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ETFsRule (99.94)

ETFsRule's December Walk of Shame: Libertarians!

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December 09, 2009 – Comments (45)

Libertarians are an interesting bunch. In real life they are sort of like Bigfoot or the Chupacabra - you hear stories about them, but you never actually see one walking around. In the last presidential election, the Libertarian party recieved a measly 0.4% of the popular vote. But online it's a different story - the internet is absolutely CRAWLING with libertarians, especially on sites like The Motley Fool.

So what exactly is a Libertarian? Well, it's a person who puts a high value on freedom. And by "freedom", they basically mean "independence from government interference". They don't want the government to touch their money (or their guns). They want lower taxes and fewer social programs, they oppose any form of economic stimulus, and for some reason they often deny the existance of global warming - despite overwhelming scientific evidence. Many Libertarians even have the audacity to say that they "hope Obama fails", regardless of how catastrophic the results would be for the United States.

Many prominant Libertarians are also opposed to a lot of civil-rights era legislation. For example, they want employers to have the "freedom" to discriminate against their customers and employees however they want - whether it's based on race, religion, gender, etc. After all, the government has no place telling them how to run their business, right? Or maybe they just feel a certain sense of nostalgia for those old signs that read, "negroes need not apply".

You may think that these ideas sound like something you would hear from Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck... and you would be correct. Although they would never admit it, Libertarians have a lot in common with your standard, run of the mill Fox News Republican. Whenever an economic problem arises, they both have the same answer: do nothing, and let the free market take care of everything!

Why do they believe that this is the optimal approach to any economic problem? Because they just do, that's why. So you can just forget about stupid things like historical trends, economic models, or numerical analysis - leave that stuff to the Keynesians and the other "intellectual elites".

Republicans and Libertarians just KNOW that government spending is ALWAYS a bad thing - because their gut tells them so!

It doesn't make any difference if their positions are supported by facts, or just pulled out of thin air. Republicans are going to shout their beliefs at you until they're blue in the face... and Libertarians are going to type their opinions into the blogosphere until they get carpal tunnel syndrome. Why are they so adamant in their positions? Easy: because their belief in the free market is like a religious dogma to these people.

Both groups speak in absolutes and axioms... so when a new issue arises, they can pretty much make up their mind within the first 2 seconds of hearing about it. This is a very efficient way to make decisions, but it comes in sharp contrast to Keynesian economists, who realize that the real world is a very complex place requiring diligent research and analysis BEFORE a conclusion can be reached.

Government regulation is ALWAYS a bad thing, right? So let's just ignore the fact that de-regulation was a major cause of the current financial crisis. Minor details!

Lastly, Libertarians will invariably refer you to Mises.org, where other Libertarians will spew the same opinions at you, over and over again.

There are usually no facts or figures to support these opinions, because Libertarians tend to avoid any form of quantitative analysis - in much the same way that vampires avoid sunlight.

Since they are so enamored with Mises, let's take a look at some quotes from the founder of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Mr. Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr:

"I never liked Martin Luther King, Jr. I thought he was a fraud and a tool."

"Did they hit him too many times? Sure, but that’s not the issue. It’s safe streets versus urban terror, and why we have moved from one to the other." (referring to the Rodney King incident)

And last but certainly not least:

"Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks"


That's enough for now. I hope we can all make a very "Foolish" decision - and stop listening to these pesky Libertarians once and for all!

Fool on, and have a happy holiday season!

45 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On December 09, 2009 at 5:03 PM, lewellen180 (< 20) wrote:

I think that, perhaps, some of the reactions described in the article result from perceived asymmetries in the situation.

For instance, if the economic mess was caused by deregulation (it wasn't, it was caused by people at all levels abusing the system but that's another discussion), then we shouldn't have bailed the players out with public money.

It's not fair if the rules change mid-way through the game, to save one player at the expense of others.

Lastly, 2+2=4, regardless of whether it's said by Einstein or the village idiot.  Ceasing to listen to ideas because they come from (insert group name here) might be soothing to one's stomach, but also opens the possibility of missing something insightful or useful.  This was a lesson a certain country learned in WWII ... when science done by a certain ethnicity was ignored or viewed as second-rate.

But that, too, is another discussion.

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#2) On December 09, 2009 at 5:08 PM, chk999 (99.97) wrote:

Your characterization of libertarianism is roughly as accurate as using the fairy tale of the three bears as a physics textbook.

This sort of argument is what is referred to as a "strawman" argument. You make an opponent out of straw and then make a great show of knocking him down.

If you want to actually engage is a reasoned debate, why don't you read some John Stuart Mill and then some Murray Rothbard, so you are at least arguing against something that an actual libertarian actually said.

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#3) On December 09, 2009 at 5:15 PM, WeenTang (56.53) wrote:

I got the same feeling reading this as I do when I hear Olberman acuse Fox News of only presenting one side of the story

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#4) On December 09, 2009 at 5:24 PM, Turfscape (40.47) wrote:

The fallacy of your argument is in attacking people who claim Libertarian alignment instead of Libertarian ideals/platforms.

Rush/Beck/Hannity, etc. are not Libertarian. They would be very happy with strong government influence over private lives if it were to benefit them or their beliefs (if you support the Pro-Life political agenda, by definition, you are NOT Libertarian).

This is literally the same as attacking the Democratic party by singling out the individuals who abused the welfare system (ala Reagan's Welfare Queens) and holding them up as an example of what the Democratic party stands for.

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#5) On December 09, 2009 at 5:49 PM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"If you want to actually engage is a reasoned debate, why don't you read some John Stuart Mill and then some Murray Rothbard, so you are at least arguing against something that an actual libertarian actually said."

