A small, specific question about libertarianism

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RoberII
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby RoberII » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:57 pm UTC

I think it's also a gross exaggeration to say that people on the left want 'other people' to pay more taxes. It's probably not an exaggeration to say that people on the left would like to raise the taxes the rich because the poor have sacrificed enough, and maybe Paris Hilton (or whomever) doesn't need to drink martinis with actual gold in it.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:19 pm UTC

When Ireland removed the loophole that exempted artists' incomes from the income tax, by coincidence* Bono changed his primary residence and as a result didn't pay the higher taxes. Bono has been rather outspoken in his political (left) views. I'm quite sure that everyone thinks they should get more services while someone else should pay higher taxes.

*Sarcasm

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Griffin » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:22 pm UTC

Except for the millionaires in the US that continually call for themselves to pay higher taxes?

Considering Bono's primary residence was only there for tax purposes anyway, it's completely unsurprising.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:30 pm UTC

Citation needed please.

I know there are prominent billionaires such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates calling for higher taxes (or at least claiming to; haven't heard of them donating what they thought was fair to the IRS), and I'm sure there's the occasional millionaire in there as well, but I don't think there are even a significant minority of millionaires that think they should have higher taxes.

Unless by 'raising' you mean enforcing the taxes, or elimination of tax breaks and subsidies, then maybe you'll get quite a few more people in favor of 'raising' taxes.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby EdgePenguin » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:02 pm UTC

Choboman wrote:
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.


There is no prior reason why we can't have the latter kind of politics, instead of the former which we have at present.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby RoberII » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:53 pm UTC

I can think of at least one millionaire: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2 ... -sake.html

Anyway, a bit of googling suggests the issue is much more complex than that, and that there are several factors at play - wealthy individuals in the us tend to vote republican, but wealthy states tend to vote democratic, for instance. And AFIK education is also correlated with liberalism, although again the issues are complicated.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Griffin » Tue Jun 19, 2012 10:57 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Citation needed please.

One was provided, and you named a couple yourself (also belonging to the superset billionaire).

I never said that most or even a significant percentage were in favour of higher taxes - I've honestly got no idea. I just objected to your "everyone" thinks someone else should pay higher taxes instead of them.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Jun 19, 2012 11:12 pm UTC

Fine, not "everyone", just overwhelming majority.

As for who I mentioned, I also pointed out that they only said they should pay higher taxes, and have yet to donate their fair share to the IRS. Talk is cheap; I can claim we should all volunteer in hospitals and it's awful that most people don't, but seeing as I'm not a candy striper I'm not practicing what I preach.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ghostbear » Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:58 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:As for who I mentioned, I also pointed out that they only said they should pay higher taxes, and have yet to donate their fair share to the IRS. Talk is cheap; I can claim we should all volunteer in hospitals and it's awful that most people don't, but seeing as I'm not a candy striper I'm not practicing what I preach.

Their extra share would individually be wholly insignificant. I'd also be surprised if the money itself was their prime issue for such, instead of things such as income inequality -- in that case, them donating some money to the IRS would do nothing to accomplish their goal. I wouldn't exactly call their talk "cheap" in this case either; Gates advocated at least somewhat for an income tax on the wealthy to be instituted in Washington. When they see the problem as "the law is insufficient", then them handing a bunch of money over won't accomplish anything to change that -- in fact, it'd quite probably make the issue less likely to be fixed, because opponents would just say "Well hey, the rich people that don't want to be job creators* will just volunteer their money: why do we need to change anything?".

* I hate that term so much, but it is what would be said.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby nitePhyyre » Wed Jun 20, 2012 5:39 am UTC

PeterCai wrote:Dude, calm down. It's just an internet debate. No need to burst an artery over it.
Not actually upset at all. When someone acts all smug about about their stupidity, they need to be called out on it. And you have to at least try to lower yourself to a level that they might be able to comprehend. I see I failed, but hey, whatever.

Griffin wrote:Considering Bono's primary residence was only there for tax purposes anyway, it's completely unsurprising.
Griffin wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Citation needed please.
One was provided
Really, where?

CorruptUser wrote:I know there are prominent billionaires such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates calling for higher taxes (or at least claiming to; haven't heard of them donating what they thought was fair to the IRS), and I'm sure there's the occasional millionaire in there as well, but I don't think there are even a significant minority of millionaires that think they should have higher taxes.
Pretty much every one you'll hear talking about higher taxes for the rich is in that bracket. We are talking about celebrities, pundits, politicians, etc. Not making a comment on every millionaires internal monlogue, but at least for things like media talking points, and influence on national debate, it seems about even.

Oh, and they may not donate to the IRS, but you'd better believe those two put their money where their mouth is.

RoberII wrote:And AFIK education is also correlated with liberalism, although again the issues are complicated.
I've read that the under-educated go blue, baccalaureates go red, and masters and PhDs go blue. The article speculated that the under-educated are more likely to be poor, and thus directly helped by left policy; the baccalaureates are more likely to be rich, and thus directly helped by right policy; and the most educated are the ones that will actually think their policy opinions through to their conclusions and full implications rather than stop thinking about naive direct benefits. Again, the author was saying that this interpretation of the data was purely speculative and that further study was needed.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby lutzj » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:05 am UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:Oh, and they may not donate to the IRS, but you'd better believe those two put their money where their mouth is.


Why don't they advocate for more philanthropy program instead of higher taxes? Money routed through the IRS and then the American government is much less efficient at helping people, and with their charitable giving in lieu of tax donations these guys seem to understand that.

Spoiler:
Griffin wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Citation needed please.

One was provided, and you named a couple yourself (also belonging to the superset billionaire).


