Use access key #2 to skip to page content.

Breaking Down Jon Stewart's Challenges to Libertarianism

Recs

32

October 30, 2011 – Comments (31)

This is a long one, so let's skip the introduction.

You can find Part 1 of the video here.  It's actually a three part segment, but the links to the other two are on the right hand side of the page when you get there.  I've highlighted what I think where the 16 most interesting questions Jon raised.  Rather than rehasing Andrew Napolitano's answers, I'll try to provide my own view on each.  Let's do it.

Does the government enhance freedom through the building of roads, levies, infrastructure, social safety nets, and raising armies?

Another way to ask this question is as follows: Is there a net gain in liberty through government projects.  We're not yet asking if there is a net gain in properity, so we'll set aside the economics discussion for a moment.

Roads and levies do not pass through a membrane from another universe.  The state does not make them magically appear from nothing.  In order to build a road in Community A, the state must acquire resources.  If Community A does not have those resources, they must come from somewhere else. That means the state must take those resources from Community's B, C, D, etc.   Those resources must be acquired through force.  So whatever freedom is enhanced for Community A by the building of a road in their community is necessarily offset by the loss of freedom and resources in communities that had their wealth and resources confiscated through force.  In the end, no freedom is enhanced.

Another way to look at this would be the situation of Iraq.  We have built roads in Iraq.  By how much has that improved Iraqi freedom?  And where did those resources come from?  How much freedom did you lose by the result of that war?  You know have wire tapping, torture, detention, and assassination of American citizens.  We see an explosion in the growth of the police state at home, where protestors are gassed and beaten, even those that helped build those roads in Iraq.  You can see it crystal clear by looking at the force government uses to enhance freedom, that the freedom lost by others is a real phenomenon. 

And a zero sum game would be a best case scenario, of course.  However we now that the picture is actually much worse for the state's case.  Money from the federal government to subsidize road building in Community A often comes with strings attached, pressure from the feds on local governments to implement freedom restricting laws tied to the continuation of that stolen loot. So the new enhanced freedom enjoyed by the people in Community A is fool's gold.  Over time that freedom will be lost, by pressures from both the federal and local governments, as well as by the looting of their resources by force to reward some new pet project of the state.

Now what if the government did limit itself to the simple looting of us all for the building of parks and roads?  Well you'd never hear a peep out of me.  The state is actually good at buiilding parks (although terrbile at building roads).  The state is all about efforts to legitimize itself and that means grandiose parks and museums to awe the people.  Superb.  Stick to that and I'd be a happy little statist.  But of course, the stae does not just build infrastructure.  What Jon Stewart is describing would be a minarchist night watchmen state with some pomp and circumstance and the occasional boondoggle.  He's describing America in the 1800s.  He's not describing America today, with 100s of fedreal departments, endless wars, spying, police statism, and money printing.   

Social safety nets were not developed out of a love for the people.  Jon would like to believe that the state institutes these programs to help the little guy.  However, sadly, the opposite is true.  Social safety net programs protect the rich and bleed the poor.  The original state sponsored, Western model, social safety net program was implemented by Otto Von Bismarck, the cold calculating political demon whose forced unification of Germany crushed the decentralized Prussian power structure.  His social safety net program was designed to undermine the local power centers and create a strong federal government.  The irony was that the program laid the groundwork for Hitler.  Hitler despised local governments (states' rights) and was able to easily crush the last remnants, which had been undermined by Bismark, to solidy his power.  Hitler in the 1800s does little damage.  Hitler in the 1900s results in the deaths of millions.  

The rise of the state has caused the death of hundreds of millions of people and horror unimaginable.  Whether it's the deaths caused by the all powerful states of Russia, Germany, China, and the United States today as it bombs its way across the globe, the total damage cannot be accurately counted.  This reversal of human liberty and respect for live coincides with the most fantastic increase in state power the world has ever seen.  

It seems insane to me to think that the building of a nice park or a convenient new road can be seen as an enhancement of freedom while you ignore the rest of the mayhem, murder, and chaos that the state has unleashed around the world.

