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Just when you thought Libertarians couldn’t get any more revolting

Steven Landsburg carries out three “thought experiments”. They’re all pretty bad — one suggests that we have no grounds to complain about environmental destruction in Alaska if we’re living somewhere else, to which I’d have to reply, “You mean like Mars?” — but the third one…jebus, Mr Creepy McLiberturd is masturbating publicly here.

Let’s suppose that you, or I, or someone we love, or someone we care about from afar, is raped while unconscious in a way that causes no direct physical harm — no injury, no pregnancy, no disease transmission. (Note: The Steubenville rape victim, according to all the accounts I’ve read, was not even aware that she’d been sexually assaulted until she learned about it from the Internet some days later.) Despite the lack of physical damage, we are shocked, appalled and horrified at the thought of being treated in this way, and suffer deep trauma as a result. Ought the law discourage such acts of rape? Should they be illegal?

He provides his Libertarian philosophical answer.

As long as I’m safely unconsious and therefore shielded from the costs of an assault, why shouldn’t the rest of the world (or more specifically my attackers) be allowed to reap the benefits? And if the thought of those benefits makes me shudder, why should my shuddering be accorded any more public policy weight than Bob’s or Granola’s? We’re still talking about strictly psychic harm, right?

Maybe we could even talk about a positive advantage. You go in to a hospital for some essential medical treatment that involves anesthetizing you, and while you’re unconscious, the hospital pays for its services by leasing out your body to anyone willing to pay. Free health care! It’s a benefit, right?

It’s a remarkable claim from a Libertarian. If we’re not using our property at some moment, do we forfeit our rights to it? When Landsburg is not driving his car, is it OK if someone takes a joyride in it as long as it’s returned when he needs it, with the gas consumed replaced?

Is there really no cost to a person if their body is abused while they are unconscious? He writes as if this “psychic harm” is meaningless nothing. Reputation, security, trust…these are mere “psychic” phenomena, so they have no significance to a person?

And what gives this hypothetical rapist the right to use someone else’s body? Flip it around and try to justify the rapist’s exploitation of another for his personal benefit — by what right does that person deserve to “reap the benefits” of someone else’s unconsciousness…or for that matter, reap the benefits of the Alaskan wilderness? Mr Landsburg seems to naturally take the side of the takers and looters.

We’ve got a convenient phrase for what Landsburg is doing: it’s called JAQing off. He’s clearly a master.

Comments

  1. says

    “masturbating publicly” is right. Beneath all the ridiculous sopistry about harm and costs and benefits (in a subsequent comment, he actually said that taking liberties with an unconscius female body was a benefit to be weighed against the harm), what we’re seeing is a spoiled middle-aged white guy fantasizing about using someone else’s body as a fucktoy. What is his scenario about a harmless rape, if not pure fantasy?

  2. says

    We’ve got a convenient phrase for what Landsburg is doing: it’s called JAQing off. He’s clearly a master.

    …or maybe a mass-debater?

  3. Pierce R. Butler says

    Who ever thought libertarians could not get even more revolting?

    Even Landsburg hasn’t quite reached the ne plus ultraliberterantarian – though he has singlehandedly pushed the envelope further into the shitpit.

  4. says

    I ….. ewwwww. So, as long as he’s unconscious, I can take his belongings/break his house/terrorize his family?

    …… Here’s a man who needs a dose of humanity and a reduction of privilege, especially since women’s bodies are already treated like public property.

  5. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Calling this man vile is an understatement. I can’t even imagine what kind of a person would say this.
    *calming thoughts*

    And anyone who shows up to defend him is vile too, I don’t care about three post rules or charitable readings, if you can find it in yourself to defend this man’s position, you are scum.

  6. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I’m surprised it too him that many words to say: “I don’t know shit about being subjected to sexual assault, so let me mansplain you”.

  7. Akira MacKenzie says

    Sorry… My iPad was acting up.

    Back during my post-Republican association with libertarianism, my answer would have been “FUCK YES IT WAS RAPE!!!” (Hell, it would have been my answer back when I was goddamn Republican.) Maybe it was my crazy, personal interpretation of their whole “nonaggression axiom” thing, I don’t know.

    Perhaps it’s a good thing that I became a freedom-hating socialist, I don’t think I could have hacked it as defender of individual liberty.

  8. Alverant says

    So if someone were to pump NOx into his house to make him woozy then convince him to have intimate relations with a goat and take pictures of it, then hit him with another gas that causes amnesia, then it would be OK to post those pictures on the internet because he wouldn’t remember what happened and suffered no harm in the process. I’m not saying someone to do this, it’s the same thought experiment he’s proposing. Except now he’s the subject.

  9. Alverant says

    #7 Actually since his belongings have value, you can’t take them. Terrorizing his family, however, works with his logic provided you don’t hurt them.

  10. Randomfactor says

    Suppose there was some sort of drug which would induce such unconsciousness and block memory recall. As long as it’s one of those “no-harm, no-foul” experiences that would be OK too, right? Wonder what they would call that, it sure would be handy on dates.

    /retch.

    (By the way, how ’bout if the drug resulted in death instead. It’s not like the victim is going to know, right?)

  11. unclefrogy says

    if this guy is really serious with that reasoning he is advocating criminal behavior. It takes no effort at all to see that he is advocating date rape with drugs.
    he will get along just fine when he ends up in prison or at least entangled with the court system for conspiracy.

    uncle frogy

  12. briank says

    I fail to see how this is a libertarian stance. In fact, it seems the opposite of one.

    I am a libertarian, which (to my mind at least) means small government and advocacy of personal freedoms/civil liberties.

    In the professors case, he is discussing ignoring a person’s rights when they might be unaware of violations. This utterly contradicts what libertarians hold dear.

  13. says

    This is not libertarianism. This is not even the horrible logical extension of the ideas of libertarianism. This is just repugnant.

  14. glodson says

    Yea, as long as you gently rape your victim while she is unconscious, there’s no problem this guy can see. It isn’t like this is an entirely unrealistic, highly specific and contrived scenario in which this guy gets to explore the topic of rape in which he can totally justify the rape by making it a neutral act which has no impact on the victim and benefits the rapist.

  15. Muz says

    Libertarians have a thing about sentences that begin with “Why should…”, and where you see those two words bullshit, sometimes convoluted sometimes oversimplified, is usually sure to follow.
    This kinda takes the cake though. I thought for a while this “philosophy” seemed sure to ouroboros itself if you really thought about it. And here it is nicely caught up there; a Libertarian arguing for individual sovereignty being relative to consciousness.

  16. w00dview says

    Have to admit this does surprise me, libertarians are usually just apologists for corporate corruption. But now it seems the freedom of teh poor rapists is under threat as well. Why do these assholes ALWAYS side with the powerful and the oppressors and yet they throw a shit fit if you call them conservatives or republicans?

  17. blitzgal says

    Fucking. Asshole.

    Hey, asshole Libertarian, I’m going to put this into your disgusting, “value-based” piece of shit terminology. Shitheads like you view sex as a transactional exchange. So even within the bounds of your immoral, sociopathic philosophy, we are talking about theft, which IS an immediate harm to the unconscious person who had their body used sexually without their consent.

    But at this point, why is anyone expecting any sort of consistency from you hypocritical pieces of shit? You never show any.

  18. says

    We’re still talking about strictly psychic harm, right?

    which is somehow less bad than physical harm because why?

    Another reason to hate mind-body dualism

  19. Richard Smith says

    Reminds me of that stupid question that always seems to be found floating on clouds of testosterone: “If you could rape someone, and they would never know about it, would you?” Often, the “would you” is presupposed and modified with “who”. For whatever reason, I’d always get the strangest looks when I said I wouldn’t, not anyone. Sometimes they’d actually ask why not, to which I’d reply that I’d know. At least one time someone tried to push the thought experiment further by asking what if my memory of the experience could be erased too. I answered that, essentially, it would be as if it hadn’t happened, so what would the whole purpose of the assault be in the first place? This was way back in high school; Mr. Landsburg doesn’t even have that excuse.

  20. Chuck says

    It seems to me that if we have any rights in this world, we have the right to determine what happens to our own bodies. Why would we forfeit that right while we sleep?

    From a strictly utilitarian viewpoint, his argument is logical, but then so is the strictly utilitarian argument for slavery. Would he object to being enslaved if enough people were made happy by his slavery that it outweighed the harm it did to himself?

  21. says

    Some commenters have suggested that Question 3, unlike Questions 1 and 2, involves a violation of property rights. This seems entirely wrong to me; in each case, there is a disputed property right—a dispute over who controls my computer, a dispute over who controls the wilderness, a dispute about who controls my body.

    one more reason why the ownership-model of bodily autonomy is shit. There can never be a dispute about who has the right to control my body, because my body is me and I have a human right to not be enslaved.

  22. fastlane says

    I’m going to have to side with Pierce @6. Raise your hand if you thought libertarians actually couldn’t, or wouldn’t, get more revolting.

    Bueller…Bueller….

  23. says

    I am a libertarian, which (to my mind at least) means small government and advocacy of personal freedoms/civil liberties.

    Well bless your little heart, but you might want to have a look at what certain other people are using your precious label as cover for. Including this professor — have you seen the preface of his book? Standard libertarian anti-government rhetoric, complete with idiotic bragging about how he’s all about REASON and ECONOMICS, unencumbered by other people’s feelings.

  24. says

    From a strictly utilitarian viewpoint, his argument is logical

    not even. there are serious negative consequences to people from the ideas he espouses, and consequently they’re incompatible with evn strict utilitarianism; the same goes for slavery.

    The only way the argument that some humans bodily autonomy is non-absolute could be utiliarian is if you axiomatically reject the notion that all humans are indeed human, and thus assume that they don’t count in your utilitarian calculations.

  25. DLC says

    So, if you’re unconscious, can I take one of your kidneys ?
    Hey, you can get along just fine on one, and well you know, you won’t feel me removing yours, and nobody will really notice the scar, and besides, I might need that kidney more than you.
    Or maybe I just want to sell it so I can pay my rent.

  26. doublereed says

    I thought he was arguing from the position of Utilitarianism, not Libertarianism.

    Not that it matters. It’s stupid either way. A nonconsensual act has negative utility because it’s a nonconsensual act. And it’s absoutely psychotic that he doesn’t understand that the Right to Your Own Body is much more significant to Right to Property. In fact, I have no idea how one does not see that, because that’s basically openly supporting slavery.

  27. says

    This is the same economics professor that made a case that Sandra Fluke was a “prostitute”.

    As usual, the UofR published a statement that they in no way support his view. But as usual, they won’t do anything real about it.

    As Raging Bee mentioned above, the most revolting thing about Landsburg’s “thought experiment” is his view that molesting an unconscious person is a “benefit”.

  28. Pteryxx says

    Reminds me of that stupid question that always seems to be found floating on clouds of testosterone: “If you could rape someone, and they would never know about it, would you?” Often, the “would you” is presupposed and modified with “who”.

    *trigger warning because the switch is disturbing… which in itself is disturbing*

    For SOME reason (*hurk*) I’ve never seen this thought-experiment phrased as “If someone(s) could rape you while you were asleep or unconscious, so YOU didn’t know it happened, would you say that’s fine and they should have that right?”

    I can imagine the answers, though I sure don’t want to.

  29. glodson says

    From a strictly utilitarian viewpoint, his argument is logical…

    You mean his very specific and unrealistic example in which he tries to argue that rape is neutral is logical? Or that the comparisons in the three examples make sense? Like how he equates an anti-porn advocate seeking to limit what others do, the extreme environmentalist seeking to limit what others do and the rapist gently robbing a woman of her bodily autonomy while unconscious? Asking the question of what is the cost of the rape while ignoring the real damage that rape does to the victim based off of evidence and ignoring the reasons why people rape in the first place.

    It isn’t logical. The whole thing is stupid and worthless non sequiturs. In order for it to work, it has to be this highly specific and non-existent scenario where a rape victim, somehow, suffers no consequences of the rape. And he even points to Stebeunville, ignoring the social costs of her being raped even before the rapists were caught and punished.

  30. leftwingfox says

    “Anything’s legal as long as you don’t get caught.” codified as a moral argument…

    Fitting that comes from an economist.

  31. briank says

    Raging Bee,
    I’m sure that there are people who call themselves a member of a group and then go against that group’s stances. Self claimed “Skeptics” who are religious for example.

    That doesn’t change the philosophy of skepticism.

    In this blog’s example we have a person might who claim he is a libertarian, however his discussion clearly goes against libertarian philosophy. Frankly, I’m disappointed by PZ’s headline.

  32. mikee says

    EEWW

    I wonder how this guy sleeps at night. Really I wonder. Or does he assume that if someone can get to his body while asleep they can do what they like, so long as they drug him first.

    This “thought experiment” assumes a lot. That rape doesn’t cause physical damage or that someone wouldnt wake up during such a rape, both of which seem quite absurd.

  33. kestra says

    “Why would we forfeit that right while we sleep?”

    I pointed that same thing out on his post (comment 142) His response, (comment 143), read, in part, “it’s very hard (for me, at least) to articulate the utilitarian reason why you’d want to prevent an act with benefits to the rapist and no measurable costs to the victim.”

    I kinda lost it at that point and posted a long rant about how many different ways penetrative rape can hurt victims in ways other than “psychic trauma” (*retch*), including UTIs, Yeast Infections, Vaginal tearing, HPV or Herpes Simplex transmission, up to and including death from undiagnosed Cervical cancer.

    He deleted my post and sent me a private email saying I was off-topic and missing the point. If the point is that rapists, given the opportunity, will rape, I really fail to see how that is controversial or worth of discussion.

  34. glodson says

    He deleted my post and sent me a private email saying I was off-topic and missing the point. If the point is that rapists, given the opportunity, will rape, I really fail to see how that is controversial or worth of discussion.

    Yea, you are missing the point in that he doesn’t really want to talk about what really happens in a rape, what the real consequences of a rape can be, why people actually rape, or anything about rape rooted in evidence and reality. He just wants to talk about his magical thought experiment where he can have a “reasonable” argument for rape.

    Facts and reality have no place in his harmful mental masturbation.

  35. says

    If a creepy libertarian is oppressed by big government but there’s nobody around to see it, are they still oppressed?

    The game of stupid questions, I play it too!

  36. blitzgal says

    When the “no true Scotsman” fallacy rears its head in every single discussion of Libertarianism, it’s time to take a step back and admit that the fault is with the philosophy and not the naming of it.

  37. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    Good fuck that’s awful. Creepy, repugnant, ugh! Ugh!

    It gets worse, doesn’t it?

    Ugh!

  38. kestra says

    He said that physicists work problems ignoring things like friction and that’s all he’s doing to explore issues of social policy. Um… how is ignoring realworld consequences in order to examine realworld events and make policy decisions about them helpful or even relevant?

    If you read his original post carefully, he wasn’t even worried about how the *rape victim* would feel about their rape. He was wondering if policy should be made based on how the *family and friends* of the rape victim would feel knowing they had been raped. Yeah, if you take the consequences out of rape, I guess that it is a legitimate question about why it should be outlawed. Too bad there are always consequences of rape. Just like the problem with murder is sooner or later you end up with a corpse. I mean, what if, hypothetically, all murdered people were instantly re-created in replicas of their own bodies? Would murder be bad then? Well no, but since that never happens….who gives a shit?

  39. noastronomer says

    … Ought the law discourage such acts of rape? Should they be illegal?

    What a bloody stupid question.

    How could you ever prosecute anyone for such a crime? There’s no evidence. If any evidence did exist it would necessarily violate the conditions of the question, which is no harm to the victim. Aren’t college professors supposed to be smarter than this?

    Apart from the fact that the obvious answer is : Hell Yes!*

    Mike

    * to both the original question(s) and my last.

  40. says

    So, if you’re unconscious, can I take one of your kidneys ?

    It’s always puzzling when you encounter someone who takes utilitarianism seriously. There are some good ideas there but it’s got huge problems such as our questionable ability to know the good, and where and how you decide when the common good trumps the good of the individual. Libertarians don’t really dig into objections to utilitarianism very far; it’s as if they quote-mine Mill looking for confirmations of Ayn Rand’s ‘philosophy’ of selfishness. I wonder if there are any philosophers that don’t file utilitarianism under “nice try” – other than as post-facto justification it’s not really any way to live. A philosophy that hinges on our ability to accurately predict the future has, um, flaws.

  41. noastronomer says

    @Kestra #40

    He deleted my post

    Ah, so it’s *not* a thought experiment after all.

    Mike

  42. R Johnston says

    When the “no true Scotsman” fallacy rears its head in every single discussion of Libertarianism, it’s time to take a step back and admit that the fault is with the philosophy and not the naming of it.

    The fault with libertarianism, IMO, lies more in the fact that it’s not actually any kind of coherent philosophy whatsoever. “I’ve got mine, fuck you” papered over with incoherent and contradictory definitions of things like “freedom,” “government,” “utility,” etc. doesn’t qualify as philosophy. There’s no actual system of beliefs or axioms beyond “I’ve got mine, fuck you” and there’s not even a hint of an actual mode of argument attached to the libertarian label. There’s just an everchanging sea of contradictory assertions plucked out of the ether as is convenient as half-assed rationalizations for the libertarian sociopathy of the moment, and they don’t even do that well–look, for example, at Stephen Landsburg in this instance, who might as well be arguing that rape’s just fine if the moon is made of green cheese because leprechauns!

  43. Chuck says

    [quote]It isn’t logical. The whole thing is stupid and worthless non sequiturs. In order for it to work, it has to be this highly specific and non-existent scenario where a rape victim, somehow, suffers no consequences of the rape. And he even points to Stebeunville, ignoring the social costs of her being raped even before the rapists were caught and punished.[/quote]

    Hypothesizing about unreal conditions is what philosophers do: they try to strip away everything that’s not essential to their argument and follow that through to it’s logical conclusion. Of course this is a highly specific and non-existent scenario. So was Einstein’s elevator. So is Schrodinger’s cat. If you throw away everything you know and feel about rape, and bodily autonomy, and a person’s right to determine what happens to their own body, and feelings about slavery, and domination/submission and patriarchial cultures and the privilege of athletes and etc etc the bare premises do lead to a conclusion of no physical harm. That’s how he set it up.

    But the obvious answer is that physical harm is not the only harm you can do to another person. And in the real world, as you say, we don’t get to toss aside what we know about rape, slavery, autonomy, etc etc. And so unlike Einstein’s elevator or Schrodinger’s cat, the argument here has no real world counterpart, and thus is completely useless, even to demonstrate whatever point he is trying to make: so surgeons can molest anesthetized patients, so long as they do it gently? Dentists can do whatever they like while you’re under the effects of medications? Haven’t we decided for good reason that we send people to jail for doing just that?

    That’s why he’s JAQing off. There’s no ultimate point to be had here, even if you follow through his ridiculous argument to his own ridiculous conclusion.

  44. Richard Smith says

    @R Johnston (#50):

    and there’s not even a hint of an actual mode of argument attached to the libertarian label.

    Now I’ve got “Just look for the libertarian label” stuck in my head…

  45. glodson says

    @ Chuck

    That’s my point. It isn’t even a thought experiment. It isn’t logical. It is nonsense. He’s trying to justify the indefensible. Either he really doesn’t understand what the problem is, or he’s trying to downplay rape. So he’s either a harmfully stupid rape apologist, or he’s a complete bastard rape apologist.

  46. says

    He deleted my post and sent me a private email saying I was off-topic and missing the point.

    I posted a comment saying his premises were false from the get-go, and he deleted that too. Just another disgusting pervert crawling out from under a rock, only to find he can’t handle the sunlight.

    This guy is an embarrassment to pervy middle-aged men. Can’t he at least keep his totally unrealistic rape fantasies to himself? There’s more appropriate places on the Internet to talk about such things.

  47. Doug Hudson says

    Sweet Zombie Jesus, that’s repugnant.

    glodson @54, never attribute to stupidity what can be attributed to misogyny.

  48. lamaria says

    This is… the stuff of nightmares. I really prefer the one with the fireballs. Or simple monsters. It´s somehow worse when “normal” humans say/do something like this because you can´t recognize them by sight. How can anyone EVER feel safe when someone like this guy doesn´t “just” think something as appalling as this in a guilty fantasy but actually says it out loud and expects their opinion to be respected?

  49. psocoptera says

    @35 Pteryxx – Some friends and I actually did that thought experiment in college (where at least one of us had experienced date rape). None of us thought that someone else had the right sexual assault us. I was shocked at the variation in how disturbing we each found the question, though. Personally, although I couldn’t articulate exactly why at the time, I was extremely creeped out by it. But, that said, there was almost no variation in how we felt about a rape that we knew had happened, regardless of physical trauma. Dismissing “psychic” problems as unimportant is asinine, irrational, and ignorant. And I am shocked, shocked to find irrational thinking from a libertarian.

    36 – in this highly unlikely scenario, one of the “harms” is that you still never find out that the person who did this to you is a sociopath and may trust them when you should not. Interpersonal knowledge is extremely important for human interaction – it is essential to making informed decisions. I think Landsburg probably doesn’t imagine his “beneficiary” as a sociopath. Could explain a lot about him.

  50. says

    Does he ever specify what the supposed “benefits” are to the rapist?

    He apparently considers them obvious. He says that “those benefits makes me shudder” but fails to specify whether with horror or excitement.

  51. glodson says

    never attribute to stupidity what can be attributed to misogyny.

    True.

    And I’ve seen two people(at least) mention their comments were either deleted or edited. Makes a posting which is nothing but rape apologetics, then censors comments when they challenge him.

  52. doublereed says

    I’m actually a little confused at this point. Ignore the whole rape apologist BS for now, and just help me out here.

    I was under the impression that atheism actually does lend itself very quickly to a consequentialist viewpoint (that is: the good or badness of an action is determined by its consequences). Suddenly I’m hearing a lot of hate toward utilitarianism itself, and I am confused. Is there a difference between utilitarianism and consequentialism? We certainly have the opinion that we care about laws depending on their consequences. Isn’t that the same as utility?

  53. psocoptera says

    Also, would someone please lend me some brain bleach? I do not seem to have enough…

  54. doublereed says

    Yea, I made a post under the clever name of “ActuallyRapeIsBad” but it was deleted.

  55. says

    The fault with libertarianism, IMO, lies more in the fact that it’s not actually any kind of coherent philosophy whatsoever.

    Actually, it’s an ideology tailor-made to serve and justify the interests of one class of people: the unscrupulous rich who pay for the tailoring. It is a coherent philosophy, in the same way that a call-girl creates a coherent persona to serve a particular client. It’s “coherent” because it’s crafted for one purpose, without having to have any connection to that much less coherent thing called “real life.”

    There’s a bit in the fourth book of the “Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy” trilogy, where Ford Prefect meets a beautiful female whose PhD in economics enables her to make a good living explaining to rich people how their rapacious greed is actually beneficial to society, and how dare anyone try to restrict that benefit by regulating their enlightened self-interest! Support you with economic sophistry long time fifty grand!

  56. doubtthat says

    I haven’t read all of the comments, but people seem to be explaining what’s wrong with this from the victim’s perspective exactly correctly.

    I’m also curious about this:

    why shouldn’t the rest of the world (or more specifically my attackers) be allowed to reap the benefits?

    Uh, huh? What “benefits”? Set aside the issue of harm being caused (for the moment, I think everyone has explained that well already), what is gained? Renewable energy? The Philosopher’s Stone? Ejaculation?

    The obvious problems of being unable to detect the rather obvious harm to having one’s consent circumvented (hey, if a dentists puts you under and is disease free, they should be able to go sick, amirite?), this betrays a very bizarre notion of sexuality — somehow you’re trying to “get” something from the other party. It’s certainly not a unique standpoint, but it’s highly perverse.

  57. Ogvorbis, broken failure. says

    Okay. That’s it. I want out of humanity. Now.

    So if I don’t remember being raped for 35 or so years, then

    As long as I’m safely unconsious and therefore shielded from the costs of an assault, why shouldn’t the rest of the world (or more specifically my attackers) be allowed to reap the benefits?

    What the fuck is wrong with people? There are still photos of me as a nine-year-old boy having sex and because I don’t remember it the rapist can ‘reap the benefits’? I have no where to go twith t this except down. Fuck.

  58. A. Noyd says

    Also, what if we redefined rape to mean playing someone else’s trumpet while they’re in the lavatory and supposed that trumpet playing could cause flowers to bloom. Ought the law discourage such acts of rape?

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    Asher Kay (#60)

    He apparently considers them obvious. He says that “those benefits makes me shudder” but fails to specify whether with horror or excitement.

    Thanks. If I hadn’t already procrastinated all my free time for the day, I would be tempted to go see if I could get him to specify. But, alas (alas?), I can’t afford to do that.

  59. imkindaokay says

    It’s always puzzling when you encounter someone who takes utilitarianism seriously. There are some good ideas there but it’s got huge problems such as our questionable ability to know the good, and where and how you decide when the common good trumps the good of the individual. Libertarians don’t really dig into objections to utilitarianism very far; it’s as if they quote-mine Mill looking for confirmations of Ayn Rand’s ‘philosophy’ of selfishness. I wonder if there are any philosophers that don’t file utilitarianism under “nice try” – other than as post-facto justification it’s not really any way to live. A philosophy that hinges on our ability to accurately predict the future has, um, flaws.

    Just because you don’t know the future, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Every moral decision you make is flawed if that is your criticism…

  60. says

    Also, would someone please lend me some brain bleach?

    Yeah, if we all bleach our brains, that will make Landsburg’s toxic crap harmless.

  61. kestra says

    The whole “benefits for the rapist” bit is a complete tell. He complains about how you can’t dissect the issue without holding in abeyance *all* realworld consequences, from knowledge of violation to disease transmission, but then goes on to assume that for the rapist, the rape of an incapacitated person is a benefit so obvious that he doesn’t even explain what that is. Sexual satisfaction? Power thrill? Adrenaline rush? Knowledge of another human’s anatomy?

    The (largely feminine) concerns of diseases, especially female-anatomy specific ones like yeast infections and UTIs, which are far more common outcomes of sex than other STIs, are ignored. He doesn’t even bother to mention them! But for the (assumed to be male) perpetrator, the sexual pleasure of a passed-out human body is so obvious he doesn’t even examine it. This, right here, is Rape Culture with a capital fucking F. All receptive bodies are legitimate vessels for sexual satisfaction as long as that body isn’t in a state to object. The victim doesn’t even have enough agency to be conscious of their own violation! If any rapist can sexually satisfy himself without causing active harm, not only should he, but Landsburg can’t think of a good reason why he *shouldn’t*. Augh augh augh augh.

  62. Azuma Hazuki says

    Uh…wouldn’t the core of libertarianism lead to OPPOSITION to his example, since the idea is freedom over one’s body? He talks of harm and benefit, not ownership or freedom; this sounds more like some kind of ill-thought-out utilitarianism than libertarianism.

    Now if he said “I hereby formally give permission for anyone to use my body this way under these circumstances” he’d have some valid ground to stand on. For himself. But this was not only vile but also ill-planned-out.

  63. glodson says

    Does he ever specify what the supposed “benefits” are to the rapist?

    I’m getting the impression that his idea of the “benefits” must be purely in terms of sexual release. Which ignores why people rape in the real world.

    But he does this all to talk about how to get a benefit for the rapist, allow for a rapist to deny consent, and ignore the possible consequences of being raped.

    This is puerile garbage. Rape apologetics disguised as philosophical musings in which important elements of rape are ignored, elements that cannot be ignored, all for the sake of his “thought” experiment.

  64. imkindaokay says

    Someone on my philosophy course said something similar when I told him I was a utilitarian; philosophers are shit.

  65. says

    Re:
    31. Jadehawk 3 April 2013 at 1:36 pm (UTC -5)
    36. glodson 3 April 2013 at 1:44 pm (UTC -5)

    You may dislike the utilitarian argument. It’s not supposed to be moral. It’s an example of logic given certain specific and narrow presumptions. Of course it comes to horrible outcomes – that’s why it needs to be explained and balanced with other reasons. Utility arguments take no stock in personal autonomy and freedom to make choices. That’s the point.

    If you want it to fit your meaning, you’ve twisted it from a defined set into whatever you’ve decided, and then the word becomes useless.

    Duh.

    The ‘nuh-uh, that can’t be what it means because it’s horrible’ isn’t an argument that any Ethics instructor will find appropriate.

  66. Chuck says

    I was under the impression that atheism actually does lend itself very quickly to a consequentialist viewpoint (that is: the good or badness of an action is determined by its consequences). Suddenly I’m hearing a lot of hate toward utilitarianism itself, and I am confused. Is there a difference between utilitarianism and consequentialism? We certainly have the opinion that we care about laws depending on their consequences. Isn’t that the same as utility?

    There are some serious problems with utilitarianism, including the pro-slavery argument: if enslaving a small group of people maximizes the happiness/good/utility for a very large group of people, then the terrible evils done to those enslaved people are outweighed by the minor goods done to a large group of people. Philosophers have tried to overcome this by positing a “rule-based” utilitarianism where rules are instituted based on their utility, instead of weighing the utility of various actions. But that has its own problems, including breaking down into deontology.

