Click on the cartoon to see it bigger. (Much more legible that way.)
TITLE: The 24 Types of Libertarian
Balding white guy: no fair oversimplifying our simplistic philosophy!
Happy guy with goatee: if the government would DISAPPEAR, everyone would act SENSIBLY and we’d all be able to get ALONG!
Annoyed guy with necktie: libertarians don’t win elections because we’re too PURE and GOOD!
Caption: TOO SMART FOR SCIENCE
Guy with small face on large head: OBVIOUSLY, climate scientists made up global warming. because they’re SOCIALISTS.
Smiling woman with “explaining hands”: CLEARLY you’ve never READ the evidence.
Woman in distance, yelling to be heard: I’m HERE! i EXIST! i’m against the goverment AND corporations! why does everyone always ignore me?
Annoyed guy with shaved head and cigarette: just because i’ve voted republican every election for 20 years is no reason to call me a republican!
Caption: MORE LIBERTARIAN THAN THOU
Grinning man with goatee and ponytail: we should PRIVATIZE the police! people who can’t afford to pay the cops won’t have anything worth stealing, anyway.
Frightened, crouching man wearing combat fatigue pants: BIG GOVERNMENT is coming! thank GALT i’ve stockpiled so much AMMO!
Caption: TOO MUCH HEINLEIN
Black guy making big arm gestures: lazarus long said that all men are created UNEQUAL. it’s not MY fault i’m SMARTER than poor people!
Caption: THE ISLAND
Older man in colorful vest and button-up shirt, holding a piece of paper in one hand. An arrow caption pointed at the piece of paper says “social security check.” Two more arrow captions, pointed at the man, say “Public school grad” and “drives on public roads.”
Man: no one ever gave ME anything! so don’t force ME to give to others!
Man in shadows, wearing sunglasses: why should i have to go all the way to THAILAND to have sex with a child prostitute?
Caption: SELECTIVELY FRUGAL
Man with worry lines on forehead: the deficit is too HIGH to AFFORD anything for the poor! OR the environment! …but don’t let that stand in the way of my tax cut.
as the latest of a LONG line of wealthy pundits, i KNOW success is created by MERIT!
Caption: THE APOSTLE
Exalted guy with hands together as if praying: we just need to TRUST that the MAGIC of the MARKET will make everything work out! that’s why it’s MAGIC!
Manically grinning man with messy hair, sitting with his hands on his computer keyboard: someday me and my friends will QUIT updating our blogs and THE ECONOMY WILL COLLAPSE!
Intense, woodpecker-looking man: stocks were UP, so i said: CUT TAXES! then stocks went down, so i said: CUT TAXES! i just stubbed my toe! CUT TAXES!
Caption: THE HISTORIAN
Man with big glasses and big grin, reading book: I’ve read summaries of the federalist papers MANY times, so I KNOW the framers share my views about EVERYTHING!
Caption: GUNNER JOE
Man holding two handguns up: there are only TWO kinds of people in the world: GUN OWNERS and SHEEP! and sheep aren’t really people.
Caption: BIZARRELY HYPOCRITICAL
Man with arms crossed: government should stay OUT of our personal lives! except for women’s uteruses, where government BELONGS!
Caption: BRIEFLY TEMPTING
Balding man in hoodie: the war on drugs is RIDICULOUS! end police abuse! #%^@! the war!
Balding man in black vest and black tie: i DO think it’s a TERRIBLE affront to liberty if restaurants HAVE to serve blacks! how is THAT racist?
Man holding out copy of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” with wide eyes and bags under his eyes:YOU MUST READ THIS!
Caption: CAVEAT EMPTOR
Cheerful man about to eat hot dog: no need for a nanny state! i can test my OWN food for botulism!
Words coming up from somewhere below the bottom of the panel: hee hee hee
This is hilarious!!! And I love how you ended it with “stoned”. Perfect.
Just fantastic! (And the style reminds me of early Arnie Roth.)
I was having a quiet inner chuckle at each panel until “Atlas”, and now I still can’t quite breathe/speak.
Ooh, yay, I made the list! (Someone didn’t ignore me! ::grin::)
You have a serious winner with this one. I keep seeing it posted by my facebook friends.
Why are two people, one white and one black, identified by race in the script, but no others?
I really should have identified every white person by race, to emphasize that of the 25 libertarians in the cartoon, 24 are white. But I kind of put together the script in a big hurry, so I messed up.
Pingback: Akbar and Jeff Shrugged - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine
23 of 25, Amp. There’s nothing to identify the race of “Stoned”.
I linked this to my FB page. I have a friend who is a balding white guy who classifies himself as a libertarian. Everytime I post anything that goes against his worldview, he mansplains to me why my view is simplistic and he has personal experience on why I’m being naive or he can supply me reports that prove him right. I use to try to argue with him. I’ve given up.
Frighteningly enough, he’s a very good friend, the kind who comes out in -10 to change my flat tire. So I cut him slack and roll my eyes at his huff just as he rolls his eyes at my puff! :-)
The “Gunner Joe” type reminded me of the essay, oft-cited by libertarians of various stripes, On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs by Dave Grossman. It’s a variant on the idea that we should be thankful to the violent psychopaths in our midst, because some of them will protect us from the other violent psychopaths. In Team America (a masterpiece of earony if every there was), the speech at the end is a restatement of Grossman’s thesis, only instead of “Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs”, it’s “Pussies, Assholes and Dicks”, respectively; the centerpiece of both philosophies is that, to quote TA, “but dicks also fuck assholes”.
I suppose I’m reacting to this one so strongly because it’s such a pernicious and widespread meme, one that’s generally accepted without question.
It is? Last time I looked most countries in the world (democratic or otherwise) have harsh gun-rules and regulations. There are exceptions (Canada, Switzerland), but the general rule is “a population without guns is a safe population” (or a victim in the case of many dictatorships).
The US is the golden exception and yet, besides the “danger of guns in any neighbourhood”, I have never been bothered while visiting the US, on the other hand I have been mugged in London.
In my world view, violent psychopaths will always find a way to kill with or without guns (may these psychopaths be petty criminals, soldiers or police men) and there is no way to stop it, except being vigilant and to do everything that the same person can’t repeat it…
But that’s just my cup of tea and probably you will have an educated and special opinion that you believe is superior and thus should be forced on me.
