Libertarian flash

by Chris Bertram on February 14, 2004

A friend emails with details of a Flash presentation (full screen version here ) explaining why libertarianism is the most appropriate political philosophy for matchstick people who have swallowed a collection of bizarre objects and like listening to Tubular Bells (TB on smaller version only).

{ 62 comments }

1

BP 02.14.04 at 9:10 am

Looked pretty Marxist to me. Workers own the fruits of their own labor and all that. Still amazes me how much common ideals Marxists and current-day internet libertarians share, largely without the latter group realizing it.

2

jdsm 02.14.04 at 9:21 am

“Looked pretty Marxist to me.”

We really must have been watching different presentations.

3

neil 02.14.04 at 10:48 am

Seriously. Right from the very first screen it runs totally contrary to Marxism. “Self-ownership?” “No other person or group of persons owns your life?” Utterly delusional. Actually, this could have been written by a Marxist to make fun of libertarians, I suppose.

4

FMguru 02.14.04 at 11:00 am

From watching that animation, I now have a strong distrust of people with hats. THEY’RE UP TO NO GOOD.

And I can actually see where it comes across as Marxist. Not in the actual details (where Libertarianism is 180 degrees different from Marxism – public property vs. private property, mass action vs. individual action, etc.) but in its general tone – that if only people would all magically repudiate their current belief system – simultaneously and universally – then we’d have paradise on earth.

Marxist: The world is an unhappy place because of class struggle over property. If only we got rid of private property and classes, there’d be no more conflict, and we’d live in a peaceful world of plenty.

Libertarian: The world is an unhappy place because of governments and coercion. If we magically got rid of all governments and taxes and universally respected everybody’s property rights, then the world would harmonious and prosperous.

(Both descriptions are violently simplified and unsophosticated versions of what real Marxists and Libertarians think, because that was the level of the flash animation.)

Both describe utopian outcomes, and both are very deficient in useful prescriptions of how to get from here to there.

5

BP 02.14.04 at 11:18 am

No. People, read the Communist Manifesto.

Marxist: The world is an unhappy place because the bourgeoisie owns the fruits of the labor of the proletariat.
The bourgeoisie is an historical extension of feudalism. In an enlightened world the bourgeoisie would cease to exist, and workers would own the fruit of their production. Band together, brothers, unite and overthrow the bourgeoisie!

Libertarian: The world is an unhappy place because the State owns the fruits of the labor of the freeman. The State is an historical extension of feudalism. In an enlightened world, the State would [more or less] cease to exist, and every freeman would own the fruits of his production. Band together, brothers, unite and drown the State in a bathtub.

6

Chirag Kasbekar 02.14.04 at 1:31 pm

“drown the State in a bathtub”

Well, if it was Tubular Bells, they seemed like in a bathtub as well…

7

Tim Lambert 02.14.04 at 3:18 pm

Set to Tubular Bells? So these would be libertarians who don’t believe in intellectual property?

8

Phaneron 02.14.04 at 3:21 pm

I get from the Flashmovie that Libertarianism is the preferred philosophy of Gort the Robot and his production batch.

By the way, if it it’s “bad” when the state owns the fruit of the labor of the free man, is it also “bad” when the Corporation owns the fruit of the labor of the free man? Could a libertarian become a CEO who *knows* he is undervalueing the labor of his employees? :>

9

BP 02.14.04 at 3:33 pm

“By the way, if it it’s “bad” when the state owns the fruit of the labor of the free man, is it also “bad” when the Corporation owns the fruit of the labor of the free man? Could a libertarian become a CEO who knows he is undervalueing the labor of his employees? :>”

Libertarians are Marxists, with slightly different hangups. People inclined to libertarianism today would have leaned towards Marxism a century ago.

The image of Marxism is inexorably bound to that of Stalinism in this day and age. A hundred years ago, however, the fine braves on Samizdata and their ilk would have been hardcore proponents of the Communist Manifesto. It has everything to appeal to their deep sense of self-ownership, independence from control, and some whupass revolution thrown in for good measure.

The CT crew, on the other hand, would have been Fabian socialists. Come to think of it, they still are.

10

Andrew Case 02.14.04 at 4:54 pm

I’ve always thought of it as Libertarians being Marxists with a single bit flip. Perhaps that’s too technogeek for CT, but it’s more or less what bp and fmguru are getting at AFAICT.

11

rorschach 02.14.04 at 5:01 pm

I actually learned a lot from that Flash.

I wondered why, when I asked a libertarian if he
enjoyed plumbing he started screaming at me,
“Taxes are theft! Taxes are theft!” Now I
understand.

But where’s the part where the brave tribe holed
up in the refinery talks Max into helping them
defeat the hordes of Lord Humongous?

12

rorschach 02.14.04 at 5:02 pm

Oops, my mistake. Haven’t seen that movie in a long
time. They hired him for gas.

Voluntary exchange of goods and services.

13

Team Canada 02.14.04 at 5:11 pm

“that if only people would all magically repudiate their current belief system – simultaneously and universally – then we’d have paradise on earth.”

Libertarians don’t have a serious political philosophy, much like the Marxist. Although the Marxist had historical circumstances that shaped this idealism, Libertarians just seem intellectually lazy. Utopian Libertarianism is just a short-hand for disengaged, indolent white guy. Maybe they’re being ironic?

14

neil 02.14.04 at 6:59 pm

“The bourgeoisie…has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment.’ It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentamentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconsciounable freedom–free trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.” Let’s not forget that for Marx, wage labor and private property are both to be overcome. You won’t get many libertarians on board with that.

The more substantive Marxist objection to libertarianism, as I said above, is this hogwash about “no one but you has any control over your life.” This is plainly false on its face. For one thing, history is the greatest despot, and it cannot be overthrown. Your life today has more to do with your parents/ancestors, and the people who turned your nation into what it is, than it can ever have to do with the conscious choices you make while you are alive. Every other aspect of a person’s life is deeply intertwined with other people, the decisions they have made, their personalities, and such. To believe that one can have complete control over his own life is simply an absurd lie, which does nothing but reinforce the control that others do have by convincing oneself that their choices are your own.

