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Feb 25 2014

A magnificent denunciation of libertarian revision

Really. It’s terrific. Watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart from yesterday.

887 comments

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  1. 1
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    I had tracked this down just before your post went up.

    I actually didn’t think it was significantly better than a lot of things I’ve seen on the daily show. It certainly wasn’t significantly funnier (b/c it dealt with a topic that, when addressed substantively as they wished, isn’t amenable to that many laughs).

    But Consecrated Crackers, Batman, that ending! And even though I could see it coming about 5 seconds before it hit, the impact was still a sledgehammer.

    Damn. I love that show.

  2. 2
    Anthony K

    For those of us in Canada, this is the segment on slavery, yes?

  3. 3
    Anthony K

    I think I know from whence latecomer was having his talking points force-fed to him.

  4. 4
    chigau (違う)

    Anthony K
    Do you have link?

  5. 5
    Anthony K

    I think it’s this episode, chigau, but the second segment. It starts off with Jon Stewart talking about early presidents.

  6. 6
    HappyHead

    @chigau (and all the Canadians in the audience)

    http://www.thecomedynetwork.ca/Shows/TheDailyShow

    Segment two is the part about slavery and libertarianism.

  7. 7
    Rob Grigjanis

    I see that Stewart has Michio Kaku on tonight. Yay…

  8. 8
    mikeyb

    libertarianism = historical and economic psychopathy

  9. 9
    Anthony K

    libertarianism = historical and economic psychopathy illiteracy

    The majority of libertarians aren’t psychopaths; just people who think the entirety of world literature was authored by people named ‘Rand’.

  10. 10
    frugaltoque

    The only way they could have made that purchase was to pass a law that said, “As of date X, all slaves will be set free. Their former owners will receive $Y for each slave over the age of Z (to avoid making lots of babies between now and X just to get more money)”
    Otherwise, the “free market” is going to bankrupt the government with price hikes due to increasing demand, a bankruptcy that was going to happen anyway, apparently, if you just multiply (number of slaves)*(going price of slave).
    That’s ignoring the utter inhumanity of buying people, which the Daily Show hammered on.
    And also ignoring the part where slaveowners didn’t want to give up slavery, even if you paid them for it.

  11. 11
    anteprepro

    The majority of libertarians aren’t psychopaths; just people who think the entirety of world literature was authored by people named ‘Rand’.

    They aren’t psychopaths, but they definitely have a severe deficit of empathy.

  12. 12
    Anthony K

    They aren’t psychopaths, but they definitely have a severe deficit of empathy.

    Maybe. A lot of them simply don’t seem to fathom that poverty isn’t just having to buy a 32″ LED screen rather than a 46″. Given how much they love to scream “FREEDOM!”, many of them would absolutely be aghast at the loss of freedom actual poverty entails. They just don’t seem to know what it is or how it works.

  13. 13
    robro

    Where do guys like Napolitano get their history? The US didn’t start the Civil War. Southern states voted to succeed, and then South Carolina militia forces opened fire on Ft. Sumter…not the other way around.

    And then too, where do guys like Napolitano get their hair color?

  14. 14
    anteprepro

    Where do guys like Napolitano get their history?

    The same way all right-wingers get their information. It is mysterious, but I think a good chunk of it involves chain e-mails that would wind up in lesser Americans’ spam box.

  15. 15
    anuran

    Love the Daily Show.
    Hate the auto-play

  16. 16
    Anthony K

    Where do guys like Napolitano get their history?

    Written by a Rand, or not written at all.

  17. 17
    ChasCPeterson

    Southern states voted to succeed

    goes to show ya what elections are worth.

  18. 18
    chimera

    Where do right-wingers get their history?

    Well, just for the record: I was taught in High School that the reason for the Civil War was not JUST slavery, it was two conflicting economic models. Something about the North wanting to import something from England (machinery, was it?) that the South was producing at a higher cost. Or was it the other way around? Probably. The South wanting to import agricultural machinery from England and not wanting to pay import duties and tarifs that put those imports on a par with same being produced in the North, a form of protectionism. (I’m trying to remember). In any case, the economies based on slave labor or free labor came into conflict over this sort of thing.

    This was not a right-wing high school. It was a progressive experiment in desegregation in the public schools and we had classes like “Guerrilla Video” (how to make your own news, long before the internet and Youtube). The same teacher who taught us that also taught a class on world markets for wheat. He told us to watch what happened with that in the following decades and today, with the fate of Ukraine, the wheat producer, in the balance, I’m harking back.

  19. 19
    twas brillig (stevem)

    def’ns please: “psychopathy” vs, “sociopathy”??
    My ignorance tells me “psycho-pathy” is a disease of the mind, regardless who the subject is interacting with, but “socio-pathy” refers to a disease of the how s/he relates to society/others. I’d really prefer to understand the diference between the two. My ignorant misunderstanding would have labeling Libertarians as “sociopaths” rather than “psychopaths”; “socio-” can be applied to groups, while “psycho-” can only be applied to individuals. Sorry for the digression, I come here to be educated. Thank you.

  20. 20
    Christopher

    Where do guys like Napolitano get their history? The US didn’t start the Civil War. Southern states voted to succeed, and then South Carolina militia forces opened fire on Ft. Sumter…not the other way around.

    I wish I knew, but it is not an uncommon belief among Americans.

    “The civil war wasn’t about slavery!” — Then why did the southern states specifically say that they were seceding due to slavery?

    “But the South didn’t start the civil war!” — Who first fired on who again?

    “Um, But Sherman was mean!” — Sherman was too nice, he should have given a gun to every slave he encountered and told them he would give a bounty for every cracker scalp they brought back. This country would be a much better place if we did to Dixie what we did to the natives: killed almost everyone then pushed the remaining onto worthless land to rot away from alcoholism. At least the southerners would have deserved their fate.

    About this time I am usually banned by a pro-south mod while the Dixieites continue moaning about how evil Lincon was or how slavery was better for the blacks than what Southerners did to them after the war.

    Pro-confederate folks piss me off like no other: you guys started a war in order to continue profiting off evil and lost, why the fuck do you have pride in that?

  21. 21
    Christopher

    Well, just for the record: I was taught in High School that the reason for the Civil War was not JUST slavery, it was two conflicting economic models. Something about the North wanting to import something from England (machinery, was it?) that the South was producing at a higher cost. Or was it the other way around? Probably. The South wanting to import agricultural machinery from England and not wanting to pay import duties and tarifs that put those imports on a par with same being produced in the North, a form of protectionism. (I’m trying to remember). In any case, the economies based on slave labor or free labor came into conflict over this sort of thing.

    Which is a very long synonym for “it was about slavery.”

    Tariffs for foreign made widgets, slave import bans, and especially the banning of any new slave state made it obvious that slavery would soon be too uneconomical to continue. Instead of seeing the writing on the wall and trying to make the most off the transition, the South decided to murder to protect a dying institution.

    That is what you get when you build military colleges and finishing schools instead of Universities. You also get your ass handed to you when the University trained opponent cranks out armament on an industrial scale while you are trying to get guns through a naval blockade or have joe-bob make them in his outdoor forge.

  22. 22
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Something I just remembered is relevant and that the DS **didn’t** mention:

    language is from the Pfft!, since I remembered the historical order of events, but not the dates:

    On December 20, 1860, South Carolina took the lead by adopting an ordinance of secession; by February 1, 1861, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas followed.

    Six of these states then adopted a constitution and declared themselves to be a sovereign nation, the Confederate States of America.

    President Buchanan and President-elect Lincoln refused to recognize the Confederacy, declaring secession illegal. [though note that Lincoln's opinion has only political, no legal, effect at this time]

    The Confederacy selected Jefferson Davis as its provisional President on February 9, 1861

    Lincoln, however, did tacitly support the proposed Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which passed Congress before Lincoln came into office and was then awaiting ratification by the states. That proposed amendment would have protected slavery in states where it already existed and would have guaranteed that Congress would not interfere with slavery without Southern consent.[134][135] A few weeks before the war, Lincoln sent a letter to every governor informing them Congress had passed a joint resolution to amend the Constitution.[136] Lincoln was open to the possibility of a constitutional convention to make further amendments to the Constitution.

    En route to his inauguration by train, … [t]he president-elect … evaded possible assassins in Baltimore.

    (my wording here:) 4, march, 1861 Lincoln is inaugurated. The inaugural argues strongly against war and promises protection of Southern “property”, declaring south and north not enemies but friends.

    By March 1861, no leaders of the insurrection had proposed rejoining the Union on any terms.

    The commander of Fort Sumter, South Carolina, Major Robert Anderson, sent a request for provisions to Washington, and the execution of Lincoln’s order to meet that request was seen by the secessionists as an act of war. On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces fired on Union troops at Fort Sumter, forcing them to surrender, and began the war.

    So while the shooting war did, in fact, *officially* begin after he took office:
    1. the pro-Slavery activists did actually try to assassinate him before he could take office.
    2. the pro-Slavery states did actually vote to secede and then proceeded to form a constitution declaring a new nation *before* Lincoln took office.
    3. the “act of war” that the South attributes to Lincoln was merely the supply of routine military necessities to a federal installation, even if (as has been argued and I don’t know enough to contest) it came at an unusual time and for unusual amounts, in part because war was feared. Though the supply wasn’t limited to food, it included food.

    “Lincoln: starve US citizens to death or we will attack and kill them” + “No thank you. I do not accept your false dichotomy. Let us try to find a peace. In the meantime, I will fulfill my duty to my troops as commander in chief” = Lincoln took the nation to war?

    Racism: renders your mind a waste.

  23. 23
    Christopher

    My ignorance tells me “psycho-pathy” is a disease of the mind, regardless who the subject is interacting with, but “socio-pathy” refers to a disease of the how s/he relates to society/others. I’d really prefer to understand the diference between the two. My ignorant misunderstanding would have labeling Libertarians as “sociopaths” rather than “psychopaths”; “socio-” can be applied to groups, while “psycho-” can only be applied to individuals. Sorry for the digression, I come here to be educated. Thank you.

    They are synonyms. The wiki is pretty good on the subject:

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

  24. 24
    elrondhubbard

    I have always felt that revisionist history is one of the more heinous crimes one can perpetrate. Unfortunately, too many people would rather listen to paradigm-reinforcing nonsense than the truth. This postbellum romanticization of the agrarian South is really quite despicable.

  25. 25
    chimera

    Christopher @ 20

    I’m a bit ashamed to admit that at night, before I drop off to sleep, this same thought often occurs to me:

    This country would be a much better place if we did to Dixie what we did to the natives: killed almost everyone then pushed the remaining onto worthless land to rot away from alcoholism.

  26. 26
    Terska

    I have a book written by a Harvard professor that claims that the Civil War wasn’t about slavery but was about balancing majority rule vs. minority interests and the failure of the government to work this out. I also had a history teacher in high school that made the same argument. I still think it’s bullshit. For Lincoln it was about preserving the Union. For the South it was about preserving slavery. If the South hadn’t seceded Lincoln probably would have left slavery alone at least for many years. The implementation of contract convict labor after the war was Slavery v 2.0. Convict labor was in many ways worse than slavery and didn’t end completely until FDR.

  27. 27
    robro

    Bicarbonate @#18

    I was taught in High School that the reason for the Civil War was not JUST slavery, it was two conflicting economic models…

    Me too. I grew up in the South. If I heard the “reasons” for the Civil War many times at school, and then I heard them at home. All of them, which I’ll refrain from listing because we’ve all heard them. But, I never, ever heard any Southerner deny that the South fired the first shots and started the actual war. In fact, the red necks I know practically brag about it.

  28. 28
    Menyambal

    I had a teacher tell me that the American Civil War wasn’t about slavery, but about the states’ rights … to decide about slavery.

    Virginia, as best I can tell, rebelled against England to preserve slavery, then left the Union to preserve slavery, again.

  29. 29
    doubtthat

    What a month, or so. We’ve had to deal with a bunch of zombie bullshit theism from Ham and Craig, now we get these nonsense glibertarian arguments presented as through they’re a challenge to some thoughtless convention.

    First, as Stewart pointed out, they did try to buy the slaves. It failed for two reasons: the South really wanted slaves and the government didn’t have enough money to buy them.

    This discussion came up over at Ta-nehisi Coates’ blog a little over a year ago when Ron Paul made the same stupid argument:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/06/no-lincoln-could-not-have-bought-the-slaves/277073/

    The whole article is worth reading, but the major take away is that purchasing all slaves at market value would have tripled the federal budget for a minimum of 25 years. There is no reason to believe that slaveholders would have just let their slaves go for market prices. If the government is just buying them all, you can bet that slaveholders will try to extract the maximum value as the government has little bargaining power. They can’t just say, “no,” to the deal and leave people in slavery.

    It’s a fucking farcical, idiotic, malicious perversion of history with a clear ideological purpose. Libertarians are stupid; libertarians are dangerous.

  30. 30
    gussnarp

    Who is this racist crotch?

    Also, “The South was so committed to slavery that Lincoln didn’t die a natural death!”
    QFT

  31. 31
    Raging Bee

    They aren’t psychopaths, but they definitely have a severe deficit of empathy.

    One thing they all have is a severe deficit of COMMON SENSE. None of them have any clue of how real people function in the real world outside their mommas’ basements or their Koch-funded indoctrination classes.

  32. 32
    robro

    Terska @#26

    Convict labor…didn’t end completely until FDR.

    Did it end then? Convict lease ended in the 1920s, presumably. Chain gangs and work gangs didn’t end until sometime in the 50s or later, though there have been attempts to resurrect the practice in a couple of Southern states. I read an article recently about convicts being hired out to local businesses in the South. I’m not sure I can find that article, but there is this HuffPuff thing which covers much the same territory. Slave labor is still doing just fine in America.

  33. 33
    Crimson Clupeidae

    There’s something not right when you feel the only black thing you think is worth fighting for is tea.

    Now that’s a good line. Puts it all in perspective. And that perspective is that we suck, as a species….

    And wow, that ending was …boom!

  34. 34
    andrew

    Stewart’s missing out: it’s not just the three declarations that mention slavery. It’s also the ‘cornerstone speech’, the CSA Constitution (which proscribed the “States’ Rights of secession and being free).

  35. 35
    Sili

    elrondhubbard (I’ve called him that for years),

    I have always felt that revisionist history is one of the more heinous crimes one can perpetrate.

    “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

  36. 36
    dhall

    I’m a college professor, and I happen to be teaching a semester long course about the US Civil War this semester. I’ve heard all the crap about states’ rights, tariffs, the nullification controversy, etc. What it all comes down to is pretty simple. No slavery, no war. It really is that simple, and the southerners were not the slightest bit shy about saying so. The simple fact that several of the southern states voted to secede shortly after Lincoln was elected is also powerful evidence that the South knew that Lincoln was anything but neutral about slavery. We also have tons of evidence in the form of his speeches and writings to make it clear what he thought about slavery, but he was also a political realist, and thought that gradual emancipation was probably the only thing that would work.
    Many Northerners were no longer in the mood to tolerate slavery either; churches all over the North rang their bells when John Brown was executed after the Harper’s Ferry debacle. And while it’s true that the US Congress passed a law banning the Atlantic slave trade, they did so after the British banned it and sent the Royal Navy to shut it down. Congress then passed the law to save face since the Royal Navy was stopping any and all slave ships, regardless of the flag they flew.
    BTW, the initial shots fired did not actually involve Fort Sumter, not directly. Gun batteries put in place by the South Carolina militia, under the command of Beauregard, opened fire on the “Star of the West,” an unarmed merchant ship chartered by the US government to take supplies and additional troops to Fort Sumter in early January of 1861. The “Star of the West” was forced to abort the mission and get back out of the harbor, but there was no exchange of fire between the Confederates and the garrison on Fort Sumter at that time.
    And I hate to do it, but . . . for those who wrote that the South “succeeded,” well, no they didn’t. They seceded, and then they lost. Since the students are handing in papers at the end of the week, I expect to find the South “succeeding” all over though.
    Sorry; history profs can get carried away.

  37. 37
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @dhall:

    Sorry; history profs can get carried away.

    No, no! You’re very helpful.

    I suspect that some of the success-es will be autocorrect errors, but really, if you can’t catch it, it’s still your fault. Anytime I might write about the early civil war, I will try hard to avoid any mention of the word “success” just so I can deliberately search for it later to catch all the errors.

  38. 38
    ffakr

    @23
    Theories about Psychopath have been evolving.. but let me flex my 20-year-old under-grad psych-course muscles. :-)

    Maybe my info is out of date, at least that what it looks like when I read the Wikipedia article linked to above. However, I remember quite clearly being taught that Psychopathy and Sociopathy aren’t synonyms for the same behavior/disorder. My instructor laid it out in a way that was very clear.. at least in terms of easy to remember high-level description.

    Sociopaths are capable of empathy. They understand right from wrong. Their pathology is caused by their their ability to be unaffected by that knowledge.
    In short.. Sociopaths understand wrong from right.. they just don’t care.

    Psychopaths, on the other hand, are incapable of [or find difficulty in] empathy. Being unable to put project themselves into other people’s [or animals] frames of reference makes it difficult for them to always understand right from wrong. It’s why cruelty to animals is a sign of psychopathy. Where I feel a disturbing twinge when I see an Animal hurt, a psychopath wouldn’t. It’s that difference that makes it easy for them to kill and mutilate animals.. you know.. ‘to see how they work’. :-/
    In short.. Psychopaths can’t understand right from wrong [but many get good at faking it].

    One thing that supports my understanding of the two conditions, which the wikipedia article doesn’t touch on, is the high incidence of certain brain abnormalities among people who test high on the PCL-R evaluation. It’s been claimed, notably in a book about psychopaths released about a year back, that it’s possible, with 100% accuracy to diagnose Psychopaths in an FMRI. Apparently, it’s quite clear that portions of the amygdla and surrounding areas fire up when normal people are shown disturbing imagery. When Psychopaths are shown the same, these regions are markedly under-responsive.

    Personally, I think we should amend the Constitution to require all people seeking higher office to undergo a FMRI. Unfortunately comprehensive IQ scores probably wouldn’t be much of an indicator about who’d make the better President [I'd hate to have Romney in office because he had better spacial reasoning demonstrated by re-arranging plastic triangles] but a high-school Civics exam might be nice to include as a requirement for Higher Office while we’re at it.

    http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/03/23/a-psychopaths-brain-on-fmri/

    BTW.. I suspect that I work with a high-functioning Psychopath. He’s a Researcher who is fairly easy to get along with when you deal with him face to face. He’s actually quite jovial some times.
    On the phone, he’s OK.. but face to face is definitely better.
    Over email? He’s a rage-monster who feels everything.. and I mean everything.. is a personal attack.
    I hypothesize he reacts radically differently in person versus through email because he’s unable to find cues about your intent unless he can study your body language and vocal delivery. I have a feeling his inability to empathize leaves every email as a mystery where he’s free.. in fact required.. to make blank guesses about the sub-text and intent of the author.
    Of course.. please remember that psychoanalysis is curtesy of an IT Guy [who dabbled in pre-med and who's own AVM removal gives him an abnormal curiosity about the brain]. ;-)

  39. 39
    David Marjanović

    About this time I am usually banned by a pro-south mod while the Dixieites continue moaning about how evil Lincon was or how slavery was better for the blacks than what Southerners did to them after the war.

    Well, this isn’t a forum, it’s a blog; only the blog owner – PZ – can ban people, and he’s not pro-south.

    Neither am I. But still I can’t escape the feeling that you’re some kind of… callous asshole. Seriously, WTF!?!

    And I hate to do it, but . . . for those who wrote that the South “succeeded,” well, no they didn’t. They seceded, and then they lost. Since the students are handing in papers at the end of the week, I expect to find the South “succeeding” all over though.

    Putting the suck in succeed.

    In short.. Sociopaths understand wrong from right.. they just don’t care.
    [...]
    In short.. Psychopaths can’t understand right from wrong (but many get good at faking it).

    I bet most of both are libertarians.

  40. 40
    Enopoletus Harding

    Written by a Rand, or not written at all.

    -Wrong, wrong, wrong. There is no evidence Rand supported Southern Secession. The main living proponents of the justice of Southern Secession in the libertarian community (Tom Woods and Tom DiLorenzo) are religious and, thus, anti-Randist. The main reasoning behind support for Southern Secession in the libertarian community is that Southern slavery would have ended anyway, that the war cost many lives, and that Lincoln’s decision to refuse to support recognition of Southern independence increased the unjust coercive power of the U.S. Federal government. Besides, it isn’t like any libertarian ever thought the Confederate government was significantly better than the Union one or that Southern slavery was a worthwhile cause to fight for in itself.

  41. 41
    Christopher

    Neither am I. But still I can’t escape the feeling that you’re some kind of… callous asshole. Seriously, WTF!?!

    Only on my darker days.

    For what it is worth, my proposal of southern genocide would most likely leave me non-existent. Yet, some days, I think it would still be worth it.

    Obviously, the horrors of the first industrial war weren’t enough to stop the losers and instigators from maintaining that they were right all along and subsequently taking over the country that kicked their ass with the lovely southern strategy.

    The only time that the US did total war more totally than we did during the Civil War was during the Indian wars. It is hard to argue with efficiency sometimes: native americans hold shit all for public office, have no political influence, have no cable news networks catering to their prejudices, and have basically no influence on the course of current american history. If we could do that to a culture(s) that did little harm and could have offered some benificial insights, why shouldn’t we have done that to a culture with no redeeming values that tried to destroy us?

  42. 42
    Christopher

    Besides, it isn’t like any libertarian ever thought the Confederate government was significantly better than the Union one or that Southern slavery was a worthwhile cause to fight for in itself.

    I thought the core of Libertarian belief was that property rights are sacred?

    If so, shouldn’t they be fully on the Confederate side up to and including starting a war to protect their property rights?

  43. 43
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Christopher:

    This country would be a much better place if we did to Dixie what we did to the natives: killed almost everyone then pushed the remaining onto worthless land to rot away from alcoholism. At least the southerners would have deserved their fate.

    How in the world does *more* bloodshed make the US better? I can’t believe you even posit this as something good. It’s abominable.

  44. 44
    Christopher

    How in the world does *more* bloodshed make the US better? I can’t believe you even posit this as something good. It’s abominable.

    Would less bloodshed (not contesting the South seceding and subsequently allowing them to spread the slave states westward) have made the US better or worse? We made the commitment to blodshed, best to follow through….

  45. 45
    Anthony K

    Enopoletus Harding @40:

    I’m sorry; I must have been unclear. I was not imputing any position on an historical event to Rand, or libertarians. I was quipping about the tendency of many libertarians to argue as if they’ve never read anything not authored by a Rand; Ayn or Paul, and to simply ignore research or works authored by anyone else.

    Besides, it isn’t like any libertarian ever thought the Confederate government was significantly better than the Union one or that Southern slavery was a worthwhile cause to fight for in itself.

    When I’m not being told what constitutes a true libertarian position, I’m being told that they’re a diverse and wondrous group who abhor the thought of marching lockstep with each other. I see we’re starting with Door № 1.

  46. 46
    Anthony K

    How in the world does *more* bloodshed make the US better? I can’t believe you even posit this as something good. It’s abominable.

    And yeah, this. Thanks, Tony.

  47. 47
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Christopher:

    Would less bloodshed (not contesting the South seceding and subsequently allowing them to spread the slave states westward) have made the US better or worse?

    It disturbs me that you’re even asking this question.
    *More* bloodshed is never a good thing.

  48. 48
    Christopher

    It disturbs me that you’re even asking this question.
    *More* bloodshed is never a good thing.

    I agree it is never a good thing, but sometimes it is a better thing.

    I can understand it if you are a 100% pacifist that would rather die at the hands of an invader than participate in a war. But once you move the line to include being OK with war for any given reason, then excessive bloodshed is a given; it is best to not half ass it.

    Because of this understanding, I am firmly anti-war and rather isolationist. But I’m not a pure pacificst. Some things are worth fucking shit up and spilling rivers of blood over. Slavery is one of those things.

  49. 49
    Enopoletus Harding

    @Christopher # 42

    I thought the core of Libertarian belief was that property rights are sacred?

    -Pretty much.

    If so, shouldn’t they be fully on the Confederate side up to and including starting a war to protect their property rights?

    -You do understand that libertarians understand that not all claimed property rights are legitimate, right? Slavery is viewed by libertarians as an illegitimate form of property rights because of the lack of consent by the slaves.

  50. 50
    Christopher

    -You do understand that libertarians understand that not all claimed property rights are legitimate, right? Slavery is viewed by libertarians as an illegitimate form of property rights because of the lack of consent by the slaves.

    The only time a libertarian claims that a property right isn’t legitimate is when they are personally affected or when they are so far on the wrong side of history they try to save face.

    If they think it is OK to privately own all the water in a populated watershed, why wouldn’t they think it is OK to also own people?

  51. 51
    Enopoletus Harding

    @ Anthony K #46

    When I’m not being told what constitutes a true libertarian position, I’m being told that they’re a diverse and wondrous group who abhor the thought of marching lockstep with each other. I see we’re starting with Door № 1.

    -I often hear the same thing from PZ Myers about FTB. It’s clear that this blog network has a set of underlying values, but tolerates plenty of intellectual diversity within the context of these values. The same should be said of the libertarian ideology.

  52. 52
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Christopher:

    But once you move the line to include being OK with war for any given reason, then excessive bloodshed is a given; it is best to not half ass it.

    If war is deemed a necessity, I’d rather those in charge do what they can to minimize casualties.

    Some things are worth fucking shit up and spilling rivers of blood over. Slavery is one of those things.

    Those “rivers of blood” you’re talking about are people. Remember that next time you engage in this masturbatory shit.

    I note the shifting ground of your argument too. Originally you said this:

    This country would be a much better place if we did to Dixie what we did to the natives: killed almost everyone then pushed the remaining onto worthless land to rot away from alcoholism. At least the southerners would have deserved their fate.

    Translation: The North should have slaughtered the South, killing the vast majority of people in the southern states, and treated the survivors like the Indians.

    Then you say this:

    Some things are worth fucking shit up and spilling rivers of blood over. Slavery is one of those things.

    Going to war over slavery=/= killing swaths of people and sending the survivors to a reservation to die off.

    It reads like you’re trying to argue that ending slavery is worth going to war for AND that those in the South should be punished for their pro-slavery ways by treating them as the Indians were treated.
    Genocide was committed against the Indians.
    You’re seriously saying that to end slavery a better course of action would be to committ more genocide?
    Slavery is bad.
    Genocide is ok.
    What the ever loving hell is wrong with you?

  53. 53
    consciousness razor

    ffakr:

    Sociopaths are capable of empathy. They understand right from wrong. Their pathology is caused by their their ability to be unaffected by that knowledge.
    In short.. Sociopaths understand wrong from right.. they just don’t care.

    I have no idea how accurate that is (empirically, not simply as a definition), but it was explained to me in a similar way. However, the way you put it, it’s hard not to see that as a contradiction. Empathy is something you feel. It is not simply a “cognitive” state of being knowledgeable of a moral concept (that it exists, that it’s a moral concept, instead of some other thing). It’s an “affect,” and the way I see it, the only thing lacking it or being incapable of it could mean is that you are unaffected by it. So whatever you want to say about their “understanding” to distinguish them from psychopaths, that doesn’t seem (to me, not even close to an expert) to be about their capacity for empathy. The way I’m reading it, they lack empathy too, but they at least apparently have some other capability which psychopaths do not.

    Personally, I think we should amend the Constitution to require all people seeking higher office to undergo a FMRI.

    We should not do that.

    Unless it’s only because you really love looking at colorful pictures. I might go for it then, as long as we do nothing with it.
    ——
    Enopoletus Harding:

    The main living proponents of the justice of Southern Secession in the libertarian community (Tom Woods and Tom DiLorenzo) are religious and, thus, anti-Randist. The main reasoning behind support for Southern Secession in the libertarian community is that Southern slavery would have ended anyway, that the war cost many lives, and that Lincoln’s decision to refuse to support recognition of Southern independence increased the unjust coercive power of the U.S. Federal government.

    So, they’re mainly religious — which doesn’t in fact mean they’re anti-Rand — yet according to your list here, they use mainly standard “libertarian thinking” which isn’t religious. (It’s not religious in the sense of believing in a traditional form of supernatural entity, at least. We could have that discussion, about the magical effects of libertarian “freedom” and “capitalism” some other time.)
    ——
    Christopher:

    If we could do that to a culture(s) that did little harm and could have offered some benificial insights, why shouldn’t we have done that to a culture with no redeeming values that tried to destroy us?

    If we could (and did), that doesn’t mean we should.

    Trying to destroy “us” (and not even us, but some group of people in the past) is not a good reason. I’m not in the mood for trying to conjure up something that pretends to be a good reason for genocide; but if you are, then by all means, shut the fuck up.

  54. 54
    Christopher

    If war is deemed a necessity, I’d rather those in charge do what they can to minimize casualties.

    The purpose of war is to use violence against your opponent to bend them to your will. Minimizing causalities is a bullshit smokescreen war mongers use to get good people to agree to spend their blood and treasure on the enterprise. There never has been a clean war and there never will be, which is why war should be avoided at all costs.

    We did everything short of genocide to the South.

    They regrouped and we have been fighting them ever since. They have only become more powerful over time.

    On my more anti-social days I think that when considering balance of human suffering over time, total annihilation of the south during the civil war would have produced less total suffering.

    Once you start down the path of war, of accepting that massive numbers of people who really don’t give a fuck about whatever is being fought over will be killed, what does it matter how big ‘massive’ winds up being?

  55. 55
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Christopher:
    I find your opinions to be odious and abhorrent. I don’t have any desire to go any further in a discussion with someone who believes genocide is *ever* justified.
    Please take consciousness razor’s advice and Shut The Fuck Up.

  56. 56
    consciousness razor

    The purpose of war is to use violence against your opponent to bend them to your will. Minimizing causalities is a bullshit smokescreen war mongers use to get good people to agree to spend their blood and treasure on the enterprise.

    Sure, it’s just bullshit. If you’re going to use violence, you need to go whole hog or you’re doing it wrong. That’s how absolutely everyone thinks, because it’s so obvious that “the purpose of war” is the same for every person who’s ever waged one, which is why they must simply be lying when they say they want to minimize casualties.

    That’s why the ancient Greeks, for example, would go to war with their neighbors, then go back to their farms at the end of the day, with as few casualties as possible on both sides, as one side simply routed and weren’t hunted down relentlessly by the practically non-existent Greek cavalry. Because they were bullshitting themselves about how bloodthirsty they were, and they totally had no other motivations than ensuring there was lots and lots of death). Or maybe they just didn’t grok your “purpose of war.”

    Or maybe you don’t understand what you’re saying.

    They regrouped [see also "reconstruction," or just make more bullshit up] and we have been fighting them ever since [except without the fighting]. They have only become more powerful over time [as we all have].

    Works for me. My intention isn’t for people to be disempowered.

    On my more anti-social days I think that when considering balance of human suffering over time, total annihilation of the south during the civil war would have produced less total suffering.

    Once you start down the path of war, of accepting that massive numbers of people who really don’t give a fuck about whatever is being fought over will be killed, what does it matter how big ‘massive’ winds up being?

    So you’re saying “less total suffering” matters and that it doesn’t matter?

  57. 57
    Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel

    razor @53:

    So, they’re mainly religious — which doesn’t in fact mean they’re anti-Rand

    Yeah, it kinda does. Rand was vehemently anti-religion, as much so as PZ or anyone I’ve seen comment here.

    She was not the fountainhead of all libertarianism.

  58. 58
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Rex Little:
    Being religious means they { Tom Woods and Tom DiLorenzo } are anti-Rand? What is your basis for believing this? Rand was anti-religion, sure, but it doesn’t mean religious people won’t cling to her horrible beliefs.

  59. 59
    Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel

    Since Rand was anti-religion, then in that respect religious people are anti-Rand. As for the beliefs they happen to share, I doubt very much that religious libertarians got them from Rand. As I said above, she was not the only source of such.

  60. 60
    chigau (違う)

    So. Is there a transcript of the video?

  61. 61
    chigau (違う)

    Christopher
    If you return,
    please define (for the benefit of the non-USAians here), “we” and “the South”.

  62. 62
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    chigau:
    I’m also curious to know how Christopher responds to this:

    The Confederate army did not allow many blacks to participate in the Civil War as soldiers. White Southerners were concerned that if slaves had access to firearms, the blacks would turn against them and use those firearms to kill whites. This was a valid fear since blacks outnumbered whites in the South in some places. Initially, Confederate law prohibited enlisting blacks into the army as anything other than musicians. Although the official mandate was that Southern troops could not be biracial, many local Confederate enlisted blacks.[1]

    The few blacks that fought in the Confederate army were not listed in record books as soldiers. Instead the word soldier was crossed out and body servant was inserted in its place. More than 65,000 southern blacks participated in the Confederate army as soldiers or other service personnel such as cooks, musicians, guards, and scouts.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slaves_and_the_American_Civil_War
    (emphasis mine)

    In Christopher’s hypothetical scenario the North slaughters the South to both free the slaves and punish the southerners. I have to imagine that such actions would also kill off a lot of enslaved black people too. Add to that, the fact that the North wouldn’t be without their own casualties as well.

  63. 63
    Khantron, the alien that only loves

    I mostly disagree with Christopher, but in his mild defense his proposed genocide method would be arming freedmen and letting what happens happen. I don’t think that would lead to genocide, but I can’t help but based on what happened to black people in the south after reconstruction, it would’ve probably helped for them to have a little bit more capability to do violence.

  64. 64
    ffakr

    Conciousness Razor:

    “Empathy is something you feel. It is not simply a “cognitive” state of being knowledgeable of a moral concept (that it exists, that it’s a moral concept, instead of some other thing).”

    We look at empathy in a different way.
    It is a feeling.. but it is a feeling that relies on one’s ability to project yourself into the position of another creature. I don’t empathize with someone just because.. I empathize because at a subconscious level I understand how it would feel if I were in their projection. It sort of takes the romance out of it but there’s a very good reason for my twinge when I seen an animal in pain.. I understand pain and I can imagine myself in the same pain.

    The important bit, as I understand it, is the ability to empathize in the projection sense.. to comprehend yourself being in the position of someone or something else. It’s that projection of one’s ego onto another that Psychopaths don’t process like normal people. They understand pain from experience.. they just don’t get that other creatures suffer like they do.. not at a real innate level at least.

    The way I understand Sociopaths is that they understand, innately, the suffering of others. When they see someone get stuck with a needle, they get that twinge themselves. What they’re missing isn’t the ability to empathize in the projection sense.. they lack or perhaps control the ability to empathize in the moral sense.

    The right and wrong argument is really an extension of our own self-centered self-evident reality. We don’t need god to tell us that hurting people is wrong because we don’t want to be hurt ourselves and we can understand other people’s suffering by projecting ourselves into their frame of reference. In that sense.. Sociopaths understand right and wrong.. because they understand what is right and wrong from their own selfish perspective and they can innately comprehend that those same rules apply to everyone for the same reasons.
    They just don’t care.
    They get that the old couple will suffer if they defraud them of their lives savings because they can comprehend how awful that would be.. but they lack the moral [for lack of a better word] restraints.

    Hope I’m getting my thoughts across clearly enough.
    Of course, I could be wrong.. but that’s how I’ve understood psycopathy and sociopath.

  65. 65
    Nick Gotts

    We did everything short of genocide to the South. -Christopher

    An obvious falsehood. For example, there were no treason trials, no systematic confiscation of property other than slaves, no imposition of state governors from the north, no restrictions on political participation for those involved in the rebellion…

    Now why don’t you take your genocidal fantasies elsewhere? As others have noted, the fact that you aim them at a group responsible for much suffering and death doesn’t make them any less vile.

  66. 66
    Anri

    I have to wonder what Christopher thinks of the plans suggested to ‘pastoralize’ Germany after WWII?

    Surely the Axis powers were at least as terrible as the Confederacy, wouldn’t you agree?
    Would the world be a better place had the Allies depopulated Germany, Italy, and Japan?
    Should ‘degenerate’ populations be eliminated?
    What’s your solution?

  67. 67
    doubtthat

    There were solutions other than mass murder, but the great failing of Reconstruction was the total lack of punishment and consequence for the Confederacy.

    One of the Lost Causer myths developed during Reconstruction (along with “States Rights,” “tariffs what done it,” and “the common soldier wasn’t fighting for slavery”) was that the North was too harsh and too punitive. This fantasy is totally washed away by the reality of the century long domestic terrorism campaign the remnants of the Confederacy waged against the black population.

    I made this point on another site, but it was as though after WWII the Allies just put the Nazis back in charge and let them torture and murder jews for another 100 years.

  68. 68
    llamaherder

    I made this point on another site, but it was as though after WWII the Allies just put the Nazis back in charge and let them torture and murder jews for another 100 years.

    Huh.

  69. 69
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    doubtthat

    “the common soldier wasn’t fighting for slavery”

    This one is at least partially true; a whole lot of the common soldiers were fighting because the press gangs caught up with them and they hadn’t had a chance to desert yet. Not that they weren’t still plenty racist, or even opposed to slavery in principle, they just didn’t own any slaves of their own, didn’t see any possibility they were going to, and didn’t see why they should die for someone else’s slaveowning. These feelings were aggravated by the fact that a lot of poor white Southerners were subsistence farmers and couldn’t shift to growing cash crops or manufacturing because they couldn’t compete with the big plantations that cut overhead by using slave labor. Historian David Williams notes that the Union army actually had nearly as many recruits who had deserted from the Confederate army to join them as it had battle deaths (note that this is not the same as overall deaths; camp fever was still a major killer of soldiers at this time).

    The bit about Reconstruction being entirely insufficient is true though. At a bare minimum, it should have included the total confiscation of all real property of any slaveowners, the property in question/value of same to be shared out among the former slaves, as well as a total ban on politcal participation (voting or holding office) for life for anyone who held a Confederate commission or Confederate elected office. Not to mention seriously harsh penalties for nightriders.

  70. 70
    doubtthat

    Not that they weren’t still plenty racist, or even opposed to slavery in principle, they just didn’t own any slaves of their own, didn’t see any possibility they were going to, and didn’t see why they should die for someone else’s slaveowning.