I think there is a 25th Libertarian missing: The Tolerance-Nut – He tolerates other peoples live and let’s them drive a car without a safety bell into an uncertified methane tank…
In my world view, violent psychopaths will always find a way to kill with or without guns (may these psychopaths be petty criminals, soldiers or police men) and there is no way to stop it, except being vigilant and to do everything that the same person can’t repeat it…
Statistically, households with guns are more likely to have members of the household die in a suicide or homicide than those without guns. While a truly dedicated psychopath will find a way to kill with or without a gun, a momentarily overwhelmed angry or depressed person will have a higher probability of snapping out of it before anyone actually dies if they have to either use a knife or get creative. Gun control is harm reduction, not absolute prevention and I don’t think any reasonable person tries to claim that a world without guns would be violence free…just that it would have less lethal violence.
You realize the left-wing ones pretty much only exist in Oregon.
ETA: and re “Creepy” – those types always phrase it with the pretense that they’re altruistically concerned about the rights of the underaged. “Why do you oppose the inalienable right of child prostitutes to have sex with me?”
I want to clarify that when I said “But I kind of put together the script in a big hurry,” I meant the printed script that I posted under the cartoon, which I put together after the cartoon was finished. Writing this cartoon actually took a fairly long time.
Mythago, that probably is where a lot of ’em live. But not all of them! My editor at “Dollars and Sense,” which is based in Massachusetts, is a left-wing libertarian. He was the one who suggested I add “I’m against the government AND corporations,” which was a really good suggestion.
ETA: Oh, really good point, Mythago. I should have written Creepy’s dialog that way.
Ron, right you are.
So from this cartoon, we can infer that liberals think:
Government coercion is how we all get along!
Sticking to principles is naive and nothing to be admired. Lie instead. Works for us!
Knowing actual facts about an issue and throwing them in my face makes you an arrogant prick.
You can’t be against big corporations AND big government (because it’s not like they ever work hand in hand, right?)
Fearing the power of big government is just paranoid! I mean, look at history! What could go wrong?
Paying taxes is “giving to others” (as opposed to charity, which is just a tax dodge.)
Using basic public resources (you helped pay for) puts you on the hook for all the other crap government does.
Keeping money you earned is *exactly* the same as stealing from the poor, and trashing the environment.
We live in a tolerant society. That’s why we don’t tolerate racism!
Markets don’t work – unless there is somebody to tell everybody what to do.
History and original intent is irrelevant when discussing the Constitution. It’s how you FEEL that’s important, see?
The very idea of shooting a gun makes me pee in my pants.
Libertarian ideas do sound pretty good, but… how will we know what to do if Nanny doesn’t tell us?
Big government is the only thing standing between you and an early death by foodborne botulism, which causes an average of 22 cases a year and has a mere 90-95% survival rate.
Sure I use drugs, but I don’t want to make them LEGAL. That would be anarchy.
It took 18 comments – which was a lot longer than I thought it would take – but heller fulfills the prophecy. All hail heller.
heller apparently also doesn’t realize that he’s just implied that Libertarians think racism is OK.
I just remembered another one, spurred by iTunes shuffle. Over-Literal Rush Fan says “Dude, have you even HEARD 2112? DUDE.”
It’s funny that heller thinks progressivism is the polar opposite of libertarianism.
Oh – I can play that game. Here we go:
The 24 Types of Leftist
1.) Naive – “If the government regulated everything, we wouldn’t have any problems!”
2.) Petulant – “If we say what we actually believe, Americans are just too stupid to understand.”
3.) Too Smart For Reality – “If grant-reliant science and environmental organizations say global warming will kill us all, it must be true!”
4.) Arrogant – “Can we really trust the riffraff with making their own decisions?”
5.) Libertarian – (same as “Left Wing”)
6.) Denial-ocrat – “Democrats are evil corporate sellouts, but I reluctantly vote for them every time.”
7.) More leftist than thou – “We should assassinate CEOs, Mao-style, and give their assets to the proletariat.”
8.) Terrified – “Help! Halliburton is going to repress my civil rights and eat me!”
9.) Too much Derrida – “We won’t be able to realize true poststructuralism until the last vestiges of the capitalist dialectic have been deconstructed.”
10.) The Big Baby – “Although I am able-bodied, I will never stop suckling on the breasts of the productive!”
11.) The Apostle – “We just need to trust that the MAGIC of the GOVERNMENT will make everything work out. I trust politicians!”
12.) Creepy -(Bill Clinton) “Despite my alleged rape of Anita Broaddrick, I will always defend women’s rights.” (Gore pops head in) – “Me too”
13.) Selectively Responsible – “Bush’s deficit put this country in the gutter. Obama’s deficit is needed to take us back out.”
14.) Defender of the Poor – “As the latest in a long line of welfare recipients, I know true wealth is created by government handouts.”
15.) The Agit-Blogger – “God Sarah Palin’s a dumb b****. And Glenn Beck is a ratf***er.”
16.) Consistent – “The economy is down – spend more money! The economy is up – spend more money!”
17.) The Historical Revisionist – “Margaret Sanger — racist?! — blah blah blah, I can’t hear you!”
18.) Gunshy – “Guns are tools of oppression. Women should just learn to talk rapists out of it.”
19.) Bizarrely Hypcritical – “Turns out I don’t mind the Patriot Act, two wars and incompetent crisis response after all – as long as my party is in charge.”
20.) Briefly Tempting – (same as above)
21.) The Race Baiter – (offscreen) “Obama is overstepping his…” – “RACIST!”
22.) Missionary – “You must watch this!” (Copy of “An Inconvenient Truth”)
23.) Secure – “As long as the FDA’s approved it, it must be SAFE!”
24.) Stoned – (same as above)
Why stop there? A few more fun additions:
25.) The Dumb College Kid (Wearing a Che shirt – an Obama poster in the background, giving a peace sign) – “Peace out, dude!”
26.) The Gutterpunk – “F&#* capitalism! Its excess is the only reason I’m still alive.”
27.) Hollywood – “Because I’m famous, I think people my Twitter opinions matter to people.”
28.) Bushwhacker – “It’s Bush’s fault Obama is incompetent. Bush is such a monkey!”
29.) The Labor Organizer – “We will fight for workers rights by forcing them to join our union!”
30.) The PC Warrior – “Don’t call them black – the new term is ‘melanin-gifted'”
31.) The PETA Member – “If fish kill other fish for food, it’s natural. If humans kill fish for food, it’s a fish holocaust! Save the fish!”
I could go on all night. This is fun!
I know heller is just throwing around talking points, but I think it’s interesting that the critique of unregulated markets is reduced to “Markets don’t work”. Markets, of course, are excellent optimization tools. In short, markets work, and I’m pretty sure anyone at any point on the political spectrum would agree that they perform the task of optimization well. However, it’s blindingly obvious that what they optimize for (maximum profits) isn’t always good, as, for example, free markets tend to exploit externalities.