I couldn't help myself: Billionaires form a subset of millionaires.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby folkhero » Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:10 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:As for who I mentioned, I also pointed out that they only said they should pay higher taxes, and have yet to donate their fair share to the IRS. Talk is cheap; I can claim we should all volunteer in hospitals and it's awful that most people don't, but seeing as I'm not a candy striper I'm not practicing what I preach.

Their extra share would individually be wholly insignificant.

Just to be clear:

Areas where Gates and Buffet think their money will have a significant effect:
-Global poverty
-Global malnutrition
-Global health
-Global education

Areas where Gates and Buffet think their money will be insignificant:
-The United States federal budget

And people wonder why we aren't all clamoring to throw more money into that giant sinkhole.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ghostbear » Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:25 am UTC

folkhero wrote:Just to be clear:

Areas where Gates and Buffet think their money will have a significant effect:
-Global poverty
-Global malnutrition
-Global health
-Global education

Areas where Gates and Buffet think their money will be insignificant:
-The United States federal budget

And people wonder why we aren't all clamoring to throw more money into that giant sinkhole.

Just to be clear, you're comparing two completely different numbers. I have numbers for Buffet's taxes, so I'll use him specifically, though I expect the numbers aren't too dissimilar for Gates: ~$50 billion being dedicated to philanthropic efforts vs increasing the ~$7 million he paid in taxes in 2010 to ~$12 million (assuming a bump from his prior tax rate of 17.4% to 30.0%, since 30% is the number everyone likes to talk about with respect to him). Yes, $5 million/year and $50 billion (lump sum.. ish) are hugely different numbers; you can accomplish a lot more with one of those numbers than you can with the other. You should not be surprised by this.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby jules.LT » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:12 am UTC

Global poverty is more important than the American social problems, and it takes much less money to make a difference. That's why individual billionaires donate there.
Still, you can't force everyone to donate to philanthropy, while compulsory participation in government programs in the form of taxes already exists and can be extended.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Griffin » Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:28 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:Not actually upset at all. When someone acts all smug about about their stupidity, they need to be called out on it. And you have to at least try to lower yourself to a level that they might be able to comprehend. I see I failed, but hey, whatever.

How ironic. Did you ever even have a point in this entire conversation?

lutzj wrote:I couldn't help myself: Billionaires form a subset of millionaires.

Herp derp. Yeah, thanks for the fix, heh.

And the reason they don't just donate to the bloody IRS is because it won't have an impact - the federal budget is enormous enough that you really do need everyone pulling their weight in order for it to have any effect. I can see why it would be frustrating to push away at that old pyramid block while your peers sit on the side and watch with a smirk on their faces - I too would rather put my money in a place where I can have an effect without relying on others sure to shirk their responsibilities while they benefit from my efforts.

Why don't they advocate for more philanthropy program instead of higher taxes? Money routed through the IRS and then the American government is much less efficient at helping people, and with their charitable giving in lieu of tax donations these guys seem to understand that.

Philanthropy programs are usually quite inefficient, but there a great many things charity can't do - like create and maintain a stable nation that makes it possible, or organize a cohesive national health plan, or handle social security for the entire population of the US, or fund their standing army, or build an interstate highway system and maintain it.

Charities are good, but very little can match the scale of a government, a scale where any other competitors able to work at that level are likely to be even more inefficient than the government.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby nitePhyyre » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:22 pm UTC

Griffin wrote:
nitePhyyre wrote:Not actually upset at all. When someone acts all smug about about their stupidity, they need to be called out on it. And you have to at least try to lower yourself to a level that they might be able to comprehend. I see I failed, but hey, whatever.
How ironic. Did you ever even have a point in this entire conversation?
I was simply trying to inform you that when you said this:
Griffin wrote:The modern day nanny-statist approach has the similarly unspoken assumption that your life is not your own, and that you owe everything about yourself to the greater society - or worse, to specific other people.

And libertarians are, pretty fairly I think, utterly disgusted by that idea.
You were wrong. You created a strawman by using the wrong definition of the word 'owe'. OTOH, you were right when you said we've wasted more than enough of our lives on this banality. Also, my response to lutzj here.

Griffin wrote:
lutzj wrote:Why don't they advocate for more philanthropy program instead of higher taxes? Money routed through the IRS and then the American government is much less efficient at helping people, and with their charitable giving in lieu of tax donations these guys seem to understand that.

Philanthropy programs are usually quite inefficient, but there a great many things charity can't do - like create and maintain a stable nation that makes it possible, or organize a cohesive national health plan, or handle social security for the entire population of the US, or fund their standing army, or build an interstate highway system and maintain it.

Charities are good, but very little can match the scale of a government, a scale where any other competitors able to work at that level are likely to be even more inefficient than the government.
Additionally, if charity had the capacity to fix all of these problems, we wouldn't be talking about this, because the problems would already be fixed!
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby morriswalters » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:36 pm UTC

I suppose that my objection to Libertarian ideas is that I never see a path to the ideal, or to any point close to it. And if you could get there I see no way to stay there.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Griffin » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:57 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:You were wrong. You created a strawman by using the wrong definition of the word 'owe'. OTOH, you were right when you said we've wasted more than enough of our lives on this banality.

You communicated poorly, this is no ones problem but your own. When you use a rare, incorrect, and meaningless definition of a term, don't be surprised when people assume you are using the definition actually relevant to the conversation i.e. that you are actually saying something or worth. I honestly don't know why used it to begin with - surely you couldn't have been that blind not see that people would assume you were using the commonly accepted definition, especially in a conversation where it would make sense.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby EdgePenguin » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:02 am UTC

Griffin wrote:
nitePhyyre wrote:You were wrong. You created a strawman by using the wrong definition of the word 'owe'. OTOH, you were right when you said we've wasted more than enough of our lives on this banality.