    See, this is the insidious Lost Cause mythology. It’s incredibly deceptive to advance the “very few people in the South actually owned slaves.” First, just consider the family members supported by plantations. That conservatively multiplies the “slave owner” number by 5. Then consider the people working directly on plantations — the guards, the field managers…etc. Then consider the people whose profession depended directly on slavery: doctors, lawyers, bankers, traders…etc. Then consider the whites who didn’t own slaves but were upwardly mobile and planning to do so. The entire economy of the South was dependent on slavery, and it was not just politicians and the people whose name the slaves were owned under that comprehended this.

    Now add the intense paranoia based on a fear of a slave revolt or retribution taken by the slaves, and popular sentiment was INCREDIBLY on the side of the Confederacy, and the popularity was entirely due to slavery, not incident to it.

    Obviously, it wasn’t a unanimous opinion, but a hallmark of Lost Causer myth-making is to pretend like the mass of the Confederate Army was made up of a bunch of folks fighting for some noble cause, rather than risking their lives to maintain and spread the institution of slavery. I will also add that, as I’m sure you know, the Confederates had a dramatic lack of resources compared with the Union. That number needs to be broken down more specifically to use the deserters as an argument against the idea that the South was popularly pro-slavery.

    As a way of understanding the popular support for the Confederacy among the rank and file, the Confederacy has a higher approval rating in the South today, usually around 50% given the poll, than the American Revolution had in 1776, about 1/3rd of the colonies supported the Revolution.

  71. 71
    doubtthat

    Huh.

    ?

  72. 72
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Christopher’s opinions in a way reflect those that Sherman expressed early in the war. He felt that much of the South was incorrigible and could only be “managed” by turning it into a permanent agrarian backwater. By the end of the war, though, it is evident that Lincoln had won him over to his side. Sherman’s March was actually fairly tame as punitive marches go, and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton came close to having Sherman court-martialed for being too soft on Joe Johnston’s men in the armistice he signed (note, Sherman’s terms were essentially the same as Grant’s, but Lincoln had been assassinated in the interim, and this provided an opening for the hardliners against the South).

    In the end, we cannot say whether Lincoln’s tack toward reconstruction might have been more productive in the long run. Reconstruction became less about rehabilitating the South and more about Northern politicians rewarding allies with plum assignments. However, to Christopher, I would pose this observation: much of the problem we still face in governing the South stems from its backwardness. Given that, how would our task have been made easier if our policies had made it even more of a backwater?

    A historical factoid: Joe Johnston died of pneumonia contracted after serving as a pall bearer at Sherman’s funeral.

  73. 73
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy


    doubtthat
    # 70

    See, this is the insidious Lost Cause mythology. It’s incredibly deceptive to advance the “very few people in the South actually owned slaves.” First, just consider the family members supported by plantations. That conservatively multiplies the “slave owner” number by 5. Then consider the people working directly on plantations — the guards, the field managers…etc. Then consider the people whose profession depended directly on slavery: doctors, lawyers, bankers, traders…etc. Then consider the whites who didn’t own slaves but were upwardly mobile and planning to do s

    Yes; those people were mostly either exempt from the draft by reason of owning 5 or more slaves, or wealthy enough to buy their way out of the draft ($200 if I remember right), or wangle their way into the militia slave patrols that occupied fully 1/5 of the white male population even during the war rather than go to the front, or at the bare minimum get a commission and not have to slog it in the ranks. This was another major source of resentment among those who got conscripted because someone else bought his way out of it. Also, by no means all of the Confederate deserters went over to the Union; a lot of them just fucked off for home. Also keep in mind that in the agrarian, nonindustrialized South, the categories you list still made up a relatively small portion of the population; the majority of Southern whites were farmers, and they were getting screwed hard by the slave economy. The Southern economy was dependent on slavery, but that doesn’t mean that slavery was good for the economy. Much like the current corporatist economy, it was very good indeed to a very small segment of the population, not crippling to a a somewhat larger segment, and everyone else was totally screwed. The thing is that the totally screwed mostly didn’t have much of a voice in politics. This is really the opposite of Lost Cause mythology, and I’m not sure where you’re coming from on that. I said that most Confederate troops were conscripts who really didn’t want to be there and you somehow interpreted that as “a bunch of folks fighting for some noble cause”. I’m not seeing it, I’m really not.

    As a way of understanding the popular support for the Confederacy among the rank and file, the Confederacy has a higher approval rating in the South today, usually around 50% given the poll, than the American Revolution had in 1776, about 1/3rd of the colonies supported the Revolution.

    That has fuck-all to do with the level of support for the Confederacy at the time it was active. The Lost Cause propaganda was very effective and very widespread; there is good reason to believe that support the Confederate cause has a higher popular approval rating now than it did during the war.

  74. 74
    eric123

    Corey Robin has an interesting discussion on his blog about the internal libertarian struggle to arrive at some meaningful conclusion about the civil war. A quote from the post:

    “It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the Civil War was an unjust war on both sides.”
    http://coreyrobin.com/tag/libertarianism/

    That it’s even possible to encounter libertarians who champion the “liberty” of the Confederacy against “Northern aggression”–or would that be ‘coercion’?–certainly makes a fine addition to the numerous exhibits of libertarian stupidity.

  75. 75
    caesar

    anteprepro@11:

    They aren’t psychopaths, but they definitely have a severe deficit of empathy.

    Empathy has nothing to do with it. This whole,”libertarians hate/don’t care about poor people”, is just insidious hyperbole designed to elicit a negative emotional response at those who would dare question the progressive stance that government should take major steps to decrease poverty. Libertarians are like other people too in that there’s a variety of thought among them. I’m sure some libertarians actually don’t give a shit about the poor,but but to demonize all libertarians like that isn’t fair or honest.

  76. 76
    Anthony K

    Libertarians are like other people too in that there’s a variety of thought among them.

    Door № 2.

  77. 77
    Anthony K

    who would dare question

    hahahahaha, fuck off, amateur.

  78. 78
    llamaherder

    ?

    I hadn’t looked at it from that angle before.

  79. 79
    llamaherder

    Empathy has nothing to do with it. This whole,”libertarians hate/don’t care about poor people”, is just insidious hyperbole designed to elicit a negative emotional response at those who would dare question the progressive stance that government should take major steps to decrease poverty. Libertarians are like other people too in that there’s a variety of thought among them. I’m sure some libertarians actually don’t give a shit about the poor,but but to demonize all libertarians like that isn’t fair or honest.

    Bullshit. Every single mechanism Libertarians imagine would make Libertarianism successful is predicated on bootstraps.

    Bootstraps mythology is fundamentally hostile to empathy.

  80. 80
    David Marjanović

    Finally watched the video. Yep, “sledgehammer” is alright.

    I also recommend this unrelated short series while I’m at it.

    We made the commitment to blodshed, best to follow through…. [...] it is best to not half ass it [...] rivers of blood

    What, do you believe crossing the Moral Event Horizon must turn you into a Complete Monster? Even TV Tropes doesn’t claim that…!

    They regrouped and we have been fighting them ever since. They have only become more powerful over time.

    …Quite obviously not true.

    Once you start down the path of war, of accepting that massive numbers of people who really don’t give a fuck about whatever is being fought over will be killed, what does it matter how big ‘massive’ winds up being?

    …Do I need to reply to this???

  81. 81
    caesar

    Llamaherder@79:

    Bootstraps mythology is fundamentally hostile to empathy.

    Not true. One can believe that everyone should be self reliant, but still support charitable giving. The problem libertarians have is when government force is used to promote charity. At that point it ceases to be charity, and for some libertarians, becomes stealing.

  82. 82
    Amphiox

    The problem libertarians have is when government force is used to promote charity. At that point it ceases to be charity, and for some libertarians, becomes stealing.

    This is basic social contract, and applies to everything government does, from basic security on up.

    That libertarians can call this “stealing” with a straight face is just another example of why their ideology is divorced from reality.

  83. 83
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The problem libertarians have is when government force is used to promote charity.

    What government force? Nobody holds a gun to your head. The coercion bullshit is nothing but liberturd propergander.

  84. 84
    Rey Fox

    This whole,”libertarians hate/don’t care about poor people”, is just insidious hyperbole designed to elicit a negative emotional response at those who would dare question the progressive stance that government should take major steps to decrease poverty.

    Doesn’t seem like hyperbole to me. If you care about decreasing poverty (and therefore, you care about poor people), then government should take major steps (however we define “major steps”) to help. Private individuals and organizations are clearly not making much of a dent in it.

  85. 85
    llamaherder

    Not true. One can believe that everyone should be self reliant, but still support charitable giving. The problem libertarians have is when government force is used to promote charity. At that point it ceases to be charity, and for some libertarians, becomes stealing.

    You’re willing to let people starve for the sake of property rights.

    You’re referring to feeding starving people as stealing.

    You’re kinda giving up the ruse out the gate, aren’t you?

  86. 86
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Caeser,
    I have never met a libertarian who gave a damn about any human or animal outside of their own limited circle of family and friends.

  87. 87
    doubtthat

    I hadn’t looked at it from that angle before.

    Gotcha.

  88. 88
    caesar

    Amphiox@83:

    This is basic social contract, and applies to everything government does, from basic security on up.

    That libertarians can call this “stealing” with a straight face is just another example of why their ideology is divorced from reality.

    It’s not just basic social contract. There’s a level of taxation that we all accept in order to provide some basic standard of living, and this level changes over time and circumstance. But there’s a balancing act at play between individualism and the tax rate. One could run a country the way that the EU does with high levels of taxation and a strong safety net, with relatively less freedom to spend your income the way you want. On the other hand, you have the US which has lower taxes and a lower safety net, but you have more freedom to spend your income the way you want. It’s all about the extent you feel that all income is public, versus private property, which you can use in the way that fits your circumstance. Obviously libertarians are far more disposed to the individualism side than most.

  89. 89
    caesar

    Nerd @83:

    The coercion bullshit is nothing but liberturd propergander.

    Of course there’s coersion. When you get your paycheck, the income taxes usually are already taken out. To some extent you get them back, but it’s not as if the government asks you for permission 1st.

  90. 90
    caesar

    Rey fox@84:

    If you care about decreasing poverty (and therefore, you care about poor people), then government should take major steps (however we define “major steps”) to help

    Just because you’re in favor of allowing the government to do anything deemed necessary to combat poverty, doesn’t mean you don’t care about poor people.

  91. 91
    Nick Gotts

    There’s a level of taxation that we all accept in order to provide some basic standard of living… It’s all about the extent you feel that all income is public, versus private property, which you can use in the way that fits your circumstance. Obviously libertarians are far more disposed to the individualism side than most.- caesar@88

    According to the view you are putting forward here, differences between libertarians and others over levels of taxation, and the purposes for which it should be used, are matters of degree. So presumably you admit that when “some libertarians” refer to taxation as “stealing” (you@81), they are using dishonest rhetoric?

  92. 92
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    . Obviously libertarians are far more disposed to the individualism side than most.

    That’s because they lack empathy, and are morally bankrupt. I’ve got mine, now fuck off. ..

  93. 93
    Nick Gotts

    Just because you’re in favor of allowing the government to do anything deemed necessary to combat poverty, doesn’t mean you don’t care about poor people. – caesar@90

    Actually, it does mean that, since the clear facts are that private charity has never come anywhere near eliminating poverty in any country, while government action – most notably in Scandinavia, has – and without eliminating democracy, innovation, the rewarding of talent and hard work, etc.

  94. 94
    caesar

    Nick Gotts@91:

    So presumably you admit that when “some libertarians” refer to taxation as “stealing” (you@81), they are using dishonest rhetoric?

    I don’t think it’s dishonest. Technically it’s true that taxation is stealing because your income is being taken away without your explicit permission. Like I said, we all accept a certain level of taxes whether we like it or not, because we realize that government is needed to provide a basic standard of living. For libertarians, that standard is set relatively low and therefore increasing the tax rate to provide for a bigger safety net than they’re willing to accept would be considered stealing for them.

  95. 95
    Anthony K

    Technically it’s true that taxation is stealing because your income is being taken away without your explicit permission.

    Technically, so is using the infrastructure provided by society that allows one to provide work for another in exchange for socially recognized tender as well as the social mechanisms that enforce those contractual obligations without paying for it.

  96. 96
    Rey Fox

    What’s with all this third-person “some libertarians” talk? Are we getting into a round of No True Libertarian here?

  97. 97
    Tom J

    If anyone cares to read about the mainstream libertarian position on this, see here : http://www.libertarianism.org/publications/essays/why-libertarian-defenses-confederacy-states-rights-are-incoherent

    Libertarians who think this way are about as wacky as liberals who defend Soviet or Cuban style communism and want to see it implemented in the US. There are people who think dumb things on the right and left.

    I’m also loving the “who has more empathy” debate – which is a debate the left tends to win more often (notwithstanding the actual outcome of many of the left’s policies, they always say that they care). This is one of the main reasons, in my opinion, libertarianism isn’t as mainstream as it could or should be.

    Rand laid out the moral case for libertarianism in Atlas Shrugged, and were she a better novelist the argument may have come across better. But it essentially boils down to this – wherever you see free people and free markets, prosperity flourishes. Wherever you see socialism or communism or public policies that tilt significantly in that direction, stagnation or decay results (with the lower classes of society being hit the hardest).

    Obamacare is immoral, in my view, not because it’s creators and supporters don’t want to help people (I won’t disparage their intentions, which I believe to be good). It is immoral because collectivizing health insurance will, as it does with nearly everything, begin it’s long slow decline (it’s already starting to have these effects).

    I don’t want to get into a debate about health care, I’m simply trying to illustrate the differences in value judgements. Lots of people here think libertarians are immoral or just straight up evil. Noted. But in most areas – health care included – their intentions are similar if not exactly the same, only the methods differ. I don’t think radical left wing liberals are evil for supporting Obamacare, but I do think they are either woefully misinformed or just plain wrong.

    But there’s something about calling someone evil, like calling someone sexist or racist, that tends to shut down debate. The right in general and libertarians in specific don’t have an effective counter to this just yet. But perhaps the deleterious effects Obamacare will have on the health care industry will help make the case, it’ll be very interesting to see.

  98. 98
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @caesar:

    Great GrilledCheezus, Batman, what are you on about?

    Technically it’s true that taxation is stealing because your income is being taken away without your explicit permission.

    Okay, at least you didn’t use the word “theft”, but do tell us this technical definition of “stealing” so that we can all share a common understanding.

    Also, in what sense is it “technical”? Is there a source? Because if you pulled it out of your ass, that doesn’t seem to meet the definition of “technical”. If your definition of stealing is “being taken away without your explicit permission” then that means that if your kid, living in your house, eats a bag of Fritos you bought with your own money for your own self, then your kid is guilty of “stealing” because they relied on a general permission to take from the pantry instead of “explicit” permission for that bag of Fritos?

    If, say, you read something for comprehension and suffered a traumatic brain injury,
    1. becoming legally incompetent, which triggered
    2. the court to appoint a guardian ad litem, who
    3. paid your medical bills out of your account

    is that “stealing”? If not, why not? Show your work.

  99. 99
    caesar

    Nerd@94:

    That’s because they lack empathy, and are morally bankrupt. I’ve got mine, now fuck off. ..

    I’ll bet when you see a homeless person on the side of the road,you don’t stop everything you’re doing to make sure they’re well fed and have a place to sleep. I’ll bet you just keep going off to see a movie, or whatever you have going on in your personal life. Does that mean you lack empathy? I wouldn’t presume to judge you for not stopping to help.

  100. 100
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    wherever you see free people and free markets, prosperity flourishes.

    Yeah. Provided you don’t bother look at the non-prosperous, starving, losers of the Great Free-Market Greasy-Poll Climb, or provided you claim that it’s their own fault for not trying hard enough, being savvy enough, being savage enough, being born to rich enough parents—prosperity flourishes.

  101. 101
    Anthony K

    and were she a better novelist the argument may have come across better

    Tolkien was a better novelist, but that doesn’t make elves true.

    But it essentially boils down to this – wherever you see free people and free markets, prosperity flourishes. Wherever you see socialism or communism or public policies that tilt significantly in that direction, stagnation or decay results (with the lower classes of society being hit the hardest).

    This is what I meant by “Written by a Rand, or not written at all.”

    Notwithstanding the fun to be had in watching Tom swing around those goalposts of “free markets” and “socialism”, this is pretty easily demonstrated to be untrue, as long as you acknowledge that things written by people not named Rand exist.

    Et tu, IMF?

    I don’t want to get into a debate about health care

    Because you’ve only read Rand.

    It is immoral because collectivizing health insurance will, as it does with nearly everything, begin it’s long slow decline (it’s already starting to have these effects).

    You’d provide evidence for this claim if you’d read anything besides Rand.

  102. 102
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    wherever you see free people and free markets, prosperity flourishes.

    Citation needed, but never provided. A problem of liberturds. Lack of data to back their sloganeering. The Pharma industry is heavily regulated (ICH/FDA) but profitable, for counter example.

  103. 103
    vaiyt

    @ Tom J:

    Stopped reading when you started with the Communist Obamacare bullshit. You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

  104. 104
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    I really don’t understand how people can advocate a system based on virtually unlimited competition, and then claim that there will be no losers. The very word “competition” should be a big, flashing neon clue.

  105. 105
    eric123

    In case you haven’t already discovered it, the Critiques of Libertarianism website is probably the single best resource online, or anywhere for that matter, for debunking this secular faith:
    http://critiquesoflibertarianism.blogspot.com/

  106. 106
    chigau (違う)

    …health care industry…

    interesting choice of words

  107. 107
    Anthony K

    Stopped reading when you started with the Communist Obamacare bullshit. You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

    But Ayn Rand just wasn’t a good enough novelist. If she was all of Tom’s points would be self-evidently true.

  108. 108
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I wouldn’t presume to judge you for not stopping to help.

    I do help through my taxes, and my willingness to pay more taxes to help relieve the problem. Not increase it with my selfishness, unlike liberturds.

  109. 109
    doubtthat

    Yes; those people were mostly either exempt from the draft by reason of owning 5 or more slaves, or wealthy enough to buy their way out of the draft ($200 if I remember right), or wangle their way into the militia slave patrols that occupied fully 1/5 of the white male population even during the war rather than go to the front, or at the bare minimum get a commission and not have to slog it in the ranks.

    That exempt class generally accounted for about 6% of the population — those who owned >20 slaves or were wealthy, as you pointed out. In North Carolina in 1860, for example, 28% of the white population owned at least one slave, but only 3% of those slave owners owned more that 20:

    http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/nchist-antebellum/5601

    So even there, a quarter of the population had a direct ownership interest in slavery. And like today, the vast majority of bankers giving out loans to purchase slaves, lawyers arguing in court over ownership disputes, doctors traveling to plantations to treat slaves, and insurance agents developing policies for the property, were not rich by any stretch of the imagination.

    I agree with you 100% though, that the people who bore the greatest burden during the War were those least likely to profit from its outcomes. This has basically been true of every war in human history.

    Also keep in mind that in the agrarian, nonindustrialized South, the categories you list still made up a relatively small portion of the population; the majority of Southern whites were farmers, and they were getting screwed hard by the slave economy. The Southern economy was dependent on slavery, but that doesn’t mean that slavery was good for the economy. Much like the current corporatist economy, it was very good indeed to a very small segment of the population, not crippling to a a somewhat larger segment, and everyone else was totally screwed.

    I think there may be confusion, here, as we’re making two different points. I agree with you that in actuality that slavery had a negative effect on the 60% of Southern whites who were basically subsistence farmers. Similarly, I would agree that workers are fucked over by today’s corporate system (to speak generally). But we’re discussing public opinion, not economic reality (though obviously one will effect the other).

    Just like poor working whites today will vote for Republicans looking to destroy what few labor rights and privileges they have left, those poor white farmers were most definitely fighting to protect the legality of slavery.

    The number of direct slave owners in 1860 was between 25-30% of the white population (Lost Causers put the number much lower). Another non-trivial portion of the population was in the support roles discussed earlier. That is a substantial minority, meaning that only a fraction of the farmers that made up 60% of the white population needed to sympathize with their oligarchs to have public opinion firmly on the pro-Confederacy side.

    There are a couple of ways to gauge public opinion prior to secession. One is to look at the presidential vote of 1860. The Republican Party was expressly founded on the principle of stopping the spread of slavery west. Prior to any discussion of a war or really anyone in politics seriously advocating abolition, the Southern states signed pacts declaring their intent to react very poorly to a Republican presidency. In the states that would secede, only Virginia even cast ballots for Lincoln, and he received 1.1% of the vote. If there was all this ambiguity in the Southern opinion on slavery, why the total lack of support for Lincoln?

    A second means is to observe how the south reacted to the Dred Scott decision. In the South, politicians and newspapers unanimously lauded the decision:

    the Daily Morning News of Savannah, Georgia, proclaimed, “the series of decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Dred Scott case, is of more vital importance in reference to the settlement of the slavery question than any or all the other acts and proceedings upon this subject- legislative and judicial, State or Federal- since the organization of the Federal Government.

    http://journals.chapman.edu/ojs/index.php/VocesNovae/article/view/328/704

    So, there are no politicians in the South opposing slavery or questioning its expansion. The newspapers are unanimously in favor of Dred Scott and the Fugitive Slave Act. The general population almost unanimously voted against the party opposed not to slavery, generally, but just to its westward expansion.

    The thing is that the totally screwed mostly didn’t have much of a voice in politics. This is really the opposite of Lost Cause mythology, and I’m not sure where you’re coming from on that. I said that most Confederate troops were conscripts who really didn’t want to be there and you somehow interpreted that as “a bunch of folks fighting for some noble cause”. I’m not seeing it, I’m really not.

    The foundational premise of Lost Cause nonsense is that the war was not about slavery. I’m not accusing you of being a Lost Causer, I’m just pointing out that their propaganda is insidious and constant. They have a vested interest in suggesting that the rank and file Confederate soldier was not fighting to keep slavery legal in the South. It was about tariffs or states’ rights or a Northern War of Aggression.

    If it turns out that the majority of Rebel fighters were brave, well-meaning men fighting for some theoretical freedom that, if slavery was not on their minds, wasn’t being impinged in any way, then you leave the door open for historical revisionism to try and muddle up the reasons for the war. If they didn’t care about slavery, what were they fighting for? At this point, the Lost Causer answers with some nonsense about a Northern war of aggression, which is why its so important to focus on the behavior of the South prior to Lincoln’s election. They were ready to go long before war was even considered, and they initiated the armed conflict. It is impossible to explain this situation without acknowledging that the mass of the Southern population was intent on defending slavery at all costs.

    Obviously not every single soldier was pro-slavery, just like not every Nazi hated jews, but the reason the Confederacy was able to begin building an army, plan secession before Lincoln’s election, and initiate the war by firing on Ft. Sumter was because a massive number of Southerners were willing to give their lives to keep slavery legal. This included the rank and file as much as it included politicians and slave owners.

    That has fuck-all to do with the level of support for the Confederacy at the time it was active. The Lost Cause propaganda was very effective and very widespread; there is good reason to believe that support the Confederate cause has a higher popular approval rating now than it did during the war.

    First of all, no there’s not. Again, examine the presidential election of 1860 and the general public opinion towards slavery and the North prior to the war. It’s pretty clear that there was little dissent from the pro-slavery, pro-Confederacy position. Just because soldiers couldn’t deal with the horror of the war and the material deficiency of the South, does not mean that they weren’t supporters prior to the conflict.

    Second, the Lost Causers were defeated Confederates. If their propaganda and myth-making is that influential 150 years later, it’s not difficult to see how they persuaded their population in real time. The South really, really wants to believe that fairy tale. The did immediately after the War, and they do in large numbers now. That’s why a bunch of poor white farmers with no material interest in the outcome of the Civil War were willing to give their lives to support slavery. They were true believers.

  110. 110
    a_ray_in_dilbert_space

    Tom J: “…wherever you see free people and free markets, prosperity flourishes…”

    Did it ever occur to you that the causation goes the other way–that wherever you see people who are prosperous and free, the society is stable enough for free markets? Did you ever consider how you KEEP the market free?

  111. 111
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    caesar:
    Libertarian policies, if put into place would fuck over a lot of people. One of the biggest problems with libertarians *IS* a lack of empathy. You can handwave all you want, but when you look deeper than their policies–when you look at the implications of their policies–the effect is that many, many people would have their lives devastated. All bc libertarians don’t think through the implications of their delusional ideology.

    The following quotes are from:

    http://www.alternet.org/what-america-would-look-if-libertarians-got-their-way?paging=off&current_page=1#bookmark

    1. What if you cut all benefits?

    You’ve heard it from Sen. Rand Paul and other conservatives this winter: unemployment benefits increase unemployment. It’s an enormously destructive idea, though absurd on its face. It’s like the argument that hospitals create sick people; after all, there are so many of them there.

    We usually consider such thinking “primitive” in modern societies.

    Yet that’s exactly what libertarian/conservatives are arguing when they say that unemployment benefits increased or extend unemployment. There is no credible evidence to suggest that this is true. There is overwhelming evidence suggesting that unemployment is caused by other factors, including poor consumer demand and lack of business confidence.

    Cutting off unemployment benefits (which has been done to some extent recently, with PEOPLE SUFFERING as a primary result) bc you think it creates greater unemployment flies in the face of the available infomation. People receiving unemployment benefits are, by and large, already working. Many of them are working more than one job to make ends meet, but are unsuccessful. Government assistance programs enable people to not struggle as much just to put food on the table.
    Calling for an end or reduction to government assistance programs has the effect of fucking over a lot of people. It is not a solution to any problem, and makes the problem of poverty WORSE. If someone proposes this, they haven’t thought through the implications of the policy, nor have they empathized with the people who benefit from assistance programs.
    But hey, “I’ve got mine, fuck you!” is the libertarian mantra.

    2. Nothing but competition.

    This idea lies at the heart of libertarian and conservative thinking. The argument says that human beings excel when they are competing with one another for dominance. The free market is the best economic system in the world, we’re told, because private enterprises compete with one another for market share.

    Eddie Lambert, CEO of Sears, has shown us exactly how destructive this application of libertarian thought can be.

    3. Free-enterprise zones.

    The concept of the free-enterprise zone was first popularized by Republican Jack Kemp. Kemp, a football star-turned-House member and vice-presidential candidate (with Bob Dole in 1996), adopted the concept, also known as “urban enterprise zones,” as a campaign theme during his initial rise and a 1988 presidential campaign. It’s based on the belief that economically disadvantaged areas—inner cities or impoverished rural areas—would be revitalized if regulations, minimum wage requirements and tax levels were eased

    Fewer (or no) regulations is another hallmark of many libertarians. It should be blatantly obvious how harmful that is. But for many libertarians, they can’t (or in some cases, won’t) think deeper. What happens if companies are deregulated? We have an answer to that. It isn’t pretty. There’s more than enough evidence to show that if regulations are removed, corporations are going to attempt to maximize their profits at the expense of their workers and/or the environment.

    I’ll leave the last libertarian talking point here in the hope that you can tease out the implications on your own (with a hint: “whites only” or “heterosexuals only”)

    4. The absolute rights of private ownership.

    I turn again to Sen. Rand Paul on this issue, because he expresses these ideas clearly and directly (just as he does when I agree with him, on issues of civil liberties and drone warfare), although he has been known to recant somewhat afterwards.

    Paul said that he opposed the Civil Rights Act because, he said, “I abhor racism. I think it’s a bad business decision to exclude anybody from your restaurant—but, at the same time, I do believe in private ownership.”

    Here’s the dystopian dimension of Sen. Paul’s argument: Governments exist to uphold the law and, at the federal level, to uphold the Constitution. The Civil Rights Law serves both purposes. If “private ownership” is a barrier against these governmental prerogatives, where does it end? If you can’t outlaw discrimination on private property, what can you outlaw: Fraud? Theft? Murder?

  112. 112
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    I see that Tom J knows nothing about Eddie Lambert.

  113. 113
    Alexander

    @108 Nerd of Redhead:

    I do help through my taxes, and my willingness to pay more taxes to help relieve the problem. Not increase it with my selfishness, unlike liberturds.

    If you are truly honest about wanting to pay more taxes, the US government provides a donation page for the general Treasury: http://www.fms.treas.gov/faq/moretopics_gifts.html. (This link keeps appearing on the right in my preview.) If I understand your “willingness to pay more taxes” correctly, then you could provide receipts demonstrating you were already aware of this option and have been voluntarily paying these additional “donation” taxes. I don’t care about the amount: a photo of even a $1 donation would suffice, as long as you could prove it was from before today.

    If you have not been paying these voluntary “donation” taxes, then I would ask how you reconcile this with your statement that you are “not increasing [suffering] with selfishness”.

  114. 114
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    If you have not been paying these voluntary “donation” taxes, then I would ask how you reconcile this with your statement that you are “not increasing [suffering] with selfishness”.

    Gee, what non-sequitur attempt to prove hypocrisy. My point is simply I am more than willing to pay my fair share for taxes that would actually increased services to those in need, unlike liberturds, who see no need to help those in need, and don’t want or think they should pay any. Think what you will, but your inane suggestions don’t prove anything as far as my point was concerned.

  115. 115
    chigau (違う)

    Alexander
    I don’t think that worked very well as a ‘gotcha’.

  116. 116
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    I’m struggling to figure out what’s worse:

    1. an influx of MRA’s
    2. an influx of Slymepitters
    3. an influx of Libertarians

    enh, that’s like playing Oppression Olympics. They’re all assholes.

  117. 117
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Alexander:
    Nerd is referring to a willingness to pay more taxes (which are not donations anyway, so your non sequitor is bizarre). That’s something libertarians do not want to do. In fact, they don’t want to pay the current taxes bc “stealing”. You’d have to ask caesar or one of the other fuckwitted libertarians (or libertarian-like) commenters in the thread for a proper explanation of how taxes are “stealing”.

  118. 118
    Anthony K

    I’m struggling to figure out what’s worse:

    1. an influx of MRA’s
    2. an influx of Slymepitters
    3. an influx of Libertarians

    enh, that’s like playing Oppression Olympics. They’re all assholes.

    Of these, even I would have to admit that libertarians are the least worse, though there may be substantial overlap of those three groups. There are a lot of libertarians who simply haven’t thought through the conclusions of their worldview, are young and inexperienced, blinded by privilege, and so forth. Hell, there are many libertarians who (wrongly, as this thread is about) honestly think that the market would do away with discrimination on its own, if only the meddling state would get out of the way (but not so far out of the way that the state stops enforcing property rights, of course. No social contract, no property.)

    Way back in the olden days, Walton was our resident libertarian contrarian, and I’ve yet to read a single libertarian argument that he didn’t make at some point. But now he’s all sorts of lefty.

    The other two groups are just mad as hell that they’re no longer being given trophies for having penes and name-dropping Sagan, respectively. There’s nothing useful to be done with them.

  119. 119
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Anthony:
    So basically, there is still hope left for those under the sway of libertarian thinking?
    Ok, I can see that.

  120. 120
    Anthony K

    So basically, there is still hope left for those under the sway of libertarian thinking?

    Yup. Why I fled libertarianism — and became a liberal
    Confessions of a former Libertarian: My personal, psychological and intellectual epiphany

  121. 121
    Alexander

    @ 114 Nerd of Redhead:

    My point is simply I am more than willing to pay my fair share for taxes that would actually increased services to those in need, unlike liberturds, who see no need to help those in need, and don’t want or think they should pay any.

    And also @115 chigau and @117 Tony for playing along —

    The problem I have with “pay[ing] my fair share for taxes that would actually increase services to those in need” is that is most certainly NOT what my taxes exclusively pay for, unless you believe that the Afghani people are in need of more violent death, or that the at least $10 billion in annual subsidies to fossil fuel companies are a public service.

    I mean, if you want to scream at me for being a self-serving, miserly misanthrope for thinking that paying taxes when there is no guarantee that it will actually go toward social services, that’s your perogative. But arguing from the premise that government will always act in the public good is just as ignorant as the whoppers told by Andrew Napolitano in the posted Daily Show clip.

  122. 122
    Alexander

    Oops, editing error. “…misanthrope for thinking that I should be paying less taxes when there…”

  123. 123
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Gee, Alexander is another fuckwitted arrogant and ignorant idjit who thinks his taxes should only go where they, in their ignorance, and seeing only a small picture of the whole economy, say so. At some point one has to trust those elected officials to do the best they can with the information available to them at the time. Most of the time they don’t do too badly. But when one complains about individual appropriations, it does show selfishness on your part. Public good was done by certain bailouts, some of which have been paid in full.

  124. 124
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Alexander #121

    I mean, if you want to scream at me for being a self-serving, miserly misanthrope for thinking that [I should be paying less] taxes when there is no guarantee that it will actually go toward social services, that’s your perogative.

    The correct reaction to this situation is to campaign to have taxes spent on the things you feel they should be spent on. We call this concept “representative government.”

    Merely demanding that taxes be cut doesn’t magically get more spent on the things you’d like to see them spent on. We call this concept “common fucking sense.”

  125. 125
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Alexander:

    But arguing from the premise that government will always act in the public good is just as ignorant as the whoppers told by Andrew Napolitano in the posted Daily Show clip.

    To paraphrase what a wise wabbit used to say: You must have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque.
    IOW, no one in this thread has argued from that premise. In fact, many people here fully understand that. Some people even realize that the government can simultaneously act for and against the public good.
    Nuanced thinking is a thing.

  126. 126
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    (as an aside, I’m glad to see Anthony K posting, bc I’mafanandtoteswanttomovetothefrontofthequeue)

  127. 127
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    I see Caesar has shown up since my comment but refuses to actually defend the “stealing” statement.

    Sad, really. It would be amusing to see him try.

    Of course, it would be heartening to see someone openly admit error and move on with an approach that adjusts for, rather than sidestepping, that error…but that’s a bit much to ask, I suppose.

  128. 128
    Alexander

    @123 Nerd of Redhead:

    At some point one has to trust those elected officials to do the best they can with the information available to them at the time. Most of the time they don’t do too badly.

    Well, if that’s the only standard you hold people to, I should be your financial advisor! I’ll openly admit I don’t have a degree in that field or any training, because I let my cat pick the stocks, but “most of the time they don’t do too badly”, so call me. Hell, by that standards Republicans must be real stand-up guys because “Most of the time they don’t do too badly” at swaying public opinion to get elected! </sarcasm>

    In all seriousness, the “most of the time” line reads like the archtypical apologia for any banana-republic dictator: “at least the trains run on time.” But when you take into account the terrible people in charge, and the corruption that runs rampant in that sourt of situation, that’s not the kind of world I would prefer to live in, and I suspect you agree. Maybe you could better describe what you consider the minimum standard for government?

  129. 129
    ChasCPeterson

    There are two novels that can transform a bookish fourteen-year-old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish daydream that can lead to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood in which large chunks of the day are spent inventing ways to make real life more like a fantasy novel. The other is a book about orcs.
    Raj Patel, “The Value Of Nothing” p. 172.

  130. 130
    ChasCPeterson

    Ayn Rand vs. L. Ron Hubbard

  131. 131
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    But when you take into account the terrible people in charge, and the corruption that runs rampant in that sourt of situation, that’s not the kind of world I would prefer to live in, and I suspect you agree. Maybe you could better describe what you consider the minimum standard for government?

    Elected by the people. You aren’t making your point. As a citizen, I can merely vote for and petition my representatives. Since my congresscritter was a rethug for twenty four years after I moved here, nothing but deaf ears for progressive legislation. The new Democrat I hold hope for, except he is in a minority position at the moment.

  132. 132
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Technically it’s true that taxation is stealing because your income is being taken away without your explicit permission.

    You gave that explicit permission by living in the country and reaping the benefits of the services provided with it.

    Do you think you can sit down in a restaurant and stuff your face and then walk out without being brought the bill if you don’t explicitly ask for it?

  133. 133
    Anri

    Alexander @ 128:

    In all seriousness, the “most of the time” line reads like the archtypical apologia for any banana-republic dictator: “at least the trains run on time.” But when you take into account the terrible people in charge, and the corruption that runs rampant in that sourt of situation, that’s not the kind of world I would prefer to live in, and I suspect you agree. Maybe you could better describe what you consider the minimum standard for government?

    I agree. And I think that we can all agree that the more Libertarian-leaning party in the US would be the better choice and improve on those admittedly severe problems.

    …wait, I have this terrible feeling I just said something monumentally stupid.

  134. 134
    Dhorvath, OM

    Technically it’s true that taxation is stealing because your income is being taken away without your explicit permission.

    Oh come on. Do thiefs provide anything with money they take? I would agree that when a government official aids in the deliberate mispending of tax dollars they are stealing from the populace, but it’s not theft to expect some fraction of GDP be used in infrastructure. No one is an island.

  135. 135
    Rob Grigjanis

    Chas @129: Actually, that one belongs to John Rogers. Patel’s acknowledgement here.

  136. 136
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Alexander:

    But arguing from the premise that government will always act in the public good is just as ignorant as the whoppers told by Andrew Napolitano in the posted Daily Show clip.

    Still waiting for you to provide an example of people in this thread arguing from this premise or an admission that this is a strawman you knocked down.

  137. 137
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Azkyroth:

    You gave that explicit permission by living in the country and reaping the benefits of the services provided with it.

    Oh come on. Everyone knows libertarians don’t benefit from any public services. They don’t use water, or electricity, or public schools, or sidewalks, or public transportation or any of the other myriad services provided by the government (and funded by our taxes).

  138. 138
    ChasCPeterson

    Rob Grigjanis: thank you for the correct attribution (I got it from here).

  139. 139
    caesar

    CripDyke@98:

    Also, in what sense is it “technical”?

    According to Merriam Webster, stealing is defined as:

    to take (something that does not belong to you) in a way that is wrong or illegal,
    to take (something that you are not supposed to have) without asking for permission, or
    to wrongly take and use (another person’s idea, words, etc.).

    Since the government asserts a right to levy taxes by fiat, these taxes are taken from “your” income with or without “your” permission, I would say that it technically qualifies as stealing according to the 2nd meaning I cited, except for the fact that we passively consent to the payment of taxes as a necessary evil due to the advantages that a centralized government provides.

    If your definition of stealing is “being taken away without your explicit permission” then that means that if your kid, living in your house, eats a bag of Fritos you bought with your own money for your own self, then your kid is guilty of “stealing” because they relied on a general permission to take from the pantry instead of “explicit” permission for that bag of Fritos?

    If, say, you read something for comprehension and suffered a traumatic brain injury,
    1. becoming legally incompetent, which triggered
    2. the court to appoint a guardian ad litem, who
    3. paid your medical bills out of your account

    is that “stealing”? If not, why not?

