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  1. #1
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    Default Ask a Libertarian

    It seems to me that we need to have a discourse on Libertarianism.

    I've seen many threads devolve into a Big gov't v. Small gov't debate. So I thought that I might as well create a thread wherein we can have these discussions without turning other threads into contentious political messes.

    So if you have questions about libertarians or where they stand on issues, ask those questions here.

    If you are a libertarian and would like to distinguish your political views from other libertarians, do so here.

    If you want to get a Big gov't v. Small gov't argument going, do so here.

    Lastly, I though I could also use this thread as a home base for this forum's libertarians, or for those who may not know what they are, but are intrigued by the ideas of libertarians.

    If you are a libertarian I would love to know!

  2. #2
    Ghost Monkey Soul Vizconde's Avatar
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    What about the environment? Wouldn't the libertarians let the environment turn to crap? What will they do about the distruction of habitats both in the states and the world? Smog, deforestation, global warming, dumping of hazardous chemicals and nuke waste getting into our ground water, extinction of plants and species etc...
    I redact everything I have written or will write on this forum prior to, subsequent with and or after the fact of its writing. For entertainment purposes only and not to be taken seriously nor literally.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edgar View Post
    Spamtar - a strange combination of boorish drunkeness and erudite discussions, or what I call "an Irish academic"

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by spamtar View Post
    What about the environment? Wouldn't the libertarians let the environment turn to crap? What will they do about the distruction of habitats both in the states and the world? Smog, deforestation, global warming, dumping of hazardous chemicals and nuke waste getting into our ground water, extinction of plants and species etc...
    Actually no they wouldn't, because forming a more symbiotic relationship with the Earth is a long term goal that will increase profits over the long term.

    The destruction of habitats internationally is an international issue that should be dealt with by an objective third party like the UN. Unilateral action concerning international issues is never a smart move. What if the country we go into to stop the destruction of habitat has an economy that depends substantially on businesses which destroy the habitat in question. Do we want to save the rain forest at the expense of toppling the economy of a third world nation?

    Thus only through international collaborative effort, regulated by a non government third party can we begin to make the decisions which benefit the entire world, to the detriment of some.

    As a libertarian I realize that it is the US's job to acknowledge and help deal with climate change. However, our country's position relative to the rest of the world has diminished. I would like to see an international movement which requires each country to deal with as much pollution and that country creates. Thus we would make a nation state liable for (only) the amount of harm which that state inflicts on the global environment.

    The US should not continue to be guilt tripped by the rest of the world into doing most of the work.

  4. #4
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    The problem with Pollution on the global stage is incentives.

    Countries wont begin to act in environmentally friendly ways until it is in that country's best interest to do so.

    As it stands now, there is no international body that has the teeth to punish a first world nation for polluting. Until we have an appointed non governmental international actor through which the nations of the world can come to a consensus as to what should be done, nothing will be.

    The problem is that it is always more profitable (over the short term) to ignore the problem and pollute. It would not be until the sea rose to such levels that much of the most valuable property in the US was underwater that our country would get its shit together environmentally.

    This is why we need an international oversight organization to serve as a watchdog for pollution. Thereby, you actually have an organization with the interests of the globe in mind and not just the interests of one nation.

    The greatest obstacle to this approach is not the creation of the international body, we already have them. The problem is creating an international body with sufficient power to actually punish first world nations.

    I'm not certain what punishment would be enough. But I have some ideas.

    For instance, if a first world nation (such as ours) polluted too much. The international organization could have the power to renegotiate that country's trade contracts so that they receive less favorable terms. The extra money from these less favorable trade contracts, instead of going to the opposing party (which would amount to unjust enrichment) would go to dealing with the effects of the extra pollution the original country produced.

  5. #5
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Ummm, you have statistics like these:

    Pollution carbon dioxide per capita (most recent) by country

    Pollution municipal waste per capita by country. Definition, graph and map.

    Granted, we do well on CFC usage and some other measures, but we can hardly hold ourself up as a paragon which all others should emulate.

    Some other questions:

    The term "libertarianism" runs a whole gamut. What do you mean by the term?

    How do you handle the short-term interest of business in regard to externalities (like pollution) if government is so circumscribed? I can see it being argued that our current government favors large corporations, which in turn leads to more corporate control of government. However, how would do you limit the power of large corporations and enforce handling of externalities in a fully libertarian system?

    How do you combat NIMBY-ism (which is kind of the same problem on the individual scale)? What limits would you place on the government acting against individual freedom? Would there be any right of eminent domain?

    How about other common goods? The highway system? The education system?

    Why is there no example of a functioning libertarian government in the world? Just because it's too new?

    Exactly what mechanisms would you leave of the current regulatory system (since I'm assuming you'd want something much lighter)?

    I have the same problem with extreme libertarian that I have with most idealistically pure systems (like communism): they only seem to work if you make some fundamental (if minor) change to human nature.

    It seems like true libertarianism seems to require that the majority of people individually take the long view and see and act for the common good (in order to deal with externalities).

    Also, I see some (not including the OP, I'm assuming) embracing a kind of shallow libertarianism that boils down to "I've got mine and I want to keep it!" Do you see that as an issue for anyone trying to get libertarianism to be taken seriously? How seriously do you take Ayn Rand? Do you think modern libertarianism was created to counter a perceived threat of communism? If so, is it needed today when the cold war is over and the US has in general moved farther right politically starting with Reagan?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    This is a thread I would be wise to stay out of...
    But I just don't see that happening. So, first things first:

    1) Would you say the LP is pretty closely aligned with what you consider libertarian philosophy?

