42 users responded " To my libertarian friends "

"To my libertarian friends" was posted by and 42 users commented
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Personal Failure said,         
May 13 2011

People who are in favor of 100% The Hand of the Market(tm) seem to forget that at one point, children’s cough syrup contained pure heroin. Children died. Lots of them. It wasn’t The Hand of the Market that put a stop to that, either.

People who promote pure Libertarian ideology seem to think they’ll be the one at the top of the heap. Otherwise, why would you promote it?

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erikgfrey said,         
May 13 2011

From what I understand, the amount of mercury released from the coal, or oil, burned to make the energy that a standard incandesant light bulb uses far out-weighs the mercury released by the “pig tail” bulbs.

If you think about it, this compact bulb is gonna be in my socket for 7-10 years. I would have put 50lbs of broken standard bulbs in the landfill in that time. Not to mention they had to be shipped in, and use 10 times the energy when they run.

Every single bulb in my house is a compact flouresent or led. It really is the more responsible thing to do.

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uzza said,         
May 13 2011

I call these folks “Republican lite.”
Most people just call them assholes.

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Atheist from Michigan said,         
May 13 2011

Excellent points both in the article and from the comments above. Here’s another one: If it were 100% free market, there would be no public roads. All roads would be private, so I hope these people save their pennies to pay the tolls on absolutely every road. Except for few feet of the road in front of my house, because that little bit that I would own, I would declare off limits, which means the entire mile-long length of the road would be useless to everyone.

And don’t forget the police department. Can’t afford them when your house gets invaded by your angry neighbors? Too bad. But that’s okay because you do own a gun, right? (Wild West anyone?)

And when your house catches on fire, you can call any of the competing fire departments, but I hope you spent time shopping around for the best price. But oops — the one you just called is a “Christian” fire department and only serves Christians, and has every free-market-right to deny service to atheists. So you just wasted several minutes on the phone (and you had to dial the number directly, because 911 service is gone).

But when the atheist-serving fire department finally gets there (it took them 45 minutes because they’re in the next county over, and the driver of the fire truck didn’t have change for all the tolls), they tried to hook up to the fire hydrant outside — except it’s owned by your angry neighbor who invaded your house and you don’t happen to own your own hydrant. Bummer, I guess the house will burn down.

But hey! It’s a free market, and the “forces” of the free market will all kick in, right? The fire departments that charge too much will go out of business… except that they all secretly worked together and fixed their pricing so they all charge what only wealthy people can afford. And although that’s illegal, there’s no government oversight stopping them from doing it. And there’s no policing organization that’s willing to intervene, even if you do hire their services.

But it doesn’t matter anyway, because the food producers are all selling dirty, tainted food, and all the people are getting sick, and can’t work. But the “market forces” will fix that too, right? The consumers will only buy the clean food, and those producing the dirty food will go out of business, right? Nope, didn’t happen because all the food producers are selling tainted food, so the consumers can’t put one out of business and let the better ones succeed.

Yeah, this sounds like real utopia to me.

But seriously, people who claim to be all for the free market don’t seem to understand it’s a spectrum, with socialism on one end and capitalism on the other, and most countries sitting somewhere in the middle, maybe pushed to one side or another. We have government-owned roads, police, libraries, schools… we are not 100% capitalist, and we would fail if we were. A health mix is good!

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Atheist from Michigan said,         
May 13 2011

…also…

I find the libertarian atheists among the most frightening of all people. Why? Because people can either be compassionate or selfish. Libertarians are selfish and seem to absolutely lack any compassion for anyone but themselves. (To those libertarians reading this who might disagree with my sentiment, I say: Your actions speak louder than your words.) And then when you look at the atheist portion, we atheists don’t believe there’s a higher power, a god of sorts watching over us. It’s up to our own moral compass to lead us. So you have:

Christian + compassionate = naturally cares about others, and believes a god is watching.

Christian + Libertarian = doesn’t care about others, but does believe a god is watching, and will hopefully refrain from hurting others.

Atheist + compassionate = naturally caring about others, so doesn’t need a god to watch over us. (This is where I fit in.)

Atheist + Libertarian = NEITHER COMPASSIONATE NOR BELIEVES A GOD IS WATCHING. That makes for a very scary mix.

Sorry if that offends, but it’s my perspective based on my own observations. Most of the libertarian atheists I’ve met are very angry people who seem to have no compassion for anyone around them, and would just as soon stomp out all Christians like they’re ants.

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Mr Whipple said,         
May 14 2011

There are many issues that need to be addressed here from a libertarian point of view.

The ‘free market’ would be meaningless without enforcement of the “non-aggression axiom”. The NAA is “an ethical stance which asserts that “aggression” is inherently illegitimate. “Aggression” is defined as the “initiation” of physical force [or threat of physical force] against persons or property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or their property.” In the case of slavery, the government bypassed the NAA, which allowed for slave trade. The slaves had no recourse. The government was responsible for the slave trade, not the free market. This is just one of many failures of the government to enforce the NAA. Perhaps there are better ways to enforce ethics in business. Just because they have never existed to this point, doesn’t mean they are not possible. Possibly building on the already existing structure of private arbitration could be a viable alternative to a government controlled, “monopoly” on civil and criminal courts. Something like 90% of civil cases are already solved by private arbitration. Then there’s always “The People’s Court”.

Many of the examples of ‘good government’ intervention are responses to violations of the NAA. However, many are preemptive interventions. It’s like saying, “don’t cross the street because you might get hit by a bus”. Should I be free to make the decision on my own, or do I need the government to hold my hand? As long as I am not ‘aggressing’ on someone else, I should be free to make that decision.

Let me ask you a question. How long would you think a company would remain in business if they sold dangerous or poisonous products? It is in a company’s best interest to sell products that people want to buy, not products that kill people. It is a consumer’s responsibility to gain the knowledge required to make an informed decision about the products they buy, not the government’s. There are many tools available to consumers to make an informed decision, and more and more coming every day. From Good Housekeeping, to Angie’s List, to Consumer Reports, to, just asking family and friends whose opinions you trust, and a whole host of information available on these here internets. So, let’s say you want to buy a house. Mortgages are long, complicated contracts full of legal mumbo jumbo that most people don’t understand. But, there’s nothing stopping you, or anyone else, from hiring an attorney to sit down with you and explain each provision of the contract in terms you can understand. If you can afford to buy a house, you can certainly afford a couple hundred dollars for an attorney, no? Why would you “trust” the word of the mortgage broker? Do you want to invest in the market? There are plenty of ‘due diligence’ firms that operate for a fee, that will investigate for you. The SEC missed Bernie Madoff, but there were several due diligence firms that warned clients against investing with him.

Now, let’s say you want to eat in a restaurant. Without government inspectors, how would you know it was safe? Even if the business owner has the best intentions, accidents happen, right? If an accident does occur, and somebody gets sick, or even dies, who is liable? If there is one government regulation I would endorse, it would be that all businesses carry liability insurance. It is in an insurance company’s best interest to make sure the person, or business, that they are insuring, does not get sued. So, the insurance company would want to make sure the restaurant owner is practicing safe food handling, not the government’s. You can’t sue the government. You can’t hold inspectors liable for their mistakes. When you really look at it, the government inspectors are only doing the job that the insurance company *should* be doing. At taxpayer expense, of course. And, if that business owner is guilty of malice, or severe negligence, he should be held criminally liable, and even if he has ‘limited liability’ (LLC) on his business, in these cases, his personal wealth should be fair game, and that includes the upper management of major corporations, as well as the shareholders.