    1st of all, neither of these situations are like paying taxes. 2nd, obviously under that very limited definition it would be stealing, but I said it was technically stealing, so it wasn’t meant to be taken literally. 3rd, the Fritos example isn’t stealing because when you’re living in a home with your family, it’s understood that generally speaking, most items in the home are shared between the residents. Your 2nd example isn’t stealing because a court appointed guardian is legally charged with paying bills and taking care of their client’s responsibilities on their behalf.
    .

  140. 140
    chigau (違う)

    boring
    boring
    pretty fucking boring

    sorry
    bit of a mind flip/slip

  141. 141
    Dhorvath, OM

    This is disingenuous. The only way not to pay taxes then would be to steal from the nation/state one lives in. I don’t accept that every exchange can be characterised honestly by the language you are using.

  142. 142
    caesar

    Nick Gotts@93:

    Actually, it does mean that, since the clear facts are that private charity has never come anywhere near eliminating poverty in any country, while government action – most notably in Scandinavia, has – and without eliminating democracy, innovation, the rewarding of talent and hard work, etc.

    It’s true that Scandinavia has relatively low poverty levels, but they achieve that through very high tax rates and correspondingly generous benefits, which isn’t bad, except for the fact that they also have relatively high youth unemployment, an aging population, and a high cost of living. These facts are going to make it very hard for Scandinavia to keep the standard of living that high over the long term.

  143. 143
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @caesar #139:
    Definition from your comment in 94 is contained in the following sentence:

    Technically it’s true that taxation is stealing because your income is being taken away without your explicit permission.

    Definition in your #139:

    to take (something that you are not supposed to have) without asking for permission, or
    to wrongly take and use (another person’s idea, words, etc.).

    So when I asked “in what sense is your definition in 94 technical?” and you responded:

    According to Merriam Webster

    You were just baldly lying as Merriam Webster contains a requirement that the thing is something one is “not supposed to have” but excludes the extra hurdle of being “explicit”.

    Does lying always come this easily to you, or only when you know your lies are obvious, being preserved in text and all? Is it like a fetish of yours to get caught lying? “Ooooh, ooh, baby, I totally laid all the evidence out there for you. Please catch me at it. I’m so bad. Oh, I deserve to be punniiished!!”

    Cuz, really, I can spot lies more well hidden than these. Maybe you can get off on the thrill of not knowing if you’re going to be caught out…for like 5 seconds.

    Seriously, it’s clear that you’ve changed your definition from how you respond to my examples:

    the Fritos example isn’t stealing because when you’re living in a home with your family, it’s understood that generally speaking, most items in the home are shared between the residents.

    Permission here is not explicit. It is also understood, generally speaking, that if the people of a nation specifically approve of a constitutional amendment granting the power to tax income directly, that they are creating a society in which income will be taxed and giving permission for income to be taxed. When electorates decline to call constitutional conventions as authorized under a constitution and leave in place such language, it is generally speaking understood to be continuing permission to tax income.

    What it isn’t is explicit: “I, the government, hereby request of you, caesar, permission to tax your income.” “Sure, I caesar, give you permission to tax my income at a rate not to exceed 39.6%”

    In the first example (fritos), tax is stealing because permission isn’t explicit, even though “generally speaking” we know the government has permission to tax income if we’ve read the constitution, taken 6th grade civics in public school, or taken a citizenship course. If “generally speaking, it’s understood that there’s permission” is enough to negate stealing, then it’s enough to negate stealing.

    So which definition are you using? Oh, that’s right, both: one for taxes, one for everything else.

    in the second example, the guardian is “legally charged with paying bills…blah, blah”.

    And where does that language come from? That’s not in the definition. Your elected officials are legally charged with acting on your behalf as well. So why does one legal charge negate accusations of “stealing” but one legal charge doesn’t?

    Could it be because you’re just bullshitting and you don’t have a case at all? Or could it be that you’re using one definition for taxation and one definition for all the other examples?

    Oh, I know, I know!

    It’s fucking both.

    Please. Provide a source for your original definition or go back and make a case for taxation being stealing using the definition for which you actually have some authority.

    I said it was technically stealing, so it wasn’t meant to be taken literally.

    Oh, you meant it “technically” in the sense of following carefully the actual definition, not “literally” as in “according to the definition”. Now I totally understand your apparent self-contradiction:

    You’re so dishonest you can’t resist lying from one clause to the next.

    or perhaps you’re so ignorant you think “literally” means “not really” as in, “My head literally exploded when I read that sentence by caesar!”

    Would you like me to do you the favor of assuming that you know the definitions of your own words?

  144. 144
    Nick Gotts

    It’s true that Scandinavia has relatively low poverty levels, but they achieve that through very high tax rates and correspondingly generous benefits, which isn’t bad, except for the fact that they also have relatively high youth unemployment, an aging population, and a high cost of living. These facts are going to make it very hard for Scandinavia to keep the standard of living that high over the long term.- caesar@142

    Scandinavia has far lower poverty levels than the USA. Of the 5 countries usually reckoned as Scandinavian, according to this chart Sweden and Finland have higher youth unemployment than the USA, while Iceland, Denmark and Norway have lower. Scandinavian countries have long had a high cost of living, which has not prevented them also having a high standard of living – which, incidentally, is not the same as having a low rate of poverty: the USA has a high standard of living and a high poverty rate. As for population aging, that is an issue confronting many countries, and has no obvious connection with the priority given to poverty reduction.

    You make no attempt at all to show that either levels of youth unemployment, population aging or the high cost of living are results of high tax rates and high benefits – in other words, your comment is simply a non sequitur. Both poverty itself, and income inequality, impose very considerable costs on a society, and it is highly plausible that a determined programme of poverty reduction, based on high taxes and social welfare, benefits everyone in the society concerned.

  145. 145
    Alexander

    @131 Nerd of Redhead

    As a citizen, I can merely vote for and petition my representatives. Since my congresscritter was a rethug for twenty four years after I moved here, nothing but deaf ears for progressive legislation.

    Wow, what a monumentally important point, one that clearly I never considered. Clearly you have solved the problem of non-responsive government in a concise and logical manner that could never, ever backfire (cough, Hosni Mubarak; Hugo Chavez; Slobodan Milošević, that famous German Chancellor, cough).

    Yep, Democracy sure does solve every political problem, including when your neighbors are so ignorant/bias-blinded/regressive that they vote in people who act against your interests here. Nope, voting for a democratic government is certainly the solution to all political problems! </sarcasm tone=”ha-ha-only-serious”>

  146. 146
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Gee Alexander, you sound like the radicals I knew back in college, who felt the country needed to ignore elections and be run by a benevolent dictatorship of the proletariat. In other words, incoherent and lacking a true plan, other than your idiotology runs things. The problem with liberturdism is that it can’t show 30 years of being used in a first world country. Or anywhere other than hellholes world-wide.

  147. 147
    Alexander

    @146 Nerd of Redhead:

    Given your level of jingoism regarding ideological disagreements, I consider that a compliment of the highest order; thank you!

    You claim that your minimum satisfactory government is “Elected by the people” and in the very next breath decry the elected representatives selected by the people as not being progressive enough. Are elections satisfactory for you, or not? The answer is apparently “Yes, both” — depending on the ideology of the person elected.

    You describe me as “ignoran[t], and seeing only a small picture of the whole economy”, but in the next breath say that our rulers “do the best they can with the information available to them at the time” — an admission of ignorance if ever I have heard one. Is ignorance dangerous, or not? The answer is apparently “Yes, both” — depending on the ideology of the person admitting ignorance.

    You don’t provide any reason or rationale for any of your statements, but somehow that doesn’t matter. I’ve backed up nearly every factual statement I’ve made with citations and yet your latest complaint is one of evidence: “The problem with libertarianism is that it can’t show 30 years of being used in a first world country.” Apparently, evidence is only required depending on the ideology of the person.

    So when you say I am “incoherent and lacking a true plan, other than your ideology runs things” I can only think, “et tu, Brute?” Because insofar as I can tell from your arguments, you don’t have a consistent logical plan for what good government actually should look like, just a series of incoherent talking points and a drive to see your ideology run things.

  148. 148
    caesar

    Nerd@108:

    I do help through my taxes, and my willingness to pay more taxes to help relieve the problem. Not increase it with my selfishness, unlike liberturds.

    But I’ll bet there’s a limit to your charity. Another poster mentioned Scandinavia earlier, but even there, poverty still exists, so the question is, would you be willing to go even further to eliminate poverty? Maybe taxes in Scandinavia need to be even higher? Maybe they the whole concept of private property should be abolished, and nobody will be in poverty?

  149. 149
    caesar

    Nick@144:

    You make no attempt at all to show that either levels of youth unemployment, population aging or the high cost of living are results of high tax rates and high benefits

    My point was that population aging and high youth employment combined with a high cost of iving wil make it very difficult to keep up their generous level of benefits in the long term. I’m not saying that it couldn’t work for them, but if it doesn’t work then it coud potentially be a disaster. Having a generous safety net is great if you can afford it, but ultimately people have to be self sufficient, even if that means some peole fall through the cracks.

  150. 150
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re 149:

    So, you’re saying, it will fail *someday* so abandon it *today*? And that because the cost is high, the rich should not pay anything? No one is expecting the “safety net” to SOLVE anything. Do you EXPECT to get a payout from your insurance policy? Of course not, but don’t you still pay your premiums, *just*in*case* the unpredicted occurs? The point, is that ‘taxes’ and ‘caring for the homeless’ are not just giving your money away with no return ever. They are (essentially) insurance payments, to cover the unforeseen events that might happen to one no matter how “self-sufficient” they are.

  151. 151
    llamaherder

    @116. Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    I’m struggling to figure out what’s worse:

    1. an influx of MRA’s
    2. an influx of Slymepitters
    3. an influx of Libertarians

    enh, that’s like playing Oppression Olympics. They’re all assholes.

    Libertarians are the most likely to just be well-meaning and naive. Most of them are assholes, but all MRAs are assholes.

  152. 152
    llamaherder

    fun with unclosed bold tags!

  153. 153
    Dhorvath, OM

    but ultimately people have to be self sufficient

    I’m going to want a citation or two to back this up. I wouldn’t argue that economies ought to be self sufficient, even nations will sometimes need a helping hand.

  154. 154
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    caesar:

    Obviously you’ve reached 143 since you replied to 144.

    Any reason you decline to acknowledge you incompetence and/or lies?

    Just curious.

    CD.

  155. 155
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Praise tpyos!

    your incompetence and/or lies?

  156. 156
    Anthony K

    I’m going to want a citation or two to back this up.

    There isn’t one. It’s the deep-seated but never acknowledged just world fallacy inherent in libertarian thought. The word ‘deserve’ is always bubbling under the surface, as in: if you’re forced to choose between insulin and groceries for the month, you must somehow _______ it.

  157. 157
    Anthony K

    I shouldn’t have written ‘never acknowledged’. It would be more accurate to say ‘rarely acknowledged’.

  158. 158
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Because insofar as I can tell from your arguments, you don’t have a consistent logical plan for what good government actually should look like, just a series of incoherent talking points and a drive to see your ideology run things.

    Gee, ever here of the constitution? It means positions and how is already defined. I do have an idea what good government is, but it isn’t anything like what liberturds think is should be. It is more in line with the first world like Europe, where there is a good social safety net, and government paid health care. Why? It works, like the alternatives. Which have no historical basis for them working.

    But I’ll bet there’s a limit to your charity. Another poster mentioned Scandinavia earlier, but even there, poverty still exists, so the question is, would you be willing to go even further to eliminate poverty?

    Gee, I almost get rid of all poor people by defining poverty as income from all sources as being less than $100. But, why should people have no income because they worked for 20 years before their company fired them and moved their jobs overseas? We should help them maintain non-scrounging in the garbage level of income so they can keep what is needed to allow them to find jobs, and not have their kids starve, or go without medical treatment. They are still people, and deserve to be treated like they are human, and with full dignity.
    You haven’t and can’t show that liberturdism works, except in your deluded mine. It is a theology, not a practical and workable political ideology.

  159. 159
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    even if that means some peole fall through the cracks.

    Prima facie evidence liberturdism is morally bankrupt. You don’t give a shit if people suffer.

  160. 160
    caesar

    stevem @150:

    So, you’re saying, it will fail *someday* so abandon it *today*? And that because the cost is high, the rich should not pay anything? No one is expecting the “safety net” to SOLVE anything. Do you EXPECT to get a payout from your insurance policy? Of course not, but don’t you still pay your premiums, *just*in*case* the unpredicted occurs? The point, is that ‘taxes’ and ‘caring for the homeless’ are not just giving your money away with no return ever. They are (essentially) insurance payments, to cover the unforeseen events that might happen to one no matter how “self-sufficient” they are.

    Nobody’s saying that the rich shouldn’t contribute. Everybody should pay their part. The issue is one of pragmatism. You just said that nobody expects the safety net to eliminate poverty, implying that you agree that there’s some level of poverty that’s inevitable. To your point about insurance companies, the underlying requirement for them to work is that cash inputs have to at least equal cash outputs. In practical terms this means that not everyone can be helped. In order for the company to stay afloat, somebody’s going to get screwed because at the end of the day, you cant spend endless amounts of money and still hope to stay solvent in the long term.

  161. 161
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    caesar #160

    To your point about insurance companies, the underlying requirement for them to work is that cash inputs have to at least equal cash outputs. In practical terms this means that not everyone can be helped.

    In a hypothetical situation wherein everybody suddenly needs the safety net, you are correct.

    Well done. Have a cookie.

  162. 162
    Anthony K

    You just said that nobody expects the safety net to eliminate poverty, implying that you agree that there’s some level of poverty that’s inevitable.

    I would not agree with the claim that there’s some level of poverty that’s inevitable. There are a proportion of people who will be unable to work due to physical disability or mental illness, and will require support and care through most of their lives.

    There are some ways to deal with that which may include projects such as housing first or better access to mental health treatment, social workers, and others.

    There are real world people working on real world solutions to these issues, which are far more specific and effective than simply declaring poverty to be a result of some sort of natural law.

  163. 163
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Alexander:

    Given your level of jingoism regarding ideological disagreements, I consider that a compliment of the highest order; thank you!

    Are you sure jingoism is the appropriate term here?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jingoism

    Jingoism is patriotism in the form of aggressive foreign policy.[1] Jingoism also refers to a country’s advocation of the use of threats or actual force against peaceful relations, either economic or political, with other countries in order to safeguard what it perceives as its national interests. Colloquially, it refers to excessive bias in judging one’s own country as superior to others—an extreme type of nationalism.

    ****

    caesar:

    But I’ll bet there’s a limit to your charity.

    I imagine there’s a limit to most peoples’ charity. Unless you (general you) are one of the 1%, there is only so much that can be donated. Which is one of the reasons charities cannot replace government assistance programs:

    The problem is the numbers don’t bear that out. To be sure, almost 90 percent of Americans give to charity, and they gave a total of $316 billion last year. That’s a staggering amount, and Americans should certainly be proud of it. At the same time, that money can’t replace the government-run programs that have engendered so much public opposition, for a number of reasons.
    One reason is the cycle of giving. Donations rise during good times and fall during bad; the $316 billion given last year is high, but it’s still less than any of the three years leading up to the last recession. It’s understandable that people would have less to give when times are hard, but happens to be the exact time when the need is highest.
    Another reason private giving isn’t a substitute for government aid is where that money goes: Just 12 percent of all giving in 2011 went to human services, behind religious organizations (32 percent) and education (13 percent)
    [...]
    A third reason is scale. The food stamps program cost $78 billion last year, and Medicaid cost $251 billion. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or what used to be called welfare, cost another $31 billion

    Everyone deserves to have their basic needs met (I hope no one would challenge this). Currently, the most efficient way to ensure the poor have their basic needs met is through government assistance (unless libertarians have some other well evidenced example they can bring to the table).

    From a monetary perspective, a tiny fraction of yearly income goes toward government assistance programs. At $35,000 (random number) in 2012, the amount of money one would pay to these programs is

    Job and Family Security
    17.26%
    $122.72

    $122.72 That breaks down to $.33/day.
    Here’s a breakdown of where that money goes:

    Unemployment insurance
    0.99%
    $7.04
    Food and nutrition assistance
    3.89%
    $27.66
    Housing assistance
    1.74%
    $12.37
    Earned income, Making Work Pay, and child tax credits
    2.81%
    $19.98
    Supplemental Security Income
    1.74%
    $12.37
    Federal military and civilian employee retirement and disability
    4.45%
    $31.64
    Child care, foster care, and adoption support
    0.57%
    $4.05
    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
    0.61%
    $4.34
    Railroad retirement and additional income security

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/2012-taxreceipt

    So the amount of money that goes to assistance programs from the yearly income of an individual making $35K is rather insignificant (especially when compared to how it will improve the quality of life of others).
    Are libertarians really angry about $.33/day going to help those in need?

    Perhaps they’re unaware of who those people are:

    As President Barack Obama negotiates with Republicans in Congress over federal entitlement spending, a new national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that a majority of Americans (55%) have received government benefits from at least one of the six best-known federal entitlement programs.

    http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2012/12/18/a-bipartisan-nation-of-beneficiaries/

    With the US population @ 313.9 million, that figure of 55% translates to 172,645,000 people. That’s a lot of people who benefitted from government assistance. Do libertarians think they won’t be part of that number? Do they fancy themselves able to bootstrap themselves? Do imagine themselves part of the 1%?

    Despite this, some people will still argue against paying taxes that go to government assistance programs. I’d argue from an empathetic standpoint, that it’s a good idea for a portion of our taxes to go towards assistance programs.
    Why?
    I may find myself in need of assistance at some point in my life. If I’m laid off, I may need unemployment benefits. I want to be able to have assistance in the event I have no job. Other people are in the same situation. I’m no special snowflake. There’s no reasonable argument that *I* and *I* alone should reap the benefits of assistance programs. Anyone could find themselves without a job and social safety nets exist to help those in need. I want others to have the benefit of that safety net because I can empathise with the needs of others. I support my taxes going to social safety nets for this reason.

    I hope this gives libertarians (and those who aren’t libertarian who just happen to share many of the same ridiculous views as libertarians) insight into why government assistance programs are a good thing, why you should pay into them, and why libertarian thinking is inherently selfish and shortsighted.

  164. 164
    caesar

    Dvorath@153:

    I’m going to want a citation or two to back this up. I wouldn’t argue that economies ought to be self sufficient, even nations will sometimes need a helping hand.

    You really need a citation for simple mathematics? Lets see, most of the federal tax revenue comes from income taxes. Therefore, most of the money funding the social safety net is from taxpayer income. If you have people collecting more in benefits than are being coming into the government coffers, then you have a deficit. If this deficit is caused by high unemployment and/or a retiring workforce, then you need to get people back to work as the vast majority of income is from wages. Of course you could borrow money, increasing the debt, or increase taxes on the wealthy, but in the long run all those unemployed people need to to get “long term, sudtainable” jobs so that they’re not dependant on taxpayer largesse. I believe they call that self sufficiency.

  165. 165
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    caesar:

    You just said that nobody expects the safety net to eliminate poverty, implying that you agree that there’s some level of poverty that’s inevitable.

    I’m not sure how you get that implication out of what stevem said. Assistance programs are designed to assist people. They aren’t designed to eliminate poverty. For that matter, take a look at my #163, and you’ll see that government assistance programs serve other functions, not just poverty reduction. Most of us are going to advance in age. Many of us will retire. Some government programs exist to assist people after they retire. You’re thinking far too narrow.

  166. 166
    Anthony K

    There is a pragmatic aspect to social safety nets that always seem to be elided in these discussions: most safety nets at a population level are intended to be that for the majority of people: safety nets that allow them to rebound from illness/injury/unemployment and get back into the workforce. They break the cycle of poverty in which people, temporarily unable to participate in economic activities face serious pressures that lead to permanent economic disenfranchisement, which can continue for generations.

    Safety nets keep more people employed, for longer, than they would be able to without them. And employed people tend to purchase the goods and services that form the backbone of our economics. It makes better economic sense to have social safety nets than it does to not have them. They are not an unrecouped cost.

  167. 167
    Amphiox

    Never in the history of human economic activity has prosperity EVER flourished with a free market. Prosperity has flourished with WELL REGULATED free markets. The closest thing we have ever had to a pure free market is Somalia.

    Never in the history of the human species has there ever existed a “self-sufficient” individual. We are a social species, and we DO NOT SURVIVE without the support of our social networks.

  168. 168
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    caesar:
    What’s your definition of “self sufficient”?

  169. 169
    Amphiox

    If you walk on a road, you are depending on taxpayer largesse. If you breathe the clean air, you are depending on taxpayer largesse. If you drink fresh water, you are depending on taxpayer largesse. If you eat food, you are depending on taxpayer largesse.

  170. 170
    caesar

    Crip Dyke@154: I have no interest in debating whether or not taxation fall neatly into the category of stealing. It’s not even my personal belief that it’s stealing. The whole point was to point out that if you’re the type of libertarian who strongly believes that all dealings between people should be voluntary, then taxes could in effect be considered stealing if your definition of stealing is “taking without explicit permission”, and if you’re very strict about sticking to that definition.

  171. 171
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I have no interest in debating whether or not taxation fall neatly into the category of stealing.

    Translation, I got caught lying.
    Who the fuck cares what liberturds sloganeer themselves into believing? If that theological belief is out of line with reality, and “stealing” is out of line with reality, it is nothing but delusional thinking.

  172. 172
    Anthony K

    I have no interest in debating whether or not taxation fall neatly into the category of stealing.

    It was a stupid thing to bring up then, even moreso to claim that it’s technically true.

    It’s not even my personal belief that it’s stealing.

    Fuckin’ A. But that does make it all the odder that you brought it up, and went so far as to state that “Technically it’s true that taxation is stealing”. So, technically it’s true, but it’s not your personal belief. Alright.

    The whole point was to point out that if you’re the type of libertarian who strongly believes that all dealings between people should be voluntary, then taxes could in effect be considered stealing if your definition of stealing is “taking without explicit permission”, and if you’re very strict about sticking to that definition.

    Next, let’s talk about how some people think Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit through her ear, and that Saturn’s position at daybreak can tell you whether or not your lost love will return to you.

  173. 173
    Anthony K

    Who the fuck cares what liberturds sloganeer themselves into believing?

    Not even themselves, apparently.

  174. 174
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    then taxes could in effect be considered stealing if your definition of stealing is “taking without explicit permission”

    We elect legislators. Those legislators, our representatives, pass bills, to be signed into law by the executive. Some of those bills include taxation — what kind and what level of taxation. If caesar is making the claim that our representatives do not have our explicit permission to vote on bills, then any law passed by any representative body is passed without our permission, so we don’t have to obey any laws? Or am I wearing the wrong lenses.

  175. 175
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    If caesar is making the claim that our representatives do not have our explicit permission to vote on bills, then any law passed by any representative body is passed without our permission, so we don’t have to obey any laws? Or am I wearing the wrong lenses.

    I think wrong lenses. Liberturds consider themselves demigods, and are a law unto themselves. They are above mere government, and their arrogant and ignorant opinions trump those of the rest of the citizens of the country. And they don’t give a shit.

  176. 176
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    caesar:
    What is your definition of “self sufficient”?

  177. 177
    Anthony K

    What is your definition of “self sufficient”?

    Undoubtedly the same as his definition of taxation: somebody else’s.

  178. 178
    Amphiox

    caesar, you are not entitled to make up definitions or arbitrarily restrict definitions to just the subset you want to support your own arguments. Words have meaning, meanings which are defined collectively, and meanings matter.

  179. 179
    caesar

    Nerd @158:

    But, why should people have no income because they worked for 20 years before their company fired them and moved their jobs overseas?

    Why shouldn’t they? I’m not against helping people, but I don’t believe that anyone is entitled to help just because we’re all human, and besides,you want anyone to think yoy’re a sociopath, lacking empathy? Any form of assistance should be ultimately based on what we can afford sustainably, and whether we can keep our national identity and competitiveness in the process. Also by national identity, I mean our adherence to individualism and a market economy, so don’t turn this into some racist screed.

  180. 180
    Anthony K

    but I don’t believe

    Caution: statements such as “it is technically true” or “I do(n’t) believe” may be less true or indicative of belief as they appear.

  181. 181
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Why shouldn’t they?

    Easy don’t give a shitter, to both maintain the family without forcing them homeless, and by giving them some income, they do spend that money on basic goods and services, and that money transfers through the economy, softening the potential depression into a small recession.

    I mean our adherence to individualism and a market economy, so don’t turn this into some racist screed.

    What individualism? We live in a society, or in my case, a far suburb of a big city, and not in a cabin in the woods. Your language is laughable in its idiocy.
    What you haven’t done is to show with third party figures that the US economy is unable to supply a modicum of a safety net, especially now as the war is winding down. It has and can continue to do so. Your assertions that we will run out of money are laughable.

  182. 182
    Anthony K

    Also by national identity, I mean our adherence to individualism and a market economy, so don’t turn this into some racist screed.

    But some libertarians are racist, just like some libertarians think all taxation is theft. It’s all on the table for discussion, people!

  183. 183
    caesar

    I thought it was obvious that by self sufficient, I meant being able to pay your bills and feed and clothe yourself without someone needing to support you in order to keep you afloat,

  184. 184
    Anthony K

    I thought it was obvious that by self sufficient, I meant being able to pay your bills [as contracts enforced by the state we support through taxes] and feed [via farmers using land that the state that we support through taxes that support land ownership through property rights, as well as provide mechanisms for transportation of food, and regulation to ensure the food is edible, weights and measures standardization] and clothe yourself [again available through contract law, transportation networks, trade agreements, weights and measures standardisation] without someone needing to support you in order to keep you afloat, [all the other things that are bad 'support', for REASONS]

    caesar elides a lot of obvious. That’s why thinking people unpack concepts, to get to the root issues.

  185. 185
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I thought it was obvious that by self sufficient, I meant being able to pay your bills and feed and clothe yourself without someone needing to support you in order to keep you afloat,

    Well, by that definition I am self sufficient, but I call that being a responsible adult who is lucky enough to have and healthy enough to hold a job.
    My definition of self-sufficient would only include those who don’t use the larger society for food, roads, etc., and does everything themselves. Which is why your definitions are slogans, and not reality, and are to be laughed at and ridiculed.

  186. 186
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    caesar:
    As you’ve already demonstrated, the definitions of the terms you’re using is not obvious. But at least you’ve stated a definition.
    Going back to what you said earlier:

    Of course you could borrow money, increasing the debt, or increase taxes on the wealthy, but in the long run all those unemployed people need to to get “long term, sudtainable” jobs so that they’re not dependant on taxpayer largesse. I believe they call that self sufficiency.

    What about people that are unemployed for an extended period of time? How can they become self sufficient (using your definition) when there is currently 3 applicants for every one job?

    What about the people who are working one or two jobs already, and *still* need government assistance because the company they’re working for pays pathetic wages? How can they be self sufficient when the very jobs they have don’t enable them to be?

    What about those who have retired and rely heavily on Social Security benefits? How can they be self sufficient when they’ve retired? How can we expect them to?

    What about the children in poor families who rely on government assistance? How can they be expected to be self sufficient?

    I suspect that you’ve not really thought through the implications of your beliefs. You hold them, but lack sufficient foundation to effectively justify them. I also suspect you hold them in the face of evidence to the contrary.
    Am I wrong?

  187. 187
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I meant being able to pay your bills and feed and clothe yourself without someone needing to support you in order to keep you afloat,

    Well, I guess I’m not self-sufficient.

    I get a monthly disability check (support). I use streets paid for through socialism to get to my job in order to earn money (and I work for the federal government). I depend on local emergency services paid for through socialism. One of my children is going to a state university which is partially funded through socialism. Both children receive government aid to help pay tuition, aid paid for through socialism. And they went to public school paid for through socialism. When I fly to Florida in April, I can be pretty damned confident that my airplane will not run into another airplane because of federal workers who are paid through socialism. I visit national parks. I visit the Smithsonian. I visit refuges. I fight forest fires. All these are paid for through taxation — socialism — and thus expose me as a leech upon society. Because these are things that I use that I, personally, have not paid for.

    Oddly, I bet you use many of these same services.

  188. 188
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Come on folks. Perhaps we’re being unreasonable.
    Maybe caesar lives somewhere that xe is self sufficient, not dependent upon *anyone* for *anything*. Where that is, is beyond me.

    All this talk about being “self sufficient” is remarkably close to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”.

  189. 189
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    increase taxes on the wealthy

    Isn’t it amazing how, back in the days when the deficit was low, spending on infrastructure was high, and taxes on the wealthy were high, there were absolutely no wealthy people. All it took was Reagan slashing the taxes on the non-existent wealthy to suddenly create a wealthy class. Who would be destroyed if they had to pay taxes at anything close to the tax rate of the 1940s, 50s, 60s or 70s. Which makes me wonder who were paying those high tax rates since, by the arguments of numerous libertarians on various threads, those people could not have gotten rich, or stayed rich, with the high taxes.

    Or am I missing something again?

  190. 190
    Amphiox

    I meant being able to pay your bills and feed and clothe yourself without someone needing to support you in order to keep you afloat,

    And it is just as obvious to anyone with brains and eyes that NO ONE can do any of those things without societal support in the form of taxpayer “largesse”.

  191. 191
    Anthony K

    Maybe caesar lives somewhere that xe is self sufficient, not dependent upon *anyone* for *anything*. Where that is, is beyond me.

    Or maybe other libertarians do, which is good enough. Look, we’re not here to debate definitions.

  192. 192
    Anthony K

    And it is just as obvious to anyone with brains and eyes that NO ONE can do any of those things without societal support in the form of taxpayer “largesse”.

    Can we all agree that if there were no state, libertarians would find their true calling as the best orc-slayers?

    Speaking of fantasy, how’s Peter Thiel’s Floating Fortress of Galt coming along?

    Never mind, I’ll look it up myself:

    In the Spring of 2013,[16] the Institute launched The Floating City Project, which combines principles of both seasteading and startup cities, by seeking to locate a floating city within the territorial waters of an existing nation. Historically, The Seasteading Institute has looked to international waters for the freedom to establish new nations and spur competitive governance from the outside. However, they are now seeking a host nation because they posit a) It is less expensive to engineer a seastead for relatively calm, shallow waters compared with the open ocean outside of territorial waters; b) it will be easier for residents to travel to and from the seastead, as well as to acquire goods and services from existing supply chains; and c) a host nation will provide a place for a floating city within the existing international legal framework, with the associated protections and responsibilities.

    Fucking awesome. Self-sufficiency in a nutshell.

  193. 193
    caesar

    Daz@161:

    In a hypothetical situation wherein everybody suddenly needs the safety net, you are correct.

    Well done. Have a cookie.

    No,even if it’s just one person drawing benefits, you can’t give out an endless amount of support. It creates resentment, and it encourages dependance on taxpayers. At some point, a person has to be able to live on their own income.

  194. 194
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    No,even if it’s just one person drawing benefits, you can’t give out an endless amount of support.

    So those with service-connected disabilities should be cut off? Those with Down’s Syndrome should not get SSI? You really are a piece of work.

  195. 195
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    you can’t give out an endless amount of support. It creates resentment, and it encourages dependance on taxpayers.

    Your paranoia is showing liberturd asshole.

  196. 196
    Anthony K

    you can’t give out an endless amount of support

    Real humans die, and therefore no support is ‘endless’. I suppose if Rand were a better novelist, the meaning of the word ‘endless’ would be obvious to you.

    It creates resentment

    Oh, is that card in play now? Reducing disparity is a great method of reducing resentment.

    and it encourages dependance on taxpayers

    Here’s where the morality clause of libertarian fantasy kicks in.

    At some point, a person has to be able to live on their own income.

    He cribbed from someone else, without much consideration. Every single person? At all times?

  197. 197
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Why does it always come down to, they are afraid somebody will take advantage of the system, the same way they would if given an chance…

  198. 198
    Anthony K

    Why does it always come down to, they are afraid somebody will take advantage of the system, the same way they would if given an chance…

    Not at all. You see, there are captains of industry, and parasites. Ayn Rand only collected social security as a captain of industry, not as a parasite. See, because it was stolen from her by force first, so it’s okay.

  199. 199
    caesar

    Ogvorbis@174:

    We elect legislators. Those legislators, our representatives, pass bills, to be signed into law by the executive. Some of those bills include taxation — what kind and what level of taxation. If caesar is making the claim that our representatives do not have our explicit permission to vote on bills, then any law passed by any representative body is passed without our permission, so we don’t have to obey any laws? Or am I wearing the wrong lenses.

    I don’t where you got that impression from, and in any case, representatives don’t represent you specifically. They represent a group of people, some of whom may or may notshare your beliefs, so it wouldn’t really include explicit permission in that case. I dont even want to deal with this whole “Is taxation stealing?” argument anymore. It’s a waste of time and once again, it’s not my personal belief that it’s stealing.

  200. 200
    Rey Fox

    The whole point was to point out that if you’re the type of libertarian who strongly believes that all dealings between people should be voluntary, then taxes could in effect be considered stealing if your definition of stealing is “taking without explicit permission”, and if you’re very strict about sticking to that definition.

    Again with the third-person. There are enough of these devils out there, they don’t need any more advocates.

  201. 201
    Anthony K

    Truthfully, Nerd, I don’t doubt that most, or at least many, libertarians work hard and wouldn’t take more than anyone else would, if given the chance. That there are many who believe that everyone else is a moocher is undeniable, but that’s just basic fundamental attribution error. And, of course the denial of the fact that they already survive due to the protections and benefits of the state is a huge problem.

    But Peter Thiel’s island is there for them (or will be, when the proles gain class consciousness, or whatever mystical enlightenment is necessary before libertarianism can finally take its rightful place in the world.)

  202. 202
    Anthony K

    Again with the third-person.

    That was just a goal-post moving gambit when caesar realised he needed to walk back that claim. He claims it’s true outright in #94:

    Technically it’s true that taxation is stealing because your income is being taken away without your explicit permission.

  203. 203
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    caesar:

    At some point, a person has to be able to live on their own income.

    At some point [children living in poverty] have to be able to live on their own income.
    At some point [individuals with disabilities] have to be able to live on their own income.
    At some point [the elderly] have to be able to live on their own income.

    It’s difficult to have a discussion on this subject with someone who demonstrates ignorance of basic facts.
    Surely you’ve done enough research on the topic to know that children and senior citizens utilize government assistance. Surely you know that many people living at or below the poverty line are working:

    While the U.S. economy has shown some signs of
    recovery—the U.S. unemployment rate has dipped below
    8 percent from 10 percent three years ago—the economic
    outlook for many working families is bleak. New data from
    the U.S. Census Bureau show that the number of lowincome
    working families in the United States increased to
    10.4 million in 2011, up from 10.2 million a year earlier.2
    This means that nearly one third of all working families—
    32 percent—may not have enough money to meet basic
    needs. At the same time, inequality among working
    families is increasing, as higher-income families receive a
    larger share of income relative to families at the bottom of
    the income distribution.
    The total number of people in low-income working families
    now stands at 47.5 million and could reach 50 million in the
    next few years. That’s roughly equivalent to the total
    number of people living in California, Oregon, and
    Washington combined. Although many people are returning
    to work, they are often taking jobs with lower wages and
    less job security, compared with the middle-class jobs they
    held before the economic downturn.3 These low-wage jobs
    typically offer limited opportunities for advancement, few (if
    any) benefits, and create challenges for parents trying to
    balance work and family responsibilities.

    (the following is a hypothetical situation that I wish on no one)
    What if you have a horrible accident at work that results in your inability to work? Are you going to draw disability benefits? What if your injury prevents you from working for years? The rest of your life?

  204. 204
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    caesar, #94:

    1. Technically it’s true that taxation is stealing because your income is being taken away without your explicit permission.

    2. It’s not even my personal belief that it’s stealing.

    So, caesar, either you don’t believethe things you say (1), or you don’t believe true things (2).

    The point you don’t get is that we’re not debating the definition of stealing or the status of taxation. Through your own actions, you’ve called into question both whether you believe the things you say AND whether your beliefs are indifferent to the truth.

    In this statement:

    3. I said it was technically stealing, so it wasn’t meant to be taken literally.

    You’ve called into question your understanding of commonly used English language words.

    As a result, you’ve called into question whether communication with you about, well, anything, is worth anyone’s time. Maybe particularly in English, but I have no confidence that – given the implications of 1 & 2 – your arguments or statements would be worth anything to anyone in any language.

    An honest declaration of where you’ve gone wrong, as in:

    My statement, “I said it was technically stealing, so it wasn’t meant to be taken literally,” was pretty idiotic. I’m not sure why I said that, though I’m sure at the time what I meant was “…[insert useful and reliably sourced, obviously true, or purely logic-based statement here]…”.

    would go a long way toward returning a shred of credibility to your nym.

  205. 205
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    it’s not my personal belief that it’s stealing.

    If you don’t believe it, then what you did is called trolling. Your aren’t honest, as trolling is dishonest.

    During a recent recession I had to take a week of leave without pay. If I had to take a second week of leave, unemployment insurance could kick in, so I looked into it. Given a choice of about 40% my normal income, or my normal income, no question about working. But that 40% could keep basic food on the table and basic utilities paid for a few months. Which is why it is needed by those out-of-work.

  206. 206
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    caesar:

    Is anything you write supposed to be taken literally? Only some parts? Only what you write when speaking ex cathedra?

    One more time:

    I receive a VA pension for a service connected disability. Does that mean that I am a leech on society, cheating the system?

    My sister in law has Down’s Syndrome, she is physically disabled with severe mobility impairments, and she receives SSI payments. Is she a leech, gaming the system? Should we just let her die?

  207. 207
    caesar

    Nerd@181:

    Easy don’t give a shitter, to both maintain the family without forcing them homeless, and by giving them some income, they do spend that money on basic goods and services, and that money transfers through the economy, softening the potential depression into a small recession.

    Way to miss the point of the question. I asked why, in the sense that someone might ask why suffering exists, or why things live and then die. The point being that theres nothing about being human that makes you inherently deserving of not living in abject poverty.

    What individualism?.

    That individualism that you’re using to come on this thread and argue your point freely. How about that individualism you’re using (I’m assuming) to be an atheist openly without worrying about whether the thought police are gonna come after you for being a heathen. We may live in a society, but you still make your own decisions on how to run your life without running it by everyone else for their approval 1st.