I used direct quotes from the founder of the Ludwig von Mises Institute!!! Surely that meets your strict standards?!

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#6) On December 09, 2009 at 5:51 PM, starbucks4ever (97.35) wrote:

I would make a distinction between theoretical and experimental Libertarians. The former are honestly misguided intellectuals. The latter are extreme right-wing Republicans.

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#7) On December 09, 2009 at 5:51 PM, Melaschasm (54.35) wrote:

Turfscape, you make some good points, including the fact that Rush is not a libertarian.

However, the pro life issue is and has always been a question of the status of an unborn child.  Libertarians do not support murder after birth, so if you believe that fetus is a living child, the pro life position is a libertarian position.

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#8) On December 09, 2009 at 5:57 PM, chk999 (99.97) wrote:

I've been active in libertarian circles for more than 30 years. I have never heard of Mr. Rockwell before your blog post. I am postive that I could find someone to deliver provocative quotes on any subject if I looked hard enough.

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#9) On December 09, 2009 at 6:00 PM, Turfscape (40.47) wrote:

Melaschasm wrote:
"so if you believe that fetus is a living child, the pro life position is a libertarian position"

No, Libertarianism would leave the decision to the one carrying the child to decide whether the fetus is a living child. Libertarianism would leave the decision to the individual doctor as to whether or not it is ethical to perform an abortive procedure. Libertarianism would allow the market forces and the individual decide whether abortive medical procedures are available, safe and affordable.

Anything else does not adhere to Libertarian philosophy. Anything else is one individual or group deciding on behalf of another. That is antithetical to Libertarianism.

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#10) On December 09, 2009 at 6:15 PM, Melaschasm (54.35) wrote:

That is like saying that libertarians would leave the choice to commit murder/rape to the murderer/rapist.  Anything else would be one individual or group deciding on behalf of  another.

Libertarian philosophy: Your freedom to swing your arm ends where my nose begins

If a fetus is a living human being, then that fetus would have all the same rights of any other living human being.  Thus the debate is truly a question of the status of the fetus, from a libertarian standpoint.

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#11) On December 09, 2009 at 6:21 PM, Turfscape (40.47) wrote:

Melaschasm wrote:
"Libertarian philosophy: Your freedom to swing your arm ends where my nose begins"

Yup...that's why Libertarians believe that NOT having a law against killing someone becomes the safeguard against someone killing you...you see, the market forces will dictate whether or not someone will commit murder. In this case, the market forces are the retribution that will come down on you for committing such an act. You can go ahead and swing your arm...if it touches my nose, you will face retribution up to and including my killing you. The market decides! Freedom for all!

Otherwise, Democrats are indeed Libertarians too! After all "Your Freedom to Pollute the Environment Ends at My Lungs and Water Supply" (Or do you FAVOR strong environmental regulation that stifles small business development and oil exploration?)

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#12) On December 09, 2009 at 6:26 PM, OakdaleBen (< 20) wrote:

I have come to see Libertarianism in much the same light as Communism. Idealistically there are points to admire in either model, but in the real world there doesn't seem to be an example where either has succeeded.

If minimal government is the goal, you only have to look at Somalia to see how that works. That extreme may be unfair, but how far from "no government" do you move and still represent Libertarianism?

As this thread has pointed out, it is also quite common for people to call themselves Libertarians, but true Libertarians are pretty rare, I think. Not knowing any better, I look to Ron Paul as a fair example of Libetarian values, which are mostly OK in my book. But I don't see them taking root, nor do I really think they should.

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#13) On December 09, 2009 at 6:30 PM, SmallWords (< 20) wrote:

ETFsRule, let's quote from the founder of the Democratic Party, James Madison

"A well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained in arms, is the best most natural defense of a free country."

 "All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree."

"As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed."

"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse."

That Democrat doesn't have much in line with the current Democrats does he amigo? I'm a Libertarian because I don't want the Democrats or Republican social policies supported by law or taxes. Libertarianism is a the government letting you screw up or succeed in life by your own choice and leaving it up to your fellow man to save your or praise you. Anyone who wants government provide social services isn't doing it to help their fellow man but to enable themselves to say that there are options for that poor beggar or troubled kid without having to take time out of their life to help. They're buying an indulgence for their lack of regard. 

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#14) On December 09, 2009 at 6:36 PM, motleyanimal (84.70) wrote:

There is nothing at all Libertarian about a Republican party that continually tries to impose it's moral authority on the nation and would have us at war with most of the middle east.

Republicans only embrace libertarian ideas when they are out of power. Once they are in control again, they will promptly forget all about it

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#15) On December 09, 2009 at 7:11 PM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

chk: Rockwell was not only the founder of Mises, but he recently became their chairman as well. My comments were absolutely not a strawman argument in any way. Do some research on him if you want to see what a prominent libertarian figure he really is.

If the Mises Institute doesn't want to be represented by a person like him, they should kick him out.

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#16) On December 09, 2009 at 7:49 PM, whereaminow (21.14) wrote:

Lew Rockwell is not only the most influential Libertarian in my life, he is also a friend. 

David in Qatar

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#17) On December 09, 2009 at 8:23 PM, SkepticalOx (99.44) wrote:

There's a whole slew of libertarians out there with sometimes conflicting views, though their emphasis on individual liberties and freedoms, for the most part, whether it regards to economics or social matters, have pretty sound arguments behind them. Most of what they advocate (lower taxes, less government interference, free-market capitalism) are generally good policies for human advancement, and they have evidence to back it up.

