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catoismymotor (< 20)

A Very Simple Explaination of Libertarianism.

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April 07, 2010 – Comments (43)

>>> LINK <<<</a>

 

Today a fellow Fool tried to convince me that he knows exactly what libertarianism is. The Fool in question is not a libertarian and decided to lean upon an article to make his point. The article is more suited for The Onion, which is sad.

Today, John Stossel, a journalist and fellow libertarian, happened to pen an article on this very subject. I believe that he has written a short but informative piece on what the vast majority of us believe. I have provided a link at the top and bottom to take you to the article.

Cato

 

>>> LINK <<<</a>

 

43 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On April 07, 2010 at 3:16 PM, Melaschasm (55.96) wrote:

It is sad how few people know what a conservative is.  It is truly pitiful that so few people have even heard the word libertarian.

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#2) On April 07, 2010 at 3:58 PM, 100ozRound (29.41) wrote:

Git em Cato!!

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#3) On April 07, 2010 at 4:42 PM, ocsurf (< 20) wrote:

The last line says it all, "It appears that when government sets out to solve a problem, not only does it violate our freedom, it also accomplishes the opposite of what it set out to do."

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#4) On April 07, 2010 at 5:05 PM, lemoneater (75.49) wrote:

Nice article. I'm not a libertarian although I share some similar goals--small government, fewer taxes. Of course, small government works best with a well-educated, moral population--nothing like being self-governed.

However, there are two areas that I'm not sure I've heard any political group give a good answer for.

What to do about our drug problem. (I've heard arguments in favor of legalizing drugs saying that it would empty out prisons and make drug dealing not any more lucrative than any other business. But should people have the freedom to destroy themselves--taking drug use to its most extreme end? I find it hard to deal with this topic in an objective, detatched way.) 

What to do about foreign affairs. The pandora box of globalism has opened.

Have a good night. I'm ready for a statesman even if he is not of my political persuasion.

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#5) On April 07, 2010 at 6:34 PM, kdakota630 (29.82) wrote:

I read that Stossel column (I try my best to catch them all) and was going to repost, but didn't.  I'm glad someone did though.

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#6) On April 07, 2010 at 10:09 PM, TMFLomax (41.01) wrote:

Absolutely great article. Thank you for posting it.

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#7) On April 07, 2010 at 10:19 PM, whereaminow (45.39) wrote:

+1 for Stossel and Cato, always.

David in Qatar

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#8) On April 07, 2010 at 10:24 PM, whereaminow (45.39) wrote:

lemoneater,

For our drug problem, which is a goverment created problem like all other prohibitions, see Strike the Root for a detaild libertarian critique.

For foreign policy, I invite you to read A Foreign Policy of Freedom by Ron Paul. 

Also recommended,

Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire by Chalmers Johnson
Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror by Michael Scheuer
The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War by Andrew J. Bacevich    
Ain't My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism and Middle American Anti-Imperialism by Bill Kauffman
Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement
by Justin Raimondo
The Betrayal of the American Right by Murray N. Rothbard; online here
Prophets on the Right: Profiles of Conservative Critics of American Globalism by Ronald Radosh    
Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic by Chalmers Johnson
Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer
The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic
by Chalmers Johnson
Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism by Robert A. Pape
American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy
by Andrew J. Bacevich
The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism by Andrew J. Bacevich
War Is a Racket
by Maj. Gen. Smedley D. Butler; online here
The War for Righteousness: Progressive Christianity, the Great War and the Rise of the Messianic Nation
by Richard Gamble
The Costs of War: America's Pyrrhic Victories
, ed. John V. Denson
We Who Dared to Say No to War: American Antiwar Writing From 1812 to Now
by Murray Polner and Thomas E. Woods, Jr.
Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy
by Murray N. Rothbard; online here

David in Qatar

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#9) On April 07, 2010 at 11:48 PM, RainierMan (75.28) wrote:

So, let' deregulate the world? It's just so terribly naive and overly simple. Don't get me wrong, goverment is groupthink idiocy most of the time. But that doesn't mean the best idea is to dismantle regulations and sort of let everybody do their own thing.

Bob's right to pollute Joe's air and water is going to be a problem for Joe. You may not think you're hurting him, but his whole family is pissing blood daily ever since you started that meth lab in your basement, all while pursuing your liberty. Ok, ever since you started dumping chemicals form your unregulated small business near Joe's house.  Bob's dangerous pharmaceutical is going to kill Joe, but at least Bob didn't have to deal with regualtions. Bob's business that was started without any regulation, you know, the one where he served the melamin burgers from China to the school kids?...big problem. Bob's freedom can screw a lot of people. The unlicensed contrator who built that house that just fell down and crushed your family was just pursuing his right to economic freedom. You can't seriously expect that guy to be regulated can you?