The “free exchange” ideal is also absurd from a Marxist perspective. “An exchange where both parties benefit?” Well, let’s see, if you’re my slave, we both benefit from you picking cotton in my fields for 10 hours: I get the cotton, and you get food and lodging. If you didn’t pick the cotton, on the other hand, I -wouldn’t- get the cotton, and you’d get no food plus you’d get whipped. Sounds like the exchange makes us both better off, to me.

The point is that libertarian idealism sets in stone the current conditions of mankind and declares that absolute freedom is possible within them. It’s no surprise that its appeal, then, is mostly among the monied elite. I will allow that it does share some small intellectual brotherhood with Marxism; a Marxist who was convinced that we live in the best of all possible worlds and that it is impossible to try to change it in any significant way would probably bear semblance to a libertarian. But this would not be much of a Marxist at all. It’s a lot more than flipping a bit.

Perhaps libertarians are driven by the same deep human desire to escape from the tyranny of private property, to liberate their personal relationships from the dehumanization of competition, but they are not imaginative or courageous enough to recognize what that would require. So instead they try to see how their desires would play out in the system under which they live. This would also explain why they’re so angry and frustrated and want to have so many guns. :)

15

neil 02.14.04 at 7:04 pm

“The bourgeoisie…has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment.’ It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentamentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconsciounable freedom–free trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.” Let’s not forget that for Marx, wage labor and private property are both to be overcome. You won’t get many libertarians on board with that.

The more substantive Marxist objection to libertarianism, as I said above, is this hogwash about “no one but you has any control over your life.” This is plainly false on its face. For one thing, history is the greatest despot, and it cannot be overthrown. Your life today has more to do with your parents/ancestors, and the people who turned your nation into what it is, than it can ever have to do with the conscious choices you make while you are alive. Every other aspect of a person’s life is deeply intertwined with other people, the decisions they have made, their personalities, and such. To believe that one can have complete control over his own life is simply an absurd lie, which does nothing but reinforce the control that others do have by convincing oneself that their choices are your own.

The “free exchange” ideal is also absurd from a Marxist perspective. “An exchange where both parties benefit?” Well, let’s see, if you’re my slave, we both benefit from you picking cotton in my fields for 10 hours: I get the cotton, and you get food and lodging. If you didn’t pick the cotton, on the other hand, I -wouldn’t- get the cotton, and you’d get no food plus you’d get whipped. Sounds like the exchange makes us both better off, to me.

The point is that libertarian idealism sets in stone the current conditions of mankind and declares that absolute freedom is possible within them. It’s no surprise that its appeal, then, is mostly among the monied elite. I will allow that it does share some small intellectual brotherhood with Marxism; a Marxist who was convinced that we live in the best of all possible worlds and that it is impossible to try to change it in any significant way would probably bear semblance to a libertarian. But this would not be much of a Marxist at all. It’s a lot more than flipping a bit.

Perhaps libertarians are driven by the same deep human desire to escape from the tyranny of private property, to liberate their personal relationships from the dehumanization of competition, but they are not imaginative or courageous enough to recognize what that would require. So instead they try to see how their desires would play out in the system under which they live. This would also explain why they’re so angry and frustrated and want to have so many guns. :)

16

neil 02.14.04 at 7:05 pm

Oops.. sorry for the double post.. didn’t think the first one went through.

17

Winston Smith 02.15.04 at 2:33 am

Sez at the top that the thing was made by somebody named Lex Lucre…

18

Winson Smith 02.15.04 at 2:34 am

er, I mean ‘Lux Lucre’. ‘Lex Lucre’ wouldn’t be as funny…

Don’t post tired…don’t post tired…

19

will 02.15.04 at 3:23 am

I’m sure many CT readers are familiar with the work of G.A. Cohen on self-ownership in Marxism.

20

Cap'n Arbyte 02.15.04 at 7:31 am

neil,

I’m dumbfounded that you’re using slavery as an example of alleged free exchange. That’s the paradigm case of forced exchange.

21

neil 02.15.04 at 8:09 am

Arbyte, that was more or less my point. The Flash animation we were shown defines ‘free exchange’ as being one which is mutually beneficial, and this does not rule out slavery. Now perhaps their assumption that ‘You own your life’ does rule out slavery. Although it does beg the question, is “You have the right to work, or starve to death” really more representative of freedom than “You have the right to work, or be beaten to death?”

22

Micha Ghertner 02.15.04 at 9:43 am

Neil, the statement “You have the right to work, or starve to death” applies not only to capitalism, but to socialism, and for that matter, to any conceivable social system in a world of scarce resources, rational self-interest, and unlimited wants.

Suppose I am living under a socialist system and I decide, for whatever reason, that I don’t feel like working.

What happens? One of two things. Either I will be forced to work, (directly through violence or threat of violence, or through withholding of my wages/rations) or I will be given subsistence wages for doing no work at all. But if I get subsistence wages for doing nothing, my friends and neighbors will see this and realize that they don’t need to do any work either. And others will become angry at the free-riders and refuse to work as well. Soon the entire system will collapse.

In a state of nature (i.e. no society) individuals must work or starve. There is nothing unjust about this, unless your definition of justice applies not only to human action, but to mother nature as well. When people join together to form a society, this fact of nature still faces them: they must work or starve. But now they have a choice. They can either work together, voluntarily, each person trading his labor and the fruits of his labor in exchange for other people’s labor and property, or, some people can join together, declare the formation of a socialist state, and threaten to do horrible things to those people who are not willing to produce “for the common good.”

In both situations, people must work or die. We can use either positive or negative reinforcement to achieve these ends. Capitalism is the carrot. Socialism is the stick.

23

TomD 02.15.04 at 4:03 pm

In a ‘state of nature’ (which of course never existed at any point) the sick, aged, disabled and little children must also work or starve, because there is no society and no-one to care for them.

In a ‘state of nature’ there is no unemployment because anyone who is close enough to starvation will be sufficiently motivated to go out and find some nuts and berries, or failing that some bits of twig and grass. They will then be gainfully employed.

It should be clear that some of the beneficial steps that humankind has taken away from the ‘state of nature’ are precisely those which *do* mitigate the ‘work or starve’ ethic.

Note that in an advanced capitalist society there will be many that (for some or all of their lives) neither work nor starve: landlords and other rentiers, the descendants of the rich if they receive a large inheritance, artists and spongers who live on patronage from rich friends and don’t happen to be doing anything at present, recipients of charity.

