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  1. #91
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Which is a falling away from God, socialism or capitalism?
    What they consider socialism -- which strangely doesn't apply when the socialism in question is currently of benefit to them.
    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Well, a libertarian society would (I believe) be a wealthier society overall. So, even if there were greater inequality, the absolute poverty in society would be decreased. I think it's quite naive to believe that social norms would break down because the government were much more limited now. Standards of living rose massively during the late-19th and early-20th Century when the government was much smaller than it is now. The past few decades have shown that deregulating generally improves competition and makes things better for the consumer. Some of the most important aspects to me are that crime would be lower and there would be less war. Ending the Drug War and instituting some restorative justice principles for crimes would benefit society immensely, and libertarian foreign policy is non-interventionist and based on free trade and diplomacy, which neither the right nor the left can boast for the past century. Government solutions to many societal problems often do nothing to help, and can even make matters worse. The War on Poverty hasn't decreased poverty levels in our country, the War on Drugs hasn't decreased drug use (and has empowered drug kingpins), and a lower percentage of Americans have access to affordable insurance post-Medicare/Medicaid. We are getting way off-topic here, but I'd be glad to recommend some texts from the libertarian canon if you'd like.
    Oh god, no, but thanks. I can see how libertarianism could be an improvement in a lot of ways over what we have now. What we have now is, IMO, pretty much the worst of worlds, capitalist and socialist.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
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  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    As to the "ideal," part of libertarianism is acknowledging that everyone has different concepts of what they want out of life, so it's not right to try to institute one vision for everyone. If you like communal living and Jesus, you are free in a libertarian world to share your possessions and decide which people to add to your community. In a communist society, you are NOT free to start your own business or newspaper criticizing the situation.
    Good point.

  3. #93
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Well, a libertarian society would (I believe) be a wealthier society overall. So, even if there were greater inequality, the absolute poverty in society would be decreased.
    But power is never finite. Power is relative. Higher inequality leads to a greater skewing of power (of any kind you can imagine) and more malignant social dynamics follow, particularly exploitation and marginalization.

    Secondly, it really depends on the rate. A society can develop inequality faster than the growth of wealth can reasonably bring up the lower class. And to make matters worse, if that happens, the lower class is probably expanding too due the hyperbolas nature of financial inequality.

    In terms of GDP and GDPpc, countries like Brazil and Chile are wealthier than they look. That's because inspite of the wealth, their GINI generally hovers around 55 to 60. Most people never get to taste that wealth. I wonder why anyone of them would give a crap if a politican told them about a plan to make Brazil or Chile wealthier.

    Endemic inequality is a catalyst to authoritarianism.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I think it's quite naive to believe that social norms would break down because the government were much more limited now. Standards of living rose massively during the late-19th and early-20th Century when the government was much smaller than it is now.
    This is dishonest. Libertarian style policies have nothing to do with that. You just highlighted the peak of the industrial revolution. The world over could have been fascist and that improvement in standard of living would have happened.

    Furthermore, where are you talking about it? I suppose, technically, government was smaller everywhere back then because there has been a global trend for government to increase as civilization progresses (and it's been this way a long time), but what of Germany, or Austro-Hungary? How about Turkey? So their governments were smaller... but were they qualitatively closer to what Libertarians would want than is currently the case here or normal in Europe? I severely doubt that.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    The past few decades have shown that deregulating generally improves competition and makes things better for the consumer.
    No. Decreasing regulation, depending on the kind of regulation, can result in unbridled businesses forming oligopolies and monopolies. It really takes regulation to keep that from happening.

