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ruveyn
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16 Oct 2013, 10:34 am

Cyanide wrote:
Libertarians don't believe in freedom; they believe in the state. Even "Anarcho-Capitalists" want the state, except they want it privatized.


Correction. Libertarians advocate a minimal political state that has these functions.

1. Keeping peace domestically --- police and law courts.
2. Maintaining an armed force to protect the body politic: -- army, navy and airforce.

Period!! !! !

Your government should beat the bounds to keep out the lawless and the scoundrels and maintain a constabulary to deal with ruffians, thieves, killers and defrauders. Also it should see to it that the night times are kept quiet so people can get their sleep.

Your government should NOT redistribute incomes nor set up a privileged class such as the current crew in Washington that does nothing but live off tax revenue and the Corporate Cronies that have bribed the government to give them unrightful privileges.

ruveyn



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16 Oct 2013, 10:48 am

@91

I don't accept the premise that a person is inherently valuable. Value is not objective outside of the scientific definition (a numerical quantity that is assigned or determined by calculation or measurement). Value, in the context we are using it, is the relative assignment of utility of a good or service.

You used totalitarian terminology. It's not an overreaction to call you out on it. If you don't want me to call you totalitarian, then don't suggest that anyone should be required to think a certain way.

There is a significant difference between saying "I have no responsibility to protect or care for the disabled in my community" and saying "I should not be forced to have responsibility to protect or care for the disabled in my community." I agree that the former is barbaric. I also think it's barbaric to force social contracts on others. Libertarians, for the most part, are not sociopaths. We just don't like the idea that social contracts should be forced on people.

You don't get to redefine libertarianism because you don't like what it means. Even the wikipedia article on the non-aggression principle states that it's the foundation for modern libertarian philosophies.



91
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16 Oct 2013, 11:53 am

adb wrote:
@91

I don't accept the premise that a person is inherently valuable. Value is not objective outside of the scientific definition (a numerical quantity that is assigned or determined by calculation or measurement). Value, in the context we are using it, is the relative assignment of utility of a good or service.


If a person is not inherently valuable, then it follows that autonomy of the individual is not particularly valuable. The position you have taken, I would suggest, is not shared by the majority of libertarianism. It seems a high price to pay for your position if you think that you have to then embrace the worthlessness of the individual. It seems like that fundamentally undermines the position and is superfluous to need; rather akin to blowing off your foot because someone grabbed your ankle.

adb wrote:
You used totalitarian terminology. It's not an overreaction to call you out on it. If you don't want me to call you totalitarian, then don't suggest that anyone should be required to think a certain way.


The only absolute value I placed was in logic. My position was that if you hold to a and then to b and that a and b are connected then you might be compelled to accept c (if it is linked to a and b). It is not totalitarian to insist that premises follow from arguments but it is an absurd rhetorical device to employ when you have no legitimate counter.

adb wrote:
There is a significant difference between saying "I have no responsibility to protect or care for the disabled in my community" and saying "I should not be forced to have responsibility to protect or care for the disabled in my community." I agree that the former is barbaric. I also think it's barbaric to force social contracts on others. Libertarians, for the most part, are not sociopaths. We just don't like the idea that social contracts should be forced on people.


Perhaps, that sounds fine in principle but cannot be sustained when tested. If a collective action is more efficient at something and that thing is good, the principle should not stand in the way of the result. I have an issue with people putting ideas ahead of people. As I said in my last post, libertarianism could be a good idea, it could be a great idea but I don't see it as a viable fundamental principle. If you have issue with that please detail an argument against it because so far you have not.

adb wrote:
You don't get to redefine libertarianism because you don't like what it means. Even the wikipedia article on the non-aggression principle states that it's the foundation for modern libertarian philosophies.


"The basis of the ... Idea is that man is the master of all things and the decisive factor in everything."

"This means holding fast to an independent position, rejecting dependence on others, using one’s own brains, believing in one’s own strength, displaying the spirit of self-reliance, and thus solving one’s own problems for oneself on one’s own responsibility under all circumstances."

