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Jason Kuznicki

Jason Kuznicki is a research fellow at the Cato Institute and contributor of Cato Unbound. He's on twitter as JasonKuznicki. His interests include political theory and history.

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146 Responses

  1. I was very relieved for you when I read about this, and I’m really glad it all worked out in the end.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    That has to be a big weight off your shoulders. Congratulations on making it through.Report

  3. Avatar MikeSchilling says:

    Congratulations.

    And if it means the Koches didn’t get what they wanted, well, that’s good too.Report

  4. Avatar M.A. says:

    Only 7 Koch sockpuppets (David, Allison, 3 more Koch appointees, and Allison gets 2 more to be named later) of 12 running the board. And a Koch inner circle member as CEO too!

    Wow. You really dodged the bullet there. They could have had a 2/3 supermajority rather than a nominal majority.Report

  5. Avatar James Hanley says:

    Glad to hear it, for multiple reasons.Report

  6. Avatar Dan D says:

    in addition to the RSS feed being broken it seems the main page is now broken, while i found this post on the sidebar it’s not on the mainpage.Report

  7. Avatar Dan D says:

    i see. i don’t usually read from the site at all. just the rss feed. thanks for explaining that.Report

  8. Avatar joey jo jo says:

    if Cato takes a position that doesn’t advance corporate interests, everyone will take notice!Report

  9. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Cato isn’t out of the weeds just yet. John Allison is an awfully strong flavour. He’s an unreconstructed Randian. Nor am I a particularly big fan of Doug Bandow, who seems to have wormed his way back into the good graces of Cato. I do not expect entirely unbiased opinions from him.Report

  10. I have to admit, that while I find the publications from Cato interesting, I’m not real impressed by the blogging done there.

    But I suppose one can make similar points about most thinktanks. Congratulations regardless on preventing shareholder based ugliness. I sometimes wonder if it’d be better if these centers in general had to have clauses removing such things like shareholder operations when they start up.Report

  11. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    Will the Cato comments sections on their blog continue to be full of people who claim they support gay marriage and civil liberties, but then go and vote for the guy who wants to double Guantanamo and ban gay marriage because the other guy might want to raise rich people’s taxes a little bit?Report

    • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      Citation needed?

      The main Cato blog, Cato@Liberty, doesn’t have comments. Cato Unbound doesn’t either. Libertarianism.org does, but that’s definitely not the type of conversation you get there.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

        Sorry, got Reason’s Hit & Run blog confused with CATO’s blog. Potato/Pahtato and all that. I’m sure of course, that none of the people on Reason’s blog ever visit Cato’s blog though.Report

        • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          There is a fairly defensible reason I’ve heard about why Cato blogs tend not to have comments.

          It’s that other people will see a comment and infer that because it exists, we endorse it.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

            In other words, you don’t want to know what your customers aren’t actually high-minded intellectuals who are carefully balancing the issues of protecting the public versus an overwhelming government. 😛

            Seriously though, if you or Hanley ever wonder why us statist get bad ideas about what libertarians think, Reason’s blog is one of the biggies. I have my other personal run ins on smaller blogs, but unfortunately, neither you or Hanley are the Average Internet Libertarian. Of course, you could make the same claim about some liberals on this blog (I’m too much of an ass to put myself in this category).Report

            • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              In other words, I would prefer that you consider the contents our arguments, even if you disagreed with them.

              Don’t even get me started on the leftie peanut gallery. Because two can play at the game you’re proposing. Though I try my hardest not to.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

                Hey, I look at the contents of arguments. Why do you think I’m here? If I wanted a circle jerk, I could actually look in the comments at DailyKos instead of just getting my news from there.

                I just personally think you have a higher opinion of the average libertarian than I do of the average liberal and as a result, when I say something like, “a lot of libertarians think this”, some people on this site go kablooey. Now, you can disagree about that, but there ya’ go.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                a lot of libertarians think this”, some people on this site go kablooey.

                In all sincerity, I’d like to see an example of that. I’m one of those libertarians who goes kablooey a lot, probably more than any other. But I don’t normally go off when someone says “a lot” think X. Because it’s frequently the case that a lot do. But the phrasing is rarely that careful; it (not just you, maybe not even you) tends to be “libertarians think X.” There’s a crucial difference. It’s the difference between “a lot of Germans were Nazis,” and “Germans were Nazis.”Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to James Hanley says:

                Well, your specialty is, and don’t take this personally, “A lot of libertarians may think this, but I don’t, so implying this is a part of mainstream libertarianism is unfair to libertarians like me.”Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

                I don’t think he’s endorsing the idea, just pointing out that it’s how the idea happens.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Here’s the difference between us, Jessie. I avoid reading the comments on lefty blogs, even though I sometimes read the post. I know there’ll be lots of mind-blowingly dumb shit there, just as there is on Reason’s blog. But by ignoring them and spending my time here with intelligent liberals (for the most part), I don’t fall for the illusion that liberalism is defined by its worst members.

              There just might be a lesson there.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to James Hanley says:

                I don’t think an ideology is defined simply by its best members either. If you truly don’t think there’s a decent part of libertarian ism that basically loves the idea of FYIGM, then you’re deluding yourself.

                I’ll happily admit there are a decent segment of liberals that think the world would be fixed if we only increased taxes on the rich and cut the military budget. Oh, and put Dubya in jail.Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                It’s worse than you imagine on both sides. But you and I are not.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Exactly, but you don’t see Jason and me regularly writing, “liberals think all we need to do to create paradise is slash the military bleed the rich dry.” If we did, I’m sure you’d object. If not you, some other of the liberals here. And you/they would be completely right to object.

                And yet it happens the other way around with irritating frequency. Fortunately there are a lot of good people here, even among you liberals, and some of them are starting to object to it, too, at least when it’s most obvious and obnoxious.Report

              • Uhhh…

                You and Jason may not, but there’s a fair amount of it from other commentators.

                There was an entire thread about how liberals are close-minded zero sum thinkers, or how libs do this or libs do that.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                Well, you libs didn’t do a great job of persuading me that you’re not zero-sum thinkers, but beyond that… 😉 I do step in and call people on those things sometimes. Called koz on it just today.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                But, you did call a post that called liberals and progressives avid, greedy, narrow-sighted zero-sum thinkers a “great start” to a symposium on inequality.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                Jesse,

                Yeah, I’m not perfect. But I don’t run around calling liberals morons (like Blaise P. regularly does about libertarians), or seriously saying “FYIWY liberals,” (like M.A. does with his FYIGM), or even saying “liberals (all) believe X.”

                Guess what? I’m not asking you to jump up and shout the asshole liberals wrong every single time. I’m just asking that there be a general understanding that that behavior is assholish and should be discouraged.

                And for what it’s worth, I noticed that you liberals got really peevish about being called zero-sum thinkers. Gee, just why do you think I get irritated? And that you seem to need to have the comparison pointed out to you–that at no time during that thread, it seems, did you think to yourself, “Ah, so this is why Hanley gets peevish.” That’s the one thing I really dislike about this blog, it’s liberal privilege.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                In general, people do get insulted when they’re called something they’re not. Especially in a condescending way. So, I have no problem when you or Jason attack MA for calling you FYIGM libertarians.

                Also, in the same thread where you saw no arguments for liberals not being zero-sum, I saw plenty. Weird how that work.

                As for liberal privilege, I don’t know what that is, but I’m sorry our mainstream is kind of boring compared to the conservative and libertarian mainstream.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                “In general, people do get insulted when they’re called something they’re not.”

