Debate:Why the State must die (Or at least suffer immense pain)

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NOT AN ESSAY! Feel free to debate below, i don't understand why this is considered an essay.

Over the past 50 years, most people have an instinctive reaction to a problem by advocating the intervention of the State.

Your local hospital closes down? Petition the state. Crime gets out of hand? Petition the state. Local nursery too expensive? Petition the state. Lack of local parks? Petition the state.

Self reliance is an almost alien concept. I currently work for a political pressure group (Which is officially in the charity sector) and I know civil society in Britain has been in decline for 60 years at least. The constant reliance of the state contrasts greatly with the pioneering work of what I would term libertarian socialism, which I believe has a rich tradition in Britain. The Victorian workingmans clubs, or the projects of Sir Robert Owen were revolutionary and should be re-attempted. But outside the remit of the state.

The state is much like a contagion, begatting dependancy, when the reality is that civic society, individuals and families form society, yet the prevailing opinion is that the state directs society and that the people must goosestep along the direction it demands. All of my life I voted Liberal Democrat, as I have always had a socialist twinge, but Labour went too far and believe in a mammoth nanny state that wants to take away my civil liberties in its quest for a technocratic monster to control our lives. I worked in the civil service so it was always against my interest to vote Thatcher. Yet in recent years I've come to learn the wisdom of her reforms, badly needed as they were for this trade union riddled country. I feel trade unions are necessary, but unfortunately they always look to the state - not civil society or moral force - for the answers. And for this, I am ashamed. Over the last couple of years I've come to realise that civil libertarianism is impossible so long as the state plays such a huge role in society and the economy - the dependancy is always going to be there, and civil liberties are impossible without the associated self reliance. And for that reason I resigned my position on my local Liberal Democrat committee, and committed myself full time to a new political order.

I was impressed with Cameron's concept of the 'big society', but I think it was just a cynical cover for massive public spending cuts. I'd rather we'd be more open about what we want to achieve - namely, the abolition of the NHS, and the Welfare state in general. At the last election I voted UKIP, as I feel they are closest to my political principles. Any thoughts? This was more of a ramble than an argument, but I;d be willing to make my position more concrete if necessary. Libertarian1 (talk) 10:29, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Abolish the NHS[edit]

Over my dead body. Let me guess, you're a reasonably well of, reasonably fit person between the ages 18 and 60. So, you're all right, Jack, and the rest of society can just go to hell. If you really think that "we want to achieve ... the abolition of the NHS" then you're out on your own and in a massive minority. Mind you, that's UKIP all over. Jack Hughes (talk) 11:08, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

I would say I'm lower middle class, and without the NHS I would struggle to pay for private insurance. But such is the price of liberty. Your interpretation of society is one based on state handouts, not the struggle for freedom and individuality. Libertarian1 (talk) 11:11, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Also, being in a minority does not make me wrong. Thats a misnomer. I'm well aware advocating the abolition of the NHS is a minority position. Libertarian1 (talk) 11:12, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Being in a minority over the abolition of the NHS means that you want to take away a vital service from tens of millions because you don't like it. And I'll give up a little freedom and individuality if it means that I don't have to die if I can't pay for health insurance. Bastard time Hoover! 13:08, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
"The State" is more than just handouts and benefits. It's organisation, structure, centralised funding. "The State" is what takes your "hard-earned" tax money, pools it together and distributes it to where it could do more combined than it would separately. It gives billions to research councils, which then give you back everything, from the dyes in the clothes that you wear to the medical treatments that cure you of illness. It regulates your drinking water so that turning on a tap isn't lethal and costs less than buying it in bottles every day. It makes sure your food is edible, not poisonous. It ensures the roads are lit pieces of usable tarmac, rather than dirt tracks. It gives you the collective infrastructure to make every service and utility interconnected and usable by all equally. Yeah, let's ditch it. Scarlet A.pngmoral 11:22, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
^-- The Crundy approves this post. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 12:56, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I believe an organised state is a necessity. I am not an anarchist. When I use the word 'State' in the pejorative term I'm talking about a culture, ideas, and general societal attitude. I'm not referring to destroying the legal system (The first principle of any society based on the non aggression principle) Or even a reasonable amount of expenditure on infrastructure. I believe in a flat tax rate, preferably at a low level. And more important I envisage a gradual withdrawal of the state, not a revolution. The state may be a cancer, but society is addicted to that cancer. To remove it rapidly would result in terrible withdrawal pains, and violence. I am not as impractical as many Libertarians are on this matter. Libertarian1 (talk) 14:22, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I think you need to define what you actually mean then. As far as I can make out you are only against the NHS and the "nanny state" laws, such as drug abuse laws, and you are not intrinsically anti-state, correct? CrundyTalk nerdy to me 14:24, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
The "nanny state" laws are usually gross exaggerations by right-leaning papers, though. Most of them are regulations designed to keep people safe and alive. You want risk? Okay, that's fine. But I want it in law that someone who makes food needs to say explicitly what they put into it. I want REACH to classify and test all chemical substances. "The EU mandating how bendy bananas are supposed to be" is also a misrepresentation of an act designed to ensure quality produce is sold only. Most of it people never even realise when it affects them because it's made their lives safer and less eventful. But if a nanny state means that cars have to have air bags and construction site works have to wear high-vis jackets or that I have to fill in a risk assessment before doing a reaction (and having done quite a bit health & safety work myself, it's this simple "nannying" that makes a lot of difference) then give me a "nanny state". Seriously. This whole "oh it's 'elf and safety gone mad!!" bullshit that comes out of the likes of Richard Littlejohn is, at best, misrepresentation and at worst it's undermining people's confidence in the stuff that really is making their lives easier. Scarlet A.pngmoral 17:47, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Again, I'm not an anarchist. I have no problem with basic central regulation of labelling, foodstuffs - a general economic framework. What do you take me for? Libertarian1 (talk) 19:55, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

In Favour[edit]

Aye, the problems you mentioned could readily be solved through self-reliance, fuck the government. Your local hospital closes down? Go to medical school. Crime gets out of hand? Form a lynch mob and let the perps dangle from the street lamps. Or even better, join them once the police is out of the picture. Local nursery too expensive? Tough luck, sucker - find a coal mine where your kids can do some productive work. Lack of local parks? Face it, enclosures are awesome.

