A small, specific question about libertarianism

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nitePhyyre
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby nitePhyyre » Fri Jun 29, 2012 3:34 pm UTC

MinotaurWarrior wrote: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.
You are associated with everyone in your country; you all share a nation. All of the nation has an interest in your well-being. Healthy members of society have much higher outputs than the sick (or dead). It literally is good for the public at large. How would it not be a public good? By what logic is it a private good?

MinotaurWarrior wrote:...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.
The thing is though, the US has basically the highest child mortality rate of any western nation. Sure the private sector is capable of intervening. It doesn't.

MinotaurWarrior wrote: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.
I'm no mod, but at this point we are galaxies away from being on-topic. I'd actually be interested in how you would come up with a free market solution to healthcare. Something that would produce results as good as let's say the NHS, or France, or Japan.

Especially considering that a large part of free market philosophy is comparison shopping to get the best quality/price. Good luck doing that when you are being airlifted to the nearest hospital, and you would die by the time it takes you to get the the second closest, cheaper, hospital.

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.
We already have this exact system. The union's name is 'Government'.

MinotaurWarrior wrote:
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.
I always thought that you had to claim the estate to be saddled with the debt. This is changing? That is ridiculous. Linky?
sourmìlk wrote:Monopolies are not when a single company controls the market for a single product.

You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard you become great in the process.

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LaserGuy
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:30 pm UTC

MinotaurWarrior 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.


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.


Just want to point out, this is a symptom, to a significant extent, of the shitty American system of healthcare, and not a problem with government-run healthcare as a whole. Not all countries have their governments corporatized to the same extent as the US does.

MinotaurWarrior wrote:including unionization (something I do support as an option)


I'm not sure how exactly you think unionization can possibly help here. The employer can simply make it that the terms of your employment are that you can't join a union. It's currently illegal at the moment, sure, but that's a clear example of government interference in the free market, preventing people from signing whatever kinds of contracts that they want...

MinotaurWarrior wrote:non-profit organizations ("charities" and otherwise)


It's not at all obvious to me that NGOs are going to be significantly better at alleviating poverty than government. NGOs are uncoordinated, meaning that there may be duplicate charities covering the same service, while others might not get covered at all. There is no guarantee that this service will be filled, because the market in charities is on the donor side, not on the receiver side. Moreover, the distribution of funds going into NGOs is neither stable nor proportional to the magnitude of the problem that they're trying to solve, but rather to the effectiveness of the charity's fundraising campaign. A charity trying to promote literacy among poor inner-city children may be significantly underfunded compared to the "Save the cuddly baby seal" charity. An efficient centrally planned system avoids many of these sorts of problems.

MinotaurWarrior wrote: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.


Again, how do you deal with the distribution problem? If a community in Detroit needs more doctors and can't afford them, but the doctors who are willing to donate their time live in Los Angeles, how do you match the need with the volunteer? At least in a government-run system, the government can assess, on a national level, where the needs are, and can provide incentives for people to meet those needs, even in those communities that don't have the wealth to be able to meet those needs with their own resources.

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.


I'm not saying the system is perfect, but I could just as easily flip this type of example around, looking at the situation where you have, say, a drug-addict parent with an ill, dependent child, who, upon receiving the extra money from the government, rather than spending it on care for the child, funnels it back into their drug addiction. I suppose this might increase utility for the parent, but certainly not for the child.

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)


I wouldn't consider myself a libertarian by any stretch of the imagination, but I agree with most of those things. The problem is that the brand of libertarianism that you seem to advocate is very different from those of many other libertarians you're likely to run across. The the Ronpaul's of the world, for example, tend to argue for abolishing income taxes, gutting environmental protections, restricting immigration, supporting oil and gas subsidies (he has voted against elimination of various tax credits for oil and gas, for example), elimination of government healthcare plans and social security, etc.

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MinotaurWarrior
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby MinotaurWarrior » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:05 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
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

Yes, it can be a synonym for blame, but I made it clear which definition I was using by talking about both blame and fault. My lack of super-genius is, as I said, my fault but not something I can be blamed for.

jules.LT wrote:
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.


I'd disagree that disagreeing with the principle makes you inhuman, but that's besides the point. You can be Libertarian and still thing that the rich should give to the poor. All that even the most extreme form of Libertarianism says is that the government should never forcefully take from the rich to give to the poor. That still allows for rich people to give to the poor.

nitePhyyre wrote:You are associated with everyone in your country; you all share a nation. All of the nation has an interest in your well-being. Healthy members of society have much higher outputs than the sick (or dead). It literally is good for the public at large. How would it not be a public good? By what logic is it a private good?


First, take the case of the elderly and irrevocably disabled. Under the current system, it's actually in my best interest to have every single elderly or disabled person I don't personally care about die, all else being equal. They provide nothing for me, and my tax dollars are spent on them. Now, I really hope I don't need to explain my reasons for being against the killing of the old and disabled, but my opposition to their deaths certainly doesn't come from an interest in their well-being.

Similarly, If I were a purely derivative street performer in LA, who never created any innovative contribution to the performing arts, and never would, my well-being would only effect the life of a citizen of North Dakota marginally more than the flapping of a butterfly's wings. The same might be said for the relationship between a videogame designer's health, and the well-being of a non-gamer. Not everyone's well-being is a good for everyone, and that's why I think health isn't a public good.

On the other hand, I do believe that my health is a private good for more persons than myself. You're right that most people benefit greatly from the continuing welfare of others. I just think that, ideally, it'd only be those who actually wanted me to be healthy who payed for my health.

MinotaurWarrior wrote:...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.
The thing is though, the US has basically the highest child mortality rate of any western nation. Sure the private sector is capable of intervening. It doesn't.

With a lot of those statistics though, I wonder how much of it is our messed-up system, and how much of it is because of other differences. For example, the average population density of the US is 34.01 people /km^2, compared to Europe, with 69.85 people /km^2 (wikipedia). I recently took a road trip from Eastern Pennsylvania to Illinois, and one of the freakiest things you'll see on the way through America are signs indicating how far away the nearest hospital is.

Still, I won't deny that the Private sector does less than it can, but that doesn't mean it has to stay that way. Like I said before, I think that if you want to create a functioning Libertarian state, you need to change both the public and private sectors.

MinotaurWarrior wrote: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.
I'm no mod, but at this point we are galaxies away from being on-topic. I'd actually be interested in how you would come up with a free market solution to healthcare. Something that would produce results as good as let's say the NHS, or France, or Japan.

1st, I think that if we cut back on corporatism (which is different from capitalism), and made our government less involved in the medical business, there would be global improvements in health, as the price of medical stuff such as drugs would drop, because the government frequently intervenes on the side of the "big guys".

But the second part basically comes down to the human capacity to not pointlessly act like D-bags, even when uncoerced. On the involved-party-payer side, you have (as I said earlier) a lot of people who are interested in your continuing health and would want to invest in it. On the third party payer side, other nations (Switzerland is one, iirc) have shown that non-profit insurance companies are, in many ways, better at being an insurance company than are for-profit insurance companies. Things that are better can survive in a free market. Then you've got stuff like charity. Basically, the way I'd like to see things handled would be that freely associated communities of those mutually interested in one another's health would pool together and create large medical savings funds, and maybe hire some people to manage that fund if it was large enough (they'd do the stuff insurance company employees do), forming something like a non-nationalized, non-monopolized version of the (iirc) Swiss system.

Especially considering that a large part of free market philosophy is comparison shopping to get the best quality/price. Good luck doing that when you are being airlifted to the nearest hospital, and you would die by the time it takes you to get the the second closest, cheaper, hospital.

Well, that's just a case of location being the most valuable quality. I'd also like to by obsidian from a volcanic region, where it's cheaper, but if I want some obsidian goods for some reason, I'm just going to have to admit that it's not worth flying to Hawaii to pick up a novelty item. But you're right that the monopoly power of some hospitals can be a real issue. I'm not sure how I'd want that handled.

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.
We already have this exact system. The union's name is 'Government'.

The key difference would be that there would be unions, plural, and they'd only be formed by the actually involved parties.

LaserGuy wrote:
MinotaurWarrior wrote:including unionization (something I do support as an option)


I'm not sure how exactly you think unionization can possibly help here. The employer can simply make it that the terms of your employment are that you can't join a union. It's currently illegal at the moment, sure, but that's a clear example of government interference in the free market, preventing people from signing whatever kinds of contracts that they want...

Basically, I think that certain rights should be unalienable by any sort of organized body, not just what we call "government". Free speech and free association are two of those rights, except in certain corner cases (If you're a spokesperson, you're employer can require that you say stuff. The Humane Society of America can require that members not be a part of The Inhumane Society of Americans against Kittens and Pupies. Slander and Treason are always illegal. Et Cetera).

MinotaurWarrior wrote:non-profit organizations ("charities" and otherwise)


It's not at all obvious to me that NGOs are going to be significantly better at alleviating poverty than government. NGOs are uncoordinated, meaning that there may be duplicate charities covering the same service, while others might not get covered at all. There is no guarantee that this service will be filled, because the market in charities is on the donor side, not on the receiver side. Moreover, the distribution of funds going into NGOs is neither stable nor proportional to the magnitude of the problem that they're trying to solve, but rather to the effectiveness of the charity's fundraising campaign. A charity trying to promote literacy among poor inner-city children may be significantly underfunded compared to the "Save the cuddly baby seal" charity. An efficient centrally planned system avoids many of these sorts of problems.


Generally speaking, charities suck, I'll agree with that. Charities sell feelings of goodness and virtue, not results. Still, they have their role to play in providing those feelings and some good things.

However, charities aren't the only possible form of NGO, especially if contract law got freed up a bit. Basically, poverty isn't just bad for the poor. It can host contagious disease, promote crime, and waste human lives. People have good, private reasons to want it gone. For example, consider the potential of an organization that offered free education to poor adults who scored sufficiently well on a test, in exchange for either working for either the program or its sponsors for X years, or owing Y percent of his or her income to the program or its sponsors for Z years. Or you could have a project to clean up a poorer area funded by business owners who wanted to improve their profits in the area / create new locations in the area, or any number of things like that. Some people have a vested interest in seeing poverty end, and that group isn't limited to the poor themselves.

As for childhood literacy, and other childhood stuff, as I said before, I think that children are a special case, and maintaining a certain level of well-being for them is the responsibility of the state by default. Children certainly aren't responsible for themselves, and we don't let people own other people, so I don't think parents can be 100% in charge of or responsible for their kids.

MinotaurWarrior wrote: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.


