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Old 11th November 2012, 02:01 PM   #1
Jerrymander
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Problem with Libertarianism

The problem I have with modern American Libertarianism and Randism is its black and white thinking on issues of freedom. It seems that libertarians of the Ron Paul/Andrew Napolitano variety think the government regulating the ingredients put in food or the amount of pollutants released into the enviroment is the equivalent of getting into people's bedroom. Do they not understand one's people's actions can affect other people?

I have no problem with people who argue that the government is not as effective as private enterprise in deals with these problems, but those that simplify every issue into "freedom vs tyranny" annoy me.
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Old 11th November 2012, 02:05 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums. Also, I agree with what you say.

Another problem I have with them is that they simultaneously claim to be supporters of the Constitution while so obviously describing a different theory of government than the one described in the Preamble.

But caution: this pertains to Libertarians with a capital "L" and not, for example, civil libertarians, which I consider myself to be.
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Old 11th November 2012, 02:10 PM   #3
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Libertarianism (the 'L' variety, not the 'l' variety) has never once addressed how to handle the tragedy of the commons.

We see that today in Global Warming.
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Old 11th November 2012, 02:10 PM   #4
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Another problem is that they seem to think it's perfectly acceptable to limit women's freedom of choice when it comes to healthcare.
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Old 11th November 2012, 02:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jj View Post
Libertarianism (the 'L' variety, not the 'l' variety) has never once addressed how to handle the tragedy of the commons.

We see that today in Global Warming.
If people don't like how hot and volatile the Earth is, they can go to another planet that is more suitable to their liking. See, that's how the free market works!
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Old 11th November 2012, 02:15 PM   #6
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To those of us outside the movement, the fact that libertarians are a proxy army has always been painfully obvious. The key piece of evidence was always the set of issues that libertarians chose to emphasize. Most Americans share the belief that civil liberties are good, war is to be avoided, and high taxes are bad. But the fact that our country's libertarian movement spent so much time fighting high taxes and so little time fighting the encroaching authoritarianism of conservative presidential administrations was a clear sign that some priorities were seriously out of place. Should we really be more afraid of turning into Sweden than turning into Singapore? The contrast between libertarians' continual jeremiads against taxes and their muted, intermittent criticism of things like warrantless wiretaps, executive detention, and torture was a huge tip-off that the movement was really just some kind of intellectual front for America's right wing.

SOURCE
Pretty much sums it up.

Libertarians do occasionally denounce harsh drug laws and various forms of social conservatism, but at the end of the day they tend to focus on the part that really matters to them (or their funders at least). Laissez-faire capitalism.
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Old 11th November 2012, 02:20 PM   #7
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But caution: this pertains to Libertarians with a capital "L" and not, for example, civil libertarians, which I consider myself to be.
Exactly, I support libertarians that focus on real human rights issues like freedom of speech or the freedom to consensual sex. Not libertarians that cry over the fact that a store owner can't refuse service to someone of a different ethnic background.

Last edited by Jerrymander; 11th November 2012 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 11th November 2012, 02:21 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jerrymander View Post
The problem I have with modern American Libertarianism and Randism is its black and white thinking on issues of freedom. It seems that libertarians of the Ron Paul/Andrew Napolitano variety think the government regulating the ingredients put in food or the amount of pollutants released into the enviroment is the equivalent of getting into people's bedroom. Do they not understand one's people's actions can affect other people?

I have no problem with people who argue that the government is not as effective as private enterprise in deals with these problems, but those that simplify every issue into "freedom vs tyranny" annoy me.
Yep, I completely agree. It's easy but it's lazy. I think you hit the nail firmly on the head.

Randism (objectivism) focuses only on that part of our nature that is motivated by personal gain and rewarded for taking personal responsibility, risk and working hard. But it ignores the fact that the more functional one's society is the more likely one is to succeed. We are an evolved social species. The duality of man, the "Jungian thing". We need to prioritize and balance our policies accordingly.

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Old 11th November 2012, 02:31 PM   #9
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I know a few "Libertarians" that are pot-heads and really only care about Ron Paul's stance on doing drugs. They have no idea what the economic arguments are, other than "freedom" and "taxes suck, dude."