Sign me up for your fascinating project, then! Together Individually, we will be able to bring the libertarian socialist utopia of our dreams about, and once society as a whole throws off the shackles of government, mankind will enter a glorious new age without any distribution and collective action problems whatsoever. Röstigraben (talk) 11:18, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Put my name down too. I hate those pesky fire, ambulance and police services. I hate those traffic lights infringing on my liberty to drive however the hell I like. I hate that the roads where I live are all so smooth and well lit, and that the street cleaners in my town centre keep the place tidy. God damn those libraries too, how I hate them. And lets strip out all regulation from the city, because the boom and bust cycle isn't big enough already. Bondurant (talk) 12:28, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
The part that interests me most is what we should personally do to reduce the general crime rate. Maybe that's just a call for everyone to shoot criminals, though. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 13:12, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Well quite. If we aren't paying a central body to arrest, convict, and incarcerate criminals then the best option would be to arm everyone and if you see someone you think is a criminal then take them out. Even if they're just double parked. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 13:26, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, guns for everybody! The UK's murder rate is currently not nearly high enough! (The US is 20 times higher, in spite of the population being only 6 times larger). And guns do a great job of solving crimes, as opposed to (potentially) preventing them. All you need to do is find someone you suspect, form a posse, arm yourself to the teeth, and hang-em high. Bondurant (talk) 14:19, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
This is a general response to some very childish comments. I don't know where you get the idea that I think there should be no legal system. And my response to petitioning the state in the instance where crime rates become exponential is to engage civil society. The first response should not be to the state, but to families, community groups, and employers to come together to tackle a communal problem. The automatic response to seek out the state as an answer to all our problems is leading to our growing impotence, and in many ways, is a cause of the crime in the first place, as civil society has become spineless and unable or unwilling to stand up to anti social behaviour. Parents are literally afraid of their children in many parts of the big cities. The family is in dissarray. A majority of black families in inner city London are single parent households. Is it any wonder that black young men are among the highest participants of crime in this country? This goes for white families also of course, but the figures for the black community in London are particularly stark. Libertarian1 (talk) 14:26, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Out of curiousity, whereabouts in the UK do you live? CrundyTalk nerdy to me 14:29, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
How does one do that? The part where the "first response should (...) be to (...) families, community groups, and employers"? How do you compel or encourage anyone to do anything without backing from the government? They are all good ideas in principle, but I just don't understand how. Bondurant (talk) 14:34, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
The problem is that our entire civic society is aimed at the State. Luckily our modern state is relatively benevolent, but I, like many millions of Britons, watched with horror as New Labour passed every more galling anti-terror legislation. Remove the cancer of the state and a vacuum arrives for civil society to intervene in. Britain once had one of the most active civil societies in the world. Our football clubs were created by workingmen who wanted something to do. Pool Halls and womens organisations became central hubs of communities. Rural councils and church halls formed the nucleus around which a society was built. You may look with dismay at what I say about winding down the State, but I equally look at you with dismay in terms of how you see the State as a solution to everything. Libertarian1 (talk) 14:45, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Whereabouts do you live? London? CrundyTalk nerdy to me 14:46, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I look in dismay at human nature. If society in general was capable of looking after itself (e.g. through good economic times and bad, like in the 1930s) then the state would have remained "small." We don't look after ourselves well. Personally, I'm quite happy that nearly 40% of my pay cheque goes towards paying other people to look after the things that, after a long working week, I can't be bothered to do - such as going out and filling in a pothole in the road somewhere. Sure, I'd like the money to be spent efficiently, and hopefully the new government will cut the cruft. I'd also like it to be spent fairly, which only a government can do.
And where do you live, by the way? Bondurant (talk) 14:54, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Hillingdon? CrundyTalk nerdy to me 14:56, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm under no illusion about human nature. But I am a firm localist, I strongly believe local people are more capable of dealing with local issues than a monolithic state. You are missing out on opportunity cost. Say that only 5% of your money went to the state in taxes to pay for a legal system, national defence, basic infrastructure investment etc. - You're quality of life would improve astronomically. And if you're a good person, you can give something back to your local community. There is simply little incentive in charity anymore, and I think once people have personal control in where their money goes, then voluntary welfare and support systems would become much more efficient. So much human energy and talented and goodness is wasted by a reliance on the state. Mankind can be better, more efficient, and more humane if it were only given the chance to do so. Libertarian1 (talk) 14:58, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I used to live in Liverpool by the way. Libertarian1 (talk) 14:59, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Cool. I work with a few scousers. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 15:00, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
There are two challenges. Firstly, consistency is a problem when each community effectively reinvents the wheel in order to deliver services. This can be dealt with through a careful definition of "local issues", and perhaps the national government could effectively sub-contract its responsibilities to local bodies, although with specific minimum standards and requirements. Citizens need to be protected from local government, and should not be left at the whim of a body that is likely to have a monopoly in that area. The second issue is in cost. Yes large institutions do introduce overhead and bureaucracy, but this isn't just something done for the fun of it. As mentioned earlier, standardisation is necessary for consistency and fairness, and some people would readily dismiss valid safeguards as being "red tape". Devolving this to a local level risks having many individual bodies all reinventing the wheel within their own personal fiefdoms. They'll be closer to the public, but then that's not always a good thing. Consider a particularly unsophisticated and racist community. Would the local body take steps to enforce the rights of green men if the people on that body are almost entirely drawn from the same bigoted community? Maybe the latter could be solved by having human rights being managed by the national government. --ConcernedResident lollipop, for the ladies 15:14, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't believe in a moral state. I don't believe that civil rights can be legislated. They must only not be impeded by an all seeing, all consuming power. Sure, a localised system will be inefficient... If one were living in 1850. But we live in a technological age. Say for example a local entrepreneur wants to establish a health clinic in his local area. He expects to make a 5% profit margin on every patient. However another entrepreneur sees the profit in this, so he invests in a brand new clinic, undercutting his competitor by hoping to make a 4% profit margin, producing a bigger and better institution. And so on, the benefits of economies of scale are still present. And what is stopping him from having a hospital in Manchester, in London, in Glasgow etc. etc.?? Libertarian1 (talk) 15:34, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
(EC) My quality of life is fine now. Would it improve with more money in my pocket? Maybe I'd live in a bigger house and drink more expensive wines. Would I give enough back to society to compensate for the lost tax revenue, and would all of my neighbours do the same? No, I don't believe so. We'd keep our money for that rainy day, probably to pay for a new TV when my big house is robbed by someone struggling to feed their family. That's human nature for you.
The US is closer to the libertarian reality than just about anywhere - lower taxation and less "intrusion" from the state. They also have the widest gap between rich and poor in the western world. Not a great direction to be going in, and yet you would suggest to go even further.
Human nature is what it has always been: bad. Bondurant (talk) 15:19, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I wish people would stop quoting the US as some kind of Libertarian paradise. depending on where you live, the tax burden is not all that lower than Britain over there. And the level of government spending is massive. It is not a Libertarian system, its legal system is biased in favour of massive coporations. Do you think Ron Paul votes against most bills just for the fun of it? Libertarian1 (talk) 15:34, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I worked on a little project with a Danish guy once, who told me that the income tax there is 50%, but he defended it because the quality of life is extremely high over there. Do you perhaps feel we are a little stuck in the middle, where we are taking money from everyone, but not enough to carry out the changes society requires? CrundyTalk nerdy to me 15:34, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
(ECx2)I'm also extremely sceptical about what you call a local community, and how you hark back to the days when local people set up social clubs, charities etc. Those days were when entire towns were centred around a single industry, e.g. mining or farming, and people lived around the same people they worked with. This is no longer the case. I live around a bunch of people I have no connection with other than a postcode. They are all strangers to me and to each other. My work colleagues are similarly spread from around a huge area. Where is this magical sense of community supposed to come from? Bondurant (talk) 15:37, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
The loss of British community is the fault of the state. Don't weep for what is gone, instead fight to make it re-appear. Though it is undeniable that the British community was forged by a shared experience in a major industry, much of the London community was cosmopolitan, where people worked different jobs in varying industries. Communities will form, its a natural reaction when the state withdraws. Libertarian1 (talk) 15:39, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Why was the loss of community the state's fault? CrundyTalk nerdy to me 15:43, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Inequality will form from the withdrawal of the state. Rich people will get richer, poor people will stay poor. Kids from rich families will go to good schools, kids from poor families will drop out of their inadequate schools early and will never escape the poverty trap. Rich people will get good health care, poor people will die younger. Bondurant (talk) 15:46, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Maggie's fault, Crundy. She destroyed the mining communities. Bondurant (talk) 15:56, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
What about the non-mining areas? CrundyTalk nerdy to me 16:00, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Errr... also Maggie's fault (she's easy to blame). She forced all those industries to dry up due to overseas competition and for tertiary industries to spring up in their place. It's her fault people now work in nice shiny office buildings and that work colleagues don't all live together on the same estate. Bondurant (talk) 16:03, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Libertarian1, I'd like to return to a point in an earlier reply. You said that there's no reason why hospitals could not be located elsewhere, and patients from other communities could travel to them. That is true, but where is the incentive to deliver healthcare to people in undesirable areas. By undesirable areas, I'm this would include places where people can't easily afford healthcare, remote areas, and those with communities too small to make emergency healthcare profitable? The postal service runs in to the same problem, in that cities and suburbs are effectively subsidising mail delivery to the more remote areas of the country. It does not follow that the government must run all of these services, but certainly something has to be done to ensure sufficient coverage. I imagine someone would fill the gaps, but something has failed if city dwellers are enjoying the latest advances in surgery while the impoverished make do with whatever the market will provide, which I imagine in some areas wouldn't be far off the tradition of the barber-surgeon. Some things have to be considered on a national basis, and that requires some kind of government. --ConcernedResident candlestick, for the ladies 17:38, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Is it so galling to be expected to migrate where the best services and jobs are? 250 years ago 98% of the population lived in rural areas. Times change brother. I don't see why regions should be subsidised by a massive state. I'm from the north of England, but economically it has no raison d'etre. Realistically, up to 50% of the population should begin a southern migration. There are simply no jobs up there, and the area is kept alive by state support. Which is why it votes Labour! Libertarian1 (talk) 19:52, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure how desirable it is to effectively evacuate the countryside in order to shift services in to major population centres. That has a very troubling ring to it. Migration for work may be necessary (and I'm old enough to recall Norman Tebbit's "on your bike" approach). What you're describing sounds like a very cold and utilitarian approach - arguably an odd form of internment. How do you reconcile that with lamenting the loss of communities? What you're describing may well be economically sensible, but it's a rather large social engineering project with uncertain results. --ConcernedResident xylene, for the ladies 20:28, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
You mention social engineering. How is this any different to any progress that has ever taken place in our history? This idea that mankind should be sedentary is so ingrained in our consciousness that it comes off as quaint and archaic. The reality is that we are a mobile species, and in Britain the countryside effectively is evacuated anyway. The present system wherein millions are encouraged to stay in the north of England, where the economy is dominated by the public service sector, is a far more dangerous kind of social engineering. And one which has had devastating results - I take it you've watched the Channel 4 show 'Shameless'? Tells a story in itself I think. Libertarian1 (talk) 20:34, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Of course it tells a story: it's a fucking soap opera. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:32, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Something happening in history hardly justifies this, particularly if there are no specific analogues mentioned. We may have differing views as to what "countryside" is, but from my time in Kent and other parts of south-east England, the countryside appears far from evacuated. These are viable communities, but certain services to them cannot be paid by themselves alone. Delivery of utilities and postal services come to mind. Yes we shouldn't encourage towns to sit on their thumbs doing nothing, but do we really want an entire country based on maximisation of wealth? The system your proposing would seem highly reliant on financial power and that seems rather cold. I see no point in lowering my tax bill if we're to sacrifice large parts of what I consider to be part of the British way of life. It also seems difficult to reconcile this with your claim that the state has destroyed communities. What you're suggesting seems far more brutal than anything the state has done in the past 50 years. --ConcernedResident beagle, for the ladies 20:50, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I am not the God of some future Libertarian system. Who knows, perhaps there would be growing pains. Perhaps rural areas would suffer. I don't know. But I think its important to emphasise that this is not an anarchist system. People in rural areas will not be afraid for their safety. Their roads would be paved, their streets patrolled by police. Is it really so radically different to expect service from privatised healthcare and post offices? I'm not going to lie and say everyone will live in a utopia. Utopias are impossible and some sacrifices always have to be made. But the present system has lots of sacrifices which are insidious and silent, and which we never really notice. Sacrifices are a part of life. Paying extra to deliver a parcel may be a price worth living to live in a free world (And besides, the post office isn't nearly as important as it used to be. Mobile phones and the internet has changed our world, we need to avail of a free market system that will detect the most efficient way in which to transfer information. Maybe faxes will make a comeback? Either way, your analysis is far too doom and gloom) Libertarian1 (talk) 23:47, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
You talk about communities magically springing up again after rolling back the state, but then talk about mass economic migration also being a good thing. Are you insane? Bondurant (talk) 05:55, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I'd say, "yes". The USPS has never lost a package sent to me in over twenty years of running a "mail order business". Or damaged one. UPS, on the other hand, has destroyed expensive, "insured" packages and lied about what happened. ħumanUser talk:Human 06:26, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
It is not inconsistent at all to expect communities to spring up following the withdrawal of the state but also to expect workers to migrate where the best jobs and services are. Most people with families wish to remain sedentary, and a community may only take one week to form. I don't know. But this idea that the only kind of community (Or a real community) is a rural one is quite archaic.Libertarian1 (talk) 13:09, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
So you think that with the withdrawal of the state, people will happily up sticks and move to where there may or may not be more jobs and that new communities will spring up when all those people are happily employed in a new place? You don't think it's more likely that people will prefer to stay where they are that a massive underclass will be created. And these people will perceive that what government is left has failed them and that they will rise up to reinstate a form of government that works for them?
There is a reason why after thousands of years, through times of communism, fascism, fuedalism and anarchy that nearly all the countries in Europe have ended up with more-or-less the same system of government and level of taxation. It's because it's the form of government that fails for the fewest amount of people. Any move away too far from the centre inevitably results in an uprising by the people who are failed by that system, and a return to the centre. Libertarianism would fail far more people than our current form of government, and the end result would be the same. Bondurant (talk) 13:26, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Why do you get so shocked and horrified by the idea that people shouldn't necessarily have to travel to find work? Do you still live within 10 miles of your birthplace? this is a natural, progressive development. I grew up in Liverpool but spent most of my life working either in Birmingham or London. Is that such a horrible principle? The problem presently is, I believe, that an entire species of people grow up in a council estate under parents who don't work, who are subsidised by the state, and end up living in the same area, with no work, and subsidised by the state. And think of all the social problems associated with this cycle of state dependancy. Libertarian1 (talk) 00:16, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
You are sounding like a Daily Mail reader.I grew up on a council estate, in a household dependent on benefits from time to time. I've broken that cycle, and I'm certainly not the only one. People in general don't want to live on benefits, as it's a shitty life. It's our system that guarantees equal opportunity of education and health care that helps people break the cycle. You would create worse ghettos where poor people have no access to good education or healthcare and would be doomed to a caste system.
Let's try a different tack. Do you have any evidence in the modern world where a withdrawal of the state to the degree you want that has lead to communities re-energising, prosperity increasing for all and quality of life improving? Bondurant (talk) 06:32, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
I mix my papers up. Most of the time I read left wing rags like the Guardian and the Independant, which at least have liberal stances on civil liberties, even if they constantly look to the State for solutions (Which is hypocritical considered their constant criticism of the state for intervening in the crushing of civil liberties. They simply are capable of doing anything without the intervention of the state)
I have no evidence of a libertarian system at work in the world, you know this, you also are fully aware how underhand a question that is :) Libertarian1 (talk) 12:48, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
It is not underhand. You seem to regard libertarianism as the obvious choice of government, and that everyone would be happy to live under such a system. And all they need to do is just open their mind and just 'see' it. If that were the case, then surely there would be one country in the world that would have gravitated to such a system. If it were that obvious (as you seem to think it is), one country would have done it by now, and others would follow it when they see how prosperous that country has become.
But no, that hasn't happened. Nearly every developed country has gravitated to roughly the same form of government and level of taxation, like a pendulum slowly loosing its momentum. Bondurant (talk) 13:11, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Motivation to care about others[edit]

