1. says

    Uhhh… whatever happened to the concept that the whole point of an emergency room is that no-one can be turned away???

  2. mouse says

    I’m holding out a tiny little bit of hope that while ERs CAN turn patients away, they aren’t being told they HAVE to turn people away (yet). This is just disgusting.

  3. says

    I wish I could say this is surprising–but the ongoing Republican War on Women has been going on for so long and with such viciousness.. that I’m not surprised at all..Pissed off? Yes.Surprised? No.

  4. says

    I’m Canadian, and don’t fully understand the levels of your government, but I’ve read in places that there’s another layer of approval this will have to go through before it becomes law. Senate, or something? Is that true? I sincerely hope so, and wish you all the best of luck in protecting your rights to control your own bodies.

  5. Mike K. says

    And one would hope that, even if this went into effect, that any hospital that actually did that would be on the receiving end of a massive PR shitstorm.

  6. says

    It would take only a small shift in the Senate to change that fact. At least the Presidency looks safe so far, unless some stellar GOP candidate steps up for 2012.

  7. says

    The House is not crazy because it’s controlled by Republicans—Democratic Houses are crazier than Democratic Senates. It’s crazy because it contains 435 huge egos who have to get re-elected every two years, get everything done on a 50% vote, and respond to small geographic constituencies. It’s crazy because the people who wrote the Constitution designed it to be.

  8. Vanessa says

    This is true. The Senate still has to pass it, and then the President can veto the whole thing if he doesn’t like it.Doesn’t seem like something Obama would let become a law, but these days, I just don’t know anymore.

  9. Epistaxis says

    That’s just your opinion. There’s an equally valid school of thought that says fetuses are human beings with innate rights and women are not.

  10. says

    Simple solution: stop having the government tax or fund anything. Problem solved.Back when people fought over which religion the government ought to endorse and promote, some had a novel solution: not have the government endorse or promote any religion in the first place. If the government is kept out of the area of religion, then no one has to fight over which religion the government ought to promote or endorse.Let’s take that same logic, and extend it: in any area at all where we have political debates, i.e. in any area where we argue what the government ought to do, let’s just have the government do nothing. In any policy area where we have disagreements, let’s lower the corresponding taxes to zero-percent and the spending to zero dollars. There, problem solved.

  11. says

    And that’s the beauty of libertarianism, sir. Instead of having the government force you to do or not do that, let’s let people do whatever they want (short of actively hurting anyone, whereas refusing to provide healthcare is a negative, not positive act), and let’s let public activism, not the government, provide moral censure. What got the buses of Montgomery, Alabama desegregated? It wasn’t government, but public protest. Let’s open up all of society to that: instead of the government deciding what is right or wrong, let’s let public action do it instead. If you want something done, do it yourself, instead of waiting for the government. Imagine what that would do for culture and morality in America, if everyone had to rely on himself and his neighbors instead of the government!

  12. says

    Hey, it worked for the First Amendment! Remember, for a religious person – which most 18th-century people were – religion is the single most important thing in his life. If the government is to stay out of religion, it means that the single most important thing on earth is beyond the government’s jurisdiction. If you can take the single most important thing from the government, then why not take away less important things too? It’s an a fortiori.It’s also worth noting that my argument above, is the logical conclusion of classical-liberalism, i.e. social contract theory. When classical liberals spoke of “consent of the governed”, they were not throwing words around. To them, “consent” actually meant CONSENT. That is, you had to consent to the government the same way you had to consent to anything else, and the government was not to operate on you without your permission. To quote Samuel Adams, “The Rights of the Colonists” (which was based on Locke), “All men have a right to remain in a state of nature as long as they please; and in case of intolerable oppression, civil or religious, to leave the society they belong to, and enter into another. When men enter into society, it is by voluntary consent; and they have a right to demand and insist upon the performance of such conditions and previous limitations as form an equitable original compact. Every natural right not expressly given up, or, from the nature of a social compact, necessarily ceded, remains.” In other words: all men have a right to remain in a state of nature (i.e. beyond the jurisdiction of the government), and even after they have submitted to the government (making a CONTRACT with it), even then, they can insist the government keep the exact terms of that contract and leave the government’s jurisdiction when they feel the government has violated that contract. And even when that contract is in force and the citizen has not yet terminated his contract with the government, even then, every power not granted the government in that contract, remains forbidden to the government. So what “social contract” really means, is that by your CONSENT you voluntarily make a CONTRACT with the government the same way you’d make a contract with anyone else.Oh, and John Adams explicitly said that the Declaration of Independence contained nothing not already intimated by that same tract of Samuel Adams’s. (See… So if that tract of Samuel Adams’s sounds like anarchism – which I believe it does – then John Adams would apparently tell us that the Declaration of Independence is likewise. And if it was good enough then, I say it is good enough today.And by the way, in France today, “liberal” still means “libertarian”. So in France, if you told people you’re liberal, guess what they’d think you mean. ;)

  13. says

    And let me say this too: if you don’t want religious people imposing religion on you, why should you impose any of your beliefs on them? As Frederic Bastiat put it, “Government is the great fiction by which all men try to live at the expense of everyone else.” And as Max Weber said, government is the territorial monopoly on violence. So in other words, government is the monopolization of the ability to use force to impose your opinions on unwilling others. If you don’t want others to do it to you, how about you don’t do it to others? The only way I know to do this, is to remove power from the government. Less power for the government, means less ability for one man to impose his opinions on his unwilling neighbor.