Both excessive State aid, and excessive inequality of wealth and property, promote idleness (or allow inactivity, in the case of those unable to work for whatever reason).

Social security and unemployment benefits are the price we pay for not periodically having hordes of destitute people on the streets determined to “earn” a living in the sense of being prepared to do anything for food or money.

Paying for benefits by taxing ground rent and million-dollar inheritances, i.e. those who gain wealth without labouring, would be a particularly neat way to proceed.

24

Micha Ghertner 02.15.04 at 5:44 pm

In a ‘state of nature’ (which of course never existed at any point)

A state of nature exists at any point in which people are isolated from society. Are you claiming that there has never been a point in human history where one human was isolated from society?

Note that in an advanced capitalist society there will be many that (for some or all of their lives) neither work nor starve: landlords and other rentiers, the descendants of the rich if they receive a large inheritance, artists and spongers who live on patronage from rich friends and don’t happen to be doing anything at present, recipients of charity.

Note that the parents or grandparents of those who inherited money did in fact work for it, and they worked for it precisely because they wanted to leave it to their children. There is nothing wrong or unjust with this kind of gift, although there is something wrong with stealing this gift through taxing inheritance.

Social security and unemployment benefits are the price we pay for not periodically having hordes of destitute people on the streets determined to “earn” a living in the sense of being prepared to do anything for food or money.

This may be the price you pay; I and others like me do not respond well to blackmail (either give me your money willingly or we will take it from you). I do respond well to my own compassion. Unfortunately, I am unable to voluntarily act on my compassion by helping the desitute when the state takes my money and does this for me.

Regardless, you completely ignored the point of my post: under both capitalism and socialism, and any other system, people must work or starve. Capitalism is not unique in this respect.

25

Decnavda 02.15.04 at 7:09 pm

I would like to express disappointment at the attitude here of ridiculing 1) Attempts at visual presentation of ideas (in particular, I thought this Flash animation’s presentation of the temporal aspects of libertarianism was enlightenning) and 2) Libertarianism, without taking into account the serious concerns of its adherents. I am a former (right) libertarian, and had to crawl my way out of it intellectually virtually by myself be cause I found few critics willing to take my concerns of liberty, self-ownership, ownership of my own labor, noncoersion, and intellectual consistency seriously. But, all of these concerns CAN be taken seriously and still leave room for MANY questions. To wit:

Micha-
1. “Note that the parents or grandparents of those who inherited money did in fact work for it, and they worked for it precisely because they wanted to leave it to their children.”

The ancestors are dead. They no longer exist. They have no future. They have no present. They have no past, for there is no present person to have that past. They worked for it and deserved it during their life. Yes, they would want their decendants to have it. So what? How can liberty be defined in such a way as to allow the living to be ruled by the dead? Allowing some individuals to require workers to hand over to them a portion of the product of their labors in exchange for necessary resources not produced by the taker just to satisfy the wishes of the no longer existant is folly, not freedom.

2. Answer tomd’s Q re ground rent. That was the ONLY part of the Flash animation I disagreed with. It kind of skipped over how the nature I use to produce stuff is the product of my labor. Why do I get to exclude all of those other people who would like to produce on that land?

3. Why stop with ground rent? What about the sky? The world is three dimentional, and no individual made the sky either.

4. Speaking of that, what of polution? If you spray posion into the air I breath or into the water I drink, isn’t that initiation of force?

5. How can anyone own a portion of the electromagnetic spectum? “Yellow” is part of the EMS, so is 88.5 FM. No one can stop me from using wearing the color yellow, why should KQED be able to stop me from broadcasting at 88.5 FM?

6. What about corporate charters? Legal fiction chartered by the government to give special priviledges to certain collectives? How is that libertarian?

7. What about contract? Sure, you should be able to engage in them freely, but isn’t government enforcement a service that they should charge for? Ayn Rand thought so.

From the above, it seems to me that I can agree with liberty, self-ownership, ownership of my own labor, noncoersion, and intellectual consistency and still support inheritence taxes, ground rent taxes, building hieght taxes, airline lane taxes, severe polution fines, broadcast frequency lease auctions, corporate taxes, and sales taxes on enforcible contracts. Further, I see no restrictions as to why the government should not act like any rational self-interested organization and set these taxes at rates designed to bring in maximum revenues.

Social security and unemployment insurance can be seen as poor temporary substitute for the citizen’s dividend that everyone is entitled to as an equal portion of all of the above taxes.

26

Antoni Jaume 02.15.04 at 7:25 pm

“Regardless, you completely ignored the point of my post: under both capitalism and socialism, and any other system, people must work or starve. Capitalism is not unique in this respect.”

In Capitalism you can be excluded “legitimaly” from work, since you can be excluded from property.

As for your sense of compassion, I see no value in it. The least important aspect of it is that it is not trustable.

By the way, unless your ancestors never ever committed any crime, and the acceptance of the result of a crime is one, inheritance is too tainted by crime.

DSW

27

Micha Ghertner 02.15.04 at 7:56 pm

The ancestors are dead. They no longer exist. They have no future. They have no present. They have no past, for there is no present person to have that past. They worked for it and deserved it during their life. Yes, they would want their decendants to have it. So what? How can liberty be defined in such a way as to allow the living to be ruled by the dead?

They worked for it and deserved it during their life? And by virtue of their deserving what they worked for, they deserve to use the fruits of their labor as they see fit, correct? So if I work and earn a certain amount of wealth, I should be able to use that wealth to purchase other goods and services, or, to give as a gift to my children. So how can you possibly claim that there is anything wrong with giving a gift to one’s children if you believe that people deserve what they worked for?

Allowing some individuals to require workers to hand over to them a portion of the product of their labors in exchange for necessary resources not produced by the taker just to satisfy the wishes of the no longer existant is folly, not freedom.

This is simply false. As I said before, under any conceivable system, people must work or starve. Capitalists do not force people to work for them; nature forces people to work. And this claim that profits are unjust is absurd. Whenever two people trade, there is surplus on both sides. Producer surplus – profits – are criticized by Marxists, but when was the last time you heard a Marxist criticize consumer surplus? When was the last time a Marxist criticized a consumer for paying $1 for an apple when the consumer’s willingness-to-pay was really $3? Why don’t the Marxists call the $2 consumer surplus “exploitation?”

