Outing Thunderf00t »« They’re always the bad guy

A question for libertarians

I’m listening to Nick Lee and Dale McGowan this morning, and they’re talking about the importance of expanding free thought movements to include the best of what religious organizations offer: community, giving, and social support networks. I like the ideas, but I’m bothered by one thing: I think government should be providing the social safety net, not atheist communities. But then I had an odd thought.

What about the libertarian contingent in atheism?

They take a different view. They generally want to gut government and get them out of the business of the public welfare. Shouldn’t that mean libertarian atheists should be most enthusiastic about seeing the atheist movement becoming more liberal and socially progressive? I’ve seen the opposite, though.

So this is the question for libertarians: do you endorse the liberalization of organized atheism?

Comments

  1. First Approximation, Shevek says

    I would ask you in what areas the government performs better than the private sector.

    Healthcare.
    _ _ _

    And the ones you’ve mentioned, if you try to remember is that the point is to get the service to everybody, not to merely do so to those for whom it is profitable to do so. Some people still value a system that educates the whole populace, not just a fraction of it.

    QFT

  2. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    how can you say such horrible things just because they said that poor people don’t need things that won’t kill them.

    Well, if they get sick, they can always turn to one of the various health services so there is that. Oh wait, if they can’t afford tested food, they probably couldn’t afford good insurance either. They would probably get the one that covers a band aid for gaping wounds and some water for gurgling the poison out.

  3. keddaw says

    Jadehawk and, to a certain degree, ‘Tis Himself, OM, I made an assumption that most people here would be American on the basis of the complete ignorance of the other forms of libertarianism I mentioned (e.g. left-leaning, geolibertarianism) if the conversation has moved on from the fake-US libertarianism (i.e. Bush policies) then I have yet to see it in your comments.

    …imperialist impulses of wanting to go somewhere and fix it…

    I am not playing a race card because I don’t want to go anywhere and fix it, but you (whichever country you are from) and people on this thread, appear to value their own arbitrary state more than their neighbour’s regardless of race. And from those spellings you can tell I’m not from the US either.

    At the risk of falling into a NTS fallacy, which libertarians suggest going abroad and fixing things? Free trade is the mantra of the actual US libertarians, they want the trade to fix things not the corporations or other NGOs, apart from voluntary charities.

    [Matt] I think your concept of respect needs some work. At the moment you respect amoral monsters. Not very impressive.

    From his comments he seemed fairly compassionate, he just wasn’t willing to force other people to get in line with his views. Seems fairly reasonable to me. Again, we live in a world of limited resources, there will ultimately be decisions made about who is worthy of receiving those resources and who is not despite them both being needy.

    @’Tis Himself, OM, where to begin…
    If Ayn Rand herself denied being a libertarian then how is it a fallacy? Objectivists and libertarians share some common views, but so do left-leaning libertarians and communists. There will always be overlap, but you don’t criticise left-leaning libertarians for what communists believe. It’s stupid and inaccurate.

    I don’t see how #390 about Africa in any way relates to what I said. I wasn’t suggesting a libertarian solution to it, I was simply pointing out the people on this thread’s apparent hypocrisy towards the relative issues humans face.

    First, how many operations cost $5 million? Second, how many insurance companies would pay that much money for an operation? Somehow I doubt UnitedHealth or Aetna are more generous than NHS.

    Fuck me, what a counter argument. Very few ops cost that much, it was an example to show what goes on daily when drug A is chosen on the NHS despite being less effective than drug B because of the cost differential. This, on many occassions, leads to a known expected increase in the number of deaths from whatever the drugs were supposed to cure. It is not about insurance companies being more generous, it is about having a (top-up in the UK) level of insurance to cover improbable (or optional) but expensive medical solutions. Generosity has fuck all to do with it.

    Why am I not surprised that a selfish, sociopathic libertarian doesn’t like income tax?

    Ooh, can I play the ad hom game too? Is it because you are an avid reader of political philosophy and have learned the various arguments against income tax off by heart? Is it because you are a seer and knew I was going to say that all along?
    I prefer a flat tax (not even a flat rate). Do you even know what sociopathic means? You have no way to know how generous or selfish I am, unless you truly are a seer. Burn the witch!

    If you think Norway doesn’t have income tax then you just showed that like most libertarians you’re an economic illiterate.

    And if you think that has anything to do with what I wrote then you are simply illiterate. I simply mentioned that Norway uses it’s natural resources to fund social projects. I don’t think most folk would have an issue with that.

    You prefer a regressive tax which affects the poor more than the rich than progressive income taxes. You can stop wondering why I call you a selfish sociopath. Your concern for your fellow citizens is non-existent.

    I actually prefer taxes based on use. But then so does everyone that uses the postal service, or gets a passport, or rides public transport. I think my claim of hypocrisy should perhaps be repeated here…

    Selfish sociopaths annoy me.

    Me too. See, we have more in common than you think, Comrade.

  4. JCR says

    @Nerd of a Redhead

    Here are a few links illustrating that government workers are paid more in benefits and direct compensation than private sector employees. Some of these are news articles, but link back to data from sources such as the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-03-04-federal-pay_N.htm
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/11/government-workers-earn-1_n_609593.html
    http://blog.heritage.org/2011/02/24/do-government-workers-make-more-than-private-sector-workers/
    http://reason.org/news/show/public-sector-private-sector-salary

    It would be great if you could now just if your assertion that government organizations are “lean and mean.” A few efficient and competitive government program examples would be awesome.

    @ JadeHawk – I have a modest familiarity with social evolution. But, just as you did in your first post, you ask a question or make a statement and then fail to follow up on what you think I wrote that was incorrect.

    You seem to have a reading comprehension issue. I did not say that nature is efficient, simply that it drives a degree of efficiency through competition. Do you disagree with this? Do you think that lack of competition drives any efficiency at all? Maybe try reading my post that you quoted, you “ignorant twit.”

    I did not claim to support social darwinism. I am proposing that lack of competition results in stagnation and lack of efficiency and that there ways to solve the same problems while introducing competitive pressure. Just punting to the government is an answer for the ignorant and the lazy – you seem to be a combination of both.

    Jade and Nerd you should actually try reading what I wrote and fighting against that other than making up shit in your head of where you think I am coming from and arguing against that.

  5. keddaw says

    Oh Beatrice, your lack of imagination fills me with such joy.

    Who says there is no basic public health? I provided at least one method for having such a thing (natural resources).

    Correct me if I am wrong, but can’t you currently go on to ebay or craigslist and buy pretty much whatever you want totally unregulated? Where’s your infinite compassion for the poor there?

    You keep thinking libertarians want to instantly implement their more extreme policies instantly (okay, some actually do, but I’m not one of them). Surely the most appropriate way forward is to stop shitty and/or wasteful government spending, stop killing people abroad, stop linking foreign aid to domestic companies, and all the other things that we can agree are stupid. Then we can have the arguments about whether the government should provide a Postal Service (which is only not able to compete with UPS etc. because there is a law to stop it competing with the more profitable services of the private companies – how is that better than any libertarian idea?) or roads etc.

  6. Matt Penfold says

    From his comments he seemed fairly compassionate, he just wasn’t willing to force other people to get in line with his views.

    We clearly have very different ideas of what compassion is. His, and yours it seems, is actually the absence of compassion, which is a very odd use of the word.

    Still, thanks for letting us know you are as much a heartless scumbag as he was.

  7. JCR says

    @First Approximation

    In nature we never see individuals within a species cooperating.

    Is that really what you meant to write? Individuals within a species cooperate all the time. Premoral sentiment and reciprocity are found in many mammals and are mainly based off of cooperation.

    That aside, my point was that competition, within and across species, drives efficiency and diversity. Lack of competition does not. I fail to see how someone can think that a big gov program would ever tend towards efficiency.

    Here in the USA, even Libertarian barely registers as a party.

    Elections might create competitive pressure on officials, but there are many levels of indirection before that could reach down into federal service agencies.

    Your questions:
    1. There is a big question right now of whether these big government programs in Europe are sustainable. Austerity measures are already impacting many of these programs and will continue to do so for a while. I do not know if they will end up being sustainable or not. Things are bad here in the USA, and much of Europe is looking worse.

    2. I do not oppose them now. But I think they are bloated and inefficient and think that cutting them is the only way to force the efficiency. Do you have evidence that they are efficient?

  8. Matt Penfold says

    JCR,

    Given you think Fed Ex and UPS are common carriers, is there any reason why we should trust you on anything other issue ?

  9. KG says

    JCR,

    While not implicit, being an atheist often means you accept evolution, which means that you believe competition drives diversity, efficiency and change. Yet you want big government answers, which have little or no competition. Which brings us full circle. No competition through big government means no efficiency.

    Someone, please, explain to me how you can be an atheist (evolution) and also believe that big government programs can possibly do anything other than stagnate and bloat.

    Easy: you just have to not be the sort of moron who believes that accepting the overwhelming evidence that a process (evolution by natural selection) has occurred means you have to like all its outcomes, and take that process as the epitome of everything desirable. Competition in evolution has produced cancer, deadly viruses, disgusting parasites and mass starvation, as well as more beneficent outcomes. It is the very suppression of competition between cells that makes multicellular organisms possible, and that breaks down in cancer. (No, I’m not saying society should be like an organism, that’s the sort of lackwittery I leave to such as glibertarians.) Competition is sometimes useful, and sometimes harmful. Is that too fucking complicated for you?

    Look no further than the postal service for a prime example of where private industry is succeeding and the government is failing. Generally, private schools perform better than their peer public schools.

    Stone me, you’ve just got to be kidding. Private postal services get to pick and choose what and where they deliver, the public service does not. Private schools have vastly greater resources per pupil than public ones.

    You’re just another data point for the hypothesis: “All glibertarians are either vile or stupid.”

  10. keddaw says

    Matt, I agree he doesn’t come across as the biggest benefactor in all of history, but he doesn’t say “screw the poor” either.

    I only have so much money that I can give to charity, so I have to choose who is more or less deserving.

    At least suggests he does some charitable giving.

    Anyway, I’m not here to speak up for noahpoah, he can do that for himself if he so chooses.

  11. Lyra says

    About this whole “private postal service does better that public postal service!” claim.

    As far as I’m aware of, there are no examples on this earth of a private postal service succeeding without a governmental postal service for the private postal service to lean on. Libertarians often look at a private enterprise succeeding with a governmental option and declare that the private enterprise is succeeding on its own. However, libertarians can’t seem to offer any example of private industry actually succeeding without the government option being there to pick up the slack.

    As things are currently set up, UPS and FedEx can succeed in part because of the USPS. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say that Lyra wants to order a product over the internet. The company selling the item uses UPS to deliver its products. However, it would be really expensive for UPS to send the product to Lyra’s house because her house is out of their way. Does UPS buckle down and deliver the package anyway because UPS wishes to please its customers? No, UPS sends the package to the USPS to deliver.

    This is an absolute true story; depending on where you live, you may pay for UPS delivery and end up getting USPS delivery. If the USPS goes out of business, do we really think that UPS and other private industry will magically pick up the slack that they aren’t currently willing to deal with? That UPS stores will magically appear in most communities, even small ones? That UPS will be willing to deliver to all places?

    So, libertarians, if you want to insist that private postal systems work better than governmental ones (and that therefore we should get rid of the governmental one), point me somewhere that only has a private postal system. We can evaluate how well that private system does. Because from where I stand, it looks like UPS and FedEx can’t handle our mail system without a governmental postal system to help them out.

    Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there’s some state/providence/country that has a wholly private postal service and has much better mail delivery than we do. But no one has ever been able to point me at such a place.

  12. says

    the complete ignorance of the other forms of libertarianism I mentioned

    no dear, people are not in fact ignorant of those forms of libertarianism. They were simply not the topic of conversation.

    fake-US libertarianism (i.e. Bush policies)

    you’re a fucking moron. Bush is a neo-con.

    but you (whichever country you are from) and people on this thread, appear to value their own arbitrary state more than their neighbour’s regardless of race.

    I was going to say that this is an assertion without evidence, but then I noticed that this is merely your perception. Since we already know you’re not very perceptive based on the evidence in this thread, I suppose we may well appear to be all sorts of things to you.

    And from those spellings you can tell I’m not from the US either.

    and just what do you imagine this is relevant to?

    they want the trade to fix things not the corporations

    *facepalm*

    Is it because you are an avid reader of political philosophy and have learned the various arguments against income tax off by heart?you have absolutely no idea how hilarious that statement is. [/meta]

    I have a modest familiarity with social evolution. But, just as you did in your first post, you ask a question or make a statement and then fail to follow up on what you think I wrote that was incorrect.

    I’m sorry, were you under the impression I was having a discussion with you, rather than making fun of you?

    Listen, it’s not my job to fill the gaps in your knowledge, and neither do I have the time to do that which they pay professors at universities to do. You are ignorant of economics, ecology at least, and I suggest you remedy those things. But not on my time, I have work to do in between posting here.

    I did not say that nature is efficient,

    true, you goalpost-shifted to make the boringly mundane argument that there is non-zero competition. but that moots your anti-government argument, since governments also have non-zero competition. I assumed thus that your argument was that the largest units in nature have more competition than the largest units in social interaction, and that’s demonstrably untrue.

    Do you think that lack of competition drives any efficiency at all?

    goal displacement paired with counterfactual statement. tsk tsk.

    Just punting to the government is an answer for the ignorant and the lazy

    projection is a very unpretty sort of behavior. especially when projecting at a strawman, as if people here treated government the way christians treat god.

    I provided at least one method for having such a thing (natural resources).

    aaah yes, exploitation of non-renewables at an unsustainable rate: the solution to all the world’s problems.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but can’t you currently go on to ebay or craigslist and buy pretty much whatever you want totally unregulated?

    I dare you to test that theory…

  13. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Here are a few links illustrating that government workers are paid more in benefits and direct compensation than private sector employees.

    Evidently you didn’t read the part about comparing apples and oranges, as no corrections were made for longevity on the job, with government employees being more experienced. Plus, many government employees are not putting into the SSA system, ergo they do need larger pensions at the end of the day to make up for that, which makes direct comparisons bogus. And salaries and compensation doesn’t define inefficiency. You don’t look at the total picture.
    Now lets compare what the head of NASA makes as a government employee, to the head of an aerospace company…

    I did not say that nature is efficient, simply that it drives a degree of efficiency through competition.

    No, that’s not what evolution says. You merely wish it to. Do you have a degree in science? Or are you just an opinionated fool?

    Jade and Nerd you should actually try reading what I wrote and fighting against that other than making up shit in your head of where you think I am coming from and arguing against that.

    Then try seeing reality as it is, and arguing from there. Your head is in your theologically driven cloud, and you don’t make sense.

    how is that better than any libertarian idea

    Efficiency and reliablity based on real life government data, not theology of the free market, which isn’t used anywhere in the world. You have no basis in reality.

    That aside, my point was that competition, within and across species, drives efficiency and diversity.

    Let’s see your degree in biology. It isn’t what evolution says. Repeating said nonsense doesn’t make it right.

  14. First Approximation, Shevek says

    JCR,

    Is that really what you meant to write?

    I know sarcasm is hard to transmit through the internet, but that it should have been obvious there.

    I fail to see how someone can think that a big gov program would ever tend towards efficiency.

    I already gave you a reason why. Elections.

    Here in the USA, even Libertarian barely registers as a party.

    And?

    Elections might create competitive pressure on officials, but there are many levels of indirection before that could reach down into federal service agencies.

    What do you mean?

    1. There is a big question right now of whether these big government programs in Europe are sustainable. Austerity measures are already impacting many of these programs and will continue to do so for a while. I do not know if they will end up being sustainable or not. Things are bad here in the USA, and much of Europe is looking worse.

    Well, there are two reasons Europe is in crisis. One is the global recession. The second, at least according to Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman, is the adoption of the Euro:

    The deficit hawks are already trying to appropriate the European crisis, presenting it as an object lesson in the evils of government red ink. What the crisis really demonstrates, however, is the dangers of putting yourself in a policy straitjacket. When they joined the euro, the governments of Greece, Portugal and Spain denied themselves the ability to do some bad things, like printing too much money; but they also denied themselves the ability to respond flexibly to events.

    I do not oppose them now. But I think they are bloated and inefficient and think that cutting them is the only way to force the efficiency. Do you have evidence that they are efficient?

    Well, I gave you the example of healthcare. The US spends much more per capita than any other industrialized country and has some of the worst results. So government does things better than private sector here. And it does a hell of a lot better than charity.

  15. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    keddaw #505

    ’Tis Himself, OM, where to begin…
    If Ayn Rand herself denied being a libertarian then how is it a fallacy?

    Rand, who died almost 30 years ago, was not the only Objectivist who ever existed. Objectivism has been and continues to be a major influence towards the libertarian movement. Many libertarians justify their political views upon aspects of Objectivism. John Hospers, who was the Libertarian Party’s candidate for President in 1972, cited Objectivism as a major influence in his political beliefs.

    Fuck me, what a counter argument.

    I notice you didn’t bother to refute my rebuttal. Your bald assertion about NHS choosing drugs on the basis of cost rather than efficacy is simply that, an assertion.

    Ooh, can I play the ad hom game too? Is it because you are an avid reader of political philosophy and have learned the various arguments against income tax off by heart? Is it because you are a seer and knew I was going to say that all along?
    I prefer a flat tax (not even a flat rate). Do you even know what sociopathic means? You have no way to know how generous or selfish I am, unless you truly are a seer. Burn the witch!

    First off, learn the difference between insult and ad hominem. Second, as you’ve probably guessed, I have nothing but disdain for libertarians. Usually I call you asshole “looneytarians” but for this thread I decided I’d be nice to you selfish sociopaths. Isn’t that sweet of me? By the way, I do know what sociopathic means. I also know that many libertarians, particularly the heavily Objectivist types, are at least borderline sociopaths who care nothing for anyone who isn’t them or their political masters.

    A couple of years ago I showed why a flat tax is not a good idea. Here’s an excerpt:

    Let’s suppose there are two men, each of whom earn $80,000 gross per year. We’ll also suppose each is paying flat income tax at Steve Forbes’ recommended 17%. One man is a company executive and has no expenses connected with his job. His tax would be $13,600.

    The second man is a self-employed delivery driver. Let’s assume that fuel, insurance, maintenance and depreciation on his truck is $20,000. While his gross is $80,000 his net is only $60,000. $13,600 is 22.67% of $60,000.

    Under the present income tax system, there are all kinds of exemptions, deductions, credits and adjustments to tax liability to bring one’s tax down. Under the flat tax scheme, tax payers would be lobbying to have income reduced. Very quickly the “flat tax” code would be as complicated and have as many loopholes as the present income tax system.