    I don’t think there’s anything inherent in atheism that lends itself to a utilitarian/consequentialist ethics — except maybe as a reaction to the largely authoritarian ethics of religion.

  67. Ulysses says

    Here we see libertarianism in the most naked sense (sorry, couldn’t resist). Libertarianism is about ME and benefits for ME. Landsburg’s scenario is “pretending there’s no downside for you. satisfying ME is good and moral and just and ME ME ME!”

  68. imkindaokay says

    The ‘nuh-uh, that can’t be what it means because it’s horrible’ isn’t an argument that any Ethics instructor will find appropriate.

    Nor is this anything anyone has said.

    Utilitarianism + veil of ignorance = joy.

    Philosophers have tried to overcome this by positing a “rule-based” utilitarianism where rules are instituted based on their utility, instead of weighing the utility of various actions. But that has its own problems, including breaking down into deontology.

    Nah that’s not what rule utilitarianism is or attempts to do.

  69. freemage says

    I’m actually a little confused at this point. Ignore the whole rape apologist BS for now, and just help me out here.

    I was under the impression that atheism actually does lend itself very quickly to a consequentialist viewpoint (that is: the good or badness of an action is determined by its consequences). Suddenly I’m hearing a lot of hate toward utilitarianism itself, and I am confused. Is there a difference between utilitarianism and consequentialism? We certainly have the opinion that we care about laws depending on their consequences. Isn’t that the same as utility?

    There’s two broad categories of ‘utilitarianism’. The first is “act utilitarianism”, which removes any consideration of larger context, and places the querent in only one of the positions in the thought-experiment, usually the privileged one. Thus, it’s pretty much useful only for JAQing off and talking about invisible, intangible and inaudible pink unicorns, and the poaching thereof. “Rule utilitarianism”, on the other hand, is built around real-world estimates of potential consequences, and requires (among other things), making determinations from a universal perspective–that is, assuming during the course of the experiment that you are in the role of everyone involved, and of a disinterested observer, as well.

    Guess which one this douchebag was using.

  70. says

    @ Marcus Ranum:

    It’s even more egregious when non-philosophers, like this professor of economics, try their hand at utilitarian ethics. They never fail to follow down some crucial line o reasoning in their own little thought experiments.

    Here, for instance, Landsburg tries to make the case that if there’s no *observable* consequence to the victim *now*, there’s no problem. Well, no, professor, you didn’t think it through! There are two people in his scenario: the unconscious victim, and the sneaky opportunist who takes advantage of her. She doesn’t know (yet) what happened, but the rapist does. It’s only a matter of time before he lets something transpire, if only by a joke in passing to some common acquaintance, or by winking or sniggering when he next crosses her path, or maybe by bragging about it anonymously online… And we are back to the kind of harm that even someone who downplays the importance of “psychic” (or rather psychological) consequences can’t deny easily.

    Note that my assumptions that, 1) the rapist will not stay totally silent about such an incident, and 2) he and his victim belong to roughly the same social circle, are reasonable if we talk about the real world. There’s enough sociological literature to support this model, and not the classic economics model of “totally autonomous and rational” agents obviously favored by Landsburg.

    So, even if one took at face value his horrendously inhuman scenario, its failure at realistic modeling of human behaviour is *still* a fatal flaw. Pure economics do not a viable philosophy make.

  71. Azuma Hazuki says

    Humanist ethics do tend to be consequentialist in that they’re not deontological. IMO they reduce down to something similar, except instead of “God says so” it becomes “human nature and reality itself ‘says’ so.” Deontology, in my opinion, is an attempt to bridge the is-ought gap. Personally I think this is futile; we’re tiny, limited beings, and we’d best stick to what we know.

    That said, consequentialist ethics need not be purely utilitarian. One can argue for a consequentialist virtue ethic, as ridiculous as this sounds, because the virtue ethic “lifestyle” produces the best consequences.

    In my case, I am definitely consequentialist, and follow this path: “virtues” are “behaviors which lead to decreased suffering and increased harmony.” My ethical bedrock is more or less “do what causes the least suffering to the fewest people, and do not allow one individual’s suffering to exceed a certain point (partly determined BY that person). As well, respect a person’s autonomy and treat them as you would wish to be treated.”

  72. imkindaokay says

    he first is “act utilitarianism”, which removes any consideration of larger context, and places the querent in only one of the positions in the thought-experiment, usually the privileged one.

    Nothing about act utilitarianism requires ignoring context.

  73. psocoptera says

    Raging Bee – Ouch. that is a little disturbing. I was thinking of it as more of a sterilization metaphor, not a memory wipe. *shudders*

  74. glodson says

    @ Crissa

    I’m not commenting on Utilitarianism itself. I’m looking at what he said. What his points are. In order for there to be no negative to the victim, he has to ignore all the real dangers of rape, he has to ignore what motivates rape in the first place, he has to ignore the social consequences of being raped, he has to create a wholly unrealistic situation, not based on reality, with no basis in fact, in order to railroad to his conclusion.

    I am saying that what he wrote doesn’t make sense, even in the context of utilitarianism. It isn’t logical. His premises are false, it is an example of spurious reasoning. It is attempting to legitimize rape apologetics by clumsily trying to assert utilitarianism.

  75. briank says

    Blitzgal,
    I’m assuming your comment about the No-true Scotsman was in reply to mine.

    I am NOT saying that the Professor isn’t a libertarian. I am saying that his rape scenario goes against libertarian philosophy. Do you understand the difference?

    Now what I’m about to say isn’t necessarily against you, but rather these comment threads. I’m surprised that so many stereotypes towards libertarians are hammered here again and again. I thought a lot of the commentators here are atheists. The “I’ve got mine and fuck everyone else”, resembles the familiar, “atheists don’t believe in God because they want to lead sinful lives.”

  76. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    imkindaokay: the term “utilitarianism” has acquired a connotation of attachment to some very naive and simplistic formulations of consequential ethics.

    I don’t think there’s anything inherent in atheism that lends itself to a utilitarian/consequentialist ethics — except maybe as a reaction to the largely authoritarian ethics of religion.

    Ethics are inherently consequential, except under an artficially restricted Dictionary Sense of “consequences” or “results.” Note the lack of any argument against basing ethical judgments on consequences of actions which does not, sooner or later, appeal to the alleged consequences of doing so.

  77. says

    I’m sure that there are people who call themselves a member of a group and then go against that group’s stances.

    If you take for yourself a label that has been tainted, then you take on yourself the taint as well as the label. If you’re against the stance of a group, then you shouldn’t be wearing the group’s colors. Don’t call yourself a communist if you don’t want to be associated wtih Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, The Three Kims, Ho, etc. And don’t call yourself a Crip, then try to dissociate yourself from the other Crips, then expect anyone to take you seriously. If you’re going to start making a “No True Crip” argument, while wearing secondhand Crip colors, you better be far from Crip turf.

  78. Eristae says

    Oh for the love of pizza.

    This is like arguing, “If I man holds a gun to your head, says he will kill you if you don’t allow him to rape you, proceeds to rape you, and you suffer no physical harm (no tearing, no bleeding, no pregnancy, no disease), then it’s fine, because the only damage you suffered was psychic damage. After all, he didn’t actually shoot you.”

    Also, “psychic” damage can cause physical damage. I know this. I’ve had stress cause my digestive tract to malfunction so badly that I physically lost the ability to keep solid (and often liquid) food down. If I wasn’t living in a time of modern medicine, I’d be dead. But no one hit me, gave me a disease, or made me pregnant. Just so mentally damaged that my body started to shut down.

  79. nooneinparticular says

    The rape “thought experiment” was…well appalling doesn’t even come close.

    But PZ when you said the second of the thought experiments…

    “suggests that we have no grounds to complain about environmental destruction in Alaska if we’re living somewhere else, to which I’d have to reply, “You mean like Mars?”

    …you are misrepresenting what he was saying about that “thought experiment”.

    To show why I think you’ve misrepresented him….Landsburg wrote a response to a commentator who suggested that her answer to thought experiment #2 would be “Yes”. The commentator thought the woman had psychic distress because she was aware of the putative harm done to the environment even though she had no plans to go there;

    “We all agree that the sorts of actual harm you’re describing should have public policy weight. The question was whether Granola’s psychic distress should have *additional* weight over and above that. That’s why I proposed a hypothetical in which the psychic harm is the only harm.”

    IOW, he was asking a very narrow question here – should “Granola’s” (and presumably anyone’s) psychic harm alone play a role in public policy debate? Academics sometimes do this kind of metal masturbation.

    And please, just because I think PZ misrepresented Landsburg 2nd “thought experiment” does not mean I am a libertarian (I am not) nor does it mean I think his 3rd “thought experiment” wasn’t revolting.

  80. says

    You may dislike the utilitarian argument. It’s not supposed to be moral. It’s an example of logic given certain specific and narrow presumptions. Of course it comes to horrible outcomes – that’s why it needs to be explained and balanced with other reasons. Utility arguments take no stock in personal autonomy and freedom to make choices.

    except that you can’t make an utilitarian argument that something with negative consequences for a large numb of people is good. By definition you cannot make that argument. Utilitarianism is based on the axiom of “the greatest good for the greatest number of people”, and consequently you cannot make an utilitarian argument for something that will have strong negative effects for a lot of people unless the benefits outweigh the cost in quality and quantity; which means you cannot make an utilitarian argument for rape, because the benefits of allowing rapists to rape do not outweigh the damage to their victims; not even unconscious ones (and that’s not even counting the massive splash damage on people’s mental health of having to be afraid to be around people lest they doze off and be legally raped or killed or whatever.

    tl;dr: rape is not an utilitarian good

  81. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The “I’ve got mine and fuck everyone else”, resembles the familiar, “atheists don’t believe in God because they want to lead sinful lives.”

    Unevidenced OPINION, *floosh* dismissed as self-serving fuckwittery. If you can prove your points with evidence, do so. Otherwise, drop them.

  82. Ulysses says

    briank @85

    I am NOT saying that the Professor isn’t a libertarian. I am saying that his rape scenario goes against libertarian philosophy. Do you understand the difference?

    Landsburg is exemplifying the libertarian philosophy. He is literally “I got mine, fuck you” in this scenario. How more libertarian could he be?

    Never mind, I just figured out how he fails to fulfill the libertarian philosophy. He didn’t mention capitalism or whine about the big, bad government.

  83. sirbedevere says

    All I can say is that we need more Libertarians like this guy… to thoroughly disgrace the entire movement.

  84. doublereed says

    Of course academics do this kind of mental masturbation. However, his point does not require rape apologetics or trivializing sexual assault. It does not require creating such an environment and absolute disrespect to people’s autonomy.

    You own a car. I decide to drive your car. I hijack your car without damaging it, without you knowing, drive it around, and return it, filling it up with gas. Should this be illegal???

    Bam. Done. Same point, but with less misogyny, less rape culture bullshit, and less psychopathy.

  85. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I am NOT saying that the Professor isn’t a libertarian. I am saying that his rape scenario goes against libertarian philosophy. Do you understand the difference?

    Now what I’m about to say isn’t necessarily against you, but rather these comment threads. I’m surprised that so many stereotypes towards libertarians are hammered here again and again. I thought a lot of the commentators here are atheists. The “I’ve got mine and fuck everyone else”, resembles the familiar, “atheists don’t believe in God because they want to lead sinful lives.”

    *facepalm*. Every fucking time: a condescending glibertarian tells us just how wrong we are about condescending glibertarians.

  86. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    …because that’s worked so well on the fetus-fondlers.

  87. Gregory Greenwood says

    OK, we have a winner – Steven Landsburg is now officially my #1 most disgustingly evil, rapist in waiting, piece of human excrement evah. Anyone who not only engages in your typical disgusting MRA rape apologia, but goes on to classify rape as a ‘benefit’ to be weighed against the harm it causes and to directly attempt to justify drug assisted rape, definitely falls into the category of people I would not even bother urinating upon if they were on fire.

    Do I really have to share a species with this repugnant arsehat?

  88. says

    Just because you don’t know the future, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Every moral decision you make is flawed if that is your criticism…

    Wel, it is a bit of a problem if your premise for your system of morals is to try to do the greatest good for the greatest number – making such a decision on someone else’s behalf, when all you’re really doing is guessing at outcomes, well, that’s problematic. Utilitarianism presupposes that we know what’s best, in order to ask us to do it. The problems are, we may be wrong, we may disagree, we may be ignorant.

    I’m perfectly OK with the idea that we may make flawed moral decisions. Like everyone else, I do it all the time. And, yes, that’s a general objection to the idea of morals unless your view of morals is that they’re an emergent property of what you do, rather than that what you do emerges from your morals.

  89. imkindaokay says

    by which i mean specifically

    the term “utilitarianism” has acquired a connotation of attachment to some very naive and simplistic formulations of consequential ethics

  90. unbound says

    Actually, I’ve never really thought of Libertarians as revolting (there are always individuals who are revolting in any group), just as extremely naive idiots in general (I imagine most of the leaders are intentionally dishonest which is why they tend to support pro-corporate views nearly all the time).

    This is very disgusting, and overall rather in line with typical Libertarian thought. I saw a few comments from Libertarians that they don’t think this way, but they really need to consider what the overall message of Libertarianism really is…it is supposed to be about freedom to do pretty much whatever you want without silly government things getting in the way like laws, police, regulations (which are really laws specific to an industry), etc. The thought experiment described is taking that to an extreme, but it really is in line with Libertarian thought.

  91. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    Nerd, I know it’s your hobby to paste that line all over the forums lately, but this is ridiculous.

    This:

    The “I’ve got mine and fuck everyone else”, resembles the familiar, “atheists don’t believe in God because they want to lead sinful lives.”

    is saying that the common understanding of Libertianism as ‘I’ve got mine and fuck everyone else’ has a similar ring to the understanding by some that atheistsm, ‘don’t believe in God because they want to lead sinful lives.’

    It’s not something that requires evidence. It’s not even an opinion. It’s a freaking observational comparison. I’d note that it’s wrong, because libertarianism does largely reduce to the quoted sentence, but your response is just plain stupid. It’s a non-sequitur; it doesn’t follow.

  92. R Johnston says

    I am saying that what he wrote doesn’t make sense, even in the context of utilitarianism. It isn’t logical. His premises are false, it is an example of spurious reasoning. It is attempting to legitimize rape apologetics by clumsily trying to assert utilitarianism.

    So it’s like every other right-wing effort to assert utilitarianism in that it completely denies the iterative nature of life, denies the harm in encouraging bad behavior by tolerating instances that happen through sheer dumb luck not to cause great harm, denies the declining marginal value of pretty much everything, and insists on supremely awful proxies for measuring utility?

  93. briank says

    Nerd of Redhead,
    Um. Yes, it is my opinion that many commentators are continuing false stereotypes. I guess I could quote all the insults and stereotypes listed on here, but I’m typing this on my cellphone which makes it kinda hard.

    I am a libertarian. I have worked as an ER/Trauma nurse for many years. I volunteer and give to charities. My mere existence goes against the stereotype of “fuck everyone else”. Likewise, there are many other libertarians who likewise try to help society.

    Raging Bee,
    Yes, I take on false stereotypes when I identify with a stigmatized group. Much like I did when I declared myself an “atheist”. I therefore try to educate others to try and combat these false and hurtful demonizations.

  94. Ichthyic says

    Likewise, there are many other libertarians who likewise try to help society.

    then you’re a modern progressive, not a libertarian.

    *shrug*

    why keep the wrong name to yourself if you don’t want flak for it?

  95. Thomathy, Gay Where it Counts says

    briank, libertarianism is a broken ideology.

    false stereotypes

    You’ve appropriated the wrong name for your political leanings. Those aren’t stereotypes you’re seeing because you’re not the exception, you’re just not libertarian.

  96. Eristae says

    @briank

    I am NOT saying that the Professor isn’t a libertarian. I am saying that his rape scenario goes against libertarian philosophy. Do you understand the difference

    You there! Go convince the Professor that his arguments are against the libertarian philosophy. After all, he’s the one who has decided to represent himself and his arguments as libertarian. We aren’t the ones who put that forth. If you don’t like the association between his, his arguments, and libertarianism, go poke at him. Fussing at us won’t change what he’s doing. And if I consistently hear shitty, demeaning, oppressive, and vile arguments being made by those who present themselves as libertarians, I see no reason to decide that libertarianism is something other than its proponents consistently present it as. In a situation where vile libertarians are the norm and decent ones are the exception, I’m going to have to conclude that it is the decent libertarians who aren’t the real libertarians, and then wonder why the decent ones don’t pick a new name.

  97. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’d note that it’s wrong, because libertarianism does largely reduce to the quoted sentence, but your response is just plain stupid. It’s a non-sequitur; it doesn’t follow.

    Actually it does. Liberturdism is nothing but evidenceless slogans. They need to admit that. And I notice briank #104 gives a non-sequitur anecdote, which isn’t evidence, nor will their opinion of what liberturdism be evidence. Typical response.

  98. Louis says

    So this guy mentioned in the OP thinks that because person X is unconscious and will not notice being raped, that their being raped whilst unconscious is no biggie and that person X’s unconsciousness permits the rest of the world (form an orderly queue) to sate their penchant for rape* upon Person X’s unconscious body because no harm no foul?

    Erm.

    Cheque please. I wish to move to a different species. One nearer the civilisation and away from the toilet door. I will be complaining to the manager.

    The exists no universe in which pissants like this interlocutor need to be taken seriously. They need to be mocked mercilessly as the numb-minded fools they are.

    Louis

    *Who knew the rest of the world was so rapey? 7 billion rapey folks? Golly!

  99. Chuck says

    Ethics are inherently consequential, except under an artficially restricted Dictionary Sense of “consequences” or “results.” Note the lack of any argument against basing ethical judgments on consequences of actions which does not, sooner or later, appeal to the alleged consequences of doing so.

    No. I’d recommend reading Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason,” except I try not to recommend torture. The Categorical Imperative does not depend on or appeal to consequences or results, merely the logic of universalizing the intent behind one’s action.

  100. Eristae says

    Oh, and I posted this on his blog, but I’ll post it here, too, especially because my post is in moderation and I don’t know if it will come out:

    I’d like to point out that nowhere in Question 3 is it stated that the rape victim never learns of his/her rape. Instead, it is argued that mental harm alone is not enough to say that a crime has been committed against the rape victim. Thus, under this worldview, the Steubenville rape victim wouldn’t be a victim of a crime even given the fact that she learned of the assault because the only harm that she suffered was mental (and not physical) harm.

    So it isn’t just a “It shouldn’t be a crime if no one learns about it” (which would be stupid because no one prosecutes crimes that no one knows about), it’s “It’s not a crime even if the victim does learn about it.”

    Or, to paraphrase, I’ll refer to what Jadehawk said: EWW!

  101. imkindaokay says

    imagine reading kant and giving a shit about what he has to say
    i can’t do it myself

  102. gijoel says

    Disgusting. Completely ignores the physical risks that poor girl had of becoming pregnant, and/or catching a STD. Then tries to whitewash it by asking if you don’t remember it, is it assault? Of course it’s fucking assault.

  103. Azuma Hazuki says

    @111

    Chuck, the problem with that is that universalizing ethics may not be possible. Kant comes from an earlier age where all reality was assumed to work more or less mechanistically; the CI is a classic case of “with enough computational power we can compute the future arbitrarily far in advance” given a philosophical bent.

    I just think it’s unwise to try and universalize the thought processes of mere humans. We know so little of the reality around us and we can’t read the future. Doesn’t this suffer from some of the same flaws as utilitarianism? if there is a CI not to lie, does that mean a man sheltering a Jew from the SS should tell the SS man “yes I have a Jew here?”

  104. says

    imagine reading kant and giving a shit about what he has to say
    i can’t do it myself

    me neither; an impression not helped by the fact that I also cannot imagine an argument that would convince me that intent is more important than consequences.

  105. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Chuck #111

    Permit me to attempt a clarification for you. Kant’s Categorial Imperative absolutely depends on consequentialism …for its existence. It was created to have positive results and advocates promote its use because it is perceived to generate positive results.

    The **operation** of the Categorical Imperative depends in no way at all on results.

  106. briank says

    Ichthyic said,

    then you’re a modern progressive, not a libertarian.

    *shrug*

    why keep the wrong name to yourself if you don’t want flak for it?

    I never needed to call myself an atheist. I knew there was flak for taking that label. That didn’t stop me from trying to fight ignorance and discuss things in a calm and peaceful manner. Why should I alter that on a different label?

    I would say that the definition of libertarianism was usurped by Faux News. All the libertarians I personally know are against corporate welfare, yet, Fox News and Neocons try to usurp the label and use it for precisely furthering that entitlement.

    Unbound,
    You are proving my earlier “opinion”. I do not support small government because I want to do whatever I want (which to me sounds like, “atheists don’t embrace god because they want to do whatever they want”). It’s more that I do not trust large government. I am a former bureaucrat who saw how money spent on social programs are typically spent, who knows about how the United States government locked up American citizens solely due to their ethnicity, who conducted radiation and bacterial experiments on large numbers of non-consenting citizens, etc.

    Eristae,
    How do you know that I am not trying to discuss these things with people like that professor?
    Let’s face it, you’re hearing from faux-libertarians because there is a lot of money involved in swaying people’s political views. If I and the other libertarians tried to take a new term to describe us, if it ever became popular, then other groups would again try to usurp it… groups with likely more media clout than we would have.

    *btw, if I am posting too often (per PZ’s rules), let me know.

    Illuminata,
    I am sorry if I came across as condescending. It is hard to convey emotion/context a lot of the time. I was sincerely just trying to be calm and explain my views.

  107. says

    What really creeps me out is that this guy is allowed to teach. There are presumably women in his class, they have to take exams with this psycho. Will this be an exam question? Even if it’s not, they go in knowing that it could be.

    Sidenote:
    It really feels good to read the comments here. Everyone is horrified and we all know why. I was reading another thread this morning (on Dispatches), where quite a few commenters seemed quite unconcerned. Even a very chilling account by Cerberus (Bravo!) on the harm caused by rape was simply ignored.

  108. David Marjanović says

    As Raging Bee mentioned above, the most revolting thing about Landsburg’s “thought experiment” is his view that molesting an unconscious person is a “benefit”.

    I don’t understand why anyone would want an unresponsive partner.

    The more I learn about the world, the more it seems like there are scarily large numbers of people out there who want exactly that. I don’t get it.

    “Anything’s legal as long as you don’t get caught.” codified as a moral argument…

    Fitting that comes from an economist.

    Heh.

    Sure, whatever, Nerd.

    Often, the Nerd doesn’t read for understanding, just for keywords (and -phrases) that trigger his automatic reaction.

  109. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Azuma:

    The thing about the CI is it doesn’t tell us how to describe the behavior that we’re measuring.

    Is “lying to keep the domestic peace” different from “lying to prevent a murderous thug from killing my vulnerable friend”?

    If it is, then you apply the CI separately. The behavior of “lying to prevent a murderous thug from killing any vulnerable person” can be universalized positively. Therefore, the CI test is passed.

    While the CI has been famously stated to ban all lying, it doesn’t need to.

  110. sunny says

    According to Wikipedia, he has a daughter. I am sure she is thrilled to know about her dad’s “thought experiment.”

  111. Chuck says

    I just think it’s unwise to try and universalize the thought processes of mere humans. We know so little of the reality around us and we can’t read the future. Doesn’t this suffer from some of the same flaws as utilitarianism? if there is a CI not to lie, does that mean a man sheltering a Jew from the SS should tell the SS man “yes I have a Jew here?”

    It’s a common misreading of the CI to attempt to universalize the action rather than the “maxim” or intent behind it. If the intent is to save a life, would “saving life” still have a logically consistent meaning if everyone on the planet acted with that intent? If the answer is yes, the behavior is moral. If the answer is no, the behavior is immoral.

    Does Kant’s deontology have problems? Of course, just like every other ethical system. You can try to do an end-run around the CI by specifying your intent in such detail that it is easily consistent with universalizing: “My intent is to get home earlier by running this red light at 6:05pm on a Thursday when my kids are crying and I got off late from work” etc etc etc. “I will only steal this bread because my brown-eyed children named PZ and Quetzlcoatl aged 16 months and 36 months are super hungry today.”

    Anyway, I’m not defending Kant here. I’m just responding that yes, there are actual, fleshed-out non-consequentialist ethical systems.

  112. Chuck says

    Permit me to attempt a clarification for you. Kant’s Categorial Imperative absolutely depends on consequentialism …for its existence. It was created to have positive results and advocates promote its use because it is perceived to generate positive results.

    That has not been my experience, with either Kant or deontologists in general. Kant himself had a hard time justifying the Categorical Imperative, finally settling on a version of, “If you know about it, you will naturally do it.”

  113. David Marjanović says

    I’d recommend reading Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason,” except I try not to recommend torture.

    Or, y’know, Kant’s little thought experiment: people living on an island decide to give up and move off in all directions, officially dissolving their community; they still have a murderer in their prison; they must execute him before they leave, Kant concludes, because otherwise the guilt from the murder(s) would be upon all of them. O_o WTF. That’s Mormon-level blood magic.

    Even a very chilling account by Cerberus (Bravo!) on the harm caused by rape was simply ignored.

    And then I pointed that out, and then the thread died. ~:-|

  114. says

    Don’t knock Kant.
    He actually has something relevant to say on the issue under discussion, to wit: NO!

    Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.

  115. says

    In case anyone was still wondering Landsburg’s Wikipedia entry says that he self identifies as a hardcore libertarian.

    As for as Ed’s post on the same topic it got sidetracked in part because of Dispatches”s pet Calvinist, heddle.

  116. says

    If the intent is to save a life, would “saving life” still have a logically consistent meaning if everyone on the planet acted with that intent? If the answer is yes, the behavior is moral. If the answer is no, the behavior is immoral.

    some young, naive anti-choicers actually are anti-choicers because their intent is to save lives. People who are against assisted suicide often do it to “save lives”. The consequences of both of those are shittastic, and are therefore immoral.

    Intent is only relevant as it relates to consequences, because ultimately what matters are the consequences.

  117. Jackie, Ms. Paper if ya nasty says

    I couldn’t read past “Pretend you know someone who was raped…” I don’t have to pretend. Fuck that fucking fuck. I’d rather chew aluminium foil than finish ingesting that garbage.

  118. says

    I’m just responding that yes, there are actual, fleshed-out non-consequentialist ethical systems.

    eh. most deontological ethics have at least some consequentialism in them (usually implied), with the possible exception of some authority-based ones (tho there’s usually at least some selfish consequentialism involved, via fear of punishment); the inverse is also true, since the axioms of consequentialist ethics are deontological (or circular).

  119. Eristae says

    How do you know that I am not trying to discuss these things with people like that professor?

    Because you’re posting over here and not at Landsburg’s blog? But if I’m wrong, do feel free to point me at examples.

    Let’s face it, you’re hearing from faux-libertarians because there is a lot of money involved in swaying people’s political views. If I and the other libertarians tried to take a new term to describe us, if it ever became popular, then other groups would again try to usurp it… groups with likely more media clout than we would have.

    Are you trying to tell me that libertarianism as a term has been co-opted because it’s popular? I find that difficult to believe, in part because I’m one of the only people I know who has even heard the term before. Furthermore, it isn’t like the faux-libertarians are somehow riding on the coattails of the “real” libertarians; it’s the faux-libertarians that everyone is familiar with. They aren’t somehow attaching to an accepted movement for their own gains because they are the accepted movement.

  120. Eristae says

    Oh, and PS:

    Kant is an idiot. His maxims are exactly as wide as he wants them to be, no more, no less. Lying? No exceptions; all lying must be treated as one large entity to be accepted or rejected as a whole. Sex? Well, sex can be split into more than one category; one need not lump it all together.

    Pssh at Kant, PSSSHHH

  121. stanton says

    Ignorance of evil being perpetuated is not bliss!

    Deliberate ignorance of evil being perpetuated is tantamount to condoning it!

  122. Chuck says

    Kant is an idiot. His maxims are exactly as wide as he wants them to be, no more, no less. Lying? No exceptions; all lying must be treated as one large entity to be accepted or rejected as a whole. Sex? Well, sex can be split into more than one category; one need not lump it all together.

    Naive readings of Kant do lead to ridiculous conclusions.

  123. says

    David Marjanović,

    I don’t understand why anyone would want an unresponsive partner.

    Being pretty familiar with the world of kink and fetish, this idea is not so bizarre sounding to me. A fair number of people are into things like dollification and various aspects of objectification, and all sorts of other things where their partner is unresponsive. But in that world it is fantasy or consensual acts with a partner. But I doubt people that do these sorts of things are just amoral kinksters that forget about consent. I imagine people that are actually really into unresponsive partners are actually a small number compared to the number of opportunistic assholes. At least I hope that is the case, not that it makes me feel any better.

  124. mildlymagnificent says

    Of course this is a highly specific and non-existent scenario.

    In fact, there is non-negligible number of people with brain injuries who live in special accommodation who are largely unconscious/ unaware/ uncommunicative permanently.

