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Comment Re:Libertarian nirvana (Score 1) 534

If anything, I consider myself a "whatworksian". If it works, I'm for it. ... Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan would tear each other apart; but they were both cut from similar cloth and if you asked either one of them they'd say they'd certainly agree they wanted to make America work.

So you give more examples of leaders that spent vast amounts of money and interfered in every aspect of economic and private life.

I don't think we should be striving towards any particular ideology. If some ideological strain starts leading us down a path that is contrary to our objectives, then it's time to abandon the ideology, not the objective.

What you call "our objectives" and "what works" is what other people call "an ideology". We have more common names for your "whatworksianism" and "honorablemenism", you're just unwilling to use them because you like to live under the illusion that they are new ideologies, rather than known and failed ones.

You know, there used to be some consensus in this country on what it meant for things to "work".

Yes, an anti-liberal consensus among big-government Democrats and big-government Republicans, a consensus mostly rooted in their common lust for power, money, and votes, and the lack of public awareness of what they have been up to.

Fortunately, people slowly seem to be waking up to the fact that this is a lousy direction for the country to go in and the the country's problems will not get fixed by attempting to send "honorable men" to Washington and that the right direction is to stop trying to do "what works".

I think the Internet is helping by not letting politicians hide behind the filter of sycophantic national news media, as they used to.

Comment Re:Libertarian nirvana (Score 1) 534

I think we'd actually agree that a sparse regulatory regime accompanied by men of honor would do a fine job. I just don't think we have enough men of honor these days for that to work

I'm glad you find a sparse regulatory regime desirable. But we don't agree on the "men of honor" thing. The role of government should be limited enough that it doesn't matter whether it's run by crooks.

Yours is the age-old confusion of progressives and intellectuals, the erroneous assumption that "government is a way in which you put unselfish and ungreedy men in charge of selfish and greedy men. But government is an institution whereby the people who have the greatest drive get power over their fellow men get in positions of controlling them." (Friedman)

I read "classical liberalism" as being very much laissez-faire, which we never totally had either

I didn't say we had it; I said it was the principle we should be striving towards, as opposed to striving towards progressivism. Actually, simply getting back to making federal spending less than 10% of GDP and prohibiting all branches of the federal government from keeping records on law-abiding citizens in any form would be a good start, both conditions that existed throughout most of our history.

Comment prepare (Score 1) 146

There are a bunch of companies selling SIM cards online (e.g. Telestial), both for the US and for global roaming; just search on Google. I've found that kind of mail-order to be the best source for SIM cards for travel.

Walmart, some electronics retailers, and some drugstores also sell cheap prepaid SIM cards that are easy to activate.

Since only half of US carriers use GSM, your choices are a bit limited. Also, most Americans apparently prefer subsidized phones and subscription plans, since the prepaid BYOP plans are just not that popular.

Comment Re:Libertarian nirvana (Score 1) 534

I don't recall that we were discussing Rent-Seeking at all. Our discussion seemed to center more around Regulatory Capture. I introduced Corruption as a new branch in the discussion

Rent seeking, regulatory capture, and criminal corruption are all forms of political corruption. The forms of political corruption that have been relevant to our discussion are almost entirely rent seeking and regulatory capture, because those are the prevalent forms of corruption under Western democracies, as well as progressivism and fascism. Your attempts to introduce discussions of other forms of corruption was apparently simply intended to deflect the discussion onto something irrelevant.

We started on the semantics of Progressivism and it just started spiraling more and more out of control from there...

This is not a "semantic debate". You have given examples of progressivism and progressivist politicians, and I agree that those are progressives. We are talking about the long term consequences of those policies and their historical similarities and ties to fascism.

It is simply a historical fact that on economic issues, modern American progressives share a great deal with German fascists of the late 1920's and early 1930's (before they simply became genocidal maniacs); you can see that by looking at speeches, policies, and party programs. If you like to rationalize and justify those similarities, go right ahead and give it a try, but denying them is silly.

(On social issues, modern social conservatives in the US share a great deal with German fascists of the 1930's. That's probably why both progressives and liberals can keep accusing each other of fascist tendencies: you both have them.)

You asked what we should do as a society, and the answer is pretty simple: go back to classical liberalism, the philosophy of the enlightenment and reason that this nation was founded on.

Comment Re:Libertarian nirvana (Score 1) 534

Sigh... words in my mouth, improper inferences, strawmen...

I didn't "put words in your mouth", which implies misquoting. I paraphrase or respond to what I think you said. That's what people do in debates. They also misunderstand each other. That's why people clarify. You're just using these baseless accusations to avoid debate.

And now I offer as an example of someone who didn't fail at fighting corruption, Fiorello H. La Guardia

The term "corruption" has several meanings. Up to now, we've been using it in the informal sense of "successful rent seeking", which is usually not illegal. Now you switched meanings to the illegal kind (bribery, racketeering). Is that sort of dishonest debating strategy so deeply ingrained in you that you don't notice, or do you simply not understand the difference between illegal corruption and rent seeking?

