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Dec 28 2013

Maybe this will finally drive the libertarians out of atheism

There’s no profit in atheism!

104 comments

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  1. 1
    Marcus Ranum

    Of course god believes in atheists!! He created a shitload of ‘em!

  2. 2
    ambassadorfromverdammt

    Just because god can’t think of a way to get money out of atheists doesn’t mean that Libertarians think they can’t.

  3. 3
    Enopoletus Harding

    Of course there’s profit in atheism! Dawkins made thousands off The God Delusion. Religion is unprofitable for most of its adherents, too.

  4. 4
    Sastra

    Years ago my daughter reported a conversation on religion which took place in her high school classroom (I no longer recall if it was during class or between.) One of the guys said “I’d consider being an atheist, but I don’t see what I’d get out of it.”

    She asked “What do you want — a toaster?”

    But this sort of reasoning seems surprisingly common. It’s not necessarily about actual money (per Betty Bowers.) Some people seem to assess or approach the question of truth in religion as if they were joining a club which offers them special benefits. With Christianity you get a God who loves you, salvation and forgiveness, magic and miracles, mystical insights and eternal life, and an ultimately fair and moral universe.

    And with atheism … nada. What you see is what you get. When you die you die and things don’t all happen for a good but obscure reason.

    What sort of sucker would take a deal like that? What sort of cold-blooded monster would actually prefer that, given the choice?

    Those questions go together and I think their answers have real consequences for the public perception of atheism. We have to work on changing that mentality and expose it for the nonsensical and sloppy little trick it is. It’s about what’s true, folks. Not about picking who you are and what you want.

  5. 5
    Azuma Hazuki

    With Christianity you get a God who loves you, salvation and forgiveness, magic and miracles, mystical insights and eternal life, and an ultimately fair and moral universe.

    Fucking hell, no you don’t. You get one of the most unjust, unfair, and a-moral possible universes one may conceive.

  6. 6
    Sastra

    Azuma Hazuki #5 wrote:

    Fucking hell, no you don’t. You get one of the most unjust, unfair, and a-moral possible universes one may conceive.

    True — but only when you accept the entire package as is. A lot of Christians cherry-pick and re-interpret and ignore the bad bits and skate lightly on top of the good bits. So instead of the grim universe of the actual Bible you get a new-agey everybody-be-nice peace-and-love cosmos where God is LOVE and we buttress up humanist concepts, ideals, and values by using stories from sacred scripture and/or exegesis regarding forgiveness. And then you emphasize that God does not care what path you choose to find Him/Her/It. Because love and forgiveness and faith.

    They do it because they can do it. Faith is Calvinball and the only rules are the ones you make up as you go along while claiming that’s what it’s always been.

    Of course liberal Christians carry the heavy burden of the accusations of fundamentalists, that they are not True Christians. But the load magically lightens when they toss it over to the other side and insist that oh no, it’s the fundamentalists who don’t get it. They’re not True Christians. It’s a vicious argument which only softens when there is a temporary truce and both sides come together in harmony in order to castigate the New Atheists as just awful, aren’t they? Because of love and forgiveness and faith.

  7. 7
    anchor

    “…You get one of the most unjust, unfair, and a-moral possible universes one may conceive.”

    As Sastra says, true, but its their ticket to everlasting paradise, a personal reward for holding the belief, however unjust, unfair, or amoral – especially to any others who don’t. So to say, “Fuck the universe, screw everybody else, I’m getting mine”. They perceive value in it on personal grounds. They’re selfish and narcissistic that way.

  8. 8
    PDX_Greg

    Perhaps instead of getting libertarians out of atheism, we could get the libertarianism out of atheists? Worked for me. Although I was never a card-carrying member, I was a sympathizer for a decade or so. I’m not proud of it.

  9. 9
    jesse

    In some ways y’all are looking at the “what do I get” question a bit skewed.

    Humans are pretty social animals. Most of us would like to have things like friends and such. So religions of many stripes offer a place of social gathering. I have met many, many “practicing” religious people who never give a thought to theology — but my aunt’s brisket is pretty rad, you know? So we go for the dinner and the company. God in the strict sense never comes up, even. I doubt many people who show up to Passover seder at our family’s house really think about theology or the basis of the belief system except on that day and even then, it’s about the level of the movie The Ten Commandments. (Or, in our Marxist-tinged group, as the first time anyone went on strike :-) )

    Same is true for Christians, I bet. How many really think about the deep philosophy of Jesus and immaculate conception? Very few. Even in relatively more religious societies — say, Colombia, where it’s heavily Catholic — I doubt too many of the folks I saw hanging out and buying street food and arepas in front of the Church cared about God, per se. They were there because it was a place to bring the kids every year and celebrate. People were out dancing, hanging out for a drink — I heard not one word about God. Even in church, the masses were people singing and all that, and the merits of Luther’s 99 theses were probably not on the agenda.

    So when someone asks, “what do I get” that is a big part of what they are asking. It has very little to do with heaven and more to do with, “what am I gonna do on the holidays, sit alone in my house and do nothing? Watch TV?” That’s the real question you are hearing.

    And while we might value believing and knowing things that are true, that’s pretty cold comfort to most normal people I have ever met, anywhere. Be as right as you want, without friends, without some kind of social validation, none of it means jack. A lot of atheists can look like that is what they are offering – a big pile of nuthin’ for the sake of being right. Not everyone relishes being the lonely dude who is right all the same.

    This gets into something else that I think atheists — and especially social justice types — sometimes struggle with I think in terms of the “sell.” That is, knowing stuff is right doesn’t pay the rent, or give you affection, or even make your day better most of the time, you know? Religion doesn’t either (unless you are a church) but if knowing that someone got a piece of justice someplace or that I support the right thing doesn’t alter my life in a material way, what’s the point? What are you offering that’s any better in terms of day to day stuff?

    Honestly, sometimes I put my head down and try to just get work done because the only really rational response I can come up with is to shoot myself, given that the world is a hellhole of (a)moral insanity for much of the population and the human race demonstrates that it’s a bunch of naked sociopathic monkeys on a regular basis (Exhibit A: all of human history). So I try not to think too deeply a lot of the time, because it’s just too depressing and I feel a deep, deep despair that humans are even worth saving.

    Saying that life gives itself meaning or whatever just doesn’t offer much emotional satisfaction for many people in the face of that, especially if you say that death ends your existence. Because that means by definition the universe (as far as you are concerned) ends right then and there. At least religions can make planet earth seem marginally less horrific.

    I think atheism in itself runs into that existential problem pretty quick.

    Why do I emphasize in itself? Because there’s a lot of other stuff that can go with being an atheist and building a community on a non-religious basis. But that’s the key bit: atheism all by itself doesn’t build communities. That’s the part I get the sense that atheists have a tougher time selling, at least given what I see here.

    Sorry for the longish rant/ musings, but it’s something I have been thinking about lately. You can’t blame religiosity on people being ignorant or stupid all the time, it’s just not how human culture works.

  10. 10
    Sastra

    jesse #9 wrote:

    So when someone asks, “what do I get” that is a big part of what they are asking. It has very little to do with heaven and more to do with, “what am I gonna do on the holidays, sit alone in my house and do nothing? Watch TV?” That’s the real question you are hearing.

    If that’s the real question that we’re hearing, then atheism has won.

    I don’t mean that it’s won culturally or politically. I mean that it has won the major battle and answered the significant question, the one that is unique to religion and doesn’t just deal with culture or politics or ethics or philosophy or social theory or what to do on a lonely Saturday night: “Does God exist?”