"An enervated, spiritless people is far less likely to rise up against parasites who live off their labor, even when that regime is exploiting and robbing them blind, if they have been conditioned to believe that they cannot live any other way." - Thomas E. Woods, Rollback

When it comes to war, Randolph Bourne said it best: "War is the health of the state."  The state's main function is commit war.  Clausewitz said that war "is diplomacy by other means."  But that was incorrect.  Diplomacy is actually war by other means.  The economic embargoes, for example, that starve millions of people can only be seen as another form of war.  The Jeffersonians understood this idea that the state and war were intrincately linked, which is why they didn't even want America to have a standing army.  And up until WWII, America did not have a standing army, or at least anything in comparison to today's monster.  So despite America's frequent forays into one foreign land after another from 1787-1941, the conflicts were short and the damage at home and abroad was limited.  The tide started to turn however well before WWII.  The Spanish-American war, which ended up in the soulless slaughter of the Filipinos, and the outrageous entry into WWI helped turn Americans into a militaristic nation.  The state always wants war.  Whether they get perpetual war or not depends upon your understanding of the nature of the state.  If you think it's here to build parks and roads, you will get perpetual war, and constantly be arguing for a bigger state.   

What should we do with the losers that are picked by the free market?

This is a theme I see often coming from the Left.  I think they get this idea that in the free market, people that go out of business or lose their job should be left to die.  Maybe it comes from reading too much Ayn Rand or watching Fox News.  I don't know where it comes from, but it's ridiculous.

Let me start by saying what you shouldn't do.  You shouldn't give them more power. We have a system today that takes the losers picked up by the market and puts them in charge of the country. Blankfein, Geither, Paulson, Dimon, etc. These are the free market's losers. But in a fascist economic state, the state not only makes them winners, but they become the most powerful people in the country, with the power to influence how everyone else's money is spent and how the rest of us are treated by the state.  I want to thank the Left for setting the bar so low. I'm quite sure Libertarians can come up with a better solution than that.

When a person loses in the free market, he doesn't spontaneously combust. He doesn't keel over and die, with vultures picking his half dead carcass while men in Monopoly hats amble by unnoticing. He has to pick up and do something that 9% of Americans are trying to do right now in the unfree market controlled by today's losers. He needs to find a new job.  And in a free market, that is a lot easier since unemployment under the conditions of a great deal of laissez faire was historically 2-3%.

So that's a choice you can think about. On the one hand, in a free market, the loser has to pick himself up but he has a great chance of earning a living and giving back to society through hard work. Or on the other hand, you can put the rest of us out of work to give that loser enough power to screw over the whole country.

But there's a second part to this question, which is the idea of whether people are actually charitable enough to support the losers.  Here, the liberal ses only government as a way to help people down on their luck.  If that were indeed the only, none of us would be here today. Humans have faced way harder times than the current Great Recession or even the Greet Depression (both caused by government intervention anyway, see the Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle), and arrived intact and prosperous without government help.  So there must have been something else.  And of course, there is.  It's the scientifically recognized human traits of altruism and compassion. Everyone has it. Those traits don't simply disappear when the government takes its boot off your neck.

A few weeks ago, a motorcycle rider crashed and was trapped under a burning vehicle.  Twenty onlookers rushed to his assistance and lifted the car off the trapped man.  Did the government make them do it?  Would they not have done this if there was no government at all?  I do not understand why liberals believe that altruism and compassion disappears if we remove the force of government from the system.  If anything, history shows us that the most compassionate and giving people are the ones that are most free from government oppression, and that those trapped under conditions of the total state lack neither the freedom nor the ability to be compassionate and altruistic.

Do we live in a society or don't we?

Of course we do. But so what?  Society does not require a coercive state.  Did the Americans from 1787-1913 live in a society?  They did and they lived in this society without a coercive and managed quite well.  (Without the ability to levy income taxes on the general population, the state's power is greatly limited. Americans lived with a coercive state in those days, but nothing like you see today.)

And how about the millions and millions of humans that have lived in communities without any state and lived perfectly normal lives.  Stateless societies are not the barbaric, near death existences that state propaganda implies.  Stateless societies were societies And they did just fine.  Don't bother getting on this comment thread to tell me about Somalia or tribal living unless you have actually studied it.  Don't make a fool out of yourself.  I have studied it.  I know the history of stateless societies, at least those that have been documented.  They were usually wealthier, safer, and more egalitarian than their state-bound neighbors.  The only thing that stateless societies failed in doing was adequately protecting themselves from the rapacious growth of states, which finally have swallowed the whole planet and are left to wage war on each other.

So this is the bogus lead up question to saying that there is some shadowy social contract that supposedly we are all bound by, but all it really means is that the state gets to do whatever it wants while the rest of us follow their rules. Social contract theory is utopian nonsense used to disguise the true nature of the state.  But we're going to get into that more when tackle Jon's question on representative democracy.