You communicated poorly, this is no ones problem but your own. When you use a rare, incorrect, and meaningless definition of a term, don't be surprised when people assume you are using the definition actually relevant to the conversation i.e. that you are actually saying something or worth. I honestly don't know why used it to begin with - surely you couldn't have been that blind not see that people would assume you were using the commonly accepted definition, especially in a conversation where it would make sense.


That fact that libertarians consider any definition of the word 'owe' that doesn't involve actual money debt to be "rare, incorrect and meaningless" is I think an interested insight into the libertarian mindset.

Not only does it show an entirely money-focused outlook, it also shows a willingness to defines one own viewpoint as objective reality, and not accept that people can legitimately understand the same things in a different way. Ayn Rand would be proud of you.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby leady » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:35 am UTC

The issue though is that you are taking a fluffy use of "owe" meaning effectively "is a consequence of" e.g.

"we owe our lives to the sun"

and converting it to hard obligation

"we owe a lot of the benefits of modern life to society - therefore there is an actual material obligation"

In both cases its the same use of owe, except no would suggest we make sacrifices to the sun because we "owe" it. Hell at least the sun is an actual thing rather than an aggregate concept, so on that basis it would make more sense :)

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby kiklion » Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:35 pm UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:
Griffin wrote:
nitePhyyre wrote:You were wrong. You created a strawman by using the wrong definition of the word 'owe'. OTOH, you were right when you said we've wasted more than enough of our lives on this banality.

You communicated poorly, this is no ones problem but your own. When you use a rare, incorrect, and meaningless definition of a term, don't be surprised when people assume you are using the definition actually relevant to the conversation i.e. that you are actually saying something or worth. I honestly don't know why used it to begin with - surely you couldn't have been that blind not see that people would assume you were using the commonly accepted definition, especially in a conversation where it would make sense.


That fact that libertarians consider any definition of the word 'owe' that doesn't involve actual money debt to be "rare, incorrect and meaningless" is I think an interested insight into the libertarian mindset.

Not only does it show an entirely money-focused outlook, it also shows a willingness to defines one own viewpoint as objective reality, and not accept that people can legitimately understand the same things in a different way. Ayn Rand would be proud of you.


Could you use it in a sentence that does not involve actual money debt, yet involving two living, conscious parties with wants and needs? Because I am a little lost in your definition.


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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Griffin » Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:13 pm UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:That fact that libertarians consider any definition of the word 'owe' that doesn't involve actual money debt to be "rare, incorrect and meaningless" is I think an interested insight into the libertarian mindset.


Did... did anyone debts that take a form other than money are meaningless?

Because I'm not sure where you are getting that. (Well, until kilklion, but he posted that after you did)

If anything, I'd say the most common form of debt obligation in our society (aside from money) is gratitude and respect.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby MinotaurWarrior » Thu Jun 28, 2012 8:02 am UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:
MinotaurWarrior wrote:For example, when it comes to healthcare, I believe in things such as treating infectious disease in an attempt to stop its spread, or providing mental health services to prevent murders and other disruptive acts, but I do not believe that ending your discomfort or preventing you from being disabled should count as a public good (at least not at the national level).


The vocal desire to abandon sick people to their fate is one of the reasons, in my experience, that libertarian belief systems are subject to such ridicule. It is quite deserved as far as I am concerned.

That desire is also, by and large, a strawman. Nobody wants sick people to suffer. What you (presumably) want is for the government to be involved in the alleviation of the suffering of the ill. What I want is for the alleviation of the suffering of the ill to not be considered a public good, and instead be recognized as a private good, and pursued in that manner. If you're sick and suffering, the alleviation of your illness-induced suffering (like all your suffering) should be alleviated by those with whom you are associated and who have an interest in your well-being.

In general, my views on what is and is not a public good are shaped by an explanation of the predator-prey relationship between lions and the much larger herds of buffalo they hunt, contained in Richard Dawkin's The Selfish Gene. If all buffalo universally agreed to stampede towards lions, instead of away from them, buffalo would soon be rid of their predators, and all buffalo would benefit greatly from this security. But they do not do this.


You've utterly failed to understand Dawkins. He was refuting the exact argument you are using here; organisms do not have to be selfish. This pop biology works (sort of) for buffalo, but fails utterly to explain the fact that an ant hill under attack will, for many species, deploy suicide attacks. The *gene* is selfish, the organism does not have to be. Hence the title of the book.

In any case, even if nature did work the way you falsely believe it does, an argument from nature is not valid.

You've utterly failed to judge my understanding of biology. I never claimed that all animals are selfish. I claimed that greater collective good is, in one case, not reached by one other species because that species lacks that capacity for rational collective action.

And I made no appeal to nature. As far as I am aware, an appeal to nature takes the form of "X is found in nature, so it's good". My argument was, "In nature, Buffalo fail to take a clearly beneficial course of collective action because they lack the ability to prevent splintering and promote unified action. That's silly. We should avoid doing that." Using a natural phenomenon as an example of what not to do is in no way an appeal to nature.

One other area where I seem to disagree with many libertarians, is in that I believe that all forms of pollution are absolutely and clearly forms of aggression against property, and thus should be illegal. Unless you own the bodies of water you're dumping chemicals into, and the bodies of water those bodies of water feed into (and so on), you do not have the right to put harmful chemicals in that water. This works on the same principles as vandalism, and similar rules would be used to distinguish peeing in the ocean from dumping toxic waste, as are used to distinguish leaving a greasy handprint from spray-painting on a window.


Most libertarians believe that. Basically all land in western countries is owned (or protected by the government) and pollution still goes on regardless. So this is yet another shoddy idea in practice.

Umm... do you think that Libertarians who hold my view on this topic are currently in charge of the world? Because, well... if so, you're wrong. If all acts of pollution were criminal... well, there are a whole lot of issues that would cause if not implemented with the truly extreme caution I advocate (if it was just forced into law tomorrow, it'd either be ignored, or crash the economy), but being ineffectual really isn't one of them.