    What you haven’t done is to show with third party figures that the US economy is unable to supply a modicum of a safety net, especially now as the war is winding down. It has and can continue to do so. Your assertions that we will run out of money are laughable

    I never said the US was going to run out of money if we keep supplying a safety net. With regard to the Scandinavia example, I was saying that if a country is going to have that level of a safety net, then it’s imperative that its finances are in order, or it does run the risk of running out of money.

  208. 208
    Anthony K

    The point being that theres nothing about being human that makes you inherently deserving of not living in abject poverty.

    I told you ‘deserve’ underpins libertarian thought, just like it does Abrahamists.

    But I’ll just say this, for the sake of the unnamed libertarians who aren’t here but are somehow still advocated for:

    The point being that theres nothing about being human that makes you inherently deserving of owning property.

    So, there’s no such thing as theft, but what we decide. Now that that’s out of the way, I’m wholly in favour of taxing libertarians at exorbitantly high rates to pay for safety nets. Think about it: they’re a small contingent, so they’ll have relatively little democratic weight. They like to claim they’re productive, so they must have income. There’s nothing inherent in their humanity that gives them the right to stuff; so there’s really no good reason just to take it from them.

    I figure as long as we let them talk, they’ll do a good enough job of making themselves look reprehensible enough that there won’t even be much political resistance to just confiscating their shit.

    So. Many. Problems. Solved.

  209. 209
    consciousness razor

    you can’t give out an endless amount of support

    Endless, or in other words, ending after you want it to end, because you don’t think it affects you.

    and it encourages dependance on taxpayers

    It encourages taxpayers to be responsible for their society. I’m sure you remember mouthing the words “personal responsibility” before, but this time say it with feeling: you are responsible for the shithole you’re making yourself and everyone else live in.

    On top of that, taxpayers themselves are typically the ones “depending” on social safety nets. So what exactly is to be avoided about depending on ourselves? Are we to depend on gods and ghosts and goblins instead? How the fuck do you think this whole “human beings living in a society together” thing is supposed to work?

    It never ceases to amaze me that some people think we shouldn’t care for each other. It’s not like they just don’t personally care. No. They actually seem to believe in some kind of ass-backwards moral principle that we really, truly shouldn’t do it. I don’t know exactly how you fuck yourself in the head so badly to convince yourself of it, but I’m not sure I really want to know. Maybe it isn’t a genuine belief. Is it just a way of not admitting to yourself that you’re a selfish, idiotic asshole? It’s really fucking obvious to anyone else who’s paying attention, so what would be the point?

    At some point, a person has to be able to live on their own income.

    And if the minimum wage is so low that you can’t live on it, too bad. We as a society don’t have to do anything about it; you do. Because I got mine, so fuck you.

  210. 210
    consciousness razor

    I figure as long as we let them talk, they’ll do a good enough job of making themselves look reprehensible enough that there won’t even be much political resistance to just confiscating their shit.

    So. Many. Problems. Solved.

    I’m not sure if I’m really on board with this. Do we really need to let them talk?

  211. 211
    Anthony K

    I’m not sure if I’m really on board with this. Do we really need to let them talk?

    I agree that it’s not ideal, but I’m a pragmatist and I’m just thinking of the optics.

  212. 212
    caesar

    Nerd @185:

    My definition of self-sufficient would only include those who don’t use the larger society for food, roads, etc., and does everything themselves.

    I’m totally sorry that I didn’t point out that self sufficient doesn’t literally mean that you’re a god, capable of providing everything you need without any help whatsoever. I’ll try to be more clear.

  213. 213
    Anthony K

    I’m totally sorry that I didn’t point out that self sufficient doesn’t literally mean that you’re a god, capable of providing everything you need without any help whatsoever. I’ll try to be more clear.

    caesar thinks he’s being clever, but without laying out exactly how much ‘help’ constitutes no longer being self-sufficient, he’s just being tautological. It’ll come out that self-sufficient is exactly equivalent to some sort of positive net income, with some specifics regarding exactly what constitutes income.

    We saw this game with latecomer in the other thread: what they’re trying to do (whether they’re aware of it or not is really beside the point; by this time I’m convinced that most of them are simply piss poor thinkers who haven’t a fucking clue) is impute moral implications to specific economic activity and then pretend that it’s self-evidently obvious that they’re equivalent. Might as well just say “Protestant work ethic” and be done with it, for all the nuance these nubs are capable of comprehending.

    Man, shitty at economics, shitty at philosophy: what makes libertarians think they’d at all survive if it weren’t for the rest of us putting up with their uneducated, sloppy asses?

  214. 214
    Anthony K

    I’ll try to be more clear.

    Also, he can’t, because he simply hasn’t unpacked his own talking points. He’s actually as muddy as he comes across.

    That must suck.

  215. 215
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    . The point being that theres nothing about being human that makes you inherently deserving of not living in abject poverty.

    Actually there is. You don’t want to live in abject poverty, so you make it so others don’t have to live in abject poverty, just poverty. That is called the Golden Rule, and is where empathy starts.

    I’m totally sorry that I didn’t point out that self sufficient doesn’t literally mean that you’re a god, capable of providing everything you need without any help whatsoever. I’ll try to be more clear.

    Again, your defintions are bullshit, and here, your bullshit will be called out. Your proper response is “Sorry, I’m wrong.” But then, that requires you to acknowledge you aren’t as bright as bright as you think you are, and to be honest *snicker*. But you are as dishonest as we think you are.

  216. 216
    Anthony K

    caesar, what do you think of my proposal to specifically take your stuff?

    You agree that there’s no human reason you deserve not to live in poverty; you seem to think that there’s always going to be some poverty, so go ahead and make the case that you shouldn’t be the one to take the fall for the benefit of the economy.

  217. 217
    consciousness razor

    I’m totally sorry that I didn’t point out that self sufficient doesn’t literally mean that you’re a god, capable of providing everything you need without any help whatsoever. I’ll try to be more clear.

    Whenever you decide to start being clear, note that you wouldn’t need supernatural powers to not rely on other people (for help or for commerce or for deciding on things like laws or rights).

    But maybe for you “literally” doesn’t literally mean what it literally does.

  218. 218
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    I dont know Nerd, maybe caesar wants to live in abject poverty and wants the same for the rest of us…

  219. 219
    consciousness razor

    You agree that there’s no human reason you deserve not to live in poverty; you seem to think that there’s always going to be some poverty, so go ahead and make the case that you shouldn’t be the one to take the fall for the benefit of the economy.

    I get the feeling that caesar’s not in to the whole “veil of ignorance” thing. Just plain old abject ignorance, thank you very much.

  220. 220
    Anthony K

    I get the feeling that caesar’s not in to the whole “veil of ignorance” thing. Just plain old abject ignorance, thank you very much.

    Even for the sake of Sweden’s theoretical future insolvency which he’s so very concerned for?

  221. 221
    Alexander

    @158 Nerd of Redhead:

    Gee, ever here of the constitution? It means positions and how is already defined.

    Which constitution are you referring to? I presume you refer to the US Constitution, but you provide no evidence as to your views. Is this the living document wherein “…laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times” as Thomas Jefferson eloquently stated? Or do you ascribe more to the views of Glen Beck and his fellow Mormon extremists, who believe that this document is sacrosanct, dictated directly by their God, and never to be altered?

    Ah well, perhaps the fault was mine. I was expecting you to interpret my question as requesting a prescriptive philosophy of government, not a descriptive one; however, given your involvement in hammering to death the “taxes = theft” lunacy, as well as this recent “self sufficiency/welfare”, I should have known better than to expect you to commit to a definitive position that could be factually questioned.

    Until you are willing to state what your ideal form of government would be in black and white terms, I must conclude that you are the troll here, in the form describe by Saul Alinsky: “These do-Nothings profess a commitment to social change for ideals of justice, equality, and opportunity, and then abstain from and discourage all effective action for change. They are known by their brand, “I agree with your ends but not your means.” Do-Nothings appear publicly as good men, humanitarian, concerned with justice and dignity. In practice they are invidious.”

  222. 222
    zenlike

    Self-sufficiency (also called self-containment) is the state of not requiring any aid, support, or interaction, for survival; it is therefore a type of personal or collective autonomy.

    Tell me ceasar, are there actually words that you use more or less in the same way as the rest of humanity? Or are you self-sufficient with your definitions?

  223. 223
    caesar

    @206:

    Is anything you write supposed to be taken literally? Only some parts? Only what you write when speaking ex cathedra?

    The real question is why you guys seem to be incapable of decifering whether or not sonething is meant literally or not. I would think that the phrase “self sufficient” would be common enough in the English language that I wouldn’t have to explain that in the context of the discussion we’re having, that I’m not talking about a man alone on an island, providing for his own needs by his own abilities. I also wouldn’t think that I would have to clearly state to you, or to Tony @ post 203 that I wasnt talking about children, the disabled, or the elderly. Just so I’m clear (not literally clear, as in transparent), I’m referring to able-bodied adults. I’m not calling anyone a moocher. In fact, I haven’t made any value judgements about anyone. If you’re unable to work then that’s understandable, but if you can work, then you should do whatever you can to bring in a steady income, and be self sufficient (according to my definition, which apparently isn’t shared by everyone here).

  224. 224
    Anthony K

    I would think that the phrase “self sufficient” would be common enough in the English language that I wouldn’t have to explain that in the context of the discussion we’re having, that I’m not talking about a man alone on an island, providing for his own needs by his own abilities.

    No, no, no. You don’t get to put your argumentative faults onto us. You advocated for a position you later claimed not to believe; you used loosely defined terms that required unpacking and clarification in order to press a point; you do not get to then back away and claim you’re just stating the obvious.

    Here’s a helpful tip from someone who’s seen more dipshit libertarians like you make the same half-thought out arguments and then walk them back when careful unpacking showed them to be poorly constructed and flat out wrong than you’ve had erections; you’re not fucking smart or knowledgeable enough to claim the pretentious ground here.

    Face it; you gamble on bullshit and you lost, and as a result people on this thread know you’re a dishonest shithead. Take some personal responsibility and own up to your fucking failures.

    Or maybe you really are dumb enough to not know how fucking inept at this you are.

  225. 225
    omnicrom

    Caesar throughout this entire thread you have had to be dragged kicking and screaming into giving definitions that can be pinned down and actually grappled with. You have been cagey and evasive every single time you’ve said basically anything. Being who I am I can’t help but think this may be because of simple cause and effect, every single time you’ve been forced to fully elaborate and explain any aspect of your argument it’s instantly found to be utterly wanting and torn to shreds. If every time I made a definite statement it was utterly thrashed I might well also try to avoid making definite statements, but I might also rethink the statements I was making to see if they were wanting enough to be effortlessly destroyed when put before people of differing ideologies.

    tl;dr: So far your ideas have been crap. Maybe have not-crap ideas.

  226. 226
    Anri

    caesar @ 206:

    If you’re unable to work then that’s understandable, but if you can work, then you should do whatever you can to bring in a steady income, and be self sufficient (according to my definition, which apparently isn’t shared by everyone here).

    Well, I have no idea if I agree with your definition of self-sufficient, as I haven’t actually seen your definition. Did I miss it? I apologize if you gave it and I just overlooked it.

  227. 227
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Until you are willing to state what your ideal form of government would be in black and white terms, I must conclude that you are the troll here,

    Gee, I have been posting here from before crackergate, and never knew of your until your recent bout of trolling. You are interested in political philosophy, but I had that knocked out of me back during the radicalization of campuses during the late sixties/early seventies. So I adhere to practical politics. Theoretical/unworkable politics are for radicals, liberturds, and sophists like, all talk, nothing evidential to back up your mental wankings. Who gives a shit about your OPINION. I sure don’t. You want to mentalloy wank, try “wankers ‘r’ us” websites.

  228. 228
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Oh, and if you think I haven’t seriously considered liberturdism, it took five minutes of thinking when I first heard of it to figure out its fatal flaw and dismiss it as an idiotology. The flaw is the lack concern for the common good/welfare/services. That isn’t properly addressed with liberturdism, if addressed at all. Of course, I had been reading about politics for twenty years, so I wasn’t a naive fool captured by “freedom” (without responsibility) and “no/low taxes”, which are necessary for the common good/welfare/services. Since I have been a recipient of public schools, colleges, universities, roads, water, sewer, etc.

  229. 229
    Travis

    If every time I made a definite statement it was utterly thrashed I might well also try to avoid making definite statements, but I might also rethink the statements I was making to see if they were wanting enough to be effortlessly destroyed when put before people of differing ideologies.

    The inability of people to rethink their ideas and statements, boldly pushing ahead with new arguments when the old ones have been ripped to shreds, is common among those with an ideology on their side. I used to take part in a lot of comment threads on Orac’s blog and it was common there as well. Anti-vaxers would make arguments that would get pulled apart quickly and easily. Once the point was lost and they could not argue it any longer, they simply moved on to new arguments and completely ignored the failures of the original ones. I asked numerous times why they never sat down and reconsidered their viewpoint when it was clear it was fraught with problems but never received any sort of answer. They know they are right, the failed statements did not really fail, and I am sure the same argument will be made again somewhere else.

  230. 230
    vaiyt

    The point being that theres nothing about being human that makes you inherently deserving of not living in abject poverty.

    That’s easy for you, who don’t live in abject poverty, to say.

  231. 231
    unclefrogy

    the problem with libertarians is they like to talk in the abstract with BIG IDEAS of freedom, theft, responsibility, self-reliance PROPERTY
    what all ways gets them pissed is having to get down in the real world where what they say has concrete meanings.
    from what I see the prime motivating force in libertarian thought seldom spoken out loud is distrust and resentment of everyone else. If you keep at them it sometimes comes out.
    It is a very small and narrow way of thinking.
    uncle frogy

  232. 232
    vaiyt

    If you’re unable to work then that’s understandable,

    Sure. Enlighten us on who deserves benefits or not, o mighty judge.

  233. 233
    caesar

    Amphiox@190:

    And it is just as obvious to anyone with brains and eyes that NO ONE can do any of those things without societal support in the form of taxpayer “largesse”.

    Another thing that apparently wasn’t clear from the context of my post was that the term “taxpayer largesse” was referring to welfare, food stamps, and programs like it.

  234. 234
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Another thing that apparently wasn’t clear from the context of my post was that the term “taxpayer largesse” was referring to welfare, food stamps, and programs like it.

    Yeah, we know you are an asshole who doesn’t give a shit about those less fortunate than you. And you present no third party evidence to show your bad attitude solves any problem, which makes your word dismissable. So, why are you still here?

  235. 235
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Okay, caesar, my sister in law has Down’s Syndrome. She is also physically disabled and has mobility impairment. She gets SSI. She also gets Medicaid. Her Food Stamps are used to help the group home buy food. So should we let her starve to death?

    Additionally, I am a disabled vet. I get a monthly disability pension. Does that count as acceptable? Or am I a cancer on society? When Wife and I were younger, with an infant and a low-paying job, we received WIC vouchers. They made it possible for me to keep my car and my job. So should I have just stopped feeding my family to avoid being addicted to taxpayer money?

    Your ideology affects actual people. If followed, libertarianism will kill people. Including people I know and love. You are very happy with the idea that those who are not deserving of public help don’t get any. So, is my sister in law deserving in your eyes? Am I?

  236. 236
    caesar

    Anthony K@208:

    he point being that theres nothing about being human that makes you inherently deserving of owning property.

    So, there’s no such thing as theft, but what we decide. Now that that’s out of the way, I’m wholly in favour of taxing libertarians at exorbitantly high rates to pay for safety nets. Think about it: they’re a small contingent, so they’ll have relatively little democratic weight. They like to claim they’re productive, so they must have income. There’s nothing inherent in their humanity that gives them the right to stuff; so there’s really no good reason just to take it from them.

    I figure as long as we let them talk, they’ll do a good enough job of making themselves look reprehensible enough that there won’t even be much political resistance to just confiscating their shit.

    So. Many. Problems. Solved.

    Hey, you’re right. Nobody is inherently deserving of owning private property. That whole concept of deserving stuff is just feel-good bullshit designed to make people feel better about themselves. And you’re right that we could totally make up an economic system where all those evil libertarians get the shaft. Like you said, there’s so few of them that we could easily confiscate all their shit for the public good. Of course, the fact that there’s so few of them means that they probably won’t have much to give, and there’s so much poverty, but who cares right? And once we get through with the libertarians, we can move on to those pissy liberals always whining about having empathy for the poor. They ought to have plenty of wealth that their willing and able to donate to fight poverty

  237. 237
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    They ought to have plenty of wealth that their willing and able to donate to fight poverty

    Except they play fair and aren’t arrogant, ignorant, and selfish anti-empathetic assholes like liberturds. You fail, like most liberturds, at everything you try. You reek of failure.

  238. 238
    caesar

    anri@226:
    My definition of self-sufficient was being able to pay your bills and feed and clothe yourself without someone needing to support you in order to keep you afloat. Now since my definition apparently wasn’t clear enough, so I’ll give an example. Lets says you’re a healthy unemployed 25 year old guy and you live at home with your mom. One day your mom asks you to get a job and move out into your own place so you can be “self sufficient”. Obviously your mom means that she wants you to be able to pay your own bills without being dependant on others to o it for you. She’s not saying you should literally grow your own food, and basically not consume anything that wasn’t made by your own work. I hope I made that clear.

  239. 239
    Anthony K

    Hey, you’re right. Nobody is inherently deserving of owning private property. That whole concept of deserving stuff is just feel-good bullshit designed to make people feel better about themselves. And you’re right that we could totally make up an economic system where all those evil libertarians get the shaft. Like you said, there’s so few of them that we could easily confiscate all their shit for the public good. Of course, the fact that there’s so few of them means that they probably won’t have much to give, and there’s so much poverty, but who cares right? And once we get through with the libertarians, we can move on to those pissy liberals always whining about having empathy for the poor. They ought to have plenty of wealth that their willing and able to donate to fight poverty.

    Settle down.

    I asked if you, personally, are willing to be the casualty in our unequal economic system. I know it’s hard for you to be honest with yourself and others, but really try, for this once. Answer the question, even to yourself, if you dare.

  240. 240
    caesar

    Ogvorbis@235:
    .If you’re disabled and can’t work, then I have no problem with you or anyone in a similar situation getting benefits to stay afloat. All I’m saying is that if you’re healthy and able to work, you should minimize the amount of time you’re on welfare, food stamps, etc., and get back to being able to support yourself. To me that seems like an obvious point, but for some reason, I seem to have struck a nerve with some people.

  241. 241
    caesar

    Anthony K@239:

    I asked if you, personally, are willing to be the casualty in our unequal economic system. I know it’s hard for you to be honest with yourself and others, but really try, for this once. Answer the question, even to yourself, if you dare.

    No thanks. I’m not really a “take one for the team” kinda guy.

  242. 242
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Og:

    I think he did actually clarify to say he was talking about adult TABs. So nominally neither you nor your sister are placed in the undeserving category for caesar. I think he would feel this question is unfair as it has been previously asked and answered.

    What remains to be seen is exactly what his definition of “Able Bodied” is, and even more important, what his definition of “pay your own bills without help” is.

    Is bankruptcy court “help”? Is unemployment insurance, even though its an insurance fund? What about medical insurance? Should you or should you not claim the homeowner’s mortgage interest tax credit? If EITC never gives you back more than you had withheld for federal taxes on your paychecks, is that “help” when other people with fewer children and the same income have a bigger tax bill?

    SSI & SSD are insurance funds into which we pay, but the EITC can effectively reduce those payments for some. If I’m paying the funds required for the insurance, is it my fault if I get charged less? Am I not paying my bills? What about the corporate exec that has a zillion frequent flier miles all paid for by her employer, but who flies on vacation for free using those miles without paying income tax on it [a controversial decision a few years ago]? Is that corporate exec not paying her bills? Her travel bills? Her tax bill? Why or why not?

    What about the defense contractors that get no bid cost-plus contracts because the US government deems it in the national security interest to have shipyard/aircraft design/rocket assembly capabilities maintained at a level that allows for a quick ramp up in the event of the unexpected? These contracts often occur specifically because and when a company is on the verge of bankruptcy. Is that “help”? Does it matter if the Feds are correct that the country has a need for that infrastructure? What about the coasties/servicemembers who don’t get downsized out of the military because someone has to maintain and operate the equipment that we don’t really need that we only bought because we are afraid of getting caught in a shooting war without the capability to quickly repair/replace vital ships/planes/ammunition? Are they getting “help”?

    It’s all very simple in caesar’s empire. I just wonder if his vast store of self-contradictory knowledge has any answers at all (especially true ones, even if he doesn’t believe in true things) to these practical questions.

  243. 243
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    All I’m saying is that if you’re healthy and able to work, you should minimize the amount of time you’re on welfare, food stamps, etc., and get back to being able to support yourself. To me that seems like an obvious point, but for some reason, I seem to have struck a nerve with some people.

    Actually I think a lot of people are behind this statement.

    If this was really all you were saying, you might have some people asking you if you think that we have a significant problem with people who are healthy and able who *aren’t* minimizing time on welfare, food stamps, etc.

    But I’ve checked this thread, and you seem to be saying quite a lot more than that, including but not limited to the true fact, which you don’t believe, that taxation is stealing.

    Given that people have responded to rather different points that [despite you only saying that people have some sort of responsibility that amounts to a "should" (moral, legal, who knows, you aren't specific) that can only be satisfied by minimizing the time one spends on TANF, food stamps, and various other undisclosed programs] actually do exist written under your ‘num in this thread, well…
    perhaps, just perhaps, when by accident you say something that, taken in isolation and made with no effort to assert that new policies are required on the basis of that observation, is reasonable, that sometimes it might be the minority of your ideas and words that is reasonable isn’t actually what’s getting you shredded in this discussion.

  244. 244
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    I’m not really a “take one for the team” kinda guy.

    Totally couldn’t see that one coming!

  245. 245
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    All I’m saying is that if you’re healthy and able to work, you should minimize the amount of time you’re on welfare, food stamps, etc., and get back to being able to support yourself. To me that seems like an obvious point, but for some reason, I seem to have struck a nerve with some people.

    Ah, so you are one of those who believe in the Welfare Queen fantasy.

    I’ve been hanging around here long enough to read complaints from people who actually are on food stamps or other benefits. Many of them can’t even scrape by with those, because government uses every opportunity to lower those benefits (what was it- someone got a bit of money on their account, just to help with the month’s rent and they cut a third of their food stamps from then on)

    Look, are there moochers? Sure. I would bet there are may more working in management than collecting food stamps, but let’s ignore the kind of mooching libertarians approve off. Anyway, I am willing to let a couple of moochers live on benefits so that no one would have to go without. So that people don’t suffer. Weird, I know.

    Why saving government money always starts with the poorest?

  246. 246
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Another problem libertarians don’t address:
    Given that charities cannot come close to meeting the needs of all those living under the poverty line, and given that libertarians don’t like taxes, what plans do they propose to reduce or eliminate poverty?

  247. 247
    chigau (違う)

    If all the poor people die, there will be no poverty.
    Just useful rich people.

  248. 248
    Menyambal

    Will libertarians agree to taxing the churches?

    I know it’s a case of taxation without consent, but why should the churches get off while the rest of us pay (except those of us who are corporate)? Churches are allegedly charitable, so it should be fine, if the money is used to help the poor.

    If churches were taxed, here in America, all welfare for the poor programs could be funded, expanded, and after a few years of education and cycle-breaking, needed a lot less.

  249. 249
    vaiyt

    Glibertarians never, ever imagine themselves being the ones asked to roll over and die in their utopia of freedom.

  250. 250
    Snoof

    chigau (違う) @ 247

    If all the poor people die, there will be no poverty.
    Just useful rich people.

    I’d be willing to bet money there are real libertarians who think this.

    And who simultaneously think that poverty is a natural, inevitable consequence of the capitalist system, and thus that nothing should be done about it.

  251. 251
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    All I’m saying is that if you’re healthy and able to work, you should minimize the amount of time you’re on welfare, food stamps, etc., and get back to being able to support yourself.

    This might be a lot more practical advice if—just for instance—all those rich folk decided that the companies they own should pay their workers a decent wage. If they didn’t “downsize” their workforce at the drop of a hat. If they allowed other things than The Holy Profit to influence their business practices. Just a thought.

    But no, you go right on ahead and blame the victims of corporate greed instead.

  252. 252
    Nick Gotts

    I seem to have struck a nerve with some people. – caesar

    Caesar will presumably not be aware that use of this phrase is considered here an invariable sign that the user is a shithead, because it pretends that people vehemently disagreeing with you proves that you are right.

  253. 253
    bargearse

    Menyambal@248

    If churches were taxed, here in America, all welfare for the poor programs could be funded, expanded, and after a few years of education and cycle-breaking, needed a lot less.

    B-b-b-ut JESUS!!

    On another note, isn’t it about time Caesar tried the good old, “I was just joking/trolling for the lulz/playing devil’s advocate, I don’t really believe any of this,” line? It’s the closest to an honorable exit they’re gonna get at this point.

  254. 254
    Snoof

    caesar @ 240

    All I’m saying is that if you’re healthy and able to work, you should minimize the amount of time you’re on welfare, food stamps, etc., and get back to being able to support yourself.

    That sounds reasonable.

    Where does “cutting off people’s benefits” come into this? That doesn’t sound like people minimizing the time they spend on welfare. That sounds like Big Government deciding for people when they should get off welfare. Forcing them, unilaterally! And as has been stated eloquently in this thread and elsewhere, if a government makes a decision for you, that’s theft. And tyranny. And un-American.

  255. 255
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    And let’s not forget that poverty is not just a regrettable by-product of an unfettered free market, it’s an aim. When efficiency is defined as maximum profit for the owners of a business but not for the workers, employing as few people as possible (in other words, deliberately creating unemployment) at as low a wage as possible, is a feature, not a bug.

  256. 256
    Alexander

    @227 Nerd of Redhead:
    I’ll freely admit I’m mostly a “lurker” on this blog; for 99% of topics discussed, there’s not really much I would want to contribute other than perhaps a “me too” post (which I tend to consider abysmal etiquette). Even in these politics discussions, there’s insufficient civility for my tastes and as a result I’ll tend to stay out of the discussion.

    However, my curiosity was piqued by your comment(s) regarding social aid and taxes. These two concepts are severable in my world view (there are social aid services that are not tax based, and taxes that do not pay for social aid). Your phrasing made it sound like you do not see things this way; I want to know why we diverge on this matter.

    So when you describe yourself as using only “practical politics”, I had to triple check my dictionary. To me, this implies a Machiavellian underhandedness, and Merriam-Webster confirms, but you may have meant it in the more innocent way that Wikipedia describes Realpolitik: “not dictated by a fixed set of rules, but instead tends to be goal-oriented, limited only by practical exigencies.” This alone does not resolve my curiosity; despite not having a fixed ideology, you still have preferences. After all, you’ve been hammering away at the libertarians for their stated ideology of “maximizing personal liberty” so clearly that isn’t your preferred outcome. (Either you dislike the concept wholesale or find their methods unrealistic, it doesn’t matter.) Or am I wrong in this observation, and can take your words at their literal reading: you would sieze upon any plan to be implemented, even a libertarian-natured one, or “all decisions are to be decided by random numbers”, as long as it is ‘practical’ in implementation?

    [It's perfectly acceptable for your answer to this question to be acknowledgement of nescience. After all, you have already stated this kind of question has lost interest to you. Given the contempt you showed towards zealotry in your last response, and that only zealots tend to have a firm, prepared answer to this sort of question, I don't expect a well phrased, reasoned answer. Frankly, I'm not here to put any of your sacred cows on the barbeque; I'm just curious to know why when people bring up the idea of officially separating government and social aid, you respond as if gored.]

  257. 257
    Anri

    caesar @ 238:

    Ok, thanks.

    My follow-up questions would run thusly: Is (for example) US Agribusiness self-sufficient? How about NASA? What should happen to them if they are not? Is self-sufficiency in itself necessarily desirable? If an artist’s work doesn’t sell, would their time be better spent as a Walmart greeter?

    . . .

    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop! @ 246:

    Another problem libertarians don’t address:
    Given that charities cannot come close to meeting the needs of all those living under the poverty line, and given that libertarians don’t like taxes, what plans do they propose to reduce or eliminate poverty?

    Maybe I haven’t been listening to the ‘right’ libertarians, but all of the ones I actually been paying attention to (claim they) believe that poverty is deserved – if not actually voluntary – and therefore forms an essentially intractable problem. It’s just handwaved.

  258. 258
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    After all, you’ve been hammering away at the libertarians for their stated ideology of “maximizing personal liberty” so clearly that isn’t your preferred outcome. (Either you dislike the concept wholesale or find their methods unrealistic, it doesn’t matter.)

    What a pile of crock. My dislike for liberturdism has to do with the facts it doesn’t work in the real world, and they can’t/won’t show that it does work as they described. They are ignorant of history, economics, politics, and how one shows empathy toward their fellow humans.

    What would a liberturd paradise look like? They see a bunch of small companies competing. History and economics says that monopolies, cartels, and other forms of oligarchy will occur, competition will be ruthlessly destroyed (see what Walmart did to small town America) by them. Private charities will not be able to keep up with the demand to help the poor. Children will die, or grow up malnourished and sickly. Homelessness will a be huge problem. The boom-bust cycles will be intense, as positive feedback will increase the oscillations. (Whereas the Keynesian economics create negative feedback, reducing the swings.) With personal freedom comes responsibilities. Those responsibilities are denied by the liberturd philosophy. They have theirs, you others fuck off.

    Yes, there are reasons to treat liberturdism as a disease based on real historical evidence. Just like there are for communism.

  259. 259
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    From Wikipedia:

    According to the U.S. Department of Labor statistics website, based on the 2012 IPIA 3-Year average data report, fraud was prevalent in 2.67% of cases.

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

    There are other sources that show the fraud rate at 1.9%. So call it between 2 and 3%. Could we reduce that fraud rate? Sure. And it would cost three to five times more to eliminate the fraud than the fraud that is eliminated. Plus, it would create more and more and more hoops for the unemployed and working poor (who make up a majority of welfare recipients) which would increase the chance of mistakes and increase the chance of someone who should be receiving benefits being denied.

    Yes, there are people who game the system. Just as there are billionaires who game the system and end up with a lower net tax rate than someone earning $50,000 a year. Just as there are doctors who file false paperwork with private insurance companies as well as MediCare and Medicaid. But the fraud rate for MediCare is around 9% — in 2010, out of total payments of $528 billion, about $47.9 billion was flagged as fraudulent (some payments turned out to be valid) ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicare_fraud ). Quite a bit more than welfare fraud. Want to take a stab at the percentage of billionaires who game the tax system, or commit tax fraud?

    What business are you in? What would your CEO, or manager, say if you could promise a shrinkage rate of only 2 or 3%?

    —————

    Crip Dyke @243:

    I know. I was tryhing to make the point that both able bodied and deserving are very nebulous ideas. But caesar seems to think that xe can, at a glance, make the decision as to who deserves help, and for how long, and that taking it out of the hands of professionals will, somehow, make things work better.

  260. 260
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Alexander, if you are going to pretend liberturdism is a viable political/economic theory, please provide the links to the 30-year usage in the last century by a first world country, and links to show that private charities can actually take care of the poor at the rates unemployment insurance, medicaid, welfare, and other government programs are doing. Don’t mind if I don’t expect any links. Reality checks are messy business and often show that what you think works doesn’t. By the way, such reality checks are the hallmark of any continuous improvement quality systems.

  261. 261
    opposablethumbs

    caesar is doing a bang-up job of demonstrating how paper-thin xir “argument” is – a little glib, superficially unexceptionable “common sense” which cannot stand up even to the mere request that xe define xir terms, combined with a textbook display of callous indifference to the fate of the 99% (caesar may very well be helpfulness itself to kittens and orphans in person , but their utter refusal to even question the parasitism of the 1% paying next-to-nothing into the infrastructure they leech on while the poorest go literally sick and hungry in one of the richest countries in the world is certainly tantamount to callous indifference).

  262. 262
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @ffakr #38

    Sociopaths are capable of empathy. They understand right from wrong. Their pathology is caused by their their ability to be unaffected by that knowledge.
    In short.. Sociopaths understand wrong from right.. they just don’t care.

    So a neurotypical person would consider a choice, and say “That choice is wrong, that one is right. I will do the right thing.” Of course, the possibility of them choosing the wrong thing exists, but presumably a neurotypical person would feel guilt and/or remorse about doing the wrong thing.

    So would it be fair to say that sociopathy would be characterised by a lack of guilt or remorse about past immoral actions? Because that’s what your explanation indicates to me: that psychopaths don’t feel empathy (this I knew), and sociopaths don’t feel guilt.

  263. 263
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @Christopher

    Once you start down the path of war, of accepting that massive numbers of people who really don’t give a fuck about whatever is being fought over will be killed, what does it matter how big ‘massive’ winds up being?

    Jesus Christ. 10, 000 dead people is a massive amount of corpses. 1,000,000 is a damn sight more massive. 1,000,000 dead people is a damn sight worse than 10,000 dead people.

    Why on Earth do you even need this explaining to you? The globe is fairly united in the belief that “more death = bad”, and almost every 10 year old out there can comprehend that one million is a bigger number than ten thousand.

  264. 264
    Amphiox

    All I’m saying is that if you’re healthy and able to work, you should minimize the amount of time you’re on welfare, food stamps, etc., and get back to being able to support yourself.

    You do realize that 99% of the people on government assistance are DESPERATE to do just that, and don’t need any sanctimonious assholes like you telling them so?

  265. 265
    Amphiox

    After all, you’ve been hammering away at the libertarians for their stated ideology of “maximizing personal liberty” so clearly that isn’t your preferred outcome. (Either you dislike the concept wholesale or find their methods unrealistic, it doesn’t matter.)

    No, I, and at least the way I have read Nerd, hammer away at libertarians not because of their stated ideology of “maximizing personal liberty”, but because their stated ideology does not, in fact, in any way, shape or form, “maximize” personal liberty. What it ACTUALLY does is maximize liberty for the libertarian individual in question, and the tiny subset of people just like him or her, as a consequence of MINIMIZING personal liberty for everyone else.

    It is a selfish and hypocritical ideology that magnifies the sum total of unhappiness in this world.

    Nothing in this world restricts personal liberty more than crushing poverty. There is no straitjacket that limits individual choices and aspirations more continuously and ubiquitously than the desperation of being unable to meet the basic needs for survival. One is forced to do things one does not wish to do, and spend all one’s time in the doing of these things, simply to satisfy those basic needs for sustenance.

    In the arc of human history, wherever and whenever people have been made more equal, they have become more free.

  266. 266
    caesar

    Beatrice@245:

    Ah, so you are one of those who believe in the Welfare Queen fantasy.

    Actually I never said anything about welfare queens or moochers. If you’re in favor of a large safety net then it’s necessary for the long term to have more people paying into it than are drawing benefits. Therefore people need to spend as little time as possible drawing benefits, so they can go back to earning an income and paying back into the system. Otherwise, the safety net will have to be financed by debt and/or higher taxes, which I’m sure few people find desirable.

  267. 267
    Amphiox

    Now since my definition apparently wasn’t clear enough, so I’ll give an example. Lets says you’re a healthy unemployed 25 year old guy and you live at home with your mom. One day your mom asks you to get a job and move out into your own place so you can be “self sufficient”. Obviously your mom means that she wants you to be able to pay your own bills without being dependant on others to o it for you.

    Unfortunately for you, caesar, the context in which you used the term “self-sufficient” in previous posts actually does not apply to the meaning of “self-sufficient” as used in this example you have given. So you still have not provided us with an adequate definition of what you meant by “self-sufficient” in your earlier posts.

    You either don’t know what you are talking about, or you are flat out lying, either in your earlier posts, or in this one.

  268. 268
    Amphiox

    Actually I never said anything about welfare queens or moochers.

    EVERYTHING you said about taxes and social safety nets in earlier posts implied welfare queens and moochers. That you didn’t use the specific words is meaningless.

    You are rapidly sliding into crass intellectual dishonesty now.

  269. 269
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    . If you’re in favor of a large safety net then it’s necessary for the long term to have more people paying into it than are drawing benefits.

    Blather. It’s not more people, but MORE MONEY, which comes from the 1%. Gee, can’t you do anything right? Or do you just say the first slogan that comes to mind?

  270. 270
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Why won’t Caesar acknowledge the way to have full employment is for the companies to pay living wages with benefits. Or, if the companies must have the fiction of paying small wages, have those benefits supplied by the government, like health insurance.

  271. 271
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Once again, another libertarian who insists that raising taxes on the wealthy would destroy the economy/be unfair/would upset the natural balance of the economy. And refusing to accept the evidence that the massive tax cuts for the rich over the last 30 years, along with deregulation so the rich can make bigger and bigger profits, has already destroyed a generation of American workers, has been manifestly unfair to the poor and middle class, and that there is no such thing as a natural economy.

    Libertarians have become like creationists — no evidence, no new ideas, goalpost moving, quibbling over definitions.

    How about it, caesar? Do you have anything new?

  272. 272
    Anthony K

    libertarians have become like creationists — no evidence, no new ideas, goalpost moving, quibbling over definitions.

    “How can you believe in social safety nets when science has PROVED they violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics?”

  273. 273
    caesar

    Tony @246:

    Another problem libertarians don’t address:
    Given that charities cannot come close to meeting the needs of all those living under the poverty line, and given that libertarians don’t like taxes, what plans do they propose to reduce or eliminate poverty?

    We could do things like:
    1. We could legalize and regulate all drugs such as weed, crack/cocaine, heroin, etc, just like alcohol. We stop wasting money throwing people in jail just for having drugs, and instead put that money towards rehab and career training if they need it.

    2. For non-violent offenders we should divert money from building new prisons, and instead invest money into getting them jobs and a place to stay so that they don’t go back to the same habits that got them into prison.

    3. Stop putting barriers in place to block women from having access to birth control or abortions, reducing the number of single mothers.

    4. Increase teacher salaries so that high quality candidates feel that they can make a good living, while still doing something they’re passionate about.
    5. If we had a government that wasn’t incompetent, that would play a role in making businesses feel confident enough to spend some of that money they’re holding onto.

  274. 274
    chigau (違う)

    I think caesar is a ‘bot.