28

Micha Ghertner 02.15.04 at 8:05 pm

In Capitalism you can be excluded “legitimaly” from work, since you can be excluded from property.

And under socialism you can’t be excluded from property? If I decide that I don’t like my bed, and that yours is more comfortable, no socialist would exclude me from it? If I decide that I don’t like the way that a factory’s capital equipment is being used, no socialist would exclude me from changing its use?

As for your sense of compassion, I see no value in it. The least important aspect of it is that it is not trustable.

I don’t care if you trust my compassion or not. My purpose here is not to convince you that I am compassionate; my purpose is to convince you that assuming that I am compassionate, I no longer have the ability to use my property to give to charity when that property is taken away from me against my will. I no longer have the capicity to act compassionately under socialism.

By the way, unless your ancestors never ever committed any crime, and the acceptance of the result of a crime is one, inheritance is too tainted by crime.

This is silly. The burden of proof is on the accuser to show that my property is really stolen goods, and that it should justly belong to someone else. If you can show that, I have no quarrel with those who take away someone’s inheritence. But you cannot simply assume that is the case.

29

Antoni Jaume 02.15.04 at 8:37 pm

(Antoni)By the way, unless your ancestors never ever committed any crime, and the acceptance of the result of a crime is one, inheritance is too tainted by crime.

(Micha) This is silly. The burden of proof is on the accuser to show that my property is really stolen goods, and that it should justly belong to someone else. If you can show that, I have no quarrel with those who take away someone’s inheritence. But you cannot simply assume that is the case.

There is no need to looks for proofs, beyond general history. Since simply by looking at the last five centuries. we can see that no one on Earth is free from doing a crime, or trading its results. No one in Europe is free from having an ancestor that did some war. The Americas are no better, Asia? you dream. Africa? You hallucinate.

As for your claim about compassion, they are pharisaic, as Jesus of Nazareth said they are whitened sepulchres.

What you want is to not help anyone, so preying on them get easier.

DSW

30

decnavda 02.15.04 at 8:45 pm

Micha-
1. I will conceed that inter-vivos gifts, while the producer/giver are still alive, are a complicated and problematic issue within libertarianism. But for the living to be ruled by the dead is simply wrong under a rational concept of self-ownership: Why on earth should I deny myself the use of stuff that you “own” just because your daddy died. You didn’t make it, and the producer is dead.

2. “As I said before, under any conceivable system, people must work or starve. Capitalists do not force people to work for them; nature forces people to work. And this claim that profits are unjust is absurd. Whenever two people trade, there is surplus on both sides. Producer surplus – profits – are criticized by Marxists, but when was the last time you heard a Marxist criticize consumer surplus? When was the last time a Marxist criticized a consumer for paying $1 for an apple when the consumer’s willingness-to-pay was really $3? Why don’t the Marxists call the $2 consumer surplus “exploitation?””

Ummm… I never claimed profits are unjust, and in fact I agree with the entirety of the above statement. But that it all about market transfers. I was debating the justice of non-market aquisition of property. I was supporting a labor theory of aquisition. I believe everyone has a right to what they as individuals produced, and an equal right to what no one produced. You were taking the royalist position that some individuals can exclude others form the product of nature, that some individuals can be the sole benificiaries of government created privledges, and living should obey the wishes of the dead. I said nothing even remotely supportive of Marxist thought, and your fine attacks on him are irrelevant to our deabte.

3. There exists ampel evidence that every square inch of land in the United States was stolen from somebody else.

31

Micha Ghertner 02.15.04 at 8:49 pm

There is no need to looks for proofs, beyond general history. Since simply by looking at the last five centuries. we can see that no one on Earth is free from doing a crime, or trading its results. No one in Europe is free from having an ancestor that did some war. The Americas are no better, Asia? you dream. Africa? You hallucinate.

Again, until you can show that the property a specific person inherited was unjustly acquired and instead should belong to someone else, you have no claim. You cannot simply argue that because there was much injustice in the past, all property claims are no longer valid.

32

decnavda 02.15.04 at 8:58 pm

Antoni-
“What you want is to not help anyone, so preying on them get easier.”

This ad hominin on Micha is precisely the sort of attack I complained of above. It may be useful in public debate, to make third parties think bad of your apponent and not truely consider his ideas, but it is unfair and likely to force your opponent to entrich his postion. If the third parties perseive the ad hominin, it could even backfire and engender sympathy.

Micha honestly believes he is supporting freedom from coersion. I am trying to to show him, and third parties watching, that while he has valid and sincere concerns, he is simply wrong.

You can deny him this respect if you wish and use ridicule and ad hominins. But opponents of libertarianism have been doing this all my lifetime, and the results are that libertarianism has swelled its ranks among those who you would otherwise think too intellegent for it.

Please take Micha seriously Some of his concerns are valid. You can use these to teach him, and you may learn something too.

33

Micha Ghertner 02.15.04 at 9:05 pm

I will conceed that inter-vivos gifts, while the producer/giver are still alive, are a complicated and problematic issue within libertarianism.

How are gifts in any way complicated or problematic? You seem to agree that if I earn something, I have the right to use it as I desire. What is complicated or problematic about me giving my justly acquired property as a gift to my children?

But for the living to be ruled by the dead is simply wrong under a rational concept of self-ownership: Why on earth should I deny myself the use of stuff that you “own” just because your daddy died. You didn’t make it, and the producer is dead.

What is this “living to be ruled by the dead” nonsense? Are you saying that if I give a gift to someone, they no longer have a legitimate claim to that gift when I die? Why?

I believe everyone has a right to what they as individuals produced, and an equal right to what no one produced.

I’m not interested in debating the merits and demerits of initial acquisition theory. There is much to be said for both sides of the argument, but I don’t have the time or energy right now. I apologize for misinterpreting your argument; I didn’t realize you were taking the Georgist view and not the Marxist view.

There exists ampel evidence that every square inch of land in the United States was stolen from somebody else.

First of all, that’s an exaggeration. The American Indians did not live on or use every square inch of land before European settlers came here. Second, we would need to prove exactly what property has been inherited unjustly, and who it rightfully belongs to. Can you do that? If so, libertarians have no quarrel. If you can’t, this does not justify socialism or general taxation.

34

decnavda 02.15.04 at 9:08 pm

“You cannot simply argue that because there was much injustice in the past, all property claims are no longer valid.”

