A small, specific question about libertarianism

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PeterCai
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby PeterCai » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:00 pm UTC

Ormurinn, i think if he wanted wiki articles he would've done so himself. I think he is familiar with the theory, try giving him supporting data and stuff.
Anyway, why does every libertarian I ever met feel the need to ignore me when i asked for a definition on natural right?

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Ormurinn
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:13 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:Ormurinn, i think if he wanted wiki articles he would've done so himself. try giving him data and stuff.
anyway, why does every libertarian I ever met feel the need to ignore me when i asked for a definition on natural right?


Because we'll just go round in circles. If you don't think people have any rights save those granted to them by the state then we'll forever disagree.

Nem wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:That property, assuming you live and work upon it, investing into it your labour product, is rightfully yours - you have a more legitimate claim to it than anyone else.


Well, that's factory owners fucked then.


Yup - as intended. That factory should be owned by it's workers - maybe through a council they arrange and into which they choose to pool their assets, but certainly with their implicit ownership being central.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby PeterCai » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:23 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Because we'll just go round in circles. If you don't think people have any rights save those granted to them by the state then we'll forever disagree.

I am just asking for a definition.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby EdgePenguin » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:26 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Resisting the police when they come to take you from your land is self defense, because you are defending yourself and your property. That property, assuming you live and work upon it, investing into it your labour product, is rightfully yours - you have a more legitimate claim to it than anyone else.


You dig a ditch on some land, and its yours? Not everyone agrees with that.

Taking things that don't belong to you is theft. My life is pretty much the most fundamental unit of posession, it belongs to me, and to no-one else. The government claims the right to take approximately 40% of it (on average) over the course of my life, and take 100%, through imprisonment or murder, if I refuse.


The government gives you some life too, through stopping you being killed or enslaved.

Heres a source for the Food Pyramid; http://www.marksdailyapple.com/diabetes ... z1y9S7XTKe


Humans have been eating carbs for thousands of years, diabetes has only become an epidemic recently. Forgive me for being skeptical of your source.

So, to be clear, your position is that people don't have any rights except the ones they're granted by the states. I don't have a right to life - unless the government grants me one. I don't have the right to bodily autonomy - after all, the government stops people harvesting my organs, therefore whether or not I posess my own organs is down to the state. Property isn't a natural right after all.


Normal people differentiate between person and property. Stealing a kidney is rightfully seen as worse than stealing a car. Only in your melodramatic reformulation of human rights in terms of property supports your absurd statement.

What I am about to say may seem inflammatory to you, and i hope you understand that isn't my intention. Are you a fascist? Once again, don't take offence, I've had some really good, positive discussions with fascists. I ask because your position seems to be that everything in the nation is owned by the government, even down to your own body, your work, your property - and you get to use it only because the state lets you. Thats one of the founding principles of fascism.


Nice and mature. Everyone who doesn't accept your political opinions is a fascist. Godwin would be proud. No, the government doesn't own everything. They make ownership (rather than might-makes-right possession by force) possible. This is elementary political theory.

EdgePenguin wrote:Why shouldn't individual 5 year olds pay for their own cancer treatment? me


Why shouldn't you buy me a go-kart? Lesser magnitude of benefit to me, but same principle.


Because adults can differentiate between want and need quite easily. Plus, you are in a position to pay for it yourself, not being (physically) a child.

If you're actually attempting to argue that competition between service providers doesn't lead to price decreases and/or quality increases in a competitive market then you're the one making extraordinary claims that require citations.

Here you go, anyway; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_marke ... and_demand http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_equilibrium en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_market


I am not attempting to argue that, I am succeeding. I've already shown in this thread that the US spends far more on healthcare for comparable or worse outcomes - despite being undisputably a more 'competition' based system. A few links to a few GCSE-level economics concepts from a notoriously libertarian biased encyclopedia doesn't really compare as evidence.

Clearly you consider any dispute of your deeply-held ideological precepts as an extraordinary claim - but I think a third party observing this conversation would point to you as the one making the odd claims.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Nem » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:28 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Yup - as intended. That factory should be owned by it's workers - maybe through a council they arrange and into which they choose to pool their assets, but certainly with their implicit ownership being central.


I don't think you've thought this through. Few people are going to invest in something they can't own any equity in.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:51 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:Ormurinn, i think if he wanted wiki articles he would've done so himself. I think he is familiar with the theory, try giving him supporting data and stuff.
Anyway, why does every libertarian I ever met feel the need to ignore me when i asked for a definition on natural right?

Come on, it's not that difficult as concept. A natural right is a moral principle formulated as a right. As contrasted to a legal right, which is a law formulated as a right.

So suppose you think it's bad that people kill other people, no matter what the local law says. Then you can also formulate that thought as believing that people have a natural right not to be killed, no matter what the local law gives them as legal rights.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:59 pm UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:Taking things that don't belong to you is theft. My life is pretty much the most fundamental unit of posession, it belongs to me, and to no-one else. The government claims the right to take approximately 40% of it (on average) over the course of my life, and take 100%, through imprisonment or murder, if I refuse.


The government gives you some life too, through stopping you being killed or enslaved.[/quote]

And if I opt out of the government's protection? You wouldn't consider microsoft justified in providing everyone in the country with computers, and then kiling anyone who decided not to pay for one.

A state is just a protection racket with good PR.

EdgePenguin wrote:
So, to be clear, your position is that people don't have any rights except the ones they're granted by the states. I don't have a right to life - unless the government grants me one. I don't have the right to bodily autonomy - after all, the government stops people harvesting my organs, therefore whether or not I posess my own organs is down to the state. Property isn't a natural right after all.


