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Comment Re:Poor Nazis (Score 1) 978

I tolerate them to the extent that I don't want to murder them, but I don't tolerate what they are saying without challenging it.

I don't think any ideology deserves this amount of tolerance. We should be challenging any idea we think is wrong, whether it be Christianity, socialism, capitalism, fascism, violent video games, hip hop music, whatever.

That's what the alt-right wants when it talks about tolerance, they want people to stop criticising and embarrassing them.

That's what lots of groups want when they talk about tolerance. The alt-right is not special in this regard. Most people in general don't really understand freedom of speech, or why it is beneficial. I hear lots of people talking about how being banned from twitter is a violation of their free speech, or how freedom of speech comes with responsibilities (i.e. only popular speech should be allowed, because unpopular speech is "irresponsible"). And this happens on all sides of all spectra.

And this did not used to be the case, but it seems like it is now, that currently the left is actually the bigger threat to free speech. It's not everyone on the left, and a lot of the fiercest criticism of the anti-free speech left, is coming from the pro-free speech left. This election seems to be somewhat of a repudiation of the anti-free speech left (among many other things), it's just too bad that we also end up with a vindictive idiot child with no respect for intellectual honesty or truth at all as our president.

Comment Re:Nice try (Score 1) 302

There has definitely been a decrease in the quality of death threats in the information age. When every single person of nay significant level of notoriety gets death threats like how they get junk mail, they kind of lose their potency. While some celebrities still manage to find a way to be crippled over it, it's pretty hard not to be desensitized when you are literally inundated with death threats, and never see evidence that any are credible.

Comment Re:Poor Nazis (Score 1) 978

I find it hard to be tolerant of people who consider me a second class human being because of my race.

I don't. I know people exist who think they are racially superior to me. I don't have any desire to track them down and kill them or banish them, etc. I literally tolerate them and their existence.

The difference is that Nazis think they are better than everyone else. It's not about tolerance, it's about equality.

I view one of the costs of a free society is that there will be some people who have thoughts that I find repulsive, and the freedom to express them.

BTW I don't actually think progressives are actually intolerant, in the sense that they literally tolerate views opposed to their own (e.g. in a way that Assad doesn't tolerate rebel groups), but I do think many of them are intolerant according to their own definition of tolerance.

Comment Re: And to think the DNC wanted to face Trump... (Score 1) 2837

Interestingly - your VAT tax falls right in line with Gary Johnson's consumption tax idea - and shares the same problems. First problem: it's the most regressive tax system imaginable.

Yes it is regressive. That's why it's important to have a strong safety net. It's ok to have a regressive tax as long as it is offset by something (i.e. like negative income tax/minimum income).

Johnson proposed a prebate for lower income people to offset the tax, which effectively means they don't pay one at all. He didn't do the maths though it seems. That prebate would be the largest entitlement program in America by a factor of 3 - even if you got rid of all the others you couldn't afford it. The overhead in administering it would be a nightmare.

This isn't Johnson's original idea. And yes it would be the largest entitlement program in America. It would theoretically be able to replace nearly all the other entitlement programs. It seems to me a much cleaner solution to just give poor people enough money to have a basic quality of life and let the market handle the rest, rather than having millions of little disparate discounts everywhere. I think the government is much more suited to running big programs rather than a bunch of tiny ones. It's easier to make government accoutnable for one big thing. It's easier for the citizenry to assess the health of one big program and hold their representatives accountable.

I do agree with you that welfare as it stands in the USA is broken - but the answer is to fix it, and the market is terrible at that because there is no profit in it

That's a very narrow view of how markets can work. Listen to the podcast I posted called "How Efficient Is Energy Efficiency?". Markets are not just about profit. They are about efficiency. Why would you give out food stamps rather than giving out actual government procured food? Because you trust markets to efficiently get the food people actually want to them.

And yes, markets alone don;t do much good. You could argue that a completely free market is just anarchy and behaviors like theft, fraud, etc become viable strategies. Ok fine. So we have a minimum set of rules that restrict the free market to foster behaviors we want. We alter the market so that the most efficient way to profit stops being theft and becomes producing the best product at the cheapest price.