Don't blame poor people for your tax rate. If you want to see what is really driving your taxes look to the military, Medicare, payments on previously acquired debt, and so forth. Welfare is a tiny part of your taxes. You may not like paying for food and medical for that 5 year old kid with the unemployed parents, but don't blame the poor for your tax rate.

Any time one group thinks their way is the only way, you can be sure they are living in fantasyland. I apply that to liberals, conservatives, libertarians, socialists, communists, whatever.

That fact is....and this is a fact...this country has been regulated since the industrial revolution, and I'd say we've done pretty damn well. In fact, Stossel's article basically says that. So, he's basically saying the we don't even need libertarianism to prosper. New and small businesses STILL generate most of the new jobs in this country every year. That is a fact.

Besides, isn't aren't the Larouche types libertarians? Who wants to hang out with those nut jobs?

 

 

 

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#10) On April 08, 2010 at 12:47 AM, whereaminow (45.39) wrote:

The LaRouchies have long said that the Mises Institute was established as a front for the Queen of England’s underground drug running operation, and hence the advocacy of drug legalization.  I don't want to hang out them either, but they sound fun though.

We have regulation in the private market right now.  And it works better than government.  Who caught Madoff?  A private financial analyst in May 2000.  The SEC, even with a helping hand, never caught him.  Madoff, if you will recall, turned himself in.

As I said before, you are asking the government to do things that society already does, and does better without government.

You have to prove to me that government can regulate better than society before you take away our freedoms.  The burden of proof is on the person that wants to implement coercion.

Thanks,

David in Qatar

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#11) On April 08, 2010 at 9:20 AM, RainierMan (75.28) wrote:

I think it when the private sector fails is when you need regulation. And the private sector does fail at times. There was a time when kids in this country were working long hours in unsafe factories. When mines are deemed unsafe, and then also end up collapsing on workers, the private sector is failing. I would argue that when someone with a medical condition cannot get medical insurance, the private sector is failing. When a company can keep their books like Enron did, there is a need for regulation. Government is inefficient and stupid, but sometimes the private sector is too. When felons can go to gun shows a buy weapons, the private sector is failing to self-regulate. I'd be open to some other solution than government, but I don't know what that would be. Also, when regulation fails too, sometimes it probably means the regs are too weak and don't have teeth.

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#12) On April 08, 2010 at 9:31 AM, whereaminow (45.39) wrote:

Who said the private sector has to live up to an unrealistic infallability?

People fail. Markets have no inherent responsibility to anyone.  They only exist in the first place because of people.  Humans wanted to exchange.

Governments exist because lazy criminals decided they'd rather steal other people's labor.

Asking governments to regulate markets is like asking pedophiles to watch your children.

David in Qatar

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#13) On April 08, 2010 at 9:58 AM, SkinneeJ (28.40) wrote:

#11, Sarbanes Oxley was put in place after Enron and there are probably more scandals now than there where before.  No part of that *regulation* has made it any safer to do business.  Even if there were not Sarbanes Oxley, there would still be civil\criminal prosecution.  So, we didn't need the new regulations which costs this country BILLIONS to comply with.  The government can still step in and prosecute, but they can't *prevent* cheating wtih more regulation.

Secondly, medical insurance is not an inalienable human right, but it is a packaged good.  If you can't afford it, oh well, you don't get to extend your life as long as possible and as comfortable as possible.  My wife works in a medicaid clinic and you would be suprised by the people living off medicaid that drive top of the line LTZ Chevy Tahoe's.  Not only that, but if they have to wait more than 15 minutes to see a doctor, they are the first ones to start bitching!!!  Entitlement KILLS society.  Hey, I have an idea.  What is more important, food and water, or medical care?  Why don't we have a "single payor" food system where everyone just pays into the government and then they just ration each family MRE's every week?  Why does the government allow me to go into a hospital and not be refused treatement, when I can't just walk into a restaurant and eat what I want and refuse to pay?!?!  Isn't that called *stealing*?  Is it okay to steal medical care to be more comfortable, but not okay to steal food which I need to survive?