Take these quotes as a good example of my point. The non-aggression principle is, exactly that, a principle, I don't want to know what you stand for something I want to know how you intend to let it play out. My criticism of the libertarian position is that it is not capable of working as a fundamental axiom. Non-agression sounds great, so do most utopias but they only exist in the mind as axioms its how they are applied that matters. Those quotes are from Kim Il-Sung describing his Juche (Self Reliance) philosophy by the way. Platitude and high ideals where the ends justify the means is how totalitarianism talks. I have been to North Korea, they talk about freedom a great deal there, they talk about self-reliance even more and peace above all; mostly to disguise that they are trying to avoid saying the outright horrible. Direct and honest speech, especially about the result of applying an axiom to reality is the basis of resistance to totalitarian ideology, not the source of it.


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16 Oct 2013, 4:49 pm

A liberal responds to libertarian responses of his critique of libertarianism:
http://www.salon.com/2013/10/16/hey_lib ... y_partern/



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16 Oct 2013, 5:05 pm

91 wrote:
If a person is not inherently valuable, then it follows that autonomy of the individual is not particularly valuable. The position you have taken, I would suggest, is not shared by the majority of libertarianism. It seems a high price to pay for your position if you think that you have to then embrace the worthlessness of the individual. It seems like that fundamentally undermines the position and is superfluous to need; rather akin to blowing off your foot because someone grabbed your ankle.

The individual and his or her autonomy is valuable to the individual and those who care about the individual. You are trying to make this value objective when it's not. My life is less important to you than it is to me. Value exists only in the context of individual perspective. Since society is an aggregate of individuals, value to society is an aggregate of individual valuation.

Quote:
The only absolute value I placed was in logic. My position was that if you hold to a and then to b and that a and b are connected then you might be compelled to accept c (if it is linked to a and b). It is not totalitarian to insist that premises follow from arguments but it is an absurd rhetorical device to employ when you have no legitimate counter.

What are you talking about? This has nothing to do with anything I said.

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adb wrote:
We just don't like the idea that social contracts should be forced on people.

Perhaps, that sounds fine in principle but cannot be sustained when tested. If a collective action is more efficient at something and that thing is good, the principle should not stand in the way of the result. I have an issue with people putting ideas ahead of people. As I said in my last post, libertarianism could be a good idea, it could be a great idea but I don't see it as a viable fundamental principle. If you have issue with that please detail an argument against it because so far you have not.

This seems inconsistent. You say that you have an issue with putting ideas ahead of people, but you reject the only philosophy that prioritizes the individual over the ideas of others.

If I suggest a principle that it's important not to kill people, are you going to say that this shouldn't stand in the way of us improving our economy by killing off all the unproductive people?

Quote:
The non-aggression principle is, exactly that, a principle, I don't want to know what you stand for something I want to know how you intend to let it play out. My criticism of the libertarian position is that it is not capable of working as a fundamental axiom. Non-agression sounds great, so do most utopias but they only exist in the mind as axioms its how they are applied that matters.

Explain to me how the non-aggression principle fails as a fundamental axiom.



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16 Oct 2013, 5:23 pm

LKL wrote:
A liberal responds to libertarian responses of his critique of libertarianism:
http://www.salon.com/2013/10/16/hey_lib ... y_partern/

Thank you for posting this. I remember his first article.

He makes some claims from history that I would contest, but that's a discussion for another time.



donnie_darko
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16 Oct 2013, 5:31 pm

adb wrote:
donnie_darko wrote:
A lot of libertarians I debate with on the Internet express hatred for people with Aspergers/Autism and those with mental disabilities...

Would you clarify this bit of anecdotal evidence, perhaps with some examples? I can't think of a single person I've met who has expressed hatred for people who are mentally disabled. I've met plenty who have made fun of them, but not who have expressed hatred. How have you seen this hatred manifested?


Well, I am in this facebook politics group and many of the libertarians there have expressed hatred for the disabled. Not just one or two of them, it's a pattern I've noticed.



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16 Oct 2013, 5:38 pm

donnie_darko wrote:
Well, I am in this facebook politics group and many of the libertarians there have expressed hatred for the disabled. Not just one or two of them, it's a pattern I've noticed.