    When we hear, occasionally, about staff in such institutions or in similar places like psychiatric hospitals or nursing homes for dementia sufferers sexually molesting or assaulting such people, do we say it doesn’t matter because they don’t really know what happened? No. We don’t. The general, social, normal response is that this is particularly nasty exactly and explicitly because these rapists take advantage of the victims’ inability to understand what happened or to tell others about it or both.

    The revulsion usually expressed when these events come to light are a stark comparison to many people’s attitudes to rape victims who were temporarily rather than permanently incapacitated. Like, say, college students who are drunk or drugged. There are far more of them, more often, and they deserve at least as much consideration as those who are permanently incapacitated.

    And this man is beyond the pale by any measure anyone might propose.

  125. says

    Let me join in with others that have mentioned this, but I really wish libertarians that disagree with other libertarians would spend more time arguing with those people rather than complaining about people pointing out the horrible ideas some libertarians evidently hold. I often hear atheists that are libertarians complaining about moderate Christians that say nothing when their brethren speak out but rarely do I see large numbers of libertarians speaking out against other libertarians.

  126. Chuck says

    In fact, there is non-negligible number of people with brain injuries who live in special accommodation who are largely unconscious/ unaware/ uncommunicative permanently.

    Ah, excellent point. I was thinking only of temporarily incapacitated people. So what we have here is a man arguing for wholesale systematic abuse of comatose patients, or patients in a persistent vegetative state, based purely on some imagined calculus of “benefit” and “harm.”

    I also like how the question of consent never enters into his calculations because the idea of consent cannot be reduced to “benefit” or “harm” in his mind.

  127. R Johnston says

    @137Travis

    I really wish libertarians that disagree with other libertarians would spend more time arguing with those people rather than complaining about people pointing out the horrible ideas some libertarians evidently hold. I often hear atheists that are libertarians complaining about moderate Christians that say nothing when their brethren speak out but rarely do I see large numbers of libertarians speaking out against other libertarians.

    Libertarians don’t do actual arguments, not against non-libertarians and certainly not against other libertarians. They make baseless assertions that other people are wrong. This works well enough for criticizing christians and nonlibertarian atheists where the libertarian has little reason to care about his own lack of an actual argument, but it’s really not sufficient for an intramural fight.

    Libertarians may often be atheists, but that doesn’t make them skeptics with any kind of a sound philosophical basis for their atheism. They are libertarians–that is their identity–while atheism is just something they happen to believe for reasons they don’t really understand.

  128. R Johnston says

    So what we have here is a man arguing for wholesale systematic abuse of comatose patients, or patients in a persistent vegetative state, based purely on some imagined calculus of “benefit” and “harm.”

    It’s worse than that, really. When you are talking about compensating people for tangible harms that are caused to them you are talking about civil law, not criminal law. What this “professor” is doing is essentially declaring that criminal law is inherently invalid and all law should be limited to civil. Attempted murder? Not a matter for legal intervention. Murder? Pay a fine according to the harm done. Rape a baby? Wait a few years to see what the lasting damage is, then pay a fine. That’s where this tosser’s “logic” takes you if you follow it through. No harm, no foul, even if the act you commit is extremely harmful in the aggregate over all commissions.

  129. says

    I pointed that same thing out on his post (comment 142) His response, (comment 143), read, in part, “it’s very hard (for me, at least) to articulate the utilitarian reason why you’d want to prevent an act with benefits to the rapist and no measurable costs to the victim.”

    How’s the asshole going to guarantee that there’s no cost to the victim? (Leaving aside the issue of bodily autonomy for a moment and focusing on his “argument”)
    In the real world, please.
    Like people waking up, like people getting tears (not to mention infections, disease, pregnancy, because condoms DO break), like people noticing in the morning that somebody had sex with them (yeah, asshole. We’re people, not fuckholes. We know our bodies and know how our genitals feel after sex), like pictures being discovered years later?
    In short, it’s impossible. It might happen. There might be women walking around who are totally unaffected by the fact that they were raped while unconscious years ago because they don’t know. But that’s not a thing anybody can know in advance. It’s like saying that drunk-driving shouldn’t be illegal if the driver makes it home without getting into an accident.
    Oh yeah, I remember, psychic harm is no harm at all.
    I’m wondering what’s the issue with all those people who are in therapy….

  130. says

    “it’s very hard (for me, at least) to articulate the utilitarian reason why you’d want to prevent an act with benefits to the rapist and no measurable costs to the victim.”

    “no measurable costs to the victim”?! wtf. there are measurable costs to the victim, he’s just dismissed them.

    There are also measurable costs beyond the victim if such behavior was ever legalized/decriminalized. The massive psychological damage of living in constant fear of losing bodily autonomy is a measurable cost; a large measurable cost.

    like I said earlier: the only way you can construct such an argument on an utilitarian basis is if you axiomatically declare some humans to be subhuman and therefore not part of the calculation

  131. Ulysses says

    R Johnston @139

    Libertarians may often be atheists, but that doesn’t make them skeptics with any kind of a sound philosophical basis for their atheism.

    Many libertarians are atheists because “nobody can tell me what to do!”

  132. says

    Landsburg closely moderates his blog comments so that every response echoes his evil banality. He’s made a lucrative career out of his sordid mind, and he has tenure. If I were a parent I’d make damned sure any child of mine who attended his university carried mace and knew a martial art.

  133. says

    Jadehawk:

    like I said earlier: the only way you can construct such an argument on an utilitarian basis is if you axiomatically declare some humans to be subhuman and therefore not part of the calculation

    Given the amount of people who already behave as though women in general are subhuman or little more than objects, his little “thought experiment” is even more terrifying.

  134. John Morales says

    Presumably, Steven Landsburg would see nothing problematic in ingesting various bodily fluids with his food next time he eats out, so long as he was unaware of them and they did him no apparent physical harm.

    <snark>

  135. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Chuck – I have read embarassingly little Kant given my long term interest in ethics (although, to be fair, I was interested in applied social ethics, which placed me squarely in the realm of consequentialism). Nonetheless, I remember him as saying – and I certainly remember his advocates as saying, that this is a “good” ethical system where good was a statement on impacts/effects.

    Do you really know of anyone who simply does not care one way or another what impact the CI would have if put into practice, but nonetheless advocates its use? While Kant certainly was intellectually dissatisfied with existing deontological ethics, wasn’t he also motivated by the behavior of his society and what he saw as the effects of some of the behavior he thought wrong? Didn’t he advocate that society would be “better” if everyone followed the CI?

    Again, I didn’t read a lot of Kant, and I certainly didn’t read it in German, and maybe what I was directed to read was because the professor who assigned it was a consequentialist and those are the arguments in which he was interested (or in which he thought his students would be more interested). Maybe what I read was drowned out by some larger argument that had nothing to do with the effects of employing the CI. Maybe what I read was his meandering in search of a justification before he finally settled on the one you mention above. But I certainly remember that he believed once said that the CI led to superior outcomes – which is a consequentialist notion.

    Anyway, I don’t know much here, so maybe you can correct me or add something to my knowledge briefly. If you kant, we can take it to Thunderdome for a longer discussion.

    @Eristae:
    Kant was one of those geniuses that created something that intruded on his own heuristic limits. He was “stupid” in a number of areas, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t brilliant in others. Yes, lumping lying together is stupid from our point of view. Nevertheless I’m willing to stipulate that he produced a fine road map for exploring some important questions. It makes it easier to explore that territory & thus be more confident when we say exactly what you said: intent matters only to the extent it affects consequences. Persons with different intent are more or less educable, more or less likely to repeat a certain behavior, more or less ________. That’s good stuff to know. It also means that different strategies should be employed (even if identically educable, being motivated by one thing means that we should hook our educational attempts on that motive if we wish success). It’s very useful. It just doesn’t matter a tinker’s damn when assessing the good or ill done by a particular action.

    I agree with you wholeheartedly.

  136. enki23 says

    I’m not one to cry Poe (and, let me be clear, I don’t think it’s anything like that anyway). But it really reads almost as if someone were trying to show libertarian’s what stupid assholes they are with some brutal reductio ad absurdum. The sad reality is that he’s probably just that much of a stupid asshole.

  137. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    No. I’d recommend reading Kant’s “Critique of Pure Reason,” except I try not to recommend torture. The Categorical Imperative does not depend on or appeal to consequences or results, merely the logic of universalizing the intent behind one’s action.

    …and some intents are comfortable or “logical” to universalize, and others not, because…?

  138. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    (Also, I haven’t read Kant but in every other case he’s presented as demanding that you consider what would happen if the action were universalized, not the intent behind it, which makes this slightly trivialler).

  139. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    if there is a CI not to lie, does that mean a man sheltering a Jew from the SS should tell the SS man “yes I have a Jew here?”

    …although, I do know that Kant argued that it would, and published a work about “The Supposed Right to Tell Lies from Pure Motives” or something very close to that.

  140. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Azkyroth:

    If you take lying, which is the easiest example, imagine if everyone always told lies. Result? Complete breakdown in communication. it frustrates the very purpose of communication. It is “illogical” given that your intent is to communicate, but by always lying, you don’t know how to communicate. If you as a society figure out codes to imply a meaning beyond the literal in such a way that you could still be lying and yet communicating, then when a person uses those codes, the intent is to communicate the coded message, but if you do so effectively you are no longer lying. Thus you sabotage your own codes, and intent is frustrated yet again.

    All this is to say that even liars want to communicate and you can only effectively lie if most people tell the truth often enough that words maintain dependable meanings that you can manipulate.

    Note that even this is a consequentialist argument, or so it seems to my ladybrains. I don’t see how “use this because it works” is different from consequentialist reasoning, even if the method by which it works is not consequentialist. Anyway, I look forward to hearing Chuck explain it. Maybe I’m missing something crucial.

  141. Chuck says

    Azkyroth, you’re misinterpreting the CI. Here’s an oversimplified but classic example, ignoring for the moment the “intent” or “maxim” behind the behavior just to let you see how the CI works.

    Is it morally correct to lie? If everyone lied, then “truth” and “lying” would cease to exist as meaningful concepts, therefore it would make no logical sense to “lie.”

    Do you see the difference? Kant is not saying that society would be worse off if everyone lied, he’s saying that the concept would cease to be coherent if it were universalized, and so then the behavior does not make logical sense. If maxims cannot be coherently universalized, those maxims are not moral.

    Now Kant’s maxim is actually a combination of intent + action, so it’s a little more complicated than this, but that’s the Philosophy 101 example. It is certainly not based on consequences.

    In answer to a previous question, the only hard-core deontologists I have known were religious or in the philosophy department. The answer to the question, “But can’t you see the consequences would be terrible?” is uniformly, “I don’t care. It’s the right thing to do.”

  142. The Mellow Monkey says

    Heh. I got triggered this morning and had a flashback to when I was raped while mostly unconscious, remembering a new violation that I had successfully managed to banish from my conscious mind before. It was something that caused me no physical harm, while also being extremely disturbing.

    I guess right up until I got triggered and remembered it, that was A-OK, though, right?

  143. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    If everyone lied, then “truth” and “lying” would cease to exist as meaningful concepts

    We have a winner.

    Do you see the difference? Kant is not saying that society would be worse off if everyone lied, he’s saying that the concept would cease to be coherent if it were universalized

    This is what I mean about Dictionary Sense restriction of “results” or “consequences.”

    Although, this then invites the question of “so what?” and sooner or later Dictionary Sense consequences will come into play.

  144. says

    MM:

    I guess right up until I got triggered and remembered it, that was A-OK, though, right?

    Hey, a little psychic harm is all, right? I guess that makes the time I was raped at the house party okay too, at least until I went and woke up.

  145. Chuck says

    If you bend the definition of consequences far enough to encompass something such as logical incoherence, you render the term meaningless.

    In the jargon of ethics, consequences are defined in terms of “benefit” or “harm,” as applied to something or someone. Logical incoherence neither harms nor benefits.

    By your definition, a consequence is reduced to a simple if this -> then that statement. Aha! That’s a consequence, because it followed a premise! No. You are doing violence to the term.

  146. John Morales says

    [OT]

    Azkyroth, Chuck,

    If everyone lied, then “truth” and “lying” would cease to exist as meaningful concepts

    We have a winner.

    It’s very sloppy phrasing, to the degree that it’s wrong; the contention should be “If everyone always lied”.

  147. Anri says

    David Marjanović:

    I don’t understand why anyone would want an unresponsive partner.

    The person is assuming (possibly with confirmation) that the response would be “no”.

    No response, no “no”.
    Simple.

  148. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    Oh for fuck’s sake.

    “Psychic” can fuck off. Psychological is the word, he’s using “psychic” to make psychological issues seem nonexistent.

    Secondly, psychological damage IS physical damage.. The brain is an organ. Mental illness is physical illness. Chemical imbalances are a physical thing, conditioned reactions are physical reactions. Thoughts are not FUCKING MAGIC.

    The sooner we shoot this goddamned mind/body bullshit in the head the better. It’s getting excruciating.

  149. Eristae says

    @Chuck

    Naive readings of Kant do lead to ridiculous conclusions.

    . . . is this meant to be an insult, or are you trying for something else?

    If it is meant to be an insult, I admit that I never know what people are looking for when they make insults like this. Clearly there isn’t a desire for me to respond; there’s nothing for me to respond to. And I assume that the desire isn’t to start some kind of random insult flinging, although I can never be sure. But something motivates people to respond like this to posts that weren’t directed at them; my post was significant enough to insult me for, but there was no attempt at substance or discourse.

  150. John Morales says

    Sophia,

    Secondly, psychological damage IS physical damage..

    No. The distinction between body and psyche is meaningful.

    The brain is an organ. Mental illness is physical illness.

    Psychic trauma is not mental illness (though it can be a result of it).

    Thoughts are not FUCKING MAGIC.

    No, but neither are they our brains.

    (A healthy brain can think unhealthy thoughts)

  151. R Johnston says

    Do you see the difference? Kant is not saying that society would be worse off if everyone lied, he’s saying that the concept would cease to be coherent if it were universalized, and so then the behavior does not make logical sense. If maxims cannot be coherently universalized, those maxims are not moral.

    If that’s what Kant meant then he didn’t mean anything useful or particularly coherent. It’s like someone took the saying “all things in moderation” and thought to himself “how can I change this to make it as stupid as humanly possible?”

    Just because an action makes no sense if partaken universally doesn’t mean it makes no sense or is immoral if engaged in selectively. There’s simply no logical connection to be had there. It’s trite bullshit masquerading as depth.

  152. says

    Chuck:

    In the jargon of ethics, consequences are defined in terms of “benefit” or “harm,” as applied to something or someone. Logical incoherence neither harms nor benefits.

    Why don’t you tell us all about benefits to the rapist, then?

    By your definition, a consequence is reduced to a simple if this -> then that statement. Aha! That’s a consequence, because it followed a premise! No. You are doing violence to the term.

    It’s wonderful you’re so concerned about the violence being done to a term. Have anything to say about the violence done to people who read all about the benefits to the rapist being important and people who are raped having no harm done to them, outside of a little psychic harm? Or is it more important to you to simply use this thread to wank over Kant?

  153. Sophia, Michelin-starred General of the First Mediterranean Iron Chef Batallion says

    I’m not speaking about the thought content, just the fact that “thoughts” are our interpretation of electrical signals. Those are physical. That’s we’ve designated a thought a thing isn’t magically pulling it out of the physical realm. It’s still just electrical signals. Sure, it’s an immensely complex and nuanced dance of electrical signals that can have an infinite variety of meanings, but that’s another issue.

    Thoughts are not brains, no. Thoughts are things that happen physically inside our brains, however. Separating the two is a lot less meaningful than people seem to think, and I often think how differently we’d treat psychological issues if we threw out the division altogether.

  154. says

    John:

    The distinction between body and psyche is meaningful.

    The connection between body and psyche is meaningful. The physical effects of psychological trauma are meaningful. Talking about people who deal with such things as though they were mere objects has an effect which is also meaningful.

  155. Eristae says

    How would you feel about moving the discussion of Kantsequentialism to the Thunderdome?

    I’m actually for that. I’m going to go move my posts over.

    @R Johnson: I’m going to make a post over there at you, if you are interested in reading it. Just an FYI.

  156. mikee says

    I’ve just asked the following on his blog. I find his perspective so weird, I tohught I would try and get him to consider it from a more personal perspective.

    “In your 3rd question can I assume that by rape you not only consider rape of women, but also of men?
    If so perhaps you can answer the question from your own perspective – if someone were to drug you and then rape you, in such a “gentle” fashion that it left no physical damage would you not feel violated?
    If later someone showed you a picture of the rape occurring could you just dismiss it?
    If this were not illegal, would we all have to sleep in heavily locked rooms?”

  157. Island Adolescent says

    Well that was puke-inducing.

    And fuck really is there another person with that stupid HRC red sign here? Really? Uuuuuuuuugh.

  158. says

    Island Adolescent:

    And fuck really is there another person with that stupid HRC red sign here? Really? Uuuuuuuuugh.

    And fuck really is there a person saying something this unnecessary and uncalled for? Really?

  159. says

    You there! Go convince the Professor that his arguments are against the libertarian philosophy. After all, he’s the one who has decided to represent himself and his arguments as libertarian. We aren’t the ones who put that forth. If you don’t like the association between his, his arguments, and libertarianism, go poke at him.

    This illustrates one of the reasons arguing with libertarians often proves pointless. One of my favorite take-downs of this “philosophy” is stason.org’s Libertarian FAQ filled with strategies for arguing with libertarians (if you have time to waste) and fun facts. The most relevant to this digression is # 36 :

    It’s hard to clearly define libertarianism. “It’s a desert topping!” “No,
    it’s a floor wax!” “Wait– it’s both!”

    And more seriously:

    … non-libertarians may feel that they have rebutted some libertarian point, but some other flavor libertarian may feel that his “one true libertarianism” doesn’t have that flaw. These sorts of arguments can go on forever because both sides think they are winning. Thus, if you want to try to reduce the crosstalk, you’re going to have to specify what flavor of libertarianism or which particular point of libertarianism you are arguing against. [emphasis mine]

    Arguing over what constitutes a “true libertarian” is about a productive and meaningful as watching paint dry.

  160. Eristae says

    @Island Adolescent

    And fuck really is there another person with that stupid HRC red sign here? Really? Uuuuuuuuugh.

    Er, why thank you for taking the time to express your disgust with me?

    Scroll up!

    Copy!

    Scroll down!

    Paste!

    I admit that I never know what people are looking for when they make insults like this. Clearly there isn’t a desire for me to respond; there’s nothing for me to respond to. And I assume that the desire isn’t to start some kind of random insult flinging, although I can never be sure. But something motivates people to respond like this to posts that weren’t directed at them; whatever I was doing was significant enough to insult me for, but there was no attempt at substance or discourse.

  161. Island Adolescent says

    The HRC is a disgrace and I thought if I wasn’t on facebook I would be safe from my sighs of exasperation upon seeing those damn things.
    Another thunderdome topic though.

  162. Chuck says

    It’s wonderful you’re so concerned about the violence being done to a term. Have anything to say about the violence done to people who read all about the benefits to the rapist being important and people who are raped having no harm done to them, outside of a little psychic harm? Or is it more important to you to simply use this thread to wank over Kant?

    You mean like here or here?

  163. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Now, now, Chuck. We’re all protective of our own areas of expertise, and I’ve been known to get my hair in a purple Hoplite crest when people are attempting to make a point about sexism, feminism, sex, or gender and they can’t keep sex & gender separate in their own minds & posts. But

    By your definition, a consequence is reduced to a simple if this -> then that statement. Aha! That’s a consequence, because it followed a premise! No. You are doing violence to the term.

    the inability to tell the difference between other’s acts of violence and one’s own moral disdain is what got us into this thread in the first place.

    I asked for clarification on Kant. I accept partial responsibility. But this has reached a place where I will not participate unless this is removed to Thunderdome. It’s too F’d up to keep this here if this is the kind of language that’s going to be employed.

  164. Eristae says

    The HRC is a disgrace and I thought if I wasn’t on facebook I would be safe from my sighs of exasperation upon seeing those damn things.
    Another thunderdome topic though.

    Well, thank goodness there was time for you to express your disgust with me before you declared that such discussion was off topic and should not take place here. It would truly have been tragic if you had come to this conclusion before you engaged in your drive by sneering.

  165. John Morales says

    [OT]

    Caine:

    Talking about people who deal with such things as though they were mere objects has an effect which is also meaningful.

    My claim is universal; everyone person has both body and psyche.

    The physical effects of psychological trauma are meaningful.

    Well, yes.

    But note how you yourself are distinguishing between the physical effects and the psychological trauma; you support my contention thereby.

  166. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    well, heck. It seems that while I left my computer open with half a post, my point was thoroughly covered. Thanks to all who suggested Thunderdome and/or called out the violence bit. Now I’m going to read in detail to see if someone else specifically called attention to the connection to the OP. Probably more than one person. I’m so unoriginal.

  167. robro says

    What a preposterous hypothetical. All if’s and nonsense. And is he actually doing a fucking cost-benefit analysis of rape? Chillingly cynical.

  168. Eristae says

    And is he actually doing a fucking cost-benefit analysis of rape? Chillingly cynical.

    The really freaky thing is the “benefit” section of the equation. One would think that the cost benefit ratio would be really, really high cost to zero benefit, but apparently he thinks this is not the case.

  169. Jacob Schmidt says

    John Morales

    But note how you yourself are distinguishing between the physical effects and the psychological trauma; you support my contention thereby.

    I don’t consider psychological trauma to be separate from physical trauma; to me, its a distinct subset. I may be wrong on this. But psychological trauma has a physiological component. Psychological trauma can’t be dismissed on the basis that it’s not in any way physical, which is the point.

  170. Eristae says

    I don’t consider psychological trauma to be separate from physical trauma; to me, its a distinct subset. I may be wrong on this. But psychological trauma has a physiological component. Psychological trauma can’t be dismissed on the basis that it’s not in any way physical, which is the point.

    I’m kicking this idea around in my head.

    I do think that psychological trauma can’t be cut off entirely from physical trauma. Psychological trauma can (and often does) cause physical changes in the brain; for example, the brain of a person with PTSD physically reacts differently than the brain of a person without PTSD. Furthermore, we know that when children are abused, it changes the way that their brains develop. These are all actual physical effects. And all of this is ignoring the effects that a traumatized brain can cause physical effects in the rest of the body; a classic, well understood example is a severe shock causing a heart attack, although this is hardly the only example.

    So I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it some more.

  171. Happiestsadist, opener of the Crack of Doom says

    Mellow Monkey: I’m still getting those from time to time too. Don’t you just love being some d00d’s thought experiment?

  172. John Morales says

    [OT]

    Jacob:

    I don’t consider psychological trauma to be separate from physical trauma; to me, its a distinct subset.

    Right; and thoughts aren’t separate from physical things, but a distinct subset thereof), and therefore no distinction between abstracta and concreta should be drawn.

    (bah)

    But psychological trauma has a physiological component.

    <sigh>

    Trauma (medicine)

    Trauma (Psychological)

  173. says

    John:

    But note how you yourself are distinguishing between the physical effects and the psychological trauma; you support my contention thereby.

    No, I don’t think I am supporting your contention, John. I can’t speak as a person free of serious psychological trauma, it’s been a part of me since I was three years old. I deal daily with the physical aspects of that trauma. It’s all one to me. Given that, any attempt to be objective about this on my part will most likely fail.

  174. Jacob Schmidt says

    John

    Can you say that psychological trauma leaves absolutely no physical trace of it’s existence? You seem to be stuck in pedantry with the point flying above your head.

  175. Jacob Schmidt says

    Also,

    …its a distinct subset.

    …distinct subset…

    …distinct…

    I think that was me making a distinction.

  176. Happiestsadist, opener of the Crack of Doom says

    I will just point to my psychological trauma-induced illnesses, which seemed to have some doctors rather startled. Not to mention myself, once I could get up again.

  177. John Morales says

    [OT]

    Sorry, Caine.

    This is one of those times when I become overly philosophical, so thanks for the call-out.

    To sum up:

    I cannot deny that whether trauma can be meaningfully distinguishable as physical or psychological is irrelevant to the fact that it’s damaging to people — and that suffices to knock Steven Landsburg’s “thought experiment” down, since its conceit is that only physical trauma is of significance.

  178. cicely (mumblemumble-SomethingHalf-Witty-mumblemumble) says

    *beat of appalled silence*
    This is breathtakingly repugnant. Abhorrent.

    So, if you’re unconscious, can I take one of your kidneys ?
    Hey, you can get along just fine on one, and well you know, you won’t feel me removing yours, and nobody will really notice the scar, and besides, I might need that kidney more than you.
    Or maybe I just want to sell it so I can pay my rent.

    And if he does notice a scar, well…how does he know anything’s missing? Someone might have added something…or someone might just be fucking with his head (say, by faking up a popular Urban Legend situation). If he doesn’t know that it’s a sign that he’s been harmed, has he really been harmed?

    I kinda lost it at that point and posted a long rant about how many different ways penetrative rape can hurt victims in ways other than “psychic trauma” (*retch*), including UTIs, Yeast Infections, Vaginal tearing, HPV or Herpes Simplex transmission, up to and including death from undiagnosed Cervical cancer.

    And most of these unquestionable harms are not something that the “no-harm-no-foul” rapist could know will not result from his actions, however insensible and amnesiac his victim.

    So he’s either a harmfully stupid rape apologist, or he’s a complete bastard rape apologist.

    I vote “complete bastard rape apologist”.
    -

  179. says

    It’s okay, John. And thank you. It’s an interesting subject.

    I cannot deny that whether trauma can be meaningfully distinguishable as physical or psychological is irrelevant to the fact that it’s damaging to people — and that suffices to knock Steven Landsburg’s “thought experiment” down, since its conceit is that only physical trauma is of significance.

    What’s really difficult for me to understand is how he can pose such a speculation without actually thinking about such a thing happening to himself or someone he loved. Maybe he did think about it and it really doesn’t bother him. I find that possibility to be a scary one.

  180. Eristae says

    @Caine

    I have something of the same issue. My childhood sexual abuse caused my brain to develop differently than most children (or so the doctors tell me). For example, it made my brain more prone to going into stress induced overdrive. It heightened my startle factor. It lowered my brain’s ability to cope with stress. It made me more watchful/nervous. It fucked up my Autonomic Nervous System by throwing heavy objects at my parasympathetic nervous system. And all of this leads to rashes, insomnia, gastrointestinal malfunction, dizziness, shortness of breath, and much more.

    So I have issues saying that my psychological trauma wasn’t a physical trauma; there is no other injury or illness in my entire life that has so negatively impacted my physical health.

    Or a kind of general summary of what some of my doctors have said to me about the effects of my trauma (using PTSD):

    What are the consequences associated with PTSD?

    PTSD is associated with a number of distinctive neurobiological and physiological changes. PTSD may be associated with stable neurobiological alterations in both the central and autonomic nervous systems, such as altered brainwave activity, decreased volume of the hippocampus, and abnormal activation of the amygdala. Both the hippocampus and the amygdala are involved in the processing and integration of memory. The amygdala has also been found to be involved in coordinating the body’s fear response.

    Psychophysiological alterations associated with PTSD include hyper-arousal of the sympathetic nervous system, increased sensitivity of the startle reflex, and sleep abnormalities.

    People with PTSD tend to have abnormal levels of key hormones involved in the body’s response to stress. Thyroid function also seems to be enhanced in people with PTSD. Some studies have shown that cortisol levels in those with PTSD are lower than normal and epinephrine and norepinephrine levels are higher than normal. People with PTSD also continue to produce higher than normal levels of natural opiates after the trauma has passed. An important finding is that the neurohormonal changes seen in PTSD are distinct from, and actually opposite to, those seen in major depression. The distinctive profile associated with PTSD is also seen in individuals who have both PTSD and depression.

    [snip]

    Headaches, gastrointestinal complaints, immune system problems, dizziness, chest pain, and discomfort in other parts of the body are common in people with PTSD. Often, medical doctors treat the symptoms without being aware that they stem from PTSD.

    These are all physical effects that are a direct result of psychological trauma.

  181. Xaivius says

    So, Landsburg’s concept of ethics is pretty “libertarian” alright. As quoted by several people above, it is, quite literally: “Fuck you, got mine.” a better thought experiment, in my opinion, would be: “Imagine if someone could abscond with your nose while slept, replace their nose with yours, and then return your nose to your face an hour later, no harm done. Completely painless, no immediate negative physical damage, and you are completely unaware.” The answer is still the same (Yes, it violates the concept of self and principle of self as property, and would thusly be unethical) and carries a whole helluva lot less baggage.

    On the OT “John being a pedant” concept: John, I find that defining one’s semantics and mode prior to engaging in a bout of “well, TECHNICALLY” tends to help. Help others understand that you’re trying to argue against the argument, and hopefully help one to think “Should I REALLY go there?”

  182. says

    Eristae:

    I have something of the same issue. My childhood sexual abuse caused my brain to develop differently than most children (or so the doctors tell me). For example, it made my brain more prone to going into stress induced overdrive. It heightened my startle factor. It lowered my brain’s ability to cope with stress. It made me more watchful/nervous. It fucked up my Autonomic Nervous System by throwing heavy objects at my parasympathetic nervous system. And all of this leads to rashes, insomnia, gastrointestinal malfunction, dizziness, shortness of breath, and much more.