Again, how do you deal with the distribution problem? If a community in Detroit needs more doctors and can't afford them, but the doctors who are willing to donate their time live in Los Angeles, how do you match the need with the volunteer?

A free market in volunteerism.


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.


I'm not saying the system is perfect, but I could just as easily flip this type of example around, looking at the situation where you have, say, a drug-addict parent with an ill, dependent child, who, upon receiving the extra money from the government, rather than spending it on care for the child, funnels it back into their drug addiction. I suppose this might increase utility for the parent, but certainly not for the child.

Children are a special case. In a similar case, where, say, the mother buys drugs for herself instead of treating her own illness, I honestly have no problem with her choice.

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)


I wouldn't consider myself a libertarian by any stretch of the imagination, but I agree with most of those things. The problem is that the brand of libertarianism that you seem to advocate is very different from those of many other libertarians you're likely to run across. The the Ronpaul's of the world, for example, tend to argue for abolishing income taxes, gutting environmental protections, restricting immigration, supporting oil and gas subsidies (he has voted against elimination of various tax credits for oil and gas, for example), elimination of government healthcare plans and social security, etc.
[/quote]

Whenever almost anyone says "freedom", what they mean is "the freedom to do what I want, even if I need to take away the freedom of others to do it" I'm aware of this, but that doesn't make me any less a fan of the liberty ideal. Though I should note that the Ronpaul actually has a sort of weird view on immigration (basically, screw illegal immigrants, but immigration should be easier than it is now, iirc), and I do agree that eventually the government should step out of healthcare.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ghostbear » Fri Jun 29, 2012 8:32 pm UTC

MinotaurWarrior wrote:Yes, it can be a synonym for blame, but I made it clear which definition I was using by talking about both blame and fault. My lack of super-genius is, as I said, my fault but not something I can be blamed for.

The point is that you are using the incorrect definition of the word fault; the definition yurell was using when she spoke was not the one you assumed. Since yurell is the person who used it and who your use was in response to, and your response was about the prior usage of it, then the definition that you want to use is irrelevant; only the usage that was used beforehand is of importance in that case. By continuing to insist on it you are intentionally refusing to understand what was communicated.

I mean, you could have used the definition of fault that is "an extended break in a rock formation, marked by the relative displacement and discontinuity of strata on either side of a particular plane", but that would make you any less wrong than your current usage is -- it'd just be more obvious.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby nitePhyyre » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:42 pm UTC

MinotaurWarrior wrote:Yes, it can be a synonym for blame, but I made it clear which definition I was using by talking about both blame and fault. My lack of super-genius is, as I said, my fault but not something I can be blamed for.
My fault / your fault = blame
A fault that I posses = imperfection

Grammered wrong, you did.

MinotaurWarrior wrote:
nitePhyyre wrote:You are associated with everyone in your country; you all share a nation. All of the nation has an interest in your well-being. Healthy members of society have much higher outputs than the sick (or dead). It literally is good for the public at large. How would it not be a public good? By what logic is it a private good?
First, take the case of the elderly and irrevocably disabled. Under the current system, it's actually in my best interest to have every single elderly or disabled person I don't personally care about die, all else being equal. They provide nothing for me, and my tax dollars are spent on them. Now, I really hope I don't need to explain my reasons for being against the killing of the old and disabled, but my opposition to their deaths certainly doesn't come from an interest in their well-being.
I won't argue. Leaving the elderly to die n ice floats is definitely the best economic decision.

MinotaurWarrior wrote:Similarly, If I were a purely derivative street performer in LA, who never created any innovative contribution to the performing arts, and never would, my well-being would only effect the life of a citizen of North Dakota marginally more than the flapping of a butterfly's wings. The same might be said for the relationship between a videogame designer's health, and the well-being of a non-gamer. Not everyone's well-being is a good for everyone, and that's why I think health isn't a public good.
Sorry, but economics doesn't actually work that way. It is guaranteed that the street performer will buy something from somewhere outside of ND. If not, the local people they buy stuff from will. Same thing with the game designer. Except the game designer also sells millions of dollars worth of exports. So they improve the health of the entire national economy, whether you use their services or not. This is how modern integrated economies work. You can't simply stop at the first link in the chain. It seems to be something libertarian philosophy has problems integrating.

MinotaurWarrior wrote:On the other hand, I do believe that my health is a private good for more persons than myself. You're right that most people benefit greatly from the continuing welfare of others. I just think that, ideally, it'd only be those who actually wanted me to be healthy who payed for my health.
Ok, so before you said that healthcare costs should only be borne by people that have an interest in your health. Now that you freely admit that those interests actually do spread far and wide, you want to move the goal posts to 'wants' and desires. Ok, fine. Why?

MinotaurWarrior wrote:
The thing is though, the US has basically the highest child mortality rate of any western nation. Sure the private sector is capable of intervening. It doesn't.
With a lot of those statistics though, I wonder how much of it is our messed-up system, and how much of it is because of other differences. For example, the average population density of the US is 34.01 people /km^2, compared to Europe, with 69.85 people /km^2 (wikipedia). I recently took a road trip from Eastern Pennsylvania to Illinois, and one of the freakiest things you'll see on the way through America are signs indicating how far away the nearest hospital is.
Canada's is ~3 people/km^2. We're still many slots above you.

I've read enough of these health care threads that I can easily say, its the system. Everyone always goes on about how maybe, just maybe, there are some magical set of factors that make the US all special and unique. Yet they can never find any actual evidence that that is the case.

MinotaurWarrior wrote:Still, I won't deny that the Private sector does less than it can, but that doesn't mean it has to stay that way. Like I said before, I think that if you want to create a functioning Libertarian state, you need to change both the public and private sectors.
Yes, it doesn't have to stay that way. It could, right now, pick up the slack. Yet, it doesn't. Literally nothing is stopping it from doing so.

And, what does change the private sector even mean? How is a libertarian government, a government that is not supposed to interfere in the private sector, going to change the private sector?

MinotaurWarrior wrote:1st, I think that if we cut back on corporatism (which is different from capitalism), and made our government less involved in the medical business, there would be global improvements in health, as the price of medical stuff such as drugs would drop, because the government frequently intervenes on the side of the "big guys".
Yes, the US government is highly corrupt. When something is broken you either fix it or replace it. You don't throw it out without any plans for replacement. If the problem is the government helps the wrong people, the solution is to get it to help the right people. Not help no one. Again if you look at Canada, we have cheap drugs because the government uses its size and monopoly power to dictate how much they buy drugs for. At the end of the day, the larger your insurance pool, the better.

MinotaurWarrior wrote:But the second part basically comes down to the human capacity to not pointlessly act like D-bags, even when uncoerced.
What planet do you live on? It's obviously not Earth. Can I move there? It sounds like a swell place.
MinotaurWarrior wrote:On the involved-party-payer side, you have (as I said earlier) a lot of people who are interested in your continuing health and would want to invest in it. On the third party payer side, other nations (Switzerland is one, iirc) have shown that non-profit insurance companies are, in many ways, better at being an insurance company than are for-profit insurance companies. Things that are better can survive in a free market. Then you've got stuff like charity. Basically, the way I'd like to see things handled would be that freely associated communities of those mutually interested in one another's health would pool together and create large medical savings funds, and maybe hire some people to manage that fund if it was large enough (they'd do the stuff insurance company employees do), forming something like a non-nationalized, non-monopolized version of the (iirc) Swiss system.
The Swiss system, according to wikipedia, is a regular European nationalized system, in all but name. As we went over above, sure there is charity, it doesn't work. For the rest of what you are describing, it sounds like it is a national system, not at the national level.

MinotaurWarrior wrote:
Especially considering that a large part of free market philosophy is comparison shopping to get the best quality/price. Good luck doing that when you are being airlifted to the nearest hospital, and you would die by the time it takes you to get the the second closest, cheaper, hospital.
[snip]But you're right that the monopoly power of some hospitals can be a real issue. I'm not sure how I'd want that handled.
This is another major problem with libertarianism. It proponents don't even bother to think it through. Rarely do libertarians have answers to some of the simplest, most obvious questions. It seems like they put as much critical thought into the philosophy as religious people put into theirs.

MinotaurWarrior wrote:
nitePhyyre wrote:
MinotaurWarrior wrote:[snip]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,
Spoiler:
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.
We already have this exact system. The union's name is 'Government'.
The key difference would be that there would be unions, plural, and they'd only be formed by the actually involved parties.
Have you noticed how the world has multiple countries ie.: plural? And how each country is only made up of its own citizens ie.: the involved parties? Your conditions are met.

It seems, whether you realize it or not, all you are really doing is advocating for micro-nations.

MinotaurWarrior wrote:
Again, how do you deal with the distribution problem? If a community in Detroit needs more doctors and can't afford them, but the doctors who are willing to donate their time live in Los Angeles, how do you match the need with the volunteer?
A free market in volunteerism.
Let's try this again, because you missed the question.
You have a free market in volunteerism.
You have a bunch of doctors in LA who would love to volunteer.
For some reason, there are large hurdles for them to volunteer. (The example used was that that volunteer-needing patients are far from LA)
A government can (and does) take steps to reduce or remove those hurdles.
How would those hurdles be reduced or removed in your system?
sourmìlk wrote:Monopolies are not when a single company controls the market for a single product.

You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard you become great in the process.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby leady » Mon Jul 02, 2012 2:59 pm UTC

I won't argue. Leaving the elderly to die n ice floats is definitely the best economic decision.


Thats not really the decision though economically - the decision is "what is the best manner in which the elderly that have no family support, or have no personal provision, or are incapable of working - be supported?". One reasonable answer to this is that the latter subset are supported through charity, not through death.

Sorry, but economics doesn't actually work that way. It is guaranteed that the street performer will buy something from somewhere outside of ND. If not, the local people they buy stuff from will. Same thing with the game designer. Except the game designer also sells millions of dollars worth of exports. So they improve the health of the entire national economy, whether you use their services or not. This is how modern integrated economies work. You can't simply stop at the first link in the chain. It seems to be something libertarian philosophy has problems integrating.


There is no issue in integrating that decision tree in libertarianism though - that decision tree is the free market allocation of resources - of which individuals will allocate a greater or lesser share to healthcare. Socialised medicine, whilst nice, clearly generates a economically suboptimal distribution and allocates (rationed) resources based on other factors - typically age and lifestyle. However the value of a hip replacement for a medical consultant (a waiting list item) is of more economic value to society than for a street performance artist in cold hard cash.