And then they complain that their unemployment checks aren't big enough.....
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Old 11th November 2012, 02:35 PM   #10
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I recall ReasonTV pointing to bans of exotic pets like pythons as a example of the "nanny state". I'm so glad there are people protecting our freedom to keep dangerous animals that could potently escape and threaten our neighbors.
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Old 11th November 2012, 02:41 PM   #11
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Yeah, thanks to the "nanny state" American's were not able to get Thalidomide and therefore we did not have a rash of children born with "extremely deformed limbs and other severe birth defects".

50 Years after Thalidomide: Why Regulation Matters
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Old 11th November 2012, 02:49 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jerrymander View Post
The problem I have with modern American Libertarianism and Randism is its black and white thinking on issues of freedom. It seems that libertarians of the Ron Paul/Andrew Napolitano variety think the government regulating the ingredients put in food or the amount of pollutants released into the enviroment is the equivalent of getting into people's bedroom. Do they not understand one's people's actions can affect other people?
I don't get this either.

On the topic of the environment, so many people think that environmental devastation is due to an intrinsic shortcoming of free markets, when, in fact, it is due to a non-existence of markets. Yet market solutions -- dare I say: libertarian solutions -- like "cap-and-trade" are vilified by fiscal conservatives who claim to be so respectful of markets and property rights.

More generally: What, exactly, do Libertarians think freedom and markets are founded on? A voluntary contract is worth nothing without a meddlesome government define the terms, a meddlesome government to force compliance, and meddlesome government to keep robbers and foreign invaders off my stuff.
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Old 11th November 2012, 03:00 PM   #13
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I had a teacher in high school who was a classic Libertarian. His philosophy was that people should be able to do what they want so long as they don't harm the property or persons of others. I really can understand this concept and I have a lot of sympathy for it. The problem is that modern Conservatism appears to care about the first part, but only so long as it doesn't involve lady bits or two dudes or flag burning or Dixie Chicks. And they completely ignore the second part. Your right to invent that new kind of steel and form your own gulch ends when it involves poisoning my air or water or using vast amounts of wealth to bankrupt my small town and turn it into a company town. Somewhere along the way there's a need for freedom to be limited if it results in pain for others.

The fight should be on where to draw those lines, not on whether or not limits are evil just for being limits.
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Old 11th November 2012, 03:03 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jerrymander View Post
The problem I have with modern American Libertarianism and Randism is its black and white thinking on issues of freedom. It seems that libertarians of the Ron Paul/Andrew Napolitano variety think the government regulating the ingredients put in food or the amount of pollutants released into the enviroment is the equivalent of getting into people's bedroom. Do they not understand one's people's actions can affect other people?

I have no problem with people who argue that the government is not as effective as private enterprise in deals with these problems, but those that simplify every issue into "freedom vs tyranny" annoy me.
Oh, and welcome!
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Old 11th November 2012, 03:13 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jj View Post
Libertarianism (the 'L' variety, not the 'l' variety) has never once addressed how to handle the tragedy of the commons.

We see that today in Global Warming.
They actually address it in 4 ways
1)It's all the fault of the guvmint interference
2)If we has a real captalism n not crony captalism, ther'd be no problems
3)It's all a guvmunt hoax to raise r taxes
4)If you don't like it move to North Krea

