Sunday, July 03, 2011

A very different "Libertopia"

I was doing a web search on my other blog, Dispatches From Libertopia, and came across a very different blog entry by that same name. Once again I am stunned and saddened by a person's ignorance.

Wait, not "ignorance"; by that person's stupidity. Sorry, but "ignorance" isn't intentional, and to say things like "Wherever government is meant to be of by and for the people, to be anti-government always means to be against the people.", and to believe it, is willfully stupid, not ignorant. I found 4 major problems with that sentence, not including punctuation. And that was just the first stink-nugget. It goes even further off-course from there. I didn't waste my time reading all of them.

It would be simple, though time-consuming, to answer each of the 46 (Roman-numbered) points and utterly destroy them. But they aren't even worth the effort.

The blogger clearly confuses (or conflates) "libertarian" with "conservative" (and that isn't the only error in facts, logic, and thinking the author makes) and builds a glorious strawman upon that mistake, reveling in his "progressive" political hatefest as he pathetically attempts to tear down his own failed creation. In some cases even his strawman kicks his butt even as he pretends not to notice. It's sad, really.

If you wish to be stunned, click on the link, but you have been warned. Your mind will reel as you see and mentally refute each point error by error- on several levels if it is more than a couple of words long. Just- WOW!



  1. OMG! "Just- WOW!" is right.

    I couldn't even get through all of them. What planet is this guy from?

    It is simply amazing, the level of ignorance AND stupidity displayed by some.

    And to think, he's "taught" others at Berkley.


  2. Hi Kent,

    Now hold on--a couple of his points are worthy of consideration:

    "XIV. Freedom is not a matter of making a selection from a menu provided by others."


    Consumers won't last long in freedom. Only producers that offer their own menu will be able to trade with others. As for voting, Fred Woodworth of The Match said that voting is an admission of your powerlessness.

    For the rest, yep, I gotta agree with you.


  3. Dave- Yeah, I later read down further and did find a few things he said that are sensible. But those aren't consistent with the rest of what he says. It's a shame, too, since only the liberty that comes with libertarianism can truly give this man the life he needs. Unless he prefers being a victim, that is.

  4. I just read this blather and wrote a comment on their forum about what a real libertarian is.

    I got multiple hate-filled comments from someone damed Dale, who doesn't seem to understand anything except anti-corporate rhetoric.

    He probably has never started a business or built a house or anything requiring initiative, poor fellow.

  5. Dale, if I remember correctly, is the blogger in question.

    I myself am "anti-corporate" since corporations are government-created monstrosities that are the opposite of the free market. But Dale can't understand the difference between free market trade and government corporatism and lumps them together (just like he bizarrely lumps "conservatives" and libertarians together).

    As Black Order mentioned above, it is a tragedy that people like that blogger are influencing minds who don't know any better and accept the erroneous information he feeds them as fact. It is educational malpractice.

  6. I was just thinking about that blogger again. (My stats show that he has checked in on this entry.) I wonder if he and others like him suppose they can tell those lies and not be noticed by the targets of their lies. I wonder if they are shocked when someone calls them on their BS.

    It reminds me of another blogger I caught years ago in similar lies. When he was caught with his pants down, he banned me from his blog. Then, soon after, he was banned from Blogger and his blog disappeared. I had nothing to do with that because I would never "report" a blog as "offensive" no matter what lies it contains- it's better to leave them up as an embarrassment to the liars.

  7. Mine is the post to which you have directed your readers, and as I said on my blog in response to you, I thank you for that.

    Although our views widely diverge and seem fairly settled, and so it is unlikely that either of us will convince the other to change much in the substance, it is still interesting to examine the deeper assumptions that separate such views from time to time -- to examine one's own premises and sharpen one's own case and, so long as things don't get too repetitious, for the sheer joy of discourse.

    At least one of your readers has engaged in some enjoyable sparring with me in the comments section of that post, and that yielded some mildly clarifying discussion.

    Again, given our differences and the firmness of our convictions and the polemical nature of the text of mine that started this, it seems to me pretty natural that the assertions being traded here are fairly bald ones. I find faintly ridiculous your description of frank exchanges of convictions as "hate-filled" on my part when you and your readers are more than willing and capable of giving as good as you got from me.

    I also remain disappointed that you boasted in your post about the ease with which you could demolish my every point and then left matters there, as now you insinuate without proof that I would ban you from my blog for fear of the humiliating blows I would receive at your hands or what have you.

