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Showing posts with label Libertarians. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Libertarians. Show all posts

Friday, September 09, 2016

Bush League Adolesents

Gary Johnson's brain fart yesterday on "Morning Joe" illustrates the fundamental flaw in libertarian ideology. Like adolescents, they are completely unaware of the world beyond their little sphere of tantrums and rebellion towards authority. They refuse to see how problems that happen across the world affect us here in the US. The ignore or outright dismiss the very concept of globalization, pretending that we can wall ourselves off from the rest of the world and comfortably live our lives.

The video below shows a child playing in an adult world. The fact that we have so many other people that think like him should now be the focus of the conversation. What can we do to get these people to grow up?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Libertarians Chances

A recent piece over at Politico posits the question...does the Libertarian party actually have a chance this year? I think they do if they do a couple of things.

First, focus on the micro issues where the libertarian ideology actually works in reality. Education, which should be reformed from the local level outward, is one example. Legalizing all drugs is another.

Second, lose this nonsense.











If they can get the wingut out of their movement, they might actually peel away voters from both the Democrats and the Republicans.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Question They Can't Answer

Simple question, via Salon.com...why are there no libertarian countries?

My answer has always been this: the same reason why socialist fantasies never work in reality is the same reason why libertarian fantasies never work in reality...people. They really suck. If the state planned everything, they'd have too much power and corrupt people would be naturally drawn to it. If the state planned nothing and let the free market just sort everything out, the corrupt people would get away with everything they wanted.

Michael Lind, the writer of the piece, makes a few interesting points on this subject.

When you ask libertarians if they can point to a libertarian country, you are likely to get a baffled look, followed, in a few moments, by something like this reply: While there is no purely libertarian country, there are countries which have pursued policies of which libertarians would approve: Chile, with its experiment in privatized Social Security, for example, and Sweden, a big-government nation which, however, gives a role to vouchers in schooling. But this isn’t an adequate response. 

Libertarian theorists have the luxury of mixing and matching policies to create an imaginary utopia. A real country must function simultaneously in different realms—defense and the economy, law enforcement and some kind of system of support for the poor. Being able to point to one truly libertarian country would provide at least some evidence that libertarianism can work in the real world.

Yet they can't do it. It's been my experience that these same people are often "based in science and logic" and require "hard evidence" before they can justify something. Thus, it's quite odd that they continually perpetuate this myth that a libertarian society would be the best. Where is the proof?

While the liberal welfare-state left, with its Scandinavian role models, remains a vital force in world politics, the pro-communist left has been discredited by the failure of the Marxist-Leninist countries it held up as imperfect but genuine models. Libertarians have often proclaimed that the economic failure of Marxism-Leninism discredits not only all forms of socialism but also moderate social-democratic liberalism.

But think about this for a moment. If socialism is discredited by the failure of communist regimes in the real world, why isn’t libertarianism discredited by the absence of any libertarian regimes in the real world? Communism was tried and failed. Libertarianism has never even been tried on the scale of a modern nation-state, even a small one, anywhere in the world.

Exactly right and there's a reason for that perfectly summed up in one word: anarchy.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Friday, February 08, 2013

Best Picture: Beasts of The Southern Wild

Beasts of the Southern Wild is an extraordinary film. It tells the story of a father and his daughter who are part of a community that lives off the grid down in the Bayou near New Oreleans. When a storm floods their little island, their already impoverished life becomes even worse.

I found myself sitting in judgement of these people throughout the film and, quite frankly, didn't like the things I was feeling. Hush Puppy, the main character of the story, is treated horribly by her father and the mandated reporter in me wanted to haul his ass to jail. Yet the entire community seemed to function perfectly well on their own, albeit in squalor. When a relief organization comes in to bring them medical aid and shelter, they react strongly against the assistance. It is a fascinating thing to watch as they reflect on how it's the outside world, not them, that are trapped.

In many ways, this film is a testament to libertarianism and, if you can stand the miserable living conditions, freedom is indeed a beautiful thing.

Friday, February 01, 2013

An Example of Why The Libertarian Fantasy is Just That

The recent tragedy at the Santa Maria nightclub in Brazil serves as a stark reminder of what would actually happen if the world were run by libertarians.