Actually, yes you can. Nozick, who offered the most logically coherent justification of libertarianism ever, conceeded just this point in ASU, admitting that his policies could not be justified by his arguemnts in ASU without a theory of recitification that he admitted he did not have. He even suggested, but did not endorse, Rawls’ difference principle as the best practical solution.

From the article on libertarianism in the Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy, written by a libertarian:
“The epistemic problem confronting libertarianism is no worse than that confronting utilitarianism and other consequentialist theories. Consequentialist theories require knowledge of the entire future that will result from each possible action, and we have very little such knowledge. Libertarianism requires knowledge of the entire past, and we also have very little such knowledge. The appropriate answer in both cases is that the facts determine what is permissible, and we should simply make our best judgements about what is permissible based on what we know. Moral reality is complex, and it’s not surprising that it’s extremely difficult to know what is permissible.

In the case of libertarianism, an additional response is possible. One could hold that there is a moral statute of limitations for rights violations. After the passage of enough time — or perhaps, after the passage of enough time during which no claim for rectification is made — the right of rectification for a specific past rights-violation may cease to be valid. If the period of time is short enough (e.g., 100 years), this will radically reduce the epistemic problem. It’s not clear, however, that there is a plausible principled libertarian justification (as opposed to a practical one) for such a statute of limitations. (Of course, the adverse incentive effects of such a limitation may provide strong practical reasons against it.)”

So “let’s quit while I’m ahead” solutions to the rectification problem are not principled, they are just practical, and those who end up on the short end of the practical stick are free not to accept the proposal.

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Antoni Jaume 02.15.04 at 9:18 pm

Decnavda, I do not care much if it looks an ad hominem argument. Ad hominem can be legitimate in some instances, and this one looks so to me. One of the reasons that I did not buy into communism was it disregarded ill will in human doing. I do not want to do this error. For the same reasons neither did I think good of anarchists, no matter whether left or right. Disregarding ill will is to open the door to fascism. I was fortunate enough I had not to dodge a fascist state for more than a few years, I do not want that to happen afresh.

DSW

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Micha Ghertner 02.15.04 at 9:23 pm

So “let’s quit while I’m ahead” solutions to the rectification problem are not principled, they are just practical, and those who end up on the short end of the practical stick are free not to accept the proposal.

But I am not arguing that we should quit while we are ahead. My position is the one described in your excerpt, that “we should simply make our best judgements about what is permissible based on what we know.” If someone can produce new information demonstrating that some property was unjustly acquired and that it should instead belong to someone else, I have no objection. But this demonstration must be made, not simply assumed.

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decnavda 02.15.04 at 9:29 pm

“The American Indians did not live on or use every square inch of land before European settlers came here.”

Intriguing. Here we seem to have an inseperable intermingling of intitial acquisition and rectification theories. How do we decide how much land the natives actually owned? What they claimed? What they claimed after they understood that we would exclude them after we “bought” it? What lived on and farmed? What they passed through every few months while hunting?

Henry George would claim that much of the “unused land” claimed by settlers was “used” solely for the purpose of speculation: That is, it was not used at all. Personally, I’m glad that George’s theories, closer to what the natives believed, avoids having to make these distinctions at all.

“Are you saying that if I give a gift to someone, they no longer have a legitimate claim to that gift when I die? Why?”

While you are alive, that gift serves whatever purpose for you that you had when gifting it. After you die, why should the rest of care what your purpose was? It’s none of our business and you are dead. Now there is just the recipient, trying to prevent the rest of us from taking something he didn’t make.

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decnavda 02.15.04 at 9:36 pm

“If someone can produce new information demonstrating that some property was unjustly acquired and that it should instead belong to someone else, I have no objection. But this demonstration must be made, not simply assumed.”

What standard are you using? This is not a criminal case, the theives are mostly dead. In civil court we use a standard probability, more likely than not. By that standard we win: For any given peice of inherieted wealth, it is more likely than not it was originally aquired through a coersive transfer. Why should the status quo have the presumption?

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Micha Ghertner 02.15.04 at 9:37 pm

While you are alive, that gift serves whatever purpose for you that you had when gifting it. After you die, why should the rest of care what your purpose was? It’s none of our business and you are dead. Now there is just the recipient, trying to prevent the rest of us from taking something he didn’t make.

So you are essentially claiming that although I can legitimately acquire property through my labor, I cannot transfer my property rights to others. Is this an accurate description of your position?

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Micha Ghertner 02.15.04 at 9:41 pm

For any given peice of inherieted wealth, it is more likely than not it was originally aquired through a coersive transfer

Evidence for this claim? Assuming there is evidence, who has the rightful claim to the illegitimate property? The rightful owner would either be the person from whom the property was taken from, or the this person’s inheritors.

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decnavda 02.15.04 at 9:55 pm

“So you are essentially claiming that although I can legitimately acquire property through my labor, I cannot transfer my property rights to others. Is this an accurate description of your position?”

No. First, I have recently begun to believe in a contractarian justification for property, but I will stick to natural rights as the proper dialectical way arguing from my opponent’s premises.

Under natural rights, I would say that you have a self-ownership right to use what you produce. As per the Flash animation, there is a temporal dimention to the definition of you. “You” end on your death. Thus you have right to use the product of your labor while you are alive. Beyond that you are not claiming self-ownership, you are claiming ownership of others or other’s property.

In real estate, there is what is known as a “life estate” in land. You own the land untill you die. You can give it away, but the recipient can only take what you owned: the right to the property while YOU, not the recipient, are alive.

Georgist theory of course denies any right to personal ownership (as opposed to control) of land. But self-ownership of the fruits of your labor only confers, for the temporal reasons explained above, a right to a life estate in that property, measured by your life. Since that is all you own, that is all you can give away.

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TomD 02.15.04 at 9:57 pm

So the definition of ‘a state of nature’ has changed from ‘no society’ (which never happened in history) to ‘one or more humans isolated from society’. One has to wonder where such humans came from, whether they were self-created beings, or whether they chose their isolation, and why, and what they took with them.

But aside from such problems of definition, the proposition “in any system, you have to work or starve” is false, and so transparently so that no-one has even attempted to argue in favour of it, given the presence of people who do not work but live thanks to the work of others either others in the past or the present day. Children, to state the obvious.