  275. 275
    twas brillig (stevem)

    If “taxes” are “stealing”, then what are “profits” but stealing from the consumer, taking too much money; more than was necessary to pay to produce the object being bought? What purpose does profit serve? It is just a big pile of money, spending any of it just reduces the profit pile. Why is the goal to make the pile as big as possible? And why is it so important that a company’s value is determined by how much Profit they make and not so much the quality of the products they make? Why are Liberturds so Obsessed with Profit instead of the Good one can do *using* the money. Is that what makes some people into “Hoarders”, when they can’t hoard money? They project their Profit-addiction to hoarding everything else they lay their eyes on?

    <I gotta stop reading this Liberterdian topic ‘fore my head asplodes>

  276. 276
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    We could do things like:

    Nice list, not not a liberturd one. Way to move the goalposts pretending to a progressive, while being an uncaring and unthinking sloganeer.
    Those progressive ideals can be done by taxing the rich and corporations for their fair share.

  277. 277
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    If we had a government that wasn’t incompetent

    Which part of government is incompetent? The US Government spends between 2% and 12% to distribute health care benefits, welfare benefits, etc. Go ahead. Show me a private health insurance company that comes even close to the low overhead costs of Medicare and Medicaid.

  278. 278
    caesar

    Menyambal@248:

    Will libertarians agree to taxing the churches?

    I know it’s a case of taxation without consent, but why should the churches get off while the rest of us pay (except those of us who are corporate)? Churches are allegedly charitable, so it should be fine, if the money is used to help the poor.

    I’m not a libertarian but I have no issue taxing churches. I think they, too often get away with crossing the line between a charitable and political organization/business.

  279. 279
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    If we had a government that wasn’t incompetent,

    Citation needed from you, a proven liar and bullshitter.

  280. 280
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I’m not a libertarian

    Then quit talking their slogans, and showing no empathy for those who are poor, handicapped, aged, etc.
    You aren’t a progressive.

  281. 281
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Incompetent, hamstrung by business-interests, or a little of both?

  282. 282
    Anthony K

    Fuck me. A set of entirely reasonable and cogent solutions from caesar, but half of them are socialist.

    1. We could legalize and regulate all drugs such as weed, crack/cocaine, heroin, etc, just like alcohol. We stop wasting money throwing people in jail just for having drugs, and instead put that money towards rehab and career training if they need it.

    Absolutely. But regulation is typically a leftist, not libertarian stance.

    2. For non-violent offenders we should divert money from building new prisons, and instead invest money into getting them jobs and a place to stay so that they don’t go back to the same habits that got them into prison.

    Absolutely. But job placement programs and housing initiatives are social safety nets. They cost money. That money comes back from housed and employed workers in the form of taxes. Very progressive.

    3. Stop putting barriers in place to block women from having access to birth control or abortions, reducing the number of single mothers.

    There are clear benefits to having a publicly funded healthcare system that would provide access to birth control or abortions, but other than that, yes, people are healthier, happier, and live more productive lives when they’re not forced to reproduce against their will.

    4. Increase teacher salaries so that high quality candidates feel that they can make a good living, while still doing something they’re passionate about.

    Sounds great, and you’ll get no disagreement from me. But teachers are one of those groups who are publicly funded, and for good reason (see Michelle Rhee and Students First, filed under Failures and Grifters in your library’s card catalog). Again, well-paid teachers are a socialist goal.

    5. If we had a government that wasn’t incompetent, that would play a role in making businesses feel confident enough to spend some of that money they’re holding onto.

    Government isn’t nearly as incompetent as the myth goes, though admittedly incompetence tends to define the elected components of government very well. (Remember, most politicians’ skill sets are in politics. Five-year-olds know more than they about nearly everything that isn’t politics.) At the unelected level; you get the same problems that infest any number of similarly sized organisations: incompetent management, etc. The problems people tend to complain about with government are really problems of democracy.

    Not to say that they’re not legitimate issues*, but it’s generally the legislators who we hate, not the bureaucrats.**

    *Alexander earlier brought up having one’s taxes pay for wars one doesn’t support. That’s a serious issue, especially for Americans. Elsewhere though, people are less likely to immediately assume that all foreign policy be meted out from the barrel of a gun. (Harper did want to go into Iraq, but he’s not really Canadian. He’s a wannabe American. We’ll send him southward, once we can calibrate the catapult.

    **Disclosure: I work for government, or something like it. I’ve also worked with the kinds of bureaucrats that people think of when they spit the word on to the sidewalk. They exist. But they don’t only exist in government.

  283. 283
    Amphiox

    There sure are a lot of “not-a-libertarians” like caesar running around supporting and arguing for libertarian ideology.

    Though one should be fair and acknowledge that among the typical libertarian positions there are a FEW sensible ones. But all of these are IDENTICAL to the LIBERAL positions on the same issues. All the libertarian positions that are UNIQUE to libertarianism are ludicrous.

  284. 284
    caesar

    Daz@251:

    if—just for instance—all those rich folk decided that the companies they own should pay their workers a decent wage. If they didn’t “downsize” their workforce at the drop of a hat. If they allowed other things than The Holy Profit to influence their business practices. Just a thought.

    That would actually be nice. Unfortunately businesses exist to make a profit for their owners and stockholders, not to make sure you have enough money to eat and clothe yourself.

  285. 285
    Anthony K

    Incompetent, hamstrung by business-interests, or a little of both?

    In my case, our government organisations are hamstrung not solely by business interests, but also by a tea-party wannabe populace that is continually told that healthcare costs will swallow the earth if we don’t get a handle on these spiraling costs OMG soon! (Also, ethnics are taking over! say the conservative rags. And they’re using up all the healthcares!)

    Years ago, I got a lot of work as a consultant* determining how many nurses, physiotherapists, speech pathologists, psychiatric aides, etc. we needed to run the system. Why did they pay me to do that? Because they fired all the nurses, physiotherapists,…,etc. a few years previous (or cut their salaries so much that they quit to find other work) because OMG costs spiraling out of control! That was nearly two decades ago. Since then I’ve seen this cycle play out two–three more times. Constant reorg to “save costs” and “reduce inefficiencies” which usually entails hiring some big CEO for seven-figure salaries who simply does the opposite of hir predecessor, and everyone underneath scrambles to implement whatever stupid scheme results. Did the last CEO decentralise? Then let’s fire the CEO (golden parachute), put in place a board, and centralise everything. Did the last board centralise everything? Then let’s dismiss the board (golden parachutes), hire a CEO, and decentralise everything.

    *I wasn’t a good consultant. I was young, and charged exactly what I thought the work was worth, meaning that holy fuck did I save government a shitload of money at my own personal expense.

  286. 286
    Amphiox

    With respect to government “incompetence” I challenge anyone who believes that to show a clear example of an instance where the government and the private sector did something identical and the private sector did it clearly better, in a liberal democracy.

    The things government does are almost always things the private sector cannot or does not want to do. They are HARD things, and sure when you look at what government does in isolation you see problems, but that is mostly due to the thing being HARD, and not because government is particularly bad at it. In many cases government is the ONLY thing humans have that can even try to attempt to do some of these things.

    The ACA rollout is an excellent example. That is something on a scale such that the private sector doesn’t even dare try, because they KNOW they can’t do it.

  287. 287
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Unfortunately businesses exist to make a profit for their owners and stockholders, not to make sure you have enough money to eat and clothe yourself.

    Ever hear of something called a minimum wage law?

  288. 288
    Tom J

    It’s interesting what this thread has devolved into in the last couple days. I also find fascinate the impulse of left wing liberals to silence their critics. Because I’m a skeptic, it always reminds me of this Carl Sagan quote, “The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there is no place for it in the endeavor of science.”

    A couple commenters mentioned Eddie Lambert, as if his leadership of Sears somehow refutes libertarianism. A much simpler explanation based on the articles I’ve read is that he doesn’t know how to lead Sears effectively – the leadership model he used at his hedge fund which made him billions of dollars doesn’t translate very well to the culture at Sears.

    But I want to focus on one comment above, which came following my assertion that free people and free markets cause prosperity:

    “Did it ever occur to you that the causation goes the other way–that wherever you see people who are prosperous and free, the society is stable enough for free markets? Did you ever consider how you KEEP the market free?”

    Couple of points, first on causation. In the last 60 years we’ve been witness to a social experiment of sorts on the Korean Peninsula. In 1953 when the war ended, both North and South Korea were in roughly the same place economically. Arguably, North Korea was in a better starting position due to the fact that it’s patron, China, sits on its northern border while the South’s patron was an ocean away.

    One country followed the path of freedom, the other communism. And the results are striking – if any of you have been, as I have, to the JSA on the border between the two countries, it’s an image that stays with you.

    In the years since we’ve seen other social experiments, the Soviet Union, Cuba, Venezuela, Greece, etc., all fail in one form or another, and all because of their collectivist policies.

    So imagine a freedom spectrum, with one end being Lord of the Flies anarchy and the other being Orwell’s 1984 totalitarianism, you’d see the most prosperous, innovative, and wealthiest countries on the freedom side of that spectrum.

    And, in fact, someone has already done this: http://www.cato.org/economic-freedom-world

    “Nations in the top quartile of economic freedom had an average per-capita GDP of $36,446 in 2011, compared to $4,382 for nations in the bottom quartile in 2011 current international dollars. In the top quartile, the average income of the poorest 10% was $10,556, compared to $932 in the bottom quartile in 2011 current international dollars. Interestingly, the average income of the poorest 10% in the most economically free nations is more than twice the overall average income in the least free nations. Life expectancy is 79.2 years in nations in the top quartile compared to 60.2 years in those in the bottom quartile, and political and civil liberties are considerably higher in economically free nations than in unfree nations.”

    So, if you’d like to argue that economic freedom is of no consequence or if you’d like to argue that libertarians have no evidence to back up their claims, you have some pretty telling statistics to explain away.

    One final point in relation to the social safety net discussion in this thread, from the above report: “Interestingly, the average income of the poorest 10% in the most economically free nations is more than twice the overall average income in the least free nations.”

    A rising tide does, indeed, life all boats according to this data.

  289. 289
    caesar

    Nerd@269:

    It’s not more people, but MORE MONEY, which comes from the 1%.

    It’s either MORE PEOPLE or MORE MONEY, preferably MORE PEOPLE because EVERYONE (able bodied adults) should contribute, NOT JUST the 1%.

  290. 290
    twas brillig (stevem)

    Unfortunately businesses exist to make a profit for their owners and stockholders,

    “Money is like manure, it only has value if it is spread around.”
    Still asking, “what good are Profits anyway?” As a big pile of cash (or a big number on some accounting sheet) it’s like a big pile of manure. As a pile, it is worthless, it only is valuable when it gets spread around. “…make a profit for their owners …”, but if you give some of the pile to the owners, is it still “profit”? What is “profit”, and what good is it anyway?

  291. 291
    Anthony K

    That would actually be nice. Unfortunately businesses exist to make a profit for their owners and stockholders, not to make sure you have enough money to eat and clothe yourself.

    That’s only partially true, and rather specific to a certain business culture. There’s more than one way to run a successful business. Do a google search for both Costco and WalMart to see examples of incredibly disparate business practices (spoiler: WalMart uses the “fuck everyone who’s not a Walton” model, CostCo actually treats their associates like real human beings.) The Canadian outdoor retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) is an incredibly successful business, and the co-op in the name isn’t just a marketing ploy. (Not to say that they’re not without their criticisms.)

    Co-ops and worker-run businesses do exist, and they do exactly what you claim is nice but impossible or unlikely. The resistance to such things is fairly cultural. Read up on the recent unisation battle for the Chattanooga, Tennessee Volkswagon plant. Essentially, Volkswagon was open to the idea of having a work council in the plant, like they have in Germany. Unfortunately, this plant is in the US, where stupidity reigns. Local legislators and even workers lost their shit, effectively saying that if Volkswagon wasn’t ready to punch an auto worker in the face right now, they could take their job-making opportunities and go back to Communist Germany. Hell, Volkswagon was even accused of colluding with the UAW, because businesses exist to make a profit for their owners and stockholders, not to make sure you have enough money to eat and clothe yourself, and successful job-making international corporations like Volkswagon better don’t forget it.

    So, it’s the culture, not some natural law. Stop confusing the two.

  292. 292
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    It’s either MORE PEOPLE or MORE MONEY, preferably MORE PEOPLE because EVERYONE (able bodied adults) should contribute, NOT JUST the 1%.

    Everyone in the United States pays taxes. When my son was 7 years old and he spent his Solstice money on a really big Lego set, he paid a 6% sales tax. All those sales taxes add up. As to use and excise taxes. The working poor, even the ones who pay no federal income tax (or, through EIC, pay negative federal income taxes) pay a far higher percentage of their income on all the other taxes (state taxes, local taxes, taxes on a phone, gas tax, etc.) than the wealthy do. So knock off the shit about the poor not paying taxes. You knew it was a lie when you wrote it. You are still lying.

  293. 293
    twas brillig (stevem)

    It’s either MORE PEOPLE or MORE MONEY, preferably MORE PEOPLE because EVERYONE (able bodied adults) should contribute, NOT JUST the 1%.

    Lying with the truth again. Yes, we all agree that Everyone should contribute to the “safety net”. But your ERROR is; to imply that we demand that ONLY the 1% contribute. You totally DENY that the 1% are refusing to contribute, and that is why we keep demanding the 1% to contribute. Just because we keep telling the 1% to contribute doesn’t mean that we demand that ONLY they contribute. Reading comprehension seems to be failing you. Read ALL of what we write, stop cherry-picking.

  294. 294
    chigau (違う)

    A rising tide does, indeed, lift all boats according to this data.

    I thought it was trickling down…

  295. 295
    caesar

    stevem@275:

    what are “profits” but stealing from the consumer, taking too much money; more than was necessary to pay to produce the object being bought? What purpose does profit serve? It is just a big pile of money, spending any of it just reduces the profit pile. Why is the goal to make the pile as big as possible? And why is it so important that a company’s value is determined by how much Profit they make and not so much the quality of the products they make?

    Well that’s an interesting way to think of profits. I think of profit as recouping the cost of manufacturing the product (including labor), getting the product to stores around the country, and a hedge against dips in demand or supply. If you don’t like it then I suppose you could just never buy anything again and produce your own goods.

  296. 296
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    It’s either MORE PEOPLE or MORE MONEY, preferably MORE PEOPLE because EVERYONE (able bodied adults) should contribute, NOT JUST the 1%.

    Liar and bullshitter, a little work, and there are 137,000,000 jobs in the US. There are 10,200,000 unemployed, 3,600,000 for more than 27 weeks. There are 2,600,000 mildly attached to the job market. (from Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor)

    Please show me where there are more people receiving unemployment benefits than those employed. Or, shut the fuck up about your paranoia. The facts have spoken, and you are wrong.

  297. 297
    Amphiox

    It’s interesting what this thread has devolved into in the last couple days. I also find fascinate the impulse of left wing liberals to silence their critics.

    Right. This thread exploding with replies to continuing commentary from libertarian supporters is “silencing” critics.

    A rising tide does, indeed, life all boats according to this data.

    And how does the tide rise? The gravity of the sun and moon pulls on ALL the water simultaneously and equally.

    Hows does the tide NOT rise? By drips of rainwater trickling down from the high 1% mountaintops.

  298. 298
    Amphiox

    Also, a rising tide certainly does not life ALL boats. The boats on the opposite side of the planet fall.

  299. 299
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    A rising tide does, indeed, life all boats

    What happens when a bunch of hydrophiliacs build huge private reservoirs?

  300. 300
    Tom J

    @Amphiox –

    “With respect to government “incompetence” I challenge anyone who believes that to show a clear example of an instance where the government and the private sector did something identical and the private sector did it clearly better, in a liberal democracy.”

    You’re asking a loaded question, as very few public sector functions are performed – or are allowed to be performed – by the private sector. We’ll soon have a classic example when the vagaries of Obamacare play themselves out, but in the meantime we have another example – the postal service.

    Not in the US however, as the USPS still retains it’s government mandated monopoly. But other countries have opened up competition in this sector and the results show an improvement in value with lower prices: http://www.oecd.org/trade/benefitlib/promotingcompetitioninthepostalsector.htm.

    The USPS lost 16 billion dollars last year…perhaps it’s time for competition here in the US.

  301. 301
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    A rising tide does, indeed, life all boats according to this data.

    Except that, in the US, it hasn’t.

    From the end of WWII to about 1980-85, the poor, the middle class, and the rich all shared equally in the increased wealth of the United States. Then came the Reagan disaster — deregulation, massive tax cuts for the rich. And what has happened since then? The poor have gotten poorer, the middle class has stagnated, and more than 100% of the economic growth in the US has benefited the wealthy and super-wealthy. the rising tide WAS lifting all the boats. Until the rich decided that rich is never rich enough.

    What is it about libertarians that they are clueless that there was an economy before Reagan?

  302. 302
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The USPS lost 16 billion dollars last year…perhaps it’s time for competition here in the US.

    Gee, typical rethug assholery. By enacting laws contrary to logic, make the USPS unprofitable, then try to do away with it. Sorry, they are a thriving enterprise if subjected to no special laws.

  303. 303
    twas brillig (stevem)

    If you don’t like it then I suppose you could just never buy anything again and produce your own goods.

    So your only advice is to *never* buy *anything* again, simply because I don’t like the concept of “profit”? I understand the idea of having profit as a “hedge fund” to dip into in cases when sales fall short, or if needed to build more infrastructure, etc. You totally missed my point of asking the purpose of only judging a company by how big that “fund” is and not their overall structure, why their only goal is to increase the magnitude of that pile and not use any of it to pay the workers or the society it exists in.

  304. 304
    A. Noyd

    caesar (#273)

    If we had a government that wasn’t incompetent, that would play a role in making businesses feel confident enough to spend some of that money they’re holding onto.

    The hoarding isn’t about lack of confidence, you fucking idiot. We have the government those businesses want. The one they’ve paid for. Corporate lobbyists have a stranglehold on the government. And you think the hoarders can be coaxed out of their greed by being catered to even more? How the fuck does that work?

    (#284)

    Unfortunately businesses exist to make a profit for their owners and stockholders, not to make sure you have enough money to eat and clothe yourself.

    So what happened to “At some point, a person has to be able to live on their own income”? Or do you not realize that letting businesses pay starvation wages makes that completely fucking impossible? Apparently not, since you think the government doesn’t do enough to help businesses.

  305. 305
    caesar

    Nerd:

    Nice list, not not a liberturd one. Way to move the goalposts pretending to a progressive, while being an uncaring and unthinking sloganeer.
    Those progressive ideals can be done by taxing the rich and corporations for their fair share.

    I wasn’t aware that I was passing myself off as a progressive. I consider myself mostly liberal except for when it comes to having a European style safety net or gun control. And when it comes to this nebulous “fair share” concept, that’s something I don’t want to get into, because I don’t think it’s my place to decide for others what’s considered fair. Instead, we should focus on what kind of outcomes we want and whether we can achieve them. This talk of fairness, and whether someone is deserving or not, is just meaningless blather.

  306. 306
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Not in the US however, as the USPS still retains it’s government mandated monopoly. But other countries have opened up competition in this sector and the results show an improvement in value with lower prices.

    The USPS lost 16 billion dollars last year…perhaps it’s time for competition here in the US.

    I sell books on Amazon. Shipping a book costs through USPS costs $1.90 to $3.00. Without a business contract, my UPS price would be $17.00 to $20.00. Much cheaper.

    The $16 billion loss last year? Only on paper. Back in the mid 00s, the GOP forced through a bill which mandated that the USPS fund its full retirement pension needs for 75 years. Which the USPS has been doing. Which is why they USPS went from breaking even (give or take) to losing billions. Which is what the GOP wanted. Because if the USPS is privatized, the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) will be busted, private companies can make a fucking bundle by cherry picking which mail they want to carry, and the private companies can decide, unilaterally, not to carry certain mail — such as The Nation, or other liberal and progressive publications. It would also kill real grass-roots political movements.

    Sounds like a win-win-win-win-win for the GOP. And hell for the rest of us.

  307. 307
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    And when it comes to this nebulous “fair share” concept, that’s something I don’t want to get into, because I don’t think it’s my place to decide for others what’s considered fair.

    Don’t allow any human being to become homeless, to starve, or to lack for medical care.

    What is so fucking hard to understand about this very basic concept?

  308. 308
    Tom J

    “Also, a rising tide certainly does not life ALL boats. The boats on the opposite side of the planet fall.”

    Point taken. For the sake of argument let’s assume that economically freer countries are on one side of the planet and the moon it tidal locked to the earth.

  309. 309
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I consider myself mostly liberal except for when it comes to having a European style safety net or gun control.

    In other words, caesar wants all the benefits that government provides, but doesn’t want to pay for it. Or let any of those people get any benefits. Hey, asshole, guess what? Everybody is one of those undeserving people to someone else. Even you.l

  310. 310
    twas brillig (stevem)

    The USPS lost 16 billion dollars last year…perhaps it’s time for competition here in the US.

    UPS doesn’t count? Is there a LAW that the UPS can NOT deliver letters? [UPS killed Parcel Post] The only LAW benefiting the USPS [that I know of] is the law that mandates Mailboxes can only be used by the USPS. And that everyone who wants to receive mail, MUST buy a mailbox, that can *only* be used to receive mail delivered by the USPS. The price of postal stamps used to be legislated by the Feds, regardless of the actual cost of delivery, but now, the USPS is always asking for increases to meet the rising costs of delivery. The USPS is a private delivery organization with severe government Regulation (not Subsidy).
    Try again…

  311. 311
    Anthony K

    Also, a rising tide certainly does not life ALL boats.

    And the body of evidence produced by researchers such as Richard Wilkinson and others demonstrate a deleterious effect on population health correlated with wealth inequality.

  312. 312
    Travis

    It’s interesting what this thread has devolved into in the last couple days. I also find fascinate the impulse of left wing liberals to silence their critics.

    Seriously? Silencing their critics? Who exactly has been silenced? Or do you just mean these stupid critics have been called names and made to look like the simple minded thinkers they are and you consider that silencing them? Last time I checked caesar was still posting. A funny kind of silencing.

  313. 313
    caesar

    Ogvorbis @277:

    Which part of government is incompetent?

    The part that fails to come up with a budget, instead of these continuing resolutions, which only serve to drag us from one debt ceiling fight to the next. How about the part that’s corrupt and uses it’s power to gain wealth illegally(Ex: The STOCK Act). Or the part that consistently fails to monitor, for example, chemical manufacturers who then end up causing disasters like the recent one in Virginia with Duke Energy. And there are plenty more examples.

  314. 314
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Oh, and I forgot to mention with the labor statistics, while there are 3.6 million unemployed and looking work, and 2.6 million discouraged, job creation averaged 194,000/month for 2013. Keep in mind people quit or are fired, which ups the unemployed near the rate of job creation. The problem is jobs, not the willingness of people to take jobs.

  315. 315
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Oh, lookit, our little libertarian is also against gun control.
    How… unsurprising.

    I’m European. In my country, everyone gets basic health care, for free. (OMG!!!!)
    I pay just a little bit extra every month, which means if I end up in the hospital, I won’t need to pay for the treatment unless possibly if it’s something really exotic. (*shockhorror*)

    Since I’m fairly healthy, I don’t need the extra insurance, but I pay it just in case. It’s like… I’m almost donating that to the health care system (*faints dead*)

  316. 316
    Rey Fox

    All I want is to support the masses by making the super-mega-rich merely super-rich. I don’t know why this is controversial.

  317. 317
    Tom J

    @Ogvorbis – does FED EX not deliver packages to the DNC HQ or something? Your whole line of argument is farcical, given what actual companies already do both in the US and elsewhere.

    @Stevem – Google is your friend.
    http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/consumerawareness/a/Can-You-Deliver-The-Mail-Yourself.htm

    Also, if the USPS is a private delivery service…why do they all get government paychecks? By your logic the US Army is a private army, since security companies also hire people to carry guns and protect things…

  318. 318
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    The part that fails to come up with a budget, instead of these continuing resolutions, which only serve to drag us from one debt ceiling fight to the next. How about the part that’s corrupt and uses it’s power to gain wealth illegally(Ex: The STOCK Act).

    The legislature is only incompetent because one party (the GOP) has made a conscious decision to do two things — create stalemane in congress in order to be able to claim government incompetence, and give everything to the 1%ers. This is not incompetence. This is intentional sabotage.

    Or the part that consistently fails to monitor, for example, chemical manufacturers who then end up causing disasters like the recent one in Virginia with Duke Energy. And there are plenty more examples.

    Again, this is not incompetence. This is deliberate sabotage on the part of one party (the GOP). Deregulation of industry and defunding of the regulators benefits , guess who? the 1%.

    Deliberate sabotage is not incompetence. Care to keep lying?

  319. 319
    Tom J

    @ Anthony K – take a look at the study I linked to get a feel for the deleterious effect on public health that authoritarian or collectivist economic policies have, then perhaps we can argue over which is the greatest sin.

  320. 320
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    @Ogvorbis – does FED EX not deliver packages to the DNC HQ or something? Your whole line of argument is farcical, given what actual companies already do both in the US and elsewhere.

    Can. Operative word.

    Nice cherry picking.

  321. 321
    Rey Fox

    I also find fascinate the impulse of left wing liberals to silence their critics.

    Clearly we’re not silencing very well, because the lackeys of the oligarchs never seem to shut up.

  322. 322
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Tom J:

    Last summer, I was at a forest fire in Northern California. Middle of nowhere. Some of us ordered two boxes of cigars to be delivered by FedEx. FedEx took the money from the cigar distributor, which had come from us, the consumers, and accepted the package. Which never arrived. One week later, FedEx informed the cigar distributor that they do not deliver to that town as it is too far out in the middle of nowhere. USPS delivers there. The private companies already cherry pick what they want to deliver. What makes you think they would do less of that if there was no USPS?

  323. 323
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Or the part that consistently fails to monitor, for example, chemical manufacturers who then end up causing disasters like the recent one in Virginia with Duke Energy. And there are plenty more examples.

    Gee, you are talking about agencies that have had their enforcement arms underfunded by the rethuglicans since Reagan. It, like almost all your inane examples, doesn’t make your point. Imagine how effective they could be if adequately funded….

  324. 324
    Amphiox

    Point taken. For the sake of argument let’s assume that economically freer countries are on one side of the planet and the moon it tidal locked to the earth.

    So your analogy now is that the “economically freer” countries benefit because circumstances allow them to leech, parasite-like, off of the other nations on the other side of the planet?

    You’re asking a loaded question, as very few public sector functions are performed – or are allowed to be performed – by the private sector.

    You are ignorant of the history behind these programs. Every single one of these public sector functions was not originally performed by the government. Indeed, the ONLY function the first governments performed was military control of the land. ALL of them were originally left to the private sector, to do or not do, as the private sector willed. (Individual and church charity included as part of the private sphere here)

    In each and every case, the private realm FAILED UTTERLY to properly provide the required service. The public sector came into being in democratic system SOLELY because the people DEMANDED their governments perform these services for them, because the services were needed, and the private sector had FAILED to provide them. In most instances, the government DID NOT WANT TO PERFORM THE SERVICE, and were forced into it by years and years of growing public pressure and demand.

  325. 325
    Anthony K

    @ Anthony K – take a look at the study I linked to get a feel for the deleterious effect on public health that authoritarian or collectivist economic policies have, then perhaps we can argue over which is the greatest sin.

    Looked through the pdfs, found no mention of health other than once in the appendix. No measure of health outcomes.

  326. 326
    Amphiox

    I knew of course, the moment I posted that question, that *someone* would mention the USPS, and reveal their utter ignorance of its history in the process.

    Like for example that the USPS only exists in the first place BECAUSE of the need arose and the private sector was unable to fulfill it, and that today NONE of the private delivery services like FedEx et al could even exist or turn a profit if required to provide the same level of service as the USPS, and without getting to piggyback on (and parasitize off of) USPS services.

  327. 327
    Amphiox

    take a look at the study I linked to get a feel for the deleterious effect on public health that authoritarian or collectivist economic policies have, then perhaps we can argue over which is the greatest sin.

    The best health outcomes are uniformly in nations with well-regulated markets and a strong social safety net.

    It is irrelevant to argue the relative sins of the two extremes when there is a third alternative that blows both of them out of the water.

  328. 328
    Anthony K

    I only looked at the most recent report. If they’ve shown data to contradict my claim elsewhere, please link specifically to it.

    For my part, heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeereeeeeeeee’s Google.

  329. 329
    Amphiox

    Point taken. For the sake of argument let’s assume that economically freer countries are on one side of the planet and the moon it tidal locked to the earth.

    Also, this new analogy still ignores the effect of the solar tides.

  330. 330
    Amphiox

    The part that fails to come up with a budget, instead of these continuing resolutions, which only serve to drag us from one debt ceiling fight to the next.

    This is not a failure of government, but a failure of a specific instance of a specific implementation of a specific style of democracy within one specific nation at one specific time and place.

    How about the part that’s corrupt and uses it’s power to gain wealth illegally(Ex: The STOCK Act).

    Corruption is not a failure of government but a failure of human psychology. For each and ever instance of government corruption you can name, an even more egregious example can be found in the private sector.

  331. 331
    Amphiox

    (The other thing about the USPS’s history? It used to be EXTREMELY SUCCESSFUL, fully financially solvent, and actually turning a profit for the government, until right-wing libertarian ideologues in government deliberately started saddling it with onerous requirements designed specifically to make it fail.)

  332. 332
    Travis

    (The other thing about the USPS’s history? It used to be EXTREMELY SUCCESSFUL, fully financially solvent, and actually turning a profit for the government, until right-wing libertarian ideologues in government deliberately started saddling it with onerous requirements designed specifically to make it fail.)

    I recently mentioned something like this about another instance of supposed government inefficiency and failing and they tried to turn it around on me. Apparently libertarian ideologues sabotaging a program is just yet another argument against government programs, it just shows we cannot trust the government to do these things.

  333. 333
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    I’ll have more later on, probably involving earlier comments, but I suppose I’ve got to start somewhere.
    caesar#284

    That would actually be nice. Unfortunately businesses exist to make a profit for their owners and stockholders, not to make sure you have enough money to eat and clothe yourself.

    Once again we have the classic fallacy of libertarians, which is to assume that the current capitalist paradigm is a law of nature and cannot be changed. Social Businesses and worker cooperatives do not follow this model, and yet remain entirely viable modes of producing goods and services.
    #295

    I think of profit as recouping the cost of manufacturing the product (including labor), getting the product to stores around the country, and a hedge against dips in demand or supply.

    You’re wrong; that’s overhead. That is, in fact, the precise definition of overhead. Profit is what’s left when overhead is subtracted from income.
    #313

    The part that fails to come up with a budget, instead of these continuing resolutions, which only serve to drag us from one debt ceiling fight to the next.

    So, in other words, the part that has a very large component of people clamoring that government can’t possibly work and throwing every obstacle they can imagine in front of it? Who would have thought that a body composed around halfway of people who don’t beleive the government should have a budget have trouble passing a budget. That’s a big ol’ fuckin’ surprise there, isn’t it?
    Tom J#288

    One country followed the path of freedom, the other communism. And the results are striking – if any of you have been, as I have, to the JSA on the border between the two countries, it’s an image that stays with you.

    Oh wait, you’re serious; let me laugh even harder. South Korea acheived their current prosperity and booming economy through decades of overt protectionism, direct government loans and partial government ownership of major industries and companies, and incredibly harsh laws regarding the use of foreign currency (foreign currency was to be used for purchasing industrial and strategic products only; smoking foreign cigarettes was a penal offence carrying penalties involving many years of hard labor), and similar measure that make libertarians scream whenever they’re proposed. This is not and example of the magic market there, chumley.
    #300
    As someone who does a whole lot of shipping, I can tell you straight out that the USPS gets things there faster, cheaper, and more reliably than any private package carrier. This is leaving aside the nature of the postal service as part of infrastructure and thus something which government in fact exists to subsidize; libertarians are incapable of understanding the idea of infrastructure, so I don’t expect that to go very far.

  334. 334
    Anthony K

    Sabotage followed by “I told you so!” is a fact of life in government in conservative regions. It’s something we work around, as much as possible.

  335. 335
    Travis

    Oh wait, you’re serious; let me laugh even harder. South Korea acheived their current prosperity and booming economy through decades of overt protectionism, direct government loans and partial government ownership of major industries and companies, and incredibly harsh laws regarding the use of foreign currency

    Oh my, I must have missed that comment using the Koreas as an example. Tom J, I know the US government tried to hold South Korea, Japan, and others up as shining examples of capitalism, but the state capitalism they practice should horrify libertarians and right wing people in the US. It is certainly not an example of what they are calling for. In both Japan and Korea the government played central roles in propping up and subsidizing certain industries, while downplaying others, and ensuring those firms had a competitive advantage. Government ministries, such as MITI in Japan played a central role in building their economies.

  336. 336
    Anthony K

    Oh my, I must have missed that comment using the Koreas as an example. Tom J, I know the US government tried to hold South Korea, Japan, and others up as shining examples of capitalism, but the state capitalism they practice should horrify libertarians and right wing people in the US. It is certainly not an example of what they are calling for. In both Japan and Korea the government played central roles in propping up and subsidizing certain industries, while downplaying others, and ensuring those firms had a competitive advantage. Government ministries, such as MITI in Japan played a central role in building their economies.

    Okay, but did you miss the earlier reference to Sagan as proof of skeptical bonifides?

    Check and mate.

  337. 337
    caesar

    Anthony@291:

    That’s only partially true, and rather specific to a certain business culture. There’s more than one way to run a successful business. Do a google search for both Costco and WalMart to see examples of incredibly disparate business practices

    I’m aware that Costco pays its employees very well, which is great, but that’s something that they “choose” to do because they can afford it, and they feel it’s the right thing to do. I disagree with making a business pay a so-called living wage. The underlying implication behind living wages is that businesses have some sort of obligation (from where, I don’t know) to ensure that their employees are making enough money to live off of. It’s ultimately “your” responsibility to make a living wage, not your employer, and I don’t care about how it sounds because it’s the truth.

  338. 338
    Tom J

    Couple interesting responses to my Korea reference, which boil down to: South Korea isn’t a libertarian utopia so I must be wrong.

    Noted, South Korea isn’t a libertarian utopia. In the economic freedom study I linked to earlier they have been ranked anywhere from 36th to 52nd in the past 30 years. Which isn’t too bad but there is room for improvement.

    However whether or not Korea is a libertarian utopia isn’t the point – what the data clearly show, and the two Koreas poignantly illustrate, is that the more free a country is, economically and politically, the more prosperous it’s people are. No one here has attempted to dispute that point yet.

    It appears that the converse is also true – the less free a country is, economically and politically, the less prosperous it’s people are. So while North Korea may not be a communist utopia (or Cuba for that matter), its public policies are directly responsible for impoverishing millions and killing unknown thousands.

    Which end of that spectrum would you rather be on? My choice – and this is simply my value judgement – is to side with freedom. But you’re free to choose whatever course you’d like to take.

  339. 339
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    What is it about libertarians that they kinna grok the concept that unfettered capitalism leads to a reduction of freedom just as does unfettered socialism?

  340. 340
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Also, Syngman Rhee as a paragon of freedom? Have you never heard of right wing dictatorships?

  341. 341
    Anthony K

    Now they’re not even pretending to have read the responses that demonstrate they’re wrong.

  342. 342
    Anthony K

    Fuck, libertarians hate data.

  343. 343
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Fuck, libertarians hate data.

    Of course, it all shows their theology is full of shit.

  344. 344
    Tom J

    @Amphiox – no need to yell, I can hear you.

    “In most instances, the government DID NOT WANT TO PERFORM THE SERVICE, and were forced into it by years and years of growing public pressure and demand.”

    I’m not sure where we got off track, and if you listed the government functions you’re talking about somewhere I missed them. If we’re speaking about constitutionally mandated services, like the three branches of government, the armed forces, etc. then we have no disagreement. I have and will never argue that the government should not exist.

    If you’re talking about assistance programs like SNAP, then I’ll argue that within the government (if defined as elected representatives in the House, Senate, and White House), there were plenty of people who wanted the government to perform these services. (For the record I don’t think SNAP is necessarily a bad or wasteful program, I think it’s done a lot of good for a lot of people.) And it certainly wasn’t an example of government being ‘forced’ into performing a service. The Eisenhower administration was given the authority by congress to start the program in 1959, but didn’t. It wasn’t until Kennedy took office that the first pilot program began. And although more Democrats support it than Republicans, Bob Dole was one of the program’s biggest champions.

    So that’s just one example, but perhaps you were talking about something else…

  345. 345
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Fuck, libertarians hate data.

    I thought reality they hated.

  346. 346
    Amphiox

    However whether or not Korea is a libertarian utopia isn’t the point – what the data clearly show, and the two Koreas poignantly illustrate, is that the more free a country is, economically and politically, the more prosperous it’s people are. No one here has attempted to dispute that point yet.

    What the data shows is that a happy medium between unfettered capitalism and total authoritarianism, a WELL REGULATED market economy with a strong social safety net, is the best economic system mankind has yet devised. South Korea is closer to that happy medium than North Korea. But to try to argue that this means that “the more free a country is, economically and politically, the more prosperous its people are” ignores HALF THE EQUATION. It’s called cherry-picking, and is the height of intellectual dishonesty. Creationists love to use this tactic.

    Add Somalia to make a three way comparison and you’d be a little bit more credible.

  347. 347
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Tom J:

    A very good example of the government being forced to provide a service because the private sector was unable or unwilling to? Passenger railroading, including commuter services.

  348. 348
    caesar

    Ogvorbis@292:

    . So knock off the shit about the poor not paying taxes. You knew it was a lie when you wrote it. You are still lying.

    What are you talking about? The only thing I’ve been saying is that inputs must be greater than or equal to outputs. It’s just a general argument about sustaining the safety net.I have said anything about the poor, disabled, or about anyone specifically.

  349. 349
    Maureen Brian

    caesar @ 337,

    Have you ever though of taking classes in logic?

    You argue at great length that everyone should get themselves back into work as soon as they possibly can – even when there are no jobs – so as not to place too much strain on the safety net which other people may need to use.

    Now you argue against a minimum wage on the ground that while the poor have social obligations the rich do not. If we had not already agreed that pillock is a gendered slur, you would qualify.

    The Walton family operates in a retail sector which is about need, not taste or choice. In some areas they have a near monopoly having deliberately put potential competitors out of business. Yet each WalMart store is costing you, the taxpayer, a minimum of $1 million per annum per site, probably a good deal more – the cost of keeping their workers alive so that they can turn up for work the next morning and produce more profit.

