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Ye Olde Libertarian Pub

Discussion in 'American Politics' started by Sojourner1, Feb 18, 2009.

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  1. MacFall

    MacFall Agorist

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    I'll call myself an anarchist among people who won't wet themselves and run screaming when I do. But the term is certainly loaded.

    I think there is a third option: something like Representative Participatory Democracy as imagined by L. Neil Smith (shown briefly in action in the comic to which I linked, though I must post a SPOILER ALERT and recommend that you read from the beginning), or a society where governments exist but are not contained within political borders, thus rendering political secession unnecessary.

    But the more decentralization and the less territorialism you have, the more it starts to look like market anarchy: where "laws" are chosen piecemeal from different legal structures, and dispute resolution is chosen on the basis of an adjudicator's reputation rather than geographic proximity. Then there is the Randian idea of the voluntary state, but I don't think that any monopoly organization, even one voluntarily supported, would be as efficient or ethical as a free market.
     
  2. callmeMurph

    callmeMurph BGTF

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    I feel like I am leaning towards anarchy but I'm not sure. I feel like in principle it is a good idea but I'm not sure if it will work.

    For instance, if someone steals my stuff and I have the defense agency that I hired go grab the thief. What do we do once I get my stuff back, if we can even find it? Do we just let him go? If we bring him to a private court how do we decide which one to use? Do I get to choose? That wouldn't seem fair but I wouldn't want the thief choosing either.
     
  3. MacFall

    MacFall Agorist

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    I can offer my own ideas, but it's already been done more thoroughly and better than I could do it. There's a book called The Market for Liberty which goes into detail about how the insurance sector could handle much (if not all) of security and dispute resolution. You can get it here for free. Although I can't endorse the first chapter, which attempts to establish a Randian secular ethics. But one need not be an Objectivist to see the economic sense in the arguments they make.
     
  4. DieHappy

    DieHappy and I am A W E S O M E !!

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    I'm spamming because I think the libertarian perspective will help me here. And the republican safehouse has been rather dead, so I want more eyes on my request. Here's what I posted there:

    Hey, I need help. I'm arguing with a guy about government creating wealth he said public school creates wealth. His point is that it's a verifiable fact that nations with public education are wealthier. I said that's like saying fertile soil produces groceries. He's missing quite a few steps from education to working and creating wealth. He's not willing cede anything because he has his charts that show wealthier nations educate everyone. I'm not disagreeing with that point but I can't get him to see that the best educated person in the world won't create wealth if he takes his diploma home and sits on it in a dark room. It takes personal motivation.

    I need some articles to give him. I've been looking at fee.org and reason and cato but all I've found so far is them saying the same thing I've said. It's logical, but that's not enough for a liberal.

    Anyone have some good ideas?
     
  5. MacFall

    MacFall Agorist

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    Aw smeg, I wish I had seen this earlier. It's my bedtime right now, but I'll be able to help you out tomorrow morning (East Coast time).
     
  6. MacFall

    MacFall Agorist

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    Two general points:

    First, define "wealth". Is it being measured in dollars? Nations with active central banks (which print a lot of money) are more likely to finance public education. But unless he's a hopelessly entrenched Keynesian he will be aware that more money does not equal more wealth.

    Second, I would say he is confusing correlation with causation. How does he know that it isn't that only the wealthiest nations on earth are able to support a public school system? Especially since such institutions are not profitable in themselves. His position is (consciously or not) based upon the Hobbesian idea that the state preceded productive society, reasoning that man cannot organize without a state, and organization is necessary for productivity, rejecting the idea of spontaneous order.

    But a bit of economic knowledge reveals that the state, being a parasitic organization, can only exist when there is a productive society for it to attach itself to! The state cannot be productive, by definition: it takes money by force, rather than by engaging in a mutually-satisfying trade. Even if some people are satisfied, not everyone who pays in gets what they want; and even those who are satisfied are deprived of knowing whether their needs could be met in a better or less costly way, owing to the fact that the state is a compulsory monopoly.