But no, in libertarian-land, if you’re not worshipping the unmitigated, unregulated, uncontrolled free market, you’re clearly aching to put on a commisar hat.
I’m being shamelessly United States-centric. I should have been clearer. I see the “sheepdog” meme deeply embedded in the heads of many gun-culture libertarians.
Ha! I can see why you’re not a libertarian, Amp. If it weren’t for farm subsidies, you never would have been able to afford all that straw.
Hobo, why not draw it up and release it as a cartoon? I don’t think it’s going to do very well the way you have it there.
Meh – I’m not much of a drawer unfortunately (I’m more of a shelf ;-) ). But I promise I won’t sue if someone else wishes to try.
1) I believe we need a powerful government. I want the jackboot to come down hard on anybody that violates the principles of self-
ownership and non-aggression, and that takes resources. I’m a libertarian, not an anarchist.
2) We lose elections because we haven’t yet persuaded enough people that we’re right. I’m sho ’nuff working on it, though.
3) Climate change is real. It’s anthropogenic at least in part, and it’s very dangerous. To be sure, like most libertarians, I’m a huge
technophile. I think our species is up to the challenge.
4) How much libertarian “evidence” have you, in fact, read? Here’s a start: reason.com
5) I’m pro-corporation but against government stepping outside its proper sphere to punish OR reward corporations. $75,000,000.00 cap on
damages for trashing the Gulf of Mexico my ass. Fishermen Unite: You Have Nothing to Lose But The Opportunity to Sue BP to Death.
6) “Libertarians” voting for W or McCain/ (shudder) Palin are beyond absurd. Writing in “Mickey Mouse” is levels of magnitude more
valuable. If that’s too nutty, play it safe by voting for the Libertarian Party candidate.
7) The police should not be privatized, obviously. The government should maintain its monopoly on coercion. That’s what it’s there for.
8) Fallacy of continuity. Milgram. The hell it couldn’t happen here. No, really- this is important: it COULD happen here.
9) All men are created unequal, and often rich people are smarter than poor people. Like that’s our fault.
10) My parents paid for my public education and I pay for my pothole-infested roads and the Social Security check that I may or may not
11) Pedophiles (i.e. real pedophiles, not 17-year-old girls that text bewb shots to their boyfriends) (yes, they’re on sex offender lists)
should face draconian punishment. For example, if an adult sexually penetrates a prepubescent child, he should be imprisoned for life. No
exceptions, no parole, no sad songs and no tap-backs. [Citations of libertarians disagreeing with me needed.]
12) Like we’re paying down the deficit now. I’d live on beans in a cardboard box for five years and pay 90% taxes if we paid off our
public debts and balanced the budget. Beats the status quo, anyway.
13) Unless it was stolen (legally or illegally) any and all wealth was created by SOMEBODY’S merit.
14) There’s nothing magical about it. Grass is green, the sky is blue, and people prosper when they have the liberty to do as they please*
and the duty to take the consequences, good and hard.
* Without violating self-ownership or the non-aggression principle.
15) No, the economy collapses when somebody prints just one too many fiat dollars. Oh, those nutty goldbugs- always good for a laugh.
Until it happens.
16) It’s my property. Whether stocks are up or down, whether toes are stubbed or unstubbed, take only what you need to fund government
functioning within its proper sphere.
17) I disagree with plenty of Federalists. Non-aggression and self-ownership are the non-negotiables of libertarianism, and tolerance of
slavery is an unforgivable violation of both. Also, some of those idiots were religious.
18) All people are people- that’s another non-negotiable. Having said that, if you find yourself in the middle of a school shooting spree,
with any luck I’ll be in the room. You’ll have a much better chance at living another day. If I miss the crazy son of a bitch and he
murders you anyway, my sincerest apologies. See, handguns themselves are illegal here, and openly carrying them in public is extra-special
illegal. I’m stuck with this highly concealable five-shot hammerless snubnose .38 revolver I bought in Texas, and it’s just not very
accurate much past 20 or 30 feet. (I shake my head sadly as you reach for a heartbeat that isn’t there anymore) Damn, homey… I did my
19) The majority of libertarians support abortion on demand. Not 5% of us would deny a woman an abortion in the first trimester. We don’t
have anything new or original to say about the matter, either. Our forum threads are just as pointless as everybody else’s, but
nonetheless crop up about as often.
20) Cops need to stop breaking down the wrong door and shooting three dachshunds and your grandmother because somebody somewhere is smoking
fucking CANNABIS. If they do, they should be punished personally. A million people shouldn’t have lost their lives because Saddam Hussein
tried to whack W’s daddy. These truth-claims are “briefly tempting?” So what are your enduring truths?
21) Allowing racists to be racist is not in and of itself racist. It’s just unqualified defense of freedom of association. Fun fact: lots
of segregated lunch counters weren’t segregated because restaurant owners were racist. Black people’s money spends just as good as
everybody else’s. But Jim Crow laws mandated that businesses that served whites couldn’t serve blacks. Now, would libertarians accept
such laws as within the proper sphere of the government?
22) The Ayn Rand cult is a freak show, and the novels are unreadable. Self-ownership. Non-aggression. That is all.
23) In libertopia, if you sell me a hot dog that gives me food poisoning, 19 times out of 20 I’ll live to tell the tale and never buy a hot
dog from you again. Oh, yeah, and I’ll sue you civilly while the government prosecutes you criminally. Like if it weren’t for the FDA
Bayer would put a cyanide capsule in every 10th bottle for shits and giggles.
24) (comment withheld pending revelation of the race and sex of the stoner)
Man, those libertarians sure do love to leave long-ass comments!
I am so tired of the argument that Jim Crow laws forced segregation and without them we would have eventually been living in an integrated and tolerant paradise.
1. The purpose of Jim Crow laws was not to force segregation but to give business people and officials the right to call the police to arrest violators.
2. There was plenty of segregation and discrimination in the north and west where there weren’t any Jim Crow laws. Indiana, where I live, has a extensive history of bigotry. It was a stronghold of the Klu Klux Klan. The last confirmed lynching of blacks in the U.S. was in Marion, Indiana in 1930. There were many sundown towns (such as Martinsville), even after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Well into the 1960s, schools in Indianapolis were mostly segregated and blacks were only hired to teach at majority black schools. Private sector employment discrimination was quite normal. And Indiana was certainly not unique.
3. And besides racism against blacks, there has been discrimination against women, Native Americans, homosexuals, Jews, Asians, Mexicans, the disabled, and many others — all without Jim Crow laws.