My gripe is that too many libertarians spend too much time hawking a utopian libertarian society, and are completely void of any practical suggestions. But that's the internet for you. Many political opinions are just complaints at the status quo.

To me, Democrats want the government to take your money and spread it around, and Republicans want the government to tell you how to live your life "morally". Libertarians want to minimize both and maximize your freedom so you can make a choice for yourself. If you ignore all the utopian arguments they make, is that a bad thing?

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#18) On December 09, 2009 at 8:29 PM, hendrixtrader (< 20) wrote:

The problem is that people take the beliefs of Libertarians, and take them to the extreme, as ETFsRule has. I do not advocate zero government, but I do advocate less government. When you take Democrats to the extreme they are Socialists, but it would be a terrible falacy for me to associate all Democrats with Socialism. 

 

You say that Libertarian Party received 0.4% of the vote and acted as if that was an accurate representation of the Libertarian population. Even you, ETFsRule, know that is not true. Libertarians make up a significant part of the country, as seen by Ron Paul's relative success. 

 

The abortion issue is much tougher to handle. You cannot simply leave a matter of life/death up to the markets. If we left it up to the market, slavery would still exist. If a fetus is a person, it has rights. There is a huge discrepancy in current criminal laws, we are basically saying its ok for a mother to kill a child, but not for someone else. If a mother aborts a child, it is ok. But if another person kills a pregnant woman, he receives two counts of murder. This is a contradiction that needs to be fixed. 

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#19) On December 09, 2009 at 8:30 PM, SkepticalOx (99.44) wrote:

BTW, to use the number of votes to try and gauge how many people are libertarian is a tad irrelevant.

You could argue that socially liberal and fiscally conservative Democrats and Republicans have libertarian tendencies, and it would make more sense to vote for those members than to vote for a libertarian candidate who can't win.

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#20) On December 09, 2009 at 8:31 PM, ChannelDunlap (< 20) wrote:

It makes me happy that the Republicans have alienated their own to the point that the Libertarians are seeing a boose in numbers.  Fiscally conservative and socially liberal is something that appeals to me quite a bit.  As it stands I'll take the expanded gov't spending to avoid living under a faith-based government.

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#21) On December 09, 2009 at 8:40 PM, SkepticalOx (99.44) wrote:

#20. The problem with the Republican party is that they only preach "small government" and promise to "spend less", but the years under a Republican congress and a Republican administration shows that they spend just as much, and expand the government, just as much, if not more, than Democrats.

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#22) On December 09, 2009 at 9:01 PM, SmallWords (< 20) wrote:

Skeptical, you're right about Repubs only saying what is popular. The same can be said of any politician however. We're the dupes that keep believing what a politician says and hoping that this time they'll mean it. That's why the Constitution specifically granted the Federal government certain responsibilities only. Everything else is supposed to be reserved for the states because it's easier to hold state reps accountable than the federal rep from another state. Look at the continued success of Murtha. He's crooked as can be but popular back home because he takes your tax dollars and mine and sends it home as a pet project.

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#23) On December 09, 2009 at 9:10 PM, paulwb404 (< 20) wrote:

Wow...you're characterization of Libertarians is so off base I sincerely hope no one takes this article seriously.  It is true that Libertarians are proponents of what many would call "free markets" or the Austrian way of economics.  It is also true that we tend to disagree with Federal funding of many social programs.  However, to lump us together with the wacko FoxNews views of Limbaugh and Beck is just naive.  There will always be extreme viewpoints in all parties, including the Dem's my friend. 

Now...to address a few of your mis-informed points.

1.  Global Warming - it's a theory, not a fact.  If you think there is overwhelming evidence supporting it, I can show you just as much credible information denying it.  Let's actually do some research before you call us out as radicalls for denying it.  Just bc Al Gore says it's true doesn't make it so...

2.  "So let's just ignore the fact that de-regulation was a major cause of the current financial crisis. Minor details!"....Over regulation of capital markets played just as much a role in the current crisis as greed.  Ever heard of the Community Reinvestment Act that forced dozens of major banks to provide mortgages to indigent areas in which they normally would not lend?  Guess what happened to those loans?  Or how about the Federal Reserve propping the housing market up on stilts for years to begin with?  When market prices want to come down, THAT'S OK!!!!  They will self-adjust based on basic supply and demand.  When you manipulate interest rates to inflate the housing market this is what happens....the bubble burts.  Gov't should not be involved in this game...let economic forces dictate prices, not the minds of men.

3. Hypocracy in general - If I recall correctly, when Bush was in office, and he proposed the first stimulus package, the Dems cried just as much as the Reps when Obama proposed the same thing.  If you can't see that both parties are EXACTLY THE SAME once in office, then you need to take a closer look at the way our political system is run.  The true solution is to expand the diversity of THOUGHT in our gov't.  We only allow for two options, and both are equally as terrible.  We are the most diverse country in the world and we can't think of a better solution than left or right? 

 

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#24) On December 09, 2009 at 11:23 PM, ChrisGraley (29.72) wrote:

Democrat- I have discovered a new species of mushroom!

1) The first thing I should do is put it on the endangered list and preserve it.

2) I should create a tax to insure it's conservation.

3) I should figure out if I can get high off it.

4) I should evict all the neighbors to make sure they don't go near it!

5) I should make people in the area be quiet to insure it's a happy mushroom!

Republican-  I have discovered a new species of mushroom!

1) I need to figure out if I can market it!

2) We should ensure that the owner gets tax rebates so he can grow more!

3) We should make sure to shoot the hippies that try to sneak onto the land and get high off of it.

4) We need to evict all the neighbors to allow room for this new business to expand.

