Information icon.svg Nominations and Campaigning for the 2022 RationalWiki Moderator Election are now closed.

The election booth is now open!


From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

This is an archive page, last updated 3 May 2016. Please do not make edits to this page.
Archives for this talk page: , (new)(back)

Arguments against strict libertarianism[edit]

I'm really bored right now so I'll try to counter some of the claims on this section: (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

While a preference for maximal personal freedom is pretty much universal throughout most of the political spectrum (though less so on the fringes), libertarianism presents several difficulties:

Edit point 1[edit]

  • Libertarian business structures greatly resemble governments hierarchies. It is contradictary to opine that citizens do not need rulers while maintaining that workers need managers.
Libertarianism is about voluntary interaction. You enter in the employer/employee relationship voluntarily. (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
And in many cases of low income families, entering an employer/employee relationship is essentially involuntary. Heck, the employer voluntarily enters the market as a hirer. By doing this, they accept certain rules that follow being a hirer.
We have to be specific with the meaning of words. Involuntary means some other person is actively making you do something that you don't want to. Another way to see if the interaction between two people is voluntary is, would one of the two people be better off (from his POV) if the other one dissapeared? In the case of the poor worker, would he want the employer not to exist? I don't think so. From all his alternatives he chose to work there as the least bad, if you remove that option he has to choose his second least bad alternative. In the case of someone paying taxes, from his POV, he is better off if the taxman disappeared. Of course he could be being shortsighted by not understanding the wonderful things that will be done with his tax money, but that doesn't make it voluntary. (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
As always, libertarian beliefs remain unleavened by practical considerations. --Wackyvorlon (talk) 08:26, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
I'd say its the opposite. Going to the basic principles of figuring out if any relationship is voluntary/involuntary removes any bias that many times harms the people we want to protect. This is the case with things like prostitution, sweatshops, minimum wage. The argument is that these people are 'forced' to work there. No one would like to be in that situation, but banning that activity will make matters worse for them as I expain above. Regulating the employer/employee relationship means not allowing employer and employee to come voluntarily to terms. In a competitive free market were wages are close to the marginal productivity of the employee any regulation will increase the cost of hiring the worker and that means that the employee will either recieve lower wages or be priced out of the market. In the case were wages are not close to the marginal productivity of the employee, we have to understand why does the employer has this bargaining power. Why hasn't another competitor tried to take advantage of this profit oportunity and bid up their wages? In many cases the employer probably has some sort of government privilege, license, subsidy, etc. that create barriers of entry for competing firms. (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Focusing on the involuntary/voluntary dichotomy is childish. All people have to do things they don't want to do. Period. In fact, the only way to prevent people from being forced to do things "involuntarily" would be to institute a minimum income where the government provided a salary to everyone, enabling them to not work if they did not want to. Regulating the employer/employee relationship has nothing to do with voluntarily coming to terms - it sets boundaries and guidelines for those terms. There is a difference between "setting a minimum" and coercion. Yes, governments can create barriers to entry, but the libertarian response is completely overblown. Omar (gibber) 15:37, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

The definition of voluntary doesn't mean doing things that give you instant gratification. I exercise every few days and I'd rather be watching a movie eating Doritos but I do it voluntarily because I hope to reap rewards from it in the future. Now, if the state mandated exercise 4 days a week or else you'd be thrown in jail, then that would be involuntary. This distinction is not childish, but really important in libertarianism. This is because it assumes each individual person knows best for them, or more accurately, no other person or group of people can claim the right to force another individual into certain behaviour because they know better what is best for him. (talk) 18:38, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Your interpretation of voluntary vs. involuntary is naive. You are relying on a considerable oversimplification in order to support your beliefs. This creates an enormous disconnect between your beliefs and the real world. --Wackyvorlon (talk) 18:43, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Can you expand a bit and explain why is it navie and how it creates this enormous disconnect. I should've rather used 'lack of agression' instead of voluntary/involuntary. (talk) 19:12, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
When the consequences of saying no are too great to bear, one can hardly consider the situation voluntary. Working is not a luxury, in our society it is often a requirement for survival. When you agree to the proverbial "offer you can't refuse", only in the naive perspective is such an agreement genuinely voluntary. Life is more complex than you admit, and your views issue forth from an unrealistic view of said life. --Wackyvorlon (talk) 19:18, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Also, BON, you say that "this distinction is not childish, but really important in libertarianism". I reply: It is both childish and really important in libertarianism. Ergo, libertarianism is eo ipso childish. I never said that voluntary meant instant gratification. People are "coerced" into working in any system because they would die otherwise. This is no different than taxes. Omar (gibber) 19:41, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm going to try to explain this again, because it is not only central to libertarianism but central to modern economics since Adam Smith. Whenever two indviduals decide to cooperate without coercion from one party or other, it means both individuals expect to be better off than before. If their predictions come true both parties will create wealth, this is how markets grow. It doesn't matter how bad it is for someone, if they agree to work for 50 cents an hour and there is no coercion by the other party, it means that from his point of view the alternative is even worse. This basic premise of making sure all economic cooperation is voluntary is what ensures that markets will keep creating wealth without tecnocrats having to watch over it. The invisible hand and so on. When coercion is involved, one of the parties expect to be better off but the other is not, this might possibly create weath but most likely will redistribute wealth from the victim to the party doing the coercion, and most likely aswell destroy wealth in the process. If you let these coercive interactions take place (and say you press the fast forward button of time), instead of wealth going up, the trend will be for wealth to be destroyed. It's as if in nature you take away natural selection. Animals will mutate into worse adapted subspecies and eventually go extinct. You might think it is good that in some cases coercion can be used to achieve a worthy goal of redistributing all this weath from the rich to the poor, but in this process wealth will not be generated. I hope this clears the distinction between wealth creating voluntary coopeartion and wealth destructive cooperation by coercion. (talk) 23:36, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
What do you consider to be "wealth"? Why does coercion destroy it, but cooperation creates it?--Wackyvorlon (talk) 00:00, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I consider wealth as anything of value to someone.
For your second question, I’ll give you a practical example. Say you are good at sewing, so you spend your days sewing sweaters, but you have little of anything else. Say I’m really good at hunting, but I’m really cold. We decide to trade 2 sweaters for one deer. I value the sweaters more than the deer; you value the deer more than the sweaters. We are both better off. We have created wealth because we both now have things that we value more than before.
In a coercive transaction, continuing with the example above, instead of giving you a deer, I demand that you give me a sweater or I’ll kill you. I have created wealth for myself, but you are worse off since you have a sweater less. Some social scientists would reason that this transaction is positive because I probably value the sweater more than you. Economists disagree with this line of reasoning because they say value is subjective. Since both of us value the sweater to some extent, you can’t really know who values more the sweater. You can say you value the deer more than the sweaters and I value the sweaters more than the deer, but you’ll never know who values more a single sweater. As I said in the previous post, you’ll never know if this coercive transaction was in sum good or bad. You can be sure the previous transaction was in sum good. And I haven’t mentioned any moral implications about forcing you to give me your property. (talk) 19:03, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

"Libertarian business structures greatly resemble governments hierarchies. It is contradictary to opine that citizens do not need rulers while maintaining that workers need managers." This is just idiotic. Complete nonsense. Libertarians quite explicitly say that citizens do need SOME government, and they do not say that workers NEED managers, they simply accept the free market, which happens to end up with a lot of workers working under managers. Why in the world are complete non-sequiturs being allowed in this article?Fdof (talk) 03:32, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Edit point 2[edit]

  • Marxists see no distinction between profit and taxes, as libertarians do. Both are considered theft of wages, the former by a business owner and the latter by a government.
Same as above, from a libertarian POV you can only honestly make profit if someone voluntarily gives you their money. Taxes are collected under the threat of force. (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Once again, if you are a low income person, you are essentially forced to work.
See above. (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
This fails to address in any reasonable way the distinction made by the original point. Omar (gibber) 15:38, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
I think i answered it above but i'll try again. Theft is when someone takes away your property without you giving consent. A worker, no mater how poor, has a voluntary relationship with his employer. As I said above, if you eliminate the employer, will the worker (from his POV) be better off? The answer is no. On the other hand, many people would rather opt out paying taxes but they are forced to, even if they agree to avoid using government services. (talk) 18:52, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Living in a society demands that one contribute to the upkeep of said society. No man is an island. Demanding the benefits of a society's military, police, firemen, roads, etc. without accepting the obligation of contributing to their funding is profoundly childish. --Wackyvorlon (talk) 19:22, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, thats why I said the exact opposite. (talk) 23:43, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
So now you are advocating taxes? --Wackyvorlon (talk) 00:02, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
I meant I agree with your last sentence. Thats why I specifically said that the person that doesn't want to pay taxes agrees to not using any public services. (talk) 16:04, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Okay, what EXACTLY is being discussed here? There statement consists of three assertions: Marxists believe that profit is theft, Marxists believe taxes are theft, and libertarians think different (how, exactly, is not spelled out). So which is being disputed?Fdof (talk) 03:38, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Edit point 3[edit]