Ok, so before you said that healthcare costs should only be borne by people that have an interest in your health. Now that you freely admit that those interests actually do spread far and wide, you want to move the goal posts to 'wants' and desires. Ok, fine. Why?


The difference is that they are spread only to people that have a personal interest in your welfare and are willing to voluntarily aid you.

I've read enough of these health care threads that I can easily say, its the system. Everyone always goes on about how maybe, just maybe, there are some magical set of factors that make the US all special and unique. Yet they can never find any actual evidence that that is the case.


The statistics used to show the "bad" outcome of US healthcare though are overtly biased though - they aren't an outcome of heathcare but rather of lifestyle (and by this I mean crack babies etc). Truth be told the US system generally has very bad outcomes for some sections of society (ghettos, illegals etc), which we would differ as to the causes of these outcomes.

And, what does change the private sector even mean? How is a libertarian government, a government that is not supposed to interfere in the private sector, going to change the private sector?


Libertarian thought would imply that no such interference is required, because in the absence of government intervention, wealth balloons and personal responsibility blossoms. The remaining fringe cases become real charity rather than forced charity. All you need to believe for this to make sense is that the overwhelming majority of people are decent and relatively rational, rather than selfish and brutish.

Again if you look at Canada, we have cheap drugs because the government uses its size and monopoly power to dictate how much they buy drugs for. At the end of the day, the larger your insurance pool, the better.


Not true from first principles I'm afraid. Its hard to prove, but its always been put forward that the US subsidises the western worlds medical development. That aside a 100% pool with the monopoly ability to force a given price will result in no supply or artifical demand to meet the supply. What does that mean in practice - no drugs, no heathcare.

The Swiss system, according to wikipedia, is a regular European nationalized system, in all but name. As we went over above, sure there is charity, it doesn't work. For the rest of what you are describing, it sounds like it is a national system, not at the national level.


It doesn't work is subjective - in your view you don't like the outcomes and think a system with more coercion will deliver better outcomes. The libertarian position is that no co-ercion will. The difference is your perspective on the nature of liberty i.e. the original question :)

This is another major problem with libertarianism. It proponents don't even bother to think it through. Rarely do libertarians have answers to some of the simplest, most obvious questions. It seems like they put as much critical thought into the philosophy as religious people put into theirs.


Only some :) Anyone with a bit of creativity can come up with solutions to this problem far better than the current one. Try any of the following :

Independent private hospitals operating in cost recovery mode from insurers (ala the days before 1940s in the UK )
smaller private practices with emergency wings
co-located vet and medical services in rural locations
mobile emergency wards in helicopters
more home care with mobile doctors

The thing is whilst one model is enforced you can't find the best model and again your back to the "are central decisions best or free decisions best", empirically the answer to that is known yet people refuse to accept it and cling onto the current reality.

Have you noticed how the world has multiple countries ie.: plural? And how each country is only made up of its own citizens ie.: the involved parties? Your conditions are met.

It seems, whether you realize it or not, all you are really doing is advocating for micro-nations.


nope, micro nations would still involve coercive force.

Let's try this again, because you missed the question.
You have a free market in volunteerism.
You have a bunch of doctors in LA who would love to volunteer.
For some reason, there are large hurdles for them to volunteer. (The example used was that that volunteer-needing patients are far from LA)
A government can (and does) take steps to reduce or remove those hurdles.
How would those hurdles be reduced or removed in your system?

[/quote]

Lets be honest - the government does not offset these inequalities at the moment by any rational definition. The health and educational outcomes of US and UKs poorest are worse today after 50 years of intervention than when they started. Whole generations are rooted in welfare supported poverty by this "removal of hurdles". Supprisingly under libertarianism people can just move rather than settling for a life of welfare (and the use of the word settle is deliberate, its a rational decision) and the problem resolves itself. Also this perspective also solves it across the imaginary people boundaries that exist today...

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby iamspen » Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:40 pm UTC

leady wrote:Thats not really the decision though economically - the decision is "what is the best manner in which the elderly that have no family support, or have no personal provision, or are incapable of working - be supported?". One reasonable answer to this is that the latter subset are supported through charity, not through death.


That's where the libertarian argument breaks down, though. When asked, "What is an alternative system to deliver vital services to those who can't afford them?" the answer is almost always, "Charity, duh." Sorry, no, charities cannot support a large subset of the population because you wish it to be so. Unless, of course, you made it mandatory for everyone of sufficient means to donate a specific percentage of their income. Oh, wait.

The health and educational outcomes of US and UKs poorest are worse today after 50 years of intervention than when they started. Whole generations are rooted in welfare supported poverty by this "removal of hurdles". Supprisingly under libertarianism people can just move rather than settling for a life of welfare (and the use of the word settle is deliberate, its a rational decision) and the problem resolves itself. Also this perspective also solves it across the imaginary people boundaries that exist today...


Your repeat of one of the foundations of right-wing propaganda against social welfare programs is indicative of a complete lack of understanding of why people are poor and why they remain so. "Why would I want to improve my life when I'm getting almost enough to feed myself and my family three nights a week as it is?" The assertion that the norm is that people want to remain on welfare and want to keep themselves impoverished and want to continue living in squalid public housing is so ridiculous, I don't even know how to defend against it, especially when the only evidence those making that claim can present is anecdotal ("Well I have a cousin who has a baby every time her welfare is about to run out," etc.).

On one hand, you're trying to present society as so universally wholesome that it will provide of its own generosity enormous sums of money, and on the other hand, you're claiming an enormous subset of that same society are money-sucking leeches who wish not to improve their own condition. You're having your cake and eating it, too.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Azrael » Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:10 pm UTC

If

you
all

keep
doing

this
I

may
get

testy

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby leady » Mon Jul 02, 2012 7:14 pm UTC

sorry guv :)

The libertarian argument doesn't fall down on charity at all because you are failing to ask why its such a large subset in the first place and growing at a near exponential pace? The stark and obvious reason is that like with all things, if you subsidise an activity you get more of it. This is just the truth and is empirically demonstrated by the collapsing fiscal budget in most national social democratic countries (which the UK clearly is) and the ever growing state dependency list.

Don't get me wrong, I don't consider people who live on welfare parasites just rational actors making reasonable choices. In the UK on the social you get free housing, payment for all your kids, free healthcare, free schooling, plus a chunk of cash every couple of week after feigning a bit of depression and you get to do whatever you like everyday. Thats an awesome deal by any standards compared to having to working 60 hours a week, having to get up at 5am to get like £20 a week extra (which works out at a marginal benefit of say 60p an hour). Its a choice I would make in that situation because I'm not stupid and neither are they. If you get £10000 a year in bennies for nothing or you can kill yourself working for £12000 a year you are mental to take the latter choice. In the UK we continually have the papers and documentaries exposing this craziness but no one bats an eyelid - literally continual examples of the above decisions being overtly made. Its not annecdotal

The problem though is that this is economic poison that grows breaking the entire economy and eventually (pretty much now) other peoples money, the money you can print and the money you can borrow runs out - oh and guess who is being screwed? Yes its 8m people in the UK that we have subsidised into being an economic nightmare, not counting the army of state workers needed to administrate this mess. When scythe falls it will fall heavily and harshly and then you will see very real, very predictable poverty. So whilst the libertarian medicine might be bitter - at least the patient stands a chance of survival unlike the long term poison of social welfare. Also when one choice is forced theft and one peaceful cooperation you would hope humanity will eventually wake up.

The UK is a doomed socialistic mess though, in which no one even questions why the rise in socialism and unionisation has a near perfect corelation to the collapse of manufaring and job prospects. I blame the schools, but wait they are state controlled too and now I think of it an even bigger socialist mess :)

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby EdgePenguin » Mon Jul 02, 2012 10:47 pm UTC

leady wrote:sorry guv :)

The libertarian argument doesn't fall down on charity at all because you are failing to ask why its such a large subset in the first place and growing at a near exponential pace? The stark and obvious reason is that like with all things, if you subsidise an activity you get more of it. This is just the truth and is empirically demonstrated by the collapsing fiscal budget in most national social democratic countries (which the UK clearly is) and the ever growing state dependency list.


"National Social Democratic"? Godwin Alert!

Don't get me wrong, I don't consider people who live on welfare parasites just rational actors making reasonable choices. In the UK on the social you get free housing, payment for all your kids, free healthcare, free schooling, plus a chunk of cash every couple of week after feigning a bit of depression and you get to do whatever you like everyday. Thats an awesome deal by any standards compared to having to working 60 hours a week, having to get up at 5am to get like £20 a week extra (which works out at a marginal benefit of say 60p an hour). Its a choice I would make in that situation because I'm not stupid and neither are they. If you get £10000 a year in bennies for nothing or you can kill yourself working for £12000 a year you are mental to take the latter choice. In the UK we continually have the papers and documentaries exposing this craziness but no one bats an eyelid - literally continual examples of the above decisions being overtly made. Its not annecdotal


Yes. It is anecdotal. What you just conveyed is the definition of an anecdote. You need to provide evidence of such absurd assertions, beyond your tabloid-inspired gutthink.

The problem though is that this is economic poison that grows breaking the entire economy and eventually (pretty much now) other peoples money, the money you can print and the money you can borrow runs out - oh and guess who is being screwed? Yes its 8m people in the UK that we have subsidised into being an economic nightmare, not counting the army of state workers needed to administrate this mess. When scythe falls it will fall heavily and harshly and then you will see very real, very predictable poverty. So whilst the libertarian medicine might be bitter - at least the patient stands a chance of survival unlike the long term poison of social welfare. Also when one choice is forced theft and one peaceful cooperation you would hope humanity will eventually wake up.


"Other people's money" is an argument from somebody who doesn't have the faintest clue how economics or nations work. If you want a clue whose money it is, look at whose head is common to all the bank notes. Its not Charles Darwin, it isn't Adam Smith, its the sodding Queen. Money is an abstraction created by the state, without whom it has no meaning. The idea that just because you received some money, that it is entirely 'yours' is short-sighted, economically illiterate, and immature.

The UK is a doomed socialistic mess though, in which no one even questions why the rise in socialism and unionisation has a near perfect corelation to the collapse of manufaring and job prospects. I blame the schools, but wait they are state controlled too and now I think of it an even bigger socialist mess :)


Why stop at the state? Why not blame the Illuminati or Freemasons or the Jewish Bankers?

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:03 am UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:"Other people's money" is an argument from somebody who doesn't have the faintest clue how economics or nations work. If you want a clue whose money it is, look at whose head is common to all the bank notes. Its not Charles Darwin, it isn't Adam Smith, its the sodding Queen. Money is an abstraction created by the state, without whom it has no meaning.


