For the sake of dignity »« Whooping around the clock

Guest post by doubtthat: on being too cool for everything

Originally a comment on The book that continues to inspire college sophomores.

The functional difference between glibertarianism and nihilism is close to zero.

I was just speaking with a fellow attorney who is a big Ron/Rand Paul supporter and a self-professed libertarian.  The funny thing is that we agree on Step 1 of many issues:

-government spying is an absurd violation of our rights -bank bailouts just served to enable the unethical and likely criminal behavior that played a huge role in the collapse -we shouldn’t be engaged in silly foreign wars -the drug war is stupid…etc.

On all of those issues, we’re basically in agreement that our government handled and continues to handle those issue poorly.  The difficulty comes immediately when he tried to explain how to correct these things.

His solution to the problem of bank bailouts was…to just let them go under.  Fine, I say, but then something has to take it’s place.  We just had a fiscal collapse, how will the country keep running?

He refused to admit that this was a problem until I asked him how farmers would continue to exist.  They buy seed on credit and pay back the loan when the crop comes in.  If there is no entity in existence that can offer that first loan, how are people going to plat crops.

His answer, stunningly, was that the government should have loaned it directly.  Yes, indeed, I say, welcome to the wonderful world of progressivism.

He was infuriated with his own answer, but literally could not come up with another explanation.  He was smart to understand what a non-starter private lending would be, given the recent, you know, Apocalypse in the financial sector.

They’re like pissy high schoolers who are too cool for everything: this sucks, that sucks, this is gay, that’s lame…yet they never actually explain how anything could possibly work in their world, save for some nonsense about the gold standard.

Comments

  1. Al Dente says

    He was infuriated with his own answer, but literally could not come up with another explanation.

    Libertarians often have trouble coming up with ideologically pure answers to real world situations.

  2. sundoga says

    At that, he did better then most libertarians I know – he actually came up with a halfway rational answer.

  3. Minnow says

    Well, you can find an example of a stupid supporter of any position, that hardly invalidates the ideology they have failed to understand. It is interesting how libertarians and liberty minded liberals (in the US sense) and other progressives often do share basic principles, but, it seems to me it is usually only the libertarian who can offer an intellectual justification. Liberals generally support a woman’s right to abortion, for example, but without some libertarian idea of self ownership, they can’t really defend the position intellectually (that doesn’t mean they can’t support it emotionally, but they can’t explain why the rights of the woman trump the rights of the unborn child). But when the subject moves from abortion, the idea of self-ownership is thrown out. I usually find libertarians more consistent and robust in defending abortion for that reason. Though they can be self-contradictory and annoying in other ways.

  4. Stacy says

    Liberals generally support a woman’s right to abortion, for example, but without some libertarian idea of self ownership, they can’t really defend the position intellectually (that doesn’t mean they can’t support it emotionally, but they can’t explain why the rights of the woman trump the rights of the unborn child).

    Bullshit. Libertarians aren’t the only people who believe that people have a right to some fundamental authority over their own bodies.

    And forget trumps–the “unborn child” (aka “blastocyst,” “zygote,” or “fetus”) should not have any rights. It a) can’t exist on its own and requires use of someone else’s body to survive, and, b) isn’t sentient.

    I’ve seen plenty of excellent non-libertarian pro-choice arguments, thanks.

  5. Dunc says

    If you can only support a person’s right to bodily autonomy by reference to property rights (as in “self ownership“), then you probably shouldn’t be casting aspersions on other people’s ability to offer intellectual justifications for their political and moral opinions.

  6. doubtthat says

    See, there you go. Step 1, we’re all good: right to choose. Step 2, off we go.

    Privacy rights and bodily autonomy do not need to be reduced into some pan-theory of property ownership. It’s an odd little trick being played: the “property” argument for pro-choice advances the pro-choice agenda in no way, but pretending that basic human rights are just a sub-set of property rights allows the glibertarian to concoct all sorts of anti-government positions moving in the opposite direction.