  • Strict libertarianism relies on the distinction between positive and negative liberties, a distinction which is not universally accepted by philosophers.[1]
Libertarians argue positive rights are falacious because for them to exist they have to violate a negative right of another individual. (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Can you explain this further?
Sure, I'll also answer the "government should run universal healthcare to protect the right to life" argument you used in a point bellow:
Negative rights are rights in which other people can't actively do certain things to you, like kill you, but someone has to be acting for a negative right to be violated. If no one is doing anything no negative rights are being violated. So if someone comes with a knife and kills you, your right to life is being violated, but if you suffer from a heart attack, no one is acting upon you so your right to life is not being violated. A positive right is a right in which you are entitled to certain things that can only happen if someone actively gives them to you. If no one is doing anything these rights are being violated. In the example of healthcare, a doctor has to actively treat you. This can happen either by coercing the doctor to work for you or coercing other people to hand part of their income and give it to the doctor. This conflicts with the negative rights of liberty in the former case and property in the later. (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
That argument is only fallacious if you accept that negative rights are more important than positive ones. Omar (gibber) 15:28, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually, it also relies on an uncomfortably broad definition of "coercion" and the assumption that doctors don't want to protect patients. This is the real issue with libertarian arguments: they rely almost entirely on a combination of unfounded assumptions (for example, a doctor wouldn't exercise their own freedom to treat patients for free if economic barriers were removed) and re-definition of existing words to suit libertarian ideologies. Perhaps this discussion would be better if rationalist taboo was in effect. Omar (gibber) 15:32, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
You are conceding the libertarian point. Ron Paul, as a former physician, often says that before medicare/medicaid no one was turned away from the hospital. He himself helped many people for free. You only need government if you think that charity work will not be enough and coercion is necesary for the saftey net to work. (talk) 16:10, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────My point is that government provided health care is not necessary coercion. Currently, doctors are being coerced into not providing health care for people who can't afford it. Omar (gibber) 17:44, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Government is an institution that has a legimtimate use on force and it's only required when something has to be enforced. If individuals will voluntarily produce some sort of product or service, government is not required to intervene. Since only the government can legitimately use force, these doctors you are talking about are either coerced by the government or could lend their services freely in the marketplace. (talk) 19:03, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
No, they can't - because they would starve with no source of income. Please try to make your points without resorting to buzzwords. Omar (gibber) 19:07, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
I guess you mean weaslewords but i'm not sure which one you are referring to. If doctors would starve to death, either some people will voluntary give them food or money (no government required for this) or a government must force people to give them food or money. (talk) 16:03, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

I understand what negative and positive liberties are. However, (and let's draw away from universial health care for now) an obvious connotation of the libertarian viewpoint is that it invalidates much of the civil rights legislation of the 1950s-1960s. It is true that public discrimination is a violation of negative liberties. However, the Civil Rights movement was largely ineffective until the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited private sector discrimination. This bill is unarguably an example of "positive liberties", and arguably restricts the negative liberties of employers.

However, consider the freedoms of an African American during the time period prior to this bill. Blacks were virtually unable to find any integrated private-sector businesses. Is this not a restriction of their personal freedoms?

Perhaps a better way to illustrate this is in anti-trust legislation, possibly the paradox of libertarianism. Trusts are destructive for a free market, yet almost always occur when the government has no place in the private market. If the government is to preserve the nature of the free market, it must prevent trusts from being created.

The above two issues seem to divide libertarians. They are the issues where Ron Paul and his son differ in their views. However, I see them as key counterexamples to the distinctions placed on negative and positive liberties. Mr. Anon (talk) 00:28, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

First i'll explain my "armchair reasoning" (which could very well be wrong and simplistic) for a libertarian approach to dealing with irrational discrimination, then i'll explain the tipical misconception libertarians usually point out towards the civil rights act.
I am from Spain. Imagine I find myself in a country where the majority of people are OK with spaniards but a minority of people hate us. Would I like for this majority to vote for politiceans that will force the other minority to allow me in their restaurants and offer us work, even if they don't want to. I personally wouldin't. I would prefer to know in which places I am not welcomed to and take my business to people that actually want me there. I could still find places to eat and work, since most people are OK with me. Hopefuly, the racist people would end up bankrupt since they are irrationally ignoring a portion of the population and will end up with less customers and workers to choose from.
On the other hand, lets say only a few people are OK with spaniards but the majority of the population hate my kind. I would have a really hard time since there are even whole towns I couldn't find work or even a place to eat for the sole reason of my nationality. But, how is a democratic government going to fix this, if the majority of people really hate us? In fact, if the government has the power to force people into doing certain things they don't want, they might force the mintority of people that are OK with me to not let me eat in their restaurants or separate us from the rest of the people.
This ties with the civil rights act. I'm no expert on this but libertarians say that the good thing the cra did was repeal the Jim Crow Laws. These laws passed by the government forced businesses to segregate blacks and whites, made blacks move to the back of the bus and so on (similar to my hypothetical example where the majority of people are racist in a democratic government). The CRA had many privisons and only a few of them were inconsistent with libertarianism. (talk) 15:53, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure you understand my point. There are circumstances, such as in the deep South, where blacks had little opportunity whatsoever to pursue their goals. In this sense, there was little difference between private-sector discrimination and government discrimination, at least in their effect. As such, there is little distinction between positive liberties and negative liberties. You do not have the freedom to kill because, as part of a larger society, it tramples the freedom of another to live. Similarly, an employer should not have the freedom to discriminate because it tramples the freedoms of the employees to work. Mr. Anon (talk) 16:43, 15 April 2012 (UTC)
That's why I mentioned "whole towns" in my hypothetical example, because most people think of the deep south. The problem is that for it to work, the majority of people outside the deep south must not be racist.
As for your comparison, this would be more accurate: You do not have the freedom to kill because, as part of a larger society, it tramples the freedom of another to live. Similarly, you don't have the freedom to work for another person that doesn't want to work with you because you are violating his freedom of association. (talk) 17:35, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

Edit point 4[edit]

  • Strict interpretations of freedom to associate offer little incentive to remedy problems created by social stratification; in particular, the principle of "personal ownership" often leads to a blame-the-victim mentality (e.g. Rand's use of the term "parasite" to describe those dependent on public services).
This sentence is not very well written. I think he is mixing several things at the same time. Please rephrase. (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
This I agree with you on, since it seems to be based on a confusing of rhetoric.

Edit point 5[edit]

  • Governmental regulation often corrects problems in the market, the best examples are in health care regulations, such as enforcing credentialing for physicians so they are not some nut in a lab coat pretending, making sure pharmaceuticals have the ingredients they say they do, and work, and are relatively safe, ER's being required to treat people regardless of their ability to pay. Many Libertarians don't have an answer for what to do to correct these problems, they just shout the repeated two-word answer without explanation: "free market!"
Libertarians complain that government enforced licensing don't really improve the quality of the service, but only helps to increase cost. Instutitions that grant the licences capture the process to push away competition. In the case of healthcare, nurses are prefectly able to do certain tasks that can only be legally done by doctors. This increases the cost of healthcare. If being a physician was unregulated most people would not go to the first person wearing a lab coat. Just like in everything else that is not regulated, you would seek someone that has some sort of private certification that would be granted by a trustworth instutituion like the university where he studied, etc. You would also look at the trackrecord of that person. I would be more confortable in the hands of someone that never went to school but has been working for 30 years in the field and has a good track record than a recent college graduate. (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately, you can't always rely on being able to find someone of that sort. If you are sick, you often have no choice but to go to the nearest hospital, and you don't have time to check out credentials. You overestimate the power of the consumer.
Furthermore, some regulations undoubtedly have improved the condition of the consumer. Compare the quality of living before and after the massive increase in government regulation from the 1910s through 1930s.
Just a small percentage of the consumers have to do the necessary due diligence to drive bad actors out of the market. This happens with everything else like cars, computers, phones, etc.
I haven't checked the specifics, but just stating that quality of life after got better after a 20 year period only because of a cetrain government action is a case of causation/correlation fallacy. I'm pretty sure that the standard of living in 1890 was worse than in 1910. Can you really control for every other factor and state with certainty that the standard of living increase was due to government regulation? (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
To give a real world example. The bus services are privatised. Local Bus Services Ltd (LBS) set up a business which runs fine until Mega Corp busses comes in. For six months they run buses cheaper than LBS and time their buses to arrive just before LBS's. Naturally people switch to Mega Corp and LBS goes out of business. Now they have no competition Mega Corp immediately drop the routes which provide less profit and raise their fares fourfold. The passengers can't switch back to LBS as they are out of business and no one is going to come and replace LBS because they know what Mega Corp will do. So, without regulation the passengers get a worse service at increased cost. Thanks Maggie. Bob Soles (talk) 14:33, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
This is called "predatory pricing", and unfortunately there are very few real world examples. The typical example is Standard and Oil. They did try to lower prices and when they had less competition they increased prices, but they could never increase them enough so that the consumer ended up worse off than before they started. As soon as they incresed the pricess too much, barriers of entry disappeared and new competitors stepped in. When it was all said and done the result was a net positive for the consumer.
On the other hand, you can find plenty of examples of regulatory capture, where, after regulation is introduced into an industry, the industry leaders colude with the regulators allowing them to increase wages, reduce services and push off competition. The result is a net loss for consumers. If LBS manages to lobby for regulation, it is much more likely that the end result would be worse off for consumers. I happily concede that markets are imperfect and there is such a thing as maket failures, but there is another thing called government failures. Saying "aha, market failure detect, we need regulation" fails to realize that people in charge of government are as human and self centered as the people in the private industry and won't necessarily do the best thing for society. (talk) 15:29, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
So, lets see, we have two systems. Both are open to corruption and incompetence. One system is answerable to me through the balance box. The other is only answerable to shareholders. Which one should I trust more? Difficult one that. Bob Soles (talk) 15:40, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
No, businesses can't force you to do anything. Either you voluntarily become a client and use their product or services or you ignore them. You can't ignore a government you dont like if 51 percent of the other people have voted for it. (talk) 16:11, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
But I can't avoid a monopoly either. I have to ride in Mega Corp's buses whether I like it or not, I have to pay their prices, be driven by their under-trained drivers in their unmaintained vehicles because I need to get to my work and I can't afford a car because my pay has been cut with the 'it's either that or your job goes to India' excuse. Back in the real world every time you reduce regulation the customer gets fucked (Hatfield train crash, anyone?) Bob Soles (talk) 16:18, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────(edit conflict) Care to address the fact that states with state-run healthcare systems have drastically lower costs than those without? Omar (gibber) 15:42, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Libertarians do NOT oppose laws against fraud, and it's simply dishonest to pretend that they do.Fdof (talk) 03:54, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Edit point 6[edit]