I'm not suggesting that people are deliberately nasty, but realistically you must be aware that we care more about minor things in our immediate surroundings than major events many miles away. This is one problem in tackling climate change, since why should I care if the weather here is nice and the trees turn green at the right time of year?

The problem with libertarianism is that in order for it to work the citizens must be sufficiently motivated and involved in their communities. That does not happen as much as it should. To give an example, the area in which I live is filthy, and without regular rubbish collections it would be far worse. It's quite a big place, and people just aren't connected. Sure individuals keep their gardens clean, and perhaps the areas around their houses, but walk half a mile down the road and they'll think nothing of dropping litter. I was involved in getting some volunteers together, but the actual number of people who'll just come out and do this kind of thing is pretty low. Government is necessary evil when populations grow beyond the point where people can reasonably have some kind of meaningful connection with the other citizens. A place like the Faroe Islands, in some ways requires less government because it's pretty easy for everyone to be a friend of a friend, or at least their families may be known. That helps to keep people honest. Another problem arises though, in that it's kind of difficult to care much about a town of some distance away. Government can redistribute the wealth of the city, or use city resources, to support the smaller communities. Sure we could have everyone move in to the city, but then we're sacrificing culture for the chance to live in a rather nasty and unpredictable world of liberty.--ConcernedResident nexus for the ladies 11:21, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Libertarian, I advise you to read Guns, Germs and Steel, since it goes into the reasons that governments are necessary for a large society in which individuals are relatively isolated. Bastard time Hoover! 13:11, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Civil liberties[edit]