Is everybody's success predicated on the hard work of others?

There is a difference between the economic work of others and the political work of others.  As the great German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer noted, there are only two paths to wealth.  The first is the economic means, which is the exchange of goods and services among voluntary peoples.  The second is through pillage and plunder.  That is the political means, and that is how the state "builds" wealth.  So your success can be predicated off the work of either source.  I hope that it's built on the work of people engaging in the economic means.

Furthermore, the “others” are not identifiable people.  I'm sure you're not going to walk into Walmart, point to the 275 pound piece of trailer trash with the "I <3 Threesomes" tee shirt on and tell me that my economic success is predicated on his hard work. It isn't. 

Those who actually did work hard and laid the groundwork for your success already get a reward. It's called money. They get it in exchange for the goods and services they provided. There is no need to re-reward them with anything else. The trailer trash gets her reward too. She gets a tee shirt.

But I think this is one of the least thought out positions by liberals. They're basically saying that entrepreneurs (economic means) and government officials (political maens) haven't been rewarded enough for laying the groundwork for your success, so we need to reward them some more by taking your money and giving it to the fat chick picking her butt in aisle 5 at Walmart. Something tells me this is not what they had in mind.  

What they might be referring to is the hard work of laborers.  But the term laborers is merely a semantic play.  We are all laborers.  Which is something you find out when the government and union takes over GM and nothing really changes in any of their labor or management practices.  Why would it?  Everyone is a laborer.  The solidarity of workers as a general class is a fasle dichotomy.   I have been a laborer and a worker all my life, yet I have nothing that gives me commonality with the man pushing buttons in a factory in Detroit, except that perhaps we both likes sports.  (Btw, that's also the one thing I have in common with our Presidents, it seems. Ugh.)

Labor is a short cut term to describe the act of mixing your body and mind with the resources of the planet.  That's it.  It does not connote some special super bond between you and every truck driver in the world.  Nor should it.  Everyone's contribution to each other is unique because everyone is unique.  If you equality before the law or before God is a good idea, that's fine.  But no other equality exists that I am aware of.

As a group, you don't believe in evolution and you are anti-science.

I'm going to pause here.  This is a fun one, but I will have to come back to it and the remaining questions in a bit.  So in the biz, they'd call that a teaser.  

Hope you'll come back for Part II.  Comments welcome.  I will attempt to be civil but I reserve the right to say whatever I want to whomever I want whenever I want.

David

31 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On October 30, 2011 at 4:49 PM, whereaminow (20.60) wrote:

Sorry for the many typos.  I was distracted by some close NFL games with fantasy football implications while I was writing this.  :)

I'll try to do better next time.

David

Report this comment
#2) On October 30, 2011 at 5:25 PM, smartmuffin (< 20) wrote:

David,

Glad to see you're on this.  Stewart's talk about the "collective" is so transparent.  Then again, so is the fact that he's nothing more than shill for the Democratic party.  The other side of the coin to Bill O'Reilly.

Sometimes, I feel like the Judge is to focused on being well liked by younger people, who don't typically enjoy being told that their hero is a fascist and that the logical conclusion of their beliefs is slavery.  I kept waiting for the Judge to ask Stewart, "I see, and where does the state get the resources to build the roads?" or point out that many highly successful individuals regularly lauded by the left (Henry Ford for example) were at one time "losers picked by the free market."

It's sad that his positions are so inconsistent and illogical, and yes his audience never seems to know it.  During the Bush years, the state was this big evil thing that was tyrannical, wars were bad, and speaking against the government was a shining example of patriotic duty.  Somehow, in the last two years, he has suddenly parroted the line that the state is heroic, that we must embrace the collective, that wars are awesome, and that speaking out against the government is dangerous and wrong.

Report this comment
#3) On October 30, 2011 at 6:46 PM, Option1307 (29.69) wrote:

+1, interesting stuff.

Report this comment
#4) On October 30, 2011 at 8:02 PM, whereaminow (20.60) wrote:

So part II will cover:

As a group, you don't believe in evolution. (this was partly a joke on Jon's part, but the myth is out there so I am going to address it.)

In a representative democracy, we are the government.

Is the government inherently evil?

The Articles of Confederation are an example of the failure of limited government.