    Or, more accurately perhaps, “Does it MATTER whether God exists or not?” Does it matter in principle? Does it matter to humanity? Does it matter to you?

    If the answer to any question is “No — get me my community, my celebration, my comfort, my sense of family and tradition and art” then religion is not standing there with “something to offer” in the form of community and celebrations and comfort and so forth. Religion is dead.

    It’s all over but the shouting.

    I think the existential angst you perceive is not a world empty without God. It’s religion empty of God. It’s humanistic judaism, cultural Christianity, and atheists putting up Xmas trees.

    God and its supernatural comforts are replaced with comforts we can experience. They’re replaced by a full, important, meaningful real world which is (for a while) going to USE religious language and rituals and yet in truth be taken on its own terms. That’s because you and I and the religious themselves have already established through the “real question” here that none of them give a shit about mysterious and mystical worlds of the spirit … but they do care very much about the personal in the here and now. That’s humanism. By definition.

    What do they get with atheism? According to you, they get clarity. They’re already secular humanists and they’re playing dress up. Playacting faith. That doesn’t last long.

    My own guess however is that you’re mistaken about what ‘really’ matters to the religious. Why? Because when this obvious implication is spelled out to them they rebel and insist it’s not true. No, not at all. God matters. He really, really, really matters and is not just a prop for personal therapy and binding a community together. God comes first. He exists. They believe in God, not just believe in belief.

    Yes, we know none of it’s true, but they haven’t figured it out. Yet.

  11. 11
    Nick Gotts

    jesse,

    I’m not quite clear what you’re claiming, and I think you may be invalidly generalising your own emotional state. The least religious societies are also the happiest: see here, and here, and religiosity is declining over large parts of the world. You say:

    atheism all by itself doesn’t build communities. That’s the part I get the sense that atheists have a tougher time selling

    But very few of the regulars here are trying to sell it. You might have noticed that most people here are invested in “Atheism+” as a concept (the “+” being concern for social justice), if not the actual movement of that name.

    Finally,

    the human race demonstrates that it’s a bunch of naked sociopathic monkeys on a regular basis (Exhibit A: all of human history)

    is strictly nonsensical (we can’t all or even mostly be sociopathic, as that drains the term of meaning); and all of human history demonstrates no such thing: there are plenty of examples of admirable altruism, and many more of people just getting on with each other fairly peacefully.

  12. 12
    Nick Gotts

    They’re already secular humanists and they’re playing dress up. Playacting faith. That doesn’t last long. – Sastra@10

    A reference supporting that claim.

  13. 13
    blf

    I am a tad uncomfortable with what I read as an implicit statement in poopyhead’s title (Maybe this will finally drive the libertarians out of atheism) that not believing certain faerie tales is some sort of an possibly-organized movement, rather than simply a position, alterable by evidence, based on evidence, deduction / reasoning, and (in some cases) discomfort at the antics of believers. Of course, I am probably reading waaaay too much into it, but the title seems akin to “…drive the group out of tribe“, and that bothers me.

    I do, however, wish the loonietarians would either become familiar with evidence or else shut up (if not actually go away…).

  14. 14
    don1

    But Libertarianism has ‘liberty’ right there in the word. Liberty is a good thing, isn’t it?
    So libertarianism must be good, right? It can’ t be an approach to life which breaks down into , ‘Screw you, Jack, I’m okay.’

    Hate to be on a libertarian lifeboat.

  15. 15
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re jesse @9:

    Without acknowledging it, you paint a pretty accurate picture of what atheism is really about. Community, friendship, sharing, etc. with no talk of God and Salvation, etc. Atheists are typically painted by Religiots as deniers and hermits and loners rejecting everything and everyone around them. Atheist simply are those who acknowledge that religion is really about people getting together to do “good things”, be charitable, etc. That belief in God is pretty unimportant, that Christmas is about giving gifts to loved ones and sharing food and treats, that the “birth of Jesus” is a small, insignificant part of the holiday (just with tons of P.R.). Atheists don’t reject the partying and socialization and community aspects of religions, just the preaching and “holy words” of religions. Atheists recognize, and vocalize, the hypocrisy of claiming a religion while thinking God is just some “ghost in the sky” that never really does anything. Atheist say, loudly, “Religion is not just BELIEF, show us god’s ACTIONS, THEN we will join you in praising a being that can smite us for small digressions. Show us some Evidence that God exists. We don’t have to prove He doesn’t, show us that he does exist.”

    Re “What’s in it for me?”:

    True, atheism won’t GIVE you anything, but what’s available is whatever you make. Atheism doesn’t have some “voice” telling us what to do, Atheism acknowledges there is no “voice”, just ourselves to decide ourselves what is worth doing, what is “good” and what is “bad”, that everything we do is our own and not some mystery from some mysterious “force”.
    <shorter Ans:> “Whatever you make.”

  16. 16
    sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    [With christianity] You get one of the most unjust, unfair, and a-moral possible universes one may conceive.

    ..but the argument of some religions- not just christianity- is that if you believe the Truth the universe will be unjustly, unfairly, and amorally generous to you. That’s the basis of Pascal’s Wager. It may have been invented to persuade people to turn papist but all the other religions have adopted and adapted it.

  17. 17
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d @16:

    That’s the basis of Pascal’s Wager.

    As an Atheist; I “believe” Pascal intended something completely mathematical with his eponymous “Wager”: The point was to illustrate the concept of “expected value” of a wager. I.E., “expected value” = (P(a) * payoff). The point he was trying to illustrate with his “Wager” was that an infinite payoff (heaven), completely distorts the calculation, that it is actually useless to consider religious faith as a betting proposition. “Don’t cast a bet on whether faith is profitable or not, just do it, or don’t, don’t bet on it either way.” But that is just my take on the “wager”, I don’t know if that really was Pascal’s intent. It’s just my generous reading of it, to absolve him of any religi-osity.

  18. 18
    David Marjanović

    A reference supporting that claim.

    Bookmarked, thanks!
    Země česká domov můj. :-)

  19. 19
    tdog

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anP42zvPPRQ
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and I will keep saying until people get it into their heads. Anyone who speaks of profit like it’s a dirty word is a hypocrite. Every single one of us who have any contact with society whatsoever makes profit off the needs of another. This is a GOOD thing! It’s what binds us together.
    Anyone who tells you it’s a bad thing is doing so for his benefit, not yours.

  20. 20
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Anyone who speaks of profit like it’s a dirty word is a hypocrite.

    It can and is a dirty word. Health care costs would go down, and coverage up, for the same monies without PROFIT. Government coverage at cost. Think about that before you show your ignorance….

  21. 21
    tdog

    PS: There’s no inherent profit in libertarianism either.

  22. 22
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    PS: There’s no inherent profit in libertarianism either.

    Then you don’t understand liberturdism. I’ve got mine, fuck you….

  23. 23
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The liberturd type government: Ferengi, a mafia like family style government where profit and paying up the power chain is all, fuck everybody else.

  24. 24
    tdog

    It can and is a dirty word. Health care costs would go down, and coverage up, for the same monies without PROFIT. Government coverage at cost. Think about that before you show your ignorance….

    We have: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DhJ73JuWJY
    And while I’m at it: http://www.freenation.org/a/f12l3.html

  25. 25
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Yawn, try from here: Google Scholar, not propaganda sites…

  26. 26
    tdog

    Then you don’t understand liberturdism. I’ve got mine, fuck you….