                Unless it’s someone calling Goldwater a racist. Then it’s okay because racist racist racist.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                Jesse,

                I saw only one argument for positive-sum thinking that seemed at all persuasive, and that was the argument that reducing inequality would improve economic growth and the size of the pie. It felt half-hearted to me, as though it’s believed, but it’s not really the critical issue. Everything else felt to me like weak attempts to explain why worrying about the division of the pie wasn’t zero-sum and then returning to the bashing of people for daring to have more than others. In short, I wasn’t persuaded. I wasn’t even persuaded that most of you really understood what Roger was saying about zero-sum thinking. You sure as hell didn’t take the claim that its’ common among liberals with any seriousness, yet here again you’re saying that we libertarians ought to be taking your criticisms of libertarianism really seriously. Really? You’re going to stick to the double-standard? You want us to do what you say, not what you do?

                As an academic I’m surrounded by liberals. No, they’re not all zero-sum thinkers by any means. But that zero-sum thinking is very common among them. So, again, if you want me to deal with the FYIGMers in my crowd, I’m going to ask you to deal with the FYIWYers in your crowd. If you’re going to sit there and say, “Oh, no, your crowd is full of that type, but my crowd isn’t,” then I’m going to roll my eyes and mutter something about selective vision, or how much easier critical examination of others is than critical examination of self, or maybe just motes and logs.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                As for liberal privilege, I don’t know what that is,

                Just like a white person saying, “I don’t know what you mean by white privilege.”Report

              • The thing for me, that bothered me more than anything else wasn’t so much that liberalism is zero-sum, but that libertarians are positive sum in general. I don’t find it persuasive, when so much of the language of libertarianism is talking about coercion, or appropriation, or gods forbid, “theft”. Given the importance of property rights and private ownership to a lot of libertarian thought, I find it difficult to square that and language that loves to play the outraged “you are robbing or punishing the successful” canard as being anything but fundamentally zero-sum.

                And honestly, I don’t have a problem with zero-sum thinking in general. I tend to think that any time, there will always be a finite set of economic factors of production, and what may appear to be positive sum is more efficient use of factor production that’s ordinarily not reflected in scales of economic activity.

                I don’t find it persuasive that the wealth being concentrated has appeared out of thin air. Money supplies are finite, resources are finite, economic products period are finite. I don’t think everything’s going to be pareto superior.Report

              • As for liberal privilege…

                To me there’s a whole lot more white male privilege going on in the comments of threads in general (just look at any of the Trayvon Martin threads, for example) than liberal privilege over ideological assumptions.

                And whatever liberal ideological privilege we get, I think is cancelled out by the things conservatives say about us with blithe assumptions, particularly about how much we hate real Americans and disdain rural communities.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                Again, I didn’t call Goldwater a racist. In a lot of ways, he was worse. He was a non-racist person who was OK with the support of racists.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to James Hanley says:

                The difference is, and I’m trying to be nice here, is that I personally believe the FYIGM contingent of libertarianism is a larger part of libertarian culture than you or Jason or others own up too.

                You guys try to act like it’s a small section of the movement that is overblown by evil statist SOB’s like me trying to paint you as horrible people who want Grandma to starve. To make a somewhat hyperbolic point, it’s like Barry Goldwater ignoring the fact that the reason why many in the South supported him wasn’t his support of state’s rights.

                So, when I or other liberals say, “most, a lot, etc. libertarians believe this and it’s bad,” we’re saying this with the understanding you don’t believe this.

                On the other hand, just like Goldwater should’ve looked a little harder into why many Southern leaders all went to his side after he stood up against the CRA, I think the saner members of the libertarian movement have to wonder why a whole lot of your movement is quite frankly, made up of selfish assholes and how you can fix that problem.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Jesse, you do understand that you’re looking at a very self-selected segment, right? The number of people who comment on Reason’s Hit and Run is probably pretty impressive for a blog, but it’s still a small self-selected sample of people.

                Look at political blogs in general and see who comments. It tends to be predominantly the blowhards, the folks who think God has blessed them with the eternal truth about politics. But they’re not representative of the general population.

                It’s a basic methodological issue; you can’t extrapolate from a biased sample, and there’s nothing random about who comments on Hit and Run. You know why I don’t comment there? Because it’s populated by idiots. So right there we see the self-selection at work; political blogs crowd in the idiots and crowd out the reasonable folks.

                I think the saner members of the libertarian movement have to wonder why a whole lot of your movement is quite frankly, made up of selfish assholes and how you can fix that problem.

                That’s exactly what I was thinking during the OWS era. Why don’t you liberals face up to the masses of FWIUS (fish you I want your) FYIWY assholes that make up your movement?Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                “just like Goldwater should’ve looked a little harder into why many Southern leaders all went to his side after he stood up against the CRA…”

                This is the part where you explain why Goldwater was a racist.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Well, since libertarians only exist on the Internet anyway, I think the main portal of libertarian thought that allows comments was a decent place to look. 🙂

                But anyway, I was unaware that many members of the OWS called for confiscating wealth.

                I mean, I know you’re trying to imply that wanting to increase the marginal tax rate to pay for funding infrastructure that benefits the common good is equal to already successful people wanting to destroy the institutions that helped make them successful, but let’s not go there.

                I realize of course that OWS were history greatest monsters because they might have gotten a MacBook before they graduated and as a result, have absolutely zero standing to complain about a lack of solid careers after they graduated.

                But, to get back on subject. As somebody else said, I do truly wonder what a poll of actual libertarians would bring, but I have a funny feeling it’d be terribly closer to the Scary Parody version of libertarianism than the rational version thrown out here.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Goldwater wasn’t a racist, but he sure didn’t mind the votes and public support of racists.

                (Preemptive run-in. Neither did Byrd, Kennedy, FDR, or whatever other Democrat you want to throw out there.)Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                I’m still waiting for how an explanation of how the people who vote for you are you.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                If I’m not an asshole who beats women, but a large chunk of my supporters are assholes who beat women, I should probably look into why that is. Goldwater didn’t, so just like George Wallace may not have been a racist, he’s still tainted because he stood by and took that support.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                That’s what makes this so fun, Jesse. When I play your own game you get all puzzled. You’re all fine with liberal criticisms of libertarians, no matter how much libertarians object; you know the real truth about them better than they do. But with libertarian criticisms of liberals, no, no, no, again you know the real truth.

                Ideological bias? Nah, that couldn’t possibly be what’s going on. It’s just plain objective truth: liberals understand both liberalism and libertarianism better than libertarians do.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Actual criticisms of liberalism are fine, like we might not think about the outcomes of putting government regulation or action in place x or we’re overly paternal at times. I may not agree with it, but it’s a criticism that has backing.

                Hyperbolic statements like say, “OWS kids who want a slightly higher marginal tax rate and more investment in education are equal to extreme libertarians who want to destroy the welfare state” are just that. Hyperbolic statements.

                I never said liberals understand libertarians more than they do. I’m just saying you might have a blind spot about what the majority of libertarians actually think. It’s helpful to me that there is actual polling out there on the opinions and policy prescriptions of liberals, that are easily Googleable to anybody who cares.

                I’m 100 percent serious that if I was independently wealthy, I’d commission a poll of self-described libertarians just so that you and I could stop having these comment threads. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                If I’m not an asshole who beats women, but a large chunk of my supporters are assholes who beat women, I should probably look into why that is.

                It’s because you cater to police unions.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                If I’m not an asshole who beats women

                When did you stop?

                but a large chunk of my supporters are assholes who beat women, I should probably look into why that is.