  14. Azkyroth says

    Why, that would be wonderful. Whyever did people decide to establish governments in the first place?

  15. says

    Yeah, very true. What I meant was, a party alignment across both houses and the Oval Office gives the House crazies a better shot at turning crazy bills into crazy laws. The same would be true if the parties were reversed and we were talking about a radical left-wing piece of legislation. We’re fortunate to have a nearly evenly divided Senate and a President who would (hopefully) veto this if it landed on his desk.

  16. says

    One of two ways:(1) Someone imposed himself by force, or (2) A community, by some sort of unanimous consent, decided to elevate some man or group of men to leadership for their common defense. This man or group of men who were elevated, had earned the trust of the community, and was elevated by true, authentic consent.The second is assumed by the classical liberal tradition, with the theory of the state of nature. But it reinforces what I have already said. Johannes Althusius especially emphasizes the concept of “consent” in consent of the governed, because he views all governments as a type of contract no different than any other contract. In fact, his book Politica opens with a discussion of how men form private business contracts, and he uses this as his paradigm for forming a government. It is obvious that for men like Althusius and Locke, governments were formed by unanimous consent of the governed, no different than a business contract, and that they did not bind anyone who did not consent to be a member of the party.What is obvious, then, is that when classical liberals spoke of CONSENT of the governed and social CONTRACT, they meant those words as they are used in common language, with respect to ordinary business contracts. Their philosophy aimed at making government resemble, as much as possible, a private business contract.Furthermore, whatever gaps remained, i.e. whatever lack of consent there remained, when a few men rejected even this minimalistic “night-watchman” government (of merely protecting life, liberty, and property with police and an army), which disrupted this, they filled in the gaps with religion. That is, they argued from Romans 13 that God had given men government for their own good. (In fact, John Locke himself wrote a commentary on the Epistles of Paul, including Romans 13, and he in no way rejected the teachings of that portion of the Christian Bible calling for submission to the government as a religious principle.) So if a few men did not consent, the Bible came in and consented for them. I doubt Jen would appreciate this.

  17. says

    Roads: you can build your own:…Schools: we already have private schools today, and without public schooling, you’d pay no property taxes, and all the money you’d save thereby, you could put towards tuition; and furthermore, private schools tend to have lower tuition than public schools have funding, so in the end, you’d actually some money left over for other things tooFiremen: colonial Philadelphia functioned just fine and thriving with a privatized, for-fee subscription firefighting force

  18. says

    Two examples of what I mean by religion consenting for you:(1) Edward S. Corwin, The “Higher Law” Background of American Constitutional Law, p. 4: “The attribution of supremacy to the Constitution on the ground solely of its rootage in popular will represents, however, a comparatively late outgrowth of American constitutional theory. Earlier the supremacy accorded to constitutions was ascribed less to their putative source than to their supposed content, to their embodiment of an essential and unchanging justice…. There are, it is predicated, certain principles of right and justice which are entitled to prevail of their own intrinsic excellence, all together regardless of the attitude of those who wield the physical resources of the community.”(2) Abraham Kuyper, Lectures on Calvinism, p. 82: {Quote}No man has the right to rule over another man, otherwise such a right necessarily, and immediately becomes the right of the strongest. As the tiger in the jungle rules over the defenceless antelope, so on the banks of the Nile a Pharaoh ruled over the progenitors of the fellaheen of Egypt.Nor can a group of men, by contract, from their own right, compel you to obey a fellow-man. What binding force is there for me in the allegation that ages ago one of my progenitors made a “Contrat Social,” with other men of that time? As man I stand free and bold, over against the most powerful of my fellow-men.I do not speak of the family, for here organic, natural ties rule; but in the sphere of the State I do not yield or bow down to anyone, who is man, as I am.Authority over men cannot arise from men. Just as little from a majority over against a minority, for history shows, almost on every page, that very often the minority was right. And thus to the first Calvinistic thesis that sin alone has necessitated the institution of governments, this second and no less momentous thesis is added that: all authority of governments on earth originates from the Sovereignty of God alone. When God says to me, “obey,” then I humbly bow my head, without compromising in the least my personal dignity, as a man. For, in like proportion as you degrade yourself, by bowing low to a child of man, whose breath is in his nostrils; so, on the other hand do you raise yourself, if you submit to the authority of the Lord of heaven and earth.{End quote}(If you are alarmed by Kuyper’s calling for a theocracy, then let me assure you, he was actually closer to Ron Paul than to the Christian Right today. Kuyper argues, for example, that Roger Williams – who was himself an orthodox Calvinist – was the truest Calvinist of them all, and that true Calvinism would demand complete and total disestablishment of religion. Elsewhere, Kuyper argues for a very minimalistic government that in general is much the same as what Ron Paul calls for. For Kuyper, a Christian theocracy would do little more than execute murderers and punish thieves. Similarly, the hardline Calvinist publishing house American Vision, is essentially libertarian. One of their books is dedicated to none other than Ron Paul himself, and another book of theirs, viz. Gary DeMar’s God and Government: A Biblical, Historical and Constitutional Perspective, classifies Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson, a book of laissez-faire Austrian Economics, as a book of “Biblical” and specifically “Christian” economics. One of American Vision’s members, Bojidar Marinov, is both a Calvinist missionary and a member of the Libertarian Party of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Society for Individual Liberty, and once, he wrote an article declaring that anyone who calls for greater governmental power, is a heretic worthy of excommunication. Marinov’s organization is even working on translating the works of the Cato Institute, the Austrian Economists, and Ayn Rand into Bulgarian. So in general, these hardline Calvinists were basically Ron Paul-type libertarians, and for them, that is what a true Christian theocracy was supposed to be. So from these Calvinists, a “theocracy” was more likely to abolish all taxation and governmental activity whatsoever, than it was to result in atheists being oppressed. For these Calvinists, a true Christian theocracy would be so cash-strapped that it wouldn’t be able to afford to oppress anyone even if it wanted to.)In other words, Rousseau’s concept of rule of the General Will (Volonté Générale) had no currency in colonial and Revolutionary America. Instead, what carried the day was authentic and sincere consent to a contract (as those terms are understood in daily life), and when that was not sufficient to establish a government, then religion, i.e. “certain principles of right and justice which are entitled to prevail of their own intrinsic excellence”, filled in the desideratum. That only works, however, when there is unanimity as to what constitutes “religion”. Generally, in colonial and Revolutionary America, Calvinistic Christianity and natural law were accepted pretty widely, but this is hardly so today. Today, lacking any unanimity as to what constitutes the True (with a capital “T”) moral philosophy that is “entitled to prevail of [its] … own intrinsic excellence”, our only solution is to simply not have a government, or, at least, to have a government only where we have unanimity with no disagreement whatsoever. We might be able to agree that murderers and thieves ought to be punished, but beyond that, I doubt we can agree on anything, so the government ought do nothing in those areas of disagreement.— I say all this as an Orthodox Jewish anarchist-capitalist who possesses a special interest in Reformed Christian political-theology, classical liberalism, and Austrian Economics. For me too, by the way, a Torah-based theocracy in Israel, where I live, would basically be a laissez-faire libertarian one. My favorite politician in Israel, Moshe Feiglin, for example, has advocated the abolition of most of the Israeli government and its replacement by the private, free-market. For me, Moshe Feiglin and Ron Paul do not go far enough, and as an anarchist, I’d prefer there be no government at all, but what can you do? – these men are the closest I have found to what I am looking for.