Felons are felons.  If they want a weapon, they will get their hands on it EASILY.  If you think that stopping gun shows will cut back on murder, you are living in fantasy land.  Criminals DONT FOLLOW GOVERNMENT REGULATION.  Tha'ts what makes them CRIMINALS!!!  If they want to kill you, they will kill you in your sleep with an electric weed eater.  Then, they will steal your gun.

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#14) On April 08, 2010 at 12:06 PM, PeteysTired (< 20) wrote:

they will kill you in your sleep with an electric weed eater.

This is so easy to solve for the gov't!  They should put a license on electric weed eaters and then require a ten day waiting period before buying.....problem solved!

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#15) On April 08, 2010 at 1:28 PM, sentinelbrit (85.99) wrote:

I am in favor of small government etc. However, you have to admit if it hadn't been for the government bailing us all out, we'd be in a sorry state now. Someone might say that the government got us into this mess - they certainly contributed to it but the key conduits were entrepreneurs (Countrywide), banks, investment banks, rating agencies, investment managers, mortgage brokers and incredibly naive individuals who thought house prices went up forever and they could put down 100% of the purchase price of a house and still be okay. What gets me is that when the sh** hits the fan everyone expects the government to bail them out and in the next breadth complains of government interference.

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#16) On April 08, 2010 at 2:15 PM, ricoy5 (25.89) wrote:

Who said the private sector has to live up to an unrealistic infallability?

 David, this does not really seem like an answer.... please answer these questions.... this is the main point that many (me) on the non-far fringes would like to hear about Libertarins... I know it is not your responsiblity, but frankly you and several others are trying very hard to SELL us (and myself am interested in the product, but there are quite a few things that I just don't GET)

I've read a few of your recommended reading materials, but I frankly find you easier to absorb than most of them. and you seem more than willing to summarize/explain... I would REALLY LOVE it if you would take some time to tackle this particular issue...

NAMELY... people do bad things... they are selfish, and greedy and sometimes downright EVIL.  With nothing but the "free-market" to prevent these basic human traits from hurting others, what does stop them?... in the short term. 

There seems to be an assumption that the free-market will take care of these obvious 'violations of my rights' with your pursuit of yours.... but that works in the LONG TERM... what about next week???

I think within the mostly true statement that the gov't often does not prevent/punsish wrongdoers for their actions... they often do. and the threat of that punishment is very often enough to PREVENT many (some?) from ever taking the action.

the consequenses comming from the market equilibrium does not have that same effect... am I wrong?

THanks in advance... I always look forward to reading your posts, even as I wish I agreed with more of them.

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#17) On April 08, 2010 at 5:21 PM, whereaminow (45.39) wrote:

ricoy5,

If you reject market based solutions because people are greedy and evil, you must also reject every government based solution, since there is no reason to believe that they are any less evil.  In fact, there is every reason to believe they are more greedy and evil.

I do, however, have something in mind for a future post that may help elucidate that point.

There is no market equilibrium. There never has been one.

If you wish to prevent fraud, you can't rely on the government, since the government commits fraud on a daily basis.  You need private courts, private police, etc., motivated by profit to take down the bad guys.  (Admit it, that scares you, even though it shouldn't.  Monopolized force should scare you, and that is exactly what government is.)

If you want to limit fraud, you need sound money.  Where did all this money come from that Madoff, AIG, Lehman, etc.. lost?  It was leveraged on top of paper.  It's a child's game.

Bring back honest money and you'll see less fraud in the financial world.   

This has happened before. Have you ever heard of John Law?  

David in Qatar

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#18) On April 08, 2010 at 6:49 PM, ricoy5 (25.89) wrote:

You need private courts, private police, etc., motivated by profit to take down the bad guys.  (Admit it, that scares you, even though it shouldn't.  Monopolized force should scare you, and that is exactly what government is.)

Darn right!  because if they are motivated by profit to "take out the bad guys"... won't they be motivated by the same profit to just get bribed/bought off by the bad guys?  What exactly prevents this? Competing police companies? Which start to compete not just on price, but by sabotaging investigations... 

I just fail to see how the free market operates without some CODE of conduct (regulation)...  The basic rule of nature is survival of the fittest, and that quickly devolves into anything goes.  Very efficient in the long run... messy in the short run.

I see your (libertarian) points about bloated/coercive/corrupt gov't, but I don't like the idea of the whole world being run with no rules... 

