Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Libertarianism starts with respect

Libertarianism starts with respect

(My Clovis News Journal column for August 25, 2011. As written, not as published.)

I sometimes hear people make the claim that libertarianism is "Utopian", just like communism, because "it sounds good on paper, but it will never work in the real world". Ridiculous! Communism requires the impossible- omniscient central planners- in order to "work". Libertarianism only needs YOU to not steal or attack; it places no obligation on others. Are you claiming that is beyond your ability?

Clovis is not perfect, but it is good, and can be better. There is no Utopia, but you can prevent a place from becoming a dystopia. Allow people to opt out of anything they don't want, never put your neighbor's inalienable rights or liberty to a vote, don't enforce laws that have no ethical foundation, embrace "live and let live", and respect the property and person of others.

As a corollary to that don't support, defend, nor turn a blind eye toward those who do steal and attack. No justification makes those things OK.

There wouldn't be any more arguing over which faction is allowed to make decisions concerning how to take your money and spend it on things you don't want. No one would be allowed authority to violate your property rights any longer for any reason. The silly youth gangs would face the reality of straightening up or being weeded out of the population quickly. I'm willing to bet this change would even improve the local economy. Why wait for someone else to go first?

Even if everyone in this area suddenly adopted libertarian principles, no place will ever be perfect. The weather would still be the same; like it or not. The same will be true of the people. People will always be people. If you don't like your neighbors now, that would probably not change. Some people can't seem to stop meddling and I don't expect that personality flaw to go away. However, respecting the rights and liberty of others, regardless of whether you agree with them or not, takes away the meddlers' power to ruin other people's lives.

Clovis has potential. It isn't up to any new "laws" being passed, old "laws" being enforced, or anyone else taking the initiative. It is, as it always has been and always will be, up to you. I'm excited about the possibilities. Are you up to it?



  1. I think turning a blind eye is fine. My problem is with those who actively support evil.

    My example is my time at school. If it were just me vs. the teacher, I would have been able to defend myself. However, principles side with the teacher, the other kids side with the teacher, the cops side with the teacher, even my parents sided with the teacher, and I was told employers side with the teacher.

    If it were just me, they would have said, "Do your homework," I would say no, and that would be the end of it. They'd whine, but I'd just not do it. If paddling was still allowed, it wouldn't have worked because I'd have run away, and made sure I could never be trapped.

    Of course, if the teacher had known ahead of time that it would have been just them vs. me, they wouldn't try in the first place. They're bullies who only attack in superior numbers.

    Now that I mention it, I think it will always be possible for potential bullies to find and ally with other bullies. But it should be possible for anti-bullies to find allies too, which is currently not the case.

    Even while I was at school, I saw 'zero tolerance' was a joke. Against bullying? Please. They never stopped the child bullies and were bullies themselves.

  2. We currently rely on "omniscient central planners" to decide how our public goods are allocated. Out of curiosity...do you still object to allowing taxpayers to directly decide how public goods are allocated?

  3. There is no such thing as a "public good".

    Taxation is theft. I would be fine with allowing people to choose to voluntarily support whatever programs and policies they wish to support, as long as a person who wishes to support none is left alone. Any honest system will always allow opting out.

    My problem is that saying "You will be forced, under threat of death, to pay $X to the State, but you will be allowed to decide where that money will be spent." allows no option for someone who doesn't believe any government program "deserves" the support.

    Or, say The State demands $100 from a "taxpayer", and under your system he decides NASA should get $10, national forests should get $20, the military should get $25, and "border security" [sic] should get $5. Where does he allocate the rest of his "contribution"? Either he will be forced to "give" $40 dollars to something he doesn't support, or you would force him to "give" some agency or program that he marginally supports more than he wants to.

    It may be pragmatic, but it is still wrong.

  4. All I'm advocating is that we greatly, but not totally, increase the amount of choice in the current system.

    I'm proposing a stepping stone that is halfway to where you want us to leap to. But you refuse to take the big step because the stepping stone is still too close to where you are currently standing...and will continue to stand because that's where we've been standing for the past 2000 years.

    Actually, I'm sure taxes have been around for a lot longer than 2000 years and will continue to be around for the next 2000 years...unless we try something fundamentally different.