Again, if we take the example of a mixed economy, or what one might call a partially socialised system, there are many people who eat but do not work, given a benefits system. If the benefits system is adjusted to the economy as a whole, the system does not break apart irreparably, despite the existence of these people. Anyone who believed that “you must work or starve” has to retreat to the position of saying that such a system is theft by the state. Maybe it is, but it is a system in which some eat but do not work.

We have the argument that a communist-type system that gives out rations without requiring work will be unstable to people desiring to get a free ride. It is somewhat flawed, because totalitarianism does not absolutely rule out giving more rations to people who work more, and the ‘subsistence rations’ given to the shirker might be bad enough to convince the general population that punishment has been served. But let us use the argument as a framework.

Imagine a reversed argument based on the existence of those who are unable to work. Suppose that it is a general feeling among the population that we do not want children, or the chronically ill or disabled, to starve, or in general become wretched. (It is also a general feeling that we do not want to see our neighbor rewarded for idleness.) And we recognise that it is no-one’s unique responsibility that a certain destitute orphan exists, or that a certain person is incurably ill, but the responsibility for the starvation, wretchedness or death of such people falls equally on everyone, if it falls anywhere. Suppose there is a majority opinion that such people should be made a common responsibility.

Now imagine that someone should call for people to contribute a certain fraction of their income, or even a certain fixed amount, towards subsistence benefits, and that this should apply equally to all who are in the same situation, since otherwise the destitute would be competing between each other for charity, and either some would perish for no good reason, or the total amount spent would be greater than required to just enable all to subsist. And there is a majority in favour.

What will society have to say to the person who refuses to submit a fraction of income (or a fixed amount) in this way, but says it is his exclusive privilege to donate to whichever orphans or invalids he chooses, or to none of them? Surely, people will become angry at such a person, since in order to satisfy the majority desire that no-one should starve, a fixed sum is required at any given time, and in order to make up this sum, the fewer people who pay, the larger the tax required. Given a general agreement to fund some kind of welfare system by taxes, if there is a minority who refuse to pay in this way, they will be seen as just as culpable as the shirker in a communist system.

Hence, in short, (with many omissions) the IRS and the modern ‘mixed economy’.

If egalitarian communism is unstable towards totalitarian control or complete breakdown, pure capitalism is unstable (albeit in a rather milder way) towards the formation of some kind of welfare system and the implementation of some kind of universal tax base. The lure of a reliable safety net is too strong, and once the majority has taken a decision to construct such a thing, the only way to ensure its existence is to enforce taxes.

Now you may say the majority is wrong to want to subvert the iron principle of “work or starve”, but this is what the majority wanted at some point, and still want in most countries. (At least, the existence of a nonzero welfare safety net and its funding through universal taxes – the size and shape of the net is a highly debatable point.) Even Milton Friedman wanted it, in the shape of a minimum income.

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decnavda 02.15.04 at 10:02 pm

“Evidence for this claim? Assuming there is evidence, who has the rightful claim to the illegitimate property? The rightful owner would either be the person from whom the property was taken from, or the this person’s inheritors.”

Thus we reach the end of the recitification portion of this debate. If you do not believe my claim, you have a very different reading of history from me (and, say, Robert Nozick) that it would be impossible, in this thread, for either of us to convince the other of. As for who the stolen money should go too, I have to admit that it a too tricky of a question for me to answer under your royalist premises. Since I believe only in life estate in the fruits of your labor, I have not thought this through enough to answer you.

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Micha Ghertner 02.15.04 at 10:03 pm

No. First, I have recently begun to believe in a contractarian justification for property, but I will stick to natural rights as the proper dialectical way arguing from my opponent’s premises.

To be honest, I also do not believe in natural rights theory either, so this argument between us is quite amusing. I’m more of a consequentialist, of the David Friedman variety. But I am willing to defend natural rights theory against misguided criticisms.

Under natural rights, I would say that you have a self-ownership right to use what you produce. As per the Flash animation, there is a temporal dimention to the definition of you. “You” end on your death. Thus you have right to use the product of your labor while you are alive. Beyond that you are not claiming self-ownership, you are claiming ownership of others or other’s property.

But part of the right to use what you produce includes the right to tranfer this property right to others through trade or gifts. You are essentially claiming that an individual right to the fruits of one’s own labor does not include the right to tranfer property rights. I don’t see why this should be so, or why this transfer should be nullified upon your death.

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decnavda 02.15.04 at 10:09 pm

“Even Milton Friedman wanted it, in the shape of a minimum income.”

Yes, but Micha here is aruing in a natural rights framework, and Friedman was a utilitarian. Morally, it may be possible for the majority to be wrong.

*I* agree with a basic minimum income, mind you, I’m just trying to say that I think that would be irrelevant to Micha.

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Decnavda 02.15.04 at 10:11 pm

My apologies to tomd!!!!

MUST USE PREVIEW, MUST USE PREVIEW…

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Micha Ghertner 02.15.04 at 10:14 pm

So the definition of ‘a state of nature’ has changed from ‘no society’ (which never happened in history) to ‘one or more humans isolated from society’.

This is the same definition. A person who does not live in a society is living in a state of nature. There is no definition change.

And the fact of nature that we must work or else we starve is true in both the state of nature and in any society. While a society may contain those who do not work and do not starve, some people must work in order to feed these people. This can occur, as you said through theft/welfare benefits. When the workers realize that others are able to reap the benefits without the effort, the system breaks down. This is what happened with communism.

Suppose that it is a general feeling among the population that we do not want children, or the chronically ill or disabled, to starve, or in general become wretched.

Granted. But I don’t see what follows from this. Perhaps, for whatever reason, some people simply disagree and do not share this feeling. What claim does the majority have on these people?

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decnavda 02.15.04 at 10:17 pm

“You are essentially claiming that an individual right to the fruits of one’s own labor does not include the right to tranfer property rights.”

Wrong, wrong, wrong!!! This is why I include the life estate in real estate example. You can tranfer your rights, but only what you own, and all you own is the property while you are alive, so that is all you can transfer.

Note that under Georgist theory, what you by in the market is essentially the product of your labor, so your estate in property aquired through market exchange is based on YOUR life, not the life of whomever actually made it. But this does not apply to gifts.

