Posts tagged ‘libertarian’

“[T]he stupid anthropomorphism of collectives”

One of the greatest dangers of war – a danger that is simultaneously both a cause of war and a consequence of war – is the stupid anthropomorphism of collectives: “Us” versus “Them.” Individuals are lost sight of; they become invisible. All that is seen are the mentally-constructed wholes (usually, but not always, represented by governments that do indeed claim to be the living embodiments of their peoples).

“They” are “Our” enemy, so any damage, even if it’s “collateral,” to any of “Them” is proper, even good – and sometimes downright glorious. “We” treat “Them” as the Bad; “They” treat “Us” as the Bad. And because “We” must spare no effort to defeat “Them” the Bad, “We” turn on each other if and to the extent that any individuals amongst us dare to not join in “Our” crusade against “Them.”

Henderson on Epstein on War and Libertarians, by Don Boudreaux

Pro-tip: “Socialism really fixes the environment. Just ask the USSR and China.”
Daniel Greenfield

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Misc Stuff

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Libertarian, Classical Liberal: Richard Epstein

Libertarians fall into two distinct groups: strict libertarians like Rand Paul and classical liberals such as myself. “Classical liberal” is not a term that rolls off of the tongue. Consequently, “libertarian” is the choice term in popular discourse when discussing policies that favor limited government. Libertarians of all stripes oppose President Obama’s endless attacks on market institutions and the rich. The umbrella term comfortably embraces both strands of libertarian theory vis-à-vis a common intellectual foe.

It is important to understand the differences in views between the strong libertarian and classical liberal position. Serious hard-line libertarian thinkers include Murray Rothbard and Karl Hess. Rothbard believes nonaggression is the sole requirement of a just social order. For Hess, “libertarianism is the view that each man is the absolute owner of his life, to use and dispose of as he sees fit.” There are large kernels of truth in both propositions. It is quite impossible to see how any social order could be maintained if there were no limitations against the use, or threatened use, of force to enslave or butcher other people, which Hess’s proposition of absolute self-ownership strongly counteracts.

Yet the overarching question is how does a group of people move from the Hobbesian “war of all against all” toward a peaceful society? Hess claims that stable institutions are created by “voluntary association and cooperation.” Again, strong libertarians are on solid ground in defending (most) private contracts against government interference, which is why Lochner v. New York (1905), reviled as it is by most constitutional thinkers, was right in striking down New York’s sixty hours per week maximum labor statute. Yet the hard-line libertarian position badly misfires in assuming that any set of voluntary contracts can solve the far larger problem of social order, which, as Rothbard notes, in practice requires each and every citizen to relinquish the use force against all others. Voluntary cooperation cannot secure unanimous consent, because the one violent holdout could upset the peace and tranquility of all others.

The sad experience of history is that high transaction costs and nonstop opportunism wreck the widespread voluntary effort to create a grand social alliance to limit the use of force. Society needs a coercive mechanism strong enough to keep defectors in line, but fair enough to command the allegiance of individuals, who must share the costs of creating that larger and mutually beneficial social order. The social contract that Locke said brought individuals out of the state of nature was one such device. The want of individual consent was displaced by a consciously designed substantive program to protect both liberty and property in ways that left all members of society better off than they were in the state of nature. Only constrained coercion can overcome the holdout problems needed to implement any principle of nonaggression.

The flat tax is preferred because it reduces private incentives to game the tax system and, likewise, the ability of government officials to unfairly target their opponents. The optimal theory of taxation minimizes the distortions created by the need to fund the government activities that maintain public order and supply infrastructure. The classical liberal thus agrees with the hard-line libertarian that progressive taxation, with its endless loopholes, is unsustainable in the long run. At the same time, the classical liberal finds it incomprehensible that anyone would want to condemn all taxes as government theft from a hapless citizenry. The hard-line libertarian’s blanket condemnation of taxes as theft means that he can add nothing to the discussion of which tax should be preferred and why. The classical liberal has a lot to say on that subject against both the hard-line libertarian and the modern progressive.

My Rand Paul Problem: Why classical liberalism is superior to hard-core libertarianism.

Acton Institute, Cato Institute

Wikipedia: Libertarianism | Classical Liberalism | Christian Libertarianism

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Penn Jillette talks sense with Glenn Beck

Penn Jillette talks sense with Glenn Beck

Full show here: http://youtu.be/i3LnVa7zXgc

Libertarians are for liberty

The two party system presents a false choice

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Libertarians Do Not Deny The Importance of Community

Libertarian Jesus

Libertarian Jesus

Libertarianism is not a comprehensive ethical philosophy. It does not tell us everything we need to know about how to be a good person, or a good neighbor. It does not claim that all actions that you should be free to do are equally virtuous, or even morally permissible. Libertarianism is a political philosophy. It is a theory about the proper size and scope of the state, and about the proper spheres of force and freedom in our lives. Accordingly, libertarianism as such has no answers for many of our most important moral questions. Rather, it holds that individuals should be left free, as much as possible, to answer those questions for themselves, in their own way. This is an uninspiring vision only if one’s idea of inspiration necessarily involves not only collective action in the pursuit of a common overarching goal, but compelled collective action. Libertarians do not deny the importance of community any more than they deny the importance of moral virtue. What they deny is the necessity or appropriateness of centralized state coercion in bringing about either.