or maybe that's just the tea party libertarians

Last edited by bobwtfomg; 11th November 2012 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 11th November 2012, 03:17 PM   #16
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I'll add to the chorus here. I think the biggest problem with the party is they are so absolutist and ideological with no room for a "moderate" libertarian platform of any kind. We could use a libertarian party with a lowercase "l" but I doubt anything like that will ever exist.
As already mentioned, so many examples where we need regulation such as zoning laws, urban planning and so on. Additionally, while the private sector is more efficient, it doesn't always make sense to have redundant infrastructure with competing companies. Imagine having two interstate highway systems (that you pay for via toll) and so on.
If there was a party that was like the mainstream Republican party but socially liberal (gay marriage, allowed stem cell research, pro choice, etc.) and believed in a small military but without all the extremes of modern day Libertarians, it could be a very viable party.
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Old 11th November 2012, 03:56 PM   #17
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I think most people generalize way too much, and consider Libertarians to be some kind of right of center, Republican off-shoot. As a Libertarian, and someone that started out as a card-carrying member of the Libertarian party over 20 years ago, there is a lot of misunderstanding (in my mind) of what it means to have a Libertarian philosophy. I think if you're a real Libertarian you'll find most Democrats think you're a right-winger and most Republicans will think you're a pot smoking liberal. I also think there is a spectrum, as there are with other parties and other ways of thinking. Libertarianism isn't a conventional left/right spectrum. It's not a single place on a straight line. You don't get more Libertarian just by moving left or right of the center.
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Old 11th November 2012, 04:08 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by portlandatheist View Post
I'll add to the chorus here. I think the biggest problem with the party is they are so absolutist and ideological with no room for a "moderate" libertarian platform of any kind. We could use a libertarian party with a lowercase "l" but I doubt anything like that will ever exist.
As already mentioned, so many examples where we need regulation such as zoning laws, urban planning and so on. Additionally, while the private sector is more efficient, it doesn't always make sense to have redundant infrastructure with competing companies. Imagine having two interstate highway systems (that you pay for via toll) and so on.
If there was a party that was like the mainstream Republican party but socially liberal (gay marriage, allowed stem cell research, pro choice, etc.) and believed in a small military but without all the extremes of modern day Libertarians, it could be a very viable party.

I often vote libertarian. Partly because I like some of the planks in their platform, but mostly because I don't think we are going to make much progress with a two-party stranglehold on national politics.
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Old 11th November 2012, 04:31 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by jj View Post
Libertarianism (the 'L' variety, not the 'l' variety) has never once addressed how to handle the tragedy of the commons.
or have they?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg COMMONS.jpg (34.1 KB, 3 views)
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Old 11th November 2012, 04:33 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by jj View Post
We see that today in Global Warming.
Perhaps we could privatize the atmosphere?
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Old 11th November 2012, 04:59 PM   #21
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A libertarian wanting to talk about fiat moneyWP should be handled in the same way as an evangelical handing you a Chick tractWP. Find an excuse to be elsewhere.
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Old 11th November 2012, 06:06 PM   #22
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We used to have a libertarian here named ShaneK who believed all the stupid crap mentioned above and more. He's since taken his act to Youtube, where he berates commenters on his videos as LIARS and BIGOTS.

Rand-inspired libertarians, or those who take an axiomatic approach, are what I've heard someone call religious libertarians. Many of them are untouched by reason. Libertarians of the economic variety are a little more tolerable, as they may well problems such as the tragedy of the commons.
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Old 11th November 2012, 06:09 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Cain View Post
He's since taken his act to Youtube, where he berates commenters on his videos as LIARS and BIGOTS.
Isn't that what everyone does on youtube?
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Old 11th November 2012, 06:15 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Humes fork View Post
Pretty much sums it up.

Libertarians do occasionally denounce harsh drug laws and various forms of social conservatism, but at the end of the day they tend to focus on the part that really matters to them (or their funders at least). Laissez-faire capitalism.
Libertarians always just seem to be either conservatives who don't like being labeled as such or people who don't really know how things function, so hollow key terms like "freedom" and "liberty" appeal to them.
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Old 11th November 2012, 06:19 PM   #25
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Libertarians are just Republicans that want to smoke pot, legally.
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Old 11th November 2012, 06:23 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by thaiboxerken View Post
Libertarians are just Republicans that want to smoke pot, legally.
...except for their anti-war stance. And a few other things.
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Old 11th November 2012, 07:44 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by JoeTheJuggler View Post
Another problem I have with them is that they simultaneously claim to be supporters of the Constitution while so obviously describing a different theory of government than the one described in the Preamble.

The Constitution is politically biblical to some. It is a sacred text, divinely inspired, connected to our spiritual perfection as a nation. This view fits nicely for those who believe in natural rights, as in the god-given right to bear automatic weapons and hollow-point ammo. Like biblical interpretation, constitution interpretation is entirely malleable to the political needs of the adherent.