                But this is silly. Goldwater opposed the CRA because it involved a huge infringement on property rights and freedom of association. Racists liked it because they opposed the CRA for other reasons. Should Goldwater have changed his mind because making racists mad is more important than property rights and freedom of association?Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                He could’ve said, “if you think the CRA should be defeated because it helps black people, I don’t want your vote” and refused to appear at events with politicians who obvious were against the CRA for race-related reasons.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Michael Drew, that’s a reasonable way to state it.

                Here is my full position. James, pay attention, there’ll be a test later and it won’t involve your shouting “you’re wrong about libertarianism” as a mantra.

                There are zero-sum interactions in society. The number of hours in a day is zero-sum. The number of days in a year is zero-sum.

                There can be “positive sum” interactions in society. However, there are many “positive sum” interactions that disproportionately allocate the benefit of the positive increase. Such interactions generally flow from faux-voluntary, coerced arrangements that result from a number of factors including:
                – improper deregulation and/or artificial barriers that create unrestricted monopolies or unrestricted cooperative oligopolies;
                – lack of strong and fair laws and enforcement regarding employment and compensation;
                – lack of laws (or lack of enforcement same) regarding predatory lending and usury;
                – laws that fail to protect people and fail ensure that essential rights like recourse to the courts cannot be waived in the creation of a contract.

                The more inequality grows, the more of these coerced, fake-voluntary interactions exist. It gets to the point where even a “libertarian” like James doesn’t give a crap about his own rights when he feels it’s “too small” an amount for him personally, in a single person sense, to worry about. And then it becomes institutionalized and the cell companies don’t worry about bill cramming and inserting their own fraudulent “mystery fees” because they think they can defraud millions of people and, safe from class action lawsuits, get away with it.

                Or you get the “positive sum” interactions of a hostile takeover, Bain-style; company comes in, loads up debt, fires workstaff, CEOs and “shareholders” take millions of dollars in benefit while those on the bottom lose their jobs and the wider taxpayer base is on the hook for unemployment benefits and the other effects of unemployment. “Positive” sum, or not? If it’s positive sum, it’s not a good variety and definitely damaging to society because only a few benefit and the rest take the hit.

                Now can there also be positive-sum interactions that are good for society? Yes, yes there can. When the results of a positive-sum interaction are fairly allocated to give a measurable, reasonable benefit to all concerned, that’s a good positive-sum interaction. When the results of a positive sum interaction are that the coercive effects of inequality go down, which “decreases liberty” for those who had the high end of the inequality scale but at the same time increases liberty and utility for many more people by multiple orders of magnitude, that’s a good positive sum interaction.

                The reason I have described FYIGM libertarianism as I have is that they resist this final category of positive sum interaction. They refuse to recognize or acknowledge the notion that looking beyond the realm of “oh my god you’re decreasing the monopoly man’s liberty”, acknowledging that the coercive effects of inequality may be far worse than the coercive effects of government, and addressing that overall problem with appropriate counter-concentrative policies may be a wise course of action to discuss.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                There can be “positive sum” interactions in society. However, there are many “positive sum” interactions that disproportionately allocate the benefit of the positive increase.

                This is true, but you’re completely wrong about which side gets the greater benefit. Most corporations operate on fairly thin profit margins. Consider Verizon, for example. For the last three years, they’ve had revenues in the $100B ballpark, with profits ranging from $2.4B to $4.8B.

                Let’s take the high end and say that Verizon’s producer surplus runs around 5% on a typical transaction. So what about consumer surplus? What’s the most you’d be willing to pay for what Verizon’s giving you, if they had no competitors? If, like most people, it’s more than 5% greater than what you’re actually paying, you’re getting the long end of the stick.

                In the vast majority of transactions, the consumer gets the lion’s share of the surplus.

                Such interactions generally flow from faux-voluntary, coerced arrangements that result from a number of factors including:

                And then you go on to list a mix of things that involve actual coercion that you don’t like and things that involve the absence of the kind of coercion that you do like. And that’s the basic problem with your argument: You conflate genuinely coercive transactions with transactions whose terms you simply don’t approve of.Report

              • Exactly, but you don’t see Jason and me regularly writing, “liberals think all we need to do to create paradise is slash the military bleed the rich dry.”

                I do occasionally see statements like “x is a problem when government does it, but liberals still think government is better than markets.” As a shorthand, such statements are true enough, but I think they tend to elide some of the nuances that some liberals bring to the table.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                If you truly don’t think there’s a decent part of libertarian ism that basically loves the idea of FYIGM, then you’re deluding yourself.

                There is a massive contingent of libertarian thought that believes moderately inconveniencing even one very, very wealthy individual is not worth the price in “lost liberty” to that one individual to increase the liberty of a multitude of other members of society.

                There is a massive contingent of libertarian thought that believes somehow, “the market” will self-correct from situations of massive inequality and segregation if government is just removed from the equation, despite the incredible historical record to the contrary. When contrary historical results of attempted reforms that fit libertarian thought are brought up, the justification for the discrepancy – much as the justifications for “communism” – is that “true libertarianism has never fully been tried.”

                There is a massive contingent of libertarian thought that doesn’t give a damn about generational inequality, segregation, and frozen class mobility that result from it.

                There is a massive contingent of libertarian thought that doesn’t give a damn about the concentrative effects of policies that exist in the USA today, even though these policies decrease liberty increasingly for more people that are not in the top classes.

                There is a massive contingent of libertarian thought wedded to the idea that anything without government involvement is a “voluntary exchange”, even if it exists between two entities of such differential economic power that coercive effects are obvious beyond any rational denial and any pretense of a negotiation is transparently false.

                All of these things are FYIGM in nature. Negotiating power in a transaction is zero-sum because it operates as a balance. The power of those with great economic clout to overshadow the speech of those without has been proven without shadow of a doubt, yet the majority of libertarians cling to the notion that campaign finance reform was an unadulterated bad thing. The ability of banks to engage in abusive practices is met with shrugs from most libertarians and the insistence, even in a period of constant consolidation, that people should just “take their business elsewhere” and to shrug again when it’s pointed out that there are no businesses left that don’t insist on the same objectionable contract or transaction terms up to and including the waiving of basic rights by the purchaser.

                If we had started in a time of close-to-equality, then we’d be in a position to see whether libertarian thought made sense. Attempts to codify libertarian principles in law – or at least those things libertarians have supported in the past – have not resulted in a reduction in inequality but rather the reverse.

                That’s how I see it. The policies advocated by libertarians – and here’s where I say that the term itself is a bad term – necessarily reduce liberty for more people than they can ever increase liberty for by replacing the hand of government, at which at least there is in the USA a codified right to petition for redress, with the coercive hand of the overly economically powerful who are generally immune to attempts at redress from anyone not a member of the same class.

                I’ll happily admit there are a decent segment of liberals that think the world would be fixed if we only increased taxes on the rich and cut the military budget.

                I won’t say it’d fix it all in a day or even get all the way there just by itself, but I am fully on board with returning taxes to 1980 levels with capital gains treated the same as wage income as a good start.

                I am also reasonably on board with cutting military budgets and foregoing the next generation of useless weapons meant to fight a pitched battle against a superpower.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to M.A. says:

                Yep, there it is again.

                And if I may dare to point it out, it’s explicitly and unflinchingly zero-sum based.

                to shrug again when it’s pointed out that there are no businesses left that don’t insist on the same objectionable contract or transaction terms up to and including the waiving of basic rights by the purchaser.