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Micha Ghertner 02.15.04 at 10:45 pm

Wrong, wrong, wrong!!! This is why I include the life estate in real estate example. You can tranfer your rights, but only what you own, and all you own is the property while you are alive, so that is all you can transfer.

I’m confused. You say that you can transfer rights under your theory. Ok, lets say you work real hard and earn something. Then you trade or give it to me. I now have a property right. You die. But I am still alive. I have the same property right you had before you traded/gave it to me. Therefore, shouldn’t I still have this property right even after you die, as long as I remain alive? In other words, if property rights transfer as you say they do, why do they depend on the life of the original owner and not on the lives of the later owners?

Note that under Georgist theory, what you by in the market is essentially the product of your labor, so your estate in property aquired through market exchange is based on YOUR life, not the life of whomever actually made it. But this does not apply to gifts.

But why? I am trying to understand why you think exchange is fundamentally different than gifts.

Also, here is a pretty good critique of Georgism, if you’re interested.

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Micha Ghertner 02.15.04 at 10:49 pm

One more thing: if you do believe in some fundamental difference between exchange and gifts, how do you determine which is which? Suppose I give my son a million dollars for a clay ash tray he made for me. Is this a gift or an exchange?

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decnavda 02.15.04 at 11:43 pm

Micha-

Really, is a life estate so difficult to understand? They have existed in real estate for the entirety of English common law and opperate exactly as I have described. You may disagree with it, but it hardly a bizarre concept.

To repeat my justification. You own your self. Self ownership gives you a right to own the fruits of your labor. Your self ends at death. There is no longer a self to own Since self-ownership is the basis for property ownership, the extention of your self extinguishes all other property rights. You therefor have a life interest in the fruits of your labor, which is based on your own life. That is all you own, it is all you transfer.

The Georgist production theory is that you work to produce what you use, and that your demands for what you plan to buy with you the product of your labor is what causes those things to be produced. As political ecconomy, I think this is sound. From a natural rights framework, I admit it is hard to justify a differrence in types of voluntary transfers. As a contractarian, I am happy to have someone enjoying as much wealth as they added to the general pot, but I am not happy with people living off of wealth at the bequest of the dead.

The critique of Georgism is a critique of Single-Taxers, which are becoming more and more rare among George’s admirers. Even there, the description of Single-Taxing and its results is even more unfairly distopian than the single-taxer’s desciptions are nievely uptoian. For one example, the author of the critique claims that having the government lease land would result in either no permanent structures, or would result in the exact same circumstances with the govenrment not recieving significant revenues from the land leases. He has apparently never heard of Hong Kong. While Hong Kong may show the Sngle Tax to be no panacea, it is certainly known for having lower taxes than normal and fairly tall buildings.

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decnavda 02.15.04 at 11:46 pm

“Suppose I give my son a million dollars for a clay ash tray he made for me. Is this a gift or an exchange?”

The IRS does this all the time. Again, I admit this is difficult from a natural rights perspective, but from a consequentialist perspective it works pretty well.

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Micha Ghertner 02.16.04 at 12:06 am

Decnavda,

Yes, I honestly don’t understand this theory of life estate. I don’t see why the ownership of property does not also include the right to trade or give away that property to others. That is the very essence of ownership – control of the property. Just as self ownership implies control over one’s self, to do with as one pleases, so too property ownersip implies control over property to use and transfer as one pleases.

I also don’t see how a consequentialist or contractarian theory could adequately distinguish between a gift and an exchange. By what standard can we say that if a father gives his son $1 million for a clay ash tray, this is a gift and not an exchange? Perhaps the father truly values (for sentimental reasons) this ash tray at such a high price.

If Georgism allows one to trade away the fruits of one’s labor for the fruits of other people’s labor, then I don’t see why it should treat gifts differently. And if Georgism doesn’t allow this, than Georgism doesn’t seem any different than communism – what is the point of owning property if you can’t do anything with it?

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decnavda 02.16.04 at 12:23 am

First let me warn that the life estate theory I describe is not official Georgism. Single-Taxes reject inherientence taxes for most of the reasons you describe, although Henry George himself did endorse a inherientence taxes. It’s a matter of contention.

Second, I can not explain temporal property ownership more than I have. Go to a law school and buy a copy of the first-year Property text.

“I also don’t see how a consequentialist or contractarian theory could adequately distinguish between a gift and an exchange. By what standard can we say that if a father gives his son $1 million for a clay ash tray, this is a gift and not an exchange?” Fair Market Value
“Perhaps the father truly values (for sentimental reasons) this ash tray at such a high price.” Now you have reverted to natural rights. “It’s what the father wants!” Where’s the appeal to the greater good or fairness?

“what is the point of owning property if you can’t do anything with it?” Again, I would say you can do ANYTHING with it as long as you are alive (and do not violate the rights of others). I’m just considering property in four dimentions rather than three.

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Micha Ghertner 02.16.04 at 12:50 am

Well, I understand, in theory, the concept of temporal property ownership – what I don’t understand is its justification, outside of some mutually agreed-upon contract. In other words, I don’t understand why it should be the case that I cannot permanently transfer property ownership and have the ownership remain long after I am dead.

By what standard can we say that if a father gives his son $1 million for a clay ash tray, this is a gift and not an exchange?” Fair Market Value

But there is no such thing as fair market value for sentimental items. Further, fair market value is determined precisely by people’s willingness to pay – or more specificially, the seller who is willing to accept the lowest price and the buyer who is willing to pay the highest price. There is no “objective” fair market value – any transaction that occurs on the market is, by definition, the fair market value of the object in question.

Now you have reverted to natural rights. “It’s what the father wants!” Where’s the appeal to the greater good or fairness?

I thought we were discussing natural rights. If you want to discuss other methods of inquiry, one might criticize inheritence taxes on the grounds that, if I know my inheritence will be confiscated when I die, I will make sure to die with zero inheritence. This is not socially beneficial – the property is not being put to its most efficient uses.

Further, it discourages work past a certain point. Once I’ve earned enough money to satisfy my needs and desires for the rest of my life, I might continue working in order to help others. But if I know that any gifts and inheritance will simply be confiscated when I die, I no longer have this incentive to continue working. This is also not socially beneficial.

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decnavda 02.16.04 at 1:16 am

Micha-
I complained about you reverting to natural rights because you preceeded it in the same paragraph with a reference to consequentialist and contractarian arguments.