    I’m actually an anarcho capitalist.
    What’s more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAa6dYBwy7M
    Also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAiYlaGxyV0

  27. 27
    tdog

    Still waiting for a response to the first video posted.

  28. 28
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    And Tdog, we have had liberturds here since spring of ’08. We know those who spout slogans and rhetoric, but never, ever, show or acknowledge real evidence that would show them wrong….

  29. 29
    tdog

    You know Long *does* cite sources, right? Check the bottom of the page.

  30. 30
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    And Tdog, videos are never, ever, evidence…..

  31. 31
    tdog

    Well you haven’t produced any evidence of me or anyone else being wrong. You just attacked my sources, ignored the videos I shared, and just made bold assertions.

  32. 32
    tdog

    “And TDog, videos are never, ever, evidence….”
    Yet this very blog starts with a video. Also, you asked if we had thought about this (healthcare) I posted you a video showing that, yes, we have. How is that not relevant?

  33. 33
  34. 34
    chigau (違う)

    tdog
    I can’t do youtube.
    Do you have another way of conveying your message?

  35. 35
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Well you haven’t produced any evidence of me or anyone else being wrong.

    And you are wrong until you show you are right with evidence. Real evidence, not propaganda or your OPINION.

  36. 36
    tdog

    “I don’t do youtube”
    Yet the blog entry you’re posting on has a video as the body.
    The guy who posted the videos on YouTube has transcripts right on the video in case you can’t get the audio for some reason.

  37. 37
    tdog

    “And you are wrong until you show you are right with evidence. Real evidence, not propaganda or your OPINION.”
    I did provide evidence, factual evidence in the videos and sources. Just because you don’t like or agree with it doesn’t make it propaganda. Also, you did see the Google Scholar bit I did post too, right? Is that also propaganda? If so, why’d you suggest I use it?

  38. 38
    tdog

    PS: Can any of you actually refute/respond to the sources/videos/etc I’ve posted or not?

  39. 39
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Just because you don’t like or agree with it doesn’t make it propaganda.

    Video is nothing but OPINION. Same for anything not from the academic literature. Your inability to tell real evidence from propaganda isn’t my problem, it is yours….

  40. 40
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Can any of you actually refute/respond to the sources/videos/etc I’ve posted or not?

    You are wrong until you show you are right…nobody has to refute nonsense and propaganda….

  41. 41
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Oh, and Tdog, the OP video is OPINION that we are laughing at.

  42. 42
    Rob Grigjanis

    I’m actually an anarcho capitalist.

    The invisible hand polishing the invisible knob.

  43. 43
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    A NEJM article showing adminstrative costs for medicine between the US And Canada. With the obvious conclusion that the US should adopt the Candadian version to reduce administrative costs; that is, get the profits out of the system….

  44. 44
    tdog

    “Video is nothing but OPINION. Same for anything not from the academic literature. Your inability to tell real evidence from propaganda isn’t my problem, it is yours….”
    Okay, 2 + 2 = 4. Not from an academic journal. But still fact all the same.
    Also, what if the videos references academic journals? Along with an explanation.
    PS: I did post a link from Google Scholar. Did you not see it?

    “You are wrong until you show you are right…nobody has to refute nonsense and propaganda….”
    Shifting the burden. You’re the ones making the positive claims of the state’s legitimacy, of profit being evil (or whatever), and about what libertarians like me think. The burden is on you to prove them as the positive claim. Just like it is on theists. Simple.

    “Oh, and Tdog, the OP video is OPINION that we are laughing at.”
    Okay, then I disagree with the video in the OP because it’s “just an opinion”. See? Two can play it that game.

  45. 45
    tdog

    “A NEJM article showing administrative costs for medicine between the US And Canada. With the obvious conclusion that the US should adopt the Canadian version to reduce administrative costs; that is, get the profits out of the system….”
    Ah I see. Adminstrative costs, eh? Okay, you know where the costs are even lower? Third world countries where there is little if any healthcare. See? I can play that game too.
    Also, does it take into account the waiting lists?
    Finally, you do realize that I’m against the USA healthcare system as much as I am against socialized medicine, right?

  46. 46
    tdog

    “The invisible hand polishing the invisible knob.”
    The iron fist fisting the invisible butthole.–just as relevant.

  47. 47
    tdog

    Also, if videos aren’t evidence, neither are white papers, lectures, magazine articles, nursery rhymes, radio talk shows, blog posts, or studies by ivy league universities. Each of these things is a medium of communication, the evidence is the content conveyed by the medium, not the medium itself.

  48. 48
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Third world countries where there is little if any healthcare.

    Non-sequitur from a non-evidence provider. Expected inane response….

  49. 49
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    if videos aren’t evidence,

    White papers by people other than liberturds or full RW economists can be evidence. You must understand the difference between propaganda by TRUE BELIEVERS™, and real evidence by skeptics…

  50. 50
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Health care costs between European countries, the US and the US comes out bad based on outcomes versus the money spent. DUH. Profits equals wasted money.

  51. 51
    chigau (違う)

    tdog
    You are a dumbass.
    I don’t like you.

  52. 52
    Rob Grigjanis

    tdog, if you want the Libertarian party to win votes, they’ll have to come up with better answers to policy questions than “Doesn’t matter!”. Of course, any stated policy would amount to donning the mantle of wannabe government, and the analogy with atheism (shaky to begin with*) falls apart.

    *Libertarianism, like socialism, communism, and any other political ism, is an ideology (worldview if you like), so it’s just as much ‘theology’ as any of the others. You want to convince people? That takes more than saying that the burden of proof is on other systems. That’s just lazy, as well as intellectually dishonest.

    What evidence do you have that this would work wouldn’t be a total disaster;

    As Libertarians, we seek a world of liberty; a world in which all individuals are sovereign over their own lives and no one is forced to sacrifice his or her values for the benefit of others.

    Just another experiment worth trying, and damn the possible cost?

  53. 53
    David Marjanović

    And Tdog, videos are never, ever, evidence…..

    You know full well that’s nonsense.

    I can’t watch the videos right now to check if these particular videos are evidence, though; it’s half past 2 in the morning…

    Finally, you do realize that I’m against the USA healthcare system as much as I am against socialized medicine, right?

    Know your audience: like most people on this blog, I’m for socialized medicine.

  54. 54
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I find it very amusing that some folks who think because we have progressive social views, we will accept their regressive (return to the post-civil war to approx 2000 era) economic policies, when we have seen the history, and know the problems with their ill-thought-out ideas and theology. After all, if they can’t show historical evidence it works, it is nothing but presupposition….

  55. 55
    Rey Fox

    I’m actually an anarcho capitalist.

    And I’m sure the robber barons will treat you quite well.

  56. 56
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I can’t watch the videos right now to check if these particular videos are evidence, though; it’s half past 2 in the morning…

    If they actually cite anything other than their theological OPINION, like real articles from non-propaganda sources, I would be terribly surprised. That isn’t the MO of liberturds/free market/RW proponents.

  57. 57
    chigau (違う)

    PSI
    If you wish to make it clear that what follow is a quote, do this

    <blockquote>paste copied text here</blockquote>

    this will happen

    paste copied text here

    Thank you.

  58. 58
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    As much as it makes my skin crawl to sympathize with a narcisso-capitalist…

    Video is nothing but OPINION. Same for anything not from the academic literature.

    …not THIS shit again.