                No, not shrug. Point out that it’s not true, no matter how desperately you wish it were.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to James Hanley says:

                There are things in life that are zero-sum. The balance of negotiating power in a particular transaction is one of them. If you don’t like it, tough, that’s reality.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to James Hanley says:

                Also: I was responding directly to Jesse’s post concerning the term. If you dislike my using the term directly when responding to someone else discussing the term itself, you’ve just moved the goalposts to the moon and I should just give up the hope that you’ll engage fairly.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                I don’t disagree that some things are. The issue is, those are the particular things you focus on.

                Hey, maybe you’re actually right to focus on those things instead of on the positive sum things. Could be.

                But it still all adds up to Roger not being all wrong about suggesting liberals tended to think in zero-sum terms.

                And here’s the funny party. With all the FYIGM crap, not one libertarian has stepped and said, “damn right I am!” And yet with the zero-sum issue, it didn’t take long at all before a liberal stepped up and said, “damn right I am!”

                Now I recognize that this liberal is not exactly, um, deeply admired by all the other liberals here, and not quite up to their quality. But still, it’s hard to find the equivalency when one of yours actually embraces the claim and none of ours does. Granted, the zero-sum claim isn’t as nastily pejorative as the FYIGM claim, so it’s easier to embrace, but then the difference in nastiness is also part of the reason it’s hard to really see them as equivalent.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                If you dislike my using the term directly when responding to someone else discussing the term itself, you’ve just moved the goalposts to the moon and I should just give up the hope that you’ll engage fairly.

                What the hell are you talking about?Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to James Hanley says:

                Verizon prepaid: arbitration clause.

                Tracfone: arbitration clause.

                AT&T? Yep. Virgin Mobile’s is actually worse; if you miss a bad charge and don’t dispute it “promptly” (appears to be a 30-day window according to the “general terms and conditions”), you waived ALL rights to redress. If you do catch and dispute a charge promptly, they get the right to have their “advisors” handle it, and if they offer you ANY compensation then that is a waiver of your right to arbitration or court:

                Disputed Charges

                If you think that there has been an error in any charge to your account, you must notify us promptly after the charge appears on your account. Call Virgin Mobile At Your Service at 1-888-322-1122, and one of our advisors will investigate your claim. If you do not promptly notify us, you waive any right to dispute the charge, including in arbitration or a court proceeding. If we determine that the disputed charge was inappropriate and was raised by you in a timely manner, we will credit, refund or provide other compensation to you. If we credit, refund or provide other compensation to you to settle a disputed charge, you agree that the dispute is fully and finally resolved and not subject to further proceedings.

                So: find me a cell phone company without an arbitration clause or worse clause. I’ll be waiting.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to James Hanley says:

                This is the post I was responding to, James: Jesse Ewiak’s post.

                That’s “what the hell I am talking about.”Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                An arbitration clause in a pre-paid phone doesn’t matter. It’s like getting an arbitration clause when you put a quarter in a gumball machine. You don’t put out enough to worry about arbitration.

                It works, man, that’s why all the terrorists use pre-paid phones!

                This is the post I was responding to, James: Jesse Ewiak’s post.
                That’s “what the hell I am talking about.”

                No, I meant what the hell were you talking about with either my objecting to your use of the term or me moving the goalposts? You can’t imagine how delighted I was to see you use the term, and to proudly embrace it. It’d be worth paying you for it you hadn’t already done it for free.Report

              • Avatar Mr. Blue in reply to James Hanley says:

                AT&T’s arbitration clause is, according to the link MA provided before, evidently pretty favorable and this is one of the reasons that AT&T got the ruling it did:

                AT&T’s arbitration clause was EXTREMELY consumer friendly: It provided that AT&T could never recover attorneys’ fees from the consumer, even if AT&T won the arbitration. It also provided a minimum of $7500 recovery to the consumer if they ended up winning more than AT&T’s final settlement offer. Finally, it provided that the consumer could recover twice its attorneys’ fees if it won the arbitration. So while the Court ruled that laws finding all anti-class arbitration unconscionable are preempted by the FAA, we can see why, in reality, the Court probably did not have a very hard time viewing AT&T’s arbitration clause to be far from unconscionable.

                Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to James Hanley says:

                I pointed out numerous times that there are things that are zero sum. Such as the number of hours in a day; you only get 24, period. There was a whole discussion about how rampant inequality devalues the time in the day that the lower classes can spend working by decreasing the earning power of what those hours can be exchanged for in commerce.

                If you’re happy because you just now realized I am completely willing to take on the concept of zero-sum interactions as well as criticize when something is falsely presented as a positive-sum interaction, then you haven’t been paying attention.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                That’s not why I’m happy. I’m happy because you came along and inadvertently but fairly effectively whacked Jesse’s objections to Roger’s claims about liberals (over on the Cato thread) in the kneecap. Your timing couldn’t have been better.

                And frankly I appreciate that you are explicit about your zero-sum approach. I’m not going to agree with all your examples, obviously, but at least you’re not pretending you’re not really zero-sum focused.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to James Hanley says:

                The policies advocated by libertarians – and here’s where I say that the term itself is a bad term – necessarily reduce liberty for more people than they can ever increase liberty for by replacing the hand of government, at which at least there is in the USA a codified right to petition for redress, with the coercive hand of the overly economically powerful who are generally immune to attempts at redress from anyone not a member of the same class.

                It seems to me that this is a rejection of what he sees as a net-zero-sum (or worse) outcome, in favor of something he believes might be positive sum. I.e., total utility can potentially increase when people who have a higher marginal utility from one additional dollar receive dollars taken (nonvoluntarily, or, for that matter, voluntarily offered) from people who get lower utility from an additional dollar, or lose less utility from the loss of one dollar than the added utility given to someone else by giving the dollar to them.

                He’s challenging that you have to buy into voluntariness in order to be able to see your way to positive-sum outcomes. He’s seeking above-zero-sum outcomes, which is by definition engaging in positive-sum thinking and trying to move beyond zero-sum thinking. Where there is a dispute is in the effects of violating a voluntarism-only condition on the validity of an instance of positive-sum thinking.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                Eh, you might have a point. I’ve got no easy rebuttal, that’s for sure.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to James Hanley says:

                Apparently, I clicked the wrong “reply” link trying to scroll up, so here is this response in the correct place (I hope). If someone wants to blank the other copy further above to prevent confusion, I have no objection and in fact encourage it.

                Michael Drew, that’s a reasonable way to state the position.

                Here is my full position. James, pay attention, there’ll be a test later and it won’t involve your shouting “you’re wrong about libertarianism” as a mantra.

                There are zero-sum interactions in society. The number of hours in a day is zero-sum. The number of days in a year is zero-sum.

                There can be “positive sum” interactions in society. However, there are many “positive sum” interactions that disproportionately allocate the benefit of the positive increase. Such interactions generally flow from faux-voluntary, coerced arrangements that result from a number of factors including:
                – improper deregulation and/or artificial barriers that create unrestricted monopolies or unrestricted cooperative oligopolies;
                – lack of strong and fair laws and enforcement regarding employment and compensation;
                – lack of laws (or lack of enforcement same) regarding predatory lending and usury;
                – laws that fail to protect people and fail ensure that essential rights like recourse to the courts cannot be waived in the creation of a contract.

                The more inequality grows, the more of these coerced, fake-voluntary interactions exist. It gets to the point where even a “libertarian” like James doesn’t give a crap about his own rights when he feels it’s “too small” an amount for him personally, in a single person sense, to worry about. And then it becomes institutionalized and the cell companies don’t worry about bill cramming and inserting their own fraudulent “mystery fees” because they think they can defraud millions of people and, safe from class action lawsuits, get away with it.