    I’m sorry. I haven’t had tests done to see if my brain developed differently, but I don’t need them to know I process things in a different manner than most people. PTSD is not fun to live with, to say the least. It changes everything.

  183. Jacob Schmidt says

    John

    This being an interesting topic, would you be willing to explain your point @189 in the Thunderdome? Your meaning got lost in the sarcasm.

  184. gakxz1 says

    Calling what this guys does jacking off is an insult to people who jack off, I think. Horrendous, I do think that there are some things to which you don’t really have to give a logical refutation to, you can just say “That’s a crazy #$% thing to say, I’m out”.

    Though the Kant talk is derailing, I think it at least shows that what this person said was so obviously shit that there’s really not point in continuing to talk about it, might as well go on about the categorical imperative, right? Terrible…I’m out.

  185. Eristae says

    @Caine, Wonder-wench
    Indeed it does. Suuuuuuuucks.

    @John Morales
    Oh, no, you didn’t trigger me. It’s all good. ^_^

  186. says

    Were karma a real thing, Mr. Landsburg would experience a debilitating mental illness only to be told by all who meet him that such a non-physical malady couldn’t possibly cause him to suffer in the slightest.

    Personally, I would consider such rape to be a non-issue IFF (that’s if and only if) there exists no record of it in any medium including human memory (of any person), because that would make it a supernatural rape, and like a supernatural god, that which is unobservable in principle is irrelevant.

    So basically, if you’re a supernatural god that might as well not exist, then you’re free to undetectably rape people in a fashion that will have literally no consequence. If you are a human, then this isn’t an option so your only choices are (1) be a minimally acceptable person or (2) go to prison.

  187. chigau (unless...) says

    Jacob Schmidt #200
    You could ask that question about a comment in the Thunderdome, in the Thunderdome.
    John Morales is everywhere.

  188. noastronomer says

    If I were a parent I’d make damned sure any child of mine who attended his university carried mace and knew a martial art.

    And if I were a member of the faculty at University of Rochester I’d be extremely wary about accepting any sort of beverage from Mr Landsberg at get-togthers.

    Mike.

  189. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    The guy has a new post up.

    The most relevant part reads:

    Rape frequently has ghastly physical and psychological consequences for the victim. We all know that, which is precisely why it’s important (in this kind of discussion) to assume those consequences away. The whole point is to focus on the stuff we’re not sure of, such as: Should my distress over someone else‘s rape receive policy weight? To focus on that question, it helps to imagine a scenario where that’s the only distress. In other words, we assume away all the usual harm to the victim precicely because we’re already know that this harm is dreadful and merits policy weight.

    He continues (though I wanted the above to stand on its own)

    To focus on examples where the victim sustains damage would be to say, in effect, that we’re not sure how to feel about that damage. (Otherwise, why investigate those examples?)

    The guy doesn’t understand that he wrote what he did NOT intend. Apparently the rape thing was supposed to be about a Bystander’s distress.

    But in that original post (not his current clarification) he said:

    I’m having trouble articulating any good reason why Question 3 is substantially different from Questions 1 and 2. As long as I’m safely unconsious and therefore shielded from the costs of an assault, why shouldn’t the rest of the world (or more specifically my attackers) be allowed to reap the benefits? And if the thought of those benefits makes me shudder, why should my shuddering be accorded any more public policy weight than Bob’s or Granola’s? We’re still talking about strictly psychic harm, right?

    So in his clarification he’s assuming that his hypothetical was all about a bystander, but in the original post he’s done exactly what he himself would consider horrible.

    So he’s not a moral monster. What he is is a college professor who can’t write a hypothetical or recognize when someone critiques his hypothetical that they are critiquing his actual hypothetical and not the scenario he intended to write but didn’t. When people go on to say that one’s interest in one’s own body is not analogous to McCrankypants’ interest in the computer of an unknown random person in an unknown random location, he doubles down and says that the property interests are the same.

    We can see now that he intended to say that the bystander’s property interest in my body is the same as that of McCrankypants’ interest in my computer. But that’s not what he actually said, and he spent several days consistently getting it wrong.

    I’ve written a response to his clarification which he thinks is oh-so-unnecessary and tiresome. Maybe he’ll finally get it.

    But a parting word for those who don’t read his new post, my conclusion:

    I think it’s great that you take it as a given that what happens to rape victims is horrible and that for the sake of rape victims, rape should be discouraged with the coercion of government policy.

    What I don’t think is great is that you seem to be aware of Steubenville and yet unaware that there were many bystanders who thought nothing of what happened to the victim, who didn’t think it was worth preventing, who saw it as a source of amusement, who did not take it as a given that what happens to rape victims is horrible and that for the sake of rape victims the rapists should face the sanctions typically brought to bear by applying govenrment policy.

    There were Freuding death threats towards the victim from people who thought the punishment was undeserved. There were articles all over about CNN sympathizing with the perps and Steubenville not wanting to prosecute and the football team and blah, blah, blah. You really have no idea that your attitude toward rape victims’ suffering is not universal?

    His talent for willful ignorance is astounding.

  190. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Ooops –

    This is his clarification.

    My post in response to his clarification is awaiting moderation. I’m long-winded as usual, so we’ll see if he lets it through, but I don’t seriously think he won’t censor it for content. If he does, it will likely be for length. How long it might take to get through that process, however, is something else again.

  191. chigau (unless...) says

    Crip Dyke #207
    wow
    just
    wow
    If you are permitted to comment there again, would you ask if the quote victim endquote should get a share of royalties from the video?

  192. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Chigau:

    He let the first comment through & I’m apparently off moderation. Although I’m wordy and critical, I was on topic with a specific analysis. Given what I’ve seen of him, I was only worried that he might think I was taking up too much space, so I’m not terribly surprised that I’m off mod.

    His response, however, is basically: “I thought I was clear when I was talking about bystanders and when I was talking about the victim” …and … that’s it.

    My next post took on just the specific issue from my previous conclusion: why does he assume that it is a universal value that victims’ suffering can be assumed to be horrible and certainly does justify a coercive government response?

    The evidence that this is not universal is so overwhelming even if only considering Steubenville. How can a post referencing Steubenville be ignorant of this I have no idea.

  193. says

    You can argue that there is harm done, no matter how little he has minimized it, in all plausible situations. And that the harm to society of violating the bounds is at least a harm.

    But you cannot argue that it still isn’t a logical or utilitarian following when you have decided to ignore the narrow band. Logic that leads to foul conclusions is still logic. Utilitarian arguments still allow for some pretty screwed up stuff. This is of course one of them.

    They’re different arguments. Don’t get the two confused. It’s no more or less a utilitarian argument just because you believe one of the precepts isn’t valid. He said, ‘make the assumption’ you have the right to say ‘no’. But if you do say ‘no’, that doesn’t make his argument more or less utilitarian. It makes it more or less moral, based upon different presumptions.

    Utility doesn’t look at things like personal autonomy. That’s something grafted on; you have made the assumption that personal autonomy is a greater utility. He obviously did not, and utility does not, by default, either.

    Personally, it’s stuff like this why I always couch utility arguments with assumptions and reasoning for these assumptions, as well as evidence for why these are more important than raw, overarching utility.

  194. says

    Crip Dyke:

    What he is is a college professor who can’t write a hypothetical

    That was more than obvious, especially when doublereed @94 came up with a perfectly good hypothetical (of the first one), which could have resulted in the discussion he wanted without once mentioning rape. Thanks for the updates, it’s appreciated. I’m not going to be clicking over. And thank you very much for having the patience to deal with him in attempt to get him to see where he went so very wrong.

  195. says

    Crip Dyke:

    His response, however, is basically: “I thought I was clear when I was talking about bystanders and when I was talking about the victim” …and … that’s it.

    He thought that was clear? Lordy.

  196. says

    Should my distress over someone else‘s rape receive policy weight?

    Handy argument to do away with a lot of civil rights legislation, seems to me.
    There’s no such thing as community, so no such thing as targeting one. Only individual victims.

    You weren’t the one lynched? Then what the hell are you afraid of?

  197. says

    Jafafa Hots:

    You weren’t the one lynched? Then what the hell are you afraid of?

    You especially don’t have anything to fear if you just mind your own business and don’t be rockin’ the boat. No problem, right?

  198. anuran says

    Get him drunk.
    Slip him a roofie.
    Fuck him in the ass.
    Ask him if he still feels the same way.

  199. ck says

    Calling what this guys does jacking off is an insult to people who jack off, I think.

    JAQing off is “Just Asking Questions”, and not masturbation, exactly. The parallel to masturbation is that those who engage in JAQing tend to do it for their own pleasure, and then leave a nasty mess behind. It really is a form of trolling.

    Horrendous, I do think that there are some things to which you don’t really have to give a logical refutation to, you can just say “That’s a crazy #$% thing to say, I’m out”.

    Watch your aim. “Crazy” people are not responsible for this stupidity, and his mental health is immaterial to his promotion of extremely horrific damaging ideas.

  200. says

    anuran @ 217:

    No. Absolutely, unequivocally no. Not even in passing, not as a joke, not as anger, not anything. Just no. Saying things like that is not only not helpful, it’s not cathartic,* and it causes splash damage.
     
    *It might have been cathartic for you, however, for some of us who have had the experience of being raped, it can be a trigger, and a nasty one at that.

  201. says

    Calling what this guys does jacking off is an insult to people who jack off, I think. Horrendous, I do think that there are some things to which you don’t really have to give a logical refutation to, you can just say “That’s a crazy #$% thing to say

    yes, let’s worry about something being an insult to wanking, but not about something being ableist towards mentally ill people. gotta love your priorities.

    Apparently the rape thing was supposed to be about a Bystander’s distress.

    which still doesn’t make his argument, since as I said, the psychological damage of knowing you’re legally allowed to be violated is massive. IT would be an even worse and more universal version of Schroedinger’s Rapist.

    It’s no more or less a utilitarian argument just because you believe one of the precepts isn’t valid. He said, ‘make the assumption’ you have the right to say ‘no’. But if you do say ‘no’, that doesn’t make his argument more or less utilitarian.

    well ok, if we’re going to deal with counterfactual hypotheticals, then yes, you can argue for rape using utilitarian ethics; but then, if you’re using counterfactual hypotheticals, you can argue for everything using any kind of ethics, including authoritarian theological ethics, since you can just declare your favorite version of god to be real for the sake of argument. This is an utterly worthless way of looking at things.

    you have made the assumption that personal autonomy is a greater utility.

    I have done no such thing. I have concluded, based on empirical evidence, that bodily autonomy has very great utility. It’s not like it’s difficult to find empirical evidence for massive harmful consequences to reductions of bodily autonomy, both in those thusly deprived, and in others who share characteristics with those deprived.

  202. says

    I wonder if this guy would be OK with me sneaking into his house, sticking his toothbrush up my impeccably pristine, disease-free anus (IPDFA’s come in handy from time to time), and then putting it back?

    I mean, what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, amiright?

  203. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    It’s wonderful you’re so concerned about the violence being done to a term. Have anything to say about the violence done to people who read all about the benefits to the rapist being important and people who are raped having no harm done to them, outside of a little psychic harm? Or is it more important to you to simply use this thread to wank over Kant?

    Sorry. (Yeah, I know this wasn’t addressed to me.)

  204. lorn says

    I’m not sure Steven Landsburg actually knows what rape is. Surely, if he did, he would apprehend that rape without harm is entirely theoretical. Like a perfect sphere, or rational libertarian.

    Further, if there is any justice in this world, at the exact same time he was typing those words someone was using his toothbrush to clear the anal glands of a heavily impacted elderly cat.

  205. okeydoke says

    Are Libertarianism and Sociopathy overlapping magisteria? It often seems that way. ^^

  206. says

    Yes, there’s a meaningful difference between my “body” and my “psyche” the same way there’s a meaningful difference between a headache and a toothache. Only that it’s perfectly acceptable to take an aspirin for the former and see a dentist for the latter while it’s heavily stigmatized to take psych-meds and see a therapist.
    To perpetuate the body/mind* thing as a very special dichotomy only serves people like Prof. Douchebro to dismiss phsychological harm

    *It’s bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. If my fucked-up thyroid isn’t medicated the effects are on what is considered “the body” (weight gain) as well as on “the psyche” (lack of impulse, real difficulties of getting out of bed, depressive episodes). Somebody please tell me why one is supposed to be more real than the other and how theyR’e not both physical since they’re caused by the the same lack of hormone?


    Oh, and he’s talking about “bystander harm” (not credible, absolutely not)?
    Yeah, there’s a severe bystander harm knowing that this could happen to me. I can only speak for myself but becoming fully aware of rape culture and about how many people have been raped hit me like a ton of bricks. It is causing me harm, it made me anxious. My “bystander harm” includes throwing up, because thanks to a fucked up psyche that’s the way my body chooses* to release the pain.
    The harm from knowing comes from knowing that this could happen to you, too. That’s what this whole compassion and empathy thing is about: you put yourself in the other one’s shoes.

    And again, fuck him for his rape-scenario “choice”.
    He could easily have used a hypothetical (like the car, the nose switching, whatever. To believe that somebody can magically switch a nose isn’t any harder than to believe that there’s a rape with 0 harm to the victim)
    No, he chose rape. What’s more, he chose to connect it to a real world example of a rape that actually happened. He made those situations comparable and then he tries to hide behind hypotheticals?
    Not credible, not at all.

    *what was this dichotomy again?

  207. kassad says

    We’re still talking about strictly psychic harm, right?

    Fuck him. Fuck him fuck him fuck him fuck him fuck him.

    Sociopathic bastard WANKER.

    Get him drunk.
    Slip him a roofie.
    Fuck him in the ass.
    Ask him if he still feels the same way.

    NO

  208. kassad says

    @ John

    I cannot deny that whether trauma can be meaningfully distinguishable as physical or psychological is irrelevant to the fact that it’s damaging to people — and that suffices to knock Steven Landsburg’s “thought experiment” down, since its conceit is that only physical trauma is of significance.

    & @ Caine

    No. Absolutely, unequivocally no. Not even in passing, not as a joke, not as anger, not anything. Just no. Saying things like that is not only not helpful, it’s not cathartic,* and it causes splash damage.

    QFT x2

  209. echidna says

    I’m not sure Steven Landsburg actually knows what rape is.

    I’ll bet he knows alright.

  210. zhuge, le homme blanc qui ne sait rien mais voudrait says

    I just wanted tp say I really appreciate the.comments in this thread. I don’t know why one would choose tp say something like what he did, especially comparing to the real world, unless he really did want to trivialize rape. Even though I know it’s an inane post, I still appreciate your responses to him. I know it is a really difficult topic, but I appreciate the detailed take downs(Jalafa your comparison to lynching was spot on.)
    Gillilel, I really appreciated your post above, as well. I think it is a brilliant response to his absurd claims about “bystander distress.” I am sorry that you are suffering so much, it isn’t fair that you have to.

  211. Subtract Hominem says

    (Disclaimer: the following is a paraphrase rather than an actual quote)

    “Suppose there is a rape that has no negative effects for the victim who isn’t even aware of it. The rapist would enjoy it, and I’ve already defined away all the terrible real-life things that make rape bad. Therefore, such a rape would be beneficial.”

    What is this, the Ontological Argument of Rape Apologetics? Landsburg might as well teach theology.

  212. Dee Murray says

    I lied, that is not all.

    “Let’s suppose that you, or I, or someone we love, or someone we care about from afar, is raped while unconscious in a way that causes no direct physical harm”

    Because who gives a shit anyway if someone we have zero connection to gets raped, amirite?

    And what is direct physical harm?

    Fucking asshole.

  213. ajbjasus says

    What an utter turd.

    Perhaps we could get Blackadder and Percy to give him a taste of his own medicine :

  214. sundiver says

    What a festering heap of camel snot. There exists a class of asswipe that can rationalize away anything, witness William Lane Craig’s bullshit about how it was okay to dash out the brains of toddlers ‘cuz gawwud told some murderous turd it was gawwud’s will. Landsberg’s drivel is the same pile of shit. This clown must have such a negative personality that whenever he enters a room people say to each other “Who left?”

  215. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    Further, if there is any justice in this world, at the exact same time he was typing those words someone was using his toothbrush to clear the anal glands of a heavily impacted elderly cat.

    “Oh, but I cleaned the brush properly and everything and put it back where I found it this morning.”

    *Shows him video of the procedures at dinner time*

    “Roger here needed a good clean-up, and there was your brush, you know. And the idea was very funny to me. Me and Roger are both very happy.I had a good laugh, Roger doesn’t have to lick his ass, The only one who’s been harmed by this is you.”

    “But, that ‘s only “psychic damage” so, no biggie, right. Overall happiness has increased, don’t you agree?”

    “Why are you throwing up?”

  216. says

    Reading this made me think of a better example: Siphoning off someone’s blood while they sleep and donating it to hospitals.

    First, if we assume that this involuntary “donation” is done in a proper, responsible manner complications are rare and usually not severe. You could exclude people who are prone to bleeding or infections and monitor the blood to prevent iron deficiencies and such. So, the assumption of no physical harm is much more realistic.
    Also, blood has a real, measurable benefit. If you crunched the numbers, I’m sure you could translate each unit of blood into a specific reduction in surgery complications and improved patient outcomes. You could end up with a direct calculation of lives saved pr. “donation”. Overall this makes it a much better example.

    I think the rape example is misguided on a number of level, most of which have already been mentioned up-thread, but most important of these, I think the choice of example and some of the statements really imply some worrying attitudes on the part of the professor.
    It really is tiring how often people feel the need to use rape as an example in cases where other things would do as well, or even be more appropriate. It’s as if they derive some weird pleasure from the discussion itself; as if they’re constantly on the lookout for a way to mention it, while maintaining plausible denial.

    It’s just plain creepy.

  217. Joey Maloney says

    Can we have the next 240 comments be about PZ’s failure of imagination? Because I’m ALWAYS ready for Libertarians to get more revolting.

  218. tbp1 says

    Re the title of this post: Like #240, I’ve never thought there was a limit, even a hypothetical one, to the loathsomeness of libertarian “ideas.”

  219. doublereed says

    Personally, I don’t like the idea of your body being your “property” and then mixing that into the Right to Property. The Right to Your Body is really just not the same thing. Fundamentally two different concepts in my opinion.

    The Right to Property seems to me like a Civil Right. It’s dependent on society and government to have an understanding of who owns what. And of course society determines how much something is worth. It uses the Social Contract.

    The Right to Your Body seems like a Human Right. It’s not really dependent on anything. You can rent your body in transactions like drug trials and prostitution, but generally you’re able to rescind that sort of transaction if necessary. And also, everything with your body generally requires affirmative consent. Even in hospitals they usually require some next-of-kin to sign off on things when you’re unconcious. There’s no Social Contract involved here.

  220. says

    I therefore try to educate others to try and combat these false and hurtful demonizations.

    In the case of libertarians, the demonizations are not false: plenty of people using that label really are as evil as we say they are, and they’re having significant effects in the real world. That’s what makes the “libertarian” label very different from the “atheist” label.

  221. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    There’s not really activity over there this morning, but before I went to bed he was replying to comments a bit.

    There seems to be some serious thinking going on, but he doesn’t really seem ready to share it. This is my generous interpretation, though you’re free to question the source of my generosity. He said that my comments were helpful to him and that he was thinking about them, but he hasn’t followed up much.

    Unfortunately, what he has followed up with seems to be sending mixed signals. At first I just thought he did a really bad job of keeping the “should a bystander’s psychic pain have any weight in public policy, & if so why?” question separate from the question “should a victim’s psychic pain have any weight in public policy, & if so why?” and combined that error with a clear lack of appreciation that lots and lots of folks actually believe the answer to #2 is none.

    Now I think that was responsible for most of what happened, but it’s not clear to me if there’s also some sense that #2 is a legit question for him.

    Ugggh.

  222. David Marjanović says

    I imagine people that are actually really into unresponsive partners are actually a small number compared to the number of opportunistic assholes.

    …but… for someone who isn’t into unresponsive partners, the presence of somebody unresponsive isn’t an opportunity.

    I also like how the question of consent never enters into his calculations because the idea of consent cannot be reduced to “benefit” or “harm” in his mind.

    Good point!

    The person is assuming (possibly with confirmation) that the response would be “no”.

    No response, no “no”.
    Simple.

    The required amount of self-deception doesn’t strike me as simple at all.

    …But then, there are people who believed in all seriousness, even though just for a second, that Sarah Palin winked at them through the TV. *headshake*

    His talent for willful ignorance is astounding.

    Ivory towers make it easy to maintain ignorance. Does he visit any websites other than his own blog? Does he watch TV? Does he listen to the radio?

    He thought that was clear? Lordy.

    Well…
    1) He’s a university teacher. Whenever he’s misunderstood, he can easily believe the student who misunderstood him is just stupid.
    2) He’s a philosopher. His colleagues expect his papers to be difficult to understand, so they’ll rather read them another 10 times than complain to him.

    Testable hypothesis.

    anuran @ 217:

    No. Absolutely, unequivocally no. Not even in passing, not as a joke, not as anger, not anything. Just no. Saying things like that is not only not helpful, it’s not cathartic,* and it causes splash damage.

    All seconded.

    And again, fuck him for his rape-scenario “choice”.

    QFT.

    One of the creepiest eps of them all…
    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Schisms_%28episode%29

    …Wow. That’s creepy.

    zhuge, le homme blanc

    l’homme – the contraction is not optional, hasn’t been for well over 1000 years.

  223. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    *shudder* Schisms. That is possibly the creepiest one of them all. Except maybe Night Terrors or Violations . . . . nevermind. Violations is the creepiest one, for me.

    I’m not sure Steven Landsburg actually knows what rape is.

    I’ll bet he knows alright.

    he knows the academic definition, sure. But he seems to have zero ability to comprehend, understand or even acknowledge humans have emotions. Not sure if that’s ‘sociopathy’ or just intensely ignored privilege.

  224. bargearse says

    My major problem with his whole thought experiment? It’s not a thought experiment.

  225. says

    LykeX @240: you’re absolutely right. And what’s even creepier is that this JAQass chose to do this “thought exercise” in direct response to the Stubenville rape case. This guy is a sick, disgusting, obnoxious, self-inflating pervert using his “professor” job to rub his fantasies in other people’s faces. There may be an “exercise” going on here, but it ain’t the big head getting the exercise.

  226. says

    Creepy Star Trek eps? Try the one where some hotshot Federation diplomat has to plant all of his most assholish and evil qualities in Councilor Troi so he can conclude a very important peace treaty. The (non-consentual) act of storing a guy’s evilness in her own head makes Troi evil herself, and destroys her morale, her energy, and her ability to do her job — but the hotshot diplomat says that’s necessary because his work is more important than hers. A perfect allegory about the effects of abuse on its victims (and on rationalized male privilege).

  227. cicely (mumblemumble-SomethingHalf-Witty-mumblemumble) says

    Saying things like that is not only not helpful, it’s not cathartic,* and it causes splash damage.

    For example, by suggesting—and reinforcing the idea—that rape is, in some circumstances, acceptible; in fact, the reasonable, go-to response. That’s one of those rape culture features that we’re trying to un-install, thank you very much.
    -

  228. sonderval says

    @Illuminata
    Yes, night terrors and violations also – and don’t forget Frame of mind
    http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Frame_of_Mind_%28episode%29

    And on a different level of creepiness, we have “Measure of a man” and “Drumhead”.

    Watching Star Trek should probably be required for any philosophy major, it covers so many of these “what ifs” philosophers love…

  229. unclefrogy says

    I think I could make a case for why this professor’s argument is in fact anti-social and if his rational were to become the rule of society would end in the destruction of any society.
    The “rules ” any society follow are all about the continued existence of the group the society. His ideas and I would say from what I have heard here and other places about libertarianism are disruptive. His example stated in his thought experiment would end in suspicion and distrust of everyone of everyone else. Hardly conducive to long tern social stability or social cohesion. Libertarianism would only work in a strong stable society with a strong enforcement mechanism for enforcing the underling
    rules in other words it could only function with a strong referee power, a governmental authority of some kind.
    I am also sure he is not saying that if is found unconscious for any reason that he can be sodomized by any passerby who happens along either.

    uncle frogy

  230. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    Illuminata:

    I’m not sure Steven Landsburg actually knows what rape is.

    I’ll bet he knows alright.

    he knows the academic definition, sure. But he seems to have zero ability to comprehend, understand or even acknowledge humans have emotions. Not sure if that’s ‘sociopathy’ or just intensely ignored privilege.

    Naw, “he knows” is betting that Landsburg knows what rape is from the rapist’s PoV from his personal experience with college women.
    I wonder not did he, but rather how many? Students? Junior colleagues?

  231. says

    Uh. Don’t have the time to go through all the comments yet, so I’m just going to repost what I wrote when I found out about this story through the Lounge:

    Fuck Steven Landsburg.

    I mean, it’s just such an “interesting” philosophical question, isn’t it? When it can be safely a thought experiment free from that nasty real world data and we can continue to discount the real harm that things like rape cause.

    Let’s… “season” some of that philosophy, shall we?

    TRIGGER WARNINGS FROM HERE ON OUT!

    When I was raped, my rapist did no “physical harm” to me. At the time I was confused. Afterwards I sought to minimize the crime committed against me. These days I spend nearly every single night with intense rape flashbacks. The part of my skin where my rapist rubbed himself off (the outside of my left thigh) often will tingle and it’ll feel like he’s still there pressing against me unless I’m pressing it against the bed or the couch to silence it. Once when my other partner was just cuddling me there, wrapping around there because cuddles feel good, I had a hard time not drifting back and had to constantly remind myself that she was not him and that I had consented to this touch. When dealing with other shit in my life, it increases my anxiety, my stress, the number of hours of my day lost in hellish trigger-space. All because some piece of shit felt entitled to use me like his personal Tenga egg to increase “his pleasure”. I’m sure he justified it the same way that Dr. A-hole did. Hey, he didn’t do any “real harm”, so what’s the harm?

    Not enough? Hey, let’s talk about my other partner. So she was raped at a frat party, held down, stripped, and fondled without her consent in a room full of people who did absolutely nothing. But hey, no permanent harm done, right? Hell, she’ll even say that there were no bad effects from that night. Except, hey, strangest thing, ever since she’s been having a really hard time communicating where she’s at sexually and feeling safe and allowed to explore her full sexual desires. Also, she gets this weird thing where when she gets too sexually excited, it starts to feel really triggering and unsafe and she can’t keep enjoying it. Also, she can’t feel comfortable taking off her shirt or being touched anywhere other than her back. Such a short, “no harm” action, actively discounted by the victim as being a big deal carries all that direct harm to her ability to enjoy a sex life far and away from her rapist, with people who weren’t even there at the time. She’s filled with odd depression, a disconnect from former friends, and a fucked up libido, but hey, it’s not like she had any bruises so what’s the “utilitarian harm”, right?

    Oh, you’re right, still not enough. Let’s talk my partner. She was raped multiple times by multiple romantic partners. One partner cornered her at a party after she repeatedly said no and shoved his hands down her pants and started putting his fingers inside her. Another partner tried to insert his cock in her ass while she was sleeping because quote-unquote “she wouldn’t let him do it while she was awake”. But hey, it’s not like there were any bruises or marks or… whoops, turns out she carried massive rape flashbacks, a severe reduction in the range of sexual explorations she could allow herself to have, massive self-blame, even guilt-induced rewrites of her own lived experiences (thank Bob she actually related what did happen to a friend before her rapist convinced her to blame herself to protect him) which caused all manner of existential crises. Not to mention all manner of triggers and reductions of an ability to truly enjoy and explore sexual activities with other partners. For instance, she has a really sensitive butt and physically enjoys a lot of activities around it. But anal insertion of anything is right out, because even though it feels good initially for her, the triggers of Captain Shoveitin quickly become overpowering. Same on most insertions in the front, unconscious triggers quickly shutting it down. Beyond that, feeling safe to explore desires she had regarding submission, domination, and so on took years longer than it could because of this string of rapist boyfriends. But hey, neither of them did any real lasting “physical” harm, so what’s the deal?

    The deal is that this is but a fraction of the harms committed. When a rapist removes the agency in their target, uses their body for their own gratification with no consideration of consent, it comes with considerable harm. Even if, “thought experiment” style, they’re passed out. Even if, “thought experiment” style, they don’t realize at the time its wrong. Even if, “thought experiment” style, the victim themselves actively seeks to minimize the harm.

    The harm was still committed and psychologically it is immense and long-lasting.

    For a small increase in a very specific form of pleasure in the rapist (the joy of abusing another human being), the victim carries long-lasting scars, has their ability to enjoy life severely curtailed, and has to suffer the truly alienating experience of having one’s personal body boundaries violated in the cruelest ways, because victims of this one particular crime are so often dismissed as “unimportant” to the “consideration”.

    Indeed, those inclined to a particularly useless form of “philosophy” would prefer to discount or minimize these real harms in favor of a thought experiment where they don’t exist or are somehow less important because “the exchange of ideas” and other such bullshit.