Please explain how a world without regulatory body does not operate like the urban drug market (pretty wide open and free, but dangerous to be a supplier, customer, or even tangentally related to)

thanks. Rico

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#19) On April 08, 2010 at 6:49 PM, ricoy5 (25.89) wrote:

You need private courts, private police, etc., motivated by profit to take down the bad guys.  (Admit it, that scares you, even though it shouldn't.  Monopolized force should scare you, and that is exactly what government is.)

Darn right!  because if they are motivated by profit to "take out the bad guys"... won't they be motivated by the same profit to just get bribed/bought off by the bad guys?  What exactly prevents this? Competing police companies? Which start to compete not just on price, but by sabotaging investigations... 

I just fail to see how the free market operates without some CODE of conduct (regulation)...  The basic rule of nature is survival of the fittest, and that quickly devolves into anything goes.  Very efficient in the long run... messy in the short run.

I see your (libertarian) points about bloated/coercive/corrupt gov't, but I don't like the idea of the whole world being run with no rules... 

Please explain how a world without regulatory body does not operate like the urban drug market (pretty wide open and free, but dangerous to be a supplier, customer, or even tangentally related to)

thanks. Rico

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#22) On April 08, 2010 at 7:15 PM, whereaminow (45.39) wrote:

ricoy5,

A free market is not a world without rules.  It's possible that it would have even more.  For example, if roads were privatized rules would vary greatly from road to road, based on the requirements of users of those roads.   The one-size-fits-all model of government rule doesn't work in the real world.

Free markets would have code of conduct.  The first thing you need to realize to understand this is that nobody buys a product they don't want.  That's the principle of consumer soverignity.  

Can I explain how private courts and police would work in a free market system?  A little, sure.  And I would recommend you browse the many sources of Libertarian studies for deeper research.  

But think about this: during WWII, the United States was rationing food.  Imagine trying to explain to somehow how McDonald's, Whole Foods, Subway, KFC, and the literally millions of food options would develop if you allowed a free market in this area.  Could you do it?  Could you convince someone that a free market was going to be great by describing the exact detail of entities that did not exist yet?  What about regulation and greedy capitalists?  Could you describe in perfect detail what would come about if the government monopoly on food rationing was dissolved?

Of course not.  You'd be wrong, since you probably would never describe these exact institutions in exact detail.  If you could, you'd be a God.

So you have to tell me what you want. If you want exact details to nitpick, Walter Block, Robert Murphy, Hans Hoppe and before them Murray Rothbard and David Friedman, attempt to describe these institutions in detail.  

If you wan the theoretical justification, then you need to look at Oppenheimer, Juan De Mariana, De Soto, Rothbard again, Woods, Casey, DiLorenzo, etc.  

What is the urban dog market?  Are you talking about Michael Vick?  

David in Qatar

 

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#23) On April 08, 2010 at 7:28 PM, moneychase (< 20) wrote:

@SkinneeJ

Gooooooooooooooooooal !!!

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#24) On April 08, 2010 at 7:51 PM, dargus (75.65) wrote:

Private police and courts? I'm extremely skeptical of that. Are we basically going to have areas sectioned off based on what private courts they use? What if I wish to use a different court? What keeps police from becoming a force for themselves and not rule of law? Will I pay a different police force to protect me from the others? If I don't have the money to pay for police, will I be brutalized? Am I forced to submit to the police/courts that operate in that area I live? Will they be monopolies in a given area? If not, how are disputes resolved between different courts in the same area? Which set of laws take precedence? It is an interesting idea, and I'll try and read up on it myself, but it seems to me individuals will still be subjected to collectivist forces one way or the other.

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#25) On April 08, 2010 at 9:14 PM, whereaminow (45.39) wrote:

dargus,

I can answer one of your questions quickly, and so I will.

Are we basically going to have areas sectioned off based on what private courts they use? What if I wish to use a different court?

I don't think so.  What is most likely, and again, it's impossible to be exact so I appreciate your skepticism, is that courts would be bonded to companies.  So if you shop at Whole Foods, for example, you would also have to be willing to use the judiciary system that Whole Foods is a member of.  Those court systems, or dispute resolution systems, would also be in constant competition.  If Whole Foods works with a system you think is corrupt, you have a very simple option: shop for your food somewhere else.

But what if one company gains a monopoly in dispute resolution.  Well, we already have that.  That's the U.S. Federal Government.

However, when you come to understand the nature of monopoly, and you find out that every monopoly in history has only existed as a direct result of government action, then you understand that free market monopolies aren't your concern.  It is the monopoly on force that is the concern, and governments are the only entities that have ever created a monopoly of force over specific territorial areas.