    There’s something you should know about me, I’m a economist. If you want to argue about economics then go for it. Just remember I almost certainly know more about the subject than you do.

    I simply mentioned that Norway uses it’s natural resources to fund social projects.

    So fucking what? You were whining about income tax and brought up Norway’s natural resources profits. If you weren’t claiming that Norway used those profits as a substitute for income tax then what was your point? If you’re trying to say that governments have other sources of revenue besides income tax then the obvious response is “Duh!”

    I actually prefer taxes based on use. But then so does everyone that uses the postal service, or gets a passport, or rides public transport. I think my claim of hypocrisy should perhaps be repeated here…

    As I said, you prefer regressive taxes which effect the poor more than the rich. And then you whine when I call you a selfish sociopath. You make it quite obvious you don’t give a shit about the poor.

    Selfish sociopaths annoy me.

    Me too. See, we have more in common than you think, Comrade.

    We might at that, asshole.

  16. says

    Is that really what you meant to write?

    sarcasm, you fail at detecting it.

    I fail to see how someone can think that a big gov program would ever tend towards efficiency.

    that’s because, my dear, you’ve apparently never in your life encountered the concepts of positive externalities, non-excludability, non-rivalry, economies of scale, etc.; or the associated concept of natural monopolies.

    and you’re still showing massive goal displacement. Though, I suppose in your case it might not be; you might really think efficiency is really the most relevant and/or important metric here.

    There is a big question right now of whether these big government programs in Europe are sustainable.

    no, there actually isn’t. what there is is the question whether Germany will renege on its contractual obligations with the rest of the Euro-zone, and whether Europe as a whole will recover from the idiotic and counter-effectual obsession with austerity measures which only tend to shrink consumer-based-economies. And I should point out that neither the crisis here nor the crisis there is caused by too much government; quite the contrary, in fact, if you look at which countries got affected.

    he doesn’t say “screw the poor” either.

    incorrect:

    I would guess that most, if not all, of us would say that this person should be put in prison.

    and

    Is it cruel to lock someone like this up? Maybe, but if so, it’s a cruelty that is necessary for society to function,

  17. says

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank PZ Myers for posting about Libertarians without bashing them. I have been critically of Myers for this in the past and its nice to come to Pharyngula and not be labeled a sociopath automatically.

    There are plenty of atheist thinkers who also identify themselves as libertarians. Michael Shermer, Steven Pinker and Sam Harris come to mind.

    Of course the buzz wore off as soon as I see people like ‘Tis, Nerd and Jadehawk comment.

    For those who are genuinely interested of learning more about how libertarians think I recommend Jonathan Haidt’s Understanding Libertarian Morality.

    For those of you who just like childish name-calling the aforementioned commenters should suffice.

  18. says

    oh, and before I take off to more productive (albeit less entertaining) pastures, one more thing:

    Do you even know what sociopathic means?

    You do know, don’t you, that libertarians are on average less able to feel love and empathy, right? source

  19. Lyra says

    I’m just going to reiterate at this point that I’m still waiting for one real world example of a place that has policies that are in line with libertarian principles. I wasn’t kidding when I said I’d like to see a country that operated this way so that we could compare it to the more socialist governments. We should go all private education? Show me somewhere with all private education. We should go private postal systems? Show me somewhere with private postal systems. We should have solely private health care? Show me somewhere that has that. Because I’ve been looking for a long time, and I can’t even find a system like this that exists, which really throws a wrench in my plan to see how well it operates.

  20. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    There are plenty of atheist thinkers who also identify themselves as libertarians.

    Every group has its idiots. You just named some of ours.

  21. says

    quick deflounce: I wouldn’t exactly use Harris as an example of a non-asshole. And Shermer only recovered from the libertarianism-induced stupidity of AGW-denial a few years ago, so there’s that…

  22. keddaw says

    Jadehawk, please let people know when you are changing who you are responding to – it looks like I am getting ‘credit’ for JCR’s points.

    no dear, people are not in fact ignorant of those forms of libertarianism. They were simply not the topic of conversation.

    Really, then explain why you asked about country of origin, or why people are equating the morals of Objectivism with the libertarianism that appears to be being discussed. Or explain why people are being called assholes, amoral etc. for being libertarians when they are not of the stripe under discussion?

    Look, if you want to describe all libertarians as immoral, selfish assholes that’s fine, but be prepared to back it up and not fall back on ‘I was only talking about Objectivists, or the US Tea Party self-styled ‘libertarians’.

    you’re a fucking moron. Bush is a neo-con.

    Never said he wasn’t, but the complaint in this thread has been that libertarianism is a busted flush because libertarian policies were tried during the Bush era and they failed miserably. But thanks for the compliment anyway.

    I was going to say that this is an assertion without evidence, but then I noticed that this is merely your perception.

    That’s why I said it appeared to be. Still, I have only heard the liberals comment on society and community and various other things that are very suggestive of only being about their country. Any evidence whatsoever against this charge?

    Is it because you are an avid reader of political philosophy and have learned the various arguments against income tax off by heart?you have absolutely no idea how hilarious that statement is. [/meta]

    Well, if you’re gonna take insults directed at other people and point them back towards me then perhaps you could ellucidate why it is so funny? Perhaps you can make a cogent argument for income tax. Perhaps you can tell me why any voluntary interaction between two people not using government services should incur a fee to said government in the first place. Or perhaps not. I eagerly await enlightenment.

  23. Dianne says

    Perhaps you can tell me why any voluntary interaction between two people not using government services should incur a fee to said government in the first place.

    Coming in late to the party, but could you give an example of what you’re talking about? What is an example of such an interaction and the fee so incurred?

  24. Gen says

    @Dianne, according to the liberturdians, such an interaction would be ANYTHING! Even just EXISTING!

    (General rant, not directed at Dianne)

    You have to pay taxes on everything, including whatever you earn and buy! Or you get executed or something! Government is evil and corrupt, private enterprise is neither evil nor corrupt evar!

    You see, taxes are UNNECESSARY and OPPRESSIVE! Do you feel nothing for the shackles and chains that taxes place upon the rich? Where’s your supposed “empathy” now, huh?

  25. says

    keddaw,

    it is not helpful to come barging in with the No True Libertarian fallacy.

    Words have definitions that can by nature be varied and polysemous. So of course for you it might mean something else. But language is also something the language community agrees on by convention, and in this thread, and the past threads on this topic, it is clear what posters mean by referring to Libertarianism. Coming in to start a childish discussion about semantics without regard for the context of the discussion is just unproductive.

    And no, this is not a US-centric perspective. If you really had followed this thread, you’d have noticed that many people here have also discussed things from a Western European perspective. And in fact posters get called out on US-centric arguments here, like they have in this very thread! But we were discussing right-Libertarian ideology, so stop being so obtuse about it….

  26. keddaw says

    @’Tis Himself, OM, Jadehawk et al. If you’re going to bash libertarianism can we at least be clear which type you are talking about.

    I keep reading situations and criticisms that, while potentially valid, are just not applicable to certain types of political worldview.

    ‘Tis Himself, OM, I never wanted a flat rate tax, I agree it is inefficient and harms the poor more than the rich – I want the even more regressive flat fee. I have my reasons, the main one being that setting at a level above cost actually allows a lot of people to avoid paying it at all at the expense of those that can. This hits the middle class rather than the poor but least hits the rich. But, hey, we don’t alter the fee of the vast majority of things based on your income so why should government be any different?

    If you’re an economist as you claim then it should not only be common knowledge that the NHS performs CBAs on various drugs rather than select the most effective one and if not then it should be trivial to go look up NICE. With a bit of web research you’ll also see cases where the NHS refuse to pony up to send people for experimental treatments so people raise cash to do so themselves. You’ll also see ex-servicemen not receiving the top treatment hence charities like Help For Heroes being set up. Which is not NHS bashing, I’m simply pointing out that ALL countries have limited resources and certain people or problems are deemed more deserving of those resources than others. Which is quite a long way from the heartless, selfish, amoral asshole that noahpoah (and now myself) have been called for pointing out.

    So fucking what? You were whining about income tax and brought up Norway’s natural resources profits. If you weren’t claiming that Norway used those profits as a substitute for income tax then what was your point? If you’re trying to say that governments have other sources of revenue besides income tax then the obvious response is “Duh!”

    Don’t recall whining about them… And yes, I was pointing out that there are forms of government income. While I recognise that this is not currently the state of affairs in the vast majority of cases it is still a problem when the government (your fellow citizens) decide to get in between two individuals not using any government services and decide to charge a fee based on the value of that voluntary transaction. What business is it of theirs?
    So you may say “Duh!”, but it seems to me that if we can use the other forms of tax (corporation tax, cap gains, property, inheritance, etc. plus natural resources) to fund a decent social safety net, essential services, defence and law and order then why have an income tax?

  27. Dianne says

    Do you feel nothing for the shackles and chains that taxes place upon the rich?

    …No.

    I’m pretty wealthy on a global scale and not exactly poor on a local scale, even if I’m not able to buy my own senator. What I find annoying is that I can’t “buy” a decent government that will act professionally and complete its mandate reasonably well. I’d pay quite a bit more for that if it were available.

    As for “voluntary interaction between two people not using government services”, I’m still waiting for an example of what those are. I’m guessing that any example given will involve quite a number of government services being implicitly and possibly explicitly used.

    And feel free to rant in my general direction whenever it pleases you to do so.

  28. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    , but the complaint in this thread has been that libertarianism is a busted flush because libertarian policies were tried during the Bush era and they failed miserably.

    Wrong. They were tried here in the US post civil war through circa 1900, and failed miserably. There isn’t any first world country using libertarian principles. Why? They don’t work. History says so.

  29. KG says

    There are plenty of atheist thinkers who also identify themselves as libertarians. Michael Shermer, Steven Pinker and Sam Harris come to mind. – Keddaw

    Yup- three excellent examples of glibertarian arseholes.

  30. Dianne says

    if we can use the other forms of tax (corporation tax, cap gains, property, inheritance, etc. plus natural resources) to fund a decent social safety net

    The question is, can we? I’m from Texas and have seen what counting on a natural resource (oil) to get you out of any financial hole can do. It’s great when you’ve got enough and the price is high, but most resources have at least some boom/bust tendency-and you need to be prepared for the “bust” periods (as Texas never is.) Also, natural resources don’t last forever. What do you do when your income goes down because there is no more oil, gas, whatever the heck? It’s just not safe to count on a single resource. Better to have reasonable tax rates on corporations, individual incomes, exploitation of natural resources, property, etc to spread the burden and risk.

  31. Lyra says

    I find it interesting that although libertarians rant about how “rude” the people here are, the “rude” people are more likely to get responses.

    If I insulted libertarians, maybe cursed a bit, would someone give me an example of a libertarian policy that is successful in the real world? Examples being a state/providence/country/etc that has all private school systems, all private postal systems, all private healthcare, all private police, all private fire fighting, etc, so that we might compare this system to the ones that are not all private? Please note that I’m not asking for an example of somewhere that has all of these things, I’m asking for an example that has at least one of these things.

  32. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    With a bit of web research you’ll also see cases where the NHS refuse to pony up to send people for experimental treatments so people raise cash to do so themselves.

    Any experimental treatments as part of proper research studies, especially new drugs, are subsidized by those doing the research. You pay money if you expect to actually get the new drug instead of possibly a placebo or best current treatment as a control subject. Besides, why is a liberturd who wants efficiency complaining about the government (or private insurance companies like my health care provider)policies requiring cost effectiveness? I smell hypocricy.

  33. Gen says

    Look Keddaw, what you are saying makes no sense and is wildly contradictory. First you say this:

    I’m simply pointing out that ALL countries have limited resources and certain people or problems are deemed more deserving of those resources than others.

    So you acknowledge that every country has limited resources and have to make harsh, sometimes inhumane choices in light of those limitations. One would think that increasing those resources would correlatively DECREASE the inhumane decisions, right? And how does one increase those resources? Through taxation of income! The more you earn the more you pay!

    But then you claim don’t understand how income tax adds to those resources and need a justification for why you need to pay income tax? IDGI. Or am i missing something? Or do you think that harsh, inhumane choices are somehow desirable or less extreme, not problematic and worth addressing?

  34. keddaw says

    Dianne – Income tax in particular, but also potentially barter (which, I believe should be included in tax returns), and many other forms of state interference in the consensual acts of two or more adults, from prostitution to drug dealing to selling your home brewed beer to offering child care.

    KG – wasn’t me who said that! It was john@skeptivus

    Nerd, and others, please stop saying that because something was tried when average GDP was/is a fraction of what it is now that is proof that it can’t work now. This counts for Somalia, post-Civil War US and Victorian England. This is the ultimate apples and oranges comparison. Heck, even ‘Tis Himself OM would agree with this if he really is an economist.

    Gen, thanks. I fail to see why such a thing is ‘good’ never mind necessary.

    pelamun – my first comment here was about #32 and it mentioned other forms and was completely ignored. When I get lumped in with Objectivists I get annoyed. Their Superman philosophy is a complete anathema to my (non-existent) moral compass.

  35. KG says

    it is still a problem when the government (your fellow citizens) decide to get in between two individuals not using any government services and decide to charge a fee based on the value of that voluntary transaction. What business is it of theirs? – Keddaw

    They (or more accurately society as a whole through goods and services provided through taxation) have provided much of the physical and social infrastructure necessary to such transactions. Simple really, when you think about it, but I know glibertarians are in general allergic to thought.

  36. Lyra says

    Nerd, and others, please stop saying that because something was tried when average GDP was/is a fraction of what it is now that is proof that it can’t work now. This counts for Somalia, post-Civil War US and Victorian England. This is the ultimate apples and oranges comparison. Heck, even ‘Tis Himself OM would agree with this if he really is an economist.

    Ok. So, you concede that your approach has been tried in different times and different places and failed. However, you assert that this failure is not an inherent part of the system but is merely contingent on other factors.

    Then please, please, please, show me an example of some place trying out your proposed system that hasn’t failed. Show us that your system can work if certain contingent issues are removed. Unless you really are trying to say that libertarianism has failed every single time it’s ever been tried out and that you have no evidence to indicate that it ever works. Which would be fine, although I cannot understand why you would advocate for a system that has been tried multiple times and failed every single time. So, if there are no places where libertarianism works, I’ll ask you another question: Just what would have to happen in order for you to decide that libertarianism doesn’t work? Because “if people tried libertarianism and it didn’t work” would be ruled out.

  37. Matt Penfold says

    How can two people make a transactions that does not in some way involve the Government ?

    The transactions will be subject to contract law, so that involved the Government. Further there will be issues involving regulation.

    So really Keddaw, that was a stupid thing to say. So why did you say it ?

  38. Esteleth says

    Keddaw, I have a question.

    I’m not sure about your views on government health care. Many libertarians talk about the importance of the free market and private insurance.

    But what happens when they’re not enough? Many times they are not. As I said above, I would never be able to get health insurance through a private insurer, unless they were – by some mechanism – compelled to cover me or if I bought into an established big group plan.

    I am not alone in this. For all its flaws, the new healthcare law has been a godsend for people like me – because I can get coverage.

    Why would, after all, an insurer want to offer me coverage? I’m young – 26 – and already have a stack of health problems, warnings signs of more, and a family history of still more. In a free market, I am uninsurable. I am dependent on either having an employer that offers health insurance or having the government help me.

    So, keddaw, my question is this: what does libertarianism have to offer me? Why should I trust in it? As someone whose life and well-being depends on the government, please tell me why I should reject it.

  39. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    This is the ultimate apples and oranges comparison.

    Then show us a first world example of libertarian principals in action on a large scale. Put up, or shut the fuck up, since you have nothing but your inane opinion for evidence. Libertarianism doesn’t work. Most people and all societies know that. Except for those who who swallow the libertarian theology hook, line and sinker.

  40. Dianne says

    many other forms of state interference in the consensual acts of two or more adults, from prostitution to drug dealing to selling your home brewed beer to offering child care.

    Sure, the invisible hand will take care of the problems involved in all those interactions (/snark.)

    Prostitution: Sounds so reasonable. Why shouldn’t people sell sex if they want to? Well, ok, but how do you know that the act is consenting? How do you prevent child prostitution? How do you prevent vulnerable adults from being forced or coerced into prostitution? How do you minimize passage of stds in this setting? I’m willing to listen to a case for legalizing prostitution-though I don’t think that countries that have done so have found that it is a panacea-but not for completely eliminating any regulation at all of the interaction. Also, how do your prostitutes and clients meet? Probably on the publicly funded sidewalk or the ARPA developed internet. They’ll likely go somewhere together in a car on a publicly funded road. If one of them feels cheated or abused, they might call the government supported police to help them (one argument for legalizing is that so they’ll feel more free to do so if they need to.)

    I’ll leave drugs for the most part for lack of time. I agree that the current drug laws are stupid and counterproductive. But simply eliminating all regulation is a bad idea for too many reasons to go into here.

    Home brewed beer. Great, if you know what you’re doing, but what if you don’t? I’d like the FDA to at least have made a cursory attempt to ensure that the food (and beer) on the market is safe and that the bottle contains what it says. Otherwise we’ll have situations like the one recently in South America (sorry, can’t remember where specifically) where an alcohol manufacturer used methanol instead of ethanol and killed and sickened a number of people. Even assuming the brewers intentions are pure, is his/her water? If so, it’s probably because s/he is using water from the public water supply. And s/he’ll probably want to distribute it over government roads or possibly even using the USPS. More implicit government involvement in this “free interaction”.

    Child care? Well, if you’re hiring someone to take care of your kids then they’re your employee and you need to pay them and give them the benefits they’re entitled to. I’m not sure what your argument is for exempting child care from laws against employer abuse or income tax.

  41. says

    keddaw, your msg 32 was ignored because the semantics issue was not relevant to the discussion. These discussions here have always been about right-libertarianism. People won’t spell this out every time just so keddaw doesn’t feel slighted….

  42. says

    eBay: NO, you cannot sell whatever you want. You cannot sell items on ebay that are illegal to sell off ebay. Some may slip through, but if reported they are canceled.

    But it’s not just that. You also cannot sell on eBay many things you are legally ALLOWED to sell elsewhere. Some due to eBay policy guided by whatever their corporate ethics are. We might agree with some, might not with others. Live pets, guns, hate speech materials, etc.

    But then there’s VERO. VERO, you know – since you don;t opine without investigating first, you certainly know what VERo is, right?

    VERO is the ebay program where you are banned for trying to sell things you legally own because some corporation doesn;t like used items detracting from its image.

    Coach, Chanel, and dozens of other companies. You cannot sell a used item of theirs.

    You buy a Coach handbag for mom, she doesn’t like it, the store doesn’t accept a return, so you try to sell it as your RIGHT. You can’t.