    You all do realize that not all disagreements amount to "lies"? that not all strong assertions contrary to your convictions amount to "hate"?

    Given that I actually believe what I say, and for what I take to be good reasons I enjoy providing, I can report that I am far from "embarrassed" by our exchanges, and though I see that I have not convinced any of you -- which I cannot pretend surprised me particularly -- I do think I have had the better of the exchange. If you feel the same that is perfectly fine with me, arguments often go that way.

  8. Dale- Reread what I said. I didn't say you would necessarily ban me, just that it has happened in the past with a different, yet similar, blogger. I think libertarians are thought to be an easy target for flippant and baseless balderdash like that expressed in your blog. Usually the perpetrators are "liberals" since "conservatives", for the most part, don't seem to realize libertarianism exists. However I have also answered, time after time, the standard mindless objections to liberty that "conservatives" can't seem to let go.

    Which brings me to this: The reason I won't bother to demolish your points one by one is that I have already done so, repeatedly, on countless other sites where the same assertions were made. As you say "so long as things don't get too repetitious", and they have. Maybe not on your blog specifically, but all your anti-liberty points have been made by others before you and dealt with so many times, by me and other libertarians, throughout the years that it is a waste of time to refute them each time they are dredged up yet again. I do want to point out to others that the same old lies keep walking around long after death, like zombies looking for brains.

    If you are serious about seeing where you were wrong about libertarians you can search this blog or any number of sites that you might find through Google. You can even download my book "Problem? Solved!" for free. You could also email me and ask specific questions about one point at a time, if you have the inclination. I will probably point you to places where I have already responded to those others in the past who made the same errors. Or, I may take the time to really talk it out in great detail.

    You say "I find faintly ridiculous your description of frank exchanges of convictions as 'hate-filled' on my part when you and your readers are more than willing and capable of giving as good as you got from me." Really? You are the one willing to use the force of The State to kill those who don't agree with you; not us. If that isn't hate, then nothing is. And if you don't believe you are willing to see those who disagree with you killed if they don't comply, what do you really think the end result of the "laws" you advocate and support is? The penalty is ALWAYS death. And if you say something that is demonstrably not true, as you did in many of your assertions about libertarians, then you are lying.

    Remember that not everyone who claims the title "libertarian" really is one. Suppose I find a person who claims to be a duck because he can simulate a quacking sound that fools ducks. That does not make him a duck since an ability to "quack" is not sufficient to be a duck. Just because a "conservative" advocates liberty in some issue doesn't make him a libertarian. Most conservatives are supporters of the war on (some) drugs, draconian immigration controls, military intervention everywhere, and enacting and enforcing "laws" based upon religious notions (such as apartheid enforced against homosexuals) that have nothing to do with the libertarian position that it is wrong to initiate force. Libertarians are a "conservative's" nightmare on these issues. Even when "conservatives" appear to be on the same side of an issue as libertarians, the agreement is often shallow. "Conservatives" are often supporters of "gun control" [sic] as long as it keeps guns out of "the wrong hands" (usually people they don't like). And there are plenty more examples.

  9. The mighty may abuse and prey upon the less mighty or less lucky, and the beneficiaries of abuses are ever prone to rationalize might as right. This inheres in the sociality of the human condition. It's not brought into existence by the state, but tyrannical governance can amplify these ills just as democratic governance can ameliorate them.

    Courts and elections, for instance, provide institutional alternatives to the violent adjudication of disputes. (Public goods that are non-excludable and non-rival like infrastructure or a healthy, educated citizenry, also common goods that are non-excludable but rival like the atmosphere or aquifers, can only be profitably privatized through the externalization of social costs in what amounts to a second order register of violence or abuse rendered visible only through the emergence of civic institutions, violence and abuse that is equitably adjudicable only through their socialization. Of course, there's no reason to treat the overwhelming abundance of excludable goods as anything but private, whether as commodities for sale or products offered under other arrangements. This isn't easy to telescope into a sentence or two, and there's reasonable dispute on matters of detail. But it's worth mentioning up front because anarchic formulations often turn on elisions or confusions on these matters.)

    It's true of course that state institutions -- legislative, judicial, administrative -- may rely in extremity on the violent potential of warden or police or army to abide in their legitimate work in the face of disruption or threat. Nevertheless, to treat the presence or absence of legitimate courts to which citizens may make equitable recourse with a reasonable expectation of justice as no different in respect to violence, or to treat the presence or absence of periodic elections of citizens to posts to which majorities are eligible to hold office by citizens majorities of whom are eligible to vote as no different in respect to violence is to treat with indifference differences that make all the difference in the world.