  19. says

    wow. and people wonder why i want to get sterilized. i don’t want kids, but i certainly don’t want these idiots to be able to control my autonomy over my own body, either.i can’t wait to expatriate.

  20. Paul Gowder says

    Hooooooly fucking shit. Not sure how constitutional that would be… but am sure how insane it is.

  21. Anna says

    More idealistic than naive. I ascribe to a similar view to Michael Makovi. I know it almost certainly won’t happen in my life, if ever, and that there are sure to be practical problems with implementation, just as in any social structure. It’s not a magic bullet. But I know that for me at least it comes from my belief in the value of reason and humans’ capacity for it, the very same place my atheism comes from.Frankly, I’m a touch disappointed that you wouldn’t give this poster a little more intellectual respect. Yes, his political solutions differ radically from your own, but he’s earnest, well-spoken, reasoned, and polite. I believe that you of all people could offer someone who has reached a different political conclusion than you but still honors rationality and human rights the respect of considering his ideas, even if you reject them, rather than a flip declaration that he is naive.

  22. says

    It’s unlikely to make it through the senate–tis true–because it’s in democratic hands–but it’s still pretty vile..

  23. says

    Private schools also do not have to accept everyone. High-cost problematic student cases (special ed) are always shunted off to the public schools–whereas in the past–these students just didn’t get educated.Roads–when they were private tolls in the past were expensive and uncommon.Also–all kinds of technological developments and actual natural phenomenon require the intercession of a kind of authority that governments do well. Interchangeable parts, for example, were not–despite the mythology–developed by the private sector–but were developed in Gov’t armories–because the methods needed to figure them out required decades of not-profitable experimentation–something a private firm would never do–and then the actual practice once it was worked out–could easily be stolen/mimicked…. If you want to see how this actually went–read Merritt Roe Smith’s book, Harper’s Ferry . Another example–oil production. Oil production–to be even mildly efficient and not leave most of the oil (like around 80%) in the ground–requires unitization–which basically means that a higher authority steps in and tells everyone how much they are allowed to pump out of a particular pool. In a private market without such authorities–which is what went on before the 1930’s–you had massive waste and inefficiency on this score… There are many places where libertarian critiques can be useful as thought experiments and where they can encourage good re-evaluations of current practices–but the wholesale idea that just remove gov’t and all will be better is ridiculous and as ideologically naieve as communism was. If you want to go live in a governmentless paradise–go to Somalia right now–and if you survive–come back and tell me how awesome it was…

  24. says

    Reason, when it is untethered to empirical facts and history and when it is applied idealistically based on assumptions that are uninformed by such things, is almost always naive.The “libertarianism” that he talks about is just as idealistically naive as the simple beliefs of communism that “everyone just contributes what they can and everyone gets back what they need” and that an overwhelming gov’t will oversee this in a smart and coherent fashion–because it’s based on people reasonably seeing that this is the best way for everyone…But that’s not how people work… In any case–I find it interesting that your atheism and libertarian ideals come from the same place. For me–my atheism is based on the entire lack of evidence for anything like a supernatural being in anything… but when I look at history–and look at examples of places where there is no government–what I usually find is civil war, anarchy, death, and atrocities committed by those who are bigger and stronger and have banded together to do what they want…Thus–a belief in the greatness of non-government doesn’t have any strong empirical evidence supporting it (much like deities don’t), whereas despite all of their flaws–the formation of governments by intelligent people is better than its absence–and it is a human construction that can be improved and modified–and has been–over time–much like our knowledge of the natural universe.Basically–government is like a technology–(and some might even call it a technology if you define technology broadly enough as the accumulation of artifacts, practices, and knowledge that have been created by human ingenuity… <–this is a definition of technology that I picked up on my way to getting of Ph.D in the History of Technology…) –and while certain technologies have problems in them and are not always ideal–to claim that we should just get rid of them entirely because of these problems and it will be all better is often to miss why they were created in the first place and to forget what problems they had solved… Anyway–I’m not trying to be hostile here–I’m just trying to add some perspective and context…