Normal people differentiate between person and property. Stealing a kidney is rightfully seen as worse than stealing a car. Only in your melodramatic reformulation of human rights in terms of property supports your absurd statement.


The distinction between person and (immediately occupied) property is valid because?

EdgePenguin wrote:
What I am about to say may seem inflammatory to you, and i hope you understand that isn't my intention. Are you a fascist? Once again, don't take offence, I've had some really good, positive discussions with fascists. I ask because your position seems to be that everything in the nation is owned by the government, even down to your own body, your work, your property - and you get to use it only because the state lets you. Thats one of the founding principles of fascism.


Nice and mature. Everyone who doesn't accept your political opinions is a fascist. Godwin would be proud. No, the government doesn't own everything. They make ownership (rather than might-makes-right possession by force) possible. This is elementary political theory.


No - and it really pisses me off that fascism has become so discredited that the word fascist is now just a generic insult. I was speaking to the strict definition of the term - that all legitimacy comes from the state and the individual has only the rights granted to them by it. I wouldn't argue that an agrarian socialist was a fascist, but they certainly disagree with me.

The defense of right to property (as opposed to the right itself - you don't seem to accept a distinction) is indeed done by the state at present. That doesn't necessarily have to be the case though - policing by a local militia, private defense organisation, or individual homesteading is just as possible.

EdgePenguin wrote:Because adults can differentiate between want and need quite easily. Plus, you are in a position to pay for it yourself, not being (physically) a child.


I need a kidney. You want both your kidneys. My need trumps your want. Therefore I should have your kidney?

EdgePenguin wrote:
If you're actually attempting to argue that competition between service providers doesn't lead to price decreases and/or quality increases in a competitive market then you're the one making extraordinary claims that require citations.

Here you go, anyway; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_marke ... and_demand http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_equilibrium en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_market


I am not attempting to argue that, I am succeeding. I've already shown in this thread that the US spends far more on healthcare for comparable or worse outcomes - despite being undisputably a more 'competition' based system. A few links to a few GCSE-level economics concepts from a notoriously libertarian biased encyclopedia doesn't really compare as evidence.

Clearly you consider any dispute of your deeply-held ideological precepts as an extraordinary claim - but I think a third party observing this conversation would point to you as the one making the odd claims.


Your argument hinges on the idea that the U.S's healthcare system is in any way free-market. It isn't - in fact its so bound up with high entry requirements, regulatory capture and corporatism that its arguably less free-market than the U.K's (certainly after the latest NHS reform). In any case, I've already stated that I prefer the NHS to the american model. I'd simply prefer true free-market (anti capitalist) healthcare to the NHS.

Notoriously libertarian-biased? If anything i thought wikipedia too the attitude of the prototypical big-state liberal, but its a pretty neutral source. Where the hell did that come from?

Questionning my ideological precepts isn't extraordinary - claiming that literally everything we know about economics from before the time of Malthus is certainly extraordinary.

Heres a source on the U.S not having a free-market healthcare system: http://mises.org/daily/5066

Nem wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:Yup - as intended. That factory should be owned by it's workers - maybe through a council they arrange and into which they choose to pool their assets, but certainly with their implicit ownership being central.


I don't think you've thought this through. Few people are going to invest in something they can't own any equity in.


People buy debentures all the time.

Heres an example of community-funded investment using this model:
https://www.abundancegeneration.com/about/
"Progress" - Technological advances masking societal decay.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:15 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:And if I opt out of the government's protection? You wouldn't consider microsoft justified in providing everyone in the country with computers, and then kiling anyone who decided not to pay for one.

A state is just a protection racket with good PR.


So you aren't a libertarian at all. You're an anarchist--in the strict, you don't believe in any government and that people should just do whatever they want, sense of the term.

Ormurinn wrote:The defense of right to property (as opposed to the right itself - you don't seem to accept a distinction) is indeed done by the state at present. That doesn't necessarily have to be the case though - policing by a local militia, private defense organisation, or individual homesteading is just as possible.


Right up until the point where the local militia decides that they might as well just take your property since they're the ones with all the guns. I'm not sure in what world you live in where you think that people protecting themselves with their own squads of thugs is going to produce better... anything. I mean, by your standards, Somalia is a libertarian paradise.

Ormurinn wrote:
EdgePenguin wrote:Because adults can differentiate between want and need quite easily. Plus, you are in a position to pay for it yourself, not being (physically) a child.


I need a kidney. You want both your kidneys. My need trumps your want. Therefore I should have your kidney?


I need a kidney. You want both your kidneys. My need trumps your want because I have a bunch of guys with guns that I can pay to take your kidney and you have no recourse unless you have more guns than I do. Yay libertarianism!

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby EdgePenguin » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:21 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:And if I opt out of the government's protection? You wouldn't consider microsoft justified in providing everyone in the country with computers, and then kiling anyone who decided not to pay for one.


You can't retroactively opt out of the fact that society (even if not the state you currently reside in) facilitated your birth and upbringing.

A state is just a protection racket with good PR.


As opposed to your utopia - a place where 'property' is allocated based on who won the last gun battle? To smear the state as inherently violent requires a rose-tinted view of what happens without one (hint: Somalia)

The distinction between person and (immediately occupied) property is valid because?


Because of the almost universally accepted definition of human rights. Libertarians are the ONLY ones who can't make the distinction.

No - and it really pisses me off that fascism has become so discredited that the word fascist is now just a generic insult. I was speaking to the strict definition of the term - that all legitimacy comes from the state and the individual has only the rights granted to them by it. I wouldn't argue that an agrarian socialist was a fascist, but they certainly disagree with me.