David in Qatar

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#26) On April 08, 2010 at 10:49 PM, RainierMan (75.28) wrote:

If they want to kill you, they will kill you in your sleep with an electric weed eater.  Then, they will steal your gun.

That's what all gun lovers say. It must be the stupidest of all their arguments. I will happily deal with a murderous weed wacker guy over a guy with a gun Actually, I'll opt for dealing with the guy with a knife, baseball bat....whatever, over someone with a gun. 

Who said the private sector has to live up to an unrealistic infallability?

It's more or less implied by the libertarian concept of nirvana on earth. If you're not buying it, welcome back to the mainstream. 

 

Governments exist because lazy criminals decided they'd rather steal other people's labor.

Oh, ok, I thought it was because people weren't warming up to anarchy.  

Asking governments to regulate markets is like asking pedophiles to watch your children.

Really? Are you confusing government with the Catholic Church? Or the Boy Scouts? It's enterprising individuals and companies that are suppling the pedophiles, not governments. Cute analogies never work. 

 

 

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#27) On April 09, 2010 at 1:37 AM, whereaminow (45.39) wrote:

MichaelinWA,

You are getting much more confrontation than I am here, so I am going to back off a little bit.  I just want to know what Libertarian writer promises Nirvana on Earth or any kind of Utopia.  

The original Utopia was written by Thomas More, a Socialist.  Fourier, Saint Simon, Robert Owen, all socialists, penned utopias.

I have never in my life read a Libertarian that claimed they were bringing about a utopia. Not one.  In fact, I know Rothbard addressed this myth specifically in Egalitarianism as a Revolt against Nature.  I will copy and paste if I have to, as I have done many times before.

So, either show me the Libertarian who believes in Nirvana or Utopia, or retract/rephrase the statement, please.

Thanks,

David in Qatar

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#28) On April 09, 2010 at 8:58 AM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

...show me the Libertarian who believes in Nirvana or Utopia...

I'm sorry to be a buttinski but I feel the need to interject my opinion. I don't believe in Nirvana or Utopia, at least not on this plain of existance. As long as humans are driven by their emotions and instincts such states of being will not come about.

What I do want is the government to stop trying to save me from myself and to stop charging me for the effort. And I want the same for you. That would allow us to make our mistakes, learn and grow from them, become better, wiser people. You learn from your errors, not from your successes.

Cato, the coffeeless

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#29) On April 09, 2010 at 10:51 AM, RainierMan (75.28) wrote:

I'm being sarcastic and exaggerating to make a point. I don't think I'm the only one.

But, yes, I retract the statement about nirvana and Utopia; that was an exaggeration. With a little sarcasm. I should have said that libertarians seem to think that if we just really weaken the watchdog over corporations, we'd be much better off. And I don't buy that. What we'd have would be different problems, but we can't vote out corporations.

As for individual freedoms, per Cato's point, I would agree. As long as your freedoms aren't coming at my expense. 

Cato, and this is a serious question: what are libertarians "hot button" issues in terms of government trying to save you from yourself. I'm trying to think about how the government is trying to save me from myself, and I honestly can't come up with one thing. What does the government force on you in it's effort to save you? 

  

 

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#30) On April 09, 2010 at 10:52 AM, RainierMan (75.28) wrote:

I'm being sarcastic and exaggerating to make a point. I don't think I'm the only one.

But, yes, I retract the statement about nirvana and Utopia; that was an exaggeration. With a little sarcasm. I should have said that libertarians seem to think that if we just really weaken the watchdog over corporations, we'd be much better off. And I don't buy that. What we'd have would be different problems, but we can't vote out corporations.

As for individual freedoms, per Cato's point, I would agree. As long as your freedoms aren't coming at my expense. 

Cato, and this is a serious question: what are libertarians "hot button" issues in terms of government trying to save you from yourself. I'm trying to think about how the government is trying to save me from myself, and I honestly can't come up with one thing. What does the government force on you in it's effort to save you? 

  

 

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#31) On April 09, 2010 at 11:53 AM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

Michael,

I believe the the hottest of the hot button issue would be the war on drugs. I'll probably be corrected, but I think that is the biggest one at the forefront. The prohibition of alcohol failed, so in order to appear to still be saving us from some form of evil our politicians of the day decided to go after substances that were not sewn so deeply into the national fabric. Never underestimate a politician's ability to make a mountain out of a molehill to further his career. They let no crisis, real or imagined, pass them by.