False. Egregriously so in fact, since almost all money throughout history has had intrinsic value - whether its the gold, silver, or vodka standard, or bullion currency. If liberty-valuing individuals are opposed to government monopolies in defense and healthcare, why would you assume they're in favour of a monopoly on currency?

EdgePenguin wrote:The idea that just because you received some money, that it is entirely 'yours' is short-sighted, economically illiterate, and immature.


Have you ever had a job? The idea that a person is entitled to the sweat of their brow isn't some silly thing people grow out of. If I recieve a compensation I've agreed upon in advance, in exchange for handing over hours of toil, then damn right thats my money that I earned. Any service provided by the state that made that work more valuable or easier to obtain could just have easily been supplied by a private provider, and paying for that provision would be non-compulsory - what's so special about the state that it gets to skim off the top of my labour and appropriate it for itself?

The UK is a doomed socialistic mess though, in which no one even questions why the rise in socialism and unionisation has a near perfect corelation to the collapse of manufaring and job prospects. I blame the schools, but wait they are state controlled too and now I think of it an even bigger socialist mess :)


You're wrong here. For one, union membership and power has been trending downards, and unions as they stand today are much less powerful than they would be in a libertarian environment - a union in a libertarian environment could compel strikes without balloting so long as it were in the terms of the membership agreement, for instance, and would generally be far less hamstrung than under the thatcherite morass of anti-labour laws they have to deal with at present.

More philosophically, what kind of libertarian is opposed to the free assosciation of individuals into a private organisation that attempts to improve their lot?
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby yurell » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:25 am UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Any service provided by the state that made that work more valuable or easier to obtain could just have easily been supplied by a private provider


I strongly disagree with this contention. The road system you use is incredibly expensive, and may require acquisition of private land. Likewise with your internet and electricity. Most of the supporting infrastructure that allows you to work is provided by the government, and I doubt it could have been just as easily (or cheaply) provided by a for-profit organisation.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:32 am UTC

leady wrote:The statistics used to show the "bad" outcome of US healthcare though are overtly biased though - they aren't an outcome of heathcare but rather of lifestyle (and by this I mean crack babies etc). Truth be told the US system generally has very bad outcomes for some sections of society (ghettos, illegals etc), which we would differ as to the causes of these outcomes.


Citation needed. Many countries have ghettos and illegals without having the same problems. I don't know how you think a libertarian system would help those problems anyway, since the libertarian solution is that if they can't afford it, they just don't get healthcare at all, and the resources get "allocated" to someone who can.

leady wrote:Libertarian thought would imply that no such interference is required, because in the absence of government intervention, wealth balloons and personal responsibility blossoms. The remaining fringe cases become real charity rather than forced charity. All you need to believe for this to make sense is that the overwhelming majority of people are decent and relatively rational, rather than selfish and brutish.


Wait... isn't libertarianism based on the idea that people are essentially selfish, and that selfishness is a virtue because if everyone does what is best for themselves, it will end up being what is overall best for the community as well? Isn't that the whole basis of how it is supposed to work? How can you simultaneously advocate for a philosophy that requires people to be selfish to function, and then claim that most people aren't selfish? But that aside, the idea that these problems will just magically go away without government is nonsense. What will happen is that the people who have the wealth will keep it, and the people who don't have the wealth won't get it. Because that's what's happened every time this sort of thing has been tried. Read some Dickens or something if you want to see what a libertarian utopia would look like.

leady wrote:The thing is whilst one model is enforced you can't find the best model and again your back to the "are central decisions best or free decisions best", empirically the answer to that is known yet people refuse to accept it and cling onto the current reality.


Um.... centralized decisions are best if the correct course of action is clear. The whole point of a free market is that you don't always know what the best option is, so you try to explore as much of the solution space as you can and hope you hit on something good. If you already know the optimal solution, then enforcing that solution is clearly superior to checking out all of the bad ones. If you're trying to build a house with a bunch of workers, it clearly doesn't make sense to have each worker just do whatever they want whenever they want. If the floors go down before the pipes and electrical are in, then they need to come back out again. If the walls go up before the foundation is dug, then the building won't be stable and will collapse. Having a guy in charge who says first the foundation goes in, then the pipes, then the electrical, etc. is going to build the house much faster, much safer, and with far fewer problems, than a group of disorganized workers who are free to do whatever they want, whenever they want.

leady wrote:Lets be honest - the government does not offset these inequalities at the moment by any rational definition. The health and educational outcomes of US and UKs poorest are worse today after 50 years of intervention than when they started. Whole generations are rooted in welfare supported poverty by this "removal of hurdles". Supprisingly under libertarianism people can just move rather than settling for a life of welfare (and the use of the word settle is deliberate, its a rational decision) and the problem resolves itself. Also this perspective also solves it across the imaginary people boundaries that exist today...


I'm going to go ahead and guess that you're from a white, upper-middle class family, and have never had any experience with what being in abject poverty is like. Try walking a mile in someone else's shoes before you take that patronizing tone.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby EdgePenguin » Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:27 am UTC

Ormurinn wrote:
EdgePenguin wrote:"Other people's money" is an argument from somebody who doesn't have the faintest clue how economics or nations work. If you want a clue whose money it is, look at whose head is common to all the bank notes. Its not Charles Darwin, it isn't Adam Smith, its the sodding Queen. Money is an abstraction created by the state, without whom it has no meaning.


False. Egregriously so in fact, since almost all money throughout history has had intrinsic value - whether its the gold, silver, or vodka standard, or bullion currency. If liberty-valuing individuals are opposed to government monopolies in defense and healthcare, why would you assume they're in favour of a monopoly on currency?


"False"? A somewhat arrogant one don't you think? Sure, I suppose you could return to a barter system if you wanted, but I think it is safe to say the rest of us want to live in a modern technological civilisation. If you want to see how a currency without anything backing it up works, look at the car-wreck that is Bitcoins.

EdgePenguin wrote:The idea that just because you received some money, that it is entirely 'yours' is short-sighted, economically illiterate, and immature.


Have you ever had a job? The idea that a person is entitled to the sweat of their brow isn't some silly thing people grow out of. If I recieve a compensation I've agreed upon in advance, in exchange for handing over hours of toil, then damn right thats my money that I earned. Any service provided by the state that made that work more valuable or easier to obtain could just have easily been supplied by a private provider, and paying for that provision would be non-compulsory - what's so special about the state that it gets to skim off the top of my labour and appropriate it for itself?


I'd bet that I have had more jobs than you. The idea that you are only receiving money because of the "sweat of your brow" wilfully ignores all the things others have done to get you to where you are.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:10 am UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:"False"? A somewhat arrogant one don't you think? Sure, I suppose you could return to a barter system if you wanted, but I think it is safe to say the rest of us want to live in a modern technological civilisation. If you want to see how a currency without anything backing it up works, look at the car-wreck that is Bitcoins.


You've got it backwards. The currency we have at the moment has nothing backing it up - except a promise from the goovernment - whereas most currencies throughout history have had real, intrinsic value, or at least been tied to something that has.

The gold standard, as it happens, oversaw perhaps the most prolonged period of increase in global living standards in history. We had to come off in order for a group of states to be able to afford killing each other's people. Funny that.

I'm not advocating a return to the gold standard - but relaxation of fiat currency laws to allow competing currencies, and no obligation to accept your nations currency as service on debts. If I want all my debts settled in rubies, that should be my perrogative. I doubt many people would stick with, say, the pound if this were the case, considering the British governments proven willingness to devalue our currency.

EdgePenguin wrote:I'd bet that I have had more jobs than you. The idea that you are only receiving money because of the "sweat of your brow" wilfully ignores all the things others have done to get you to where you are.


And in a libertarian system, I directly pay those people for investing the product of their labour into me (through user fees). The difference is, I don't also have to support a vast free-riding parasite I disagree with, that does its job poorly.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby folkhero » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:59 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Wait... isn't libertarianism based on the idea that people are essentially selfish, and that selfishness is a virtue because if everyone does what is best for themselves, it will end up being what is overall best for the community as well? Isn't that the whole basis of how it is supposed to work?

You seem to be confusing libertarianism with Objectivism. Don't worry rookie mistake.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Azrael » Tue Jul 03, 2012 12:11 pm UTC

folkhero wrote:Don't worry rookie mistake.

... and you're out of the thread.

Hey everyone, remember when I said I might get testy?

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby leady » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:54 pm UTC

Sorry about the indirect godwin - not meant in that manner but rather as a literal description :)

In terms of empirical evidence of welfare as a rational choice in the UK at least if you don't accept the examples (and I wasn't really refering the families of 12 in mansion tabloid annecdotes :) ) then try the following:

unemployment numbers for the uk

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10604117

incapacity benefit numbers for the uk

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/p ... /40405.htm

and net immigration figures to the UK

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/migration ... /msqr.html

You'd need to be blind not to see that the over the boom period both economic inactivity values flat line whilst the UK has gained 500k a year in extra labour per year. Which leads to the clear and direct conclusion that there are jobs to take, but the average UK resident are actively not taking them. This is why those stats of 95% of new jobs going to immigrants exist (which personally I have no issue with) .

I can't be bothered to look up stats on the heath equality discussions - hey I'm not writing a thesis here :)

On what money is and how it values the wider contribution of society that one is straightforward. Money is promise to pay, it is a debt (which is why that wonderful video money = debt is like a statement of the obvious ). The value of that debt is based on whatever the money is based on, which in modern society for fiat currencies is basically the tax revenues and total capital value of the state and the amount of money created. On the value of wider society - well thats exactly why money exists, it directly reflects the value to society economically, thats its entire point. What people may not like is that reality and so the guns come out.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:23 pm UTC

leady wrote:Sorry about the indirect godwin - not meant in that manner but rather as a literal description :)

In terms of empirical evidence of welfare as a rational choice in the UK at least if you don't accept the examples (and I wasn't really refering the families of 12 in mansion tabloid annecdotes :) ) then try the following:


You'd need to be blind not to see that the over the boom period both economic inactivity values flat line whilst the UK has gained 500k a year in extra labour per year. Which leads to the clear and direct conclusion that there are jobs to take, but the average UK resident are actively not taking them. This is why those stats of 95% of new jobs going to immigrants exist (which personally I have no issue with) .[/quote]

Those data look to me to be saying the following: Since the 90s, unemployment has been steadily declining both in absolute and in relative terms (given the population is growing), except during the current recession. Even then, unemployment levels in absolute and relative terms are still lower than they were in the 90s. Just before the recession hit, the unemployment rate was about 5%, which is right around the rate of full employment. Recession aside, this is a very desirable situation. 0% unemployment is impossible and undesirable because there is no labour mobility. Areas with extremely low unemployment face labour shortages that can lead to loss of productivity.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby leady » Tue Jul 03, 2012 7:59 pm UTC

To be clearer you just need to look at the plateaus leading up to the 2008 and the net immigration figure to see that the UK swallowed 500k a year net straight into the work force without even a glimmer of impact to the other figures. That alone strongly implies a very large base of effectively permanent welfare recipents. Combine that with the other well know stat in the uk that 90% + of new jobs go to immigrants and you have a very compelling case.