  • To many strict Libertarians, environmental damage is just a cost of doing business.[2] Regulations to stop or correct for negative externalities caused by private companies are seen as "anti-business". Apparently, not even disastrous economic catastrophes that affected the lives of millions are reason enough to hold the corporations that caused them accountable. For example, Rand Paul (a professed ardent libertarian) criticized government regulation and enforcement to clean up the millions of gallons of oil spilled into the gulf of Mexico as an un-American boot heel on the throat of British Petroleum.[3]
This is just not true, I think you are confusing libertarians with Republicans. You could actually make the oposite critique. A 'strict' libertarian would enforce property rights even if it resulted in negative social good. For example, in the industrial revolution many factories would pollute the property of nearby neighbours. Governments gave them a pass because it was for the better of mankind. A libertarian would prohibit someone polluting another persons property unless they come into an agreement financial or otherwise. Libertarians believe that "externalities" only happen when there is no property rights assigned. If you pollute a public river you are imposing an externality on the users of that river downstream but if the river is privately owned there are no externalities, just damage to someone elses property.
The sentence about Rand Paul is just false, he said the exact oposite. He said he said there needs to be regulation on oil drilling and was obviously in favour of BP for paying for the cleanup. (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
You raise a fair point here. Unfortunately, some libertarians like Ron Paul are opposed to all kinds environmental regulation.
I'm sure I've heard Ron Paul use the protecting property rights argument to fight environmental externalities. (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't think so. Paul is a climate change skeptic, and his energy plan is more focused on industries like oil and natural gas than solar, wind, etc. Mr. Anon (talk) 00:09, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
The libertarian energy plan is that there is no energy plan. All industries should be treated equally by the government. If some of these industries are profitable because they are generating externalities in the form of pollution, the libertarian argument, as I explain above, is to protect private property. Some people might argue, sure, you can privatize lakes and rivers, but if china pollutes the atmosphere by releasing CO2, it will generate consequences on a global scale that affect me. The libertarian answer should be that no one should be able to engage in an activity that will harm others or their property. It is difficult to deal with this on practical terms. Economists usually argue that on these cases, the best approach is to “internalize the externalities”. This means, use the latest science to try to quantify as precisely as possible what damage that activity might generate and tax that industry accordingly. Then use those funds to mitigate the damage. Once the externalities are internalized, no industry is cheating and now they can compete fairly in the marketplace. This approach is much better than handing subsidies to solar, wind, etc. because politicians don’t really know which energy source is more efficient. If there is a clear winner, private investors will do that work with their own money. (talk) 00:32, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
But then, Ron Paul is also a creationist, so twiddling around fine points of his scientific beliefs is probably pointless - David Gerard (talk) 07:38, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
In my opinion the debate about global warming should focus not only on the science but also on the economics. Ron Paul understands that every government policy has tradeoffs and unintended consecuences. Pushing radical environmental regulations might end up having a negative net effect. Increasing the cost of energy by switching to cleaner sources or taxing fosil fuels will make everything more expensive. This means poor people barely getting by will have an even harder time getting food and heating their homes, it will be much harder for people living on the margin to get out of povery. You have to make sure the alternative of not passing these regulations is even worse, many people don't stop to think of this. (talk) 00:32, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Edit point 7[edit]

  • Libertarians generally split into those who hold their views on utilitarian grounds and those who base their philosophy on natural rights. Those rights usually include Locke's "life, liberty, and property." This group might be just as accurately called propertarians. While these rights are in principle also affirmed by many non-libertarians, raising "property" to the same inviolable status as "life" causes some problems: a sweeping interpretation would denounce all taxation as illegitimate expropriation, making it impossible to finance even the most essential public services.
Anarchists are against all taxation. Minarchist libertarians state that taxation is only legitimate for what they consider the basic functions of the government. That is to protect life, liberty and property. They argue other services currently offered by the government would would exist in a voluntary fashion (private sector, charity). (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
Progressives also believe that the purpose of the government is to protect life, liberty, and property. However, our view of "life, liberty, and property" is broader. Take health care for example. If we all have a right to life, and it is the government's role to protect this right, shouldn't the government ensure quality health care? If an unregulated free market can trample the liberty of the consumer, then why shouldn't the government step in? Mr. Anon (talk) 03:01, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
See the negative vs positive rights point above. (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

enough for now (talk) 14:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

  • Libertarians want to push the government away from the banking and finance industries, often recently stating banks/depositors/investors should not have been bailed out by the government in the credit crunch of 2008[4]. None would however wish their own funds to evaporate completely if they had money in these accounts (or investments) and their bank acted irresponsibly. This highlights the often championed "This pain needs to happen for freedom! ...but not to me" witnessed in a good amount of Libertarian thinking.
  • You are reading this page using something originally created by the big, bad gummint.

Like many other political positions, libertarianism is also subject to fundamentalist thinking; in libertarianism this can lead to both figurative and literal arms races (libertarians in the United States are often very anti-gun control), as well as an attraction to fringe groups such as the tax protester movement, and calling for a resumption of the gold standard.

For the love of goat - SIGN![edit]

I have no idea who said what in the above conversation or how to respond to it. Might I just point out that exchanges are incomprehensible if they are not signed.--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 14:01, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

Wow. That's impressive. Some lazy BON got round to signing a whole bunch. I wonder who else was involved?--Bob"What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." 14:19, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
I'm sorry. I tried to address each of his points in one post, but I ended up only signing at the end. Mr. Anon (talk) 00:07, 14 April 2012 (UTC)


Timestamp: 00:07, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

POV issues[edit]

This article basically one giant apologetic screed for Libertarianism. It is, quite frankly, embarrassing that such an uncritical article should be found on RW. --TheEgyptiansig001.png 18:00, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

Could you be more specific? Тytalk 18:09, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
1) on non-interventionism and self-defence: There really should be mention here that the LP takes an extremist gun-nut view that ANY regulation on weapons is wrong, and the glaring failings with this position are ignored or swept under the carpet with "Like all people who identify with certain political groups, libertarians have varying views on certain issues, although they agree on general principles". BS should be called BS.
2) "Examples abound in the 20th century of societies that failed badly because of the policy of top-down control exercised by their government — and of one that happens to account for over a fifth of the world's population, and has been generating close to double-digit economic growth for over a decade, ever since it gave up on such extremities of economic top-down control. The "free" world hopes that the trickle of economic freedoms afforded their people will result in some minimal political freedoms developing." - I don't see what this paragraph adds to the article at all except as an attempt to justify the Libertarian world-view.
3) "The narrow usage of "libertarian" as a label is also a cause, as some who takes "moderate libertarian" positions are frequently called a "free-market liberal/Democrat" or a "pro-____ rights conservative/Republican" - or even derisive epithets like "libt kiddies."" This just comes accross as justifying electoral failure of the LP, and the lack of serious Libertarians in elected office.
4) "Other libertarians may point to such works of non-fiction as Libertarianism in One Lesson by David Bergland, which posit a clear set of axioms and then delineate how society might follow them and how it would be best for everyone." - Seriously?
Ironically, the funspace article is actually better in some respects... --TheEgyptiansig001.png 20:35, 18 June 2012 (UTC)
I have to agree with your stance on these examples; in particular bringing up China as an example of how getting rid of government control cheerily leads to double-digit growth sets off massive alarm bells for me. --Lord Shang (talk) 20:45, 18 June 2012 (UTC)

John Locke[edit]

Was he really a libertarian? It's been a while since I've read Two Treatises Of Government, but I think that's a wholly unfair characterization of his philosophy. Similar perhaps, but I don't recall reading anything that specifically prohibits state intervention for charity, in the case of natural monopolies, tragedy of the commons, externalities, etc., which IMHO is/are a hallmark(s) of libertarianism. Sure, he did opine on a "natural" basis for property rights, government, and such, but that's a far cry from prohibiting more or less all government intervention ala modern libertarians. I suspect John Locke will be amazed at the stupidity of modern libertarians. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 00:47, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