    Coach wants to appear exclusive so as to keep their insane markup (being able to charge $250 for a wallet that would cost $40 if not for the Coach label). So when you try to sell your Coach item, or your Chanel item, or an item from dozens of other designers, YOU CAN’T.

    Because the CORPORATION eBay is siding with the other corporations.

    They LIE and say that this is to prevent fakes, but the policy went into effect long before fakes on eBay were a problem. It was put in place (and initial eBay internal documents confirmed this) SOLELY to protect the “exclusive” appearance of some brands.

    You can’t even put up an auction of an item and honestly say that it LOOKS like Chanel but is actually something else.

    Use the word Chanel, their bot finds you, reports you and you’re DONE.

    THAT is what corporations do. They restrict the rights you already have when its profitable to do so. I can provide many more examples of this kind of behavior.

  43. keddaw says

    Dianne – that’s why I brought up Norway, they have taken their social fund and, in a way I would consider libertarian but others would consider socialist, decided that they are not any more deserving of the natural resources than future generations so all oil revenue goes into a pool of money and only the interest can be used, not the capital. This limits the impact of changes in the price of the commodity. It helps that they had high tax, low inequality to begin with, but that’s not really relevant to the general point. Maybe Texas doesn’t have enough natural resources to do this, maybe many places don’t, but where they do it is at least feasible.

    Lyra, people keep asking for 1st world examples of libertarianism, but they have never been tried so no-one can say for sure their effects. Some developing countries are giving it a go – Estonia is close, certainly compared to some of its neighbours that went for a more Scandinavian model.

    Since you only ask for a single example I’ll give you one I know well – the former state telephony monopoly, British Telecom was privatised and was forced to allow competitors to use parts of its network to start competition. It became much more reactive to customers, became much more profitable while reducing costs (obviously technology helped massively), while providing funds to the government from its sell off and corporate taxes. Also, the UK’s Royal Mail is due to become a PLC this year, whether this will improve things or not is uncertain. But it does show that you can enforce a general level of service using regulation of profitable services to ensure provision of unprofitable ones without actually having a state ‘company’ doing it.

    This is not to say all functions are better or belong in the private sector, but you did ask for an example so I provided one.

    Gen – tax doesn’t necessarily increase OR decrease resources, it simply makes them available to different people. My opposition to income tax is not that the government won’t do better with that money than myself or any charity I donate it to, it’s a philosophical opposition to someone interfering in a voluntary transaction between adults when it doesn’t concern them. Matt Penfold’s idiotic riposte notwithstanding.

    My personal take on it is that there should be a floor that we do not allow any member of our society to fall below, it should be low enough to not be comfortable enough to wish to stay, but not so low that people are in any danger or are suffering. How that is funded is tough, but my ideological answer will differ from my pragmatic answer. Over time I’d like my pragmatic answer to tend towards my ideological answer.

  44. Matt Penfold says

    keddaw.

    The Royal Mail is already limited company.

    There are no plans to list the shares on the stock market, so claims it is to become a PLC are not true.

    Please do not make untrue claims. It is dishonest of you, and undermines your argument. After, if all you have got is lies, you have nothing.

  45. KG says

    The argument that glibertarians can’t point to an example of glibertarianism actually working is sound as far as it goes, but it can’t be an absolute knockout – because the same argument could be made against any significant innovation in social organisation. Even the fact that (for example) private charity has never come close to eliminating poverty in a society (while government action has) is not conclusive – there’s always some factor that differs between all past cases and a putative future one. However, those who advocate a system without successful exemplars need to provide good arguments for why their system would work – and work better than the current system. I’ve not seen anything resembling a serious attempt to do this for glibertarianism in all the threads dealing with it at Pharyngula, going back several years – just posturing about how taxation is theft and gubmint action is always wicked and/or inefficient, and halfwitted appeals to the naturalistic fallacy – see JCR@470 – all camouflaging the basic glibertarian principle: “I’ve got mine, fuck you”.

  46. Matt Penfold says

    Keddaw,

    I note you failed to mention Railtrack.

    Railtrack was the privatised company who owned and maintained the track and most of the infrastructure of British Rail when BR was privatised.

    Railtrack decided that rather than maintain the track to a safe standard it was more important to pay dividends to its shareholders. As a result people were killed.

    The Government was forced to take the infrastructure back into public ownership.

  47. says

    keddaw,

    way to pick and choose too.

    So British Telecom is a great example, yet you neglect to mention the privatisaion of the railway system. Congratulations, it is known all over in the world (by which I mean various Asian countries I’ve been to) as one of the worst systems in the industrialised world.

    Also, people weren’t asking for just one sector, they were asking for entire countries. As I said in an earlier post, libertarianism has been tried before. It is called feudalism. I mean in libertarianism, who owns the land, can make the rules right? So explain to me how this is different from feudalism. If you didn’t like the regime you were under all you need to do is go away and create your own state where you could make the rules.

  48. Dianne says

    Maybe Texas doesn’t have enough natural resources to do this,

    Actually, Texas has plenty of natural resources. Apart from oil, there are many areas that are quite good for agriculture and there are several cities with good universities and strong business traditions. (Yes, I include people in the category of “natural resources.) What Texas doesn’t have is a real government. The Texas constitution has to be amended for things like putting up a new stop light in Austin. The legislature meets for something like 2 months out of an 18 month term. The governor has essentially no power. No income tax at all. It is, in short, a libertarian paradise.

  49. says

    Dianne,

    but Texas has a sales tax of 8.25 in most metropolitan areas and quite a high property tax rate. I call it the dark secret of Texas politics…

  50. Dianne says

    Texas has a sales tax of 8.25 in most metropolitan areas

    Sales taxes are highly regressive, but necessary if you want to have any sort of government and your population has an anti-income tax fetish. Which Texas does, even more than the rest of the US.

  51. KG says

    It became much more reactive to customers, became much more profitable while reducing costs (obviously technology helped massively), while providing funds to the government from its sell off and corporate taxes. – Keddaw [emphasis added]

    The vast changes in technology make it obvious that this cannot be a useful example: we have no way of knowing how a state-run service would have performed. Notice also that this is a highly artificial market – BT is obliged by law to carry its competitors’ services on its infrastructure. It’s clear that an unrestricted market could not have worked at all – any company setting up in oppposition to BT would have had to lay its own cables.

    It’s also worth checking out other UK services which involve managing networks – electricity, gas (in the British not the US sense) and railways. You would not find many Brits, outside the ideological right, who would say these privatisations improved things: the companies spend much of their resources trying to poach each others’ customers with delusive introductory offers (electricity and gas), arguing about who pays for the incessant delays and handing back unprofitable franchises to the state (railways), and gouging their customers with huge price rises (all).

  52. says

    Dianne,

    I didn’t necessarily wanted to contradict your claim that Texas is a libertarian paradise. Sales tax is certainly regressive, but I do think the idea of property tax is deeply offensive to libertarians.

    The number of uninsured drivers and ppl without health insurance is staggering, I think for the latter I read something like 25%. So indeed, Texas might come close.

  53. amphiox says

    Nerd, and others, please stop saying that because something was tried when average GDP was/is a fraction of what it is now that is proof that it can’t work now.

    Provide some solid evidence that the difference in GDP actually makes a difference, that’s its net effects, summing both positive and negative interactions, don’t cancel out. Then we can talk.

    It’s not “proof” it can’t work now. It’s EVIDENCE that it might not work now. You can overturn it by providing better evidence of your own.

    ie – Refuting the null hypothesis.

    This is the ultimate apples and oranges comparison.

    If your subject happens to be supermarket produce, juice ingredients, trees, fruits, flowering plants, seed plants, vascular plants, or photosynthetic organisms, then the comparison is absolutely a valid one to make.

    And this case is analogous to one of these.

  54. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Over time I’d like my pragmatic answer to tend towards my ideological answer.

    Since your ideology is nothing but a wacky-backy pipe dream, that won’t happen.

  55. Dianne says

    Pelamun, I agree. I think that the Texas legislature is hoping that if they stay very, very quiet about it no one will notice the property taxes…

  56. keddaw says

    Lyra, who said it failed? A more accurate description would be that at that time a system that could more effectively provide for the needs of the people was available. Some libertarians may argue that the needs of the people are irrelevant, most would argue the needs should be met but not the desires (in fact I think most non-socialists live in here). Would there be better alternatives now? Probably, a better run government with a well spent tax revenue, redistributing wealth would, according to all statistical measures produce a happier, healthier and, ultimately, wealthier state. Shame it’s even less likely than a quasi-libertarian state.

    Esteleth, I am sorry to hear of your problems and I am glad the recent legislation, poor as it was, has enabled you to find some peace and, when needed, medical care.

    My libertarianism, would provide a minimum amount of care for every citizen. I would hope that this would be sufficient to cover your needs but since the number is arbitrary and dependent on the economy this cannot be guaranteed. As in my $5 million operation example some things are just too expensive. I have proposed a fund, either explicitly guaranteed by the state or premiums by the state to an insurer, of say $333,333 (index linked) of healthcare for each citizen at birth. This was a figure I came up with using some very rough back of the envelope calculations but does cover the vast majority of people for the vast majority of health problems throughout their life. Should this be insufficient for yourself (or your children) there would be an open market for top up sums. Some people may see this as unworkable and would prefer a per year sum for ongoing treatment, or some combination – either way I would like a limited fund that we all, in some way, contribute towards.

    Matt – Royal Mail is a state owned limited company with plans to sell shares to the public: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postal_Services_Act_2011

  57. amphiox says

    Also provide evidence that the effects of the increased GDP shouldn’t also have the same impact on government, which would continue to put government on top.

    Basically, evidence that the private sector can do better than government.

  58. Matt Penfold says

    Matt – Royal Mail is a state owned limited company with plans to sell shares to the public: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postal_Services_Act_2011

    Oh dear.

    It is true the Postal Services Act 2011 allows the floatation of Royal Mail. However no decision has yet been made that this will happen. There is also consideration being given to mutualising the company.

    Why the lie from you ? You must have known you be caught lying, or are you really that stupid ?

    I note you failed to offer an explanation as to why you did not mention Railtrack. It will be assumed that it was because you are dishonest.

  59. Matt Penfold says

    What is it about libertarians that means they have to lie so much ?

    JCR lied, and just vanished rather than admit he lied, and now Keddaw is lying. It is as though they know without lies they cannot support their position.

  60. says

    *peeks in between errands*

    amphiox, the “argument” I think is supposed to be that the total supply of wealth increased, so if the same proportion of people donated the same proportion as was the case during the Gilded Era, that would result in a larger supply of money with which to provide for the needy.

    Because as we know, relative poverty is unimportant, everything costs relatively the same as in the 19th century, we haven’t (nearly) used up a number of important resources, and we face no new and more expensive problems to alleviation of poverty.

  61. Matt Penfold says

    Oh, and Keddaw, the act requires the Secretary of State to go back to Parliament with any plans to dispose of the Royal Mail. That has not happened.

    You lied.

  62. Matt Penfold says

    And just to be doubly clear Keddaw lied, the act came into force on 1st October.

    The House of Commons, where the Secretary of State would make his announcement, has not sat between the 1st and today.

  63. keddaw says

    pelamun – I was picking and choosing because Lyra had asked me to. FFS.

    KG – actually we do – the GPO invented the worlds first digital telephone exchange when it ran what later became BT. This massively important invention failed on its first test and the state managers, rather than the engineers, decided to go back to the old analogue exchanges, ultimately costing the UK thousands of jobs and billions of pounds. Which is not to say all public managers are useless bureaucrats, or that private managers always pick winners, but there is a tendency within large public bodies to take the safe route.

    Matt, what the hell kind of stupid game are you playing? I didn’t mention Railtrack because it was a shambles and Lyra was looking for an example of an industry where a major service not being in public ownership has ever worked. I got my info on the Royal Mail from wiki and it is not important or relevant, just an interesting thing I read while looking to see if any country had an all private mail system. It has received Royal fucking Assent, so how am I lying? Jesus, is there no depth you will stoop to to try to tar someone with a different opinion? wiki: However this is set to change with the passing of the Postal Services Act 2011, which allows the government to privatise up to 90% of Royal Mail, with 10% being held by Royal Mail employees. Post Office Ltd will be separated from Royal Mail Group and will remain in public ownership or be mutualised. I am hardly lying.

  64. says

    I consider myself a libertarian. Libertarianism entails being fiscally conservative and socially liberal, at least that’s how I’ve always understood it and how I see myself. So yes, of course I am in favor of increased social progressiveness, both generally and within the atheist community.

    I’m not sure I understand how it could be otherwise. If one is not socially progressive, then he’s just a plain old conservative, isn’t he? Is the problem just that there are a lot of conservatives using the libertarian label?

  65. Matt Penfold says

    Keddaw,

    You are lying because you claimed their were plans to turn the Royal Mail into a PLC. This is not true. You know, or should know, it is not true. Hence you lied.

    The act requires that Parliament approve any such plans. Parliament has not done so. Indeed it cannot have done so since it has not sat since the act became law.

    Also, the act requires a MINIMUM of 10% to be given to employees. So you are wrong to claim it is exactly 10%.

    You lied, I caught you. Just be honest enough to admit as much.

    Look at sections 2,3 and 4 of the act. Oh wait, you will have read it right ?

  66. Matt Penfold says

    Keddaw,

    I am genuinely interested. Why did you lie, and why did you think you could get away with it ?

  67. says

    keddaw,

    fair enough, I did go back to what Lyra asked for, and she seemed to include single policies as well. I find this way of questioning a little bit misleading because in any kind of social market economy there will be a considerable amount of private activity, as otherwise it would just be a socialist planned economy. To find the right balance is, after all, a major issue of contention between the various political parties in any Western European democracy…

  68. Matt Penfold says

    Here, as a favour to Keddaw, is a link to the act

    Section 2 requires that the Secretary of State must, once a decision as to disposal as has been made, submit plans for the disposal before Parliament.

    In practice that means Vince Cable, the Secretary of State responsible under the act, will make a statement to the House of Commons. A junior minister will then make the same statement to the House of Lords.

    Despite what Keddaw claims, no such statement has been made. Indeed, none can have been made since the Commons has not sat since the act came into force.

    However since Keddaw is so adamant he is correct, I must ask he tell me on what date such a statement was made, and by whom. He claims to have this information, so his claiming he does not know will not be acceptable.

  69. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Libertarianism entails being fiscally conservative and socially liberal, at least that’s how I’ve always understood it and how I see myself.

    Nope, you forgot the “I’ve got mine, fuck you” attitude of the true libertarian.

    Actually you are like most progressives. We may not like taxes, and we like to see balanced budgets at the local and state level, but we don’t take new taxes off the table when needed. Practical concerns, not ideology, drive our thinking.

  70. Matt Penfold says

    Oh, and I do I really need to point out that the chances of Cable agreeing to the floatation of the Royal Mail are slight to non-existence. Neither he, nor his party, are in favour of such a move.

  71. keddaw says

    Matt, I didn’t lie, I copied out a bit of a wiki article taht is fairly accurate. There ARE plans to turn the Royal Mail into a PLC, that they are not at the stage you thought I meant they were is irrelevant. You don’t pass an Act of Parliament that states you can sell off the Royal Mail unless there ARE plans in place to do so. Whether they follow through on that is irrelevant.

    It was a thing I noticed in passing and completely irrelevant. Are you Bill O’fucking Reilly or something? Picking on a completely random and unimportant snippet and turning it into Shirley Sherrod?

    Of course I haven’t read the Act, I don’t care about it. The UK government put in place a provision to sell the Royal Mail and it came into effect this month. That means there ARE plans afoot to sell it off. To say otherwise is to say the UK government isn’t very good at planning (always a possibility) or you are lying.

  72. Matt Penfold says

    Matt, I didn’t lie, I copied out a bit of a wiki article taht is fairly accurate.

    Wikipedia is not always reliable. In this case it is simply wrong.

    There ARE plans to turn the Royal Mail into a PLC, that they are not at the stage you thought I meant they were is irrelevant.

    No, there are not. There are some in Government who would like that to happen but there are others who do not. No decision has been made, nor is one likely to be made soon.

    You don’t pass an Act of Parliament that states you can sell off the Royal Mail unless there ARE plans in place to do so.

    The UK Government is a coalition. The Conservatives, or at least those on the right of the party, want to sell Royal Mail. However they need the agreement of their coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems will not agree to such a sale, unless they get a very major concession in return. There has been no offer of such a concession.

    The clause that allows the sale, subject to the approval of Parliament was inserted at the request of Lib Dems. The act as a whole was instigated by the Conservatives. The Lib Dems agreed to pass the act, knowing that it would be almost impossible to actually make any sale.

    Whether they follow through on that is irrelevant.

    Given the nature of the coalition it is of the utmost relevance.

    Of course I haven’t read the Act, I don’t care about it

    Sorry, not acceptable. To make the claims you have requires you have read the act. If you have not, then you are admitting you made claims from a position of wilful ignorance. I call that lying.

    You made untrue claims, knowing them to be untrue. That means you lied.

    Fuck off lying scum.

  73. Matt Penfold says

    Kaddaw,

    You inability to admit you lied has been noted. It is yet more evidence that the overwhelming majority of libertarians are scumbags.

    No doubt that was you intention.

  74. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Keddaw, still proving libertarians are ignorant and arrogant liars for their theology. Here’s the first for holes: Stop digging when in over your head. You should have stopped 10 posts ago.

  75. keddaw says

    Matt, you are insufferable.

    Lyra asked for an example of an industry that was public and is now private and I provided it. In passing I mentioned that there were plans to sell off the Royal Mail in future. There are. They are not as advanced as the wiki article suggested – so the fuck what? What part of “this is irrelevant” do you not understand?

    What lie? Why is this an issue?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11258649
    Headline: “Royal Mail is to be privatised, government confirms”
    http://news.sky.com/home/business/article/16008249

    If you want a retraction fine – the Royal Mail is not definitely going to become a PLC. Fuck sake, happy now?

  76. KG says

    KG – actually we do – the GPO invented the worlds first digital telephone exchange when it ran what later became BT. This massively important invention failed on its first test and the state managers, rather than the engineers, decided to go back to the old analogue exchanges, ultimately costing the UK thousands of jobs and billions of pounds.

    An interesting item I didn’t know, so thanks for that. But your own example speaks more against you than for you: if you’re right, it was a public body that invented this immensely important telecommunications advance – just as public bodies invented the internet and the web. Without looking into the case in detail, I can’t say whether I agree with you that the managers’ decision was wrong. Engineers are useful people, but they can fall in love with shiny tech that doesn’t actually work all that well yet: the GPO’s primary duty would have been to maintain the service (and BT in effect inherited this duty); and the right time to make such a technological switch is a difficult decision whoever is making it – you give no reason at all to suppose the quality of decision-making is higher in private than in public concerns.

