefs he may have.

    I’m not sure this is correct. If Cory Maye’s conviction weren’t connected to the drug war, he wouldn’t have given it any consideration. I’m glad he wrote about the case, but it would be disingenuous to ignore the fact he used the Maye case to further his political agenda.

  145. 145
    DPirate says:

    Soylent Green is people… damn libertarians… grumble…

  146. 146
    Hob says:

    @murbella: Matoko, it’s really sad that you’re so determined to never admit the possibility of being wrong, that you deny yourself the chance to learn really basic things about subjects you’re allegedly interested in.

    It seems that you’ve never bothered to look up the term “civil libertarian.” It doesn’t mean “a libertarian who is polite”. It means “someone who is devoted to the cause of civil liberties.” If you’re not sure what civil liberties are, look up “American Civil Liberties Union.”

    Just because a bunch of right-wing assholes have chosen to name themselves with a word derived from “liberty” doesn’t mean they have a trademark on all other terms related to “liberty.” You’re doing exactly what idiots like Jonah Goldberg do when they insist that the “National Soci*lists” were really soci*lists.

    I’m sure you’ll ignore this and continue talking to yourself and claiming to have defeated everyone with your logic. It’s not even funny any more, it’s just sad.

  147. 147
    Hob says:

    @murbella: Matoko, it’s really sad that you’re so determined to never admit the possibility of being wrong, that you deny yourself the chance to learn really basic things about subjects you’re allegedly interested in.

    It seems that you’ve never bothered to look up the term “civil libertarian.” It doesn’t mean “a libertarian who is polite”. It means “someone who is devoted to the cause of civil liberties.” If you’re not sure what civil liberties are, look up “American Civil Liberties Union.”

    Just because a bunch of right-wing assholes have chosen to name themselves with a word derived from “liberty” doesn’t mean they have a trademark on all other terms related to “liberty.” You’re doing exactly what idiots like Jonah Goldberg do when they insist that the “National Soci*lists” were really soci*lists.

    I’m sure you’ll ignore this and continue talking to yourself and claiming to have defeated everyone with your logic. It’s not even funny any more, it’s just sad.

  148. 148
    murbella says:

    @Hob
    This is what ALL libertarians believe, civil and uncivil.
    This what THEY SAY THEY BELIEVE.
    The Paradox of Libertarianism.
    It was written by Dr. Jim Manzi, and it explains perfectly the contradiction between “being devoted to the cause of civil liberties” and localized mob rule, which is the very definition of libertarianism in contemporary America.
    I see no empirical difference between all the multiple names for libertarians– classical liberal, bottom-up liberalism, liberaltarian, civil libertarian, small l libertarian, etc, etc.
    de Bore asked

    However, I am not a libertarian, and I am frankly entirely confused at how I could be considered one.

    In every post here de Bore LINKS libertarians.
    de Bore hangs out with libertarians, and gets linked by libertarians.
    every post hes made here is glibertarian bulshytt, from the first pity-charity-liberalism crap, and concludes by whining that he doesnt know what to do.
    libertarians do not try to defend their crapology, they run away.
    even Yglesias wouldn’t try to stick up for their crap here.

    The way they fool you is that they claim to be for civil liberty– but they are are only for the civil liberties of their cohort, white christian Murrikka.

    Liberty-as-means libertarianism sees the world in an evolutionary framework: societies evolve rules, norms, laws and so forth in order to adapt and survive in a complex and changing external environment. At a high level of abstraction, internal freedoms are necessary so that the society can learn (which requires trial-and-error learning because the external reality is believed to be too complex to be fully comprehended by any existing theory) and adapt (which is important because the external reality is changing). We need liberty, therefore, because we are so ignorant of what works in practical, material terms. But this raises what I think of as the paradox of libertarianism, or more precisely, the paradox of liberty-as-means libertarianism.

    Do you know what trial-and-error learning leads to in society? Localized mob rule, or Distributed Jesusland™ as i call it. Do you know what trial-and-error learning leads to in the marketplace? unregulated capitalism or survival of the greediest aka the Econopalypse That Ate Americas Jobs.

    de Bore is closer to the liberty-as-goal theory-oriented libertarian. That is what civil libertarians are. But they have no power and no practical application. so all they can do is whine and hand wave.
    And run like a scalded cat when someone calls them on their bulshytt.

  149. 149
    Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E) says:

    @murbella 148

    I don’t see Manzi really talking about “ACLU” type stuff in his piece–he is discussing actual libertarians. The ACLU is really focused on the first amendment: freedom of speech, separation of church and state, freedom of the press. They are not advocating any change in our laws or society–they advocate that we follow the First Amendment to the Contstituion.

    Think of the “civil liberties” part of the ACLU as being akin to the “hip” part of “hipster;” all hipsters think they are hip, but not all people who are hip are hipsters.