Of course legitimacy comes from the state. Look at the word 'legitimacy'. No state, no laws - therefore without a state the concept of legitimacy simply does not exist. You may claim there are natural laws - but what if I disagree? How would that disagreement be decided? Most likely, by force. So your 'natural' laws can only exist so long as you and like-minded people are pointing guns at the rest of us.

The defense of right to property (as opposed to the right itself - you don't seem to accept a distinction) is indeed done by the state at present. That doesn't necessarily have to be the case though - policing by a local militia, private defense organisation, or individual homesteading is just as possible.


The "defence" of property in Somalia is done by local militias. Funnily enough, when gangs of armed thugs determine who owns what,

I need a kidney. You want both your kidneys. My need trumps your want. Therefore I should have your kidney?


No, because I differentiate between human and property rights. So does everyone else. Your ideology is far more likely to lead to organ harvesting - because someone can get into debt and be unable to pay it back, and their creditors demand organs. Your ideal system would not prevent this.

Nor would it prevent a black market in stolen organs, encouraging their forcible extraction.

Your argument hinges on the idea that the U.S's healthcare system is in any way free-market. It isn't - in fact its so bound up with high entry requirements, regulatory capture and corporatism that its arguably less free-market than the U.K's (certainly after the latest NHS reform). In any case, I've already stated that I prefer the NHS to the american model. I'd simply prefer true free-market (anti capitalist) healthcare to the NHS.


No True Scotsman fallacy there.

Notoriously libertarian-biased? If anything i thought wikipedia too the attitude of the prototypical big-state liberal, but its a pretty neutral source. Where the hell did that come from?


The founder of wikipedia, and many of its senior contributors, are libertarians.

Questionning my ideological precepts isn't extraordinary - claiming that literally everything we know about economics from before the time of Malthus is certainly extraordinary.

Heres a source on the U.S not having a free-market healthcare system: http://mises.org/daily/5066


LOL mises.org - that is hardly better than wikipedia.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:31 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:And if I opt out of the government's protection? You wouldn't consider microsoft justified in providing everyone in the country with computers, and then kiling anyone who decided not to pay for one.

A state is just a protection racket with good PR.


So you aren't a libertarian at all. You're an anarchist--in the strict, you don't believe in any government and that people should just do whatever they want, sense of the term.


I'm a mutualist. I've got no problem with any community making their own laws, enforced in whatever way they want, paid for in whatever way they like. They shouldn't be able to compel people to be a part of their state though - at least not in a strictly moral sense.

LaserGuy wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:The defense of right to property (as opposed to the right itself - you don't seem to accept a distinction) is indeed done by the state at present. That doesn't necessarily have to be the case though - policing by a local militia, private defense organisation, or individual homesteading is just as possible.


Right up until the point where the local militia decides that they might as well just take your property since they're the ones with all the guns. I'm not sure in what world you live in where you think that people protecting themselves with their own squads of thugs is going to produce better... anything. I mean, by your standards, Somalia is a libertarian paradise.


Thats no different from today, the government can kick me off my property any time they like. Its interesting you mentionned Somalia, since they're doing better without a government than they did with one - and their Xeer system of law is superior to modern state law in many respects.

The example I always use is the Icelandic commonwealth - existed peacefully for longer than the U.S has existed at all. Had no government. Largest output of literature in the medieval world. Astonishingly rich peasantry by the standards of the time, despite no natural resources.

LaserGuy wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:
EdgePenguin wrote:Because adults can differentiate between want and need quite easily. Plus, you are in a position to pay for it yourself, not being (physically) a child.


I need a kidney. You want both your kidneys. My need trumps your want. Therefore I should have your kidney?


I need a kidney. You want both your kidneys. My need trumps your want because I have a bunch of guys with guns that I can pay to take your kidney and you have no recourse unless you have more guns than I do. Yay libertarianism!


If thats not happened in a system where one group has ALL the guns (weberian state) and ALL the money (fiat currency), why would it happen in a system where one group can only have some of the guns and some of the money at any one time?

Moreover, do you not think that a vast number of different actors have a compelling interest in that not happening to me? It's not just me that your organ thief has to have more guns than, It's me, my entire community, the defense and security agencies hired by that community, and other communities...

If I choose to go and live in an area whre unsolicited organ harvest is permitted, then I suppose you're right. I don't see why any area would have this in their legal code though...

Heres a more coherent refutation : http://mises.org/daily/1855

@ edgepenguin -

You can't ask for a source, then say "nah i don't like your source" without saying whats wrong with it. You also seem to not realise how wikipedia works, It doesn't matter if the founder is an absolute monarchist, he doesn't write the articles. Meanwhile you assert that free markets don't lower prices (contrary to all evidence) while backing this association with a spurious comparison. When it's pointed out to you just how spurious it is, you shout fallacy (wasn't a fallacy, any more than you complaining about me using the DPRK as the source for statistics on socialised medicine would be illegitimate)

You claim there is no such thing as natural rights, and then fall back on human rights to shore up your arbitrary distinction between person and property (does the irony escape you?) your assertion that the state is the only source for laws is demonstrably false (http://praxeology.net/libertariannation/a/f13l1.html), and your position that people don't have the right to sell their own organs is baffling. How can I own my organs when they're inside me, but not outside me?

I feel like i'm banging my head against a wall here, you keep shifting the goalposts, and ignoring points you don't like. Disagree with my sources all you like, you haven't backed up a single thing you've claimed. You could start by posting a link to an example of a good approximation of free market in which the price of a good didn't approach it's marginal value.
Last edited by Ormurinn on Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:47 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby PeterCai » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:41 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Come on, it's not that difficult as concept. A natural right is a moral principle formulated as a right. As contrasted to a legal right, which is a law formulated as a right.