    And rape victims, like always, are expected to quietly internalize the harm they’ve suffered and minimize it publicly for the rest of us, so that it starts to be close to every woman. Indeed, in my little poly V, off in my little corner of the universe, 3 out of 3 of us have been raped. The number of rapes exceeds the number of us. All of us have minimized our rapes. All of us tried to deny the harm done to us to try and regain some sense of agency. At least two of us have blamed ourselves at one point or another to regain some sense of agency. All of us are considered moot and meaningless to the “just trying to be utilitarian” calculus of rape apologetics.

    If that little dose of real humanity does harm to anyone’s precious “thought experiments” on this subject…

    Good.

    Oh P.S.?

    It always affects the victim. Mr. Rapist might think he got away scott free, but the body has a way of remembering what’s been done to it. The victim might find themselves finding a part of their body suddenly triggering. Certain actions suddenly terrifying. A lingering feeling of horror and dread. And it’s all the worse for not having a source to put to it.

    Try and imagine that, having a bodypart be suddenly a source of terror and fear, sexual interactions royally fucked up, all because some abusive douchenozzle wanted to get his “no harm” “fun”. Imagine that is you. Now for extra fucked upness, imagine you’re in the wrong body, stuck in the wrong sex, and that body part is something you have been trying very hard not to think about at all.

    Now think about exactly what you’ve been trying to argue by playing on the raggedy edge of your precious “thought experiments” on “harm”.

    Yeah, exactly. It should sting.

    I’ll be back and try to be more in conversation after work.

  232. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Try the one where some hotshot Federation diplomat has to plant all of his most assholish and evil qualities in Councilor Troi so he can conclude a very important peace treaty.

    Man of the People. I’ve always found it problematic because of the way it makes Troi ‘sexy’, as a way of showing her descent. Like, really?

    But that ep would read like a how-to to Professor No Harm No Foul. The villain sees absolutely nothing wrong with sucking the life out of woman after woman, because doing so benefits him. And, when told that he shouldn’t be doing this to unsuspecting women, he acts insulted that anyone would doubt is motives are pure and correct.

    Which sounds really familiar right now for some reason. ….

    ++

    sonderval – that brought to mind the two parter ep wherein Picard is abducted by the Cardassians and tortured. (THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS) Can’t remember what that ep is called. But to this day the scene of a desperate and starving Picard eating that baby bird still haunts and disturbs me.

  233. Snoof says

    sonderval – that brought to mind the two parter ep wherein Picard is abducted by the Cardassians and tortured. (THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS) Can’t remember what that ep is called. But to this day the scene of a desperate and starving Picard eating that baby bird still haunts and disturbs me.

    Chain of Command. Generally considered one of the better TNG episodes.

  234. says

    Man of the People. I’ve always found it problematic because of the way it makes Troi ‘sexy’, as a way of showing her descent. Like, really?

    Here’s a charitable interpretation, FWIW, based on old memories: the destruction of her morale and self-respect led her to value her looks more than her intellect and abilities; and to use her sexiness to manipulate others in order to compensate for her loss of control in other areas.

  235. barfy says

    Thank you so much, Cerberus, for sharing something so personal.

    Because virtually every single human being in America personally knows someone who has been raped/abused (whether they know it or not), there is no point AT ALL to engaging in this kind of twisted thought experiment. We can’t remove ourselves to a place without emotion on this topic – nor should we. Truly, I just tried to thought experiment why anybody would even conceive or be motivated to develop a thought experiment of this nature, and the only explanation that I can come up with is that he is completely removed from his own existence and ignores his own humanity. Blecch!

    I disagree often and loudly with PZ and the Horde on many matters – not the least of which is their conceptualization of feminism – and then he brings me back to the harsh glaring reality of male privilege working an ugly overtime. That I need this reminder can only mean my own privilege needs updating.

    Thank you, PZ.

  236. says

    The villain sees absolutely nothing wrong with sucking the life out of woman after woman…

    More to the point, “the villain” was one of the good guys, a figure of authority respected for doing good work for the good guys. Just like a lot of the psycho-sexual abusers we see in real life.

  237. unbound says

    @briank

    You do understand that you are providing but a single aspect of Libertarianism, don’t you?

    You want small government due to corruption of a large government. But (and this is why I consistently find Libertarians to be very naive) the size of government has absolutely nothing to do with corruption overall…especially regarding the specific examples you provided. Also, a government with minimal powers is also a government that generally cannot support their citizens in general for good things (police, fire, infrastructure, safety, financial systems, etc, etc).

    But Libertarianism is also a philosophy that market-places magically fix things. While Libertarians only want sufficient government to protect individuals from violence and coercion, they seem completely oblivious to the simple fact that there is no market in the US which has sufficient competition to realistically achieve any aspect of market-place self regulation or competitive effects driving better values for the consumer. There is a long litany of reasons why the market-place doesn’t really exist (e.g. insufficient competition, insufficient knowledge of the consumers, high barriers to entry for most markets).

    If you think government is oppressive, truly think about what a world driven primarily by corporations which exist solely in oligopolies with no government at all to regulate in any way. Health insurance is already documented in killing people in the name of savings, what in the world would make you think that their behavior would improve if there were no government regulations? You can go down this path with every industry out there with the same conclusion.

    And this, ultimately, is why the thoughts put out by Mr. Landsbury really are in line with Libertarian thought. Libertarianism advocates maximum personal freedom and, per the thought experiment, he is discussing rape without evidentiary impact, so theoretically (in his mind at least) no violence has occurred and no coercion either which is exactly the only things that Libertarianism advocates as the role of government.

    I’m sorry if you didn’t see the massive flaws in Libertarian philosophy prior to this example, but this is the reality you advocate.

  238. says

    LykeX: I tried to paste some of your comment #240 On Landsburg’s blog, but comments there are now closed. Guess he got more “exercise” than he could handle, eh?

  239. smhll says

    My major problem with his whole thought experiment? It’s not a thought experiment.

    Yes, and reducing a woman to non-autonomous useful ‘parts’ is not a new thought. It’s like the most well-beaten thought path in the entire Valley of Misogyny.

  240. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    and to use her sexiness to manipulate others in order to compensate for her loss of control in other areas.

    I think this hits close to it. The “sexier” she gets, the more violent she gets, the “older” she gets, etc.

  241. w00dview says

    what in the world would make you think that their behavior would improve if there were no government regulations?

    This argument by libertarians that corporations colluding with government is bad (duh) so therefore deregulate!! is absolutely mystifying to me. Do they honestly believe with little to no government to regulate them, corporations are all of a sudden to go “Oh shit, guys! Just realised something. That shit we were doing? The polluting, wage cutting, offering no worker protections, union busting, discrimination, all that jazz? Turns out it is wrong!! Who knew? Whew, glad we have no big government to make us corrupt anymore. YAY MARKETS!!!”

    I mean if it was not for the fact that they were such shameless little toadies, how could a genuine anti corporate libertarian think deregulation will sort things out? Bunch of kooks.

  242. says

    @Raging Bee

    So, I guess it’s only a matter of time before we get flooded by ‘Pitters complaining about how Landsburg is silencing dissent and is an enemy of free speech, right?

    *crickets*

    I mean, it’s not as if they’re unprincipled assholes who only care about internet moderation when it’s used to stop them from treating people like shit, right?

    *pin falling to the floor*

    Surely, it’s only a matter of minutes before these staunch defenders of free discourse descend on Landsburg like an avalanche, teaching him the error of his ways, right?

    *Suppressed coughing from some guy in the back*

    Yep. Aaaaaany minute now.

  243. says

    If I am sleeping should I accept that agencies of the government or just ordinary psychopaths might need to tap into my brain and use it while I sleep? Should I accept that they may do it to my computer as well? Should it be acceptable for an auditorium filled with people be rendered unconscious in order for their bodies or brains be used by a third party who stands to make money or gain satisfaction at the expense of unwitting and unconscious individuals? The world must rid itself of the gross, malevolent ideas and thought processes of the demented in office.

  244. jackw says

    I don’t now what’s more idiotic. This Landsburg guy’s comment or people judging an entire group of people by one moron’s comment.

    First of all why is this guy being allowed to call himself a Libertarian without objection? Not to tamp down the ignorant hysterical anti-Libertarianism around here but Landsburg’s comment is the antithesis of Libertarianism. It is in direct violation of at least three core Libertarian principles namely- consent, the non-aggression axiom, and self-ownership. If Landsburg were a Libertarian he would never have made this comment.

    Firstly, he would know that an unconscious individual cannot give their consent to a sexual act. Therefore in the absence of consent a sexual act performed on an unconscious individual constitutes a sex crime. (The exception being that the individual gives their conscious consent beforehand to having sexual acts performed on them in an unconscious state) Secondly, following from the first, a sex crime against an individual constitutes a violation of the non-aggression axiom. Thirdly, following from the first and second, a sex crime violates the individual’s self ownership as it (violently) infringes on the individual’s bodily integrity, right/ability to decide what to do with his/her own body, and consequently their life

    If you want to know what Libertarians believe I suggest you stop reading Landsburg and start reading works representative of Libertarian thought eg Murray Rothbard’s “For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto” http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp

  245. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    jackw,

    The title itself suggests that PZ is familiar with libertarians. While most comments are on topic, some discuss libertarianism more broadly. Therefore, it should be quite obvious that neither PZ nor others are “judging an entire group of people by one moron’s comment” or that they don’t know what libertarians believe.
    Do try reading for comprehension.

  246. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    jackw,
    Yeah, it’s the 99.9999% of glibertarians who give the rest a bad name.

  247. says

    I don’t now what’s more idiotic. This Landsburg guy’s comment or people judging an entire group of people by one moron’s comment.

    You think this is our first exposure to libertarianism or something?

    Not to tamp down the ignorant hysterical anti-Libertarianism around here but Landsburg’s comment is the antithesis of Libertarianism.

    “I don’t care about the harms that affect you because they don’t affect me” is pretty much the definition of libertarianism in practice.

    If Landsburg were a Libertarian he would never have made this comment.

    I can’t tell if you actually believe this, or just think we might.

    Firstly, he would know that an unconscious individual cannot give their consent to a sexual act.

    That’s never mattered to the majority of Libertarians I had the displeasure of speaking with.

    If you want to know what Libertarians believe I suggest you stop reading Landsburg and start reading works representative of Libertarian thought eg Murray Rothbard’s “For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto”

    Quoting von mises institute bullshit is adorbs, except for all the parts where it isn’t actually adorable.

  248. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    Cerberus
    Thank you for sharing and big, big safe hugs

    Seconded

  249. doublereed says

    Libertarianism isn’t actually that diverse a philosophy. It’s absolutely silly that people think it is. It’s basically a lot of naivete, corporatism, opportunism, and Noncentral Fallacies masquerading as truisms. People saying “Taxation is Theft.” Actually, I’ve even heard “Inflation is Theft” which is so mind-numbingly stupid that it hurts to think about.

    It’s not even that large a chunk of the population. It’s not a diverse philosophy.

  250. says

    I don’t now what’s more idiotic. This Landsburg guy’s comment or people judging an entire group of people by one moron’s comment.

    The answer is option #3: your allegation that we’re judging an entire group of people by one moron’s comment. In fact, we’re judging the group by the comments of MANY morons over a period of DECADES.

    …Landsburg’s comment is the antithesis of Libertarianism.

    Have you read the preface of his book? It’s pure libertarian horseshit from start to finish, especially the ECON-101-as-religion blathering. Also, his examples are standard libertarian digs at environmentalists and opponents of porn. His entire thrust her is “should someone’s personal feelings be a guide to policy?” which is how libertarians minimize real concerns they don’t want to deal with.

  251. Tethys says

    I don’t now what’s more idiotic. This Landsburg guy’s comment or people judging an entire group of people by one moron’s comment.

    Maybe you should remove that enormous mote from your eye? The distinction becomes clear when you see all of the facts, rather than your distorted view of the world.

    First of all why is this guy being allowed to call himself a Libertarian without objection?

    A.) He self-identifies, as is his right.
    B.) Go forth and object…to him.
    C.) Read. the. damn. thread.

  252. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Why doesn’t first time poster jackw, realize we’ve had a constant presence of liberturds since six months before Obama was first elected. They all sound the same. Arrogant, ignorant of economics, Arrogant, ignorant of politics, Arrogant, ignorant of history, Arrogant, ignorant of skepticism, arrogant, ignorant of evidence for their cause. All they have is arrogance, ignorance, and sloganeering. Pitiful creatures really.

  253. Hairhead, whose head is entirely filled with Too Much Stuff says

    jackw, I just have to fisk your little statement here:

    Not to tamp down the ignorant hysterical anti-Libertarianism around here

    “Not to tamp down” — don’t be disingenuous; that is your precise objective. Dog forbid your first thought upon reading that a libertarian advocates rape be to “tamp down” the criticism of libertarianism, rather than to object to the promotion of rape.

    “ignorant” — All of us regulars have read MORE THAN TEN THOUSAND POSTS by self-described libertarians; we are not ignorant, we are SADLY FAR TOO WELL INFORMED about libertarianism and libertarianists.

    “hysterical” — That work refers to overwrought, irrational reactions based largely upon fear; our objections are voiced rationally, strongly (frequently with curse words), and with a soupcon or two of well-deserved contempt.

    And waving your own ignorance around like a flasher at a kiddie park, well, that’s a reflection upon you (see my first sentence).

  254. cicely (mumblemumble-SomethingHalf-Witty-mumblemumble) says

    Cerberus
    Thank you for sharing and big, big safe hugs

    Seconded

    Thirded.
    -

  255. Tethys says

    I have a huge pile of hugs and all things soothing for Cerberus and all my other fellow legions.
    I will just leave them here.
    —–

    As far as Landsburg is concerned, he sounds exactly like a rapist.

  256. vaiyt says

    “hysterical” — That work refers to overwrought, irrational reactions based largely upon fear;

    Isn’t it a gendered insult, as well?
    At least it seems to be either used to silence women, or to deride men by comparing their attitudes with those of women, but I’d rather have a native speaker confirm it for me.

  257. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Cerberus

    Yet more hugs + a hot mug-o’ and the inevitable chocolate.

  258. says

    vaiyt: “hysterical” is based on a Greek word for ladybits, so yes, it’s a genderd insult. If you want a parallel insult for men, try “testerical.”

  259. R Johnston says

    @285

    Yes, “hysterical” is a definitively gendered insult. Its literal etymological meaning is that you’re acting as though a uterus were in charge of your thoughts (hystera is a transliteration of the Greek for “womb”), and that comports well enough with how it’s commonly used as a gendered slur

  260. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    This Landsburg guy’s comment or people judging an entire group of people by one moron’s comment.

    oh sure, because the FOUR MILLION libertarians, exactly like him or worse, who’ve shown up here over the years aren’t at all evidence that libertarianism is selfish, callous and bigoted.

    And magically, all those libertarians that came before jack are not True Libertarians, because they don’t make libertarianism look good.

  261. says

    @jackw

    I don’t now what’s more idiotic. This Landsburg guy’s comment or people judging an entire group of people by one moron’s comment.

    I think the prize goes to your assumption that there’s no history on this blog regarding Libertarianism. They’re not being judged by this comment. They’re also being judged from previous comments, dating back years.

    First of all why is this guy being allowed to call himself a Libertarian without objection?

    You want to know why? Look in a mirror. It’s because you’re here objecting, instead of doing it there. If you identify as a libertarian and you disagree with his portrayal of your philosophy, thengo tell him that.

    If an atheist was saying things I disagreed with, I wouldn’t go complain to a Christian. I’d complain to the guy I actually disagreed with. It’s up to you to police your own community. I should think that that was a good Libertarian value.

  262. says

    it appears to me that myers has absolutely no interest or inclination to deal honestly with libertarian philosophy. his wild rants against libertarians are at the intellectual level of rush limbaugh’s rants against ‘liberals’ – completely devoid of understanding, knowledge, and analysis.
    i honestly have no idea why he would be so pathological on this issue, because it does border on the pathological. there is no evidence anywhere that he has ever immersed himself in the writings of any libertarian philosopher of significance (mises, hayek, bastiat, spooner, bookchin, goldman, tucker, kropotkin…)
    if he had, he would realize that a simple way to tell libertarians from non-libertarians is their take on rape. libertarians will always oppose it.

  263. says

    @Dietwald Claus

    if he had, he would realize that a simple way to tell libertarians from non-libertarians is their take on rape. libertarians will always oppose it.

    Have you gone and told Landsburg that? If not, why not?

  264. says

    and as for the ‘no true scotsman’ accusation, well, there is such a thing as definitions:

    no atheist believes in a deity.
    no libertarian believes rape can be ok.

    you believe in a deity? you’re not an atheist.
    you believe rape can be ok? you’re not a libertarian.

    really not that hard.

    libertarianism, for a number of reasons, has become a cloak for those who want to defend corporatism. there is a level of absurdity to a libertarian who defends the modern corporation that could only be surpassed by an atheist defending state-sponsored religion. politicians love to use libertarian rhetoric, because they know that the vast majority of those who espouse libertarianism as their political ideology have absolutely no clue what it means. yes. ‘this is mine, fuck off’ is part of it. but, that’s like saying skepticism is about ‘there is no god – fuck off’.
    libertarian philosophy is a lot about ‘so, how did it become yours? is it really yours, or did you steal it?’ because if it is stolen, it’s not yours.
    unfortunately, myers seems more interested in defining his in-group rather than intellectual discourse. how do i know that? because you can search for the name of almost any libertarian philosopher other than ayn rand in his many posts on libertarians, and come up empty. that means he hasn’t read any of them. nor does he care to.
    which is really too bad, because there is a sizeable community of skeptical libertarians with a strong interest in science, environmental protection, and social justice out there that is simply put off by the weirdly pathological nonsense spews at them.

  265. says

    @Lykex – why do i care what landsburg has to say? do you expect me to walk up to every idiot who calls himself a libertarian and argue with him? that’s somewhat silly.

  266. Beatrice (looking for a happy thought) says

    no atheist believes in a deity.
    no libertarian believes rape can be ok

    The definition of libertarian says something about rape? I would love to see that definition.

  267. says

    Beatrice: it’s called the ‘non-aggression principle’. it’s probably the single unifying concept of all libertarian philosophy.
    rape is clearly aggression. hence not a libertarian-compatible activity.

  268. says

    if he had, he would realize that a simple way to tell libertarians from non-libertarians is their take on rape. libertarians will always oppose it.

    This is demonstrably incorrect, using solely the facts of this case. The fact that Libertarian dudebros are so quick to whine about state intervention on anything that doesn’t involve either videotape of a weapon or a black person isn’t helping either.

    i honestly have no idea why he would be so pathological on this issue, because it does border on the pathological. there is no evidence anywhere that he has ever immersed himself in the writings of any libertarian philosopher of significance (mises, hayek, bastiat, spooner, bookchin, goldman, tucker, kropotkin…)

    Avoiding the spewings of reality-impaired assholes like Hayek seems like great advice to me.

  269. says

    rape is clearly aggression. hence not a libertarian-compatible activity.

    If you check your scotsman out, he’s clearly saying rape isn’t aggression. And pretending the ‘non-aggression principle’ is the SUPAR IMPORTANT of libertarianism, when in practice, it’s “Government is bad”, is not fooling anyone, fyi.

  270. says

    it seems myers attracts a certain type of skeptic that is temperamentally indistinguishable from a religious fundamentalist. ignorant, unwilling to entertain unfamiliar ideas, and convinced of their own righteousness. it’s probably myers’ style that attracts them.

  271. says

    Dietwald Claus! Oy! Listen, you flaming bag o’ shit, stop your incessant yakking here. Not only are you completely off topic, your whining is irrelevant. What you should do is run right over to Landsburg’s thread (http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/04/03/steven_landsburg_rochester_professor_is_it_really_rape_if_the_victim_doesn.html) and tell him he’s not a libertarian. You two can get a room and have a nice chat. Other than that, shut up. Ta.

  272. says

    @Dietwald Claus

    why do i care what landsburg has to say?

    Because he’s the subject of this thread? If you don’t care, then why are you here?

    do you expect me to walk up to every idiot who calls himself a libertarian and argue with him?

    No, I expect you to express your disagreement to the person you’re disagreeing with: Landsburg.

    Landsburg identifies as a Libertarian. If you don’t agree with that, then your disagreement is with him, not us. If you don’t want Libertarianism to be associated with his opinions, then you need to speak out against him. Against HIM, not against the people who are disagreeing with him. We’re not the ones calling him a Libertarian; he is. You disagree with him. Go talk to him.

  273. says

    unwilling to entertain unfamiliar ideas,

    Listen, fuck, I spent years believing whole-heartedly in Libertarian bullshit. Reality came calling and knocked it down, because you can only ignore facts so long. If you want to pretend this shit is ‘unfamiliar’ because it’s the only way you can fathom people disagreeing, feel free, but it’s not going to make it true.

  274. Tethys says

    politicians love to use libertarian rhetoric, because they know that the vast majority of those who espouse libertarianism as their political ideology have absolutely no clue what it means.

    Yes, I agree that this is a problem. However, the clueless people do in fact identify as libertarian.

  275. nightshadequeen says

    Frankly, the number of self-identified libertarians I know who care more about false rape reports dwarfs the number of self-identified libertarians I know who don’t.

  276. nightshadequeen says

    arg.

    That should read “care more about false rape reports than rape”

  277. Ulysses says

    Dietwald Claus,

    Have you ever considered why many people have such a strong dislike, distrust and detestation for libertarians and libertarianism? You’re showing several exemplars right now. Your assumption of ignorance of “the true principles of libertarianism” on our part. Your use of terms like “fundamentalist” and “convinced of their own righteousness” towards those who don’t embrace your dogma. Your attempt to use No True Scotsman in respect to Landsburg, a self-described libertarian, because of lack of ideological purity. And especially your arrogant condescension towards Myers and the commentariat.

    In actuality you’re the one indistinguishable from a religious fundamentalist. Landsburg has violated one of the supposed credos of libertarianism, but do you complain to him? No, you cavil at the heathen for our refusal to respect your weltanschauung.

    All of the people here, including Dr. Myers, have been exposed to the tenets of libertarianism. We’ve had true believers attempt to convert us. We’ve considered libertarianism and rejected it for both philosophical and pragmatic reasons. We’re neither ignorant nor unthinking when it comes to libertarianism. So reality doesn’t match your mindset.

  278. says

    @Chris
    If we refused to engage with people just because they were talking unbelievable levels of nonsense, the posting rate here would drop like a rock.

  279. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    it appears to me that myers has absolutely no interest or inclination to deal honestly with libertarian philosophy.

    We have dealt honestly with liberturd theology. We keep asking you to demonstrate without sloganeering historical data, say 30 years worth, from first world countries in the last 100 years showing that it is useful and works as you claim it does. DEAD SILENCE OR INANE EVASIONS ON THE EVIDENCE FRONT FROM THE LIBERTURDS.

  280. Ulysses says

    Dietwald Claus @292

    any libertarian philosopher of significance (…bookchin, goldman, tucker, kropotkin…)

    These people were anarchists, not libertarians. I know that Tucker and Bookchin described themselves as libertarian, but they were as far removed from the right wing, “I got mine, fuck you”, Koch Bros libertarianism as is possible to be. They actually gave a damn about other people, which means they fail the first requirement of libertarianism, not being self-centered, narcissistic, sociopathic assholes like you and Landsburg.

  281. Anthony K says

    it seems myers attracts a certain type of skeptic that is temperamentally indistinguishable from a religious fundamentalist. ignorant, unwilling to entertain unfamiliar ideas, and convinced of their own righteousness. it’s probably myers’ style that attracts them.

    You forgot to close with “wake up sheeple!”

  282. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    it seems myers attracts a certain type of skeptic that is temperamentally indistinguishable from a religious fundamentalist. ignorant, unwilling to entertain unfamiliar ideas, and convinced of their own righteousness. it’s probably myers’ style that attracts them.

    Typical troll projecting his own faults on use. You are all you claim us to be. Show otherwise with real evidence, not slogans, rhetoric, and arrogance. Your arrogance is utterly and totally misplaced. It takes intelligent people less than 5 minutes to find the fatal flaws in the liberturd theology. Since there is no evidence for it, it must be accepted by presuppositiion. Just like every imaginary deity and theology derived from one.

  283. says

    Nightshadequeen:

    Frankly, the number of self-identified libertarians I know who care more about false rape reports dwarfs the number of self-identified libertarians I know who don’t.

    I’ve noticed this too. I’ve also noticed, with dismay, the amount of atheists who gleefully state or imply that “X must be a rapist!” Several people in this thread did so with Landsburg, and it’s disgusting, stupid and uncalled for behaviour.

  284. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    Hey, scumsucker –

    and as for the ‘no true scotsman’ accusation, well, there is such a thing as definitions:

    no atheist believes in a deity.
    no libertarian believes rape can be ok.

    you believe in a deity? you’re not an atheist.
    you believe rape can be ok? you’re not a libertarian.

    You’re not only an asshole, you’re a stupid asshole.

    Just for fun, let’s check your stupidity with some dictionaries.
    Libertarian:

    1. One who advocates maximizing individual rights and minimizing the role of the state.

    1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) a believer in freedom of thought, expression, etc.

    a : a person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action
    b capitalized : a member of a political party advocating libertarian principles

    So much for definitions, you lying sack.

    See, not a single word in there about a libertarian by definition being a person does not believe rape is ok.

    Abject failure on your part.

    You’re no different than the rest of the stupid anti-social libertarians. You just want to pretend you’re different so you don’t have to associate your own political leanings with those of fuckers like Landsburg. Nice try, fucker.

    You should go to your room and think about it until you understand how to fix yourself to be a decent human being.

  285. Eristae says

    To the libertarians of this thread,

    Because the conversation has moved towards the definition of libertarianism and how it operates in the world, I’d like to ask what I generally ask libertarians for: one example of libertarian philosophy in action that works. Just one. For example, I can point to countless countries (especially in Europe, although not limited to Europe) that have big government and have great standards of living. I can point to reams of institutions that operate better in countries were those institutions are made universal rather than limited by the market. But I’ve never been able to find a well functioning libertarian society that is anything other than hypothetical.

    There is, however, one caveat: the institution needs to be operating without depending on big government to pick up what it can’t handle. For example, one of the institutions that libertarians often want to bring up is private schooling (which they believe operates better than public schooling, although the evidence doesn’t seem to bear that out). But private schools operate within a system where any children they don’t educate are picked up by the public school system. If one wanted to prove the superiority of a purely private school system, then one can’t use point to a system as successful if that system depends on the public school system operating in order to be successful.

    Examples of particular interest to me are law enforcement, fire fighting, health care, basic infrastructure (like roads) creation and management, and education.

    So if any of you would like to help me out, that would be great.

  286. hypatiasdaughter says

    #35 Thumbs up, Pteryxx. Role reversal is so often a smack in the face with a cold mackerel for crapheads who always assume that THEY are the privileged half (not the victim half) in scenarios like this.
    A better example (because it can and probably does happen): Man goes into a bar with a wallet of cash, and buys drinks for some of the “cute young things” he meets, hoping to drink one of them under the table and into his bed that night. He wakes up the next morning with an empty wallet and no memory. “Crap” he thinks “I hope I had a good time spending all that money ’cause I don’t remember spending it, how much fun I had or even if I got laid!”
    Later, he hears rumors that it was the “cute young things” who drunk HIM under the table and cleaned out his wallet. That makes him really angry.
    Was he robbed?
    In essence, no harm was done. He was O.K.with coming home penniless when he thought he had spent it on those “cute young things”. The “cute young things” took his money to spend on themselves. But now he is angry that someone took it.
    Should his “physic” damage count to him? Or to us bystanders?
    And what about the “physic” component for the rapist in Landsburg’s scenario. Unless he sees rape as a purely mechanical act, then a large component of the benefits to the rapist are “physic” – the pleasure and all the other stuff pointed out above that rapists get off on.
    Why are his physic benefits a plus in Landsburg’s equation but the victims physic costs irrelevant?

  287. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But private schools operate within a system where any children they don’t educate are picked up by the public school system. If one wanted to prove the superiority of a purely private school system, then one can’t use point to a system as successful if that system depends on the public school system operating in order to be successful.

    If they want to demonstrate the private sector works in education, try a real-life experiment to make sure the footings are equal. Allow the public schools to assign 15% of the school population. In other words, the public schools are no longer the last hope for folks with attitudes. Let’s see how the private sector deals with problem students, other than dumping them back into the public schools. Since public schools have no place to dump such students, those “private” schools accepting any public money in any fashion (even tax-deduction/credit) should have to deal with such things,or shut the fuck up….

  288. says

    Ok, all caught up.

    And frankly I’d like to just take a moment and cheer this thread. Over 300 comments and none of them trying to defend Landsburg or trying to continue the “thought experiment” or yelling at feminists for daring to believe that rape has consequences? That’s fucking beautiful and something we so rarely get to have here. Here’s to hoping it continues.