The biggest mistake people of your position make is you confuse Capitalism with Mercantilism. Adam Smith, and the other Enlightened thinkers, were responding to the ‘evils’ of Mercantilism. Many of the examples you allude to, are the result of Mercantilism. What is Mercantilism? Mercantilism “was a system of statism which employed economic fallacy to build up a structure of imperial state power, as well as *special subsidy* and *monopolistic privilege* to individuals or groups *favored by the state*”.

*my emphasis

Sound familiar? Those ‘sweat shops’ are the result of Mercantilism, not the free market.

The only way a free market could exist, is if people, and businesses, are held responsible for their action/inaction with respect to the non-aggression principle. But we both know that doesn’t happen.

There will always be a segment of the population that cannot take care of themselves or make informed decisions. That is another topic, but what I will say is, it can easily be handled by voluntary cooperation, instead of governemnt coercion.

Libertarianism is an ‘entire package’. It’s not really fair to knit pick little details, here and there, without fully understanding the entire philosophy. I hope I have given you a few things to think about. We should be a nation of free people who take responsibility for their actions, not a bunch of children who require a Fundamentalist paternalism to survive.

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Bankonitann said,         
May 14 2011

Interesting typo, “please leave your commnets below”.

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TA1 said,         
May 14 2011

I used to be a libertarian. The emphasis upon “freedom to make your own mistakes” was appealing. But the more I observed the world, the more I was forced to consider just how much accurate information was accessible to the average consumer of products and services (especially products). A lot of technology is based upon use of toxic products, and as above the pharmaceutical and food industries are quite secretive about how they develop their products, so to be totally aware ( caveat emptor ) you have to pretty much get a degree in the product technology. And the excesses of unbridled capitalism are legendary. So I am an “ex-libertarian” for that reason and the fact that the Libertarian Party never did seem to manage to find office candidates who had appeal beyond that of a cardboard box.

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LowOnProzac said,         
May 14 2011

You’re mistakenly equating Libertarians with anarchists. Free markets don’t mean lawlessness. Libertarians believe government is a necessary evil. Criminal actions are punishable by Law. Unfortunately after some scandal the government often decides to increase “regulations” after the fact, but these regulations only hurt the people that didn’t commit any crimes, and increases the cost of goods and services for consumers. All the onerous regulations passed after the scandals of Enron and WorldCom didn’t prevent Bernie Madoff from pulling off the biggest financial Ponzi scheme ever. And the government’s response? More onerous regulations on the businesses that didn’t do anything wrong.
There are also the unintended consequences that come from government interference in the market. As you noted, the efficient light bulbs contain highly toxic mercury. The use of millions of these bulbs will undoubtedly have a nasty effect on the environment. What will be the cost of cleaning up the mercury after one of these bulbs breaks in a day care center? Will they have to take the children to a hospital to be checked?
And one final point – you seem to think that producers will only make safe products because of government oversight. But in fact, they have a strong natural incentive to make the best product possible – competitors. If some business is putting out a poorly made product, he’ll be forced out of business by his competitors who do a better job. If people find insect parts in their cereal, I don’t think it will be long before the producer will be bankrupt.

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Sarah said,         
May 15 2011

Hi guys,
Sure, heroin is illegal now– but the government won’t let merchants sell it to them! Lousy country. Seriously, though, let’s remember the days of snake oil patent medicine before the FDA came alon.g
@Uzza: well, I try to keep my language on the blog clean, but sometimes it’s hard.

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 15 2011

You are so far off with almost every point you made that I don’t know where to begin. But I will make an attempt over the next few days.

I do appreciate your generally cordial tone, though, and hope my disagreement will not seem hostile or like lecturing.

Let me just start by saying I have long wondered why so many otherwise rational atheists believe in The State and why so many otherwise rational anarchists believe in God. Both are dangerous superstitions that kill a lot of innocent people; and both have been disproved by their own failure.

OK. Moving on to your post. Let me first address the compact fluorescent bulb issue. Compact fluorescent bulbs don’t last anywhere near as long as their advocates claim. I know. I have had many that didn’t even last as long as the incandescent bulbs I replaced.

I was actually using CF bulbs (in their earlier incarnations) in the mid-to-late 70s of my own free will. I still like them but I know people who don’t and I think it is wrong to force them to use bulbs that don’t allow them to see adequately (due to eyesight differences or whatever). For whatever reason we have not been able to find CF bulbs that my parents can see under. I have tried.

Considering the mercury content, added to the vast amount of additional material in each CF bulb, added to the vast amount of extra energy it takes to manufacture each one compared to an incandescent bulb, added to the difficulties in proper disposal, added to the apparent problem that the spectra that they produce isn’t good for many people- it isn’t worth making it mandatory that people use them. When the technology is right, no law would be required. As it is, the “law” is generating resistance that might not otherwise exist.

Your closing comment, the generalization of libertarians as “they are all financially well-off men”, is not even close. Well, I am a man, but I am living well below the poverty line. I know some extremely influential libertarians who are women who are also not wealthy or even comfortable. Look up Claire Wolfe.

You’ll forgive me I hope if I try to stick to addressing the points in the post before I address anything new posted in reply to this.

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 15 2011

I had another very important thing I just thought of to add tonight.

If you or any of the commenters are actually interested in understanding libertarianism (and not just what you believe it means), consider checking out The On Line Freedom Academy since it goes much more in-depth than I could ever do in any number of comments.

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 15 2011

The free market and capitalism are great, but it’s important to remember that we don’t live in a 100% capitalistic system. If we did, we’d be living in an Orwellian dystopia in which we auctioned off the organs of third world kids.

Free Market and capitalism. Well… Free market, yes. Capitalism, yes. However, neither truly exist today. Instead we have corporatism where corporations, which are government-created fictitious entities, run the government, which protects the corporations from the consequences of their actions and from the free market with “laws” It’s a cozy deal, but it has nothing to do with libertarianism, and all libertarians I know oppose this corrupt situation.

Then you go off on a tangent based on this faulty assumption. Selling off kids’ organs? Not in a libertarian society! Why not? Because the one basic principle of libertarianism is the Zero Aggression Principle. The free market is a voluntary market free of government meddling and free of coercion, it is not free to violate the rights of others. It is based upon “no Rulers”, not “no rules”. A situation where selling off anyone else’s organs (as opposed to your own) would rely on government protecting the aggressors from their intended victims. Once again that would be corporatism and would be incompatible with a libertarian society.

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 15 2011

It was the free market that allowed slavery to happen in the U.S.

Nope. The institution of slavery required “laws” which made it “legal” and made helping escaped slaves a “crime”. Those “laws”, which violated the liberty of the humans who were enslaved, were wrong, as are any and all “laws” that attempt to regulate or control anything other than actual aggression, theft/fraud, or violation of property rights. Only The State can prop up a system as corrupt and counter to basic human rights as slavery, beyond its natural life-span.

Just as with sweatshop labor today (which I regard as a step or two above slavery), proponents claimed the economy would collapse without slavery.

Which is why The State and its supporters erected a “legal” framework to keep slavery going. It was still dying out anyway, worldwide, around the era where the “legal” protections of that evil institution were eliminated (or at least altered enough that most people believe it was made illegal).