    To provide nonviolent alternatives for the adjudication of disputes among a diversity of stakeholders (via courts, elections, the maintenance of a scene of informed nonduressed consent) or an equitable reconciliation of the diverse aspirations of those stakeholders (via representative governance and the social administration of public and common goods) demands the investment of institutions that administer justice and welfare with clear jurisdictional authorities to which all can make equitable recourse in their diversity.

    While this enables people to circumvent much strife and abuse, it also creates opportunities for strife and abuse and corruption at the level of the governance itself, in response to which political theorists and policy makers have experimented with a number of institutional arrangements. Among these are separation of powers, meant to redirect tendencies to corruption inhering in monopoly instead into the competitive internal policing of corruption; federalism, meant to facilitate the solution of shared problems at the most local level adequate to their demands; regular periodic election of representatives and officials by the people over whom they have jurisdiction, trial by jury, yoking the revenue on which governance depends to representation, all meant to ensure government remains accountable to the people in whose name it governs; oaths connecting public office to the defense of a written Constitution defining its ambit and support of an open-ended bill of delineated human rights.

    To respect these arrangements is to support good government not to abhor government as such. Liberty, after all, is a collective accomplishment enabled through the support of good government, and those who venerate liberty should surely be moved by that veneration not to smash the state, but to democratize it.

  10. You say you've heard all this before, but have you been paying attention? Whether you agree with me or not, it really is perfectly absurd to declare these assertions of mine as nothing but hate speech or utter vacuities. One cannot reasonably expect more from those with whom one disagrees than that they state clearly the assumptions they hold for what reasons and the relations of entailment and evidence they take to prevail among them.

    While you assume I am ignorant of your perspective, the truth is I'm widely read in laissez-faire economics and classical liberal theory, and have taught theoretical and popular works in the US market libertarian canon at the university level. I teach all sorts of things I don't agree with, and I tend not to disagree with a thing before I have striven honestly to understand it. You'll forgive me, then, if I pass on your offer to read your little book patiently explaining these things to me, and I in turn won't expect you to read my little writings on democracy, available at my blog!

    You declare my claims baseless even when I provide their basis, you declare what I say, however genial or persuasive, to be hateful and "contaminated" by defense of a democratic governance you reduce to violence all the while declaring market exchanges non-coercive by fiat whatever the real terms that articulate them. You refuse to address negative real-world impacts of arguments and policies inspired by libertarians or even by self-identified libertarians, declaring these always impure or phony libertarians and yet you freely use the label even when its usage in the world includes and depends on its wider application. Those are some mighty odd rules of the road, friend. But, of course, you're king of the mountain on your own blog and there's no need to pursue this if it has become unwelcome. You linked to me, after all, you responded in public to me. Again, I thank you for your attention.

  11. Might is never right. Not even when that might is the result of being in the majority and winning an election. Democracy is tyranny of the majority. Rights are not additive- two people (or 300 million people) have no more rights than one individual, and it is wrong for the rights of that lone individual to be violated even if every other person votes to violate his rights. America was supposed to be a republic so that certain things would be off-limits even for the majority of 100% of the population, minus one individual, through government, to do. It didn't work.

    You say "Courts and elections, for instance, provide institutional alternatives to the violent adjudication of disputes" but that is a false dichotomy. You seem to have trouble seeing that the choice is not between The State and utter chaos. Courts and elections are violence, hidden from view by the smoke and mirrors. Yes, courts could have a place in society, but they need to be separated from The State. Somali tribal law, with its ad hoc system of justice, is one possible solution- and one where corruption doesn't become status quo through a permanent institution.

    There is no such thing as a "public good". Using your example of the atmosphere- if you create pollution and it harms me or my property, you are responsible for restitution. Or, as with a bridge- Those who want it can chip in to pay for it and can recover their costs, if they want to, by charging a toll, or by accepting that they gain customers (in the case of a business) or freedom to travel more directly by the bridge, and finding that expense to be worth it. Those who didn't chip in directly are still paying for the bridge by their ability to trade with those who did. If people do not think the bridge is worth the cost they are not coerced (through "taxation") to pay for its construction. Any other way violates basic human rights.