  77. Matt Penfold says

    Keddaw, still proving libertarians are ignorant and arrogant liars for their theology. Here’s the first for holes: Stop digging when in over your head. You should have stopped 10 posts ago.

    If was being generous, and I am not, I would at least give him credit for staying true to his ideology. Given that his ideology requires him to lie, I am not going to be generous though.

  78. Matt Penfold says

    Keddaw,

    You lied. You know it, we know it, so why not admit it ? Who do you think you are kidding ?

    You seem very upset I have caught you lying. So stop fucking lying, scumbag. Just fuck off.

  79. maureen.brian says

    keddaw,

    These voluntary transactions of yours – somewhere back in the 530s – you are a bit vague but let me see which ones you mean.

    Your relationship with an employer, maybe? So how are you paid – coin of the realm? Bank of England notes? bank draft? electronic transfer? So your payment is government backed. No? Unless of course your are visiting us from the C10 and are still being paid in hack silver.

    In which case, do tell us how you convert half an Anglo-Saxon penny into cornflakes without going through the current sterling value of the silver.

    This should be fascinating, folks.

  80. Lyra says

    Lyra, people keep asking for 1st world examples of libertarianism, but they have never been tried so no-one can say for sure their effects.

    Then I would advocate that some libertarians try out their proposal on a small scale. That way, if the whole thing implodes, it implodes on a small scale.

    Some developing countries are giving it a go – Estonia is close, certainly compared to some of its neighbours that went for a more Scandinavian model.

    In what way is Estonia libertarian? Please give me some examples.

    Since you only ask for a single example I’ll give you one I know well – the former state telephony monopoly, British Telecom was privatised and was forced to allow competitors to use parts of its network to start competition. It became much more reactive to customers, became much more profitable while reducing costs (obviously technology helped massively), while providing funds to the government from its sell off and corporate taxes.

    I’m not entirely certain that this supports your argument. The government system paid to have various lines put down, and private industry wanted to use these lines. At first, they were not allowed to do so (the whole monopoly thing). Did they decide to use their own money to lay down their own lines? No. They did not want to build their own infrastructure from scratch, which one assumes they would have had to do under a solely capitalistic market (if not private industry and not government, then who?). If a private company had laid down all their own lines, would any libertarian think that it was a libertarian idea for the government to force that private company to let competitors use its infrastructure?

    I do not doubt in the slightest that private industry can succeed alongside public industry. I do not advocate for the abolition of private industry in favor of pure government. But this doesn’t seem to be an example where private industry and government both tried something and private industry did better. This seems to be a situation where the government made the infrastructure and then private industry succeeded using that infrastructure. But perhaps I’m misunderstanding the situation.

    On the other hand, libertarians want to abolish the governmental system entirely. But I don’t see examples of private industry bringing about what the government does.

    Also, the UK’s Royal Mail is due to become a PLC this year, whether this will improve things or not is uncertain. But it does show that you can enforce a general level of service using regulation of profitable services to ensure provision of unprofitable ones without actually having a state ‘company’ doing it.

    How does having the UK plan to make the Royal Mail a PLC “show that you can enforce a general level of service using regulation of profitable services to ensure provision of unprofitable ones without actually having a state ‘company’ doing it”? Nothing has actually happened yet, even assuming these are the plans.

  81. Sally Strange, OM says

    I was reading through the thread since Keddaw’s appearance, and upon reading this:

    in a way I would consider libertarian but others would consider socialist

    I did a spit-take. How is anyone supposed to take you seriously if the things you call “libertarian” are regarded as “socialist” by most other people?

    How is anyone supposed to have a conversation with you?

    Serious questions.

  82. says

    Lyra,

    I also think that telephony is not that ideal an example, as in many countries deregulation effectively meant that the former state-run monopolist was forced to open up its lines to private companies which didn’t need to invest all that money in creating physical networks of their own, and that too at fixed prices. I also think this is more a case of successful government intervention as it succeeded in forcing the former state monopolists to modernise.

    Maybe a better example would be mobile telephony, as in that area most of the investments were done by private companies, which had to pay money for licensing (in Germany this was 50b EUR for UMTS). Mobile telephony has also been held up as a model of private investments in underdeveloped regions such as Africa and Southeast Asia. But I do think that putting up towers is considerably cheaper than laying cables all across the country. And in developing countries, poorer and more remote areas are indeed much less served by mobile providers than richer areas. (in most Western countries, regulation stipulates comprehensive coverage)

  83. Ichthyic says

    I did a spit-take. How is anyone supposed to take you seriously if the things you call “libertarian” are regarded as “socialist” by most other people?

    see upthread:

    “This diversity of libertarian viewpoints can make it quite difficult to have a coherent discussion with them”

    yeah, as soon as someone labels themselves “libertarian”, you can safely conclude they really haven’t a clue what they’re talking about from then on.

    They poisoned their own well.

  84. says

    hypothesis: “libertarian” is simply the new cool thing to call yourself when you’re not a fundie, a hippie, or a Somalian warlord, regardless of how well that label actually describes one’s policies. so far every one of the non-sociopatic “libertarians” has simply turned out to be somewhere between “bog-standard progressive” and “anarcho-syndicalist”, with a few giving of a whiff of centrism. It almost makes me miss niblick, who at least knew what libertarianism was.

  85. says

    I also think that telephony is not that ideal an example, as in many countries deregulation effectively meant that the former state-run monopolist was forced to open up its lines to private companies which didn’t need to invest all that money in creating physical networks of their own, and that too at fixed prices. I also think this is more a case of successful government intervention as it succeeded in forcing the former state monopolists to modernise.

    it’s an ideal example of private companies succeeding while standing on the shoulders of government, which provided the necessary infrastructure. It’s that sort of thing that explains why out-of-pocket, private medical expenses are cheaper than they are in the USA for example; or why the occasional private road succeeds, as long as it’s surrounded by, and connected by, alternative, state-funded roads; or why there are rural economies in the USA at all, based on the electrification and telephonication (that’s a word now, shaddup) of rural America.

    Infrastructure is not profitable; infrastructure does however make other people’s profit possible. The US will see that shortly, once even more if its infrastructure starts to literally crumble. Luckily, European infrastructure is newer and somewhat better maintained, and isn’t exposed to the same extreme conditions as in the US. AFAICT, German bridges have another 20-40 years before they start crumbling like the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis did

  86. says

    alright, where was I…

    Jadehawk, please let people know when you are changing who you are responding to – it looks like I am getting ‘credit’ for JCR’s points.

    no. I tend to reply to an entire thread, in mostly chronological order. I don’t pay attention to who says what stupid thing, since it’s irrelevant. If you can’t follow, that’s really not my problem.

    then explain why you asked about country of origin,

    I didn’t. But it’s almost adorable that you’ve now managed to misread that sarcastic remark in two different ways.

    why people are equating the morals of Objectivism with the libertarianism that appears to be being discussed.

    they aren’t; they are pointing out that the libertarianism under discussion draws a lot from Objectivism.

    Or explain why people are being called assholes, amoral etc. for being libertarians when they are not of the stripe under discussion?

    because they’re saying immoral (not amoral, that would be quite the improvement) things, or things from which the majority of paths will lead to something immoral and assholish.

    Look, if you want to describe all libertarians as immoral, selfish assholes that’s fine, but be prepared to back it up and not fall back on ‘I was only talking about Objectivists, or the US Tea Party self-styled ‘libertarians’.

    I describe the bedrock of libertarian ideology as immoral and selfish (the obsession with voluntarism that excludes democratic processes; the obsession with efficiency; wanting individualist solutions to systemic problems; etc.), but as the paper I cited above indicates, people who self-describe as libertarians do seem to be less empathetic and loving, so there’s that. And lastly, we’re not talking exclusively about libertarians who borrow heavily from objectivism, nor Teabaggers. Deontological libertarianism and its goddamn faux-non-violence, proprietarianism, minarchism, anarcho-capitalism, etc. are all just as fucked up, because they’re based on the same pile of stupid.

    but the complaint in this thread has been that libertarianism is a busted flush because libertarian policies were tried during the Bush era and they failed miserably.

    you’re one stupid cookie, aren’t you. do you know what neo-conservatism (AKA neo-liberalism) even is? at it’s most basic, it’s jingoism + market-deregulation in certain sectors + tax-cuts. The latter two are in-sync with libertarian philosophy, and as such criticizing deregulation as an example of libertarian policies that fail is valid; they’re not faux-libertarian, they’re simply not implemented as part of a wider libertarian agenda.

    Still, I have only heard the liberals comment on society and community and various other things that are very suggestive of only being about their country.

    well, this is of course incorrect since I’ve talked mostly about America without being American. However, just because this thread has not experienced topic-drift does in no way imply lack of concern for non-Western people. In many cases however, it can imply acknowledgment that foreign intervention often makes things worse rather than better for assorted reasons that aren’t topic of this conversation.

    Perhaps you can make a cogent argument for income tax.

    for starters, it’s by definition the only tax you’re never not going to have the income to pay cover, as opposed to such things as property-taxes or sales taxes for example. However, you have no clue why I found that comment so funny, and guessing isn’t going to do you any favors, so don’t bother.

    Perhaps you can tell me why any voluntary interaction between two people not using government services should incur a fee to said government in the first place.

    what would that interaction be? Nothing doesn’t involve the government, since virtually all interactions are underpinned by government-provided infrastructure or services.

  87. says

    First, how many operations cost $5 million? Second, how many insurance companies would pay that much money for an operation?

    Well, public German healthcare does.
    My husband’s colleague has a daughter. As a wee infant, during one of her regular check-ups, her pediatrician noticed a strange heart-sound and sent them to the specialist immediately. The specialist called the ambulance to get her into the infant ICU on the spot. Her heart stopped and the way, she was reanimated and stabilized in the hospital. They flew her to a hospital that is specialized child heart-surgery. Are you counting?
    In the hospital a top skill team operated on her for 12 hours. She spent weeks and weeks in hospital afterwards (about 1000€ a day). She will, most likely, never be able to work 8 hours in any job, but need a lot of resources.
    I’ve never heard anybody utter the phrase “my tax money” when hearing this story.
    You’re allowed to calculate her chances with the US-system.

  88. Dianne says

    You’re allowed to calculate her chances with the US-system.

    That’s easy. Unless her parents were relatively wealthy, she would never have gotten the routine checkup that found the problem before she coded. She’d have been one of the infants who make the US’s infant mortality rate high. If she did get to the hospital by whatever means, her chances in the acute setting would be pretty good: US hospitals don’t dump people out of ICUs. At least, not teaching hospitals. Can’t speak for the for profits. Her chances of getting proper care for a good long term outcome…not so great.

    Sorry, was that more squicky detail than you wanted?

  89. says

    Perhaps you can tell me why any voluntary interaction between two people not using government services should incur a fee to said government in the first place.

    what would that interaction be? Nothing doesn’t involve the government, since virtually all interactions are underpinned by government-provided infrastructure or services.

    You’re not the first person to make this point, but I’ve yet to see an answer.

    Without government there is no recourse for breaches of contract. Without enforcement of contracts there is no market security. Without market security, there is no reliable profit margin. Etc etc etc

  90. Erulóra Maikalambe says

    Without government there is no recourse for breaches of contract.

    That depends. A true Tea Party libertarian would of course have their musket.

  91. says

    ACN and Dianne
    Hmmm, that’s pretty much what I thought myself. Would they have flown her to a specialized hospital once she was in ICU or would they have attempted to “fix it” themselves?

    BTW; I’d like to see a reasonable scenario how voluntary charity could have done anything there.
    Charities are great in picking up some extra stuff, mostly supporting her parents on a personal, low threshold level.

  92. says

    BTW; I’d like to see a reasonable scenario how voluntary charity could have done anything there.
    Charities are great in picking up some extra stuff, mostly supporting her parents on a personal, low threshold level.

    Well for this I have a real life scenario. In Japan, due to Shinto beliefs about the wholeness of the body, many Japanese are opposed to provide organs for transplants, especially if the donors are children.
    (If you look into the history of transplant medicine in Japan, there is also the issue that some of the earlier transplants failed, with one of the pioneering doctors sued for malpractice, so this led to a decline of transplant medicine in Japan as well)

    So what do you do if you have a terminally ill child who wouldn’t survive without such an operation. Easy, you start a huge media campaign and ask for donation so the child can be sent to the US to be treated there, of course for huge amounts of money, as Japanese health coverage doesn’t extend to the US.

    Thus, the solution in libertopia would be similar, I suspect: the only thing terminally ill patients and their families would have to do is to go begging others for help, so they can afford the surgery. It helps if the patient is a cute child. If your cause fails to garner enough donations, then I guess you’re out of luck…

  93. First Approximation, Shevek says

    when the government (your fellow citizens) decide to get in between two individuals not using any government services and decide to charge a fee based on the value of that voluntary transaction. What business is it of theirs?

    Not really about taxation, but third parties who did not enter an agreement are often directly affected by them.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Externality

    Sometimes these externalities are trivial or even beneficial to third parties, other times they can be quite negative. The point is its naive to only consider the two individuals entering into the voluntary transaction. Hence why the government might want to be involved in some cases.

  94. Ing says

    If we’re talking fiction (and since we’re talking Libertarianism we are by default talking fiction) anyone else remember the Oddworld games?

    The whole series presented a distopia libertarian planet where the wealthy ruling race oppressed and exploited their wage slave races. One of the better metaphors for the class warfare was the design for the ruling race (Glukkons). They basically had no usable limbs (they walked on their forelimbs and their hind were vestigial) and literally depended on keeping the other races in abject poverty as a work force to do the actual work and keep them alive.

  95. Ing says

    My point is that

    a) I’d rather talk about sci-fi and fantasy because real libertarians bore and distrub me

    b) I can’t think of even a FICTIONAL plausible display of libertarian principles that worked well. The closest I can think of is the Ferengi but their society was far from ideal. And they have the benefit of not being limited by human nature

  96. Esteleth says

    Now that I’m home from work…

    @Keddaw, you said, in response to my question,

    My libertarianism, would provide a minimum amount of care for every citizen. I would hope that this would be sufficient to cover your needs but since the number is arbitrary and dependent on the economy this cannot be guaranteed. As in my $5 million operation example some things are just too expensive. I have proposed a fund, either explicitly guaranteed by the state or premiums by the state to an insurer, of say $333,333 (index linked) of healthcare for each citizen at birth … I would like a limited fund that we all, in some way, contribute towards.

    Let me get this straight.
    In a single-payer system, this is the process:
    1. Patient goes to doctor.
    2. Doctor treats patient.
    3. Doctor then submits to the government the cost of treating said patient and is then reimbursed.

    You don’t like this because it oppresses your freedom because it costs tax money. Instead, you are proposing a system where this is the process:
    1. Patient goes to doctor.
    2. Doctor treats patient.
    3. Doctor then submits to the healthcare fund (which is explicitly or implicitly underwritten by the government) the cost of treating said patient and is then reimbursed.

    Lolwut? How would this healthcare fund – $333,333 per citizen – get funded? People would just pay into it out of the goodness of their own hearts? Or would it be tax funded?

  97. ACN says

    BTW; I’d like to see a reasonable scenario how voluntary charity could have done anything there.

    My observation has been that lots of praying, lots of begging, and continual plunges into debt that they can never claw their way out of are the usual methods.

    Typically, if you aren’t rich, and you don’t have insurance, you’re likely in a community where this is the same of most people. You’re unlikely to even be able to distribute the medical debt amongst the community, even if they all WANTED to give, just because no one has much of anything.

    My uncle is the pastor of a small, very poor, mostly minority, church in south texas. He has seen this first hand, and yet still backed the loonies against Obama’s healthcare reform…

  98. Kagehi says

    Then I would advocate that some libertarians try out their proposal on a small scale. That way, if the whole thing implodes, it implodes on a small scale.

    The problem with that is, most systems can work on “small scales”, even while they fail badly, on larger ones, due to there being more opportunity to cheat, more cheaters in general, and far more situational contingencies, which are not accounted for *except* on very small scales. You might be able to run a city on such ideals, but a nation…

  99. First Approximation, Shevek says

    I can’t think of even a FICTIONAL plausible display of libertarian principles that worked well.

    Well, I just finished reading The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. The book is mostly about the revolution. Discussions of the society is mostly in its pre-revolution, quasi-libertarian state. Also, apparently in other books it’s revealed that a big government eventually followed (from what I’ve read anyway). I’m not sure it really qualifies for what you’re looking for, but it’s the best example I can think of.

    (Overall, the book was so-so. Not bad, not great. For a better book, see The Dispossessed, whose main character makes up the second part of my ‘nym. It’s similar to Harsh Mistress, except instead of the societies of Earth and the Moon you have twin planets, but one of them is basically Cold War era Earth. Also, the other society is libertarian, but libertarian socialist and, as the subtitle of the book puts it, an “Ambiguous Utopia”. Far more complex and interesting.)

    /random aside

  100. Kagehi says

    I also think that telephony is not that ideal an example, as in many countries deregulation effectively meant that the former state-run monopolist was forced to open up its lines to private companies which didn’t need to invest all that money in creating physical networks of their own, and that too at fixed prices. I also think this is more a case of successful government intervention as it succeeded in forcing the former state monopolists to modernise.

    In fact, I think you could argue for the exact opposite from “private” industry. The original ARPNET was designed to survive a nuclear war, such that the loss of any single node in the network doesn’t derail the network. Under the “private controlled” mess we have now, I once spent nearly a year and a half, unable to reach few websites, because the “routing” tables of the more “efficient” system we have in place today said that, if you live in Arizona, you *must* access that part of the network via LA, while if you are in New York, you could still get to them since *that* part of the system said the “best way” was via Washington state. Yet, I could connect to a server in Europe, which I used a lot at the time, which went “through” New York.

    Government ARPNET could survive a war. The private run “Internet” can’t survive basic rewiring of, apparently, non-essential wiring, or, maybe even road work…

  101. Lyra says

    The problem with that is, most systems can work on “small scales”, even while they fail badly, on larger ones, due to there being more opportunity to cheat, more cheaters in general, and far more situational contingencies, which are not accounted for *except* on very small scales. You might be able to run a city on such ideals, but a nation…

    This actually ties into one of my big objections. Yes, you are absolutely right that some things can be run on a very small scale that won’t work on a large scale. But libertarians can’t even show me that their proposal works on a very small scale. To the best of my knowledge, there aren’t any cities that are run on such ideals, not even really wealthy ones that you would think might be able to pull it off. I used to start out requesting a more comprehensive example, as many people on this board have done (asking for functioning countries, states, etc), but after no one could give me any of that “because it had never been tried before” (which I don’t buy at all), I started asking for smaller and smaller examples, which libertarians still seem unable to provide me with.