And in fact, at one point libertarians championed it - Hayek believed that without a floor price the labour market will always degenerate to the lowest common denominator: which is slavery, and proposed UBI as the best possible preventative. Somewhere along the line they stopped that. Somewhere along the line the Greenspan wing of neoliberalist libertarianism became dominant. Greenspan used to brag that his policies are built to promote one thing and one thing only: maximize worker insecurity. Because business leaders love that. It benefits them greatly. Insecure workers don't unionize, they don't negotiate, they don't ask for safe factories or decent wages or benefits. They are cheap.

I think UBI is making a comeback. And it's not like every single libertarian gave up on the idea of UBI. Sure there are trends and fads in any culture, but the fact that UBI went out of fashion does not mean that it can't come back and that it's not an idea (though not the only idea) consistent with libertarianism.

Somewhere along the line -the very degeneration into slavery that Hayek warned against became the majority libertarian view.

I don't think those people believed they were advocating for the degeneration to slavery, but I'll agree for the sake of argument. So what if it was the majority libertarian view? What should we do now? Judge all libertarian ideas and libertarians as if they are equivalent to advocating for slavery?

Now you may argue that's not the kind of libertarian YOU are ? Fine. But it's what the politicians who call themselves libertarian to get your vote has consistently done. Its what Paul Ryan did after telling the world that Ayn Rand is his favorite author. It's what Rand Paul and Ron Paul voted for in congress. It's what Gary Johnson wanted to do as president.

There are almost no libertarians who hold power. Believing in the free market (if you can successfully argue that) alone doesn't make you a libertarian. I would argue that Ron Paul and Gary Johnson were real libertarians (or real enough). How much power did they have? None. Paul Ryan is not a libertarian. He believes in some fraction of libertarians principles, but so does Bernie Sanders.

If you are a power republican like Reagan, and you hire a libertarian economic advisor, and you say "I like all your stuff on lowering taxes, but I don't like your stuff on helping the poor", so I'll just cherry pick the parts I like, can the outcome really be blamed on this hypothetical libertarian advisor and his ideology? Is that guy really the one in charge and pulling the strings of power? No, he's a pawn.

It may not be who you are - it may not be who many libertarians are, but it is who all the libertarian politicians are and those are what the movement is judged by, not by what you say you want

We are the ones doing the judging. And I am making an argument that it's not in our best interest to lump the bad libertarians with bad ideas with the good libertarians with good ideas because then we miss out on potentially good ideas.

Hell the modern democratic party is pretty much classic liberals.

Ignoring the fact that both major political parties are utterly corrupt and really stand for almost nothing at this point. They are fundraising organizations whose goals are to maintain power and the status quo, I still don't think the democrats nor the republicans are classic liberals. They are pro war on drugs, they are pro death penalty, they are pro war, pro big government, etc.

It's only now that Sanders has sufficiently woken up the progressive wing of the party that actual liberal policies are at least back on the table.

I don't think the democrats get to take any credit for the recent popularity of Sanders. I think he did that despite them. He only became a democrat because he knew the system is rigged against 3rd parties, so he tried to make his play within the party, but that came with it's own set of challenges (i.e. the corrupt DNC was not going to let the nomination go to anyone but HRC). Sanders is waking up the people who are in the democratic party because they have no better options, and people who have abandoned the democrats.

They were, to use the term of today's typical liberal/democrat voter: sane.

It's perfectly sane to vote for the lesser of two evils when it has a chance to make a difference. I don't begrudge people for voting for a corrupt political party if the alternative is a fucking child with the nuclear codes. But the democratic party is basically garbage. I hope they can get their shit together in 2 years. I hope the republicans can find their spine also. It doesn't do our nation any good to have bad political parties even if they are your opponents' political parties. I want all the parties to be the best version of themselves.

I am at the point where I don't even care about ideology when voting. I will vote for anyone who is mostly honest and moral, and preferably a competent adult.

Comment Re: And to think the DNC wanted to face Trump... (Score 1) 2837

Seriously - you're not a libertarian. You may like the term - but you don't have anything in common with libertarians and you're defending a philosophy whose most central tenets you basically don't ascribe to.

Really? I know lots of other libertarians that have basically the same point of view that I do. I also know lots of libertarians that don;t want their taxes to go to fire departments. This seems to jibe pretty well with the idea that libertarianism is a very broad ideology.