So suppose you think it's bad that people kill other people, no matter what the local law says. Then you can also formulate that thought as believing that people have a natural right not to be killed, no matter what the local law gives them as legal rights.

But see, people are using "it's a natural right" as if it means "it's trivial". So every time it's brought up the conversation devolves into "shut up it's natural right" "no it's not you shut up" "yeah uh" "nah uh"....
I just don't think it's healthy. That's why I bring this up. See, your definition I can get behind. Under your definition, whether property is or isn't a right is up for debate. The whole "we have a different set of moral principles therefore there's nothing to discuss here" is a bad excuse used to avoid questioning one's basic belief.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby leady » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:42 pm UTC

There is one state that effectively does do state sponsored organ harvesting - China

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby PeterCai » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:47 pm UTC

leady wrote:There is one state that effectively does do state sponsored organ harvesting - China

evidence please

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Nem » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:57 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:People buy debentures all the time.

Heres an example of community-funded investment using this model:


Which most people don't use. The largest growth has been in secured debt. You're essentially asking people to buy unsecured debt - in a company that's going to have eternally zero equity, since only people who work there can own the assets. It's not going to happen. Even your community funded investment has senior and junior debt - and shareholders now we get down to it.

Issuing bonds is not the same as what we're talking about. Bonds represent claims against the liabilities of the company in the form of company assets - they're more than empty IOUs.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Kingreaper » Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:58 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Its an obvious good thing to a utilitarian. It's an obvious crime if we're speaking from natural rights.

Property rights only exist when enforced. Property rights are a specific form of infringement on people's liberty.

Property rights are not, in any sense, natural.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:07 pm UTC

PeterCai wrote:But see, people are using "it's a natural right" as if it means "it's trivial". So every time it's brought up the conversation devolves into "shut up it's natural right" "no it's not you shut up" "yeah uh" "nah uh"....
I just don't think it's healthy. That's why I bring this up. See, your definition I can get behind. Under your definition, whether property is or isn't a right is up for debate. The whole "we have a different set of moral principles therefore there's nothing to discuss here" is a bad excuse used to avoid questioning one's basic belief.

Part of the problem is that the people who talk about natural rights also tend to work in some form of natural law framework. The whole "We hold these truths to be self-evident" thing.

It leads to enormous confusion, especially for english speakers. People say 'rights', sometimes they mean natural rights, and in particular they mean a specific liberal concept of natural law that happens to be commonly formulated as rights.

But rights are also a highly useful legal concept without any reference to a natural law, simply to decribe legal claims between one person and potentially all other persons. That's also standard usage, but in the wrong conversation it can sound like grandiose claims of universal morality

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby leady » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:12 pm UTC

Also one can turn the libertarianism position around as a counter question.

Under what circumstances is it moral to initiate violence in order to redistribute property?

for life (kidneys, medicine etc)
for life essentials (water, food, shelter)
for non-essential medical (bunion removal, pain medicine)
for non-essential entertainment (TV, internet)
for education
for luxury items
for travel subsidies

and importantly under which of the above would you do it personally and feel moral about it

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:17 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Thats no different from today, the government can kick me off my property any time they like. Its interesting you mentionned Somalia, since they're doing better without a government than they did with one - and their Xeer system of law is superior to modern state law in many respects.


Out of curiosity, do you live in libertarian Somalia? If not, why not?

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby leady » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:18 pm UTC

assuming reasonable source - looks like they are toning it down these days...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organ_transplantation_in_the_People's_Republic_of_China

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Whimsical Eloquence » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:22 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
PeterCai wrote:But see, people are using "it's a natural right" as if it means "it's trivial". So every time it's brought up the conversation devolves into "shut up it's natural right" "no it's not you shut up" "yeah uh" "nah uh"....
I just don't think it's healthy. That's why I bring this up. See, your definition I can get behind. Under your definition, whether property is or isn't a right is up for debate. The whole "we have a different set of moral principles therefore there's nothing to discuss here" is a bad excuse used to avoid questioning one's basic belief.

Part of the problem is that the people who talk about natural rights also tend to work in some form of natural law framework. The whole "We hold these truths to be self-evident" thing.

It leads to enormous confusion, especially for english speakers. People say 'rights', sometimes they mean natural rights, and in particular they mean a specific liberal concept of natural law that happens to be commonly formulated as rights.

But rights are also a highly useful legal concept without any reference to a natural law, simply to decribe legal claims between one person and potentially all other persons. That's also standard usage, but in the wrong conversation it can sound like grandiose claims of universal morality



This whole problem is something I tried to draw attention to earlier in the thread. It's not just there's a moral/legal distinction but as you say the term "Natural" is nearly always used with some sort of rooting in a Lockean conception of Rights. It's a situation in which Property isn't just a given political and societal arrangement but rather exists at self-evident level naturally and prior to the State. With this narrative the State is either respecting these pre-existing rights or trashing them; it's on the basis of this conception that we see a Libertarian's (and others') idea of Liberty as non-interference of these Rights and tyranny as the active disruption of them. The Rights are never in question and never could be.

The fallacy, of course, is that prior to a State there are no rights - there are legally enforceable obligations. The only sense in which Property exists prior to the State is as whatever stuff you can carry/is immediately surrounding your person and are able to defend. That's not Property - it's just whatever you can hold onto 'till someone bigger and stronger comes along to take it away. Property is a claim on something external to the self, and requires universal respect of it That's why; (a) you claiming a piece of land isn't a non-aggressive act, it's you claiming it to the exclusion of me and requiring my respecting that claim; and (b) only a State (some Sovereign power who can over-awe all others to use Hobbes's wording) can enforce it - it requires some sort of universal and generally recognised threat of force that is present even when you aren't. That's how I still own something even when I'm not directly standing on it or holding it, that's how when I go to sleep my stuff is still mine - it's protected by the State.