  25. says

    Essentially HR 3 says a woman can not be trusted with control of her body. My congresswoman voted for this nonsense, in a district adjacent to NYC. The stupid is not confined to Indiana.

  26. Jtingram says

    Dammit! May just started and you’ve already given away that esteemed prize!?Great, now I gotta wait until June to unveil mine… :(

  27. jose says

    Not surprising from people who think four cells are a sacred human person while women are just fetus bags.America is getting scarier by the day.

  28. Azkyroth says

    Re the Twitter conversation: JESUS FUCK I hate people who mindlessly insist that every strongly worded statement MUST be an overreaction.

  29. Georgia Sam says

    This is a side issue, & one that perhaps few readers will care about, but this legislation reveals another example of religious right hypocrisy. In a recent court case over tax credits for organizations that fund private school vouchers, the religious right argued that tax credits ARE NOT government subsidies. In this legislation and the debate over it, they assert that tax credits ARE government subsidies.

  30. Georgia Sam says

    Thank you. You have made the case AGAINST libertarian/free-market extremism more effectively than any socialist I’ve ever known.

  31. PragmaticOptimist says

    Wait, If I am reading the explanation correctly and if it accurately describes legal views on tax credits then deductions to religious non-profit organizations constitutes an endorsement of that religion through Federal Funds.Doesn’t that mean that they just made tithes illegal?

  32. says

    You could build your own private schools. Private schools as they exist TODAY cater only to the rich, because only the rich can afford to pay both property taxes for public schools as well as private school tuition. But if you get rid of property taxes, the poor could take all the money they used to spend for public schools, and use it towards private schools instead. A whole new market – viz. the poor – would open up for private schools, and being good capitalists, they would exploit it.With roads, remember, you wouldn’t be paying taxes. All the money you would have to pay for tolls for private roads, would not be any greater than the money you already pay in gasoline taxes and the like to pay for roads. Roads cost the same amount whether they are paid for by taxes or by tolls. If anything, however, the total cost to society as a whole would be lower with private toll roads, because those roads would be built only where they make economical sense. The problem with government is that it doesn’t have to make a profit, and on anything, it can make the tax base wider than the customer base. That is why Amtrak runs in the red: not enough people use it, and the government uses taxes to substitute for the customers it doesn’t have. I believe Biden boasted how private enterprise never would have built the transcontinental railroad, and he’s right: the railroad cost more to build than it actually brought back in revenue from customers, so economically, the railroad was unnecessary and counter-productive. Private roads would, perforce, be built only where they are economically sound, because they would not have the luxury of taxing people who do not use them.And actually, in Somalia, life under the anarchist Xeer system is better than it was under their government. Somalia’s Xeer is often cited as a real-world example of how anarchism actually works.I will not lie and say that I know anything at all about oil specifically, so I cannot comment on unitization. But I will say that the following link would probably supply every argument a libertarian would make, so I will let it speak for me, for good or for bad:…However, it sounds like what you are saying is, that the “tragedy of the commons” applies to oil. That is, common, unowned property tends to be wasted and abused, because everyone figures that it’s going to be wasted anyway, so they may as well suck all the life out of it themselves rather than let their neighbor do the same. It is a “prisoner’s dilemma”. That is why the air and water is so polluted, because no one owns any of it. I guarantee you, if anyone owns his own private lake, he makes damn sure to make sure he doesn’t pollute it. It sounds like oil has the same problem.Now then, what I would say is, that public intervention into anything creates a new “tragedy of the commons”. Whenever the government intervenes into ANYTHING, it turns THAT into a new commons. Centrally-planned economies, for example, turn the economy into a commons. (That is why half the United States economy is on welfare and government payroll now. Everyone figures that he may as well let someone else pay for his lifestyle; why should you work if welfare exists? It’s “tragedy of the commons”.) So I would say that whatever problems of the “tragedy of the commons” exist with natural resources, government intervention merely creates more problems than it solves. Even if government might reduce pollution and exploitation of natural resources, it instead introduces the “tragedy of the commons” into new areas of life where it didn’t exist before. The cure is worse than the disease. Hans-Hermann Hoppe, in Democracy: The God that Failed, notes that elected officials experience this “tragedy of the commons”, because they are in office for only a few years and yet command the entire government. In other words, they are encouraged, by the nature of the system, to exploit the system for all they can, running up spending as much as they can without worrying about the debt they incur. After all, they won’t be there anymore when the creditor comes calling. An elected official, he says, is like a renter who is not concerned with the long-term capital value of the property he is renting, and he never has to pay back the damage he causes thereto, so he is encouraged to wreak havoc.I do not claim any knowledge of the assembly line, either, but a glance at Wikipedia tells me that interchangeable parts were invented by gunsmiths in the 18th-century. Others invented interchangeable parts for ships. Now, these might have had obvious military applications – namely for armies and navies – but still, it was not the government that invented these, but private manufacturers who will filling the government’s orders. And without government, we’d still have private security agencies who would need the exact same military equipment that militaries do, so I see no reason why interchangeable parts would not still have been invented.So I will not lie and say I know anything about assembly lines and oil drilling specifically. But in general, my assertion is that government causes more inefficiency than efficiency. The “tragedy of the commons”, and the government’s ability to make the tax base wider than the customer base and thereby subsidize unprofitable policies that no rational person would ordinarily pursue, means that most governmental policies are extremely unwise. There may be a few exceptions – environmental regulation perhaps being one of the few areas I can think of where the government might actually do some good – but in general, I believe the cure is worse than the disease. Do a tally of all the people who have been killed in history by imperalistic wars, and tell me whether efficiency in oil drilling is worth that cost in human life.By the way, the beauty of privatized police and army is this: because you cannot make the tax base wider than the customer base, but everyone must pay for his own share, the result is that there is no “concentration of benefits and diffusion of costs”. With public police and army, I can lobby the government to kill the people I dislike, knowing that everyone else must pay the costs for my policies. But with private forces, this ceases to be. Imagine a private security force, and I hire it to kill marijuana users or religious heretics. Imagine how much it will cost me if I wish to fund this myself! No longer will I be able to rely on my fellow taxpayer’s subsidizing my own evils. Rational economic incentives will dictate that people will pay the private security force to punish only those crimes that actually hurt other people. Laissez-faire economic principles dictate that under a private security regime, imperialistic wars and oppression of minorities will be reduced below today’s levels, if not eliminated.