5) We should charge people to take pictures of the mushroom.

Libertarian- Both you nut-jobs better get the f*ck off my lawn before I shoot you full of lead!

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#25) On December 10, 2009 at 9:14 AM, catoismymotor (35.54) wrote:

I had no interest in reading this blog. So I did not read it. But that fact will not keep me from replying to what I think the author had to say. The following is a Cliff's Notes version of my typical reply to blogs that have titles similar to this.

I am going to leap to a fairly safe conclusion that the author is a Socialist at heart that thinks we can keep everyone safe if we can pass enough laws. This is a shame. This world would be far better off if everyone would learn that the more laws are passed the more criminals we have and the more corrupt the world becomes. I believe the author is well meaning, but misguided. I suggest he read The Law by Fredrick Bastiat. Extorting money from me in order to force me to put a cork on the end of my fork to save me from poking out my eye is stupid. Presenting me with a strech in jail or a opt out penalty payment (tax) for not conforming to their wishes (threats) is more criminal than declining to participate in their reindeer games.

Oh, by the way: I am a Libertarian. For those of you not in the know, that means I will tolerate his point of view while he, the Socialist, is not capable of of the same.

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#26) On December 10, 2009 at 9:43 AM, outoffocus (23.02) wrote:

I have to say, this is probably the best political idealism debate blog I've ever seen on CAPS. For once, the blog didnt sink into petty personal attacks and needless namecalling. As a result, I'm actually learning something. 

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#27) On December 10, 2009 at 3:20 PM, JakilaTheHun (99.93) wrote:

The problem with market fundamentalism is that it is based on a flawed premise:

Free markets are possible

They aren't.  The "free market" is an abstract concept that has no existance in reality.  Sometimes, we come close, but even that is fairly rare.  In the sense, Libertarians are essentially the new Communists --- trying to implement an idealized utopia that can never be achieved. 

Sure, I'd love a world with perfect competition, where the efforts of every human being could be rewarded fairly, and where the lazy and useless perish.  But it'll never happen.

Capitalism is a property distribution system that, by its nature, requires a strong state to enforce.  Hence, "small government capitalism" is, in essence, an oxymoron.  Either you have a strong state that can enforce property rights or you have decentralized power where the "rule of law" is dependent upon who has the biggest guns (figuratively speaking).  

There's a balance that has to be achieved and market fundamentalist ideologies fail to note this.  They always go for the "free market" solution, with a complete disregard for the fact that the market is by its nature, not in a state of perfect competition (i.e. a "free market") and that this maldistribution of power can not automatically be remedied by reducing the influence of a centralizing power. 

In reality, sometimes, the centralizing force has to step in to force competition.  Other times, the centralizing force can be the impetus behind favoritism in the market.  It really depends on the circumstances.  

 

Some examples:

(1) Glass-Steagall was a "statist" and "interventionist" act implemented by a centralized source of power (the US Federal government) that decentralized market power and created more competition.  Likewise, its repeal (a weakening of state power) resulted in more centralized market power and put the state (i.e. the taxpayers) at the mercy of the market participants.

(2) Rent controls are a "statist" and "interventionist" act, but instead of promoting competition, instead, they often result in physical neglect as landlords find any way to cut corners and get around regulatory restrictions imposed upon them.

(3) A regulation promoting quality standards would be "statist" and "interventionist'.  Assuming the standards were created by a neutral party (i.e. one without a vested interest in the competing companies), and applied equally to all companies, it would not necessarily hamper competition.  However, whether it did harm competition probably depends on the cost and the resources required to meet the standard. If the cost was heavy, it may strengthen larger competitors.  This is more true in some industries than in others.  

 

So yes, I agree that things really depend on the circumstances surrounding an event and free market fundamentalism is an oversimplistic way of analyzing the world.  Free markets should be a goal, but just like other lofty goals such as "equality", they can not automatically be met simply be constantly declaring that these conditions exist.  And most Libertarian blogs boil down to that. 

No hard solutions.  No realistic blueprints for how to achieve goals.  Just ambiguous statements and verbal attacks.  That's how ideologues operate.

Communists and Libertarians are just two peas in the same pod; they have the exact same way of analyzing the world, but they despise one another just like fundamentalist Christians and zealoted Muslims despise one another; despite basically sharing the same warped way of thinking.

 

One final argument I'd make:  Libertarians couldn't exist with Communism.  "Capitalism" was merely a descriptive term used by Adam Smith to describe a large variety of economic orders that succeeded the Feudal/Manioral system in Europe.  It wasn't until the rise of Socialism, Communism, and Marx that "Capitalism" became an ideology.  Marx turned it into one in order to promote his own utopia:  Communism.  But as is often the case, once one group begins to attack something, others instinctively seem to adopt that label and defend it, even if it were only a straw man to begin with.  

 


Most human beings, in the end, share the same goals.  Ideologies are all about identity-group politics.  They allow people to feel like they belong to something, even if that something is just a load of horses@#$. 

I think there was a very good reason some of our Founding Father opposed political parties.  They knew that people would divide themselves up into factions and as a result, fail to analyze the issues on a more practical level.

 

That's my long-winded analysis.   Take it for what you will.

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#28) On December 10, 2009 at 3:26 PM, SkepticalOx (99.44) wrote:

+1 Rec #27

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#29) On December 10, 2009 at 11:40 PM, starbucks4ever (97.35) wrote:

Jakila is right.

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#30) On December 11, 2009 at 8:46 AM, whereaminow (21.14) wrote:

There is so much wrong with what Jakila has said here that I may need to write a separate blog to address each point.