    IOW I can tell the sdifference between the Flobots and Marcy Playground. I must confess, I like to sidetrack you by calling you a hipster–it’s kinda funny! ;)

    To answer your most frequently repeated question: I just don’t think John Cole really worries all that much about themundane details of the site–especially the type that don’t affect is usability, so where the link to te LoOG is located is probably pretty far down the to-do list.

  150. 150
    Marmot says:

    @comment 148

    Turns out that murbella is makoto! Yay! Someone wins the Internet!

    See this here link, where makoto uses murbella’s “Distributed Jesusland” bit.

  151. 151

    […] this post by Nick Gillespie on the arrest of a Reason reporter at a D.C. taxi public forum and writes: In a poor, majority-black city with a long history of drugs, crime, and endemic lack of […]

  152. 152
    Scruffy Nerfherder says:

    Powerful – those possessing the police power and the ability to throw your ass (white or otherwise) in jail

    Powerless – those without that power

    That said, DC’s endemic problems stem not from the ruthless, monocle and top hat-wearing libertarians who most obviously do not rule the district, but from decades of mismanagement and corruption by some of the the most liberal city administrations in US history, a problem only compounded by the efforts of Congress to meddle in local affairs.

    But, I suppose it’s easier to make libertarians into punching bags than it is to actually come up with and implement successful programs to improve the quality of life in DC.

  153. 153
    murbella says:

    One question, Dolomite.
    Who belongs to the ACLU, liberals or libertarians?
    If de Bore is not a libertarian, why call hisbigself a “civil” libertarian?
    Its just a cloaking device.
    Like EDK calling himself a liberaltarian or a bleeding heart libertarian.
    They are ALL libertarians of one sort or another, or they would call themselves something else.

  154. 154
    Jesus Christ says:

    Yes. Deliberately ignore the issue of a local government trying to strong-arm a group of business-people made up of minorities and immigrants. Ignore Reason being on the side of the poor people trying to make a living for themselves.

    Harp incessantly about Nick Gillespie’s phrasing. Mock libertarianism in broad strokes. Ignore the taxi drivers’ rights because it’s “complicated.”

    Who doesn’t care about poor people again?

  155. 155

    […] powerful were more than ready to take advantage of the powerless." This phrasing inspired an entire mini-essay by Freddie deBoer over at the Reason Derangement Syndrome website Balloon Juice. […]

  156. 156

    […] were more than ready to take advantage of the powerless.” This phrasing inspired an entire mini-essay by Freddie deBoer over at the Reason Derangement Syndrome website Balloon Juice. […]

  157. 157
    Dave says:

    The libertarians have had their chance and they messed everything up and made the inner city folks poor and kept them there. Please vote all libertarians out of public office, their policies simply don’t work in the real world.

  158. 158
    Joshua Corning says:

    Pretty sure Nick was talking about the Cab drivers whom are about to lose their jobs.

    Also if one were to look at how much a journalist employed by Reason makes and compare it to Ballon Juices definition of “poor” my guess is that even your idiotic misreading of what Nick wrote would still be wrong.

    Also the cab drivers deserve the right to have their voice heard. If the powers prevent media coverage of their plight by arresting reporters then once again the powerful are taking a shit on the poor.

    Anyway Ballon Juice was not there to cover the issue and it was a libertarian journalist who was covering the story and trying to give voice to the powerless in the face of the actions of the powerful. The sour grapes does not surprise me in the least. You got scooped, and by libertarians no less. Live with it.

  159. 159
    Mr Whipple says:

    Well. He was right. There is nothing worth responding to here. Just a bunch of brain dead pseudo-intellectuals.

    Liberals hate small businesses and entrepreneurs because they can’t be unionized. Still stuck on the Labor Theory of Value, huh? Too bad.

  160. 160
    Hobo Chang Ba says:

    While your insights into the libertarian mind may be pseudo-accurate for most coldhearted Randian libertarians who think the poor are little more than lazy parasites, they cannot be construed as the opinion of all (or even most) libertarians by any stretch.

    There are many anti-Randian libertarians and left-libertarians like me who came to libertarianism specifically because the State hurts the poor more than any other force – more than drugs, more than violence, more than corporations. The state seduces the poor into a life of substandard dependency and effectively blocks all legitimate routes out of poverty using arbitrary and expensive regulations and occupational licensing, urban “renewal”, failing public school monopolies, the racist war on drugs (which escalates inner city violence), etc. For example, blocking low-income taxi cab drivers from transporting customers from one destination to the next for money. All the small business that the poor might have the capital to start – like food trucks, cutting hair and driving taxi cabs – are blocked by government regulation.