The libertarian vision of a society is one of free and responsible individuals, cooperating on their own terms for purposes of mutual benefit. It is a vision that draws its support from a wide variety of moral and empirical beliefs with deep roots in the public political culture. And it is one that contemporary critics of the market would do well to take much more seriously.

Matt Zwolinski

Why do you people love the state so much? It doesn’t love you.

Michael Munger

Libertarianism is a diverse school of thought. It is not a monolith.
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26. Fascist Ignorance: This one should be familiar: Libertarian opponents were outraged—OUTRAGED—when John Mackey pointed out quite correctly on NPR that Obamacare is a fascist policy. Fascism is, of course, a doctrine that calls for significant State control over private industries, to be carried out in the service of State ends. So the fallacy of fascist ignorance is a form of ad hominem in which a libertarian opponent refers to the libertarian or his views as “fascist” despite, strictly speaking, holding fascist views herself. (One might also refer to this as the “Chicken calling the cow ‘poultry'” fallacy.)
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30. Who Will Build the Roads?: This familiar duck has a thousand variations, but the idea is that because the opponent has never seen it nor can imagine it being done without the State, it follows that it can’t. But of course, it (roads, aid, education, and the rest of it) can.

Effectively Irrational: 30 common fallacies used against libertarians

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“I respect ordinary thieves much more than I respect politicians.”

I respect ordinary thieves much more than I respect politicians. Ordinary thieves take my money without pretense. Unlike typical politicians, these thieves don’t bore me with silly explanations of why their thievery is for the greater good. Nor do ordinary thieves insult my intelligence by proclaiming that they’ll use the money that they steal from me to make my life better than I would have made my life had my money not been swiped from me.

Walter Williams

Spare Me – and Walter Williams – Your Self-Serving and Insulting Sermonizing

This is what hope looks like. This is what freedom looks like.

Hope is not statism or statolatry. Freedom is not statism or statolatry. Liberty is not statism or statolatry.

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Why Christians Make Great Libertarians

Lord Acton is generally acknowledged to be the first Catholic libertarian.

In 1932, the Christian apologist G.K. Chesterton expressed concern that many people were according the government with a trust and reverence that ought to be reserved only for God. Chesterton’s admonition was not only prophetic, but rooted in the deepest mainspring of Christianity’s past; he was echoing words spoken by the prophet Samuel nearly two thousand years ago.
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A well-established body of Christian scripture and tradition rejects the rule of limited human beings in favor of God’s majesty. In the words of F.A. Hayek, “Individualism, in contrast to socialism and all other forms of totalitarianism, is based on the respect of Christianity for the individual man.” Christians are, for the reasons I’ll explore here, especially predisposed to becoming passionate libertarians – and libertarians would do well do bear this in mind in their outreach.

Why Christians Make Great Libertarians

Worship of the state is statolatry, and it is idolatry, the worship of a false idol. Statists are idol worshipers who desire mastery and domination over other people.

Piers Morgan is not a libertarian, and he is not a Catholic – he is a Protestant. Penn Jillette is a libertarian and has a much better grasp of Catholicism than nominal “Catholic” Morgan. And most Catholic libertarians are big fans of Penn.

But radical libertarians do not assume that humans are wired only to be selfish, nor do they reject cooperation. The opposite is the case. In fact, one of those radical libertarians — me — just this summer published a book arguing that (see if this sounds familiar) “cooperation is the height of human evolution.”
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The idea that the libertarian tendency is identical to the sophomoric cult of egotism found in Ayn Rand novels is more than outdated — it was never true in the first place. Miss Rand’s fiction is part of the libertarian intellectual universe, to be sure, but so are Henry David Thoreau and Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson and Jesus. Citing as examples of libertarian extremism Ted Cruz, the Koch brothers, Grover Norquist, and Rand Paul, [Nick Hanauer and Eric Liu] argue: “It assumes that societies are efficient mechanisms requiring no rules or enforcers, when, in fact, they are fragile ecosystems prone to collapse and easily overwhelmed by free-riders.” Of course societies are complex — that is one reason why you want multiple, competing centers of power and influence rather than a single overgrown Leviathan blundering around your fragile ecosystem. As for the claim of “no rules or enforcers,” I have spent a fair amount of time around Senators Cruz and Paul, have debated Mr. Norquist, and have observed the elusive Koch in its natural habitat, and I have not yet heard one of them make the case for anarchism, which is what is meant by “no rules or enforcers.” Senator Cruz, like most of those with a Tea Party orientation, is intellectually devoted to the Constitution, which is many things but is not a covenant of anarchy. Senator Paul is an admirer of Grover Cleveland. Mr. Norquist believes that our taxes should be reduced. Anarchy should be made of more disorderly stuff.

Capitalism Is Cooperation

Libertarianism is a very big tent, big enough for Andrew Napolitano, Penn Jillette, Ron Paul, Kevin Williamson, and millions of other people. You may be a libertarian and not realize it; see these:

See, “Ask a Libertarian 2012

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Libertarians Believe

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