    On libertarians: Dudes, even if you think you’re the “good ones”, there’s still the problem that libertarian discounting of the ability of corporate interests to harm individual liberty often means eliminating the universal people’s right to defend themselves against oppression (like for instance, anti-discrimination law or the ability to sue over poisoning by a company).

    In addition, even ignoring the constant parade of horrible “not a real libertarian” libertarians that are our regular experience with the specimen, there’s still this little central problem. They view property as more important than people and property rights as more important than human rights. Which is sort of the problem with this “thought experiment”. It seeks to reduce rape victims to a piece of property because libertarian philosophy discounts human rights and all the horror it is then used for is part of what happens when you do things like that. These are also the sort of things that lead to cultural ideas that its okay to shoot home invaders and murder them for daring to seek harm on non-sentient possessions.

    Also, we’re not idiots. Just because economic libertarianism walked up and stole civil libertarianism’s name, doesn’t mean we actually by your deflecting attempts to argue that civil libertarian arguments and philosophers are anything similar to economic libertarian arguments and philosophers.

    Eristae @185

    The really freaky thing is the “benefit” section of the equation. One would think that the cost benefit ratio would be really, really high cost to zero benefit, but apparently he thinks this is not the case.

    TRIGGER WARNING FOR DARK SARCASM. But you see, you’re ignoring the all mighty importance of the rapist getting to have an orgasm with his living flesh Real Doll. Plus, he gets the truly extraordinary thrill of reducing another human being to an object in order to feel like a) a real man, b) someone who matters because they can reduce and destroy another, and c) a truly powerful individual who gets to further enjoy someone’s suffering and trauma. Obviously, these immense benefits (for sociopathic rapists) outweighs any negative consequences that could befall rape victims and persons of conscience.

    And GYAH, I think I actually vomited in my mouth a little translating that.

    Eristae @197

    These are all physical effects that are a direct result of psychological trauma.

    TRIGGER WARNING. Yeah, there is that. Powerful psychological trauma tends to manifest all sorts of nasty psychosomatic effects in addition to the psychological scars. Whether its depression hazes making it hard to think or move and make you feel achey and slow, sensory memories or hallucinations as parts of flashbacks, anxiety symptoms like continued choking, vomiting, teeth grinding, or even self-injury routines (such as cutting or banging one’s head against the wall), there’s a mass of physical consequences.

    And that’s all before we factor in how stress and trauma make it harder to focus on things like school and work and massively impair your ability to perform a variety of tasks.

    Crip Dyke @207

    Your quotation of his “follow-up”:

    Rape frequently has ghastly physical and psychological consequences for the victim. We all know that, which is precisely why it’s important (in this kind of discussion) to assume those consequences away. The whole point is to focus on the stuff we’re not sure of, such as: Should my distress over someone else‘s rape receive policy weight? To focus on that question, it helps to imagine a scenario where that’s the only distress. In other words, we assume away all the usual harm to the victim precicely because we’re already know that this harm is dreadful and merits policy weight.

    What in the flying fuck! How does that even fucking follow. Oh hey, no, yeah, rape victims totally have all sorts of real consequences, so yeah, we’re just going to remove them entirely from our thought experiment and dehumanize him, because we’re only focusing on the impact on observers (which apparently is assumed to be nothing because there’s no such thing as terrorism, which would make an act of violence targeted at a specific minority you belong to kind of incredibly debilitating, especially if the overall culture is turning a blind eye to it).

    Oh wait, we’re still factoring in the “benefits” to the rapist in this scenario…. because…? Oh right, it’s a transparent piece of rape apologia and removing “unfortunate reality” from “otherwise beautiful thought experiments” is sort of what bad philosophers regularly do. And that’s a large part of the reason that people with actual real life oppressions start to hate all bad philosophers after awhile.

    Giliell @227

    Yeah, there’s a severe bystander harm knowing that this could happen to me. I can only speak for myself but becoming fully aware of rape culture and about how many people have been raped hit me like a ton of bricks. It is causing me harm, it made me anxious. My “bystander harm” includes throwing up, because thanks to a fucked up psyche that’s the way my body chooses* to release the pain.

    TRIGGER WARNINGS. Exactly. If you witness it happening and everyone cheering and supporting it, it really hammers home how little support you can expect if something happens to you. That means increased terror and stress and fear of dominant group members. That means psychosomatic symptoms of stress and fear. That means secondary trauma. That means reduced willingness to stand up for yourself if you later become a victim. That means reduced willingness to put your neck out for the victim thus increasing their trauma. That means being scared out of certain sectors where the threat of rape is perceived to be high, which means directly entrenching a rape culture where women are blamed for “being there in the first place” and rapists are directly encouraged to rape more in those spaces, because it is a successful terrorism tool in rooting out minority group members who “don’t belong there”.

    That means a giant suite of shit that has been thoroughly investigated by the people who long since abandoned philosophy and have been turning ideas into actual research-supported academics in disciplines like Women’s Studies and Psychology.

  289. Pteryxx says

    Seconding Cerberus, with thanks especially. I’m in awe of the openness and analysis y’all have brought to this thread.

    hypatiasdaughter@318: Thanks, but enough men and boys also get raped that the reverse situation is not all that unlikely. It just doesn’t exist as a ubiquitous narrative the way ‘passed-out woman = sex toy’ does. I also note the good professor didn’t address what seems an obvious follow-up reversal, if he’s going to cite Steubenville and praise ignorance – he said nothing about any nonphysical harm or benefit to any party from knowing what rape actually is. In my case, as so many others, my ignorance that what was done to me constituted a real violation fitting the term ‘rape’ didn’t save me in the least from the resulting mental trauma and stress-caused symptoms. However, learning about it, not least from fellow survivors here, helps in processing and dealing with the trauma; it can also help potential victims understand what’s happening and facilitate their recovery if they do get assaulted. Ignorance of rape can only benefit the ‘hypothetical’ rapist. (Not going to go into detail about what ignorance of rape meant to the not-so-hypothetical bystanders in Steubenville.)

    Why are [the rapist's] physic benefits a plus in Landsburg’s equation but the victims physic costs irrelevant?

    Why indeed. Another quote from Landsburg’s horrific post (via Libby Anne) in which he considers his reasons for dismissing psychic harm. (Emphasis mine)

    I’ve mused on this before (e.g. in the final chapter of More Sex is Safer Sex), but I think I’ve failed to draw a compelling bright line. That said, some clearly relevant issues are:

    1. We have only Bob’s word for the magnitude of his distress.
    2. We don’t want to encourage others to dredge up their own feelings of psychic harm, which might have lain safely buried in their unconsciousness until they noticed that conscious expressions of such feelings tend to get rewarded.

    Well, that seems like a bright compelling line to me; it says ‘Here Be Victim-Blaming’.

  290. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    I’ve only read to 141, so forgive me if this has been said already but anyone interested in understanding Kant could either read his own summary of the Critique, The Prolegomena. Or Woods’ Kantian Ethics, which is also stellar.

    I’m kinda disappointed as the Kant haterade; Kant’s views are much more nuanced then they are being portrayed by some. For instance, with lying–Kant believed that lying to oneself or to others denied their humanity, that it was deeply unsocial because, as social animals, we all build out worldview on what we can know of others and of ourselves. Deception means that someone doesn’t have the best information to hand. “For,” says Kant, “I violate the rights of mankind; for I have acted contrary to the condition, and the means, under which a society of men can come about, and thus contrary to the right of humanity” (Collins 27:447).

    However, in The Lectures Kant admits that “white lies” are okay…that sometimes, its important to keep society moving forward by performing social niceties. He also makes an exception for a person demanding truth that has no right to receive it–a person with a gun to your head, for instance, has no right to expect or demand that you give them your ATM password and you’d be within your rights to lie about it. He rejects categorically that truth can be coerced. (See Kant and Constant’s discussion of the “murderer at the door.”)

    Finally, Kant’s views on lying evolve (or perhaps are explicated more clearly) in The Lectures, and I think its because Kant is setting up two different conditions: The Perfect World, where lying is always bad and unsocial and damaging to one’s humanity, and The Real World, where people cannot always tell the truth because it will do them real harm to do so. Kant always comes back to the view that lying, whether forced or not, is not a good thing and that in a better world, we would not put people in positions where they were forced to lie.

    What I like best about Kant is that he affirms the dignity of every human person. He is strongly committed to the idea that people have rights and duties, not because of an inherent “soul” or because God did it, but because we are rational creatures who can imagine ourselves in the shoes of others and say, “Hey, maybe treating others badly is not so great for them.” There are definite problems with Kant’s views on a lot of things (sex, women, race, etc) but I do think that the moral framework he creates was revolutionary. Nothing in modern philosophy can be said without reading and understanding Kant. His impact on philosophy cannot be overstated and it is disappointing to see him dismissed.

    ——————————————————————————-

    As far as Landsburg not being a True Libertarian–it is true that one of the principle tenets of libertarian moral philosophy is that is self-ownership. It would seem than Landsburg completely violates that principle with his view that one’s body can be violated so long as one is unaware of said violation. HOWEVER, it is obvious that what’s at issue here is the term “libertarian,” which has taken on meaning beyond what John Locke envisioned when he talked about self-ownership and state tyranny. In other words, Ayn Rand ret-conned libertarianism to such an extent that her Objectivism has now come to be known as Libertarianism (although sometimes its also called Right-Libertarianism). In *her* moral philosophy, like it or not, there is some pretty problematic stuff about rape.

  291. Cyranothe2nd, ladyporn afficianado says

    Well shit, didn’t mean to get the Kant shit kicked off again. Ignore me. I got excited to use that philosophy minor for something (finally!) :((

  292. says

    2. We don’t want to encourage others to dredge up their own feelings of psychic harm, which might have lain safely buried in their unconsciousness until they noticed that conscious expressions of such feelings tend to get rewarded.

    That’s quite the statement. Don’t want to get that whole victim’s talking thing going on, gosh, they might find solace or strength or something. The really awful thing? A lot of people think this way, including regulars here.

  293. says

    2. We don’t want to encourage others to dredge up their own feelings of psychic harm, which might have lain safely buried in their unconsciousness until they noticed that conscious expressions of such feelings tend to get rewarded.

    Yeah, stfu about whatever concerns you. Be nice and happy and then we’ll reward you. Don’t you dare express hurt and anger and pain.
    Story of my life. The purely “psychic harm” left me pretty unable to function as person. But really, I should stop playing the victim. After all that emotional abuse was two weeks ago* twenty years ago. Just stop talking about it! IT’s not like talking about it got me to the point where I could actually do things again and enjoy life again. WHO THE FUCK CARES?
    Certainly not Libertarians.

    *Stop playing the victim! You know how she is!

    Cerberus
    Everything you said.

  294. says

    A quick, arguably a bit pedantic note on libertarianism; a few people in this thread have noted that libertarians don’t argue with other libertarians. Back when I was a libertarian (when I was a severely naive Ron Paul activist; I’m a proper progressive today), it seemed that libertarians could never stop arguing with each other.

    Mostly arguments between your typical Fox News objectivist dipshits, and the math-hating, completely batshit Anarcho-Capitalists who thought Von Mises was smarter than Einstein (Also, that Somalia was better than western countries). It’s a real shame that only the former group has any real voice; I’d really love for the AnCaps to get some airtime on major TV networks, so people could really see the absurdities that libertarianism can lead people to believe.

    On topic: People like Landsburg really make me wish that tenure could be revoked for blatant displays of indifference like this. I wouldn’t want this man anywhere near women he’s in a position of authority with respect to. Actually, scratch that. I wouldn’t want someone who’d dismiss psychological trauma as mere “psychic harm” teaching any student of any kind.

  295. says

    1. We have only Bob’s word for the magnitude of his distress.
    2. We don’t want to encourage others to dredge up their own feelings of psychic harm, which might have lain safely buried in their unconsciousness until they noticed that conscious expressions of such feelings tend to get rewarded.

    I read this as being rather more explosive, as I think he’s suggesting the “psychic” harm isn’t really all that big a deal, and that the victims are probably exaggerating it, to get “rewarded”.

    @Caine

    Don’t want to get that whole victim’s talking thing going on, gosh, they might find solace or strength or something. The really awful thing? A lot of people think this way, including regulars here.

    That is awful.
    At the same time I think quite a few people are shy of these conversations not so much because they don’t want the victims to find strength and solace, but because it’s hard to listen to. It creates deep empathy, an almost intolerable desire to help, to comfort, all the while knowing there’s nothing you can do except listen.
    I am in awe of the courage it takes victims to speak out. I am often both deeply moved and deeply impressed by such comments. I don’t answer them, as I feel there’s absolutely nothing I can say, and I also somehow feel I don’t have the right to say anything. Probably quite a few people feel like that, and that may lead to the impression they don’t want victims to speak out. I’m sorry for that.
    I have felt tempted to join the chorus of “safehugs”, but stopped myself, as it might be creepy coming from a stranger. Can I offer soul chocolate?

  296. John Morales says

    shockna:

    People like Landsburg really make me wish that tenure could be revoked for blatant displays of indifference like this.

    What makes you think this is a display of indifference rather than an odious insinuation that some types of rape may be harmless?

  297. says

    Delft, a lot of people don’t know what to say upon hearing experiences, and that’s okay. You don’t have to know what to say, there’s no ‘one right thing’ to say. I don’t think you get to place yourself in the stranger category anymore, either. You’ve commented enough to become recognizable as one of the Horde. :)

  298. says

    What makes you think this is a display of indifference rather than an odious insinuation that some types of rape may be harmless?

    A terrible habit (not sarcastic, in case it comes off as such) to go with charitable interpretations even when they’re clearly unwarranted; I need to work on that, especially given that he does mention the Steubenville rape in his “thought experiment”, making the “odious insinuation” interpretation far more parsimonious.

  299. says

    shockna

    A quick, arguably a bit pedantic note on libertarianism; a few people in this thread have noted that libertarians don’t argue with other libertarians. Back when I was a libertarian (when I was a severely naive Ron Paul activist; I’m a proper progressive today), it seemed that libertarians could never stop arguing with each other.

    I think you’re missunderstanding
    Nobody’s saying that they never ever argue with each other, people are saying that it’s noticable how libertarians come here playing “no true Scotsman” instead of going over there and telling the guy what a shithead he is.

    +++
    Oh, and also “safely burried in the subconscious”? That guy knows shit about how psychology works. It’s called “subconscious”, meaning that that you’re ot consciously aware of it. It doesn’t mean “not there at all, doing nothing”. Duh, my liver is working subconsciously. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an effect.

  300. Eristae says

    His “clarification” is daft. No one, and I mean no one is arguing that rape should be illegal because it makes the uninvolved bystander uncomfortable. No one is putting forth legislation because they are of the opinion that their own discomfort at watching someone be raped needs to be minimized. This is why you don’t find things like, “In order to ensure the mental well-being of those who may be witness to a rape, rape shall be made illegal. . . ” Running around removing the victim’s pain, the victim’s suffering, the victim’s damage removes the whole reason that rape is wrong. Rape is wrong because of the impact that it has on the victim.

    His thought experiment only works at all if we go with his original words and ignore his “clarification.” He’s feeling the heat at everyone being so horrified by him and is trying to make up nonsensical excuses for why what he said isn’t evil. But he can’t even do that convincingly.

  301. says

    Nobody’s saying that they never ever argue with each other, people are saying that it’s noticable how libertarians come here playing “no true Scotsman” instead of going over there and telling the guy what a shithead he is.

    Fair enough. I did see those arguments, though I think somewhere around the 250th comment I kinda misremembered and mentally split it into two. Reading these threads in the middle of the night does no favors for the memory. >.>

  302. shala says

    Yeah, the good old non-aggression principle. Where only direct physical violence and threats of violence are considered to actually be “aggression”. Actually, there’s a hilarious amount of fucked-up shit that wouldn’t be considered “aggression” in Libertopia:

    -As many point out, economic aggression. Buying up all kinds of private roads around someone’s property and forcing them out of business.

    -Speeding. As long as you don’t hit anyone, it’s not aggression. Feel free to go 160 mph down a town road just so long as you don’t hit anything or anyone. Likewise, drunk/impaired driving.

    -Child labor. It’s a voluntary choice for the child, why deny them that “right”? If they’re being exploited they can always find another job!

    -By some miracle you manage to sue a megacorporation for millions of dollars in their privatized court after they fuck up your property and win. They tell you, “You can take the money from my cold, dead hands” and walk out of the room with armed guards. Who is committing aggression here, and how would anyone do anything about it in Libertopia?

    The non-aggression principle is useless. Like Rutee said, “government is bad” is by far their most unifying tenant. The NAP just lets them act like the government is the monopoly on their definition of force. Given all that, so long as Landsburg can perform enough mental gymnastics to decide that rape isn’t aggression, why are libertarians calling him “not a true libertarian”?

  303. says

    Yup, what Landsburg is espousing is not libertarianism-it’s just fuckwittery. Few libertarians have ever denied property rights to such an extent as Landsburg has.

  304. says

    considering the rather debased level of argumentation against libertarianism it this thread is the most striking indicator that those in this forum opposed to libertarianism – including myers – are motivated more by some unresolved psychopathologies than well-developed philosophical analysis. there are youtube comment threads with more substance.

    for those of you who simply feel they don’t know enough about libertarianism, but are uncomfortable with the little bit they do know. i recommend sites like http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com – it may surprise you.

  305. says

    considering the rather debased level of argumentation against libertarianism in this thread, it appears that some here – including myers – are motivated more by some unresolved psychopathologies than well-developed philosophical analysis. there are youtube comment threads with more substance.

    for those of you who simply feel they don’t know enough about libertarianism, but are uncomfortable with the little bit they do know. i recommend sites like http://bleedingheartlibertarians.com – it may surprise you.

  306. rr says

    one example of libertarian philosophy in action that works

    It gives its followers a comforting feeling of superiority, while providing an excuse for avoiding the difficult task of making government better. So from certain perspectives it works, making people ineffective and helping maintain the status quo.

  307. says

    addressing landsburg directly are some serious heavy hitter libertarians, like horowitz – another name you’ll never find mentioned by myers – because myers simply can’t be bothered to deal with libertarian ideas honestly. again, there are probably some unresolved psychopathologies at work.

  308. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    considering the rather debased level of argumentation against libertarianism in this thread, it appears that some here – including myers – are motivated more by some unresolved psychopathologies than well-developed philosophical analysis.

    Would sir like his smelling salts at the table or in the library?

  309. says

    substitute ‘libertarianism’ with ‘non-coercive human interaction’, and you’ll be able to think of an incredible array of examples of ‘libertarianism at work’. libertarianism as understood by most people who think about libertarianism beyond ‘no taxes’ is simply that: non-coercive human interaction.
    as for the non-aggression principle only apply to physical violence: that is incorrect. assault, for example, is in violation of the non-aggression principle (assault as defined under tort law).
    the vast majority of those who oppose libertarianism, that is: non-coercive human relationships, do so out of ignorance. after all, i have not met many – though i have met some – people who do not think that non-coercion is a preferable to coercion as a base to human relationships.
    so, if somebody calls himself a ‘libertarian, but does not oppose coercion, he is simply demonstrating the human capacity for inconsistency.
    it’s as if you met a communist who is in favor of free trade or private ownership of the means of production.

  310. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Still no solid and conslusive evidence from liberturd. Theoretical studies are worthless, and your OPINION is worthless.

  311. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Liberturd OPINION equals arrogance, lies, arrogance, bullshit, arrogance, distortions, arrogance, and idiocy. Thanks for demonstrating this truth DC.

  312. rr says

    Dietwald Claus:

    …an incredible array of examples of ‘libertarianism at work’

    Well then show us some examples of libertarianism at work.

  313. says

    rr: every single time you engage with other human beings without resorting to coercion, is an example of ‘non-coercion’ at work. every time you ask somebody to help you with something, and you receive help, even though you could not have compelled this person to help you, is an instance of non-coercion at work. then again, maybe in your daily life, you never experience non-coercion. i can’t know.

  314. says

    rr: every single time you engage with other human beings without resorting to coercion, is an example of ‘non-coercion’ at work. every time you ask somebody to help you with something, and you receive help, even though you could not have compelled this person to help you, is an instance of non-coercion at work. then again, maybe in your daily life, you never experience non-coercion. i can’t know.

    I guess if you define libertarianism as being “anything good,” then it’s true that every time you do something “good”, that’s libertarianism at work.

  315. chigau (unless...) says

    The Shift Key Makes Some Letters Larger.
    It Is Usually Used At The Beginning Of Sentences But Can Be EmPlOyEd at any time.

  316. omnicrom says

    Dietwald please do us and yourself a favor: Get over yourself and drop the incredibly self-important and pretentious attitude.

    You surely do not do the supposedly “good” libertarians any favors by being their spokesperson. Also that sneering, arrogant, fact-free tone of yours IS what I (and probably many others here) think of when we think “Libertarian”. You may not openly be accepting the Libertarian credo of “I’ve got mine, fuck you”, but Dietwald let me say that in every other respect you are the same as every Libertarian who has ever graced this blog.

  317. says

    ironically, the most striking example of non-coercion at work is when you find a road extending across a national border. that, incidentally, answers the question “but who will build the roads.” after all, which government compelled the governments of either country to connect their road to the other?

  318. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yawn, evidenceless and overweening arrogance is so boring. And every liberturd has displayed it. Funny how such arrogance and ignorance can make us look at liberturds like they have nothing to say. They don’t.

  319. says

    sally: if your definition of good = non-coercion, then i agree with you. i do not argue that governments never do anything good. in fact, governments would not survive without doing a lot of good. anyone who argues that governments do not fulfill important and necessary functions in social life is rather ignorant of human reality. the argument i would make is that governments don’t fulfill these functions very well.

  320. says

    rr: every single time you engage with other human beings without resorting to coercion, is an example of ‘non-coercion’ at work. every time you ask somebody to help you with something, and you receive help, even though you could not have compelled this person to help you, is an instance of non-coercion at work.

    Every time you blather some really overgeneralized but nice-sounding principle in place of honest and informed discussion of real-world issues and events, that’s libertarianism at work.

    I’ve lost count of the number of times some libertarian airhead has mindlessly attacked or disdained some perfectly plausible statement about a real issue by saying something like “I’m against tyranny, and you all appear to be for it!” or “I just believe in personal volition in all matters!” and then wondering how all of us could think that nuts-and-bolts reality could ever override such wonderful ideals. It’s amazing how much reality you can ignore with just plain childish immaturity and simplemindedness.

  321. rr says

    Dietwald Claus:

    every single time you engage with other human beings without resorting to coercion, is an example of ‘non-coercion’ at work.

    So how does a libertarian get a selfish neighbor to stop playing annoying loud music at 3 AM?

  322. says

    rr: that depends entirely on the situation. is it a rental apartment? in that case, the landlord may have established procedures of how to deal with that, and set them out in the rental agreement. it could range from anything like an financial penalty if enough people complain, to the super turning off the power to the apartment in question. finally, there is tort law, which can be used to sue the selfish prick for damages. tort law, by the way, is about the most elegant approach to pretty much anything in this regard.
    now, one can have an argument over who is best suited to enforce the judgement of a tort finding, and that’s where you’ll find the biggest disagreement among libertarians: some believe this does require a minimal government, others argue it can be done fully privately

  323. chigau (unless...) says

    I think all the people on the ‘B’ Ark were (are/will be) libertarians.

  324. says

    raging bee: maybe you should ask a more specific question, like that posed by rr. as in, how would you solve xyz w/o coercion? now, it is true that force is sometimes necessary, the question that libertarians tend to ask is whether the use of aggressive force is justifiable. are you allowed to use force to defend yourself against aggression or violence? the answer is, yes, of course. are you allowed to use force simply to get your way? the answer is no, of course not. i doubt anybody actually disagrees with that. which brings me back to my original point: i doubt that in principle there are too many people who disagree with the basic assumption of non-aggression. the real crux is how to deal with aggression, since somebody somewhere will always be tempted to use aggression. the difference between libertarianism and non-libertarianism then boils down to: which mechanisms are best suited to deal with aggression? libertarians tend to answer that question with ‘non-monopolistic institutions established without the use of aggression’. non-libertarians tend to answer that question with ‘monopolistic institutions established by aggression’. it is certainly arguable that the non-libertarian answer is functional and workable – after all, that’s how the world has been run for much of human history. i would, however, argue that it is not the best approach to the problem.

  325. says

    Lykex – agreed, the better term yet would be aggression vs. defensive use of force. the rude neighbour is the aggressor. the response is defensive use of force.

  326. rr says

    Dietwald Claus:

    financial penalty if enough people complain, to the super turning off the power to the apartment in question

    Isn’t that coercive?

  327. says

    but, to come back to the original issue of this thread: rape is aggression against another person. for this reason, it is incompatible with libertarianism as commonly understood by even the most superficial libertarian. that’s really all there is to it. that myers and his acolytes vociferously refuse to understand that is, as i have repeatedly said, evidence of some unresolved psychopathology beyond the scope of argument.

  328. says

    if your definition of good = non-coercion, then i agree with you

    In that case, the word “libertarian” is meaningless and useless. Might as well call yourself a “pro-goodist.” Nobody likes coercion. Everyone likes liberty. So? How to achieve more liberty and less coercion? In practice, none of the methods proposed by actual libertarians hold up as means to those ends.

  329. says

    raging bee: maybe you should ask a more specific question…

    The airheaded bullshit I’ve heard from libertarians WAS in response to specific questions. That’s kinda what I was saying, in case your reading comprehension is busted…

  330. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    the most striking example of non-coercion at work is when you find a road extending across a national border. that, incidentally, answers the question “but who will build the roads.” after all, which government compelled the governments of either country to connect their road to the other?

    Exactly right. Non-coercion is evidenced by every single case where nations act in accordance to treaty – because

    a) there is no such thing as public international law
    and
    b) it is impossible for one people to coerce another people – just ask the Nez Pearce!

    No need to investigate a single, specific road-building endeavor, because the mere fact of the road means no coercion existed in any temporal, physical, or economic nexus with that road!

    We don’t need regular evidence: It’s Science!!!!

    the landlord may have established procedures of how to deal with that, and set them out in the rental agreement. it could range from anything like an financial penalty if enough people complain, to the super turning off the power to the apartment in question. finally, there is tort law, which can be used to sue the selfish prick for damages. tort law, by the way, is about the most elegant approach to pretty much anything in this regard.

    But I don’t want to be coerced into court. And if you do file a suit against me, that’s coercion you bad libertarian you! Don’t you believe in non-coercion?

    And when I don’t pay you b/c you got a default judgement when I didn’t show up, and I continue to ignore the very pretty letters saying that I somehow “owe” money because some court said so? What happens then? You wouldn’t resort to coercion, now, would you?

  331. says

    sally – the original argument of the thread was not ‘how can more liberty be achieved’, but ‘libertarians are assholes because they condone rape’. libertarians don’t condone rape anymore than communists condone private ownership over the means of production. that’s really all there is to it.
    as to how more ‘liberty’ can be achieved: i have come to the conclusion that states will cease to exist as meaningful systems of social organization within three or four generations henceforth. i don’t care to convince people of the necessity of moving into that direction, since the world IS moving into that direction willy nilly. i’m simply trying to show that the premise of this – and many other rants by myers against libertarians – is faulty, to put it kindly.

  332. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @ Chigau, #359

    I think all the people on the ‘B’ Ark were (are/will be) libertarians.

    I think the phrase you’re looking for is:

    “All the people on the ‘B’ Ark willen haven be libertarians.”

    Thank goodness for Dr. Dan Streetmentioner’s Time Traveler’s Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations!!!

  333. Anthony K says

    that myers and his acolytes vociferously refuse to understand that is, as i have repeatedly said, evidence of some unresolved psychopathology beyond the scope of argument

    Hey, while you’re on the topic, will you look at this rash? What do you think it could be, Doctor?

  334. says

    crip: you are missing the point. which government that rules both the us and canada enforces the maintenance of roads across the border between canada and the usa? the basic argument against libertarianism is that without c as a supreme arbiter between a and b, a and b would not cooperate and might just try to kill each other. arguments against libertarianism tend to ignore the reality of current international relations, which are anarchic, and yet do not preclude significant cooperation.

  335. Anthony K says

    As I’ve said before, one of the chief problems of libertarianism is that it requires some sort of regulation on who can legitimately call themselves libertarians. Lacking that, they’re all Scotsmen.

  336. says

    anthony, so it would be ok to say that atheists are in favor of mass murder, because pol pot promoted both atheism and mass murder? ok. if you can live with that, fine.

  337. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Dietwald

    ***I*** am missing the point?

    Which government rules both the US and Canada [and thereby] enforces the maintenance of roads across the border?

    The US government! Are you daft or just not reading what I said. You have no evidence that Canada’s investments are undertaken without coercion from the US. Present some.

    Once you’ve done that, present evidence that the international tribunals that rule such disputes were created and jurisdiction extended without coercion.

    Iraq’s government cooperated with the US government quite a bit after the invasion. Anarchic, sure, but look at the cooperation!!!

    The point is that you think you have presented evidence, but you have not because you ***assume*** that the existence of thing X must have been brought about non-coercively b/c Look! Thing X!

    This is the very definition of a circular argument.