    2) Are you registered LP? If so, did you support a candidate in their primaries? If so, who was your candidate?

    3) I see you live in the States... will you name a few Americans in public life (politicians, political thinkers, commentators) past or present who most closely echo your philosophy? - bonus points for naming someone who is/was in elective office so I can measure actual policies that emerged. Extra bonus points for NOT going back to the 18th century. I'm getting bored with the Thomas-love (Paine and Jefferson).

    4) Do you believe in the concept of nation-states?

    5) Can all decisions be made rationally?

    6) What are your personal views about institutions in general - Congress, military, political parties, religious institutions, civic clubs, marriage, Boy/Girl scouts?

    7) Are you an objectivist?

    Thanks. Just trying to narrow down where you're coming from before joining the conversation.

  7. #7
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    However, how would do you limit the power of large corporations and enforce handling of externalities in a fully libertarian system?
    Have an extra governmental watchdog that oversees both the government and big business. This watchdog could be domestic, or a branch of an international system fostering the oversight of governments and business.

    How do you combat NIMBY-ism (which is kind of the same problem on the individual scale)?
    You lost me with NIMBY-ism. Please explain what that is and I will respond.

    What limits would you place on the government acting against individual freedom?
    Those limits are already largely in place thanks to the constitution. However, I would actively combat the inherent judicial bias towards the gov't and its agents within the US court system.

    Also, I would try to institute a more modern and accessible form of democracy. I would like to see it made possible to vote from your home computer. The greatest obstacle to getting out the vote is voter apathy and laziness. If we make it so that you can vote and get legitimate (unbiased) political info on your computer, I think much of the apathy would dissolve.

    More importantly, I would like to institute a system whereby every so often (whenever an issue of sufficient importance arises) the gov't would hold a referendum via the internet. Much like how the medical marijuana initiative got placed on the ballot in Cali. I would want to allow the public to actually have access to the legislative process.

    For example: A majority of the public now sees the benefits of medical marijuana and its legalization. Extra taxes, less wasted money on nonviolent drug offenders, less money waste on prisons etc. etc. For a referendum to be called up by the public, a sufficient quorum of the voting populace could go online and vote to have a referendum on the topic at hand. Once this happens, the gov't MUST hold this referendum. We could make our political system sooooo much more representative, and democratic simultaneously.

    This referendum system would have FAR reaching effects in combating gov't corruption as you can see.

    Would there be any right of eminent domain?
    Yes but only in emergency, or extenuating circumstances.

    Exactly what mechanisms would you leave of the current regulatory system (since I'm assuming you'd want something much lighter)?
    I'd actually want something much stronger. Not stronger in that the regulations are tighter. Stronger in that the regulatory body has no chance of getting in bed with big business via lobbying. Thus, the regulatory body can create and enforce regulations with teeth without fearing reprisals by the lobbyists or what have you.

    I don't know about enough current regulatory schemes to get super specific with this.

    Also, I see some (not including the OP, I'm assuming) embracing a kind of shallow libertarianism that boils down to "I've got mine and I want to keep it!" Do you see that as an issue for anyone trying to get libertarianism to be taken seriously? How seriously do you take Ayn Rand? Do you think modern libertarianism was created to counter a perceived threat of communism? If so, is it needed today when the cold war is over and the US has in general moved farther right politically starting with Reagan?
    I see this divide mirrored within the republican party. Specifically, between the moderates and the evangelicals. If I were to create a libertarian party, I would do so with no intention of ever including or catering to those who have no compromise in them. We've seen where extremism gets us. I find Ayn Rand's thoughts provocative but not convincing. She creates a world so logical it destroys love. That is a world in which I would never want to live.

    I think modern libertarianism is a response to the growth of big government. Moreover, I believe libertarianism is a response to the death of small government within the republican party.

  8. #8
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    1) Would you say the LP is pretty closely aligned with what you consider libertarian philosophy?
    Not really. The LP is still too embryonic to have found its niche in American Polity.


    2) Are you registered LP? If so, did you support a candidate in their primaries? If so, who was your candidate?
    No, I'm a registered independent (why waste my vote). I voted for Obama.

    3) I see you live in the States... will you name a few Americans in public life (politicians, political thinkers, commentators) past or present who most closely echo your philosophy? - bonus points for naming someone who is/was in elective office so I can measure actual policies that emerged. Extra bonus points for NOT going back to the 18th century. I'm getting bored with the Thomas-love (Paine and Jefferson).
    Colin Powell - first and foremost
    Winston Churchill - fighting spirit and belief in telling his people the truth

    4) Do you believe in the concept of nation-states?
    What do you mean by this?

    5) Can all decisions be made rationally?
    No. If they could, presidents wouldn't need cabinets.

    6) What are your personal views about institutions in general - Congress, military, political parties, religious institutions, civic clubs, marriage, Boy/Girl scouts?
    They're fine as long as they don't get too dogmatic.

    7) Are you an objectivist?
    Most certainly not.

  9. #9
    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    REF: "NIMBY-ism"

    NIMBY = Not In My Back Yard

    Example: "Yes, I wish to benefit from inexpensive electricity that is produced by a nuclear power plant, but I don't want that nuclear power plant to be located in my community. Isn't there a better place for it?"

    Nice thread idea BTW.

  10. #10
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    If that is the definition of NIMBY-ism then I don't see why it needs to be combated. People are going to act like people no matter what the gov't tells them.

    NIMBY-ism is already being combated by the differing views of the American public.

    It is NOT the gov'ts place to combat the THOUGHTs of the populace.

    I like living in a country where I can think whatever the hell I want to.

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