    Of course, competition and a better product/service isn't necessarily a positive correlation anyhow.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Some of the most important aspects to me are that crime would be lower and there would be less war. Ending the Drug War and instituting some restorative justice principles for crimes would benefit society immensely, and libertarian foreign policy is non-interventionist and based on free trade and diplomacy, which neither the right nor the left can boast for the past century.
    Well, when things are considered illegal, of course there will be less crime.
    But I'm mostly going to let this part go because it's the one I have the least reason to criticize.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Government solutions to many societal problems often do nothing to help, and can even make matters worse. The War on Poverty hasn't decreased poverty levels in our country, the War on Drugs hasn't decreased drug use (and has empowered drug kingpins), and a lower percentage of Americans have access to affordable insurance post-Medicare/Medicaid.
    You're really hanging the path of society on the shoulders of the USA here. There are a lot of other developed nations that have done a much better job of confronting poverty in the past 60 years than the USA has. I won't deny that America has dedicated itself to a lot of mistakes, but other have had more success where we have failed. Most of the time, they are even further from the libertarian principles than we are.

    Anyhow, even with the USA you're throwing the baby out with the bath water. The War on Drugs and the War on Poverty have problems that I don't think prove that any kind of government intervention is guaranteed to fail.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    We are getting way off-topic here, but I'd be glad to recommend some texts from the libertarian canon if you'd like. As to the "ideal," part of libertarianism is acknowledging that everyone has different concepts of what they want out of life, so it's not right to try to institute one vision for everyone. If you like communal living and Jesus, you are free in a libertarian world to share your possessions and decide which people to add to your community. In a communist society, you are NOT free to start your own business or newspaper criticizing the situation.
    A lot of people can't get what they want without help from others. And a lot of people actually share goals more than perhaps you think. You put all the emphasis on negative liberty and none of it on positive liberty. But my conclusion about that whole concept is that it's really an artificial and inaccurate construct, and the two are inseperable, and if you completely ignore one, you lose the other.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  4. #94

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    I dont know why all the supposition surrounding libertarianism exists, supposing that societies with less mixed economies or less government intervention or less welfare will be more egalitarian, enjoy greater personal freedom, more job satisfaction, less material poverty blah, blah, blah (I'm surprised that stable families, successful marriages and happy childhoods havent been included too, along with it only raining and night and instant dinners tasting like mother jones home cooking).

    Listen, its been tried, its not been rulers caprice and commie plotting that's lead to universal keynesianism in every successful, affluent society globally, whether its welfare or warfare (as cultural norms dictate) which are the spending priorities.

    There's also some awesome examples of societies which correlate exactly with the goals of free market libertarianism, anyone checked out stateless Somalia lately? Hear its a great place to lunch.

    So, so, so like Marxism its as though Nietzsche's eternal reccurence were sociological or psychological observations instead of philosophical speculation.

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    But power is never finite. Power is relative. Higher inequality leads to a greater skewing of power (of any kind you can imagine) and more malignant social dynamics follow, particularly exploitation and marginalization.

    Secondly, it really depends on the rate. A society can develop inequality faster than the growth of wealth can reasonably bring up the lower class. And to make matters worse, if that happens, the lower class is probably expanding too due the hyperbolas nature of financial inequality.
    But economic power is not something we should be trying to get rid of. Obviously, a billionaire will have access to things the working poor would never have. That, in and of itself, is not wrong.

    As to the rate of inequality, government redistribution is not the only, indeed not even the most important factor. It's not as if wealth inequality will zoom to unprecedented levels simply because welfare state policies are cut or ditched.


    In terms of GDP and GDPpc, countries like Brazil and Chile are wealthier than they look. That's because inspite of the wealth, their GINI generally hovers around 55 to 60. Most people never get to taste that wealth. I wonder why anyone of them would give a crap if a politican told them about a plan to make Brazil or Chile wealthier.
    If they don't, then they should. Economic ignorance and class envy don't make for legitimate policymaking simply because there are common in a society.


    Endemic inequality is a catalyst to authoritarianism.
    And economic equality is often achieved through authoritarian wrecking of an economy. Equality in poverty is no good.


    This is dishonest. Libertarian style policies have nothing to do with that. You just highlighted the peak of the industrial revolution. The world over could have been fascist and that improvement in standard of living would have happened.
    That is ridiculous. You think that the relative economic freedom of that period had nothing to do with the massive increases in wealth? In fact, much of what happened with the Industrial Revolution only happened because the industries involved were so lightly regulated. Look at computer technology in the 1980s and 1990s. Would you honestly try to argue that that sector would have generated such massive productivity gains if had been as regulated as energy or transportation?