I absolutely agree - calling Locke a libertarian is akin to calling Newton a creationist in my opinion. AceThe Rep Grows Bigger 00:49, 14 July 2012 (UTC)
That you think that opposition to governmental intervention on the tragedy of the commons and externalities is a "hallmarks" of libertarianism just shows how little you understand libertarianism. The solution to the tragedy of the commons and externalities is private property, which libertarians support.Fdof (talk) 04:07, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
How is that different than what the OP said? Unless you're making the astute point that "libertarian" definition of governmental intervention is Newspeak. That is, if the government defends my property or wealth, it's simply enforcing contract as is its duty. If the government takes my property or wealth, then it's "men with guns!!!11!!!" or "confiscatory taxation!!!111!!!" Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 07:08, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
The solution to the tragedy of the commons and externalities is private property, which libertarians support. Here is my litmus test. Let's see how you do. Do you support government policies to incentivize vaccines or require vaccines? Vaccines are the classic externality where there is no "thing" to make private property to solve the problem. Contrary to the delusions of libertarians, the answer is not making all property private (and/or "shared private"). I mean, there are other rebuttals that will take more time to go into, but let's just start with vaccines. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 09:10, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
Nebuchadnezzar: I really have better things to do than try to untangle incoherent ramblings. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant: first, talking about "testing" people is a bit worrisome. It has an air of "I'm not asking you questions because I'm legitimately open to your point of view, but because I want to tell you whether you have the 'right' opinion or not" about it. Secondly, your question is a bit unclear. At first I thought you meant giving people incentives to develop vaccines, but on further reading I guess you mean incentives to take vaccines. I don't see much libertarian basis for objecting to incentives to take vaccines (although really strict libertarians might object on such bases as that the incentives would be coming from taxes, and they might object to taxes in general). Requiring them is a bit thornier, and would depend on various factors.Fdof (talk) 20:54, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
Ok. Sorry about the previous comment (deleted). Let me try to phrase it more civilly. First, yes I meant incentivizing the taking of vaccines - sorry. Second, as another point, there isn't a fundamental difference between government incentives and government requirements. Consider the case of several US states where it's both mandatory for children to receive education and it's mandatory for children going to public schools to have taken certain vaccines. For many people, this might as well be mandatory - the cost of moving to a different state and the cost of home schooling or private schooling are prohibitive for those at the poverty line and it might as well be a hard requirement to take certain vaccines. Finally, on the major premise that privitization is a solution for all commons problems, I think you are grossly wrong, and wound up in your own privilege, like most libertarians. You are right that I came off as preachy, and that it didn't seem like I was interested in having a discussion. That is how I am right now. I've done this particular dance too many times with too many people. Perhaps this time will be different. I await your answer on whether the government should incentivize the taking of vaccines, and hopefully your admission that this is something we want the government to do, and your admission that there is nothing to make private property to solve this problem. We can then go on to the more in-depth rebuttals after that. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 21:50, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
Ocean acidificationWikipedia is another one -- unless you want to privatize the ocean. This is why libertarians tend toward anti-environmentalist/denialist positions. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 22:44, 13 August 2012 (UTC)
No, don't want to have a discussion? You won't admit that there's a huge gaping flaw (vaccines) in your world view? LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 19:13, 15 August 2012 (UTC)
@LOFUV: I wasn't terribly offended, just letting you know how it could be seen. I suppose saying that "the" solution to externalities is private property wasn't the best wording. A commons problem is, by definition, a problem resulting from a resource being shared, so privatizing the resource causes it to cease to be a commons problem. That might cause other problems, though, and there are situations where direct governmental involvement, such as taxes or subsidies, make more sense than trying to accomplish things just through private property rights. But it seems like when the subject of externalities comes up, people start bringing up stuff like a farm's runoff contaminating local well water, or the over-grazed pasture that's the classic "tragedy of the commons" example. Using those examples as situations where libertarianism is problematic seems to just completely miss what libertarianism is about. I don't think that private property solves every problem, but I think that it should be the first place we look, and I think that is, much too often, overlooked in favor of one-size-fits-all regulation. As to vaccines, I don't think that simply because the difference between incentives and requirements can get fuzzy in some situations, that means there is no distinction to be made. If the government quantifies how much it values people getting vaccines, and reimburses people that amount, I would characterize that as being primarily a market solution, even though the government is involved. I appreciate your being forthright with your concerns, and I understand that many libertarians are dismissive of the challenges other people face, but I also think that leftists are also prone to latch on to "privilege" and other concepts to dismiss other points of view. Just because others disagree with you doesn't mean their point of view is simply due to "privilege", and this can very easily turn into an ad hominem attack.

ETA: A bit impatient, aren't you? I posted this response last night, and didn't notice a "loss of session data" error.Fdof (talk) 01:42, 16 August 2012 (UTC) Also, I really don't think that vaccines are a "huge gaping flaw".Fdof (talk) 01:46, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

Great character on Lost. Killed off too early. sterilesporadic heavy hitter 01:56, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Just wondering if I can get you to say the words "I admit that there is an important class of commons problems, such as vaccines, for which privitization is not applicable, and where I would want government intervention". As common with creationists, I like to stick to one point at a time instead of addressing the whole kitchen sink. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 03:57, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
Your desire to put words in my mouth does not bode well for the discussion. I would categorize vaccines as an externality issue, rather than a commons problem. I do think that private property has a role, and while I have a preference for government intervention, I don't think that its absence would constitute a "huge gaping flaw".Fdof (talk) 18:49, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
All I'm asking for is for you to 1- admit you were simply wrong when you said the blanket unqualified universal assertion "The solution to the tragedy of the commons and externalities is private property, which libertarians support.", and 2- agree never to assert that unqualified universal ever again. Do that, and we can move on. If you can't admit your mistake, then there's no point to this conversation. Thus far, you've been ambiguous as to whether you would actually be for government incentives to take vaccines. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 19:54, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
I've already said that it wasn't the best wording. I can see how you could have interpreted it as a "blanket unqualified universal assertion" (a rather redundant characterization, by the way), but that was not my intent, and don't think there is anything "simple" about labeling me as wrong. I will try to be more careful in the future, but you demanding that make a pledge to you is a bit arrogant. It's a bit hypocritical that you are accusing me of making an unqualified universal assertion about the suitability of private property as a solution, but you are complaining that I am failed to make a sufficiently unqualified assertion regarding vaccines, and that this whole discussion was prompted by your ridiculous generalizations to begin with. Will you admit that you were wrong in stating that "specifically prohibit[ing] state intervention for charity, in the case of natural monopolies, tragedy of the commons, externalities, etc., [...] is/are a hallmark(s) of libertarianism" and that "modern libertarians" prohibit "more or less all government intervention"? And that "I suspect John Locke will be amazed at the stupidity of modern libertarians" could be read as a ""blanket unqualified universal assertion" regarding the intelligence of modern libertarians?Fdof (talk) 23:11, 16 August 2012 (UTC)
I will not continue this discussion until you clearly answer whether you want the government to incentivize the taking of vaccines, and an acknowledgement that (or a rebuttal of) there is no private property to solve this commons / externality problem of taking vaccines. Stop dodging the issue and answer. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 05:56, 17 August 2012 (UTC)
(1) I have already responded to those questions. (2) You raised other issues, which I responded to. It is hardly "dodging the issue" when I don't address issue X in a response to issue Y, and your pretending otherwise shows your dishonesty. (3) YOU have not responded to MY questions. (4) You seem more interested in attacking me than discussing the issues.
If you wish to not participate on the talk page, then fine. But that is your choice, made out of your arrogance and contempt for my point of view. Since you refuse to have a discussion on the talk page, I should be allowed to make edits unhindered.Fdof (talk) 01:01, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Ok. You want me to answer your questions. That's fair. As best as I can determine, you've asked two. Please help me out if I missed any:

1- "Will you admit that you were wrong in stating that "specifically prohibit[ing] state intervention for charity, in the case of natural monopolies, tragedy of the commons, externalities, etc., [...] is/are a hallmark(s) of libertarianism" and that "modern libertarians" prohibit "more or less all government intervention"?" I stand by that. A hallmark is "a distinguishing characteristic, trait, or feature". The connotation is that it's a common identifying trait. I could equivalently say "the hallmarks of Christianity is believing in the trinity, Jesus rising from the dead ala magic, and God forgives your sins if you ask", but I can name sects of Christianity (or anecdotes) that disagree with all of those. A hallmark doesn't have the connotation of a universal truth. Your original claim had the connotation of a universal truth. Let us please not descend further into this useless pedantic argument - if you force it then fine, I am wrong, you are right. Let's move on to the interesting questions, like vaccine incentives. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 05:20, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

2- "And that "I suspect John Locke will be amazed at the stupidity of modern libertarians" could be read as a ""blanket unqualified universal assertion" regarding the intelligence of modern libertarians?" Although this ends with a question mark, I see no question. I'll assume you implied "will you admit you were similarly wrong?". This is even stupider. It's like saying I can't make a claim that I find fascists to be evil or Hindus to be deluded. I do believe John Locke would find modern (American) libertarians to be stupid. This is equivalent to saying "I do believe John Locke would find the common defining traits of the modern American libertarian to be stupid". Again, when we're talking about a class of people like this, barring extreme language, we're probably talking about the common defining beliefs, not a universal claim to a group of people which obviously will have some variation. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 05:20, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Finally, I label you as intellectually dishonest. Else-page, you wrote " I would characterize that [government incentives to take vaccines] as being primarily a market solution, even though the government is involved.". This is double speak under the true definition of the terms. This is a clear cut case of incredible stupidity or willful dishonesty. What the hell is an example of a government regulation which doesn't fit this criteria? All regulations are made in the presence of a free market, so by this reasoning all government regulations are a market solution. Seriously? You are twisting the definitions of words well beyond their accepted meanings to suit your arguments. If that is a market based solution - what isn't? And consequently what the hell does libertarianism even mean? Furthermore, earlier you took fault when I claimed that denial of government regulations for externalities is a hallmark of libertarianism, but then you have this doublespeak to try and work around that claim, while simultaneously accusing me of being quite wrong in making that characterization. What the hell dude? LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 05:20, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Libertarianism edit warring[edit]

This discussion was moved here from RationalWiki:Chicken coop.