But of course, none of this really matters. While libertarians are terribly sad about all these people being denied their civil rights, that’s just the price everyone has to pay for the freedom of white men.
Like if it weren’t for the FDA Bayer would put a cyanide capsule in every 10th bottle for shits and giggles.
I always wonder why libertarians are so certain that corporations are pure of heart and mind while the government is evil, evil, evil. Cyanide capsules no. Random junk, yes. Read some history of why the FDA was formed in the first place. Or some current events like what goes into the relatively unregulated “supplement” pills being sold or what goes on in China where they don’t have an effective FDA. Cyanide no. Random inert but cheap crap, yes.
Wow. Rabbit Scribe’s comment makes me feel even queasier at the thought of libertarians having any power. What a revolting, if utopian, ideology.
Well, just so long as only 5% of the population is dying from foodborne illness that’s okay. Semi-decimation is fine by your utopian ideology, is it? Sheesh.
I like how Rabbit Scribe provides yet more evidence that libertarians have no problem with racism and racists. Self determination! my ass.
You seem not to understand the difference between a business and a corporation. A corporation is a particular legal structure recognized by the government to shield the business’s owners from legal and financial liability. Being pro-business is libertarian; being pro-corporation is not.
As for the hot dog argument, all that means is that if you’re going to rip people off, you just need one big score. Of course that argument also pretends that everyone has perfect information, so that if I eat a hot dog that gives me food poisoning, I will immediately and correctly connect the food poisoning to the hot dog and be able to financially punish the hot-dog seller by refusing to buy hot dogs from them again. In real life this doesn’t actually happen, as anyone who followed the Peanut Corporation of America knows – PCA got away with shipping out bad product for years, and when the government finally publicized their problems, innocent sellers of unrelated products were punished by the market.
I always wonder why libertarians are so certain that corporations are pure of heart and mind while the government is evil, evil, evil.
As one of those rare, homeless left-libertarians, I certainly recognize and am concerned about the problems of corporate abuse, on a large variety of levels. Regular libertarians argue that it is primarily government that has coercive powers, thus can violate your liberties and rights without recourse. They believe that corporations do not have the same power to mandate that the government does (unless they are a monopoly which is usually caused by government protectionism). A bad corporation that violates rights is seen to a libertarian as the same thing as an individual or a mafia who violates rights – moderate libertarians believe government has the primary duty to protect us from this sort of violation of rights; radicals believe everyone should defend themselves or contract for their defense. But basically they see corporations as not as coercive as government, therefore not as evil.
Left-libertarians like me (and Adam Smith, Thomas Paine, etc.) argue that the very nature of the corporate structure is unnatural to a state of laissez faire. It is just an expensive socialization of risk for the private gain of the owners. The ideal economy would be a highly competitive market of generally small businesses – sole proprietors and partnerships who purchase liability insurance that increases in cost as they grow, as their assets accrue, as they conglomerate and as their practices become more risky. Ethical business practices would naturally be encouraged if business owners were fully and personally liable for the damages to the property of others, and too big to fail would become a thing of the past as businesses would not wish to grow beyond the capacity they can manage. Tort law should be structured strongly to defend rights and property, prevent fraud, enforce contracts and punish violators of the rights of others. This returns us to a state where profits are made in an environment of privatized risk and responsibility, and the burdens corporate excess places on the rest of society would end. This would be more like Adam Smith’s ideal free market, where bad actors will pay the full consequences and good actors will be rewarded – contrary to the state corporatism of both major parties which are more than willing to bail out major corporations who imposed their costs on the rest of us, enabling more bad behavior in the future.
In such a free market, not only would businesses have more incentive to engage in better business practices, but so would private licensing agencies who would as liable for fraud as the corporation. As technology continues to improve access to information, the need for centralized regulation is far less than ever before.
Moreover, the Left with their fear of megacorporations should be the first to oppose a regulatory state where only the largest corporations can survive and thrive due to the reduced competition cause by the artificial barriers to entry. Big government has historically been big business’s best friend, as the recent support by Goldman Sachs for Obama’s competition-reducing financial regulation shows. Strangely despite their awareness of the connection between the State and the corporations, they continue to advocate for a bigger State, which leads to bigger corporations.
In regards to libertarians and racism, in my 7-8 years of being highly active in the libertarian community, I have found hardly any racism at all. True, that’s anecdotal evidence, but too many on the Left refuse to distinguish between respecting peoples’ rights to hold distasteful and abhorrent views, and believing those views oneself. The freedom of speech and association (including the natural freedom of disassociation) trumps my rights not to be offended by other people’s speech or association choices, my rights to use other people’s property, etc.
As libertarians argue, even without government enforcement, in this day and age a modern business in America who chooses to ban people of a certain race would attract highly negative nationwide attention and cause 90% of their potential customers to avoid them, even if it attracts a small extra percentage of racists. And they create opportunities to rival, race-neutral businesses to attract their customers. The fact that the business might still make enough to survive is sad, but is something we can live with and ignore. Unlike if a government did the same thing, which it did for hundreds of years.
You can make the argument that there would have been a ton of racism and violations of minority rights even without the Jim Crow laws; but no libertarian ever would justify selective protection of individual rights (or else they are no libertarian) nor would they with seeing human beings as property. A miniarchist libertarian would argue that the government must not infringe our rights and must also protect us from third party actors who would violate those rights – in an equally applicable matter regardless of individual characteristics. Radicals would argue that all blacks have the right to form self-defensive militias to defend themselves fully from the racist policies of government and the racist actions of individuals and organizations like the KKK, and to force governments to recognize their equal rights if necessary. But by attempting to prove libertarianism as complicit in such racial injustice, you show your misunderstanding of both the origins of racism (either government violations of rights or government complicity in the violations of rights) and of libertarianism.
HCB: We know what happens with unfettered capitalism: boom/bust cycles. See the 19th century US for reference. Also resource depletion to the point of complete destruction. It turns out that the vast majority of people really aren’t that good at policing themselves. Hence the need for government.
Perhaps ironically, the most libertarian market currently available is China. It’s by no means the perfect libertarian paradise but it lacks the tedious safety requirements and union demands of the US. Want to move there? You probably won’t die of drinking tainted milk or in the collapse of a shoddily built building during an earthquake.
I think that what libertarians refuse to acknowledge is that racist acts (such as refusing to do business with) infringe on the rights and freedoms of the victims of those acts. Libertarians side with power a vast majority of time.