    It’s a sleazy little trick: if our fundamental moral foundation lies in property ownership, and all rights are developed from there, guess what sort of opinion you’re going to generate about taxes and public property and imminent domain…etc. Been down this road before, Minnow, it ain’t fresh, and the ultimate irony is that I picked an example of the most thoughtful self-professed libertarian I could think of.

    This is how all my conversations with libertarians go:

    Step 1: the economy is bad we can do better.

    Yeah, totally. We’ve really dropped the ball and allowed for an amazing amount of needless human suffering.

    Step 2: GOLD STANDARD!

    Haha, good one. Yeah, wouldn’t that be funny if people thought that would actually work? … wait…what? You mean…holy shit. I mean, that solves exactly zero problems and creates many more for no apparent reason..the hell?

    -Inflation conspiracy theory
    -Federal reserve conspiracy theory

    Laughter, confused libertarian wondering why no one takes her philosophy seriously…

  7. Dan L. says

    LOL, is Minnow seriously trying to argue that property rights are more fundamental than personal autonomy? And that the moral positions of libertarians are OMG totally rational, you guys, and not based in any way on emotion?

    This is why libertarians are such a joke. All moral arguments are emotional and not rational. You cannot derive any moral positions from a set of facts. At some level, all moral arguments are based on feelings about how people should act.

    And property rights are derived from the government which only makes it that much more absurd when libertarians try to treat it as a fundamental property of the universe.

  8. zibble says

    My dad recently went libertarian. Doubtthat’s last paragraph is unfortunately accurate.

    We keep going in this circle, of him going “government is never the answer, what has government ever done for you?” And so I start the list – highways, police, firefighters, environmental regulations, food safety guidelines… of course, I get as far as “highways” before he goes “but look how jammed up they are!”

    It’s just dogma, and like religious dogma, they think in absolutes instead of comparisons. If a government program isn’t absolutely perfect – which, obviously, is impossible – then it’s an example of the evils of government, even if most of that program’s flaws are directly caused by libertarian/conservative obstructionism. The question of “is a shitty program actually worse than no program?” is never addressed.

    Libertarians are quick to give sweeping, general ideas, but the specifics are hardly ever there! I swear my dad has given me three completely different, contradictory answers about where law enforcement fits into that “government is always the problem” dogma.

  9. lpetrich says

    Yes, military and police forces will get them. You can use libertarian arguments against them also, like:

    Why should resources be stolen from self-protectors to protect people who are too lazy to protect themselves?

    In the absence of government protection, private charities will offer protection to people who cannot afford to be protected.

    Government protection is one-size-fits-all, and it presumes that people cannot protect themselves.

    Just have Faith. The Market will provide.

  10. says

    Well, you can find an example of a stupid supporter of any position, that hardly invalidates the ideology they have failed to understand.

    No, the fact that the ideology itself is stupid invalidates it. And the lack of NON-stupid (and NON-dishonest) supporters doesn’t help either.

    …but, it seems to me it is usually only the libertarian who can offer an intellectual justification.

    Oh please — do you really believe libertarians have a momopoly on intellectual exercise? I’ve heard this insulting pretentious crap from libertarians since the 1970s — “libertarians are rational, liberals are just emotional and silly” — and it’s never been anything but obviously false.

    Liberals generally support a woman’s right to abortion, for example…

    …and libertarians generaly OPPOSE that right, because “states’ rights” and “judicial activism.”

    …but without some libertarian idea of self ownership, they can’t really defend the position intellectually (that doesn’t mean they can’t support it emotionally, but they can’t explain why the rights of the woman trump the rights of the unborn child).

    Pure fucking clueless concescending bullshit. The right to terminate a pregnancy derives from the right of persons to be secure in their PERSONS — which is separate from property. That comes from the fucking US Constitution — no libertarian sophistry necessary.

    Libertarians spent DECADES demonizing liberals by comparing us to Stalin and Hitler (where do you think Jonah Goldberg got his “Liberal Fascism” schtick?); now they’re saying we need them to grace us with their “intellectual defenses?” Go the fuck to bed.

  11. says

    Oh, and…

    …I get as far as “highways” before he goes “but look how jammed up they are!”

    Yeah, the fact that so many people want to use the government program proves how godawful it is. Typical libertarian stupidity.

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