David Gerard has, on three occasions, reverted my edits to Libertarianism, twice labeled as them "minor" with no attempt at explanation, and the third time with the excuse of "per dodging answering questions on the talk page (there you go))". As far as I can tell, David has not engaged in any participation in the talk page whatsoever. The questions that I allegedly "dodged", I did in fact respond to, and were questions about my personal beliefs rather than the page itself, and did not deal with my edits. I brought up issues on the talk page and no one addressed them. My current attempt at editing consists of those issues, plus additional information. The idea that someone can simply ask me random questions, declare that my answers are unsatisfactory, and use that as an excuse to revert me edits with impunity, and without any regard for or response to my attempts to discuss them on the talk page, is absurd.Fdof (talk) 23:42, 17 August 2012 (UTC)

David's version sucks less. Theory of Practice "Trampoline" is an Olympic sport now? 00:03, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
Think of it as a libertarian way to run a wiki. C®ackeЯ 00:09, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
I'll try to look it over and form an opinion. I don't have one yet. I do agree with most of the rest of the people here that libertarianism is braindead stupid, which may be part of the problem. Oh, and if it makes you feel any better, you could answer the question "would a 'true libertarian' be in favor of government incentives for the taking of vaccines?". This is relevant if we want to write the main page correctly and accurately. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 00:59, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

"David's version sucks less" is not a legitimate contribution to the discussion. If you're not going to discuss it on the talk page, you shouldn't be making edits.Fdof (talk) 01:08, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Fdof - maybe you should try making a change at a time, and then individually defend that change. Is there one particular change you made, which was reverted, which you'd like to start by defending? Please quote the change and then explain your reasons for that change. Zack Martin HolyMaratreanSigil.png 01:51, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

I have already presented my reasons for edits, and they have been ignored. But let's start with this:
No matter how many whine about it, governmental regulation often corrects problems in the market, the best examples are in health care regulations, such as enforcing credentialing for physicians so they are not some nut in a lab coat pretending, making sure pharmaceuticals have the ingredients they say they do, and work, and are relatively safe, ER's being required to treat people regardless of their ability to pay. Many Libertarians don't have an answer for what to do to correct these problems, they just shout the repeated two-word answer without explanation: "free market!" First, "No matter how much they whine about it" is just gratuitous rudeness. More importantly, saying "Many Libertarians have don't have an answer for what to do to correct these problems" is a flat-out lie, libertarians don't oppose laws against fraud. And this also uses "Libertarians" when the article is about "libertarians".Fdof (talk) 03:00, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree with you that "No matter how many whine about it" is gratuitous. I don't think "Many Libertarians don't have an answer" is a "flat-out lie", because what the mentioned government regulations achieve goes further than "laws against fraud". Fraud usually requires one to be making claims which one knows to be false. Suppose I am a quack claiming that "Mercury cures cancer!" If I sold my useless (and harmful) cancer cure, knowing it was useless and harmful, then yes I would be committing fraud. But if I honestly believe it cures cancer, then I am not committing fraud, but this is a form of harm to others which current government regulations prevent. In any case, proving to a legal standard that I know my cure is harmful would be much harder than proving that it has not been proven to be safe or effective. Government pharmaceutical regulation uses the opposite burden of proof to laws against fraud. Finally, when you want to split "Libertarian" and "libertarian", do you mean adherents of the US political party vs. adherents of the ideology? You might adhere to such a usage, but I think usages here are too varied to claim your usage alone as being standard. Zack Martin HolyMaratreanSigil.png 05:13, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
The claim is "Libertarians don't have an answer", not "Libertarians don't have the same answer as the mainstream". And one of the problems listed is "making sure pharmaceuticals have the ingredients they say they do, and work". If someone sells something, and asserts that it has certain ingredients, but it doesn't, that's fraud. As for efficacy, simply asserting "I believed it to be true" would be a flimsy defense to fraud, and even if the current conception of fraud allows such a defense, that doesn't really address the central issue, which is whether making it illegal would violate libertarian principles. Whether or not it fits the technical definition of fraud, it is harming others, so it can be outlawed. I don't think people have trouble distinguishing between democrats (people who believe in democracy) and Democrats (people who belong to the Democratic Party), and I don't see why the similar distinction between Libertarians and libertarians is so hard to grasp.Fdof (talk) 06:12, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
To start with, the claim being made is "Many Libertarians don't have an answer" not "All Libertarians don't have an answer". You seem to be sliding from the first to the second. How is asserting "I believed it to be true" a filmsy defense to fraud? Whether we are talking about a criminal prosecution or a civil case, the party alleging fraud needs to prove fraud, the party accused of it should not have to prove their innocence. And they need to prove, not just that the claims were false, but the person who made the claims knew that they were false (or knew that they were likely to be false, or was recklessly indifferent to their truth or falsehood). The mental state of the accused fraudster is essential to claim fraud. By contrast, in government pharmaceutical regulation, the onus is on the drug-maker to prove their drug safe and effective, not on the government to prove that it is not; and the mental state of the drug-maker is largely irrelevant. So when you are saying you are okay with prohibiting "fraud", but then define "fraud" more broadly than the usual legal definitions - could you accept the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic ActWikipedia as a form of prohibition of "fraud"? Finally, while you can rely on captialisation to distinguish political parties from ideologies, it is a very context dependent thing - if one lives in a country where there is no party called Democratic, or Libertarian, or Liberal, or Conservative, or Republican, or so forth, then one is likely to ignore that distinction in that particular case. I see many Americans capitalise Liberal or Conservative in the ideological sense, when in the UK or Australia they are names of political parties; in Australia and the UK, a Republican is not a member of a political party, it is someone who wants to abolish the monarchy. Zack Martin HolyMaratreanSigil.png 08:32, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
How many is "many"? Whether individual libertarians have an answer is irrelevant; the question is whether libertarianism has an answer. As you acknowledge, reckless indifference to truth is a basis for a charge of fraud. People have an obligation to make reasonable effort to make sure they aren't doing something illegal. And in a civil case, the mental state would likely be irrelevant. If you harm someone, you're responsible, regardless of whether you knew they were harming them. Whether FDA regulations are dealing with "fraud" isn't very important; what we call it isn't as important as whether it's consistent with libertarianism.Fdof (talk) 05:30, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't think you precisely understand how this wiki works Fdof. First of all: Snarky Point of View. That means lots of gratuitous rudeness to concepts that are just fucking wrong. Second: edit warring. We don't give a shit about edit warring. If you're attempting to insert information that is contrary to evidence, we're going to revert it, and we will revert it as many times as necessary until you go away. It's how RW deals with people who want to alter our message. Third: "the question is whether libertarianism has an answer." Libertarianism is not a sentient being with its own belief structure. Libertarianism exists as a construct in the mind of every libertarian, and each one has a slightly different notion of what it means. There is no way to ask libertarianism what its opinion, or solutions are... ok, wait, you CAN ask libertarianism what its opinions and solutions are, you're just highly unlikely to get a response. Your whole argument seems to be analogized by the argument, "But love doesn't let people hurt each other!" ... there is no "love", it is a arbitrary, ephemeral, incorporeal concept. --Eira OMTG! The Goat be Praised. 08:06, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Rudeness to creationism is one thing, rudeness to people who advocate liberty is another. And I'm the one trying to remove information contrary to evidence. And if you won't accept discussing philosophies as distinct entities capable of making assertions, that's just plain absurd. (And where does that leave discussions of "RW's message"?)Fdof (talk) 02:41, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
No. Time to make a stand. If you are a libertarian because the rules of libertarianism themselves are the desired moral ends, and not because you think the rules lead to a happy, materially wealthy, free people, then that's a coherent assertion which is more acceptable than the second interpretation. The second interpretation is that you fiat the efficacy of libertarianism at achieving a happy, materially wealthy, free people. This second assertion is unacceptable on rational wiki. I outlined why on my talk page. If you take libertarianism because the rules themselves are moral, then we can include that as a description of libertarianism, probably with some snide comments about being selfish and evil. If you take libertarianism because you have a faith position that the rules work, then we're going to add that to the description, probably with some snide comments about it being equivalent of creationism. I think my recent edits to the main page cover both possibilities. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 02:57, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
"Rudeness to creationism is one thing, rudeness to people who advocate liberty is another." Ah, I see... you want special pleading for your beliefs, but you don't give a shit about other people's beliefs. If your beliefs are fucked up and wrong, we will point them out, whether you think it's "appropriate" to be rude about it or not. --Eira OMTG! The Goat be Praised. 20:12, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Complaints of libertarianism[edit]

Ok, I'm cutting to the chase. Let's do this. This is why libertarians are deluded and their policies evil.

1- Some externalities do not have public property that can be privitized. Examples: vaccines (unless we privitize human bodies), the ocean (barring a world government). Also for vaccines, there's no possible civil suit - can you imagine suing someone for personal harm because they didn't get a vaccine? Good luck.