1. If free markets are not possible, why have so many existed and persisted?  How did exchange even originate?  Did markets only come about because governemnts told people to enter into transactions?  Um, probably not.  Maybe markets evolved because humans want to voluntarily exchange services in order to improve their lives.  More likely.  The historical record is clear on this, but if necessary, I will post another blog on it.

2. If government intervention is necessary, or well intentioned, that would have to mean that governments evolved out of necessity.  Again, the historical record thoroughly disputes this fantasy.  Every government in history, with a "perhaps" exception of America (more on the "perhaps" if necessary), originated out of conquest and subjugation.  Government is the "political means" of attaining wealth, through robbery and violence. You may not like this fact, but again, the historical record speaks volumes.  Perhaps you would prefer to believe that governments are some sort of social contract, and if so I would happily bring an army of references to support my point and we can debate it at length.  The government never means well for the people, no matter how representative it may appear.  Every government in history, no matter how awful or righteous, has existed with popular support.

3. Libertarianism is not a reaction to Communism.  Far from it. Modern day libertarianism is a reaction to Republican Federalism and the rise of Right Wing Statism during the Cold War. 

4.  Classical Communism and Libertarianism were both reactions to the feudal state and early mercantilism, whose traditions never seem to fade away despite their devastating effects.   The early Libertarians, called Classical Liberals, won many victories over the mercantilists.  Their victories gave rise to the Industrial Revolution, universal suffrage, free speech and press, etc etc.  During this interesting historical time, Communist ideologies also flourished and though they recognized many of the same problems, they offered a radically different solution.  As such, the two schools of thought have often been at odds.

Would anyone like to discuss these points with me?

David in Qatar

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#31) On December 11, 2009 at 9:00 AM, catoismymotor (35.54) wrote:

David,

I decided to let it drop. Trying to convince Jakila that he might be off base is like trying to teach a cow to sing. I hope you have a great day and that the new job is treating you well.

Cato

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#32) On December 11, 2009 at 9:36 AM, DownEscalator (< 20) wrote:

"Hence, "small government capitalism" is, in essence, an oxymoron."

No, it isn't.

Enforcing property rights does not require a large federal government.  Enforcement of rights is a legal concern necessitating a sound, consistent legal system, which the United States had for its entire existence (and before - our relatively seemless adoption of common law principles was one thing that kept the US going in the early days).  You're completely mixing ideas and branches of government.

Libertarianism is the new communism?  That might be the dumbest thing I've heard this morning.

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#33) On December 11, 2009 at 10:09 AM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

"I decided to let it drop. Trying to convince Jakila that he might be off base is like trying to teach a cow to sing."

Hah! It looks like someone needs to look in the mirror.

Cato, I want to thank you for supporting my points about libertarians with both of your posts in this thread :-)

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#34) On December 11, 2009 at 4:20 PM, catoismymotor (35.54) wrote:

#33 -  I don't know if you wrote your blog as a joke or a ernest, but misguided, attempt to shed some light on a subject. If you were out to stir the pot with a joke you accomplished your task. If you were trying your hand at the other you have not so much succeeded, but shown yourself in an unflattering way.

It does not matter to me which goal you had when you formed your idea. Nor the effect your blog had on those members of the Fool community that chose to contribute their ten cents. What I can tell you is that although I don't agree with your choice of subject, tone, context, level of accuracy and outright slanderous lies about a group I proudly identify with. I never stood in your way. You I never corrected you. I simply let you ramble on. We have a right to free speech in this country. This right is protected by a document you might have heard of called The Constitution. The Freedom of Speech, or First Amendment, was written to protect you and me from the cruel hand of an overbearing, oppressive government. In time the wisest of us realized that it served a secondary purpose: to let your enemies, advisarys and fools speak freely so that they may be made note of. Your blog, or vomitious outburst, as I truely now think of it as being since taking the time to read it, neatly falls into the latter of the two. You may choose whether you are a enemy, adversary or a fool. I choose not to foster hostile relations with members of TMF, so I hope you choose the friendliest of the three. You can have your mirror back so you can reach a better informed choice.

Cato

Liberty has never come from government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is the history of resistance. – Woodrow Wilson

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#35) On December 11, 2009 at 4:34 PM, catoismymotor (35.54) wrote:

...lies about a group I proudly identify with. I never stood in your way. You I never corrected you.

That should read "..lies about a group I proudly identify with I never stood in your way. I never corrected you."

Ahhh, the fun one has when trying to leave the office on a Friday. :)

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#36) On December 11, 2009 at 7:13 PM, Deepfryer (27.70) wrote:

Spare me the pretentious lecture on free speech. Take your idiotic, self-rightous posts elsewhere, and stop spamming my blog.

And yes, it is spam when you start insulting someone's post without even reading it.

The fact that you can't accept any form of criticism illustrates my point that libertarianism is nothing more than a dogma, and you are blindly following it with a religious-like fervor. That sort of close-mindedness is a very dangerous thing.

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#37) On December 11, 2009 at 7:14 PM, Deepfryer (27.70) wrote:

I forgot I was logged in with this account. This is ETFsRule, in case it wasn't obvious.

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#38) On December 11, 2009 at 8:42 PM, catoismymotor (35.54) wrote:

So you were ernest? I'll light a candle and pray for you.

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#39) On December 11, 2009 at 10:57 PM, whereaminow (21.14) wrote:

Let's take a line by line approach to this post by DeepFryer, aka ETF'sRule, to see how it holds up.

Libertarians are an interesting bunch.

Thank you. That's very kind  He's off to a good start. 

In real life they are sort of like Bigfoot or the Chupacabra - you hear stories about them, but you never actually see one walking around.