    The same applies to any state-run organization. Government schools, though not strictly monopolies, are still monopolistic. They are the default option for anyone within their territorial borders: you may opt out by going to a private school, or by homeschooling, but you may not simply say, "no thank you; I'm not interested in your product." We MUST pay, whether we use their services or not. What's more, they decide, unilaterally, how much we must pay. Unlike a market organization, which must respond to the will of the consumer or go out of business, if we are dissatisfied with the cost or quality of the education, we must go on paying "voluntarily" or the government will get our money through violent means.

    Without the feedback of a market, there is no incentive for the organization to keep costs down and quality high. Thus, government schools, like all monopoly organizations, provide us with poor quality service at an absurdly high (and ever-increasing) price.

    It is simply absurd to suggest that such an institution is prerequisite to productive society. It would be like suggesting a tapeworm is responsible for the healthy dietary choices of its host.

    Speaking of the quality of the service, your opponent may be interested to learn about the history of public education. Since he is a liberal, he may be especially shocked to discover that it was originally intended as a means of brainwashing the masses of Prussian people into willingly dying in the Emperor's wars; and that the Prussian system was adopted wholesale in America, with similar goals.

    When a system is founded for an evil purpose, there is a tight limit on the amount of good that can be accomplished with it. Because no matter how good the intentions of those who populate it, it will still suffer from systemic tendencies toward its original goal. And public education was never really intended to create an educated populace. It was created as a social extrusion process, meant to stamp out a people's individualism, creativity, ambition, and most importantly, to extinguish its moral sense - and thereby to ensure a ready supply of cannon fodder for the political class.

    I will post articles backing up these ideas soon.
     
  7. DieHappy

    DieHappy and I am A W E S O M E !!

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    Excellent stuff!

    See, I said that and he responded with a quip about me not looking at evidence because I was arguing from my point of view which won't change. I held back from responding that I was arguing from logic, as that's usually an insult. He said the government created wealth when it dug the erie canal and I said, a) if it needed to be there, someone would have dug it, and b) the government used funds taken from individuals to dig it, they didn't create the funds.

    He's not getting it. I'm going to try again, but if you could find some articles with data or history or charts I'd really appreciate it. All I've found so far is simple logic and he's already rejecting that.
     
  8. DieHappy

    DieHappy and I am A W E S O M E !!

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    Wow. He just smacked me with a brick.

    I said: It seems pretty simple to me that education is not a driver of wealth, but a cost society bears to improve the opportunities of the masses. They have to seize the opportunity given to them by an already productive society and keep it going.

    He responded: Simple to you? Than why is there so much research in such a simple issue? And why is there so much research contradicting you?

    And opportunity to do what? To get better jobs? To go to college? To innovate in technology and science? All of which help create wealth? Yes.

    And this is hinged upon what? Education.

    And why does it have to be an "already productive" society? There's plenty of literature showing what I'm saying to be true of both well developed and under developed nations, and in both nations and individuals. While its certainly true that drive and ambition play a role, I'm talking about the education variable, which does show causation to wealth, when all other variables are controlled for (and yes, ambition or more likely referred to as 'aspirations' is a variable that can be controlled for). And this doesn't mean that every time a nation spends money on education, that the GDP rises. There are of course things like corruption, war, recessions, unequal trade conditions that hamper GDP (like farmers in Mexico trying to compete against the state subsidized farmers of America for example), and the list goes on and on. But as a general finding, education does increase wealth. As a nation become more developed, there are of course more ways for the correlation to become obscured, but the correlation remains.

    http://edpro.stanford.edu/hanushek/...essmann 20010 international encyclopedia.pdf

    Education has long been viewed as an important determinant of economic well-being. The theoretical
    growth literature emphasizes at least three mechanisms through which education may affect economic
    growth. First, education can increase the human capital inherent in the labor force, which increases
    labor productivity and thus transitional growth towards a higher equilibrium level of output (as in
    augmented neoclassical growth theories, cf. Mankiw, Romer, and Weil (1992)). Second, education can
    increase the innovative capacity of the economy, and the new knowledge on new technologies,
    products and processes promotes growth (as in theories of endogenous growth, cf., e.g., Lucas (1988);
    Romer (1990); Aghion and Howitt (1998)). Third, education can facilitate the diffusion and
    transmission of knowledge needed to understand and process new information and to implement
    successfully new technologies devised by others, which again promotes economic growth (cf., e.g.,
    Nelson and Phelps (1966); Benhabib and Spiegel (1994))