    I used to think that the “small government” fetishists were the hard eyed realists who were willing to sacrifice some human life and happiness for a method of government that was proven to work, whereas the socialists were starry eyed dreamers who were willing to take some measure of risk in hopes of something better. But the more I look, the less certain I am that this whole “small government” thing works at anywhere near the level that conservatives and libertarians assure us all that it does. If small government is so great, where the flip is it?

  102. keddaw says

    Nothing doesn’t involve the government, since virtually all interactions are underpinned by government-provided infrastructure or services.

    And no-one sees a problem with this???

    Obviously it’s not true, if I agree to babysit my neighbour’s children Friday so that they do the same for me Saturday we are technically supposed to report that as income on our tax returns. Or if I grow tomatoes and my neighbour grows lettuce and we trade…

    Non-cash Income Taxable income may be in a form other than cash. One example of this is bartering, which is an exchange of property or services. The fair market value of goods and services exchanged is fully taxable and must be included as income on Form 1040 of both parties.

  103. Matt Penfold says

    Well Keddaw still seems to not have apologised for lying.

    Guess that tells us all we need to know about him.

  104. keddaw says

    Matt, where did I lie?

    What substantive difference did it make to anything I was saying if I was mistaken/lied/tried to pull a fast one?

    Honestly, you’re acting like a creationist when a biologist can’t explain a minute detail or misspoke on some trivial detail.

  105. says

    Keddaw still seems to ignore that babysitting hir neighbour’s kids involves a fucking lot of government like the simple fact that you can be pretty confident that your neighbours aren’t off with your spawn to the next slave market and sell them to somebody else.

    pelamun
    Yeah, but how does that work out when you have about 15 minutes notice that you either must cough up 2$ for the operation or the child dies? And they want guarantees, of course…
    I mean, in Germany we know such campaigns when they’re looking for bone marrow donors. You need money to pay for the test (fucking stupid law that prevents healthcare from doing it, but it seems a good way to save money: people fund it independently) and you need people to show up and be tested.
    I’m fine and dandy with that. Who wants little Johnny to die? So, yeah, get the charity to the TV, make people rush for the next sports hall where they’re tested and leave some money, show the parents that you actually care.
    Still no idea how this is suppose to work with emergencies.

  106. keddaw says

    Keddaw still seems to ignore that babysitting hir neighbour’s kids involves a fucking lot of government like the simple fact that you can be pretty confident that your neighbours aren’t off with your spawn to the next slave market and sell them to somebody else.

    Wow! This just shows the level of indoctrination that people have. Why should this involve the government at all – it is no-one’s business unless the babysitter becomes a slave trader.

  107. says

    Wow! This just shows the level of indoctrination that people have. Why should this involve the government at all – it is no-one’s business unless the babysitter becomes a slave trader.

    Yeah, but that’s when you suddenly want government to exist and take care of your fucking problems.
    Here’s news for you, cupcake, that ain’t how it works.
    Government is not a Jeanie you can conjour up when you need it and put back into a bottle when you don’t.
    It either exists and is working and involved even when you’re not looking, or it doesn’t.
    And yes, the government is involved in making slavery illegal and fucking enforcing it.
    If you don’t think so, I recommend watching this movie about slavery and child labour in Africa, where governments don’t see much reason or have the ability to prevent this and where you can’t let your child run on the street.
    Whether you like it or not, government is involved in such a transaction and you need a big amount of ignorance and stupidity to deny it.

    Oh, and I have another example of why public is better than private: the very house I live in. It’s owned by the public housing company. Unlike other houses here, it’s not subsidized and meant for “normal”* people.
    The rent isn’t low, but it’s fair. It pays for the house and it pays for the employees to have decent wages. Since the company has a respectable size, they have the power to invest much better than a small houseowner or company. And since their goal is to provide affordable housing and not to make money, they don’t only invest in objects that promise high profits. This means that I’m living in a house with much better conditions than most people who privately rent a flat.
    Windows all new and shiny (or would be if I ever cleaned them), wonderfully insulated to reduce heating costs and CO2 emissions, problems fixed by their own service within a day or two.

    Want another one?
    The energy market in Germany has been liberalized. 4 big companies are dividing the market, but there are still small ones, especially where the local governent didn’t sell off the local public energy companies.
    And you know what? You can see that energy is cheaper where those small public companies are still publicly owned.
    And not only do I pay less for my energy, the profit the company makes also goes into the pocket of my city, where it is used to finance the things our community needs, like childcare, libraries, schools, a public swimming pool….

    *not entitled to subsidized housing

  108. Matt Penfold says

    Matt, where did I lie?

    You are joking right ? You cannot be asking that question seriously, unless you are a total fucking idiot.

    Actually, you might well be serious. You are a total fucking idiot. A lying scumbag of a total fucking idiot.

    You not only lie, you do not have to manners or decency to admit, and then you lie and say no one has pointed your lies.

    Fuck off.

  109. keddaw says

    Giliell, connaiseuse des choses bonnes, who said there was no government and no law and order?

    Do you lot not get tired knocking down straw men?

    Yes, government is better at certain things. No, government shouldn’t know every fucking thing every person does.

  110. keddaw says

    Matt, I eagerly await some evidence of lying or deception. Until then I guess I’ll have to put up with insults.

  111. keddaw says

    Should anyone be interested and want to attack my actual views rather than some boogeyman they’ve got in their heads they would be best to start with geolibertarianism rather than Tea Party bullshit, Bush neo-con corporatism or right libertarianism. But hey, if you’ve gone 600 posts slapping each other on the back for deriding Americans then who am I to try and stop you?

  112. says

    Keddaw

    Giliell, connaiseuse des choses bonnes, who said there was no government and no law and order?

    Well, you said they weren’t involved and therefore it was none of their business:

    While I recognise that this is not currently the state of affairs in the vast majority of cases it is still a problem when the government (your fellow citizens) decide to get in between two individuals not using any government services and decide to charge a fee based on the value of that voluntary transaction. What business is it of theirs?

    Why should this involve the government at all – it is no-one’s business unless the babysitter becomes a slave trader.

    I’ve showed amply that you are indeed using government services in such a transaction. So, either you don’t remember what you’re written yourself or, as Matt has suggested, you’re simply a liar.

  113. says

    Obviously it’s not true, if I agree to babysit my neighbour’s children Friday so that they do the same for me Saturday we are technically supposed to report that as income on our tax returns. Or if I grow tomatoes and my neighbour grows lettuce and we trade…

    this will be a point the moment the IRS actually bothers to do something about such neighborly favors. Incidentally, in my experience you’re only supposed to report such income if you made over $400/year from a single source anyway, so the IRS doesn’t want you to bug them with that small-scale shit actually.

    Nonetheless, I’m rather thoroughly amused at the thinking that paying someone for babysitting doesn’t involve government; what are you paying the sitter with? tomatoes from your garden?

  114. consciousness razor says

    Nonetheless, I’m rather thoroughly amused at the thinking that paying someone for babysitting doesn’t involve government; what are you paying the sitter with? tomatoes from your garden?

    No, just slaves.

    But that’s nobody’s fuckin’ business.

  115. says

    Giliell, connaiseuse des choses bonnes, who said there was no government and no law and order?

    you’re really bad at thinking in terms of systems, are you. It’s almost as if you have object-permanency issues when it comes to the government: as long as it’s actions aren’t acutely needed, you think they’re not actually providing a service and shouldn’t be funded at such a time.

    Ah, but I forgot. You want government to charge point-of-service fees. Yes, I’m sure that’ll work, and not at all decrease the number of crimes/fires/other incidents reported to the police/fire department/other service provider, because you’re temporarily short on cash (because, you know, you just got robbed, or your house just burned down, etc.)

  116. says

    Do you lot not get tired knocking down straw men?
    [...]
    No, government shouldn’t know every fucking thing every person does.

    oh, the lulz…

  117. says

    But hey, if you’ve gone 600 posts slapping each other on the back for deriding Americans then who am I to try and stop you?

    I thought we loved Americans more than we love all other people? make up your fucking mind.

    also, geo-libertarianism = a flavor of anarchism. anarchism is not the topic currently under discussion.

  118. says

    specifically, it’s a flavor of anarchism combining Georgism (after the guy who wanted there to only be a land-tax) and the parts of Marxism that deal with the value of labor and the idea that those who do the work should be the owners of whatever wealth is produced by said work.

    Fuck all to do with libertarianism. They just don’t want to call themselves anarchists, because “libertarian” is the cool thing to be now.

    Hint: you can’t take the word back; that boat sailed 100+ years ago.

  119. says

    not that geo-libertarianism doesn’t have it’s Epic Fails. The idea does have issues with object permanency, since for example “crime” should only exist when it’s being committed, but not at other times; some of them are also free market worshippers with no concept of externalities, natural monopolies, etc., and believers that their system will eliminate the need for welfare (which makes them exactly the kind of libertarians made fun of here).

    not really a system worth discussing separately from either anarchism or libertarianism, since the anarchist parts are sensible but not the topic of discussion, while the libertarian ones are fucking stupid in exactly the same way the libertarianisms under discussion are.

  120. says

    BTW

    Obviously it’s not true, if I agree to babysit my neighbour’s children Friday so that they do the same for me Saturday we are technically supposed to report that as income on our tax returns. Or if I grow tomatoes and my neighbour grows lettuce and we trade…

    This really shows that you’re lacking the basics in economics.
    You seem to have zilch understanding as to what money actually is.
    Here’s the short version: Money is a handy dummy you use to make trade easier.
    Sure, you can trade tomatoes for lettuce, but what happens if the lettuce-owner doesn’t want tomatoes? He wants pumpkins! So, unless you have pumpkins yourself or somebody else trades lettuce for tomatoes, you need to find somebody with pumpkins, who wants cashews, then you find the cashew-lady, who wants potatoes, but the potatoe-guy finally accepts your tomatoes.
    Money is just a tool everybody accepts because everybody thinks that they’ll get the value back in the good they want.
    Just because you cut out the money again doesn’t mean you cut out the value transfer.
    Just imagine that GM and UPS claimed that they weren’t doing business because GM builds them vans and UPS therefore transports their parcels. But it’s just lettuce and tomatoes!
    About which nobody will of course give a fuck, as Jadehawk already mentioned.

    But it betrays your mindset that you need to make a business transaction out of things that normal people would consider to be favours between neighbours and actual signs of human kindness…

  121. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Liberturd is back without any new evidence or arguments, just old jingos, slogans, and theology that have been utterly refuted. And typical of such arrogance and ignorance shown by all liberturds, can’t go away either, thinking we want their insipid and arrogant prose. Yawn, boring people. I’ve heard it all in the last three and half years.

  122. keddaw says

    Person 1 asks for an example of a single necessary industry with no state ownership so I provide it, then get attacked by people asking: why didn’t you mention basket case privatisation 1?; why did you only mention an industry, we want a whole country?

    Person 2 asks for an example of an interaction that doesn’t involve the government, people then say if it involves money it involves the government, so I provide an example that doesn’t involve money and someone else calls me economically ignorant for not knowing that money is a proxy to enable trade without bartering.

    I further go on to suggest an example of a trade of services that doesn’t involve money and then get people telling me the police are involved because my neighbour might be a slave trader.

    You know what, I didn’t even come to convince, I came to maybe, just maybe, correct a few misunderstandings of libertarian thinking that some of you may have but I see you’re fixed in thought – libertarians are ignorant, arrogant, selfish, amoral, immoral fuckwit assholes and nothing they say is anything other than lies. I could perhaps discuss politics, philosophy and economics rationally with one or two of you but the way you react as a pack in this thread shows that such a discussion is impossible.

    Some of you are okay, Matt and Nerd are … not.

  123. consciousness razor says

    keddaw, since libertarianism is fractally wrong, it is understandable that people will point out flaws in it, then more flaws, then even more flaws. The real world is not libertarian fantasy-land for a metric fuckton of reasons; and personally I find it tiring trying to enumerate them over and over for every ignorant, arrogant, selfish, amoral, immoral fuckwit asshole who comes along to lie about it.

    libertarians are ignorant, arrogant, selfish, amoral, immoral fuckwit assholes and nothing they say is anything other than lies.

    QFT, from the glibertarian liar.

    I could perhaps discuss politics, philosophy and economics rationally with one or two of you but the way you react as a pack in this thread shows that such a discussion is impossible.

    Two heads are better than one, and many are better than two. Honest people aren’t afraid of being criticized in a large group — they learn from it. You want a venue to perform Gish gallops, not a rational discussion. If you need to practice on easier marks, I recommend Fox News.

    Some of you are okay, Matt and Nerd are … not.

    Fear not. Clearly, they don’t deserve to be part of society. I’m sure any day now the invisible hand is going to correct that.

  124. Lyra says

    First, I’m going to support those who say that you don’t need to report the $10 you made babysitting . . . unless you made like $400 – $600 previously babysitting that year. I worked for a newspaper, and we only had to report our earnings if we earned a certain amount (I think it was $600, someone on the board said $400, it could be either).

    Second, as people have said, babysitting isn’t without governmental interaction. The codes that were written to ensure the house isn’t going to fall down on your head while you’re there? Government. The entity that maintains 911 that you can call if one of the kids get hurt? The government. The entity that poured the concrete on the sidewalk that you used to walk to your neighbor’s house? The government. The entity that makes sure there is a fire department that will come if the house burns down? The government. The organization that made candy companies put allergy warnings on their product so you know you can’t feed that candy bar to the kid with peanut allergies? The government. The organization that makes sure you have roads for the kids’ parents to get to and from where they are going? The government. Hell, you may even be getting city (government) water and power for your house. If you don’t want the government to be involved in your little money making endeavor, you have to give up all these and more. The problem is that you want to involve the government when it suits you (involve the government so you get these perks) but not involve the government when it doesn’t (not involve the government when money changes hands). But these perks need to get paid for somehow.

  125. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    , I didn’t even come to convince,

    Liar. All liberturds try to convince. But they lack the evidence to do so.

    I came to maybe, just maybe, correct a few misunderstandings of libertarian thinking that some of you may have but I see you’re fixed in thought

    After 3 and a half years of liberturds spewing their theology all over the blog, we know it and all the permutations. So would you if you ever looked into the archives. But no, you’re too arrogant and ignorant to do so.

    libertarians are ignorant, arrogant, selfish, amoral, immoral fuckwit assholes and nothing they say is anything other than lies.

    You said it. I briefly, for all of five minutes, considered liberturdism as a political/economic philosophy fifteen years ago. Those five minutes were enough to recognize the moral bankruptcy and inability to work as they claimed.

    Oh, I’m on his shit list. He’s been on mine since his first arrogant and ignorant post.

  126. Matt Penfold says

    Keddaw,

    You still have not apologised for lying. Note the question of whether you lied or not has been settled. You did.

    So admit it scumbag.

  127. Anri says

    It always seemed to me that one difficulty in this sort of discussion is that ‘efficiency’ means utterly different things to a governmental agency than to a business. To demonstrate with a simplified example:

    In FY1, Company X performs 100 units of whatever it does, gaining income of 100 units. The next FY, it manages 200 units of income on only 50 units of production. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this would be considered a massive gain in efficiency.

    Over here, however, we have Agency Y. FY1, they have income of 100 units and perform 100 units of whatever they do, just like Company X. Likewise, the next FY sees income of 200 units, but production of only 50 units. Clearly, the Agency has become massively inefficient.

    If you’re looking at this and thinking ‘but that’s not a valid comparison’ – that’s my point! Trying to directly compare private and public enterprises isn’t like comparing apples and oranges – it’s like comparing pine trees and bobcats: assumptions that are helpful for one will get you bitten in the ass when dealing with the other.

    There’s one more important aspect of comparing, let’s say, FedEX with the USPS. FedEX could (theoretically) close its doors tomorrow. One can certainly argue the unlikelihood of this happening – and they’d be right – but if the people running FedEX turned off the lights and locked the doors – or sold the operation lock stock and barrel to Beijing – it would simply be a business decision. If the people running the USPS tried the same thing, it would be a federal crime. There’s a reason for this. A bit of thought will likely reveal it to you.

  128. says

    Whatever one thinks of his politics or the veracity of his arguments, Keddaw has been calm and cool, and responded politely to the questions asked of him. This in spite of such witty ripostes as:

    Fuck off lying scum.

    You are a total fucking idiot.

    Liberturd is back without any new evidence or arguments, just old jingos, slogans, and theology that have been utterly refuted. And typical of such arrogance and ignorance shown by all liberturds, can’t go away either, thinking we want their insipid and arrogant prose. Yawn, boring people. I’ve heard it all in the last three and half years.

    It’s not as if Keddaw just came barging in spouting off about the big bad gubmint. PZ specifically asked libertarians to chime in. And this is the level of discourse they can expect when they’re invited to participate? I’ve seen more thoughtful, intelligent comments on Uncommon Descent than I’m seeing in this thread.

  129. Anri says

    One more thing, keddaw:

    Some of you are okay, Matt and Nerd are … not.

    If you don’t think a poster is behaving with the proper level of politeness, respect, or rationality, stop responding to them.
    Stop reading them.

    Seriously – just skip right over the posts headed with their name. That’s one of the nice things about this type of discussion as opposed to a shouting match: you can ignore people you don’t want to listen to.

    I’m capable of doing this – why aren’t you?

  130. says

    Whatever one thinks of his politics or the veracity of his arguments, Keddaw has been calm and cool, and responded politely to the questions asked of him. This in spite of such witty ripostes as:

    Fuck off lying scum.

    You are a total fucking idiot.

    Liberturd is back without any new evidence or arguments, just old jingos, slogans, and theology that have been utterly refuted. And typical of such arrogance and ignorance shown by all liberturds, can’t go away either, thinking we want their insipid and arrogant prose. Yawn, boring people. I’ve heard it all in the last three and half years.

    It’s not as if Keddaw just came barging in spouting off about the big bad gubmint. PZ specifically asked libertarians to chime in. And this is the level of discourse they can expect when they’re invited to participate? I’ve seen more thoughtful, intelligent comments on Uncommon Descent than I’m seeing in this thread.

  131. Per Edman says

    While I am libertarian, my political reality is so different from yours that I am unsure if the responses I can give are meaningful to you. You come from a nation that is basically libertarian, then overrun by christian conservatives. I come from something of the opposite, a christian conservative monarchy turned social democrat. To me, the word “liberal” doesn’t mean social democrat or socialist or any of the sort, in my world “liberal” is John Stuart Mill, freedom and justice for all.