Other evidence http://www.cesi.org.uk/statistics/labour/june-2009 (only covers 2007 - until the 2008 crash for this discussion)

basically the real long term unemployment plateaus at 700k all in and those are people who don't game the system at the time of a "booming" economy. Add to that the millions of people on the sick where all the real long term enployed hid years ago and you are talking a hardcore of people on permanent effective life time welfare in the millions. That is choice I'm sorry, you might not believe it, but it is - and might I say a sensible one given the options. Being a northerner I could regale you with personal annecdotes too :)

Oh and I refuse to accept that there is a good rate of unemployment - only employers and the state benefit from that type of artifical target (even if you believe the measurement technique isn't innately biased - given it hides millions of people)

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Charlie! » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:46 pm UTC

leady wrote:Oh and I refuse to accept that there is a good rate of unemployment

:|

Perhaps if you had come across this idea outside of an "us vs. them" situation, you would consider it differently. I hope so, at least.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Impeach » Mon Jul 23, 2012 12:39 am UTC

EdgePenguin wrote:"False"? A somewhat arrogant one don't you think? Sure, I suppose you could return to a barter system if you wanted, but I think it is safe to say the rest of us want to live in a modern technological civilisation. If you want to see how a currency without anything backing it up works, look at the car-wreck that is Bitcoins.


I'd bet that I have had more jobs than you. The idea that you are only receiving money because of the "sweat of your brow" wilfully ignores all the things others have done to get you to where you are.


You said "...return to a barter system if you wanted, but it think..."

In English, the proper way to merge two sentences together is to separate them with either a comma or a conjunction but using both is incorrect.
The idea that you know this because of the sweat of your own learning willfully ignores that fact that I just helped you. Give me money for it.

Edit: That is, unless you don't feel obligated to compensate me for something I decided to do without even asking you?
doogly wrote:Silly France, you can't just make up your own definitions for what fundamental human rights are, those are self evident and endowed within humanity by our creator god. Listen to America on this one, we got this shit on lock.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby yurell » Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:35 am UTC

Impeach wrote:In English, the proper way to merge two sentences together is to separate them with either a comma or a conjunction but using both is incorrect.


Oxford Comma
cemper93 wrote:Dude, I just presented an elaborate multiple fraction in Comic Sans. Who are you to question me?


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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Impeach » Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:47 am UTC

yurell wrote:
Impeach wrote:In English, the proper way to merge two sentences together is to separate them with either a comma or a conjunction but using both is incorrect.


Oxford Comma


Uh, Yeeaahh..... That wasn't really my point.
doogly wrote:Silly France, you can't just make up your own definitions for what fundamental human rights are, those are self evident and endowed within humanity by our creator god. Listen to America on this one, we got this shit on lock.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby yurell » Mon Jul 23, 2012 1:52 am UTC

I could't decipher your point, but the statement was wrong and thus corrected anyway.
cemper93 wrote:Dude, I just presented an elaborate multiple fraction in Comic Sans. Who are you to question me?


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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Impeach » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:02 am UTC

yurell wrote:I could't decipher your point, but the statement was wrong and thus corrected anyway.


The idea that you know this because of the sweat of your own learning willfully ignores that fact that I just helped you. Give me money for it.

Edit: That is, unless you don't feel obligated to compensate me for something I decided to do without even asking you?

What's to decipher? I'm implying that people shouldn't feel such and obligation.
doogly wrote:Silly France, you can't just make up your own definitions for what fundamental human rights are, those are self evident and endowed within humanity by our creator god. Listen to America on this one, we got this shit on lock.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby omgryebread » Mon Jul 23, 2012 2:05 am UTC

He's wrong, but that's not because it's an Ofxord comma, which doesn't involve linking sentences.

Impeach wrote:In English, the proper way to merge two sentences together is to separate them with either a comma or a conjunction but using both is incorrect.
Using just a comma is an example of a comma splice, and it's incorrect.

"Rachel is really attractive, she's also extremely intelligent." This sentence is incorrectly punctuated. It should be "Rachel is really attractive, and she's also extremely intelligent." or "Rachel is really attractive; she's also extremely intelligent." Using a conjunction without a comma isn't technically wrong, "Rachel is really attractive and she's really intelligent." But it's stylistically poor writing, since it merges those two in a way that implies they are dependent, when they are not.


Anyway, Grammar aside, your broader point is also wrong!

In English, the proper way to merge two sentences together is to separate them with either a comma or a conjunction but using both is incorrect.
The idea that you know this because of the sweat of your own learning willfully ignores that fact that I just helped you. Give me money for it.

Edit: That is, unless you don't feel obligated to compensate me for something I decided to do without even asking you?
You're an individual. The education system is a part of the State. The two are very different. The State is empowered to do things on behalf of the people, because of whatever political philosophy you prefer. (Is the State empowered under a Social Contract, or is it a Leviathan that is preventing us from being in a state of nature, or is it so empowered because our state of nature is in political... States? Pun unintended. Unless you're an anarchist, you recognize that the State has some power invested in it to act on behalf of the People.)

Libertarians would argue the State only has the power to prevent coercion. Others disagree, giving the State much broader powers, but still reserving them only for the State.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Impeach » Mon Jul 23, 2012 3:39 am UTC

omgryebread wrote:He's wrong, but that's not because it's an Ofxord comma, which doesn't involve linking sentences.

Anyway, Grammar aside, your broader point is also wrong!

In English, the proper way to merge two sentences together is to separate them with either a comma or a conjunction but using both is incorrect.
The idea that you know this because of the sweat of your own learning willfully ignores that fact that I just helped you. Give me money for it.

Edit: That is, unless you don't feel obligated to compensate me for something I decided to do without even asking you?
You're an individual. The education system is a part of the State. The two are very different. The State is empowered to do things on behalf of the people, because of whatever political philosophy you prefer. (Is the State empowered under a Social Contract, or is it a Leviathan that is preventing us from being in a state of nature, or is it so empowered because our state of nature is in political... States? Pun unintended. Unless you're an anarchist, you recognize that the State has some power invested in it to act on behalf of the People.)

Libertarians would argue the State only has the power to prevent coercion. Others disagree, giving the State much broader powers, but still reserving them only for the State.


I'm not sure how accurately it can be decided whether my point is "wrong" or "right." You might not agree that people should not feel such an obligation but morals aren't the most concrete things.

Now, the state IS there to do things on our behalf so I'm with you on that. That does not give them the authority to forcibly dictate how we must do things just because that is their vision for us and they are doing it "on our behalf." "On our behalf" is supposed to mean "in order to help us with what WE want" not "for purportedly altruistic reasons." Also, the state should not be allowed to do things to citizens that we are not allowed to do to each other. All the 'state' is anyway is an abstract term we assign collectively to the PEOPLE he have chosen to do what we decide we want done.

In the original context, my argument was about income tax. EdgePenguin was implying that the state is primarily responsible for doing "all that was done to get you where you are" and that because of this, they have earned the right to take a percentage of the money that you earn in exchange for the labor you provide. In this instance we will have to just agree to disagree on whether or not we should feel obligated to give them our money. Government is so inefficient it's retarded, especially recently. The whole purpose of taxes is to provide these people with the funds they need to do what we all agreed on, not to compensate them for all the things they have done for us. States are not known very well for implementing genius plans that drastically improve people's living standards or personal bank account balances. Right now, because of how much of our fucking money this government has spent on nothing or worse that the entire world is going broke. What have they done that entitles them to a cut of what I am promised by a private labor contract? How can they possibly claim partial ownership of that contract?
doogly wrote:Silly France, you can't just make up your own definitions for what fundamental human rights are, those are self evident and endowed within humanity by our creator god. Listen to America on this one, we got this shit on lock.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby iamspen » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:53 am UTC

Impeach wrote:Now, the state IS there to do things on our behalf so I'm with you on that. That does not give them the authority to forcibly dictate how we must do things just because that is their vision for us and they are doing it "on our behalf." "On our behalf" is supposed to mean "in order to help us with what WE want" not "for purportedly altruistic reasons." Also, the state should not be allowed to do things to citizens that we are not allowed to do to each other. All the 'state' is anyway is an abstract term we assign collectively to the PEOPLE he have chosen to do what we decide we want done.


Things the state can do that you legally can't: Arrest people, try people, declare war, sign treaties, apply taxes and tariffs, enact and apply law...need I go on?

In the original context, my argument was about income tax. EdgePenguin was implying that the state is primarily responsible for doing "all that was done to get you where you are" and that because of this, they have earned the right to take a percentage of the money that you earn in exchange for the labor you provide. In this instance we will have to just agree to disagree on whether or not we should feel obligated to give them our money. Government is so inefficient it's retarded, especially recently.


How, then, would you suggest the government pays for the maintenance of infrastructure and a standing army? A sales tax, perhaps? But how would that be any less a theft than an income tax? And wouldn't a strong sales tax strongly discourage the purchase of new goods, especially those of the non-essential variety?

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby sam_i_am » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:20 pm UTC

hawkinsssable wrote:I'm working on understanding libertarianism and its appeal. I'm pretty familiar with what the philosophy involves (I've read a few things by key libertarian thinkers like Nozick, Naverson and Rothbard and a few books on libertarianism, as well as hearing from the Institute of Public Affairs pretty much daily in the Australian media) and the key thing I want to understand is, basically, what justification for libertarian policies people find most convincing.


First off I'd like to clarify that there are multiple sects of Libertarianism. Rothbard, for instance, is an Anarcho-Capitalist, which is one of the more extreme. I in no way intend to defend all of the ideas of all the sects, but if you want to cite a particularly extreme Libertarian in an effort to dismiss Libertarianism as a whole(as some in this thread seem to be trying to do), then please let me know if you yourself identify with an ideology or party so I can find someone equally silly on your side.

Essentially, a Libertarian is anyone who believes that We, as a society, should have more freedom than we currently do.