Let's take an example. A few cycles back, an unemployed computer engineer from Texas gained the Libertarian Party nomination for president. He claimed that due to the precise wording of the presidential oath as provided in The Constitution (hallowed by thy name), the president swears to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States," and that the president gets to decide for himself which laws are not constitutional, and therefore will be implemented. This textual interpretation, while contrary to the experience of entire history of the Republic, is provided as the justification for what looks like a plain call for presidential dictatorship. If that view of his program sounds overly harsh to anyone, consider that this inventive candidate promised that on his first day in office, he was going to force the entire Congress to attend his Constitution class, and not let them out until they all understood it the same as he does.

Now, cut to a gibbering cipher like Sarah Palin. She is programmed to randomly insert references to the importance of correct constitutional interpretation into her stream of consciousness political commentary/performance art. It's no different than a religious enthusiast invoking vague scriptural imperatives for this or that prohibition of others' freedoms.
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Old 12th November 2012, 08:30 AM   #28
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Wow, this is one hell of a grab bag list of all the reasons religious folk have "disproven Darwinism".

I guess you guys are done now and can be on your way.
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Old 12th November 2012, 08:59 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by hgc View Post
This view fits nicely for those who believe in natural rights, as in the god-given right to bear automatic weapons and hollow-point ammo.
This is a bit of an aside, but why do you use hollow-point ammo as your example? I understand your use of automatic weapons to make your point, but I think you may be operating under some misconceptions about hollow-point bullets and the reasons for their prevalence.

It's true that hollow-point bullets can cause significantly more tissue damage to a target than conventional bullets, and this is sometimes used to portray them as overly dangerous. But the thing is, if you're firing a gun at somebody, then fatal results are not only possible, they are often desirable. The idea that one can reliably shoot to wound is a fantasy. So why is that a problem?

Furthermore, that's not the only distinguishing feature of hollow-point bullets. In fact, the same property that leads to increased tissue damage also leads to significantly reduced penetrating power through other materials. This means that hollow-point bullets significantly reduce the risk of collateral damage, because they don't penetrate through walls (or bodies) well. That's a big part of why they're used so commonly among police forces, and it's a major benefit for civilian users as well. Banning hollow-point bullets from civilian use isn't likely to have a positive impact on gun deaths.
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Old 12th November 2012, 09:04 AM   #30
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My problem with Libertarians is that their ideas are simply unworkable for certain locations, such as cities and urban centers. It does not work there.

My other issue is that when the internet became all popular in the late 90's it seemed to be that the Libertarian party seemed to say to itself: "Hey! We have a medium to communicate our ideas to other people with rather than the booths we set up at swap meets. How shall we handle this?"

The answer seemed to be: "Let's get our most ornery, condescending and agresive members to post on USENET. Make certain that they insult and cajole anyone who doesn't agree with them 100%! Also, make certain they don't just hate other parties and other people, Make certain they have a real nasty anti-urban streak to boot!"

Its as if they went into the future and found a copt of Phil Plaitt's 'Don't be a ****' speech and decide to do the exact opposite of that.

This wasn't just a few online libertarians, this was EVERY LIBERTARIAN THAT POSTED ONLINE at the time.
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Old 12th November 2012, 09:35 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Cain View Post
We used to have a libertarian here named ShaneK who believed all the stupid crap mentioned above and more. He's since taken his act to Youtube, where he berates commenters on his videos as LIARS and BIGOTS.
ShaneK was one of my favorite posters ^_^

That said, I believe the problem with Libertarian ideology is Libertarian ideology. That all functions of government, all efficiencies or lack thereof, everything can be addressed by a one-size-fits-all, blanket strategy of deregulation and free market.

Deregulation and free market are the end goals themselves -- sometimes at the cost of people's quality of life (e.g. inability to afford insurance), equality of opportunity (e.g. discrimination against minorities and women), or the ability to make informed and correct policy decisions affecting the country (e.g. layman people with a microscopic understanding of economics making decisions effecting tax or currency law, or layman people who favor creationism in contradiction to the mainstream scientific consensus).
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Last edited by Dessi; 12th November 2012 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 12th November 2012, 09:47 AM   #32
sir drinks-a-lot
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Originally Posted by Ace! View Post
I think if you're a real Libertarian you'll find most Democrats think you're a right-winger and most Republicans will think you're a pot smoking liberal.
But also the opposite. Gary Johnson said that he could attack Obama from the left and Romney from the right.
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Old 12th November 2012, 09:54 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
This is a bit of an aside, but why do you use hollow-point ammo as your example? I understand your use of automatic weapons to make your point, but I think you may be operating under some misconceptions about hollow-point bullets and the reasons for their prevalence.