There was no fire alarm, no sprinklers, no fire escape. In violation of state safety codes, fire extinguishers were not spaced every 1,500 square feet, and there was only one exit.

So, regulations were lax or nonexistent. And I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked, that the owners of KISS didn't simply just follow them of their own accord. Packing an extra thousand people in over fire code is bad but the free market will sort all of that out, right?

Brazil has a democratic republic with the states, the municipalities and the federal districts sharing a balance of power. In this case, fire and health codes fall under the authority of the state level government (state, not federal? Hmm...:)). Clearly, they failed but it's also quite apparent that there is a need to do their fucking job in the first place.

Yet this is exactly the ideal set forth by the less government crowd. Regulations suck. People don't need a government telling them what they can or can't do with their private business. They can handle it on their own. Private enterprise can police itself. If only they were left well enough alone, things would turn out...

Well, like this did...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bill Nails It

Interesting...many of my libertarian friends have made this exact point...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Reason-able?

An ex-student recently sent me two links from Reason.com which I found interesting. It bears mentioning that I've always had at least a third of the classes I teach be comprised of libertarians. These aren't like the conservatives that post here. In fact, they are mostly like one of my star commenters, juris imprudent.

They don't give a crap about gay people, abortions or any other social issue. They think our military budget should be slashed dramatically along with everything else in the federal budget. They think the United States should not have foreign troops stationed anywhere in the world. This last one has caused many an intense debate in class and usually marks the one time when I get the most opinionated, citing example after example of why it is necessary, at times, to have an American military presence in parts of the world. One such student asked me if if I though he was being naive. Since I don't lie to kids, I said yes. He's the one that now works for the Cato Institute, btw:)

Anyway, another ex-student sent this article to me regarding Jon Stewart's recent piece (which I posted here) on the gun debate and this article from last December on the NRA's massively tone deaf presser. I found both to have some very interesting tidbits. Let's take the last one first as that was the first to be released. First we have the title...

NRA Fights Anti-Gun Hysteria With Pro-Gun Hysteria

No shit. That's really what's going on, isn't it....pro gun hysteria.Reason's analysis of their statement?

Not exactly the voice of calm reason. LaPierre evidently wants people to panic, as long as they stampede in the direction he prefers.

Which would be right out to buy more guns...just like they did. And they like to throw out words like "sheep" and "useful idiots"...

The article then takes an interesting tack...citing how rare these mass shootings are so why is he encouraging people to go out and buy guns? Oh yes, the federal government.

After a very funny comment about LaPierre (" but it is drowned in the flood of foam flying off LaPierre's lips"), the article concludes with this...

Last night I suggested that Piers Morgan's televised faceoff with Larry Pratt "pretty accurately reflects the general tenor of the current gun control debate, with raw emotionalism and invective pitted against skepticism and an attempt at rational argument." The NRA and Wayne LaPierre seem determined to prove me wrong.

It's nice to see an admission of error from the Right.

The other article expands on this amazement at the irrational behavior by the gun people.

So, should we be pursuing new, "common-sense" restrictions on the buying, selling, owning, and operating of guns? I am not a gun person - I've gone shooting exactly twice in my life and didn't enjoy either experience - and I find many of the arguments of gun-rights advocates unconvincing or uninteresting. The notion that a rag-tag band of regular folks armed with semi-automatic weapons and the odd shotgun are a serious hedge against tyranny strikes me as a stretch (and I even saw the remake of Red Dawn!). Hitler and the Nazis didn't take away everyone's guns, as is commonly argued. They expanded gun rights for many groups (though not the Jews). When the whole mutha starts to come down, if the choice is between Jesse Ventura or Janet Napolitano, I'm not sure where to turn.

This is an excellent summation of the libertarian youth of today and how they think. It's a very astute statement that relies on facts and has criticism in it that is highly justified. Who are the real leaders here and why should any young person follow them?

My only criticism of the article comes at the end.