I always wonder about the conservative/libertarian concern that "big government" is going to "take away my civil liberties" when the big government they point to is something like NHS or welfare. If you want to look at it from a "I don't want my tax dollars going to help a bunch of lazy people" I at least understand your point, though I don't agree with it. But how does universal health care affect one's civil liberties? Do I have the right to not have the option of getting health care without paying for it? That's a skewed definition of rights. I sort of understand opposition to mandated health insurance under the new American health care act, as it forces people to have something which I guess, if they're pretty stupid, they might not want. Unfortunately the only real alternatives to that are the status quo, some minor tweaks that could reduce costs a bit and cover a few more people, or single-payer. Of those, I think single payer is probably the best, but those who whine about the mandate are completely opposed to that option, even though it's less intrusive on one's rights. So, Libertarian1, what are these civil liberties you are so concerned about? DickTurpis (talk) 13:56, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

The arguments are mostly about who can spend money most efficiently. If you do look at the NHS, there's certainly some eye-catching wastage (although I think it's not exactly as problematic as it's made out to be by its critics, take the quote about "you can't save £6 billion on paper-clips and pencils" or something). So the idea is that business, being competitive, will produce a better and more efficient service. There is something going for that, of course, but I'm not sure as the techniques for increasing efficiency are often not too good, poorer quality, oursourcing workers, unfair charging etc. Scarlet A.pngmoral 14:00, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Just so you know, I am only responding to you because everyone above this post has been extremely nasty and personal, and I will not respond to those kinds of 'arguments'. The problem within the NHS is not as you say that 'it takes away our civil liberties' but instead that it breeds a culture of reliance on the state, and fosters the notion that mankind should look to granny smith before tackling the real issues at stake. You make the assumption that a free market health system would be entirely impossible to work effectively, and would only lead to dead people on the street. A free market health system has never been attempted in practise. Even a close approximation (Like America) was littered with contradictory regulations which damaged everyone. Statists are obsessed with national responses to tackling issues such as obesity, alcoholism and nicotine addiction. However the only real way to tackle these problems are not harmful taxes and oppressive legislation, but by enacting true choice and economic rationality. Why should a fit, healthy, active, non smoker, non drinker, normal weight person have to pay the same level of health insurance as an obsese drinker and smoker? Its inherently unstable for any system to support this, and the reality is that the healthy person is penalised by a system that rewards irrational behaviour. It is everyones freedom to live and behave irrationally, but there are consequences associated with this - namely, how you're going to pay for it. Libertarian1 (talk) 14:04, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Well, "take away my civil liberties" was a direct quote from you, and you haven't really cited a specific civil liberty the nanny state has taken away. I understand the Nanny State Addiction argument, but I don't find it terribly convincing for necessities like infrastructure and health care, and I just don't see a civil liberties issue there. The argument seems to be something like "you need a big government to provide universal health care, and you need a big government to stifle individual freedom, therefore universal health care stifles individual freedoms" or something like that. I try to draw a distinction between government enacting laws that prohibit certain actions, and the public sector, which is mostly about allocating funds for public use. They're not really the same. DickTurpis (talk) 14:12, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Are you British? If so, you should be acquainted with the authoritarian 'anti-terror' legislation brought in by New Labour. The sooner the LibDem/Tory coalition brings in a freedom bill the better. As for the NHS, I think I've pointed out that the major worry is that it creates a culture of dependancy and rewards irrational behaviour, and that rational agents end up paying for the irrational behaviour of a majority. And that tackling obesity epidemics is impossible in a system that doesn't discriminate against health issues, which are completely preventable. In that sense alone, for leading a rational, healthy life, I am penalised as I pay the same taxes as a 30 stone man with a heroin addiction (Who is presumably in work) Libertarian1 (talk) 14:15, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I'm with you on anti-terror legislation. I'm American, and most of what we see over here along those lines comes more from the right (the alleged party of small government). In fact, there's a bill that's being introduced here that can allow people, even US citizens, to be incarcerated indefinitely without due process if they are considered a terror threat. So far the bill has 8 Republican sponsors and 1 independent, and I'm hoping it is thoroughly renounced by the left. But that's largely a separate issue from the social programs you were previously talking about. The NHS has nothing to do with DORA. As for paying the same for maintaining a healthy lifestyle as someone who doesn't, well, I see your point to an extent, but that's sort of what taxes do. You may never drive a single foot of the M5, but you pay the same as someone who drives it every day (unless that one's a toll road; I'm American, I don't know these details, but the point is the same). DickTurpis (talk) 14:23, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
What you mean is that you can't answer the posts above. If you come here with an attitude that we consider absurd, you should expect to be ridiculed a little. I'm sorry we didn't all start saying "Wow, you're right. Smash the state!!". Could you at least have a go at answering the arguments above, such as how we would survive without a legal justice system? CrundyTalk nerdy to me 14:07, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I am in the process of responding to some of the more respectful users. But frankly I'm not interested in communicating with you - after your ridiculous and bullish statement that questioned whether I actually think about my positions. And your assumption that I am anarchist speaks more about what you understand to be a Libertarian system, so please, please, please, put a lid on the arrogance. Arrogance and ignorance is a horrible combination. Libertarian1 (talk) 14:10, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
You use the word arrogance far too much. Please consult a thesaurus. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 14:14, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
P.S. It isn't arrogant of me to think you're a twat, it's an opinion. I don't think I'm better or more intelligent than you. CrundyTalk nerdy to me 14:15, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Crundy, don't take this the wrong way, but I'm going to go out of my way to no longer communicate with you. Not until you learn the basics of human decency. That goes for all your friends who are too basy to shout and mock to listen or think. Libertarian1 (talk) 14:19, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
You mean you're trying to take away my freedom of speech? HATER!!! CrundyTalk nerdy to me 14:21, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
While we're at it...I'd like to point out that I was genuinely wondering what non-governmental response could ever substantially reduce crime rates; similarly, most of the other sarcasm probably shouldn't be taken as hostility either. Except that of Crundy, who is obviously here on behalf of the liberals to stifle opposition. ~ Kupochama[1][2] 15:55, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Shit! They're onto me! ABORT ABORT (not that kind, Earthland) CrundyTalk nerdy to me 16:01, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

The Same Old Same Old[edit]

There's a pretty good reason why all the successful governments in the world are a mixed economy. There's a range from US freedoms to Scandinavian socialism but basically there's a mix between the left and the right, the differing pulls of individual freedom and social responsibility.

And then, at either extreme, there are those who cry "If only we would all embrace the true political system then we would be in Utopia." Sometimes, although less so recently, the extreme is communism. If we could all just live by "From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs" then what a perfect world it would be. Of course, in reality, the pigs always take over the farm house and the rest of us at Animal Farm are as poor as we ever were, if not more so.

And then there are the libertarians who preach the other extreme. When it is pointed out that the more libertarian societies inevitably end up in appalling social injustice - think Victorian Britain - they say "but that wasn't proper libertarianism" just as the communists say that soviet Russia wasn't proper communism.

So what this debate comes down to is "I believe..." with no real foundations for those beliefs. There are no living examples of the political extremes because they simply don't work, human nature is against them.

Who is it then who does this shouting, well, we middle aged men feel that the whole world is going to wrack and ruin and only we know the answer, If only those young whipper-snappers.... In our mid life crisis we rail against the world and write long screeds on web sites, only to have our ideas shouted down by the mob.

See also Fox and nobs (oh, and Jack Hughes) Jack Hughes (talk) 15:40, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

There has never been a Libertarian system. Victorian Britain hardly counts, but even so, if you wish to play this game, Victorian Britain was the greatest economy ever seen on earth, and the most rapidly growing one too. Despite the Dickensian caricatures, the quality of life rose exponentially, for everyone, over a period of about 50 years. You just have to compare and contrast that society with other societies in Europe and elsewhere to find its full meaning. Ideas come down to a matter of belief essentially, and just because something hasn't been tested yet doesn't mean it isn't possible. Libertarian1 (talk) 15:44, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
And another thing; I'm hardly utopian. A utopian system is one which believes a State can continuously increase its influence and role in society without creating a spineless and manipulated populace. Libertarian1 (talk) 15:45, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I think it's pretty safe to say that the quality of life in Victorian Britain was due to technological advances of the industrial revolution (which can't exactly be recreated) and not some libertarian social agenda. And it was far from a social utopia. DickTurpis (talk) 16:00, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Also, while the per capita GDP did rise during dramatically during the Industrial Revolution, the distribution of wealth became more and more unequal. Tetronian you're clueless 20:05, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Decline of "community"[edit]

To pick up on points raised in several places on here, the decline of "communities" in the olde-fashioned sense cannot be blamed on "the state". It stems from a hell of a lot of social changes over the past decades & centuries, not least the rise of capitalism, and the growth (not loss) of civil liberties. Consider life in medieval Europe, for example: where one lived, what occupation one pursued, who one married, and other conditions of life were all shaped to a great extent by one's family, kinship group, relationship to local figures of authority, etc. Quite restrictive, but very close-knit.