  59. 59
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Tdog: There is nothing intrinsically, globally wrong with wanting to get more money back from doing, or helping to do, something than one put into it, and this sense of “profit” is not evil. It’s how people convert work into food and housing, for instance, and how businesses and societies are built.

    What is wrong is pursuing the maximum possible return of money without regard for the cost to others – including not only “without regard for any cost to others at all” but also “without regard for any but a very small, circumscribed, absurdly gerrymandered subset of the costs to others.” “Profit” is often used to refer to this latter practice, with the intent of deliberately and dishonestly equivocating between it and the former sense; hence, people who feel that costs to others ought to be considered have developed an negative OPINION of the term.

  60. 60
    zenlike

    Yeah, I stopped reading tdogs healthcare ‘paper’ when it was trying to make the case that healthcare was incredibly cheap before the government stepped in… 80 years ago. Yeah, healthcare probably didn’t change or improve one bit in those 80 years.

    And yes, minimum wages probably means less jobs, everyone who knows anything about economics knows this. But is that necessary a bad thing? Personally, I think a system in which people work full-time and aren’t even paid a living wage is a wrong system.

  61. 61
    David Marjanović

    If they actually cite anything other than their theological OPINION, like real articles from non-propaganda sources, I would be terribly surprised. That isn’t the MO of liberturds/free market/RW proponents.

    Would it kill you to check that that’s actually the case before you make assumptions?

  62. 62
    Nick Gotts

    I’m actually an anarcho capitalist. – tdog@26

    Anarcho-capitalism is fatuous nonsense, because capitalism is and always has been dependent on the state, and the global states-system; there have been non-capitalist states and state-systems, but never a non-state capitalism. Capitalism requires both infrastructure that it is not profitable to build and maintain, and systems of law and security (ultimately dependent on force) that deter straightforward plunder and rapine, and mediate between capitalists. If you privatize the latter, you get mafia rule – but maybe that’s what you want, and you fancy yourself as the Godfather. If so, you’re an even bigger idiot than you’ve already shown yourself to be: there will be plenty of people tougher and even nastier than you.

  63. 63
    SallyStrange

    Seriously, Nerd. If you can’t say something interesting, how about not saying anything at all.

    As for tdog: if you can’t explain your philosophy in your own words, or at least provide a brief encapsulation of WHY you think I or anyone else should watch that video or read that paper, I can’t really muster up the motivation to spend precious minutes of my life determining whether your sources are worthwhile or not.

    Also, what Nick Gotts said.

  64. 64
    SallyStrange

    And yes, minimum wages probably means less jobs, everyone who knows anything about economics knows this. But is that necessary a bad thing? Personally, I think a system in which people work full-time and aren’t even paid a living wage is a wrong system.

    Indeed. If it’s true, as capitalists say, that we can either have full employment with everybody making peanuts, or partial employment with good wages, why should we accept capitalism as an economic system? I’m not only for socialized medicine, but also for a guaranteed minimum income for all.

  65. 65
    David Marjanović

    Another thing that capitalism needs is an institution with the power to artificially sustain competition. If you just leave capitalism to its own devices, it turns into a monopoly in next to no time. Why waste time and money on price fights with your competitors when you can simply join them? You get price conspiracies, megamergers, oligopolies, and finally Jakob Fugger the Rich – except that his charity is decidedly optional.

    As I keep saying: the greatest force for capitalism in the world is the EU Commissioner for Competition.

    I’m not only for socialized medicine, but also for a guaranteed minimum income for all.

    + 1

  66. 66
    David Marjanović

    Short summary of Jakob Fugger the Rich (reference 3 of the Wikipedia article).

  67. 67
    Nick Gotts

    minimum wages probably means less jobs – zenlike@60

    Not necessarily. One of the few worthwhile things our “New Labour” government did in the UK was to introduce a (very low) minimum wage. IIRC, the only studies of the effects showed no reduction in jobs in the sectors mainly affected, despite the squeals of employers’ organizations in advance. Turns out if you want to run a restaurant, shop, hotel, or care home there’s a certain number of employees you need, and very few of them were so close to being unviable that they couldn’t either absorb the costs, or increase prices to compensate. And, of course, those who got a boost to their income had more to spend.

  68. 68
    Rob Grigjanis

    SallyStrange @64:

    I’m not only for socialized medicine, but also for a guaranteed minimum income for all.

    Yes! And gosh, there’s even evidence that, contrary to knee-jerk conservative bleating, people wouldn’t spend all their time drinking beer and watching telly.

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

  69. 69
    SallyStrange

    Even supposing a bunch of people did decide to veg out instead of working for a while–who cares? Very few will do that forever, people get bored and want to do things eventually.

  70. 70
    Alexander

    Sorry PZ, but when you’re dealing with people who are sufficiently self-reliant to willingly buck the dominant social trends in the US, you’re going to find a (pun intended) godly number of libertarians among the atheists. Personally, I’m more comfortable with libertarians than with either of the two big American political parties. However, I don’t consider myself an libertarian or anarcho-capitalist; business are just as prone to corruption as governments.

    You see, business and government share one problem: humans are imperfect, and some people lie and cheat to get what they want. This problem is known to mathematicians as the “Byzantine General’s Problem”: the classic formulation is to try and coordinate an attack by the loyal generals in an army, when the traitors among them may ignore, modify, or falsify orders. This very well describes most social problems, where a small, anti-social group of people has been manipulating the system to the determent to the rest of society.

    The tiny, tiny fraction of this problem that the anarchists and libertarians understand is that a central government (or giant business) is a central point of failure; if the traitors seize control of that portion of the social fabric, the entire system can never be fully trustworthy again. [Just like a computer, you can't be sure what subversion of the system has been propagated while the system was compromised.] Anarcho/Libertarians are arguing that the system is broken because this could happen, while the general population argues that the system is fine because it hasn’t yet happened. (Guess what? Both sides are technically correct!)

    As that wikipedia article shows, there are solutions to the General’s Problem. However, a central decision maker isn’t among them; in fact, that is a specific case where it can be shown that traitors can masquerade freely as loyalists. Worse yet, when you actually implement these mathematical systems to solve real-world political coordination problems, you end up with systems that are so vastly different from anything people have seen before as to be literally byzantine.

    Of course, I know I’m an exception, but I’ll gladly live in a world ruled by inscrutable systems which take a postgraduate mathematics degree to understand, but can’t be corrupted by any less than one third of the population, over our current “transparent” system which has been corrupted by a mere 1%.

  71. 71
    Jackie

    sufficiently self-reliant

    Bwahahahahahaaa!
    Yeah, that’s what he’s dealing with.
    *mops monitor*

  72. 72
    Jackie

    My blockquotes! Oh noes, I fuckeded them up!
    Sorry.

  73. 73
    zenlike

    And here I was, believing that it were those inscrutable computer-systems which trade fully automatic and which are barely understood by anyone which caused some fairly large hickups in the economical indicators over the last couple of years…

    Alexander, one good word of advise, if you truly believe that you have found a fairly simple solution to all problems, then that solution is most likely wrong.

    Also, you know jackshit about computers and what they are capable of.

  74. 74
    Nick Gotts

    Sorry PZ, but when you’re dealing with people who are sufficiently self-reliant to willingly buck the dominant social trends in the US, you’re going to find a (pun intended) godly number of libertarians among the atheists. – Alexander

    It is to laugh. Most “libertarians” in the US are simply useful idiots for corporate power. The remainder (who of course don’t believe the crap they spew) are willing tools of that power, or its actual wielders.