And no, of course this doesn't make me a Fascist. Rights exist because of threats of force - something only the State can do. That doesn't mean that there aren't some Rights that are obviously correct and one's the State should enforce - but it's ridiculous that these particular set of Rights you like, or think good, exist antecedent to the State.

LaserGuy wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:Thats no different from today, the government can kick me off my property any time they like. Its interesting you mentionned Somalia, since they're doing better without a government than they did with one - and their Xeer system of law is superior to modern state law in many respects.


Out of curiosity, do you live in libertarian Somalia? If not, why not?


Because he seems to have some absurdly romanticised view of pre-Norman England to which (along with a lot more Anarhcism and some Libertarian ideas) he'd like to return. He thinks the old, vile ghosts of Nationalism, Agrarianism and Tribalism to be lost virtues.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby PeterCai » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:35 pm UTC

leady wrote:assuming reasonable source - looks like they are toning it down these days...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organ_tran ... c_of_China

thanks

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Choboman » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:36 pm UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:Because adults can differentiate between want and need quite easily.

Without getting into any of the rest of the argument I'd like to chime in and disagree with the statement above. People have a tendancy to think that their wants are needs, and are constantly expanding the list of things that they need.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby EdgePenguin » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:57 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:@ edgepenguin -

You can't ask for a source, then say "nah i don't like your source" without saying whats wrong with it.


Fine. Mises.org is a libertarian noisehole that can't add anything to the argument I might as well throw out links to Socialist Worker. When I ask for evidence, I am not asking for professionally crafted opinion pieces.

You also seem to not realise how wikipedia works, It doesn't matter if the founder is an absolute monarchist, he doesn't write the articles. Meanwhile you assert that free markets don't lower prices (contrary to all evidence) while backing this association with a spurious comparison. When it's pointed out to you just how spurious it is, you shout fallacy (wasn't a fallacy, any more than you complaining about me using the DPRK as the source for statistics on socialised medicine would be illegitimate)


I know exactly how wikipedia works. Patronism, article camping, and edit wars. There is a very good reason wikipedia is never considered for use as an academic reference.

You claim there is no such thing as natural rights, and then fall back on human rights to shore up your arbitrary distinction between person and property (does the irony escape you?)


Human rights exist because people have thought them up, codified them, and fought (and died sometimes) to make sure they are put into practice. Man in his natural state has no rights; his life is nasty, brutish and short.

[qutoe] your assertion that the state is the only source for laws is demonstrably false (http://praxeology.net/libertariannation/a/f13l1.html),[/quote]

I don't agree that what you have linked to demonstrates that. It merely argues it.

and your position that people don't have the right to sell their own organs is baffling. How can I own my organs when they're inside me, but not outside me?


If you have the right to sell organs, people must have the right to buy them. That immediately gives people an incentive to start eviscerating their fellow citizens for cash - something that unfortunately does happen in some places.

I feel like i'm banging my head against a wall here, you keep shifting the goalposts, and ignoring points you don't like. Disagree with my sources all you like, you haven't backed up a single thing you've claimed. You could start by posting a link to an example of a good approximation of free market in which the price of a good didn't approach it's marginal value.

[/quote]

I don't move the goalpost at all - I've been clear from the start that you need to bring some evidence. Not thinktank output, but arguments, but EVIDENCE.

I produced the evidence showing that the US had higher health costs than Europe some time back. Go and find it.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby EdgePenguin » Mon Jun 18, 2012 4:58 pm UTC

Choboman wrote:
EdgePenguin wrote:Because adults can differentiate between want and need quite easily.

Without getting into any of the rest of the argument I'd like to chime in and disagree with the statement above. People have a tendancy to think that their wants are needs, and are constantly expanding the list of things that they need.


Some people (mostly younger people) do, but when people get together and decide what to collectively pay for, they swiftly start crossing things off that list.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Jun 18, 2012 5:02 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Meanwhile you assert that free markets don't lower prices (contrary to all evidence) while backing this association with a spurious comparison.


I figured I'd add a few thoughts on this.

The problem isn't that free markets don't lower prices. By definition, they do. The problem is that free markets don't exist, except transiently, because they are inherently unstable. In any situation where the market is free, I can always produce better outcomes for my business by restricting the freedom of my competition relative to myself. If there are six companies in the area that sell widgets, then the prices will be low and consequently my margins will be low. If I can knock out three of my competitors and collude with the others to form a cartel and raise our prices, we all make more money, but demolish the free market for widgets. Since I'm selfish and care more about making money than maintaining a competitive market for widgets, I will naturally gravitate toward these sorts of solutions because it produces greater benefits to me, at the expense of consumers. Free markets, ironically, can only be maintained by the existence of a strict, impartial, governing authority to fairly enforce the rules and ensure that nobody is cheating.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:32 pm UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:Fine. Mises.org is a libertarian noisehole that can't add anything to the argument I might as well throw out links to Socialist Worker. When I ask for evidence, I am not asking for professionally crafted opinion pieces.


That bit right there where you disregard information, not on its merits but because of the source, thats a fallacy. Ad Hominem to be precise. It's obvious you have some longstanding bias against libertarians/anarchists, but that doesn't make what they say invalid. I often link to opinion pieces because I'm not particularly eloquent and they tend to make my point better than I do. They've also usually collated the statistics for me into a more readable format.

EdgePenguin wrote:Human rights exist because people have thought them up, codified them, and fought (and died sometimes) to make sure they are put into practice. Man in his natural state has no rights; his life is nasty, brutish and short.


You think no-one ever fought and died for natural rights? How many people do you think died to protect their land?