The economic, social & technological changes of the ensuing centuries have, among other things, given people much greater freedom to pursue their own life, live and work where they want, and associate with whom they like rather than sticking to a fixed community in their locality. The huge gains in quality of life have not been without some loss: that sense of local close-knit community has gradually declined, and living in a capitalist society makes people more competitive and frankly more selfish. So my argument is that the decline of local communities has occurred while people become more self-reliant and independent, not less so.

Capitalism has also led to gross exploitation, when it's been left relatively unrestricted, and it's to counter this that movements such as trade unionism and the "nanny state" have emerged - not to foster some culture of dependency but to balance out the competitive and potentially destructive tendencies of a capitalist society. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 18:35, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

You describe the average life of the 20 somethings. Yes, I too was like that, as most young middle class people in their 20s were. I moved about, didn't know my neighbours, and generally spent most of my time drunk or high. It was good fun. But as I got older, and when I got married, I settled down and became part of a community. Communities are variable things but the majority of people end up living in one. People of course are still free to be individuals, but I think it should be underscored that this CHOICE has consequences. Entering a community is entirely voluntary, and up to the individual involved. The important concepts to remember is choice and consequence. No-one is allowed to whinge because they decided to stand on their own feet, and shun their community. That is their decision and its absurd to constantly worry about those black sheep who want to remain individuals. Being an individual has a price, and one shouldn't be surprised if you find yourself alone in the world for making that choice. Libertarian1 (talk) 19:49, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
It has nothing to do with being 20-something & drunk & I have no idea what part of what I wrote gave you that impression. But anyway, what does "entering a community" even mean? Or "shunning one's community"? Why should associating with one's neighbours be somehow superior than with any of the other people we have social interactions with? ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:10, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Neighbours are just one example of a community as you have a common interest in neighbourhood security and general social amiability. There of course hundreds of examples of communities that may not necessarily have anything to do with geography. Libertarian1 (talk) 20:14, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
But that still doesn't explain what is or isn't a community. Your post above implies a dichotomy between living in a community and standing on your own two feet. But nobody is island. Everyone has family, friends, colleagues, even just people they know on the internet. Whether these signify a "community" is rather arbitrary, as there might be little or no overlap between this groups. But so what? I don't need all my friends/family/colleagues to know all my other friends/family/colleagues. That sort of community is fine for those that like it, but it's not for everyone, and there's no sound reason why it should be upheld as an ideal, let alone replace the functions of the dreaded State. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:24, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
If the state is to be winded down, a vacuum will be created. And from this vacuum the role of civic society should emerge. I'm trying to establish that your community ties - family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, acquaintances etc. will provide your future social safety net, to take the place of the State. And so it should be. Help and charity should be voluntary. And with this, social cohesion will naturally improve, and the family will recover from its long battering at the hands of the welfare state. Libertarian1 (talk) 20:29, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Bullshit. There is an enormous difference between "charity should be voluntary" and "charity/family can fulfill the role of the state" in terms of a social safety net. Social cohesion will not "naturally improve" (think about the Industrial Revolution in the US (not sure how it was in the UK)), and a small village cannot give you the safety net that a centralized government can. Tetronian you're clueless 20:34, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Imagine you are diagnosed with cancer. Imagine that you cannot afford the treatment. Your family have little to spare as another relative had cancer last year. You now have to turn to each of your friends & neighbours, literally begging money out of them. Why should you have to put yourself this humiliation? Why should you be burdening friends, family and neighbours? They're not responsible for you. As an adult, you are responsible for yourself, but as a citizen, you are also the responsibility of society as a whole, & that's where the state comes in: a government's duty to its people. Putting the responsibility on local communities instead of the wider society has some very insular and potentially xenophobic connotations. & As for statements about restoring "the family" as an ideal, this is usually a warning sign of some fairly reactionary rhetoric (cf. family values). ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 20:48, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
You forget charity. Never underestimate the power of charity and the voluntary sector. There is no reason to assume a cancer patient will suffer without the help of society. In fact, you seem to think that the citizenry have to be compelled by force to protect each other - perhaps I have a better opinion of human nature, or even maybe you have a particularly bad opinion of your own nature. If you get to keep 95% of your income, would you really refuse to donate some of that cash to charity? And don't go on about family values, that is such an awful, hideous cop out. The kind of family values you talk about are enforced, I'm talking about a voluntary system. That is an extremely dishonest tactic you're adopting. Libertarian1 (talk) 20:53, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Yes, but consider this: if taxes were lowered, people would not give as much to charity as pay in taxes and give to charity currently. This is why people complain about their taxes, because they don't want to pay them. Given the choice, they would not do so. As a result, a privatized safety net pales in comparison to a state-run one. Tetronian you're clueless 21:07, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
This claim can be checked rather easily. Did the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 lead to a corresponding rise in charitable giving in the US? Should be a prime example, since those cuts were heavily skewed towards the upper-income bracket, and the people who already have a very high living standard should have the least problems in parting with some of that wealth. Röstigraben (talk) 21:26, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
The social safety net will vary, and I'm not pretending that it will be as large or generous as the present statist system. Its absurd that someone can get financial aid for choosing to not work (Of course many have no choice but to remain unemployed, but the plague of the long term unemployed, who choose to remain unemployed is a virus) And don't yap on about the Industrial revolution. The conditions to begin with were vastly different, as it oversaw a REVOLUTION from an agrarian to an urban society. Of course living conditions would be poor in such a primitive economic model. We live in a technological, services based economy. Its pointless to compare historical periods like this unless you bring in the entire picture. Libertarian1 (talk) 20:38, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
No, there is some merit to the Industrial Revolution as an example, though as you point out it is not economically comparable. But what it does show is this: given the choice, not enough people will not contribute to the social safety net even for those who deserve it. When multinational corporations exploit the hard-working "communities" you are so fond of, who will help them? Tetronian you're clueless 21:17, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
The social safety net will be voluntary and will rely on economic rationality (I've previously made the point about how unfair it is to reward irrational personal behaviour (Such as obesity, smoking and drinking) while healthy individuals pay the same rate of tax to avail of the same services. It will also rely on your own integrity and foresight. Don't buy the latest Ipod and put 50 quid away for a rainy day instead. Our generation has forgotten how to save, and the easy flow of credit has been our undoing. are personal responsibility and prudence such alien concepts? Has our society degenerated so much? Libertarian1 (talk) 23:53, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
It's not simply a question of morals, and there is an economic issue underlying the lack of savings these days: the rise of global consumerism. For the last few decades, the people who invested in securities and the housing market were the ones being rewarded, not the "roll of $100 bills under the mattress" type people. But that's not really the point. I'm not sure how it is in the UK, but here in the US under Obama's healthcare bill, the system is being restructured so that it provides incentives to quit smoking and eat healthier. (There has been a push for this for a while now, and it's finally in place.) This is another example of a government program doing things that family values or the social mores of a "community" can't do. Tetronian you're clueless 01:16, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Multinational corporations do exploit the hell out of workers wherever their activities go unrelated. That's why so much labour is outsourced to countries which lack a "nanny state" infrastructure. I don't know about you, but I'll gladly take paying a cut of my salary in taxes that provide me with some basic services and protection over working sixteen hour shifts in a sweatshop for a few dimes and no security. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 23:23, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Many of the countries in questions have pro FDI policies and are very rough on Unions. Unions are an essential part of civic society, and I believe a stronger Trade Union infrastructure, which DOESN'T constantly look to the state for solutions, is necessary for a healthy civic society. Part of Britains troubled economic history has been our skirmishes with the Trade Unions, which have largely been dominated by Marxists and communists. Libertarian1 (talk) 23:53, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
P.S- I don't believe I've used the term 'nanny state' even once. It seems like you guys are the ones with the chips on shoulders, not me :) Libertarian1 (talk) 23:54, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
It's in your intro. "...Labour went too far and believe in a mammoth nanny state..." ħumanUser talk:Human 02:05, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