  33. says

    What, because atheists DO want a system that assumes some universally ascribed-to moral philosophy? Of all people, I’d think they’d understand that it is arrogant and presumptuous to impose one’s own philosophy on someone else.My point was that social-contract theory, i.e. the modern democratic state, was invented at a time when everyone had a basic consensus as to what “justice” and “morality” meant, with society having a basically Christian flavor to it. Today, lacking that consensus, it is arrogant, I say, for us to have a government based on any moral philosophy that is not unanimously-held.That is basically the conclusion these hardline Calvinists – especially Baptists – came to. They realized that if they didn’t want the pope imposing Catholicism on them, then they shouldn’t impose Calvinism on others. Believing religion to be every man’s own private affair, they declared that the government ought to get out of the business of religion altogether. (Thomas Jefferson was preceded by Roger Williams, and he was accompanied contemporaneously by Baptist ministers John Leland and Isaac Backus. Furthermore, Jefferson’s own arguments, in “The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom” and “Notes on the State of Virginia” (Query XVII), are basically theocentric ones. His Statute opens “Whereas, Almighty God hath created the mind free;”, and the remainder of it is basically Protestant in nature. In fact, Jefferson believed in Divine Providence, and he was more of a Unitarian than a Deist. Christians considered him a heretic, but only because he denied the Trinity, not because he denied Divine Providence.) So I would say, the same logic that led these Baptists to declare that the government should not impose any particular religion on dissenters, should lead us today to declare that the government should not impose ANY moral philosophy on ANYONE who disagrees with the government.

  34. says

    No, you could also have private subscription libraries, where you check out books and return them, not buy them outright, but only if you subscribe to the library.

  35. Wait-- says

    This is starting to sound a lot more expensive than just paying taxes. And at least with taxes I can be somewhat reassured that all these public institutions will be held to some idea of standard, and will be there when I want/need them. Because a lot of these institutions aren’t profitable to run, but the government doesn’t need to so concerned with profit because it’s still going to be there next year and it’s rated more on quality of service rather than profits produced. There are exceptions, naturally (like when the debt gets out of hand…), but overall I’d rather have government than not. There are instances of what happens when we don’t have regulation in an industry (see the first half of The Jungle) and even when the regulations don’t catch all of them (see the pet food scare several years ago when pet foods produced in China contained lethal poisons) we’re still better off than just holding companies to the honor system.

  36. loreleion says

    My apartment building has 24 units. I just looked up the property tax records for it, and they paid less than $20,000 in property taxes in 2010. So if we eliminate property taxes and public schools (and my landlord is generous enough to pass on the savings) each unit has a massive $806 per year to send whatever children they have to private school.And Somalia as an example of how anarchy actually works is pretty accurate. It’s one of the poorest and most violent places in the world because it hasn’t had any real government for a couple decades.