How do they express hatred? Do they come out and say that they hate disabled people or are you inferring this from other things they say? I'm honestly curious about this.



The_Walrus
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16 Oct 2013, 5:44 pm

LKL wrote:
A liberal responds to libertarian responses of his critique of libertarianism:
http://www.salon.com/2013/10/16/hey_lib ... y_partern/
I've always thought the consistency of the libertarian position was its strongest asset. I'm conscious that my left-liberal position (IMO, governments should have little power but offer lots of services; markets need regulation; help the little guy) has some glaring inconsistencies, most prominently advocating government seizure of assets i.e. taxation. It seems to me that the libertarian position- small government, little power- is more consistent, as well as often being less partisan. I think the inconsistencies in my position are justified, but that's besides the point.

How do libertarians rectify "tyranny of the markets"? Clearly many of them recognise the tyranny of the majority when it comes to democracy. I would be interested to see what libertarians on this forum think about whether markets can provide a similar tyranny. For example, if labour laws were abolished, the clothing market would probably favour companies that exploit their workers (they certainly have large portion right now, but only with foreign labour). Doesn't that create "wage slavery"? Of course, you're free to leave your job... but then you starve, or become exploited elsewhere.

(To be honest, I don't think superficial consistency is necessarily a good thing. I wouldn't support a Benthamite or a theocrat or an authoritarian just because their positions used the most consistent reasoning. As long as subtle differences in situations can be explained and used to justify perceived inconsistencies...)



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16 Oct 2013, 6:00 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
How do libertarians rectify "tyranny of the markets"? Clearly many of them recognise the tyranny of the majority when it comes to democracy. I would be interested to see what libertarians on this forum think about whether markets can provide a similar tyranny. For example, if labour laws were abolished, the clothing market would probably favour companies that exploit their workers (they certainly have large portion right now, but only with foreign labour). Doesn't that create "wage slavery"? Of course, you're free to leave your job... but then you starve, or become exploited elsewhere.

This one isn't too hard, actually. It just usually surprises people because libertarianism has been polluted a bit by republicans.

Centralization of power in the market is far more difficult without legislation. Regulation is usually anti-competitive... it's a small business killer. If you have tons of bureaucracy to deal with, it's hard to get innovation to market, which is what keeps the big players around. As companies grow, they lose efficiency and effectiveness -- they lack the motivation that drives small companies.

With a free market, unions are unrestricted (this is the part that republicans struggle with). Unions have proven very effective in reducing exploitation of the workforce.

A common misconception about libertarianism is that it is focused on individualism. Libertarians are opposed to *forced* participation in social groups, not social groups themselves. Voluntary participation in social groups is very much consistent with libertarianism. Unions are an excellent form of social grouping.



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16 Oct 2013, 6:30 pm

adb wrote:
The_Walrus wrote:
How do libertarians rectify "tyranny of the markets"? Clearly many of them recognise the tyranny of the majority when it comes to democracy. I would be interested to see what libertarians on this forum think about whether markets can provide a similar tyranny. For example, if labour laws were abolished, the clothing market would probably favour companies that exploit their workers (they certainly have large portion right now, but only with foreign labour). Doesn't that create "wage slavery"? Of course, you're free to leave your job... but then you starve, or become exploited elsewhere.

This one isn't too hard, actually. It just usually surprises people because libertarianism has been polluted a bit by republicans.

Centralization of power in the market is far more difficult without legislation. Regulation is usually anti-competitive... it's a small business killer. If you have tons of bureaucracy to deal with, it's hard to get innovation to market, which is what keeps the big players around. As companies grow, they lose efficiency and effectiveness -- they lack the motivation that drives small companies.

With a free market, unions are unrestricted (this is the part that republicans struggle with). Unions have proven very effective in reducing exploitation of the workforce.

A common misconception about libertarianism is that it is focused on individualism. Libertarians are opposed to *forced* participation in social groups, not social groups themselves. Voluntary participation in social groups is very much consistent with libertarianism. Unions are an excellent form of social grouping.

Interesting answer, thank you.

