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adb
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16 Oct 2013, 8:39 pm

91 wrote:
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.

It's not social contract to say that if you are aggressive toward me, I'm going to respond with hostility. Social contract is an assumption that we owe each other something. There is no libertarian social contract.

If you want to feed someone who is starving, please do. If I see someone starving, I'll help them. But what I don't agree with is the concept of forcing someone else to do the same.


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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.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here and apologize. I'm sorry if I misinterpreted what you said.

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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.

Political positions reflect a world view. Libertarianism is a world view. Liberalism is a world view. Conservatism is a world view. I consider them all to be "foundational positions".

In libertarianism, there doesn't need to be any metric in developing policy. Let people figure it out themselves. This should be right in line with your statement that there is no universal rule for human existence.

I don't have any data to suggest that community based efforts are any more or less efficient than government efforts. It's fairly irrelevant to me since I don't agree with forcing people into social contract, regardless of outcome.

Whether the individual matters more or community matters more is a subjective value statement and should not be a factor in any of this.

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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

Did you really mean to agree with that question?



adb
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16 Oct 2013, 8:46 pm

91 wrote:
^^^

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.

This is where the circle of violence starts. You use the threat of force to impose your values on others. Eventually the people you oppress respond with violence. And you'll likely be surprised, since you think you are doing the "right thing".



91
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16 Oct 2013, 9:49 pm

adb wrote:
It's not social contract to say that if you are aggressive toward me, I'm going to respond with hostility. Social contract is an assumption that we owe each other something. There is no libertarian social contract.


The state an nature of man, absent a social contract is limited to the power of the individual combined with their character. As Thomas Hobbs pointed out, life under such conditions is brutish and short. Libertarianism is a social contract because it requires that I respect your personal autonomy, even if I have the power act otherwise. There is an agreement, on libertarianism, that I will not simply shoot you and take your goods if I feel I can get away with us, that is a social contract.

adb wrote:
Political positions reflect a world view. Libertarianism is a world view. Liberalism is a world view. Conservatism is a world view. I consider them all to be "foundational positions".

In libertarianism, there doesn't need to be any metric in developing policy. Let people figure it out themselves. This should be right in line with your statement that there is no universal rule for human existence.

I don't have any data to suggest that community based efforts are any more or less efficient than government efforts. It's fairly irrelevant to me since I don't agree with forcing people into social contract, regardless of outcome.

Whether the individual matters more or community matters more is a subjective value statement and should not be a factor in any of this.


I think you might be fundamentally underestimating the level of social agreement that must exist even for people to agree to stay out of each other's way. As to the idea of Libertarianism as a world-view, I don't think it functions particularly well as a maxim any more than conservatism or liberalism would given a carte blanche mandate over policy. Political action is about balance and compromise, not maxim, nor is it really about the pursuit of some utopia, be it libertarian or otherwise. Rather, I would suggest that political action is about outcome combined with informed values. The autonomy of the individual is a valuable thing but it is not the only consideration of a complex system that bends towards justice.

adb wrote:
Did you really mean to agree with that question?


I was granting the applicability of libertarianism as a concept. I do not dispute its use but I also want to express a view that shows its limits. There are good ideas but there is no one good idea for everything.

adb wrote:
91 wrote:
^^^

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.

This is where the circle of violence starts. You use the threat of force to impose your values on others. Eventually the people you oppress respond with violence. And you'll likely be surprised, since you think you are doing the "right thing".


Do you really wish to contend that our market is more dystopian than theirs? While individual responsibility, absent regulation, might sound like a good idea in theory, what it means in reality is that you have a bunch of very hard working people who simply do not have the time to check that every egg they buy is real or that the ground they walk on is free from contamination. Imagine wondering about the elevator you stand in, the fruit juice you drink, the building you sleep in and the oven you cook in, all day, every day, forever. It's like having to read terms and conditions on everything you do, its just not workable if you want to have time to also accomplish your goals for the day, like going to your job. That is why we have regulation and as a result, it is why our public health and quality of life is better. Seriously, I have spent plenty of time in Beijing, I have seen a blue sky, once.


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17 Oct 2013, 2:16 am

91 wrote:
^^^

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.

Yeah, but 91, the guys who killed all those babies with contaminated milk lost their jobs and/or were prosecuted and/or killed themselves. So it's all good, right? (/sarcasm)

There are too many products in the world. The brand that you settle on today, because it has the right price and the right features, and you've researched the company and support its policies, might not be in the store tomorrow - and you have to choose from five other brands, research them all to make sure that they don't have a history of poisoning any one, or using slave labor, or killing dolphins, or whatever. When you multiply that times a 40 item shopping list, it becomes impossible to 'vote with your dollar' just in terms of the sheer amount of time and research require. Or you can have a government that prohibits melamine in milk, prohibits slave labor, and prohibits killing dolphins, and you can go to the store and buy your stuff and leave without worrying that you're literally supporting baby killers. Or that you might be killed by the milk yourself.