  37. says

    I would note that colonial America was FAR more peaceful than any place in Europe. In Pennsylvania, the government was so inactive that the royal governor from Britain found that the assembly house was literally full of dust and the floor covered in discarded papers, with no assemblymen to be found. And yet, Pennsylvania was one of the most peaceful places on earth. We don’t need theory to disprove Thomas Hobbes; history does it for us.Now, then, I will admit one thing: that anarchy only works when you have a basically moral citizenry that is able to, for the most part, contain itself without a need for coercive force to impose order. Many of the Framers (especially John Adams and Gouverneur Morris) used that to explain why the American Revolution ended so differently than the French: the American Revolution, they said, was a conservative revolution by a moral, Christian people, capable of living a decent life without the need for governmentally-imposed morality, and the revolution was intended to get rid of oppressive government but otherwise leave society untouched. By contrast, the French Revolution was a radical, reactionary revolution that fundamentally overturned society and tried, in a utopian fashion, to remake man and society in an unnatural fashion. On top of that, French peasants were marching on the city demanding bread, quite similarly to Shays’s Rebellion and the people of Rome demanding bread and circuses. In other words, the French Revolution was about demanding MORE bread from the government, while the American Revolution was about demanding LESS bread from the government.But I think that the average American you meet on the street, is quite capable of avoiding theft and murder himself, without need for the government. I have met many people I vociferously disagree with, but I have never felt that the only thing keeping them from killing me is the government. It may be that libertarianism works only for an otherwise moral people capable of governing themselves, but I think the average American is quite ready for this. And even the average Evangelical Christian, I have never heard them argue that atheists want to murder and pillage. They might say that atheists want to engage in promiscuous sex, but I have never heard these Christians argue that atheists are going to actually hurt anyone but themselves. So even the Christian Right would seem to agree – whether they realize it or not – that America is ready for libertarianism. I’ll put it this way: this is what political ads looked like in 1800, and I ask, do we ever hear words like these today? If things were like this in 1800, and yet America had a more laissez-faire government than any other on earth, and chaos and violence did not break out, then all the more so today, I say, when we do not hear words like these:

  38. says

    Since when is government judged by quality of services delivered? Have you ever been to the DMV? Government officials are usually considered the laziest, most corrupt, and least polite of all in the service industry. After all, the government cannot go out of business. If they do a poor job and fail to satisfy the customers, it doesn’t affect them. If a private business has poor customer relations, then it will go bankrupt.As for Upton Sinclair, the problem with the Progressives is that while they DID find many important issues in need of attention, they failed to realize that government was not the only solution. At the time of Sinclair, there was a similar problem in the kosher food industry, in which supposedly kosher food was actually not. But instead of lobbying the government for regulation, Orthodox Jews just set up their own private certifications organizations. Today, organizations such as the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations employ university-educated food scientists and industrial engineers to check whether food is kosher, all without government assistance. The FDA does good, yes indeed, but it doesn’t do anything the private market could not do. The kosher-food industry proves it. (These kosher certifications organizations are checking for different things than the FDA is, but the basic methodology and process is the same. I see little difference between an industrial engineer checking whether vapors from the pork vat are reaching the chicken vat, and checking whether there is mercury and lead and pesticides. The only substantive difference is that one is done by the private market and the other by the government.)And there’s always Consumer Reports. If they give a company a bad rating, then don’t buy from them.

  39. says

    Then that’s a different problem, of the government unfairly using some people to subsidize others. Is it really fair that everyone in the apartment pays only $806 in property taxes, while people in homes must pay thousands of dollars? Both are equally using the public school system, so why must one pay so much more than the other? Here, then, the issue is simply that the present system is so grossly unjust and immoral, that I don’t even care about the practicality. A man protests slavery because it is evil, not because it is inefficient. So too with apartment building residents paying such an absurdly lower amount than home owners even as they equally benefit from the same schools.As for Somalia, there are different parts. The violent part is where there is government; the non-violent part is where there is anarchist Xeer. The Xeer section of Somalia has not been affected by the wars the same way the section with government has been. See, the problem is that in the urban areas especially, people are fighting over who the government ought to be, i.e. who ought to hold the reigns of power with the concomitant ability to dictate and oppress. But in the rural areas, no one is fighting for the ability to oppress anyone else, and everyone is living peacefully in an anarchic society; they sit every one under his vine, and under his fig-tree; and there be none to make them afraid. The urban areas illustrate what Frederic Bastiat said, that “Government is the great fiction by which all men try to live at the expense of everyone else”, in that the civil war is a war over who gets to be on top of the pyramid and live at the expense of everyone else. In the rural Xeer sections, no one is trying to live at the expense of anyone else. And while the quality of life in the Xeer section is hardly that of a Western country, it is better than the part of Somalia with government.I said, according to Bastiat, that government is the means by which men try to live at each other’s expense. Let me emphasize that, for that truly is exactly what government is. Government is the system by which one class of men try to impose their views on others. Now, sometimes, that may be legitimate: for example, if ordinary citizens wish to impose their abhorrence of murder and thievery on murderers and thieves, and coerce the murders and thieves to avoid murdering and thieving. But 99% of the time, government has more to do with imposing more parochial and sectarian aims on unwilling others. That’s what government is. To quote David Boaz, “The Separation of Art and State” (…, “Discussions of policy issues should begin with first principles. As my colleague Ed Crane notes, there are only two basic ways to organize society: coercively, through government dictates, or voluntarily, through the myriad interactions among individuals and private associations. All the various political ‘isms’–fascism, communism, conservatism, liberalism, neoconservatism — boil down to a single question. The bottom line of political philosophy, and therefore of politics itself, is, ‘Who is going to make the decision about this particular aspect of your life, you or somebody else?'”Here, David Boaz makes the same case, in a more detailed fashion, saying that the “Hillaries and the Huckabees” respectively want to be your Mommy and your Daddy, the one tucking you in at night and feeding you, the other telling you to go to church and avoid pornography, both believing that they can run your life better than you can:

  40. says

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”—C. S. Lewis, God in the DockOf all people, I’d think atheists ought most to agree with this. ;)… except of course, for the part about “Heaven” and “Hell”. Did you ever see the joke about the chemistry exam asking whether hell is endothermic or exothermic?

  41. says

    If I wasn’t paranoid about them tracking me down through my phone and punishing me in subtle yet evil ways, I would call every single member of the House that voted for this shit and give them the biggest guilt trip of my career.