    Their business model is shit and a drag on every American who does pay tax.

    So, as we suspected, you would prefer the actual benefits of any safety net to go to the already very rich. I’d give up if I were you – you have long ago been sussed.

  350. 350
    Tom J

    Anthony/Nerd,

    I have to assume you’re joking, my last couple comments have revolved around the data found here: http://www.cato.org/economic-freedom-world

    If I’ve missed the data you’ve cited which refutes this study, please enlighten me again.

    Ogvorbis – a right wing dictatorship in this context is a bit of a misnomer. Name a dictator who has forced economic and political freedom on his/her people….that’s kinda doing it wrong, don’t you think? Although I suppose if people didn’t want freedom then you would have to coerce them into being free…but it doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  351. 351
    Amphiox

    The underlying implication behind living wages is that businesses have some sort of obligation (from where, I don’t know) to ensure that their employees are making enough money to live off of.

    No, the underlying implication is that societies have a duty of care to their citizens to provide them with the opportunity to meet their daily needs.

    It’s ultimately “your” responsibility to make a living wage, not your employer, and I don’t care about how it sounds because it’s the truth.

    Right now it is IMPOSSIBLE for too many people to make a living wage even if they consider it their responsibility to try to do so. It is society’s moral obligation, though government, to provide every citizen the opportunity to fulfill those responsibilities. Freedom means having options to choose from, but one cannot choose options that are not even available.

    Right now there are lots of people who work FULL WORK HOURS, and cannot make a living wage. There are people who work TWO FULL TIME JOBS, sacrifice their health from lack of sleep and rest, and cannot make a living wage.

    How do these people survive then? Government assistance and charity from friends and family. If even that is not enough, they have no choice but to resort to crime. The basic principle of providing government assistance actually is so that these desperate people do not get SO desperate that they resort to crime.

    And if government assistance is not provided? Then all these workers, in order to survive, WILL resort to crime INSTEAD of their low-paying full-time jobs, since crime allows them to survive, while their low-paying full-time job without a living wage DOES NOT. The companies who depend on this labor will not have any workers at all.

    So what is happening right now is that the government, ie taxpayers, is SUBSIDIZING these companies, ALLOWING them to spend less on their labor costs. These companies are PARASITIZING OFF THE PUBLIC TEAT. They should be asked to pay their own way, by requiring that they pay all their full time workers a living wage.

    Any economy that cannot afford to pay ALL its FULL TIME workers a living wage is a doomed economy anyways. It is a DEFICIT system, except that the deficit is borne by the individual workers, wherein in they give their full effort into the system, but receive less than what they deserve in return. You can pretend there is no deficit by refusing to monetize the accumulated debt you are owing to these workers, but the debt is still there. It is a debt measured in the currency of human effort and expended individual energy. And the workers can bear this deficit for only so long before their survival instincts override all other concerns, leading to revolt and the downfall of the entire system.

  352. 352
    Anthony K

    I have to assume you’re joking, my last couple comments have revolved around the data found here: http://www.cato.org/economic-freedom-world

    Which, as I noted, does not mention health outcomes at all, despite your assertion that it did.

    If I’ve missed the data you’ve cited which refutes this study, please enlighten me again.

    Not that I think you’ll bother to read it this time, but I helpfully gave you a google search with the terms already in. Feel free to start reading. (Note: the data to which I refer is a little more nuanced than “libertarian utopia” vs. “North Korea”.) I gave you a search link, rather than cherry picking data, because I don’t share your hostility to science, nor your intellectual dishonesty. I’ve also read Sagan, so you can take your “I’m a Skeptic because Sagan” badge and pin it on someone who cares.

  353. 353
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The only thing I’ve been saying is that inputs must be greater than or equal to outputs.

    Amount of evidence to show that this is in effect at the moment? ZERO.

    You may be talking about the overall federal deficit, which has two every easy fixes. End the wars around the world, and raise taxes back to pre RR levels. What is amusing, is that the democratic presidents increase the deficit far less than the rethugs.

  354. 354
    Amphiox

    I have to assume you’re joking, my last couple comments have revolved around the data found here: http://www.cato.org/economic-freedom-world

    Said data still only compares the authoritarian extreme with the happy middle, of REGULATED market economies with social safety nets of varying degrees of secureness. It still ignores the other half of the equation. Which isn’t surprising because that other half no longer exists, because people have ALREADY TRIED IT historically, and it failed miserably.

    In the marketplace of ideas, in the competition of ideologies, completely free markets failed first, faster than fully authoritarian regimes, which in their turn are now failing against the WELL REGULATED market economies of the modern liberal democratic nations.

    Like the vast majority of libertarian apologists we’ve seen around here, Tom J continues, just like the creationists, to cite sources that don’t actually support his own positions.

    And when it comes to individual freedom, the freest people are the economically secure. Which means minimum living wage protections and social safety nets. Those who must struggle for their next meal have no freedom of choice whatsoever, as everything they do is restricted by the desperate need for that next meal. It is a set of ubiquitous shackles that binds them with a pervasiveness massively more extensive than any authoritarian police state can ever dream of doing. No authoritarian state can control what it’s citizens do privately away from prying eyes and ears, but poverty CAN and DOES do exactly this, all the time.

  355. 355
    Amphiox

    The only thing I’ve been saying is that inputs must be greater than or equal to outputs.

    You fail to include the input of worker time and effort into your arguments. Thus, your arguments fail.

  356. 356
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Tom J #350

    Name a dictator who has forced economic and or political freedom on his/her people….that’s kinda doing it wrong, don’t you think? Although I suppose if people didn’t want freedom then you would have to coerce them into being free

    Try Pinochet and the Chicago boys, jackass. By your definitions of economic freedom, that’s exactly what Pinochet did (the strikethrough is because your version of economic freedom is totally incompatible with political freedom). It was a catastrophe.

  357. 357
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    The underlying implication behind living wages is that businesses have some sort of obligation (from where, I don’t know) to ensure that their employees are making enough money to live off of.

    Jebus. Look: if you promote a society in which people need money to live, and you control the prices they pay for the things they need in order to live, and you control how much they earn, you’ve kinda got them over a barrel haven’t you? At this point, you not paying them enough to buy the things off you that they need in order to survive is not only immoral, but stupid. I mean, you do want them to be able to buy the stuff you’re selling, right?

  358. 358
    Tom J

    Amphiox – ok, now we’re getting closer to the real argument: markets vs. regulation.

    We should both agree that the freer a market is, the more prosperous it’s people are, because that’s what the data show. But I can see you’re not quite there yet, so let’s focus on points of agreement. We can both agree that governments will regulate markets to some extent. They always have and they always will.

    “a WELL REGULATED market economy with a strong social safety net, is the best economic system mankind has yet devised.”

    Two important points. What’s your definition of “well regulated”? And what’s your definition of “strong social safety net”?

    To me, well regulated means effectively regulated, without restricting entry into markets and without restricting voluntary exchange – in general terms, less restrictive regulations. If “well regulated” to you is just a synonym for “highly regulated”, then we’re at a point of disagreement.

    Similarly, a strong social safety net is one that provides assistance to those who truly need it while maintaining the fiscal health and viability of the government. Greece has a strong social safety net, but they have created that at the expense of the fiscal viability of the rest of the government. There must be a balance and it is this balance, I suspect, which would be the point of our disagreement.

  359. 359
    caesar

    A Noid@304:

    The hoarding isn’t about lack of confidence, you fucking idiot. We have the government those businesses want. The one they’ve paid for.

    No, it’s partially a result of the inability of government to get things done. It makes no difference whether you blame it on the Tea Party or Repulicans. It doesn’t benefit businesses to sit on cash and do nothing, as the only way a business can prosper is if they keep expanding and investing. For a business to willingly stop investing, suggests that there’s a lack of confidence on their part. Even if businesses were using the Tea Party to get themselves lower tax rates, if they’re not going to use the money saved then it defeats the purpose of having it.

    So what happened to “At some point, a person has to be able to live on their own income”? Or do you not realize that letting businesses pay starvation wages makes that completely fucking impossible? Apparently not, since you think the government doesn’t do enough to help businesses.

    People do still need to be able to live on their own income. It’s just not anyone else’s responsibility to give it to you.

  360. 360
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    We should both agree that the freer a market is, the more prosperous it’s people are, because that’s what the data show.

    *snicker* that’s not what the data says. Except to a theological liar and bullshitter trying to pretend an agreement is near when it exists only in your delusional mind.

  361. 361
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    No, it’s partially a result of the inability of government to get things done. It makes no difference whether you blame it on the Tea Party or Repulicans.

    If political shenanigans are being done to purposely make government fail, that failure is the fault of the party making sure government doesn’t function properly. What an sloganeering asshole.

  362. 362
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Any minute now, Humpty Dumpty is going to explain that it’s his unbirthday. I know this, because that’s the only context in which caesar could possibly be deemed to be making any kind of sense.

  363. 363
    Anthony K

    Any minute now, Humpty Dumpty is going to explain that it’s his unbirthday. I know this, because that’s the only context in which caesar could possibly be deemed to be making any kind of sense.

    Seriously. It’s one’s own responsibility to make a living wage, but also others should increase the salaries they pay teachers.

  364. 364
    Al Dente

    We should both agree that the freer a market is, the more prosperous it’s people are, because that’s what the data show.

    What is it with libertarians and their disdain for basic economics? It doesn’t surprise me that a libertarian would make this silly statement. History shows us that completely free aka laissez faire markets result in monopolies controlled by oligarchies. Only a libertarian would pretend that an oligarchy supports prosperity for anyone other than those at the top.

    Never mind, I forgot, libertarians dislike and distrust anyone who isn’t at the top. Freedom for me and not for thee is the libertarian mantra.

  365. 365
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    caesar @348:

    What are you talking about? The only thing I’ve been saying is that inputs must be greater than or equal to outputs. It’s just a general argument about sustaining the safety net.I have said anything about the poor, disabled, or about anyone specifically.

    You do know that we can actually read what your write, right? It doesn’t magically disappear. You wrote:

    It’s either MORE PEOPLE or MORE MONEY, preferably MORE PEOPLE because EVERYONE (able bodied adults) should contribute, NOT JUST the 1%.

    Right there you imply that there are segments of the US population that contribute nothing to the tax base. You were, and continue to be, a liar.

    Tom J @350:

    a right wing dictatorship in this context is a bit of a misnomer. Name a dictator who has forced economic and political freedom on his/her people….that’s kinda doing it wrong, don’t you think? Although I suppose if people didn’t want freedom then you would have to coerce them into being free…but it doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    You are actually arguing that Syngman Rhee was a paragon of freedom. Despite the mass executions. Despite the human rights abuses. Despite the dictatorial power that he held and used. As long as he created a socialized market economy, all is forgiven?

    ——–

    The underlying implication behind living wages is that businesses have some sort of obligation (from where, I don’t know) to ensure that their employees are making enough money to live off of.

    Either the workers get a living wage, or we have to raise taxes on the people who are hoarding the money and use government programmes to make up the difference.

    caesar #359:

    No, it’s partially a result of the inability of government to get things done.

    Which is deliberate sabotage done on behalf of the 1% by the political party they purchased.

  366. 366
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    In my industry, when we have a problem, we try to find the root cause, figure out what is needed to fix it, and then implement the fix. And a while later, check to see that the fix is working. If it isn’t, we back up and figure things out again until it is fixed. The last is called a reality check, part of any quality program.
    Liberturdism and its slogans have no reality check in place. Hence its failure to take true corrective action for the lies they promulgate.

  367. 367
    Tom J

    Dalillama – you can’t just cross out the “and” in my sentence and make your point. In this thread I’m making a point about both economic and political freedom. Pinochet gave Chile economic freedom, but denied them political freedom for many years.

    Having said that, his economic reforms significantly helped the country: “Chile was drastically transformed from an economy isolated from the rest of the world, with strong government intervention, into a liberalized, world-integrated economy, where market forces were left free to guide most of the economy’s decisions.” http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinochet_regime

    Don’t mistake this for condoning what Pinochet did – he has a lot of blood on his hands. But if I had to choose between him or Castro or Chavez, whose regimes exist only to restrict freedom, not give it to the people, I know which one I’d choose.

  368. 368
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    political freedom for many years.

    Having said that, his economic reforms significantly helped the country: “Chile was drastically transformed from an economy isolated from the rest of the world, with strong government intervention, into a liberalized, world-integrated economy, where market forces were left free to guide most of the economy’s decisions.”

    Gee, the left leaning government that replaced his misrule had nothing to do with the success of Chile after his departure? *snicker*

  369. 369
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Tom J would rather be a peasant under the Pinochet regime than a peasant in Cuba. Interesting. Far more ways to die under Pinochet. Or disappear. Or lose your children. And forget doctors, hospitals, schools, jobs, food, etc. So as long as a dictator is right wing, not left wing, they are paragons of freedom.

    This is some scary shit.

  370. 370
    alwayscurious

    I think of profit as recouping the cost of manufacturing the product (including labor), getting the product to stores around the country, and a hedge against dips in demand or supply. If you don’t like it then I suppose you could just never buy anything again and produce your own goods.

    Caesar, that’s simply garbage you’ve written there. Profits are what is left AFTER all the costs have been subtracted from the revenue. The profits have NOTHING to do with recouping costs of manufacturing, distributing, etc. You are correct that one possible use for profit is to hedge against future market conditions, but that is one reason among many others that you failed to list. Spend more time thinking, less time typing.

  371. 371
    Amphiox

    I think of profit as recouping the cost of manufacturing the product (including labor), getting the product to stores around the country, and a hedge against dips in demand or supply.

    This is a truly ironic statement from someone who earlier tried to claim his arguments were “simple math”.

    caesar dear, just so you know, the “=” and the “>” symbols in simple math do not mean the same thing.

  372. 372
    Tom J

    Al Dente/Nerd – do you have reading comprehension issues?

    The data I cited is here: http://www.cato.org/economic-freedom-world

    If you can refute this then by all means, please do. As a skeptic I follow the data where it leads me.

    If you don’t have data to refute it, then it is you, not me, who are relying on a belief system (like creationists).

    Which one is it? Take your pick.

  373. 373
    Amphiox

    The underlying implication behind living wages is that businesses have some sort of obligation (from where, I don’t know) to ensure that their employees are making enough money to live off of.

    All players in an economy have the basic obligation to exchange goods and services fairly. Workers’ labor is a service provided to employers in exchange for wages. If the FAIR compensation for full time labor is not enough to live off of, then the economy is doomed anyways. For workers (who are, incidentally, people and taxpayers), spending all their available time working for less than living wage, will fail to meet their basic survival needs and slowly, one by one, die off. Once the workers have starved to death industry will have no labor force, and it too will collapse.

    If that is the truth of the situation, then we’re better off abandoning the whole economic system now while there is still some time and some surplus human resources around to try to find a sustainable alternative.

    But assuming the economy actually is sound, then a FAIR compensation for full time labor must be at least equal to, if not more than, what a worker needs to live off of. If the workers are not given enough to life off of in this circumstance, then business has failed to fulfill its basic economic obligation. It has, essentially, committed theft of a portion of the workers’ labor.

  374. 374
    Amphiox

    Al Dente/Nerd – do you have reading comprehension issues?

    The data I cited is here: http://www.cato.org/economic-freedom-world

    The data that you cite does NOT support your position. That will not change no matter how many times you try to cite it.

  375. 375
    Amphiox

    We should both agree that the freer a market is, the more prosperous it’s people are, because that’s what the data show.

    No we should not both agree on that, because that is NOT what the data shows. The data shows that relationship between prosperity and market freedom is a bell curve. It increases with increased freedom up to a point, but only up to a point. Beyond that peak, additional freedom, as defined by lack of regulation, leads to a DECREASE in prosperity.

  376. 376
    Amphiox

    The freest free market economy in the world today exists in Somalia. Is Somalia more prosperous than the less free regulated market of Sweden?

  377. 377
    Tom J

    Ogvorbis, I think you’re disagreeing with me now just out of principle. Pinochet was a tyrant, absolutely, and he has a lot of blood on his hands, absolutely, but he’s gone. Were Castro and Chavez in perfect health they’d still be around torturing and imprisoning people – and their regimes still are.

    And yes, if I had to choose between a place with no freedom and one with economic freedom only, I’d chose the latter. Are you telling me you wouldn’t? I don’t think there’s anything stopping you from moving to either Venezuela or Cuba…might want to read Michael J. Totten’s recent report from Cuba before you go though.

  378. 378
    Amphiox

    To me, well regulated means effectively regulated, without restricting entry into markets and without restricting voluntary exchange – in general terms, less restrictive regulations.

    What is your definition of “effective”. The least restrictive regulations are no regulations, but whenever there are no regulations, disaster is the inevitable result.

    Similarly, a strong social safety net is one that provides assistance to those who truly need it while maintaining the fiscal health and viability of the government. Greece has a strong social safety net, but they have created that at the expense of the fiscal viability of the rest of the government.

    By your own definition above Greece did not have a strong social safety net.

    Greece, however, is still better off than Somalia.

    In every real world example, over-regulated is better than under-regulated, while well-regulated is superior to them both.

    So I follow the data, and if there is uncertainty, and we do not know how much regulation is perfect, I choose to err on the side of slightly over-regulated rather than slightly under-regulated, because the data shows that this is the path of least harm.

  379. 379
    Tom J

    Amphinox – seriously?

    “The data that you cite does NOT support your position.”

    My position is that this data is correct, full stop. The freer an economy, as defined by these metrics, the more prosperous it’s people. That’s what this data shows. Not sure how you’re not getting this…

    Also, where is the bell curve you’re talking about located, who did that study?

  380. 380
    Alexander

    @260 Nerd of Redhead:
    Thank you very much for your answer to my question; my curiosity has been satiated now that your position in this discussion is clear.

  381. 381
    Amphiox

    And yes, if I had to choose between a place with no freedom and one with economic freedom only

    A false equivalence. And a rankly dishonest one at that, since it is an unfair comparison of zero and one.

    The question you should ask yourself is, if you had the choice between no freedom and full economic SECURITY, versus full economic freedom but NO economic security, which would you choose?

  382. 382
    Al Dente

    Some people aren’t impressed by Pinochet and the Chicago Boys in Chile.

    After the application of shock therapy of manipulated crisis and violence, including torture and its attendants, people are not very likely to question the laisser-faire logic. Moreover children born into the system, and knowing no other are more easily trained to passive uncritical acceptance, that is, to take the system as given. Shock therapy ties Friedman and his Chicago Boys to the CIA and to state sponsored murder. Indeed genocide.

    Some economists even think the “Chile Miracle” was closer to a disaster.

    Chile’s economy became more unstable than any other in Latin America, alternately experiencing deep plunges and soaring growth. Once all this erratic behavior was averaged out, however, Chile’s growth during this 16-year period was one of the slowest of any Latin American country. Worse, income inequality grew severe. The majority of workers actually earned less in 1989 than in 1973 (after adjusting for inflation), while the incomes of the rich skyrocketed. In the absence of market regulations, Chile also became one of the most polluted countries in Latin America. And Chile’s lack of democracy was only possible by suppressing political opposition and labor unions under a reign of terror and widespread human rights abuses.

    Chile’s integration into the world market would leave it vulnerable to world market forces. The international recession that struck in 1982 hit Chile especially hard, harder than any other Latin American country. Not only did foreign capital and markets dry up, but Chile had to pay out stratospheric interest rates on its orgy of loans. Most analysts attribute the disaster both to external shocks and Chile’s own deeply flawed economic policies. By 1983, Chile’s economy was devastated, with unemployment soaring at one point to 34.6 percent — far worse than the U.S. Great Depression. Manufacturing production plunged 28 percent. The country’s biggest financial groups were in free fall, and would have collapsed completely without a massive bail-out by the state. The Chicago boys resisted this measure until the situation became so critical they could not possibly avoid it.

  383. 383
    Amphiox

    My position is that this data is correct, full stop. The freer an economy, as defined by these metrics, the more prosperous it’s people. That’s what this data shows. Not sure how you’re not getting this…

    I’ve already explained exactly why the data does NOT support the contention you are trying to make it conform to. If you are too intellectually dishonest to make the effort to read my previous explanations for proper understanding, well, I am not obligated to make the effort to explain it to you again.

  384. 384
    Tom J

    Amphiox -

    “In every real world example, over-regulated is better than under-regulated, while well-regulated is superior to them both. So I follow the data…”

    I don’t think you read the study I cited. If you did, you’d see that it makes exactly the opposite point. Over-regulated countries (as I’m assuming you’d define them) are toward the bottom of the heap in terms of prosperity.

    Please cite the data you’re using, that would be very helpful.

  385. 385
    Amphiox

    Also, where is the bell curve you’re talking about located, who did that study?

    Somalia is the freest, least regulated economy on the planet today. Is Somalia the most prosperous? Yes or no?

    If no, then there is your bell curve.

  386. 386
    Maureen Brian

    Tom J,

    I don’t care how emotionally attached you are to the Cato Institute (or what they are paying you?) it is not possible to have any analysis of economic freedom – very poorly defined in the document – where there is no mention of the market in labour. I have checked: there is none.

    Adam Smith, bless him, understood that the market which at the writing of The Wealth of Nations existed mainly as a model in his own head would exist and had to exist in a universe with both social and moral obligations. Without the trust engendered by a healthily functioning society there could be no market.

    Economic freedom – for me and I suspect for many of us here – would have to include the understanding that I cannot be obliged, by indenture, slavery, discrimination, to sell my labour for significantly less than it is worth. Nor should I be obliged to forego necessities so that some other person may be paid significantly more than his labour is worth. That, too, is part of a functioning market.

    Anthony K, whose specialist area this is, points out that your magic report makes no mention of health outcomes. I, as a good trades unionist, point out that it is incomplete for the lack of any discussion of the terms upon which labour is exchanged in the market.

    And still you seem to think that if you push a partisan and incomplete report in our faces just one more time we will fall to our knees in awe.

    No, matey, we won’t!

  387. 387
    Tom J

    Amphiox –

    You haven’t explained anything. You’ve asserted a position but not backed it up with any facts.

    I’ve asserted a position based on the study I cited – which is the position of the authors of that study.

    You claim that the data doesn’t support their conclusions, but have yet to support that claim in any way.

    Cite your data. Where’s this bell curve of which you speak? Back up your claims and I’ll listen.

  388. 388
    Amphiox

    I don’t think you read the study I cited. If you did, you’d see that it makes exactly the opposite point. Over-regulated countries (as I’m assuming you’d define them) are toward the bottom of the heap in terms of prosperity.

    Don’t make such assumptions.

    All the economies in that study are already within the butter zone of ideal “good” level regulation, compared to historical precedent. The modern world, which this study is about, is already the most prosperous the human species has ever been. The level, or lack thereof, of regulation you have been arguing for in your earlier posts is far, far off the curve of anything in that study, and therefore that study is not relevant to your core argument. Which was my original point. There is NO MODERN study that actually supports your original position, because your original position has no modern example for comparison.

    The reason the level of regulation you had been arguing for is NOT in that study is because it does not exist in the world today. It had already been tried historically, and failed so spectacularly that it was worse than ANYTHING in that study. Nations, being generally run by quasi-rational actors, thus abandoned that level of regulation which you had been advocating long, long ago.

    If we went back and adopted the failed regulatory policies you had previously argued for, we would give up nearly all of the progress in advancement of prosperity that the modern world has achieved, and revert to the conditions of a far less prosperous historical period.

  389. 389
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The data that you cite does NOT support your position. That will not change no matter how many times you try to cite it.

    Reminds me of various creobots, insisting a paper shows evolution is false, when if they actually read the full paper with understanding, would see the paper backs evolution.

  390. 390
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    caesar,

    1. There are no regulations forcing an employer to pay employee A a living wage. Employee A is working full-time there. He occasionally works some odd jobs.

    Unfortunately, he also needs to waste some of his time sleeping in order to function.

    How is he supposed to fulfill his “responsibility” to earn a living wage?

    2. If the employer doesn’t have a responsibility to pay his worker a living wage, what do you think about other responsibilities employers should or shouldn’t have, like a safe work environment?
    Which responsibilities is it ok to force on businesses, in relation to their employees?

    3. you don’t think it’s fair to regulate wages, but it’s ok to regulate drugs and alcohol. Why?
    If you think I should legally be able to buy crack, why would you force regulations on the sellers? They are just doing their business of making money, like McDonalds’.

  391. 391
    alwayscurious

    I’m aware that Costco pays its employees very well, which is great, but that’s something that they “choose” to do because they can afford it, and they feel it’s the right thing to do. I disagree with making a business pay a so-called living wage. The underlying implication behind living wages is that businesses have some sort of obligation (from where, I don’t know) to ensure that their employees are making enough money to live off of. It’s ultimately “your” responsibility to make a living wage, not your employer, and I don’t care about how it sounds because it’s the truth.

    Incorrect again Caesar! Let’s say I refuse to work for less than I think I’m worth. I’d want full time work at a wage sufficient for being self-sufficient, but I can’t find work at those wages & hours. So now I have two choices: work for less (who’d want to do that?!?) or be unemployed (how ghastly!!). If I’m unemployed, I am now on the safety net. If I work and can’t be self-sufficient, and I simply put a smaller strain on the system. The living wage idea is that some employers and sectors exist wherein workers have only the choice between poverty or more poverty. This exists NOT because of lack of money to spend on wages or because the work is unimportant, but rather through corporate oligopolies/monopolies, treating employees as a “resource”, etc.

    Naturally, this problem could be fixed by many alternative routes rather than legislating a living wage. But the problem is real & is the kind of problem I want the government solving. Care to deny to problem or provide a more suitable alternative?

  392. 392
    Tom J

    Maureen –

    “I cannot be obliged, by indenture, slavery, discrimination, to sell my labour for significantly less than it is worth.”

    I’m not sure I completely understand your point. In a free market, labor agreements should always be enacted by each party through their own free will. If a company is not willing to pay you what you determine to be the market value of your labor, you’re under no compulsion (in the United States) to work for that company. You’re free to market your labor to another company.

    An economically unfree country – say Cuba for example – would set a limit to the amount of money you could be paid for your labor. That would be the antithesis of what I’m talking about.

  393. 393
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    caesar:

    Increase teacher salaries so that high quality candidates feel that they can make a good living, while still doing something they’re passionate about.

    It’s their own responsibility to try and make a good living. If they want to be passionate about teaching, they can be passionate about it working those extra hours.

  394. 394
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Tom J #392

    If a company is not willing to pay you what you determine to be the market value of your labor, you’re under no compulsion (in the United States) to work for that company.

    As alwayscurious says, at #391, this choice often does not exist. The choice is, more often, a wage that is too low to live on, or no wage.

    You’re free to market your labor to another company.

    Provided there are other jobs available. And provided they come with a living wage.

    Is it nice there, in your fantasy world?

  395. 395
    Anthony K

    You’re free to market your labor to another company.

    Unless you’re gay (says Cato.) Or know that geography is a thing (says reality.)

  396. 396
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    I don’t have an impression that these fools have ever actually looked for a job. Went to interviews, where you knew there was 300 other people applying for that one spot. And they are all as desperate as you are, because there are only so many jobs opening up in your area, and you see so many people just for that one single spot. 298 of them are going to apply for that next spot or two that opens up just like you will.

  397. 397
    Anthony K

    If you can refute this then by all means, please do. As a skeptic I follow the data where it leads me.

    If you don’t have data to refute it, then it is you, not me, who are relying on a belief system (like creationists).

    Which one is it? Take your pick.

    Tom, you still haven’t owned up to the fact that the Cato study does not mention health at all, despite your assertion that it did and supported your conclusion.

    But by all means, name drop Sagan again if you think that’s gonna help your case.

  398. 398
    Maureen Brian

    It’s a pretty picture you paint, Tom J @ 392 but in the real world it just ain’t so!

    alwayscurious just one above you understands this and we have already discussed the WalMart style of doing business. For someone laid off during a recession or trying to get back to work after an injury the choices have to be real and the freedom to negotiate has to be respected by employers, by the media’s opinion formers and by politicians. Right now there is no such respect and here is a race to the bottom as regards wage rates for what I, as a Brit, insist upon calling the working class – those people who depend upon what they earn for all or almost all of what they consume.

    You may have worked out that I’m a woman. I’m a fairly ancient one now and don’t work but during a working life from roughly 1962 to 2005 the only times I was assured even of equal pay with someone doing the exact same job was in civil service jobs with strong if very well behaved unions.

    Three times, working elsewhere, I have taken over a job from a man and each time the terms and conditions have been made less favourable because I was a woman. Of course I fought back against bewildered blokes who were amazed that this time they were not getting away with it!

    In your ideal world such a situation could not arise but don’t try to tell me that I’ve ever had perfect freedom to negotiate. There have been times when putting food on the table was more important.

  399. 399
    Anthony K

    By the way Tom, how is those google searches I gave you working out for you? The results included enough studies and references to studies that you should be pretty darn busy poring over the results.

    You know, as you would be doing if you were actually a skeptic, following the data where it leads you.

    Would you like me to post that link again, or are you still too afraid to click through?

  400. 400
    Amphiox

    You’re free to market your labor to another company.

    Not without government REGULATION you’re not.

    Surely you are not so naive as to be unaware of the long and sordid history of businesses blacklisting former employees?

  401. 401
    A. Noyd

    caesar (#359)

    No, it’s partially a result of the inability of government to get things done.

    See what others have said about sabotage.

    For a business to willingly stop investing, suggests that there’s a lack of confidence on their part.

    First off, it’s not really “businesses.” “Businesses” don’t think or plan—human beings involved in them do, and humans have all number of foibles and shortcomings. Second, failure to invest doesn’t suggest a lack of confidence at all. Our current economic conditions are ones that businesses, through their lobbyists, have sought to put in place. That fact just destroys your idiotic point about confidence. However irrationally they’re behaving otherwise, they’re not going to go out of their way to undermine their own confidence. And the more they get their way, the more they—or rather, a few people at the tippy top—take money out of the economy and hoard it.

    It doesn’t benefit businesses to sit on cash and do nothing, as the only way a business can prosper is if they keep expanding and investing. … Even if businesses were using the Tea Party to get themselves lower tax rates, if they’re not going to use the money saved then it defeats the purpose of having it.

    Unless having it is their purpose. Maybe you and I could agree that that’s a stupid goal, but, unlike you, I don’t expect the super-duper rich to be rational. They’ve been obsessed with short-term gain for a while now and have been running their businesses that way at the expense of economic health and stability. And, as I pointed out above, the money doesn’t end up with “businesses,” it ends up with individuals, like the Waltons. You can insist it shouldn’t be that way all you want, but wishing won’t make the Waltons and their ilk stop existing as nasty, money-hoarding, economy-destroying parasites. You don’t win the argument by failing to factor in the possibility that people are being irrational, greedy assholes.

    People do still need to be able to live on their own income. It’s just not anyone else’s responsibility to give it to you.

    HOW CAN THEY LIVE ON THEIR OWN INCOME IF NO ONE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING A LIVING WAGE? You can’t have it both ways, you stupid fuck. (Unless what you really want is more people starving and dying of treatable diseases.) Either businesses have to pay at least a living wage or the state has to use tax money to provide what people can’t afford because they’re paid too little. There’s a minimum cost to keeping people alive. If you don’t want to make sure they get that somehow, you must either want them dead or you just don’t care. There is no option where money magically poofs itself into existence when workers decide they’d rather avoid welfare.

  402. 402
    Anthony K

    Surely you are not so naive as to be unaware of the long and sordid history of businesses blacklisting former employees?

    Ah, but like selling products that are toxic, dangerous, or otherwise unsafe, what would be the benefit to a company doing that? therefore it didn’t happen.

  403. 403
    Tom J

    Anthony –

    You’re correct, I mistakenly attributed the health results to the study I cited. The data do support my position, I just incorrectly attributed them: “Economic freedom has been shown to correlate strongly with higher average income per person, higher income of the poorest 10%, higher life expectancy, higher literacy, lower infant mortality, higher access to water sources and less corruption.”

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

    Many other references and further reading, as always, at the bottom of the wikipedia page. I’m sure you follow the data where it leads you, too…right?

  404. 404
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    In Tom’s world, there are, obviously, more jobs than there are workers to fill them.

  405. 405
    Tom J

    One more thing Anthony – you blatantly, and in all likelihood willfully – misrepresented CATO’s position in the link you cited.

    There is an insidious trend here for some commenters – and not necessarily you Anthony – to willfully misinterpret their political opponents position in order to make a point. Debate is close to impossible under these conditions which, I imagine, is partly the point.

  406. 406
    Rob Grigjanis

    Tom J @392:

    If a company is not willing to pay you what you determine to be the market value of your labor, you’re under no compulsion (in the United States) to work for that company.

    That’s a perfectly acceptable rephrasing of Anatole France’s observation;

    In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets, and steal loaves of bread.

  407. 407
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Debate is close to impossible under these conditions which, I imagine, is partly the point.

    Liberturds don’t debate. Their theology simply cannot be refuted, as their belief is presuppositional. Debate implies that you could change your mind. Tom J., what would be required to CHANGE YOUR MIND?
    For me, evidence you have, or you would have presented it by now.

  408. 408
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Dang, posted too fast. Last sentence in #407:
    For me, evidence you don’t have, or you would have presented it by now.

  409. 409
    Anthony K

    You’re correct, I mistakenly attributed the health results to the study I cited. The data do support my position, I just incorrectly attributed them: “Economic freedom has been shown to correlate strongly with higher average income per person, higher income of the poorest 10%, higher life expectancy, higher literacy, lower infant mortality, higher access to water sources and less corruption.”

    So, that’s just the same report, put out by the Canadian arm of the Cato Institute.

    Many other references and further reading, as always, at the bottom of the wikipedia page. I’m sure you follow the data where it leads you, too…right?

    Did you follow my link?

    There is an insidious trend here for some commenters – and not necessarily you Anthony – to willfully misinterpret their political opponents position in order to make a point. Debate is close to impossible under these conditions which, I imagine, is partly the point.

    Some commenters being you, as per 338:

    Couple interesting responses to my Korea reference, which boil down to: South Korea isn’t a libertarian utopia so I must be wrong.

    Noted, South Korea isn’t a libertarian utopia. In the economic freedom study I linked to earlier they have been ranked anywhere from 36th to 52nd in the past 30 years. Which isn’t too bad but there is room for improvement.

    However whether or not Korea is a libertarian utopia isn’t the point.

    That’s an entirely strawmanned position. The argument people were making was that South Korea and Japan’s economies include great government regulation of entire industries, trade tariffs, etc. They’re fairly centralised governments in many ways. They very free when compared to North Korea, but who’s even advocating for communism?

    This is one of the reasons I’ve been treating you like a dishonest asshole (not to mention the whole skeptic because Sagan bullshit, which is such a trite and common ploy.)

    Sorry: were you under the impression that you were being honest in this discussion? Are you unaware that threads can easily be searched?

  410. 410
    Tom J

    Maureen -

    I think I understand you a bit better now. It appears that you didn’t express yourself accurately enough in this sentence:

    “I cannot be obliged, by indenture, slavery, discrimination, to sell my labour for significantly less than it is worth.”

    What I think you meant to say is “I cannot be obliged, by indenture, slavery, discrimination, to sell my labour for significantly less than *I think* it is worth.”

    Let’s take an example. You offer to sell me a widget for $10. I say I think it’s worth $5. After some haggling, we agree on $7.50. What is that widget worth?

    $7.50 is the obvious answer because we both agreed upon that price. Now imagine that widget is your labor, and the price is per hour. I think what you’re saying is that you, as the seller, want to force me, as the buyer, to pay $10 for your labor because that’s what you think it’s worth.

    This is actually the opposite of the sentence you wrote – instead of the company obliging you to work for significantly less than you’re “worth”, you would oblige the company to pay you significantly more than you’re “worth”.

    If your labor were actually worth significantly more than your current employer is paying you, another company would snatch you up in a heartbeat – this is why executive pay tends to be exorbitant, the company believes it is hiring talent (whether that actually is or is not the case is sometimes a judgement call). What trips people up is that assumption that their labor is worth significantly more than someone else’s – we’d all like to think that, but for many un-skilled or low-skilled jobs it just isn’t so.

    Worth – the term – is a two way street. By definition implies a buyer and a seller. Once those two actors agree, worth is determined. What is gold worth? Less than it was a year ago, that’s for sure, but it’s value is always changing based on who wants to sell, and who wants to buy, and at what price. Forcing a value for “worth” upon one actor or the other is antithecal to economic freedom.

    Of course my whole comment to this point has been gender neutral – there is no excuse for paying a woman less than a man simply because of her gender. And this is an example of a regulation I don’t mind – if this was all the government was regulating I’d have no arguments.

  411. 411
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    *snicker* Citing the Cato Institute? Bought and paid for by the Koch family? Presuppositional paper until proven otherwise….

  412. 412
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Re the living wage

    Most people will accept that their freedom to drive extremely fast on residential streets should be limited by law, because driving too fast on residential streets leads to people being harmed.

    Most people will accept that their freedom to fire off a rifle anywhere they please should be curbed, by law, because… etc.

    Many freedoms are curbed, by law, because people will be harmed if they are not, and most people accept this and deem it sensible.

    Society is built, to a large part, upon such compromises between self-interest and the safety and security of others.

    We’re merely saying that your freedom to pay workers as little as possible should be curbed, by law, at the point where paying less would lead to people being harmed.

  413. 413
    Al Dente

    Tom J @372

    I read the Cato propaganda. Despite being from a libertarian organization it does not actually support your claim that “the freer a market is, the more prosperous it’s people are”. What you provided was a logical fallacy. The formal term for this fallacy is argumentum ad mendacitas, which loosely translates into English as “making shit up” or more commonly called “lying”.

    Incidentally, if you think the Hong Kong market is free then you’re an ignoramus. Which country is Hong Kong is and what’s the name of the political party which runs that country? The answers to these questions might give you a clue about how free the Hong Kong market actually is.

  414. 414
    Tom J

    Anthony -

    Threads can be searched?? Holy shit….

    If the link you’re referring to was the google search on income inequality, then I’m missing your point, unless your point is that income inequality increases as free market reforms take hold, which is a point you haven’t made yet and something we’re not even arguing.