That leaves health care, the robber baron age, regulations and the Progressive Society, unions, and racism.

I give Jon and Andrew credit. They covered a lot of ground in 20 minutes!

David

Report this comment
#5) On October 30, 2011 at 10:16 PM, Frankydontfailme (27.35) wrote:

Excellent. Please keep the book recommendations coming :)

"Does the government enhance freedom through the building of roads, levies, infrastructure, social safety nets, and raising armies?"

You addressed the question of whether the federal government enhanced freedom by redistributing resources. I wonder how different your answer would be if the question specified local or state governments. It seems to me that there are externalities  that a local government should tax the people and spend on (assuming the local gov never borrows, and only spends on what the people want (hehe)).

Local governments spending the people's money on externalities, and regulating the environment seems logical to me. If a town in Pennsylvania wants to have high taxes to build fancy roads, and wants to heavily regulate shale gas extraction, then the people could decide if they wanted to live there or not. The people could also vote the clowns out of office if they realize they are taxing too much. Furthermore, localities could allow certain redistributions based on externalities. If Conoco wants to poke around a shale near this small town, the town might enforce a bill demanding Conoco pay a tax directly to the houses nearby the water supply. If this made the drill unprofitable then Conoco wouldn't drill, and the town loses the jobs. Point being it should be up to the people of the locality.

Furthermore, isn't there a role for federal government to regulate inter-state externalities? If the aforementioned drilling also poisoned the water supply of nearby New Jersey, I would think the federal government should step in. Otherwise it's none of their business. A similar argument could be made for inter-state highways. As long as the gov has the money to pay for it, it could provide more freedom for people in general.

My thinking for allowing non-deficit interstate infrastructure spending is based on my understanding of the Nash Equilibrium. It seems possible to me that a inter-state highway (for example) would benefit more people than it would hurt. The private companies and people that it would benefit, however, would be hurt by ponying up the money to pay for it without the help from others. So everyone acts rationally considering their knowledge of everyone else's actions. The irony being that it is in the net best interest of many of these selfish actors to pitch in together (maybe they don't need a state to sign such an agreement? did I answer my own question?)

Anyways, some ideas that have been bouncing around my head.  

Report this comment
#6) On October 30, 2011 at 11:50 PM, devoish (98.39) wrote:

I don't know david, I am going to pass on reading your posts.

At the end of the third video the judge clearly states that Government exists in part to protect us from fraud but at 2:30 of the second video he fails to remember that function of Government when he spoke against regulating healthcare, typical of the scam all small gov advocates are running to keep the status quo. I understand you want to convince us that natural selection would have chosen to reward the healthcare professionals through their succesful results after hand washing vs those who did not clean. But economic selection is not natural selection and actually rewards the person who promises the most for the lowest price regardless of what they deliver. The dream that the market will put them out of business is fantasy, the will just move on and their scams will cost others and the economy in perpetuity.

Libertian idealism does not work.

And in your case I really believe this whole trickle down libertian bs is a scam designed to persuade Americans to abandon the government which governs best, in favor of the one that governs least, and is most unable to protect us from the corruption of concentrated wealth. I do not believe that you believe what you write or you could do it without the trailer trash example or the false equivalance of Iraqi road building.

So long and thanks for the education in politics and economics as political theater. I'll negotiate for higher pay and greater wealth equality for those who have only their labor to sell and would prefer democracy as a tool to keep the freedom not to be owned by capital.

Best wishes,

Steven

Report this comment
#7) On October 31, 2011 at 12:43 AM, whereaminow (20.60) wrote:

Frankydontfailme,

I'll try to work in a discussion of externalities at some point.  The reason I don't touch that here is because that's an economic issue and not a political theory issue.  From an economic standpoint, the riddle of externalities can be solved by studying human action and how that relates to choices and costs.  Here's a primer.

Now on the subject of would I feel better if it was local governments acting tyrannical?  In and of itself, no.  Local governments can be just as pigheaded and filthy as federal governments.  The only idea worth considering here is that the purpose of a Republic is to balance the power of the pigs at the local level against the power of the pigs at the federal level.  I don't think that worked.  The pigs at the fed level eventually win.

And I think if a local community wants to get something done, there are other ways to make it happen than assigning coercive powers to a centralized authority, even if they kept that authority local.  I'll get more into that if I have a chance.

devoish,

You came on my post to tell me you're not going to read my posts?