Last edited by LKL on 17 Oct 2013, 2:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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17 Oct 2013, 2:28 am

adb wrote:
It's not social contract to say that if you are aggressive toward me, I'm going to respond with hostility. Social contract is an assumption that we owe each other something. There is no libertarian social contract.
If you want to feed someone who is starving, please do. If I see someone starving, I'll help them. But what I don't agree with is the concept of forcing someone else to do the same.

Potato famine time again: the poor in Ireland ate potatoes because it was a nutritious food that was easy to grow on very marginal land, which was the only land that they could afford. Rich landowners also grew great deals of grain for export to England and other areas, on the better land. When the famine hit, some of those rich landowners chose to give some (or much) of their grain to the starving people, rather than see their tenants and neighbors as corpses with green-stained mouths along the hedgerows. Many of those landowners subsequently lost their own land because the needed the profit that the grain would have made in England to stay afloat.
Is that ok? That some landowners had to take the full work of feeding a nation upon themselves because no one else was doing it, and subsequently lost their own land for their compassion?
Or would it have been better if everyone were required to give a little bit, and no one lost their land, and no one starved?

Another example: My parents live on a non-county, and thus non-paved road. When it needed to be re-paved, they went around to the neighbors and asked everyone to contribute $50 to pave the whole road, because it was too expensive for any one person to take on. Most of the neighbors said yes, but two or three said, "No. No, we won't contribute to your paving fund.... but we'll still drive home on this newly paved road, once it's nice and smooth." The consequence was that the road didn't get paved at all; no one wanted to support the freeloaders, so everyone drove over potholes.



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17 Oct 2013, 2:34 am

And how did those rich landowners acquire that land, other than government interference in the market in the form of land grants?


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17 Oct 2013, 2:49 am

As individuals, they largely inherited it. You believe in land ownership and inheritance rights, yes?

Their ancestors got it either by purchasing it or by conquering it by force, the same way land is usually gotten.

What does that have to do with the point that libertarianism failed both the native Irish people and any individual compassionate enough to try to help them?



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17 Oct 2013, 10:42 am

91 wrote:
The state an nature of man, absent a social contract is limited to the power of the individual combined with their character. As Thomas Hobbs pointed out, life under such conditions is brutish and short. Libertarianism is a social contract because it requires that I respect your personal autonomy, even if I have the power act otherwise. There is an agreement, on libertarianism, that I will not simply shoot you and take your goods if I feel I can get away with us, that is a social contract.

We may be using the term "social contract" differently, so I'm going to explain how I view it to see if we can clear this up.

Social contract is the idea that we have surrendered certain freedoms in exchange for protection of rights. The problem is that this is not voluntary. I have no problem with the concept of social contract if participation is not mandatory, but the social contract arguments always depend on mandatory participation.

Social contract and cooperation are two different things. We can cooperate without social contract. The free market is an example of this. No social contract is required to exchange products and services.

From a libertarian perspective, it's not an agreement that discourages you from shooting me and taking my goods. It's discouraged by economics and by the risk of retaliation. You are not required to respect my autonomy. You simply have to deal with the risk of being aggressive toward me.

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I think you might be fundamentally underestimating the level of social agreement that must exist even for people to agree to stay out of each other's way. As to the idea of Libertarianism as a world-view, I don't think it functions particularly well as a maxim any more than conservatism or liberalism would given a carte blanche mandate over policy. Political action is about balance and compromise, not maxim, nor is it really about the pursuit of some utopia, be it libertarian or otherwise. Rather, I would suggest that political action is about outcome combined with informed values. The autonomy of the individual is a valuable thing but it is not the only consideration of a complex system that bends towards justice.

Social contract is not the same as social agreements. In the libertarian world view, social agreements are voluntary.

The value argument is wasted on me. As I explained earlier, value is subjective. It would be more reasonable to say "the autonomy of the individual is a valuable thing to me". I don't care about the autonomy of the individual. I only care about my own autonomy and the autonomy of people in my circle of concern. If you want to sacrifice some of your autonomy in exchange for protection, be my guest... just don't force your value system on me.

Quote:
Do you really wish to contend that our market is more dystopian than theirs? While individual responsibility, absent regulation, might sound like a good idea in theory, what it means in reality is that you have a bunch of very hard working people who simply do not have the time to check that every egg they buy is real or that the ground they walk on is free from contamination. Imagine wondering about the elevator you stand in, the fruit juice you drink, the building you sleep in and the oven you cook in, all day, every day, forever. It's like having to read terms and conditions on everything you do, its just not workable if you want to have time to also accomplish your goals for the day, like going to your job. That is why we have regulation and as a result, it is why our public health and quality of life is better. Seriously, I have spent plenty of time in Beijing, I have seen a blue sky, once.

I know very little about China. I'm responding to your argument, not your anecdotal evidence.