There are a whole host of laws the government tries to enforce to keep us safe from ourselves. They want to keep us safe from drug use, gambling, and prostitition. While operating motor vehicles they make us use seatbelts or helmets and obey interstate speed laws. Those are but a few. I am not saying that I advocate behavior that one might conclude is risky. But I do advocate for your right to choose to think for yourself. If you are over 18 years of age Darwin should be allowed to run free.

Thank you for the question,

Cato

P.S. - I'm happy to elaborate on anything I wrote above.

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#32) On April 09, 2010 at 12:10 PM, RainierMan (75.28) wrote:

Cato: I actually sort of agree on the point about drugs, although I can't quite get to legalizing all drugs. I think there is a huge conceptual contradiction in legalizing alcohol but not pot, for example. That said, I'm not ready for a new drug industry to thrive in the U.S. I'm not so sure I want raise my kids in a country where society generally thinks using crack is ok, and up to each person, while I'm try to tell them that stuff is bad.

I also see your point on things like seatbelts, etc. That said, some things like that seem so commonsensical that I just don't think it's a major problem. There are ridiculous laws, I know, I just don't think they are that many, or have much impact.  

What do libertarians think of the impact of the war of terror on individual rights. For example, the loss of habeas corpus? Again, real question, I'm, curious.  

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#33) On April 09, 2010 at 12:12 PM, dargus (75.65) wrote:

I know it is easy to tear down an idea so don’t think I’m just trying to be negative here. I also acknowledge that we haven’t experienced what private rule of law would look like so anything is mere speculation. It makes some sense to me that you’ll have to deal with a particular company’s laws if you wish to do business with them, and they have an incentive to treat you fairly. However, when it comes down to my private property, I don’t like the situation I’m imagining. It seems naive to me to make the assumption that a private police force won’t attempt to force me to do something if I don’t pay them or another private source of force to protect me. Then, if I can’t or won’t pay, what happens? Honestly, I think there is already a model for this and it is called the mafia. Bill Maher has often referred to the government as a mafia, which isn’t an inaccurate definition. So the real question is, are private sources of force better than public ones? Again, I’m skeptical. How are disputes between entities resolved? Entities can create contracts between each other, but with no governing body the only incentive to execute the contracts is fear of reprisal. This may not be much different than how nation-states interact, but I suppose I’m conditioned to support basic democratic principles. Granted, I’d probably have a lot more choices about how I wish to live my life, assuming I can afford it. I also see a lot of issues when it comes to externalities. For example, let’s say I have a giant manure pile on the edge of my property and it causes problems for my neighbor. How do we resolve this without a uniform governing body? Will all the security and judicial forces have contracts between each other to deal with these issues? It seems to me my rights could be just as abused as they are by the government, except votes are now dollars, and they are disproportionally distributed. Not to say that money doesn’t buy government influence, but ultimately voters decide with equal weight. In addition, how is private property handled at all without a homogeneous legal body? I’m more apt to think it could work on a local level, but throw in multination corporations and I become much less hopeful. However, without nations things may look much different.

 

I take issue when you say that “governments are the only entities that have ever created a monopoly of force over specific territorial areas.” This goes back to your point that we don’t know what a private legal system would look like. We have never seen a world without governments, at least in a very long time. Although, there are quite a few areas in the world forced to live under brutal repression by warlords. Are we going to call them a government? Do they lack a monopoly because other warlords can move in to fight them? Governments can be toppled in the same manner.  If we don’t call them a government, I’d say your statement is false. If so, then we’d probably have to call the private judiciary a government also. Also, the farther back in history you go, the more the line between public and private blurs. Monarchy is a form of government, but I wouldn’t exactly call it a public enterprise. I would make the contention that it more resembles a private enterprise. I could go on and on, but I think you see where I’m going and I’d like to hear your perspective. Could you also give me a more specific reading list for this topic? I haven’t read Rothbard yet, so something from him might be nice.

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#34) On April 09, 2010 at 12:20 PM, dargus (75.65) wrote:

I have a couple things to interject into Michael and cato’s discussion. I too struggle with the overly oppressive drug laws. I don’t think doing crack or heroine is a great idea, but I’m wary of the precedent set by making them totally illegal. I take the stand that the federal government has no business restricting them, but maybe laws can get stricter as we move to the state and local governments. This would at least allow people to vote with their feet, which I think was something important to America’s founders. It still allows for irresponsible drug use, and irresponsible government oppression, but my hope is it would at least be an improvement. However, given state voting patterns on the issue, I may be quite wrong. This doesn’t even touch on the issue of prescriptions. Should I be able to buy any drug I want without a doctor as a gatekeeper? The jury is out for me on this one too.