1. (negative) liberty is intrinsically and absolutely valuable: Liberty is a great thing in and of itself. In fact, it's the best thing. When it conflicts with other social values like utility (utilitarianism) or equality (egalitarianism), liberty always trumps them. Because liberty is inherently so valuable, people's rights to freedom (grounded in self-ownership) must never be violated.


Yes, Libertarians assume liberty to be intrinsically valuable, but only a few take it to trump all else
Libertarians are also pro-equality in the sense that they HATE the concept of a ruling class and a ruled class.

2. (negative) liberty is instrumentally valuable: Liberty is a great thing because it's so important to human well-being. Freedom is a big element of individual well-being, so if we want people to be happy, we'd better make sure we protect their right to liberty. On a larger scale, the free market is awesome and efficient and drives much-needed innovation. Government intervention, on the other hand, is inefficient and stifles innovation. People would be better off if we just let the market take care of things like education, housing, medicine, etc.


Same as point 1. Yes, libertarians take liberty to be instrumentally valuable, but not all libertarians believe that all Government intervention is bad, in fact, most see some Government functions(such as enforcing contracts) as necessary.

3. (negative)Post-modernism is confusing: Coercive state actions are legitimate only in the face of universal agreement on the particualr moral rules they enforce. This might be possible in concrete moral communities where all members share a moral or religious framework, but in contemporary pluralistic societies this isn't the case. Here's the problem: there's no one definitive, unambiguous moral philosophy we can all agree with. Laws on what we must do (funding policies and programs we may not agree with through taxation) and what we can't (prohibitions on particular practices such as prostitution, taking drugs, selling kidneys, etc.) are all premised on particular moral traditions not everybody shares and that can't be proven to be correct. Instead of grounding policies on universal agreement (which can't be reached) we should ground them in the actual consent of the parties concerned. In other words, we allow any and all market transactions provided all parties involved consent and, possibly, that no third party is harmed.


This point is mostly true. Mind you, most libertarians do understand the need for revenue generation. (in fact the libertarian party candidate, Gary Johnson, endorses the "Fair Tax" which essentially means replacing income tax and payroll tax with an increased sales tax)


So I've got a few questions. Firstly, is that list more or less exhaustive? Secondly, did I misunderstand any particular justification? And thirdly, which do you / most libertarian philosophers / most internet libertarians find the most convincing - which justification grounds people's dedication to libertarianism?


Personalities whom I like

* Jon Stewart: Although he probably doesn't call himself "libertarian" judging by what he says on his program, he seems a little bit more libertarian than the average Liberal, and he's Probably the best Debater/Interviewer on TV today

* Penn Jillette: I don't agree with all of his views, but Penn strikes me as one of the most intellectually honest celebrities ever. Whenever he talks about politics, he seems to speak his own thoughts, instead of always regurgitating someone else's dogma.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Impeach » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:59 pm UTC

iamspen wrote:
Impeach wrote:Now, the state IS there to do things on our behalf so I'm with you on that. That does not give them the authority to forcibly dictate how we must do things just because that is their vision for us and they are doing it "on our behalf." "On our behalf" is supposed to mean "in order to help us with what WE want" not "for purportedly altruistic reasons." Also, the state should not be allowed to do things to citizens that we are not allowed to do to each other. All the 'state' is anyway is an abstract term we assign collectively to the PEOPLE he have chosen to do what we decide we want done.


Things the state can do that you legally can't: Arrest people, try people, declare war, sign treaties, apply taxes and tariffs, enact and apply law...need I go on?


What I said was the state "shouldn't be allowed" to do things to people that we are not allowed to do to each other, not that they can't. But either way, most of that is stuff we ARE allowed to do. We can arrest people and members of a jury can try them. In fact, the citizens who are members of a jury are literally the highest law in the land because they have the power of jury nullification. I can't declare war because I am only one person and it couldn't be called a war but members of congress, since they supposedly represent us, can.

In the original context, my argument was about income tax. EdgePenguin was implying that the state is primarily responsible for doing "all that was done to get you where you are" and that because of this, they have earned the right to take a percentage of the money that you earn in exchange for the labor you provide. In this instance we will have to just agree to disagree on whether or not we should feel obligated to give them our money. Government is so inefficient it's retarded, especially recently.

How, then, would you suggest the government pays for the maintenance of infrastructure and a standing army? A sales tax, perhaps? But how would that be any less a theft than an income tax? And wouldn't a strong sales tax strongly discourage the purchase of new goods, especially those of the non-essential variety?


I would suggest they do it way more efficiently and without violently forcing our cooperation. "They" are our public servants, not our owners.
Last edited by Impeach on Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:17 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby iamspen » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:06 pm UTC

Impeach wrote:What I said was the state "shouldn't be allowed" to do things to people that we are not allowed to do to each other, not that they can't. But either way, most of that I stuff we ARE allowed to do. We can arrest people and members if a jury can try them. In fact, the citizens who are members of a jury are literally the highest law in the land because they have the power of jury nullification. I can't declare war because I am only one person and it couldn't be called a war but members of congress, since they supposedly represent us, can.


The degree to which that doesn't make sense is astounding. You can't arrest people and detain them based on your own suspicions because that's called kidnapping. You can't set up your own court and try people because that's called I-don't-even-know-what-but-it-isn't-associated-with-a-positive-adjective. You can't select members of a jury, nor write your own search warrants, nor issue your own licenses. And if the government represents us, we're therefore not representing ourselves, unless we are an elected entity, in which case we have become a governing force and therefore have acquired the ability to represent ourselves.

You can elect a government, and that government is allowed certain powers that you are not. Otherwise anarchy.

I would suggest they do it way more efficiently and without violently forcing our cooperation. "They" are our public servants, not our owners.


So taxes are theft unless they're not?

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby sam_i_am » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:54 pm UTC

iamspen wrote: that's called I-don't-even-know-what-but-it-isn't-associated-with-a-positive-adjective?


I think that the adjective you're looking for is "not due process"

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby elasto » Mon Jul 23, 2012 11:03 pm UTC

Impeach wrote:What have they done that entitles them to a cut of what I am promised by a private labor contract? How can they possibly claim partial ownership of that contract?

If that's a genuine question, this blog post explains it better than I ever could - where a self-made man looks at how he made it:

"To begin, my mother and father are responsible for me existing at all, so I suppose the first round of “How I made it to where I am” begins there.

I was born at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, CA, and as I understand it I was not the easiest of births, taking on the order of three days to be evicted from the womb. That couldn’t have been comfortable or safe either for my mother or for me, so thanks go to the medical team of doctors and nurses who helped with my birth. Likewise, the fact I was born at an Air Force base means that I owe a thanks to America’s military for offering medical care to my mother (based on her relationship to my father, who was in the military at the time), and indirectly to America’s taxpayers, whose dollars went to supporting the military, and thereby those doctors, nurses, my father’s paycheck and my mother’s medical care.

My parents’ marriage did not last particularly long and in the early seventies — and off and on for the next several years — my mother found herself in the position of having to rely on the social net of welfare and food stamps to make sure that when she couldn’t find work (or alternately, could find it but it didn’t pay enough), she was able to feed her children and herself. Once again, I owe thanks to America’s taxpayers for making sure I had enough to eat at various times when I was a child.

Not having to wonder how I was going to eat meant my attention could be given to other things, like reading wonderful books. As a child, many of the books I read and loved came from the local libraries where I lived. I can still remember going into a library for the first time and being amazed — utterly amazed — that I could read any book I wanted and that I could even take some of them home, as long as I promised to give each of them back in time. I learned my love of science and story in libraries. I know now that each of those libraries were paid for by the people who lived in the cities the libraries were in, and sometimes by the states they were in as well. I owe the taxpayers of each for the love of books and words.

From kindergarten through the eighth grade, I had a public school education, which at the time in California was very good, because the cuts that would come to education through the good graces of Proposition 13 had not yet trickled down to affect me. My schools in the cities of Covina, Azusa and Glendora all had “gifted and talented” programs that allowed me and my other classmates extra opportunities to expand our minds, aided by excellent teachers, most of whose names I can still rattle off after 30 years: Mrs. Chambers, Mrs. Fox, Mrs. Swirsky, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Kaufman, Ms. Morgan. Through much of this time I was fed through school lunch programs which allowed me a meal for free or reduced rates. In the sixth grade, when again my mother and I found ourselves poor and briefly homeless, and I began feeling depressed, the school’s counselor was there to do his best to keep me on an even keel. These schools and programs were funded locally, through the state and through the federal level. The taxpayers helped me learn, kept me fed, and prevented despair from clouding up my mind."

(Middle section is spoilered for length)

Spoiler:
By the eighth grade it became clear public education in California was beginning to get stretched by shrinking budgets, and my mother went looking for a private high school for me to attend. She called up the Webb School of California, and found out it cost more to attend than she made in a year. But she was convinced it was the right place. I went and took the entrance test and had my interview with a teacher there, named Steve Patterson. I don’t remember what it was I said during the interview; I have almost no memory of that interview at all. But I was told years later by another teacher that Steve Patterson said that day to the Webb admissions people that if there were only one child who was admitted to Webb that year, it should be me. His argument must have been convincing, because Webb admitted me and gave me a scholarship, minus a small parental contribution and a token amount which I would be responsible for after I left college, because the idea was that I had to be in some way responsible for my own education. I don’t know if I would have made it into Webb without Steve Patterson. I owe that to him.

I received a fantastic education at Webb, although there were many times while I was there that I did not appreciate it in the moment. Regardless, the teachers there taught me well, whether I appreciated it or not. As with earlier teachers, the names of these teachers remain in my mind: John Heyes, Art House, Dave Fawcett, Laurence MacMillin, Chris Trussell, Joan Rohrback, Roy Bergeson among many others. I learned of the world beyond my own immediate life from them, and that my life would be better thinking about things beyond its own limited scope.

When it came time to choose college, I had my heart set on the University of Chicago but I was a borderline case: The tests and essays were there, but the grades? Meh (I was one of those people who did well in the things he liked, less so in the things he did not). University of Chicago Admissions dean Ted O’Neill called Marilyn Blum, Webb’s college counselor, and asked her for her opinion on whether I would be a good fit for Chicago. She told O’Neill that I was exactly the sort of student who would benefit from Chicago, and that he would never regret admitting me. O’Neill told me this years later, after I had been Editor-in-Chief of the Chicago Maroon and the Ombudsman for the University, by way of letting me know in his opinion Blum had been correct. I owe Blum for being my advocate, and O’Neill for believing her.