"And don't yap on about the Industrial revolution." Why not, since you brought it up, or at least the increasing wealth during the Victorian era. By the way, I think you are a reactionary, like most US libertarians I've spoken to. Their Golden Age is different though - it's usually the pre and post Revolutionary era. They all think they would have been gentleman farmers writing constitutions in their spare time. ħumanUser talk:Human 01:53, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't understand the logic of the "trade unions good, state regulation bad" argument, when the two things are both addressing the same economic issues. Those big government movements like the Labour Party emerged from the same stock as the TUs & aim to do the same things at a national level. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:29, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Trade Unions collectively bargain with their employers to seek better rates of employment for their workers. Why oh why must they always look to the state for solutions when they can solve problems themselves with employers? Why do you assume that the only answer is regulation and standardisation, not compromise and specification between worker and employer? Libertarian1 (talk) 00:18, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Inequality[edit]

There seems to be a lot of moo with people worrying about inequality. Inequality is not only a constant in life, it is a constant of history. A completely equal society is impossible - and frankly, unpalatable, even were it possible. If your neighbour earns a million pounds a year, and you earn 10,000 pounds a year - what matter. So long as your basic needs are met, there is no reason to be irritated by your wealthy neighbour, except for reasons of guilt and bitterness. Jealousy is a greater plague than inequality to be frank, as equality is impossible and jealousy is both prevantable and curable. People worry about a cycle of poverty existing in a community, but once again they lose sight of opportunity cost. There is an entire population in Britain raised on social welfare, where the parents spend the dole on fags and booze. They usually have large families as well, tragically. These are bad economic decisions and presently we reward them with social welfare. The far greater evil lies in the family - if a father has no aspirations, how can you expect the child to? After 60 years of the welfare state these social problems continuously mount. To suggest that the welfare state is a success is music to guilty middle class ears, it does not in any way reflect reality. Libertarian1 (talk) 20:12, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Well, I'm not sure how well the welfare state works on your side of the pond, but in the US it isn't too bad. There is quite a bit of fraud, but it is impossible to live off of welfare for more than a few years, as per legislation passed by Bill Clinton back in the '90s. Also, you're blending the ideological and the practical here - see the section I just wrote below. To respond to your point, though: many people's "basic needs" are not being met, that's the problem. This isn't about earning 10,000 pounds versus 1,000,000, it's about those who aren't capable of earning any. Tetronian you're clueless 20:20, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
To be perfectly frank, to say the US welfare system works well is absolutely laughable. You have an entire population of inner city dwellers who the majority of the population find almost alien in both their culture and their mannerisms. US social problems are profound and very real. No amount of imagining can escape the terrible failures of the nascant American welfare state to improve either the 'ghettos' or the public school system, which has a comparatively generous state budget. (Yet the schools still crumble, the teachers are crap, and the level of education is often of a pathetic standard.) Libertarian1 (talk) 20:49, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Don't confuse welfare with public education. Public schools in inner cities are woefully underfunded, I know because I've seen it firsthand. Their funding is many times lower than funding to suburban schools because the suburbs have high property taxes due to the fact that suburban property is so valuable. Welfare is a different matter entirely. Furthermore, saying that the inner cities have a different culture is not much of an argument; it's been this way for decades. More importantly, though, removing state support would only make these problems worse, not better. Tetronian you're clueless 21:23, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps a return to the era of dropsy and gin palaces? That's a not entirely unlikely result of the social darwinism/Littlejohnism you're proposing. --ConcernedResident anchovies, for the ladies 20:31, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

"Inequality is not only a constant in life, it is a constant of history" No it isn't. Fifty years ago the top earners at corporations made 40 times the base level workers. That had reached 400x by, I think, a decade ago and the gap is still increasing. Also, in the US, public schools have nothing to do with The State. They are run locally, and paid for partly locally and partly by the individual 50 states, with wide variations in how much the state kicks in. Here in NH the entire cost is borne by local property taxes. So towns with less property to tax struggle to spend $5k per student per year and have crumbling infrastructure. Towns with a strong tax base not only tax homeowners less, but easily spend $10k/student-year. ħumanUser talk:Human 02:11, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

What change does it make your life if your cousin earns 500 times more than you or 50 times more than you? I don't understand the gravitas of this argument or why people even care. Which is why I conclude that most of it is determined by jealousy and bitterness. Concentrate on your own life and little more, and stop dreaming of that greener grass. Libertarian1 (talk) 13:20, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Wow, so your answer is to impute an emotional reason for what I think? Isn't your last sentence a contradiction in terms? ħumanUser talk:Human 00:10, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
So you really think that it's morally justified for an executive to be paid two orders of magnitude more than their base workers? Because they're sure as hell not giving that money to charity. Bastard time Hoover! 13:42, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Libertarian, if you seriously don't care whether people are richer or poorer than you or whether they earn more or less money than they deserve, then why is it such a big deal for you that some people receive welfare? ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:18, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
I honestly don't understand your logic. Is that intended to somehow 'stump' me? Your sentance makes absolutely no sense. The answer should be obvious - welfare is a state handout funded by the taxpayer as a reward for doing no productive work. Obviously this is inherently unfair on the taxpayer, and I argue that in the unfortunate circumstance in which a person loses their job or becomes ill, they should instead rely on civil society (Family, charity etc.) to come to their aid, not an anonymous state agency. Libertarian1 (talk) 00:20, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
And I argue that society has a duty to look after those who are unable to look after themselves. It's a pretty basic element of the social contract. & It's much more unfair to expect those people's immediate family & acquaintances to shoulder the burden, especially as they are often in the same position. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 06:46, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

You say society, but mean the state. Civic Society is not the state, it is something different and more importantly it does not rest on force but on voluntary intervention. The state and society are completely different.And by the way - unable or unwilling to look after themselves? Libertarian1 (talk) 12:40, 20 May 2010 (UTC) You also have the cheek to talk about fairness - as if you are the arbiter of what constitutes the notion and thus have a right to steal from the taxpayer in order to fund social engineering and authoritarian socialist pet projects. Personally, I find that indefensible. Libertarian1 (talk) 12:42, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

You raised the issue of fairness in your post above, as if you are the arbiter of what constitutes the notion etc. etc. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 16:55, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
No, the state, and its subordinate agencies, simply carry out those duties on behalf of society as a whole. The state is not some evil force that is totally disconnected from society and acts exclusively on its own whims, whatever these may be. Regarding fairness, you seem to have no problem posing as such an arbiter yourself when you claim that the redistributive system is unjust. Each society has to reach its own consensus about these matters, and fortunately, the UK has a democratic system that allows you and your compatriots to do so by means of free elections. Join UKIP and try to convince them of your program, or set up a new Libertarian Party, if there isn't one already, then compete for votes in the next election (hint: you'll need a lot more sympathizers than those 10% who allegedly share your views). If you can convince a majority of voters that the welfare state should be abolished, thus forming a new consensus, then you can make a case that you've got the right to end policies that "steal from the taxpayer". Until that happens, stop accusing others of falsely claiming the mantle of fairness when they're simply defending policies that have been legitimated again and again in countless free democratic elections. Röstigraben (talk) 13:20, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
I am making a case for the rights of individuals to choose whether to be 'forced' or 'give voluntarily' to civic society, which all of you claim to hold in high regard. You must have a pretty low opinion of yourselves if you believe that you must be compelled by force to be good human beings and give charitably. Whether my opinions are held by 1 in a million or by everyone is entirely irrelevant. Libertarian1 (talk) 16:43, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
It's irrelevant if you really don't care if they're ever, ever implemented. As I said, at present your practical problem is a notable lack of anyone supporting you. I would suggest that the empirical evidence so far is that you need more convincing arguments and/or argumentation style - David Gerard (talk) 16:50, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Don't you realize that the people (as a whole, not individually) already have such rights? The welfare state could be abolished if you manage to convince enough people that this would be a really smart thing to do. I doubt that doing away with all these programs for the poor would violate any constitutional or human rights requirements (especially since the UK doesn't even a have a concrete constitution). As I said, get the support of a majority, and you'll have earned the right to reform those policies. This requirement is hardly "irrelevant". Röstigraben (talk) 17:16, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
You seem rather hostile for somebody who proclaims himself as a 'Liberal'. Why is that? And furthermore, I'm well aware of my own shortcomings as a debater and in terms of style. I don't pretend to be John Stuart Mill. Libertarian1 (talk)
You appear to have me confused with someone else. I don't proclaim myself as a 'Liberal'. Do try to keep up, dear - David Gerard (talk) 16:59, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Question for Libertarian1[edit]