Look, libertarianism is a utopian ideology and as such has no place in real life (other than to encourage people to act in ways that would allow such a utopia to someday exist). We hear folks railing about how dangerous socialism is but, somehow, they never mention how incredibly dangerous libertarianism is. The only way communism and libertarianism differ wrt real world consequences is how the damage would be implemented.
@Hobo Chang Ba
That’s remarkably naive. You don’t think there aren’t many places in the USA where a restaurant could get away with, say, avoiding serving Mexicans who don’t speak English well, considering the current controversy over “illegal immigrants”? Obviously a national chain couldn’t do this, but a local one?
For example, private men’s clubs ran unencumbered for a long time, and still have many defenders to this day. And they’re founded on discrimination. But by and large, people don’t mind their existence. It would not be surprising to see that mentality extended to public businesses.
Hobo Chang Ba: I assume you are not familiar with the recent dust-up in the online libertarian community, where David Boaz took a plank to libertarians who rhapsodize about the Gilded Age and its low taxes on the wealthy.
First of all, if you believe China is anything even remotely resembling laissez faire, you understand neither free markets nor libertarianism. I have studied Chinese economics in school and since Deng Xiaopeng China has been basically a fascist regime with large, heavily subsidized state-private hybrids. The limits on the freedoms of the press and access to information on the internet alone would be enough to argue it is not a free market (because consumers are not free to access information), but heavy subsidization, regulation, protectionism, currency manipulation and state corporatism have nothing to do with libertarianism either. In fact, my entire point was that corporations would not exist in a libertarian society, because corporations are artificial legal entities created by government. Thus even the prosperous, largely unrestricted market in Hong Kong (which would not be a bad place to live at all) is still not libertarian because of the artificial protections for the owners to not be responsible for their criminal actions. Thus society subsidizing the wealthy.
To your other point, it is true that boom-bust cycles might occur in a free market. I don’t believe that is necessarily a bad thing – if a bubble occurs and bursts due to the realization irrational demand, the market will usually correct itself and then return to an equilibrium. There are also benefits to down cycles, such as natural cost-of-living reductions (which help the poor), operations efficiency improvements (which help businesses) and irrational overreaction (which benefits investors when the market rebounds). The wrongheaded economics you are trying to imply is that government (specifically politicians who are often not versed in market economics) can maintain stable bubbles by centrally planning the economy. The only thing government involvement does is introduce distortions and uncertainty that encourage bad bubble, reward bad businesses, protect larger corporations from smaller competitors and delay recovery or exacerbate the downturn by poor attempts at management and redistribution through wasteful bureaucracies.
Also, it’s not in business’s best interest to depreciate all of a certain resource that business relies upon. This is why hunters must support animal conservation, lumber companies must plant more new forests, and oil companies will never exploit every drop of oil (and will transfer to renewable energy), as eventually the cost of oil will surpass the cost of alternate energy sources and demand will die.
I am very aware of it and am in complete agreement with Boaz. Looking back upon any time as a “gilded age” of libertarianism is idiotic, and in this case, lacking racial perspective – blacks, gays and women are more free today than ever before thanks to reversals of bad government policy. Not that that excuses the current rampant violations of freedom, but I refuse to look back on any era with legal slavery, subordinate rights for women and gays, etc. as a “libertarian era”.
Hobo Chang Ba: then you recall Boaz’s point that widespread acceptance of ‘gee, maybe there’s something to this Gilded Age’ does not happen in a political movement that is rampant with cluefulness on racial and gender issues. Boaz noted that libertarians can’t simultaneously pine aloud for the 19th Century and then express bafflement that women and minorities might be a little skeptical of libertarian philosophy.
You can call my beliefs utopian all you want – after I admit I have been expressing my “preferred utopia” more so than what I would expect to accomplish in political reality or would advocate. I can rationally separate the two, but having a vision for where one would like to go towards is important for any person with political principles. I would like to go towards a society that maximizes liberty and equality of opportunity, and supports justice for those whose rights have been violated. Meritocracy is the natural outcome of a society where individual rights are protected equally; but reaching true equality is not in the interests of leftist politicians who exploit inequality and resentment and breed reliance on their political programs in order to attain political and economic power. Combined with education (and yes, like Adam Smith and Thomas Paine, I do actually support public schools, albeit not the district monopoly system we have today that perpetuates cycles of poverty for disproportionately minority students) – a free society is preferable to a distorted manager state where the corrupt political interests get to decide whose rights are worth protecting and the managed megacorporations bribe their way to preferential treatment.
While I admit that private actors will sometimes act in a racially discriminatory fashion in a free society, those actors would have no compulsory power over you and therefore your rights have not been violated. If one burger joint stops you from buying their burgers because the owner doesn’t like the color of your skin, or your T-shirt, or the Nazi swastika tattooed on your forehead, that does not mean you have lost your right to buy a burger – and naturally companies would generally rather make money instead of turning money away, even if they don’t like you.
A few anecdotes of irrational business management is a shoddy reason to argue for the need of a compulsory regulatory state that CAN be discriminatory if enough people vote for it to be. See also: Arizona immigration enforcement, where the labor regulatory state is being used in a pseudo-racist fashion to crack down on the rights of business owners and minority workers. When the Left argues for more state power, they somehow fail to realize that this can and will be used against them when the pendulum swings the other way. The idea of a benevolent and egalitarian regulatory state with truly competent, compassionate and knowledgeable politicians and bureaucrats seems far more utopian to me than anything I have advocated.
Man, this here is where I feel like I need to stop listening.
It’s not that the left or the right wants the government to have more or less power, it’s that we want the government to do the stuff we like. I want it to have way less power to wage war and way more to make sure there’s less arsenic in my drinking water.
Bearing this in mind, libertarian rants about how we can’t grant the government any power or else Road to Serfdom! sound to me an awful lot like rants about how we can’t use fire to cook our meat, or else Blazing Inferno!
We don’t want to grant fire ‘more power,’ we want fire to do the stuff we want it to do, and not do the stuff we don’t.
PS. Incidentally, this is why I also think that conservatives who use the phrase ‘big government’ are hypocritical fuckers. They want government to be big, they just want different parts to be big than I do.
“Are protected equally” by whom? Of which individual rights do you speak?
The burger-joint analogy goes right back to adoration of the Gilded Age. It pretends that in a free market, every need will be catered to, every choice met freely, as if all needs were equally profitable and people really and solely acted only in their economic self-interest.
Well, and it pretends that, just like inherited wealth, things like your intellect and talents are somehow ‘deserved’. They’re not. You didn’t do anything to earn them. They were handed to you at birth.
Getting extra success because of how smart you are is just as ‘fair’ as getting extra success because of how white you are or how male you are.