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#35) On April 09, 2010 at 1:46 PM, RainierMan (75.28) wrote:

I guess the thing with drug legalization is that we already prohibit the sale of unsafe substances. That's why we have an FDA. Why even bother testing pharmaceuticals for safety if we can all make our own decision? Why test food from China for melamine if it's up to each person what to put in their body? I don't know how to square keeping unsafe products off the market, with suddenly legalizing crack or cocaine or PCP...whatever. I know, I know, cigarettes ARE unsafe, and booze CAN be. But even those either CAN be safe, or are not immediately likely kill you. And this is where I get most uncomfortable with libertarianism; where do you draw the line? Once you decide to draw no lines, we then, I think, embark on a rather unpredictable social experiment, and I don't know that there is going to be a lot of benefit even if it works out fine. And I really have my doubts about whether it would work out fine. I think most Americans from across the political spectrum would sort of agree. And so, I just don't know that libertarianism is really all that realistic. I like that they, I assume, don't want conservatives OR liberals telling us how we should live. I don't want the Pat Robertsons of the world telling me what is right and wrong. But I also am not ready to move to, anything goes.

I've really hijacked this blog...sorry. 

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#36) On April 09, 2010 at 1:53 PM, dargus (75.65) wrote:

I'm with you on that Michael. If you wanted to classify me, I guess I'm a liberal libertarian. I can't get to the point where I believe all regulation is a bad thing and everything the government does it wrong. Absolutes of this kind almost always turn out to be false, but, at the same time, you can’t deny many stupid things done by the government. Then again, you can’t deny the many stupid things done by private business either. I believe there is a place for government, but we should stay as close to libertarian as can be reasonably justified. If we start banning everything we don’t like or are afraid of, nothing will be legal. No matter what system you chose, society will pressure you one way or the other.

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#37) On April 09, 2010 at 4:38 PM, catoismymotor (< 20) wrote:

Micheal,

 

You may feel that you have hijacked the blog, but don’t worry. You are asking good questions and providing good feedback. I appreciate your participation.

 

You asked, “What do libertarians think of the impact of the war of terror on individual rights. For example, the loss of habeas corpus?" I don’t like passing the question off to the lp.com website but here is a link that will give you a good idea of where the party stands on the issue.

 

And here is a link to a Cato Institute article about drug use and a need to approach it responsably. I offer it not to sway your opinion, but as a lengthy piece on how one person , the author, proposes it should be done. I think he presents the idea in an intersting manner. On a personal note; anything harder than marijuana or alcohol is hard for me to reconcile. In lieu of the war on drugs I would rather devote that money to drug awareness and education, as a deterrent, and build and fund rehabilitaion centers to treat the addicted. The war on drugs has killed tens of thousands and made a few psychos very wealthy.

You expressed that you believe libertarianism is not very realistic. I have to agree and disagree.I agree with you because pure libertarianism would have to exist almost in a bubble, free from internal and external political or commercial corruption. And we know it is impossible to live your life in a petri dish. I disagree with you with respect to the idea because although a perfect libertarian society can't exist we can use the principals of libertarianism as the core for a society. Not all people due to nature or nurture are going to agree on all things all the time. So we must be willing to negotiate to find some common ground on some issues or risk becoming an impotent society. I suppose that might make me a moderate libertarian.

I'll try to write more later. I have a job to get to.

Cato

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#38) On April 09, 2010 at 4:53 PM, whereaminow (45.39) wrote:

dargus,

If you are looking for a real world, rather recent (on a long enough timeline) example of a modern economy free from government, study California in the 1800's (and the Not-So-Wild West.)

In California you had a million people from different cultures and different countries rushing into one geographic area looking to get rich.  Should be a recipe for disaster right?  So why did it work?  There is some great research on CA that shows how people worked together to form mutual protection agencies, private litigators, etc.. 

In the Not-So-Wild-West it turns out that most of what we believe about violence in the Old West is just myth.  For example, there are only 8 documented, absolute certain, bank robberies in the history of the entire frontier.  The researcher who discovered this, a Dayton professor, also noted that Dayton had suffered from a dozen bank robberies in the one year that he was studying the Wild West.  The Wild West was quite lame.

For Rothbard, see here.