                Or you get the “positive sum” interactions of a hostile takeover, Bain-style; company comes in, loads up debt, fires workstaff, CEOs and “shareholders” take millions of dollars in benefit while those on the bottom lose their jobs and the wider taxpayer base is on the hook for unemployment benefits and the other effects of unemployment. “Positive” sum, or not? If it’s positive sum, it’s not a good variety and definitely damaging to society because only a few benefit and the rest take the hit.

                Now can there also be positive-sum interactions that are good for society? Yes, yes there can. When the results of a positive-sum interaction are fairly allocated to give a measurable, reasonable benefit to all concerned, that’s a good positive-sum interaction. When the results of a positive sum interaction are that the coercive effects of inequality go down, which “decreases liberty” for those who had the high end of the inequality scale but at the same time increases liberty and utility for many more people by multiple orders of magnitude, that’s a good positive sum interaction.

                The reason I have described FYIGM libertarianism as I have is that they resist this final category of positive sum interaction. They refuse to recognize or acknowledge the notion that looking beyond the realm of “oh my god you’re decreasing the monopoly man’s liberty”, acknowledging that the coercive effects of inequality may be far worse than the coercive effects of government, and addressing that overall problem with appropriate counter-concentrative policies may be a wise course of action to discuss.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                Here is my full position. James, pay attention, there’ll be a test later and it won’t involve your shouting “you’re wrong about libertarianism” as a mantra.

                You’re condescending to to me? Hold on a moment; I’ll see if I can find some little boy pants somewhere around the house.

                But, look, it just pains me to read you because you persistently abuse the meanings of precise technical words. You’ve misused commons, yesterday you misused public goods, and now you’re misusing zero-sum game. To wit:
                The number of hours in a day is zero-sum. The number of days in a year is zero-sum.
                No, they’re not, because they’re not games. The number of hours in a day is actually positive sum, since 24 > 0, but it’s not a game; there’s no interaction. The issue is whether the two (or more) participants in the action both can walk away with more than they came with it–if one must necessarily walk away with nothing, then it’s zero sum (like a football game). If they can both walk away with more, it’s positive sum (like buying some good or service that you desire). Some of the things you point to as zero-sum are (I like your bargaining power example–even though it’s not a case of either one side or the other has the power, there is a limited set of power, and each increment held by one side cannot be held by the other; but of course the negotiation itself is normally a positive sum game.)

                You may think I’m too pedantic, but with these concepts your’re coming into my home territory. This is the stuff I’d studied seriously, and I understand the errors of analysis that result from being careless with the definitions. I don’t care if they’re what you believe; they’re wrong, and there’s no way I’m going to lower my standards and play the game on your basis of flexible definitions of technical words.

                It gets to the point where even a “libertarian” like James doesn’t give a crap about his own rights when he feels it’s “too small” an amount for him personally, in a single person sense, to worry about.

                Yeah, don’t sweat the small stuff. It just makes you bitter.

                And then it becomes institutionalized and the cell companies don’t worry about bill cramming and inserting their own fraudulent “mystery fees” because they think they can defraud millions of people and, safe from class action lawsuits, get away with it.

                Yes, you’ve made it clear that you think every corporation will got out of its way act evilly, even to the point of claiming every single company and product in a free market would be racially discriminatory. But that’s just another indication about your misunderstanding of the market. Go back and look at the court decision you linked to, and see what the final part has to say about the phone company’s arbitration process, and how customer friendly it is.

                What you don’t get is that if there are huge masses of unhappy customers, there’s always a market for making them happy. Maybe certain factors make a phone company think that not demanding arbitration will end up being so costly in court they cannot thrive (which says more about the behavior of consumers than of the businessmen), but they can easily make the most customer friendly arbitration agreement, and then go find their audience.

                And if they don’t succeed with that approach? Then it means there wasn’t real demand for that feature among consumers; that it just isn’t something they care about.

                The reason I have described FYIGM libertarianism as I have is that they resist this final category of positive sum interaction. They refuse to recognize or acknowledge the notion that looking beyond the realm of “oh my god you’re decreasing the monopoly man’s liberty”, acknowledging that the coercive effects of inequality may be far worse than the coercive effects of government, and addressing that overall problem with appropriate counter-concentrative policies may be a wise course of action to discuss.

                Or it could be that they just think you’re factually wrong, you know? I mean obviously you think you’re factually right, and that’s cool. But that doesn’t mean the person who disagrees with you has some evil selfish motivation; they might just think you’ve got the facts or analysis wrong. At best you’re forgetting about Hanlon’s Razor–libertarians could actually just be too dumb to grasp these truths, but it still wouldn’t mean they wicked.

                In closing, I’d like to do a little modification of your fina paragraph.

                they [Liberals] refuse to recognize or acknowledge the notion that looking beyond the realm of “oh my god you’re decreasing the monopoly man’s liberty [inequality is increasing], acknowledging that the coercive effects of inequality [ redistribution or market distorting policies] may be far worse than the coercive effects of government [inequality effects of the market], and addressing that overall problem with appropriate counter-concentrative* policies may be a wise course of action to take.

                See, that’s exactly how libertarians see you. You’re sure you’re right, and that’s fine, really. But when you’re so sure you’re right that you can’t see how easily your approach is turned around on you; and how those on the other side are no less certain about your idiocy and wickedness as you are about there’s….well, one of the critical stages of learning is to develop self-reflection. .
                ___________________
                *Left in, because of course government action is necessary concentrative, as well.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to James Hanley says:

                But, look, it just pains me to read you because you persistently abuse the meanings of precise technical words.

                And it annoys me to no end that you persistently misdefine, misuse, abuse, and misrepresent the meanings of precise technical words like you did there.

                No, they’re not, because they’re not games. The number of hours in a day is actually positive sum, since 24 > 0, but it’s not a game; there’s no interaction.

                The use and trade of number of hours is zero sum. No more hours can be created in a day. Positive-sum interactions can result from using the hours more efficiently, or negative-sum interactions can come from devaluing those hours. Competition for the hours themselves is zero-sum. An hour in the day spent on one thing is no longer available to another purpose. Competition for hours in the day is zero sum.

                ZERO sum. If you can be bothered to learn the meaning of the term.

                Yes, you’ve made it clear that you think every corporation will got out of its way act evilly,

                History bears that out with evidence, evidence that puts the lie to your theory that corporations are the candy gumdrops and sunshine rainbows that create a libertarian fairyland with a strong resemblance to Wonka’s factory.

                Why do I think corporations will implement company towns, company stores, methods of squeezing workers and implementing unfair practices? Because almost every time they’ve had the opportunity before, they’ve gleefully done so. The exceptions are rare.

                At best you’re forgetting about Hanlon’s Razor–libertarians could actually just be too dumb to grasp these truths, but it still wouldn’t mean they wicked.

                So I should assume what about you?

                See, that’s exactly how libertarians see you. [and on and on and on]

                The difference between my approach and yours? I’ve already been through the reflective stage. I’ve been on your side. I came OUT of your side through self-reflection, full analysis, and firm application of the phrase “your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins” along with the firm conclusion, looking over the history of policies and politics and humanity, that the lower and middle classes have been repeatedly punched in the nose by the upper class.

                There are limits to liberty. I know that’s the last thing libertarians ever want to hear, but there are limits unless you live in a cave 100 miles from civilization and never see another human being. The exercise of liberty has effects upon the liberty of others; the exercise of certain liberties coupled with asymmetrical power by an overprivileged minority has repeatedly throughout history decreased liberty for everyone else.