2- Libertarians believe that regulations of safety, quality, truthful advertisement, certification, etc., are better handled in the private space. The idea is that either the individual engaging in the contract will check it out thoroughly themselves, or take part in a voluntary private group (think Consumer Reports) which does the verification. This fails for the following reasons. It doesn't happen - look at the history. Consider "The Jungle" as prime evidence of how this simply doesn't happen. The libertarian approach depends on human psychology which simply isn't true. Why doesn't this happen? First, time is not free. Even if you can google the information in 5 seconds online, that's 5 seconds. It's unreasonable and inefficient and cumbersome for every person to check out the quality, safety, truthful advertisement, and so on, of every product they buy. Can you imagine doing this every time you went to the grocery store? Second, the information may not be available with 5 seconds of google. At that point, you would need to do serious research, which is well beyond the means of most people. So, why not form a voluntary association (like Consumer Reports) to deal with the problem? Freerider problem. That is all.

3- Libertarians also believe that negative externalities, such as harmful chemical runoff, is better solved with private litigation than with government regulation. This is flawed for reasoning similar to above. Basically, it takes time, money, and effort to even know you've been harmed. It's entirely unreasonable for every person to do it individually, and the freerider problem prevents voluntary associations from springing up. Finally, the courts are a horrible way of doing it, simply from an efficiency standpoint. It's a violation of specialization of labor for everyone to be responsible for litigating every possible negative externality. Hence why it's "farmed out" to the government.

4- Charities and wealth redistribution. This isn't an externality, nor a commons, nor a freerider problem. I don't know how libertarians feel about this, but my stereotype says that they would be strongly opposed to wealth redistribution plans, estate taxes, and so on, whereas I feel these are required. A free population requires the people to be approximately equal in power, and massive wealth differences result in massive power differences. Also, I want these simply as a moral concern to make people's lives happier, more materially wealthy, give them greater freedom of choice, etc.

LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 05:34, 18 August 2012 (UTC)

Libertarians forget that almost all real property is stolen (from Australian Aborigines, from native Americans — even England, the Normans stole it from the Anglo-Saxons who stole it from the Romans who stole it from the Celts who stole it from its pre-Celtic inhabitants), and that all freehold is really leasehold with the government as a landlord — the distinction between "public" and "private" is arbitrary and artificial — real property is a creation of government, so the notion of "private property" is a misnomer — all property is public. Zack Martin HolyMaratreanSigil.png 11:08, 18 August 2012 (UTC)
While interesting, I think that's a side show. The simple fact is that libertarian ideas don't work. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 04:01, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
No, they work perfectly fine for what they're designed to do, which is to transfer as much wealth and power to our Galtian overlords as possible. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:14, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
"The simple fact is that libertarian ideas don't work." is simply a sequence of words with no meaning.Fdof (talk) 04:31, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
No, you did not go there. You did not claim that my claim is untestable, unfalsifiable, and meaningless. Under the presumably shared premise that we want a materially wealthy, happy, free society, we can test that claim. You could falsify my claim by having a society function according to libertarian principles and compare to a "standard" society. You could support my claim by finding instances of failed libertarian policies. I again suggest "The Jungle" and the associated culture and problems as a prime example of supporting evidence. tl;dr fuck you Fdof. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 05:03, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Uh... Relax man. --Revolverman (talk) 05:08, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Er, you do know The Jungle is a work of fiction, right? Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 05:46, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, but I mention it because it's accessible to the average person, it's iconic, and it's largely responsible for reform in the way food is processed and packaged in the modern age. While a fiction story, it details accurately real world meat packing plants. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 05:51, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
"You did not claim that my claim is untestable, unfalsifiable..." no, he didn't. He said it had no meaning, which is entirely ridiculous, because your sentence does have meaning. A very clear meaning. It is not word salad. I don't know what fdof is smoking, but I want it as far from me as possible... --Eira OMTG! The Goat be Praised. 08:12, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
I think I went off a little bit too hard because I just wrote a little treatise on exactly how claims that lack "meaning" piss the crap out of me on my user page. And then he has the gumption to to claim that the efficacy of libertarian policies at achieving our desired ends cannot be measured. Afterwards, I realized this is just another symptom of what I wrote else-talk-page: The common libertarian has a hard time distinguishing between whether his desired goals are a happy, materially wealthy, free people, or whether the rules themselves are the moral end. I'm really big on Hume's Is-Ought distinction, and I think it's critical in policy discussions like these. You have to identify your desired ends, then evaluate plans to see how well they achieve your desired ends. The common libertarian acts if the policy itself is the ends, the actual effects of making us worse off be damned. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 09:59, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
It sure speaks to your lack of self-awareness that you post a putative claim that is premised on a failure to distinguish between moral and factual claims, and then you accuse me of failing to distinguish between them when I criticize your putative claim. Your posts are simply replete with straw men: that I claimed that "the efficacy of libertarian policies at achieving our desired ends cannot be measured" (and just who is the we of "our" desired ends?), that standing on principle is the same as acting as if "the policy itself is the ends, the actual effects of making us worse off be damned", that libertarianism opposes responses to the tragedy of the commons, etc. And I'm sure that if I point out that the anti-libertarian War on Drugs is a massive failure, and that shows that anti-libertarianism "doesn't work", you'll have some special pleading as to why your putative claim "doesn't mean" that. When you have to resort to contortion after contortion to qualify that a statement "doesn't mean that", that's a big clue that it doesn't mean anything.Fdof (talk) 18:48, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
Defining "anti-libertarian" as a thing is like defining "not apples" as a coherent category of phenomena. But I bet you really do think of everything that isn't libertarianism as a coherent group of things - David Gerard (talk) 19:32, 19 August 2012 (UTC)
"if I point out that the anti-libertarian War on Drugs is a massive failure, and that shows that anti-libertarianism "doesn't work"" wha? Ok, based on the criteria that we have set forth for rational evaluation of policy, the purpose of the War on Drugs is intended to reduce the number of people dependent upon drugs. In terms of efficacy, we can see that this is patently not working. You don't have to be libertarian to think that social liberties should not be infringed unless absolutely necessary. In fact, the socialists and libertarians fully agree on most social issues... they only disagree on how the economy should be regulated.

So, "libertarian ideas don't work" really means "all the libertarian ideas that are left over once we ignore the ones I agree with don't work". Which is exactly my point: the actual sequence of words aren't meaningful, they're merely a vacuous expression of antipathy towards libertarianism. When someone says "If I present this argument, you'll just respond with special pleading", and then you quote that argument and respond with special pleading, you're just proving their point. And one doesn't have to consider "anti-libertarian" to be a "coherent category" to identify policies that conflict with libertarianism.Fdof (talk) 00:37, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