It's true that hollow-point bullets can cause significantly more tissue damage to a target than conventional bullets, and this is sometimes used to portray them as overly dangerous. But the thing is, if you're firing a gun at somebody, then fatal results are not only possible, they are often desirable. The idea that one can reliably shoot to wound is a fantasy. So why is that a problem?

Furthermore, that's not the only distinguishing feature of hollow-point bullets. In fact, the same property that leads to increased tissue damage also leads to significantly reduced penetrating power through other materials. This means that hollow-point bullets significantly reduce the risk of collateral damage, because they don't penetrate through walls (or bodies) well. That's a big part of why they're used so commonly among police forces, and it's a major benefit for civilian users as well. Banning hollow-point bullets from civilian use isn't likely to have a positive impact on gun deaths.

I have no particular brief against hollow-point bullets. It was a throw-away line. I used it because the freedom of access for that particular kind of ammo has been at issue when the government has attempted to regulate it in the past. It's relevant to my point in that a claim that the government regulation of types of ammo are a violation of 2nd amendment rights is an example of the kind of religiously analogous constitution-thumping that I am relating to the topic of this thread.
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Old 12th November 2012, 10:09 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Dessi View Post
ShaneK was one of my favorite posters ^_^
Ditto, and I have him as a friend on facebook and I subscribe to him on Youtube. He is a kind and decent man, though he can be hard headed at times.

Quote:
That said, I believe the problem with Libertarian ideology is Libertarian ideology. That all functions of government, all efficiencies or lack thereof, everything can be addressed by a one-size-fits-all, blanket strategy of deregulation and free market.

Deregulation and free market are the end goals themselves -- sometimes at the cost of people's quality of life (e.g. inability to afford insurance), equality of opportunity (e.g. discrimination against minorities and women), or the ability to make informed and correct policy decisions affecting the country (e.g. layman people with a microscopic understanding of economics making decisions effecting tax or currency law, or layman people who favor creationism in contradiction to the mainstream scientific consensus).
Very good post.

When I was libertarian I primarily saw govt as inherently evil, a necessary evil but one that would work best when it barely functioned at all. While I think we need to have a healthy skepticism of govt it doesn't really help to see govt only as a problem to be solved, to be reduced to the size that it can be drowned in a bathtub. The concept of govt is, a priori, neither good nor bad. It's simply a means to an end. When govt is bad like Iran or North Korea it can be really bad. But when it is appropriately balanced and citizens are well informed it can be, in part, conducive to a healthy and flourishing society.
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Old 13th November 2012, 01:20 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by jj View Post
Libertarianism (the 'L' variety, not the 'l' variety) has never once addressed how to handle the tragedy of the commons.

We see that today in Global Warming.
The tragedy of the "commons" is a blind, determined belief in a a documented hoax (Global Warming).
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Old 13th November 2012, 01:21 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by JoeTheJuggler View Post
Welcome to the forums. Also, I agree with what you say.

Another problem I have with them is that they simultaneously claim to be supporters of the Constitution while so obviously describing a different theory of government than the one described in the Preamble.
.
Nonsense.
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Old 13th November 2012, 04:00 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by kookbreaker View Post
My problem with Libertarians is that their ideas are simply unworkable for certain locations, such as cities and urban centers. It does not work there.
In some ways Dessi's post critiques an extension of this one-size-fits-all model, but the urban-frontier gap is often overlooked. How many big city mayors are Libertarian? It's long been said one of the differences between conservatives and liberals is that the former live in the country while the latter tend to live in the city. Cities require more robust government functions -- people are literally living on top of each other.

One day I Googled for libertarian mayors and came up with a SLATE interview with Boris Johnson, who lamented discovering that some paternalism proved necessary (e.g. prohibiting alcohol consumption on the subway).
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Old 13th November 2012, 04:28 AM   #38
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The problem with libertarianism? Human nature.
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