                Liberals don’t fail to look beyond the simple “inequality is increasing”; we look to the EFFECTS of inequality increasing. We look at the social segregation effects, the indignity effects, the asymmetrical power and exploitation effects. We look at the totality of the damage increasing inequality does to society and we recognize that this kind of damage, left unchecked, leads to things far worse that we’d rather avoid happening [AGAIN].

                We don’t ignore the “coercive effects of redistribution or market distorting policies.” We want STRONG protections against the kinds of abuses that come from them. Strong protections against price gouging by monopolists and coordinated oligopolies, strong protections against monopolists or coordinated oligopolies strong-arming their way into other markets, and yes when it comes to public necessity utilities like water, sewer and power we’ve seen the damage caused when a truly public utility is outsourced in a “public-private partnership.” Strong protections don’t result from telling the people responsible for enforcing the law “screw it, go home, let the market take care of it.” Never have, never will.

                When I first described myself to Kazzy a while back I called myself a true libertarian. I hold to that principle; I will analyze a situation FULLY and determine what results in the greatest increase in liberty for all concerned, rather than hanging my hat on the fear of decreasing liberty for a few people without caring about the result to the rest.

                But I’ll no longer call myself a “libertarian” in any sense. The ugliness of the proponents of modern libertarianism and willingness to support morally untenable positions have sullied the name too much.Report

            • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Yeah, I can’t decide if Reason’s commenters or McMegan’s give me a lower opinion of, well, the human race. But in my head I hear them as serious, where I hear the Balloon Juice commenters as half-drunk and trying to outdo each other on over-the-top disdain and condemnation. No doubt that’s biased. Maybe it’s because the H&R/McM crowds talk about money so much that I assume they’re in dead earnest.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                This. I mean, again, I realize Balloon Juice is the worst site in the history of the world because it says mean things about libertarians and some people on this site, but the comments on there may be over-the-top and full of liberal hatred, but I never feel the sociopathic tendencies that I get on H&R and other libertarian-leaning comment boards.Report

              • Might that be because you’re in on the joke at Balloon Juice and not in on the joke at Hit and Run?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                That’s what I’m wondering — is there a joke at Hit and Run?Report

              • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                I can’t decide if Reason’s commenters or McMegan’s give me a lower opinion of, well, the human race. But in my head I hear them as serious, where I hear the Balloon Juice commenters as half-drunk and trying to outdo each other on over-the-top disdain and condemnation.

                I assure you that they are in roughly the same states of inebriation. Not necessarily via the same substances.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

      but then go and vote for the guy who wants to double Guantanamo and ban gay marriage because the other guy might want to raise rich people’s taxes a little bit

      Did you vote for the guy who created an indefinite detention system for prisoners at Guantanamo?Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird says:

        Yes I did, after the guy I voted for had to deal with a Congress full of pussies (both Democratic and Republican) scared they’d get voted out for sending said Guantanamo detainees to Illinois.

        So yes, Obama tried to fix a problem, it didn’t work, so he had to deal with it the best he could. And no, I’m sorry, the correct solution isn’t just to let everyone at Guantanamo go.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Read the article again. This was an executive order. Not a Republican dirty trick that somehow made it past the Senate.

          Let me guess: your voting for Obama (and voting for him again) is something that we should understand that you pretty much had to do and, really, while we shouldn’t cut Obama a break, at least we know he’s not as bad as the guy who wants to double it. Something like that?Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird says:

            Um, here is the timeline, Jaybird.

            1. Obama, “I want to close Guantanamo and move everybody to this empty jail in Illinois where we can have trials and other cool shit.”

            2. Congress, “Sorry, the media scared out constituents enough that we think this will cost us votes in the fall. Xthnxbai.”

            3. Obama. “Well, shit. I have to do something with these people and actually figure out who’s dangerous and who got sent here by accident because they pissed off their neighbor. Hey, lawyers!”

            4. Lawyers. “Here’s a plan.”

            5. Obama. “Signs it.”

            6. Internet. “OMG Obama’s a hypocrite!1!1!!!!”

            Actually, yes, in a FPTP system, you pretty much have to vote for the guy among the top two you think will do the best possible job. I realize that may result in shitty things happening, but that’s the world we live in. Sorry.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Actually, yes, in a FPTP system, you pretty much have to vote for the guy among the top two you think will do the best possible job.

              No, you don’t. It’s simple math. Your vote is not, no way, nohow, going to determine the outcome of a congressional election. In the entire history of the U.S, with tens of thousands of congressional elections, I’m unaware of even one single time when one vote made the difference. If your guys going to win, he’s going to win without your vote. If he’s going to lose, he’s going to lose with your vote. Your vote doesn’t matter to the outcome. So you can freely cast it for a third party candidate (assuming there’s one closer to your views), knowing that you’ve had just as much influence on the outcome.

              But sure, my vote won’t change the outcome, but what if all of us Xers did that? Well, then the X party just might wake up and realizing they have to shift further toward you, eh?

              The claim that a third party is a wasted vote is one of the great myths of American politics. The only effect of voting for a party you’re dissatisfied with is to enable it to go along as it is.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to James Hanley says:

                I don’t know. How did all those people voting for Nader in 2000 move the Democratic Party in 2004? Or how did all those disaffected moderate Republicans voting for Obama in 2008 move the GOP in 2010 and 2012? The way you change a party is primaries, not general elections.

                By the way, you do realize that your argument has a cascading argument that boils down to, “why vote at all”, right?

                Also, even if my vote doesn’t give somebody a “win”, it can still help in the long-term in an abstract way. If somebody wins in a swing district with 55% of the vote instead of 50.1% of the vote, it may make them vote a different way on a controversial bill. Now, there may have been somebody closer to my views running, but that person was never going to get into Congress. By adding to the majority of the person that actually won, it may give that Congressman more leeway to vote how they actually feel, instead of fear of a big ad buy from a SuperPAC.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                How did all those people voting for Nader in 2000 move the Democratic Party in 2004?

                Ah, you need instantaneous results. If it doesn’t happen in the very next election, then it’s a failed strategy. You’re also not helping yourself in your objection to Roger’s claim that liberals are short-sighted.

                By the way, you do realize that your argument has a cascading argument that boils down to, “why vote at all”, right?

                Oh, hell, yeah. I upset students and colleagues all the time by pointing out that voting in order to influence the outcome (voting as investment) is wholly irrational. But voting as an expression of preferences (voting as consumption) is quite rational–if it makes you feel good about having done it, go ahead and do it. But if you’re voting against your own real candidate preferences because you think you’re affecting the outcome, then you’re really missing the only value of voting (unless you’re one of those civic duty folks like my mom, who value the participation on its own terms; voting as ritual, which doesn’t move me, but I get that it provides utility for others).

                As to your ultimate paragraph, the truth is your vote isn’t going to make the difference even between 50%+1 and 51% in most cases. The best it can do is change the difference from 50%+1 to 50%+2, and I doubt that’s going to have much effect on the winner’s policy votes. (In fact, given that we use plurality voting, you could theoretically only change the vote from 33%+1 to 33%+2.) And to the extent you have any influence, which you actually don’t, you’d just be reinforcing the two party system.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to James Hanley says:

                I don’t need instantaneous results. But, how about one example where people leaving em masse for a third-party affected the policies of the party they left toward the people who left.

                Because let’s look at history.

                1916? If anything, the GOP moved farther away from Teddy Roosevelt and won the next several elections. In the long-term, the GOP has never been as liberal as ole’ Teddy.

                1968? Moving away from Wallace was better for the Democrats in the long-term.