Otherwise, I believe that the Libertarian system would be the best for humanity from a utilitarian perspective. I believe that we would be better off if we ended our prohibition on drugs, took government entirely out of marriage, allowed for freer contract negotiations, ended the state-funding of special-interest programs, never participated in an aggressive war, et cetera. I support the goal of eliminating vast portions of the government to enhance negative liberty, though I would insist that this process is done carefully.


The distinction of 'negative liberty' is highly dubious and not really recognised outside libertarian circles. What it amounts to, when you ask enough questions is a belief in freedoms you value and a dismissal of ones you don't. You want to smoke weed, and have gay friends - but neither you nor anyone near you has trouble paying for their medical care. Essentially, your politics is not based on a higher principle so much as a rationalisation of brutal selfishness.


Umm... no. I abstain from all mind-altering substances, would advise everyone to do the same, come from a middle-income single-parent household, have personally seen the devastating effects hardcore drug use can have on others, and while it's difficult to image for sure what the healthcare system would be like if it were untangled from government, I can imagine that in a Libertarian society, if I fell ill with a disease that is particularly expensive to treat, I would be unable to independently fund my treatment. The only bit that you got right is that I have some gay friends, and some friends whose sexual behavior otherwise deviates from the norm, and derive pleasure from the freedoms they have, and am saddened at the freedoms they lack. I recognize that negative liberties are an artificial construction, as is the very concept of property. As I said, in other times and other places, I might support a very different ideology, and even now, I do not entirely support every last aspect of Libertarianism, and insist that there are times when government is justified in coercing the citizenry to action for the public good. Even though I do not believe I would be the greatest beneficiary of the adoption of a more Libertarian system, I do believe that I would benefit from it simply because I believe a more Libertarian system would be a great system which would provide a great deal many benefits.

EdgePenguin wrote:I found the video clip that to me sums up the problem with libertarian views on healthcare. Pertinent bit starts at 1:40

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-j ... -a-success


Most of my hasty googling just found stuff like that, and the only thing I could find to corroborate my understanding of things isn't exactly a dignified source, but as I understand it the Ronpaul has personally provided free medical care to many people without government coercion, and even in that clip you provided you can catch a glimpse of his real point: people often make a false equivalency between a good healthcare system, and government intervention in the healthcare system, ignoring the fact that the private sector is also capable of intervening to do stuff like save a child's life.

Though I believe the welfare of children qualifies as a public good, and is one place where the government should intervene. Kids are neither responsible for themselves, nor a simple product of their parents. I mean, kids can't sign contracts, they're just not a part of the normal system.

http://www.cafemom.com/group/115890/forums/read/15866127/Ron_Paul_And_Charity

EdgePenguin 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.


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.

I think it's plainly ridiculous to hold you accountable for your birth (which you had no say in) and you're upbringing (which occurred when you're not allowed to agree to contracts), and I'm fairly certain most modern states agree with me. I have no legal debts to either my mother, or my motherland, and if another country would take me, I could leave America right now without "paying them back."

The social contract is about the stuff you receive as an adult. You benefit from the roads? You have to pay for it. Et cetera.

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.


Well that's just not true, and I think it's a bit ironic that you're taking a stance based on the concept of universal human rights, as though they existed as a real independent thing (and not just a policy a few governments pay lip-service to), while bashing him for believing in a different set of independent human rights.
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.


That's only fallacious when the "Scotsman" is actually a Scotsman. There's a real, meaningful difference between a free market in healthcare and what the US has. It's a simple and obvious fact that, in the US, government is involved in the healthcare market and forces some exchanges while prohibiting others, and sets the conditions for yet more. That is, by definition, not a true free market.

LaserGuy wrote:
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.


Which is why I'm a huge fan of anti-trust law, and not an anarchist. New governments are the inevitable consequence of anarchy. If the current government literally did nothing but maintain a small police force and defensive army, I'm sure a new unprincipled de facto government would emerge within a generation.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:42 pm UTC

MinotaurWarrior wrote:That desire is also, by and large, a strawman. Nobody wants sick people to suffer. What you (presumably) want is for the government to be involved in the alleviation of the suffering of the ill. What I want is for the alleviation of the suffering of the ill to not be considered a public good, and instead be recognized as a private good, and pursued in that manner. If you're sick and suffering, the alleviation of your illness-induced suffering (like all your suffering) should be alleviated by those with whom you are associated and who have an interest in your well-being.


In other words, only sick, poor people should have to suffer :roll: Although, realistically, libertarianism really has no good answers to any question relating to poverty other than "make more money" and a lot of policies libertarians advocate (eg. all private healthcare and education) actively stack the deck against poor communities--moreso than it already is.

Most of my hasty googling just found stuff like that, and the only thing I could find to corroborate my understanding of things isn't exactly a dignified source, but as I understand it the Ronpaul has personally provided free medical care to many people without government coercion, and even in that clip you provided you can catch a glimpse of his real point: people often make a false equivalency between a good healthcare system, and government intervention in the healthcare system, ignoring the fact that the private sector is also capable of intervening to do stuff like save a child's life.


...As long as you have the money to pay for it. While I applaud the likes of the Ronpaul for his charitable giving, let's just say that unless you believe that the government is somehow actively inhibiting a huge number of doctors from engaging in similar work, my inclination is to say that such cases are few and far between, and a great many people will simply have to go without healthcare entirely. I'd welcome evidence to the contrary if you have it.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Griffin » Thu Jun 28, 2012 3:41 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:In other words, only sick, poor people should have to suffer :roll: Although, realistically, libertarianism really has no good answers to any question relating to poverty other than "make more money" and a lot of policies libertarians advocate (eg. all private healthcare and education) actively stack the deck against poor communities--moreso than it already is.

And yet the negative income tax is a common libertarian policy. Strange, that.