    http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/5/49/1825455.pdf

    With respect to education, growth is positively related to the starting level of
    average years of school attainment of adult males at the secondary and higher levels.
    Since workers with this educational background would be complementary with new
    technologies, the results suggest an important role for the diffusion of technology in the
    development process. Growth is insignificantly related to years of school attainment of
    females at the secondary and higher levels. This result suggests that highly educated
    women are not well utilized in the labor markets of many countries. Growth is
    insignificantly related to male schooling at the primary level. However, this level of
    schooling is a prerequisite for secondary schooling and would, therefore, affect growth
    through this channel. Education of women at the primary level stimulates economic
    growth indirectly by inducing a lower fertility rate.

    Data on students’ scores on internationally comparable examinations in science,
    mathematics, and reading were used to measure the quality of schooling. Scores on
    science tests have a particularly strong positive relation with economic growth. Given the
    quality of education, as represented by the test scores, the quantity of schooling —
    measured by average years of attainment of adult males at the secondary and higher levels
    — is still positively related to subsequent growth.

    For you to say "but what about causation?" would mean that GDP rises, then education rises second. Causation is indeed very tricky to pin down. But I just have yet to hear many people say what you're saying. On the other hand, there are scores, maybe hundreds, of studies saying what I'm saying. Education's impact on personal and national wealth is one of the most studied aspects of sociology.



    So he's still ignoring the idea that the government has to get money from somewhere to pay for education. He did bring up Mexico, Brazil, and the millennium development project as examples of places trying to increase education in an attempt to increase wealth and then said that Mexico is such an obvious failure because the farmers are unfairly competing with giant subsidized US firms.

    But the research he gave appears to back up his point, while I think it just shows what I've been saying. If you are educated, you still have to make good on it. But he started the post with, let's agree to disagree because he's just too bored to prove me wrong when it's so obvious I am wrong.

    Logic just isn't enough for a liberal these days.
     
  9. MacFall

    MacFall Agorist

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    I have a friend who is a teacher. At the end of last year's term he had finished his curriculum early and found himself with a ton of free time, so he brought some board games to keep his students occupied. When one of his students challenged him to a game of chess, he agreed. But he and the student disagreed on what the rules of the game were. The student, in order to escape a check, moved his king two spaces. The teacher pointed out that the move was illegal. The student insisted it was legal.

    The teacher showed the student the rules on the box. The student said those were not the "official" rules. The teacher brought up the official rules online. The student still insisted that he was right.

    So my friend incorporated the new "official rules" into the match, and went on to trounce his student anyway. After the game, the student offered to shake my friend's hand in an apparent gesture of good-losership. But when my friend took his hand, the student twisted it around and declared that they were now playing "mercy". My friend said "I never agreed to play 'mercy'", and the student then declared himself the winner because my friend said the word "mercy".

    Not the winner of the "mercy" match; the winner of the chess match.

    The moral of the story is that when people refuse to recognize reality, there is no point in going up against them in contest. They will never be convinced. They suffer from a mild form of insanity that permits them to believe two contradictory ideas at once. Sometimes, cognitive dissonance will eventually drive one or the other idea out of their head. Sometimes it won't, and they will continue into deeper forms of insanity until they grow up to be abusive, wretched people - criminals and politicians (but I repeat myself!) being good examples.

    My friend told me this story as part of a discussion of the results of modern education. He is a libertarian, and opposes compulsory education altogether. He became a teacher before he reached that conviction, and remains one only so that he can (hopefully) undo some of the damage that the system does. His point was that whereas classical education taught students how to think, incorporating basic rules of logic, school actively avoids teaching students how to think, because school's goal is to teach students what to think. And a child with a solid grasp of logic - that is, a child with the intellectual tools that allow him to discover the nature of reality - is incredibly dangerous to that end.

    My advice is to call it quits. Hopefully you have exposed his error to more open minded people who observe the conversation. But you will never convince him. Your opponent is a victim of the very system he is promoting, as are the people he cites as evidence of the system's goodness. And there is no wall more impenetrable than a victim's belief that he benefits from his victimization.
     