    And what is it with liberals and data…

    Looking at the Cato data, South Korea has been ranked in the top half to top third. I made no statements of fact nor any value judgements about the specific economic policies you cite (for which you provide no links). The one major point I’ve hammered home in this thread is that, according to this data, the freer a country is, the more prosperous its people are. On that scale, South Korea is in the top third and North Korea is at the very bottom, something which is confirmed by anyone who’s actually been to either North or South Korea or both.

    Treat me like a dishonest asshole all you want, but unless and until you’re able to refute this evidence, I’ll be the one wondering whether or not you believe the earth is 6000 years old.

  415. 415
    Tom J

    Al Dente – so what you are saying is that this paragraph of the report is false, and that the data shows it to be false:

    “Nations in the top quartile of economic freedom had an average per-capita GDP of $36,446 in 2011, compared to $4,382 for nations in the bottom quartile in 2011 current international dollars. In the top quartile, the average income of the poorest 10% was $10,556, compared to $932 in the bottom quartile in 2011 current international dollars. Interestingly, the average income of the poorest 10% in the most economically free nations is more than twice the overall average income in the least free nations. Life expectancy is 79.2 years in nations in the top quartile compared to 60.2 years in those in the bottom quartile, and political and civil liberties are considerably higher in economically free nations than in unfree nations.”

    Please enlighten me on how this course of events could happen…

    Then please enlighten me on what exactly the data shows, which is apparently entirely different than what the authors say it does. How could they have gotten it so wrong??

    And please read up a bit on Hong Kong, it’s constitutional document, and it’s economic system. I’m sure you’ll find it interesting. Here’s a start: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong

    Here’s a taste: “Hong Kong ranks the third most important leading international financial centre, after London and New York City, Hong Kong has a major capitalist service economy characterised by low taxation and free trade…”

  416. 416
    Tom J

    Daz -

    Because I’m on a roll, and apparently have nothing better to do on a Friday night…

    “We’re merely saying that your freedom to pay workers as little as possible should be curbed, by law, at the point where paying less would lead to people being harmed.”

    At what point does “paying people as little as possible…lead to people being harmed”? That’s a value judgement.

    Why not raise the minimum wage to $20? $30? $100 an hour? Certainly workers wouldn’t be harmed by being paid $100 an hour, right?

    In economics, the mechanism you’re describing is called elasticity – the sensitivity of goods or services to an increase or decrease in price. Gasoline is relatively inelastic, which means that a change in price has a relatively minor effect on gasoline consumption. If you have a car, and need it to commute to work, you’re going to pay the extra 10 cents (as an example) a gallon for gas.

    Other things are more elastic, beverages, for example. If the price of a Coke were raised 20% (and the price of a Pepsi remained constant) people would not pay the extra money and switch to drinking Pepsi as a viable substitute.

    Labor has an elasticity – exactly what that elasticity is has been the subject of some considerable debate. Here’s a 101 primer from Penn State: http://elearning.la.psu.edu/econ315/lesson-4/elasticity-of-labor-demand

    As with any other good or service, as prices increase, demand decreases. As the price for labor increases, the demand for labor decreases, meaning some people working minimum wage right now will be out of a job, and others will be making, as you describe it, a wage that will not harm them.

    However the people who are out of a job are harmed, are they not?

    Also implicit in this discussion are assumptions about who works minimum wage jobs, how long they stay at minimum wage, etc. Minimum wage jobs are often entry level positions where workers stay for only a short period of time. I personally have worked minimum wage, but only for a few months before I was given a raise due to my performance (which meant I showed up for work on time, stayed sober – I worked at a bar, and performed satisfactorily). Others have had different experiences.

    These are highly complex arguments with lots of math interspersed with lots of anecdotal stories and even expert economists have been known to disagree, so it’s not something we’re going to solve on this blog tonight.

  417. 417
    Maureen Brian

    No, Tom, I don’t agree with you. You make the notion that my labour might have some intrinsic value sound like some silly girlish whim of mine.

    Though there will always be some room for manoeuvre and/or discussion these will be within objective limits. There will be a point below which you would be underpaying me and another above which you would be overpaying me. Even allowing for fluctuations in the economy those points would be possible to identify. They would depend upon what skills you are asking me to bring to the table, what work you are expecting me to do and, in a capitalist system, how much you will gain by selling on the product of my labour.

    Supposed that I am a skilled and experienced silversmith, one who can turn £5 worth of silver into an object worth over £100 and that I can produce, say, five similar items in a month. Would you feel comfortable paying me the minimum wage? Of course not. There must be some correspondence between the worth of what I do and what I am paid for it.

    Strange to say, there are all sorts of ways of arriving at a more or less agreed scale of values for particular types of work within an organisation. The key to success would be to bring in as many objective measures as possible and to keep at arms length anyone who might use a power differential in his favour to skew the process.

    I note that you attempted to over-simplify up there by – possibly to help yourself – discussing the whole thing as though I sold my labour in widget-sized chunks or at 3 pence per shovelful. Come on! We’re in a post industrial world and piecework belongs to a different age.

    I think of one post I had as a manager with a major non-profit. I’m sure you would want to send a time and motion man to count up how many pieces of paper I signed. Totally irrelevant. What I was selling included inter-personal skills, political skills, management experience, the ability to design a bespoke computer system and to keep on fighting for it until, at the third attempt, we finally got an IT chief who could understand the possibilities and implement the damn thing. All this while managing to produce a gross income in excess of £10 million with total costs and overheads in single figures. And I wont even charge for the time I spent while ironing for the family on Sunday afternoons. That was when I would work out the details of the advertising campaigns.

    I’m not one of the very few people for whom ironing a shirt takes the whole of my brain power so don’t treat me like one.

    And while we’re at it, what’s this about trying to scare us with Cuba? Have you ever been there? Yes, it’s poor but so are 150-odd other countries. Yes, the flow of information to the people is filtered, as it is in the US – just by different people. Yes, it has political prisoners but then so does the US. Its health service is better and access to it is more secure and, as others have mentioned, there is sometimes a trade-off between wealth and security. The music is good, too!

  418. 418
    alwayscurious

    So can you explain Tom, why gas in Oregon is NOT monumentally more expensive despite requiring minimum wage jobs to pump every tank of gas? In a state with almost the highest minimum wage nationwide? Fuck your inelastic bullshit.

    Ever think that maybe minimum wage is inelastic? That there would always be people working at minimum wage no matter how low it got? Get your nose out of Econ 101 and check out IRL v2014.

  419. 419
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Get your nose out of Econ 101 and check out IRL v2014.

    Why are you giving Tom J. credit for Econ 101. I think Xe failed High School Econ…..

  420. 420
    Anthony K

    unless your point is that income inequality increases as free market reforms take hold, which is a point you haven’t made yet and something we’re not even arguing

    You’re right; I was working from that assumption. I was specifically talking about economic inequality and health. It was right there in the comment I wrote which you paraphrased. I’m sorry if that was unclear.

    I’m arguing that economic inequality is bad for people, and bad for economies. There are data to back this up, though the causal links are by no means straightforward.

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

    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/feb/26/imf-inequality-economic-growth

    If you are not disagreeing with that, then I apologise for my assumption that you were.

    I’ll be the one wondering whether or not you believe the earth is 6000 years old.

    Really? What do you think a ‘skeptic’ would do to find that out? What would Sagan do?

    How could they have gotten it so wrong??

    You understand social science is more difficult than spitting in a petri dish, right? You know that indices and proxy measurements are used to make analyses easier, but come with their own problems, right? It’s not for nothing that the Cato institute use some factors in their analysis and not others. Not because they’re biased (of course they are, but I’m not going to pretend that left-leaning organisations aren’t similarly biased), but because meaningful multivariate analysis requires some deal of variable selection.

    At what point does “paying people as little as possible…lead to people being harmed”? That’s a value judgement.

    See, that’s incorrect, and that’s where I’ve been driving at with references to health outcomes and inequality. The first, and often referenced study is the Whitehall Study. Now, it appears that it’s not actually the low pay that’s harmful; it’s the stress associated with the disparity in one’s pay versus another.

    Interestingly, a solution to this that may satisfy you as well as I with regard to this may not be in higher taxes for the rich (the IMF paper talks about some of the issues with redistribution efforts such as these), but in different ways in which we structure businesses, namely by increasing worker share of corporate ownership. (I cited Richard Wilkinson specifically here because he’s someone whose work on economic equality and health I draw upon a lot, and so imagine my surprise when I see him saying something that contradicts what I’d previously thought.)

  421. 421
    Rob Grigjanis

    Tom J cares about average (sufficiently statistically coarsened) life expectancies, not embarrassing details like this, for the Pine Ridge reservation;

    Life Expectancy in 2007 was estimated to be 48 for males and 52 for females

    The Infant Mortality rate is 5 times higher than the national average

    Freedom, baby! And the devil take the hindmost.

  422. 422
    Amphiox

    Why are you giving Tom J. credit for Econ 101. I think Xe failed High School Econ…..

    Do they even teach Economics in high school? (They probably should, but….)

  423. 423
    Anthony K

    Life expectancy is a problematic measurement all around. Collapsing an entire distribution into a single measure of central tendency, with no other information about variance, skewness, etc. loses a lot of meaningful information.

  424. 424
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Tom J #416

    At what point does “paying people as little as possible…lead to people being harmed”? That’s a value judgement.

    At the very minimum: food + rent/mortgage + medical bills + clothing + utilities. Add a bit for transportation and some for a modicum of luxury. Aim high, rather than low. This is not a “value judgement,” it is “making sure people are able to live decently, like human beings.” Or, if you prefer, it’s “keeping your workforce healthy and happy.” After all, the HR wallahs employed at way more than minimum wage by these businesses keep telling us that a happy, healthy workforce is more productive—are you saying those people are wrong, and therefore not worth the wages being paid them?

    This can be done. My own country, the UK, has a minimum wage which, depending on the number of hours worked, though it doesn’t earn a place in the lap of luxury, does just-about guarantee a living wage.

    As with any other good or service, as prices increase, demand decreases. As the price for labor increases, the demand for labor decreases, meaning some people working minimum wage right now will be out of a job, and others will be making, as you describe it, a wage that will not harm them.

    Rubbish. If a firm needs a certain number of employees, then it needs that number of employees, regardless of what wage it’s paying them. Or are you saying that most businesses make a habit of voluntarily raising their own wages-bills for no good reason?

    These are highly complex arguments with lots of math interspersed with lots of anecdotal stories and even expert economists have been known to disagree, so it’s not something we’re going to solve on this blog tonight.

    The details may be complex, but the basics are, well, bloody basic: no decent society lets people starve so that others may profit. Only if you see making as big a profit as possible as the only freedom at stake, is that not true.

  425. 425
    Anthony K

    Do they even teach Economics in high school? (They probably should, but….)

    They do up here, or they did back in the early 90s, but it was a small component of Social Studies.

  426. 426
    Amphiox

    At what point does “paying people as little as possible…lead to people being harmed”? That’s a value judgement.

    No it’s not. It is definitively at some point at or above where the pay is so low that a full time job does not return a living wage. When you get to that point you are flat out PREVENTING the person from surviving by occupying so much of his or her time that he or she doesn’t have the time needed to make up the wage difference in order to meet basic survival needs.

  427. 427
    Amphiox

    The details may be complex, but the basics are, well, bloody basic: no decent society lets people starve so that others may profit.

    No smart or prescient society either.

    Why should anyone choose to remain a part of the social contract if doing so makes them starve so that others may profit? At that point, what have they left to lose in crime, or revolution? At that point, why SHOULDN’T they turn to crime or revolt?

    For the most purely selfish and rational of reasons, if you don’t want your citizens revolting, you *meet their basic needs.* Even regimes as oppressive as that of Ancient Rome knew when to give out the free bread.

  428. 428
    Travis

    Anthony K said:

    They do up here, or they did back in the early 90s, but it was a small component of Social Studies.

    I imagine this varies a lot from place to place. I was in high school in New Brunswick back in the 1990s and we did not have any economics, at least not as part of the compulsory classes. Maybe some of the electives did but I have little memory of those.

  429. 429
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Gee, here’s an article from Huffington with links (to Princeton & UC Berkeley) to show that raising the minimum wage in New Jersey actually helped it compared to across the river Pennsylvania which didn’t. Funny how liberturds ignore such evidence….
    The real question is when will liberturds quit lying about the evidence…..

  430. 430
    Tom J

    Maureen –

    Please don’t confuse the philosophical meaning of “intrinsic value” with it’s economic meaning.

    If I tell you that I own the baseball Kirby Puckett hit over the center field wall in the 11th inning of Game 6 of the 1991 World Series (I don’t) – what would that be worth to you? Probably not much – assuming you even know what I’m talking about – and to an Atlanta Braves fan it would likely be worth even less. But that ball’s value to a Minnesota Twin’s fan (perhaps even the proprietor of this blog) would be considerable. Does this baseball have an intrinsic value? No, it’s value is assigned by the person who agrees to sell it and the person who pays for it.

    Is your labor any different? Your labor is worth something. That “something” is likely within a set of “objective limits” as you call them. There’s a price at which you would work for a company and a price at which you would not, which encapsulates the lower bounds of that set of “objective limits”.

    Just as you will always and forever search for the lowest price for beverages of equal value, or laundry detergent of equal value, or gasoline of equal value, or wine of equal value, employers will always and forever search for the lowest price for labor of equal value. Unless you have some *thing* which, like the Puckett baseball, changes your value and makes you desirable to a certain employer. What that *thing* is may vary from employer to employer but when they find it they will pay for it.

    You said it yourself, “What I was selling included inter-personal skills, political skills, management experience, the ability to design a bespoke computer system and to keep on fighting for it until, at the third attempt, we finally got an IT chief who could understand the possibilities and implement the damn thing.”

    What is the intrinsic value of this set of skills? That’s the wrong question. The real question is what is the market value for this set of skills, and that is what you agreed to work for and what the company agreed to pay you.

    Anything other than this – either forcing workers to work for wages below market value or forcing employers to pay for labor above market value – is coercion. As a worker, one works in your favor and the other one doesn’t. As a proponent of free markets, I don’t like either of them.

  431. 431
    Tom J

    Anthony – you’re arguing a much finer point than I am.

    The Wilkerson study looked at 23 developed countries and the 50 US states. The CATO study looked at nearly all of the countries around the world and used different metrics.

    The countries experiencing third world problems (access to clean water, infant mortality, life expectancy) don’t care too much about income inequality, except as it relates to how their authoritarian governments can live in relative splendor while the working class live in squalor.

    Countries already in the first world – those in the Wilkerson study – can have the income inequality debate. But lets first get people out of mud huts and into homes with running water before we have a debate about where the furniture should go.

    From the wiki page you cited, “This pattern of higher incomes-longer lives still holds among poorer countries, where life expectancy increases rapidly as per capita income increases, but in recent decades it has slowed down among middle income countries and plateaued among the richest thirty or so countries in the world.” This, again, makes my point.

    The social sciences are, as you describe, more muddled than the “hard” sciences. And perhaps future studies will discount the effect seen in the Wilkerson study – or perhaps they already have, this is not my field of expertise. However, Nobel Prize winner F.A Hayek once noted, “The rapid economic advance that we have come to expect seems to be in large measure a result of this inequality and to be impossible without it. Progress at such a fast rate cannot take place on a uniform front but must take place in an echelon fashion, with some far in front of the rest.”

    At an intellectual level…why does it matter to me that Oprah is worth billions of dollars? Good for her. Why should her success bother me, unless I assume that the economy is like a pizza of a fixed size, and if her slice is bigger that means my slice is smaller. Of course it doesn’t work like that. The pizza gets bigger, as it has throughout history, and my slice gets bigger or smaller depending on my skill set, the market value of that skill set, and the decisions I make…just like Oprah.

  432. 432
    Maureen Brian

    But, Tom, employers don’t search for the lowest price for labour of equal value. Too often they search for someone they can take on cheaply and then pile extra responsibility onto without raising pay. And before long you’ll find someone doing less work or work of less value sitting at the next desk but paid more because s/he was taken on at a different date or by a different person. That way lies inefficiency and, eventually, disruption. I have helped sort out just such a mess.

    As for what my set of skills at that stage was worth, it had a range of values depending upon who was seeking to employ me – a small non-profit, a larger one or a commercial operation where exactly the same skill set would be worth several times what I was getting. The point was that it could never drop to zero.

    Even now, out of puff as I am and with one leg held together by medical Meccano, my worth as an employee is not even in sight of zero. It won’t be until I am comatose and on the point of death.

    Why, then, do I need to prove to you that I have worth. Everyone has that intrinsic worth which stops us cutting them up to insulate roofs with and for those very, very few who have virtually no economic worth it might still be more efficient and more civilised to pay them a wage anyway.

    And strangely enough I do not spend time looking for the cheapest this and the cheapest that. I would regard that as a colossal waste of time and energy. For most things I have a ceiling price and what comes in under that is fine. In other cases I’ll pay slightly over the odds to support a valued local business but then I’m one of these weird, lefty people who thinks there is more to life than screwing over my neighbour.

    And now I’m off to bed.

  433. 433
    Tom J

    Daz –

    All of these things are value judgements: “At the very minimum: food + rent/mortgage + medical bills + clothing + utilities. Add a bit for transportation and some for a modicum of luxury. Aim high, rather than low.”

    Food costs more in New York city than it does in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so do rent and clothing and utilities. A living wage in Manhattan is a king’s ransom in some other places around the US.

    “If a firm needs a certain number of employees, then it needs that number of employees, regardless of what wage it’s paying them.”

    You’re correct to a point – a company can stay in business by raising it’s prices to accommodate the increase in labor costs, but only as much as the market will allow. But “need” is also a value judgement – does Wal-Mart need, for example, cashiers for every check-out line? No, they can have one cashier for a single check-out line but that will cause an increase in wait times for the customers and a decrease in revenue as customers go to other retail outlets. What’s the right number of cashiers (depending on traffic, season, etc.)? Wal-Mart has a number based on data that maximizes revenue, but “need” is a value judgement.

    “The details may be complex, but the basics are, well, bloody basic: no decent society lets people starve so that others may profit. Only if you see making as big a profit as possible as the only freedom at stake, is that not true.”

    This would be an example of why the left wins so many of these debates – it just seems like they “care” so much more about people. Where in the US are people starving so that others may profit? Show me these people. Then travel to North Korea or some other authoritarian state and I’ll show you people who are starving as a direct result of the policies their leaders have put in place. Look at the Cato data I cited again, the poor in economically freer countries make more per year than the average worker in economically unfree countries. Poor is relative. Poor in an economically free country means you might be down at the moment, but you have the opportunity to improve your station in life. Poor in an authoritarian country means you’re screwed, now and forever, because you won’t have that opportunity, the authoritarian government that put you in shackles is going to keep you there because it maintains their position of power. That’s the reality.

    The one thing that changes that reality is freedom – and it’s entirely shocking to me that I actually have to make this argument to people, especially people in the United States (you’re in the UK and you’re the oppressors we shook off to form this country, so you’re excused).

  434. 434
    Maureen Brian

    Before I go, the man’s name is Wilkinson! He and Kate Pickett did an excellent presentation in the hall a couple of streets away and, of course, I attended.

    As for Hayek’s inequality as the engine of progress, he did some work to support the idea that this operated between nations. Within nations? It was an aside, an assumption. It was never substantiated and the idea has been regularly challenged, not least by Keynes.

  435. 435
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Food costs more in New York city than it does in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so do rent and clothing and utilities. A living wage in Manhattan is a king’s ransom in some other places around the US.

    Typical non-sequitur from a well refuted liberturd.

    The pizza gets bigger, as it has throughout history, and my slice gets bigger or smaller depending on my skill set, the market value of that skill set, and the decisions I make…just like Oprah.

    Nope, it gets bigger or smaller at the whims of management, who thinks paying you a living wage doesn’t work for their bottom line. Despite evidence to the contrary. Like you, they don’t like evidence that refutes their presuppositions….

  436. 436
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Anything other than this – either forcing workers to work for wages below market value or forcing employers to pay for labor above market value – is coercion.

    Gee, here we go again with a well refute piece of bullshit. No coercion should be applied. The companies should do so on their own. But they are afraid if they do, others, won’t, and will have a competitive advantage. If all must, the competitive advantage goes away. And more money is available to circulate in the local economy. Duh, you failed pre-basic economics, like all liberturds….

  437. 437
    chigau (違う)

    If a company is not willing to pay you what you determine to be the market value of your labor, you’re under no compulsion (in the United States) to work for that company. You’re free to market your labor to another company.

    If your labor were actually worth significantly more than your current employer is paying you, another company would snatch you up in a heartbeat

    I cannot believe anyone who says stuff like this has ever had an actual job (outside their immediate family).

  438. 438
    Amphiox

    If a company is not willing to pay you what you determine to be the market value of your labor, you’re under no compulsion (in the United States) to work for that company. You’re free to market your labor to another company.

    Said freedom exists only when government regulation enforces it.

    And if you are currently making less than a living wage, you don’t have that freedom even if the law technically protects it for you. Because you CAN’T AFFORD the time it takes to find another job, even if that job was available.

    Nothing limits economic freedom more than poverty. Subsistence living is the greatest tyrant of all.

  439. 439
    Amphiox

    If your labor were actually worth significantly more than your current employer is paying you, another company would snatch you up in a heartbeat

    ONLY if government REGULATION prevents the two companies from colluding to exploit your labor on the cheap and share the profits between them.

  440. 440
    chigau (違う)

    PSA for those quoting without the cute, other colour offset
    try this
    <blockquote>paste copied text here</blockquote>
    it does this

    paste copied text here

    Without making you make sense, it makes your comments easier to read.

  441. 441
    Amphiox

    I cannot believe anyone who says stuff like this has ever had an actual job (outside their immediate family).

    The vast majority of libertarian sympathizers haven’t. It is not for nothing that the ideology is most popular among college-age students who have not yet had to work a day’s real work in their lives.

  442. 442
    chigau (違う)

    Amphiox #441
    I know quite few college-attenders who are working not-so-nice jobs to feed their habit.
    I also know a number of artists who are doing the same.
    I’m going to start asking about their politics.
    I bet I don’t hear much about boot-straps.

  443. 443
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Tom J #433

    Fuck that shit. One short, easy-to-understand quote:

    But “need” is also a value judgement

    Not for the person trying to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads, it isn’t.

    You can prattle on about your worship of The Holy Market™ until the cows come home and settle down to gin-and-tonics over a game of Scrabble, but that will not change the fact that the people giving all of their available working hours to the firm need certain things in order to survive. And I do not give a flying fuck if paying them enough to do so means the CEO has to buy a smaller fucking yacht this year.

    If The Holy Market™ cannot supply society—all members of society—with at at the very least, means of survival and a measure of human dignity, then The Holy Market™ is a fucking shitty system which needs to be thrown away. It is supposed to serve us, not us it.

  444. 444
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Oops. Preview is our friend…

  445. 445
    Snoof

    And because it needs to be asked again:

    If my choices in your economic system are, “starve slowly” and “starve quickly”, why should I not take a third way and steal your stuff instead? Why should I care about your property rights when you don’t care about my vitality rights?

    (Or, as is very common, “watch people I care for starve slowly” and “watch people I care for starve quickly”. And for “starve”, feel free to read “die of exposure” or “die due to lack of treatment for otherwise treatable disease” or any one of the many, many ways poverty kills people.)

  446. 446
    Rey Fox

    The pizza gets bigger, as it has throughout history

    Ah yes, infinite growth, we can keep counting on that.

  447. 447
    Rey Fox

    (Or, as is very common, “watch people I care for starve slowly” and “watch people I care for starve quickly”. And for “starve”, feel free to read “die of exposure” or “die due to lack of treatment for otherwise treatable disease” or any one of the many, many ways poverty kills people.)

    But freedumb.

  448. 448
    chigau (違う)

    On-line Libertarians would not last until morning tea-time in any scenario that involved meat-space self-sufficiency.

  449. 449
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Seconding chigau @437.
    I wonder how privileged these libertarian fuckwits are…

  450. 450
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    <aside>
    I want infinite pizza! Mildly spicy, with pepperoni and infinite varieties of cheese.
    </aside>

  451. 451
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    Daz,
    A really important question:

    Is infinite pizza subject to infinite changes, or would I be forced to eat the same kind of pizza forever and ever?

  452. 452
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Infinite changes, for sure. Avoid playing with the spice-dial, however as finding out that the Scoville scale goes to infinity could be very painful.

  453. 453
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Tom J @377:

    Ogvorbis, I think you’re disagreeing with me now just out of principle.

    Ah. I disagree with you, therefore I am lying?

    Pinochet was a tyrant, absolutely, and he has a lot of blood on his hands, absolutely, but he’s gone.

    So is Hitler. So is Stalin. So that means that we can’t look at the damage done? Murders, attempted genocide against the indigenous peoples of Chile, torture, rape, stealing children, economic disaster, all that is just water under the bridge and we don’t need to look at it?

    Were Castro and Chavez in perfect health they’d still be around torturing and imprisoning people – and their regimes still are.

    Castro is also a brutal dictator, a tyrant. But, and this is a big but, he actually improved the lot of the average Cuban. Look at literacy rates, standard of living, life expectency, health, education. Then look at Pinochet — less education, lowered standard of living, less health care, shortened life expectency for all but the 1%.

    And yes, if I had to choose between a place with no freedom and one with economic freedom only, I’d chose the latter. Are you telling me you wouldn’t?

    That depends. Am I one of the 1%ers or one of the peons? If I was a 1%er, Pinochet’s Chile would have been far more desirable. If I were in Cuba then, yeah, being a 1%er would be bad. But, were I a peon, I would be far better off in Castro’s Cuba of the 1960s-1980s than Pinochet’s Chile.

    I don’t think there’s anything stopping you from moving to either Venezuela or Cuba…might want to read Michael J. Totten’s recent report from Cuba before you go though.

    Cuba has reached the point that China has reached. Communism has done everything it can for Cuba and stagnation, with increased oppression, has set in. This does not mean that, for the vast majority of Cubans, the difference between 1960 and 1980 was not only huge, but, in terms of education, health, life expectency, and standard of living, a huge improvement.

    But, according to you, I’m a liar, so go fuck yourself you libertarian asshole.

  454. 454
    zenlike

    What is it with ceasar and redefining the meaning of words at whim? Really, that’s what you understand if you hear ‘profits’? You really are a dumb-fuck.

    Also, letting critics arguing their case and then providing counterarguments is ‘silencing them’. I see Tom J, our beloved oil-industry fan is now taking whole pages out of the right-wing bullshitting play-book.

  455. 455
    Tom J

    This has become quite a long conversation with a number of different people, so lets review the bidding real quick.

    In one of my first comments I made the point that economically and politically freer countries are more prosperous than countries which are less free. I then substantiated that claim by citing a Cato study. This is a claim which has gone unchallenged in this thread except by Anthony, who is actually making a much narrower point about income inequality which, even if his point proves correct, says little to nothing about the point I was making.

    With some commenters we’re into the name-calling and “go fuck yourself” phase now, which usually is a sign that debate is over and the one doing the name calling has nothing left.

    Not Maureen though – @434 – Sorry for screwing the man’s name up, I thought I wrote it correctly but evidently I didn’t. And Hayek and Keynes disagree? I’m shocked. If you’re interested in this kind of macro-economic theory and also interested in perhaps broadening your thinking there’s a great podcast I’ve listened to for years called EconTalk with Russ Roberts. Fair warning he’s from the Austrian school of economics and is going to disagree with Keynes a lot, but is intellectually curious enough to interview, at length and often, people who disagree with him. For those not interested in economics it can at times be insomnia-curing, but I find it fascinating.

    Nerd@435 – the pizza I was referring to is global GDP which has continually grown throughout the course of human history. The economy is not a zero sum game, people continually create more and greater value and as a result create more wealth.

    And this is an opportunity to combine a couple comments from Amphiox and Ogvorbis as well. Ideas like the three of you have will result in this growth engine shutting down. You appear to value economic stability and security above all else (which can be the only reason Obvorbis can say, with a straight face, that Cuba today is better off than Chile. Play around with some of the data here, and then tell me if you can say the same thing: http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=ny_gdp_mktp_cd&hl=en&dl=en&idim=country:CHL:ARG:COL#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=ny_gdp_pcap_cd&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:CHL:CUB&ifdim=region&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false).

    Government can regulate, preserve, protect, and coerce – but the one thing it does not do is create. My position is not and has never been that ALL regulation is bad, but given a general choice between less regulation and more regulation I will always err on the side of less regulation because I value creativity, innovation, and growth more than I do security. And as I’ve shown I believe the data are on my side on this – a byproduct of higher growth is greater economic security: “the average income of the poorest 10% in the most economically free nations is more than twice the overall average income in the least free nation.”

    Which brings me finally to Daz @443. Given the evidence I’ve provided for the power of freer markets to lift people out of abject poverty, what system would you replace it with? And upon what evidence are you basing your conclusions?

    You write as if “the holy market” were some ephemeral being to which libertarians genuflect – it not only exists and is working right now, if you live in the US or some other relatively free country you’re already benefiting from it. The US doesn’t need free markets – it could benefit from loosening regulations to be sure and doing away with Obamacare. The people who need freer markets are those living in squalor in N Korea, Africa, Cuba (yes, Ogvorbis, Cuba), and elsewhere around the world. It’s their standard of living I’m worried about. And yet you, and others here, would like to keep them in squalor because free markets don’t fit with your ideology. You prefer government to have a heavy hand in regulating the marketplace so you have to take shots at Cato and attempt to dismiss their findings even though the remedy they’re prescribing would – and has been proven to – help people.

    So I’m back to where I started. Freer markets promote prosperity and lift people out of poverty.

    If you’ve made a personal value judgement that you prefer the kind of security which an economic system like Cuba’s provides, then so be it. I side with Benjamin Franklin, who said “They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” That’s my own personal value judgement.

  456. 456
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Tom J @455:

    (yes, Ogvorbis, Cuba)

    Please note that I have limited my comments about Cuba to a specific period. If you wish to lie and pretend that I have extended that to the present day (which I quite specifically did not do (see my most recent previous)), that is your business. My comments stand. So do your lies. Enjoy.

  457. 457
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Given the evidence I’ve provided for the power of freer markets to lift people out of abject poverty, what system would you replace it with? And upon what evidence are you basing your conclusions?

    I have nothing against a “freer” market. My objection is to a market completely unfettered by humanistic considerations. No other liberty is completely unfettered in society, as I mentioned before, and I see no reason why “freedom to make a profit” should be.

    The evidence which I’m basing that on is the existence of poverty within wealthy societies: Your vaunted market quite obviously isn’t “lift[ing] people out of poverty,” as evidenced by the plain fact that it exists.

    I’ll say it again. Your claim for the capability of the market to keep people out of poverty is quite plainly bogus, because poverty actually does exist. If, as you claim, a fettered market simply would not work, and still wouldn’t lift people out of poverty, then what fucking use is it as a foundation upon which to build a society?

  458. 458
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Tom J:

    The markets in the United States, ca 1870 to 1900, were far, far, far more free than the markets in the United States today. There was virtually no government regulation. No minimum wage. No benefits. No safety net. No income taxes. So, according to you, everyone was wealthier? That’s bullshit. Yes, there was more wealth in the country. And all of the benefits went to the richest Americans. Just as all the wealth created in the United States in the last 30 years has gone to the richest Americans. Free markets create wealth, but only for the few. Regulated free markets (the US from WWII to ~1980-85) creates wealth that all share in (and the rich were still rich — and people still got rich).

  459. 459
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I then substantiated that claim by citing a Cato study

    Liberturd propaganda, bought and paid for by the Koch family. Which is why we are skeptical of its conclusions. As you should be.

    says little to nothing about the point I was making.

    Only in your arrogant and ignorant OPINION. Which is always dismissed as idiotlogical fuckwittery.

    With some commenters we’re into the name-calling and “go fuck yourself” phase now, which usually is a sign that debate is over and the one doing the name calling has nothing left.

    No fuckwit, its a sign you are unable to acknowledge and learn from your mistakes. Again, what evidence is required for you to be wrong? If you can answer that, you aren’t debating, but rather preaching.

    The economy is not a zero sum game, people continually create more and greater value and as a result create more wealth.

    The wealth should be generated and shared with the workers. By good wages, and the environment should be protected. But your precious economic “freedom” allows the unscrupulous, which is almost every company, ignore problems.

    hich can be the only reason Obvorbis can say, with a straight face, that Cuba today is better off than Chile.

    Gee, you didn’t read and understand what Orgovis said. Typical of your weaselly method of debate. What Orgovis said is that Cuba under communism had the worker standard of living rise, compare what happened in Chile under Pinochet. Where the workers suffered heavily due to over deregulation.

    but the one thing it does not do is create.

    Gee, I think of NASA and all those nice things happening with the government space program. The internet, super highways, and other things created with government money. For the good of the people.

    And yet you, and others here, would like to keep them in squalor because free markets don’t fit with your ideology.

    No, its you who would have them live in squalor, with inadequate wages, lack of health care, high prices due to monopolies, just so companies have “freedom”. Trickle down economics don’t work, and I knew it never would. Try reading history, not fiction from the Cato Institute.

    So I’m back to where I started. Freer markets promote prosperity and lift people out of poverty.

    CITATION STILL NEEDED, PREACHER. You lose loser.

    I side with Benjamin Franklin, who said “They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” That’s my own personal value judgement.

    Nice attempt, but you miss the point. We aren’t talking security. We are talking human rights. Something you don’t give a shit about, and neither does you idiotology. You talk people, but the walk is screw the 99%, and you are too stupid and ignorant to see through the lies.

  460. 460
    Maureen Brian

    If we are going to cherry-pick data then let us at least have some fun doing it.

    May I recommend, Tom, that you use that very google table to compare the per capita GDP of Chile, the United States, the Isle of Man (a small rock in the Irish Sea, pop approx 80K) and Australia. Others might enjoy the exercise, too.

    I think that several of us have been trying to point out that comparing whole societies on the basis of one variable can attempt to prove anything but, in fact, proves nothing. Especially if your preferred measure is ill-defined and essentially unquantifiable.

  461. 461
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    I side with Benjamin Franklin, who said “They who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” That’s my own personal value judgement.

    If we’ve sunk to arguments from “I know a quote about that”:

    There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.
    —Henry Ford

  462. 462
    Amphiox

    I knew he would bring up Franklin when I made that post, exposing once again his ignorance of what he is talking about.

    Economic security is not the same thing as safety.

    Economic security is actually the underpinning of the FREEDOM Franklin was talking about, because Franklin sure wasn’t talking about “economic ” freedom when he made that statement.

    If you do not have economic security, you do not have personal liberty. You cannot make free choices with your life. All your options are constrained by the crushing need to meet your basic survival requirements.

    There is no tyranny more oppressive than poverty.

    If you believe in PERSONAL liberty and freedom, you ALWAYS value economic security over economic “freedom”. Always.

  463. 463
    Tom J

    Daz –

    “I have nothing against a “freer” market. My objection is to a market completely unfettered by humanistic considerations.”

    If this statement is true then we have no argument. I’m not arguing for a market completely unfettered by humanistic considerations.

    “The evidence which I’m basing that on is the existence of poverty within wealthy societies: Your vaunted market quite obviously isn’t “lift[ing] people out of poverty,” as evidenced by the plain fact that it exists.”

    Your mistake is equating the poverty of wealthy, freer societies with the poverty of poorer, less fee societies. As the data show, the poor in wealthier societies make more than twice what the average person in a poorer society makes. I’ve travelled around the world a fair bit and the differences in the standard of living are, indeed, stark.

    And finally – that’s a great quote from Henry Ford. Were he alive today I imagine he would be aghast at what has happened to the car industry in Detroit as a direct result of people who read that quote and see nothing else of value in it aside from “paying the highest wages.”

  464. 464
    Tom J

    Amphiox – With all due respect you’re completely misreading Franklin and for that matter the entirety of the American revolution. On poverty, Franklin also said this: “I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”

    If I didn’t have a dime to my name, I would still be able to make free choices with my life. Those choices would be limited in scope – I couldn’t vacation in Barbados, as an example – but I would still be free.

    You’re also misunderstanding poverty – poverty itself is not tyrannous as long as you have the means and the opportunity to rise out of it. What is tyrannous are policies which limit economic and political freedom and ensure those in poverty will stay there.

  465. 465
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Tom J

    “I have nothing against a “freer” market. My objection is to a market completely unfettered by humanistic considerations.”

    If this statement is true then we have no argument. I’m not arguing for a market completely unfettered by humanistic considerations.

    That’s weird, because you seem to be pretty strongly opposed to the obvious humanitarianism-engendered fetter of making sure the workforce can survive on the money they earn. Either lower the cost of living or raise the minimum wage, or give everyone who needs it entitlement to direct, non-time-limited government aid, paid for by higher taxes. Those are your three choices, unless you want to dump the free market altogether, for collectivism or some other system—which latter, no, I don’t advocate.

    Your mistake is equating the poverty of wealthy, freer societies with the poverty of poorer, less fee societies.

    Odd, I don’t remember making that comparison at all. Could that—just possibly—be because I didn’t make that comparison at all?

    As the data show, the poor in wealthier societies make more than twice what the average person in a poorer society makes.

    Dear Muslima…

    And finally – that’s a great quote from Henry Ford. Were he alive today I imagine he would be aghast at what has happened to the car industry in Detroit as a direct result of people who read that quote and see nothing else of value in it aside from “paying the highest wages.”

    And I have no doubt that Franklin would be horrified to see people still living in cardboard boxes and dressed in rags, whilst even a modest middle-class house of today would seem a palace to him.

    My point was that arguments from quotations are silly. Thank you for proving my point by making a pointless argument from them.

  466. 466
    Tom J

    And Nerd…

    What evidence would convince me I’m wrong? Evidence that the data in the Cato study wrong. Simple as that, and no one in this thread to date has done so.

    That Cato is “biased” is not an argument against their data. You’re right to be skeptical of it, as I am, but being skeptical also means doing some investigating and finding out for yourself if they’re correct or not.

  467. 467
    consciousness razor

    If this statement is true then we have no argument. I’m not arguing for a market completely unfettered by humanistic considerations.

    You were arguing that we liberals are on the side of North Korea, and you’re siding with the South. Alternatively, you argued that tending toward “Lord of the Flies anarchy” leads to more prosperity than does “1984 totalitarianism,” and that some statistics are somehow supposed to support this. How eminently reasonable of you.