Could it be that libertarians simply support free market solutions to the problems of health care, rather than holding some sort of enmity towards the poor and ill? As MW and many other libertarians I've met have said, they'd actually prefer single payer healthcare rather than the current system simply because its no less a free market than what we have now (while being more efficient), which is admittedly pretty messed up and says nothing good about our current system.

The constant strawmanning of liberal beliefs is as silly as stating that socialists lack the ability to understand that everything costs money and nothing is free, and that we can't provide everything for everybody. (Something they obviously do not advocate)

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This is no longer true in many places in the United States. Recent laws and rulings have made it quite clear that you have both active and financial obligations to your biological parents, and that, in face, you are legally required to pay for any and all debts they incur in old age, with a few exceptions (like having been adopted by another family early in life).
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:23 pm UTC

Griffin wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:In other words, only sick, poor people should have to suffer :roll: Although, realistically, libertarianism really has no good answers to any question relating to poverty other than "make more money" and a lot of policies libertarians advocate (eg. all private healthcare and education) actively stack the deck against poor communities--moreso than it already is.


And yet the negative income tax is a common libertarian policy. Strange, that.

Could it be that libertarians simply support free market solutions to the problems of health care, rather than holding some sort of enmity towards the poor and ill? As MW and many other libertarians I've met have said, they'd actually prefer single payer healthcare rather than the current system simply because its no less a free market than what we have now (while being more efficient), which is admittedly pretty messed up and says nothing good about our current system.


I don't think libertarians have an enmity toward the poor and ill. I just think that they don't consider them at all in their calculations.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby iamspen » Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:32 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:I don't think libertarians have an enmity toward the poor and ill. I just think that they don't consider them at all in their calculations.


Or they at least don't consider that a free health care market wouldn't be able to figure out how to provide them coverage any more than a free automobile market has figured out how to provide everyone with a brand new car. The libertarian argument is, in this one specific case, essentially that if you're poor, you don't deserve health care any more than you deserve to be able to purchase an automobile, but the libertarians I know typically brush away this argument without really trying to understand why people are poor, or why they can't afford health care. And it usually boils down to, "Well, they're just not working hard enough." But, in an ironic twist, that argument fails to grasp the finer points of what, "free market," actually means.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby MinotaurWarrior » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:47 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
MinotaurWarrior wrote:That desire is also, by and large, a strawman. Nobody wants sick people to suffer. What you (presumably) want is for the government to be involved in the alleviation of the suffering of the ill. What I want is for the alleviation of the suffering of the ill to not be considered a public good, and instead be recognized as a private good, and pursued in that manner. If you're sick and suffering, the alleviation of your illness-induced suffering (like all your suffering) should be alleviated by those with whom you are associated and who have an interest in your well-being.


In other words, only sick, poor people should have to suffer :roll: Although, realistically, libertarianism really has no good answers to any question relating to poverty other than "make more money" and a lot of policies libertarians advocate (eg. all private healthcare and education) actively stack the deck against poor communities--moreso than it already is.

No. Essentially, what I believe is that it's possible to disentangle government from healthcare in a way that would benefit the poor. A whole lot of government intervention is done to prop up and support the interests of drug companies and other such powerful healthcare organizations against the interests of the poor. I believe that there are free-market solutions that would allow poor persons similar or better access to healthcare than they have now. If you want to get into it on that issue, I'd be willing to enter that debate, but I feel that there's a chance that could be viewed as a large de-railing of the thread.

Also, literally the only solutions to poverty are an increase in income relative to the costs of goods and services, which could be summed up as "make more money". Your solution (I assume) is to have government action provide those increase. I believe that free market solutions, including unionization (something I do support as an option), community welfare (private citizens voluntarily looking out for each other, a powerful force), non-profit organizations ("charities" and otherwise), and the general tendency of free markets to generate wealth. Certainly, you think that freeing up the healthcare markets would further stack the deck against the poor. I think that there are free market solutions. This by the way, does not mean I think we should just blindly shut down social welfare programs without first making sure that there are free-market solutions ready to take up the slack. That would bring disaster. My view on these things is somewhat influenced by Gene Sharp's ideas on nonviolent revolutions. You can't destroy the pillars that hold up the current regime - you need to carefully transfer those pillars to your side. The well-being of the people is a hugely important pillar of every society. I think it should, and can be, carefully handed over to the private sector, and that this transfer would actually benefit people.

Most of my hasty googling just found stuff like that, and the only thing I could find to corroborate my understanding of things isn't exactly a dignified source, but as I understand it the Ronpaul has personally provided free medical care to many people without government coercion, and even in that clip you provided you can catch a glimpse of his real point: people often make a false equivalency between a good healthcare system, and government intervention in the healthcare system, ignoring the fact that the private sector is also capable of intervening to do stuff like save a child's life.


...As long as you have the money to pay for it. While I applaud the likes of the Ronpaul for his charitable giving, let's just say that unless you believe that the government is somehow actively inhibiting a huge number of doctors from engaging in similar work, my inclination is to say that such cases are few and far between, and a great many people will simply have to go without healthcare entirely. I'd welcome evidence to the contrary if you have it.


Well, first off, there is the simple principle of the crowding-out effect. I can't provide any figures for it (it's always a difficult thing to show), but I'm sure that some doctors who treat the poor and are compensated by the government would, in some cases, have provided those same services free of charge. I'm sure it's not a huge phenomenon (certainly, we know for a fact that programs like medicare have increased the number of poor who receive healthcare services), but it probably does happen. At the very least, I know that I have relatives in medical professions who claim this is the case for them. The government doesn't need to be actively preventing charity to reduce it.