Well I don't wear signs or gang colors if that's what you are wondering. I don't know how you would recognize that I'm a libertarian just walking around on the streets. I could say the same thing about accountants though and it wouldn't mean they don't exist. 

In the last presidential election, the Libertarian party recieved a measly 0.4% of the popular vote.

That's a fact, though what difference it makes I have no idea.   

But online it's a different story - the internet is absolutely CRAWLING with libertarians, especially on sites like The Motley Fool.

Libertarian ideas are extremely popular even though libertarian candidates may not be (for a myriad of reasons), but again that makes no difference.  The point of the author's post was that you shouldn't listen to Libertarians.  In that case, popular or unpopular really doesn't matter.

So what exactly is a Libertarian? Well, it's a person who puts a high value on freedom. And by "freedom", they basically mean "independence from government interference". 

Liberty based on a system of property rights, to be more exact, but I'll let it slide. And yes, government interference is interference in property rights, so that would follow.  Not sure what is so hard to understand about that.  Governments enforcing private, legitimate contracts is not an encroachment on liberty, but that's not the purpose of government.  If it was, governments would have originated out of necessity, but they didn't. Governments originated out of conquest and subjugation. 

They don't want the government to touch their money (or their guns).

Who does? 

They want lower taxes and fewer social programs, they oppose any form of economic stimulus, and for some reason they often deny the existance of global warming - despite overwhelming scientific evidence.

This evidence is... ahem.. not scientific.  Physics is scientific.  Sociological studies have attempted to copy the scientific method, but they have failed.  Austrian school economics is a logical science, like math.  We didn't discover that the closest distance between two points is a straight line by measuring every straight line in history or setting up straight line experiments.  You start with an a priori maxim and logically build from there. It's a gift that humans can think in such terms.  The a priori maxim of the Austrian school is that every economic action is a purposeful action. 

Many Libertarians even have the audacity to say that they "hope Obama fails", regardless of how catastrophic the results would be for the United States.

Libertarians don't hope Obama will fail.  Libertarians know that all exercises of government power eventually fail.  They know this because they understand human action and they read history books.  Republicans hope Obama fails so that they may get back to the seat of power.  Libertarians have no such delusions of power. And I hope that always remains the case.

Many prominant Libertarians are also opposed to a lot of civil-rights era legislation. For example, they want employers to have the "freedom" to discriminate against their customers and employees however they want - whether it's based on race, religion, gender, etc.

That is correct, although some libertarians disagree.  I do not support any government intrusion in the market.  The problem of racism is exacerbated by government, not alleviated.  In fact, slavery itself is an age old institution of government, and among the first government interventions.  Racism is a byproduct of the conquest of governments.  It has nothing to do with capitalism or the free market.  I would be happy to bring forth an army of references to make this point should you demand it. 

After all, the government has no place telling them how to run their business, right?

Correct. 

Or maybe they just feel a certain sense of nostalgia for those old signs that read, "negroes need not apply".

I have no nostalgia for such signs.  That's a disgusting comment.

You may think that these ideas sound like something you would hear from Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck... and you would be correct.

I don't pay attention to either one, though I have come across a couple of Beck videos that cracked me up.  Calling yourself a Libertarian is easy.  Understanding libertarianism is another matter. 

Although they would never admit it, Libertarians have a lot in common with your standard, run of the mill Fox News Republican.

We also have a lot in common with run of the mill CNN Democrats.  We oppose war, the Patriot Act, corporate welfare, etc. 

Whenever an economic problem arises, they both have the same answer: do nothing, and let the free market take care of everything!

No, we ask the government to enforce property rights and prosecute fraud, neither of which ever happens.  We expect individuals to take responsibility for their own actions. 

Why do they believe that this is the optimal approach to any economic problem? Because they just do, that's why.

No we have four thousand years of wage of price controls that show us these ideas do not work. 

So you can just forget about stupid things like historical trends, economic models, or numerical analysis - leave that stuff to the Keynesians and the other "intellectual elites".

Again, an understanding of history helps.  Every government has employed the intellectual class to support its cause.  This called legitimizing rule.  First it was the priests, and then it was the professors.  This is nothing new. 

Republicans and Libertarians just KNOW that government spending is ALWAYS a bad thing - because their gut tells them so!

Again, see four thousand years of wage and price controls.

It doesn't make any difference if their positions are supported by facts, or just pulled out of thin air.

Again, see four thousand years and logic. I suppose the idea that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line was pulled out of thin air, but that doesn't mean it is incorrect. 

Republicans are going to shout their beliefs at you until they're blue in the face... and Libertarians are going to type their opinions into the blogosphere until they get carpal tunnel syndrome.

Shouting at people is wrong. I've done it. Then again, so have you. What is this post if not a virtual shouting match? 

Why are they so adamant in their positions? Easy: because their belief in the free market is like a religious dogma to these people.

As much as mathematics is a religious dogma, I suppose.  I guess I could question whether or not two plus two really equals four but I don't have that kind of time.

Both groups speak in absolutes and axioms... so when a new issue arises, they can pretty much make up their mind within the first 2 seconds of hearing about it.

Correct.  It helps when you have a sound philosophical system that is not self-contradictory. 

This is a very efficient way to make decisions, but it comes in sharp contrast to Keynesian economists, who realize that the real world is a very complex place requiring diligent research and analysis BEFORE a conclusion can be reached.

The implication is of course that Libertarians do not do diligent research.  That's an opinion and there is no sense arguing it. I have never said that Keynesians don't due diligent research.  I have asserted that their core premise is flawed, which leads them to horrible conclusions.  This is why Keynesians can never predict anything accurately.