  338. Anthony K says

    anthony, so it would be ok to say that atheists are in favor of mass murder, because pol pot promoted both atheism and mass murder? ok. if you can live with that, fine.

    Stick to being a doctor. As a political scientist, you’re fucking lousy.

    Let me walk you through what thinking looks like:

    It would totes be okay, swell, awesome, and even true to say that some atheists favour mass murder, just as it would totes be okay, swell, awesome, and even true to say that some libertarians make arguments like Steven Landsburg up there.

    See how that’s different from your idiotic whining?

  339. says

    the original argument of the thread was not ‘how can more liberty be achieved’, but ‘libertarians are assholes because they condone rape’. libertarians don’t condone rape anymore than communists condone private ownership over the means of production. that’s really all there is to it.

    This libertarian clearly condones rape. As for the rest of them, they have no useful ideas for how to actually deal with the global epidemic of violence against women. Indeed, the only time I have heard libertarians discussing women and issues pertinent to women’s lives in in their ongoing, eternal debate about how to reconcile the libertarian position with government restrictions on abortion availability, since there is a large bloc of libertarians, and a few prominent ones, who appear to believe that the alleged right of fetuses to parasitize a woman’s body is more compelling than a woman’s right to control what happens to her body. That right there shows how slippery, vague, and ultimately useless the libertarian label and philosophy is. An ideology that purports to give answers about how to maximize liberty, but cannot be reliably counted upon to argue in favor of the bodily autonomy of individuals who become pregnant? Not all that surprising that some of its adherents cannot respect the bodily autonomy of women in other situations, such as rape.

  340. says

    the basic argument against libertarianism is that without c as a supreme arbiter between a and b, a and b would not cooperate and might just try to kill each other.

    Methinks you are strawmanning; this is not THE basic argument against libertarianism. To me, THE basic argument against libertarianism is that libertarianism is ahistorical and provides no mechanisms to account for and correct current injustices that were caused by past applications of force. But there are many, many excellent arguments against libertarianism (since it is such a slippery, vague, inconsistent philosophy, with ever-shifting rationals and values), so it is hard to say if there even is ONE basic argument against libertarianism. There isn’t even one basic libertarianism.

  341. says

    Yup, what Landsburg is espousing is not libertarianism-it’s just fuckwittery. Few libertarians have ever denied property rights to such an extent as Landsburg has.

    Libertarians: Stay classy

    Like Rutee said, “government is bad” is by far their most unifying tenant.

    Tenet, and I am good at summing up.

    the most striking example of non-coercion at work is when you find a road extending across a national border. that, incidentally, answers the question “but who will build the roads.” after all, which government compelled the governments of either country to connect their road to the other?

    So your example of non-governments building roads is governments building roads.

    Do you have any better examples?

    anthony, so it would be ok to say that atheists are in favor of mass murder, because pol pot promoted both atheism and mass murder? ok. if you can live with that, fine.

    If Pol Pot were one of the leading lights of atheism, and were treated well and spoken of favorably, as Hayek, von Mises, and Friedman are by Libertarians, then yes. But atheists roundly denounce Pol Pot. Hayek and von Mises were in your list, and Friedman is generally treated charitably.

    sally – the original argument of the thread was not ‘how can more liberty be achieved’, but ‘libertarians are assholes because they condone rape’. libertarians don’t condone rape anymore than communists condone private ownership over the means of production. that’s really all there is to it.

    …so you do in fact condone rape then? (Hint: Actually learn something about China).

  342. chigau (unless...) says

    A number of the roads between the US and Canada cross First Nations Reserves / Indian Reservations.
    Is anyone there being coerced?

  343. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @ Sally

    Nice pull quote. Don’t know why I didn’t twig on that one.

    As you say, it’s not **the** basic argument against libertarianism, but what’s worse is that he thinks
    …a) he got it right
    and
    …b) he’s refuted it

    Because, international relations, duh!

    Except, the actual argument to which he’s attempting to refer is

    without c as a supreme arbiter between a and b, a and b would not have no inherent incentive to cooperate and might just try to kill each other.

    But you see, on the international level, it’s easy to reach agreements, the agreements that are reached are never coerced, and states never use lethal force against one another!

    Science!!!!

  344. says

    The roads are all paid for with the tax money of American and Canadian citizens, most of whom will never use those roads. If they don’t pay their taxes, they will face legal penalties. Uh-oh! Coercion!

  345. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Chigau -379

    and all of them are on indigenous land.

    Fortunately, different peoples were able to reach fully non-coercive agreements with full and voluntarily compliance on both sides. Therefore, the very issue you bring up proves the success of 19th century libertarian international relations!

    Science!

    Did I mention, really, really Objective Science?!?!

  346. says

    But you see, on the international level, it’s easy to reach agreements, the agreements that are reached are never coerced, and states never use lethal force against one another!

    And threatening the withdrawal of trade, markets, or other economic necessities is somehow not coercive.

  347. hotshoe, now with more boltcutters says

    but, to come back to the original issue of this thread: rape is aggression against another person. for this reason, it is incompatible with libertarianism as commonly understood by even the most superficial libertarian. that’s really all there is to it. that myers and his acolytes vociferously refuse to understand that is, as i have repeatedly said, evidence of some unresolved psychopathology beyond the scope of argument.

    Look who’s back: it’s scumsucker Claus: with more trolling claims that anyone who doesn’t like him personally (because he’s a troll) or doesn’t like Libertarianism (because Libertarians are either corporate bosses or corporate tools) must have some unresolved psychopathology

    Fuck off Claus.

  348. Eristae says

    @Dietwald Claus (assuming you’re answering me, and I think you are, but I’m not sure)

    You are misunderstanding what I’m asking for. I’m not asking for libertarian personal interactions that work, I’m asking for libertarian institutions that work. For example, any given area needs to have institutions that address fires, crime, health care, education, basic infrastructure, etc. Figuring out who is going to is going to create and maintain the equipment for people to put out fires and then figuring out who is going to do this is more than a personal interaction; it’s an institutional action.

    I’m looking for an example of a libertarian institution that operates just as well or better than big government institutions.

  349. says

    Rutee: landsburg is not a leading libertarian light, and leading libertarian lights have roundly denounced him. that’s my point. but, you and myers insist he speaks for libertarians. so, by your and myers’ logic, atheists condone mass murder because pol pot did. qed. right? of course not. that’s would be stupid. so, why do you continue to use stupid arguments against libertarians.

    it seems that myers and you and anti-libertarians like you approach libertarianism as follows:

    some people who call themselves libertarians spout bullshit in the name of libertarianism. ergo, libertarianism is bullshit. whenever somebody else who calls himself libertarian says that he agrees that what was said is bullshit, and that – as a libertarian – he disagrees with it because he is a libertarian, you respond by saying ‘well, since some self-declared libertarians spout bullshit, everything you say against it is bullshit to.’

    it’s a completely insane way of thinking, more akin to witch hunting than logical reasoning.

  350. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    some people who call themselves libertarians spout bullshit in the name of libertarianism. ergo, libertarianism is bullshit

    Deitwald, if you would stop being so testerical and irrational and read what people are actually saying, you could have avoided making a fool of yourself in this manner.

  351. says

    Eristae – in most western countries, these institutions have now been completely monopolized, either by governments directly, or through monopoly grants. however, historically, there are many instances of roads and railroads being build entirely by non-monopolistic organizations, for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Northern_Railway_%28U.S.%29

    another great example for a libertarian institution is this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsche_Gesellschaft_zur_Rettung_Schiffbr%C3%BCchiger

    as for fighting crime, this has been one of the first institutions all governments around the world monopolize, replacing private tort and tort enforcement with a system of criminal law. historically, mediveal iceland has functioned for almost three centuries based on private tort law. it’s a most fascinating case.

    also, most crime prevention (not prosecution) is currently done by private security firms. the number of private security to prevent crime by far outnumbers police in most countries, including the us and canada.

    health care; there is a huge rat tail of issues, including patent laws, limited liability, and such more that makes the issue very tricky to untangle.

  352. says

    sally – threatening to withdraw trade may be ‘coercive’, but it’s not ‘aggressive’. boycotts, for example, are very much compatible with the doctrine of non-aggression. blockades are not.

  353. Ulysses says

    The way a Canadian road and an American road manage to connect properly is, for instance, the province of New Brunswick sends a letter to the state of Maine recommending a road be established between two points and suggesting a specific route. Correspondence goes back and forth between the two governments (usually at this point between the two highway departments) until an agreement on the route is made. Then the bureaucrats go to the legislatures and convince the politicos to fund the road. Once that’s happened then surveyors lay out the routes usually to the nearest meter or yard and construction contractors build the roads.

    It’s such a simple process even a libertarian should be able to figure it out with only a couple of dozen hints using short words with no more than two syllables.

  354. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yawn, still no evidence for his theology. Lots of words and attitude, but no evidence.

    Liberturds remind me of the pseudoradicals back during my college days. Lots of communist slogans muttered right and left in any political debate, apparently refuting the status quo. But, when one noticed that some of the slogans actually refuted other slogans, their whole rhetoric system they used was meaningless for rational evidence based argument, as they weren’t engaged in rational argument. Rational argument allows for the possibility they are wrong. The pseudoradicals, like the arrogant liberturds, just can’t conceive of themselves as wrong. And both were/are.

  355. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    also, most crime prevention (not prosecution) is currently done by private security firms. the number of private security to prevent crime by far outnumbers police in most countries, including the us and canada.

    Thank god for the Pinkertons and Blackwater

  356. says

    Rutee: landsburg is not a leading libertarian light

    Landsburg is a data point. I didn’t say he was one of the leaders of Libertarianism, and you didn’t merely state that Libertarianism doesn’t support rape. You made a lot of claims about why we must hate Libertarianism and Libertarians. The fact that they de facto support rape is one, but by no means the only. Most of that support is by attacking rape trials, or rape victims, not by saying ‘rape is okay’ in those three words, fyi. Landsburg is an exception in that he was up front about it, not that in kind.

    but, you and myers insist he speaks for libertarians.

    If Landsburg was seriously the first time I’ve heard Libertarians say stupid shit that provides cover for rapists, I wouldn’t say ‘Libertarians support rapists’, but he ain’t.

    so, by your and myers’ logic, atheists condone mass murder because pol pot did.

    Get on my level, scrub. At least try for ‘Pol Pot’s regime’, except most of them had to agree or die anyway.

    whenever somebody else who calls himself libertarian says that he agrees that what was said is bullshit, and that – as a libertarian – he disagrees with it because he is a libertarian, you respond by saying ‘well, since some self-declared libertarians spout bullshit, everything you say against it is bullshit to.’

    Only ‘self-declared’ libertarians? Not any of t he major ones? Sure thing pal.

    More recently I have not been able to find a single person even in much maligned Chile who did not agree that personal freedom was much greater under Pinochet than it had been under Allende

    This is to support the idea that democracy isn’t necessary for ‘liberty’, mind you. That’s Friedrich fuckin’ Hayek, who you’ve been saying is teh ubar important untouchable philosopher.

    it’s a completely insane way of thinking, more akin to witch hunting than logical reasoning.

    If only you knew what the fuck any of those things was, but you don’t. Or even understood the damn claims made.

  357. says

    also, most crime prevention (not prosecution) is currently done by private security firms. the number of private security to prevent crime by far outnumbers police in most countries, including the us and canada.

    No it isn’t. Most crime, by the numbers, in the USA is drug crime. Private Security Firms have NOTHING to do with that. Try harder.

    sally – threatening to withdraw trade may be ‘coercive’, but it’s not ‘aggressive’. boycotts, for example, are very much compatible with the doctrine of non-aggression. blockades are not.

    So as a libertarian, I can rape you by threatening to withhold things you need in exchange for sex? It’s not aggression, it’s coercion, which is apparently always fine.

  358. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Clearly, due to his lack of response to me, Dietwald has conceded that there is no evidence in international relations for adopting a libertarian approach to organizing society.

    Thank you for your quiet submission, Dietwald. Your utter lack of evidence for your earlier proposition is noted by everyone reading this thread.

  359. says

    Eristae – also, thank you for engaging in an actual discussion. again, the original point of this thread was that ‘libertarians defend rape’, which i am arguing is not a fair characterization of libertarianism. not accepting libertarianism is a valid framework for analysis or basis for ordering social life is a position that can be argued reasonably, and reasonable people have argued reasonably on it. i have many reasonable debates with such people on a regular basis. of course, i feel that – so far – i have not come across good arguments to make me change my mind. i’m not saying there aren’t, but i simply haven’t found them.

    however, the approach myers has chosen on this issue is not reasonable, and does little to build bridges between potentially powerful allies in the political sphere. it weakens efforts among libertarians to promote critical thinking, environmentalism, feminism, and anti-corporatism. every time somebody like myers engages in such baseless attacks on libertarians my ability to promote these topics among libertarians is weakened. pharyngula is not a site i can send any libertarian to read about many of the important issues discussed here. it’s counter productive. it’s political tribalism at its worst.

    people like myers do their best to drive a wedge between the skeptical and libertarian community, enforcing cultural boundaries where there should be bridges.

    i don’t care about idiots like landsburg, because he is an isolated case in the libertarian community, and currently in the process of becoming pretty much blacklisted among those who actually matter in that community. what i care about is proving to libertarians that ‘skeptics =|= socialists’ and skeptics that ‘libertarians =|= conservatives’.

    it’s an almost futile task, and myers doesn’t help.

  360. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    sally – threatening to withdraw trade may be ‘coercive’, but it’s not ‘aggressive’. boycotts, for example, are very much compatible with the doctrine of non-aggression. blockades are not.

    Let me just say that if a D&D player tried to argue they could coerce someone via threat of removing food/medicine and that it isn’t aggressive they would get an alignment move to evil with me as DM. Libertarians are ethical rules lawyers apparently. Sadly my base method of dealing with those players (Ogres suddenly finding their face irresistibly punchable) doesn’t work in the real world

    Also really? Defending fucking Pinochet? Own goal

  361. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    . again, the original point of this thread was that ‘libertarians defend rape’, which i am arguing is not a fair characterization of libertarianism. not accepting libertarianism is a valid framework for analysis or basis for ordering social life is a position that can be argued reasonably, and reasonable people have argued reasonably on it. i have many reasonable debates with such people on a regular basis. of course, i feel that – so far – i have not come across good arguments to make me change my mind. i’m not saying there aren’t, but i simply haven’t found them.

    Keep repeating it and maybe it’ll come true

    however, the approach myers has chosen on this issue is not reasonable
    You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means

    , and does little to build bridges between potentially powerful allies in the political sphere.

    We here tend to view building bridges with Libertarians the same way I feel about building bridges with syphilis

    it weakens efforts among libertarians to promote critical thinking, environmentalism, feminism, and anti-corporatism.

    Good. I’ve read libertarians on those issues. They’re not critical thinkers and not allies.

    every time somebody like myers engages in such baseless attacks on libertarians my ability to promote these topics among libertarians is weakened.

    But aren’t these the people you just called reasonable?

    pharyngula is not a site i can send any libertarian to read about many of the important issues discussed here.

    Yes it is. Especially the issues on what the fuck is wrong with libertarianism

    it’s counter productive.

    Me refusing to fellate you may be counter productive to you but it is not counter productive to me.

    it’s political tribalism at its worst.

    Because you thinking you’re right and reasonable is just objective but us doing so is irrational tribalism?

  362. says

    Ulysses – i understand how roads between two states are built. what baffles me is that you don’t recognize the significance of that. clearly, roads can be built between a and b without requiring c as a final arbiter to make that decision, collect the funds, and execute the project.

    roads, and other infrastructure, are quite easily solved issues within even a simple libertarian analysis. it’s easy to look that up.

    again, none of that has anything to do with whether libertarian philosophy could be used to condone rape. the answer to that is, of course, no. to claim that libertarian philosophy can coherently be used to condone rape is evidence of incoherent thought.

  363. says

    Also really? Defending fucking Pinochet? Own goal

    No, that was Friedrich Hayek, not the current jackass. However, the current jackass is treating Hayek as an unassailable, genius philosopher.

    Eristae – also, thank you for engaging in an actual discussion. again, the original point of this thread was that ‘libertarians defend rape’, which i am arguing is not a fair characterization of libertarianism.

    Explain to me how I can’t use coercion to rape you, when I can coerce you in other ways, so long as I don’t use aggression.

    however, the approach myers has chosen on this issue is not reasonable, and does little to build bridges between potentially powerful allies in the political sphere

    Y’all’s only power is to prop up your corporate overlords. That’s why y’all aren’t even a blip on the motherfuckin’ radar outside of that and drug enforcement. Nobody who gives a shit about your opinions on economy cares about your positions on gay rights, and y’all use what limited influence you have to prevent abortion, two other easy places to score actual fucking points in defense of actual freedom.

    I don’t even want you as a fucking ally, because you fuckin’ ain’t. You assholes almost to a man pretend government aggression to prevent discrimination by race/sexual identity/able-bodied status/gender is wrong, that taxation to provide social services is wrong. Since you jackasses can’t be fucked to really stand for gay marriage or abortion rights, I got no fuckin’ use for you at all.

    people like myers do their best to drive a wedge between the skeptical and libertarian community, enforcing cultural boundaries where there should be bridges.

    What bridges? You jackasses don’t base your conclusions on reality. If anything there should be a deeper divide between skepticism and libertarianism.

  364. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Mother….fucking block quote….

    however, the approach myers has chosen on this issue is not reasonable

    You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means

    ,

    and does little to build bridges between potentially powerful allies in the political sphere.

    We here tend to view building bridges with Libertarians the same way I feel about building bridges with syphilis

    it weakens efforts among libertarians to promote critical thinking, environmentalism, feminism, and anti-corporatism.

    Good. I’ve read libertarians on those issues. They’re not critical thinkers and not allies.

    every time somebody like myers engages in such baseless attacks on libertarians my ability to promote these topics among libertarians is weakened.

    But aren’t these the people you just called reasonable?

    pharyngula is not a site i can send any libertarian to read about many of the important issues discussed here.

    Yes it is. Especially the issues on what the fuck is wrong with libertarianism

    it’s counter productive.

    Me refusing to fellate you may be counter productive to you but it is not counter productive to me.

    it’s political tribalism at its worst.

    Because you thinking you’re right and reasonable is just objective but us doing so is irrational tribalism?

    ———————————————————

    Look I don’t think we quite want too many libertarians here because quite frankly any discussion with them is basically babysitting. Some people here have in the past and will in the future be nice enough to hold someone’s hand and educate them on the shit they should know, but quite frankly it is always a rehash of 101 topics. It’s being handed a temper tantrum throwing brat to deal with. No thanks

  365. says

    myers has yet to provide anywhere a coherent argument regarding what is wrong with libertarianism. it never amounts to more than “libertarians are assholes, and libertarianism is stupid, and whoever doubts that is stupid, and i despise libertarians.” of course, i may be wrong – maybe myers has provided a detailed argument of how pareto optimality cannot be achieved through non-monopolistic institutions, or maybe he has shown how a strict adherence to the non-aggression principle results in self-contradiction, or how inflation is not a monetary phenomenon. i’d be rather interested in that. any pointers?

  366. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    any pointers?

    Look I don’t think we quite want too many libertarians here because quite frankly any discussion with them is basically babysitting. Some people here have in the past and will in the future be nice enough to hold someone’s hand and educate them on the shit they should know, but quite frankly it is always a rehash of 101 topics. It’s being handed a temper tantrum throwing brat to deal with. No thanks

    It’s neither my job to make up for the shitty parenting job your parents did in being a decent person nor the shitty job your school did.

  367. says

    rutee – as for hayek, i don’t treat him as an unassailable, genius philosopher. in fact, i disagree with him on methodology, and i think his political judgement has been quite shoddy at times. however, his contributions to monetary theory and the problem of coordination in complex society stands – and even earned him a nobel prize. you see, i am generally inclined to reference ideas without regard for the source. that is why i think that marx has been quite brilliant on a number of issues, particularly in his analysis of class relationships and in developing a sophisticated language of sociological analysis. he erred on matters of basic economics, however, similar to locke and smith. i doubt, however, that either you or myers have much understanding of marignalism, or the problem of dealing with externalities, and i would be quite entertained if i saw myers dwell into topics like public choice theory. i guess his critique of tullock would involve a few choice invectives, and leave it at that.

  368. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    myers has yet to provide anywhere a coherent argument regarding what is wrong with libertarianism.

    Easy, no historical or economic data showing it works in real life. End of story. Why is this so hard to grasp. History says you are full of shit.

  369. says

    maybe myers has provided a detailed argument of how pareto optimality cannot be achieved through non-monopolistic institutions,

    Irrelevant. Pareto efficiency is by no means the best way to distribute resources to begin with. Further, that isn’t an argument for an unregulated market, because an unregulated market defaults to monopoly. Competition is actually really fucking inefficient.

    or maybe he has shown how a strict adherence to the non-aggression principle results in self-contradiction,

    Yo asshole, you’re not getting out of this. I repeat:

    So as a libertarian, I can rape you by threatening to withhold things you need in exchange for sex? It’s not aggression, it’s coercion, which is apparently always fine.

  370. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Hello sir/madam!

    I am #450981 of a group of ethical dunderheads that have routinely shown up and demanded a free education! Despite my predecessors often being hostile and denser than a shit house made of lead bricks I would like you to take time out of your busy day in a futile attempt at teaching me the ways of the world!

  371. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Also FFS. Even when I’m on a phone I make the attempt to capitalize properly. Please correct this as you are close to unreadable for me.

  372. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Free markets may promote innovation in other fields but the field they most promote will always be cheating.

  373. says

    ing: i take it then that neither you nor myers nor anybody else in this forum who is railing against libertarianism would have the intellectual resources to explain why the labor theory of value is untenable, why natural monopolies can be pareto optimal, why limited liability is a major contributor to financial crises, and how eminent domain and global warming causally linked.

    that is not surprising, of course. but it is rather tragic.

  374. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @Dietwald

    Let me repeat

    I AM NOT YOUR FUCKING TEACHER.

    And show the damn common courtesy to at least ATTEMPT capitalize and punctuate legibly.

    You expect me to spend my time citing history and 101 basic shit and yet won’t go to the effort of making yourself easy to read?

  375. says

    rutee sez “Competition is actually really fucking inefficient.” i guess skeptics really have no clue about the most fundamental aspects of basic economics that is taught even a the econ 101 level.

    it’s almost as fruitless as discussing radio carbon dating with a YEC.

  376. says

    rutee – as for hayek, i don’t treat him as an unassailable, genius philosopher.

    Don’t lie to my face.

    i honestly have no idea why he would be so pathological on this issue, because it does border on the pathological. there is no evidence anywhere that he has ever immersed himself in the writings of any libertarian philosopher of significance (mises, hayek, bastiat, spooner, bookchin, goldman, tucker, kropotkin…)

    i doubt, however, that either you or myers have much understanding of marignalism, or the problem of dealing with externalities,

    You must be fucking joking. Externalities are a thing libertarians almost always shunt on the god damn public – you jackasses struggle so hard against regulation in all its forms it can be no other way. As to marginalism, I won’t pretend I’m familiar with every aspect of it, but you jackasses have gone well out of your way to avoid the actual scientists’ work on why, for instance, gendered work is so unevenly weighted in terms of pay towards men. Why would I pretend Libertarians ‘solved’ either, or know what they’re fucking talking about? FFS, private industry is so fucking important to prop up you assholes have proposed we let the god damn free market solve global warming!

  377. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    rutee sez “Competition is actually really fucking inefficient.” i guess skeptics really have no clue about the most fundamental aspects of basic economics that is taught even a the econ 101 level.

    She said that because she actually is.

    But let me rephrase for you. Competition is very effective under a free market. The problem is that it doesn’t provide incentives for innovating useful things persay.

    You could compete by being the nicest company around and making the best product. Or you could be the biggest asshole and bully. One is easier and better for profit in the short run

    For a recent reference: first thing deregulating the market did in the US was make Banks come up with a new way to game the system that wound up crashing the economy.

  378. Eristae says

    Eristae – in most western countries, these institutions have now been completely monopolized, either by governments directly, or through monopoly grants. however, historically, there are many instances of roads and railroads being build entirely by non-monopolistic organizations, for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Northern_Railway_%28U.S.%29

    But this isn’t an example of an institution that operates better than a government institution. This is one example of a private company doing one thing that governmental institutions do lots of.
    To quote your site:

    The Great Northern was the only privately funded, and successfully built, transcontinental railroad in United States history.

    Emphasis mine.

    I do not assert that libertarians as a group can’t accomplish large scale things; I simply can’t find any examples of libertarians as a group doing things on a large scale with a consistency that would allow for the government to be removed from the equation.

    Like, if you can show me a state/country/providence/whatever where private companies made and maintained most/all of the railway system, that would be a good example.

    And this needn’t be Western examples; you can use other examples as well, like Asia or some such thing.

    another great example for a libertarian institution is this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsche_Gesellschaft_zur_Rettung_Schiffbr%C3%BCchiger

    I am not familiar with this, so I need to look at it.

    also, most crime prevention (not prosecution) is currently done by private security firms. the number of private security to prevent crime by far outnumbers police in most countries, including the us and canada.

    Like? And do these crime prevention private security firms provide services to the non-wealthy?

    And what are you counting as “crime prevention?” Are we talking about “in home security” alarm systems or some such thing?

  379. says

    rutee sez “Competition is actually really fucking inefficient.” i guess skeptics really have no clue about the most fundamental aspects of basic economics that is taught even a the econ 101 level.

    For a field that relies so heavily on darwinism, one would think you understand basics of ecology. Competition means resources are exhausted that didn’t have to be – the norm in biology is actually for competitors to break into different niches or to otherwise seek to avoid competition.

    Ecology isn’t economy, no, but this has born out in history with markets – the unregulated market tends towards trusts and monopolies. Apparently, your economy 101 class isn’t familiar with, for instance, US history ca 1860-1910.

    it’s almost as fruitless as discussing radio carbon dating with a YEC.

    This is cute and all, but you do realize that I consider you the YEC here? Empirical evidence is on my side, you have… economics classes.

  380. says

    … the basic argument against libertarianism is that without c as a supreme arbiter between a and b, a and b would not cooperate and might just try to kill each other.

    First, there are more tnan one “basic argument” against libertarianism — there are THOUSANDS; and second, your idiotic abstraction just proved my point about libertarians substituting vague generalities and abstractions for real policy debate.

    arguments against libertarianism tend to ignore the reality of current international relations, which are anarchic, and yet do not preclude significant cooperation.

    Excuse me for being rude, but HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW! As usual, the stupidest statements about international relations, by far, come from libertarians. Even the neocons sound smart by comparison. No, you ignorant jackass, international relations are not “anarchic,” they’re often blatantly unequal and coercive in a variety of ways — which, again, proves how utterly fucking useless (at best) the libertarian worldview really is.

    If you think libertarians are stupid when talking about American affairs, wait till they get to foreign affairs.

    myers has yet to provide anywhere a coherent argument regarding what is wrong with libertarianism.

    So you won’t listen to any argument against libertarianism unless it comes from PZ Myers? There’s plenty of arguments disproving libertarianism, all over the place, that weren’t written by PZ. Demanding that PZ provide something you’ve already chosen to ignore is a pretty transparent and stupid dodge.

  381. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    pharyngula is not a site i can send any libertarian to read about many of the important issues discussed here.

    PRAISE PEZECCA WAYSYERS!!!

  382. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @Rutee

    quite right

    Natural selection is very effective, but you don’t get to choose whether you’re a Dodo or a house cat

  383. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Also I repeat. Please try to capitalize. Failing to do so means it takes me maybe time and a half to read you.

  384. says

    1860 – 1910 – you mean the period in US history that experienced some of the fastest and most widespread economic growth of pretty much any society in human history until then?

    in any case, what does this have to do with ‘libertarians condone rape’?

    Rutee – and, please, decide what you are against: inefficient competition or trusts and monopolies? it seems you cannot make up your mind, since the opposite of competition is monopoly.

    though, by your logic so far, i’m sure you will argue that monopolies can be very competitive and efficient at the same time. or something like that.

  385. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    1860 – 1910 – you mean the period in US history that experienced some of the fastest and most widespread economic growth of pretty much any society in human history until then?

    Oh yes and what a great time it was to be alive.

    FFS. This is why there’s no point in talking to Libertarians. Sure there was no labor rights, thugs could be sent in to bust skulls, company towns where rampant, industry raped the land and people wound up getting locked in burning buildings…but the economy was great!

    That’s the fucking POINT. The economy was great and there was no incentive in that economy not to treat workers like shit. Guess what? They where treated like shit.

  386. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    The labor theory of value is untenable, because if it were true a painting I spent 40 hours creating and a painting Picasso spent 40 hours creating would be worth the same. They aren’t. Ergo the most simplified form of the labor theory of value is crap.

    Limited liability is a major contributor to financial crises because it externalizes costs – that’s what the financial crisis is, in part, the costs of the sector that are not paid for by the sector eventually impact the markets of the sector despite their best efforts. But then when they do, there’s no easy bill to pay to satisfy debt and allow everyone to move on. Th resulting confusion between public/consumer insistence on the sector’s responsibility and the sector’s unwillingness to voluntarily take on costs that in its opinion are not its to bear (as they were removed by law) lead to economic confusion and poor decision making, further escalating the crisis. There is, of course, more here. The issues involved are quite complex.