No, it means that using civil courts and privatization to handle all commons problems, externalities, and free rider problems fail horribly compared to more rational government policies. As soon as you abandon that position, you are no longer a libertarian. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 01:30, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
I did not know Libertarianism had only one form, and one form only. -- (talk) 01:35, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Cut the bull. The heart of libertarianism is to deny government intervention for merely preventing future likely harm, and to wait until the harm is done, and then handle it through mostly through civil suits and sometimes with criminal trials. If you don't buy into that, then you're not a libertarian. You're just a liberal who thinks the current government is too big. (I'm probably one such person.) LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 01:52, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
What bull? It's special pleading to claim that there is one, and ONLY one form of a political/philosophical school of thought, and claim when someone doesn't fit into your defined rules, it doesn't count. --Revolverman (talk) 01:55, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
I can see a No True Scotsman, but special pleading does not appear to be applicable; I didn't make a universal claim then try to slide in an exemption. Pedantics aside, this is what the word "libertarianism" means. If you start allowing in the general case the imposition of force on others which preempts harm (or independent of harm), then you're not a libertarian. Apparently, you disagree, so I must ask, what do you think the word means? LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 02:16, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
For me? I believe Libertarianism is the school of thought that the government should not be allowed to restrict your rights in anyway as long as no others are harmed in the actions of those rights being used. --Revolverman (talk) 02:21, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Sounds like (classicial) liberalism to me. See JS Mill which I just touched up. You need that little extra bit about no imposition of force preemptively to be a libertarian. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 02:26, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps, but I've never heard it ever called classical liberalism in my life. --Revolverman (talk) 02:31, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Have you even read "On Liberty"? As I note on the JS Mill page too, Jefferson beat him to that formulation by 100 years. I think you would be hard pressed to call The Harm Principle the core of libertarian belief. Before my edits on the main page (and after because I kept this bit), it described the libertarian core belief as the non-aggression principle, which is something entirely different. The Harm Principle - a classification scheme for legitimate reasons to impose force on others. The non-aggression principle - the same thing, except with the additional proviso of don't go first. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 02:34, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
See, to me, that doesn't mean they are completely different schools, rather then different ideas in the same philosophical/political thought school. Different forms of Libertarianism rather then one being not. --Revolverman (talk) 02:38, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
This is now (and has been) an argument over definitions. Those are always the least interesting and least useful arguments to have. If the consensus wants to overrule me and reach consensus that libertarianism means what you think instead of what I think, then please go ahead, and someone will have to fix the main page to reflect that. I believe the modern usage of the term, especially amongst people who self-identify as it, is much closer to my position than yours. I think that's about all I have to say on this topic. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 02:43, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Here, let me put it to you like this. I am a huge fan of The Harm Principle. It's one of my basic moral axioms. I also consider myself a liberal, and definitely not a libertarian. Let me ask you, can you name a policy that's a hallmark of liberals, socialists, or even communists, which violates Mill's Harm Principle? That is, can you think of a single policy which is commonly supported by liberals, socialists, communists, etc., which attempts to impose force (including the use of taxes) independently of remedying some harm to an unwilling person? I can't. Usually such asshatery is indicative of the religious conservative right. So, do you think socialists and communists are just different kinds of libertarian? Hopefully you see how silly your position is. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 02:48, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Hmmm, perhaps. Something to think on at the very least. --Revolverman (talk) 02:54, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Or, instead of having a long, drawn-out argument, you could actually read the article. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:18, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
That was hardly and argument, especially on this site. --Revolverman (talk) 03:26, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
But they're so fun! How are we/I wrong btw Nebuchadnezzar, IMHO? You're usually pretty good about such things, and I respect your opinion. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 03:27, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
The big difference between liberals and libertarians (in the US sense) is the distinction between positive and negative liberties. Libertarians generally view the former as not "true" liberty or at least liberty that should not be state-enforced. Plus, there is always the split between the deontological types (e.g., Randroids, Rothbardian anarcho-capitalists) and the utilitarian types (Friedman-ite Chicago schoolers, Reasonoids). The two are totally different approaches that require a different set of counter-arguments. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:08, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
The most obvious interpretation of "Libertarian ideas don't work" is "No libertarian ideas work", not "Implementing the entirety of libertarian thought won't work". And I tried to put what the core of libertarianism is in the article, but it was deleted. The central idea behind libertarianism is that it's immoral to use force against another except to protect your own rights. It contrasts with the idea that government can do whatever it wants (or that government can do whatever it wants as long as there's nothing in the constitution to say otherwise... and since the government writes the constitution, that amounts to the same thing). Trying to find something in the constitution that prohibits laws against same-sex intercourse is a liberal position; simply saying that it's none of the government's business, there is no moral basis for such a law to begin with, and it's completely illegitimate for a group of people to get together and simply vote themselves that power, is a libertarian position. Also, it's just mind-boggling that Eira is calling libertarianism "fucking wrong" and suggesting that we should instead go with socialism. Republicans, Democrats, and socialists all accept the idea that the government has the right to ban behavior that hurts no one. Fdof (talk) 03:05, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
I am a realist. I realize that the second we disbanded government, someone would attempt to establish a new government over their neighbors. The first thing that would happen is that they would say, "hey, you can't have sex with another man, because I say it's wrong." And you say "hey! you can't do that! It's none of your business!" and then the person says "fuck you, I'm MAKING it my business!" and then you say, "But that violates my natural rights!" and then they hit you with a club, reinforcing the fundamental natural law: Might makes right.
Someone is always going to seek out the ability to tell you what you can and cannot do. Socialism is about controlling that force and power, and keeping the government subservient to the people, rather than the people subservient to the government. Libertarianism as far as I can see only wants a government just big enough to keep people from stealing their shit. Guess what? In order for the government to enforce law, it has to be larger, and more powerful than any usurping entity. If the government were smaller than a posse of people abusing others, then there is never a way that the government could STOP that abuse, even if they wanted to. Thus, by definition, in order to ensure that government can enforce law, it must always be more powerful than any individual or group collective within their jurisdiction. Otherwise, that individual or group could just rid into your house, and take your shit, and rape your wife, and "what are you going to do about it?" ... libertarianism is founded on the idiot notion that if we just didn't have government in the way, everyone would play happy with everyone else. Except that people DON'T. --Eira OMTG! The Goat be Praised. 07:33, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

To Reolverman: Meh, you have to be pretty loose with the definition of "harm" to include opportunity costs. It's been a while since I've read Mill, but I think that's a fair reading of On Liberty. I mean, Mill was a huge utilitarian. Meh, now I'm feeling bad about making that claim, after I reviewed the main page material about the distinction of positive vs negative rights that some people like to make, such as libertarians. The crucial distinction really is the "don't go first" rule, the one that prohibits the application of force until after harm is done, whereas the correct reading of Mill IMHO allows for preemptive use of force as long as it's aimed at lessening future harm against unwilling people and/or promoting "well being". Otherwise, Mill's entire utilitarian argument for free speech makes no sense IIRC. Meh, I might need to apologize to you and admit you were right about some of the particulars. I need more time to think. Damnit! Now you have me doubting The Harm Principle as an appropriate description of my philosophy. (I mean thank you oh so much!) LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 03:17, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

To Fdof: Name me a single policy that Democrats or Socialists commonly support which uses force (or taxes) and its aims are independent of preventing harm to unwilling people and/or advancing well being of people. -- To be completely fair and honest, I fully recognize I might have moved the goalposts. If your interpretations are different, please call me on it, and we can go from there. I think a similar statement might be more accurate: "a law is immoral if it is targeted at disincentivizing behavior amongst willing participants which harms no one outside the group". That liberals and libertarians can agree on. Where they disagree is whether it's moral to have a law which restricts some freedom "now" to prevent likely harm "in the future", and in such a way as to raise the efficiency of the entire economy. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 03:17, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Oh, and can we give examples to be clear, please? I want regulations to control air and water pollution. I want an FDA. I want incentives for kids to take vaccines. I believe you Fdof want none of that (except vaccine incentives AFAIK), and instead to have it handled via civil suits and voluntary associations (like Consumer Reports). I believe my counter-arguments are on the main page. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 03:20, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
"Name me a single policy that Democrats or Socialists commonly support which uses force (or taxes) and its aims are independent of preventing harm to unwilling people and/or advancing well being of people." You could start with the effective silencing of the anti-war contingent of the Democratic Party after the collapse of the McGovern campaign. Unless you see warmongering and other covert escapades abroad as a good thing. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:27, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
The supporters of those policies will invariably frame it in terms of making us safer, aka preventing future harm. Whether or not it works is a separate question. I'm not going to say they're running afoul of the principle simply because they have mistaken factual beliefs. To run afoul of the principle you really need things like the war on drugs, laws against contraception, and so on. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 03:29, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, if you want to put it in terms of how the policy is framed, you're going to have a hard time finding something that's not packaged as "advancing the well being of the people." Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 03:44, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Meh, war on drugs, anti-contraceptives, anti-sodomy, etc., are never phrased in (verifiable) harm, always religious language or moral outrage. I agree most policies don't violate the harm principle. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 04:27, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
So the standard is "verifiable" harm now? Goalposts on wheels, my friend. The policies you list have cottage industries of pseudoscience to prop them up (e.g., the quackery put out by Family Research Council-style propaganda fronts). If most policies don't actually violate the harm principle, what good is it? I mean, the most heinous acts are often justified as "self-defense." Better to take out the Jews now, before they take over the entire world! Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 04:54, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Hey hey now! I never claimed this is the end-all be-all rule. I admit to some goalpost moving. I do not admit to claiming it to the only rule of note, and that it is incomplete is not a negative. It's a very useful measuring stick to see if someone's policies are faulty. If they're talking about using force against someone to prevent willing behavior that harms no one else (or more generally harms only willing participants), then there's a problem. Of course that's insufficient on its own to judge policy. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 05:02, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
While communism is considered to be "left", communist countries actually quite often adopt quite conservative policies: censorship, anti-semitism, homophobia, etc. Furthermore, communism has a very extensive view on "harm": since the present government is the most perfect defender of the people, anything that harms the regime harms the people, so criticizing the government harms people. Also, unless "person" includes nonhuman animals, liberals' support of animal "rights" violates the harm principle. And at the risk of you making a "no true Scotsman" claim, liberals are quite supportive of the War on Drugs. Obama has shut down several medical marijuana dispensaries. Liberals are rather split on prostitution; some see laws against it as violating women's right to choose, but the predominant position is to prohibit it. A Canadian printer faced fines after refusing to print pro-homosexual materials. The Utne Reader published an article referring to the burning of the Koran as a "hate crime". And while they aren't as bad as conservatives, liberals are contemptuous of atheists. The idea that this can be defended on the basis of being for the "greater good" or "factual error" is an incredibly slippery slope. If we're handing out dispensations for simply having some rationalization for one's behavior, pretty much anything can be justified. Gay people cause God to send more hurricanes. Jews are plotting to destroy Western civilization. The concept of "pre-emptive" can also get fuzzy. If a group of people wearing ski masks and carrying guns approach your house, at what point is opening fire no longer "pre-emptive"? When they cross the property line? When they open fire? When one of their bullets hits you?
And I do not categorically oppose pollution regulation or the FDA.Fdof (talk) 04:04, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Touché. Reasonable points all around. I think you're pulling in corner cases and many points which are contentious, instead of hallmark policies, but you make some good points. For example, I agree that the very idea of hate crime is "offensive" and immoral. Thought police? No thank you. Judge them on how likely they're to commit a crime again, how heinous the crime was, etc., but not on some arbitrary classification of motivations. Worse- don't deem speech illegal just because you don't like it. So, you're a libertarian who is for government incentives in cases of free-riding and positive externalities. So, exactly what are you against of our current government, besides the above listed examples? I think you could get many liberal on board to get rid of the war on drugs, to legalize prostitution (under proper regulation for health and safety), to get rid of the abomination of hate speech laws, and so on. Or maybe I'm being too optimistic and naive, and there's fascists everywhere. I can hope. So, you think libertarianism is "you can't use preemptive force, unless it's justified?". I'm having a hard time to actually narrow down the tenants of what you think libertarianism is. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 04:32, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
I mean, you've really backed off your initial statement in this recent conversation, namely The solution to the tragedy of the commons and externalities is private property, which libertarians support. I don't want to beat a dead horse - I am honestly clueless as to what you think libertarianism even means besides "don't pass laws unless you have a good reason for them". I don't know what you really think anymore. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 04:35, 20 August 2012 (UTC)
Oh, and we're not allowing "gays cause hurricanes". The principle I'm advocating, Harm Principle 2.0, has several prongs. First, can we agree that the thing is a "harm" or the thing will advance "well being"? Ex: speech is not a harm, undemonstrable harms like hell are not harms, etc. Next, do we have good reason (such as scientific evidence) to believe that the policy will actually solve for those harms / well being? Simply because they attempt to use the language of harm or well being does not let them fiat whatever they want as a harm. Going to hell is not a harm because there is no hell. Jews are not plotting to destroy Western civilization. Etc. Throw on something about other consequences, whether we believe this is the best plan to achieve those desired consequences while minimizing other harms (i.e. taxes), some simple cost-based utilitarian analysis, etc. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 04:41, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Mill's Harm Principle[edit]