If you're going to talk about better or worse versions of an ideology and still make sense - you need some core things that are considered defining attributes of the ideology - and none of the ones that libertarianism has are found in you.

I believe in the power of the markets, though i accept that markets can't handle all scenarios well, such as "tragedy of the commons" and negative externalities. This is a pretty typical view among libertarian economists, though it is not the only view.

I believe in deregulation in the sense that I think our society is overly regulated. I don;t think every regulation is bad, but I think there is value in keeping the regulations as lean and mean as possible.

I believe in bodily autonomy. I don't think the government should have any say in what you do with your own body (drugs, prostitution, doctor assisted suicide, etc).

I believe in freedom of association. I believe in contracts.

I think we should replace the income tax with a VAT tax because the income tax deincentivizes wealth creation, and the VAT tax deincentivizes consumption.

I think market based solutions for social safety net offer better economic incentives than our existing welfare system and other things like minimum wage.

I believe in freedom of speech.

I wouldn't say I'm a typical libertarian, but I think it is not only the label that fits the best, I think it is the only one that fits at all (maybe classic liberal also fits, but no one knows what that is). But I don't think there really is such a thing as a typical libertarian. There are maybe a few archetypal libertarians that suck. Oh well, that's how every ideology is.

What do you think I am if I am not a libertarian?

Some things - that means tax funded and provided to everybody ( water and healthcare this is probably the best way - because it's a disaster for the whole neighbourhood if one person doesn't have water - they ALL end up getting cholera).

I think this sort of thing falls perfectly within the example of a problem best solved by government. While some self described libertarians are anarchists, most aren't and want a government to do things like this if not this specifically.

To my mind - the ONLY role the federal government SHOULD have in economics is to write a LOT of regulations - their job is to ensure an even playing field.

Why should there be a LOT of regulations? Why not have the minimum set regulations to be effective? Why have a hundred thousand page tax code? That just creates loopholes and wastes resources. I think the tax code could be dramatically simpler and still be effective if you got rid of all the special interest deductions. I think we can get by with regulations against theft, fraud, etc, etc. I think economists liberal and conservative agree on a lot of what should be done to solve many problems, but they are often just not politically feasible and our politicians lack the courage not to pander to win elections, and the public lacks the knowledge or sense of civic responsibility to do whats fair for everyone rather than what's best for themselves.

The reason the coal mine dumped acid in the drinking water isn't because coal mine owners are more or less evil than the average person - but because unlike the average person they don't expect to go to jail for it. If they get caught, they may get a fine - and if the right person is in charge - not even that.

I don't think we need a LOT of regulations to get to the point where poisoning people is punishable.

If I poison the town well - I can expect to spend the rest of my life in jail. I see no reason why the coal mine CEO should expect anything less.

I don't see what is unlibertarian about that.

That is the legitimate economic task of the federal government. To ensure no town has to deal with THAT problem - because it's a problem no town can solve. Not when the companies they are trying to regulate have more resources than most countries.

It's certainly the job of the government to create laws in general. You certainly can make laws specifically against poisoning town wells. Or you could have a healthy tort system that allows individuals or class action lawsuits recoup damages while charging people who committed criminal acts (like harming people) with crimes that are punishable with prison time.

We have court systems to ascertain guilt. Maybe the CEO is culpable, maybe he/she isn't. We can have a legal system to deal with criminals and tort, even without having a bunch of regulations specifically against poisoning wells. That's not to say that I don't think regulations aren't appropriate, but being a libertarian I prefer to have fewer regulations that are effective.

Furthermore, I think the market solution to pollution in general of taxing pollution in a way where the price of an act is reflected by it's true cost, is an elegant solution. It requires some regulations in the form of government ascertaining the cost of various types of pollution and enforcing those rules through inspections and permits etc. But it allows the market to arrive at efficiencies rather than the government mandating behavior.

Comment Re: And to think the DNC wanted to face Trump... (Score 1) 2837

up. The Ratings Agencies are ENTIRELY made up of private companies.

That are granted legitimacy by the SEC, and these credit ratings agencies then sell that legitimacy to the companies they rate.