Having no regulation is not the same as having no systems and guidelines. If I'm going to hire a network engineer to work on my cisco routers, I consider his or her certifications. Those certifications are a reputation-based system that performs very well for identifying if someone is qualified. There is no government regulation there, but it works fine. The same principle can be applied to pretty much anything.

The libertarian position is not that people should be loners. It's simply that our social interaction should be voluntary, not mandatory.



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17 Oct 2013, 11:17 am

LKL wrote:
Potato famine time again: the poor in Ireland ate potatoes because it was a nutritious food that was easy to grow on very marginal land, which was the only land that they could afford. Rich landowners also grew great deals of grain for export to England and other areas, on the better land. When the famine hit, some of those rich landowners chose to give some (or much) of their grain to the starving people, rather than see their tenants and neighbors as corpses with green-stained mouths along the hedgerows. Many of those landowners subsequently lost their own land because the needed the profit that the grain would have made in England to stay afloat.
Is that ok? That some landowners had to take the full work of feeding a nation upon themselves because no one else was doing it, and subsequently lost their own land for their compassion?
Or would it have been better if everyone were required to give a little bit, and no one lost their land, and no one starved?

Better for whom? Who decides what's best? What if the majority decides that it's better for the aggregate to let the starving people die?

What can't I decide what's best for me?

Quote:
Another example: My parents live on a non-county, and thus non-paved road. When it needed to be re-paved, they went around to the neighbors and asked everyone to contribute $50 to pave the whole road, because it was too expensive for any one person to take on. Most of the neighbors said yes, but two or three said, "No. No, we won't contribute to your paving fund.... but we'll still drive home on this newly paved road, once it's nice and smooth." The consequence was that the road didn't get paved at all; no one wanted to support the freeloaders, so everyone drove over potholes.

I don't consider it acceptable to force those other two or three people to pay up through violence or threat of violence, but that's for them to decide.

The neighbors decided that it was more important to them that everyone contributes than it was for them to have a fresh paved road. I don't see a problem here.



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17 Oct 2013, 2:15 pm

It's just a hit piece, democrats jabs at libertarians.
A bunch of gross exaggerations.

As a libertarian, I believe the government should be the servant of the people, not their parent. And for the most part government needs to keep their nose out of everyones business.


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17 Oct 2013, 7:51 pm

ADB

Your last post was more or less a repeat of your post before that. It did not interact in a substantial way with my position so unless you have something to add I will consider the matter closed.


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17 Oct 2013, 8:22 pm

adb wrote:
LKL wrote:
Potato famine time again: the poor in Ireland ate potatoes because it was a nutritious food that was easy to grow on very marginal land, which was the only land that they could afford. Rich landowners also grew great deals of grain for export to England and other areas, on the better land. When the famine hit, some of those rich landowners chose to give some (or much) of their grain to the starving people, rather than see their tenants and neighbors as corpses with green-stained mouths along the hedgerows. Many of those landowners subsequently lost their own land because the needed the profit that the grain would have made in England to stay afloat.
Is that ok? That some landowners had to take the full work of feeding a nation upon themselves because no one else was doing it, and subsequently lost their own land for their compassion?
Or would it have been better if everyone were required to give a little bit, and no one lost their land, and no one starved?

Better for whom? Who decides what's best? What if the majority decides that it's better for the aggregate to let the starving people die?

What can't I decide what's best for me?

You are assuming that 'the aggregate' doesn't include the starving people themselves. Don't they get a vote, or are they discounted from your society entirely because they're so weak from hunger that they can't help themselves?

Quote:
Quote:
Another example: My parents live on a non-county, and thus non-paved road. When it needed to be re-paved, they went around to the neighbors and asked everyone to contribute $50 to pave the whole road, because it was too expensive for any one person to take on. Most of the neighbors said yes, but two or three said, "No. No, we won't contribute to your paving fund.... but we'll still drive home on this newly paved road, once it's nice and smooth." The consequence was that the road didn't get paved at all; no one wanted to support the freeloaders, so everyone drove over potholes.

I don't consider it acceptable to force those other two or three people to pay up through violence or threat of violence, but that's for them to decide.
The neighbors decided that it was more important to them that everyone contributes than it was for them to have a fresh paved road. I don't see a problem here.

It's not a problem, exactly, but it is an example of a libertarian social contract at work.

Starving people and unpaved roads are the result of libertarian social 'agreements.' To me, that seems objectively bad, because I tend to try to base my system of morality on the utilitarian principle, at least in general.

@pete: these examples are in no way exaggerations. They are true, historical things that have actually happened when there was no government regulation or support.



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17 Oct 2013, 9:34 pm

ruveyn wrote:
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

A "minimal" state is still a state, and no matter how "minimal" you make it, it will always come back to what we have now over time. The number one priority of the state is to keep itself alive.



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18 Oct 2013, 2:04 pm

adb wrote:
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.

Except before the government pass the law, they will hold a period of consultation in which all parties will be able to give their say.

Better examples are those taken from the real world... like the minimum wage, the WTD (which imposes breaks, sickness pay, maternity and paternity leave...