The University of Chicago is one of the best universities in the world, and it is not cheap. I was able to attend through a combination of scholarships, government Pell Grants and work study jobs and bank loans. I owe the alumni of the University of Chicago who funded the scholarships, the taxpayers who paid for the grants and subsidized the work study jobs, and, yes, the banks who loaned me money. When one of my expected payment sources for school disappeared, my grandfather told me he would replace it — if I sent him a letter a month. I did. He did. This lasted until my senior year, when I was making enough from freelancing for local newspapers that I could pay for much of my college education myself.

Speaking of which, I owe then Chicago Sun-Times editor Laura Emerick for reading the articles I wrote for the Chicago Maroon and during my internship at the San Diego Tribune and deciding I was good enough to write for an actual professional newspaper, and for giving me enough work (at a decent enough payment scale) that I could pay rent on an apartment and school fees. The San Diego Tribune internship I got not only through my clips from the Maroon but also because I mentioned to a friend that I was looking around for an internship and he said, well, my dad is a friend with the editor of the Trib, why don’t I ask him to make a call? This was my first but not last experience with the value of connections. I owe that friend, his father, and the editor.

My experience as a freelancer for the Sun-Times and the fact that I had a philosophy degree from Chicago were impressive to the Features Editor of the Fresno Bee, who gave me a plum job right out of college, for which I had almost no practical experience: Film critic. I owe Diane Webster, that editor, for having the faith that a kid right out of college would live up to the clips he sent. I owe Tom Becker, the Entertainment Editor, as well as a raft of copyeditors and fellow staff writers at the Bee, for helping me not make an ass of myself on a day-to-day basis, and to guide me through the process of becoming a pro journalist and newspaper writer.

Because of the Bee I did a story on a local DJ, Julie Logan, who did an event at a bar in Visalia. While I was there the most gorgeous woman I had ever seen in my life came up to me and asked me to dance. Reader, I married her (although not at that moment). This woman, as it turns out, had an incredibly good head on her shoulders for money management and had a work ethic that would shame John Calvin. Since Kristine Blauser Scalzi came into my life we have as a couple been financially secure, because she made it her business to make it so. This level of security has afforded me the ability to take advantage of opportunities I otherwise would not have been able.

Eventually I left the Bee to join America Online in the mid-90s, just as it was expanding and becoming the first Google (or Facebook, take your pick). My job there was to edit a humor area, and the practical experience of helping other writers with their writing made me such a better writer that it’s hard for me to overstate its importance in my development. I owe Katherine Borsecnik and Bill Youstra for hiring me and handing me that very odd job.

I lasted two years at AOL, at which point I was laid off and immediately rehired as a contractor, for more money for less work. By this time AOL was shedding talent to other startups, many of whom hired me as an editorial contractor because a) They had seen my work and knew I was good, b) I was the only writer they knew. I am indebted to America Online for hiring so many bright, smart people the same time I was there, and then shedding them to go elsewhere, and for all those bright, smart people for remembering me when it came time to look for writing work.

One of those contracts I had included writing a financial newsletter. In 1999, my non-fiction agent Robert Shepard was on the phone with the editor of Rough Guides, who mentioned to him that they were looking for someone to write a book on online finance. My agent said, hey, I have a guy who writes a financial newsletter for AOL. The Rough Guides people said, great, ask him if he wants to write this book. I did. It was my first published book, and it led to two more books by me for Rough Guides. I owe Robert for being proactive on my behalf when he could have let that opportunity swing past him, and I would have been none the wiser.

In 2001 I wrote a novel I intended to sell but then didn’t. I decided to put it online on Whatever in December of 2002. Patrick Nielsen Hayden, the senior editor of science fiction at Tor Books, read it and decided to make me an offer on it, which I accepted. If Patrick hadn’t read it (or alternately, had read it and did nothing about it because I hadn’t formally submitted it), then it’s deeply unlikely I would have the career I have now in science fiction.

When that book, Old Man’s War, came out in 2005, it was championed by Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit to his readers, and by Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing to his. Because of their enthusiasm, the first printing disappeared off the shelf so quickly that it became clear to Tor that this was a book to watch and promote. Glenn and Cory made a huge difference in the early fortunes of that book. In 2006, Neil Gaiman was informed that his book Anansi Boys had been nominated for a Hugo in the category of Best Novel and asked if he would like to accept the nomination. Neil, who won a Hugo a year for the previous three years, politely declined, believing (he told me later) that someone else might benefit from that nomination more than he. The nomination declined went to the next book in the nomination tally: Old Man’s War. And he was correct: I benefited immensely from the nomination.

The publicity Old Man’s War gained from the Hugo nomination, among other things, took the book far and wide and brought it to the attention of Scott Stuber and Wolfgang Petersen, who optioned the book to be made into a film, and to Joe Mallozzi, a producer on Stargate Atlantis, and who (with Brad Wright) eventually hired me to be the Creative Consultant to the Stargate: Universe series. The latter experience was huge in helping me learn the day-to-day practicalities of making television, and having the chance to intensively study scriptwriting; the former has helped me get my foot in the door in terms of having my work seen in film circles. Its success has also made it easier for my fiction agents Ethan Ellenberg and Evan Gregory to sell my work overseas; they’ve sold my work in nineteen languages now, none of which I would have been able to do on my own.


"And so on. I am eliding here; there are numerous people to whom I owe a debt for the work that they have done on my behalf or who have done something that has benefited me, who I am not calling out by name. Some of them know who they are; many of them probably don’t, because most of them haven’t met me.

There is a flip side to this as well. I have helped others too. I am financially successful now; I pay a lot of taxes. I don’t mind because I know how taxes helped me to get to the fortunate position I am in today. I hope the taxes I pay will help some military wife give birth, a mother who needs help feed her child, help another child learn and fall in love with the written word, and help still another get through college. Likewise, I am in a socially advantageous position now, where I can help promote the work of others here and in other places. I do it because I can, because I think I should and because I remember those who helped me. It honors them and it sets the example for those I help to help those who follow them.

I know what I have been given and what I have taken. I know to whom I owe. I know that what work I have done and what I have achieved doesn’t exist in a vacuum or outside of a larger context, or without the work and investment of other people, both within the immediate scope of my life and outside of it. I like the idea that I pay it forward, both with the people I can help personally and with those who will never know that some small portion of their own hopefully good fortune is made possible by me.

So much of how their lives will be depends on them, of course, just as so much of how my life is has depended on my own actions. We all have to be the primary actors in our own lives. But so much of their lives will depend on others, too, people near and far. We all have to ask ourselves what role we play in the lives of others — in the lives of loved ones, in the lives of our community, in the life of our nation and in the life of our world. I know my own answer for this. It echoes the answer of those before me, who helped to get me where I am."

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:26 am UTC

elasto wrote:Reasonable and enlightening statements and link


That said, In a libertarian system, no-one advocates that those nurses, teachers etc wouldn't be paid. Proponents just think that everyone would be better served by those individuals who fund them contributing to them voluntarily. What's your opposition to this?

If a Libertarian system were to arise tomorrow in the U.K, I'm almost certain that for instance, the N.H.S would still exist. Most people love the N.H.S! Myself included! The only difference would be in compulsion. People who don't want to contribute to the N.H.S wouldn't be compelled to, and wouldn't benefit from it. Alternative services would spring up to cater to individuals differing needs. Competition drives down prices, provides more choice, and improves service. Likewise to everything from schooling to territorial defense.

So for instance, a Quaker would be able to contribute to the N.H.S without having to provide his government with funds used to murder people in far off countries (or at home.)

If this bloke had grown up in a libertarian idyll, his father would have worked for a private defense contractor rather than the U.S military., but otherwise that part of his story would likely be much the same. His mother would have had to rely on her local community supporting her, or on charity, though the labour market would likely be much more favourable in a libertarian climate, so It's likely she's have been able to find work more easily. His schooling would be privately provided - and he'd be enrolled in a curriculum that suited his needs best, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all system inherited from Prussian conscript training. While he'd have to pay for this, his mother would (assuming she was working) have more money than she would otherwise, due to paying little to no tax. He'd be able to start working and earning as soon as he wanted to, rather than being constrained by an artificial age barrier - and he'd be able to educate himself if he wanted, without committing a crime. There'd be more jobs for his age group and skill level available, due to a lack of minimum wage laws forcing the less-skilled out of the job market, and private libraries are entirely possible, and charity ones are prevalent too. He could always use project Gutenberg, assuming he was born today.

Tuition wouldn't be ruinously expensive if there was true competition between universities, as there would be in a libertarian system - and without the presence of government-backed student loans artificially inflating the cost of education, he'd likely be much better off having graduated. Having graduated, he'd find that he was able to fund all the services he relied on and required, and donate back to any charities he thought deserved his pay (which would be considerably greater without the taxman taking his share). He might well have taken out loans to fund some of his education, in a private system perhaps even as far back as high-school level - and in repaying them, he'd reimburse those individuals for the effort they invested in him. He'd do all this, without being compelled at gunpoint to contribute to any fund he disagreed with - say, the one for dragging people out of their houses and shooting them for possessing perfectly legitimate recreational substances.

This of course assumes that he and his mother knew what they were doing, and made sensible choices. This I think is one of the central disagreements between big-state proponents and Libertarians. Libertarians think that people are responsible for their own destinies, and trust everyone, even the poor, to make the decisions that benefit them. The impression from left-leaning big state proponents I always get is one of faint derision - treating poor people like children who don't know whats best for them, or pets to be shepherded along and looked after.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby The Great Hippo » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:09 am UTC

Ormurinn wrote:That said, In a libertarian system, no-one advocates that those nurses, teachers etc wouldn't be paid. Proponents just think that everyone would be better served by those individuals who fund them contributing to them voluntarily. What's your opposition to this?
The possibility that they wouldn't contribute to them voluntarily.

More radical libertarian models rely on the presumption that the world is structured in such a way that free market models provide equal or superior benefits to public welfare as obligatory social welfare systems. This is a presumption. Different models have different advantages and disadvantages; the wisest course of action is not to assume that one broad model (the libertarian's model) will be the best in all circumstances, but rather to analyze each individual circumstance and make a calculated decision as to which model would best apply.

There are places where a free market/privatization approach may pay enormous dividends. There are places where such an approach surely will not (particularly when we're dealing with perverse incentives). Rather than just assuming that the universe is structured in such a way where free markets inevitably lead to the best of ends, let us assume we do not know the universe's structure, and endeavor to gather evidence as to which approach would best suit it.