    But I do not want government money (which is really money that belongs to all citizens) spent on fringe interests, and that goes as much for things that I find important such as atheism, skepticism and video games, and things others find interesting such as soccer, opera or pneumatic fracking for shale oil reserves.

    Governments should, as far as they are necessary in order to do so, ensure equal opportunities for all citizens, basic security for all citizens, rule of law for all citizens. It isn’t really until the government starts holding on to very large reserves of money that have to be “allocated” to “redistribute wealth” that you get a system that is susceptible to corruption. Both because it could be corrupted, and because it becomes a wealth worth corrupting.

    So when I avoid partaking of the comments here, it isn’t because I don’t want to be called names over my political views, it’s because it would be very confusing for me to read them when I cannot separate legitimate criticism of a policy on one hand, and pure (puerile) namecalling between political opponents from an arena very alien to me.

  132. Ing says

    Whatever one thinks of his politics or the veracity of his arguments, Keddaw has been calm and cool, and responded politely to the questions asked of him. This in spite of such witty ripostes as:

    Oh jesus fucking christ, really?

    How about it doesn’t fucking matter how nicely someone says something that amounts to “Fuckers gotta die”

  133. Esteleth says

    Keddaw, I’m curious what you make of my response @606. Did I represent your views correctly?

    Also, uh, where does that $333,333 per citizen come from if not taxes?

  134. Matt Penfold says

    Whatever one thinks of his politics or the veracity of his arguments, Keddaw has been calm and cool, and responded politely to the questions asked of him.

    No he has not. Lying is not polite, and Keddaw lied. THat he refuses to admit as much, and apologises tells us he is anything but polite.

    Do you really think someone who lies, lies about having lied and pretends lying does not matter anyway deserves an iota of respect ?

    I note you do not have honesty to take Keddaw to task for lying and refusing to apologise. I guess that means you think lying is OK as well. If so, you can fuck off as well.

  135. Matt Penfold says

    Per Edman,

    You are aware that wealth disparity is a good indicator of how poorly a nation will perform on measures such as infant mortality, educational achievement and so on ?

    So if you are against measures to reduce wealth disparity you need to either explain how you will address this problem, or accept that you are a callous bastard.

  136. Esteleth says

    Matt Penfold @645,
    I notice that in addition to generally being an ass, keddaw has a noted habit of ignoring it when people poke holes in his theories.

    After all, he can’t let his perfect theories get all dirty from exposure to the real world!

  137. Sally Strange, OM says

    Governments should, as far as they are necessary in order to do so, ensure equal opportunities for all citizens, basic security for all citizens, rule of law for all citizens. It isn’t really until the government starts holding on to very large reserves of money that have to be “allocated” to “redistribute wealth” that you get a system that is susceptible to corruption. Both because it could be corrupted, and because it becomes a wealth worth corrupting.

    What if, in order to properly ensure equal opportunity, basic security, and and rule of law for all citizens, it becomes necessary to “redistribute wealth”?

    If you think that avoiding hypothetical corruption outweighs ensuring basic security, protection of the law, and equal opportunity, then you too fall in with the category of heartless, unempathetic libertarians. There are ways to deal with corruption. It’s much more efficient, from a societal perspective, to go ahead and provide the services, and deal with the corruption as it comes along, than it is to deny the services just because you’re fairly certain that someone, somewhere, will corrupt the process.

    Where are your priorities?

  138. Matt Penfold says

    Per Edman,

    And as for claim about corruption, I need to some evidence to support your contention that the greater the degree of wealth redistribution the greater the level of corruption.

    In Europe the opposite seems to be true. If you have data that shows otherwise, let’s have it. Otherwise you will need to withdraw the claim.

  139. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Carl, do you have any solid evidence that libertarianism is anything other than a wacky-backy pipe dream? Not one libertarian in three and a half years has been able to prove it is anything other than a theology, faith without evidence. They need to recognize that fact.

  140. keddaw says

    Esteleth, almost. Apart from this part: “You don’t like this because it oppresses your freedom because it costs tax money.”

    I didn’t say anything against a single payer system. I didn’t decry government involvement in health care, at least as a participant rather than sole provider.

    The figure (£250,000) came from some UK figures I playing with which would massively reduce the NHS budget over time and could be funded from a variety of things, not least being the taxes on alcohol and cigarettes. (Aside: in the mid 1800′s half the UK government revenue came from beer.) Corporation tax is also a major contributor. Add in VAT and you can fund most (if not all) the UK’s essential government functions with the only problem being pensions. I can’t recall the figures but I’m sure some increase in the retirement age was necessary.

    Now, one might say that corporations are owned by people and by taxing the company you’re effectively taxing the owner. However, companies benefit from all sorts of legal and financial state benefits that makes taxing them a win-win situation for both parties. e.g. If you run a small company I wouldn’t tax you but if you wanted to have access to limited liability or capital markets then that would require incorporation and part of that would include agreeing to pay tax. If you didn’t want to then that’s fine, but most owners would.

    Anri – I’m a sensitive wee soul who takes it personally when he is accused of lying. I also thought that maybe a bit of rational discussion and an exchange of ideas might reduce the rhetoric of some people, who would have thought I was an optimist!

    Ing – Yeah, someone doesn’t agree with you so kill them. Shouldn’t you be outside an abortion clinic or attacking Danish cartoonists?

  141. Matt Penfold says

    Anri – I’m a sensitive wee soul who takes it personally when he is accused of lying.

    Did not you lying though did it scumbag ?

  142. Sally Strange, OM says

    Even libertarians will start making exceptions to their own theology if you press them on it long enough.

    Another sure sign that the whole edifice of libertarian thought is fundamentally flawed.

  143. MT13 says

    Hi Lyra,

    One example of private industry that acts in the best interest of the people could be the South African taxi industry (as in mini-bus public transport). It is entirely private and has served the needs of the people where government has failed.

    The SA government is slowly introducing improved public transport, but has yet to usurp this private enterprise.

    They have been so successful that they have also recently launched an ultra low-cost local airline to service the various airports that other private and parastatals do not.

    This example has little bearing on the greater argument, which has been thoroughly enjoyable, but thought I’d add this to the discussion.

    If I have time, I’ll try find some numbers.

  144. AmVik says

    could be funded from a variety of things, not least being the taxes on alcohol and cigarettes.

    So, if a significant number of people stop smoking and drinking, then what?

    However, companies benefit from all sorts of legal and financial state benefits that makes taxing them a win-win situation for both parties.

    Say that to a Libertarian, and you’ll have a fight on your hands.

  145. says

    Carl, do you have any solid evidence that libertarianism is anything other than a wacky-backy pipe dream? Not one libertarian in three and a half years has been able to prove it is anything other than a theology, faith without evidence. They need to recognize that fact.

    What exactly are you asking for here? I don’t know of any completely libertarian society that has flourished. I don’t know of any completely progressive society that has flourished, either. For that matter, I don’t know of any society that could be described as subscribing completely to any political ideology.

    But I certainly do know of specific examples of excessive government entanglement proving disastrous. The war on drugs is probably the most conspicuous example. I’m sure you could come up with examples of government doing good, as well.

    For me, the appeal of libertarianism lies not in historical examples of its success, but in the underlying philosophy of freedom, liberty, and responsibility. I like the values that underpin libertarianism. For me, it doesn’t have anything to do with “faith.”

  146. Ing says

    Ing – Yeah, someone doesn’t agree with you so kill them. Shouldn’t you be outside an abortion clinic or attacking Danish cartoonists?

    Are you really that illiterate?

  147. Ing says

    For me, the appeal of libertarianism lies not in historical examples of its success, but in the underlying philosophy of freedom, liberty, and responsibility. I like the values that underpin libertarianism. For me, it doesn’t have anything to do with “faith.”

    How the fuck is “I really really want it to be true” not faith?

  148. Ing says

    I QUOTED IT!

    For me, the appeal of libertarianism lies not in historical examples of its success, but in the underlying philosophy of freedom, liberty, and responsibility. ?I like the values that underpin libertarianism. For me, it doesn’t have anything to do with “faith.”

    Paraphrase: I don’t CARE that it has no empirical basis for it’s claims of success, I like what it promises.

    Have you tried homeopathy yet?

  149. says

    For me, the appeal of libertarianism Christianity lies not in historical examples of its success, but in the underlying philosophy of freedom, liberty, and responsibility love, compassion, and forgiveness. I like the values that underpin libertarianism Christianity. For me, it doesn’t have anything to do with “faith.”

    FIFY

    I fucking despise people who let themselves be distracted from reality by shiny objects hollow idealism verging on wishful thinking

  150. Sally Strange, OM says

    For me, the appeal of libertarianism Christianity lies not in historical examples of its success, but in the underlying philosophy of freedom, liberty, and responsibility love, kindness, and moral turpitude.

    Libertarianism is just like a religion, part 349: you don’t have an exclusive claim on freedom, liberty and responsibility. Just like religions don’t have an exclusive claim on loving one’s neighbor as oneself.

    Of course everyone likes freedom, liberty, and responsibility. But do libertarian policies actually maximize freedom, liberty and responsibility for all people? On the contrary, they tend to maximize freedom and liberty for the richest and most powerful, while maximizing responsibility for the weak and powerless.

  151. Sally Strange, OM says

    Correction:

    For me, the appeal of libertarianism Christianity lies not in historical examples of its success, but in the underlying philosophy of freedom, liberty, and responsibility love, kindness, and moral turpitude.

    Libertarianism is just like a religion, part 349: you don’t have an exclusive claim on freedom, liberty and responsibility. Just like religions don’t have an exclusive claim on loving one’s neighbor as oneself.

    Of course everyone likes freedom, liberty, and responsibility. But do libertarian policies actually maximize freedom, liberty and responsibility for all people? On the contrary, they tend to maximize freedom and liberty for the richest and most powerful, while maximizing responsibility for the weak and powerless.

  152. AmVik says

    For me, the appeal of libertarianism lies not in historical examples of its success, but in the underlying philosophy of freedom, liberty, and responsibility.

    But it’s the “responsibility” part that becomes a problem, isn’t it? I mean, who is responsible for poverty? Or disease? Or famine?

  153. says

    You come from a nation that is basically libertarian, then overrun by christian conservatives.

    you better be talking solely to PZ here…

  154. Sally Strange, OM says

    @ Jadehawk & Ing: JINX!

    @ Carl: when three people simultaneously detect the exact same error in your argument, in nearly identical ways, you’ve got to believe it is a pretty fucking obvious error.

  155. says

    But it’s the “responsibility” part that becomes a problem, isn’t it? I mean, who is responsible for poverty? Or disease? Or famine?

    yeah. principles of “responsibility” that ignore such things like negative externalities are fucking worthless.

  156. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I like the values that underpin libertarianism. For me, it doesn’t have anything to do with “faith.”

    You accept those values on faith, and don’t look at the interactions with the rest of society.

    I have asked every libertarian to provide a first world country that has used libertarian principles for at least thirty years, preferably recently. In the US, that was post civil war to circa 1900. Didn’t work. Boom-bust cycles, extreme poverty, failure of social systems. Now for the libertarian excuses and evasions, and not the acceptance of reality.

  157. Matt Penfold says

    MT13,

    If that is all you could come up with, it is hardly a ringing endorsement of libertarian policies is it ?

  158. Gen says

    keddaw, so your position is, basically: let others pay, not me, and if there’s not enough $$$$ it’s government’s fault for being corrupt or something in the first place?

    Why are you so set *against* income tax? I agree that the measures you proposed would indeed lead to more money for the government (which, idealistically, I generally see as a *good* thing, the government having more money to spend on those who don’t have) so why not pursue those PLUS keeping income tax?

    Why should the money you earn, which by the very NATURE of currency, economy, contract and even working and the labour market, is steeped, awash and underpinned by governmental security, laws and measures, NOT be taxed in addition to pursuing other means of increasing funding? IDGI.

    Do you really think that some corruption and scamming justifies suffering people suffering even more? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think corruption and scamming are bad and should be fought where ever encountered, but isn’t that a LOT of throwing the baby out with the bathwater?

    And then, not even over something like justice or freedom but over $money$? Seems pretty cold-hearted and bizarre to me.

    Maybe it just seems bizarre because while we do have regressive sales tax (VAT) here in South Africa, basic foodstuffs like brown bread and veggies are exempt and not taxed, and you only start paying income taxes when you earn over a certain threshold (which changes year by year) annually and then income is taxed progressively.

    I really do not see how that is anything but fair.

  159. says

    ensure equal opportunities for all citizens
    [...]
    It isn’t really until the government starts holding on to very large reserves of money that have to be “allocated” to “redistribute wealth” that you get a system that is susceptible to corruption.

    I smell a possible source for cognitive dissonance.

  160. Gen says

    Also, WTF, MT13. As a South African, i promise you you cannot be more wrong. The taxi industry is exploitive and places an even heavier burden on the poor, displaced and unemployed. You’re talking out of your ass, pure and simple.

  161. says

    Paraphrase: I don’t CARE that it has no empirical basis for it’s claims of success, I like what it promises.

    How do you define “success,” though? My point is that I consider a society “successful” when individuals have the freedom and liberty to engage with others as they please, with minimal interference, which is what libertarianism offers.

  162. keddaw says

    Ing – it appears so. What you wrote could be taken both ways and given the tone of this conversation thus far I elected to take it in, apparently, the wrong one.

    AmVik [655] I think a lot of things that annoy libertarians, for example I do not think it is legitimate for anyone to own land. I think a pragmatic approach to social change is more beneficial than taking any libertarian policies we can get (which in my mind leads to evils such as corporatism), I believe an educated populace is necessary to ensure the continuation of a libertarian state, should one ever arise.

    Anyway, for those of you in the US good luck with your Future Attributes Screening Technology that your lovely government is going to thoughtfully install in your airports, stadia and other public places. All for your own safety you understand.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Attribute_Screening_Technology

  163. Ing says

    When a good gov whose goal is to provide for the welfare and protect the safety and lives of it’s citizens is corrupt it is a failure of it’s core principles and mission

    When a business bulldozes over someone because it’s profitable it’s an embrace of it’s core principles and mission.

    Libertarians apparently want to trust the inherently amoral system that has “Who profits?” as it’s motto when everything goes right, and not the idealistic system that sometimes fails.

  164. says

    You accept those values on faith, and don’t look at the interactions with the rest of society.

    I don’t understand what you’re getting at here. What does my holding certain values in high regard have to do with faith?

  165. Ing says

    How do you define “success,” though? My point is that I consider a society “successful” when individuals have the freedom and liberty to engage with others as they please, with minimal interference, which is what libertarianism offers.

    BUT NOT WHAT IT DELIVERS. THAT’S THE POINT.

    Christianity offers eternal life, are you a christian?
    Nigerian Princes offer metric boob loads of cash carried by nubile cash carrying servants.
    Scientology offers a successful movie career.

    The question is DO THEY DELIVER.

    Ing – it appears so. What you wrote could be taken both ways and given the tone of this conversation thus far I elected to take it in, apparently, the wrong one.

    You fucking idiot. YOU advocate the stance of “fuckers gotta die”. We’ve gone over this, Libertarian ideals inevitably lead to deaths of the poorest who rely on the safety net. Your callous disregard for others is inherent in the philosophy.

  166. says

    Before I get too caught up in this debate, I would like to thank those of you who responded to my posts politely and thoughtfully, as I think you have brought up some excellent points that have truly made me think and which I will continue to ponder. I can only hope I might have done the same for you.

  167. says

    Ing – Yeah, someone doesn’t agree with you so kill them. Shouldn’t you be outside an abortion clinic or attacking Danish cartoonists?

    you’re doing that thing again where you don’t understand a word of what a person is saying to you.

  168. Sally Strange, OM says

    How do you define “success,” though? My point is that I consider a society “successful” when individuals have the freedom and liberty to engage with others as they please, with minimal interference, which is what libertarianism offers.

    Libertarians THINK that libertarianism offers this, but that’s only because they are acting like faith believers in libertarianism, embracing its values while ignoring its effects in the real world.

  169. Ing says

    I don’t understand what you’re getting at here. What does my holding certain values in high regard have to do with faith?

    Here’s a hint. Why should *I* be expected to suffer, starve, and die, for *YOUR* ideal when my death is easily preventable by a small intrusion to your ‘values’ that also benefits you ultimately?

    Why do you place your values higher over actual physical material concerns?

  170. Matt Penfold says

    How do you define “success,” though? My point is that I consider a society “successful” when individuals have the freedom and liberty to engage with others as they please, with minimal interference, which is what libertarianism offers.

    So matters such as health, education and employment do not come into it ?

    There is little point to having liberty if you are unable to exercise it. Someone who is working every hour just to ensure that their kids are clothed and fed is not truly free. Someone who is bankrupted by medical bills is not truly free. Someone who cannot go to university because they cannot afford it, is not truly free.

    It seems you want freedom and liberty only for the privileged.

  171. says

    I don’t understand what you’re getting at here. What does my holding certain values in high regard have to do with faith?

    for starters, the part where you connect those values to an ideology that might, sometimes, proclaim them, but whose real-world results tend to be the opposite of those proclaimed values.

    you know, “faith”.

  172. Sally Strange, OM says

    You accept those values on faith, and don’t look at the interactions with the rest of society.

    I don’t understand what you’re getting at here. What does my holding certain values in high regard have to do with faith?

    You say you hold certain values. And yet you espouse a philosophy and a body of policy proposals that lead to real world outcomes that are counter to the values you claim to espouse.

    This isn’t that complicated; I can only presume that you must be suffering from some cognitive dissonance, as Jadehawk noted.

  173. Ing says

    Before I get too caught up in this debate, I would like to thank those of you who responded to my posts politely and thoughtfully, as I think you have brought up some excellent points that have truly made me think and which I will continue to ponder. I can only hope I might have done the same for you.

    If earnest, you’re welcome.

    If not, note that “polite”==”hohum” around here. Would you respect a Klansman who phrased his views and honest beliefs that the blacks are the spawn of Eve and the Serpent and need to be exterminated or at very least isolated from real people if he phrased it politely? You need to drop the brainwashing that says nice==respectable

  174. Ing says

    For me, the appeal of Communism lies not in historical examples of its success, but in the underlying philosophy of freedom, liberty, and responsibility love, kindness, and moral turpitude.

    Explain the flaw in this communist’s reasoning.

  175. says

    @ Jadehawk & Ing: JINX!

    :-)

    @ Carl: when three people simultaneously detect the exact same error in your argument, in nearly identical ways, you’ve got to believe it is a pretty fucking obvious error.

    or, the response was beamed into our heads by the hivemind central node; whichever is more probable.