You don't find this to be bizarre behavior?  Somewhat like how a creationist would say that he thinks evolution is a scam and therefore he won't read Richard Dawkins.  Good job, Steven.  You're acting like a creationist.

David

Report this comment
#8) On October 31, 2011 at 1:01 AM, Acesnyper (< 20) wrote:

Wonderful read, I fully enjoyed it and am looking forward to part 2! The Articals of Confederation is one of my favorite topics to read/debate etc on!

 Thank you for posting this, rec for you good sir. 

Report this comment
#9) On October 31, 2011 at 1:05 AM, HarryCarysGhost (99.69) wrote:

Holy Cow!

Can you believe the Saints lost today.

The Rams suck how did this happen?

Report this comment
#10) On October 31, 2011 at 1:28 AM, Valyooo (99.39) wrote:

"When a person loses in the free market, he doesn't spontaneously combust. He doesn't keel over and die, with vultures picking his half dead carcass while men in Monopoly hats amble by unnoticing."

 

Best thing ever written on caps.

 

Devoish...you are an idiot.

Report this comment
#11) On October 31, 2011 at 2:45 AM, FleaBagger (29.05) wrote:

Good job, Steven.  You're acting like a creationist.

As a barbarian young-earth creationist, I resent that.

Report this comment
#12) On October 31, 2011 at 11:26 AM, outoffocus (23.03) wrote:

Did the Americans from 1787-1913 live in a society?  They did and they lived in this society without a coercive and managed quite well.  (Without the ability to levy income taxes on the general population, the state's power is greatly limited. Americans lived with a coercive state in those days, but nothing like you see today.)

Only "certain" Americans managed well during those times.  Certain "other" Americans had to deal with non-governmental oppressive regimes while they worked without pay.   

I try to look at libertarianism with an objective eye.  But considering that Ron Paul is against the Civil Rights act of 1964 simply because it "infringed on states rights", I can't help but wonder if, given America's shady history, if a libertarian society would be good for all Americans. 

Report this comment
#13) On October 31, 2011 at 11:34 AM, Valyooo (99.39) wrote:

"Only "certain" Americans managed well during those times.  Certain "other" Americans had to deal with non-governmental oppressive regimes while they worked without pay."

Slavery was legal, so I can't really get behind the non-governmental part.

"But considering that Ron Paul is against the Civil Rights act of 1964 simply because it "infringed on states rights"

I don't know much about this because I haven't heard him say anything about it nor his reasoning, but I don't like the sounds of it...but I don't know too much about the civil rights act.

Report this comment
#14) On October 31, 2011 at 1:00 PM, whereaminow (20.60) wrote:

outoffocus,

I'll be addressing the topics of slavery and racism.  RP is against the elements of the Civil Rights Act that violated private property rights, not states rights.  And I'll talk about the CRA if I get a chance too, since that really isn't the beacon of light that liberals promote it to be.  See incarceration, unemployment and welfare rates among blacks since the CRA was implemented.  It's just a new form of slavery, being tethered to the state.

David

Report this comment
#15) On October 31, 2011 at 1:13 PM, outoffocus (23.03) wrote:

Valyooo

Slavery was legal, so I can't really get behind the non-governmental part.

Something being "legal" (as in not illegal) is not the same as something being enforced by the government.  My point was it was private citizens that were inflicting slavery, not the government.

Having said all that, my only point is given the history of racism in this country, would all citizens be able to participate in the "free market economy"?  

David, I will be looking forward to your discussion.

Report this comment
#16) On October 31, 2011 at 1:43 PM, devoish (98.39) wrote:

Valyoo,

So are you, naah naah. 

David,

No. I came because I was intrigued by mention of Jon Stewart and the judge, and posted to tell you of the hypocrisy of his positions. It is that portion of my reply that I had hoped you would understand. But it is your religion, and like all extremist followers of a faith, you are rarely concerned with your own hypocrisys, just those of other folks.

Having read it, I'll finish out this thread.

Social security is a good thing, extreme wealth inequality is not. As you have said, rich people buy government, and personal use of its armys.

Best wishes,

Steven

Report this comment
#17) On October 31, 2011 at 6:26 PM, whereaminow (20.60) wrote:

Now I'm curious.  What are my hypocrisies? 

David

Report this comment
#18) On October 31, 2011 at 7:01 PM, rfaramir (29.30) wrote:

David, just ignore Steven. He somehow believes you to be a fanatic AND that you don't really believe what you write. The fact that he keeps coming back indicates he may really be struggling to understand, so perhaps your patience will be rewarded. But he puts out so little effort to understand that I suspect mere pathology.
For his sake and yours, I hope your endeavors succeed.