    Furthermore, where are you talking about it? I suppose, technically, government was smaller everywhere back then because there has been a global trend for government to increase as civilization progresses (and it's been this way a long time), but what of Germany, or Austro-Hungary? How about Turkey? So their governments were smaller... but were they qualitatively closer to what Libertarians would want than is currently the case here or normal in Europe? I severely doubt that.
    Actually, government control of the economy has decreased the past thirty years or so in most industrialized countries, and there has been a contemporaneous increase in wealth in those places.

    Secondly, I don't see how you could argue that the government was smaller and less powerful in those places back then. You're talking about militaristic empires with very little in the way of civil rights. Government power isn't just about the amount of money spent on the welfare state, you know. The power to kill your own citizens or to invade other countries unilaterally counts, too. Very un-libertarian.


    No. Decreasing regulation, depending on the kind of regulation, can result in unbridled businesses forming oligopolies and monopolies. It really takes regulation to keep that from happening.
    There are almost always some types of barrier to entry that has to do with government in these cases. Very few natural monopolies A) can be created; and B) last very long. You seem to be parroting high school history textbooks here, not serious economic theory.


    Of course, competition and a better product/service isn't necessarily a positive correlation anyhow.
    True, and size/market cap of a business doesn't necessarily make it a maleficent monopoly. The price of gasoline and cars fell precipitously when Standard Oil were at their height. The public outcry against them was mostly engendered by their failing competition and the vendors from whom they were demanding preferential contract terms.


    Well, when things are considered illegal, of course there will be less crime.
    But I'm mostly going to let this part go because it's the one I have the least reason to criticize.
    Restorative justice should be emphasized more in libertarian thought, I think. It costs so much money to house felons for extended periods of time. Forcing someone to work off damage done to their victim is a lot better financially and socially, I believe. I don't see how beating and robbing somehow is made better by sending a thug to live with hundreds of other thugs for a few years. I HATE the phrase "paying your debt to society."


    You're really hanging the path of society on the shoulders of the USA here. There are a lot of other developed nations that have done a much better job of confronting poverty in the past 60 years than the USA has. I won't deny that America has dedicated itself to a lot of mistakes, but other have had more success where we have failed. Most of the time, they are even further from the libertarian principles than we are.
    So, the United States gets less libertarian and poverty doesn't decrease, so the solution is to get EVEN LESS libertarian, and the situation should improve? Come on now.


    Anyhow, even with the USA you're throwing the baby out with the bath water. The War on Drugs and the War on Poverty have problems that I don't think prove that any kind of government intervention is guaranteed to fail.
    It's not a guarantee, but it's often enough to where major government intervention should NEVER be the first thing to try with a social problem. There are dozens of other examples of this. Jim Crow laws, FDR lengthening Great Depression, invading Iraq to "liberate" it. . .


    A lot of people can't get what they want without help from others. And a lot of people actually share goals more than perhaps you think. You put all the emphasis on negative liberty and none of it on positive liberty. But my conclusion about that whole concept is that it's really an artificial and inaccurate construct, and the two are inseperable, and if you completely ignore one, you lose the other.
    Libertarians help each other all the time. In fact, I would guarantee that charitable giving would increase by real dollars, percentage of income, and number of people giving in a libertarian society. When you eliminate the "they already get plenty of my money through welfare!" mentality, people are much more likely to lend a hand. There used to be MANY free hospitals for the poor in the first half of the 20th Century that did fine work, for instance.