Which of the following do you disagree with?
A. Self-ownership justifies a labor theory of property.
B. The self ends at death.
C. When the justification for property ownership ends, the ownership of the property should end.
D. Therefore, you have a right to the fruits of your labor untill you die.
E. You can only transfer what you own, which is the right to ownership of what you produced until you (the producer) die.

Until now, i have repeated this several times with you just saying, but why? without locating the flaw in my argument.

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decnavda 02.16.04 at 1:25 am

FMV is a well worn concept that has been applied in millions of lawsuits. If I stretch, I can see using it as one heavily weighted factor in a facts and circumstanses test of intention re: exchange v. gift that other factors could rebut.

Your arguments about the disincentive effect of inheritence taxes are good reasons we should probably not have an instant, 100% tax at death. The tax rate should be set at what could bring in the most taxes, recognising the disincentive effect. This could be 10%, 50%, 90%, or maybe just changing the form of the tax, such as considering the entire, or a %, to be a 30 year variable interest loan from the government.

The point is, the fair outcome is to maximize public revenue. The difference principle is the standard here.

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Micha Ghertner 02.16.04 at 3:15 am

Which of the following do you disagree with?
A. Self-ownership justifies a labor theory of property.

I disagree with this, insofar as labor is not the only way to justly acquire property (others include trade and gifts). I think the Lockean arguments for initial acquisition are stronger than the Georgian/left-libertarian arguments for collective ownership.

C. When the justification for property ownership ends, the ownership of the property should end.

The justification for property ownership extends only so far as to justify the acquisition. Once the initial acquisition has been justified, ownership does not disappear when the original owner dies, because the person who received it through gift or trade is still alive.

E. You can only transfer what you own, which is the right to ownership of what you produced until you (the producer) die.

But yet you accept the transfer of complete, not just time-bound ownership, through exchange. How can this be so, if the original owner never had the right to transfer complete ownership?

FMV is a well worn concept that has been applied in millions of lawsuits.

But that is not the way it is used in economics. There is no objective fair market value – value is determined by supply and demand.

The point is, the fair outcome is to maximize public revenue.

But I don’t believe this is the fair, or socially optimal outcome, and I think I’ve given good arguments why this is so.

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Micha Ghertner 02.16.04 at 3:23 am

Let me try to put my argument another way. Let’s assume you are correct, and “You can only transfer what you own, which is the right to ownership of what you produced until you (the producer) die.”

Suppose you produce something and we both agree that you have a legitimate right to own this produce until you die. You then choose to trade it to me for something I have produced.

Then you die. According to your argument, it seems that society could rightfully expropriate the part of my property that you produced, because you are no longer alive. This would, of course, discourage any and all trade, because everyone would be worried that their trade partner would die and they would lose what they traded for.

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limberwulf 02.16.04 at 5:39 pm

Phenominal exchange so far guys, very informative.

That said, I have a few questions for decnavda:
1) If I receive a gift, (life estate for instance) what if I improve on said property? For instance, you give me a 50 acre cleared field. I choose to utilize two acres for a house and barns and farm the remainder of the land. What happens upon your death? Is my farm taken from me? To whom is it given, and what about the house and barns? Were those not the fruit of my labor?

2) If the government is set up to redistribute wealth upon death, what checks and balances are going to be powerful enough to prevent favoritism and corruption at the government level? If this is left to a vote, what keeps the majority from taking my farm and leaving me without the means of production, simply because they see fit?

What of intellectual labor/property? Do I not have the right to invent a means of production and receive some of the benefits of that production without having to labor at the machine myself? Can I write a book and trade that information or idea to many people therefore removing me from “labor”?

For tomd:
1) From where do you get your assumption that if the government does not provide for children, disabled and elderly they will go unhelped? Children do not work, yet do not starve because their parents work harder, and provide for their life. The class of people unable to provide for themselves have lived for many centuries due to charitable people. I grant that not all people are charitable, but I also submit that the percentage of truly needy people is more than supportable by the generous.

Along that line, one thing that is often overlooked in the free market is that market pressures affect generosity a great deal. People decide on what they buy based on four factors: 1) price. 2) quality. 3) convenience. 4) personal feeling or belief. People dont always buy the cheapest thing or the highest quality thing. There are times that people will go out of their way to not support a company or individual engaging in activity that is distasteful to them. Or they will go out of their way to support a company that is doing things they appreciate. Market forces can affect many things that reach beyond the strictly economic. There is not a need, as is so often assumed, for government safety nets and charity, the place for those things is with the individuals that make up the society, not some sort of disconnected concept of “everyone”. There is nothing that can be the responsibility of “everyone” without it being the responsibilty of individuals. Individuals have the right to accept responsibility or not, and face the consequences that result. Coersion by a government in such areas is not necessary.

The presence of a government I believe is necessary, that need disappears only in a utopian world. The duties of that government, however, are very limited, and therefore the taxation should be as well, and should be based on services rendered, nothing more, nothing less.

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Lawrence Krubner 02.17.04 at 10:04 pm

I am a former (right) libertarian, and had to crawl my way out of it intellectually virtually by myself be cause I found few critics willing to take my concerns of liberty, self-ownership, ownership of my own labor, noncoersion, and intellectual consistency seriously.

I hope you can appreciate the irony of a libertarian complaining that they wanted help from others but did not get it. To be a libertarian is to believe, as Thatcher did, that society does not exist. If it doesn’t exist, then you have no reason to expect any help from the society of your fellow human beings. To be a libertarian then, is very hard, and you must accomplish everything on your own.

If you crave help, compassion, or solidarity from your fellow humans, then you are no libertarian.

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Lawrence Krubner 02.17.04 at 10:09 pm

I am a former (right) libertarian, and had to crawl my way out of it intellectually virtually by myself be cause I found few critics willing to take my concerns of liberty, self-ownership, ownership of my own labor, noncoersion, and intellectual consistency seriously.

I hope you can appreciate the irony of a libertarian complaining that they wanted help from others but did not get it. To be a libertarian is to believe, as Thatcher did, that society does not exist. If it doesn’t exist, then you have no reason to expect any help from the society of your fellow human beings. To be a libertarian then, is very hard, and you must accomplish everything on your own.

If you crave help, compassion, or solidarity from your fellow humans, then you are no libertarian.

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