Remember that with sweatshop labor, as bad as the conditions are, they are better than the conditions the people traded when they chose to work in the sweatshop. Yes, in many cases sweatshop labor is preferable to the workers than subsistance farming. It is less dangerous, less physically demanding, and more rewarding. Would they want to stop there rather than to continue to improve their life? I doubt it.

If those workers are coerced into working at a sweatshop, rather than being allowed to freely choose whether or not to work in the sweatshop, then once again there has to be a “legal” framework to enforce the coercion. There also must be “legal” obstacles to hinder a poor person from starting his own business. Things like zoning “laws”, licenses and permits, minimum wage “laws”, and whatever else governments dictate to keep competition from threatening their corporatist cronies, take options from the poor and make it harder to escape the sweatshops. Otherwise many would choose to start their own business as a chance to escape poverty. The fact that many manage to do so in spite of the government’s obstacles is a testament to human preserverence and tenacity.

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 15 2011

Oops. I “closed” a tag with the wrong tag, which doesn’t work too well. Sorry.

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 15 2011

Everything would be sold to the highest bidder. The bottom line– the almighty dollar– would decide everything, regardless of who got hurt.

Only if you were willing to sell “everything”. And if you hurt anyone in your “bottom line” you would be subject to restitution or self defense. Once again, the Zero Aggression Principle sets a standard that is non-negotiable to libertarians and warns those who don’t wish to follow it of the consequences.

The reason we have civilization in the first place, at least in theory, is to protect those who are smaller and weaker.

Civilization doesn’t depend on The State, fortunately. In fact, I think civilization has been held back immeasurably by The State. Rights are not dependant upon the wishes of the majority. Those who are smaller and weaker are prohibited, “legally”, from defending themselves from predators. Instead they are told they must hand over their self defensive rights, along with the best tools ever invented for giving the “small and weak” a fighting chance against the “big and strong, to agents of The State. And The State is responsible for killing around 200 million innocent “citizens” during the 20th century alone- not even counting soldiers and those fighting “officially” in wars.

Under a pure Free Market system, stronger people would crush the weak.

No, because (as explained above) in a free market there could be no monopolies, nor any “laws” against self defense or defense of property. If a “strong” person/company began to crush the weak there would be no red tape barriers preventing a competitor from opening a stall on the sidewalk to compete with the corrupt company. People would be free to choose to use the new alternative that is not crushing them or others.

If the “crushing” came in the form of theft or aggression there would be no criminal penalties for defending yourself. Yes, there would probably be some form of arbitration in case of a dispute, but even then there would be no monopoly on a justice system.

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 15 2011

…do you object to Big Brother butting into the free market to do the following?

—-Making it illegal to sell liquor or cigarettes to minors.

Of course I object! Do minors manage to get liquor and tobacco anyway? Yes. Education works better than prohibition, and prohibition always manages to affect those it is not (supposedly) aimed at. Some people will always make the wrong choice. That isn’t your business. You may claim that their poor choice means “society” will be forced to pay for their medical care later. That is a refutation of welfare/wealth redistibution rather than a refutation of the liberty to make your own poor decisions. (Which brings up the tangential point that “Society” can not be a victim!)

Protecting the public from dangerous items, such as lead paint and swill milk, pulling them off the market.

Everything has potential to be dangerous. Each of us can make our own decisions as to whether they are “worth it” or not. Bungee jumping is not worth it to me. Driving fast on mountain roads is not worth it to me. For that matter, using insecticides in my home is not worth it to me. Everyone has the capacity to decide for themselves, just as I do.

Would you have chosen to buy lead paint, or products painted with lead paint, after the damaging effects were known (or suspected)? What if you had no children who would be gnawing on the baseboards or picking paint flakes off the door frames? What if government had decided to not ban the lead paint? Would you want to make certain, independently, that a house you are considering to purchase has lead-free paint regardless of any ban? I’m just asking.

Establishing standards for health inspection in food service, fire codes, architectural safety, etc.

Why do you assume that any standards must be imposed and enforced by The State? Why do you assume The State’s standards are actually followed? Doesn’t the health inspection scare-story disprove that assumption? I’d be more likely to trust an “Underwriter’s Laboratory-type” outfit, especially if there were a market full of competing certification providers, than a monopoly of government inspectors.

Establishing the Food and Drug Administration to create and enforce rules on which drugs are allowed on the market…

The FDA is big on promoting how many lives they have saved, yet it is almost impossible to accurately judge how many lives have been lost or destroyed due to their overly-cautious drug approval process. Let doctors and patients make their own decisions based upon informed consent.

…and food safety standards. The government limits how many insect parts are allowed in our cereal.

Yet we eat water bugs in the form of shrimp, and many people around the world eat and enjoy insects every day. What a bizarre thing to be concerned about. A better way would be to let the market cater to those who don’t care, and to those who are obsessive over bug parts in cereal, and let them each pay a price that reflects their choices. I knew a guy who was a meat inspector. Through him I learned that “up to government standards” means less than a company’s own standards. I have heard, although it may just be a rumor, that the meat that is up to “school lunch standards” is not up to McDonalds’ standards.

To leave this up to the free market would allow the foxes to guard the chicken coop.

Why this assumption? Does reputation have no meaning to you? If you discovered, in this age of instand communication, that a company was doing something disgusting to its food would you continue to give that company your business? I wouldn’t!

I like that smoking isn’t allowed in bars and restaurants, and other public places such as libraries.

I don’t like to be around smoke, so if it were allowed I would usually choose to go to a place where the owner forbid smoking. But not always. Sometimes I would choose to go to a smoke-filled place either to hang out with friends who smoke, or because the fun was worth the discomfort. It should be up to the owner to set the smoking policy, and up to me whether I choose to reward his choice or the choice of his competitors.

Making seat-belts and other safety features standard on cars.

My second car was too early to have seat belts as a standard feature and I chose to install them at my own expense. (My first car was electric and had seat belts.) Education is what makes car safety an issue. In many cases “laws” actually compromise safety. As in self-driving cars which eliminate the vast majority of accidents: human error and alcohol.

you wanna let the foxes guard the chicken coop?

No, that is why I advocate taking the fox out of the equation while frreing the chickens from their coop (and giving them talons).

Surely you think that these measures are worth sacrificing your freedom.

Absolutely not! You make your own choices regarding your own freedom, but as long as the other guy is not attacking or stealing, his freedom, or more accurately, his LIBERTY, is none of your business.

Only in the past few years have I met libertarians.

You’ll understand by now why I have my doubts about your claim to have met any libertarians. I could claim to be a jellyfish, but if I don’t fit the definition, my claims are just silly. So it is with libertarians.

I can’t help but notice that they are all financially well-off men.

I addressed this earlier.

As near as I can tell, they claim to support liberal values…

Only inasmuch as “liberal values” respect the life, liberty, and property of the individual. Which isn’t too far these days. It’s about as poor a record as “conservative values” have on respecting the same.

…but then turn around and vote for conservatives.

No way! I voted for Micheal Badnarik (the LP candidate) back in 2004, and I ran my own campaign for 2008, but I have since realized the futility of “voting for liberty”.

Whew! I didn’t intend to go all the way through your post tonight. Sorry for so much information and so many links. You got me inspired!