    This very well describes most social problems, where a small, anti-social group of people has been manipulating the system to the determent to the rest of society.

    It is to laugh again. No, that very well describes, at most, a tiny fraction of social problems. Society is not a system with a well-defined goal (such as winning a battle), and its dynamics are well beyond description in terms of any mathematical formalism yet developed.

  75. 75
    David Marjanović

    Even supposing a bunch of people did decide to veg out instead of working for a while–who cares? Very few will do that forever, people get bored and want to do things eventually.

    And besides, there aren’t enough jobs for everybody anyway.

    (Enough viable jobs anyway. Various communist countries reached full employment or nearly so by creating lots of useless jobs in the bureaucracy of state-owned corporations & stuff.)

  76. 76
    Alexander

    @Jackie:

    sufficiently self-reliant

    Bwahahahahahaaa!
    Yeah, that’s what he’s dealing with.

    Well, I guess I deserved that for using known trigger words–but I really don’t know any other clear, succinct way to say “sufficiently disinterested in the opinions of others that they are willing to make their own opinion”. After all, you left off the qualifier on the whole phrase I used:

    …sufficiently self-reliant to willingly buck the dominant social trends…

    That’s a really low bar; I’d put it (metaphorically speaking) about knee high. Every teenager at least approaches that point as they try to distinguish themselves from their parents, so it clearly isn’t very high.

    Just out of curiosity, just how hard do you think it is to buck a social trend? Is that an exclusive social club for multi-PhD genius intellects like MENSA, or is it one for the plebian rabble like 4H?

  77. 77
    Alexander

    Pardon but it will be clearer if I respond to this post in reverse order.

    @zenlike

    Alexander, one good word of advise, if you truly believe that you have found a fairly simple solution to all problems, then that solution is most likely wrong.

    Clearly you missed the point where I described my preferred solution type as “inscrutable systems which take a postgraduate mathematics degree to understand”. In addition, I’m not sure where you got the idea I was talking about a computer system; I didn’t say anything about the solution having to be automated (although I will concede that it probably would involve automation, if only for efficiency).

    And here I was, believing that it were those inscrutable computer-systems which trade fully automatic and which are barely understood by anyone which caused some fairly large hiccups in the economical indicators over the last couple of years…

    I’m pretty sure that those programs did precisely what the programmers intended: make them fabulously wealthy. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say the goal was along the idea of “make me fabulously wealthy and externalize all costs of this operation onto other people”. I’d think that the problem was the externalized costs, not the specific tool used for such asocial behavior.

  78. 78
    Alexander

    @Nick Gotts

    It is to laugh. Most “libertarians” in the US are simply useful idiots for corporate power. The remainder (who of course don’t believe the crap they spew) are willing tools of that power, or its actual wielders.

    Agreed; after all, I did say I’m not a libertarian, just comfortable around them. Think of me as “the anarchist’s anarchist” — you aren’t even allowed to organize an armed revolt, you have to replace “the man” by constructing a superior system.

    It is to laugh again. No, that very well describes, at most, a tiny fraction of social problems. Society is not a system with a well-defined goal (such as winning a battle), and its dynamics are well beyond description in terms of any mathematical formalism yet developed.

    My god. “It is to laugh” indeed. “1%” might be an exaggeration, but I think the Occupy movement shows how many people would agree that many of our current systems have been subverted to favor a tiny minority.

    In addition, if society’s “dynamics are well beyond description in terms of any mathematical formalism” in use today, then I suppose you will have to reject all manner of political polling. Statistics, after all, is a form of mathematical formalism, and is used in that context only to describe the dynamics of social trends.

  79. 79
    anteprepro

    after all, I did say I’m not a libertarian, just comfortable around them.

    And what puzzled me about that statement is: Why? Why, exactly, are you more comfortable around libertarians than around either Democrats or Republicans, as you initially stated?

  80. 80
    zenlike

    Alexander, you are still talking about a simple solution: ‘just make some “inscrutable systems which take a postgraduate mathematics degree to understand”, then everything will work out fine’. That’s a silver bullet, we no basis in reality.

    And yes, when we are talking about a complex mathematical model which needs to provide continuous answers, we are talking about computer systems.

    And no, not all of those automated trading systems made the programmers fabulously rich: some of them broke down badly and costed their creators/owners a lot of money.

    And why do you thing those creators of your magical solution are perfect human beings with no ulterior motives? Congratulations, you have now created a new class of elite in you new system.

  81. 81
    Nick Gotts

    Think of me as “the anarchist’s anarchist” – Alexander

    Nah. I’ll think of you as a swollen-headed numpty.

    I think the Occupy movement shows how many people would agree that many of our current systems have been subverted to favor a tiny minority.

    Um, they haven’t been subverted to do so, so much as having always done so. As long as it existed, capitalism has favoured a tiny minority, and it was far from the first socio-economic system to do so. That has been possible, at least in part, because of other social phenomena, such as social dilemmas, cultural hegemonies, informational asymmetries…

    In addition, if society’s “dynamics are well beyond description in terms of any mathematical formalism” in use today, then I suppose you will have to reject all manner of political polling. Statistics, after all, is a form of mathematical formalism, and is used in that context only to describe the dynamics of social trends.

    No, I reject your ridiculous (or deliberate) misunderstanding of what I said, and indeed of “dynamics”. Statistics can describe the kinematics of social systems to some degree: how some aspects of such systems have changed; neither they nor any other mathematical formalism can currently explain the processes underlying such change in any remotely satisfactory way.

  82. 82
    Nick Gotts

    Think of me as “the anarchist’s anarchist” – Alexander

    Nah. I’ll think of you as a swollen-headed numpty.

    I think the Occupy movement shows how many people would agree that many of our current systems have been subverted to favor a tiny minority.

    Um, they haven’t been subverted to do so, so much as having always done so. As long as it existed, capitalism has favoured a tiny minority, and it was far from the first socio-economic system to do so. That has been possible, at least in part, because of other social phenomena, such as social dilemmas, cultural hegemonies, informational asymmetries…

    In addition, if society’s “dynamics are well beyond description in terms of any mathematical formalism” in use today, then I suppose you will have to reject all manner of political polling. Statistics, after all, is a form of mathematical formalism, and is used in that context only to describe the dynamics of social trends.

    No, I reject your ridiculous misunderstanding of what I said, and indeed of “dynamics”. Statistics can describe the kinematics of social systems to some degree: how some aspects of such systems have changed; neither they nor any other mathematical formalism can currently describe the processes underlying such change in any remotely satisfactory way.

  83. 83
    Nick Gotts

    Sorry about the repeated posting: I’m having trouble with FtB of the “An error occurred while processing this directive” variety.

  84. 84
    Alexander

    @anteprepro:
    It’s a matter of checking how ‘fragile’ the system is: how does small or persistent failures affect the system? Can such actions cause a catastrophic chain reaction? The brinkmanship seen in the US Congress over the debt ceiling about a few months back– which looks like it will come back for round 2 in just a few more months–is a perfect example. Something as straightforward as “paying the bills” shouldn’t be subject to this level of disagreement in a proper functioning system.

    Frankly, this sort of obstructionism is terrible. What’s even worse, however, it that the obstruction of everything seems to “work” just often enough that they keep having the useful idiots willing to vote them into office.

    It is my opinion that when the system will reward such obstruction, even in the face of catastrophe, the problem is with the system (not the people performing the obstruction). While their preferred systems may be regressive and disaster prone as well, the anarcho-capitalists and libertarians at least will agree that the current system has been pressed to point that profound changes are required.