EdgePenguin wrote:[qutoe] your assertion that the state is the only source for laws is demonstrably false (http://praxeology.net/libertariannation/a/f13l1.html),


I don't agree that what you have linked to demonstrates that. It merely argues it.[/quote]

Ok - the people of medieval iceland managed to settle their disputes in a court system, usually without violence. Their murder rate was hundreds of times lower than the states that surrounded them. The most famous hero of the Icelandic sagas wasn't a warrior, it was a lawyer - Njall, "so mighty in the law that none could best him." This all unfolded in the absence of a state. How the hell does that not demonstrate that law is possible in the absence of a state?

EdgePenguin wrote:I produced the evidence showing that the US had higher health costs than Europe some time back. Go and find it.


As I have said repeatedly, whether or not the US system is more expensive has no bearing on what we can expect from a free market, because it's not a free market system. You probably didnt read the link I sent explaining this, because you hate the mises institute.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:43 pm UTC

The fallacy, of course, is that prior to a State there are no rights - there are legally enforceable obligations. The only sense in which Property exists prior to the State is as whatever stuff you can carry/is immediately surrounding your person and are able to defend. That's not Property - it's just whatever you can hold onto 'till someone bigger and stronger comes along to take it away. Property is a claim on something external to the self, and requires universal respect of it That's why; (a) you claiming a piece of land isn't a non-aggressive act, it's you claiming it to the exclusion of me and requiring my respecting that claim; and (b) only a State (some Sovereign power who can over-awe all others to use Hobbes's wording) can enforce it - it requires some sort of universal and generally recognised threat of force that is present even when you aren't. That's how I still own something even when I'm not directly standing on it or holding it, that's how when I go to sleep my stuff is still mine - it's protected by the State.


I think this pushes the confusion to far to the other side. If you think there are morals that have priority over actually implemented laws, then there's nothing wrong with formulating some of those morals as natural rights. There's no reason to restrict 'rights' to Lockean natural rights, but also no reason to restrict its usage to parts of a legal system. It can be both, and restrictions easily become an attempt to monopolize a valued word.

Also, laws and states are not necessarily as tightly bound as that. For example, sovereign rulers in medieval Arabia usually didn't enforce commercial law. Contracts were mostly bound by reputation, and disputes were settled by religious judges based on religious law. The importance of the muslim world in medieval trade implies that this worked pretty well. That's hardly exceptional either, most trade throughout history travels too far to stay within a controlled jurisdiction. As far as I know, in the state didn't involve itself much in commercial law in Ming and Qing China either, compared to our modern standards. The current tight connection between laws, commerce and the state is to some extent a modern western development. In a way, Hobbes inspired modern Leviathans, as much or more as he described contemporary ones.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby sam_i_am » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:50 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
The fallacy, of course, is that prior to a State there are no rights - there are legally enforceable obligations. The only sense in which Property exists prior to the State is as whatever stuff you can carry/is immediately surrounding your person and are able to defend. That's not Property - it's just whatever you can hold onto 'till someone bigger and stronger comes along to take it away. Property is a claim on something external to the self, and requires universal respect of it That's why; (a) you claiming a piece of land isn't a non-aggressive act, it's you claiming it to the exclusion of me and requiring my respecting that claim; and (b) only a State (some Sovereign power who can over-awe all others to use Hobbes's wording) can enforce it - it requires some sort of universal and generally recognised threat of force that is present even when you aren't. That's how I still own something even when I'm not directly standing on it or holding it, that's how when I go to sleep my stuff is still mine - it's protected by the State.


I think this pushes the confusion to far to the other side. If you think there are morals that have priority over actually implemented laws, then there's nothing wrong with formulating some of those morals as natural rights. There's no reason to restrict 'rights' to Lockean natural rights, but also no reason to restrict its usage to parts of a legal system. It can be both, and restrictions easily become an attempt to monopolize a valued word.

Also, laws and states are not necessarily as tightly bound as that. For example, sovereign rulers in medieval Arabia usually didn't enforce commercial law. Contracts were mostly bound by reputation, and disputes were settled by religious judges based on religious law. The importance of the muslim world in medieval trade implies that this worked pretty well. That's hardly exceptional either, most trade throughout history travels too far to stay within a controlled jurisdiction. As far as I know, in the state didn't involve itself much in commercial law in Ming and Qing China either, compared to our modern standards. The current tight connection between laws, commerce and the state is to some extent a modern western development. In a way, Hobbes inspired modern Leviathans, as much or more as he described contemporary ones.


There's no such thing as natural morals. There's no such thing as natural rights. Nature knows no morals nor rights. If you believe yourself to own a piece of property, and an entity more powerful than you forcibly takes that property, nature doesn't care.

Also, on that note, Any properity that you believe yourself to own, has almost certainly been stolen from somebody in the past

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Zamfir » Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:58 pm UTC

So? You still need some framework to discuss what should go into laws, unless you want to accept as law whatever is in the law.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby sam_i_am » Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:18 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:So? You still need some framework to discuss what should go into laws, unless you want to accept as law whatever is in the law.


Laws are generally based on empathy, and self-interest( which are actually natural human emotions, for most people at least.) The problem with the idea of Anarcho-Capitalism, is that what one person feels ought to be "natural laws" might not always quite line up with what another person feels ought to be natural laws.

Now, how the social order forms based on that may vary.

Sometimes, a particularly powerful person, who is able to overpower enemies, or convince others to his side, is able to make it so his word is law, and declares himself king.

Sometimes, people might get fed up with their king, and then try to set up a system of laws to prevent another king from taking power.