And I'm not sure what the reference to LaGuardia and corruption is supposed to prove. While fighting illegal corruption is certainly a worthwhile cause, many politicians do it while they support massive rent seeking or even are corrupt themselves. LaGuardia was eminently "corrupt" in the rent seeking sense. Filthy, crowded, decaying LaGuardia airport, built for a wealthy elite of air travelers, is symbolic of his politics and where the country is heading under progressivism, as will be the tax dollars and new debt used to fix it up.

Comment Re:Libertarian nirvana (Score 1) 534

LOL, Godwin's law much? Like all too many discussions on the 'net, this may have devolved into a pointless semantic debate too.

First of all, it was you and others who accused libertarians of somehow being linked to Massachusetts going the direction of serfdom and fascism. I was responding to that and pointing out how ludicrous it is for a state run by a Democratic, progressive supermajority.

You and others correctly identified SWAT teams and the privatization of SWAT teams as having fascist tendencies, but for some utterly weird reason you make excuses for the party in power that instituted those policies and blame people with no political power whatsoever.

I would submit that it's not a question of quantity, but of type. ... I offer for your consideration the idea that reducing regulation isn't the answer--restoring INTEGRITY is the answer.

Restoring integrity? How can you restore something that has never existed? What we have today is a pretty good democracy with, by and large, pretty decent and well meaning people, in all political parties. We aren't going to get any better people or any better policies. All we can do is decide how much power we give these people and how much money we let them spend on corporate cronyism.

every once in a while he'll mention a guy over there who is crusading against corruption

Politicians crusade against corruption all the time, it gets them votes. Many of them may even seriously believe that they are doing something. But that doesn't change the fact that they fail.

I think our big difference is that you are keyed into the org, gov, org revolving door which is a big Dem problem, as opposed to the corp, gov, corp revolving door which is more GOP (although I think both parties are in on that one).

Nowhere have I said that Republicans are any better. It's you who is foolishly viewing this as an us-vs-them kind of discussion.

All I am saying is that people who believe that the Democrats are saviors from this kind of governmental abuse of power are fooling themselves.

And if you have an ounce of intelligence, then do what I and others did, leave the Democratic party, become an independent, and learn about what liberalism actually means. The problem in both parties is that they hate liberalism and individuality.

Comment Re:Libertarian nirvana (Score 1) 534

OK fine, but why mislabel it? In the Progressive movement, the state acts as a counter-balance to firms.

You're not getting it: I'm not mislabeling it. This is what Hitler promised (direct quote) in order to get elected:

we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead of responsibility and performance

Here is what Hitler said about America:

I don't see much future for the Americans ... it's a decayed country. And they have their racial problem, and the problem of social inequalities

That could come straight from Hillary or Obama or any other modern progressive. I doubt anybody who voted for him wanted to murder millions of Jews or fight a hopeless war; that happens later, when these people are at risk of losing power because they inevitably utterly fail to deliver what they promise and instead end up just wrecking the economy.

Letting the firms do anything because somebody told you they would ride in on rainbow-colored unicorns if you did that?

Libertarians don't want to "let firms do anything"; there is a minimum level of regulation that is necessary, but we are far beyond that. Furthermore, regulation often protects firms from liability and competition, and that is exactly why companies get away with murder today. We need to get tough on companies, and that means generally: no subsidies, no exemption from liability due to regulation, and no artificial monopolies, exactly the opposite of what progressives actually do.

Even worse, we are at a stage now where Democrats propose bad regulations in order to fix problems that were caused by bad regulations in the first place. When that sort of thing goes unchecked for too long, it spirals out of control until the economy collapses entirely, and usually democracy with it.

Comment Re:Libertarian nirvana (Score 1) 534

I don't think people plan much for the day they become the "customer" of a SWAT team and I don't even wish that you become one ;).

Quite right. If you contract out your security, you get a choice what kind of service you want: with-SWAT or without-SWAT. Most people are going to opt for without-SWAT. That's, generally speaking, the libertarian view: you should have a choice.

Democrats argue that how policing and security are provided should be left to government experts; they obviously have decided they need SWAT teams, and you don't have a choice in the matter.

Here's a map of botched paramilitary police raids, compiled by the Cato institute, which is highly critical of these practices:

Comment Re:Should the US government censor political blogs (Score 1) 308

This idea that I see brewing in conservative circles, that it should be alright to just flat out cut a check to a politician in any amount is baffling.

What is baffling is that you consider this a problem, without any evidence whatsoever. Contrary to what you have been indoctrinated to think, the US is not a paradise created by rich people for rich people; there are far better places in the world to be rich. If anything, it is the US middle class that is far too powerful in US politics and enriching themselves at the expense of others.

Furthermore, even if it did cause problems, nobody has proposed better alternatives. Public financing of campaigns ends up being far more corrupt in practice (and there is plenty of experience).

Provide strong evidence that this is a significant problem, and then provide strong evidence that you have a solution that actually works better: that should be the bar people have to reach in order to reform in this area.

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Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. -- Aldous Huxley