  42. WingedBeast says

    The problem with this little hypothesis is twofold.Fold number 1. What do you do in situations where the company in place is providing something too necessary to give up on and too exclusively to go elsewhere for? What you do is protest and petition and still get nothing done.Fold number 2. What do you do in situations where the majority public is pro-discrimination? Again, protest and petition and still get nothing done.The case of the hospital certainly applies to the first fold there. The hospital is in control and it’s not like people can afford to go elsewhere for emergency medicine. When your appendix is about to burst is not a time when you get to say “I won’t give them my money, take me to the one across town.”Not to mention most people get surgery where they can.Libertarianism is only about freedom on the very surface. Scratch that surface and it’s about the freedom of those with economic power to become the very tyrants that libertarians claim all government is. Power of money and mob.Don’t come back to me with a list of government excesses, because I’m not arguing it perfect. I’m arguing it the only real tool we have to protect people from the tyranny of the majority.Oh, and if you absent taxes and funding from hospitals and you have, as a result, people being turned away from ERs based on a lack of wealth or based on the bigotries of hospital management.Libertarianism only works in the same theoretical realm in which communism works.

  43. says

    How can anything be too difficult to acquire elsewhere? Just get it shipped by mail. The internet makes it extremely easy to do so. Or, the opposition party can compete. If the hospital announces a policy of not treating pregnant women, then you can open a competing hospital.If the majority public is discriminatory, then they would elect a discriminatory government too. In the South, it made little difference whether it was the government oppressing blacks or a private chapter of the KKK doing the same. I don’t expect my libertarianism to give us a utopia; human nature will not change. But I argue that government tends to merely exacerbate the problems of human nature, by giving one party a monopoly. Libertarianism would at least divide power and atomize individuals. It wouldn’t solve the problems of human nature, but then again, it would not exacerbate them either, whereas exacerbation is exactly what the government does.As for the poor, there’s always charity, and even better, unions. It used to be that workers would join together to form a collective health system for themselves. The workers would pool their money to create their own health insurance, and sometimes, they would even keep their own doctor on retainer. This ended when doctors complained to the government that medical care was too cheap, and that poor workers were unfairly and insultingly lording over the educated doctor. The government responded by giving the AMA a monopoly on medical licensing, and the AMA proceeded to deny a license to any doctor who worked with one of these workers’ unions. That’s how government solved the problem of unfairly-inexpensive medical care. In Britain too, the same problem existed, and the government solved it by creating national healthcare; once the workers were taxed to support the national system, they didn’t have enough money to pay into the union too. So in the US and Britain alike, the government took active steps to end the unfair domination of educated doctors by uneducated workers; it simply wasn’t fair that a plumber or tailor was able to tell a man with an MD what to do, and the government took steps to artificially elevate the price of medical care.

  44. WingedBeast says

    Firstly to your question “How can anything be too difficult to aquire elsewhere?”Simple, limited means. Any home service or perishable item can’t be shipped in from another town by order via internet. You have to work with what’s available unless you’re wealthy enough to manage the higher prices for out of town or even out of state shipping.Also factor monopolies. Libertarianism isn’t going to provide any protection against a single person or company removing all competition and, thereby, forming monopolies. If there is only one supplier of, say, steel, then no matter what the ethics of his business operations, any business with any contruction requirements needs to be on his good side, and if his good side requires following in line with said business operations…In the libertarian ideal, the only bulwork against a majority would be well positioned wealth. This doesn’t create a free society. It creates a model of economic feudalism.Segregation in the South is a good example of what we’re both talking about. It is government following the failings of the people (a flaw that we both acknowledge). But, in terms of both the state governments and the private companies, the only thing that could stop them from their discriminative practices was the federal government stepping in.Private businesses maintained their discriminative practices in both employing and sales as a means of securing the wealthier clients. All of this, in Libertarian thinking, is collateral damage, the regrettabe cost of freedom being selected peoples that are anything but free.Again, if you bring up any flaw of government, I’ll probably agree with you. Like the free market economy, it’s not great or wise and you have to watch it and regulate it like a hawk (both government and free market economy) but it’s the best of a bad set of options.