I am not saying that private companies are not partially responsible. I am saying that their actions are totally predictable given the system they were in. We as a society control the rules of the system. We are the government. Sure we can blame the private companies for being greedy, but we knew they were greedy. A better approach is to set up a system where greed is channeled into market efficiency. That's not always easy to do, but neither is regulating every interaction from the top.

You seem to have a rather romantic idea of libertarianism that isn't very true to reality.

Libertarianism is a very broad ideology, just like socialism is a very broad ideology. I choose to judge these ideologies by the best they have to offer rather than the worst or the average. Why? Because if some ideology has 90 bad versions and 10 good ones, you can just take the 10 good ones. Who cares about how many bad ones there are? It's trivially easy to create more bad versions of an ideology.

Libertarianism primarily ascribes to the Austrian school of economics. Noteworthy for being the only school of economics that rejects empiricism - in other words, no matter how often or badly their ideas fail, they will never be improved since real-world failures are not considered evidence.

That's only one branch of libertarianism, and even the Austrian school of economics has some valuable insights. Is it bad to reject empiricism? Probably not until our theoretical models accurately match reality. That said, there is nothing wrong with having an emphasis on theoretical models. Empiricism is limited in it's ability to produce understanding. For example look at how many people say things like "We tried socialism/capitalism, and it failed". These sorts of views completely dismiss entire strategies based on a single attempt with a single set of parameters. Maybe that specific instantiation of socialism/capitalism wouldn't have failed if some aspects of it were improved. There is certainly a place for theoretical economics, and empiric analysis is a good tool for validating those theories.

Libertarians claim it doesn't exist.

I'm a libertarian. I think it's quite apparent that market failures and negative externalities exist, and I think that government intervention is appropriate to address these things. This is different than an approach that prefers government regulations to market based solutions.

I would say anyone who doesn't believe in market failures is just not very intelligent. That's ok. Most people are not very intelligent. Some of those people are libertarians. That should be expected. What I am saying is that it's ok to dismiss libertarian viewpoints that don;t acknowledge market failures, just like it's ok to dismiss socialist viewpoints that reject concepts like money and private property.

Lets only bother with the thoughtful views from every ideology. If some idiot socialist advisor convinces president Bernie Sanders (who I supported) to abolish money or private property, we shouldn't immediately blame "socialism" and use this as a way to reject all socialist ideas. There are many worthwhile insights within socialism regardless of what bad ideas exist within it.

I don't paint socialism with the brush of it's worst adherents, and I would hope other would offer the same courtesy to libertarianism.

Comment Re: And to think the DNC wanted to face Trump... (Score 1) 2837

Your analogy doesn't hold though. Your basically saying that we can't blame libertarian ideas for what libertarian ideas have done because they weren't implemented fully ? A part-dose should be a part-cure, it shouldn't cause another disease.

No I am saying that those policies don't count as libertarian if the libertarian principles on which they are ostensibly based have been sufficiently perverted. Some libertarian principles are not longer libertarian if only implemented partially. Like legalizing drugs for white people does not count as a libertarian policy even though it is a partial implementation of a libertarian policy of full bodily autonomy. It violates the libertarian principle of equal protection under the law.

Another way I could criticize this is to say that there are dumb versions of laws based on any conceivable ideological principle. There are dumb versions of socialist principles. There are dumb versions of capitalist principles. The fact that you might be able to argue that some specific dumb policy could be cosidered the dumb version of a libertarian principle isn't a reflection on that ideology itself. I wouldn't blame dumb versions of socialist policies on all socialists.

Lets take the bank bailouts. True, libertarians generally said we should have let the banks fail - but that was an untenable proposition. Letting the banks fail would have meant a second great depression - millions, perhaps billions, of people starving and dying, wars, death and destruction wrought on people who were entirely innocent in what happened.

This is a false dichotomy. It is not the case that the only two options are letting the banks fail, and bailing them out the way we did. So yes, letting the banks fail spectacular fashion is *a* libertarian position. It is not the *only* libertarian position. There are more mature and nuanced ways of dealing with the bailouts that are still based on fostering the free market. I should also point out that libertarians are not strictly equivalent to anarchists. I think the federal government stepping in handle situations that it can better than the free market is appropriate. Maybe the government could have assumed control over the failing banks, fired all the upper management, and gradually sold the banks off in a way that did not destabilize the market. The benefit of letting the banks fail would be eliminating some moral hazard form the system. This means ensuring that the people who made the horrible decisions that lead to these problems don;t profit immensely from those "mistakes" (i.e. banking executives, and shareholders).