But really, I have two much more important points. First, I don't just advocate a change in government, I also advocate a change in the private sector. There's a lot of more nuanced points to what I think, but basically, I believe that American workers are getting personal control of less than free market rate for their labor and (in the case of small business owners & the self-employed) products. On the other hand, I think that corporations and the very rich are getting more than free market rate for their services. Right now, to drastically over simplify things, when the government taxes the richer legal persons and provides services to the poorer people, it is essentially forcing a deal between the rich and the poor (rich folk give tax dollars, extremely poor get welfare, middle class and below get public schools, et cetera). Lets just say the more wealthy are providing X, and the less wealthy are receiving Y, before they come to the markets. The wealthy are willing to provide X+A(stuff currently provided in market interactions), while the less wealthy demand Y+B(stuff currently received in market interactions), at the current market-determined rate. The wealthy control only their giving of A, and the less wealthy get to control only their income of B, right?

Well, I don't think the government is what's responsible for the less wealthy demanding Y+B. I think that they are the ones currently responsible for part of that collective negotiation, but I don't think they're the only ones capable of it. If the markets were carefully freed up, and the role of collective negotiating body was passed over to, say, unions formed by free associations between citizens with common private interests, Y+B would still be demanded (it's not like senators invented peoples' demand to not watch their children starve), and X+A could still be provided, but only those parties that are actually directly invested in the dealing would control it, which, I believe, would introduce greater efficiency. If we just carelessly got rid of the government's current role in things, without making sure there was a free-market solution ready to take its place, I fully recognize that we'd be screwed, but I believe it's possible to transfer these things to free-market agencies.

Then, once only those involved control the transaction, there's another thing to consider. In my view, healthcare (in the case of non-infectious, non murderous rage inducing illnesses), is a private good like any other, and the government really has no say in the way it's managed. I watched my grandfather die when I was younger, and I remember while I was sitting there hearing my mother and uncles discuss all the expensive care he received, largely because of that "Y" I talked about earlier (I don't know what programs in particular he benefited from). That expensive treatment only extended his life slightly, and probably greatly reduced his quality of life. If, instead of having the government pay for his medical care, he had simply received more money, he would have been able to use that money to much greater effect, by purchasing things he actually wanted. Under the current system, elected and appointed officials decide for other people what is in their best interest, based purely on generalizations and best guesses. They use the very best generalizations they can, but generalizations are all they can use. The beneficiaries of these programs then live in a distorted world, where certain things are much cheaper than they would otherwise be (medical care is the prime example), and other things they might prefer to medical care are more expensive relative to their wealth than they would be if they had control of their share of the resources being spent on their behalf. This decreases total utility.

Now, I think it's important to stress that I really don't think this is the most important area where Libertarian ideas need to be implemented, and government be disentangled from private goods. The margins here would probably be pretty low. Government does respectably well at keeping our streets free of the corpses of starved infants & whatnot. I think there're better ways to provide welfare to people, but I'm much more annoyed with how the government handles other issues. Government welfare is, at its worst, somewhat inefficient. Some of the things government does are outright evil. My priorities would probably be something like: environmental issues, war, general disentanglement of government and big business (getting rid of oil subsidies, tax loopholes, et cetera), free trade, immigration / emigration (make it easier), regulatory agency reform (generally favoring consumer warnings & education over bans), expanding free association & ability to make contracts (make more sorts of agreements legal), transferring welfare programs to the private sector, drugs, marriage (abolish it as a legal institution. Marry whomever you want), and other miscellany (loosening up on professional licensing, disentangling from holidays, et cetera)
Griffin wrote:
MinotaurWarrior wrote:I have no legal debts to either my mother

This is no longer true in many places in the United States. Recent laws and rulings have made it quite clear that you have both active and financial obligations to your biological parents, and that, in face, you are legally required to pay for any and all debts they incur in old age, with a few exceptions (like having been adopted by another family early in life).

Okay, you're right. I guess I just forgot about that since my parents are not yet at that life stage. Still, I wonder how much of that is because of some concept of actual indebtedness, and how much is caused by the continuing legacy of clannishness. I mean, it's not like I ever have to pay my parents back in proportion to the amount it cost them to raise me. If I was a hugely expensive child (always sick, frequently ran away from home to vomit on expensive handwoven carpets), and my parents were wealthy, I'd still receive tax-free money when they died. On the other hand, If I was a child star who made huge sums of money for my parents from age two-weeks on (diaper commercials), I could still end up inheriting only debt from them.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby EdgePenguin » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:25 am UTC

Bringing this back to the core point:

Any market solution (I dislike the term 'free market' because countries like China demonstrate that it is perfectly possible to embrace markets and reject freedom) to healthcare always has the possibility of leaving someone too poor to pay for the treatment of a condition that is not their fault.

The core problem is scarcity of supply; at any one time there is more need for medical resources than there are medical resources. With aging populations and advances in medical technology allowing more treatments, this is unlikely to change soon. So you need some mechanism to allocate medical resources i.e. rationing.

Rationing healthcare is something the tea party crazies cite as a downside to an NHS-like system - but the fact is of course that all healthcare systems ration - ones more based on markets simply do so on the basis of wealth. The majority of the world feels that a more deliberate rationing is better; waiting lists are the inevitable product of this, but can be (and are) re-ordered based on urgency. When I attended an NHS hospital with a broken finger, I was told there was a 2 hour wait to be seen - no problem. Then an air ambulance started bringing in victims from a serious car accident, and I was told the wait was 5 hours. I can easily accept this - it shouldn't matter who has the most money; They went through a windscreen, I have an owie on my pinky, so this was entirely rational.