Feel free to email me if you want something explained more before I get back.

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BlackFlag said,         
May 16 2011

As usual, those that complain about the Free Market actually end up complaining about the “Not Free” Market, and are merely confused about labels.

The Free Market is, simply, VOLUNTARY exchange. That is, trading goods without a gun to your head.

But you complain about a Marketplace that is dominated with guns – and then label THAT as the “Free Market”.

How could a “Free” Market auction body parts of kids? Bizarre!

A great argument you make here – Freedom causes Slavery! Bizarre!

The “Free” market did not “create” slavery. Slavery existed by GOVERNMENT LAW. It was your “perverse solution to freedom” that creates slavery.

No wonder you’re so confused.

Why would “government” be right in pulling “energy-wasting” light bulbs off the market? How are YOU or THEY determining “waste”?

In the market place, PRICE is the determinant – you have no idea the cost and “waste” (as you would put it) into building the ALTERNATIVE?

If one is subsidized by the “not free market” government, how can you possible make such a baseless assumption of “waste”??

The FREE Market is a big auction. Highest bid wins.

You don’t have to buy, and you don’t have to sell if you don’t want to.

If you want to buy, you have to pay the bid price.

Pretty simple and moral system.

OTHERWISE, as you propose you get a system where the allocation of resources is done by FORCE and VIOLENCE.

There are two – and only two – methods of allocating resources:
(1)by price – highest bid wins
(2)by ration – biggest guns wins.

You love them guns!

“—-Making it illegal to sell liquor or cigarettes to minors.”

Who gave you the right to run MY life?

“—-Protecting the public from dangerous items, such as lead paint and swill milk, pulling them off the market. (I can only assume that swill milk aficionados stockpiled swill milk before the law was enacted.)”

Killing your customers is a bad marketing strategy.

“—-Establishing standards for health inspection in food service, fire codes, architectural safety, etc.”

Yes buildings still fall down, fires still burn out buildings and kill people, and people still get sick.

Strange, I though you were offering solutions, but obviously you are not.

You exist with other ego-centric world view individuals – you cannot see yourself.

You want YOUR freedom, but you fear free men.

Your mantra:
Freedom for me, but not for you.

Your belief system always ends this way –
Tyranny.

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 17 2011

Personal Failure- “…children’s cough syrup contained pure heroin. Children died. Lots of them. It wasn’t The Hand of the Market that put a stop to that, either.

Actually, yes it was. Heroin was dropped as an ingredient in cough syrup in 1913; the government didn’t restrict its sale until 1914. Not because of deaths, but because of addiction. There is a difference. And, the simple truth is that as a cough medicine it was actually effective, unlike the substitutes that have been tried since then. Education is the key. There will always be addicts; prohibition doesn’t change that fact. There is no profit motive if you kill off your customers or their children, and in a free society there would also be personal accountablility for selling products that kill when used as directed. No corporations to hide behind, in other words, but actual individual accountablility for the complany president.

After a century of prohibition the percentage of the population that is addicted to something “illegal” remains the same. The drug war is an utter failure IF the goal was to reduce the use of drugs, and is worse than a failure if the goal was to save lives. The drug war kills more people and ruins more lives than the drugs ever did.

People who promote pure Libertarian ideology seem to think they’ll be the one at the top of the heap. Otherwise, why would you promote it?

I promote it, not to end up at the top of the heap, but to either eliminate a heap based on brute force (as we have now) or to eliminate the heap altogether. I guarantee I’ll not be ending up near the top of any heap no matter how society self-organizes once it is freed of the superstition of The State. But it doesn’t matter. I value the rights of the other guy (YOU) because I value my own rights. You can only get as much liberty as you give others.

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 17 2011

Atheist from Michigan- “If it were 100% free market, there would be no public roads. All roads would be private…

Roads would not necessarily be private, but they would be privately owned. Once again, the distinction is important. If a business owner wants customers to be able to get to his business it is in his interest to keep the road to his store open and in good repair. If a homeowner wants to be able to leave home it is in his best interest to not close off his road to fellow travellers lest they return the “favor” of denying him access.

Some will still close off their roads, and other people will build new roads around the problem area to profit from the new opportunity- and quite probably refuse to allow the guy who closed off his road to travel on theirs. (In a free society being a jerk would have consequences that government now mitigates. Being a bad guy would be much more expensive than it currently is.)

If a person doesn’t wish to maintain or manage his portion of the road himself, he might hire someone to do it for him. Perhaps he would use the same company his neighbors use. Some people might even sell their ownership in a particular stretch of road to avoid headaches and liability while securing access in perpetuity. Of course, there will not be a “one size fits all” solution and undoubtedly things will self-organize that I can’t even imagine.

… so I hope these people save their pennies to pay the tolls on absolutely every road.

What you don’t seem to realize is that you already pay for roads you use, but much of the money is spent on bureaucracy rather than the roads. You are not getting all the road you are paying for. And there is no competition to let you see how you are being overcharged. Plus, the money is taken whether you use the road it is spent on or not. You also pay for a road that you also have no guarantees on. If your vehicle is damaged or you are in an accident because of poor maintainence or poor design you can’t sue the owner. Is this a good plan? I don’t think so; there is no accountability.

Another thing to consider is that roads may not always be necessary for the majority of travel. Unless The State continues to have a monopoly on the roads. Then they will resist, with “laws” and regulations, any innovation.

One day our descendants will be amazed we ever settled for government-owned roads.

To be continued…

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 17 2011

Atheist from Michigan- “And don’t forget the police department. Can’t afford them when your house gets invaded by your angry neighbors? Too bad. But that’s okay because you do own a gun right? (Wild West anyone?)

You have bought into the modern myth that the “Wild West” was a violent, “every man for himself” bloodbath. That is completely false. Gun-filled Western towns were less deadly than their comparable, relatively gun-less, Eastern counterparts. It really is suicidal to attack people able and willing to defend themselves effectively. I have lived in armed societies and they really are much more polite. Not because everyone is scared of everyone else, but because they don’t have to be.

If your house gets invaded by angry neighbors today, the police show up after the acts have been committed. Remember that when seconds count, the police are “only” minutes away. And, assuming you survive the attack, you have as much chance being killed by the cops who respond as your attackers do.

In a free libertarian society there could also be a place for private “police”. If you refuse to take responsibility for your own safety, there are always people willing to be paid to give it a try. However, a private police force would be accountable for their actions. If your police kill an innocent person, or steal or damage property, and they refuse to take responsibility and pay full restitution, then if they are acting on your behalf YOU will be responsible. Would you hire “police” who bully innocent people and invade homes? Would you want to have your “police” harassing your neigbors about what they smoke? Or if their car is licensed? Or any number of other things that don’t harm you? I wouldn’t.

To be continued…

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 17 2011

Atheist from Michigan- “And when your house catches on fire, you can call any of the competing fire departments…” etc.

I have addressed fire departments previously, but the “exclusivity” on the column has not run out yet so I have to just post a link: “Firefighting Better if Privatized

I think you’ll see that you are trying really hard to make things more complicated than they would really be.

And, why would 911 service necessarily be gone? Is there some reason such a service couldn’t be maintained without using government coercion? I don’t think so. If it is useful, and until an even better solution is found, I’d be willing to bet it would be continued.