Ideally the situation should have been prevented from happening in the first place - for that you needed regulations, regulations that used to exist but got scrapped because of libertarian ideals.

Having regulations is one potential solution to the problem. Another solution is simply not playing favorites with the banks. It is not regulations or lack of regulations that caused the banking crisis. It was the lack of a coherent system. We can have bailouts and too big to fail or we can have deregulation, but we can't have both. I don't think all regulations are bad, but I do think we should keep them few and effective. Some lack of regulations helped caused the crisis and some regulations caused the crisis. Look at the whole ratings system the government put in place and what it did to give investors a false sense of security. I would argue that it would have been better if those ratings agencies did not come with an official government sanctioned seal of approval.

. Secondly - I've yet to see any libertarian call for a much more important thing that should have happened afterwards: prosecution and jailtime for the bankers who committed fraud. And make no mistake - ultimately the entire situation was caused by fraud on a massive scale. At every level. Fraud was used to get loans given to people beyond their means to pay them back (which is a fraud on both the lender and the borrower and a crime known as 'predatory lending'). And fraud was used to sell the resulting loans as securely rated investments afterwards - fraud in which the ratings agencies were complicit.

I'm a libertarian, and I am irate that almost nobody was punished for this. This issue is the only thing I have actually tried (unsuccessfully) to call my representative for (who didn't care anyway). So now you have seen one.

Iceland jailed the bankers who committed the fraud, and declared fraudulent loans invalid - and their economy recovered better than anybody else's. There isn't even anything un-libertarian about that. A contract entered into under fraudulent conditions is not a valid contract.

That's awesome. I wish we had the political will to jail our bankers. No there isn't anything unlibertarian about punishing fraud. I would argue it is unlibertarian not to.

So libertarian love of deregulation caused the problem, and the supposed libertarian preferred outcome would have destroyed the world.... and we're supposed to absolve libertarianism because we didn't destroy the world as per their prescription ?

That's about as fair as me saying that this problem was caused by socialists love of bailouts. Like I said. You can have deregulation or bailouts, but not both. I view the banking failure as the perverse version of capitalism and socialism. It was private profiteering with socialized losses. I don't care if people are risky with their own money. Libertarians call offloading risk/cost onto other people negative externalities, and much of mature free market economic theory deals with mitigating externalities.

That's the problem with libertarianism, it's all simple ideological solutions, the same answers to every question - and it never considers that human beings are involved.

And there in lies the problem. You seemed to have only ever considered the simple libertarian solutions. I would challenge you to consider the more nuanced and mature libertarian solutions. The simple solutions of every ideology tend to fall short. There are in fact very well regarded economists who are considered libertarian economists (i.e. they prefer market solutions to top down government solutions). There are dumb libertarians who have unworkable and overly simplified policy proposals that involve them not paying taxes. Just ignore those people, like how you ignore the dumbest socialist economic policies.

That the mass layoffs they *always* defend is families going hungry over things they have no control over. That the weakening of the unions they so despise has consistently reduced people's quality of life. That the reductions in the price of consumer goods has been nowhere near as high as the reductions in wages and that even if that HAD been the case as they predict, it still doesn't fix the problem that the people whose wages were cut can't buy *anything*. It's a damn good thing we haven't tried full on libertarianism. Layoffs WITHOUT a social safety net ?

Yes, some libertarians are fine with people dying in the street. Just like some socialists would be fine with living in squalor as long as we had income equality. Treating the worst versions of these ideologies as representative of the value they offer is not useful at all. There are better libertarian solutions that include social safety nets. The market based (libertarian) alternative to minimum wage would be something like minimum income/negative income tax, as proposed by Milton Friedman. This addresses poverty by giving people what they need to no longer be poor (money). This means people no longer *need* a job to eat, and gives workers the security they need not to be exploited by employers. If you don't need to work to feed your children, you might be more willing to negotiate/strike, because you are not as dependent on your job for survival.

Assuming libertarian policies have no consideration for social safety net is like assuming socialist policies have no consideration for economic prosperity.