A question for you, L1: why do you oppose big government? Is it because of a moral compunction of yours, or because you think it would be more efficient to have less government (or both)? In the top section, you flow from one to the other, but it is important to remember that they are two separate categories. The former can be argued with facts and statistics, but the latter is purely ideological. In the debate above, we seem to be conflating the two and mixing the ideological with the practical. In order to work this out in a more organized fashion, I think we should split the debate into two categories. So I would appreciate it if you could elucidate your views a bit. Tetronian you're clueless 20:15, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Obviously it is a mix of the ideological and the practical. Practical in the sense that the State has made society impotent, it has become the instinctive solution to all of societies problem, when in reality is a faceless dead hand that cannot offer solutions to such intensely personal problems - such as the decline of the family. My views are also ideological because having worked in the civil service for many years, I've seen an insidious rise in the power and remit of the State - and in the last decade, an advance into personal, private affairs. People seem to think civil liberties and economic liberties are somehow seperate. Civil liberties are impossible in a system that constantly looks to the State for answers. The state is an institution that should protect law and order, national defence, and provide a very basic economic framework to facilitate private enterprise. Libertarian1 (talk) 20:26, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Though I agree that people can be too quick to look to government money for a solution, I don't follow the rest of your reasoning. The things the state does to take your civil liberties are done in the name of national security (a principle you seem to hold dear), not in the name of social services. Also, how has the government restricted your economic liberty? By taxing a fraction of your income to provide you with invaluable social services? By imposing regulation to keep you safe? I also notice that you are conveniently forgetting about the economic liberty of those who aren't as economically self-sufficient as you. Tetronian you're clueless 21:27, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
I merely list national security as one of the few functions of government. I don't consider it a massive priority (Although someone has to prevent those Frenchie bastards from launching a cruise missile at Big Ben) I have no interest in establishing a business so the government has relatively little effect on my economic liberty. But I think this underlines how little you have absorbed from what I've actually said. My fear is not that the government is making a silent advance towards socialism - I don't believe the State is some kind of sentient entity with an agenda. But I do believe that once human beings are in positions of power, they will attempt to increase that power. Unfortunately our modern civic culture is intent on handing away our liberties, often by stealth. The right to privacy has no protection to Britain - New Labour has sought authoritarian and populist legislation in the name of my personal safety. And society barely bats an eyelid. Thats because its become so meek, so reliant on the state, so lacking in balls and testosterone that it has literally forgotten the meaning of the word 'liberty'. I blame our welfare state for creating such a meek culture of dependancy, I blame the state for emasculating the people, by making them into mindless drones intent on seeking out the State as the answer to every problem, and I blame the people for taking the bait, for throwing their liberty away in the face of an insidious and growing heresy, and for completely losing sight of anything and everything they once held dear. Tony Blair hasn't just got the lives and blood of British soldiers on his conscience - he has the shredded residue of 800 years of the British Constitution on his legacy too. And I can say with supreme confidence and self assureness, that I will celebrate the day he dies with such a party that will rock the gates of hell asunder! (/rhetorical rant which i enjoyed perhaps too much!) Libertarian1 (talk) 00:03, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
It seems like what you want, then, is the kind of pioneering individualism of the Wild West (to use a classic US stereotype). The only problem is, that kind of society doesn't exist anymore anywhere in the world. People are dependent upon each other because of globalization and technology, and there's no reversing that. As such, our notion of "liberty" must be fluid, since it has to adapt to changes in technology as they come along. It seems to me that your real enemy is technological advancement, not more powerful governments, since the latter is the almost inevitable result of the former. Doing away with the social safety net and allowing multinational corporations to have their way with the world is not going to send us back to the pioneer days, it's only going to significantly reduce our quality of life. Tetronian you're clueless 01:25, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Were you not the one who just said that people are less dependant on one another because of globalisation and technology? Listen, what you say is absurd, technological advancement makes a libertarian system possible. It is not possible in an agrarian system with little technology. And no, liberty is not 'fluid', thats one of the first justifications of any authoritarian regime. Though I suspect you have much of the authoritarian within you, or at least have never been exposed to truly liberal ideas, because the concept that the individual should be sovreign seems to you to be an alien and objectionable idea. And as for multinational corporations - how do you think they become so powerful or influential in the first place? Statist regimes intent on attracting FDI clamp down on trade unions and offer all kind of tax incentives to bring them in. In a world where tax rates for corporate businesses are basically non existant, then the playing field will be much leveller. And more importantly, the state will not in any way aid or hinder the MNCs, I doubt they would even come to be as large as they currently are in a Libertarian system. 13:15, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Well, you make a lot of interesting claims there. "technological advancement makes a libertarian system possible." "In a world where tax rates for corporate businesses are basically non existant, then the playing field will be much leveller." "I doubt [Multinational corporations] would even come to be as large as they currently are in a Libertarian system." Can you back any of that up? You said above "If the state is to be winded down, a vacuum will be created." Don't you think corporations would fill much of that vacuum? Is that necessarily better? DickTurpis (talk) 13:33, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Do you think that corporations are a result of an economic system that protects massive enterprises, or the result of an economic system that punishes massive enterprises? When risk has no sufficient risk (Because huge companies such as AIG are simply 'too big to fail') you should not be surprised that massive corporate entities emerge. I don't understand why you automatically assume that corporations would fill the State vacuum. Libertarian1 (talk) 00:23, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Pretending AiG is indicative of what happens to most corporations is disingenuous. Cases like that are very few and far between. Most MNCs have done quite well without meaningful assistance from the government. How do you think AiG got "too big to fail" in the first place? Do honestly think without the government protecting them huge corporations wouldn't exist? That if it weren't for the government WalMart wouldn't be running smaller family owned stores out of business? That's capitalism. And it seems pretty clear to me that corporations would fill much (not all, but much) of the void left by government because they're the ones with the resources, wealth, and power to do so. Obviously the current system doesn't punish massive enterprise, but the libertarian model does so even less. DickTurpis (talk) 13:10, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

I too have noticed people tend to look to the government to solve any old problem that comes along. Some of this can be blamed on a Nanny State mentality, but much of it can be on lack of any other place to go. There really aren't that many choices. There's the private sector, but unless there's a profit to be made they're not much help. There's charities for some problems, but not all. Then there's personal initiative, which is the hardest to get going on and often the least effective. So it makes sense that people at least make an effort to encourage the government to solve problems. For example, the conventional wisdom is that the November election here in the US are going to be primarily about jobs. Fine, except that it makes no sense; the government cannot legislate the unemployment rate, and you can't look to the government to hire people, at least not when deficits are what they are. So they're basically voting on issues politicians can't control, and the "small government" crowd is as guilty, or more guilty, of this than anyone. DickTurpis (talk) 22:12, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

I 90% agree with you, DT, except for one thing: the government does significantly affect jobs, but only indirectly. Whenever the President/Congress does something significant, the market responds (remember at the end of Bush's second term it would drop whenever he would talk about it?). This past election was particularly important because McCain made it clear at the beginning that his intervention would be minimal and Obama committed himself to a big economy-saving program right away. Imagine what would have happened if McCain had been elected instead - he probably would have waited much longer for a bailout, if he gave one at all, and a lot of jobs would have been lost. Tetronian you're clueless 01:21, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

"A isn't working, so abolish A"[edit]

The impression I get from most libertarians is that they see a certain system - welfare, say - not working or working badly, and their knee-jerk reaction is to simply abolish the entire thing instead of looking at possible improvements. It's one reason, I think, why libertarians are always going to find themselves underepresented in public opinion and government. Remarkably few people think the NHS should be abolished, but few people would disagree with the claim that it's working poorly and needs to be improved. Admittedly, though, I'm pulling weasle words out of my ass here.