  10. DieHappy

    DieHappy and I am A W E S O M E !!

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    That's such an excellent point. He's a grad student, and what he cited are not economic studies but academic ones.

    I told him I'd read his cites critically and respond but I still don't see how he could logically believe that a government institution is a prerequisite for a productive society. In my previous post I said Hobbes was wrong and he said that's neither here nor there.

    He's not an economist by any stretch, and very liberal. Maybe in a few years when he's in the actual world he'll come around.
     
  11. Faithful Skeptic

    Faithful Skeptic Newbie

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    This forum is enormous and I figured I'd stick my first post in a familiar place. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to be the first Eastern-Orthodox adherent to identify themselves as a libertarian in this thread. I'm a libertarian-anarchist of sorts that is in favor of voluntaryism. Economically, I think a voluntary communist/socialist system is the most ethical, but I kind of think it's "overly"-utopian and would be near impossible to pull off on our own. I also think that it not only is the most ultimately moral of the economic systems, but also the system which best fits the teachings of Christ. That said, I also think such a system would only last with Him presiding over it, so I'm really okay with any completely free and voluntary economic system. Yes, I know I'm weird.

    That said, after reading a bit of this thread, I actually seem to share an ideology which is very similar to that of MacFall--it was a pleasure reading your comments.
     
  12. callmeMurph

    callmeMurph BGTF

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    What is everyone's thoughts on voting? Is it worth our time?
     
  13. CKanupp

    CKanupp N00B

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    I believe it is.. Let our voices be heard! If everyone believes that voting isn't worth our time, then we will never get anywhere!
     
  14. Cute Tink

    Cute Tink Whatever

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    I agree. It is worth our time. It will take some time before a substantial difference is made, but if we don't start sometime, it will never happen
     
  15. MacFall

    MacFall Agorist

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    I don't usually vote. Hour for hour and dollar for dollar, I consider voting to be the least effective means of achieving liberty. In general I consider the political process to be the least effective means of getting ANYTHING done. It is also the least moral, and voting walks a very thin line between being only neutral to and being actively complicit in the immorality of the political means.

    I don't go around telling other people not to vote, but I won't give my moral sanction to anyone who seeks power over other people, and I don't campaign for political issues either. I would vote for a something like a referendum that I believe will reduce the harm done to my neighbors through the political process, but that's about it.

    And don't give me the crap about "if you don't vote, you can't complain". As far as I'm concerned, those who willingly participate in the game called "voting", which is rigged completely in favor of the political class, have less a right to complain than those who refuse to play by its corrupt rules.
     
    DieHappy likes this.
  16. MacFall

    MacFall Agorist

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    Glad to meet you! And I wish I had seen this comment as soon as you post it. If you are of a voluntaryist mindset but find yourself preferring more social means of organizing the market, you might be interested in learning about Mutualism. I recommend Kevin Carson's site (I don't know what it is, just Google his name) for starters, though I should warn you he is very anti-religious.
     
  17. callmeMurph

    callmeMurph BGTF

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    I kinda feel this way, but how can we bring freedom then? How do you respond to government intrusion on your life and choices?
     
  18. MacFall

    MacFall Agorist

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    One of my least favorite things about voting is that people feel like it's the only way to change something, while most of the time, it seems to me, voting is just a way for the power elite to give the people the illusion of control. But no matter what the most common or best-imagined way is, there is ALWAYS a better way. There's civil disobedience, economic secession, education, building up alternative institutions so that when the state collapses, we're ready to fill the hole. Just be creative and alert in recognizing ways that you can be just a little more free in your own personal life. A lot of it has to do with relationships and your spiritual and psychological state.

    Oh, and for the love of God, homeschool/unschool your kids.
     
  19. Cute Tink

    Cute Tink Whatever

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    I'm not sure I agree with this. I don't get the idea that many people view it as a way to change anything. It seems like many people just mark the ideology next to the name, not with the idea that they are going to change anything, just to keep "their" people in power.
     
  20. MacFall

    MacFall Agorist

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    That's a very good point. I'll have to revise my sentiment.
     
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