“Whee! I won the genetic lottery, and that makes me a better person!” Bullshit.
Now, it may be that because we generally want a functioning, productive system, there’s not a lot we can do about smart people reaping greater rewards for lower levels of effort than less smart people … but at the very least we ought to make sure that even the least smart people are able to live lives that don’t consist of misery and squalor.
Do you live in North America? Yes?
Are you Native American? No?
What makes you think that anything you own or have achieved in your life isn’t the result of theft?
I’m not sure why you keep arguing the point about the Gilded Age – I already said that there never was one and that the predominantly white male libertarians saying such things shows their lack of perspective. I believe the primary function of government should be to defend basic natural rights – and defend them equally for all people. That includes defenses against fraud, violation of contract, violation of one’s personhood, violation of one’s liberty, damage to private property, and any other assault on our natural rights – by another person, by a business, by an organization or by a government.
Beyond that I believe government is the most realistic entity to build roads, provide basic defensive protections (like a police force and a defense force) and provide public schools available to all children. As you can see, I’m no orthodox/radical libertarian. I believe education is the best way to end cycles of poverty – much better than a welfare state where people can’t take care of themselves. I argue to libertarians that public schooling needs a great amount of reform to be the best system it can be, but the investment in an educated populace is the best way to reduce economic inequality, which is antithetical to freedom (because it grows the argument for dependency on the state).
Also, a meritocracy is not about equality of outcome – that can never exist nor would it even be desireable because it would disincentivize everyone. It’s more about equality of opportunity – a society where individuals are allowed to thrive (or stagnate) regardless of their biological features. Society is still unequal as a result of centuries of government or government-complicit policies – the past policies of de jure inequality of minorities and women have contributed to the mostly de facto inequality today.
If individuals choose to devote their lives to less profitable professions for their personal enjoyment, they have decided that the opportunity costs are worth the sacrifice of making less money. More power to them. Money is not everything. Those stuck in less profitable professions because they made poor life decisions can always find a way out of it if they are willing to work hard or be creative. How come so many immigrants came to America on boats from Vietnam with nothing but the shirt on their back and little grasp of English and within 20 years are running a successful restaurant they own, while so many native citizens never even try to climb out of the ghetto? Cycles of poverty are not unbreakable – but in my opinion the government policies encourage an underclass to stay in the cycle of poverty so politicians can a captive and easily controlled audience.
Hobo Chang Ba:
You seem to be taking the libertarian position, so what do you consider to be the fundamentals of libertarianism? I think the crux of it is people should be free to do whatever as long as they don’t violate the non-aggression principle. What’s your concept of freedom?
If the government is just a collection of people providing a service then what makes the government able to provide services of better quality than anyone else? How will individuals know if a government is providing quality services?
Don’t think I’m defending right-winger conservatives – I agree with you 100% they they are the epitome of hypocrites and they do little but pay lip service to limited government while they advocate for giant immigration enforcement bureaucracy and military industrial complex. Considering a Republican president hasn’t balanced a single budget since Eisenhower, I find their bluster about debt disingenuous at best, and I criticize them relentlessly. But they’re not who I’m talking to right now. Both sides support growing government when they are in power, perhaps because accruing is what attracts politicians to positions do – but why does neither side actually roll back the things they criticized when they were out of power? You didn’t even address the fact that as the government monitors and regulates labor, they have the infrastructure to crack down on people of a nationality/race that are not politically popular. You can’t say your government will do this and this and this in your preferred fashion, and not expect your political opponents to take power and use that in the exact opposite fashion.
To use your analogy of fire, government is acceptable only if it is severely limited to a specific purpose, like fire – that is primarily for defending our rights so we don’t have battling private law enforcement agencies and voluntary, arbitrary courts like in anarcholibertopia. If you have too much fire your food will be burned. If you throw explosives in the fire or attempt a controlled burn on a house soaked in gasoline, you could turn the situation into a forest fire. Libertarians believe this is what happens – government that is not strongly controlled easily gets out of control, even if the original intentions were pure.
In regards to your remark about inherited wealth, I believe in a truly laissez faire system, it would be much more difficult to centralize such wealth in the first place – because risk would be privatized and the faux corporate entity would not exist. See my remarks above so I don’t have to explain it again – but basically if individuals become wealthy, it will be because they most likely did not use fraud or violations of the rights of others to get there. I think there are really only three or four rational taxes – corporate value taxes (if corporations are to exist, they should pay for the protection they receive), land value taxes (because I disagree with the private ownership of land), and possibly a tax on limited, non-renewable natural resources (but this would be regressively passed down to the poor like any sales tax).
However I strongly disagree with your assertion that everything in a capitalist society is a result of theft. Where that is so, it was theft by the hands of government. Relocation of the Native Americans was a government policy. Slavery was a government policy enforced by government agents. Eminent domain where corporations can get government to displace poor residents by force is a government policy (supported by the left-wingers on the Supreme Court). But any product created, constructed and distributed with voluntary labor and purchased at a price both the seller and the buyer agreed upon cannot be called theft.
I think the crux of it is people should be free to do whatever as long as they don’t violate the non-aggression principle. What’s your concept of freedom?
I am both a libertarian and also a big critic of libertarianism. I think the non-aggression principle inherently results in anarchism while denying the dark side of human nature. I am no anarchist and I find anarchism worse than most other philosophies because it would effectively result in arbitrary informal government by an extortionist mafia. You can argue all you want about the current government being an extortionist mafia, but at least it has a semblance of rule of law as well as a semblance of democratic choice. We need a minimal government that defends the natural rights and freedoms of all equally, and thus the minimal aggression necessary to establish this government to protect rights more than offsets the aggression and violation of rights that would take place in anarchy by private actors or informal mafia-governments.
The nonaggression principle is everything that is wrong with libertarianism wrapped up into one nice little ball – very idealistic and beautiful in theory – but in effect enabling tyranny against those most unable to defend themselves. Anarchism is very different from the maximization of liberty its advocates make it out to be, derived from the false notion that government is the sole destroyer of liberty.
How does being a native American help? There were at least four waves of migration, and each displaced the previous one, pushing the survivors further south. Or at least that’s what I have been taught in school. Apart from the inhabitants of some islands in the Pacific, everyone on Earth made their home in the age honoured way of kicking someone else out of it.
“way more to make sure there’s less arsenic in my drinking water.”
Myca: Meant to address this point. If a private actor is marketing their water as arsenic-free, that business has committed fraud (or theft by false persuasion if you will). If that business used a third party to verify that their water was arsenic free but that organization lied, they committed fraud. Even if both were just incompetent and did not intentionally commit fraud, they are still fully liable for the civil damages resulting from arsenic poisoning, as they claimed their product did not have any.