It seems to be a mythology amongst those on the right that markets somehow, magically, make the problem of rationing go away. Consider the fall of the USSR; before Gorbachev, there were shortages and queuing - but eventually, you could get most of the stuff you needed. In the immediate aftermath, during shock therapy, the shops were full - but nobody could afford to buy anything in them. The introduction of a market overnight (in what is arguably the most ideologically correct libertarian economic project ever) did not solve the underlying problem of the imbalance between the amount of stuff in Russia and the number of people in Russia who needed stuff. You CAN argue that had a market been introduced gradually (e.g. China) that it would have time to build up enough output to avoid such harsh conditions as during shock therapy, but that essentially concedes the point - markets are not an immediate solution to the problem of scarcity. Development is - and markets can in some instances lead to development - but that is another thread and is complicated by physical limits (ask me if you are interested)

I think a fondness for markets amongst libertarians is not for their ability to solve the general problem; it is for their ability to solve the specific problem that a well off person has i.e. that they have to share with poor folk. It looks very much like a cynical scheme to increase your share of a resources by denying others access to it, and to reduce queues by kicking poor people out of them entirely.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby MinotaurWarrior » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:23 am UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:Bringing this back to the core point:

Any market solution (I dislike the term 'free market' because countries like China demonstrate that it is perfectly possible to embrace markets and reject freedom) to healthcare always has the possibility of leaving someone too poor to pay for the treatment of a condition that is not their fault.


The attitude implied by this statement is something that generally annoys me about the medicalization of our culture. Anything that's wrong with you is, by definition, your fault. It's a "defect or imperfection". If you are suffering because of something medically wrong with you, your suffering is due to a fault of yours. Now, you are not to blame for your suffering, but that's beside the point. Similarly, it is my fault that I'm not as smart as Einstein, even though that's nothing I can really be blamed for. Any system that rations goods by any measure other than need admits that, at least for certain blameless faults, the faulted should be given less than the unfaulted. In my opinion, If I am less intelligent than Steve, all else being equal, I should get less than Steve, and If I have more illnesses than Joseph, I should, all else being equal, have less money after taking care of my health than does Joseph.

At first blush, that sounds really nasty, but here's my reasoning: that "all else being equal" in the second scenario means that Joseph and I are equally productive, and both of us produce the same amount of good in the world. For both of us to have the same amount of money after taking care of our well-being, Joseph would have to be receiving less reward for his work than I am. That's just not fair. Equal product deserves equal reward.

Now, regardless of that fact, most who can accept that unfairness when they pool their risk by obtaining an insurance plan, or a national health service, but as far as I'm concerned this only makes sense because of the unknown factor in health. You don't know when, how, or even if (instant death doesn't count), you'll get sick, so you can't properly plan for it, so you pool the risk. If you knew, it would make very little sense to pool the risk.

The core problem is scarcity of supply; at any one time there is more need for medical resources than there are medical resources. With aging populations and advances in medical technology allowing more treatments, this is unlikely to change soon. So you need some mechanism to allocate medical resources i.e. rationing.

Rationing healthcare is something the tea party crazies cite as a downside to an NHS-like system - but the fact is of course that all healthcare systems ration - ones more based on markets simply do so on the basis of wealth. The majority of the world feels that a more deliberate rationing is better; waiting lists are the inevitable product of this, but can be (and are) re-ordered based on urgency. When I attended an NHS hospital with a broken finger, I was told there was a 2 hour wait to be seen - no problem. Then an air ambulance started bringing in victims from a serious car accident, and I was told the wait was 5 hours. I can easily accept this - it shouldn't matter who has the most money; They went through a windscreen, I have an owie on my pinky, so this was entirely rational.

It seems to be a mythology amongst those on the right that markets somehow, magically, make the problem of rationing go away. Consider the fall of the USSR; before Gorbachev, there were shortages and queuing - but eventually, you could get most of the stuff you needed. In the immediate aftermath, during shock therapy, the shops were full - but nobody could afford to buy anything in them. The introduction of a market overnight (in what is arguably the most ideologically correct libertarian economic project ever) did not solve the underlying problem of the imbalance between the amount of stuff in Russia and the number of people in Russia who needed stuff. You CAN argue that had a market been introduced gradually (e.g. China) that it would have time to build up enough output to avoid such harsh conditions as during shock therapy, but that essentially concedes the point - markets are not an immediate solution to the problem of scarcity. Development is - and markets can in some instances lead to development - but that is another thread and is complicated by physical limits (ask me if you are interested)


I've never met a sane Libertarian who was familiar with the basics of economic jargon and thought that. Money and market transactions are defined as a rationing device. There are also some really strong arguments for why they might be considered the best rationing device. I'm guessing you're familiar with them, since I'm fairly certain you agree that at least some goods are best rationed with markets and currency. The point where we diverge isn't over rationing devices, it's over the nature of certain goods. Certainly, anything which all persons are entitled to have a certain amount of is not best handled by market exchanges. Nobody would disagree with that. The disagreement comes over whether or not people should be considered entitled to certain goods. You'd claim that there's something special about healthcare that makes it a right, not a privilege. For many sorts of healthcare, I'd disagree. I think that a medical procedure that provides you with X utility should be treated the same as any other good that provides you with the same amount of utility, assuming that they also generate an equal amount of disutility.

I think a fondness for markets amongst libertarians is not for their ability to solve the general problem; it is for their ability to solve the specific problem that a well off person has i.e. that they have to share with poor folk. It looks very much like a cynical scheme to increase your share of a resources by denying others access to it, and to reduce queues by kicking poor people out of them entirely.


While that's certainly true of some "Libertarians" (I don't deny that a lot of persons are behind these ideas for bad reasons), that's plainly not always the case. Less wealthy Libertarians exist. The rich probably outnumber the poor, but that doesn't mean poorer libertarians don't exist.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby yurell » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:38 am UTC

I don't see how being less intelligent than Einstein is 'your fault'.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby MinotaurWarrior » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:47 am UTC

yurell wrote:I don't see how being less intelligent than Einstein is 'your fault'.