When libertarians argue for the widespread application of their models in all areas of government, I stop listening. Ideology is boring. When libertarians start talking about the pros and cons of their model in a specific circumstance--and start discussing the ramifications it would have--that's when I pay attention, and that's when we can have a useful dialogue. Because results?--now those I find interesting.
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:21 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:20 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:That said, In a libertarian system, no-one advocates that those nurses, teachers etc wouldn't be paid. Proponents just think that everyone would be better served by those individuals who fund them contributing to them voluntarily. What's your opposition to this?
The possibility that they wouldn't contribute to them voluntarily.

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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby omgryebread » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:03 am UTC

Ormurinn wrote:If a Libertarian system were to arise tomorrow in the U.K, I'm almost certain that for instance, the N.H.S would still exist. Most people love the N.H.S! Myself included! The only difference would be in compulsion. People who don't want to contribute to the N.H.S wouldn't be compelled to, and wouldn't benefit from it. Alternative services would spring up to cater to individuals differing needs. Competition drives down prices, provides more choice, and improves service. Likewise to everything from schooling to territorial defense.

So for instance, a Quaker would be able to contribute to the N.H.S without having to provide his government with funds used to murder people in far off countries (or at home.)

If this bloke had grown up in a libertarian idyll, his father would have worked for a private defense contractor rather than the U.S military., but otherwise that part of his story would likely be much the same. His mother would have had to rely on her local community supporting her, or on charity, though the labour market would likely be much more favourable in a libertarian climate, so It's likely she's have been able to find work more easily. His schooling would be privately provided - and he'd be enrolled in a curriculum that suited his needs best, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all system inherited from Prussian conscript training. While he'd have to pay for this, his mother would (assuming she was working) have more money than she would otherwise, due to paying little to no tax. He'd be able to start working and earning as soon as he wanted to, rather than being constrained by an artificial age barrier - and he'd be able to educate himself if he wanted, without committing a crime. There'd be more jobs for his age group and skill level available, due to a lack of minimum wage laws forcing the less-skilled out of the job market, and private libraries are entirely possible, and charity ones are prevalent too. He could always use project Gutenberg, assuming he was born today.

Tuition wouldn't be ruinously expensive if there was true competition between universities, as there would be in a libertarian system - and without the presence of government-backed student loans artificially inflating the cost of education, he'd likely be much better off having graduated. Having graduated, he'd find that he was able to fund all the services he relied on and required, and donate back to any charities he thought deserved his pay (which would be considerably greater without the taxman taking his share). He might well have taken out loans to fund some of his education, in a private system perhaps even as far back as high-school level - and in repaying them, he'd reimburse those individuals for the effort they invested in him. He'd do all this, without being compelled at gunpoint to contribute to any fund he disagreed with - say, the one for dragging people out of their houses and shooting them for possessing perfectly legitimate recreational substances.

This of course assumes that he and his mother knew what they were doing, and made sensible choices. This I think is one of the central disagreements between big-state proponents and Libertarians. Libertarians think that people are responsible for their own destinies, and trust everyone, even the poor, to make the decisions that benefit them. The impression from left-leaning big state proponents I always get is one of faint derision - treating poor people like children who don't know whats best for them, or pets to be shepherded along and looked after.



Everything bolded is an assumption, or based off of one. Some, like your claim that his schooling would be superior or that the labor market would be more favorable are highly debated among academics, and you present them as true. Others are just unsupportable claims.

I'd like to look at some specific statements I take issue with:
he'd be enrolled in a curriculum that suited his needs best, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all system inherited from Prussian conscript training.
I received a private education in elementary and middle school that was inferior to public education just a short drive away. (It was, though, superior to the public education I would have received at the public school I would have went to.) I know someone who is learning in their science class that carbon dating is highly unreliable, and the best evidence doesn't provide any proof of the world being older than 6000 years. Furthermore, several of the top US universities are public.

He'd do all this, without being compelled at gunpoint to contribute to any fund he disagreed with - say, the one for dragging people out of their houses and shooting them for possessing perfectly legitimate recreational substances.
This is one of the most bizarre claims of your libertarianism. The way I see it, you're advocating one of several things:

Private police forces. I pay a company for protection. This is fine, until someone hires a bigger company with better guns and decides they want my stuff.
A government that provides protection from violence, funding itself via coercion, like we have now. Since you mentioned that territorial defense would be private, I'd expect you'd also make police private, so not this option?
A voluntarily funded police force that maintains a monopoly on violence. Once, just once, I'd like someone who claimed to be libertarian use the phrase "tragedy of the commons." I've never seen it so much as uttered by a libertarian, much less actually addressed.

The crucial part of our police system is that government maintains its monopoly on violence. Ending this is an extremely radical step, one that, as far as I'm aware, has never been taken by anyone. In fact, ending the monopoly on violence is something that I think may move an ideology out of Libertarianism and into Right-Anarchy.


Lastly, I bolded and italicized your reference to the Gutenberg Project, because I believe it shows something libertarians gloss over. A lot of the great and noble things they like to point to could not exist without an extensive government. Project Gutenberg started out on a Sigma V mainframe owned by the University of Illinois, which is funded by the state of Illinois. The reason the project was able to start is because the founder got access to a computer owned by the state of Illinois, and that computer had access to a network developed by the United States Department of Defense. Project Gutenberg is now hosted by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, which receives it's funding from none other than the state of North Carolina.

So while Project Gutenberg showcases the power of charity to fill a role in society, it most certainly does not show the lack of need for a government. Maybe it would have developed own its own without state funding, but don't use it as an example.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby Ormurinn » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:35 am UTC

omgryebread wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:Alternative services would spring up to cater to individuals differing needs.


I'm not sure what your problem with this statement is; If there's a gap in the market, and the population you serve is large enough, its pretty much by definition profitable to fill that gap. Even if it wasn't, people have personal beliefs that might compel them to start a new healthcare organization - for instance, many Catholics might not want to contribute to an organization that funds abortion.I'm advocating that those individuals should be able to take the money they would be forced to invest into the NHS, and invest it into a system that they agree with.

Ormurinn wrote:though the labour market would likely be much more favourable in a libertarian climate, so It's likely she's have been able to find work more easily.


Well, there wouldn't be a minimum wage, and regulation of business would be carried out by for-profit ratings agencies, so people would have a choice about what balance between assurance and price they wanted. It's been known since Keynes that Minimum Wages have a negative effect on unemployment and particularly hammer the poor, since they move the point at which it is profitable to hire someone up the skill scale.

As for allowing individuals to choose to what level of regulation they want, an interesting parable comes from the meat packing industry in america - where regulation was used to crush competition from small business and raise barriers to entry for the business - ensuring the dominant chains stay dominant.

In what way would the labour market be worse?

Ormurinn wrote: he'd be enrolled in a curriculum that suited his needs best, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all system inherited from Prussian conscript training.


Why would he or his mother enroll him in a program that didnt suit his needs? Why do politicians and special interest groups know what I need to learn better than my own kith and kin?

Ormurinn wrote:He could always use project Gutenberg, assuming he was born today.


Lets say the Khan Academy instead then.

Ormurinn wrote:Tuition wouldn't be ruinously expensive if there was true competition between universities, as there would be in a libertarian system


You want a cite for competition decreasing prices?

Ormurinn wrote:he'd find that he was able to fund all the services he relied on and required


Well, he can afford them now, with some being provided by government. If that money instead went to private institutions, which are known for being more efficient, why would he get a lesser degree of service?

Ormurinn wrote:He'd do all this, without being compelled at gunpoint to contribute to any fund he disagreed with - say, the one for dragging people out of their houses and shooting them for possessing perfectly legitimate recreational substances.


Lack of monopoly taxation powers by any entity means this is true by definition, or were you taking issue with my characterisation of the drug war?


omgryebread wrote:Private police forces. I pay a company for protection. This is fine, until someone hires a bigger company with better guns and decides they want my stuff.
A government that provides protection from violence, funding itself via coercion, like we have now. Since you mentioned that territorial defense would be private, I'd expect you'd also make police private, so not this option?
A voluntarily funded police force that maintains a monopoly on violence. Once, just once, I'd like someone who claimed to be libertarian use the phrase "tragedy of the commons." I've never seen it so much as uttered by a libertarian, much less actually addressed.

The crucial part of our police system is that government maintains its monopoly on violence. Ending this is an extremely radical step, one that, as far as I'm aware, has never been taken by anyone. In fact, ending the monopoly on violence is something that I think may move an ideology out of Libertarianism and into Right-Anarchy.


Its the first option I'm advocating. Riddle me this - these private defense agencies have to compete for customers, since they cant compel people to buy into them. Why would more people contribute to a company that's willing to nick peoples stuff, than to one that defended them from aggressors? You're also discounting non-capitalist models like hue-and-cry systems, local defense militias, and religious orders. All that taken into account, any defense business will be much better off enforcing laws laid down by the communities they police - doing otherwise requires that they take on every defense agency that actually does its job, and a pissed off citizenry - its just too damn expensive to work. Presumably you're presupposing that one company would start off big enough that it could ruthlessly quash any competition, and then do whatever it likes, but we already have that situation. Its the Westphalian state, with its monopoly on violence. The government does routinely use its bigger guns to take people's stuff, with compulsory purchase for instance, or drug laws.

The crucial step of removing the government's monopoly on violence was taken by the Icelandic Commonwealth, which led to... an unparalleled period of peace and prosperity, an almost maximally efficient legal system, and three hundred years without war. The system only collapsed when one privileged class gained the right to tax people. Once you can tax people, warfare becomes profitable - since you can externalise the costs. Churchmen were given the right to levy taxes, and the second Athens fell.

Interestingly, originally the police were just people hired full time to exercise powers granted to every citizen, so i fail to see how a monopoly on violence is essential to a police system. Its essential to our modern one, but then, I don't think a modern policing system is something to emulate.
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Re: A small, specific question about libertarianism

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:35 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Its the first option I'm advocating. Riddle me this - these private defense agencies have to compete for customers, since they cant compel people to buy into them. Why would more people contribute to a company that's willing to nick peoples stuff, than to one that defended them from aggressors?


Organized crime has been running "private defense" agencies for a long time. They can compel people to buy into them using all of those guns that they're supposed to be defending people with. Sure, if you paid them enough, other defense agencies might be willing to get into a turf war with them to solve the problem. Or they might just realize that it is cheaper and more productive for them to also extort the local populace and not fight the rival groups. As I noted earlier, it is almost always better for rivals to collude than it is for them to compete in a free market, and therefore, unless there is direct oversight, the free market in that service will collapse. The better question is: Why would defense agencies defend people from aggressors, when they can make more money by working with the aggressors to exploit the people?


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