Revolverman I think is right. I was wrong. I believe a simple reading of Mill's Harm Principle is a lot closer to libertarianism than I before gave credit. I believe I was understanding it with the nuance of the whole of "On Liberty", which has a huge utilitarian bias. Thus, I always interpreted the Harm Principle as allowing for government intervention and societal pressure to fix for positive externalities and free rider problems. Hell - Mill spends a large portion of his book doing exactly that - justifying speech via positive externalities in spite of it violating the harm principle. Thanks again Revolverman. You did an amazingly useful thing for me. I'll have to abandon quoting the Harm Principle as I think a simple reading is not what Mill meant, and more importantly nor what I want. The intent is to disallow government prohibitions (and societal prohibitions) for merely "moral outrage", religious outrage, and a kind of parental "I know better than you". It still would allow for incentives of vaccines, the FDA, social security, and so on. Again, thanks people. Sorry for being an asshat - if I was. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 19:21, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Upon re-reading On Liberty (or at least the first chapter), I confirmed my earlier suspicions. Mill never intended to restrict the reading of The Harm Principle to only negative (or is it positive?) liberty. I think that libertarianism has so colored our thoughts that we imposed that interesting dichotomy of positive vs negative liberties on Mill's work, when it was never there to begin with, thereby getting false results. (I fixed up the main page on JS Mill with this information.) I now affirm that I stand completely by Mill on his central thesis, though I will have to abandon quoting verbatim that wonderful thesis paragraph. So annoying. It has a certain artistic beauty that I really like. -- Again, I do thank you Revolverman for pointing out this unfortunate fact of this specific instance of drift of modern language. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 02:14, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Oh, and no one ever intended it to be a complete moral philosophy. Not sure where Nebuchadnezzar got that silly straw man from. It's just a simple rule which was never intended to apply to most regular government actions. It's just there to prevent unjustified tyrannies of the moral majority. In short, in Mill's own words, "every person is their own sovereign", aka I know what I'm doing, and unless you're acting to make other people's lives better, you can't tell me what to do. It's not the libertarian idea which tries to distinguish between positive and negative liberties, and it's not the libertarian idea of prior restraint. It is the idea that you can't impose your values on me just because you feel like it - you need a better reason. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 19:21, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

That's a straw man of your own making, LOAUV, since you never coherently defined your interpretation of the harm principle. You're correct in saying, though, that Mill and other "classical liberals" have been re-interpreted by today's libertarians propertarian corporate apologists as "free" market ideologues. (See also Adam Smith for a prime example.) I don't think that Mill's utilitarianism necessarily leads to allowing for more than minimal government intervention (perhaps any more than a Nozick-ian "night watchman" state). Again, see, e.g., the Friedman-ites and other "Beltway libertarians" that use utilitarian arguments against state intervention. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 21:06, 22 August 2012 (UTC)
Well, that utilitarian question sounds like a scientific question to me, so at least we've moved the discussion from values to facts, and I'm usually pretty happy when that happens, because then there are objective right and wrong answers. LiberalOfAnUnknownVariant (talk) 20:42, 28 August 2012 (UTC)

Andrewstewart1's edits[edit]

I've been trying to add real scholarship and have been rooled-back because it is deemed too obscure by a particular user who seems to be trolling me, so can you tell Captain Swing to cut the shit, it's creeping me out. My sources and my topic are both relevant and realistic, I've sourced all my references, but I get treated like crap by this nut who doesn't even know the arguments he is getting into. --Andrewstewart1 (talk) 21:50, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

The edit in question is shit and makes the article worse. Anything else we can help you with? She said her name was Billie Jean and she was fresh in town/I didn't know her stage-line ran from hell. 21:51, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
The edit is relevant, if you think you can write it better, do it, but don't cut a clear case of calling libertarianism bullshit and proving academic dishonesty, you are cyber-stalking me for no reason and I think you need to chill, you talk a fake wiki way too seriously.--Andrewstewart1 (talk) 21:53, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
You have no fucking clue what academic scholarship is or you wouldn't be defending these horse shit edits. Real academic writing has sources, refrains from making bullshit generalizations like "Libertarian scholarship begins with Ayn Rand and ends with Murray Rothbard," and has some fucking nuance to it. Try again. Captain Swing (bringer of nachos) 21:56, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Pretty much. The edit in question focuses on an obscure bit of history, reads like a blog post, and detracts from the general thrust of the article.She said her name was Billie Jean and she was fresh in town/I didn't know her stage-line ran from hell. 22:01, 29 April 2013 (UTC)
Detracting from the general thrust of the article is fine. References would help a whole lot - David Gerard (talk) 22:42, 29 April 2013 (UTC)

Cut paragraph (utilitarian vs. deontological libertarians)[edit]

Cut this:

"However, the average lay libertarian is often ambiguous - and confused - whether these policies should be adopted because they result in a happy, materially wealthy, free society, or that they should be adopted because they are in themselves moral and good. For most libertarians, it is a faith position that these policies work, and consequently it can be hard to pin a libertarian down whether they support these policies because the policies are in and of themselves moral, or because they achieved desirable ends such as a happy, materially wealthy, free society."

There is a pretty clear division between the utilitarian (think the Friedmans) and deontological (think Murray Rothbard) traditions. Nebuchadnezzar (talk) 19:07, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Are we talking about the leaders, their followers, or the under-30s who are quick to call themselves libertarians after reading a few books blogs? :) I think that the author of that paragraph had in mind the latter group (them and the disgruntled Republicans).--ZooGuard (talk) 07:31, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Any argument with an Internet libertarian veers randomly between consequences and deontology, with sloganeering coming out when both those fail to convince. Pinning an Internet libertarian down on a claim is possibly worse than pinning a Christian down on one - David Gerard (talk) 16:49, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

HTTP and the Internet[edit]

To say "The HTTP and WWW protocols that make the internet work? Yeah, that was developed by workers at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), which is almost entirely funded by various governments. HTML, the language that most websites are scripted in (including this one) was also developed by CERN researchers." is not correct. For example, when I worked for British Telecom they actually tried to claim that they had a patent on a version of linked pages (developed from the old teletext system) and attempted to take this to court to enforce within the USA. They failed. The fact is that most of modern computing has been developed by private individuals/groups. That government organisations have attempted to claim responsibility is pure propaganda. Rank Xerox, IBM, ICL and many others would have eventually developed an internet system independent of any Govt interference. (talk) 07:29, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

They may have had a hypertext system, but that is not HTTP. Xerox never would have built the Internet. Are you altogether ignorant of what happened with PARC? The fundamental networking technologies existed before the government got involved, but nothing could talk to anything else. Companies like IBM were obsessed with protecting their fiefdoms, making it so that the only possible Internet at the time was one that consisted of only a single vendor. Wackyvorlon (talk) 13:01, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
Lots of hypertext systems existed, and the WWW was the one that actually worked and people used. Much as Microsoft had been pushing tablet computers since the early 1990s, and the market was somewhere between indifferent and hostile until Apple's iPad in 2010. Turns out ideas are cheap and execution matters - David Gerard (talk) 14:00, 6 September 2013 (UTC)


"Specifically, libertarians are against the use of taxes to deal with externalities, commons, or free rider problems.[wp]" What would you call someone who generally advocated libertarian principles, but supported using taxation (or other government interention) to deal with externalities? — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Unclear on the concept - David Gerard (talk) 23:02, 7 November 2013 (UTC)
Economically liberal? Zero (talk) 18:00, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

Lack of political impartiality on this site[edit]

The libertarian related articles on Rational Wiki are absolutely littered with ad-hominem argument (words and phrases such as "evil" and "wing-nut" are presented as axiomatic). If you have a political bias and wish to make this clear on your site that's fine, but at least refrain from weasel words and ad-hominem it does nothing for your site, or your argument. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs 21 July 2013

I agree, this article is a joke. Clearly it is written by people who have no knowledge of the topic. KevinBerner (talk) 18:14, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

You knwo what you can do? Edit it. (talk) 20:17, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

This article is fine. It should simply be retitled "What a bog-standard social democrat thinks libertarianism is" — Unsigned, by: Oldoddjobs / talk / contribs 13:41, 2 March 2014