Government regulation is ALWAYS a bad thing, right? So let's just ignore the fact that de-regulation was a major cause of the current financial crisis. Minor details!

If by deregulation you mean government rewriting the rules of government controlled or sponsored entitites and oligopolies so that a different set of kleptocrats beneift, then yes deregulation is a failure.  However, real deregulation is the removal of government from market sectors.  No such thing occured.

Lastly, Libertarians will invariably refer you to Mises.org, where other Libertarians will spew the same opinions at you, over and over again.

Thanks for the plug.  Visit the Ludwig von Mises Institute for more on the Austrian approach to economic problems.

There are usually no facts or figures to support these opinions, because Libertarians tend to avoid any form of quantitative analysis - in much the same way that vampires avoid sunlight.

There are two approaches to every problem, quantitative and qualitative, and both are subjective.  Since Austrian School economics is a logical science, it stresses the qualitative aspect but that does not preclude quantitative study. 

Since they are so enamored with Mises, let's take a look at some quotes from the founder of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Mr. Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr:

"I never liked Martin Luther King, Jr. I thought he was a fraud and a tool."

MLK was human, not the cartoon caricature that so many make him out to be.  He had some excellent qualities and some poor ones. I don't know where this quote comes from as there is no reference.

"Did they hit him too many times? Sure, but that’s not the issue. It’s safe streets versus urban terror, and why we have moved from one to the other." (referring to the Rodney King incident)

I know Lew very well, so I know exactly what he is talking about here.  The government created a problem and dealt with it the only way the government knows how, through violence and the violation of property rights (Rodney King's body is his property.)   Lew is criticizing government.  Read into his political incorrect commentary whatever you wish.

And last but certainly not least:

"Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks"

The infamous Ron Paul newsletter quote, ghost written while Ron Paul was delivering babies.  Did Lew write this? Possibly.  Is it true?  Read Uncle Sam's Plantation and make up your own mind.

Again, the method is to attribute racism to freedom, such as if all humans were free they would discriminate against each other or enslave other races.  Again, this would imply that with government there is no discrimination. Ha!  Or it could imply that governments are not responsible for racism and slavery. Double ha! 

That's enough for now. I hope we can all make a very "Foolish" decision - and stop listening to these pesky Libertarians once and for all!

You are free to do whatever you wish.

Fool on, and have a happy holiday season!

And a happy holiday season to you.

David in Qatar

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#40) On December 12, 2009 at 12:55 AM, Deepfryer (27.70) wrote:

"This evidence is... ahem.. not scientific"

The evidence for global warming is not scientific? Riiiiight.

"No we have four thousand years of wage of price controls that show us these ideas do not work."

I suppose it depends how you measure success. Would you say that the average standard of living has increased or decreased over the last 4000 years? Regardless of what you meant by this, you must admit, it takes a lot of subjective (read: biased) reasoning to arrive at this conclusion.

Anyway, now we are starting to get somewhere. You are saying that your belief in Libertarianism is based on these 4000 years of data. In other words, your belief in libertarianism is results-based. Correct?

Well, what if, hypothetically I was able to provide references showing that wage and prices controls do in fact work? Would you then renounce your belief in libertarianism?

"Austrian school economics is a logical science, like math.  We didn't discover that the closest distance between two points is a straight line by measuring every straight line in history or setting up straight line experiments.  You start with an a priori maxim and logically build from there. It's a gift that humans can think in such terms.  The a priori maxim of the Austrian school is that every economic action is a purposeful action. " 

Now you're contradicting yourself. Do you believe in Austrian economics because of its "logical", or "theoretical" basis?

Or, do you believe in Austrian economics based on your "4000 years of history"? Because these two things are completely different... and they may help me understand how you came to have such an unyielding faith in such a flawed school of thought.

"As much as mathematics is a religious dogma, I suppose.  I guess I could question whether or not two plus two really equals four but I don't have that kind of time."

Was this supposed to be a real answer? Mathematics and libertarianism are obviously not comparable to one another in any serious way.

"Correct.  It helps when you have a sound philosophical system that is not self-contradictory. "

That's sort of true... but it's much better if you avoid clinging to any philosophy at all, especially if that philosophy prevents you from having a clear view of reality.

"The implication is of course that Libertarians do not do diligent research"

But you just agreed with me! If you can make up your mind in 2 second about a complex issue (such as economic stimulus, healthcare, welfare, etc)... then obviously you aren't even trying to use research to form your opinion... unless you think you can perform serious research in 2 seconds!

"MLK was human, not the cartoon caricature that so many make him out to be.  He had some excellent qualities and some poor ones. I don't know where this quote comes from as there is no reference. "

Thanks for the insight, but the question was not whether or not MLK was human. The issue is whether or not the man was a "tool". But I guess you have to do whatever it takes to defend your buddy's despicable statements. Source: http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/oldright.html

"Again, the method is to attribute racism to freedom, such as if all humans were free they would discriminate against each other or enslave other races."

Nonsense. My method was to attribute racism to the Mises Institute.