                1980? The GOP continued to take out moderate GOPers over the next thirty years.

                1992? This one might have a case, but sense Perot voters were basically 50/50 voters in their second choices, Bush had already struck a bargain to lessen the budget deficit, and NAFTA passed anyway, I question how much effect Perot really had in the long-term.

                2000? If anything, the DNC got more moderate and scared of seeming liberal for the next few years. Maybe you can make the argument that Nader voters were Dean supporter four years later and the base that sent Obama to the White House in ’08, but that’s sort of a stretch.

                The way you change a party is from the inside, not the outside, over a long period of time. I’m not a short-term thinker. I wish that liberals had a plan for reforming the DNC in their image just like conservatives did forty years ago for the GOP.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to James Hanley says:

                But sure, my vote won’t change the outcome, but what if all of us Xers did that?

                Then the Ys would win, which at this point is pretty fishing scary.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                It’s not a single-shot game. Don’t play it like it is.

                Heh, and on another thread Jesse’s objecting to Roger saying liberals were short-term thinkers. I’m not sure Roger’s right about that, but you’re not helping Jesse’s argument here.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to James Hanley says:

                It’s not a single-shot game, but if you continually go with the third option and things get worse, maybe you have to question whether going with the third option is the best idea for your political goals.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Well, so long as we know that the Obama that said that he wanted to close Obama is the real one and the one who actually signed an executive order creating indefinite detention is really the one who was forced into it by Republicans…Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Actually, both Obama’s are the real Obama’s. None of them are the fantasy Obama that would just release everyone at Guantanamo wily-nily, so I realize that makes some people upset.Report

        • Pop quiz: how many Reason writers voted in 2008 for Obama? For McCain? For Babar? Of the 50 or 60 prominent self-described libertarians interviewed bu Reason in 2008, how many voted for each of these candidates?
          I think you’ll find the answer more than a little surprising.

          http://reason.com/archives/2008/10/29/whos-getting-your-vote/19

          Of the four possible answers (Babar, McCain, Obama, none), it would seem McCain came in a distant fourth, with Obama in a respectable second. Care to rethink your assertion about libertarian voting habits?Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mark Thompson says:

            Well, first, I’d really wonder about a 2012 poll involving Romney and Obama since let’s just say, I think some Reason writers had a fantasy version of Obama in their head that was as different from reality as the liberal fantasy of Obama some of my fellow travelers had.

            But regardless, you’re talking about Reason writers. Not Reason commenters. Like Jason and Hanley, I’m sure I could have a reasonable conversation with most Reason writers. Not so much with Reason commenters.

            Again, that’d be why actual polling of self-described libertarians would be awesome. The only things I could find with voting intentions instead of more general questioning (http://www.cato.org/pubs/policy_report/v29n1/cpr29n1-1.pdf) showed that even in 2006, at the height of “wow, Bush is an idiot”, the vast majority of libertarians still voted for Republican’s for Congress. I doubt many people who still voted for the GOP in 2006 shifted to Obama in 2008, but I could be proven wrong.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Do you have data on the Reason commenters?Report

            • While that Cato poll has more than its share of uses (and I’ve used it before), let’s not pretend that it’s a poll of self-described libertarians.

              I did, however, find this piece in which it was openly questioned whether there was even a place for libertarians in the GOP and in which some polls are referenced wherein only about 35-40 percent of self-described libertarians said they planned to support McCain. Mind you, these polls were relatively early in the campaign, after Palin had been nominated, but before the full extent of her craziness was clear.

              As for whether support of Obama was based on untrainable expectations….seriously? I’m hearing goalposts moving, and fast. But even more than that, are we really going to say that libertarians were abnormal in having untrainable expectations of Obama?Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                OK, self-described is bad descriptor. The only other thing I could find for voting intentions was this PDF (http://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/libertarian-vote-age-obama) and it’s numbers on McCain/Obama seem wacky even to me and it tells me that it’s description of libertarians brought in a lot of conservatives who like pot. 🙂

                As for expectations, I’ll happily state there were lots of liberals who had abnormal expectations about Obama. Go search any random DailyKos thread and you’ll see them.

                But, there was a strain of libertarians who were as well. Not as many obviously, but a lot of them did seem surprised in 2009 and 2010 when Obama did things like support government spending and other wacky liberal things. 🙂Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                No, none of us were surprised by Obama supporting more government spending and economic intervention. Heck, long before the election I said I was voting for Obama but I knew what I was getting on the economic side. What caught us off-guard was his fervent continuation of the war on drugs, his foot dragging on Gitmo, his zeal in claiming the state secret privilege to try to keep folks from having their day in court, and such like. Other than repeal of DADT, the prez has been an absolute disaster on civil rights and liberties, essentially indistinguishable from Bush. Talk to some real live libertarians who voted for Obama; I’ll bet you have a hard time finding any that were surprised by Obama’s liberal actions, and get a plethora of complaints about his conservative actions.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                It’s probably overkill for me to point out that once again we have a liberal who is inaccurately representing libertarianism. I’m not going to rant about it; I’m actually rather amused. But there it is. The inaccuracies just keep coming thick and fast.

                There are a few liberals here who grasp us pretty well. Kazzy does, Stillwater’s developed a pretty solid grasp, I think North does, and Nob. Chris, except he claims not to be a liberal, but I’m going to be mean and dump him in that camp. Probably a few others I’m doing a disservice to by not remembering them off hand.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                I’m not saying that the civil liberties didn’t have a whole lot to do with it. But, there was a strain of, “Obama is different from other Democrats because he understands there’s more to fixing than economy than just government solutions…” that I got a lot from some libertarian circles pointing to several things he said during the campaign that quite frankly, pissed some liberals off.

                Now, it was a small part of the overall pro-Obama message some libertarians put out, but it was part of some of the message.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                If you think we have it so wrong on libertarianism, how about you actually spend time explaining what you think we have wrong?

                Moreover ask yourself: why is it that your description of libertarianism is different from that which is most commonly given by self-professed libertarians?

                I agree with Jesse: “I think the saner members of the libertarian movement have to wonder why a whole lot of your movement is quite frankly, made up of selfish assholes and how you can fix that problem.” Last presidential election cycle I heard a very uncharitable description of the libertarians as a party made of 50% corporate aristocrats and 50% potheads, and while I’m not willing to go that far it’s fairly obvious that the libertarian movement’s gotten hijacked by some causes and people that do them no good and make them look pretty bad from the outside.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                f you think we have it so wrong on libertarianism, how about you actually spend time explaining what you think we have wrong?

                Dude, I do that over and over and over. Other commenters here, liberals, have tried to tell you that. What you’re claiming just isn’t true.

                But in this case you’re making a claim that is non-refutable. It’s your belief about what our policies would do. We think our policies would have different effects than you think they would have. No matter how much effort I put into explaining those effects, you won’t buy it. And that’s fine, so far as it goes. If I can’t persuade you I’m right, that’s just too bad for me. But you’ve given no indication on any thread you’ve participated on so far that you would actually listen and try to understand what I actually believe, and that’s bad on you.

                Moreover ask yourself: why is it that your description of libertarianism is different from that which is most commonly given by self-professed libertarians?

                See, there’s that claim that you understand libertarians better than I do, yet again. You have not one shred of evidence for your claim, only your impressionistic beliefs. But you’ll cling to those impressionistic beliefs because they’re more comforting to you; it’s easier for you to deal with a simplistic strawman version of libertarianism than to deal with the real messiness and nuances of it. It helps keep down the cognitive dissonance.

                the libertarian movement’s gotten hijacked by some causes and people that do them no good and make them look pretty bad from the outside.