    My point is that I consider a society “successful” when individuals have the freedom and liberty to engage with others as they please, with minimal interference, which is what libertarianism offers.

    no, it’s what libertarianism promises; that’s an important difference. what actually, empirically shows itself to result in that are various forms of progressive politics and mixed economies with low income inequality with a mean per capita income above $20000

  176. Ing says

    @Carl

    I’ve found that most people go through a phase sometimes in youth, but in any ‘rebellious’ period (ie when they are transitioning belief systems or challenging old beliefs) where they either embrace communism or libertarianism. I’ve also found the reasons and justifications for both are nearly identical.

  177. says

    keddaw,

    This is what you originally said:

    Matt – Royal Mail is a state owned limited company with plans to sell shares to the public: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postal_Services_Act_2011

    If you make a point here, you have to be prepared to back it up by facts. A Wikipedia article alone is no fact. It is only a starting-point.

    Ignoring Matt’s objections and at one point even saying

    Of course I haven’t read the Act, I don’t care about it.

    makes you look like a disingenuous liar. The example in itself is a small one, and not important, but the fact that you are not prepared to back up your points suggest you’re more than willing to skew facts to make your points.

    Granted, I don’t know much about the Royal Mail issue, but then I again I didn’t make a point using it. So I suggest you either back up your point, or retract it.

  178. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What does my holding certain values in high regard have to do with faith?

    When you don’t question how those values really work in a society, and the possible trade-offs that might be required to make the society work, that is faith. Also when it becomes a mantra, not a realistic goal.

    For example, traffic laws. We can’t drive willy-nilly on the roads safely. By having that freedom to drive willy-nilly curtailed, we come up with simple rules for reasonable traffic control, making it safer for both cars and pedestrians.

  179. says

    Ing,

    there’s a saying

    A young man who isn’t a socialist hasn’t got a heart; an old man who is a socialist hasn’t got a head.

    though it might be hard to apply this to libertarians…

  180. Esteleth says

    keddaw @651
    You want to use a VAT on alcohol and cigarettes? Seriously?

    I’m struggling to comprehend how that would even work.

    You say that you arrived at your numbers and such by back-of-envelope calculations, so let me trot out some of my own.

    I note you’ve been using UK numbers, so I’l presume you’re from there. As you may have guessed, I’m from the US, so I’ll use US numbers. Hope that’s okay with you.

    The population of the US is approximately 300 million. The life expectancy of the average American is 78 years. So, if each of those 300 million uses your $333,333 over the course of 78 years, that means that every year there’ll be an outlay of $4,273.50 per citizen per year, for a total of $1.3 trillion per year, more or less. $1.3 trillion, of course, is a serious chunk of change.

    For the record – I googled a bunch of stuff and tried to find some numbers. The total budgeted expenditures of the US government for FY 2010 was $3.456 trillion. Please note that $1.3 trillion is a third or so of $3.456 trillion. In FY2010, the US government spent or $793 billion, or about 23% of total expenditures, on Medicare and Medicaid, the government health plans for the disabled, elderly and poor. Another $70 billion went to the VA, which provides healthcare to veterans. Toss in some portion of the $689 billion budget of the Defense Dept. to pay the health care of active-duty military (1.5 million in uniform) as well, and you’re looking at maybe $900 billion in FY2010 spent by the Federal government on health care, not counting that provided to civil servants, which is budgeted separately.

    Are you noticing the problem? If you add up those receiving Medicare, Medicaid, and Defense Dept. (active or veteran) health care, you get about 100 million people, or a third of the population – and it still cost $900 billion.

    I tried to find how much Americans spend on booze, and google failed me. The most recent numbers I could find was from ’03, which was $115.9 billion on alcohol. I have heard – but cannot find the evidence – that rate of alcohol consumption has risen in the past several years, so I’ll guess that sales in FY2010 were $130 billion or so. Let’s say the VAT was 5%. 5% of $130 billion is $6.5 billion. Toss in tobacco – about 20% of Americans smoke. I don’t smoke, but I note that the shop down the street sells cigarettes for about $15 a pack. If the average smoker goes through half a pack a day (I’m guessing here), there’s another $13 billion in sales. Let’s say the VAT on tobacco is also 5%, so there’s another $650 million.

    Let me get this straight: you want to gain $7 billion per annum from a VAT on alcohol and tobacco and use it to fund healthcare for a nation of 300 million?

    If we multiply the $900 billion I quoted above by 3 – to cover the entire country – we get $2.7 trillion. To get $2.7 trillion in TAXES from sales ($140 billion) of alcohol and tobacco, the VAT rate would have to be OVER 100%. Somehow, I don’t think that would fly.

    Your numbers, keddaw, don’t add up.

    Anyone who can spot a flaw in my math, please say so. I’m fighting a head cold and am hopped up on all manner of anti-histamines, so I’m a bit brain-addled.

  181. Sally Strange, OM says

    Was this

    I say it in earnest, I assure you.

    in response to this

    This isn’t that complicated; I can only presume that you must be suffering from some cognitive dissonance, as Jadehawk noted.

    ?

    If so, then you need to look up the definition of “cognitive dissonance.” It does not preclude sincerity.

  182. says

    Esteleth, if keddaw is really a geolibertarian, he’ll try to make up the difference by taxes or fees on land use. hence the previous rambling about “natural resources”.

    The numbers of course also won’t add up, but one of the articles of faith of the actually libertarian branch of that ideology is the belief that the implementation of their ideas will reduce the need for various forms of welfare, so the tax income wouldn’t need to be so high.

    I’d love to see the numbers that support VAT + land tax covering the expenses accrued from an entire nation full of people using those $333,333*.

    - – - – - – - – -
    *I do wonder if keddaw knows how expensive private insurances can make things? Back when I lived in California, I scored a ambulance + one night in the hospital bill that topped $50,000. At that rate, $333,333 won’t last long. In fact, many people get screwed over because in the middle of a serious disease, they run into their insurance caps of half a million

  183. Matt Penfold says

    If so, then you need to look up the definition of “cognitive dissonance.” It does not preclude sincerity.

    I call that the Tony Blair defence. In the aftermath of the Iraq War he said that we could criticise his decision, but should not doubt his sincerity in thinking he was doing the right thing.

    To which all thinking people replied he had no business thinking he was doing the right thing in the first place.

  184. Matt Penfold says

    *I do wonder if keddaw knows how expensive private insurances can make things? Back when I lived in California, I scored a ambulance + one night in the hospital bill that topped $50,000. At that rate, $333,333 won’t last long. In fact, many people get screwed over because in the middle of a serious disease, they run into their insurance caps of half a million

    One of the seemingly paradoxical things about private healthcare is that it tends to be cheaper in countries that have a well-funded public healthcare system.

    The reason is rather obvious when one examines the reason why. When there is significant public healthcare provision the costs of training of medical staff tend to be borne the state. The only training costs that the private sector is faced with is the on-going in-service training costs for already well-trained and experienced staff.

    Further, the provision of public healthcare means private providers do not have to have to provide a full-service. If a patient has complications that require additional resources a private provider can just refuse to treat that patient rather than bare the cost. In the case of unforeseen complications the patient can be transferred to a public hospital thus relieving the private provider of the cost of having to have full backup.

  185. Esteleth says

    Jadehawk @696
    I noticed how small his generous outlay of $333,333 was too!
    I mean, by my math, my medical bills before my 18th birthday added up to almost thirty grand – and that’s if the major surgery I had at 13 isn’t counted. That $30,000 is just shit like getting born and ordinary childhood expenses like broken bones, pneumonia/strep/bronchitis, vaccines, and sports physicals. Fortunately, my parents had good insurance and thus didn’t have to actually lay out all of that – they may have shelled out close to that for all their kids combined, maybe, but not for each one.

    Medicine is many, many things, but “cheap” is not one of them.

  186. keddaw says

    pelamun, that is what I originally said in passing, it was in no way germane to any point I was making, it was an interesting aside and I even qualified it by stating it was questionable if it would improve anything. Matt then picks up on it as some unbeatable evidence that I am a lying sack of shit and all my opinions are stupid and my ‘facts’ are simply Satan’s way to convince you to dump all your concern for your fellow man and follow me to the Dark Side.

    So here are the facts:

    The UK government passed a bill that allows them to divest ownership to either a workers co-operative or some form of sell off. Given the UK’s history and Conservative government any state assets will most likely be sold off as shares. This bill received Royal Assent and now, as Matt points out, requires Vince Cable (Business Secretary) to go to Parliament to go through with the change in ownership in whatever form that takes. Vince’s party is against the idea so this may not happen soon. But I really don’t know how much more you want than a bill going through Parliament and receiving Royal Assent. To say there’s no plan for it to happen when there is an Act of Parliament explicitly written to allow for this is disingenuous.

    I don’t read many bills, I don’t have to since we generally have a media that does this on our behalf, hence the links I supplied later, I did however read the summary of the bill which is: “Part 1 provides for the restructuring of Royal Mail, including the introduction of private sector capital and expertise from the sale of up to 90% of Royal Mail, an employee share scheme and provisions for Post Office Ltd to continue to be owned by the Crown or a mutual ownership structure”

    So, is it reasonable to think I was lying? If you do think that I was wrong in what I said, was it in bad faith? And to what end?

    I didn’t make a point using it. So I suggest you either back up your point, or retract it.

    Neither did I, which is why the badgering from Matt over it really surprises me.

  187. Matt Penfold says

    The UK does not have a Conservative Government.

    It has a coalition Government, comprised of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

    Why lie about something so obviously wrong ?

  188. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So, is it reasonable to think I was lying?

    Yep, your logic is bullshit. The arrogance of liberturds doesn’t allow them to admit they were wrong. You prove that point.

  189. keddaw says

    Majority Conservative government. Minor slip. Get over it.

    Nerd – great argument, thanks for that.

  190. Esteleth says

    Matt Penfold @698,
    That’s one of the economy of scale things, too.
    My google-fu also gives a clue as to just how damn EFFICIENT a large public system can be!

    The budget of the VA in FY2010 – as I said above – was $70 billion. There are 25 million veterans in the US, more or less. Statistically speaking, a greater number of them than the population average are elderly or have serious medical issues.

    Now, the VA has some serious issues, and not all of those 25 million vets are getting their health care through the VA system – but still! $70 billion to cover 25 million people? That’s not even $3,000 a person! Even if only half of veterans are using the VA system, that’s still less than $6,000 per veteran per year.

    With Medicare/Medicaid, covering 100 million people – again, with a higher percentage being elderly or having serious medical issues – for $793 billion is less efficient than the VA but still clocks in at less than $8,000 per person per year.

    And keddaw’s outlay only allows $4000 a year!

  191. keddaw says

    Gen, your question strikes at the heart of many misunderstandings about my position. I am not against people paying for necessary government functions, hence I actually favour a flat fee.

    I am against income tax because it is interference in a private engagement of individuals and the benefits you mentioned of government are in no way related to the size of the transaction between the two individuals. Hence they pay their fees for government services that they can’t opt out of (law and order, courts, defence etc.) and more for the ones they actually use, such as postal service, public transport, public road tolls etc. but not for private matters related to their labour.

  192. Matt Penfold says

    What Keddaw refuses to understand (or is incapable of understanding) is that the Lib Dems required that any sale of the Royal Mail be subject to the approval of Parliament for the very reason they knew that would stop any such this Parliament.

    Originally the bill would have allowed a sale without any reference back to Parliament. The Lib Dems refused to accept that, hence the inclusion of the provision. It means Cameron can say to his right-wing backbenchers that he did what he could, and the Lib Dems have frustrated a bit of legislation they did not want without alienating Cameron and the left-wing of the Conservatives. It was politicking.

    The sale plans would have to be approved by both houses. It is unlikely a majority could be got even in the Commons, where the Government has a majority of around 80 given the Lib Dem hostility to the idea. It is even less likely to get through the Lords.

    Cameron is not going to risk a defeat on an issue he has no special interest in just to appease the right in his party.

    He also claimed that the plans were to float the Royal Mail in the Stock Market. In fact those who want to sell of the Royal Mail would be just as happy selling it to a third party, without any floatation.

    Further there is simply not enough time in this session of Parliament to get the plans through, let alone to do so before the end of the year.

  193. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nerd – great argument, thanks for that.

    Truth hurts, doesn’t it? You could have said you were wrong and put it behind you. Why can’t you???

  194. says

    @Sally

    He was responding to me where I more or less expressed that earnest questions and acceptance of challenges of a world view is weapon. Ie> he thanked people for challenging him and I said he’s welcome if he is earnest about that and not being passive aggressive (NOT LIKE YOU MEANIES!!!!).

    Screw praising assholes for not subsuming to insults, let’s praise the people who actually are wiling to have a discussion.

  195. says

    keddaw isn’t lying. He’s bullshitting. He’s making claims without caring whether they’re true or false. Big difference. It also indicates he doesn’t care about being right, just feeling right.

  196. says

    Hence they pay their fees for government services that they can’t opt out of (law and order, courts, defence etc.) and more for the ones they actually use, such as postal service, public transport, public road tolls etc. but not for private matters related to their labour.

    oh yeah. That’s such a brilliant plan: let’s have people pay for their welfare provision only when they need welfare provision; let’s have those who’ve been reduced in their ability to earn an income pay a larger share of health-care costs than the healthy people using those services less; etc.

    I really never thought I’d ever hear anything dumber than the flat tax. usage fees paid by individuals on government infrastructure and services however has effectively succeeded.

  197. says

    and I also note that he’s not even bothered to address the point that all these fees could reduce people’s willingness to use them even when they really need to, thus diving up assorted negative externalities (not to mention harm to themselves) because they can’t pay the fees or can’t fit them into the budget.

    OTOH, the income tax is by definition a tax that will never outstrip your financial resources; it will not eat up a larger portion of your paycheck just as you can least afford it; and it will definitely never be more than your paycheck.

  198. says

    and of course, people whose expendable income has already been reduced by spawning should also be the ones paying all government-provided child-care costs.

    how the fuck is that any different from just getting rid of the government altogether and letting the private market decide who gets to live, be educated, be healthy, etc.?

  199. Dianne says

    and of course, people whose expendable income has already been reduced by spawning should also be the ones paying all government-provided child-care costs.

    Right. Only parents should pay for primary education too because the public doesn’t benefit at all from having the next generation be well educated and socialized.

  200. Gen says

    keddaw, just to make sure I don’t shed straw all over the place, are we talking true flat rate or marginal?

  201. Therrin says

    keddaw

    You know what, I didn’t even come to convince, I came to maybe, just maybe, correct a few misunderstandings of libertarian thinking that some of you may

    This is not a place you come to teach, this is a place you come to learn.

  202. Matt Penfold says

    keddaw isn’t lying. He’s bullshitting. He’s making claims without caring whether they’re true or false. Big difference. It also indicates he doesn’t care about being right, just feeling right.

    I’m afraid I do not draw the same distinction you do between knowingly saying something that is untrue and doing so from a position of ignorance when you had no right to be ignorant. He chose not to read the act, so he cannot use ignorance as an excuse. Any ignorance on his part is wilful.

    I likewise consider the likes of Ken Ham to be liars. They may be ignorant, but their ignorance is an ignorance of choice, not lack of access to the truth.

  203. Dustin C says

    Libertarian atheist here. Answering the original question:

    “Shouldn’t that mean libertarian atheists should be most enthusiastic about seeing the atheist movement becoming more liberal and socially progressive?”

    Insofar as you mean *voluntarily* “liberal and socially progressive”, sure. Charity is fine. Libertarians have no moral objection to charity, and generally support it (except a few who may consider it ineffective). We are only opposed to government-enforced welfare. “Charity” has no virtue whatsoever when enforced at the point of a gun.

    Typically, when someone says “liberal and socially progressive”, they are talking about political positions, not voluntary social systems. So if you encounter opposition to “liberal and socially progressive” ideas from libertarians, simply clarify that you aren’t talking about government, but private groups.

  204. keddaw says

    Gen – flat fee, just like everything else we consume the price is not related to your income. However, some people get a pass based on their complete inability to pay. And the rest pick up their tab because, ultimately, it is phenomenally in our benefit for those things to exist.

  205. Lyra says

    How do you define “success,” though? My point is that I consider a society “successful” when individuals have the freedom and liberty to engage with others as they please, with minimal interference, which is what libertarianism offers.

    Ok. Can you show me a working system whereby libertarianism delivers on maximized freedom and liberty o engage with others as they please with minimal interference? You don’t need to give a completely libertarian society; give me one that is more libertarian than we are and show me how its it is the libertarian system that results in enhanced freedom and liberty?

    Because while I know that you said

    For me, the appeal of libertarianism lies not in historical examples of its success, but in the underlying philosophy of freedom, liberty, and responsibility. I like the values that underpin libertarianism. For me, it doesn’t have anything to do with “faith.”

    valuing freedom, liberty, and responsibility doesn’t mean that libertarianism can deliver freedom, liberty, and responsibility. Freedom, liberty, and responsibility are results. Libertarianism is a system. If it is a system that cannot deliver freedom, liberty, and responsibility, then we have a problem.

    It’s kind of like how I value not having cancer. But that doesn’t mean homeopathy can save me from cancer. Being cancer free is a result. Homeopathy is a system that doesn’t deliver being cancer free.

  206. Lyra says

    minimal interference

    therein lies the rub.

    That actually reminds me of something I wanted to add.

    If someone gets cancer (say, me), that person is going to want to be cured of their cancer with as little trauma as possible. They do not want even one extra round of chemotherapy or extra operation. One of the reasons that people find homeopathy so appealing is that it does offer so little trauma; all you have to do is drink some water. But homeopathy doesn’t cure a person of trauma with minimal suffering because it doesn’t cure cancer at all.

    So, when a libertarian says they want freedom and liberty to engage with others as they please, with minimal interference, there is something of a conflict. One has decide if the goal is freedom and liberty or if it is minimal interference. If freedom and liberty are the goal, then you have to figure out what “minimal interference” is. However, if “minimal interference” is itself the goal, then libertarians have to decide how much freedom and liberty they are comfortable sacrificing. After all, as other people have said, there isn’t much freedom or liberty to interact when you’re starving to death.

  207. Ichthyic says

    One has decide if the goal is freedom and liberty or if it is minimal interference.

    very first thing I recall learning in my first high school sociology/economics class:

    freedom is always balanced against security.

    of necessity, my personal freedom only goes so far as I am secure to enjoy it, and the same for you.

    if my personal freedom encroaches on your security, who will mediate that?

    presto!

    government.

    or, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups…

    I forget which.

  208. Ing says

    I’m afraid I do not draw the same distinction you do between knowingly saying something that is untrue and doing so from a position of ignorance when you had no right to be ignorant. He chose not to read the act, so he cannot use ignorance as an excuse. Any ignorance on his part is wilful.