    Eminent domain and global warming are circularly linked with regard to causation: eminent domain allows corporations to access lands for uses that both release carbon and interrupt the carbon cycle, in may circumstances that access would not be economically viable without eminent domain. This, then provides for over-development and the quicker-than-otherwise-expected release of carbon and degradation of earth’s ability to reabsorb carbon into the natural carbon cycle.
    This leads to an increase in the rate of warming…of course, this increased warming leads governments to use eminent domain to condemn land in private hands so that it can lie fallow and operate as simultaneous parks/carbon sinks.

    They cause each other.

    Tragic, yes, that you think you’re a genius and that no one here understands these issues.

    I’m not even an economist for heaven’s sake: I only looked into economics so that when someone started quoting Friedman at me I would have both a reasonable understanding of the point that the person was trying to make (beyond taxi drivers are the font of all wisdom) AND understand what critiques of those points exist AND be able to evaluate such conflicts for myself, rather than having to rely on, say, a random, drive-by libertarian.

    Take your smug superiority elsewhere. You already admitted that you don’t have any clue about Public International Law and/or the precedental value of international relations for choosing libertarianism as a system of social organization. This proves that your intellectual elitism on economic issues generally is shallower than 14 credits of undergrad economics.

    I think you’re done here.

  387. says

    Eristae – “Like, if you can show me a state/country/providence/whatever where private companies made and maintained most/all of the railway system, that would be a good example.” the problem is that i don’t know of any jurisdiction that ALLOWS private companies to do so in a competitive environment (as opposed to pseudo-competition via state-sanctioned monopolies – the latter are all over the place, and don’t count. private w/o competition = monopoly, and indistinguishable from a government organization).

  388. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Dietwald Klaus,

    Let us suppose that one person owns all the resources–indeed, even owns all the individual in a community. Such a system is pareto optimal, as we could not improve the welfare of the slaves without diminishing the wealth of the overlord. That hardly makes such a society truly optimal.

    Global warming and eminent domain? WTF?

    Dude, are you typing this with a straight face?

  389. says

    Empirical evidence is on my side, you have… economics classes.

    Minor correction: they took only the most basic economics classes, the really simple and elegant-looking micro stuff, swooned over the sheer beauty of such lovely simple rules, and made it into a religion that supposedly answers all questions and gives life meaning and purpose, without having to learn anything else about anything, ever. Notice how this dolt seems to think his ECON-101 knowledge trumps history and experience? I treated the Communist Manifesto the same way, back when I was twelve. These wankers need to grow up.

  390. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    but the economy was great!

    Nope, boom/bust cycles every few years, not enough social services during the busts so people malnourished/starving. Concentration of money in monopolies and trusts, shutting out competition. Pollution of the enviroment, medicines that didn’t work, no quality controls on medicines, food, drink, etc. Yeah, Sure, Hey. Great times.

  391. says

    crip – i’m actually happy to see that you seem to understand these issues. now, please tell me: are you aware that libertarians are opposed to eminent domain? and that libertarians oppose limited liability? ok, not all do, but many do. eminent domain and limited liability are the direct result of political actions, not competitive markets.
    considering that you clearly DO understand these issues, why can’t you see that for some the solution to these problems is to reduce these factors, rather than increase them? that current government policies make these problems WORSE, not better? what exactly, for example, is the us government doing these days to effectively fight global warming? is it not true that it is captured by corporate interests, who use its power to write the laws in favor of corporate interests? can you not fathom that to great many libertarians that is unacceptable, and that – strictly speaking – libertarians who are not opposed to this are hardly libertarians, but simply corporatists?
    maybe what galls me is this; that i agree with myers on the ends of social and political action. i simply disagree on the means, and that people like myers seem to confuse disagreement on the means with disagreement on the ends.
    it is, in fact, encouraging to see that you understand these basic issues. because they are basic. i simply think that you may be putting your hopes for social progress on the wrong horse: all governments throughout history have been little more than instruments to further the interests of the monied and armed against the unmonied and disarmed. to dream that one day we may have a government that does not abuse power for the benefit of the few to the detriment of the many strikes me as hopelessly utopian.

  392. says

    1860 – 1910 – you mean the period in US history that experienced some of the fastest and most widespread economic growth of pretty much any society in human history until then?

    The growth was not “widespread,” moron. Huge sectors of the US population never saw a significant increase in their relative share of the national wealth. Do you know what the phrase “Gilded Age” means?

  393. says

    1860 – 1910 – you mean the period in US history that experienced some of the fastest and most widespread economic growth of pretty much any society in human history until then?

    You’re not very well educated on human history. Spain made so much money off of their conquests of Aztec and Inca that they destroyed the economy of Europe, and then China got a lot of those profits for even less thanks to the devaluation of silver in Europe. People have made coups far bigger than the robber baron era.

    And even if you were right, you wouldn’t be helping your case – the Gilded Era, which you name ‘The USA’s fastest period of growth’, was not a time of market competition. It was a time of trusts and monopolies that were held through economic force, to the detriment of everyone but the actual robber barons and their immediate lackies.

    in any case, what does this have to do with ‘libertarians condone rape’?

    It doesn’t, you colossal fuckwit. I already said what does, using your own fucking arguments. TO WIT:

    So as a libertarian, I can rape you by threatening to withhold things you need in exchange for sex? It’s not aggression, it’s coercion, which is apparently always fine.

    though, by your logic so far, i’m sure you will argue that monopolies can be very competitive and efficient at the same time. or something like that.

    They’re demonstrably efficient at maximizing profit. Collusion is a much easier way to make money than competition. In context, that doesn’t really apply to the government’s distribution of services – and we have empirical evidence that governmental monopoly most certainly can be effective at distributing necessary services for life – I don’t care about efficiency, as such. Private industry is super efficient – often by screwing their workers. I’d be amazed if the government, which actually treats its utter peons fairly, could actually manage ‘efficiency’ equivalent to absolutely screwing over its peons (There are a lot of them, and when you provide them all health care, things start getting expensive)

  394. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    @Nerd

    read for comprehension

  395. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Dietwald Klaus,

    I agree that the turd, whose musings on rape are quoted in the post is an extreme example. However, you must admit that nonaggression is a very subjective term. If you were to take Gandhi’s view of nonaggression, your freedoms would be restricted indeed–to the point of not owning any more property than you needed for survival. If you were to take the view of the founder of Jainism, nonaggression would even require you to starve yourself to death! And of course, that would be aggressive toward the 10 pounds of bacteria that call your gut home.

    The libertarians I’ve known range from anarchists to solopsists. More often than not, they have no other principle than a vague disgust with any restrictions placed on their personal “liberty”.

  396. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Ok the last block was unreadable for me. Do you just not care that people can’t read you?

  397. says

    Oh, I missed ‘widespread’, good catch Bee. Yeah, if the Gilded Era really was the most ‘widespread’ economic benefit in human history, I would have to find a way to eliminate the human race, because it doesn’t deserve to live.

    Fortunately, in the real world, rather than libertarian fantasy land, There’ve been a lot of periods of growth with actually reasonably equal distributions of wealth.

  398. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Of course now that we’re in an era of high unemployment, underemployment, working poverty AND high corporate profits and stock markets we’re in yet another gilded age.

    Competition worked so well the second we loosened the reigns assholes plowed us off a cliff

  399. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Also the other innovation we’re going to see: isolating the super rich from the fall out of worsening living conditions

  400. says

    rutee – where did anybody in this thread claim that “the Gilded Era really was the most ‘widespread’ economic benefit in human history”
    is that how ‘skeptics’ approach an argument with those they disagree with?

    ing: honest answer? no. i don’t give a damn.

  401. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    ing: honest answer? no. i don’t give a damn.

    There that is why Libertarianism fails

    where did anybody in this thread claim that “the Gilded Era really was the most ‘widespread’ economic benefit in human history”

    1860 – 1910 – you mean the period in US history that experienced some of the fastest and most widespread economic growth of pretty much any society in human history until then?

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    ………………./…./
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    ………\……………..’…../
    ……….”…\………. _.·´
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    …………..\………….\…

  402. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    is that how ‘skeptics’ approach an argument with those they disagree with?

    You keep making claims. We expect you to back up those claims with evidence. Evidence found here. Not your OPINION, not other’s OPINION. Real data. And you fail every time. We do skepticism right. You do it wrong.

  403. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Nerd -431

    yeah, the econ growth claimed for 1860-1910 is very interesting. No one bothers to tell you that the best period of

    PER CAPITA

    econ growth was right after the civil war – when masses of wealth had just been destroyed – and most of that per capita growth was in the South where former slaves were actually getting wages and there were a lot of infrastructure projects paid for by the government.

    From 1890 – 1910 there was negative per capita econ growth, IIRC [though those dates are approximate]. When you have europeans coming in, taking land that was not counted as part of the economy through wars of conquest, and then scratching a living out of the dirt, they could be making a penny a person and it would still be economic growth, because they are persons that weren’t part of the country before.

    And what brought them to the US? Well, it really wasn’t Ayn Rand.

    Meanwhile you have massive bank failure throughout the period. Moreover, the per capita GDP spiked several times in part due to famine and disease disproportionately killing kids and elder folk. If a special nuke goes off that only kills persons too old/sick/young to work in a society where there isn’t a huge sector making money off educating/caring for those folks, you get a spike in PC GDP as a result of widespread death and suffering.

    A really good read about this period is the work of an economist at Reed College in Oregon. Can’t remember his name, but he studied bank panics from the 1830s to the establishment of the Fed, b/c way too many people like to say that the Fed destabilized things. He found the area of economic research to be in a pitiful state – most researchers hadn’t even described a methodology and no two researchers had used the same methodology so you had no idea if their results were reliable. But the Chicago School and libertarians have consistently used that shoddy research as evidence that the Fed and government regulation of the financial sector generally are bad, bad, bad and lead to more bank panics, not fewer.

    If this guy doesn’t know anything about the impact of the civil war on GDP growth and wants to repeat the massive growth of the 1860s to 1910, I suggest he just enslave a bunch of people, wait until space travel becomes just barely affordable for the masses, then shell Fort Sumpter and declare all the universe beyond earth’s atmosphere to belong to the US before allowing a billion Chinese folk to move to space and start counting their labor as US economic growth.

    Somewhere in that pool of conditions is libertarianism, I’m sure.

  404. says

    …in any case, what does this have to do with ‘libertarians condone rape’?

    The fact that a guy who spouts libertarian blather-points explicitly imagined a situation where rape could be condoned. How much more connection do you need?

  405. says

    rutee – where did anybody in this thread claim that “the Gilded Era really was the most ‘widespread’ economic benefit in human history”

    Solipsism doesn’t work like you think it does.

    is that how ‘skeptics’ approach an argument with those they disagree with?

    By looking at what you said and responding to it? Yepperoni.

  406. glodson says

    rutee – where did anybody in this thread claim that “the Gilded Era really was the most ‘widespread’ economic benefit in human history”

    Source.

  407. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Apparently he can’t even read his own writing.

  408. says

    i wrote: “period in US history that experienced some of the fastest and most widespread economic growth of pretty much any society in human history”. you claimed i said “the Gilded Era really was the most ‘widespread’ economic benefit in human history”

    don’t see the difference? then i can’t help you.

  409. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Ing: “Apparently he can’t even read his own writing.”

    Can you blame him? Proofreading must be as excruciating for him as reading his crap is for us!

  410. sonderval says

    @Dietwald Claus
    Before you go on further on how PZ claims that libertarians all condone rape, it might be good to actually read the article. He writes

    It’s a remarkable claim from a Libertarian.

    So Myers is quite obviously aware that this is not a standard idea of Libertarians.
    (But he considers it another data point for the thesis that Libertarians are revolting.)

  411. glodson says

    Fucking semantics, how does it work?

    You made a claim, it was refuted. It wasn’t misconstrued. This is a dishonest tactic. It wasn’t the most widespread growth. This nitpicking is a dodge. Either you didn’t remember making the claim, or you are trying to back out of a claim that has been shown to be false, on multiple levels.

  412. Max Dick McMacho [who definitely doesn't have anything to do with Crip Dyke] says

    Geez, what does it take to get a guy to respond to an intellectual dismantling of his argument? Do I have to change my name to something more manly?

    Here I am: everything’s whipped out and on the table. Am I manly enough to deserve a chance to compare Weltanschlongs?

  413. says

    Econ 101? Is wrong. It counts practices as “efficient” regardless of whether they destroy ecosystems in the process of generating products for companies to sell. It counts practices as “adding value” regardless of whether medical costs incurred by workers during production far exceed the benefit people gain from consuming the products. It counts work as “labor” only when a corporation deigns to exchange money for the calories expended by any given individual. Its most important, foundational premises are wrong.

    people like myers do their best to drive a wedge between the skeptical and libertarian community, enforcing cultural boundaries where there should be bridges.

    Feature, not a bug. Libertarianism has been debunked by history. Rational people should want nothing to do with it.

    Which “leading lights” of libertarianism have denounced Landsburg’s views on rape?

  414. glodson says

    Max Dick McMacho

    That is the most manly man name that has ever been manned! This is a name that cannot be ignored and demands respect.

    Max Dick McMacho doesn’t cuddle! You strap yourself in and feel the g’s, baby!

    God, I have serious nym envy. My nym seems so small. I must listen to you!

  415. says

    I’m going to keep repeating it until the fuckwit gives me his super awesome libertarian answer:

    So as a libertarian, I can rape you by threatening to withhold things you need in exchange for sex? It’s not aggression, it’s coercion, which is apparently always fine.

  416. says

    1860 – 1910 – you mean the period in US history that experienced some of the fastest and most widespread economic growth of pretty much any society in human history until then?

    That’s the sort of “growth” that destroys ecosystems and cultures, but econ 101 cannot count those costs as actual costs, which is why classical economics is a failure. At least from the perspective of human beings. If you are situating yourself as having the same viewpoint as a corporation rather than a human being, then yes, that era was fantastic.

    In fact, the very premise that consistent, unremitting economic growth is required and necessary is one of the main contributing factors to the ecological catastrophe we are now facing down. In reality, exponential growth always precedes a crash. History has borne this out. Until we invent and implement an economic system that does not require constant growth, we will not be able to solve our environmental problems.

  417. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    Max Dick McMacho

    That is the most manly man name that has ever been manned! This is a name that cannot be ignored and demands respect.

    It’s right up there with Scortor McPhallus

  418. omnicrom says

    i wrote: “period in US history that experienced some of the fastest and most widespread economic growth of pretty much any society in human history”. you claimed i said “the Gilded Era really was the most ‘widespread’ economic benefit in human history”

    don’t see the difference? then i can’t help you.

    We’ve found it! This is THE most pathetic counter-argument in the history of mankind! Claus you argue you’ve been misrepresented and then QUOTE YOURSELF showing you’ve been fairly represented! Goodness gracious do you seriously think that QUOTING YOURSELF saying the same thing as what someone is attacking you is somehow a defense? Claus you have a special grade of stupid going on.

  419. Tethys says

    Sally Strange

    Until we invent and implement an economic system that does not require constant growth, we will not be able to solve our environmental problems.

    Exactly! I found economics worthless because it is based on the assumption of constant growth, and never counts the true costs of that growth.

    An economic system that is based on the principles of a self-sustaining ecosystem and takes the laws of physics into account would be a wonderful improvement.

  420. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Wow, that Max Dick McMacho guy was pretty intimidating, right? Haven’t seen hide nor hair of Claus since he came ’round.

    Guess we know who to invite around next time someone thinks his Weltanschlong is all that.

  421. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    T. Estes

    *lol*

    That isn’t, by chance, the CEO of that model rocket company?

  422. omnicrom says

    That is the most manly man name that has ever been manned! This is a name that cannot be ignored and demands respect.

    Cracked had an article from some years back detailing the 9 manliest names in the world. I’m still a fan of Magnus ver Magnusson and Staff Sergeant Max Fightmaster but Max Dick McMacho deserves a special attention. Or should be applied to Reb Brown’s character from Space Mutiny by Mike and the Bots. Whichever

  423. says

    people like myers do their best to drive a wedge between the skeptical and libertarian community, enforcing cultural boundaries where there should be bridges.

    That’s because libertarians are among the kinds of cultists, con-artists, liars, sockpuppets, panderers, manipulators, and ideological rentboys that skeptics have good reason to be skeptical of. And no, it’s not just PZ “enforcing cultural boundaries,” it’s huge numbers of skeptics whose skeptical inquiries have proven that libertarians are a) full of shit, and b) more often than not in league with bigots, reactionaries, anti-rationalists, denialists, and other people whom skeptics find good reason to be skeptical of.

  424. says

    Crip Dyke:

    That isn’t, by chance, the CEO of that model rocket company?

    No. Back at Pharyngula Sciborg, we had a persistent goddist for a while, one Pastor Tom Estes. It wasn’t long before people were referring to him as T. Estes.

  425. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Caine:

    That is awesome! I was reading back then, way too bad I missed it.

  426. Anthony K says

    We’ve found it! This is THE most pathetic counter-argument in the history of mankind! Claus you argue you’ve been misrepresented and then QUOTE YOURSELF showing you’ve been fairly represented! Goodness gracious do you seriously think that QUOTING YOURSELF saying the same thing as what someone is attacking you is somehow a defense? Claus you have a special grade of stupid going on.

    It’s especially rich coming from the dingus who’d have to do some serious word twisting to claim that PZ “insist[s] [Steven Landsburg] speaks for libertarians”.

    I can’t wait until the coming freedom revolution. I am gonna eat so fucking many of these halfwit losers just so I can shit the leftover Bitcoins out on their parents’ lawns.

  427. says

    Gee, I wonder why the libertarian genius left the 1920s out of that period of widespread growth? Perhaps he was counting on everyone being as ignorant about history as libertarians typically are, and thought that if he didn’t mention it, we wouldn’t remember to think about what followed on the heels of all that growth?

  428. w00dview says

    what exactly, for example, is the us government doing these days to effectively fight global warming? is it not true that it is captured by corporate interests, who use its power to write the laws in favor of corporate interests?

    And you think this is an example of big government? The reason that the US is failing to fight global warming is a) a powerful political party dogmatically denying its existence and b) lack of regulation and pitiful enforcement of the few regulations that exist. The infestation of the US government by corporate interests and lobbyists has led to this state of weak environmental regulations. While I agree that this is a tragedy how in the fuck is small government going to solve this problem? Do you honestly think that with no regulations that the free market is going to reduce CO2 emissions? Quit living in lala land, the free market aint going to do shit except make a bunch of CEOs even richer and increase emissions .

    And even though you accept global warming, the vast majority of libertarians I have come across deny it with the vehemence that a fundie denies evolution. To them, it is all a plot for big government to control everything and even if it was true CO2 emissions still should not be regulated. They quite happily put ideology over reality even if it would threaten the human civilization and the ecosystems of the planet. I think libertarians are even more unreliable allies to environmentalists than to social justice activists. Libertarians have been natural allies to corporate oppressors and the privileged for a long time. Your ideology has actively made the world a shittier place, and that is not a matter of opinion.

  429. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Caine, 477

    Oh, hey! I do remember that post, at least. And he’s even called “T. Estes” in the early comments. Well, now I’ll remember.

    @everyone else:

    Hrmph. It seems like a certain someone is back. I’m sure he won’t stay long – MDM is certain to come along after a while if he does.

  430. says

    maybe i should try this again…

    I wrote “the period in US history that experienced some of the fastest and most widespread economic growth of pretty much any society in human history until then”

    this was presented as me having said “the Gilded Era really was the most ‘widespread’ economic benefit in human history”

    That’s the same as if I had said that “Paavo Nurmi was one of the fastest runners in human history until then”, and somebody then went and claimed that I said “Paavo Nurmi was the fastest runner in human history”.

    The former statement is true. The latter statement is wrong.

    Basic reading comprehension.

    Oh, and I still don’t know why Rutee decided to bring up the 1860 – 1910 period in the first place.

  431. Eristae says

    @Dietwald Claus

    the problem is that i don’t know of any jurisdiction that ALLOWS private companies to do so in a competitive environment (as opposed to pseudo-competition via state-sanctioned monopolies – the latter are all over the place, and don’t count. private w/o competition = monopoly, and indistinguishable from a government organization).

    See, but this is the problem. I find it incredibly difficult to believe that there are no private companies to do this for no particular reason despite the supposed fact that private companies are better at it than the government is. I find the concept itself suspicious.

    The research that I’ve done says that the government took it up because private companies failed. For example, let’s say that there was a private company that wanted to do the fire fighting for the company. The company can’t (by definition) charge taxes. So, if a fire breaks out, there are two options. 1) Put out the fire anyway. If this happens, people have no reason to pay the company for their services and the company will almost certainly go out of business. 2) Refuse to put out the fire. This tends to generate ill will and puts the lives and properties of everyone at risk, whether or not they’ve paid their fee; even if I don’t care for my neighbor losing their property and/or their property and/or the lives of anyone else in the house (children, guests, etc), I’m going to care if my house catches fire because my neighbor’s house caught fire and no one would put it out. This is especially dangerous if there is a section of the town that can’t afford to buy fire protection.

    What happened? The government took over. They forcibly taxed people so they didn’t have to pick between these two options: they get paid, all fires are put out. It wasn’t some kind of big government induced conspiracy; it’s that the private sector can’t manage this stuff.

    So, when someone says something along the lines of, “It would work way better than what’s going on now, and the fact that it isn’t being done now by anyone only means that a giant organization is suppressing the natural consequences of the free market,” I am profoundly suspicious and am not at all convinced.

  432. Anthony K says

    Basic reading comprehension.

    Oh, fuck right off, you stupid, dishonest fuck.

  433. says

    w00dview – i agree with your assessment of many (thankfully not all) libertarians being witless supporters of the current corporatist status quo. my debates with those tend to be as fruitless as the debate here.
    my conclusion is that there will be no quick solution to some of the most pressing problems currently facing humanity: environmental pollution, global warming, social injustice, and religious madness. too bad, because i honestly believe that if those who accept science were less in love with statism, and if those who support less satism were to accept more science, we would be a long way towards solving these problems.

    as it stands, i see little hope.

  434. glodson says

    Bullshit. That is not the distinction made. People showed that even with the caveat “Until then,” your claim was false. There were other societies that had more growth, as noted above. As well as the fact that the growth was not widespread in the US at all, it was uneven, even across the time period. And much of that growth was in recovery to a devastating war, which is par for the course.

    The “until then” is not a clarification of your claim. It is not necessary for us to evaluate it as there were past societies that did better, and it wasn’t widespread.

    Moving on to this next bullshit:

    Oh, and I still don’t know why Rutee decided to bring up the 1860 – 1910 period in the first place.

    That’s because you must be really ignorant. It was a libertarian paradise. It was when the government had little, to no, control over the workplace. No labor laws, no regulations in the industry. It was a time of boom and bust when the free market dominated the the economy moved. Which resulted in trusts and monopolies. The Gilded Age is a direct historical refutation of the principles of libertarianism.

    Basic history.

  435. says

    there was a lot of government interference with banking at the time, just as a starter. i don’t measure government by the number of laws, but by the type of laws.

    and which societies prior to the 1860s did better than the US, and which did better between the arbitrary time from 1860-1910?

    evidence? or just hot air?

  436. glodson says

    and which societies prior to the 1860s did better than the US, and which did better between the arbitrary time from 1860-1910?

    Basic reading comprehension. Mentioned above in the comments. Which you aren’t even reading your own too closely given how you reacted to your own quote.

  437. says

    it seems that ‘skeptics’ – with the exception of Eristae, who seems genuinely interested in an honest debate – are more interested in spewing hateful insults at every opportunity than actually debate.

    Erestae – look at the example of that german life saving organization. it is perfectly conceivable to organize fire fighting in a similar manner. alternatively, insurance companies can mandate subscription to a fire service as a condition of getting insurance. and banks would require it as a condition for lending money for a mortgage.

  438. w00dview says

    @Dietwald Claus

    Again, how will a libertarian society deal with reducing CO2 emissions? I always feel this is one reason why so many libertarians are climate change deniers. They don’t have a solution to climate change so it is easier to claim it’s a hoax to increase taxes rather than admit the free market is not the magic pill and that, hell, government might have some use. To admit that would dismantle their worldview.

    Also I think that you need strong government to fund basic research. In a libertarian society, how would basic research get funded? To support science at the very least you are going to need a body not interested in pure profit. So yes more science is certainly needed but that money has to come from somewhere and it is the countries investing in science through their government that science thrives. And if this makes me a statist, then I suppose I’m a statist, then.

  439. says

    But, I should say sorry because I was mistaken, I didn’t realize that Rutee was the one who suggested that time period as an ideal of libertarian (i.e. small) government.

    Your response was that actually, that period was awesome. People pushed back, pointing out that it was not as awesome as you say, and that it was unevenly awesome and most people didn’t experience the awesomeness. Your response is that there were indeed some government regulations on banking.

    Logics, you haz them.

  440. Max DIck McMacho [100% all manly, virile, masculine, male, manliness] says

    Hey, Dietwald, m’Man!

    Look, it’s good to see you here, aggressively arguing and such. Oh, sorry, didn’t mean for my chest-bump to send you flying so far.

    Hey, I wanted to observe, completely independently of any pretty little ladies that might have accidently bumped their keyboards, that there’s actually quite a good argument that international relations are not at all free from threats of violence and aggression. Not only that, but to the extent that there has been a more cooperative international climate lately, it has taken place after nuclear powers have insisted on non-nuclear powers submitting to the jurisdiction of binding, transnational arbiters that, not incidentally, are packed [legally and in terms of personnel] by the most aggressive and militarily powerful.

    So it would seem that the evidence of transnational experience is that violence and coercion are common and that to get cooperation, you don’t see it emerge from the equal embrace of mutually beneficial aims, but imposed from supposedly neutral arbiters that, if Libertarianism had predictive and explanatory power, would not be necessary.

    That blows some holes in the hull of your, “Roads exist, therefore libertarianism!” argument, now doesn’t it?

    Well, hey, it’s good to have an intellectual chat just among us menfolk. Y’know, cuz doing the thinky-type things, being all intellectually active, it’s just such a guy thing, y’know? If you have decent, evidence-based response to the violent history of international relations and the flourishing of cooperation only after transnational sovereigns emerge, I’ll be all ears.

  441. says

    w00dview – i’m actually inclined to believe that at this juncture in history – because of the limited time available – government action may be necessary on climate change. that’s unfortunate, but – i can live with that. however, i don’t see how government is going to do that, given its record. that’s why i feel a little hopeless.

    as for basic research funding: that is an interesting issue. i’m not sure the case has been made that government is necessary for it, but – i’m open to the possibility.

  442. glodson says

    it seems that ‘skeptics’ – with the exception of Eristae, who seems genuinely interested in an honest debate – are more interested in spewing hateful insults at every opportunity than actually debate.

    There is no honest debate with a liar. You have ignored points, provided no evidence to back your points, and the evidence you pointed to contradicted your stance. You don’t answer the questions posed to you as you pose your own questions, and you made a claim which you failed to back.

    And when you tried to call out people for talking about the claim you made, you lied. You wanted to know when the claim was made. It was pointed out to you, directly quoted you to you. And you lied about that, when everyone can read it.

    If I was a libertarian, I would be embarrassed by your efforts today.

  443. says

    sally – i didn’t say it was awesome. i said it was among the best periods until then. it overall stank. but – it stank less than most periods or locations until then. that’s pretty much all. Nurmi was fast – but he wasn’t the fastest ever, just really damn fast.

  444. says

    it seems that ‘skeptics’ – with the exception of Eristae, who seems genuinely interested in an honest debate – are more interested in spewing hateful insults at every opportunity than actually debate.

    Awwww, diddums, are you having trouble parsing content from tone? Better toddle along to some other forum then.

  445. says

    also, i would not argue that a world without states would be a paradise free of terrible things. i simply belief that it would be a better world than the one we have right now. would there be abuses of human rights? yes. just as there are today, and the worst abuses of human rights today are by – governments. the worst abuses of the environment take place in societies that have very little in terms of non-monopolistic economic structures. the ussr had worse human rights and environmental abuses than, say, the us or the uk. there are more human rights abuses and abuses of the environment in china than there are in sweden.

    what those who argue against state monopolies, or state-sponsored monopolies, believe is this: the more freedom individuals have to choose, the better things are for everybody. just like it is worse to have only one political party than to have a dozen, so it is worse to have only one telecom company rather than a dozen. and so forth.

    i don’t think that’s a very outrageous thing to believe – unless you want to argue that monopolies are preferable to competition.

  446. says

    i didn’t say it was awesome. i said it was among the best periods until then. it overall stank. but – it stank less than most periods or locations until then.

    And it would have stunk less without those bank regulations, right? Because without those bank regulations, ____________ would have happened.

    That’s the libertarian thesis, not that the stinkiness was caused by corporations’ bad behavior or an inherently flawed model of economic growth.