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 17 2011

Atheist from Michigan: “But it doesn’t matter anyway, because the food producers are all selling dirty, tainted food, and all the people are getting sick, and can’t work.

You mean like occasionally happens now even with mandatory government health inspections? Seriously, you think there would be no one with enough self-interest to make certain the food they sell won’t make people sick? If every other food seller was selling food that made people sick, and there were no government hurdles to prevent me from opening my own food service, you can bet I’d be out there selling the cleanest, healthiest food I could tomorrow. Would you continue to buy the food that is making you and your family sick, or would you come to me? Remember too that only government meddling creates monopolies, and there would be no criminalization of people growing their own food, or hunting game (as long as they were not trespassing it would be no one’s business), or defending themselves from an attacker (such as the Dirty Food Cartel who wants to kill the competition).

Yeah, this sounds like real utopia to me.

Not the way you weave the fantasy by ignoring the way the real world works. If you try hard enough you can make anything sound like a surefire failure. But no one would put up with that kind of world without looking for a better way. Otherwise you would be wearing stiff and rotting animal skins and eating raw meat while squatting in the rain. It doesn’t work that way, and sometimes things that seem like a good idea at one time (The State) turn out to have been disastrous. It is silly to keep refusing to jump off the train as it heads over the cliff just because you imagine thorns, scorpions, and goblins will be all you encounter if you jump off the doomed train. But you do what you want.

We have government-owned roads, police, libraries, schools…

And all I ask is to be able to make the choice as to who to spend my money with and let you do the same. If I want to use the government school (or library), fine. But if I think another option would serve my children better, let me use that alternative and stop paying for the system I am not using.

“…we are not 100% capitalist, and we would fail if we were.”

Prove it by showing me a 100% capitalist society. Not corporatist, but capitalist.

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 17 2011

Atheist from Michigan said: “I find the libertarian atheists among the most frightening of all people….

Your fear is based upon complete and utter hogwash. I hope you can get over it by finding out you are afraid of a spectre that is imaginary (just like God).

If you are “compassionate” just because you believe you are being watched and you wish to avoid punishment, you are not compassionate.

Libertarians know it is wrong to initiate force. No matter who is or is not watching. We also know it is wrong to steal. Once again, no matter who may or may not see us do it or what you call it.

Because, as you say, “people can either be compassionate or selfish” it is foolish to give anyone power over the lives of others. It is foolish to put people into positions of “authority” where they can cause harm without paying the full consequences. Libertarianism removed the false cloak of legitimacy from those who would choose to prey on others, no matter what excuse they try to justify their actions with.

Libertarians are selfish and seem to absolutely lack any compassion for anyone but themselves.

Libertarians know that we are accountable for all our actions, both good and bad. We are accountable to ourselves and to those around us. If we do other people wrong, we know there will be consequences, and we know we would deserve them. If that isn’t a higher power- one with real world ability to affect our lives right here and now- I don’t know what a “higher power” could really be.

I have never personally met a selfish libertarian, although I have heard from statists who claim to have met “lots” of them. As long as they are selfish without initiating force (attacking), damaging other people’s property, or stealing, I can’t see how that harms anyone. Yet I have still never met a libertarian who was selfish.

I could tell you the things I do on a daily basis to help other people- things that have no personal benefit to me at all- but you would either think I am lying or bragging about how “compassionate” I am. Instead I invite you to come spend a day with me. Any day. Don’t even tell me who you are or why you are here. And then see if your opinion holds.

If I didn’t care about other people, including YOU, “Atheist from Michigan”, I wouldn’t bother with commenting on this blog. This “project” has taken a lot of time that I should have been spending on my writing job. And I know this commentary will probably not change anyone’s mind. But I still think it is important for you to know the truth about those you speak of so poorly. For you and for any future libertarians you may encounter. Because I care about all of you.

…would just as soon stomp out all Christians like they’re ants.

That would be a huge mistake. Sure, I would like to stomp out their superstition, but I wish no harm on the individuals. In fact, it is my compassion for them than makes me hate their superstition. It is hurting them and damaging their lives whether they see it or not. Until someone tries to force their religious beliefs on me, personally or by force of “law”, their superstitions are not my business.

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 17 2011

TA1 said: “A lot of technology is based upon use of toxic products … so to be totally aware ( caveat emptor ) you have to pretty much get a degree in the product technology.

And I have no such degree, yet I survive. I pay attention to problems other people have (or even claim to have) with products. If I don’t trust a particular company I avoid doing business with it. I am also aware of chemistry enough to understand that using a toxic component doesn’t mean the final product is toxic. Sodium is toxic; chlorine is toxic- put them together and you have table salt which is necessary for life.

And the excesses of unbridled capitalism are legendary.

Really? And you’re sure you’re not mistaking capitalism for corporatism/mercantilism (as Mr. Whipple so eloquently said above)? Because I have never seen capitalism “unbridled”. Not ever. All I’ve seen is a jungle of government regulations and red tape that make competition difficult for an upstart facing off with the big established, politically-connected corporations.

So I am an “ex-libertarian” for that reason and the fact that the Libertarian Party never did seem to manage to find office candidates who had appeal beyond that of a cardboard box.

The Libertarian Party has about as much to do with libertarianism as guinea pigs have to do with New Guinea. The last presidential candidate “offered” by the LP was Bob Barr- NOT libertarian at ALL. Don’t judge libertarianism by those who attempt to associate themselves with it without holding onto the principles involved.

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 17 2011

LowOnProzac said: “You’re mistakenly equating Libertarians with anarchists.

Well, anarchism is libertarianism in full-bloom; stripped of all inconsistencies.

Free markets don’t mean lawlessness.

Rules, not Rulers. Real laws based upon the ZAP don’t have to be enforced; just about everyone knows they are wrong to violate, and those who don’t know will learn when their violations are defended against. Most “laws” today are counterfeit “laws” that attempt to control something other than aggression or theft.

Libertarians believe government is a necessary evil.

No such thing! If a thing is evil it can’t be truly necessary. No matter how “pragmatic” it might be to pretend otherwise.

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Sarah said,         
May 18 2011

Everyone, thank you for your thoughtful comments. I appreciate your two cents. I wish I could respond to everything, but let me just clarify a few things.
I didn’t say that CFL bulbs were definitely better than incandescent bulbs. I said, let’s just suppose for a minute that they are.
It’s true that many insects are edible and that we might not mind them in our cereal. However, many insects are *not* edible. I suppose I should have said, “The FDA limits how many rat droppings are allowed in our food,” which is also true.
Many of you seem to think that the free hand of the market prevents manufacturers from selling dangerous products in the first place. (Except cigarettes, which are supposed to be dangerous. That’s the fun.) No, it didn’t– not with swill milk (the public didn’t know it was dangerous), to use just one example. If industry looked after itself for its own sake, how would you explain the violations Big Brother finds during inspections, and then forces industry to fix? Look at the link to the video on my OP about health inspection violations in restaurants if you need proof that restaurants can get away with whatever the public doesn’t know about. Is the consumer to know that mice are swimming in the sauce back in the kitchen?
I thought it was funny when someone said, “Libertarians are anarchists with money.” LOL. There are libertarians who are not male or don’t have a lot of money, but all the ones I’ve met fall into those categories.