    Back in the day...when the king had sole discretion over taxes...would you have argued against passing control of taxes over to representatives?

    If the anarcho-capitalist position is correct (that the private sector can do everything better than the public sector can) then the end result will be anarcho-capitalism.

    The most inefficient/redundant government organizations (GOs) will lose funding...the scope of government will narrow...and the tax rate will decrease proportionately.

    You're saying that no GOs are fit...yet you don't support subjecting GOs to survival of the fittest. If it's true that no GOs are fit then if we subject them to survival of the fittest then they will all eventually go extinct.

    If you get a chance you should check out these comments on ataxingmatter blog. Linda and Jake support the liberal view while Peter supports the conservative view. The debate is very common and predictable...right up until I share the pragmatarian view.

    Liberals are forced from their comfortable and familiar position of defending government into the uncomfortable position of attacking taxpayers. The result is that, Linda and Jake, who we can assume are taxpayers, end up attacking themselves. In order to reconcile that fact...they have to make the ridiculous argument that they are somehow exceptional in recognizing results.

  5. I think murder is also wrong, and I don't think it is a step in the right direction to let the victim choose the method of death. My insistence on "no murder" isn't likely to affect anything. I will not murder anyone; nor will I steal and call it "taxation". I will not condone anyone doing those things, either.

    But, murder and theft will always exist. Allowing them to have a veil of legitimacy only serves the evil monsters who commit the acts. Just because "taxation" may be around for a long time if I insist on none at all (as if anyone cares what I say) is no justification for legitimizing it by claiming to make it more fair.

  6. Again, you don't believe that government is fit but you don't support subjecting GOs to survival of the fittest.

    If you're correct that no GOs are fit then the government will go extinct and taxes will be a thing of the past.

    So either you don't truly believe that all GOs are unfit/undeserving or you doubt the concept of survival of the fittest.

  7. The only "fitness" being tested here is the ability to steal (without being killed) by fooling people into believing "taxation" isn't stealing. And they've done a good job of that.

    Parasites in general are undoubtedly fit. There are a great many species of them infesting every species on the planet. That doesn't mean that the hosts should make it easier for them. In a contest between intestinal worm X and intestinal worm Y I don't want either parasite to "win". I want them both dead. Unless the parasite is actually beneficial to me, in which case it wouldn't need to "tax" me for the privilege of living in my gut. I'd welcome it with no coercion necessary.

    The State parasite has never shown itself to be anything other than harmful to me, personally. If someone else feels differently I have no problem with them contributing as much as they want to that particular parasite as long as they don't force that on anyone else whose experiences have taught them the opposite.

    If GOs are fit to survive in the market, absent a monopoly of violence, they wouldn't be forced to steal in order to survive. You could end confiscatory "taxation" today and people would want their "services" enough to keep them going.

    I realize your argument is that this is too radical to ever happen. You are probably right. But I can't support "half evil" (if such could even exist) just because the total absence of evil is impossible. I also suspect that if The State keeps doing what it has been doing there will be no need for people like me to do anything to end "taxation". The collapse of The State may accomplish the same thing.

  8. Just Watched a youtube interview of Walter Block and this comment he made reminded me of our discussion...

    "Well, I don't think there's anything wrong with the political process. The political process doesn't violate the libertarian anarchist axiom of non-agression. Look, if there was a slave master and he said I'm giving you a choice between overseer A who will whip you half to death and overseer B who's a nice guy...and the slaves voted for overseer B I don't think they are supporting slavery."

    If you support allowing people to choose how their individual taxes are spent it doesn't mean that you support taxes...it just means that you support freedom.

  9. Which illustrates why I don't automatically defer to "The Big Names" in libertarianism.

    But, I do think there is a difference between "choosing" a master who won't be as likely to whip you to death before you get the chance to cut his throat, and consenting to be stolen from.

    The theft probably isn't going to kill me directly since there are ways to keep enough hidden from the thieves to survive- the enforcers of the theft are another matter and are more deadly, since the penalty is ALWAYS death. But those enforcers will be there doing their "job" no matter how the stolen money is allocated. Otherwise few people would continue to pay.