    I want to understand what you think is “unfree,” about any of the policies people here have been advocating, or which is a consequence of the claims they’ve been making. What brings them anywhere near the realm of 1984?

    Your mistake is equating the poverty of wealthy, freer societies with the poverty of poorer, less fee societies. As the data show, the poor in wealthier societies make more than twice what the average person in a poorer society makes.

    Looking at the GDP isn’t looking at cost of living, nor is it looking at what people don’t need to buy with the money they supposedly lack because it’s already provided for. Your data is total crap for showing what you claim that it shows. So who’s making the mistake?

    If I didn’t have a dime to my name, I would still be able to make free choices with my life. Those choices would be limited in scope – I couldn’t vacation in Barbados, as an example – but I would still be free.

    You wouldn’t be free to do a whole fuckload of things besides vacationing Barbados. What a total wanker you are for whitewashing over the effects of poverty.

    You’re also misunderstanding poverty – poverty itself is not tyrannous as long as you have the means and the opportunity to rise out of it.

    “Free” markets, of the kind you’ve been pushing here, do not allow for people to have the means or opportunity to rise out of it. That’s a slogan for you to say, but it doesn’t happen in reality. Owners and shareholders have the “freedom” to make profits, and everyone else has the “freedom” to pretend that’s the most important and primary function of our society.

  468. 468
    Tom J

    Daz -

    You’re the one reading into my arguments. I have made no value judgements on the “humanitarianism-engendered fetter” you describe. If we have disagreements I imagine it is with the size and scope of the programs you mention, not their existence.

    As to your second point, you wrote “The evidence which I’m basing that on is the existence of poverty within wealthy societies: Your vaunted market quite obviously isn’t “lift[ing] people out of poverty,” as evidenced by the plain fact that it exists.”

    Poverty is relative, as you tried to illustrate in your last paragraph. Someone living in poverty in Uganda would likely be thrilled to be living in poverty in the US (and here I’m thinking of the US Government’s definition of poverty).

    Sure, relative poverty exists in wealthily societies but it’s a far cry from poverty in poorer societies. And why is that? Because of the market of course…

    And I didn’t make an argument based on a quotation, I very clearly labeled it a value judgement and simply stated that I was agreeing with Franklin. You’re free to make a different value judgement, as you clearly have.

  469. 469
    chigau (違う)

    To quote someone
    do this
    <blockquote>paste copied text here</blockquote>
    this will happen

    paste copied text here

    It makes your comments easier to read.

  470. 470
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Poverty is relative, as you tried to illustrate in your last paragraph. Someone living in poverty in Uganda would likely be thrilled to be living in poverty in the US (and here I’m thinking of the US Government’s definition of poverty).

    Sure, relative poverty exists in wealthily societies but it’s a far cry from poverty in poorer societies. And why is that? Because of the market of course…

    Dying of exposure in an alley in New York is “thrilling” when compared to dying of exposure in an alley in Kampala? Please explain to me what is “relative” about this?

    And I didn’t make an argument based on a quotation, I very clearly labeled it a value judgement and simply stated that I was agreeing with Franklin. You’re free to make a different value judgement, as you clearly have.

    Your value judgement appears to be that profits are more important than human life and health. If not, why are you arguing against a living wage?

  471. 471
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Tom J:

    You keep insisting that economic freedom means that all are better off. Please explain how that applies to the laissez faire* economic policies of the United States during the late 19th century with specific reference to how much better off the poor were. Back in the 1880s, the US economy bore a remarkable similarity to various third-world countries — Uganda, for example — in which a very few families controlled almost all the wealth of that nation and the workers had no rights, no unions, no benefits, no safety net.

  472. 472
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Shit. Forgot my ‘*’

    * and laissez faire was far more than just keeping the government out of any and all business contracts. It included using federal troops and federal courts to limit the rights and freedoms of the workers. But, for the 1%ers, the economy had far more freedoms.

  473. 473
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Tom J:

    You’re also misunderstanding poverty – poverty itself is not tyrannous as long as you have the means and the opportunity to rise out of it.

    You do realize that when the wealthy hoard wealth (as has been occurring in the US for the last 30 years), it makes if far more difficult for anyone to ‘bootstrap’ themselves up? Concentration of wealth in a very small portion of the population leads to less social and economic upward mobility, not more.

  474. 474
    Tom J

    consciousness razor -

    “You were arguing that we liberals are on the side of North Korea…”

    I used the two Koreas as an example to illustrate my point. Never did I say that liberals were on the side of North Korea, nor would I say that. But there are a lot of people here arguing against the notion that a freer society is a more prosperous society, and nobody is using any data to back that point up.

    “Your data is total crap for showing what you claim that it shows. So who’s making the mistake?”

    So are you arguing that living in poverty in Angola, for example, is actually on par with living in poverty in the US? (Again, using the standard US Government definition of poverty) If you had to live in poverty in one place or the other which would it be?

    ““Free” markets, of the kind you’ve been pushing here, do not allow for people to have the means or opportunity to rise out of it. That’s a slogan for you to say, but it doesn’t happen in reality.”

    You’re absolutely, 100%, completely, totally, and utterly wrong. Income mobility data show otherwise. Anecdotal evidence shows otherwise. Here’s a good paper detailing income mobility http://www.nber.org/papers/w19843. Based on this study, which is limited to the US, “The fraction of children living in single-parent households is the strongest correlate of upward income mobility among all the variables we explored [p.45].”

  475. 475
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Tom J

    As chigau pointed out, it makes your quotes a lot easier for the reader to separate the words you are quoting from your own words, if you use blockquotes:

    <blockquote>Paste quoted text here</blockquote>

    Produces:

    Paste quoted text here

    Think of it as a courtesy.

  476. 476
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    As above, but with Real Sentences™

    Ho-hum.

  477. 477
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Tom J, liberturd bullshitter

    You’re [I'm] absolutely, 100%, completely, totally, and utterly wrong.

    Fixed that for you. Your mere opinion never was and never will be evidence. So it can and is dismissed as fuckwittery.

  478. 478
    Tom J

    Daz -

    “Dying of exposure in an alley in New York is “thrilling” when compared to dying of exposure in an alley in Kampala? Please explain to me what is “relative” about this?”

    You quoted this part, but didn’t read it apparently “(and here I’m thinking of the US Government’s definition of poverty)”

    I’ll save you the google search – https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/measure.html

    For a family of 5, the poverty threshold is $27,517. Compare that with what the average family makes in Angola, for example.

    Here’s another link detailing what I’m talking about: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_threshold

    “Once economic development has progressed beyond a certain minimum level, the rub of the poverty problem – from the point of view of both the poor individual and of the societies in which they live – is not so much the effects of poverty in any absolute form but the effects of the contrast, daily perceived, between the lives of the poor and the lives of those around them. For practical purposes, the problem of poverty in the industrialized nations today is a problem of relative poverty.”

  479. 479
    consciousness razor

    Let’s break this down a bit.

    Companies can aim to maximize profit for the owners/shareholders. They can also aim to maximize the value of their products/services to their customers. They can also aim to maximize the benefit to society as a whole, not just to those who buy their products/services. They can also aim to maximize the welfare of all of it employees (not just the owners/shareholders).

    These are all entirely legitimate things the owners/shareholders of a company can aim to do. The owners/shareholders are “free” to choose to do any of those things, to whatever degree they want. That is, they are “free” unless the rest of society (in the form of a government) prevents them from abusing that. They could just completely eliminate the company’s “right” to operate, if it’s harmful enough. Or they could merely regulate it in a variety of ways. The point is, when we compare the costs/benefits to something like Walmart with the costs/benefit to the entire country/planet, Walmart loses. That is as it should be.

    So your claim amounts to something which is utterly absurd: if societies do less to protect themselves from bad actors, the society is probably doing better. Because there’s all sorts of precious, precious Freedom™ to shit all over society. (It’s not at all obvious how that’s supposed to be good.) Or maybe it’s because you forgot what the fucking subject was, and you’re only measuring how much money a few people are making, not how good it is.

  480. 480
    Tom J

    Ogvorbis:

    Back in the 1880s, the US economy bore a remarkable similarity to various third-world countries — Uganda, for example — in which a very few families controlled almost all the wealth of that nation and the workers had no rights, no unions, no benefits, no safety net.

    You’re misreading history. Here’s a primer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_history_of_the_United_States#The_Gilded_Age:_1865.E2.80.931900
    “An explosion of new discoveries and inventions took place, a process called the “Second Industrial Revolution.” Railroads greatly expanded the mileage and built stronger tracks and bridges that handled heavier cars and locomotives, carrying far more goods and people at lower rates. Refrigeration railroad cars came into use. The telephone, phonograph, typewriter and electric light were invented. By the dawn of the 20th century, cars had begun to replace horse-drawn carriages.”

    “While upper-class European intellectuals generally looked on commerce with disdain, most Americans—living in a society with a more fluid class structure—enthusiastically embraced the idea of moneymaking. They enjoyed the risk and excitement of business enterprise, as well as the higher living standards and potential rewards of power and acclaim that business success brought.”

    “The American labor movement began with the first significant labor union, the Knights of Labor in 1869. The Knights collapsed in the 1880s and were displaced by strong international unions that banded together as the American Federation of Labor under Samuel Gompers. Rejecting socialism, the AFL unions negotiated with owners for higher wages and better working conditions. Union growth was slow until 1900, then grew to a peak during World War I.”

    None of this sounds like a third world country to me…

  481. 481
    consciousness razor

    So are you arguing that living in poverty in Angola, for example, is actually on par with living in poverty in the US?

    Was I claiming that Angola has the sort of social welfare programs that I wanted? No, I wasn’t.

    The word “freedom” has a variety different meanings. Stick to just one at a time, or keep confusing them and saying assholish nonsense: it’s your choice.

    The point is, I’m opposed to your bullshit Freedom To Shit All Over The Rug™. If that makes me a “totalitarian,” then have at it. You’ve already been spewing plenty of other nonsensical garbage, so it won’t make a fucking difference to me.

  482. 482
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    None of this sounds like a third world country to me…

    You missed his point. You are looking at the 1%, not the masses who did require unions to achieve living wages. Typical of your lies and bullshit. Until you address why a living wage, which benefits society by moving more money through it, isn’t good, you will be ignored with your inane stupidity. The 1% decided they didn’t like workers actually being able to purchase their things, unless at the company store at inflated costs, so they sabotaged the union movement.

  483. 483
    zenlike

    466 Tom J

    What evidence would convince me I’m wrong? Evidence that the data in the Cato study wrong. Simple as that, and no one in this thread to date has done so.

    That Cato is “biased” is not an argument against their data.

    OK, so let’s look at that ‘data’.

    They compare ‘economic freedom’ with the overall wealth of a nation.

    First, to measure the ‘economic freedom’ they take a whole bunch of indicators, but also leave a lot of obvious indicators out of the equation. So why have they chosen those particular indicators? Why no others? What is their reasoning to measure this ‘freedom’ the way they do?

    Second, overall wealth of a nation is a bullshit indicator, if the spreading of that wealth is not taken into account. According to that measurement, a country with all the wealth concentrated in a very small elite would come out better then a country with slightly less wealth but where the wealth is distributed more evenly among the populace. Yet, in the second more people gain by the wealth of the country.

    The study doesn’t even come close to what would would be considered a good paper. Yet, with a lot of numbers, it tries to create the appearance to be legit, and it sure can dazzle someone who has no grasp of economics or economics studies. Lots of numbers, but the meaning of those numbers is not substantiated.

    You’re also misunderstanding poverty – poverty itself is not tyrannous as long as you have the means and the opportunity to rise out of it. What is tyrannous are policies which limit economic and political freedom and ensure those in poverty will stay there.

    Citation very much needed that more economic freedom means that there are more opportunities to escape the grasp of poverty.

    As the data show, the poor in wealthier societies make more than twice what the average person in a poorer society makes.

    You might not have seen it because you seem to take numbers at face value without understanding what those numbers mean, but that would probably mean that the poorest 10% in poor societies are less poor then the poorest in the rich societies.

    If you have indeed travelled the world, then you would have seen that in poorer countries you can buy a lot more of basic necessities with your money. Twice as much, and that would mean the poorest 10% are equally poor in rich and poor countries. But in my experience, the difference is much more then twice if it comes to food, shelter, basic hygiene.

  484. 484
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Tom J

    *Blockquotes. Big hint. Blockquotes*

    (and here I do not care about “the US government’s definition of poverty.”)

    When you have people living in tents and storm-drains. When you have kids stealing ketchup sachets from the school cafeteria to make “ketchup soup” at home, when you have people sleeping in cardboard boxes, you have a problem. When many of these people used to live a quite comfortable middle-class life, you have a bigger problem; because the people who were poorer than them to start with, are hardly going to be any bloody richer, and are likely to be very much poorer.

    Nor do I care about comparisons to people who, on some scale or another, have it worse elsewhere. I can care about both problems, even while addressing only one of them at this minute. There is always somebody else, somewhere, who is worse off, in one way or another. This is not a reason to ignore the nominatively “lesser” problem.

    Given that the market demonstrably has not lifted all or even most poor people out of their poverty, how do you propose to tackle the problem of poverty in the USA, if not by lowering the cost of living, raising the minimum wage, or giving government aid to make up all shortfalls? No quibbling, no waffling about other people elsewhere, answer that one simple fucking question.

  485. 485
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Tom J sounds and acts like a typical godbot preacher. Lacking evidence of his own, unless from the presupposed inerrant babble (or Cato Institute), all he does is equivocate on definitions, repeat unsupported claims, sound confident when the evidence says otherwise, keep side-stepping and ignoring all evidence that refutes their claims.
    Nice sermon padre. Now fuck off. You have nothing cogent to say, and your ideas are rejected due to utter fuckwittery and fallacious presuppositions.

  486. 486
    zenlike

    478 Tom J

    For a family of 5, the poverty threshold is $27,517. Compare that with what the average family makes in Angola, for example.

    I might be repeating myself, but that amount of money means something entirely different in say New York or Angola. A dollar buys you a very different amount of necessities in thsoe situations, therefore a direct comparison between the $ income is mostly meaningless.

  487. 487
    zenlike

    Which might bring up the question if you are totally ignorant of economics, or are very disingenuous. Could be both of course.

  488. 488
    Tom J

    consciousness razor:

    That is, they are “free” unless the rest of society (in the form of a government) prevents them from abusing that. They could just completely eliminate the company’s “right” to operate, if it’s harmful enough. Or they could merely regulate it in a variety of ways. The point is, when we compare the costs/benefits to something like Walmart with the costs/benefit to the entire country/planet, Walmart loses. That is as it should be.

    Ahh…here we have the liberal tyrannical impulse.

    So your claim amounts to something which is utterly absurd: if societies do less to protect themselves from bad actors, the society is probably doing better. Because there’s all sorts of precious, precious Freedom™ to shit all over society.

    Were societies only protecting themselves from “bad actors”, then I doubt we’d have much room to disagree. But take a look at the metrics in the Cato study, they run the gamut from size of government to property rights to regulation. If you want to talk about any of these in specific, I’ll be happy to. Or you can run about trying to shut down Wal-Mart because they’re…well, they’re bad.

  489. 489
    Rey Fox

    The economy is not a zero sum game, people continually create more and greater value and as a result create more wealth.

    And there are no externalities to all that wealth creation, oh no, perish the thought. We can just grow and grow and grow forever.

  490. 490
    consciousness razor

    Ahh…here we have the liberal tyrannical impulse.

    It’s not “tyranny,” you doublespeaking fuckwit. Tyranny is letting a bunch of corporate asshats act like they own the place because they have all the cash. No, the place is ours. All of ours. You want to take it from us, you sure as shit need to act like a tyrant.

    But take a look at the metrics in the Cato study,

    We’ve already noted how they’re garbage.

    I’m going with Nerd this time. Would you like to ask us if we’ve heard about Jesus next?

    Or you can run about trying to shut down Wal-Mart because they’re…well, they’re bad.

    Oh, no, they surely must be good. Look, they make money! That means it’s good.

  491. 491
    Tom J

    Zenlike:

    They compare ‘economic freedom’ with the overall wealth of a nation.

    First, to measure the ‘economic freedom’ they take a whole bunch of indicators, but also leave a lot of obvious indicators out of the equation. So why have they chosen those particular indicators? Why no others? What is their reasoning to measure this ‘freedom’ the way they do?

    They compare economic freedom to average per capita GDP in international dollars which reflects purchasing power parity – so it’s a relatively close apples to apples comparison.

    What are the “obvious” indicators they missed? If you have a different methodology to measure freedom then by all means please share it.

    I might be repeating myself, but that amount of money means something entirely different in say New York or Angola. A dollar buys you a very different amount of necessities in thsoe situations, therefore a direct comparison between the $ income is mostly meaningless.

    Try this World Bank data instead: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.PP.CD

    If you have indeed travelled the world, then you would have seen that in poorer countries you can buy a lot more of basic necessities with your money. Twice as much, and that would mean the poorest 10% are equally poor in rich and poor countries. But in my experience, the difference is much more then twice if it comes to food, shelter, basic hygiene.

    Twice as much? Please provide a citation for that, because I’ve observed exactly the opposite. The poor in poorer countries are living in relative squalor and have little of the amenities of life we in the US take for granted (clean water, sewage/trash removal, access to modern health care, reliable transportation and/or infrastructure, communications, sanitary food, etc.).

    If you’re suggesting that living in poverty is equally unpleasant in the US as it is a third world country, I suggest you try it sometime.

  492. 492
    omnicrom

    Tom J: Please answer Daz’s question to you.

    Given that the market demonstrably has not lifted all or even most poor people out of their poverty, how do you propose to tackle the problem of poverty in the USA, if not by lowering the cost of living, raising the minimum wage, or giving government aid to make up all shortfalls? No quibbling, no waffling about other people elsewhere, answer that one simple fucking question.

    It’s a very important question that strikes right at the very heart of my objections with Libertarianism. Please answer it.

  493. 493
    Al Dente

    I have reread the Cato paper and I stand by my original statement. It doesn’t show that “the freer a market is, the more prosperous it’s people are.” At best it asserts this claim but there are a couple of major caveats:

    Economic freedom is not well defined. The phrase is bandied about freely what it is doesn’t appear anywhere in the paper.

    Anyone who believes Hong Kong is “economically free” is a libertarian know-nothing who thinks China would tolerate a “free market”. If Tom J and his buddies at the Cato Institute have that illusion then we can safely reject anything they say as being bullshit.

    I repeat what I said in my @413:

    What you provided was a logical fallacy. The formal term for this fallacy is argumentum ad mendacitas, which loosely translates into English as “making shit up” or more commonly called “lying”.

  494. 494
    Tom J

    Razor -

    We’ve already noted how they’re garbage.

    You and others have noted your *belief* that they’re garbage, but no one – I say again – no one has refuted their data, methodology, or analysis. Zen just made an attempt but had nothing concrete aside from an assertion, like yours, that the data was faulty…somehow.

    I’ve been asked a couple times what evidence would make me change my mind – and the answer is simple. Refute that data and I’ll back off my statement that the freer a society is the more prosperous its people are. Until you do that, you’ve got nothing but a belief that it isn’t true.

  495. 495
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    None of this sounds like a third world country to me…

    By comparison to today, it was for the workers.

    You claim that the American oligarchy did not use the government the same way that the rich in some third world countries used the government? You are full of shit.

    No lower age limit to going into the mines. Miners were paid by the ton (and, because the company assumed a certain percentage of the coal was unmarketable, miner’s tons were often calculated at anything from 2,400 pounds to 4,500 pounds), not the hour. Any attempt to form a union to bargain for, or strike for, better pay or working conditions was met with armed force — police, state militias, the US Army, and the private armies of the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Check out the Lattimer Massacre for an example. Jay Gould, speaking of the wonders of America, said, “I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.” Baer, president of the Reading Company (which owned a railroad and many anthracite mines), once said, “Suffer? They cannot suffer. They don’t even speak English.”

    Miners lived in company towns, shopped in company stores, their children attended company schools, they attended churches owned by the company, and year after year, the miners found themselves deeper in debt. And when they died, their family was out on the street. When the miners, after the 1873 panic, formed benevolent associations to help care for the injured and the widows and children, the mine owners formed a cartel, the Anthracite Board of Trade, closed mines, closed towns, threw people out of their houses, and started a small war in the anthracite fields of northeastern Pennsylvania (see the Molly Maguires and the framing of the labour leaders by a Pinkerton detective).

    In 1877, railroads, also in a wage cartel, slashed pay and increased the amount of work for those in the shops, on the trains, and along the right-of-way. Federal troops were brought in to stop the violence — violence paid for by the railroads and fomented by Pinkerton operatives.

    In 1886, there was a successful strike by the New York streetcar workers. The American Railway Union, led by Eugene Debs, was formed after the strike (which brought the streetcar workers up to $2.00 for a twelve hour day). When, in the 1890s, the Pullman Palace Car Company (a complete company town) slashed workers wages by half (but kept the rent, gas, water, grocery, and tithes the same), the workers went out on strike. The ARU rank and file refused to work trains pulling cars owned by Pullman, so the railroads put both US mail cars and Pullman cars on every train and then called down the very willing US courts to declare the strike illegal and issued injunction after injunction.

    This was government by the rich and for the rich. An entrenched, unregulated, unrestrained oligarchy made the American dream come true — for themselves. And made it almost impossible for anyone to actually climb out of poverty (it did happen, rarely, which makes those few people even more admirable). If someone invented something useful, unless they already were wealthy, or had wealthy backers, the invention was stolen (see Elijah McCoy) or the inventor was reduced to penury and forced to sell his invention for a few dollars (see Ephraim Shay).

    The American labor movement began with the first significant labor union, the Knights of Labor in 1869. The Knights collapsed in the 1880s and were displaced by strong international unions that banded together as the American Federation of Labor under Samuel Gompers. Rejecting socialism, the AFL unions negotiated with owners for higher wages and better working conditions. Union growth was slow until 1900, then grew to a peak during World War I.

    Which is some real good right wing sugar-coated propaganda.

    Through the early 1900s, productivity became the watchword. It also became an easy way for industry to get more productivity for less pay (see, today, Amazon). In 1922, the shop workers of the Pennsylvania Railroad walked after a 7% pay cut (which was done on almost every railroad at the same time) even though their productivity was up. The railroads saw this as a chance to bust the unions and called in the federal courts — they claimed unions were restraint of free trade (even though the railroads were engaged in a wage cartel). The strike didn’t end on the PRR until 1928 — and the unions involved were effectively busted. The Railway Labor Act of 1926 (modified 1934) was an attempt to avoid the strikes and violence by codifying labor relations — including mediated bargaining, cooling-off periods, etc.

    So your contention (via the quote) regarding unions is more bullshit. Specifically, right-wing sugar-coated history designed to prevent people learning that industry formed wage cartels to systematically underpay workers, that industry used the courts to make asking for a raise a crime, that industry used private armies, the police, state militias and the US Army to kill workers who wanted a living wage and safer working conditions.

    You really need to study some actual history.

  496. 496
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Tom J:

    Total wealth per citizen of a nation is a piss poor metric.

    Suppose there are 1,000 people. One has a net worth of $1 billion. The other 999 have a net worth of zero (debts equal assets, all income goes for necessities). Do some quick math — the per capita wealth is $1,000,000 per person. OMG! they is all millionaires why do the 999 complain about barely making it!!!!???

  497. 497
    Tom J

    Omnicrom -

    I may have missed that question in the barrage of others, but I’ll answer it now.

    Given that the market demonstrably has not lifted all or even most poor people out of their poverty, how do you propose to tackle the problem of poverty in the USA, if not by lowering the cost of living, raising the minimum wage, or giving government aid to make up all shortfalls? No quibbling, no waffling about other people elsewhere, answer that one simple fucking question.

    First of all, the premise of the question is faulty, “given that the market demonstrably has not lifted all or even most poor people out of their poverty.” People rise out of poverty and fall down into it all the time, it’s called economic mobility and it’s described in this paper http://www.nber.org/papers/w19843

    Second, I’d need a definition of the “poverty problem”, what exactly do you propose we fix?

    But a general question was asked so I’ll give a general answer. There’s two parts to the solution, the first is providing a floor for people who come on hard times – unemployment insurance, food aid, shelters, job training, etc. The second part is providing the opportunity and the incentives to climb out of poverty.

    This second part is also coupled with incentives for businesses to enter new markets, compete, hire new workers, and expand. This is the truly important part, and small businesses are the key. Several people have been making fun of Freedom in this thread, and I honestly wonder sometimes if we’re living in different worlds because a small business with the ability to enter a market easily and quickly, not saddled with costly regulatory requirements (and we just added a new one, Obamacare) is the key to the kind of growth we need to help lift people out of poverty. That any government feels its their duty to fine a little girl for running a lemonade stand because she didn’t have the required permits is the height of madness and an indication that our regulatory environment has gone a little too far. Regulations are necessary, but I’d prefer to have far fewer of them to having more of them.

    For all of the bashing of the 1%, CEOs, etc, that has gone on in this thread, their crime in my opinion is not in being successful and making money, its conspiring to keep others from doing the same thing. Here’s a great quote from an interview with a successful CEO which illustrates my point.

    I think one of the biggest problems we have in the country is this rampant cronyism where all these large companies are into smash and grab, short-term profits, (saying) how do I get a regulation, we don’t want to export natural gas because of my raw materials … well, you say you believe in free markets, but by your actions you obviously don’t. You believe in cronyism. And that’s true even at the local level. I mean, how does somebody get started if you have to pay $100,000 or $300,000 to get a medallion to drive a taxi cab? You have to go to school for two years to be a hairdresser. You name it, in every industry we have this. The successful companies try to keep the new entrants down.

    Now that’s great for a company like ours. We make more money that way because we have less competition and less innovation. But for the country as a whole, it’s horrible. And for disadvantaged people trying to get started, it’s unconscionable, in my view. I think it’s in our long-term interest, in every American’s long-term interest, to fight against this cronyism. As you all have heard me say, the role of business is to create products that make peoples’ lives better while using less resources to do it and making more resources available to satisfy other needs. When a company is not being guided by the products they make and what the customers need, but by how they can manipulate the system — get regulations on their competitors, or mandates on using their products, or eliminating foreign competition — it just lowers the overall standard of living and hurts the disadvantaged the most.

    Long answer to a short question but there it is.

  498. 498
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    I’m Baaa—aack!
    Alexander #256

    These two concepts are severable in my world view (there are social aid services that are not tax based,

    Private charity is insufficient to need and always has been. Indeed, private charity is fundamentally not able to meet need in any but the absolute smallest of societies (i.e. a few dozen people). There are a variety of reasons for this, but they basically boil down to knowledge, capacity, and ingroup/outgroup dynamics. The people who have the most individual capacity to give to charity have the least knowledge of where and to what degree assistance is needed, because it’s typically happening away from the places they spend their time. Furthermore, in any large scale society, it’s fundamentally impossible for any individual to know the scope, nature, and location of all the problems, due to the scale of the enterprise. Every private charity has to spend a significant chunk of their income trying to make people a) aware of the problem and b) care more about it than all the other charities out begging, which is money not being spent dealing with problems. I leave the question of ingroup/outgroup issues for your consideration, not that I think you’ll get it without handholding.

    and taxes that do not pay for social aid).

    Social aid is a subcategory of infrastructure. The primary purpose of taxes is to provide infrastructure. It is true that tax monies are often spent on non-infrastructure things. This is a waste of tax monies. It does not, however, invalidate the concept of taxation, because infrastructure is required for a functioning society, and for-profit entities don’t build it.

    After all, you’ve been hammering away at the libertarians for their stated ideology of “maximizing personal liberty” so clearly that isn’t your preferred outcome. (Either you dislike the concept wholesale or find their methods unrealistic, it doesn’t matter.)

    A combination of the latter and something you didn’t mention. That is to say that the methods advocated by libertarians do not have the outcomes libertarians claim they do, and also that the definition that libertarians use for ‘personal liberty’ is not one which is useful, meaningful, or matches that used by the world at large.

    why when people bring up the idea of officially separating government and social aid, you respond as if gored.]

    BECAUSE IT DOESN’T FUCKING WORK, YOU GIBBERING JACKASS!!!!!!!! By the blistering blue bollocks of Beelzebub, what part of this is unclear to you idiots? How many different ways can this be stated? Show one fucking instance, anywhere, of private charity meeting the need for social aid, or shut the living fuck up about it already.

    caesar #266

    Otherwise, the safety net will have to be financed by debt and/or higher taxes, which I’m sure few people find desirable.

    You’re wrong on that point. There is a desperate need for higher taxes, particularly in certain areas, for reasons well beyond funding a social safety net (which could easily be done at current tax rates, if we cut the military to a reasonable size)
    #337

    I’m aware that Costco pays its employees very well, which is great, but that’s something that they “choose” to do because they can afford it, and they feel it’s the right thing to do. I disagree with making a business pay a so-called living wage. The underlying implication behind living wages is that businesses have some sort of obligation (from where, I don’t know) to ensure that their employees are making enough money to live off of. It’s ultimately “your” responsibility to make a living wage, not your employer, and I don’t care about how it sounds because it’s the truth.

    Once again, you’re treating current economic situations in a localized area as a natural law. “From Where I don’t know’? Well, if there’s a law mandating a living wage, that’s from where, you nincompoop. From the fucking law that says there’s a fucking minimum wage, that was passed by the government, which is what allows a fucking economy to exist in the first fucking place instead of being barter and law of whoever’s got the biggest stick. “Businesses” aren’t a monolithic thing; the model that there’s a person or people who are entitled to the lion’s share of the income from an enterprise no matter how little they contribute is not the only model there is, as has been pointed out to you several times. Also, you still haven’t explained how people are magically supposed to make a living wage in the absence of employers paying same.

    Tom J #288
    The reason I’ve been ignoring your cato link is that they’re known to straight out make up data to suit their needs, and are among other things climate change deniers, so I’m inclined not to waste my time with them unless it’s backed up by a trustworthy source. That said,

    “Nations in the top quartile of economic freedom had an average per-capita GDP

    Average per capita GDP means shit-all, because it says nothing about the actual distribution of wealth.

    Life expectancy is 79.2 years in nations in the top quartile compared to 60.2 years in those in the bottom quartile

    Except that when you break that out, you find that places like Sweden have better stats on life expectancy, mortality, and morbidity than Singapore, Hong Kong, or the U.S. (Leaving aside the actual levels of meaningful ‘freedom’ in those places, economic or otherwise.
    #338

    what the data clearly show, and the two Koreas poignantly illustrate, is that the more free a country is, economically and politically, the more prosperous it’s people are. No one here has attempted to dispute that point yet.

    So, years of hard labor for smoking imported cigarettes is economic and political freedom in your book. Noted.
    #344

    If we’re speaking about constitutionally mandated services, like the three branches of government, the armed forces, etc. then we have no disagreement. I have and will never argue that the government should not exist.

    You mean like the FUCKING UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, you nitwit? (Incidentally, a standing army for a period more than two years is also prohibited, explicitly, by that very document)
    Article I, section 8:

    To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
    To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
    To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
    To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

    #358

    To me, well regulated means effectively regulated,

    Effective at what? You appear to be opposed to regulations that will effecively raise wages, protect worker safety and the environment, or limit corruption and abuse of power. What effect, exactly, do you think regulations should have?

    you can’t just cross out the “and” in my sentence and make your point. In this thread I’m making a point about both economic and political freedom. Pinochet gave Chile economic freedom, but denied them political freedom for many years.

    As I noted at the time, people who actually have political freedom don’t tend to vote for your definition of economic freedom. The ‘economic freedom’ that Pinochet imposed was catastrophic, and the only reason that he was able to continue imposing it was that the people hadn’t got the political freedom to vote his ass out. Notice how much change in policies there was when an actual elected government was in power.

    Don’t mistake this for condoning what Pinochet did

    It’s impossible to mistake for anything else, as it’s exactly what you’re doing. You’re making excuses for his bloody handed rule by insisting (in the face of facts you have been provided with) that it was for the greater economic good.
    #392

    If a company is not willing to pay you what you determine to be the market value of your labor, you’re under no compulsion (in the United States) to work for that company. You’re free to market your labor to another company.

    In magic fantasy U.S. maybe, but in the real world the other companies aren’t paying any better, and there might well not be any near enough to look anyway.
    #410

    Let’s take an example. You offer to sell me a widget for $10. I say I think it’s worth $5. After some haggling, we agree on $7.50. What is that widget worth?

    This is another infuriating thing about libertarians; the way they always try to atomize every economic transaction and model it in the most simplistic manner possible to conceal the deep flaws in their model. You really are a tedious halfwit.
    #416

    At what point does “paying people as little as possible…lead to people being harmed”? That’s a value judgement.

    No, it’s not. When people who are working full time are unable to meet their basic needs, they are being harmed in a demonstrable way, in that basic needs are not being met.

    At an intellectual level…why does it matter to me that Oprah is worth billions of dollars?

    What a disingenuous shithead you are. Wealthy entertainers are a red herring in this discussion. The billionaires under discussion (many of whom control vastly more money that Oprah ever will) are those who acquired their money through what is typically referred to as ‘business’ or ‘finance’, that is to say through skimming the proceeds of other people’s hard work. Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman, on their own, could have become prosperous cobblers. However, Philip Knight now has an estimated net worth of ~$16 billion, because Nike has sold countless millions of shoes, the great majority of which were made by people paid rock bottom wages, and sold by other people who are paid more only because there are minimum wage laws in the states, despite the fact that without their work, Nike wouldn’t exist, and Phil Knight would be a fading track star or a prosperous cobbler. So, what is it about him that’s so magically important that it entitles him to several trillion times more compensation than the people who are actually doing work to make the product. (and that’s just addressing the economics of the matter, and leaving aside the active, direct abuse that also goes on in the factories).

    #433

    Where in the US are people starving so that others may profit?

    Here’s a map, shithead.
    #455

    Ideas like the three of you have will result in this growth engine shutting down.

    You still haven’t acknowledged that you’re wrong about where the economic growth of Japan and Korea came from, so you clearly have no real idea where it actually comes from.

    which can be the only reason Obvorbis can say, with a straight face, that Cuba today is better off than Chile.

    He didn’t, you disingenuous shitweasel. He said that Cuba in the 1960s-1980s was better off than Chile in the 1960s-1980s, and he’s not wrong; it was. Cuba today is also better off than Chile was in the 1960s-1980s, but I’m pretty sure Chile today is doing better on most metrics than Cuba.

    Government can regulate, preserve, protect, and coerce – but the one thing it does not do is create.

    What the living fuck are you talking about, you jackass? Have you never heard (probably not, I realize, but still) of the TVA? The Hoover Dam (there’s a reason it’s called that)? The Transcontinental Railroad? The Internet? To go a little further afield in time and space, how about the Great Pyramid of Giza?

    Given the evidence I’ve provided for the power of freer markets to lift people out of abject poverty,

    You’ve provided fuck-all evidence for anything until you’ve got a better source than the Cato Institute.

    what system would you replace it with? And upon what evidence are you basing your conclusions?

    Well, just for starters, the social democracies of Europe are demonstrably doing better than we are in the U.S. even with their still heavily capitalistic systems, so that direction would be a good start. That is to say implementing a strong investment in the social and physical infrastructure of the 21st century: single payer healthcare, a robust social safety net, high-speed rail, high-speed internet connectivity, heavy research investments and all that jazz.
    We also need some strong tariffs on products coming from places with low wages, poor environmental and worker safety laws and similar, to boost domestic industry, probably including partial government ownership of some industries (See Ha-joon Chang for an excellent illustration of the point; I recommend you start with Kicking Away The Ladder.)
    And then we could go ahead and pretty much dismantle Wall Street, which has reliably caused boom-bust cycles when not heavily reigned in, and provides no actual economic or social benefits. Before you start gibbering about investment, trading stocks has fuck all to do with investment, as the companies do not benefit financially from the trades.
    Additional changes to the system would include modifying rules of incorporation to allow and encourage worker-owned cooperatives, including a corporate tax (on all corporations) paying into a fund providing capital for starting of same (as has been done in Emilia Romanga for decades, leading to consistently higher wages and standards of living than comparable jurisdictions throughout Europe ).
    I would further advocate expanding that concept into Muhammed Yunus’ proposed right to capital, being a fund set up to guarantee that persons wishing to start productive enterprises have the resources to do so. Enterprises larger than a single person can operate would call for pooling said capital among multiple people, and forming a cooperative, as mentioned previously. ( You should be in favor of this, as you claim to be opposed to barriers to entry, the greatest of which has always been poverty/lack of capital).
    #464
    If you want to play quote Ben Franklin, here you go, old chum:

    All Property, indeed, except the Savage’s temporary Cabin, his Bow, his Matchcoat, and other little Acquisitions, absolutely necessary for his Subsistence, seems to me to be the Creature of public Convention. Hence the Public has the Right of Regulating Descents, and all other Conveyances of Property, and even of limiting the Quantity and the Uses of it. All the Property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other Laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.

    Stopping here with this post, its already a novel.

  499. 499
    Amphiox

    Tom J in 494 is lying yet again. The data set of the study he cited is not applicable to the argument he tries to use it to support. I pointed this out in my first post about it. It doesn’t matter if the study was well done or not (it wasn’t – it doesn’t even properly define the important terms such as prosperity or economic freedom, and in fact defined them in a manner that prejudicially biased the result), but since it does not include any examples in its dataset of the no regulation extreme (such examples not in existence to test as they’ve already been tried historically and abandoned for manifest failure) even if it was a perfect study its result does not support Tom J’s original contention that he tried to use it to support.

    This IS a refutation of his use of data, even if he pretends in his intellectually dishonest fashion that it isn’t.

    If you try to assert that all apples are green in color using a study about pears, all that is required to refute your data is to point out that the study was about pears. Which we have done.

  500. 500
    Rey Fox

    That any government feels its their duty to fine a little girl for running a lemonade stand because she didn’t have the required permits is the height of madness and an indication that our regulatory environment has gone a little too far.

    Your constant excursions into Fantasyland aren’t really helping your case.

    Regulations are necessary, but I’d prefer to have far fewer of them to having more of them.

    Yeah, screw the environment and public health. Barriers to freedumb, all of them.

    For all of the bashing of the 1%, CEOs, etc, that has gone on in this thread, their crime in my opinion is not in being successful and making money, its conspiring to keep others from doing the same thing.

    You say this as if it were some blinding insight, rather than exactly what we’ve been saying all along.

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