Report this comment
#19) On October 31, 2011 at 7:03 PM, devoish (98.39) wrote:

David,

http://caps.fool.com/Blogs/models/182446 

Best wishes,

Steven

Report this comment
#20) On October 31, 2011 at 7:11 PM, whereaminow (20.60) wrote:

LOL, back to that old post.  I thought you had something new for me.  I'm pretty sure I spent 3 months trying to teach you what a monarchy was back in 2009.  I guess the lesson was lost.  But now it's 2011, and I don't really care about how little you understand of Qatari politics and law, particularly since you've never set foot in a foreign country, let alone one I lived in for 4 years.

What any of that has to do with hypocrisy, I have no idea.

It seems you were just a tease once again. Nothing new, as usual.

rfarmir,

He somehow believes you to be a fanatic AND that you don't really believe what you write.

I suppose that would be hard to pull off :) 

David

Report this comment
#21) On October 31, 2011 at 10:45 PM, devoish (98.39) wrote:

David, 

I like that anyone who wants can go read "that old post". 

rfaramir,

Thanks for the concern.

Best wishes 

Steven

Report this comment
#22) On October 31, 2011 at 11:00 PM, Frankydontfailme (27.35) wrote:

Hey David I hope you do take a stab at externalities at some point. I found the article you referred me to unsatisfactory. While a government using force to correct negative externalities might not have an immediate net benefit to marginal utility, the downstream affects are apparent. 

Assuming each individual acts rationally based on his preferences, what stops the increased marginal utility of one individual trampling over the next person's. The problem comes down the line. When an atmosphere is created so that each individual acts completely rationally for their preferences, without any thought to the repercussions or the negative externalities imposed on others, we have a net sub-optimal situation.

My understanding of the Nash Equilibrium is that  groups achieve net optimal marginal utility when each individual acts rationally in the context of the group. I'm not convinced that a state is necessary to force the group to work together. A group made up of rational individuals may very well freely agree to such a mutual pact based on self-interest. A state could, however, approximate such a pact if it represented the desires of the people (the rub).

If you're aware of any Austrian responses to the Nash Equilibrium I would be interested. My understanding of economics is based on common sense an wikipedia so I'm probably abusing some terms. 

Report this comment
#23) On November 01, 2011 at 1:13 AM, whereaminow (20.60) wrote:

Steven, it would have been cool if you had worn the Halloween costume of someone who engages in rational discussion.

Frank, I will do my best to answer your criticisms when I am done with Jon Stewart.  

Part II is up.

David

Report this comment
#24) On November 01, 2011 at 1:15 AM, mtf00l (45.61) wrote:

Uh, David?  You are a fanatic! :D

That said doesn't mean you're wrong or right, only that you have a strong opinion.

I try diligently to view those posts I read with an objective eye.  I don't always succeed and I'll go as far to say I've "judged" some posters as "inflamationist" others as "oppositional defiant" and still others as "educational oppinionist.

Did I mention you are a fanatic?! :D

I'm glad your back as you are a catalyst for further education and when you're not distracted you write well.

Well, I'm off to read part two...

Report this comment
#25) On November 01, 2011 at 1:21 AM, Valyooo (99.39) wrote:

My understanding of the Nash Equilibrium is that  groups achieve net optimal marginal utility when each individual acts rationally in the context of the group

Thats not how it works.  Each person picks the option that best benefits them.

Prison game example: I cant post a matrix, I think CAPS will mess t up.

Prisoner A confesses while Prionser B stays silent: A goes free, B serves 10 years

 Prisoner A stays confesses, while Prisoner B  confesses: Each serve 3 years

 They both confess and get 3 years.   Think about it.  If B stays silent, A is better off confessing because then he goes free.  If B confesses, A is better off confessing then too because 3 years > 10 years.

Not sure what that has to do with the rest of the argument though.

Prisoner B confesses while Prionser A stays silent: B goes free, A serves 10 years

Prisoner B stays silent while Prisoner A stays silent: each serve 1 year

 

 

Report this comment
#26) On November 01, 2011 at 1:32 AM, mtf00l (45.61) wrote:

@Valyooo

Interesting point;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner%27s_dilemma

 

Report this comment
#27) On November 01, 2011 at 8:46 AM, Frankydontfailme (27.35) wrote:

Because Valyoo, imagine if they had an agreement to both stay silent, as a group they would fair the best- 1 year each. Consider this agreement the state.