Their safer competitors could use this against them in advertisements. Consumers will avoid the product, perhaps permanently. At minimum they must be made to cover the costs they imposed on the sick individuals. And unlike today, if they committed fraud, they would probably go to jail and lose much of their personal wealth in the lawsuit because they won’t have the protection of the corporate shield. Rational businesses and their private regulators would thus naturally avoid fraud in this environment and would self-regulate. Rational businesses have zero incentive to hurt their customers – other than the fact that they are not fully accountable under the current system and thus the executives are willing to get away with a little fraud for a few extra bucks.
Also, just a small point – government regulation obviously worked out SO well with BP. It’s not like they can bribe bureaucrats or anything… In my system, liability insurance for BP would have been so expensive, it’s unlikely they would have made such a risky investment in the first place, and if they did, they would have taken much more care if the owners knew that any spills were potentially coming out of their own personal pockets.
Anarchism is no worse and no better than communism or libertarianism. If each of those were possible, the world would be a wonderful place for everybody. In the real world all of those philosophies, if implemented immediately, result in a far shittier place for almost everybody.
Even if people are personally on the hook for large-scale disasters, it’s still possible for someone to do damage that far exceeds their assets, or the assets of someone who agrees to insure them. What do bankruptcy laws look like in Libertopia?
Good question. Any rational business who has even a risk of doing more damage than they have in assets would purchase liability insurance, including on their personal assets. The insurance companies could also additionally perform inspections to verify the rates they charge are not too low – i.e. if they get there and find a company has taken dangerous shortcuts, they would raise the rate or cancel the insurance contract and refund the remainder.
For those dumb enough not to buy insurance, the following would happen – first, every penny of the business and its assets is fair game, and there would be no such an artificial status where a company that has damaged the rights of others more than the value of the company can still protect their property and keep operating. Modern bankruptcy laws have nothing to do with free markets – they are just another means of socializing risk and protecting bad decisions.
Second, if the company’s value is now gone, every penny of the owners’ assets – and those of the individual(s) personally accountable for the crime – is fair game. In the end, if the owner still has not made up the cost, they could potentially go to jail depending on the nature of and their complicity in the crime. In fact, they could go to jail regardless. There would be no more hiding behind this fake entity known as the corporation.
I believe a strong system of fair tort law where full accountability for crimes is executed combined with insurance is the best way to ensure rights are protected. I think it’s certainly better than the labyrinthine corporate-regulatory hybrid we have today where only the most extreme corporate criminals like Madoff get the veil removed and have their personal assets on the line. If business owners realize that everything they have, including their freedom and the roof over the heads of their family, could be lost in a rights-violation lawsuit against their business, I can guarantee you most business owners would behave far better than today with their artificial government protections.
Hobo Chang Ba:
But, how would one insure that the a minimal government is providing these services well? The point that I always here Libertarians frequently make is that without competition it’s impossible to know if you’re getting quality service or not. Since government is a monopoly, how would anyone know whether the government is providing quality service?
The idea of debtors prison doesn’t make libertarianism any more appealing to me.
That’s just a load of crap. If you’ve made poor life decisions there is often no way out of it. That’s just regurgitation of the Reagan era cries of, “Bootstraps! Bootstraps!”
The great thing about libertarian arguments and explanations is that they just make libertarianism more repugnant.
Exactly, mythago. When there’s only one burger joint in town, doesn’t that violate somebody’s rights if they can’t get served there? I guess the answer would be, “No!” if the only rights you believe in are property rights. The blind devotion to property rights is just another version of Might Makes Right.
US unemployment is currently around 9% — but it would be closer to 15% if we included discouraged workers (those who have been trying and failing to get work for so long that they’ve given up trying).
Unemployment isn’t based on how hard-working and creative individual citizens are. It’s based on large economic trends. The reason unemployment was lower a decade ago than it is now isn’t that Americans have suddenly become lazy and uncreative; it’s that we had an extremely bad recession.
So what’s the libertarian solution to 10% unemployment?
There are plenty of born Americans in “ghettos” who work very fucking hard and remain poor; there are also, needless to say, many Vietnamese immigrants who don’t own restaurants.
That said, as far as I know it’s true that legal immigrants who start poor are more likely to move up in class than non-immigrant Americans who start poor.
If I take two low-income high schools, and compare the grades of the top 3% of students in the first high school, to the average grades of all students in the second high school, of course the first high school will look better. But is that really a meaningful comparison?
Legal immigrants to the US are not a random, representative sample of the population of Vietnam (or any other source country). They’re a very selective subgroup, of people who 1) have the desire to move to the US (meaning they believe they have the skillset necessary to be successful here), 2) have enough drive and ability at navigating the system (both in Vietnam and the US) to be able to get permission to move to the US, and 3) are able to come up with the money required to make the move, or have someone with the money assisting them.
Obviously, if you compare a group of immigrants who have been selected for those three traits, to a random sample of lower-income Americans, the immigrants are going to do much better. Again, is that really a meaningful comparison?
As far as I am concerned that is all that needs to be said on this subject. But good luck trying to prove it. It has very little value as an argument, because it has to be taken on faith. I just happen to agree.
If they refuse to pay, how would the liablility be enforced?
As I understand libertarianism, no it doesn’t violate somebody’s right. There point seems to be no one has a right to be served by someone else because service requires voluntary agreement between the provider and customer. The issue is freedom of association. Freedom of association, and consequently freedom not to associate, are rights. However, no one has the right to receive service from someone else unless both parties agree to the terms.
The libertarian solution is to cut whatever the government is doing. Cut welfare, cut war, cut the regulatory agencies, cut the minimum wage, get rid of fractional reserve banking, so on and so forth. Some of these solutions liberals probably don’t find disagreeable, say for example cutting war spending. Some liberals would hate, for example cutting Social Security. Also it’s worth pointing out that libertarian’s think unemployment is around 20%.
Libertarians see the unemployment as the failure of government and that if government were reduced the economy would flourish. A lot of libertarians think that the regulatory state works to impoverish the poor and that the real design of regulation isn’t to benefit the citizens but is an attempt by larger competitors to raise the cost of smaller competitors (i.e. regulatory capture). Any positives then of regulation are purely fringe benefits.
Libertarians see the unemployment as the failure of government and that if government were reduced the economy would flourish.
Because there was no unemployment in the 18th and 19th centuries? Without government intervention to moderate the cycles and prevent monopolies, capitalism simply runs through boom/bust cycles which cause wide spread suffering during the bust cycles and produce wealth only for a few in the boom cycles. Mixed economies are smoother and more productive.