Once you strip away the raw emotionalism of the carnage at Sandy Hook, or the Aurora theater, or Columbine, or Luby's, or whatever, you're left with a series of inconvenient truths for gun-control advocates: Over the past 20 years or so, more guns are in circulation and violent crime is down. So is violent crime that uses guns. Murders are down, too, even as video games and movies and music and everything else are filled with more fantasy violence than ever. For god's sake, even mass shootings are not becoming more common. If ever there was a case to stand pat in terms of public policy, the state of gun control provides it (and that's without even delving into the fact that Supreme Court has recently validated a personal right to own guns in two landmark cases).

This is one of the problems with the youth of today. They lack empathy. We can't "stand pat" after Sandy Hook. I think it's fantastic that the numbers are going down but that doesn't mean we should ignore the qualitative analysis of these crimes. And, even one death, as the president said yesterday, means we're not doing something right. Further, those same landmark cases also said that the 2nd amendment is not unlimited. That means there is room for new policy.

But I take a great deal of heart in these points of view because they have kernels of rational thinking in them. At least that's a start.

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Largely Ignored Victory

Any loss for the juveniles on the right is always more devastating given their tendencies towards wild emotional swings (see: junior high). That's why I'm still surprised to see very few celebrating the glaringly obvious victory that has come out of the Supreme Court's ruling on the health care bill. For the first time since the New Deal, the Commerce Clause has been defined in such a way that libertarians have declared victory.

“Under the government’s theory, Congress could address the diet problem by ordering everyone to buy vegetables,” the chief justice wrote. “That is not the country the framers of our Constitution envisioned.”

“We finally won a three-decades-long battle over the commerce clause,” John Eastman, a conservative constitutional scholar and a professor at Chapman University, told me hours after the court’s decision. 

This might seem a paradox, given that the court upheld the legislation. But the decision may ultimately prove a Pyrrhic victory for supporters of expansive Congressional power. The opinion reads like a hymn to the ideal of limited government. And by embracing the broccoli argument, it sharply limits the commerce clause — until now the source of ever-expanding legislative power since Chief Justice John Marshall wrote in 1824 that Congressional power to regulate commerce “may be exercised to its utmost extent.”

“The commerce clause is not a general license to regulate an individual from cradle to grave,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. Libertarians and conservatives have been seeking such a declaration since the New Deal.

You'd think they be happy but no...oh no...Obama won something so it's the end of the world for the 89th time. It's a good thing they don't value "winning the argument" above all else.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The (Grand Old) Party is Over

Right after the 2008 election I made the mistake of saying that the GOP was essentially finished. Later, I realized that I failed to take into account the fear, anger and hatred in their base that would keep them going and achieve marginal victories.

Lately, however, I have begun to realize that I made the mistake of looking at this in the same way the right does: "winning" the argument and "proving" people wrong. The election of 2010, for example, could be seen as a repudiation of President Obama and the Democrat's policies. The GOP won back the House in a landslide victory so that must mean that they're not dead by a long shot, right?

Wrong.

I submit that they are dead and it's only a matter of time before the coroner's final report. Further, I'm not just talking about the GOP. I'm talking about the majority of the right today including libertarians and the Tea Party.

The problem here is that most people are thinking about this in terms of winning elections and not actually solving problems. Solving problems implies that you have solutions. The right don't have any solutions. Zero. Go down the line on every issue and I challenge anyone to show me that the ideas of the right have worked in any sort of practical situation. There is no evidence for this on any sort of serious scale. For the last 30 years, they have been miserable fucking failures and continue to say the same things over and over again which, honestly, is a sign of insanity.

Now, I'm talking about their ideology here...the fundamental things they stand for...laissez faire economics...national and international security...health care...abortion...education...the environment...all of them, epic fails with the same answers for each one of these issues. In short, shoving the square peg in the round hole.

I'm certain they are going to continue to win elections in the near future but that isn't because they have been "proved right." Or, more importantly, are doing a good job. It's because people prefer them the way some people like the Dave Matthews Band and I don't. It has nothing to do with results. The Democrats aren't perfect but at least they are trying and it's because of this that they leave themselves open to criticism because they will make mistakes. How nice it must be to have no real solutions but still be able sit back and criticize! It's too bad that there are millions of Americans right now that don't see the obvious: when you only think in terms of winning the argument and proving people wrong, you don't have any substance any more.

In other words, when the only tool in your tool kit is a hammer, everything is a nail.