  85. 85
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    tdog #26

    I’m actually an anarcho capitalist.

    Which makes you even stupider than a libertarian.
    #44

    PS: I did post a link from Google Scholar. Did you not see it?

    Hmm, a Google Scholar search for the work of a particular Chicago-school economist. When we ask for citations around here, we usually appreciate specific articles. Like this one, or this one. Both of them say you’re wrong, btw. Better luck next time, chuckles.

    Rob Grijanis #

    like socialism, communism, and any other political ism, is an ideology (worldview if you like), so it’s just as much ‘theology’ as any of the others. You want to convince people? That takes more than saying that the burden of proof is on other system

    I take issue with that statement; when implemented democratically, communism can work, or at any rate the available test cases look promising. The only experiment I know of with mimimum income, up in Canada, looked good too but was cut off before it could be properly tested.

    SallyStrange #69

    Very few will do that forever, people get bored and want to do things eventually.

    And those few who really don’t want to do anything but veg out on the couch all the time are usually total slackers who no-one really wants on a worksite anyway. Everyone’s better off if they can just stay home and contribute to the economy by moving a moderate amount of money around, via buying things with their minimum income.

    Alexander #70

    Personally, I’m more comfortable with libertarians than with either of the two big American political parties. However, I don’t consider myself an libertarian or anarcho-capitalist; business are just as prone to corruption as governments.

    So, you’re a libertarian flavor #328: smug doucheweasel who claims to be above it all while bleating all the same buzzwords and bullshit that libertarians always do.

    You see, business and government share one problem: humans are imperfect, and some people lie and cheat to get what they want

    And this is why there are things called transparency and bureaucracy. A great quantity of the governmental bureaucracy that the likes of you whinge incessantly about exist entirely to keep tabs on how people are trying to screw others over for their own profit and do something about it. e.g. the EPA, the SEC (back when there was actual regulation of Wall Street anyway, pissant as it was), OSHA, and all manner of other government agencies.

    This very well describes most social problems, where a small, anti-social group of people has been manipulating the system to the determent to the rest of society.

    You mean detriment, old bean. I recommend you learn the words you want to learn carefully before you use them.

    Of course, I know I’m an exception, but I’ll gladly live in a world ruled by inscrutable systems which take a postgraduate mathematics degree to understand, but can’t be corrupted by any less than one third of the population,

    What the blithering hell are you on about?
    #78

    Think of me as “the anarchist’s anarchist” — you aren’t even allowed to organize an armed revolt,

    * slow clap * Congratulations, you’ve arrived at basic anarchist theory from several decades ago. That’s not a new and special idea there, Cupcake.

    I think the Occupy movement shows how many people would agree that many of our current systems have been subverted to favor a tiny minority.

    The system was designed for the benefit of that tiny minority from day one, when property owning white men were the only ones who had the vote. Through centuries of struggle, we’ve managed to make it slightly less rigged in their favor, but it’s always been a rich white man’s system. That’s a large part of the point of Occupy; to point that out and try to make an example of a system that’s not rigged in their favor.
    #84

    Something as straightforward as “paying the bills” shouldn’t be subject to this level of disagreement in a proper functioning system.

    And it’s not, anywhere else but here. This is partially because the US insists on using a kludged-together antique as a basis for its political system and refuses to reform it significantly, and largely because of libertarian and other right-wing ‘economists’ blithering endlessly about the evils of debt, which is the only reason there is such a thing as a debt ceiling in the first goddamn place.

    the anarcho-capitalists and libertarians at least will agree that the current system has been pressed to point that profound changes are required.

    Ah, I see why you think that the idea of not having a violent revolution is so, well, revolutionary. You think that anarcho-capitalists are what anarchism is, the be-all and end-all, rather than being libertarianism taken to its logical extreme, with the exact same flaws and fallacies. Anarcho-capitalism is unspeakably stupid, for the reasons outlined above by Nick Gotts’ #62, which I won’t reprise here because this post is long enough already.
    On top of that, progressives, socialists, and anarchists have been shouting that the system is broken and needs to be changed for the last…5 or 6 centuries that I recall offhand, and probably longer if I think about movements I’ve studied. Do some homework and come back when you have the beginnings of a clue.

    David Marjanović
    #75

    Various communist countries reached full employment or nearly so by creating lots of useless jobs in the bureaucracy of state-owned corporations & stuff.)

    Well, if you’re going to do that, you may as well just give them a minimum income (I’m in favor, btw) and not waste everyone’s time having them pretend to work. Another, intermediate, option would be to increase the wage floor and/or introduce a sub-livable minimum income such that e.g. a full time job only consumes 15-20 hrs a week to make enough to live on, etc.
    And those few who really don’t want to do anything but veg out on the couch all the time are usually total slackers who no-one really wants on a worksite anyway. Everyone’s better off if they can just stay home and contribute to the economy by moving a moderate amount of money around, via buying things with their minimum income.

    Alexander #70

    Personally, I’m more comfortable with libertarians than with either of the two big American political parties. However, I don’t consider myself an libertarian or anarcho-capitalist; business are just as prone to corruption as governments.

    So, you’re a libertarian flavor #328: smug doucheweasel who claims to be above it all while bleating all the same buzzwords and bullshit that libertarians always do.

    You see, business and government share one problem: humans are imperfect, and some people lie and cheat to get what they want

    And this is why there are things called transparency and bureaucracy. A great quantity of the governmental bureaucracy that the likes of you whinge incessantly about exist entirely to keep tabs on how people are trying to screw others over for their own profit and do something about it. e.g. the EPA, the SEC (back when there was actual regulation of Wall Street anyway, pissant as it was), OSHA, and all manner of other government agencies.

    This very well describes most social problems, where a small, anti-social group of people has been manipulating the system to the determent to the rest of society.

    You mean detriment, old bean. I recommend you learn the words you want to learn carefully before you use them.

    Of course, I know I’m an exception, but I’ll gladly live in a world ruled by inscrutable systems which take a postgraduate mathematics degree to understand, but can’t be corrupted by any less than one third of the population,

    What the blithering hell are you on about?
    #78

    Think of me as “the anarchist’s anarchist” — you aren’t even allowed to organize an armed revolt,

    * slow clap * Congratulations, you’ve arrived at basic anarchist theory from several decades ago. That’s not a new and special idea there, Cupcake.

    I think the Occupy movement shows how many people would agree that many of our current systems have been subverted to favor a tiny minority.

    The system was designed for the benefit of that tiny minority from day one, when property owning white men were the only ones who had the vote. Through centuries of struggle, we’ve managed to make it slightly less rigged in their favor, but it’s always been a rich white man’s system. That’s a large part of the point of Occupy; to point that out and try to make an example of a system that’s not rigged in their favor.
    #84

    Something as straightforward as “paying the bills” shouldn’t be subject to this level of disagreement in a proper functioning system.

    And it’s not, anywhere else but here. This is partially because the US insists on using a kludged-together antique as a basis for its political system and refuses to reform it significantly, and largely because of libertarian and other right-wing ‘economists’ blithering endlessly about the evils of debt, which is the only reason there is such a thing as a debt ceiling in the first goddamn place.

    the anarcho-capitalists and libertarians at least will agree that the current system has been pressed to point that profound changes are required.