    In addition, many libertarians do not believe it is the role of the government to defend business owners from liability by providing the fake “corporation” mechanism. A laissez-faire market would have no corporations, and would make business owners fully responsible for all violations of rights in their name – thus decentralizing monetary wealth, ending “too big to fail”, encouraging entrepreneurship, improving the environment and working conditions, reducing corporate crime and ending the mutually parasitic government-corporation relationship.

    From a former Leftist, it would be nice if the Left got with the reality that the government has never been a force for justice and freedom and that central planning only creates more injustice and more centralization of wealth. Capitalism isn’t a panacea, but it is the least bad way to correct the injustices the State committed in the past (slavery, discrimination, etc.)

  161. 161
    Kenny says:

    Way to completely misunderstand everything libertarians believe in.

    This is a good circle-jerk piece for people in an anti-libertarian bent but it’s a pretty intellectually dishonest writeup that’s only good for describing how people who refuse to actually try to understand other people’s positions want to believe about libertarians.

    Maybe they should do a better job of trying to convince you guys they don’t think like you want to believe they do, but it’s more likely that you just don’t want to believe reality.

  162. 162
    Jake Boone says:

    @Dave, #157

    The libertarians have had their chance

    Holy crap! Did I fall asleep and miss it? ‘Cause if there was ever a time when libertarians were in control of the US government, I’d have thought that I might have at least noticed it. How embarrassing!

  163. 163
    Mike Laursen says:

    Umm, you do realize that when Gillespie was talking about the powerless he was referring to independent cab drivers, not the reporter from reason.

  164. 164
    murbella says:

    Look people.
    THEY ARE ALL SOME STRIPE OF LIBERTARIAN.
    Otherwise they would call themselves SOMETHING ELSE.

  165. 165
    Dave says:

    “Holy crap! Did I fall asleep and miss it?”

    Sarcasm Jake, come on now.

  166. 166
    Ordovician Bighorn Dolomite (formerly rarely seen poster Fe E) says:

    @murbella 164

    (On the off chance that anybody is still looking at this thread.)

    Unless it’s changed I’m pretty sure the ACLU membership is dominated by out-and-out liberals. When I was a regularly donating member (mid 90s) I think I realy only read stuff like Mother Jones and The Nation etc–they all seemed to be of a piece to me. And maybe I missed it back then, but I don’t think Libertarians were really much a presence. Being a opolitical geek who hung with other political geeks I was aware otheir existence, but their influence was somewhere between that of the LaRouchians and the Green Party.

    If anything I’d say the Libertarians have kind of co-opted the “liberties” from the American Civil Liberties Union–and not the other way around.

    I’ve long had a burr under my saddle about he separation of Church and State and the ACLU really gets a lot done in that issue.

  167. 167

    […] …and Freddie deBoer over at Balloon Juice completely misses the point. […]

  168. 168

    It might have been worth mentioning that one of those “white, privileged libertarians” who worked to overturn the D.C. gun ban owed his life to a gun that scared off a gay-bashing mob.

    http://pinkelephant2closets.bl.....-guns.html

    As for all these commenters with their anti-libertarian bigotry who think there are no poor libertarians — what universe do you live in? Experience of poverty, and of the ways in which the state creates poverty, is for many of us one of the main motives for being a libertarian. Check out:

    http://all-left.net

  169. 169
    Ian says:

    Did all of the libertarian haters read what the article was about? It was about independent cab drivers getting sold out to a corporation by DC politicians. You guys really have no understanding of libertarianism if you think it is about corporate fatcats. Republicans are corporatists. Libertarians are capitalists. There is a HUGE difference.

  170. 170
    Mark says:

    There is always a big difference between a pure ideological position and the real world. It is a common mistake for people to oversimplify the problem of “how to get there from here.”

    This is one reason why I like Ron Paul, but really don’t like the LP. Paul complains about the NEA, Planned Parenthood, etc, but makes it clear that attacking these are quite low on the list of priorities.

    LP candidates, on the other hand, seem to have strong ideological positions but no plans for how to implement them.

    The hard core Tea Partiers are worse though – in general they have no idea how to implement their ideas but they also have a significant amount of power.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] …and Freddie deBoer over at Balloon Juice completely misses the point. […]

  2. […] were more than ready to take advantage of the powerless.” This phrasing inspired an entire mini-essay by Freddie deBoer over at the Reason Derangement Syndrome website Balloon Juice. […]

  3. […] powerful were more than ready to take advantage of the powerless." This phrasing inspired an entire mini-essay by Freddie deBoer over at the Reason Derangement Syndrome website Balloon Juice. […]

  4. […] this post by Nick Gillespie on the arrest of a Reason reporter at a D.C. taxi public forum and writes: In a poor, majority-black city with a long history of drugs, crime, and endemic lack of […]

  5. […] to underscore. I was reminded of Ellison’s words today when I ready Freddie de Boer’s potent critique of the libertarian […]

Comments are closed.