The first definition of fault on dictionary.com is: "a defect or imperfection." Being less intelligent than Einstein is an imperfection of mine.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ghostbear » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:57 am UTC

MinotaurWarrior wrote:The first definition of fault on dictionary.com is: "a defect or imperfection." Being less intelligent than Einstein is an imperfection of mine.

Wrong definition of fault -- like many words, it has many definitions that are specific to certain uses. The definition we are concerned with here is the 2nd definition:
fault: [mass noun] responsibility for an accident or misfortune

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby folkhero » Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:05 am UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:Rationing healthcare is something the tea party crazies cite as a downside to an NHS-like system - but the fact is of course that all healthcare systems ration - ones more based on markets simply do so on the basis of wealth. The majority of the world feels that a more deliberate rationing is better; waiting lists are the inevitable product of this, but can be (and are) re-ordered based on urgency. When I attended an NHS hospital with a broken finger, I was told there was a 2 hour wait to be seen - no problem. Then an air ambulance started bringing in victims from a serious car accident, and I was told the wait was 5 hours. I can easily accept this - it shouldn't matter who has the most money; They went through a windscreen, I have an owie on my pinky, so this was entirely rational.

Triage in emergency rooms isn't something that libertarians are all railing against. It makes for an interesting straw man though.

And the argument that libertarians want the poor to go without treatment is quite disingenuous. Do you think that it's the role of the U.S. or U.K. governments to provide medical care to those in Sudan who can't afford to pay for it themselves. If not, then by your own logic, don't you want to abandon sick people to their fate? As an Arizonan, should I feel compelled to support the medial care of someone in Baltimore more than someone in Omdurman?
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby RoberII » Fri Jun 29, 2012 10:47 am UTC

No, libertarians are only objecting to the same principle applied once patients are out of the emergency room - and this is not a strawman at all, BTW - I cannot link as i am on my cell, but i read a libertarian column arguing that, yeah, we should get used to the idea that poor people will die from sickness and starvation. (It was linked on the slacktivist blog on the patheos site, if anyone wants to read it)

And you do realize that your argument for non-obligation can be applied also to the next town over, or your neighbour, or your daughter, right smack dab into full-fledged sociopathy?
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby yurell » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:07 am UTC

MinotaurWarrior wrote:
yurell wrote:I don't see how being less intelligent than Einstein is 'your fault'.

The first definition of fault on dictionary.com is: "a defect or imperfection." Being less intelligent than Einstein is an imperfection of mine.


Then it reads as though you are conflating the definitions 'responsibility' and 'imperfection'.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby jules.LT » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:45 am UTC

folkhero wrote:And the argument that libertarians want the poor to go without treatment is quite disingenuous. Do you think that it's the role of the U.S. or U.K. governments to provide medical care to those in Sudan who can't afford to pay for it themselves. If not, then by your own logic, don't you want to abandon sick people to their fate? As an Arizonan, should I feel compelled to support the medial care of someone in Baltimore more than someone in Omdurman?

It is most definitely our responsibility, as people with more (economic) power, to care for those who don't have as much.
That responsibility is stronger when it comes to people closer to us, because of how the human psyche works.
You can disagree on the degree of this responsibility, but to disagree with the principle would be properly inhuman.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby EdgePenguin » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:48 am UTC

folkhero wrote:
EdgePenguin wrote:Rationing healthcare is something the tea party crazies cite as a downside to an NHS-like system - but the fact is of course that all healthcare systems ration - ones more based on markets simply do so on the basis of wealth. The majority of the world feels that a more deliberate rationing is better; waiting lists are the inevitable product of this, but can be (and are) re-ordered based on urgency. When I attended an NHS hospital with a broken finger, I was told there was a 2 hour wait to be seen - no problem. Then an air ambulance started bringing in victims from a serious car accident, and I was told the wait was 5 hours. I can easily accept this - it shouldn't matter who has the most money; They went through a windscreen, I have an owie on my pinky, so this was entirely rational.

Triage in emergency rooms isn't something that libertarians are all railing against. It makes for an interesting straw man though.


Guess you missed the Ronpaul (a moderate, libertarian-ish sort) quibbling over whether or not children get emergency treatment? Most libertarians think, as far as I can see, that there should be no government provision for healthcare. That means no government provision for casualty departments. There is therefore no difference between emergency and non-emergency care for the ideologically committed libertarian.

In any case, everything is ultimately triage. We are permanently dying apes trapped on a rock with dwindling resources and accelerating demands.

And the argument that libertarians want the poor to go without treatment is quite disingenuous. Do you think that it's the role of the U.S. or U.K. governments to provide medical care to those in Sudan who can't afford to pay for it themselves. If not, then by your own logic, don't you want to abandon sick people to their fate? As an Arizonan, should I feel compelled to support the medial care of someone in Baltimore more than someone in Omdurman?


I personally feel that, yes, we should take responsibility for our fellow man in Sudan. The organizational structures required to put this principle into practice on a large enough scale to make a real difference (as opposed to my fairly feeble, in the grand scheme of things, charitable donations) are politically difficult.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:51 pm UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:I personally feel that, yes, we should take responsibility for our fellow man in Sudan. The organizational structures required to put this principle into practice on a large enough scale to make a real difference (as opposed to my fairly feeble, in the grand scheme of things, charitable donations) are politically difficult.


Why do you think that a man in Sudan who I have no ties to whatsoever has a claim on my lifesblood? Why should any individual have imposed on them an obligation to increase someone elses utility at the expense of their own? A national healthcare system at least can make the claim that it increases the utility of those paying into it through better health across the population - that claim has disappeared here.

Its really great that you give to charity - most anyone would applaud you for that. Theres a big difference between that and implying that the whole world should be yoked to the plough for the benefit of people they have no connection to.

Liberty-oriented individuals don't object to the disadvantaged receiving care. They object to individuals being enslaved to provide it.
"Progress" - Technological advances masking societal decay.


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