And the bit about fractional-reserve banking seems credible, until you get to their proposed solution. We go into a recession because trillions of dollars suddenly cease to exist, and libertarians shrewdly call for the destruction of nearly all the money. (Assuming their Invisible Hand Fairy can in fact produce full reserve banking.)
I’m still not convinced that a democratic centralized/planned economy would be terrible. I mean, it wouldn’t be nearly as efficient and productive and free as democratic capitalism-with-social-supports, but I don’t know that it would horrible. Every communist disaster-state has also been an autocratic dictatorship.
Either way – yes, Libertarianism is based on fantasy, just as much as communism and anarchism.
Dianne, @ 15:
I’ll bet that statistically households with cars are more likely to have members of the household die in a car-related death or commit homicide or manslaughter by running someone over or commit suicide by connecting their vacumn cleaner’s hose from the exhaust pipe to their driver’s window as well.
Households with swimming pools are more likely to have people die in swimming-pool related deaths than households without them as well, I bet.
And those sunbelt states tend to have pretty high rates of gun onwership as well. There’s no Constitutional right to own (never mind carry) a swimming pool, either. So I guess we should ban them, eh? Or (after what Daley’s passed through the Chicago City Council) maybe require the owners to pass a Red Cross lifesaving course and a CPR course and require all users to pass a Red Cross swimming test.
I’ll also bet that if you divide up those households into ones with someone with a criminal history and ones that don’t have anyone such, the statistics for the ones with someone with no criminal history are very, very low. And I’ll bet you’ll find the same if you divide those households up into people who obtained their gun legally (or in a manner that would be legal if the gun laws in that juristiction were Constitutional) vs. people who bought a hot gun off the street. Permitting law-abiding citizens to purchase guns does not present a danger to the public.
Prove it. Here in Chicago and in the state of Illinois we have had some of the strictest gun restriction laws in America and from what I can see it pretty much has kept law-abiding citizens from defending themselves a lot more than it’s kept criminals from shooting people. Show me evidence that restricting law-abiding people from purchasing guns reduces harm. It is not something that can be supported on pure logic or deduction.
Mayor Daley II has gotten the Chicago City Council to pass a gun restriction law that has the following characteristics (from here with added comments from me):
“- It prohibits gun owners from stepping outside their homes, even onto their porches or garages, with a handgun.” What part of “keep and bear arms” does Daley not understand? How can he possibly think that not being able to carry your gun on your property is Constitutional?
“- It forbids gun stores in Chicago.” I don’t know if he can get away with that or not. Having some restrictions on them is one thing – banning them altogether seems over the top.
“- Limits the number of handguns residents can register to one per month and prohibit residents from having more than one handgun in operating order at any given time.” Again, I don’t see how that’s going to fly. What right does the government have to determine that “the right to keep and bear arms will not be infringed” means you can only own one handgun? Owning guns is a right, not a privilege.
“- Requires residents in homes with children to keep them in lock boxes or equipped with trigger locks.” This he might get way with.
“- Requires prospective gun owners to take a four-hour class and one-hour training at a gun range. They would have to leave the city for training because Chicago prohibits new gun ranges and limits the use of existing ranges to police officers. Those restrictions were similar to those in an ordinance passed in Washington, D.C., after the high court struck down its ban two years ago.” First, again owning a gun is a right, not a privilege. It’s not like owning a car. Second, I’ll bet the Supremes will see forcing people to travel out of the city in order to qualify to own a gun in the city will not pass by the Supremes either.
“- Prohibits people from owning a gun if they were convicted of a violent crime, domestic violence or two or more convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Residents convicted of a gun offense would have to register with the police department.” The felony restrictions will probably pass muster. The DUI ones are more questionable to me.
“- Calls for the police department to maintain a registry of every handgun owner in the city, with the names and addresses to be made available to police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders.” Daley said that this is so that someone responding to an address will know whether there’s a gun there. Tell me – if you’re a cop and you look in the database and you see that it says that there’s no gun in the house, are you going to act any differently than if it says that there is? No, right? So why have the registry, then?
“Those who already have handguns in the city – which has been illegal since the city’s ban was approved 28 years ago – would have 90 days to register those weapons, according to the proposed ordinance.
Residents convicted of violating the city’s ordinance can face a fine up to $5,000 and be locked up for as long as 90 days for a first offense and a fine of up to $10,000 and as long as six months behind bars for subsequent convictions.”
Daley says that these laws were passed to protect people. Nonsense. How many juristictions have seen gun-linked violence go down when gun restrictions become law? How many juristictions have seen gun-linked violence go up when gun restrictions are relaxed? The problem that gun restriction advocates have in supporting such laws is that they DON’T WORK.
Of course the sheep in the Chicago media won’t bring this up with Daley (except maybe John Kass, we’ll see). These laws were passed on his personal emotional whim, and his control of the City Council is such that he needs no reason to get laws passed. It makes him look like he’s doing something – but he’s not, because this is not a problem that government can solve. People don’t shoot people because the government says they can have guns, and people don’t stop shooting people because the government says they can’t have them.
What Daley is trying to do here is titrate the law. He’ll keep passing gun laws with various restrictions and keep spending tens of millions of dollarsthat the City does not have while the courts strike them down just to see what he can make stick. What the people want and what the Constitution says means nothing to him.
Why is it that libertarians bother liberals so much? I understand why hypocritical conservatives who complain about big government bother them but libertarians just oppose totalitarian government policy. So why is that bad? A liberal and libertarian might disagree on what part of government is totalitarian but trying to diminish it seems like a worthwhile goal so why be so mad at libertarians? I don’t get it. Is there something wrong with wanting less war, less curtailing of civil liberties, less prisons, less police brutality, less corporate bailouts, less secrecy, less torture? I read a statistic recently that half of Democrats think our defense budget is reasonable and maybe that is the issue. Liberals do support torture, war, curtailing of civil liberties, corporate bailouts etc…. just as long as a guy like Obama is in office who says he’s going to help the poor and put his boot on the throat of people liberals don’t like. Even if at the same time, he is kissing corporate ass and dropping bombs on the poor in other countries. Liberals really couldn’t give a crap about any of their professed ideals and it bothers them that libertarians are often calling them out on this.
Andrew: I ask the same question frequently. I think it’s just part of the “if you’re not on your side, you’re the enemy” mentality that has permeated our political system.
Not on paper. But the libertarian argument is that a centralized/planned economy necessarily leads to a more or less totalitarian dictatorship.