    "Positive liberty" I don't consider liberty, because liberty does not include a claim to someone else's liberty. If it does, it's not liberty anymore.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  6. #96
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Which is a falling away from God, socialism or capitalism?
    Anything that can be construed as not being "conservative" can be considered falling away from God. If you don't vote for a conservative, you're supporting baby killers, communism, death panels, turning the US into Sodom, and eventually Christian concentration camps. I'm not exaggerating. People actually believe this stuff, some of them in my family. These people will vote for complete idiots as long as that idiot says he's a pro-life, free market conservative that opposes gay marriage.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  7. #97
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    But economic power is not something we should be trying to get rid of. Obviously, a billionaire will have access to things the working poor would never have. That, in and of itself, is not wrong.
    I'd actually debate that. There's a point where people are taking in a share of wealth that I find difficult to rationalize on the basis of their capabilities or contributions. And aside from the moral qusestionability of that in and of itself, it is dysfunctional to society to pour money into a source that is not making use of it while other areas are strapped for funding.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    As to the rate of inequality, government redistribution is not the only, indeed not even the most important factor. It's not as if wealth inequality will zoom to unprecedented levels simply because welfare state policies are cut or ditched.
    It is a factor. No, it is not the only factor. Lack of regulation on businesses, inequalities in education, and many other things are responsible for the ultimate financial equality.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    If they don't, then they should. Economic ignorance and class envy don't make for legitimate policymaking simply because there are common in a society.
    Their position makes sense to me. If the rate of inequality is so bad that added wealth does not benefit them, they should be demanding that their politicians spend more time on reducing inequality than producing wealth. That's only reasonable.

    If the people of that demographic are 50% or more of the population, then you have have a disturbingly large portion of society that is being neglected.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    And economic equality is often achieved through authoritarian wrecking of an economy. Equality in poverty is no good.
    Those things are both correct, but moot. Authoritarian socities just as often if not more often increase inequality. And furthermore, while an authoritarian society may force equality, an initial state of equality is virtually never the catalyst for the establishment of authoritarianism like an initial state of inequality is. The important part here is the cause. What happens after authoritarianism is established is variable but generally not good.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    That is ridiculous. You think that the relative economic freedom of that period had nothing to do with the massive increases in wealth? In fact, much of what happened with the Industrial Revolution only happened because the industries involved were so lightly regulated.
    I don't think so. Again, this doesn't explain why some of the most authoritarian nations in that time advanced standard of living just as much (in some cases more, see Germany again) than the less regulated places.

    And besides, historically, for however bad they are, Fascists have demonstrated an incredible ability to rapdily industrialize. And the neat thing about that is, once it's there, it never really goes away, even in the worst of economic times. So far, no one has moved into the industrial age, and then backed out, to my knowledge.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Look at computer technology in the 1980s and 1990s. Would you honestly try to argue that that sector would have generated such massive productivity gains if had been as regulated as energy or transportation?
    Funny you should mention that. A long stretch of the initial developmens of computer technology and the internet was either entirely in the hands of government departments, or fascilitated by government programs. So basically the government played an integral role in us even having this technology now. After this became increasingly private, and in the hands of the consumer, well, something went wrong. For all of the credit Microsoft gets, it actually held computer development back in a lot of ways, but was always able to evade losses for it (And its been a huge monopoly for some time now). So in this case, there are certain amounts of certain kinds of regulation the probably would have caused personal computing to develop more than it has, becuase regulation could have made Microsoft stop dicking around.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Actually, government control of the economy has decreased the past thirty years or so in most industrialized countries, and there has been a contemporaneous increase in wealth in those places.