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Sarah said,         
May 18 2011

One last thing: if Big Brother didn’t intervene, there would be nothing stopping free market forces from auctioning off the organs of the poor. Would there be a demand for it? You bethca there’d be. From what I understand, there is a black market demand, but even if there weren’t, you can still bet the demand would be there, with nothing to stop it. The almighty dollar would decide. I’m not saying anyone who could afford to would do so, but you know some people would.

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 18 2011

Sarah said: “Many of you seem to think that the free hand of the market prevents manufacturers from selling dangerous products in the first place.

Of course not. But people are free to choose what they consider “too dangerous” or an acceptable risk. It isn’t within your authority (or anyone else’s) to decide for ME what is “too dangerous”, just like it isn’t up to me to make that decision for you.

Cigarettes are too dangerous for me, but I wouldn’t think of forbidding other people from making their own choice. Nicotine does seem to have some brain and cognitive benefits after all.

Your concern over “swill milk” seems a little odd, too. It’s as if government banning it proves to you that it really was bad, rather than accepting that it was bad and refusing to buy it regardless of the government’s actions- whether or not it is “legal”. Sure it may have been cheaper, but “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” and you should realize that.

I don’t need “laws” telling me what can hurt me. Do you?

I don’t need The State to tell me that if I mishandle a gun someone could get killed. Or warning me that the burners on my stove could burn me. Or that smoking crack is not a healthy choice for me. To assume that a large percentage of individuals are too stupid to act in their own self-interest seems pretty insulting and elitist.

It also seems pretty bizarre to claim “we” need a coercive monopoly in order to be protected from coercive monopolies. I think that would be considered rather circular.

Remember, too, that I have pointed out that I am not against health inspections for restaurants (or any other business), I simply think relying on The State exclusively for such a service is unwise. The State doesn’t have a very good track record of actually finding issues before a problem erupts, or even preventing them altogether. It is always reactionary after the disaster happens, and after market forces would have taken care of the issue without skipping right to the coercion.

Let businesses arise (similar to Underwriters Laboratories) that can compete for your trust and a good reputation, and then you can choose to eat at establishments which have been certified “safe” by someone who you have learned to trust.

…if Big Brother didn’t intervene, there would be nothing stopping free market forces from auctioning off the organs of the poor.

Why is this an issue? If someone is poor and needs money and wants to sell a kidney to someone who needs a kidney and is willing and able to pay for it, how can that be your business? Many people die because it is illegal to sell organs. If you own your body (and of course, you DO), it is yours to do with as you wish, even to the point of killing yourself, as long as you harm no other individuals.

If you don’t own your kidneys, who does? Do I own your organs? Does Obama? Did Bush? Does the Supreme Court? Does “society”? How ridiculous it is to claim you shouldn’t be allowed to decide whether to sell a kidney or cut your hair or get a tattoo. Your body belongs to you and it is the very worst form of tyranny to claim the rights over someone else’s body. Talk about a lack of compassion!

Now, obviously if you are talking about kidnapping people and stealing their organs, that isn’t “the market”; that is aggression and theft and would be subject to self defense and restitution. You can’t ignore that side of the free market in order to create an illusory boogeyman to hound with pitchforks and torches.

It is just paternalism to claim you know better how to run other people’s lives than they do. It is mean-spirited and insulting to those you consider not fully-human enough, or too stupid, to make their own choices.

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Jim Davidson said,         
May 18 2011

Economists know about a problem that you cannot solve. It is called “the calculation problem.” The reason you cannot solve this problem, calculating the market clearing price of every good in the world on every market, is because you do not have the necessary information. The nature of the calculation problem is that you *cannot* have the information, because it isn’t available. Market clearing prices are discovered by buyers and sellers in free, unregulated markets, all the time, by the choices of those in the market.

You imagine that you are smarter than me, and I’m quite willing to grant it for purposes of discussion. You believe you are smarter than everyone else, and I grant that, too. But the smartest woman in the world cannot know the needs and wants and temporary emergencies of seven billion people. You cannot know what you need to know to solve the calculation problem.

Yet you demand that we all turn to the government to force our neighbours not to buy things you don’t want them to buy and not to sell things you don’t want them to sell. You demand regulations and prohibitions, you demand price controls, you demand quality controls, and you shriek and gnash your teeth.

It is tiresome. Did prohibiting abortion work? No, it failed. It failed to prevent abortion. It also prevented women from getting abortions in clean clinics, and put them in back alleys being butchered by amateurs.

Did prohibiting alcohol work? No. It failed. It failed to prevent alcohol consumption. Carrie Nation’s dream of a country where women were not beaten senseless by drunk husbands never came to be. Prohibition made bathtub gin contaminated with lead, because it is cheaper to make a still with lead pipes, widely available. It made organised crime much bigger. It justified the existence of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other national police and espionage forces. But it failed.

And you never learn. You never learn that the government is not real, it is only a fiction. You never learn that the men and women who work for the government are simply men and women. They aren’t superhuman. They have no magic wands. They cannot know enough information to solve the calculation problem.

You demand that we all pay more for everything because you insist on regulations. Well, each American household pays about $15,000 more per year due to regulations, a recent study says. On top of that, each American household pays roughly a third of their income in income taxes and payroll taxes, plus another ten percent in other federal taxes, plus another ten percent or more in state and local taxes. Every American would be two to three times wealthier with much less government, and the cost of everything in the market would be reduced with less regulatory and tax burden.

But you don’t care. You don’t care because you demand that the government solve all your problems. You don’t care because you are smarter than everyone, and you know better than your neighbours.

So your government puts 2 million Americans in cages every year for non-violent non-crimes. Your government incarcerates more individuals in total than any other nation in the world and a higher percentage of its population than every other country in the world. Your government tortures people to death. Your government detains people without charges. Your president has authorised the execution of American citizens without trial. Your president has declared, as commander in chief, at least one soldier (Bradley Manning) guilty without benefit of a trial.

You don’t like the free market because you are a hateful, violent state supremacist. You don’t want free neighbours to express differences of opinion, you want to force them into line.

People are orderly when it pleases them to be orderly. But they aren’t always orderly. So the question is: are you willing to wait for the spontaneity of order by choice, or do you insist upon the calamity of order by force? And if you force everyone into line, then you get to answer two more questions: Who does your state kill? Why?

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Sarah said,         
May 18 2011

Easy, Kent, we’re not at war…
Manufacturers and the rest of industry can sell products/services to people who don’t *know* about the dangers. Like I said, how would you know if the kitchen in that restaurant is harboring rodents, serving expired meat, etc? If restaurants regulated their own cleanliness, just to use one example, we wouldn’t *find* health violations. Yet we do, ergo, they aren’t doing their job in the name of keeping their business. They turn a profit anyway. They could lose money by keeping clean.

I don’t think “reputation” is good enough since people could easily not know about these things. When was the last time, through word of mouth, you heard, “Don’t eat there. I looked in the kitchen and there were cockroaches”? Me, never.

Swill milk manufacturers continued to sell swill milk to an unsuspecting public, killing lots of children, until the government stepped in. Do you think consumers said, “Well, I know swill milk might kill my kid, but I’m willing to take that risk as a consumer”? If that *were* the case, I think Big Brother should step in again and arrest the parent for child endangerment.