Sometimes, a large number of people try to hedge their bets, and set up a system where all people are equal, and everyone is entitled to an equal amount of land, and resources.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby EdgePenguin » Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:30 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:That bit right there where you disregard information, not on its merits but because of the source, thats a fallacy. Ad Hominem to be precise. It's obvious you have some longstanding bias against libertarians/anarchists, but that doesn't make what they say invalid. I often link to opinion pieces because I'm not particularly eloquent and they tend to make my point better than I do. They've also usually collated the statistics for me into a more readable format.


Demanding good, credible sources is not ad hominem. Yes, in principle, I could trawl through your crappy sources and make a list of all the errors - but the fact is I don't see the need to commit that much time. Your sources are clearly evidence-free opinion pieces. You might as well cite one of your own previous posts.

You think no-one ever fought and died for natural rights? How many people do you think died to protect their land?


Just because people died for what you claim are natural rights, doesn't make them natural, if such a thing exists.

Ok - the people of medieval iceland managed to settle their disputes in a court system, usually without violence. Their murder rate was hundreds of times lower than the states that surrounded them. The most famous hero of the Icelandic sagas wasn't a warrior, it was a lawyer - Njall, "so mighty in the law that none could best him." This all unfolded in the absence of a state. How the hell does that not demonstrate that law is possible in the absence of a state?


Got evidence for that which doesn't come from someone remorselessly plugging their ideology?

As I have said repeatedly, whether or not the US system is more expensive has no bearing on what we can expect from a free market, because it's not a free market system. You probably didnt read the link I sent explaining this, because you hate the mises institute.


'Hate' is a strong word. I view most think tanks with contempt and, unsurprisingly, don't consider them reliable sources.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby nitePhyyre » Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:57 am UTC

lutzj wrote:
nitePhyyre wrote:In other words, when someone says 'you owe everything about yourself to the greater society' what they are saying is 'you would not have the things you do without the massive support structure behind you.' They probably also mean 'so if you are willing to reap all the rewards of our support structure, pay it forward or you are a selfish douche', but that isn't strictly necessary.
I just don't get how benefits created by people in the past create an obligation to people in the present/future. Keep in mind as well that those past people that created all of our technology and infrastructure generally did so out of self-interest.

I wouldn't say that the past creates an obligation for the present/future. We have taken it upon ourselves to create an obligation to people in the present/future. That voluntary obligation is simply the fee that is paid to reap all the benefits that living in a society creates. That quid pro quo is the very basis of society/civilization. Yet, a certain set of people often reject that exchange, saying that they shouldn't have to pay taxes because they made their money all by themselves, with no help from anyone. That assertion simply has no basis in reality.

Although, Edge is saying all of this a much better than I am.

Griffin wrote:lutzj, you don't understand. But its finally become clear (and would have become clearer if he'd actually responded to any of my questions to determine if this was the case from the very beginning of when this stupid argument stated) what the situation is.

When he says "owe", he doesn't actually mean owe, is in the word that people use, or the things people use it for, or its definition in the dictionary, he means a very special definition of owe that is both utterly irrelevant to anything this conversation was about, unique to him and perhaps a few other people, and utterly meaningless.

I believe he has taken the classic shortening of "we owe thanks" or "we owe gratitude" towards those who came before us, which is simply "we owe this to them", and failed to realize what exactly the duty/obligation implied by that statement is (namely, gratitude).

niitePhyre, why don't you actually DEFINE your owe for us, so we know your personal definition and can put this argument behind us.
You want a definition?
nitePhyyre wrote:You clearly don't understand what points the 'modern day nanny-statists' are making. I suggest you go here, and try to understand the subtle differences.
nitePhyyre wrote:I suggest you go here, and try to understand the subtle differences.
nitePhyyre wrote:go here
Already, fucking gave you one. The goram dictionary definition.
Griffin wrote:Because seriously, owe meaning "debt to be repaid or obligation" is the only meaning! So, if you're using it to mean something else, which you clearly are even though we've had to drag the admission out of you, you should REALLY try to actually let us know what you mean and then justify why its true.
Before you go and act like a smartass, know-it-all, arbiter of wordly definitions, talking about a word's only possible meaning, perhaps you should, I don't know... actually look it up? Or do you like looking like an absolute moron? I mean, you couldn't even copy the letters of my name in the correct order. Go back to kidergraden, learn the alphabet, then learn to read, then try coming back here and not sticking your head up your ass.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby PeterCai » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:16 am UTC

Dude, calm down. It's just an internet debate. No need to burst an artery over it.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Griffin » Tue Jun 19, 2012 2:02 pm UTC

YeAh, ChIlL oUt MoThErFuCkEr.

Also, I wonder how many dictionaries you had to go through to find that. :P
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/owe
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/owe

That second one has your "definition" but also explains how it STILL means indebtedness! It's not my fault you choose to use a crappy dictionary that only bothers to write out half the meaning.

But seriously, if that's the definition you used, you've... had no point. Every one of your posts suddenly become utterly worthless in the context of the debate because they no longer mean anything of importance. They are just one big long rant about something that's trivially true, the existence of cause and effect.

So go you?

Though I'll note that etymologically and historically, even that definition heavily implies obligation and derives from the belief that people do in fact have an actual debt to their forefathers. The entire history of the word is geared towards obligation, and the only reason its ever used in that sense is to imply it - even if you manage to find a denotation that doesn't mention it explicitly, and doesn't appear in most dictionaries I've checked anyway, you must admit that a sense of obligation still clings to the usage, no?

And since this was the entire basis of your argument - i.e. that something should happen as the result of what we "owe" to this stuff, I'm not really sure you're willing to admit that what you've said basically amounts to nothing.

Do you, completely honestly, believe that there is, in fact, no obligation implied by the use of your word owe? That no obligation arises from this owing, and that there is no debt to be repaid?