  45. says

    I don’t have time to go over all that’s wrong in here–since I have 95 final student essays staring at me–but I do want to raise 2 main issues..1. You make a lot of claims in here that are primarily based on assumptions that may or may not be true. You say for example that the cost for roads would be lower with tolls than with taxes–but then don’t provide any evidence for this claim. You just assume it’s true.This is a problem that I see all the time–but it seems especially common in the libertarian exposition I find on the internet… and it’s not all that convincing.. for reason #2…2. Let’s take a concrete example of private schools. You say that if you just removed property taxes–then the poor would have all this money that they could then spend on private schools.This idealized notion, however, fails in reality for a number of reasons:a) Most of the urban poor do not even own their houses. Thus, they do not pay property taxes directly–their landlords do. Now–while it is true that no property taxes would probably mean lower rents–it is not clear that landlords would automatically pass on 100% of the savings to the poor–for–why should they? They are good capitalists trying to make a buck off of their tenants..b) The amount of “property-taxes-in-the-form-of-rent” is not going to be nearly enough to go to school. As evidence–I’ll offer the data that my wife and I pay around $4300 in property taxes living in Madison, WI on a 200k valued house. Most of the urban poor living quarters–as someone notes below–live in places that are valued a lot less than this–someone noted apartment complexes where the average unit is about $900 of rent=property taxes… That value is a lot less than private schools here… In fact–there’s one just down the street–tuition for grade 1-8 for your first child ranges from 5600-6800 per student/per year.. so.. with just one child–your $900 means nothing–much less my $4300 of property taxes–and just so you know–I have 3 stepkids… c) Now–before you start to claim that abolishing public schools would open up the market for a lot more students and prices would drop–let me give you a real life example of why that’s not the case. In Wisconsin, we’re pretty progressive in a lot of ways–and actually one of the progressive things that we did in Milwaukee–which has an atrocious public school system for tons of reasons–was to give students $5000 vouchers that they could apply towards a public school–or to going to any private school they wanted there. This voucher was the same amount of money spent on each student in the public schools. The result was that within 2-3 years–all the best private schools just upped their prices so that the poorest students still couldn’t go there. They did this because the poorest students had the worst educational performances on average–and so they brought down the school’s test scores. The result was that these poor students were then either shunted to the worst performing private charter schools–some of which just then closed and left students and families screwed when they weren’t registered for any other schools.End result–the private market in schooling didn’t solve anything other than drive up the price of good private education.This is not surprising to me in the slightest, however, because it is clear that if you look at the idea of education–that it is not AT ALL clear that there is an actual MARKET there. Or rather–you can make education a “market”–but in markets–as is obvious to anyone who goes to them–it is never guaranteed that EVERYONE actually gets to buy something. If you accept that a number of people just shouldn’t get an education–then you can totally privatize education–and, historically–THAT’S HOW IT USED TO BE BEFORE PUBLIC EDUCATION!!! Before the 1800’s in the US–there were no property taxes–there was no public education–and only a relatively small percent of the populace–around like 30%–ever got any kind of education… This was truly the exact kind of libertarian market in education that you claim to want to strive for–but which you also want to add in through the back door that everyone gets an education… .. but that’s just not valid… any more than requiring that markets must always provide something to all consumers… Beyond this–I won’t get into other issues other than to say that the Oil issue isn’t a tragedy of the commons issue–it is a physical reality issue–namely that oil fields refuse to confine themselves to the property lines that humans build on top of them… and so it set up a situation where the way you get oil is to drill into the field–and try to get out as much as you can as fast as you can–because other people are going to try to do the same… However–by doing this–you destroy the built up gas pressure (the stuff that makes oil shoot out of the derricks) in the oil super quickly–and the amount of oil you get out of the field at low prices is small–like 10-15%.. Then–you have to use pumps to get the oil out–which is a lot more expensive and economically risky… However–if you set up a governing body that can scientifically evaluate the field overall–and determine the Maximum Efficient Rate (MER) of production–then you can impose that rate on everyone–and each particular group gets to produce a set amount of oil (this is unitization) depending on their ownership stakes in the area–and the end result is that you maintain the Gas pressure a lot longer–and most importantly–ALL OF THE OWNERS TOGETHER OBTAIN VASTLY MORE MONEY… Thus–the MER is not just the maximum efficient rate for production of oil–it is also the maximum efficent rate monetarily.. However–this only works by cooperation and coordination is imposed by a governing authority. When it is left to individuals–they quickly try and cheat and the situation deteriorates into violence. If you want a historical example–go look at 1930’s Texas where the Governor had to call out the National Guard to keep the warfare down and then impose the unitization rates that kept the oil industry not only from killing each other–but also from going bankrupt… In the end–libertarian ideals work only in a world where humans aren’t human–but instead are idealized rational actors who never cheat or are greedy and who always are willing to look at long term solutions… however–with a group like that–I could easily also make communism work wonderfully.. In the real world–neither situation works… Okay.. enough from me–I’m done with the thread.. I have grading to do… Good luck with the libertarian ideology–but it isn’t anything I haven’t heard before over the last 20 years–and little of it actually conforms to history or reality in my experience…

  46. A-M says

    What is this madness? We would never condemn a man to death for the sake of another man (ignoring issues of resources such as there’s only one transplant heart available), so why would we condemn a woman to death for the sake of an unborn person?I can quite confidently say that this would never even make it to a parliamentary debate in the UK. Sure we debate the 24 week abortion limit from time to time, but never something like this. It could be because the UK is generally less religious than the USA, or at least we generally separate religion and politics more frequently. I could not tell you for sure what brand of Christianity David Cameron is (if he is at all), it’s not deemed important. In fact, most british voters are uneasy when faced with a political candidate who outrightly pushes their religion into the agenda.

  47. says

    It’s more to do with us having a better grasp of statistics in general. We do have the right wing who keep going on about us teaching sex ed to kids to turn them into perverts. The issue in the USA is that abortion has been drummed upto a fever pitch by religious right portraying us as baby eating monsters while in the UK if you tried that people are naturally suspicious. Our pro life movement is currently winding up in response to Sir Pratchett (and indeed Patrick Stewart) and their stances of euthanasia since Pratchett wishes to die with dignity when the time comes. It’s just that they could never really argue the pro-life stance in a country where we know that their stance is nonsensical.

  48. Azkyroth says

    So, basically, if people would voluntarily choose to be perfectly rational, scrupulously fair and impartial, never tried to cheat, and made all decisions with perfect information from bargaining positions with equal leverage, there would be no need for government….thank you captain obvious.

  49. kendermouse says

    This makes me so ill. I can’t even begin to say how horrible this could be.

  50. Mobius 118 says

    You know that scene from Con Air where Poe is smashing that rapists face into the security fence?I want to do that to the writers and supporters of this bill.

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