    Secondly, I don't see how you could argue that the government was smaller and less powerful in those places back then. You're talking about militaristic empires with very little in the way of civil rights. Government power isn't just about the amount of money spent on the welfare state, you know. The power to kill your own citizens or to invade other countries unilaterally counts, too. Very un-libertarian.
    Exactly my point! Very un-libertarian, yet advanced standards of living and wealthy in that timeframe all the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    There are almost always some types of barrier to entry that has to do with government in these cases. Very few natural monopolies A) can be created; and B) last very long. You seem to be parroting high school history textbooks here, not serious economic theory.
    You say this a lot. I have however already worked the process of this some time ago, and while you are confident in your position, you and other libertarians are always short on reasoning as to how these monopolies and especially collusive oligopolies (which are really always the more pervasive problem) would fail to happen in a totally unregulated environment.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    True, and size/market cap of a business doesn't necessarily make it a maleficent monopoly. The price of gasoline and cars fell precipitously when Standard Oil were at their height. The public outcry against them was mostly engendered by their failing competition and the vendors from whom they were demanding preferential contract terms.
    Public utilities and information services are the two areas where market forces, commercialization, and the profit motive seem to be the least effective. I, of course, also feel that healthcare appears to fall in this group.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Restorative justice should be emphasized more in libertarian thought, I think. It costs so much money to house felons for extended periods of time. Forcing someone to work off damage done to their victim is a lot better financially and socially, I believe. I don't see how beating and robbing somehow is made better by sending a thug to live with hundreds of other thugs for a few years. I HATE the phrase "paying your debt to society."
    And this is one moment where I have to entirely agree with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    So, the United States gets less libertarian and poverty doesn't decrease, so the solution is to get EVEN LESS libertarian, and the situation should improve? Come on now.
    That precisely misses the point of what I'm saying. Your comment again rests entirely on the USA. Our fellow developed nations went even less libertarian, and got much better results than we did. But here's an important point; you're thinking in terms of a linear continuum, and that's a problem. It's not like we did badly because we went a little un-libertarian and they did well because they went a lot un-libertarian. That's dreadfully over-simplified. They took policies that on the whole go further from libertarianism than we did, but their system is still qualitatively different from ours in ways that don't neatly fit into just being more or less libertarian. I'm the first to say there is a right way and wrong way to implement left-wing policies. What you're doing, is you're basically saying there is no right way to implement left-wing policies and you're using and overly-simplistic schematic for drawing that conclusion.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    It's not a guarantee, but it's often enough to where major government intervention should NEVER be the first thing to try with a social problem. There are dozens of other examples of this. Jim Crow laws, FDR lengthening Great Depression, invading Iraq to "liberate" it
    I could argue that maybe in some cases government intervention should be the first option, but I have a better point. How you deciding what is and isn't the first try? Do you think most of these social policies can fairly be considered first attempts, without decent prior knowledge?

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Libertarians help each other all the time. In fact, I would guarantee that charitable giving would increase by real dollars, percentage of income, and number of people giving in a libertarian society. When you eliminate the "they already get plenty of my money through welfare!" mentality, people are much more likely to lend a hand. There used to be MANY free hospitals for the poor in the first half of the 20th Century that did fine work, for instance.
    It's only rational to assume that charity would increase in the absence of social welfare. But only to an extent. It would stop increasing long before it became sufficiently high.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    "Positive liberty" I don't consider liberty, because liberty does not include a claim to someone else's liberty. If it does, it's not liberty anymore.
    The fact is, people can only ever be so free. It's just impossible to be totally free in any meanigful sense. What I'm saying is that to the extent a person can become free, it sometimes requires inter-dependence. That probably sounds counter-intutive to you. But sometimes you need a system of social support to have opportunities and to have you choices.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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  8. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Anything that can be construed as not being "conservative" can be considered falling away from God. If you don't vote for a conservative, you're supporting baby killers, communism, death panels, turning the US into Sodom, and eventually Christian concentration camps. I'm not exaggerating. People actually believe this stuff, some of them in my family. These people will vote for complete idiots as long as that idiot says he's a pro-life, free market conservative that opposes gay marriage.
    I was just going for clarification from cafe there. Sorry you have wackos around you. Ironically, those social conservatives are usually VERY spotty when it comes to being pro-market forces.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

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    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I was just going for clarification from cafe there. Sorry you have wackos around you. Ironically, those social conservatives are usually VERY spotty when it comes to being pro-market forces.
    I don't think you have any idea what you're talking about, here.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    I don't think you have any idea what you're talking about, here.
    Really? You think social conservatives are reliable when it comes to the free market? I sure don't. Look at the Bush Administration. Or Pat Buchanan and Co. Or Mike Huckabee. Or any on the religious right who were pro-bailouts.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

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