Rockwell's statements are the easiest to quote, because they are "out there", in plain sight. But there are plenty of other accusations of racism that I did not bring up because there isn't as much definitive evidence. But there is certainly enough to form a disturbing pattern of behavior. For instance:

Another SPLC complaint[44] involves a Murray Rothbard essay called "Origins of the Welfare State in America"[45] on the Mises Institute website. According to an SPLC Intelligence Report article written by Chip Berlet:

Rothbard blamed much of what he disliked on meddling women. In the mid-1800s, a "legion of Yankee women" who were "not fettered by the responsibilities" of household work "imposed" voting rights for women on the nation. Later, Jewish women, after raising funds from "top Jewish financiers", agitated for child labor laws, Rothbard adds with evident disgust. The "dominant tradition" of all these activist women, he suggests, is lesbianism.[44] Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_von_Mises_Institute#Criticism_from_the_Southern_Poverty_Law_Center

My blog was not meant as a refutation on the entire philosophy of libertarianism. That would be impossible anyway, because libertarians can't seem to reach a concensus on what exactly the philosophy is all about.

Rather, it was intended to be a criticism of libertarians - hence the title. Is this petty? Maybe a little. But this is my blog, and I have every right to vent my frustrations. The libertarians on this site have gone too long without any criticism whatsoever, while they go about sticking their noses in everyone else's business, acting all self-rightous, and constantly telling democrats, republicans, and everyone else how stupid they are for not having absolute faith in free markets. It gets old after a while.

Have a nice weekend.

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#41) On December 13, 2009 at 1:22 AM, whereaminow (21.14) wrote:

I can see why you didn't take the time to put the link in the original post. You wanted it to be inflammatory.  How douchey of you.  Here is the full quote: 

The civil-rights movement of the 1960s complicates the picture. My ideological sympathies were and are with those who resisted the federal government's attacks on the freedom of association (not to mention the federalist structure of the Constitution) in the name of racial integration. I never liked Martin Luther King, Jr. I thought he was a fraud and a tool. But when he turned his attention to the evils of the U.S. war on Vietnam, I began to like him. That's also when the establishment turned against him, and soon he was murdered.

These days, the neocons say the 1964 Civil Rights Act was an attempt to remove barriers to opportunity, and only later was distorted with quotas. That's absurd. Everyone, both proponents and opponents, knew exactly what that law was: a statist, centralizing measure that fundamentally attacked the rights of property and empowered the state as mind reader: to judge not only our actions, but our motives, and to criminalize them.

He disliked MLK for his policies of wealth redistribution, forced integration, and quotas.  He liked MLK for his stance against the war.  Reading racism into this statement is childish.

Rothbard's parents were Jewish and he was happily married. Enough said.  The SPLC names every non-socialist as a racist hate group. I don't even bother with them.  They called me a terrorist for supporting Ron Paul and for being a veteran.  They are just like the ADL, which called me a hate group member for supporting the Tea Party movement.  I could care less.

David in Qatar

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#42) On December 15, 2009 at 6:21 PM, jriggenbach (< 20) wrote:

"The SPLC names every non-socialist as a racist hate group. I don't even bother with them.  They called me a terrorist for supporting Ron Paul and for being a veteran.  They are just like the ADL, which called me a hate group member for supporting the Tea Party movement.  I could care less."

Actually, David, I think you mean you couldn't care less.

 

JR

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#43) On December 17, 2009 at 2:51 PM, ETFsRule (99.94) wrote:

I'll post one more comment here, and *hopefully* that will be the end of it.

"I can see why you didn't take the time to put the link in the original post. You wanted it to be inflammatory.  How douchey of you."

Give me a break. His comment was inflammatory, it didn't need any help from me. And just because he disagreed with MLK's policies, that is not a justification for calling him either a "fraud" or a "tool".

"Reading racism into this statement is childish."

Trying to completely disassociate MLK from the issue of race is naive, stupid, and probably disingenuous.

"Rothbard's parents were Jewish and he was happily married. Enough said."

Not really. There are plenty of anti-semites who had Jewish parents. Don't make me fulfill Godwin's Law here. And I noticed how you didn't even address the whole "feminist/lesbian" issue.

"The SPLC names every non-socialist as a racist hate group. I don't even bother with them.  They called me a terrorist for supporting Ron Paul and for being a veteran."

You're not providing any evidence for this accusation? How douchey of you.

Anyway, I suggest that you take a Philosophy 101 course before you try to discuss things like A Priori maxims. It's embarrasing that you tried to call Libertarianism a "logical science".

Let me clear this up for you: libertarianism is a philosophy, and it is in no way comparable to mathematics or any of the sciences.

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#44) On December 17, 2009 at 4:16 PM, catoismymotor (35.54) wrote:

ETFsRule/DeepFryer,

You claim in one sentence that libertarians are lovers of freedom. In another you say we long for the glory days of Jim Crow. At the heart of libertarianism is the the belief of equal protection of everyone under the law. And that laws are to be used to expand freedoms, not restrict them. Not only are your statements inaccurate, but offensive. I forgive this error. Let's move forward.

Being tolerant does not mean that I share another one's belief. But it does mean that I acknowledge another one's right to believe and obey, his own conscience. - Viktor Frankl 

When you approach the world with fear and hate that is all you will experience. - Cato (Yours truely)

I encourage you to do something: I suggest a visit to www.cato.org, a libertarian think tank. Yes, it is from them that I in part created my handle. You might find it enlightening. Don't worry, I'm not trying to change your point of view. Only you can do that. I just wish to feed your brain.

Don Quixote de Cato

 

 

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#45) On December 18, 2009 at 3:00 AM, whereaminow (21.14) wrote:

ETFsRule,

Just to clarify. Libertarianism is a philosophy. Austrian School economics is a logical science based on a priori maxims, and the school's conclusions are often libertarian or anarchical in nature. I know I made that clear above, but apparently it needs restating.

I don't care about the rest of the racist/sexist nitpicking that you read into non-politically correct commentary.  I'll take the track record of classical liberalism and libertarianism over Statism and Socialism any day when it comes to racism and sexism.

David in Qatar

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