I don't know too much about American politics, particularly historically, but in the UK the unions were really helped by the rise of the Labour Party, and vice versa as much of the party's funding and activism came and comes from unions. The Labour Party has put in place fairly specific reforms (for example, Atlee's government post-WWII implemented specific reforms for the working conditions of electricians after they'd done general ones) and has achieved more than the Unions ever managed to do under Conservative governments. Without Labour, we probably wouldn't have a minimum wage.

I think political activism, lawmaking, regulation and "red tape" are better ways of improving worker conditions. In any case, isn't "Union-imposed regulation" just as bad for business as "government-imposed regulation"?



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16 Oct 2013, 6:32 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
LKL wrote:
A liberal responds to libertarian responses of his critique of libertarianism:
http://www.salon.com/2013/10/16/hey_lib ... y_partern/
I've always thought the consistency of the libertarian position was its strongest asset. I'm conscious that my left-liberal position (IMO, governments should have little power but offer lots of services; markets need regulation; help the little guy) has some glaring inconsistencies, most prominently advocating government seizure of assets i.e. taxation. It seems to me that the libertarian position- small government, little power- is more consistent, as well as often being less partisan. I think the inconsistencies in my position are justified, but that's besides the point.

How do libertarians rectify "tyranny of the markets"? Clearly many of them recognise the tyranny of the majority when it comes to democracy. I would be interested to see what libertarians on this forum think about whether markets can provide a similar tyranny. For example, if labour laws were abolished, the clothing market would probably favour companies that exploit their workers (they certainly have large portion right now, but only with foreign labour). Doesn't that create "wage slavery"? Of course, you're free to leave your job... but then you starve, or become exploited elsewhere.

(To be honest, I don't think superficial consistency is necessarily a good thing. I wouldn't support a Benthamite or a theocrat or an authoritarian just because their positions used the most consistent reasoning. As long as subtle differences in situations can be explained and used to justify perceived inconsistencies...)
During the Irish Potato Famine, there were so many emigrants from Ireland in various countries that their labor was literally not 'worth' the cost of feeding them day by day, in a market sense; a man could work all day digging a ditch, and his pay for that day was not enough to buy enough food for him to replace the calories he'd lost in that day's work. Men literally worked themselves to death by starvation. But, hey, it was the free market, so it's all good?

The libertarian response to the fact that people who are working fast food, for example, are not making enough to support themselves (much less a family) even if they work full time, is that 'they should get an education,' or 'they should get a better job.' But what if their IQ is below average (that is, by definition, half the population)? What if they aren't cut out for school, and can't get a better job? Are we really willing to say that it's ok to just write off half (or more) of our population - that America really isn't a place where you can take care of yourself if you work hard?



91
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16 Oct 2013, 7:55 pm

adb wrote:
The individual and his or her autonomy is valuable to the individual and those who care about the individual. You are trying to make this value objective when it's not. My life is less important to you than it is to me. Value exists only in the context of individual perspective. Since society is an aggregate of individuals, value to society is an aggregate of individual valuation.


Exactly, if that is the case, why then is anyone who does not care about you, required to respect your autonomy. That would due to the social contract, which exists regardless of preference. At their core social contracts are based on the rules that government society. You obviously prefer one that relates only to the individual and those they chose to care about but it requires a universal social contract to be enforced. For myself, I cannot understand why we would get to the point of saying the individual has enormous value and then not require that they be fed when starving. As LKL pointed out by using the case of the potato famine, there are situations where economic conditions do not afford people the opportunity to take care of themselves and in such conditions the libertarian social contract would force us to accept the barbaric, that there is enough food and millions of supposedly valuable people deserve to starve.

adb wrote:
What are you talking about? This has nothing to do with anything I said.


Well if you read my original post again you will see that my discussion of absolutes was in reference to rationality and ideas. There were two sentences about how points a and b are not reconcilable with one another and a statement that one should be required by the argument to accept a conclusion. I never advocated anything totalitarian other than common sense and an appear to better nature. You jumped on my position for using 'totalitarian language' and clearly you didn't even read it.