    "To provide nonviolent alternatives for the adjudication of disputes ... demands the investment of institutions that administer justice and welfare with clear jurisdictional authorities to which all can make equitable recourse in their diversity."

    That's nonsense. People should be free to choose someone to adjudicate their disputes based upon things that matter (trust, reputation, expectation of fairness, etc.) rather than based upon their address.

    Separation of powers didn't work, or have you not noticed that "different" branches of government tend to support one another? "The shooting was justified because Officer X followed departmental procedures" so no charges are filed against the badged murderer. Or "We find The Patriot Act (or the income 'tax', or ???) to be Constitutional..."

  12. DC - "Liberty, after all, is a collective accomplishment enabled through the support of good government, and those who venerate liberty should surely be moved by that veneration not to smash the state, but to democratize it."

    BO - I wish I had more time, but unfortunately, I do not. So, I will only pick on this very statement as it speaks to the fundamental flaws in the reasoning of so many for their justifications for coercive governance.

    Arguably, the first part is correct, but it is the second half that is...well...backwards.

    First of all, there is no such thing as "good" government as government is predicated upon coercion and violence against the nonviolent for sake of an edict.

    You cannot say the words "Government" or "Law" without implying coercion.

    Coercion, violence, theft, kidnapping, etc. ...are all universally and fundamentally wrong as it is a violation of basic rights of the individual.


    How can liberty be enabled by violating individual rights?

    That's like saying the best way to cure an alcoholic is to take him to the bar every night.

    Liberty is freedom governed by respect for the rights of others. Respect for individual rights and accepting personal responsibility is what enables self governance, liberty.

    Government is antonymous with Liberty.

    Government is uncivilized.

    Further, There is nothing honorable about democracy.

    Democracy is mob rule. Democracy is the majority imposing it's will onto the minority by proxy of government.

    A good example would be defining "marriage" for everyone according to the beliefs of some, and denying gay folks the civil benefits that come with it.

    Who is government to tell you that you cannot "marry" Eric if you so choose.

    Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

  13. No one can have jurisdiction over another person, nor can anyone "represent" another person without a specific, individual agreement. Juries are lied to about their right and duty to nullify bad "laws". Government is not accountable when your sacred "majority" overwhelmingly opposed "ObamaCare" and the "bailouts", yet they were enacted anyway. Oaths of office are violated as soon as the politician takes office. Because the Constitution is "interpreted" to mean whatever the politician wants to believe it means. The Second Amendment, for example, makes it illegal for the government to enact any "law" regarding guns, yet that hasn't stopped politicians who have sworn to uphold the Constitution from doing so, and hasn't stopped the Supreme Court from saying it's OK.

    There is no such thing as "good government", except self-government (self control). Liberty is not "collective" except that you only have the liberty you respect in others. If you violate the liberty of your neighbor you ultimately destroy your own liberty. This may be "democratic", but it is still wrong. The State is always the mortal enemy of liberty- the two are mutually exclusive. But that doesn't mean that there aren't other threats to liberty that are not "States". Individual bad guys can be a serious threat, too, but without the institution of The State to give them the illusion of legitimacy, there is much less protection to keep them from facing the real-world consequences of their evil actions.

    Yes, Dale, I have heard it all before. And you do state it clearly. But you operate from some false premises. Such as that the "rights" of a majority trump the rights of the individual. A majority can not have any rights that are not inherent in an individual. If I have no right to go to your house and take 25% of your money personally, then I can't delegate that "right" to a government agency through a vote. If I have no right to barge into your house in the middle of the night and shoot you because I think you might have some dried leaves you intend to smoke or sell, then I can't delegate that right to anyone else.

    Give me an example of a "negative real-world impact" of a policy inspired by libertarians.

    Also, give me your definition of "libertarian". The simplest explanation of "libertarian" that I generally run across is "maximum liberty and minimum government". This is terribly incomplete. If you want other explanations, here are a few: Who is a libertarian?; What is libertarianism?; Libertarian; and a deeper look- The Philosophy of Liberty.

    Any "libertarian" who is at odds with that is an "impure or phony libertarian"; and not just by my opinion, but by definition. If it is an odd rule of the road to point out that not everyone who claims a label really is what they claim to be, then I suppose definitions are meaningless and we can just toss them all out the window and I'll claim to be a chuckwalla and you'll be forced to take me at my word, never mind physiology, DNA, or anything else. Right?

    I have no problem with your continued interaction. As you say, I linked to you.