As to organ selling, if a poor kid decides (!) to sell a kidney, and some rich person wins it in an auction, call that a “choice,” but it’s exploitative in the extreme and most people’s ethics wouldn’t stand for it. I wouldn’t defend it if I wanted to be a decent person. Plus, I think that in a “pure” capitalist system, we’d kill people to harvest the organs they can’t live without. In short, there would be no “black market” because it’s our “right” to buy whatever we want– yes, even at the expense of lives.

Buddy, people *can* decide what’s too dangerous for you. Doctors do it, off the top of my head. Labs can’t sell you any drug you want, because some are too dangerous. Dig?

If the gov’t is accurate in saying, for example, that lead paint is delicious but deadly, you don’t have my sympathy in losing your “right” to buy it. You can always buy it on the black market. Either way, I’m not crying you a river.

Plus, I can’t help but think you discredit yourself by talking about the “health benefits” of smoking. Excuse my frankness, but that kind of thing is exactly why people are wary of libertarians, and I’m putting that as tactfully as I know how.

If I as a consumer didn’t *know* that something was bad for me– let’s just say swill milk– I’d be a victim at the hands of industry.

I don’t think I can respond to all the stuff in these comments, but please just remember that I want whatever is best for society.

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BlackFlag said,         
May 18 2011

Jim,

Precisely!

By the Pretense of Knowledge – pretending that they “know” – they infect the market place with fatal decisions processes.

To enforce their own desires of resource allocation, they deny voluntary trade and instead use the threat of a gun.

This always leads to horrific tyranny, for when violence becomes the primary means of resource allocation, violence will and must increase.

Eventually the thief loses to the murderer.

Massive slaughter has always been the consequence of such fatal conceit that one man knows better about another man’s life.

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BlackFlag said,         
May 18 2011

Sarah,

How do you know the kitchen is harboring rodents right now???

Just because some man with a badge walks through once a year does not make rats run away.

Violent enforcement of whimsical edicts does not change reality.

If this was true, with police there would be no crime. But we have police and crime.

If this was true, with fire dept. there would be
no fires, but we have fire dept. fire code and buildings still burn down.

You will proclaim “but nothing is perfect” – but that is what you demand upon free men – that to be free from your violent edicts (that solve nothing), free men must solve what you cannot solve with your violent edicts! You do not accept your own argument! Free men are not perfect either, and crime and fires and suffering still occur – just like they occur under the evil of government.

The question then is not one of a whimsical balance of which is the worse of consequences – the ENDS DO NOT JUSTIFY THE MEANS.

The question is:
What is the moral means to manage society?

Is it by threat of force on the non-violent
or
by voluntary association of free people?

Either choice will still mean humans suffer – people will still get sick, die by accidents, and a few will die by the hands of other men.

Human suffering will never end.

But what is the difference:
When one stops using violence on non-violent people as a means to cultivate their “cooperation”, there will be a lessening of the violence of men upon men.

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BlackFlag said,         
May 18 2011

Sarah,

Who do you think has greater power over the quality of a restaurant?

The man with a badge called a “food inspector”
or
The Food Critic of the local newspaper?

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BlackFlag said,         
May 18 2011

Sarah,

“Yet we do, ergo, they aren’t doing their job in the name of keeping their business. They turn a profit anyway. They could lose money by keeping clean.”

So, let’s get your argument straight here.

Because they aren’t “doing their job” in the business (which is to make money), they are making money.

???????

The consumer is king, Sarah.

If they are making a profit, that means they are SOLVING A HUMAN PROBLEM better than the consumer could solve himself.

People TRADE money for solutions to their problem.

When you understand this, instead of the usual (and generally wrong concept) that you are SPENDING (losing something) money to BUY (getting something) a product, you can see more clearly the action of a market place.

You do not “lose” to “win” in the market place.

You TRADE value for a value. You trade products for products.

You trade FOR money, when you produce some sort of good that solves a problem for another person, who trades their money for your solution.

You then trade WITH money for another person’s product that solves YOUR problem.

Both parties only trade if they see more value after than before. If a trade occurs (concepts of fraud notwithstanding) it must mean a win/win for both parties.

You do not trade for less value than when you start.

So when you say “they are making a profit”, it means they are SUCCESSFUL in solving other people’s problems to the necessary degree demanded by those people – or else they would not buy.

However, YOU ARE JUDGING THESE PEOPLE WHO ARE THE CONSUMER. You are calling them stupid, you are determining what they need, what they want, who they should trade with, and when they should trade.

You can you do this? Did God touch you with his finger tip and give you ultimate knowledge of the wants, needs and desires of other people???

The best you can truly say is “they got what they want, and the restaurant got what they want” – and you, not a party on either side, have no right to judge this.

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Kent McManigal said,         
May 18 2011

Sarah- I wasn’t hostile to you so I don’t quite understand your somewhat demeaning salutation of “Easy, Kent…”. There is no reason to become defensive and treat me like a child or a dog. I’m just discussing.

Anyway, you have begun going in circles; saying the same things over again, after I have dealt with those particular objections. You don’t believe me, but don’t take my word for it- think for yourself.

One thing I don’t understand is, since you obviously distrust everyone (including, apparently, yourself) to behave “nicely” and make good decisions without being forced to do so, how can you trust those same people to have power over the lives of others? Do you think that once given that amount of power they become selfless and kind? How can you fail to recognize that the system itself attracts the worse of humanity while insulating them from the true consequences of their actions?

I think I see a lot of “projection” in your dwelling on your fears and suspicions while ignoring the solutions offered and the information on the true nature of libertarian thought (as opposed to whatever it is that you were exposed to under the label of “libertarianism”). Why are you so afraid of people? Would your family and friends start robbing, killing, and raping (or selling filthy food filled with rat feces to unsuspecting customers) if they didn’t fear The State’s punishment? Is that all that forces them to be good? I doubt it very much. And no one I know is only restrained by fear of The State, either. Relax.

It seems I just believe in one less god than you do. Or, maybe, two.

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rickdoogie said,         
May 18 2011

Sarah said,”Manufacturers and the rest of industry can sell products/services to people who don’t *know* about the dangers. Like I said, how would you know if the kitchen in that restaurant is harboring rodents, serving expired meat, etc? If restaurants regulated their own cleanliness, just to use one example, we wouldn’t *find* health violations.”
Sarah, I take it that you’ve never worked in the food industry, or not long enough to see what goes on with USDA inspectors. I worked in a food factory for 20 years. What would happen with the USDA? They always gave advance notice that they were coming. We shut down the processing and packaging lines and cleaned for 3 days straight before the “surprise” inspection. The USDA man would show up and joke around with our Quality Supervisor, while they both toured the plant. The USDA man almost always found some little thing to give us a fine for. The company paid the fine, and we went back to our dirty business.
If you got rid of the fake government inspection process, REAL inspecting companies would pop up all over the place, and they would be like Good Housekeeping, Underwriter Labs, Better Business Bureau, etc. There wouldn’t just be ONE inspector who got to be friends with the people were he regularly did inspections. There would be hundred or thousands of companies competing to “out” the dirty cheating companies.
Ever hear the story of the US inspectors who allowed BP Oil to fill out their own safety inspection forms? The Gulf Oil disaster is a good example of what happens when we leave “consumer protection” and “environmental protection” to Big Government.