    Ah, I see why you think that the idea of not having a violent revolution is so, well, revolutionary. You think that anarcho-capitalists are what anarchism is, the be-all and end-all, rather than being libertarianism taken to its logical extreme, with the exact same flaws and fallacies. Anarcho-capitalism is unspeakably stupid, for the reasons outlined above by Nick Gotts’ #62, which I won’t reprise here because this post is long enough already.
    On top of that, progressives, socialists, and anarchists have been shouting that the system is broken and needs to be changed for the last…5 or 6 centuries that I recall offhand, and probably longer if I think about movements I’ve studied. Do some homework and come back when you have the beginnings of a clue.

    David Marjanović
    #75

    Various communist countries reached full employment or nearly so by creating lots of useless jobs in the bureaucracy of state-owned corporations & stuff.)

    Well, if you’re going to do that, you may as well just give them a minimum income (I’m in favor, btw) and not waste everyone’s time having them pretend to work. Another, intermediate, option would be to increase the wage floor and/or introduce a sub-livable minimum income such that e.g. a full time job only consumes 15-20 hrs a week to make enough to live on, etc.

  86. 86
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    @Dalillama, Schmott Guy #85:

    Of course, I know I’m an exception, but I’ll gladly live in a world ruled by inscrutable systems which take a postgraduate mathematics degree to understand, but can’t be corrupted by any less than one third of the population

    What the blithering hell are you on about?

    I’m not sure, but I guess psychohistory is out.

  87. 87
    Rob Grigjanis

    Dalillama @85:

    like socialism, communism, and any other political ism, is an ideology (worldview if you like), so it’s just as much ‘theology’ as any of the others. You want to convince people? That takes more than saying that the burden of proof is on other system

    I take issue with that statement; when implemented democratically, communism can work…

    My point was not that none of those systems can work. The claim made in the first video tdog linked to, was that libertarianism is to ‘statist’ systems as atheism is to religion, and therefore they have no obligation to defend their position. My point was that this is nonsense.

    I should have made it clear that I was referring to the video.

  88. 88
    Alexander

    @Nick Gotts

    Statistics can describe the kinematics of social systems to some degree: how some aspects of such systems have changed; neither they nor any other mathematical formalism can currently explain the processes underlying such change in any remotely satisfactory way.

    Oh, pardon me, the phrasing from your original statement (“…dynamics are well beyond description in terms of any mathematical formalism…”, emphasis mine) made it sound like you were decrying all manner of descriptive modeling.

    Your new clarification is quite edifying; after all, since statistics isn’t sufficiently precise to do more than “describe the kinematics” of a system, it seems that you would reject not just economics but also climatology, psychology, pharmacology, and sociology as being immune to rigorous mathematical description?

  89. 89
    Alexander

    @Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    This very well describes most social problems, where a small, anti-social group of people has been manipulating the system to the determent to the rest of society.

    You mean detriment, old bean. I recommend you learn the words you want to learn carefully before you use them.

    Thank you for the correction. I had no idea my spell check was trying to use obscure word conjugation on me.

    A great quantity of the governmental bureaucracy that the likes of you whinge incessantly about exist entirely to keep tabs on how people are trying to screw others over for their own profit and do something about it. E.g. the EPA, the SEC (back when there was actual regulation of Wall Street anyway, pissant as it was), OSHA, and all manner of other government agencies.

    I’m sorry if I was unclear: I agree that regulation is a vital balancing force in the economy. My concern is that as the system is structured right now, “regulation” is interpreted to mean “federal bureaucracy” a majority of the time. (In fact, it is revealing that all of your examples are federal agencies.) As the POTUS is in charge of all three of your example agencies, if one was elected who didn’t care about being impeached, they could fire all of those agencies and leave workers without the corresponding protection… and if they were really determined, they could time a “firesale” of federal buildings and office space that would stymie a quick reconstruction effort.

    By contract, there are non-government based market regulation forces; since you listed three examples, so shall I. First, professional associations like the AMA set codes of conduct for their members which (like the hippocratic oath) may protect their clients. Second, school accredation programs are not set by the government (from that site: “The U.S. Department of Education does not accredit educational institutions and/or programs. … “. In the absence of DoE oversight, accredation programs would proceed as normal.) Third, while unions in the U.S. are currently at a very low point in power, remember that they were the driving force for modern work hours.

    Am I really such an ignorant/foolish person to think that the AFL/CIO would do a better job of ensuring worker’s safety than OSHA? Am I really such a terrible person to fear that some politicians might actually contemplate the horrific plan listed above if it was “divinely inspired”?

  90. 90
    tdog

    And fail like this: “The other thing these libertarians did, so predictably and at least a little more productively, is try to tout the virtues of their political philosophy. “Freedom, no initiation of force, no corporate welfare, no censorship, no drug war, peace…no initiation of force, individual liberty, live and let live, no corporate welfare, no drug war, etc.” Yes? So? Those are things progressive liberals are all for, too, and we do it without the destructive baggage of unfettered capitalism, which they all neatly leave off their laundry list.”

    Um, “unfettered capitalism” IS the non-initiation of force and live and let live! The only way to fetter capitalism is to USE force! Just once it’d be nice to see a statist who knows their definitions.
    And really? You believe that? Okay. Say I don’t want to fund something you want me to (yes, even science funding via the state) and would rather spend it on something else. Are you going to stop me?
    If yes, you’re a free market person and even an anarcho capitalist and libertarian.
    If not, then grats, you do believe in the initiation of force. Simple, no?

  91. 91
    tdog

    *If no, you’re a free market person and even an anarcho capitalist and libertarian.
    If yet, then grats, you do believe in the initiation of force. Simple, no?
    Damn bogons.

  92. 92
    tdog

    *yes, not ‘yet’.

  93. 93
    vaiyt

    Defining coercion as only coming from physical violence does not make it go away, tdog. That is the problem with all that non-initiation of force bullshit.

  94. 94
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Rob Grigjanis
    #87
    Oh. I didn’t bother with the video. I never do.

    Alexander #89

    As the POTUS is in charge of all three of your example agencies, if one was elected who didn’t care about being impeached, they could fire all of those agencies and leave workers without the corresponding protection

    They actually could not, as there are acts of Congress providing for them. The President can (and Presidents have) filled the leadership of these organizations with corrupt industry hacks who avoid enforcing the laws, but much of the problem comes from a large segment of Congress that opposes the existence of laws and agencies alike, and works to cut their funding and neuter the laws they are to enforce. Libertarians are on the side of this segment of Congress virtually without fail.

    First, professional associations like the AMA set codes of conduct for their members which (like the hippocratic oath) may protect their clients.

    But it’s the State governments that actually license them.

    Second, school accredation programs are not set by the government (from that site: “The U.S. Department of Education does not accredit educational institutions and/or programs. … “. In the absence of DoE oversight, accredation programs would proceed as normal.)

    That’s not an argument in your favor, chumley. These accreditation agencies will accredit anyone who pays them. This is how we get these catastrophically bad bible based charter schools and the like. The U.S. DoE really needs to start accrediting schools.

    Am I really such an ignorant/foolish person to think that the AFL/CIO would do a better job of ensuring worker’s safety than OSHA?

    You sure are, given that you apparently have no idea what organizations were at the forefront pushing for its creation. I recommend you look into that.

  95. 95
    The Mellow Monkey

    tdog @ 90

    The only way to fetter capitalism is to USE force!

    If you believe that fettering capitalism involves force–through laws and the enforcement of those laws and punishment if those laws aren’t obeyed–then the laws necessary for capitalism to work are also force. How is the value of money enforced? How are people stopped from counterfeiting it? How are people compelled to work for their money? How are contracts enforced? How is property enforced? By what right do you own anything and maintain that ownership? How, without some form of force, does a factory belong to someone who paid money for it instead of the people working in it and giving it value?

    statist

    As if you’re not.