    I likewise consider the likes of Ken Ham to be liars. They may be ignorant, but their ignorance is an ignorance of choice, not lack of access to the truth

    A liar is someone who knows the truth and is going against the grain to bamboozle.

    A bullshiter may or may not know, but they don’t care about the truth because they are trying to convince themselves as much as you.

  209. keddaw says

    You know, if you people understood the meaning of the word lie, you’d see that regardless of what I said about the Royal Mail it cannot be a lie as there was no intent to deceive.

    But since your happy to paint a picture of me that bears no semblance to reality then have at it Hoss.

  210. keddaw says

    Hey, I did a grammatical error in the last one, maybe that proves I’m selfish and want the poor to die…

  211. says

    Me thinks this thing with middle-class libertarians is the same as with first world anti-vaxxers:
    They’ve been living in a society that has been protected from the worst of it for so long that they are systematically blind to the huge benefits and only notice the pain from the jab.
    Just like people from the third world are happy to get all the vaccinations they can when they come to us, they’re usually also very glad about the (comparable) safety they’re getting.

  212. Gen, The Longest Tealdeer Around. says

    Gen – flat fee, just like everything else we consume the price is not related to your income… blah blah liberturdian TAXING THE RICH MORE IS OPPRESSIVE

    Yeah, I’m NOT okay with this at all. If you can’t see why someone who earns more than X should pay Y income tax and someone who earns X*2 should pay Y*(proportion) in income tax and so on, I don’t think I’m willing to have a conversation.

    We are only opposed to government-enforced welfare. “Charity” has no virtue whatsoever when enforced at the point of a gun.

    I have literally never in my entire life seen anyone threatened with shooting for not paying taxes.

    Of course, I suspect that with the “the Virtue of Charity vs the EBIL of Welfare” distinction, it’s all about the pat on the back and moral superiority (notice the use of the word “virtue” – I find this incredibly telling), not to mention the coercion and sense of control over the fate of others.

    “Oh yes, of course I give to the [charity that looks after orphans]. Orphans gotta eat too, and I like that they are only allowed to eat because I’m such a GOOD person that I graciously offer them the money to do so and can withhold it at any time, for any reason I choose so they’re basically dependent on my continued goodwill and the continued goodwill of others like me. What did you say, a government grant for orphans to ensure they don’t starve regardless of whether asshats like me deem them worthy of my goodwill? RAEG! OPPRESSION!! GUNS ARE BEING POINTED AT ME HERE!”

  213. keddaw says

    Gen, for which goods and services should the price you pay be on the basis of your income? I would suggest you don’t think all services, perhaps just public ones – but then which ones should be public? And how about an obvious one, public transport – should the guy in the suit pay more for a fare than the builder? Maybe they should, but most people don’t think so and it’s not currently what happens.

    Does my view mean that the poor will end up paying a higher proportion of their income in taxes? Yes, but they already pay a higher proportion in food and clothing and rent and many other of life’s necessities and no-one seems to complain (although we have made many foods tax-free).

    Giliell, connaiseuse des choses bonnes, as someone with some economics background I was interested in that link (turns out I’ve seen it before) and the first are perfectly obvious and anyone suggesting otherwise (which may include many right wing Americans) don’t know enough economics to be allowed near the levers of power, but the 7th one is not a lie, it is an opinion.

  214. Sergio says

    As a self-labeled “Free-Market Capitalist” who is often described as a Libertarian, here is my 2 cents…

    I fully support the rights of private organizations to use their resources as they see fit so long as they aren’t forcing anything on anyone against their will.

    So, if AAA or AA want to also do social work, so be it. Or if they want to create a separate organization solely for that purpose, so be it. I can decide whether or not I find them deserving of my money and everyone else can as well.

  215. says

    but the 7th one is not a lie, it is an opinion.

    Ahhh, yes, the “opinion” that people who make 15.000 a year and have to pay 30%* of that in social security taxes and who have to use all their money for basic consumption on which they pay more taxes are better off than people who make 150.000, who are well above the social security cap, who have money they can invest instead of consume and who have to pay federal tax have it soooo much harder.
    Hint: Not all opinions are equal, some rely on facts

    *numbers fictional, facts not

  216. Per Edman says

    #646, Matt Penfold

    Isn’t infant mortality and educational achievement better, primary indicators than wealth disparity in that case? I assume you mean that they correlate more often than not, but the question for me is whether that correlation is causal or not.

    So if I am against measures to reduce wealth disparity, it could also mean that I reject the notion that there is a direct causal relationship from wealth parity and health and educational markers. I posit that the greatest threat to health and education is not disparity or other relative measurements of wealth, but that the problem is with absolute poverty, and in the minimal society I suggest, there is still such a thing as basic health care and education. I’m not a barbarian. Or American. :)

    / Per

  217. Per Edman says

    #648, Sally Strange OM,

    That’s my quote so I suppose you’re asking me, but at 700 posts I really don’t think I’ll read through them all to check…

    If it can be shown with that the only way to ensure equal opportunities, basic security and rule of law for all citizen is through the redistribution of wealth, then that’s what it takes. But my priority is not to redistribute wealth and eradicate wealth disparity, but with the fulfilment of basic needs and protection of the basic rights of all citizens.

    When I say avoid corruption, what do I mean, why is that even important? Because a corrupted society is a dangerous society. A society where you can buy legal benefits, is not a society where the rule is law. Same with legislation, same with the executive power. But it is another thing as well. If you cannot know where your wealth goes, if it can be accumulated in some government project with no relevance what so ever for your welfare, education or legal rights, that is basically theft and it shouldn’t matter if that money is stolen from a rich or a poor person. If we all pay taxes, the theft is from all of us.

    But no, I do not think avoiding corruption is more important than ensuring basic needs and the security of citizens. In fact, I believe them to be one and the same thing. Yes, there are ways to deal with corruption and one of the most powerful ways of doing so, is making the target less desirable to corrupt, for example by limiting its financial resources, limiting its area of responsibility, or regular checks by a third party (expensive, slow).

    But I am unsure we are even talking about the same services. Did you suppose I was against public schools for fear someone would siphon pens out of the building, or perhaps hospitals or police I am not.

  218. Per Edman says

    Sally Strange, OM

    > “Even libertarians will start making exceptions to their own theology if you press them on it long enough.”

    As a scientific skeptic, I find it very hard to fault anyone, even myself, for not being dogmatic. Speaking of which, there really aren’t very many real, true communists out there today, are there? Should we blame them for that? I sincerely hope that we are all, to some extent, pragmatists rather than extremists.

    / Per

  219. Per Edman says

    #649, Matt,

    > “And as for claim about corruption, I need to some evidence to support your contention that the greater the degree of wealth redistribution the greater the level of corruption.”

    I only mean that the greater the wealth of a system of redistribution, the greater the motivation to steal from such a system. Of course further systems can be built onto that system to prevent corruption, but they in turn tend to cost as much as corruption does. :)

    > “In Europe the opposite seems to be true. If you have data that shows otherwise, let’s have it. Otherwise you will need to withdraw the claim.”

    Europe, yes. You would be amazed how much less better something seems once you’ve grown up with it. The corruption we have here is only very rarely the banana-republic bombastic-leader siphoning funds overseas (hello Italy!) and much more commonly too-close financial ties between political parties and unions, overuse of government subsidies for multiple living quarters, incorrect reporting of disease, employment and parental leave, that sort of thing.

    Data as requested, representativeness unknown:

    http://www.lu.se/o.o.i.s?id=12588&postid=1284614
    http://www.business-anti-corruption.com/anti-corruption-initiatives/partner-initiatives/sweden/

    But I am no expert.

    / Per

  220. Ichthyic says

    I fully support the rights of private organizations to use their resources as they see fit so long as they aren’t forcing anything on anyone against their will.

    and how will you determine when a corporation is encroaching on someone else’s “will”?

    and what will you then do about it?

    it’s just so… naive.

    seriously.

  221. Per Edman says

    #667, Jadehawk,

    > “yeah. principles of “responsibility” that ignore such things like negative externalities are fucking worthless.”

    That would be why classic liberalism does not ignore them. The Harm principle, from On Liberty is an essential part of libertarian thought.

    Which principles did you really have in mind?

    / Per

  222. Per Edman says

    #671, Jadehawk,

    I would appreciate it if you could help me find it. I would change my mind, you know. I’m not quite as bad as all these other rabid strangers would have me out to be. I’m not sure anyone is, really.

    / Per

  223. Per Edman says

    #683, Jadehawk,

    > “for starters, the part where you connect those values to an ideology that might, sometimes, proclaim them, but whose real-world results tend to be the opposite of those proclaimed values.”

    Come now, I am sure there are values you .. well, value. How come you value them? Was it mandated from on high? Could you compromise with the things that are most important to you?

    To have an ideology is to know what one would want for the world. The method of getting there, well, that’s where most of us get into trouble, because we’re human. Someone, not even a proclaimed libertarian, said in the thread that everyone wants liberty and freedom and all the good stuff. I agree. We probably all do. What we disagree on is how to get there, what’s important on the way, what the pitfalls are, what the dangers are, and – probably – how much we’ve all been thinking about things like this.

    Because what you’re criticizing here isn’t the core ideals of libertarian thought, you’re criticizing the methods used, in your experience or in your horror fiction of the future, to get there, where ideals are more important than people or some such terrible idea. I can sympathise with that. I can also disagree with it.

    / Per

  224. Per Edman says

    #689, Ing,

    > “I’ve found that most people go through a phase sometimes in youth, but in any ‘rebellious’ period (ie when they are transitioning belief systems or challenging old beliefs) where they either embrace communism or libertarianism. I’ve also found the reasons and justifications for both are nearly identical.”

    I have many questions to this post, few pertaining to the discussion. :)

    First: What are they rebelling against? I mean, if both communism and libertarianism are what they choose as a means of rebellion, then what is the baseline they both work against? Moderat…ism?

    Second: What do they finally end up choosing, and how is that better than any other political ideal? Don’t say pragmatism now, because that’s not really an ideal but a compromise. Sure that can be an ideal among others, but it’s not very directed, is it.

    Third: Where in the world did you see this?

    Fourth: How many individuals were you observing?

    Fifth: What were your own biases on the matter?

    You see, I could go on and on. If you were being earnest, that is, rather than attempting to set up the person you were talking to as if they were a troublesome child. As you’re a stranger to me, I will first assume you were being earnest.

    / Per

  225. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Looks like Per is trying to dominate the conversation, and not really paying attention to what people are saying with his preaching” “All hail the free market and personal freedom without responsibility for the rest of society.” Doesn’t work. Never did, never will.

  226. Sergio says

    Ichthyic, there are countless ways the “wronged” can make us aware – twitter and facebook, for example. Then we can give them bad PR and boycott. How is that naive?

    So, when you a government official or agency wrongs someone, what do you suggest we do?

  227. Per Edman says

    #745, Nerd,

    And by responding to something you think I am doing rather to anything that I wrote, you are making what example on the topic of “not really paying attention to what people are saying”?

    If you don’t want to respond, don’t. You don’t have to make it obvious.

    / Per

  228. Kagehi says

    First: What are they rebelling against? I mean, if both communism and libertarianism are what they choose as a means of rebellion, then what is the baseline they both work against? Moderat…ism?

    Second: What do they finally end up choosing, and how is that better than any other political ideal? Don’t say pragmatism now, because that’s not really an ideal but a compromise. Sure that can be an ideal among others, but it’s not very directed, is it.

    Think I will answer these myself, from “my” experience. I was never clueless enough to embrace libertarianism, save maybe in the loosest sense possible, and I certainly had no idea it had a name. Communism, also had some appeal, at certain points, but I could recognize flaws in both.

    So, the answer, for me, to those two questions is:

    1. The appeal is greater fairness, and equity, without injustice, either legal, or economic. Neither deliver much of either, and, I would argue, only communism has been *successfully* employed, in **very small** groups.

    2. What got picked, for me, was pragmatism. A realization that its not possible to “perfect” a system by completely replacing it, from scratch, with some incomplete, self-inconsistent, ideology, which, usually, fails to account to external factors.

    There are however two other *common* outcomes:

    a) Denialism – an abject refusal to accept that the system you imagine is unworkable, or has previously failed. Also known as “wishful thinking”.

    b) Authoritarianism – The belief that, if you force the majority of people to adhere to the wacky idea you have about how the world works, the minority will “eventually” conform, and all the problems, inconsistencies, and external problems, with said system, will magically vanish. This is also a form of wishful thinking, but it includes with it, the method called “dictatorship”.

    It doesn’t, generally, matter if your idea if batshit insane, as long as there is some pragmatism to solving problems. But, when you either jump to the conclusion that *nothing* is wrong at all with the idea, so you don’t need to change it, or to the equally nasty conclusion that it will work, if you just force enough people to follow it, well….

  229. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And by responding to something you think I am doing

    I was responding to your large number of posts without others posting. A sure sign of a troll, or arrogant liberturd.

  230. terrymac says

    I am a libertarian atheist, and have to say I am disgusted with the intellectual dishonesty of the non-libertarians whose responses I have skimmed.

    You assume on scant evidence that libertarians don’t want to see anybody benefit at all.

    On the contrary. Voluntary social organizations to assist other people are entirely compatible with libertarianism.

    Opposition to rape does not imply opposition to voluntary intercourse. Opposition to coercive “welfare” does not imply opposition to voluntary assistance.

    It is my suspicion that the “liberal” haters of libertarians on this list must be a bunch of self-obsessed wankers; how else could they make such an elementary logical blunder?

  231. maureen.brian says

    terrymac,

    We ave discussed this at length and I see no new insights from you.

    Where a society is organised on the basis of mutuality, whether that is enforced as in feudalism or democratically agreed by the community, voluntary social organisations are a great idea. They can help support the sick, cook or shop for the frail, orgainise coach trips to the seaside for the children. All good and useful things done perfectly well on an informal and local basis.

    Where your argument falls apart, though, is with the suggestion that such organisations could and should be expected to do all the good that needs doing in a whole country or in more desparate situations. Like what?

    Like when the system is rigged so that the poorer 50% of the population is constantly scrabbling to get a share of, say, 20% of the income, of the available work, of housing, education, whatever is necessary.

    Like when there is a famine, or a drought in an area without much infrastructure, or a major epidemic. For all of those you need capital resources, you need professionals and you need a plan of action. Do you imagine that shipping 6 or 7 million Victorian ladies bountiful, each with a little basket of baking, to the Somalia / Kenya border right now would do any good at all?

    Besides, whenever voluntary organisations are expected to do it all rather than the aspects of mutual support and community cohesion they are very good at then mistakes are made. Decisions are made without access to a couple of centuries of knowledge and expeience. Babies get the knitted bonnets before their breast-feeding mothers get enough water to stop them dying. Also, everyone gets in everyone else’s way and an unjustifiable amount of the money raised goes to administration.

    Surely, you saw that after the Haiti earthquake. Is that how you want the whole of the world run? Because I don’t.

  232. Kagehi says

    You assume on scant evidence that libertarians don’t want to see anybody benefit at all.

    On the contrary. Voluntary social organizations to assist other people are entirely compatible with libertarianism.

    As has been repeated “more than once” in this very thread, “volunteer” social organizations are insufficient to handle the problems, when they arise, since they do not gain contributions from sufficient sources, are even more poorly controlled than government ones, are not requires to follow any sort of rules (especially under a libertarian system, where they wouldn’t be regulated much either), etc. Such “voluntary” social support has been an abject failure for centuries.

    In fact, belief in it is not unlike belief in communism. Communism – the assumption that everyone will contribute, *voluntarily* to the whole, in sufficient measure to sustain society. Reality – this doesn’t happen without someone in control, and telling you how much to contribute. Human nature denies its working *period*. Yet, you suggest what is basically Communism as a solution to social programs and charity. Because that is literally what “voluntary” means in this case, that enough people will care that a problem exists, contribute sufficiently, to offset the problem properly, without anyone to “tell them” how much to do so, or requiring that they do so, or how much, and that enough of those that *bother* to do so will have the skills and resources necessary to do shit all about the problem. None of which even starts to address the fact that this doesn’t work when 90% of society are doing semi-well, and there are no natural disasters, but becomes a complete cluster fuck, when half, or more, or some place’s people are poor, and something like a tsunami, or a major earthquake, hits.

    We know quite well that you *think* you care about helping people. The problem isn’t how much you care, or not. Its that you are historically ignorant, vastly delusional, and completely bloody clueless, about the realities, of how such a “voluntary” system absolutely has never, does not now, and, cannot be expected in the future, to work worth shit. All such a thing does is let those who “do” contribute a) pretend that they did something, when their contribution is worth almost nothing without the addition of far more people helping, no matter how big it may be, and b) complain about everyone else not being sufficiently charitable, like them.

    The difference, in this matter, between libertarians and liberals, is that you want something implausible and unlikely, while we want something ***practical***. A bit ironic, given how many times we get accused to wanting the impractical, by people that think wishing really hard that something that failed for the last 10,000 years of history, in the case of “voluntary charity”, or anything else that has been tried, over and over, and over again, with the same failed results, would just somehow work this time. And we get those arguments from “conservatives” too, when they babble about environmental policy, sex education, trickle down economics, and various other insane delusions, not just from libertarians.

    I’ll tell you how charity works for those corrupted by money – If you have an image problem, you play off the charity as a way to improve it. If you can get a tax break, you use the charity to make you *more* money that keeping your spare change would otherwise net you. If you are a real ass, you do the calculations and figure out that handing someone $5 makes you look good, even while you go a few blocks away, and waste $5,000 on a bottle of whine, while telling everyone how charitable you just where. What you do not *ever* do, no human ever does, is hand out money, right and left, to anyone that asks, without a benefit to yourself. And, sorry, but *most* of the people that have money to burn, don’t see, “helping their fellow man enough to matter worth shit, instead of just enough to make them look good to peers”, as a goal worth wasting their precious money on. You can see this, very clearly, in the insane argument, which, while exaggerated, amounts to your, and so many other’s, complaint that, “We can’t ‘comfortably’ line out mattresses with $100 bills, if someone is *telling* us we have to pay X% taxes, Y% of which goes to helping poor people! Something bad might happen, and I would have to use $50s instead!” Its an insane argument. It shouldn’t matter who distributes the damn money, as long as its being *used* properly. The only reason for it *to* matter is the admission that you have no intention at all, in contributing as much, or anything close, to the same, to all those “private voluntary social programs” that are supposed to replace the government ones. In short, the very claim that the system would be better, is both historically bullshit, its also weapons grade bullshit that *most* of the people that claim it would be better would, themselves, be doing anything near enough to make sure it worked, once they existed (though, they would be the first to claim it was someone else’s fault for failing).