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rickdoogie said,         
May 18 2011

BTW, I find it ironic that Sarah says “we’re not at war” as she defends big daddy government. Without big government, there could be no modern warfare. I find it ironic that left-leaning government supporters are anti-gun, but they defend the biggest gunslinging killer of all – the government. They love the environment, but they defend the biggest polluter of all – the government. They fear monopolies and greedy people, but they defend the biggest, greediest monopoly ever imagined, the US government.
We most certainly are at war. The US gov’t takes my money and yours, buys bombs, bullets, rockets, and fighter jets from the biggest greedy corporations around. Armed to the teeth, they go to off to foreign lands, meet interesting people, and kill them.

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Dale Husband said,         
May 24 2011

Kent McManigal said:

{{{since you obviously distrust everyone (including, apparently, yourself) to behave “nicely” and make good decisions without being forced to do so, how can you trust those same people to have power over the lives of others? Do you think that once given that amount of power they become selfless and kind? How can you fail to recognize that the system itself attracts the worse of humanity while insulating them from the true consequences of their actions?}}}

What a rediculous strawman! Actually, the Founding Fathers set up a system of checks and balances to prevent any one part of the federal government (executive, legislative, and judicial) from becoming too powerful. They also set up a Bill of Rights. These do result from a distrust of human nature and I saw nothing from Sarah denying their value. But what the Founding Fathers did not do was set up a means of breaking down the power of corporations, which also are a source of tyranny in society.

{{{The institution of slavery required “laws” which made it “legal” and made helping escaped slaves a “crime”. Those “laws”, which violated the liberty of the humans who were enslaved, were wrong, as are any and all “laws” that attempt to regulate or control anything other than actual aggression, theft/fraud, or violation of property rights. Only The State can prop up a system as corrupt and counter to basic human rights as slavery, beyond its natural life-span.}}}

BULLCRAP! You can have slavery that is illegal too. But slavery DID result from free-market systems which allowed rich whites from Europe and North America to enslave the poor blacks from Africa. It was only AFTER slavery was established that laws were passed to protect the PROPERTY RIGHTS of the slaveowners! Libertarians are still obsessed with property rights today. And it took government force from Washington D C, including Union forces invading the southern states and the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, to end slavery; the idea that it would have died out on its own does not explain sex slaves (including child prostitutes) that are known to exist today.

I can’t beleive you are dumb enough to say:
{{{Free market, yes. Capitalism, yes. However, neither truly exist today. Instead we have corporatism where corporations, which are government-created fictitious entities, run the government, which protects the corporations from the consequences of their actions and from the free market with “laws” It’s a cozy deal, but it has nothing to do with libertarianism, and all libertarians I know oppose this corrupt situation.}}}

MORE BULLCRAP! Corporatism IS a form of free market capitalism. It is the inevitable result of corporations growing at the expense (literally) of everyone else! That would be true even if the government did nothing to assist the corporations. Why does the government help them? Because if it didn’t, many of them would fail and throw millions of workers into unemployment, making a bad economic system worse, like what happened in the Great Depression.

The only sure way of breaking down the corporations and have true economic justice for the people is to overthrow the corporations by force. But that drives you “free market” zealots crazy.

Keep up the clever propaganda, Kent McManigal. Maybe someday you Libertarians will convince enough people of your delusions to take over the government…..and then we will find ourselves disappointed when you turn out to be as hypocritical as you are delusional. I’m certainly not fooled by your claims and false promises. They simply CANNOT work in the real world!

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Dale Husband said,         
May 24 2011

{{{Without big government, there could be no modern warfare. I find it ironic that left-leaning government supporters are anti-gun, but they defend the biggest gunslinging killer of all – the government. They love the environment, but they defend the biggest polluter of all – the government. They fear monopolies and greedy people, but they defend the biggest, greediest monopoly ever imagined, the US government.}}}

First, is it any coincidence that after we recovered from the Great Depression (due to the government programs of the New Deal) we Americans were able to wage war against the Axis powers? No, of course not. It is a damned irony that Libertarians (and some Conservatives) claim that it was World War II and not the New Deal that helped us recover from the Depression. That damned lie only is only accepted by the right-wing extremists because of prejudice against anything leftist.

Second, how does the US government directly cause pollution? That would only make sense if the government directly ran most of the heavy industries, which is not the case. Therefore, you have stated a falsehood. We are NOT a fully socialist society!

Third, how can you condemn the greed and monopolistic practices of government? What would be better? Would you really prefer a state of NO government? Without it, we would have no means to defend our rights either. So all this talk of liberty from you is meaningless!

mygif
Kent McManigal said,         
May 26 2011

Dale Husband, you say “Maybe someday you Libertarians will convince enough people of your delusions to take over the government.

That would be self-defeating and counter-productive. I have no desire to “take over” government. I govern myself and don’t want to (and can’t) govern you. It isn’t anyone’s job but your own to govern you. Any other notion is a very big delusion and causes a lot of grief in the world. I think, though, you are making the same mistake other commenters above you have made: “Libertarians” belong to the Libertarian Party and may or may not be libertarians, just as hunters who belong to “Ducks Unlimited” are NOT ducks.

You also claim “They simply CANNOT work in the real world!” when you speak of libertarian principles, but you are demonstrably wrong. They already do work. In the real world. Every single day. I and many other people already live those principles all around you, apparently unnoticed by you, every day. That is how I know for a fact it works. You can pout, stamp your feet, and scream all you want but it won’t change a thing (other than rob you of some of the enjoyment you could be finding in life).

Then you claim: “…after we recovered from the Great Depression (due to the government programs of the New Deal)…”

Dale, Dale, Dale. The “New Deal” extended the Great Depression years beyond it’s natural span. The similar recessions that happened regularly prior to the one that preceded the Great Depression are now forgotten precisely because government stayed out of the way and let them self-correct. Keynesian “economics” has been disproved over and over and over, yet it remains popular with “governing types” because of the sense of power (and ill-gotten wealth) it gives them. It is a superstition that is very stubborn. We are suffering its effects once again.

WWII also didn’t end the Depression, regardless of what “Libertarians (and some Conservatives)” might claim. War only gives the illusion of recovery. Depressions end when they end, through natural market forces, unless government intervention makes them worse.

Then you ask “…how does the US government directly cause pollution?

Government is the worst polluter in a couple different ways.

First, military sites are among some of the most dangerously polluted areas. Even when the pollution becomes exposed to the “public”, government is not legally liable for the full damage its activities have caused. Restitution is not paid.

Second, government’s environmental rules almost always allow corporations to pay a fine and continue to pollute, or to only clean up a portion of the pollution. It shields the owners of the corporation from actual restitution to those individuals harmed by the pollution. The whole structure of a corporation also shields the people who run the company from personal liability for the pollution their corporation causes.

Would you really prefer a state of NO government?

Not “no government”; no externally-imposed government. Huge difference. Self-government, arrived at by emergent order from “the bottom, up”, is the only kind that has ever worked or ever can work.

So, what would be better? I can do better than that and tell you what IS better: The Covenant of Unanimous Consent. Try it.

mygif
yutt said,         
July 14 2011

Good article Sarah. I’m glad these libertarian nutjobs decided to put on a great example of how they behave. They swarm those who disagree like Born Agains, spouting their never varying propaganda.

You’re free in their society, so long as you never disagree or act against their ideology.

Guess what happens in a libertarian society when you don’t behave according to libertarian ideology? You go to prison until you accept their beliefs without question. There is no room for debate or discussion, because they are right and you are wrong.

this is not a duplicate

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