Socialism and Libertarianism are not mutually exclusive. Juvenile socialism and juvenile libertarianism are incompatible, but that's not interesting at all. Not wanting to pervert the free market is not equivalent to having no social safety net. Let's take the best ideas from every ideology.

Here is a good example. It is the freakonomics podcast episode on the economics of green policies

Here is another episode drawing some differences between diffreent visions of libertarianism

Comment Re: And to think the DNC wanted to face Trump... (Score 1) 2837

I think I see what the problem is

>Hitler was a national SOCIALIST

Seriously - you're going to pull THAT piece of bullshit ?

If there were anyone else besides you and I reading this, a statement like this would indicate that you were intellectually dishonest. But since there aren't, I think it just means you are dumb.

Comment Re: And to think the DNC wanted to face Trump... (Score 1) 2837

You think the libertarians have 'little power' ? Hahahaha. The Koch Brothers are libertarians - and they fund almost all republican races. The libertarian PARTY may have little power - but the libertarian ideal has driven republican policy as a whole ever since Reagan and frankly the reason the LP never did well is because the libertarians all vote republican. The republican party has been the (quite insane) alliance of libertarians and the religious right for decades.

Those people are free market conservatives. Libertarians are *also* free market conservatives, among many other things. The people whose *only* libertarian position is a belief in free free markets are not libertarians, and more than people who believe that drugs should be legal for only white people believe in libertarian principles.

No, he's not. Your mistake is not realising that there are two completely different philosophies both known as 'libertarian'. The one originated in France, is a form of socialism, and is what Noam Chomsky is.

It did originate in France because it was part of the enlightenment. It was *not* a form of socialism, quite the opposite , it was actually a form of individualism. And this is what is known classical liberalism.

In America, uniquely, the word is used to refer to small-government capitalists. They differ from the neocons ONLY in favoring isolationism and this has NEVER been a sufficient deterrent to stop them all from actually voting for neocons.

In America there are a bunch of conservatives that do not want to pay taxes. Many of these people have co-opted the libertarian label. Labels get co-opted all the time. Fine. But unlike the nonsense labels of "left" "right", "libertarian" actually has freedom (liber, latin for free) right in the name, and it has a very specific historic definition. This is why I feel justified in saying those people are "not real libertarians", rather than simply conceding that that's just what libertarian means now.

And libertarianism and socialism are not mutually exclusive. There are libertarian socialists like chomsky.

Every libertarian I know personally voted for Bernie Sanders this election.

I don't think many of the neocons who co-opted the libertarian party even call themselves libertarians. I know people who joined the libertarian party who are current neocons, that will say "I am a member of the Libertarian party, but I am not really a libertarian". Every single libertarian I know has either left the Libertarian party or was never a member.

You don't get to dismiss the fact that the libertarians wrote the republican economic policy for decades just because they compromised the social liberal values to appease the religious right in order to win elections -they ALWAYS considered tax policy to be more important than actual freedom - and I have challenged them about that alliance for over a decade, and they always make excuses.

I don't even know which individual people wrote the republican economic policy for decades, and it wouldn't matter anyway. It doesn't matter who wrote a particular policy in terms of judging whether it is good or bad, and it doesn't matter what label they self identified with.

Hitler was a national SOCIALIST! Does that mean "socialists" are responsible for the holocausts? Of course not. The nuances of these labels matter, and they are frequently inaccurate.

And even if I were to agree for the sake of argument that the people who wrote all the republican economic policies were libertarians, they policies they enacted were not actually libertarian. What libertarian support bailouts for the banking industry, or subsidies for the oil industry? These aren't real libertarians if they even exist.

And here is my main point. Even if we are going to accept that the "libertarian" label has successfully been co-opted, what it not productive is conflating these neo-libertarians with classic libertarian principles. It does no one any good to help people think that legalizing drugs, minimum income/negative income tax , taxing carbon, eliminating income tax deductions, letting banks fail, etc (i.e. some libertarian economic principles), are what lead to the consequences we see today. We should be making a distinction between neo-libertarians (whose only ideology is profit through exploitation), and classical libertarians (that actually have an ideology based on fairness, and freedom for everyone, whether you agree with their approach to achieving this goal or not).

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