91 wrote:
You accused me of using totalitarian language, but I doubt you even read my original post all that carefully.

http://beforeitsnews.com/libertarian/20 ... 77798.html

Well I read this article and was quite shocked, it was a clear case of ideology being placed before people. If libertarianism is about respecting the individual as a sovereign entity, then it follows that this person is valuable. However, making a blanket statement like 'anyone but the federal government' places the ideology before the person. Surely, a rational person when approaching the subject of the truly, desperately, needy should be required to be think beyond the restrictive framework of one idea? Libertarianism is the idea that the success of people is hard earned and should be respected, that they are valuable and ought to be free. Conceptually it is hard to disagree with that view, however it does not follow that Libertarianism should be applied as a wholesale idea, only some problems in our society can be alleviated by reducing government influence. That makes it a policy suggestion and not a maxim, an option to consider but no candidate for a commandment.


adb wrote:
This seems inconsistent. You say that you have an issue with putting ideas ahead of people, but you reject the only philosophy that prioritizes the individual over the ideas of others.


Where did I reject libertarianism and on what grounds? My objection was with it as a foundational position and I used an article that applied libertarianism to a position where it did not really work all that well. My position was that it could be a good idea but that it cannot be foundational, that is, it cannot be the sole metric for developing policy. It is a good suggestion sometimes but it just does not cut the mustard as a core philosophy. The discussion was about how libertarianism deals with disability and in the article the author basically states that people owe them no support. Community based efforts lead to lots of people falling through the cracks. The truth is more complicated than an individual philosophical maxim, there are times when the community matters more than the individual, (even a libertarian like Ruveyn still supports national defence) and there are times when the individual matters more than the society. There is no universal rule for all of human existence, its just not that easy.

adb wrote:
If I suggest a principle that it's important not to kill people, are you going to say that this shouldn't stand in the way of us improving our economy by killing off all the unproductive people?


Sure but we can all think of situations where we must kill people. That is why the movie High Noon is so good, it shows the limits of non-violence.

“Ultimately evil is done not so much by evil people, but by good people who do not know themselves and who do not probe deeply.”
― Reinhold Niebuhr


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16 Oct 2013, 8:10 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
I think political activism, lawmaking, regulation and "red tape" are better ways of improving worker conditions. In any case, isn't "Union-imposed regulation" just as bad for business as "government-imposed regulation"?

The difference is that government-imposed regulation is done by threat of force. You face violence if you refuse to participate and the parties involved have no ability to resolve things themselves

Let's pretend there is a safety feature for expandable ladders that helps prevent them from collapsing unintentionally. This unintentional collapse has resulted in four deaths and 30 injuries out of 20,000 sold. The safety feature increases the cost of our example ladder from $100 to $120.

In our first case, the government has mandated that all ladders have this safety feature. If you don't have this safety feature, you face fines. If you refuse to pay the fines, you are criminally prosecuted. All consumers must pay the $120 to get the ladder with the safety feature.

In the second case, we handle this privately:

As an individual, I can do my own risk assessment to determine if the chance of an accident is worth saving $20 on the ladder.

As a non-union employer, I can do my own risk assessment to determine if the higher profitability is worth the risk. I can discuss it with my employees and maybe split the difference. There are options, but we get to handle it privately.

As a union employer, I can negotiate with the union to decide how to handle this. The union may mandate the better ladders and if I don't comply, I'll lose revenue to a strike. Or we could negotiate that we'll get better insurance to cover any accidents plus pay a slightly increased wage with the savings from the $20 per ladder.

This is simplistic, but gets the idea across. There are not universal solutions. There are individual solutions -- we each have different needs and desires. It makes far more sense to me to have a system that gives people the ability to work things out for themselves rather than have some centralized planner that dictates how everything works.



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16 Oct 2013, 8:29 pm

^^^

Totally ridiculous. Travel through China where regulation either does not really work all that well or people just don't care. Babies die from contaminated milk and you wonder about the quality of absolutely everything. Sorry mate, I am in favour of it being ok for government to mandate that the eggs need to be real (http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/11/06/how ... otten-egg/) and that the ladders don't collapse. When I was driving outside of Jilin there was a new power plant built next to the old one, they just moved from one to the other, left the groundwater totally contaminated and forgot about their responsibility. Regulation and effective enforcement are both quite necessary for civilised society.


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