Anyway, Libertarian1 said:

There is an entire population in Britain raised on social welfare, where the parents spend the dole on fags and booze

Now it may be that he thinks welfare is wrong no matter how it is doled (ha) out. But I think the above situation (which I think is an example of welfare not working) can be solved without simply abolishing the entire thing. I'm not too familiar with welfare, but I'm guessing the government simply transmits money into the target's bank account in return for proof that the target meets welfare eligibility.

It seems to me that a better system would be if the government - through a local authority - paid for certain things directly on behalf of the target (e.g. rent, tax etc). In the case of food supplies, I suspect that local authority could work with supermarkets to ensure that only essentials are bought. One way might be issuing vouchers that the supermarkets can accept for things that are not "fags and booze". Or the supermarkets can use home-delivery to provide weekly a shopping list of food to the target, the costs for which are then recoverable from the local authority.

It does, of course, reduce the personal freedom of the target to buy whatever he or she wants, but that I think is the cost of receiving welfare from the state. In my opinion, welfare is to prevent people from entering abject poverty while they seek work. The restricted spending might even offer motivation to find work.

So my question for Libertarian1 is: do you disagree that there are acceptable solutions to perceived problems with welfare that don't include abolishing it altogether? ONE / TALK 11:14, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

You mean something a bit like this? Bondurant (talk) 12:07, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
You can solve welfare issues by reform within a statist system. I'm sure certain regulations could be adopted that would minimise 'benefits theft' for example. But this is a mere tickling of the surface, the entire system lacks a moral basis and contributes greatly to the degeneration of civic society and individual liberty. The family has been massacred by the introduction of a national social system that effectively makes the family as an institution completely useless. Libertarian1 (talk) 12:45, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
The family has been massacred by the introduction of a national social system that effectively makes the family as an institution completely useless. Another of those unfounded assertions that L1 is so keen on. It's all the fault of those dole queue scroungers, never do a day's work in their lives. Yada, yada. Jack Hughes (talk) 12:49, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Absolute rubbish. The family used to be the societal safety net. Now the State fulfills that role. You cannot breed an individualistic society whilst also creating a dependancy on the State. An individual should have a natural affiliation to his/her family, and thus that function (A net which catches you when in bother) no longer applies. If you think about it logically, you will at least be able to see where I'm coming from, even if you do not agree. Libertarian1 (talk) 12:51, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
The state also encourages abortion. Have you spoken to our friend Earthland per chance? A meeting of the minds would undoubtedly be fruitful, given the logic styles - David Gerard (talk) 12:56, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
The state merely doesn't prohibit abortions, there is a large difference. But I confess, I doubt I can see any value in debating further with a closed mind like yours. Libertarian1 (talk) 12:59, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
"Libertarian1" (I see you don't use the proper naming convention), it's not that complicated. I've managed to read your rants and all you do is talk, talk, talk, so admit it, you're another liberal enemy of conservative principles. You also refuse to accept that winning in Iraq reduces language devolution. Liberals don't like it, but Irishmen have relatively little influence at Wikipedia. You're missing out on the conservative insights you could be having if you weren't so defensive. Open your mind a bit, please, for your own sake. Godspeed.--aschlafly 13:04, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
And I'm sure under a libertarian system, there will be no broken families, and everyone will be loving and supporting. And we'll all dance around the Maypole each May Day and men will greet each other with a "how's tha' whippet, me duck?" and kids will chase hoops down the street with a stick, and they'd be more than happy when they get an orange for Christmas. Bondurant (talk) 13:02, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Of course there will be immense hardship in a Libertarian system. Do you think I deny that? I'd prefer liberty and poverty to subsistence and tyranny any day. Libertarian1 (talk) 13:03, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

The hard part of your programme is going to be convincing a large enough proportion of the populace that this is actually a good idea - David Gerard (talk) 13:06, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Despite 10% of the population being favour of libertarianism (L1's figures) the British Libertarian Party endorsed only four candidates. Seems a little small for such a popular political viewpoint. Jack Hughes (talk) 13:09, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Maybe under the AV system they might field more candidates. Hopefully the Green party will too - I was disappointed not to see a Green candidate on my ballot paper. I didn't mourn the lack of a libertarian candidate, but I'd rank them higher than the BNP and UKIP - not that that's saying much. Bondurant (talk) 13:15, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

You say "The family used to be the societal safety net. Now the State fulfills that role" and the state "makes the family as an institution completely useless." Really? People don't get any support from their families? Has the state outlawed that too? It's clear you're taking an idyllic view of a time that never really was. Years ago everyone could count on their families for everything, eh? Of course, poor people usually have poor families, and the financial support they can offer one another is often not great. Do you prefer we all go back to living on farms, living in the same farmhouse all your life, with granmammy and granpappy and Aunt Wanda Sue and all 18 of us living under the same roof? That model, to the extent it ever existed has been abandoned because people by and large didn't want to live that way anymore. People still count on their families more than the government for most things. But when pa gets cancer, passing the moneybucket around, hoping the family will be able to rustle up $100,000 for chemo isn't practical. Sure, I'd rather be poor and free than well-off under a tyrannical regime, but that's a false dichotomy. I prefer where I am now, relatively free, and doing OK financially. And I'd prefer alive with a less than perfect NHS system than dead of cancer with less of a tax burden. DickTurpis (talk) 13:26, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

You, me, and according to Libertarian1, about 90% of the country would agree. I guess we're all just too stupid to see the light. The remaining 10% should club together and buy themselves a caribbean island and go and set up a libertarian paradise there, as democracy is on the side of us stupid ones. Bondurant (talk) 13:34, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Somewhere society provably does not exist - David Gerard (talk) 13:50, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Immense hardship in a libertarian system? Well gee, sign me up!!! Statements like that aren't going to garner your side any support. What exactly is the puspose of this debate? To convince anyone of anything, or just accuse everyone of being in favour of socialist programmes and tyrannical government? ONE / TALK 15:03, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
If I point out that I make £44k/year and have no objection whatsoever to paying a large chunk of it as tax, because I think taxes pay for civilisation (all of which is the case) - am I insane, evil, close-minded, of false consciousness or what? - David Gerard (talk) 15:24, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Did I actually say anyone here was insane, evil, close minded or of 'false consciousness'. That is a serious chip on ones shoulder, I must say. David, you may be willing to contribute 40% of your income to the State, and you may also be supportive of the Welfare State. That is your privilege, and I wouldn't dare to say you had no right to such an opinion. My only complaint is that for an individual to face a forced and arbitrary collection of ones earnings, in order subsidise people who do not work and who are either unwilling or unable to make rational economic choices, who are rewarded for bad choices by a social safety net, whether one likes this or not, is unfair. 6 people have no right to take away the rights of 4 people. You can just as easily give 40% of your income to worthwhile causes, without creating a massive dependancy on the State. Instead society could have a massive dependancy on each other, not a faceless mammoth intent on stripping everyone from their liberty. The State as an entity works from precedence and indoctrination - once the welfare state was established the scope of the state was allowed to increase, until it has presently reached the stage wherein it alone holds the answer to all of societies problems. And in the meantime, while people look the other way and do their best to devolve their responsibility to some faceless mammoth, they lose all sight of self respect, any value they may have placed on their family, to society, and to civil liberties. One cannot expect to be tied up entirely to the State and also expect to exercise individuality and freedom as a consequence. Libertarian1 (talk) 16:40, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

You're mixing your metaphors there. First you talk of a safety net, then you go on to tied up entirely to the state. How is a safety net tying people entirely up? You seem to jump from a safety net = total control by the state, and taxes = tyranny. Can we look at this topic without all the hyperbole? DickTurpis (talk) 17:05, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
All this talk about "rewarding" people for bad economic choices is such baloney. The dole is not some kind of golden egg that anybody's striving for; it's a social safety net to cover their most basic living costs while job-seeking. Sure, there may be a minority who scrounge of the system, as there will in any society, & the state does what it can to crackdown on these. But with no welfare structure at all, many, including those are willing to work but unable to find a job, would turn to crime instead, which is far worse for society as a whole than paying for welfare. The state also rewards those who are disabled, or too young or old to work. Perhaps these people should just accept the consequences of their poor economic choices. After all, their major problem is just jealousy of those who are better off. ΨΣΔξΣΓΩΙÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 17:14, 20 May 2010 (UTC)