  96. 96
    Alexander

    @Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    They actually could not [dismantle federal agencies], as there are acts of Congress providing for them. The President can (and Presidents have) filled the leadership of these organizations with corrupt industry hacks who avoid enforcing the laws,

    I must be misreading what you just posted, because I can’t see anything other than a claim that “corrupt industry hacks who avoid enforcing the laws” will actually provide protection to the public interest. Either that, or when I’m suggesting we split up these agencies and make it harder to appoint several corrupt cronies to all the positions, you’re agreeing with me.

    First, professional associations like the AMA…

    But it’s the State governments that actually license them.

    I think you just validated my point here: regulation does not need to be centralized with the federal government to be effective. Even though I got the details wrong, it doesn’t invalidate my argument: multiple agencies can protect consumer interests at least as well as one centralized bureaucracy.

    Second, school accreditation programs are not set by the government…

    These accreditation agencies will accredit anyone who pays them. This is how we get these catastrophically bad bible based charter schools and the like. The U.S. DoE really needs to start accrediting schools.

    Did you not see the page I originally linked to has a giant banner at the top that says “Post-secondary Accreditation”?–that’s colleges and universities, not charter and public high schools. After all, the DoE “does not have the authority to accredit private or public elementary or secondary schools”. So … again I’m left wondering exactly what point you meant to make. I was pointing out that the DoE doesn’t directly accredit colleges, but delegates this responsibility. You start arguing about high schools, but why should I believe that they wouldn’t have the same level of no-responsibility over high schools that they currently do over colleges?

  97. 97
    Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel

    I’m intrigued by the title of this post. Is it just a snarky throwaway line, or is “drive libertarians out of atheism” something you actually want to do? If the latter, why? How would it benefit you if libertarian atheists started believing in God?

  98. 98
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Alexander #96

    I must be misreading what you just posted, because I can’t see anything other than a claim that “corrupt industry hacks who avoid enforcing the laws” will actually provide protection to the public interest.

    It’s what’s known as ‘better than nothing’, nothing being what was in place beforehand. The problem of putting corrupt hacks in charge is one that largely stems, as I have repeatedly noted, from your side of the fence. i.e. the “OMG the Federal Gubmint is EVIIIILLLLLL!!!!!!!” sorts, which you are currently indistinguishable from. The usual phrasing is people who insist government doesn’t work and then get elected to try to break it.

    I think you just validated my point here: regulation does not need to be centralized with the federal government to be effective.

    You think wrong. Regulation of doctors by the Federal government would be considerably better.

    multiple agencies can protect consumer interests at least as well as one centralized bureaucracy.

    They can’t and don’t. My point about the states regulating doctors is that it’s better than leaving it to the AMA, not that it’s an ideal situation. Many states have utterly crap regulations, and people die because of them. (see, for instance, recent discussions of reproductive care and Catholic hospitals, just as an example.)

    Did you not see the page I originally linked to has a giant banner at the top that says “Post-secondary Accreditation”?

    The private accreditation agencies don’t do a very good job there either. Bob Jones University found someone to accredit them, for instance (see my previous post, RE: bible based ‘schools’)

    After all, the DoE “does not have the authority to accredit private or public elementary or secondary schools”.

    And my point was and is that the should have the authority to do exactly that, for both primary and secondary education.

  99. 99
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Rex Little:

    It is almost certainly snarky. I can’t speak for PZ, but reading his blog it seems monumentally unlikely that he would advocate for people to actually believe in MORE unsubstantiated story-telling because they currently disbelieve god-related unsubstantiated story-telling but do believe certain non-god-related unsubstantiated story-telling.

    Less snarky might be a vague wish for libertarians to go away, i.e. not comment on this blog. But it requires some dramatic and creative assumptions to get that meaning out of the above statement when the “snarky aside” hypothesis has historical data and logic going for it.

  100. 100
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Ugh.

    Since tdog is spamming by xposting without even identifying his comments as such, I will reproduce my comment from the New Law thread.

    =======
    @tdog:

    How can you be so implausibly ignorant. The issue is, again,

    no initiation of force.

    First, capitalism is not = consumer behavior or consumer choice. There are consumers in every economy, and consumer choice in every economy, to varying degrees. The existence or non of consumer choice does not make a system capitalism

    Just once it’d be nice to see a libertarian who knows their definitions.

    Additionally, regulation of capital can be a response to force rather than an initiation of force.

    Finally, under unfettered capitalism, no corporations would exist.

    Show me one libertarian that seriously advocates eradicating any legal structure of incorporation.

    Ignorance? You’re soaking in it.

  101. 101
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Rex Little:

    I’m intrigued by the title of this post. Is it just a snarky throwaway line, or is “drive libertarians out of atheism” something you actually want to do? If the latter, why? How would it benefit you if libertarian atheists started believing in God?

    I think it’s safe to say PZ was referring to the Atheist Movement.
    PZ’s disdain for Libertarianism is no secret. He’s hoping they’ll exit, stage left. Just like the misogynist atheists who have fought against integrating Feminism into the movement.

  102. 102
    Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel

    Show me one libertarian that seriously advocates eradicating any legal structure of incorporation.

    This one has. I can’t show you a particular post, it’s been too long since the subject came up, but he has.

    Doesn’t really matter anyway. Whatever opinions libertarians (or leftists, for that matter) have on the subject of business regulation, they apply to sole proprietorships, partnerships, or any other form of ownership, as much as to corporations.

  103. 103
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Tony

    a reasonable interpretation on the surface, but i think that PZ has actually said something rather different than that when being more explicit.

    Primarily, judging by his past statements, he wants his rhetorical opponents within organized atheism to stop acting like it’s a bad thing that people disagree. If some want A+, great! If some want “pure” atheist activism, fine. I’m sure that he favors the **freedom** of libertarians to create atheist-libertarian organizations, though as he considers central tenets of libertarianism to be contradicted by both logic and evidence, he wants libertarianism to die, not be reformed (as he might with movements whose central tenets are supported by both evidence and reason, but that, like any sufficiently large movement, includes unsupported lesser tenets).

    To that extent, he doesn’t want libertarian nonsense spouted here, but I don’t think he wants libertarians to leave the atheist movement so much as to leave his part of the atheist movement alone until they can critically examine libertarianism using evidence and reason and then either abandon it as a bad job or recreate it as something uncontradicted by reason & evidence – at which point he will listen anew.

    Doesn’t that sound much closer to what he’s said about atheist misogynists? He doesn’t want to make common cause, but that doesn’t mean he wants them to leave off fighting the nonsense which they are competent to fight. It just means he doesn’t want to be associated with their misogyny, and so prefers a myriad of loosely associated mini-movements to a larger movement of coerced agreement and limited focus.

  104. 104
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Rex Little:

    Vox day – why am I not surprised?

    as for this:

    Doesn’t really matter anyway. Whatever opinions libertarians (or leftists, for that matter) have on the subject of business regulation, they apply to sole proprietorships, partnerships, or any other form of ownership, as much as to corporations.

    It matters because the accumulation of capital is the sine qua non of capitalism. Without capital management, one would need a separate contract for each share purchased or sold.

    Every single publicly traded company would collapse overnight and capitalism as we know it would be over.

    One cannot be against business regulation and for capitalism.

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