Or better yet. Let's move outside the simple example of prisoner's dilemma an imagine four lemonade carts deciding whether they should build a road. The optimal case for each is to sit back and wait for one to pony up the money. The optimal case for the group is not to not waste time and all split it.

After sleeping on it though, I think I see the flaw.

I'm begging the question by assuming that a road is public property. I'm suggesting that all citizens of the locale split the road even though some will use it and some wont. Only those that can profit off of it should pay for it. Rather than have it be a public road, it will be privately owned by those who pay whatever relative share. 

The lemonade stands would obviously let people use their road, but they may (or may not) charge a toll. In this case all pay if it improves their marginal utility. This includes the man who doesn't like lemonades  but can now sell his cookies at the end of the road easily. He pays the toll if his profit trumps the cost. If he does this often enough may even buy a share of the road.

In this way the taxpayer who lives in the outskirts, hates lemonade, and doesn't want to be bothered with cookie deliveries, isn't coerced into paying. He can save his money and plant more beats or whatever his lonely mind desires.

 

Report this comment
#28) On November 01, 2011 at 7:09 PM, rfaramir (29.30) wrote:

Exactly, Franky! Private property solves the situation, the commons was the problem.

 

Same here: "without any thought to the repercussions or the negative externalities imposed on others, we have a net sub-optimal situation."

You must respect the private property of others, and they must respect yours. No thought for repercussions is asking for trouble!

Private property rights is how conflicts are resolved. Respecting them avoids conflicts in the first place, aside from accidents or misunderstandings. Because of this focus, we anarcho-capitalists are often called propertarians. Lack of private property rights is the vital failure of anarcho-leftists of every stripe (-socialists, -communists, -syndicalists).

Report this comment
#29) On November 04, 2011 at 4:18 PM, jasenj1 (34.47) wrote:

So whatever freedom is enhanced for Community A by the building of a road in their community is necessarily offset by the loss of freedom and resources in communities that had their wealth and resources confiscated through force.  In the end, no freedom is enhanced.

... And a zero sum game would be a best case scenario, of course.

You appear to assume that the "freedom" of Communities other than A are not enhanced by the roads built in A. In the case of communities A, B, and C, one would think the super-community of the State would have an interest in connecting A, B, and C, thereby enhancing the lives of all three. A road only in A may make travel through that community faster, thus improving the lives/freedom of those who do not live there.

The purpose of roads is to facilitate the flow of goods and services. Perhaps better roads in A would attract businesses from D (in another State) thus adding to the tax-base of A's State.

You can't categorically state that roads in community A only improve the lives of citizens in A, and thus "a zero sum game would be the best case scenario".

 I'm totally on board with the idea that our Federal government has slipped into corporatism and is way too big. But I'm not willing to go so far as to say that government is best which doesn't do anything. I really like not having lead paint in my corn flakes, and buying cars that don't explode on impact, and not being locked in my workplace. 

Report this comment
#30) On November 05, 2011 at 1:14 PM, whereaminow (20.60) wrote:

I really like not having lead paint in my corn flakes, and buying cars that don't explode on impact, and not being locked in my workplace.

You already have those things. Cars still blow up here and there, the government roads make driving way more dangerous than a free market would, illegals are locked in workplaces, and your corn flakes cause leaky guy and other diseases.

Let's stick with that.  Your corn flakes are on your table because of massive subsidies to the grain industry, which uses kept scientists to promote one sided nutritional studies and the ridiculous government food pyramid. Cereals are responsible for many human diseases.  

Just look at that one issue: the government food pyramid and you will never ever believe that the government knows what it's talking about ever again.

Did you know that your high grain diet is actuallly unhealthy for you?

The State doesn't have any interest in protecting you.  That's not its purpose.  Its purpose is to extract wealth.  The only reason it promotes or recommends any law or choice to politicians is to further its own power.

They simply don't care about you.  The quicker you figure that out, the quicker you'll drop Progressive beliefs.  They're childish.

David 

Report this comment
#31) On November 05, 2011 at 1:16 PM, whereaminow (20.60) wrote:

leaky guy = leaky gut

ROFL, best typo ever

David

Report this comment

Featured Broker Partners


Advertisement