                Yes, I know you’re not sympathetic to libertarian goals, so of course they look bad to you. Sorry, we’re not going to become more pro-economic intervention just to make liberals love us. We’re not co-dependent.Report

              • Maybe I speak to the wrong real live libertarians, but those I know relatively well have usually expressed disappointment not so much at Obama himself, but the environment he operates in that makes it easier for him to move in the wrong direction. They certainly give no credit to the GOP on the matter.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                The GOP gets very little credit from anyone in the USA, save for the unsurprisingly vocal contingent who get their information primarily from the alternate reality engine.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to James Hanley says:

                his foot dragging on Gitmo

                This seems to have had something to do with that?

                his fervent continuation of the war on drugs

                I’m presuming that mostly comes from the increasing crackdowns on medical marijuana. Not grand, but at least internally consistent with the “federal law trumps state law” stance he’s taken fairly consistently – including in opposition to Arizona SB1070.

                his zeal in claiming the state secret privilege to try to keep folks from having their day in court

                “No Change” there from the previous admin.

                Other than repeal of DADT, the prez has been an absolute disaster on civil rights and liberties, essentially indistinguishable from Bush.

                Meanwhile, legislatures captured by the other party are trying to strip away voting rights constantly using schemes that resemble poll taxes.

                Talk to some real live libertarians who voted for Obama; I’ll bet you have a hard time finding any that were surprised by Obama’s liberal actions, and get a plethora of complaints about his conservative actions.

                I’d be happy to find a viable political party whose interests and positions align with my own. Sadly I agree with the Democrats about 40% of the time, the Republicans maybe 20% of the time, and the rest of the time I think they all need a nice steel-toed boot forcefully inserted where the sun don’t shine.

                You want to know what’s really sad? If the libertarians were actually about, you know, liberty for as much of society as possible as a real goal rather than “liberty” in an abstract sense of some pseudoreligious belief that a “free market” somehow will cause the harmful and lingering effects of present-day tilted systems to disappear over time without the need for some countervailing force to restore balance, then there are a number of the abstract positions in their platform I could get behind.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to M.A. says:

                Obama was footdragging on Gitmo long before Congress did that. Strategically I don’t blame him. He can’t do everything, he has neither the time nor the political capital to succeed on every issue, so he has to prioritize, and Gitmo is a reasonable one to deprioritize, from the perspective of getting significant policy successes that will maintain public support for his administration. But sometimes you have to do the right thing. In my more cynical moments I suspect Obama breathed a sigh of relief when Congress shut him down on the Gitmo prison closing. Now he can blame them, instead of trying to explain to angry civil libertarians why he deprioritized Gitmo.

                If the libertarians were actually about, you know, liberty for as much of society as possible as a real goal rather than “liberty” in an abstract sense of some pseudoreligious belief that a “fre….

                Yeah, yeah, we know your thoughts on that. You know what we think of those thoughts.Report

            • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Let’s look at the article’s argument a little more closely.

              But the striking fact in our data analysis is what happened in 2004. The libertarian vote for Bush dropped from 72 to 59 percent, while the libertarian vote for the Democratic nominee almost doubled.

              And,

              in 1992, after the senior Bush’s tax increase, libertarians split their previously Republican majority almost evenly between Bush and third-party candidate Ross Perot. That suggests that the libertarian affinity for Republicans is easily broken. Libertarians also gave a high percentage of their votes to third-party candidates in 1980 (independent John B. Anderson and Libertarian Party candidate Ed Clark) and 1996 (again Perot).

              That’s a bit more nuanced than simply, “the vast majority…voted for Republicans.

              And while I deplore how many libertarians focus on small government in economic matters while giving less attention to small government in social matters, the fact remains that Democrats haven’t exactly given libertarians much to vote for. They offer considerably more economic regulation than the Republicans, while offering only marginally more social liberty. I’ve tended to vote for them over Republicans (because I think Republicans are more pro-corp than pro-market), but I’m sadly aware that in doing so I’m not actually voting for a significant increase in social liberty or a serious reduction in military spending (regardless of what conservatives want us to believe about that).Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to James Hanley says:

                They offer considerably more economic regulation than the Republicans, while offering only marginally more social liberty.

                Have you ever even considered the notion that certain kinds of economic regulation are absolutely necessary if social liberty is to be increased?

                I do agree I wish I could find a viable political party that was very strong on 5th amendment and privacy concerns, very strong on net neutrality and very strong on opposing the ongoing treadmill of copyright extensions to ridiculous lengths. Then again, the pathetic performance of Lawrence Lessig in arguing Eldred v. Ashcroft destroyed any notion of having the courts stop the clearly unconstitutional practice of ex post facto copyright term extensions, so I’m not too hot on the idea of prominent libertarians managing to do well protecting those kinds of liberties even if they somehow became a viable political party.

                And if I am going to find a party that is strong on privacy concerns, it needs to not just be a “government can’t invade your privacy” thing. It needs to be come with very strong regulations on preventing corporations from violating privacy, requiring strong protections of data to prevent identity theft, and serious protections to prevent companies from slipping “by agreeing to this contract you give up your privacy rights” clauses in everywhere.

                And that’s something I’m pretty sure libertarians will never agree to.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley in reply to M.A. says:

                Have you ever even considered the notion that certain kinds of economic regulation are absolutely necessary if social liberty is to be increased?

                You’ll probably never meet a libertarian who doesn’t agree that certain kinds of economic regulation are necessary. They’ll just see that set as much more limited than you will.

                the clearly unconstitutional practice of ex post facto copyright term extensions,

                It’s an egregious practice, but it’s not at all clearly unconstitutional. The constitution gives Congress the authority to create IPR for a limited time. As long as they play the game of setting each extension for a limited period of time they’re at least plausibly constitutional, as ugly as it is. The Constitution does not ban bad policy.

                And just in case you were going there, ex post facto only applies to criminal laws, nothing else. If you weren’t going there, please excuse my presumption.Report

              • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to M.A. says:

                It’s still not ex post facto, though like James, I agree wholeheartedly that the inordinate extensions of copyrights are an egregious practice and would go so far as to say that they are in derogation of the spirit of the Constitution, though not the letter.

                To be an ex post facto law, the act has to have a retroactive effect in which conduct that was permissible (or at least not criminal) at the time of the conduct is rendered illegal. An extension of a copyright term doesn’t qualify since it’s not rendering conduct that was legal at the time illegal.

                So for a copyright extension to constitute an ex post facto law, you’d need for a copyright to actually expire for a brief period, then have it fall within an extension, and then prosecute someone for violation of the copyright for their actions in that interim period where it had expired.

                If the copyright never expires (which is the practical effect of the neverending extensions), then the extension covering it can never constitute an ex post facto law.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to James Hanley says:

                They offer considerably more economic regulation than the Republicans, while offering only marginally more social liberty.

                Democrats basically play the fortune cookie game with libertarianism.Report

          • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mark Thompson says:

            Babar’s also a Republican (in fact he’s the king of the elephants.)Report

  12. I’m certainly very saddened to see that this involves Ed Crane’s departure, but Otherwise I’m very happy to see this was amicably resolved in a way that seems to preserve Cato’s independence and, most importantly, is acceptable to Cato’s employees. That alone is cause for celebration.Report

  13. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    Also, I’ll point out that this statement sounds a lot like how many of the companies that Bain bought put out right after they were bought. 🙂Report

  14. Can I just say it’s a little depressing this OTC has 80 replies and I only got Blaise to respond to my latest one?Report

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