I hope you enjoy the reading.  Rothbard, love him or hate him, always gets under your skin.

David in Qatar

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#39) On April 09, 2010 at 6:13 PM, SkinneeJ (28.40) wrote:

That's what all gun lovers say. It must be the stupidest of all their arguments. I will happily deal with a murderous weed wacker guy over a guy with a gun Actually, I'll opt for dealing with the guy with a knife, baseball bat....whatever, over someone with a gun.

 And YOU are MISSING the point just as all typical gun haters do...    If someone wants you dead, they will find a way.  You also fail to realize that criminals will obtain weapons illegally.  They do it every day.  What makes you think that if you outlaw guns that the outlaws will suddenly start to comply with these laws?  You are only disarming law obiding citizens.

Take a look at these stats from the Australian homicides.  Do you notice what happens when firearm homicides drop, KNIFE HOMICIDES INCREASE!!!

http://www.aic.gov.au/en/statistics/homicide/weapon.aspx

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#40) On April 09, 2010 at 7:49 PM, RainierMan (75.28) wrote:

Skin: first, I apologize for the harshness of my comment. It's not conducive to discussion. Sorry. Now, I am not missing your point. I get your point. And yes, I believe criminals will resort to another weapon if they can't get a gun. And yes, I could see knife attacks increasing. What I am saying is that the average person can do a lot more damage, a lot faster with a gun than a knife. I can run from a guy with a knife, etc. I think that a disgruntled kid walking onto a campus (just as an example) can do a heck of a lot less damage with just about any other would-be weapon than a gun.

Will criminals still be able to buy guns if we regulate their sale more? Certainly. However, I do believe that there would be significantly fewer on the street in the wrong hands if we tightened up the laws. 

I am not a gun hater. I believe we should have the right to own guns. I own several. I like to shoot, and I'm not talking "pea shooters" either. However, I don't think we are served well by making guns as easy to buy as a 6 pack of beer (or whatever).

I'm not trying to convince anyone of this. I'm just stating my views. 

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#41) On April 09, 2010 at 7:50 PM, RainierMan (75.28) wrote:

Cato: I appreciate your comments. Learning other views is definitely a good thing. 

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#42) On April 10, 2010 at 10:49 AM, SkinneeJ (28.40) wrote:

Michael, fair enough...

Check out a man named Timoth McVeigh.  The guy owned several legally obtained guns, had military training and was probably a great shooter, but opted to use a truck full of explosives instead.  He killed 168 people and injured 450 others.  By your rational, if we had outlawed bombs, wouldn't he have used something less effective like a gun or a knife?  Oh wait, bombs ARE illegal!!!  Did that stop him?

And you are right...  A disgruntled kid can take out a lot of people with a gun, but if they are that screwed up in the head and want to kill people they will find a way to inflict mass damage...  If guns are outlawed, and they are on a suicide mission, would't they just substitute a backpack bomb instead?  Why on God's green earth would you think that the kid would settle for chasing you around on foot with a knife when his suicide mission involves hurting as many people as humanly possible??? 

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#43) On April 12, 2010 at 2:06 AM, RainierMan (75.28) wrote:

Ok well, we'll obvious just disagree on this one. And I don't think it breaks down quite as simple as you seem to be suggesting.

I'm not saying you can stop every act of violence. Just as we can't stop every act of terrorism, because they also will always find some other way. If we stop terrorist from blowing up airplanes, of course they'll also find another way. But that doesn't mean we don't try to close the most obvious gaps. We can't be 100 percent on anything in this world.

I suspect part of issue here is that the gun lobby and their supporters don't want to close the gaps and tighten the process to get access at all. I think they want less gun control if they want anything. What they really want is more guns everywhere, so that when I hike in a National Park I get to worry about whether the same bozo who shot up all the road signs on the drive there is now sharing the backcountry with me. 

And I still think that the fact that we don't have a lot of diesel fuel and fertilizer based bombs going off speaks to the fact that it IS easier get a few guns, walk into a crowded place, and start shooting. Sure, we can all learn how to build bombs, but it takes a lot more initiative to learn, actually build it, and then pull it off successfully. 

Also, on the street, or in my home, or at the store, whatever, I want to meet the guy with the knife, or the lead pipe. I do not want to meet the criminal with a 9mm standing 5 feet away. And neither does anyone else with an ounce of common sense. Besides the option of running, I'm not completely clueless on how to handle someone with a knife, etc, if that's my only option.

 

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