If so, we can drop this now and just pretend it never happened.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby morriswalters » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:01 pm UTC

Perhaps seeing that responsibility as a payment for services rendered would be a better metaphor. Just a fee for services rendered. You don't have to pay it, you are under no obligation, but then neither is the greater society. If you choose to opt out, then leave. Any type of property that you can carry you can take, but real estate can't be part of the bargain. No little enclaves in the center of our territory, no taking of resources that the group effort secured. We stole it unfair and unsquare. If you want it you have take it, just like we did. This would normally be done through conquest or Civil War. If your position is strong enough then you can force a change in the terms of the fee, short of Civil War, but there will always be a fee. The group as a whole makes the call as to the fee. They determine what you are required to pay. Cash only, no credit. At no time is the group united in agreeing to the amount of the fee, but until it becomes a big enough problem to force a change people go along. I would comment to the effect that immigrants are presented with this dilemma all the time.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby RoberII » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:23 pm UTC

I think the main lesson of the icelandic system is that capitalist anarchies are really, really vulnerable to monopolies (in the case of Iceland, it was the Church). Once someone has a monopoly on violence, they are de-facto a state in the sense that they are a sovereign entity - after all, who's going to stop them?

I concede that it might be a bit unfair to expect you to *gasp!* pay your taxes, but nevertheless, you were born into a society that expects you to do this, which has provided you with a number of services in return for this (schools, police, medicare) and which is predicated as much upon taxation as on the act of voting. If you cannot differentiate between the moral values of theft and taxation, you cannot differentiate between tyranny and democracy, between imprisonment and kidnapping.

And another thing: rights carry responsibilities: If you have a right not to be assaulted, for instance, you also have a responsibility not to assault others in turn. But as it turns out, there are plenty of rights that you have in a modern society which also carry responsibilities - you have the right to drive on most of the roads for instance, and to congregate on the city square. But that also entails that you have a responsibility to pay for that square.

(inb4 rawr rawr that's not rights rawr rawr - go ahead, tell me how those things are somehow different from 'natural rights' (hint - there's no real difference, both are arbitrary, culturally determined rights.))
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Griffin » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:22 pm UTC

Also, I really abhor the frequent statements that libertarian=anarchy, when they are in a great many ways incompatible. Libertarian belief almost always requires a strong (but very limited) government to safeguard the rights they hold so dear.

Anyone who says Libertarians should move to Somalia for a taste of libertarianism has no fucking clue what they are talking about.

So let me say this again for the loads of people that seem completely incapable of understanding it:
Libertarianism is not anarchy, Libertarians are not anarchists.

It's like arguing that Muslims are assholes because the Baptists are anti-gay. It doesn't even matter if you're right about both your points or not, the relationship that's being drawn is bullshit.

I'm at least glad someone pointed our Ormurin's arguments aren't exactly representative of libertarian philosophy, though.
Last edited by Griffin on Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:43 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby capefeather » Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:36 pm UTC

The points are all well and good, but are we seriously getting into Wikipedia-bashing now? I generally agree that Wikipedia shouldn't be "cited" in arguments... because it's an encyclopedia. Encyclopedias are meant to provide basic information, not to provide fuel for a good argument. I already tire of the common argument of "everybody can edit, therefore there is no quality assurance", but it's baffling to suggest that Wikipedia is biased because Jimmy Wales is a libertarian (actually apparently Randian, even). I mean, really? My impressions of Wikipedia are:

- It polices its own articles, striving for a neutral point of view and putting neutrality dispute tags on articles that may not have a neutral point of view. Just because it seems to describe something you disagree with favourably, or something you agree with unfavourably, doesn't make it biased.

- Administrators aren't supposed to be "dictators" or even really "leaders". They have extra powers to moderate and end disputes, not force a resolution in their favour.

- The only political stance that "Wikipedia" has really taken as an entity was to protest SOPA.

Honestly, that someone is making sweeping suggestions that Wikipedia is libertarian-biased think tank strikes me as a red flag, especially when Wikipedia was used probably just to provide basic information that could have been gotten in an undergraduate course. I think people should also tone down on terms like "normal" and "evil", too...

As for the whole "fascism" thing, maybe it's just that people tend to view fascism as being strictly contrary to democracy. I'm not entirely sure if that's actually the case, but some quick looks at definitions seem to imply this heavily. What I do know, though, is that unbelief in natural rights doesn't make you anti-democracy.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Choboman » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:29 pm UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:
Choboman wrote:
EdgePenguin wrote:Because adults can differentiate between want and need quite easily.

Without getting into any of the rest of the argument I'd like to chime in and disagree with the statement above. People have a tendancy to think that their wants are needs, and are constantly expanding the list of things that they need.


Some people (mostly younger people) do, but when people get together and decide what to collectively pay for, they swiftly start crossing things off that list.

That only works when people think they're paying the bills. A big part of US politics is both sides saying that they want things and that the other guy should be paying for it. So people on the right want a strong military, business incentives, and low taxes, and want to pay for it by cutting entitlements and eliminating low-end tax exemptions (which their base generally doesn't get anyway) while people on the left want better entitlements and want to pay for it by more taxes against the rich. Ultimately neither side has a viable solution because it's going to take sacrifices on both sides to actually keep the economy functional.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:51 pm UTC

Minor nitpick, but "the rich" are on both sides of the political spectrum. The "other rich guy" really boils down to which corporation gets what tax break. For example, does GE get more breaks for pursuing "green" tech, or does Monsanto get more subsidies for corn?

This is part of why Libertarians want an end to virtually all subsidies and tax-breaks (and just have lower and simple taxes instead), as those are the main ways "the rich" manage to get so much from the government/everyone else.


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